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Exotic summer salad

3 Jul

Summer is on and we are enjoying it at full throttle. Sitting on the terrace for a late dinner while there is still light out there feels so good. Because I want to enjoy the long days as much as I can, I tend to make quick meals in the summer.

Last week, I ended up in the kitchen baking birthday muffins and I can tell you that it felt like a visit to the sauna with the hot oven around me. That adds to my point about quick meals without long cooking.

Today, I decided to go for a salad in which I bring together a rainbow of tastes. Let surprise yourself with this summer salad recipe!

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Ingredients (serves 2 people):

1/s lettuce

2-3 carrots

1 shallot

1 fennel head

1/2 cup barley or bulgur

Roast pork

Cantaloupe melon

For the dressing:

Orange

Soy sauce

Basil infused olive oil (or regular olive oil)

Preparation:

  1. Prepare the dressing by squeezing one orange and adding 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce and oil. Basil infused olive oil will give your dressing an exceptional and fresh note. In case you do not have basil infused olive oil at home, you can as well chop up a few fresh basil leaves and add them together with extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Cut your veggies and arrange them layer by layer on a plate: First comes shredding your lettuce, then peeling and thinly slicing 2-3 carrots. After that, slice the fennel and shallot.
  3. At high heat, sear the shallot and fennel in a pan with a teaspoon of butter. When your done, place it as the next layer on your salad.
  4. Cut the cantaloupe in small dices.
  5. In a small pan, cook your barley or bulgur as instructed. Add a pinch of salt to the boiling water.
  6. Now for the roast pork, you have two options: Buy it cooked and ready for use or make a roast yourself (very time consuming). I used left-overs that I had in the freezer and cut them in dices.
  7. Before you put the last layer on your salad, combine the cantaloupe, barley or bulgur and the diced roast pork in a bowl and add some olive oil and a spoon of the dressing that you have prepared in the beginning.
  8. Pour the dressing over the first two layers, add the last layer (melon-meat-barley/bulgur mix) and enjoy.

 

Seafood bolognese with sepia pasta

28 Mar

Living in Hamburg, I am getting used to eating good fish and on some occasions seafood. Little did I know for quite a long time that the fish shacks near Fischmarkt (on Grosse Elbstrasse) that do not look very inviting from the outside but make excellent fish rolls and traditional seafood dishes are an excellent escape for a quick and good lunch. If you get a chance to spend a day in Hamburg during the week go there for your lunch and you will get to feel a piece of Hamburgeois life.

This year I tried Stinte fish for the first time – Stint is a fish that lives in the ocean and comes to the river Elbe for breeding. When the baby fish are born end of February/March you will find them on the menus of traditional restaurants across Hamburg. Stint fish are served fried with potatoes (boiled potatoes or potato salad) on the side.

Matjes and hering are also traditional fish here and should you not find the time for a restaurant visit you can go to any supermarket (e.g. Rewe or Edeka) and get your dose of fish to go. Matjes and hering are eaten cold with bread and usually come in a cream sauce.

In my corner, we do not have any fish store nearby. I sometimes store seafood in the freezer so that I have something at hand if I feel like eating seafood and this is what I came up with the other day as I was craving a simple seafood dish on a Sunday night:

Seafood bolognese with sepia pasta

Seafood bolognese with sepia pasta

Ingredients (serves 2 people):

200-250g of sepia colored pasta

1 bunch arugula salad

A handful of cocktail tomatoes

2-3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup seafood (I used frozen seafood – e.g. mussels, squid/calamari, shrimps)

2 garlic cloves

Juice of half a lemon

Large capers for decoration

1/2 teaspoon shrimp or fish sauce

Salt and pepper

For the salad dressing: cranberry vinegar, olive oil, dill mustard

Preparation:

1) Defrost the seafood. For quick defrosting: Pour hot water over the seafood and let stand for a few minutes. Drain the water and drizzle the seafood with lemon juice.

2) Chop the garlic and slice the cocktail tomatoes in half.

3) In a pan, fry the garlic in a little oil, then add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Season with salt, pepper and a little shrimp or fish sauce. Stir in the seafood. Keep warm.

4) Wash and drain the arugula salad.

5) Prepare the salad dressing by mixing 1 part of cranberry vinegar, 1 part of oil and 1 part of dill mustard together. Season with salt and pepper.

6) Boil the pasta as indicated on the package.

7) On a plate, arrange the pasta in the middle, then add the seafood tomato sauce and finally arrange the arugula salad on the side.

Heavenly dinner starter: Paté

14 Sep

Ulalaa, a paté recipe is a fine delicacy. Although liver is not the most favourite food of many of us French foie gras, made of duck or goose liver, reigns the tables of gourmets. In my opinion, home-made liver beef or chicken paté is just as delicious.

Paté

The inspiration for this recipe came to me on a rather unexpected note. As I was browsing a booked called ‘Eat fat, lose fat’ by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon that my sister had recommended to me I stumbled upon it and decided to keep it in mind.

A few days later, I had a conversation with Spencer, my sister’s boyfriend, about food entrepreneurs and why nobody has tried running a food truck serving meat delicacies based on the very red meat, e.g. liver, heart and what other organs there are, that we have almost completely wiped off our menus.

True. I am afraid that we have gotten too comfortable with traditional dishes like pizza, pasta, hamburgers, salad variations like caprese or cesar’s, sandwiches, tacos and the like. Liver just does not fit into this picture. But guess what is fantastic about it: Being a by-product, liver is very cheap and just as easy to prepare as a steak.

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 Enjoy this recipe and I hope that some of you will let me know how they liked their home-made paté!

Before I forget, I would also like to mention Lynn, Spencer’s mom, for the good ideas and very delicious pecans she made me. The bag was gone faster than I could think. Maybe we should post the recipe so you can see what I am talking about. Stay tuned :)

Ingredients:

1 lb/ca.500 g liver (chicken or beef)

1 cup veggie stock

1/4 cup port wine

5 tablespoons soft butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon rosemary, dried

1 teaspoon whole pepper corns, dried

1 tablespoon mustard

Preparation:

1) Cut the liver pieces in finger thick slices or cubes.

2) In a pan, heat up 2 tablespoons olive oil with 2 tablespoons butter and then add the liver pieces. Fry for about 10 min on all sides until the meat is cooked. Then put aside.

3) Prepare 1 cup of veggie broth. I used powder that can be dissolved in hot water.

4) In a cup or small bowl, mix together the port wine, rosemary, and mustard.

5) Put the pan back on the stove at small heat and pour both the veggie stock as well as the port wine mix over the meat. Stir until most of the liquid has evaporated. Put aside and let cool down for a few minutes.

6) In a blender, process all ingredients with 3 tablespoons of soft butter. If you feel that the paté needs to be moister, add a sip of port wine.

7) Transfer the paté into a glass or ceramic jar and keep it in the fridge until you serve it.

Tip: The paté tastes also great while still warm, ideally served on a warm piece of baguette.

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Portuguese tomato jam (doce de tomate)

17 Aug

Tomato jam? Wouldn’t you normally use fruit to make jam? That is right and yet it is also what make this jam so fabulous. It’s my latest discovery from Portugal. I recently spent a weekend in Lisbon and Cristiana, a Portuguese friend of ours, told me to try it. I would have not imagined that ripe, caramelized tomatoes and a sip of Port wine could create such a mouth-watering delicacy.

While the tomato season is still on,  I strongly recommend you to get at least 1 kilo (2 pounds) of very ripe tomatoes and to give it a shot yourself. The good thing about jams is that you barely cook them for longer than 10-15 min. You want to avoid caramelizing your ingredients too much because that would change the taste. The trick is to let the water evaporate a little bit and then to seal the jam in jars while it is still hot.

For one kilo of tomatoes, you will need 3 medium size glass jars of 160 ml (5 oz) as shown in the picture.

The jam is fantastic on whole grain bread or with a slice of cheese (e.g. goat cheese) or meat (e.g. steak).

Doce de tomate

Ingredients:

1 kg tomatoes (very ripe)

370 g brown cane sugar

50 ml port wine (preferred kind: Ruby port)

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1 tablespoon lemon zest (from an untreated lemon), about 1 tablespoon

Preparation:

1) In a large pot, cook the tomatoes until the skin comes off (this takes about 10 min). Drain the tomatoes under cold water and immediately take off their skin. In a blender, process the tomatoes. Transfer the tomato sauce back into your cooking pot.

2) Stir in the sugar, port wine and season with cinnamon, cloves and the grated lemon zest. Bring to a boil at maximum heat and cook for 5-10 min. Stir well while you keep the jam at high temperature.

3) As soon as the texture becomes jelly, lower the heat and simmer for another 5-10 min.

4) Sterilize the glass jars by dipping them in boiling water or by pouring hot water over them. Use a pair of tongs, you can easily burn your fingers.

5) Fill in the jam up to the top of the jar and fix the lid tightly. For my jars I used rubber rings and metal clamps, a normal lid will do as well.

6) Store the jam in a cool, dark place or in the fridge. Sealed jars should last you at least 6 months.

Tip:

Add a pinch of pepper and chili powder for a little kick.

 

 

 

Eating like in Israel

1 Jun

A while ago I stumbled across a restaurant called Sababa in Berlin (http://www.yelp.de/biz/sababa-restaurant-berlin). From the outside it did not seem very special. A small place, not crowded and we were extremely hungry after a long day. I had a quick look at the menu and was very convinced to stay. Sababa offers Israeli food, the perfect place for hummus lovers!

Some of the food combinations were new to me and I was curious to see how they would taste: Without a doubt delicious. Tonight I cook an imitation of what we ate there, spoiling ourselves with a quick and delicious dinner. Here is an overview of what was served:

Home-made hummus

Mung beans with tahini sauce

Ground beef seasoned with cinnamon

Pomegranate tomato salad with caramel mustard dressing

Minced meat, mung beans, hummus, pomegranate salad

DSC_0106

Ingredients:

1 pack dry mung beans

1 can chick peas

1 pound/450 g ground beef

1 plain yoghurt (e.g. greek yoghurt)

1 salad

1 pomegranate

1 tomato

1 lemon

1 red onion

1 small yellow onion

2 garlic cloves

Tahini paste (sesame paste)

Whole grain mustard (e.g. Dijon mustard type)

2 tablespoons chopped almonds

Olive oil, vinegar

Cinnamon, salt, pepper

Hummus

1) Drain the chick peas. Put them in a high container or a large measuring cup.

2) Peel and press the garlic; then add it to the chick peas.

3) Add the yoghurt. Season with salt and drizzle with lemon juice. Then blend until smooth. Keep the hummus in the fridge until you serve it.

Mung beans

1) Rinse one cup of dried mung beans under running water.

2) Bring a small pot with unsalted water to a boil. Add the mung beans and let boil at medium heat for about 30 min.

3) Drain the remaining water. Season with salt and add a spoon of tahini sauce. Serve while still warm.

Ground beef

1) Chop up the yellow onion.

2) Preheat a pan with a spoon of oil and saute the onion at high heat until glassy.

3) Add the minced beef, season with salt, pepper and cinnamon and keep on stirring for a few minutes. Serve warm.

Salad

1) Wash and clean the salad.

2) Chop up the red onion and the tomato. Separate half of the seeds of the pomegranate. Add all ingredients to the salad.

3) For the dressing, combine 2 tablespoons mustard with the chopped nuts, 3 tablespoons oil, 1-2 tablespoons vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Red soup (Asian inspired veggie soup)

20 May

Soups are always a good idea for a light meal. I like making soups for dinner. Also because they are perfect for throwing in any leftover veggies you find in the fridge. I can’t think of any vegetable soup combination that has not worked so far. Since I prepared the Assam Laksa dish the other day, I now have a huge glass of sambal laksa paste sitting in my fridge.  The soup I am presenting today has a similar base (sambal laksa paste & tamarind) than the Assam Laksa, however, it is 100% vegetarian and vegan.

You can count roughly 30 min to prepare the soup and we finished the whole pot with only 2 people for dinner as it was quite delicious :)

A while ago I posted a Chinese sweet & sour soup recipe (https://fourchetteknife.com/2012/02/26/chinese-sweet-sour-soup/), maybe that’s also something for you if you don’t happen to have chili paste and tamarind in your fridge.

China inspired soup

Ingredients:

1,5 l water

1 small red onion

1 fresh chili

1 inch long piece fresh ginger

2 carrots, cut into thin 1 inch long stripes

1 small glas pickled mini corn

1 small glass gherkins

1 small red bell pepper

1 bunch spring onion

1 cup cocktail tomatoes

1 cup shredded or pickled red cabbage (optional)

5 dried mu-err mushrooms (soaked in water as indicated on the package, optional)

Cooking oil

For the broth:

Tamarind (sour)

Sambal laksa paste (or chili paste or also red curry paste)

Tomato paste

Ketchup

Dark soy sauce

Preparation:

1) Bring the water to a boil and add the ginger, peeled and diced. Let boil at medium heat while you prepare the veggies.

2) Clean, peel and cut the veggies. The onion should be diced, the carrots striped and all other ingredients  can be sliced.

3) In a wok or pan, preheat a tablespoon of cooking oil and saute the onion and the chili. Then add all other veggies and saute them for a few minutes. If you feel that the veggies start burning, add a sip of water.

4) Transfer the veggies to the broth. Continue cooking at medium heat.

5) In a bowl, dissolve tamarind (the size of a tablespoon) in about 1/2 cup of warm water. Then stir in 1-2 tablespoons laksa paste (depending on how spicy you want the soup to be), add half a cup of ketchup and 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Season with dark soy sauce (about 2 tablespoons). Pour the sauce into the soup and stir well. Let the soup simmer at low heat for another 10 min.

Malaysian Assam Laksa

18 May

Malaysians like their laksa soup. We would most likely call it a  noodle soup, yet I would argue that laksa has a quite distinct taste because of the spices added to it. Little did I know that there were different types of laksa until I travelled to Borneo this winter. To me, the traditional laksa version was the one with a coconut milk base and shrimps. Assam laksa is a sweet & sour version with fish. One afternoon I decided to go on a food discovery tour in Kota Kinabalu. Food stands are very common there and I couldn’t get enough of the fresh fish and vegetable variety that was offered and just before I left, I visited a local supermarket to get my laksa supply so that I could make it at home and share it with you.

In case you are wondering where to buy the ingredients in your home country: A well assorted Asian grocery store should have all you need. Instead of traditional laksa noodles I found thick Vietnamese noodles.

assam laksa

Ingredients (serves 4 people):

1 pound white fish filet (e.g. mackerel, catfish)

1 small onion or shallot, chopped into mini dices

1 stalk lemon grass, the white part of it cut into 3-4 pieces

1 pack dried and peeled sour tamarind

2 tablespoons Sambal laksa paste or these ingredients to make your own chill paste:

– 12 dried red chilies (seeded)

– 5 fresh red chilies (seeded)

– 2 teaspoons shrimp paste

– 1 stalk lemon grass

1 pack instant thick noodles

Seasoning: fish sauce, sugar, salt

2 hard-boiled eggs, fresh pineapple pieces, grated cucumber, and a few arugula or lettuce leaves for decoration

Preparation: 

1) Start with the fish. Bring 1,5l of water to a boil. Rinse the filet under water and then boil it for about 10 min. Remove the fish and let it cool down on a plate. Add 5 pieces of tamarind, approximately the size of your finger tip, to the broth and stir a few times.

As soon as the fish meat has cooled down, take it apart with your fingers. You want to have small pieces as shown on the picture. Add it back to the broth and let the soup cook at slow heat. Also, add the lemon grass stalk. fisch filet

2) Prepare the paste. In a wok, heat up a tablespoon of cooking oil and saute the onion dices.  Then add the paste and stir for about a minute at medium heat.

If you do not cook with ready to use laksa paste, make your own: All you need is a small food processor or mortar to grind the ingredients (onion, chilies, shrimp paste). Then roast them in hot oil inside a wok for a few minutes until the paste has caramelized.

chili paste

3) Now, back to the soup. Stir in the chili paste. Once this is done, take a small handful of tamarind (the size of a golf ball) and start dissolving it in warm water. The best way of doing this is to fill up half a cup with warm water and using your hands squeeze the tamarind until it dissolves and the water turns brown (see picture below). Repeat this 3-4 times so that in the end you come out with 1.5 to 2 cups of tamarind extract that you add to the soup. Next, season the soup with sugar, salt and fish sauce to taste. You will notice that the tamarind leaves a rather sour taste by itself. The soup is almost ready now. Before you serve it, prepare the noodles as indicated on the package. Typically, soaking the noodles for 5 min in boiled water will do. And don’t forget to rinse them under ice-cold water to avoid their glueing together.

sour tamarind

dissolve tamarind4) Finish with decoration. Traveling around South East Asia you will notice that soups usually get rounded up with a bouquet of fresh greens. For example, a Vietnamese Pho is decorated with coriander leaves. Assam laksa can be decorated with small pineapple pieces, grated cucumber and a few arugula or chopped up lettuce leaves. I added half a boiled egg to mine. If you like it spicy, you might add chili slices on top. Let your imagination run wild and be creative!

This recipe has been cooked based on http://rasamalaysia.com/recipe-penang-assam-laksa/ recipe with slight modifications.

Exotic lentils with baked shrimps & sausage

21 Apr

Holidays like Easter or Christmas are an excellent occasion to heat up the kitchen. This year I spent most of the Easter time outside but still found enough time for tasty creations in the evening. The recipe I want to share with you today is an adoption by Christian Rindfleisch, a chef from Hamburg. I coincidentally came across the recipe in a magazine a little while ago. If you happen to be a Hamburg local, don’t miss out on his cuisine in his restaurant (www.roeperhof-restaurant.de). I am sure it is worth a visit.

Before I present you a quite extensive list of ingredients and cooking instructions, I would like to advice you to plan about 1 hour for the preparation of this meal. And please make sure that you have at least two small pots, a pan and a sauce blender at hand. You will work with two different sauces, the meat and lentils which requires a little juggling around in the kitchen. So take the time to read through the recipe 2 or 3 times before you start to get the order of the different steps right. If you have a friend or your partner around, I recommend to use them as your assistant for chopping and cleaning the veggies. With a glass of wine or beer next to you and some good music, this cooking action will be fun.

What you will come out with is a very tasty, colorful and light meal that you and your guests will enjoy!

Exotic lentils with shrimps and salami

Ingredients (serves 4 people):

250 g or 1/2 pound shrimps

2 smoked sausages

350g red lentils

20g popped amaranth

500 ml carrot juice

1 can coconut milk (400 ml)

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 lemon

2 parsnips (alternatively a celery head)

1 carrot

4 small onions or 3-4 shallots

1 large garlic clove

1 red chilli

1 small piece ginger root (about 3 cm or 1 inch long)

250 g or 1/2 pound cocktail tomatoes

parsley

salt, pepper, thyme, a rosemary bunch, bay leaves, sugar

veggie broth (powder or cube)

canola oil for frying

butter for the sauce and for frying (max. 50g)

 

Preparation:

Lentils

1) Peel the carrot, the parsnip, the onions, ginger and garlic. Wash the chilli. Proceed with chopping everything up into small pieces and make separate piles of each.

2) In a pot, bring 500 ml veggie broth to a boil. At the same time, start preheating a pan with a sip of oil and sauté half of the onion until glassy. Add the lentils for about 1-2 minutes and continue sautéing the mix. Deglaze with balsamic vinegar. Then add the lentils to the veggie broth and let boil at medium heat for about 10 min (or as indicated on the lentil package). You can start with the preparation of the shrimps and sausage at this point (see below).

3) As soon as the cooking time is over and the water has evaporated, mix in a handful parsnip pieces and the carrot pieces. Keep on stirring for 2-3 min at medium heat. At the end, season the lentils with a teaspoon salt and sugar, a teaspoon thyme and 2-3 bay leaves. Cover with a lid, put aside and continue with the sauces.

Baked shrimps & sausage

1) If you purchased frozen shrimps, take them out of the freezer and defrost them a few hours prior to cooking. Slice the sausage.

2) In a pan, preheat a sip of oil. At the same time, start preheating your oven. Then saute the garlic and a quarter of the onions in the pan. Add the shrimps and sausage and stir a few minutes. Then transfer the shrimps and sausage to the oven, add a rosemary twig and bake them at high heat until you are done with the remaining cooking.

3) Drizzle with lemon juice right before serving.

Carrot sauce

1) In a small pot, saute the remaining onion. Add the carrot juice, 2 tablespoons coconut milk and a tablespoon butter. Process in a blender until foamy. The texture of the sauce should be liquid.

Parsnip sauce

1) In another small pot, boil the remaining parsnip pieces in veggie broth until they are soft (5-10 min).

2) Add the remaining coconut milk as well as the ginger and chilli pieces. Process the sauce in a blender. The sauce should be rather firm and not liquid in texture. You should be able to scoop it with a spoon.

Popped amaranth

1) In a small sauce pan, heat up 1 inch of oil. Add the amaranth and wait until it pops. Immediately take it out of the oil with a spoon and place it into a small bowl or cup. You will use it for decoration when arranging the plate.

How to arrange the plate

As soon as your lentils are cooked, the shrimps & sausage are baked and your sauces are done, you start with spreading a layer of lentils on a large white plate. On top of the lentils, place the shrimps & sausage. Spread small piles of parsnip sauce around the lentils. Then pour a layer of carrot sauce around the plate.  Add a few cocktail tomatoes and top with popped amaranth.

Sunday is National roast day

24 Feb

Which day of the week fits a nice roast better than a Sunday? Probably none. At least, Sundays in Germany are the epitome of a lazy, chill out day. All stores are closed. Even some restaurants. What is left to do is either spending the day outside for some activity or staying inside in the pyjamas all day :)

This weekend we spontaneously fell for a Sunday roast and so I headed over to the grocery store and got 3 pounds of venison (deer back) the day before. With that a bottle of red wine, a pack of creme fraiche and polenta for the side dish.

Allow yourself the whole day to wait until the meal is ready. Our roast was parked in the oven for 5 hours! Don’t worry about the actual preparation part; it is fairly easy.

Sunday roast in the making

Polenta sticks in the making

Baked polenta sticks

Venison roast with polenta sticks

Ingredients (serves 5 people):

1.5 kg venison (e.g deer back)

1 onion

1 bottle red wine

1 pack creme fraiche (or sour cream in the US, Schmand in Germany)

1 jar cranberries (Preiselbeeren in Germany)

25 g dark chocolate (55% or higher)

Salad (e.g. mache salad)

1 bunch parsley

300g polenta

1 pack mushroom soup (mushroom cream soup preferably)

50g butter

Seasoning: Salt, pepper, juniper berries (German: Wacholderbeeren), bay leaves (Lorbeerblaetter), cloves (Nelken)

Olive oil, dark balsamic vinegar

Preparation:

Meat – In a lasagna pan or clay pot, lay out the meat and cover with red wine and add about 10 juniper berries, 5-6 bay leaves and a spoonful of whole cloves. Dice and add the onion. In a sauce pan, dissolve the mushroom soup in water (as indicated on the package) and mix with the creme fraiche until there are no lumps left. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the cranberries, stir again and then pour the sauce over the meat.

Place the pan in the oven, heated to about 8o degrees Celsius (175 degrees Fahrenheit). If you have a thermometer at hand, you might want to stick it inside the meat. The meat should have a temperature between 60 and 70 degrees C (140-160 degrees F) before it is done. Set the alarm to 5-8 hours from then.

Sauce – As soon as the meat is done (the color should have a little pinkish shimmer but the meat should nevertheless be well done, not medium), pour the sauce from the pan into a blender and mix. Pour the sauce back into a sauce pan and melt 25 g of dark chocolate (55% and higher) in it. Use corn starch too thicken the sauce and season to taste with pepper or an additional sip of cream or creme fraiche.

Polenta – In a pan, bring salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, clean and chop up the parsley leaves. Then add 300g of polenta, 50g of butter, as well as the parsley and stir well at low heat until the polenta comes firmly off the sides of the pan. Use a small buttered baking pan or lasagna pan and evenly spread out the polenta. Let it sit in there for about 10 min. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure that you remove the meat from the oven just shortly before you start preheating the oven for the polenta.

Now cut the polenta into sticks: You do this by putting the baking pan upside down on a flat and clean surface. Take a knife and cut sticks of equal size. Place them on a baking pan and sprinkle with olive oil or butter stripes. Place in the oven for about 10 min until the surface become cross.

Salad – Wash and dry the salad leaves. For the dressing, combine 1 part of olive oil with 1 part of dark balsamic vinegar. I usually prepare about half a cup. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Left over dressing can easily be stored in the fridge for a few days.

Finale – Arrange the meat and the polenta sticks on a plate, decorate with salad and cover with sauce. Do not forget to place the remaining sauce on the table, there can never be enough sauce :) And as a little secret at the end: This recipe is called Madame Boudon’s venison and I am sending a big thank you to Gabor’s mom who initially made this great dinner for us.

Quick lunch idea: Yellow soup

8 Feb

This blog was born with one idea in mind: To share and spread the amazing array of food styles and tastes that I have experienced during my travels. Even today, any time I discover a dish I haven’t yet tasted, I go for it. I am way to afraid that I could miss out on something delicious. And even if it was something strange to my taste buds, it would be something unique to the locals who eat this dish. I cannot really remember food I haven’t liked so far (apart from fried worms in China maybe which spontaneously come to my mind).

At home I make it my mission to keep up with exotic dishes. I am a frequent customer at Asian grocery stores and often times pleasantly surprised with the big choice of food I can buy there.

On my latest trip to Borneo, Malaysia I discovered that Malaysia does not only have some very gorgeous food (thinking of Laksa soup, Bami and Nasi Goreng and all kinds of seafood and fruit freshly prepared at street markets) but also that the province of Sabah is an important supplier of palm oil. Extensive areas which once belonged to the populations of Orang-utans are now palm tree plantations. Palm oil is one of the top ingredients used in industrial foods these days. A little shocked by this fact, I started googling and reading about healthy and unhealthy fats which brought me to coconut oil and coconut products. Back home, I bought a jar of coconut oil which I am now using almost every day. Little of a surprise that I also included coconut in my yellow soup recipe :)

Before I present you the recipe, I want to tell you a little anecdote on how I came up with this simple name: Strolling over the food market in Kota Kinabalu I wanted to know more about the fish species they were selling there.  Tuna, snapper and bass were easy to tell but some of the fish were so bright in color they reminded me more of decorative fish in a fish tank…All the locals would tell me was: Miss, this is the pink fish. So please let me introduce to you the yellow soup:

yellow soup

Ingredients:

4 potatoes

2 carrots

1 small parsnip (alternatively, 1 1/2 cups sliced white cabbage)

1 apple

1 red onion

Yellow curry paste

French mustard

Coconut powder or milk (small can)

Pepper, garam marsala

Preparation:

1) In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt once it starts boiling.

2) Meanwhile, peel and clean the vegetables. Dice half the onion. Cut the remaining veggies in larger pieces.

3) In a small pan, sauté half your diced onion in a little bit of butter or olive oil. Put aside.

4) Add the other veggies to the boiling water, add one tablespoon yellow curry paste, stir and let boil until soft (approximately 15-20 min).

5) Now add one tablespoon French mustard with grains (preferably honey mustard or a sweet type of mustard), 1-2 tablespoons coconut powder or coconut milk and season with pepper and a pinch of garam marsala seasoning.

6) On the plate, decorate the soup with a drizzle of the sautéed onion.

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