Saturday, 29 September 2012

I freak out or ... rather have some Puff Pastry Courgette Tarts

I had a beautiful day yesterday ... not!
Anyway, no need to complain. All settled! I came home kind of late-ish, moved around some furniture in the living room just for the wind of change, went to the kitchen to do some cooking for one hour or even more and ... had some chilli sin carne, but instead with about 10 hot chillies. Well, that should have settled things ...
But now there is another day and lots of time to do lovely things, digging a bit in memories and preparing some nice puff pastry courgette and bacon tarts.

Those are lovely as a snack or an entrée. Well, you will figure that out by yourself anyway.
Well, before we can start, I just like to mention something else.
Two other things lately happened in my life. I started reading a book about food photography and I found my old camera. I hope I will be able to work with that a bit.
Let's get the puff pastry and other things ready and start cooking or baking or ... ah ... just do it.

250 g sour cream (yeah, we could call them Puff Pastry Sour Cream Courgette and Bacon Tarts, if you prefer that)
125 g cubes of bacon (or goats cheese for a vegetarian version)
Leaves of 3 sprigs of thyme
1 small courgette, cut into small cubes
1 egg
275 g of puff pastry (or in whatever size they sell it)

The first step is very very simple. Just mix everything apart from the puff pastry together in an appropriate sized bowl.

Then roll out your puff pastry. Cut the pastry into squares and then cut angles in two opposite corners of the squares as you can hopefully see on the picture.
Yes, I forgot a few cuts before I made the picture. Found out later. No worries!

Place one tablespoon of filling on each square or in other words, divide the filling among those squares.
Now you can fold those cut corners towards the middle and stick them together somehow.
With having achieved that, they go into the oven for 30 minutes at 200°C. They should gain at least some colour.
After that you can enjoy your puff pastry courgette and bacon tarts.
If you can not enjoy them, because you don't want to eat bacon, simply do a vegetarian version with maybe some strong and tasty cheese. I would go for goats cheese. I can imagine that to be very lovely as well.

This is how the puff pastry tarts would have looked 6 months ago.
No, we can not sell it that way.

Maybe some decoration ... a sprig of parsley will do. A bit better. I'm not sure. We should do some more. Well, there is still a lot to learn and bit by bit things can be improved.

What about some background. Anyway, I look really look forward to read through that book. So far I haven't even finished the first chapter.
I hope you can't resist those puff pastry tarts and give them a shot. If, let me know, how you liked them.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

La Soupe Aux Choux - Herby cabbage Soup

Space! The final frontier ... cut, cut ... stop this! We already had it.
What though about receiving visitors from outer space - having some aliens for dinner?
No, the aliens are not going to have you for dinner.
Well, let me get to it in a slightly different way. Just slightly. Do you connect some kinds of foods with movies? Or vice versa? What about cooking something you saw in a movie?
Let us come back to our aliens and move right away over to France. 
Sorry, if you got this wrong! It was not my intention, just put the words a bit of ... don't know. Anyway, you might know the famous French actor Louis de Funès. Right away, different movies come to my mind, that deal with food. One of it has the French title La Soupe Aux Choux.
That brings us straight away to France, as I said, and to the aliens, as I said as well. The main character receives a visitor from outer space, because of food, that is, a cabbage soup. Well, the movie contains also some ... well, eh ... just concentrate on the soup for now.

My intention is not to conjure up some extra terrestrial life. No! I simply like to reproduce such a soup and ... use up my leftover cabbage in the kitchen. 
By the way, this is not going to be fast food. We are taking some time to do this herby cabbage soup.

After slaughtering the cabbage we can get into things (Hey, who said, we could do this without hurting something ... ah, no worries. Things will be fine!). Good! I used cabbage already in my last post. I got a comment, that 'cabbage is hugely underrated as a vegetable'. We don't want this to be, do we? Besides that, if you take a closer look, you find more cabbage recipes out here on my blog. Hm, well, at least one more.
Let's work then: Herby cabbage soup. Plan about two hours, to be generous. Remember? No fast food! On top of it, it's all made from scratch.

Ingredients (as they go in):
A large knob of butter
One onion, chopped in rings (that's also a reason, why I cry so much lately)
One small white (to be specific) cabbage, roughly cut (use your imagination)
One large carrot, cut into cuby pieces
1,5 l water
Bouquet of herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender)
600 g potatoes, cut roughly into cubelike shapes (don't be too fussy, unless ...)
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped (yes, this is all going to be very rough)
Fleur de sel (or use other salt, if you must)

Method (as time goes by):
Well, a lot of the above mentioned things (cutting) you can do as we go. At least this is the way I prefer to do it.
Therefore, whilst heating the butter in a large pot, you concentrate on the crying (onion) and then add them to the pot to let them start to soften a bit.
Now you devote your attention to the cabbage and then to the carrot. Obviously, the result of that leads to more vegetable in the pot.
It would be quite helpful to put the kettle on to get the water boiling. Why not take some more water. That way you can treat yourself to a nice cuppa of tea. We are in no hurry (you can do this at other times, if you insist). The water you are not using for your tea goes into the pot. The cabbage should be covered. If not, you used too much water for your tea.

The bouquet of herbs, to which I also like to refer to as a bouquet garni, goes into the pot as well just before you put the lid on and bring all to the boil.
After that is done, we have plenty of time for tea and for the potatoes and garlic. Should it be in boiling mode, we reduce the temperature and let it simmer for an hour.
Depending on your skills, though, you could also manage to do some other things during that time ... you think of something for yourself.
I'm not going to tell you, what I did.
Forget it!
Back in the kitchen, right in front of our soup, yes, after one hour has passed, we throw in the potatoes and garlic. Season the soup with fleur de sel and pepper. I like to use fleur de sel (hand-harvested sea salt), because traditional fleur de sel is collected off the coast of Brittany - just to give a bit more of a French touch to it.
Having come that far, we are nearly through. Just another half an hour to simmer and then we are ready. What to do again?
Maybe set the table? I'm planning on having a candlelight dinner. Oh, well, yes ... I put a candle on the table and light it.

If it is according to your desire, you might open the meal with a small glass of pastis - as also seen in La Soupe Aux Choux. As you see on the picture as well, you have a nice baguette ready to go with the herby cabbage soup, too.
Before I forget, the bowl for the soup is also from France. What you can't see here is, that it has a picture in it with a famous place in Normandy, which has also something to do with a place in Cornwall. I just mention it, so you get a rough (yes, again) idea.
Should you have anything of the baguette left, you could finish your meal with some cheese. Yep! I did it!
Let us now come to the side effects of the soup. If you remember the movie La Soupe Aux Choux, you know what I mean. Up to this point, where I am writing this done, nothing happened ... and no, I didn't get any visitors from outer space. I might get a few visitors, though, reading this post or even trying this recipe.
Is everything said now? No, not yet, not yet!
Since we used our lovely bouquet garni, I decided to enter this post into Lavender and Lovage's Herbs on Saturday challenge, even though, it's Wednesday.

Herbs on Saturday

Next, I enter this post as well to Javelin Warrior's Made with Luv Mondays, even though it is still Wednesday.


Finally, after everything has been said, I'm not keeping my mouth shut, although that will be the case very soon.
Think again! What comes to your mind, when pondering food and movies? What movies pop up in your head and/or what foods? Let me know!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Kohlrouladen - cabbage roulade for #BloggersAroundTheWorld

This month I set out with you on a journey around the world in a challenge kind of way. We start our trip in Germany. Therefore it's time to cook something German. I have eaten German food more often than I have cooked it myself (ah, that should not be too difficlut - well, yes, but I mean more more often). So I was thinking hard on what to cook. After all I didn't want to do something Bavarian kind to just repeat the more known things.
After some days of thinking and talking and watching, I got an idea: Kohlrouladen. It's time for cabbage and so I want to work with it a little bit.

What we will need:
3 leaves of cabbage per roulade
500 g minced meat (pork and beef)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbs of bread crumbs
1 egg
A splash of Worcester sauce
Salt and pepper
A knob of butter
1 tbs of corn starch
Water and white wine

How we do it:
First of all blanch the cabbage.
Then you can go for the filling, mixing together the meat with the egg, onion, Worcester sauce and bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper (I fought the temptation to add chilli this time).

Take three cabbage leaves for each roll (then you can afford to loose one layer later) and fill it with a handful of the meat mixture. Try to roll it together as good as possible.
Heat up a large pan at medium high heat and melt a knob of butter in it. Done? Good! Place the cabbage rolls in the pan and fry from both sides.

After that, put on a lid and let it sit there for about 20 minutes at a lower temperature, checking occasionally whether things don't get seriously burned.
Should you manage without greater loss, you can then remove them from the pan. I decided to get rid of the outer layer, because it wouldn't look so nice on the picture.
With the remains in the pan, you can whip up the gravy with some water, white wine, maybe more salt and pepper and some corn starch.

Serve it all together on a bed of salted potatoes and enjoy it. So far my entry for this September's Bloggers Around the World blog challenge.

Why not have a go yourself?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Red Hot Pumpkin Curry for #BestOfBritish

This time the Best of British challenge takes us to London as Fiona from London Unattached takes over. It's lovely to visit London and there is much to see and, of course, many different things to eat. I like going there and have done so accordingly quite a few times. On one of my last visits I went to this lovely Indian Supper Club. A few days later I was on the streets, somewhere to where a lot of shops with goods from India were. There I bought this.

Now I have an Indian spice tin, a masala dabba. That's what I want to use this time for my Red Hot Pumpkin Curry. Yes, I'm still working on using all my fresh chillies from the windowsill.


Oil for the pan

2 small onions (or one big one - ha ha), finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, squeezed

2 carrots, in cubes

1 courgette, in cubes

1 green bell pepper, in stripes (kind of)

1/2 Hokkaido pumpkin
, in cubes
1-4 fresh red chillies
(you know what to do, to make it red HOT)
1 tsp tumeric

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp nigella seeds (don't get this wrong)

1 tsp crushed coriander seeds

400 ml tinned tomatoes


The battle is on now. Well, I bet you have a lot of fun with all this chopping and crushing and squeezing and cutting into pieces and stripes.

To get the base for our curry, we heat up the oil and then gently cook the onions and the garlic for a while, but don't let them go brownish.

Then add all the other vegetables, apart from the tinned tomatoes. Fry it all for about ten minutes, together with the nice spices.

Then we can add the tomatoes and if you like liquid, add a bit of water, too. Cover it and let it all simmer for some minutes.
To be more precise, if you want to have steamed rice together with it, which takes about 20 minutes, you can leave the curry to simmer for the same time it takes to prepare the rice.

When all is done, you only have to serve it and eat it.
I still had some mini papadums, I wanted to use together with it. On the package it says, they would be suitable for the microwave as well and so I did. I thought one minute would do. That was a grave mistake. Well, I had to live with a horrible smell in the kitchen for a few days and some black papadums.
However, after adding some more and watching while they unfolded, I was still able to enjoy some with a little bit of mango chutney.

best of british London

Time is really running by. Here goes another Best of British challenge together with The Face of New World Appliances.
Well, as I said, it is always a pleasure to go and visit London. I wonder, when I will go next time ...

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Cake Copying - Indian Summer Cake

How can you come up with new recipes? It's not just by mere imagination. You have to do some reading, investigating, and of course eating.
Now it happened to be I was buying cake from a bakery, which I'm not doing too often. I rather bake something myself. Then you know what you have.
Anyway, I liked the idea of the cake. If I can remember it right, it was called Indian Summer Cake. I might be wrong, though. Whatever the case, right then and there I thought ... I should try this at home. Again, my imagination might be wrong, but I try to recreate it or at least something similar.

Here we go now with our attempt to copy the cake. Oh, it will end up lovely ... if nothing goes wrong, that is.

What we need: 
For the cake dough:
125 g butter
125 g sugar
3 tsp vanilla sugar
4 eggs
250g flour
1 tsp baking powder
500 ml of custard (ready made or make your own)
A big jar of sour cherries without the juice or fresh sour cherries without the stones

For the crumble:
200 g flour
100 g butter
90 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence or a vanilla pod

100 g white chocolate
100 g dark chocolate

What we do:
I started with preparing the custard, leaving some time afterwards for it to cool down.
Then it was time to go for the crumble by simply mixing all the ingredients together and using the fingers to make it all into crumbles.
Next the cake dough: Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and the eggs together. Then sift in the flour (by the way, I used spelt flour) together with the baking powder and then mix it all up (a hand mixer might come in handy) to have a nice dough.
Spread the dough onto a tray lined with baking paper or slightly oiled.

On top of that  spread the custard. Try to do it as even as possible ... if possible. I did it all with my rubber spatula.

Place the cherries in a way that all of the cake it's equal share. Hopefully you don't have too much juice dripping from the cherries.

Then comes the crumble. By now it's the time your oven is heated to 180°C so that the cake can go to the center of the oven for about 30 minutes if that is enough in your oven.

Once we got this far, let your cake cool down a bit. Yes, I know, the photo doesn't look too different from the previous one.
After a while you can start melting your white chocolate. At this point I did something I shouldn't have done: adding milk to the chocolate. I ended up with some lumps of white chocolate. Anyway, I threw them on the cake. Otherwise the idea would have been to do with it as we go on doing with the dark chocolate.

First of all, melting again (and not adding anything). Since the chocolate is this way absolutely fine when it is melted, we can spread it on the cake in the following way.

Should you manage, wait a bit more and then enjoy your copy cake.
What would you like to copy after you have eaten it? Let us know!
I hope soon to copy a dish from mind I had for breakfast in London lately. 
However, if you want more cake, you have to look here.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Eating in Bristol - Za Za Bazaar

During my last holiday, which consisted mostly of getting blisters and sunburn (yes, the weather in Britain is not as bad as everyone is always thinking), we also made a one day trip to Bristol. Afterwards we also made a stop in Cheddar to walk the Cheddar gorge a bit, but that is another story.
We mostly went around the harbour area. Clever as I am, I put my accumulators of my camera to charging the night before, only to discover in Bristol as I wanted to take the first photo ... well ... they were still in the charger at home. So I had to use my mobile phone.
In the harbour area they had set up some ping pong tables and I was really surprised all the equipment was still there. So we decided for a match - three sets. Another surprise! I played better then I thought.
Next a visit to Brunel's ss Great Britain was on the program.

Well, you obviously see, what it is

Set table on the ship
If you are interested in such kind of subjects, it is well worth going. You get an audio guide there and can imagine what travel must have been like at that time. Concerning the guide, you can choose whether you want to travel first class or third class. There is also an audio guide for children.
For just going once and visiting the ship and the museum is not so cheap, but the ticket is valid for one whole year, so you can keep coming back. That is, if you don't live too far away.
So when you are interested, you can spend quite some time there as we did, looking at things in detail. However, all this made us hungry. After all by now it was lunch time.
But where to go? 
Around there, a lot is on offer, but you need to make sure that it fits to your likes, to the likes of those in your group, and to the amount of money you want to spent.

So we found the right thing for us in this situation: Za Za Bazaar.
Here you pay one price and can eat as much as you want. The drinks you have to pay extra.
However, that is not the interesting thing about Za Za Bazaar. That is you have a variety of desks were you can get different kinds of food: Far East, Italian, Tex Mex, Indian and other things.

Just a small overview of what you see there.
You get also a separate section for dessert as well. But be careful if you want to eat yourself through the whole restaurant. That would not be advisable or you end up with having stomach problems.
I though, risked a bit to try a few more things.

Maybe you like some sushi ...

... or Thai soup with coconut and lemon grass ...

... or even some pho

At one point I forgot to take more photos of the food. Besides, as for the presentation of the food you have to arrange things yourself. I didn't have too much time for that.
You can also watch how things are prepared there freshly and at some points you can also order dishes according to your wishes.
Without going any more into detail as to what you can have or try, like curries, risotto, Asian noodle dishes and so forth, I like to tell you what I like about the whole idea.
For example, when you are out with a group for a meal and you can not find a clear majority vote on what to have, because one wants Chinese, another Italian, yet another Indian ... and so on, Za Za Bazaar could be the place for you to go, since you can have it all.
Well you don't have the full variety as you would have in a specialized restaurant or things might not be sophisticated, but it still good value.
Whatsoever, I enjoyed my stay and, who knows, maybe you will too if you have a try. At least I would go again, would I be in the neighbourhood. My friend did it.
You find Za Za Bazaar at Harbourside, Canons Rd, Bristol.
Finally, Za Za Bazaar fits totally to the title of this blog Cooking Around the World. We had it there, just in one place.
The hiking afterwards in Cheddar was very helpful for ... well, you know!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Food Fitness for Tea Time Random Recipes

It's time again to roll the dice. In fact it's just one. Anyway, it's time again for September's Random Recipes. Let's go for it and have no fear. So far I don't know, why someone should. Up to now, all the things that randomly came up for me had been nice. Why not again.

At this go, things are a bit different. The sinister scheming of one man isn't enough anymore. That's why Dom at Belleau Kitchen conspired together with Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked. So we are not dealing anymore with Random Recipes, but ...
... with Tea Time Random Recipes. Well, you might have guessed something like that already by looking at the badge. 
How are we going to cope?
I tell you. This should be no big deal. I even can select the book myself and just have to randomize the page. After reading the challenge, it was absolutely clear, which book I would take - even without thinking (if that makes any sense).

That book should do: The Perfect Afternoon Tea. Well, that should be perfect. I even remembered where I bought the book three years ago.

The shop is on the right side. But we leave this travelling business behind us and get back to the book and therefore on to baking.
We need to get on with the random part. The randomizer said 42 ... that brings us to page 42 ... that brings us to ... Tea Cakes.
A brief glance over the ingredients reveals ... Well, I have all the ingredients in the house. How hard can it be?
A day went and another came. Time to start. Of course at a time that would let us finish about the time we would want our afternoon tea.
However, soon it would be revealed ... reality would bring us back to the ground.
What are the ingredients?
Flour, salt, sugar, milk, yeast, butter, currants, sultanas. Not too much. That should not be too complicated.
Well, cupcakes are for 'easy going', but those tea cakes are for 'fitness'.
In fact 'yeast' says everything. After gently sifting the flour and salt into a bowl and mixing the milk with the yeast and a bit sugar in a large cup, we are ready for action.
The yeast-milk has to be combined with the flour, salt, some more sugar and the butter to make a ... dough! That was to obvious. How could that be a surprise?!
Right, here now the recipe calls for at least 15 minutes of vigorous kneading. That's were we start our fitness. Honestly, already after just a bit over half the time, I wished I were through, but ... I had to go on and so I did.
Here you can see the result, at the beginning and at the end.

Does that not look beautiful? And on top of it, we have done some exercise. So forget about the gym and o more of baking. But as you see, there are no sultanas and no currants.
Before we go on with that, the dough needs one hour for rising.

What to do in the meantime? Ah, no worries.
Once the rising is over, we can add the dried fruits ...

... and work them in again. 
Then we make 10 small cakes and place them on two(?) baking trays. That brings us to further 40 minutes waiting.
Do something nice.
Finally we are ready to bake everything at 200°C for about 20 minutes.
When we calculate all through, we must come to the conclusion I started too late to be finished on time for tea time.
I was one hour late. But they were very nice to eat with some butter, or even with jam and ... I still have some left.

Indeed, it is always fun, to join in Random Recipes. This time I even did some fitness while doing so.