Thursday, 27 June 2013

Confused? Green White Cabbage Risotto

There is something lurking in the freezer part of the fridge, a few bags of frozen white cabbage. I couldn't possibly use the whole head of cabbage in one go for coleslaw or kimchi or for whatever. I needed a cabbage break. Into the freezer it went and stayed and stayed there. What to do with it?
Then I read something about cooking the cabbage with garlic and I thought by myself, why not have a risotto, a Green White Cabbage Risotto.

Isn't that a bit confusing? I don't know really, because I am kind of confused most of the time and simply try to go on. In this case here, however, I am just referring to this "Green" and "White" thingy. Well, not really. You already see, how we get the white cabbage green. Lets go for it then ...

A quarter of a head of white cabbage
4 cloves of garlic (the more the merrier)
Vegetable stock
A bunch of basil leaves
A splash of olive oil
One small onion, finely chopped
200 g  of risotto rice
A splash of dry white wine (might be a bigger splash)
A knob of butter
50 g of freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper

The recipe unfolds with the leaves of cabbage cooked together with the peeled and halved cloves of garlic. Just cook them a few minutes together. Then remove the cabbage and the garlic together with a bit of the liquid and transfer it to a blender. Add the basil to the blender, too and ... blend it.
As for the remaining cooking water, you can mix it with the vegetable stock and keep it warm.
Now have the pot for the risotto ready and start softening the onions in some olive oil. Once you have achieved that, give the rice into the pot and go through it with a spoon to bring things together. Pour in some white wine and cook until most of it has been absorbed.
Then we can go on with the risotto fun part by adding one ladle of stock to the rice at a time and cooking until most of the liquid is assimilated. 
Keep going for about 18 minutes. Then toss in the knob of butter and the grated Parmesan. Cover the pot for two to three minutes. Remove the lid again, spoon the risotto through and season it with salt and pepper. Then it's time to plate up.
Enjoy your Green White Cabbage Risotto.

Maybe you do. At the beginning of the month I thought, maybe I get the chance to take part in Herbs on Saturday (Cooking with Herbs) from Lavender & Lovage this month. I just made it ...

Cooking with Herbs

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Don't make a mess ... Strawberry Pavlova

I simply couldn't resist! While being on the local farmers market, strawberries were smiling at me. When strawberries smile at you, the only thing a man can do is ... go and buy them. Said and done! It was just a spur of the moment thing. I didn't have much in mind to do with them, apart from eating, which of course would be sufficient in itself.
However, as soon as the strawberries were in my possession, the mind started working. What do I still have at home and what do I fancy? Oh, I could do a simple cake with the strawberries on top. You could enjoy that with a dollop of cream.
"No", I said to myself "you are not going to bake anything!"
Well, then, I could make a mess, an Eton Mess. That would be lovely. Fine, you need meringue for that. I don't have any on stock and I don't want to go and buy some anyway.
What now? I could do a dish with courgettes and egg yolks at another time, which would leave me with some unused egg whites.

Accordingly I took myself a medium sized bowl and another one for storing and separated three eggs. The yolks went into the fridge for later use.

Here we are with those innocent egg whites. "You are not going to bake anything!" Right? So I turned the oven to 160 °C. The egg whites got one or two teaspoons of vanilla sugar and - who knows how much - maybe 200 g of plain white sugar. Then I too my handheld electric mixer and went on working the ingredients together.
If you would try to make meringues properly, you would go and first stiffen the egg whites until they form soft peaks and then add the sugar bit by bit and make things shiny. I couldn't be bothered at that time.

I prepared a baking sheet with baking parchment and just poured the content of my bowl on it. The tray went into the oven for 1 hour. That can be quite some time if you have some strawberries smiling at you. There is only one thing a man can do, when strawberries are smiling at him ... as a result I worked myself through the strawberries ... bit by bit.
At one point I restrained myself and did something else.

The large meringue was ready and I put it out to cool. Of course, you could leave it in the oven with the oven door slightly open and leave it to cool there. I couldn't be bothered.

I had some cream in the oven waiting eagerly to be put to great use. A bowl ... cream poured in it ... some more vanilla sugar ... and the mixer again. 
Now, if you are as skilled as I am, you manage some of the cream to spill out of the bowl before it is completely whipped. Whatever!
I squeezed a few strawberries and mixed them with the cream.

The cream in that state came over the meringue and then ... what was left of the strawberries, cut into quarters.

That didn't look that bad.  After all that, there were still enough strawberries left. Normally I would just eat it and don't think further about it, but in blog world, things need names.
To make a short story long, I can't dance. What does this have to do wit it? Here we are. Pavlova came to my mind. As far as I remembered it is some kind of dessert with meringue. So I checked it on Wikipedia just to make sure my mind was working correctly. It was.
According to Wikipedia, "Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova." Right, I still can't dance and if I could, it would for sure be far from called ballet. Ah, maybe I can dance a tiny bit after all, But how could I know.
So just one more fact I found out during my research. Pavlova (not the dancer), at least that is what is believed, was first created after or during on of Pavlova's (yes, the dancer) tour to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. This dessert was created in honour to the ballet dancer Anna Pavlova.

Anyway, this particular dessert was not created in honour of her, but rather in honour of the strawberries that smiled at me and in honour to my stomach, which needs some delicious treats from time to time.
Another interesting thought, I could have made a mess - Eton Mess - using the very same ingredients. Just a thought. Simply five simple ingredients and you can even make different things out of it. Have a look again ...

With that now, I can't claim anymore, I never made a Pavlova. After all, that must be a Strawberry Pavlova. However, I still can claim, I can't dance.
Now I go and continue to make a mess (NOT an Eton Mess) ...

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The heat is on! Have some Moroccan Chicken Kebabs!

Finally we have about 4000 °C outside. Great, that's what we always wanted. At least that is what we dreamt about when we still had -40 °C in March. Must have been somewhat like that. Anyway, now we have perfect weather for some Moroccan food. Therefore it is not coincidence we are having Morocco as the current theme for Bloggers Around the World. Very clever and smart of me, don't you agree? At least I'm still in control and am smarter than my phone and my television. However, that of course is of no particular interest at the moment ... as usual.
After all this still tries to be a food blog and not a wisecrack blog ... I suppose. Then it's food we are going to talk about and Moroccan Chicken Kebabs in particular.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Seafood Diet - Ultimate Caramel Chocolate Delight

Have you ever heard someone say: "I only have to look at food and I put on weight."? That totally applies to me. If I see food, I put on weight. Maybe that's due to the diet I am on ... kind of. It's a seaefood diet. Of course, if I see food, I am going to eat it. I'm not having it as decoration. Along that line, the following will do a devastating job. This wasn't a reference to it not being decorative. Let someone else judge. We are talking of putting on weight and my Ultimate Caramel Chocolate Delight.

It has it all ... lots of sugar, cream, butter and of course chocolate. They will do their part. No doubt about it.
In a previous post, I had a Hazelnut Chocolate Custard Caramel Cake. I warned you beforehand the quest isn't over yet and we have to tread further upon that path. You might notice that the recipe is quite similar, but then also different.
Let us speak no further about ... eh ... things. So, without any further ado I bring you my Ultimate Caramel Chocolate Delight.

Ingredients (he he he ... you see what I mean):
200 g flour
100 g brown sugar
200 g melted butter
100 g rolled oats
300 g sugar
50 ml water
100 ml cream
100 g hazelnuts
200 g dark chocolate
50 g butter

Method (not listening to any kind of warnings):
Have you compared it to the previous recipe and noticed the changes already? No? I show you now ... kind of.
First we go for the base with the flour, brown sugar, melted butter and the rolled oats (which are new here). Do a thorough job in putting these together for the dough. Press the base into a cake tin that is prepared with baking parchment. I used a round cake tin, but will use a rectangular one next time.
Bake the base for 20 minutes at 180 °C. After that you might think about allowing some time for it to cool down. A good thing, we are not going to use the oven anymore in the course of this recipe. We did so last time, though.
While that cooling business is going on, we devote our time to what has to be done: the caramel. Put the 300 g of sugar together with the water on the heat. Hopefully it will just go brownish without burning. Allow time for some patience. In the rare case you don't have it, learn it. That's a useful quality you will need again and again in life.
Don't burn the caramel. Before that happens, add the hazelnuts and the cream. You will love that noise, when the cream hits the burning hot caramel. 
Make sure it all mixes well and looks thick. In case it doesn't so right away, I guess you can not avoid, but have to let it on heat and stir it a bit. At one point, though, it should be enough. Things only need a certain amount of stirring. It's like in real life.
Now you should pour the caramel onto the cake base ... if we want to call it a cake. Oh ... it was the original plan, but ... just read on ...
Should I say now: "Allow time for cooling."? Eh ... no ... I don't like to say it. We have work to do. After all we want the Ultimate Caramel Chocolate Delight. Nobody is going to help me finish the job after all.
At this very point our attention is drawn to some beautiful and yet inconspicuous dark chocolate. We need some heat again. I have my special way to melt chocolate and you for sure have your own. So don't let us talk further about it. Fine, I only need to mention that you melt the chocolate together with 50 g of butter.
Once you get this shiny liquid chocolate ready, let it cover the caramel. I would say now: "Allow ...", but ... just make sure the chocolate gets solid again. A fridge might do the trick.

Now have a closer look at this. From what you see, it might be some kind of cake. Let us get our weapon ready and attack it by cutting out a slice.

Well, it tastes great. For me this is my Ultimate Caramel Chocolate Delight. I will try no further in that direction. I'm going to use my time for other food endeavours. What about cheese and chocolate now? Or maybe some other kind of food that will not be so quick in aiding you in putting on more weight. Whatsoever, I will see ... you will see ... we will see.
Back to the original topic.
However, I would not so much eat this as a cake, but rather as a kind of Caramel Chocolate bar. Or just have it as small rectangular slices like shown in the first photo. That way maybe we are not completely lost when we see it ... and consequently eat it - seefood diet! I don't know what you expected when you read the title. Another option would have been: Seafood diet: eat everything, but seafood.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Bloggers Around the World Round-Up: Italy

We should really start with a drink this time, an aperitivi. Maybe you like to have an Aperol Sprizz with the fruity bitter Aperol, some sparkling wine and a slice of orange on the glass.
Anyway, that's how you could do it for an Italian dinner. Whatever the case we are having an Italian meal now with our Bloggers Around the World. Thank you everyone for participating. That's what makes the fun.

Naturally then we proceed with antipasti. We could have salumi misti with parma ham, mortadella, bresaola or thinks like that. Crostini would be something else or brushetta. Well, no one  exactly entered some of those. Well, not exactly. Diane has it all, so to say a round-up of good Italian food. Then head over to Simple Living and Eating and learn something about Italian cuisine. There is something with brushetta, too ... and many more lovely food.

Brushetta : Tomato Salad

If you are done with antipasti ... hopefully you hadn't too much ... we can continue with primi. That could be a soup or risotto or pasta. That seems to be the favourite section of everyone.
What about fresh pasta then. Have you ever tried to do your own? Let us have a closer look then at what Caroline makes in this regard: Fresh Homemade Spaghetti with Bolognese Sauce

Now it's your turn, to do your homemade pasta. However, save some space for more pasta.
This time we get a bit fiery with Jacqueline from How to be a Gourmand with Fiery Spaghetti Putanesca. So, if you are the fiery kind, you know what to do.

Pasta Puttanesca

There is yet more pasta to come, something with mushrooms, rocket and mozzarella. You have read it here before some time ago.

That was my enthusiastic start of the June challenge. I didn't manage much more afterwards.
It's time to advance in the meal ... secondi. In fact that is the main dish. It could be fish or meat or who knows.
Elizabeth from The Law Student's Cookbook has some chicken on offer for all of us. No, I don't mean it that way. Just listen to the name of the dish: Cheesy Chicken Parmesan. She already had me at this point. Look closer to find out for yourself ... about the dish I mean.


Together with the main dish you can have contorni. However, if you are not the meat lover or better to say are vegetarian have the contorni as main dish.
Solange from Pebble Soup has a wonderful Mellanzane alla Parmigiana for that. So, if you are an aubergine lover, that's the thing for you, don't you agree?

We are nearly through with our Italian dinner. It's time for dolci. Sadly, nobody entered any. So we are having some fresh fruits instead.
This is followed by a digestivi. I'll have a grappa then.
Before we finish it all off completely, I wish to say thank you again for all your lovely entries. I hope, you continue to join us on one of our future trips. 
Have a caffe first. An espresso will do.

Did you enjoy our Italian dinner?
What is next? Where shall we go. Already the last few days I have thought about this and I came up with an idea. We are not going there.
In a fit of spontaneity, on last minute I decided to postpone that idea and go into the opposite direction instead. We never quite made it to Africa up to now. Therefore we really should do it. I already thought about letting someone guest host it, but then again, I didn't even ask that expert. So, if you have the feeling, you are an expert in a certain kind of cuisine, give me a shout and we can talk about it.

However, let us travel onward, further South then, to ...

Maybe we get to see some lovel tangine dishes or I get the chance to use my Ras el Hanout. This time we are also trying something new. I have a linky tool down here, where you can enter. In the unlikely case you shouldn't manage, let me know. And ... if you don't have a blog of your own - post a fitting photo on my Facebook page
Besides that, keep the following things in mind.
  1. Link to my blog and this challenge in your post.  
  2. Use the "Bloggers Around the World" badge (the one you find at the beginning and end of this post ... you know!).  
  3. You can use a new or an old post, but it has to be adjusted accordingly (you know, all the linking). 
  4. You can have up to three entries, but ... if you just post on my Facebook page, you can have as many as you want.
  5. Enjoy cooking, eating and posting. I already say: shukran.
You should have a little less than a month to accomplish that. I know, that will not be smooth sailing, but ... hey ... what is?

What are you waiting for? Fine, of course, you can leave a comment here, sorry!