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For a healthy 2017: Low carb bread

7 Jan

Uff, the time between Christmas and New Year’s day is the most intense time of the year in terms of food and drinks. It is wonderful to come together with the family and enjoy all the good food.

We saw a nice variety of different flavors on our plates this year: From traditional Czech cuisine with karp and potato salad over venison goulash to raclette.

On New Year’s day the fridge looked rather empty and a wish for something not so heavy made me create this low carb bread recipe. You can enjoy it while still warm with salad or cottage cheese. You can also eat it like a normal bread with sausage and cheese. The texture is very smooth and soft, therefore you should consume the bread within 2-3 days and store it in the fridge.

img_2176

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 cups shredded veggies such as carrots, cucumber, red beet and celery (I use the leftovers from my juicer)
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk or cream
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds or flax seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1.5 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt, curry powder and pepper for seasoning
  • Sesame seeds for decoration

Preparation:

  1. Start preheating your oven to 220 degrees Celsius
  2. Prepare your shredded veggies – either by shredding them freshly or by using the leftovers from your juicer
  3. In a blender, mix together the veggies and the condensed milk to receive a smooth paste
  4. Then put into a medium sized bowl and season with salt, curry powder and pepper,
  5. Stir in the oats and seeds
  6. Mix in 1 egg
  7. Add flour and baking powder
  8. Place in a bread pan or rectangular cake pan and decorate with sesame seeds
  9. Back at 220 degrees Celsius for 40-45 min

Tartine breakfast

26 Jun

tar·tine

(tär-tēn′)

n.

A French open-faced sandwich, especially one with a rich or fancy spread.

 

tartine1tartine2

Rich or fancy spread, that is the question here. I tend to go with fancy and colorful. And most important of all: Tartine sounds nice (better than bread breakfast). You will find lots of varieties of tartine bread or sandwiches in countries where bread is part of the daily food plan.

A few that I can think of are:

Brotstulle – Germany

Sandwich – UK/US and other English speaking countries

Chlebíček – Czech Republic

Smørrebrød- Sweden and Denmark

Bocadillo – Spain

Tartines are allrounders: They are great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All you need is bread and a topping of your choice. I prefer colorful toppings and try to make my tartines healthy. As you can see in the picture, I used avocado, radish, tomato and egg. When I made this tartine I immediately had a good start into the day.

Two tipps that I have for you:

  1. Toast the bread before you put the topping on it (unless you use very fresh and fluffy bread)
  2. Use an oily base like butter, olive oil or sour cream

Next time you make your own tartine, do not forget to include colorful and healthy ingredients and you will see how happy this tartine will make you :)

Wishing all of you a good start into the week!

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.

Everybody loves…a pumpkin pie

9 Nov

Before the wonderful pumpkin season is over I want to share a very easy pumpkin pie recipe with you. In Germany, pumpkin pies are not very common to my surprise. Pumpkins are everywhere though!

I have seen many recipes using a ton of cream. I prefer it a little simpler with just a sip of cream. If you want to make somebody a nice surprise, bake the pie in a muffin pan. Serve while still warm with a dab of whipped cream and you will make their day!

Pumpkin pie

Pie Crust

1 cup flour

1 pinch salt

1/3 cup vegetable shortening (in Germany I use Butterschmalz)

2 tablespoons cold water

Preparation:

1) In bowl, combine flour and salt. Then mix in the vegetable shortening and finally add the cold water. Mix until the dough is smooth and holds together.

2) I usually leave the dough in the fridge for about 30 min.

3) On a clean surface, sprinkled with flour, roll out the dough. It should be about 1-2 mm high and round. Tips: Use plastic wrap to roll out the dough.

Filling

1 pumpkin (e.g. Hokkaido pumpkin)

Cinnamon powder, ground cloves (1/2 teaspoon each)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

Preparation:

1) In a large pot, bring about 2 l of water to a boil. Meanwhile, clean and cut the pumpkin into slices or cubes. You do not need to remove the skin.

2) Boil the pumpkin at medium heat until soft. This takes about 10-15 min. Drain and put aside to let it cool down.

3) In a blender mix the pumpkin pieces until you receive a smooth pumpkin paste.

4) Transfer into a bowl and season with cinnamon powder and ground cloves. Stir in the sugar and then add the cream. For a spicier taste, add more cinnamon and cloves.

Baking

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

2) Use a pie baking pan or round ceramic bowl to bake the pie.

3) Instead of greasing out the baking pan, I used baking paper so that the pie would not stick to the baking pan.

4) Place the dough in the baking pan and with your fingers line it into the baking pan.

5) Fill with pumpkin puree and bake for about 20-25 min until the crust has a nice brown color.

For the pie crust, I used this recipe: https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/28518/homemade-pie-crust-recipe/ 

Liquid pleasures: Home-made smoothies

21 Oct

What’s healthier than ice cream? Smoothies. What’s better than juice? Smoothies. What makes you happy? Smoothies.

Voilà, I officially declare the smoothie our remedy for the upcoming winter months. My sister Becci believes in her breakfast smoothie. It took me a while to become a fan myself but now I think she is right. Smoothies without sugar added are an incredible refreshment and great start into the day. Maybe it is the bright color that fascinates. No, actually it is both: Taste and color!

Good news for you: There is very little that can go wrong with smoothies. All you need is a decent blender and you are ready to start smoothie-mania.

Red smoothie

I have prepared a selection of my favorite smoothies for you (quantities make 1-2 servings). Feel free to mix and match veggies and fruit:

Pink Power (see picture above)

Red beet (1/2 piece)

Banana (1 piece)

Soy milk or coconut milk (1 cup)

Vanilla flavoring or sugar (1 spoon)

Coconut flakes for decoration

Cucumber Mellow

Cucumber (1/2 piece)

Lemon (juice of 1/2 fruit)

Buttermilk (1 cup)

Pepper and Sweet Paprika as seasoning

Green and white smoothie

Green Zombie Variations (see picture above)

(1)

Spinach leaves (1 handful)

Soy milk (1 cup)

Coconut flakes (1-2 tablespoons)

(2)

Spinach leaves (1 handful)

Banana (1 piece)

Soy milk or butter milk (1 cup)

Lin seeds (1-2 tablespoons)

Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)

Coconut flakes (1-2 tablespoons)

Honey (1 tablespoon)

(3)

Diced apple (1 piece)

Banana (1 piece)

Spinach leaves (1 handful)

Lemon (juice of 1/2 fruit)

Celery (optional, 1 stick)

Fresh ginger (optional, 1 inch)

Tropical Breeze

Banana (1 piece)

Mango (1/2 piece)

Orange juice (1 cup)

Banana Classic (see picture above)

Banana (1 piece)

Milk or vanilla flavored soy milk (1 cup)

Ice cubes (3-4 pieces)

Weekend treat

Diced pineapple (1 cup)

Frozen or fresh raspberry (1/2 cup)

Soy milk (1 cup)

Mint leaves (a few leaves)

Crumbled chocolate muffin (1/2 piece)

Preparation:

1) Clean, peel and cut all ingredients as needed. Then add them to your blender and mix for 1-2 minutes until the liquid is smooth. Add 2-3 ice cubes if you like or a little water if the smoothie mixture does not come out liquid enough.

2) The smoothies can be stored in the fridge for a few hours but should be consumed the same day.

No preservatives are used: Therefore, the smoothie`s color can change quickly and they look and taste better if consumed immediately.

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.

 

 

 

Red wine chocolate muffins (Rotweinkuchen)

6 Jul

Have you ever wondered what to do with leftover red wine apart from pouring it down the sink? Cook with it :) Red wine sauce, coq au vin…and red wine cake, that’s what comes to my mind when I think of how to use wine in the kitchen.
I am planning on starting a muffin challenge with my readers soon so stay tuned for more. This red wine chocolate muffin recipe is my first teaser and is both a great breakfast or a delicious desert after dinner.
Redwine chocolate muffin
Ingredients (makes 12 muffins):
1 cup soft butter or margarine (I like to use vegan Alsan)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup red wine
4 eggs
cinnamon, vanilla aroma, ground cloves (optional), baking powder (1 tablespoon)
cocoa powder to color the dough (2-3 tablespoons)
1 pack chocolate chips

 

Preparation:
1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) In a large bowl, whisk the butter until soft. Then add the sugar and the eggs and mix well.
3) Flavor the dough with cinnamon, vanilla aroma and ground cloves.
4) In a separate bowl combine the flour with the baking powder.
5) Now start stirring in a bit of the flour/baking powder mix, then subsequently add red wine and flour mix until the dough is smooth.
6) Finally, add the cocoa powder and the chocolate chips.
7) Fill the dough into muffin forms or in a cake pan that you have greased with butter or oil and bake for 20-50 min (20 min for the muffins, 50 min for the cake).
Tip: Serve with whipped cream while still warm. 

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.

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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