Monday, 30 June 2014

Just make it simple: Ratatouille

After my meat laden last post, I decided it would be nice to go just vegetables for this one. Fine, for the ongoing reason of the Bloggers Around the World World Cup challenge, I also wanted to have something French for today. Now we just make it simple and have a typical French vegetable stew, which we know as Ratatouille. I tried this recipe from The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. I only made minimal adjustments according to what I could do with. Really, the only problem with that book is, the index isn't working properly.

What we need:
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely mashed
Some thyme (and time as well, of course)
1 aubergine, finely sliced
1 courgette, finely sliced
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, cut in stripes
6 tomatoes, quartered
A bit of sugar

Just do it:
First we start in a pan and heat up a splash of olive oil. Then we add the onion, garlic and thyme and let it go until the onion is translucent. After that comes the aubergine and we cook it soft in a few minutes.
Now we concentrate on the oven, which we like to heat up to 180 °C. We have a baking try ready. In there we toss the courgette, peppers, tomatoes and the content of the pan.
Off it all goes to the oven ... but wait, don't forget to cover the tray with aluminium foil.
Hm ... eh ... about one hour should be enough for the vegetables in the oven. Then remove it, sprinkle a bit sugar on it, add salt to taste, mix it through and transfer it back to the oven in the top section for about 4 minutes.

You can now go and eat it just like this, maybe with a bit of extra olive oil on top, maybe with some lovely bread or maybe you eat it cold the next day ... maybe if you have leftovers.

Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy it. I'm going to enjoy the res of my day whether it rains or not, whether the sun will shine for me or not. I'll just do it.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

If it's not for you, you are too weak - Picadinho

Roughly, there are still two weeks of World Cup left, but things will slow down as the tournament reaches its climax. Already yesterday we had a day off and next week we are going to have three days without any match as well. That also means the Bloggers Around the World World Cup challenge is also slowing down and there are fewer chances left to join in and so the countries to cook for are limited, too. As for today, it's totally South American as we have Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Colombia playing.
For that I have decided to go Brazilian again. I already said, they would win the Food World Cup, but so far they are far away from that with just two counting entries. Therefor, here goes another one: Picadinho. However, be warned already, if you are too weak, it's not for you ... eh ... or the other way round. If it's not for you, you are too weak. On the other side, it's up too you how many hot peppers you use and how hot they are.
Besides that, it's going to be a somewhat rustic and meaty dish.

Now, don't talk, just cook, let the spoon fool around ... eh ... just go for it ...

Vegetable oil
300 g bacon, cubed
500 g beef, cubed
2 onions, chopped
250 g tomatoes, quartered
A glass of preserved hot peppers (use as many as you wish)
1-3 spring onion, chopped
Salt and pepper, if you still feel like it

Crisp the bacon in a hot pan with some oil and then add the onions and let them cook together until the onions start to brown, but not burn. Remove the mixture from the pan.
Heat up some more oil and add the beef in order to seal it. Once that is done, throw in the tomatoes ... or be gentle to them and add them kindly.
Here we go for the peppers. I used ... hm ... eh ... 10, I think. You may use as many as you can bear. I had a taste off the peppers before and I felt they were't that hot, but ... still brought quite some heat in the finished dish. A tricky thing here is, that you use the whole liquid from the glass of peppers and so you get a bit of impact from that, too.
Let's go on and add about 300 ml of water, too and the spring onions. I just had one at my disposal. Still I feel it would be lovelier when you use more. Before I forget to mention put the bacon and onion mixture back to the pan as well.
Get the content of your pan to the boil and then let it simmer until the liquid reduces and the whole thing get thicker.
After that you are ready to eat. Serve it with rice, if you like. Use pasta, if that is more your thing. Serve a salad alongside, if you desire or ...
For me it was just some bread with it. That was all I could do at that time.

You could have used salt and pepper to adjust the taste, but ... think about it ... you already got things from the bacon and the preserved peppers. So, be very careful with adding extra salt. Make sure you taste it before you do so.
As the World Cup is progressing, what is it that you still want to cook?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Sorry, but I have a random pizza for you with potatoes and thyme

Do you know what I don't understand? Arabic. Eh ... honestly? Yes, I do understand a few words and phrases, but I really don't understand Khmer, not even a single word. Stop joking! I don't understand the way English movie or book titles are translated into German. Movies often have a completely different title, although it would be quite funny and understandable to simply translate it. However, the biggest mystery comes to my mind, when I think about a particular cookbook in my collection. It's the number 40 when you count it alphabetically. The book is from Ravinder Bhogal. Maybe you know it. The title is: Cook in Boots. Now I don't know whether you are fluent in German, but the title should be Kochen in Stiefeln. No big deal. You could do that, although it wouldn't sound too lovely. But, hey, now let's have a look at what they made of it. By the way, the book was published by a publishing house called 'Christian'. Fine, that was the reason, why I bought this book in the first place (you know, that's my name). Another reason was, the book was highly reduced. Anyway, originally we wanted to get to the German name of the book. Just repeat, the German name of the book. Wait, here it comes: Love to Cook. A little note on that. I didn't translate the name back into English, but that's the actual name of the book in ... wait ... German, although this is obviously English, too. So, I really don't understand things like that. I don't know, so I really feel more comfortable with the English language and all, although it should be different. I don't know what's wrong with me. Right, obviously a lot of things, but that's not the reason, why you endure reading all this ... eh ... stuff ... no ... things ... no ... ah, forget it, we should be concentrating more on food.
But it wasn't for no reason I mentioned this book. I already hinted to it, it's number 40 of my collection and if you have any idea about the food blogging world, this will connect you to the random recipes challenge from Dom over at Belleau Kitchen.

For the current challenge we have to go to page 40 of the book number 40. That is what we do and what is it that we get? Pizza sauce. So, what is it you have to do, when you get a recipe for pizza sauce? Sorry, I have no idea. Maybe choose another recipe?

Sorry again, I'm not 100 % sure what I did, but on page 41 there was a recipe for a pizza, too. Somehow I couldn't get all the ingredients for the sauce at that time, so I thought, if I do the pizza recipe on the following side, it will rectify everything and things will be good again for my karma. Ah, no such thing in my world. Fine, things will be good. I'm good!
So the next page had a recipe for pizza with potatoes and thyme. Before I get messed up in more details, I show you my uncut version.

Right, that is the pizza just before I cut it for eating. So, that is ... he he he ... indeed the uncut version. I don't know what you expected. 
Again sorry, but I am not sure anymore whether I was supposed to use the pizza sauce with this version of the pizza. I suppose not! However, I did it anyway. At least I used the slices of potatoes, which I blanched first and then mixed with olive oil, garlic anthem before I put it onto the pizza. The dough was just my standard home-made pizza dough.
Additionally to the potatoes with thyme there was some goat's cheese going to ... eh ... yes ... to go onto the pizza. Yes, yes, goat's cheese. Wonderful!
So, finally, standard pizza dough, tomato sauce, slices of potatoes mixed with olive oil, thyme and garlic and goat's cheese. Delicious! Oh, I had no choice, I had to add some mozzarella as well.
Now, here I give you the cut version ...

Apart from all this, I just want to let you know, I am having a Caipirinha right this moment while I write this down .... maybe I slightly confused the measurements of the cachaca and all this, but things will be fine. Oh, right, things will not be fine for Italy in the World Cup for they have missed their chance to be among the last 16. However, I don't want to miss my chance to add an Italian recipe to the Bloggers Around the World World Cup challenge. Accordingly, besides for adding this post to the random recipes challenge this as well goes to the Bloggers Around the World challenge. 

Well, you don't know exactly what I am doing here at this time of the day writing up a weird post for my blog, so neither do I. Therefore, before any major tragedy occurs, we finish it all here.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Chilean Palta Reina - Avocado Stuffed with Tuna

I once new a Chilean family, which lived in our town when I was young, but first of all, that was already some time ago and I don't know what became of that family and knowingly I haven't tried that much food from Chile.
So, I did some research to look for an easy recipe, quickly to throw together for lunch and here we go with Palta Reina - stuffed avocados. I fancied a version with tuna today ...

That seems to be a healthy and colourful meal, perfectly for lunch. Make sure you use ripe avocados but not too soft ones and things can turn out fine. So let me tell you what I used and how I did it ...

What I used:
One avocado
Juice of half a lemon
1 piece of romaine lettuce
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
4 small tomatoes, quartered
1 can of tuna

What I did:
I placed the washed salad leaves on a large plate. Then, I cut the avocado in half, pitted it and removed the skin. The avocado halves, obviously, where placed on top of the lettuce.
Afterwards, I added the quartered tomatoes to the plate and drizzled the lemon juice over the whole plate. A bit of salt and pepper over it and we are almost there.
Right, I mixed the tuna with the onion and the chilli, seasoned it with a bit of salt and stuffed the avocados with that.
Now, that wash't any big deal, was it? Fine, the avocado could have been slightly riper, but ... next time.

I hope you enjoyed that brief food trip to Chile. Whatever, you could also have some wine from Chile. I have a bottle here at my place. I will test it for myself whether that one is any good. It's a red wine from Carmenère grapes. I don't know, though, if that will be good for watching football, some peanuts and a glass of Carmenère red wine?
Today Chile is playing the Netherlands in the World Cup, but they can already be sure to move on into the knock-out phase of the last sixteen. That would leave us at least one more opportunity to post a Chilean recipe for Bloggers Around the World on either June 28th or 29th. Anyway, we are satisfied with Palta Reina for now ...

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Semolina Fufu and Nigerian Chicken Soup

Do you have a bucket list? I mean are there some things you still want to do before you kick the bucket? Eh, we don't want to talk about kicking the bucket, rather about kicking the ball, but then again not even that.
Whatsoever, I don't really have a list of things I still have to do, but there are certain things I wanted to do and when it comes to this blog, today I can say I have written about one of the things I already had thought  of for a long time. Sometimes, you just need some extra motivation. Thank you to everyone for having such a great share in the Bloggers Around the World World Cup challenge this month. It's a great motivation to go for it and try out things from different countries.
Once again, I don't bring you Currywurst today, but rather take you down to Africa, to Nigeria to be more precise. What I still wanted to write down on this blog, was something about Fufu. What's that? Come and see ... and while we are already at it and we need some kind of soup to go with it I bring you my version of an Nigerian Chicken Soup with it ...

I will tell you what you need for it and how to make the soup. In order to find out, how to make the fufu itself, I guess it is best to refer you to an external video, although in my opinion it's not too hard to make the fufu itself.

Knob of butter or ghee (I used ghee)
1 onion, chopped up in stripes
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1-3 red chillies (depending on how hot you like it)
2 chicken thighs
400 g tinned tomatoes
600 ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper

For the fufu you need water and semolina

Heat up your butter in a pan. Then add your onion, garlic and chillies and lightly fry them off. Add your chicken thighs and let them taste some heat, too. If you are cooking for more people, you could use in fact a bigger pan and throw in a whole chicken or one you have cut into smaller pieces, but with bones and skin still on it.
Anyway, I said, I have two chicken thighs and I am tired of waiting for too long. Therefore I pour in the tinned tomatoes and the chicken stock quite early and season already a bit with salt and pepper. You can adjust it later on further, if need be.

Now let things really going while you bring the soup to the boil. You can put on the lid in between. According to the way you like it, you can reduce the soup later on by removing the lid.
In the meantime you could do your semolina fufu. Either watch the above mentioned video or bring a litre of water to the boil. Then reduce the heat and add your semolina to the water, stirring all the time. Keep on stirring while the semolina thickens. You have to get it to a consistence, so that you could take a bit of the fufu and roll it to a ball in your hand and it stays like that. However, after you remove the fufu from the heat and let it slightly cool down, things will still work in your favour a bit.
All that stirring for the fufu is again a bit of kitchen exercise or I simply need to train my stirring muscles a bit more. Call it kitchen workout. It helps you to burn some of the calories you are about to take in or the previous one, of course count as well.
When everything is ready you can serve it. As far as I know it ... as I had this meal before together with some people from Africa ... you can place the fufu and the soup in the middle of your table and everyone will eat with their hands from those pans. Or was it just the fufu in one bowl and the soup on individual plates. I can't remember exactly.

Like it or not, but somehow like this is how you eat it. Now you start to wonder, how am I going to eat a soup with my hands. So, get a piece of fufu in your hand. Roll it into a ball or not and dip it into the soup.
Now I wonder myself how to adage to eat a soup with my fingers. Either you figure it out by yourselves or you just add a spoon to the image. Get a bit of fufu on your spoon and eat it together with your soup.
Now I reckon I got this dish absolutely right for it was exactly as I remembered it from my memories. Even the taste of the soup itself. However, I prefer the chicken thigh version and not the one with the whole chicken. It could be a little awkward with all this bones in the soup. Right, even with the thighs you have bones, but with a whole chicken roughly cut into small pieces, who knows what to find. The individual chicken thighs can be better controlled and you can have one each and remove it in its entirety from your serving of the soup and eat it as you would eat it otherwise.
Ah, that was another trip down memory lane for me and for you it was the presentation of a typical Nigerian dish, which you might want too try or not.
Anyway, as Nigeria is going to play in the World Cup later today ... for some it might even be tomorrow ... you know what to expect ...

No, I don't necessarily mean that Nigeria is going to win the match against Bosnia ... I'm not really predicting the outcome of the matches with my cooking, but if Nigeria is going to win, I start to get scared myself ...

Friday, 20 June 2014

Going French with Rillettes and Fougasse

Some weeks ago I was very much in the mood for cooking some French food and improve my knowledge in that cuisine. Well, apart from the option to look things up on the net, I have a few books on French cooking. One of it is The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. It's a lovely book and the recipes work excellently. I selected some of them and worked myself through them during a week.
I like to share some of the results with you today as France is also playing Switzerland in the World Cup today. However, I will not share all of them, I need to reserve a bit for later.
Therefore today I like to concentrate on two things: Rillettes au porc and Fougasse aux romarin, avande et from age du chèvre.

 First to the rilletes with pork. If you find the right shop you most probably can by it ready in a jar. However, it's so simple and worth a try. You need pork belly, some bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and some time. It goes into the oven for 3 hours at 130 °C. Afterwards you can easily shred the pork (rind cut off) and jar it up and eat it with some lovely homemade bread and a glass of red wine.
If you care to make a mess in your oven you can throw the cut off rind under the grill and let them get crispy. Great, you get a crispy, fatty snack, hear some crackling sounds from your oven and get the chance to clean your oven.
Guess what I did ...

I just wanted to test some pork cracklings, too.
Anyway, I enjoyed the rillettes most of it together with the fougasse and the red wine.

Sure, you need some time as well to make the fougasse, but hey, it's all so lovely. What I liked about this fougasse version was, that it included lavender and goat's cheese.
You make a yeasty dough with 10 g dried yeast, 400 g flour, salt, dried rosemary, dried lavender and olive oil.
Then, you know, there is some kneading involved, rising, proving and all that lot, yes shaping. Apart from that we need to fit in the goat's cheese. Push pieces of 80 g of firm goat's cheese into the bread before you let it rise for the last time after the shaping.
The bread needs about 20 minutes at 210 °C in the oven. 
The end result is lovely. So, if you want to try it, you either have to try it as it is or have a look at the book or ask for further details.

Now you get also a closer look at the bread. I enjoyed it very much. So, do you like to have a bite?

If you like to have this ready for the football match today, I have to inform you, that you better have to hurry. Otherwise ... you need to have something else.

I add this to our ever increasing collection of posts for the World Cup 2014 and Bloggers Around the World.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Mexico: Have a Drink

No, this is no ad. I already told you, I won't have much time today. So, just have a nice cool and refreshing drink for Mexico with a bit of Tequila in it ... maybe have a good friend along, too ...

By the way, don't get any ideas!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Germany: Käsespätzle (Swabian Cheese Noodles)

I still can ... do another post along the World Cup games. The next few days might get a bit more stressful, so that the chances are limited then. Well, Germany ... hm ... fine, I'm there very often ... fine, most of the time. Often I ask myself, why? Fine, but not now. Often I ask myself, what is a typical German dish? Shall I say, Bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes) or Currywurst with chips? Anyway, potatoes are often involved, but as in many Western countries around the world you have very often dishes from other countries, maybe here in Germany Italian or Chinese food. So, sometimes I ask others what is a typical German dish? The answer I got today was: Käsespätzle. Honestly, I have never eaten it before, maybe only Spätzle without cheese and then only the packed ones. You can so easily do them yourself, as you will see very very soon ...

The following recipe is supposed to be for one person, but when you put a salad on the side, it's for sure for one greedy person (me?).
A tool like this will come in handy, otherwise you have to could the Spätzle from a board into the water.

I borrowed this from a friend, but I am sure you can find something suitable.

2 small onions, cut in rings
2 eggs
Grated cheese (in Germany Bergkäse or Emmentaler would be used)

I told you, it will be very very easy. After all I did it right the first time I tried.
You can already get a pan ready fry off the onions with a knob of butter.
In fact, you can also get your water boiling, really boiling, bubbling away. Usually that takes some time, too.
Now the dough for the Spätzle (noodles). Crack the two eggs into a bowl. Be careful, to break the egg properly. You can use one half of an egg to measure the amount of water you need to add to the dough. So, add half a shell of water to the mixture. A pinch of salt and now we only need flour. Add until the dough stops to be runny, so it will slowly ooze down from a spoon.
When it is like this, you can spoon it on your plate with a hole and scrape the dough through the holes into the boiling water. Otherwise you have to cut small pieces of dough to let them drop into the water.
They will take about two minutes to cook. Then do with them as they were fresh pasta. Rinse off the water. 
Afterwards put them into an oven proof dish.

On top of that we add the grated cheese and the onion rings. That goes into the oven to melt away the cheese. Check it!

Maybe you could wait a little longer than I did, but ... hey, I was very hungry. I only had a banana for lunch and ... yes, maybe a cereal bar. Ah, right, not maybe. I indeed have a cereal bar as well, although I could have had some more Engadine Nut Pie.
Anyway, meal is ready. Have a simple salad on the side and ... that is, if you have some wheat beer along. Why not!?

Yes, yes, that was totally delicious and totally simple and ... the salad gives you some alibi to make it all a bit more healthy. After all you don't have to have such a big portions of the Käsespätzle and you don't need to have a bear. Some water will do as well.
Finally, I closer look ...

Maybe you know, that Germany won the game against Portugal 4-0 (I didn't even care to watch). Well, I already planned to do this post before I knew, Germany would be winning. That makes four posts in a row for the winning team ...

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Switzerland - Engadine Nut Pie V2.0

There is a calendar on the wall in the office. It has one large and several small pictures on it for every month. It's Switzerland. What do we see on the pictures? Mountains, trains and cows ... they come to my mind.
Now, what comes to your mind, when thinking about Switzerland. Chocolate? Oh, yes, that's a good one. Swiss bank account? Nah, I don't have sufficient funds to think about that. Neutrality? Well, that doesn't sound to bad. So I try to keep that in mind.
A lot of people, when they travel to Switzerland to the Graubünden area, take the Engadine Nut Pie back home as a 'souvenir'. So far I only have been to the other side of lake Constance, so I could at least have a look at Switzerland from across the lake ... kind of.
Nevertheless, I like to have a take on the Engadine Nut Pie and bring you my version, that is the Engadine Nut Pie V2.0. Not that this is essentially an improved version, but it has some modifications to fit my image of Switzerland in my mind.

I had a look at the basic recipe on the tourist website for Graubünden. Then I went on to modify ...
You know, it's quite easy when you have bits of walnuts from a bag ready for use, but when you have to work yourself through closed nuts and crack them all open to get 250 g of chopped nuts ... eh ... well I stopped 100 g short. I checked also some other recipes. One stated 400 g of walnuts and another one had also some plum jam in it. I looked further and looked, but I couldn't find a version with chocolate in it, but ... come on, Switzerland ... I wanted chocolate in it.
Accordingly, here we go ...

300 g whole wheat flour (somehow most of the other flour was gone in my pantry)
150 g sugar
150 g butter
2 small eggs
1 pinch of salt

300 g sugar
A few tbsp. of water
150 g walnuts
50 ml cream
100 g plum jam
100 g chocolate, into pieces

Take the flour, the 150 g sugar, the butter, the eggs and a pinch of salt, throw them into a bowl and have some pastry from it. You work it out. Looks like shortcrust pastry anyway. Nicely bring all the ingredients together.
Have your cake tin ready and put a bit more than half of the dough on the bottom of your oiled cake tin, having the dough going slightly upwards at the side. Spread the plum jam onto the bottom.
Give the remaining 300 g of sugar with the water into a pan at full heat and have some caramel going. Make sure not to stir. When the sugar goes brown and the caramel is coming, toss in the nuts and add the cream. Now you are allowed to stir.
Pour the nut caramel over the plum jam. Afterwards throw the chocolate over it, too.
Finally you have to manage to put the remaining pastry over as a lid. I wasn't very good at it.

Yes, it looked like this after baking. So, put the cake tin into the cold oven and turn up the heat to maximum. After ten minutes reduce the heat to 180 °C and let the pie in the oven for another 35 minutes.
As you see on my photos, the Engadine Nut Pie, I made didn't look that lovely, but ... oh, did it taste delicious. You just have to imagine that touch of plum, the nut caramel and the chocolate. I loved it.

Fine, after the Engadine Nut Pie comes from the oven, you have somehow remove it from the tin and also allow time for cooling down. Then you can enjoy it, too.

What now? I reckon, you had sufficient time to think about what comes to your mind when thinking about Switzerland ...

Look out for more World Cup countries cooking ...

Saturday, 14 June 2014

A Typical Costa Rican Meal - Casado

Have you ever been to Costa Rica? I haven't, but I got as close as planning a trip there and to buy a travel guide for Costa Rica. It would have been lovely to go there to see some awesome bits and pieces of nature in the tropical rainforest or the cloud forest. Honestly, I don't know what went wrong and why we didn't go. It has been too long since.
Now with the World Cup going on and with the Bloggers Around the World challenge along that line, I get the chance to think about things again. Now, wouldn't that be wonderful to have a post for every country taking part in the World Cup. I wouldn't manage that alone, but I already see there is a lot of interest in the blogger community to try things also from not so often mentioned countries.
Anyway, I do what I can and for today I decided to do Costa Rica. Here we go ...

Sometimes there is the tendency to do some fancy things, but here I decided to go for a typical Costa Rican everyday meal. It consist of rice (arroz), beans (frijoles), some greens or salad and a piece of meat - in my case some chicken (pollo). Normally there would go some plátanos with it, but I couldn't get hold on any plantains today. Otherwise, I would have sliced the plantains up and soak them in salt water for 10 minutes, pat them dry and fry them off. However, since I didn't have any, I didn't do it.
Back then to the typical Costa Rican meal. This time we have rice, chicken, beans and a mixed salad with cucumber, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, onions, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
For beans I used some baked beans for ... I didn't have the beans in my pantry I thought I would have. Had I known, I would have bought some other beans while shopping today. anyway, baked beans will do.
All the different things are served side by side on the plat as you can see in the picture. Put together like this this meal is called 'casado', which means married.
From that a few flashes of the past come up. First of all, I have to say you find meals like this in neighbouring countries, including the Caribbean as well.
There I had the chance to go in the past, to the Dominican Republic. Well, I even went several times and one time I stayed a few weeks with a local family. They had no fridge and electricity not all the time and ... well, running water also not all the time. Now have a guess, what I had for a meal several times a week. Rice, beans, chicken and salad.
They didn't call that dish casado, though. However, I was asked several times whether I am casado ...
Most likely I will turn up the sound system soon and will go for some Merengue on my own. It's some good fitness, too.

Of course you see that glass on the picture, too. It's a fresco, juice mixed with milk. When I read about this kind of drink in my travel guide I immediately remembered the taste from back then. I often used to drink passion fruit juice with milk. Of course, the passion fruit was fresh. I couldn't achieve that today. So I got some ready juice. Just mix it 1:1, half juice, half milk. It's quite refreshing and lovely ...
Oh, all that makes me kind of a little sad, when I think about back then and on the ideas and plans I had and how nothing did work out. I remember all the sun, the sea, the beach and even the wedding with all that very very sweet cake and the lot of dancing and ...
Fine, we were in Costa Rica now. Casado is a filling dish and as I had it today it was quite tasty, too. Well, I had baked beans. Otherwise it will be a bit dry as I remember it. Think about it, would you love to eat that almost every day?

At least it's an inexpensive meal and you could vary the meat on the side or even use fish or no meat at all and put some corn tortillas on the side, too or some other vegetables.

Well, where are you still planning to go when it comes to food? Would be lovely to see someone going African in the coming days ...

Friday, 13 June 2014

Mexican Guacamole and Beef Wraps

You can not avoid it, whether you like it or not. At the moment it's football, on television, radio, in conversations and ... yes ... and food blogs, too. No worries, though, I will focus on the food here. 
Today we are concentrating on Mexico, although it would have been interesting to have some Dutch, Spanish or Cameroonian food. As you know, or maybe not, Mexican is one of my favourite cuisines and it ignited (not just because of the chillies) my interest for cooking in the first place.
Therefore, it's the only right thing to give you some Mexican food today and ... Guacamole and Beef Wraps it will be.

I show them unwrapped to you, so you get a better picture ... or was it just the fact I couldn't stand it any longer to wait to eat the food.

One ripe avocado
Juice of two limes
3-5 red chillies, finely chopped
3-5 cocktail tomatoes, quartered
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
One small onion, finely chopped
Salt, pepper
Beef steaks
Olive oil
Wheat tortillas
Cheddar cheese
Fresh coriander, chopped up

First of all marinate the beef for at  least half an hour. Oh, yes, of course, with the following, the juice of one lime, a splash of olive oil, 1-2 garlic cloves, 2-3 red chillies, salt and pepper.
Then go for the guacamole. Spoon out the flesh from your avocado and mix it together with the remaining lime juice, chillies and garlic and while we are at it, the tomatoes and onion. Season according to your taste with salt and pepper.
Now, after the beef has marinated enough, cook the meat with some more olive oil in a pan. Leave to rest afterwards and cut into pieces.
If you haven't made fresh wheat tortillas for yourself, you need to heat them up a bit now. Spread some of the guacamole on each tortilla and add a few pieces of beef. Grate over some cheddar cheese and be generous with some fresh coriander.

Ready to eat. Fold it once and eat quickly or bother to wrap things up properly and eat. Don't forget to enjoy it. If it's too hot, you are too weak or you simply need to use less chillies.

Here we go again with Bloggers Around the World: World Cup 2014 Brazil.

Additionally I will send this post over to Karen's (Lavender and Lovage) Cooking with Herbs, which is hosted this month on Lancashire food.

Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Brazil vs Croatia - Filé à Osvaldo Aranha vs Fritule

Finally, this is the day where the World Cup 2014 in Brazil starts. Brazil and Croatia will kick off in the opening game in São Paulo. Who will win? I don't know and I don't favour any country is this tournament. Whoever wins, wins.
However, when it comes to individual cuisines of the various countries, things are different. There I know what I am looking for, great taste and lovely food.
All that leads us to the Bloggers Around the World: World Cup 2014 Brazil. From today on things get serious. At a day such as this you can share Brazilian and Croatian dishes. Watch out for more tweets or post on the Cooking Around the World Facebook page to find out what you can share with us on what day. Or simply keep up to date the real World Cup.

Well then, today it's Brazil vs Croatia and while it's the opening, I decided to do a food Brazil vs Croatia as well. Since I can't eat two large savoury dishes in one day, I went for one savoury and one sweet.

Let's go Brazil first ...

Filé à Osvaldo Aranha

Fillets of beef
One onion, chopped up
One beaten egg
Two large knobs of butter
80 g cassava flour
Garlic, finely sliced and fried
Salt, Pepper
Flat leaved parsley, coarsely chopped
One spring onion,chopped in rings
A few potatoes to make potato chips

Things are quite fast paced here. The fillets of beef need 3-4 minutes on each side a brief time for resting. The potato chips won't take too long, once you have cut the potatoes in shape.
The bit that takes slightly more time is the Farofa. So I decided to start with this one. All the other jobs you can do in between.
Have a sufficiently large pan ready and melt some butter. Then add the chopped up onions and soften them. After that you add the beaten egg and scramble it. Finally you add the cassava flour and season with salt and pepper ... not too much salt.
Stir the whole bit ... eh ... a bit and let it go until it gains some colour.
As I mentioned, the beef needs 3-4 minutes on each side. Use a frying pan for that with some butter in it.
Be careful, when you fry the potato chips. Make sure, you patted the potato bits dry before tossing them into the hot oil.
A general reminder, don't burn anything ... especially not your fingers or any other body parts.

When everything is ready, plate up. The amount of Farofa should be enough for four people. In order to assure that, you can also serve steamed rice alongside. I read, that this is done in Brazil, too. For me, that was fine. I wasn't in need of any rice here.
Anyway, serve he fillet of beef with the fried garlic on top. On the side you put the Farofa, which you garnish with the parsley and spring onion rings. Of course, don't forget the chips and ... whatever drink you need alongside it.
That was a quick and lovely dish. However, I would recommend not to use too much salt on the Farofa and I guess, a small serving of the Farofa is sufficient.

Onward to Croatia ...


2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla sugar
3 tbsp. sugar
50 g raisins
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. plum brandy (or brandy or rum)
1 sachet of dried yeast (7 g)
500 g flour
Water, if the dough is still too dry (we want it slightly sticky)
Oil for frying

Let's make the dough for the fritule. Ahem, what else should we be doing?!
Get a large bowl and crack the eggs into it. Add the sugar, including vanilla sugar, and whisk it together. Then add the raisins, lemon zest and juice, vegetable oil and the plum brandy. Thoroughly mix things up ... no ... through.
Combine the yeast with the flour and then add it to the bowl. Bring all the ingredients together. Use as much water to get the right dough, not too dry, but not too wet either, you know. No? You will see, slightly wet that is.
Cover the bowl and leave to rise until doubled in size.
After that make small balls from the dough. Does that not remind you of football a little bit. You could even serve the finished product to the football watching persons in your household ... but don't forget, there is booze in these small donuts.
Yes, we got carried away. we won't have a finished product unless we do some frying for those balls. Have sufficient vegetable oil in a pan for it. The fritule need to have the chance to float in the oil without touching the bottom of the pan.
A sensible thing to do is to put the small donuts onto kitchen paper after remove them from the oil. Later you can put them into an appropriate bowl for serving.

Hm ... eh ... well, it's best to sprinkle them with some icing sugar before serving and you can also use some wooden sticks for people to help themselves to the fritule.

I reckon, as a snack for the game they would just do or ... have them any other time you want. Well, I was satisfied here, too.

What should I say to this? Brazil vs Croatia: 1 - 1. I hope we get some more lovely dishes for Bloggers Around the World during the World Cup.

However, we don't want to focus all our activities just around the World Cup. This post goes also very well to the No Waste Food Challenge, which Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary is managing together with some other lovely bloggers. This month it's Michelle turn from Utterly Scrummy Food For Families (I just love that title).

I was really lucky I still had cassava flour in my pantry or otherwise the Brazilian dish would not have been complete. However, I don't know, why I had cassava flour in the first place. Finally I found a way to use it.
As for the fritule, they were a brilliant opportunity to use the plum brandy on, which I kind of made myself, but never drink from it. So, I could even add this post to the No Waste Food Challenge twice.

Additionally, both dishes where made from scratch. So I could add this post to Javelin Warrior's Made With Love Mondays twice, as well.


Besides all this ... hm ... eh ... whatever ... don't forget to have fun and ... some delicious food from around the world ...