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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.

Festive two course meal and Happy Easter

20 Apr

Easter is here and like me you might be wondering what to cook this weekend, especially if you are expecting guests. I would like to share a two course menu with you:

Starter:

Red beet carpaccio with arugula nest, goat cheese crumbles and walnut dressing

Main course:

Mediterranean roast with celery potato mash and honey glazed carrots.

~

Last Easter, we had a big family gathering and made a festive spring inspired meal for the entire family (12 people!). Not that we cook for such a big group on a regular basis but with the right piece of meat which can be parked in the oven it is actually not so difficult. The one thing you have to plan for is time though: I suggest roughly 3 hours for preparation and cooking. If you are not going to host such a big group, simply reduce the amount of ingredients, with 800g of meat you will succeed in making a nice meal for 4-5 people.

Happy Easter!

Starter: Red Beet and Aragula with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
Red beet carpaccio
Ingredients:
4 pickled red beets
2 packs of arugula (rucola) salad, equals roughly 250-300 g
1 pack goat cheese crumbles or 1 piece creamy goat cheese (150g)
1 cup walnuts
olive oil (2 parts), walnut oil (1 part), dark balsamic vinegar (2 parts)
salt, pepper
crostini sticks for decoration
Preparation:
1) Use a sharp, long knife to very thinly slice the red beets. Your slices should be transparent. Place a layer of slices on a large plate.
2) Wash and dry the salad, put a small handful in the middle of the plate.
3) For the dressing, combine the olive and walnut oil with balsamic vinegar and season with salt & pepper. Pour over the salad. Do not forget to add the dressing only when you are ready to start serving, otherwise the salad will be squishy.
4) Chop up the walnuts with a knife. For a little extra, heat up the goat cheese crumbles. Now sprinkle the salad with the goat cheese crumbles and walnut pieces. Decorate with crostini sticks and serve.
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Mediterranean beef roast with celery mash and honey glazed carrots
Ingredients (serves 12 people):
2 kg beef or veal roast
1 glas sun-dried tomatoes in oil, use a blender to turn them into tomato paste
2 cups creme fraiche or sour cream
1 l milk
100 g butter (3.5 oz)
1 pack spinach leaves (preferably fresh)
2,5 kg (5 pounds) potatoes
1 celery head
2 kg (4 pounds) carrots
1 lemon
honey
salt, pepper, ground nutmeg
Mediterranean beef roast
1) Preheat the oven to 80 degrees Celsius.
2) Cut open the piece of meat in a spiral form as you want to fill it and roll it back together. Alternatively ask for about a 1 cm  (half inch) thick piece of meat. Put it on a flat, clean surface and season with pepper. Spread the dried tomato paste over the meat. Then put a layer of creme fraiche on top of the tomato paste and finally the spinach leaves. If you use fresh spinach leaves, blanche them in hot water for about 2-3 min until they are soft. Roll the roast and use a cooking thread to keep the roll together.
3) Preheat a large pan and add a layer of cooking oil before you add the meat roll. As soon as the pan is hot, sear the meat from all sides for about 2-3 minutes. Make sure that you sear the meat at very high temperature.
4) Place the meat in the oven, same temperature as before, for at least 1,5 to 2 hours. We additionally placed fresh rosemary bunches on the meat for more flavor. You want the meat to remain tender and not dry. It helps a lot to use a food thermometer as the meat needs to heat up to at least 60 degrees Celsius while baking.
5) Before you serve the meat, take it out of the oven, let cool off a little bit and cut it into finger thick slices. You can use the sauce that is left in the baking pan for the meat.
Celery potato mash
1) Peel the potatoes and the celery and cut both into mouth big pieces. Then boil both in salted water. With this large amount of potatoes and celery, preview at least 40 min.
2) Next drain the water, add about 500 ml of milk, the butter, salt, pepper, and a pinch nutmeg and mash the potatoes until smooth. Little chunks of potato or celery are totally fine. If you feel that the texture of your mash is not smooth enough add more milk and maybe also butter.
Honey glazed carrots
1) Peel the carrots and cut them into sticks or slice them. Then boil them in salted water for about 10 min until they are crispy soft.
2) Drain the carrots and add a few spoons of honey. Stir at low heat for a few minutes until all carrots are covered with honey and season with salt and drizzle with lemon juice.
Tip: How to arrange the plate
I recommend to use a geometric arrangement on the plate. As you see on the picture above, we put the potato mash into small glass bowls. If you grease small bowls with butter, you can turn them upside down on the plate and remove them for a nice little scoop on the plate.
If you use a squared plate instead of a round plate you can arrange the three ingredients in a horizontal row (e.g. carrots – meat – potato mash).

Coq au vin (chicken in red wine)

9 Feb

At home, we have a nice weekend tradition: Every Sunday we try to cook a nice meal and sit down altogether to enjoy it. and forget about the hectic of the week. Typically, we include meat because we hardly eat any during the week and we try to have something rather traditional like a Sunday roast.

Our choice today was Coq au vin, which is chicken in red wine, in a lot of red wine actually. A perfect meal if you end up with open bottles after a party. For a posh and certainly more mouth watering version, you can use good red wine. We normally buy cheap supermarket wine that’s somewhere in the range of 3 Euro. We like to eat it with fresh baguette. Today we had baguette and potatoes with it, that’s really up to you what you prefer as a side dish. What I like about this recipe is that it turns out very well even without superior cooking skills…although you should bear in mind that you will need about 3 hours to prepare it (2 hours cooking time) so that you need to stay close to your stove while making it.

Bon appétit!

Vegetables for Coq au Vin

Coq au vinPreparation time: 3 hours

Ingredients (serves 5 people):

One whole chicken or 1-2 chicken legs per person

500g white or brown mushrooms

1 pack (150 g) bacon

1 bunch carrots

4 red onions

5 garlic cloves

1 bouquet garni (bundled bay leaves, thyme, rosemary – fresh or dried)

1.5 liters (two bottles) red wine

Salt, pepper, nutmeg

Flour

Side dish: Fresh baguette or potatoes

Preparation:

1) Clean, peel and cut the mushrooms, carrots and onions into mouth big pieces.

2) Rinse the chicken under water, dry with paper towel and if you bought a whole chicken cut it apart. Dice the bacon (can be bacon stripes or an entire piece of bacon). Cover the chicken pieces in flour.

3) In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of butter. Fry the bacon and the vegetables (bacon first, then onions and finally all other vegetables). Put aside.

4) Now add another tablespoon of butter to the pot and fry the chicken from all sides for 2-3 minutes. Pour the wine into the pot and add the bouquet garni. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Let simmer at low temperature for about 1.5 hours. Occasionally stir to make sure that nothing burns at the bottom of the pot.

5) After 1.5 hours add the vegetables and let simmer for another 30-60 min. By then, the sauce should have lost its alcoholic taste and turned into a broth type sauce. The chicken meat should be very tender and easily fall off the bones.

6) Serve with baguette or potatoes and enjoy your perfect weekend meal :)

Video

Hand-made pesto, watch this!

23 Dec

Bigge-di-blog, blog, blog. As a blogger I spend quite some time on pages like indulgy.com and pinterest.com, always in the search of new recipes, DIY ideas or just some stunning pictures people out in this world get to see through their lenses.

Today I found an exotic, yet so simple presentation of a recipe, here it is:

 

Learn how to make hand-made pesto, absolutely machine or hand device free, within a few minutes. Garlic, fresh basil leaves, parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil: Put that on your shopping list and you’re ready to go. Oh, and if you don’t own a mezzaluna, google it, you will need one :) Enjoy!

Here is the original recipe:

http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001570.html

It’s Apéro time with French style tapenades!

14 Dec

Tapenades are fine tasting pastes with an olive and caper base. You will find tapenades most likely at Apéros in the South of France. You really only need very few ingredients to make a tapenade and it goes well with either toasted white bread, pumpernickel or any type of cracker. Here are my favorite creations:

Tapenade variations

 

Tapenade aux olives noires (Black olive tapenade)

1 pack black olives (without pit)

1.5 tablespoons capers

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 anchovies or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste

………………

Tapenade au thon (Tuna tapenade)

1 tin tuna (in water)

1 pack green olives (without pit)

1 teaspoon capers

juice of 1/2 lemon

small sip of olive oil (if paste is too dry)

optional variation: add 1/2 red bell pepper

………………

Tapenade poulet au curry (Curry chicken tapenade)

2 chicken breasts

1/2 cup mixed of corn and green peas

1 small onion

2 tablespoons of greek yoghurt or sour cream

a shot of white vinegar or pickle juice

seasoning: a pinch of pepper, curry powder, turmeric for the color

………………

Preparation:

1) In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

2) Serve immediately or preserve in a small glass jar (important: cover paste with a layer of olive oil)

For the chicken tapenade:

1) Cut the chicken breast in bite size pieces and boil for about 10 min in salted water.

2) Dice the onion.

3) Then combine all ingredients in a bowl or blender and blend until smooth.

Potatoes & Beans: Easy and Delicious

28 Nov

One advantage of living in the Mediterranean is that there is plenty of delicious food all year around! I try to experiment a little bit and this weekend I created something easy and very tasty. If it looks a little bit too veggie for you, no worries, I suggest to serve it with pork medallions with pepper sauce or even better with a nice lamb chop.

Mediterranean Potatoes

Ingredients:

6-8 potatoes

A handful of olives (black, green, or mixed)

1-2 table spoons capres

1-2 tomatoes or 4-5 sun dried tomatoes

Olive oil

1 glas or 1 can anchovy (in French: Anchois, optional)

Salt, pepper, herbes de Provence

Preparation:

1) Peel the potatoes and cut the tomatoes in thicker slices.

2) Heat up 1-2 table spoons of olive oil in a pan, wait until it’s warm, then add the potatoes. Place the olives, capres, tomatoes and optional anchovy on top of the potatoes, otherwise they might burn. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbes de provence (also possible with only rosemary, thyme, oregano or marjoram)

3) Cover your pan with a lid and cook for about 10 min without stirring (I cooked it at max flame, if you feel that it will burn, don’t put it on max). Check if the potatoes aren’t sticking on the pan, if necessary stir, then cover again for at least another 10-20 min until the potatoes are soft.

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Beans & Bacon

Ingredients:

500g long, green beans

1 pack bacon (I bought poitrine fumée here in France, buy bacon that does not contain a lot of fat)

Preparation:

1) Wash the beans and cut off the tips.

2) Cook the beans in boiling, salted water for 10-15 min.

3) Let them cool off a little bit, then wrap a handful in one slice of bacon (if it doesn’t stick together, use a toothpick) and put in a baking pan, meanwhile start preheating the oven at 200-230 degrees Celsius.

4) Bake your beans & bacon rolls until the bacon is crisp (be careful not to burn them). I am suggesting 10 min of baking time but that really depends on your oven.

Ratatouille

3 Jun

Ingredients:

1-2 red or white onions,

sliced garlic (half a bulb, min. 3-4 cloves),

1 egg plant,

2 zucchinis,

1-2 bell peppers (red, yellow or green),

4 big tomatoes,

1 fresh rosemary bouquet,

1 glass of red wine,

olive oil

Preparation:

You can’t do much wrong about the Ratatouille, only remember to cook the ingredients separately. That means:

Onions and garlic first, then egg plant and zucchinis, add the pepper to that after the egg plant/zucchinis have gotten a little softer, tomatoes last!

My tip: Boil the tomatoes for a few minutes and peel the skin off, before dicing.

Add some of the red wine to the onion/garlic mix and keep the rest for the end. After you have mixed everything together, let it cook for about 5-10 min, don’t forget to add the rosemary!

Buon appétit!

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