Archive | August, 2009

Oooooooh….want. Now.

28 Aug

Hi there!

Good food and drink is one thing – nice dishes can add that little extra touch of love. Like these Jane Austen mugs:

comfortmug

vainmug

I imagine it to be so enjoyable and comforting to drink hot cocoa from these! With a book on my lap, and a snowstorm outside, and a warming fireplace…ahem. Not that we own a fireplace, or that winter will be around anytime soon. But Miss Austen rocks, and so do hot drinks.

Things are kind of slow around here at the moment. But that’s no need to worry, I guess, because good food always prevails and so there will be something for me to write about sooner or later.

Goodbye for now! xoxo,
F.

Mugs by Brookish
via The Kitchn

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Potato Croquettes

18 Aug

Hello, my fellow eaters,

here comes a recipe that on the one hand isn’t terribly awesome for this hot, humid weather, since it involves frying stuff in hot oil. On the other hand, however, these potato croquettes are, to me at least, perfect lazy summer food: they can be prepared in advance (in the morning, say); they taste well hot, warm, and cold, they are nice for buffets and finger food-parties, and a hearty addition to those light summer salads we are devouring these days.

croquettes

Ingredients:
makes about 24; serves at least 4

18 oz. potatoes

1 cup manchego cheese, grated
2 1/2 tbsps. goat cream cheese
1 1/2 tbsps. ricotta cheese

1 medium egg

3 tbsps. bread crumbs
1 tbsp. starch (I used potato starch)

1 large handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt, pepper, chili, nutmeg to taste

For frying:
2 medium eggs
starch and bread crumbs, about a soup plate each; I didn’t measure
vegetable oil, approx. 3/4 cup

Directions:

In a medium pot, cook the potatoes (with peel) until tender, approx. 20. mins. Take the potatoes out, and chill with cold water (so that the peel will come off easily). Peel the potatoes, put them into a large bowl and mash them with a masher or a fork.
Add manchego, goat cheese, ricotta, egg, bread crumbs, starch, and basil to the potatoes. Mix well. Season strongly with pepper, salt, chili and nutmeg. You should now have a smooth, dough-like mix. Let cool for approx. 30 mins.

Cover a baking tray with parchment. Form the potato mix into 24 evenly sized balls. Cover with a light tea towl, and put the tray into your fridge (if the croquettes are still to warm for that, let them cool down elsewhere and then put them in). I left mine in the fridge for approx. 2 hours, and I think it made a difference, the croquettes held together really well when I fried them. So I think you should really give them some time in the fridge, at least 30 mins.

Crack the eggs into a flat bowl (or soup plate, or whatever), and beat them thoroughly. Prepare two more bowls, approx. half filled with bread crumbs and starch respectively.

In a large pan, heat the vegetable oil until bubbly. Now roll the croquettes first in starch, then egg, then bread crumbs, and fry them until they are golden brown. Let them drip on a paper towel for a minute before serving. Enjoy!

Writing this made me realize that this isn’t exactly a fast recipe… but it’s easy, and really good! These croquettes remind me of these fried risotto balls I made a while ago.

Goodbye for now! Eat well, and drink, and be merry.
xoxo, F.

Plum Cake

17 Aug

Hi there,

dude, it is hot. Hot and humid, which is a combination I don’t fancy. This is not the kind of weather that brings a plum cake to mind, but believe me, when I made this cake last week it was a perfect summer cake, very nice for dessert (with ice cream) or with a nice, giant cappuccino.

plumcakeaft

So here we go:

Ingredients:
makes one cake about the size of a regular pie

1 pound plums, halved and stoned; I used Italian plums

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tbsps. dry yeast

1/2 stick butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
approx. 1/2 cup milk, lukewarm

1/2 tsp. sugar + some more for sprinkling
1/2 tsp. salt

bread crumbs to sprinkle
vegetable oil to grease
cinnamon to taste

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Mix well. Add egg yolk, butter, and some milk, and start kneading. Keep kneading and adding milk, one table spoon at a time, until you have a nice dough ball. It will be a little sticky, due to the butter, but that’s okay. Leave in the bowl, cover with a teat towel, and let sit for approx. 2 hours.
Please note: I know that some people let the yeast work in the milk for some time before the kneading begins. Quite frankly, I never do that; I always knead everything together straight away, and it has always worked. However, this might not be the case with fresh yeast. If you don’t trust my recipe, use another one; the point is, in any case, to make a basic yeast dough.

To prepare the baking pan, grease it very lightly and sprinkle very lightly with bread crumbs.

When the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl, and roll it (on a lightly floured surface) into the shape of your baking pan; transfer it into the baking pan, press gently to its bottom and sides, and prick with a fork repeatedly, lengthwise and crossways.

Preheat your oven to 400° F.

Spread the plums on the crust evenly. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to taste. Fold over the crust rim. This is how mine looked before baking:

plumcakebef

Bake for approx. 25 mins., until the crust is light brown, and the plums are bubbling.
Let cool a little before serving; tastes well with ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!

I think I’ll have to lie down now. Even typing is exhausting in this weather.
So long! xoxo,
F.

Plum Preserves

14 Aug

Hello there!

plumpres

Beautiful, savory plum preserves!

Now, I had been given a recipe a while ago, and earlier this week I again fell victim to goodlooking, but boring-tasting plums, so I decided to use them up in a cake (recipe to be posted later), and in these preserves. HOWEVER, it turned out I had close to nothing at home in terms of required ingredients, and since I was unwilling to go grocery shopping again and kind of, well, just wanted to get this over with, I very, very freely adapted the recipe and this is the result.

Ingredients:
makes one jar

1 pound plums, stoned and quartered; I used Italian plums
1/4 cup dark balsamico vinegar
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup red wine; I used a Bordeaux
4 tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. black peppercorns, crushed

Directions:

In a medium pot, combine vinegar, sherry, wine, sugar, and pepper. Stir; bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let bubble for a couple of minutes until the mixture starts to thicken.

Add the plums; stir carefully, and let cook 4-5 mins., not more. You should be left with tender fruit pieces in a syrupy liquid.

While still hot, fill into an airtight jar, close it carefully, and let sit upside down for a couple of minutes (to make sure no air gets in). Let cool, and keep in fridge.

Serve with bread and, most importantly, cheese. Enjoy!

plumpres1

I honestly don’t know how much alcohol is left in this; probably not a lot. I for one, however, would keep this away from people who aren’t supposed to drink. Well.

Allright, then. I’ll post the cake recipe next (I just had a slice with some cheese grated on top, then shortly heated; what is it about plums and cheese? it’s a perfect match), and maybe a recipe for homemade croquettes later this week, IF they turn out well tonight.

Until then: eat well. xoxo,
F.

Puff Pastries

13 Aug

Good evening!

pastries1

Here comes the recipe for the puff pastry muffins I promised earlier. Meaning: little pastries made in a muffin pan. Very easy! I made six with tomatoes and six without, because a certain member of the household doesn’t like tomatoes, which is insane. Anyways, obviously all kinds of fillings could be invented for this; however, I would stay away from fillings that are too saucy, since the pastry crust is really thin and the baking time is rather short, so a runny filling would probably cause a big mess.

Ingredients:
makes 12

1 cup feta cheese, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

approx. 1/4 pound spinach leaves
I used frozen spinach, thawed and drained; if you use fresh leaves, wash, drain, and chop them

1 scallion, sliced
1/2 garlic clove, minced

salt, pepper to taste

12 cheese cubes; I used gouda

approx. 10 oz puff pastry
I used store bought (I KNOW. Whatever.), which came in one big piece, which I cut into 12 even squares

3 cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:

In a bowl, combine feta, ricotta, spinach, scallions, and garlic. Stir well, and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pastry squares into the molds of the muffin pan, pushing gently so that the walls are covered evenly.

Preheat your oven to 350° F.

Fill the pastries with the feta mix; put a cheese chunk on top of each and half a tomato on six of them. Fold over the pastry rims.

Bake for approx. 2o mins., until the gouda is melted and the crusts are very light brown.
Serve with a fresh green salad. Enjoy!

pastries2

We ate them for dinner, but obviously they would also make good finger food at parties or picnics.

Goodbye!
xoxo, F.

Recipe Rambling Resumed

13 Aug

Hello again,

let me greet you with these beauties from our kitchen table:

sunflowers

Aren’t they pretty? I looooooooooove sunflowers.
Anyways, a while ago I tried to write an inspirational post about great stuff I’ve cooked, but without any actual recipes, because I was tired and busy (and lazy), and then wordpress wouldn’t upload the pictures, and I got really annoyed and frustrated and I haven’t posted since. But behold! Now I will attend to this unfinished business. Please look at this picture:

carrotpasta1

This is:
whole wheat pasta, cooked
carrots, sliced and blanched
green olives, pitted and chopped
garlic, minced
cumin seeds, crushed
mint and parsley leaves, chopped
salt, pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well, and eat.

This dish is major! I know that carrot and cumin are often combined in Northern African cuisine, but I had never tried it before, and I just loved it. It tasted good while still hot, and also good as a cold pasta salad the next day. We ate ours (when hot) with small dots of goat cream cheese on top, which worked well as a fresh and creamy sauce substitute.

carrotpasta3

Allright. Upcoming posts will be detailed recipes again, I promise. I made a batch of puff pastry “muffins” last night which were a hit, and a plum cake and plum preserve with red wine, pepper, and vinegar this morning, and I’ll post those later.

Eat well, y’all. xoxo,
F.

Recipe Rambling

5 Aug

Hello people,

allright, here’s the thing: I’ve had two glasses of wine already, I just discovered that my face is totally sunburnt, and I am tired and really only inclined to drop on the couch and watch Steel Magnolias for the xth time. However, there are two pasta recipes I really want to share and I feel like if I don’t do it now they’ll never get posted. That’s why, for once, I’ll just post some pictures, and describe a little what I did, without posting an actual recipe. With a little bit of common sense and a little bit of adventurous experimentation, you will be able to cook this, I know it. So here we go:

beanspasta1

This is:
pasta, cooked
string beans, cooked
mascarpone cheese
roasted pine nuts
chopped parsley
salt, pepper to taste

Very easy, very fast, and certainly good with some grilled bacon or chicken, too.

OK: Just now, wordpress is messing with me. Won’t upload my pictures. Whatever. SO I guess I’ll TRY and post the “Pasta with carrots, olives, mint leaves, and crushed cumin” recipe later, or tomorrow. (Or never.)

Goodbye for now, my friends. Eat well! xoxo,
F.