Friday, 30 May 2014

#ReadCookEat Round-Up for May

Reading is fun, cooking is fun and reading is fun. Well, at least this is true for me. Therefore it's a brilliant thing to combine all those three together. When you do that, you get the lovely blog challenge ReadCookEat. 

Since Galina and myself put up this challenge in April and as well in this month we enjoyed it a lot. I hope you did so to. In fact the challenge made me read more and also to read in a different way. Now I pay more attention to any kind of food and eating. However, there was not much food in the last book I read. With the book I just started recently, Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne by Peter Høeg. Besides of bringing back memories from my visit to Copenhagen there are quite some references to food. Yesterday when I was reading my appetite was whetted almost to the point I wanted to make some biscuits. However, due to some other recent discovery, I didn't. 
So far, there was more food in the book, omelette, fish soup and raspberry cake. Yet more tempting bits. Anyway, I just wanted to make clear again, that reading, cooking and eating is fun. We don't want to dwell to much, though, on what I am reading right now, but on the lovely entries we got for this month, May.

As the month set off, so did Galina from Chez Maximka with her introduction to ReadCookEat for May and her Rout-Cakes inspired from Jane Austen's Emma. 

Although Galina mentions something about a poor attempt at making rout-cakes, I am sure you will find them lovely, too. Indeed a good addition for your tea time.

From Bath, UK and Jane Austen we go over to Maycomb, Maycomb County, USA and Harper Lee. Here we are going to hopefully enjoy some Angel Food Cake with Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam, one of the cakes Boo Radley from the book To Kill a Mockingbird never received.

I'm quite happy I was able to hide the bits not to be seen beneath this strawberry and rhubarb jam.

Next in line was Cheryl from Madhouse Family reviews! She had been reading Last Refuge by Craig Robertson. The book was taking her to the Faroe Islands (maybe next time we do ReadTravelEat) and therefore the inspiration for food came from there, too. Sadly Cheryl was not in the mood to delight us with some sheep's head or dried whale blubber dishes. On the contrary, we can be quite lucky she didn't. Instead, she has a much more delicious and lovely looking Mango Vinegar Prawn Salad for us.

Now you have to come up with your own dish using dried whale blubber, if you can get any. Good luck!

What else do we have? It's again Cheryl delighting us with something edible and lovely, with Lemon Scones inspired by Above All Things by Tanis Rideout.

Considering the time of the day I would call myself lucky had I any of those in my kitchen now. Besides all this, Cheryl also provides us with a review of the book (that's true to the book mentioned before as well), which I find also very good.

As far as I can see it, the final post is coming from Alison and her blog Dragons and Fairy Dust. She had by reading John Grisham, to be more precisely his book Sycamore Row, which is set in Mississippi. The inspiration from this leads to a wonderful dish with the title Southern Style Jambalaya.

Jambalaya Southern Style Jambalaya

It's spicy and looks wonderful. To me this post is a reminder, I still want to try a Jambalaya dish. Have a look and maybe you feel this way, too.

This would be the end of the Round-up. In case I have missed your post or the time simply went by too fast and you were just about to prepare a post for ReadCookEat, simply give me a shout and I am sure I can do something about it.

In the meantime continue to have fun with reading books, cooking and eating ... see ya!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Tomato & Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart

The sun is out and shining brightly, warming up everything. What a delight ... if you like that kind of weather. We just had a bit over 30 ºC today. Isn't that lovely? Again, only if you like it that way. Well, I do. However, it doesn't make me feel I have to be out all the time and get as much of the sun as possible, or that I have to have loads and loads of ice cream and cold drinks, including beer. It's fine, Spring is at it's best and you can get a lot of different food items fresh, locally. On my way to work, they have already set up that strawberry hut next to the strawberry field. That means in the coming days after work, when I have made it up the hill and have regained a bit breath, I can go for it. I will see about that.
In the meantime, I finally managed to work a bit with fresh green asparagus. First of all I had those with the bacon wrapped around it to eat together with soft-boiled eggs. Very, very delicious!
Then I went to roast some in my griddle pan. Not bad!
As the last one I tried out this ...

... a puff pastry tart with asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Have a closer look then ...

5 asparagus spears
5 cherry tomatoes, sliced
Sheet of puff pastry (about 350 g)
100 ml crème fraîche
100 g firm goat cheese
Salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence
1 egg
Olive oil

To begin with, I blanched the asparagus for about 5 minutes.
Then I broke the goat cheese into pieces and mixed it together with the crème fraîche, egg, salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence.
On a slightly oiled baking tray I placed the puff pastry and folded in the sides a little bit.
After that I spread or rather poured over the crème fraîche mixture. Strangely it went a bit over.
As you see in the picture I placed the asparagus spears slightly pushed into the mixture and arranged the slices of tomato between them.
The tray went to the pre-heated oven at 180 ºC for 30 minutes. Somehow that seems to be my favourite oven temperature and time, strangely. Well, there are many things I don't understand. Also, I feel like drizzling some olive oil over the finished baked tart.
Whatsoever, just make sure that the puff pastry tart doesn't get burned in the oven. You wouldn't want that nor like it.
The way the tomato & asparagus puff pastry tart turned out, it tasted lovely. So, you have to grab the opportunity while it's there ...
Maybe the sun will also shine tomorrow or will even shine for me in a different kind of way ...

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Have a Snack - Chilli Cheese Balls

Sometimes when the day is getting late, I feel I don't need a proper dinner, but a snack will be just fine, maybe together with a beer ...

Just like that! Some chilli cheese balls on a bed of rocket together with some serrano ham. Life is good! I'm happy and satisfied! The end of the day can come. I would say that snack has it all ... all those ingredients I love: chilli, cheese, serrano ham and rocket. What more could I want? Oh, I mentioned it already ... a nice refreshing beer.
It's not much work and quick you go and have your snack ...

Rocket, as much as you want
Olive oil
Lemon juice
4-6 slices Serrano ham
200 g soft goat cheese
Chilli, fresh, dried, flaked, powder or whatever you like, have and want
Small bunch fresh parsley, chopped up
One egg, whisked
Large hand full breadcrumbs
Oil for frying

Dress the rocket with the lemon juice, olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. Place it on the plate to serve and arrange the serrano ham on top.
Mix the goat cheese with the chilli and parsley. Give it a pinch of salt. Shape small balls from it. Then it's time to get them bread-crumbed. Off to be rolled in the flour, then egg wash and finally breadcrumbs.
Get some oil hot for frying and fry the chilli cheese balls until brown and crispy. Obviously you want to avoid that the cheese gets leaking out.
Lay the ready chilli cheese balls on some kitchen paper to get rid off some of the oil, but hurry, we want to have a snack ...

Ah, I really should make sure I have serrano ham and goat cheese in my fridge most of the time. So, have it as a late night snack or a starter, if you prefer that.
Now, tell us, what is your favourite quick evening snack?

Monday, 12 May 2014

Je ne parle pas français - Salade Pastourelle

Eh bien, je ne parle pas français. Well, I tried it at school for some month, but honestly I don't really understand much French. Nevertheless I like French cooking. Now, some time ago, I had strange ideas when travelling. I thought I might get a cookbook, when I'm on holiday ... in that country ... in the local language. As a consequence, I ended up with an Italian and a French cookbook. Great, I'm not really able to read it properly. So I didn't really make any efforts to try some recipes.
Here is, where it starts to get interesting. Dom from Belleau Kitchen has another entertaining idea for this month's random recipes. The theme is time for a spring clean and the idea is to give those books you would get rid off another go. Anyway, I wouldn't even think of getting rid off any of my cookbooks, even those I can't read properly. Nevertheless, I wanted to give one of those two books a go. The rolling of dice decided for the French one, which is Je Sais Cuisiner by Ginette Mathiot, and the random choice came up to Salade Pastourelle, which freely translated has to mean Young Shepherdess Salad. Have a look ...

This was the second try to select a random recipe for I by no means wanted to make anything with rognon de bœuf. Sorry, but no. I wouldn't know where to get beef kidneys and I don't want to know what they taste like.
So I was lucky I came to the salad section with the second attempt. Still there would be the challenge to translate the ingredients and the recipe. Then I reduced the amounts to m needs and came up with the following.

5 small round onions, cooked, roasted, whatever
1 pickled gherkin, finely sliced
3 anchovy fillets, sliced
2 hard boiled egg yolks
50 g tuna in oil
2 tsp. capers
8 pitted olives
Vinegar, oil, salt, pepper
Freshly chopped parsley

Another problem with the book was, there are nearly 2000 recipes in the book, but no pictures of the dishes at all and the instructions are very limited.
However, I was so focused on getting the small round onions, that I totally mixed things up and got the wrong ones, for in the recipe it said you should boil them in salted water for 30 minutes. My onions needed no cooking at all, because they came in a jar  and where already roasted.
Accordingly my sole job was to get the egg yolks ready and then carefully mix all the ingredients together. Well, the egg yolks and the parsley where supposed to feature as a garnish.
Now I can not say whether I got this salade pastourelle right, but I liked it and as a matter of fact had another one the day after, however without egg yolks. I wasn't ready for more eggs that day.

I reckon, that cookbook has a lot of good French recipes in it. Fine, a few might be towards a direction I don't want to go, but I guess I could work a bit more on my French and have another go at something else. Maybe then I'll be able to figure out, why I got the book in the first place ...

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Angel Food Cake for Boo Radley (#ReadCookEat)

  "Mr Tate went to the swing and picked up his hat. It was lying beside Atticus. Mr Tate pushed back his hair and put his hat on.
  'I never heard tell that it's against the law for a citizen to do his utmost to prevent a crime from being committed, which is exactly what he did, but maybe you'll say it's my duty to tell the town all about it and not hush it up. Know what'd happen then? All the ladies in Maycomb includin' my wife'd be knocking on his door bringing angel food cakes. To my way of thinkin', Mr Finch, taking the one man who's done you and this town a great service an' draggin' him with his shy ways into the limelight -  to me, that's a sin. It's a sin and I'm not about to have it on my head. If it was any other man it'd be different. But not this man, Mr Finch.'
  Mr Tate was trying to dig a hole in the floor with the toe of his boot. He pulled his nose, then he massaged his left arm. 'I may not be much, Mr Finch, but I'm still sheriff of Maycomb County, and Bob Ewell fell on his knife. Good night sir.'
  Mr Tate stamped off the porch and strode across the front yard. His car door slammed and he drove away.
Atticus sat looking at the floor for a long time. Finally he raised his head. 'Scout,' he said, 'Mr Ewell fell on his knife. Can you possibly understand?'
  Atticus looked like he needed cheering up. I ran to him and hugged him an kissed him with all my might. 'Yes sir, I understand,' I reassured him. 'Mr Tate was right.'
  Atticus disengaged himself and looked at me. 'What do you mean?'
  'Well, it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?'
  Atticus put his face in my hair and rubbed it. When he got up and walked across the porch into the shadows, his youthful step had returned. Before he went inside the house, he stopped in front of Boo Radley. 'Thank you for my children, Arthur,' he said." 

- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

As you have read, thing turned out that Boo Radley would not get into the limelight and as a consequence wouldn't receive any  angel food cakes from anyone around town.
Therefore, in order to join #ReadCookEat again this month, I decided to have a go at an angel food cake. I never had one before yet attempted to make one. So I had to do some research. One recipe I found was from Mary Berry on the BBC website. It mentioned also it was from The Great British Bake Off. I didn't notice anything ...
So, I didn't want to make a huge cake requiring a lot of ... eh ... cake eating afterwards, so I went one adjusting ideas from the net to my needs ...

Angel Food Cake for Boo Radley:

75 g flour
180 g sugar
6 egg whites
Zest of one lemon
A small splash of lemon juice
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt

Sift the flour, baking powder and 60 g sugar into a bowl, which you set to the side for the time being.
Then start whisking the egg whites in a large bowl for one minute on high speed.
Add the lemon zest, juice and salt and continue whisking on high speed for another 3 minutes. The egg whites should form soft peaks when you remove the whisk.
Now you continue whisking at even higher speed and add the remaining 120 g of sugar on tablespoon at a time until all is in. Continue whisking for a while.
Now fold in the flour and sugar mixture, being careful as not to knock out all the air you whisked in before.
Transfer the batter to your tin you plan to use. Only after I had finished my angel food cake and was ready to eat, I remember I had seen the episode of The Great British Bake Off, where they had to bake angel food cakes according to Mary Berry's recipe. They even had special angel food cake tins. However, I hadn't. So I used a small rectangular tin for it.
Whatsoever the case, bake the angel food cake in the bottom third of your oven at 180 °C for 30-40 min.  I had mine in for a longer time (as I have read in other recipes) and that resulted in the cake to be looking slightly unpleasant around the edges.
Whatever you do, use common sense and test with a wooden skewer whether your cake is ready. When it comes out clean, it is.
After you removed the cake from the oven allow it to cool down for at least one hour. Then you can remove it from the tin and eat it ...

As you see on the picture, I wasn't quite satisfied to eat it like this. I added some strawberries and some freshly made rhubarb and strawberry jam.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam:

400 g strawberries
2 large stalks of rhubarb
175 g sugar
100 ml water
1 vanilla bean
Juice of one lemon

Chop up the strawberries and the rhubarb. Put them into a sufficiently large pot together with the sugar and the water. Slice open the vanilla bean, add the seeds to the pot and the sliced open vanilla bean, too. Finally add the lemon juice and bring on the heat.
Let it cook and bubble away. Once you are satisfied with the consistency, fill the jam into a sterilised jar. Use it for the angle food cake or to enhance other desserts.

Well, it really has been a long time since I read To Kill a Mockingbird, it was back in school. Hm, this reminds me once more, I am not 20 anymore. Oh, oh, I feel the crisis coming up again. Therefore, I have continue to do some stupid things again or ... some even more stupid things ... things, I've never done before.

But, before I can go over to this I go and link this post up to the #ReadCookEat challenge. If you want to join, too, head over to Chez Maximka and add your link. That will nit only make Galina happy, but me as well.

I hope this post has made you hungry for reading, cooking and eating and you will join us this month ...

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Beware of the Dark Side ... Raspberry Chocolate Tart

"Is the dark side stronger?" "No! No ... no. Quicker. Easier. More seductive."

A long long time ago in a kitchen far far away ...

In fact, it wasn't so long ago and not far far away. Well, the kitchen might be just around the corner, but still ... you have to beware of the dark side, for it is very seductive ... eh ... this raspberry chocolate cake is very seductive and if you don't beware and have more pieces of it than you reasonably should, you can imagine what can happen.

Well, I show you anyway ...
This Raspberry chocolate tart is based on a recipe from Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie.

For the pastry:
150 g butter
100 g sugar
A pinch of salt
250 g flour
1 egg
30 g cocoa powder
For the filling:
100 ml full fat milk
400 ml cream
250 g dark chocolate
2 eggs
... and raspberries

First of all, we go for the pastry, naturally, for it has to rest in the fridge for at least an hour. So, cream together the butter and the sugar. Then add the pinch of salt, flour, egg and cocoa powder. Carefully bring all the ingredients together to form the dough.
After the hour, get the pastry into a greased loose-bottomed tart tin (you knew that would be coming one day again). Blind bake the pastry for 12 minutes at 180 ºC.

Now you can already prepare the filling. Add the milk, cream and sugar to a suitable sized pot and carefully bring to the boil. Stir once in a while. Then take the pot from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir it until the chocolate has melted away and you have a smooth mixture. Then whisk in the eggs one by one.
Pour the filling onto the blind baked pastry case and get it back into the oven at 170 ºC for 15 minutes. After that leave the raspberry chocolate tart some time to cool. Wait? Why raspberry chocolate tart? Fine, after a while, place the raspberries on top of the tart, pushing them into the chocolate filling. Use as many raspberries as you wish. Are you satisfied now?

When you go for it, you can even add a dollop of whipped cream, crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream., but ... beware of the dark side ... and May the 4th be with you ...

Casa Costello

Now I have added this post also to Bake of the Week at Casa Costello.

While we still have time for thing, it's good as well to add this to May's Calendar Cakes, which is being hosted by Rachel at Dolly Bakes.

Calendar Cakes Challenge

Friday, 2 May 2014

Mascarpone All' Amaretto and Bloggers Around the World May

What is your favourite course of a meal? Starter? Mains? Dessert?
What if the starter and the mains is already so good you hardly can restrain yourself, would you still eat the dessert? Some say (including my very self), sweets, puddings and cakes go to a separate stomach, so it is totally unaffected by what you ate before. Having a second stomach, though, is complete nonsense unless you are a cow, of course. Nevertheless, dessert always goes.
Right now, I am having one of those ...

... Mascarpone All' Amaretto, simple, yet very delicious. I found the recipe in the cookbook Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy. You simply whip together 250 g of mascarpone with a tbsp. of milk, 50 g sugar and 25 ml amaretto. Then crumble over some amaretti biscuits and stick in a chocolate stick. That's it! Is it the booze? Is it the mascarpone? I reckon, it's the combination that makes it so delicious.

You definitely should have a go. Something else you should have a go at is the Bloggers Around the World challenge for May. You might have concluded, we are going to Italy again. Right, but things are not that simple for this time, we are just concentrating on desserts. That's why I have presented you the Mascarpone All' Amaretto.

Well then, off we go for another month of Bloggers Around the World ...

... with the delicious theme ...


Along that line, you could present us a dessert like I just did or ... having so much to choose from ... you could do gelato, semifreddo, polenta cake, tiramisu, zabaione, panna cotta and much much more. If it has any connection with Italy, it's fine.

Besides that, the usual rules / guidelines apply ...

  1. Link to Cooking Around the World and this very challenge in your post.
  2. Use the "Bloggers Around the World" badge (you should be able to find it).
  3. Use either an old post or write up something completely new.
  4. You can enter as many posts as you manage (we can never have enough sweets).
  5. Enjoy ...

Here some more impressions from Italy. After that you get the chance to link up your post  ...

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Bloggers Around the World April Round-Up: Turkey

Are you ready for another round-up of Bloggers Around the World? What? You are not? But you have to, because it's already May and I should be announcing the theme for May already. No worries, I will do that on one of the following days and ... I'll make it a special one again. So, keep on the lookout.
However, now to the round-up of April ...

... and to Turkey ...

In fact, things are quite simple. First we have a look to what Deon from FoodJam has done. It's exactly my type of food, when I am not too lazy. We get Gozleme, some filled pastries finished off in the griddle pan. Just imagine, there is feta, spinach and minced lamb inside.


If you think, that isn't filling enough for you ... hm ... whatever that was supposed to mean ... eh ... you can have an Adana Soup, which I created here on my blog  ...

Well, there are chickpeas, tomatoes and meatballs, but the twist is to serve the soup with a splash of white wine vinegar.

As I promised, things are quite simple here, so I will stop at this very point only to talk to you another day for more Bloggers Around the World ...