Sunday, 27 May 2012

Turkish Pizza: Lahmacun

The problem is, when I have a certain image in my mind of wanting something special to eat, I'm not satisfied, if I get it only in a different way. Did this sound logic or understandable. Or should I say: When I want something, then I want it in certain way, or I am not happy with it. Whatever, forget it.

In the town where I grew up, there was this Turkish food place called „Sivas“ something. They used feta cheese and chillies on their doners and lahmacums. But not often I have found something like this again, if at all. Then you have to do it yourself again.
So, let's try to do our own lahmacun. The word lahmacun come from an old Aramaic expression which means "meat with dough". So that's what we are going to have, more or less.

500 g flour
7 g dried yeast
300 ml lukewarm water
250 g minced meat (lamb or beef)
400 g of tinned tomatoes
one onion finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
oil for frying
salt, paprika, pepper, chili flakes
2-3 handful finely cut iceberg lettuce mixed with lemon and olive oil
200 g sheep (not cheap) feta cheese (nice creamy Turkish one)
some pickled Turkish chillies

Sift the flour into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and the yeast. Bit by bit add the water and turn all into a nice smooth dough. Maybe you don't have to use all the water. Or you might end up with the dough being too wet. Then you go and add more flour and it is too dry, then you add more water and it gets too wet, then more flour ...
So better be careful in the first place to avoid this back and forth thing. When you finally managed to get the dough right and you didn't use the double amount of flour you can put the dough for rising in a warm place and cover it with a wet kitchen towel and leave it for one hour. 
Meanwhile you can give your attention to the sauce for the pizza. Heat up some oil in a pan and put the garlic into it. You get a nice garlicky smell. If that happens and before the garlic gets black (you definitely don't want that), add the onion to the pan and continue until they get nice and soft.
Then it's time for the minced meat to go into the pan so that you can fry it through. Once that is done, you can pour the tinned tomatoes in. Fill the tin halfway with water and pour it into the sauce as well. Season it properly with all the lovely seasonings you put ready for this dish. Make sure that you get it right. If you know that others don't like to have it spicy and you don't plan to share, make it really spicy. If you are rather nice and sensible, watch your seasoning.
The dough should be ready, at least after 60 minutes! Divide the dough into 6 balls. Using a rolling pin roll them out in a fairly round way to approx. 3 mm thickness. If it's not too round, no worries. 
Spread some of the sauce on each "round" pizza base, leaving a small edge uncovered and make sure you don't put too much sauce on. Spread it just thinly.
Bake it in the oven then at 200°C for approx. 20 minutes or until the edge turns golden or light brown. When the pizza bases come from the oven, it is best to continue to work with them and eat them or if that is not going to happen, keep them warm. You could stack them and then cover them with aluminium foil. Only if you have to. I would eat them right away.
Well then: Give some of the salad onto the pizza, some cubes of sheep feta and three chillies. Finally you can roll it like a wrap (if you got the base right) or if that doesn't work just fold it in the middle (I had to do it last time). Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Food Revolution Review Borough Market

Time is flying, as I always say. My trip to London is over and I'm home again. 
Food Revolution Day is also over a few days already. A summary you can find here. A lot was going on that day, over 1000 events in 62 countries. Well, you could say around the world, although you could say, there were over 100 countries without something going on. However, Food Revolution Day 2013 is already in the planning. Next year it could even be bigger, though it is not only something for just one day. Constancy is important, to make good food choices every day, well as far as it is possible of course. Everyone has different possibilities. 
Whatsoever, I'm going on to cook myself around the world.
Let us go back then to May 19th 2012, Food Revolution Day. Location: London - Borough Market.
Borough Market in itself is already a great thing. If you around on Saturdays and have some time, have a look, you will not regret it. On that Saturday, though, there was a slight problem, foodwise there are so many lovely things to see, try, eat, and/or buy, that you simply cannot do it. The choice you have is really overwhelming: bread, fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, fish, chutneys, cakes, ice cream (with goat milk for example - couldn't resist), herbs, spices, and so on and many more things. The best way is to have a look for yourself.
For Food Revolution Day the apprentices of Fifteen turned up to bake pizza and sell it. Well, turned up, it's not so good an expression. Already very early in the morning they arrived at Borough Market to get ready and set up the wood fired oven. 
Then things were ready for going for the pizza.
Two kinds of pizza were on offer then: mushroom and stilton and the other one was brisket and horseradish. Although I like stilton very much (other may think it's a bit strong), I went for the brisket and horseradish one. 
How was it? Couldn't have done it better myself. After all I don't have a wood fried oven in the garden. For pizza I always have to turn my normal oven to full. After getting the perfect recipe for pizza dough and doing it that way, doing pizza at home has improved very much.
Oh, getting distracted again. From what I saw that morning on Borough Market, things went very well for the Food Revolution Event. The response was good. A great event at a great market.
It was really a pleasure to visit the market. There are many more markets were you can buy good food. The five days I have been in London I stayed in Brixton. Every single day there was market. How great is that? Really a good way to do your food shopping. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Still Food Revolution Day - Vietnamese Cooking

By now Food Revolution Day is over, but not the Food Revolution. Hopefully this all made some people think about their eating habits.
At least I learned a lot and you know there is forever and always the chance to learn something new. That is if you are willing to. So again I had attended an event in connection with Food Revolution Day to broaden my view - this time it was about Vietnamese food.
Thinking about Vietnamese food,I have no clue, although there are living a lot of people around me, That are from Vietnam. They even have restaurants, but most of them do Chinese food (maybe not even real Chinese food, but only what people want).
Let us now go on with the event.

The table is set and it can begin. On the table some garnishing is waiting for the things to come. Did I say garnishing? Well, of course, it's for flavour as well.

To start with, a lovely soup, so full of fresh flavours - oh, how ignorant of me - of course it was phở, traditional Vietnamese soup. The red parts you see are far from being just garnishing. The chillies were actually quite hot.
After this soup we could proceed with the main part.

The next part included some work or rather participation. We were about to learn how to make Vietnamese summer rolls with rice paper. The ingredients were set out on the table.

You can do them with different things, but these were the ones we had. Just make sure you put some lovely herbs in it.

The rice paper is briefly dipped into water. Then it is ready for the filling.

Putting all the delicious ingredients on it, only making sure, it is not overcrowded. When you have a big mouth, though, you can make bigger rolls.

Then serve it with a soy based dipping sauce and enjoy it. Well, the roll doesn't look to good on the picture, but well, it was my first try.

A few rolls later, only a small dessert could still fit in. As you can see it is with strawberries and ... what do you think is the green bit? It contains avocado. Very nice, not too sweet and very delicious.
If you want to make Vietnamese summer rolls for yourself, have a look at Uyen Leluu's blog: Leluu. There you will find the recipe. She is also doing Vietnamese cooking classes and supper clubs.
Well, it's time for me to go home soon and for sure I will try some more Vietnamese cooking.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Food Revolution Day - Indian Street Food Supper Club

May 19th 2012 – it is Food Revolution Day, time to stand up for real food. So far as I can see it 631 cities in 58 countries are taking part. On the Food Revolution Day Website, 460 public events and 486 dinner parts are planned. 

So, have a look and see, whether you can attend anything or still even do something for yourself. Obviously you cannot be everywhere, although that might be interesting.
Yesterday, in London at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen, already something was going on: An Indian Street Food Supper club. Maunika Gowardhan together with a team was cooking some very delicious Indian Food.
Here are some of the lovely dishes to give you an impression. However, you have to taste for yourself to get a full picture.

Dahi Patata Puri: These lovely friends were stuffed with spiced potatoes, onions and served together with chutneys.

Bombay Vada Pav: a veg burger. Great was the sweet fennel and chilli dip that came together with it.

Chicken Kati Kebab Rolls: An Indian kind of wrap with chicken, red onions and tomatoes.

Rice with a prawn curry.

A vegetable curry – a bit spicy.

Bengali Bhapa doi: baked yogurt with fresh mango.

To round the meal up at the end a cup of Chai – spiced Indian tea was served.
This was only a partly selection of the deliciously real food at this great event. I would also tell you something about the good wine that was served with it, but I don't have a clue anymore about it - it was Italian, handmade and great.
Foodwise there is really going on a lot around the world. So, have a try, it is never to late, however, you are not making it anyway to try everything, but you still can check out a lot of lovely things.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

An evening with leftovers - Kefta Burger

What a great thing! Tomorrow the weekend starts for me. Just this one more day of work and that's it (sorry, I don't want to offend those who still have to work a few more days to get a day or two off). But it gets even better and voilà I'm on holiday out of town for a few days. However, there are still some leftovers in the fridge, I need to get rid off (no, no, never, I'm not going to throw any tiny bit of it away).
Here then starts my three day mission with a Kefta Burger.

Just some day ago I made this Baba Ghanoush. To get an idea how you could prepare this, you can have a look at an even older blog post of me: Baba Ghanoush sort of thing.
I also got some Merguez sausages and a few flatbreads. Merguez is a fresh sausage made of lamb and beef popular in North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe as well. It is already heavily spiced with for example chili pepper or harissa. That is why they look so red. Good thing for you (or me). So things go easy for this dish. 
Just cut open the sausages and get out the meat. Get a large pan on a high heat and add some oil. If the spice of the sausages is not enough for you, put some crushed fennel seeds, salt, and pepper into the hot oil. With the meat you make kind of small meat balls and toss them into the pan. Don't be fussy with it. They don't have to be well shaped. Your not entering a contest. Your just hungry.
Warm up the flatbreads and cut them in half. Spread thinly the baba Ghanoush on both sides. Then put some salad leaves and herbs on one side. I got some rocket and some coriander from my windowsill for it.
Next go some finely sliced onions and a few pieces of cherry tomatoes. When the meatballs are ready, they go, too - cover with the other half - finished - eat!
All that doesn't really take long. Again, even after a busy day of work, you can prepare a healthy meal. You don't have to eat junk!
Oh, that reminds me - only four days until Food Revolution Day.
What's next? After the Kefta Burger or Kefta Burgers (when you are really greedy you can maybe manage three, four or even more - but don't get too portly) is/are gone, it's time for pudding: Leftover apple'n'rhubarb crumble with leftover vanilla ice cream.
Last but not least, do you remember the Red wine cake I did yesterday? Well, I still have some leftover red wine in the bottle ... oh oh!

Before I forget, I can use this post for the monthly challenge "Left. Over. Roger".

Monday, 14 May 2012

Red wine cake

Why am I doing this? 5:30 in the morning (or shall I say in the night) and I'm busy in the kitchen baking cake. Because I want to have cake, when visitors are coming today? That would be a possible answer. But I could buy a cake. That would be an option. Nevertheless, I'm baking myself. You know what you get! Usually! At least you know what's in it. Homemade you get things you very likely, in fact, for sure will not get in the shop.
Here once again I found myself digging through my old papers and I came across the cookbook: Now I help myself! In fact it's not a cookbook in this kind of sense. It is a collection of recipes from some old friends. Back then, when I left the secure shelter of my family home to go out and have a place on my own, these friends made this collection of recipes to help me survive. Some of these recipes are hand-written, other typed with a typewriter, photocopied, or printed from the computer. Honestly, it was very nice of them to provide me with this, but I haven't been through most of the recipes. Already at that time I had been into cooking and knew a few things, that would already sufficed to aid in my survival.
Now here is the recipe I picked from this collection: Red wine cake.

First of all I like to give you the recipe as it was in there. It was written by typewriter with some hand-written notes ("Super easy!", "Nathan has chosen this as his favourite recipe ..."). I only made slight adjustments in accord with what I had at home.

250 g butter
250 g sugar
4 eggs
4 teaspoons of vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
100 g of chocolate cut into small pieces
125 ml red wine
400 g flour
2 teaspoon of baking powder

Bake for one hour at 175°C.

That was it. No instructions. As the handwritten note said, this recipe is to be classed as "super easy!", that should be sufficient to get satisfying results.
Right, you could like cream the sugar with the butter, separate the egg white from the yolks, mix in all the ingredients apart from the egg whites, be happy, then continue with beating the egg whites and folding them in, grease a springform tin, put it in the oven and ... here you are. Have I forgotten something? You could put some icing sugar on top later.
Since this recipe was for a poor and helpless let to survive in the great, mean, dangerous world, you should manage to reproduce this cake.
Have fun!

Here are some other cakes I did lately. I would say "cakes around the world", but the number of countries represented by these is quite limited, so not really too much around the world.

Blue berry cake

Berry tart

Caramel apple cake

Chocolate tart

Far Breton

Lemon cake

Pear ricotta cake

Lime cream cheese cake (or maybe Caipirinha cake)

Pistachio cake
So far about baking and cakes. Five more days and it is May the 19th - time for Food Revolution Day. Make sure you enjoy that day with some real food. I will. Later I tell you more about it, afterwards. Only four days, though, and it is time for food travel for me. More about this later as well.
I hope you enjoyed the red wine cake. What, though, you don't have an open bottle of red wine at hand? I guess you need to substitute or open one and enjoy the remaining red wine at another occasion.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Chocolate in disguise - chocolate marzipan cake

Maybe you have heard about the terminator. But do you know the marzipator? Well, when you love marzipan so much that you have to eliminate it by eating it all up, then you are getting at a rough idea of the concept. I have a friend - we used to travel to France together - he liked French nougat so much I ended up calling him nougat.
Anyway, since I like marzipan so much, although I fight hard to behave myself, I came up with this combination for one of my favourite cakes:

French Chocolate gateau (now with marzipan cover - that is in disguise)

Ingredients (in order of appearance):
125 g butter
125 g dark chocolate
4 eggs
150 g sugar
100 g ground almonds
1 tablespoon of corn starch
icing sugar (that is only if you don't want to have the marzipan cover)
ready marzipan cover or even better
200 g of marzipan (tweaked with icing sugar and amaretto - rolled out)
some nuts for decorating

Melt the butter in a bowl above hot water. Melt the chocolate as well. Separate the eggs (egg white from yolk - not two eggs to the left and two to the right). Beat the yolks together with the sugar until well mixed and add the ground almonds. Then mix in the butter and the chocolate.
Now it's time to beat the egg white - go for it - exert yourself, or use a hand-mixer. To test whether the egg white is ready, hold the bowl upside down over your head. When you have done well, you're safe. If not, let the others enjoy the sight and get yourself new egg whites. But better be careful, I hate the waste of food.
I heard about this test with the beaten egg whites in one of Jamie Oliver's shows (or was it a book - I can't remember). However, since then I test the beaten egg whites like this - but carefully.
Where did we stop? Right, fold the beaten egg whites carefully into the dough.
Then sift in the corn starch and once again mix everything through - carefully.
Have a spring form tin ready, greased with butter. Insert, no - fill the cake dough into the tin and bake it for 40 minutes at 200°C.
When the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and let it cool down a bit before you add the icing or the marzipan cover.
That is what it looks like with the icing sugar. The marzipan version you see somewhere to the beginning of the post.

I like this chocolate cake very much. So I think, it would be a nice contribution for We Should Cocoa, which is run by  Choclette. This time it is hosted by how to cook good food. I hope you like this cake. I once did a version with white chocolate, but it's better with dark chocolate.
Also have a look here: Choclate TeapotChoclate Log Blog.

We should Cocoa

Thursday, 10 May 2012

... and it is still burning!

I really don't know what is going on. What is this going to be? Garnachas! Have you heard about it before. This is a Mexican dish, usually eaten as an appetiser. I used to make them back then (whatever that is supposed to mean). Anyway, when you have read my past posts, I mentioned something about an old notebook and trying certain recipes when I was younger. Here goes another one. I did these garnachas once with a younger friend of mine. He was still going to school at that time and, of course, was living with his parents. They called these garnachas "Hu hus" or something like that, resembling the sound you would make with your mouth trying to cool down the heat.
Whatsoever, that was not the point I wanted to get to. Somehow it seems for the last few weeks, my "culinary life" is just passing by before me again. Whatever that is supposed to mean (oh oh).
Now it's time for chillies. This is a contribution to the "Sweet Heat Blogger's Challenge".

Garnachas with tomato-apple salsa

That is how we want it to look like, or similar. At least, this is the rough direction.
But how do we get there?

For the tortilla dough you need:
500 g flour
a pinch of salt
100 ml single cream
lukewarm water until the dough is dough

Mix all the ingredients together for the dough, but only enough water for it to be as it should be: smooth, elastic dough. So, time for workout again. We really should do this more often. Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes. That leaves you with all the time in the world to get your salsa ready. Well, you have only 30 minutes, but this should be enough, that is if you are not totally ... it should be sufficient time.

For the salsa you need:
1-2 red apples (as you like it)
250 g of tomatoes
one red chili (fresh or dried)
a small handful of mixed nuts
a bunch of chives
a bunch of coriander
juice of one lime
a good glug of olive oil

A salsa that is quite similar to this I found in the book "Jamie's America" (If you like you can have a look. Maybe you prefer his salsa. No worries!).
Remove the core from the apples and cut it into small cube like bits. The tomatoes want to be cut into small pieces as well. When talking about the chili the small pieces part applies as well ... and for the nuts and for the chives and for the coriander. Before throwing all these small pieces together, roast the nuts for a few minutes in a dry pan. You get a nice nutty - no not what you think - smell.
As I said mix the small bits and pieces together, add the juice of the lime and the olive oil and season with a bit of salt. Taste it! How is it? Maybe you can adjust it still with a bit more lime juice or salt.
Are the 30 minutes over yet? Then you can go on. We are getting closer.

Now you need:
200 g of feta cheese
one red onion, finely chopped
chili sauce
one extra lime

As for the chili sauce, you can buy it ready or you can try a recipe from the book "Jamie's America". That is what I did some time ago, so I knew I still had some nice chili sauce left for this recipe. Or still you may have another preferred recipe for it.
Divide your dough into, let's say, 16 small balls. Flatten them to about 0,5 cm and make them as round as you can/want. Then fry them from both sides, maybe four at the same time, in a large dry hot pan. They don't need to get totally brown and crispy - just a touch of it.
While that is happening you can pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
When you have finished with the frying, dip the blank garnachas in the chili sauce. If you don't like it THAT hot, just sprinkle a bit of the sauce on them.
Place the drenched garnachas on a baking tray layered with baking paper. Put some of the red onion and a bit of feta cheese on each one. Bake in the oven until the cheese has started to melt. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. If you like to use other cheese, just feel free to do so. That may even go faster.
Once the melting is ready, remove the tray from the oven and serve the garnachas with some of the salsa on top and with a wedge of lime to it.

Dig in!

Honestly (I always do my best to be), the whole thing was quite hot (dried chillies bring more heat)!However, what do they say: "A chili a day keeps the doctor away!" (Or was it something else?!?)

... and it is still burning!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Chili wedges with garlic cheese cream

Feasting on toast with cheese and piccalilli together with a green salad was not something to last for the whole day. While typing away at work, my mind was already on the potatoes resting in the storage at home. They were bound to become wedges (or shall I say born to become). If they would lick some chili, all the better.
However, that was not soon to come. A workday can be long with driving to and back added to it. On top of it, it was gym-Tuesday (not that I really love it, but ... that is another story). The good thing though, a supermarket is right next door to the gym and therefore no additional loss of time (Did I say, going to work was loss of time? I don't think so. At least I want to make sure, I didn't say that).
Well, now, finally back to the potatoes. That's how it could look like:

Following now the way I did it:

Ingredients (makes for two greedy people or more not so greedy people):

For the wedges:
10 medium sized potatoes
a plate covered with flour
finely ready-chopped chili or chili flakes
oil for frying

For the garlic cheese cream:
2 tablespoons of curd cheese
2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of crème fraîche
2 cloves of garlic
a splash of lemon juice
one spring onion, finely sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Finally, here we go:
After you managed peeling the potatoes without hurting you (Happened only once to me. No, not just once without hurting. Only once I cut with the peeler into the fingernail of my thumb! Well, I was getting hectic again), you are supposed to cook them for 10 to 15 minutes. But remember, they should not fall apart.
While the potatoes are cooking happily, you can concentrate on the garlic cheese cream (don't get hectic). You could even arrange some green salad on a plate. I had some lamb's lettuce. Give just some lemon juice over the salad.
For the cheese cream, you only need to mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Yes, you are right, the garlic cloves go not in as a whole, but I grated them in. Feel free to adjust the taste with salt and pepper until it suits you. 
The potatoes are ready. What?! They are not? Then you worked to fast.
When they are ready, though, get rid of the cooking water and let them cool down for a bit.
Arrange the plate with the flour and mix in the chili and some salt.
Once the potatoes have reached a temperature where you can handle them without hurting your fingers because of the heat, cut them into wedges. I use to put my fingers to my earlobes, when I touched something that was too hot. This should deflect the heat. Others say, it's stupid, but it works for me.
We're getting side-tracked. No worries, we get back to work now.
Get a pan on high heat with about 1 cm height of vegetable oil in it. Once it is screaming hot we are ready for frying the wedges. Here you need to be careful. The earlobe trick will not work once you burned yourself with hot oil.
"Roll" the wedges in the flour and get rid of any excess flour and then fry them bit by bit (depending on the size of your pan) until they are looking nice and golden (or was it rather brown).
You can get rid of some of the fat on the wedges by putting them on a paper towel after frying. When frying is finished test one wedge. If tasted nice, fine for you. If there is not enough heat, add some more chili. Then arrange the wedges on top of the salad and scoop over a nice dollop of the garlic cheese cream (or serve the cream on the side in a small bowl).
Enjoy your chili wedges ... and let me know whether the earlobe trick worked with you.

Hm, there is still the desire for some pudding ...
I tried to make some sweet potato gnocchi, but this is yet another story ...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

This time for Africa - Samosas

Samosas are well known from India and they can filled with a lot of delicious things - veg or meat. However, the first time I got in contact with samosas was from my Kenyan friend Maggie. She used to always make them for us and we enjoyed them all very much. That was - if I'm allowed to say so at my relative young age - a long time ago. Back then I also made a note of the recipe (well, in her version it was not so difficult) and did them also on my own.
Again, though, this is quite some time in the past when I did it last.
The recipe was also in my old notebook that I found again some weeks ago. Today, I thought, would be a lovely day to have samosas. By the way, you can also eat them cold the next day and they still taste great.

For the dough you need the following:
500 g of flour
a good pinch of salt
60 ml oil
12-15 tablespoons of water 

Put the flour to a bowl and add the salt and oil. The water you add bit by bit, depending on how things work out with your dough. After all, you don't want it to wet. You can use a hand mixer or whatever other suitable electronic device you desire to put to action for it. I myself prefer to use my hands, always ready for some cooking work out. Before you put your hands to action, you can just roughly mix everything with a fork and when it starts coming together ... go for it!
Once the dough looks and feels right - smooth and elastic - put it to rest for 30 minutes. Hopefully you don't need to put yourself to rest as well, because it was too hard to knead the dough vigorously with your hands!
Rather you could devote your time to prepare the filling.

Here you need:
500 g of minced meat (whatever you desire - I used pork and beef mixed)
a big bunch of chives
another big bunch of parsley
salt, pepper, paprika
oil for the pan

Heat your pan up and add the oil, then the minced meat. The chives and parsley you can chop finely. Then season the meat to your liking. If you like it hot, you can use chili as well, but think of the others as well, who want to taste your samosas. Add your chopped parsley and chives to the pan and continue to fry until the meat has got sufficient colour.

Let your meat mixture cool down a bit. 
Then roll out your dough  and ... it now depends what tools you have. Someone gave me this plastic cutter/filler (or whatever I shall call it) as a gift. In the beginning I was a bit opposed to this device, but when I used it this time it worked out just well.
Otherwise, when you have rolled out your dough thinly, cut it into triangle shapes, put two tablespoons of filling (or how much you reasonably manage) in the middle and then fold the corners over the middle together one after another and make sure that everything is securely sealed. You don't want to have the filling come out when you deep-fry them.

When you have finished preparing the first few you can start deep-frying them. When you take them out of the fat you can put them on a plate layered with paper towels.

In my memories the green of the chives and parsley would shine through. I didn't achieve it this time, though. Serve the samosas together with a nice salad and be happy!

While shopping yesterday I stumbled upon some sweet potatoes. I finished the whole meal off with them. I wrapped them in aluminium foil and put them in the oven for one hour at 200°C. Then cut them in half and put them briefly under a grill with a almond-batida de coco-cinnamon butter and have them as pudding.

There is one more thing that is on my mind. Why did I call this post "This time for Africa ..."? Well, lately I have been listening a lot to this song from Shakira "Waka waka (This time for Africa)". I can't get it out of my head - at least for today ... "... when you fall get, up ... oh oh ... ... this time for Africa" (I don't think you want to actually hear me singing!)

Well, after some time now, this makes also an entry for the Blog-challenge: Herbs on Saturday for June 2012.

Herbs on Saturday

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Cooking in season - rhubarb-apple tarts

There is a strange thing happening, when you go shopping. Some food you find has travelled a lot more then you would maybe in one month, or rather, things have travelled half the globe before they reach you. What things? Also food you would get around here, but are not in season at the moment.
While sitting in front of my computer and browsing the net, I came across this:

Why not use the things for cooking that are available locally and that are in season (for some occasions it might not be possible). It's good to think about this!
This is also in line with a cookbook I bought now already some time ago: Jamie at home. It also has some good information on growing things on your own.
Said and done. Inspired by that I got a rhubarb plant from a friend this year. It was already quite big. So it is possible to use some stalks from it already this year.

As you look at this picture, the stalk at the front right edge of the image is no more.

Little rhubarb-apple tarts
All you need for this are some rhubarb, apples, brown sugar, orange juice, and ready made tart shells or you go through the process of making your own shortcrust pastry shells. Well, I happened to have some ready tarts shells still left somewhere in my storage (it was about time to use them).
Peel, remove the core part of the apples and cut them in small pieces. Remove the ends of the rhubarb stalks and cut them into, well also small pieces. Then just put all the ingredients, apart from the tart shells of course, in a pot and cook a lovely little compote with it. You know when the time is right. I didn't see the pieces of rhubarb anymore.
Let the ready compote cool off a bit and put it on the tart shells.

What's left to say: Go for it!
If you like the idea of cooking in season, have a look at this page: The Botanical Baker. There you will find a lot more interesting to read.
So, don't forget to grab some rhubarb and have a nice cake, may it be small like these or even a big one. It was the first time I used rhubarb, but for sure not the last time ...