Thursday, 30 May 2013

We are doomed ... an Invasion is coming ... a Pizza Invasion

Beware! Do not be mislead, there is danger lurking. Something terrifying beyond your imagination. I'm not talking about an invasion of mutated evil killer something. No! It's worse. Be warned and be careful and ... continue reading anyway.
Well, I'm not a fan of such kind of movies anyway. However, what we are talking about might pose a real threat to your possibilities to wear a proper swimsuit or bikini or that sort of beach apparel this summer. That is, of course, if find time during that week or day of summer.
On the other hand ... moderation might help. Decide for yourself!
It's been some time now I last posted something about pizza. So I thought I could go for it again. I've gathered some ... eh ... photos of ... eh ... some pizza I had over the last few weeks. Strangely, they look not much different. One day I might get some lovely ideas on how to take picture of pizza in a nice way.
Basically I want to mention a few toppings I tried. The basic dough and sauce you can find in another post.
Let's get this invasion going.

We start with this meaty version with Leberkäse and onions. You might remember Leberkäse from an older post. Well, anyway, that pizza was alright, but lacked in certain burning abilities. Cannot always have that.

Speaking of burning ... chorizo and chilli might do the trick. At least it always works for me. You might need to be a bit cautious with this one. It might bring you some extra weight. Or will the fire of the chorizo and chilli help burning some undesirable ... eh ... things. We will never know.

What about some fish. Putting some tuna on a pizza ... no big deal, anyone can do that. Therefore I decided to add some salmon and and some anchovy fillets as well. That was a pizza I enjoyed, too, although it wasn't burning hot.

More to come. If I tell you were the idea came from, you might think it's fish again, but ... alright, start at the beginning. This one I topped with the leftover sauce from the Tonno di Nonna Fangitta, though, without the tonno.

It isn't over yet. This now is the overly cheesy version, not just mozzarella, but also some Gouda and French Camembert. I would have added even more cheese, but hey ... was I supposed to call it Quintuple Cheese Pizza. I guess triple cheese will do ... for now. For just the minute I mention this I feel the challenge coming up on me to really try this quintuple something. Funny what this writing is doing to my brain.

Pizza invasion, yes, some more ... this time with pieces of merguez sausages in the sauce.
Now all that talking about pizza made me hungry.
I hoped you enjoyed the invasion in some way. Now, if you would have a few slices of each of those pizzas, that would pose a real threat to your bikini figure something hopes or ... alternatively ... to your wardrobe, which would need replacement due to shortage of material at certain spots of your body. Go, figure it out for yourself.
However, what do you like to throw on your pizza?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Christine & Christian: Episode 8 - It's all about Bread

Are you a bread lover? Then for sure you won't mind that it's all about bread today. I am a bread lover! Some fresh bread can make me happy ... at least until I have eaten it all up. Right this very minute while I am writing these words I have some experimental bread baking going on ... wait the next stage is calling ...
I'm back. However, that bread experiment was not what I was going to talk about today. Maybe another time. It just depends on the outcome. So far things are looking fine, but you never know.
After all we are still with India and Tasting India. Fine then! What Indian breads do you know?
Naan. Very good. That would have been the first one coming to my mind before I started this Christine & Christian project. I already had some homemade naan bread in the course of this.
In case you have read this series regularly you might have read something about puffed puri breads already. So, puri is another one.
Next, chapati may come to your mind. According to Tasting India it is "The staple flatbread of India, this is served with every meal just about everywhere." So far I didn't have it with every Indian meal I tried in my project. Then it's about time I have it at least once.

Here I had it with a Ladhaki chicken curry. For the bread you just need wholemeal flour, a bit of salt and water. You easily can see why it is the staple flatbread of India. The only downside, when you compare it with naan, is that you have to cook each bread separately. So it takes considerably more time to make more than a few of them. Anyway, if you are doing it for just one or two persons, it's absolutely alright.

A closer look at the Ladhaki chicken curry. I could have used a tiny bit more of spices, but otherwise it was fine. I enjoyed it very much with the chapati. From now on I'm going to have chapati more often with my Indian meals. Now I also remember chapati from when I was a bit younger ... eh ... yes, more than a decade ... I had chapatis a few times at the place of my friends from Kenya. So, everytime I'm going to have some chapatis it will bring up good memories and ... sad ones, too. However, you can't change the past!
There is another wonderful flatbread I had a go at and that you wouldn't want to miss: roti. It's similar to chapati, but it's a little  softer and richer than it. You don't use water for it, but milk and it contains also egg and ghee. You already see what this will do?
Since it is so lovely, there is no harm in having it with just a simple tomato chutney.

I was satisfied with that meal. Well, flatbreads don't look so spectacular on it's own, but have a closer look at the tomato chutney. By the way, it is a Nepalese flatbread.

It doesn't look spectacular on it's own either. So, no worries. I only can say, it tasted very delicious anyway. Apart from that, now it makes me think again about the past, since I know also quite a few people from Nepal. That was a good time, too. It's good to have some nice memories.
Well then, do you know any other Indian breads?
There are many more: Parathas, Luchi, Bhatura, Rumali, Kulcha, Dosa, Idli, Pathiri, Pappad and who knows what more. You see, there is still much more to learn and to try.
The breads I tried to do so far where not so complicated or difficult, especially when you compare it with the French bread I have been trying ... or my current experiment.
Since it is all about bread today, what is you favourite bread? How do you like to eat your bread? 
At least for me it would be even more difficult to go without bread than having a life without cheese. Now, I don't want to have this post turn again into a sad occasion. I'll better keep those things to myself.

Monday, 20 May 2013

From the Cake Lab: Hazelnut Chocolate Custard Caramel Cake

I should have used cashews. That would have made the whole thing a CCCCC - a Cashew Chocolate Custard Caramel Cake. However, now we deal with it as things are. Hazelnut Chocolate Custard Caramel Cake is just fine. Anyway, the hazelnuts are doing a fab job. I simply had to do it. There was this experimenting mood again. That good spirit, which brings me into a good mood and sometimes something lovely to eat. Let's see whether it worked out this time again.

200 g whole wheat flour
100 g brown sugar
200 g melted butter
100 g chopped hazelnuts
500 ml chocolate custard
300 g sugar
50 ml water
50 g butter
200 ml cream
A splash brown rum

I'm trying to combine a few things I read or saw elsewhere. You have to get some ideas somehow.
We start with the base of the cake. Mix the flour with the brown sugar, melted butter and the chopped hazelnuts. You still might try to use cashews, if you like. I won't try. That's not because I don't like cashews, but ... I ... eh ... did something else.
Get yourself the usual round cake tin, lightly oil it and then put in some baking parchment. If you want to make even more sure, oil the baking parchment as well. You never know.
Press the base of the cake onto the baking parchment in the cake tin. It's best not to be fussy and use your hands and just go for it. Level it out all evenly and chuck the tin into the pre-heated oven and bake it for 20 minutes at 180 °C. By the end of that you should have some chocolate custard ready.
Cover the base of the cake with the chocolate custard ad return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

Now it's time for a break. Let the cake cool down completely. That may take a while ...
Just before you think you are ready, we go for the caramel. Somehow I use to make caramel quite often these days. The idea for the following I got during my Christine & Christian adventures and some caramelised bananas. Don't worry, if you wonder what has become of Christine & Christian. It will continue.
However, back to our cake business. We start with the sugar and the water in a pot with high heat. Patiently watch the bubbling and sizzling until the sugar caramelises and starts to turn brown. At this point pour in the cream and the rum. Then throw in the butter and start stirring. Do that for a while until things have calmed down a bit. Reduce the heat to medium for that.
Continue to cook until the caramel something slightly thickens. Are you ready? Pour he caramel sauce kind of thing over the chocolate custard on the cake and spread it out.

It went slightly a bit different as I had imagined. The caramel went solid quite quickly. So working with a spatula wasn't really satisfying.
Cutting the cake into pieces wasn't that easy either. The cover cracks quite easily. You can imagine that a piece of cake has quite some energy in it, for which you really need some time to burn it or use it up. Gladly I hadn't to eat the cake all by myself. I could spread the love and share.
What were the reactions? Delicious, lovely, disgusting. Well, the disgusting part was only because the slices were cut so large and you really can not manage to eat a whole giant piece of that cake. Well, I can, but not everyone is that strong.
In other words the cake is quite sweet. If you like that, then you need a Hazelnut Chocolate Custard Cake. Whatsoever! Although I liked the cake, I wasn't finished yet with achieving my ultimate caramel delight. 

The quest still goes on. Therefore watch out for more cake experimenting from the cake lab. In fact I have been doing quite some baking lately. So I guess you have to manage with a few more cakes. 
If you have any caramel suggestions for me, I'm happy for it! See thee!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Go for it ... Mushroom-Tomato Bucatini with Rocket and Mozzarella

Time is flowing away. What else should it do anyway? After all we don't want to be trapped in a kind of space time continuum sort of thing. The key, though, is to use your time wisely. You have every minute only once. You don't want to regret anything, do you? However, if you have to, no worries ... time goes on anyway. Well, then, I keep trying to use my time in a good and nice and wise way ...
So in the spirit of the lately announced Bloggers Around the World - Italy, I go for it and I might even do it again. Therefore I start things easily. Mushrooms always go ... eh tomato sauce, too.

I also was able to get hold of some rocket, so it's only natural for it to make it's appearance in the following Mushroom-Tomato Bucatini with Rocket and Mozzarella.

What we need:
All we need is love ... eh ... sorry, I was supposed to give the ingredients, but cooking with love won't hurt either.
Splash of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
Few leaves of basil
400 ml tinned tomatoes
Splash of red wine vinegar
300 g mushrooms, chopped up into small pieces according to your desire
500 g Bucatini (or other pasta)
150 g mini Mozzarella balls (or pieces of mozzarella)
50 g rocket
Salt and pepper

What we do:
Heat up some olive oil in a large pan. Toss in the garlic and slightly fry the slices. Add the leaves of basil just briefly before you are ready to pour in the tomatoes and some extra liquid. Bring it to the boil and let it all simmer for 30 minutes before you start crushing the tomatoes - poor fellas.
Give the sauce a splash of red wine vinegar and unload your chopped mushrooms in the pan. Take a lovely (suppose so) wooden spoon and give it a gentle (cooking with love) mix up.
Have a look onto your watch. For sure you agree to boil the pasta, don't you?
What are you waiting for then? Go for it and cook the pasta ... drain it and add it to the Mushroom-Tomato sauce and ... yes ... mix it well.
All done - so you can plate up. Place some rocket leaves over your pasta and some mini Mozzarella balls as well. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and ... there you go. La vita e bella! 

Somehow I have the feeling I have something more in mind for Bloggers Around the World. Anyway, what do you have in mind?
Just go for it then!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Bloggers Around the World Round-up: India

You should stop when things are at their best. Why is that? How am I supposed to know. However, there is something I do know. One month has past again, so it's time to finish our stay in India for Bloggers Around the World.


Did you have a pleasant stay and enjoyed some nice food? You have to speak for yourselves, but I did. Let's see, what everyone came up with ...

First was Nicole from Yumsome! That was the fastest entry for Bloggers Around the World so far. Right the next day Nicole entered her Tomato Masala. When I see it, I get hungry again. Above that it comes with all the facts you need, like cost per serving and nutrition facts. Good!

Tomato masala, shown here with paneer and pappads

We go on with some more lovely food from Janet at the taste space - steam, bake, boil, shake! There we get good taste with Basmati Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions and Broccoli. Just look at how fresh it looks.

Enjoy it! What else?  Are you familiar with garam masala? For sure you will enjoy Diane's Garam Masala Chicken. Head over to Simple Living and Eating to find out more and ... as a bonus ... so to say ... find some more lovely Indian food.

Chicken Masala

Any thoughts on cheese? I couldn't live without it. Great thing we also have some cheese in India - paneer. So, just have a look what great food Caroline conjured with it ... Caroline Makes ... Paneer Curry. Sounds intriguing? Find out.

Do you want something for pudding? Then have this rice pudding.

So far the entries I found around here.

Back to this stopping thing ... stopping when things are best. How am I supposed to know when things are best. They still could get better. 
I myself might be down at something somewhere, but I refuse to give up (for now). Where do we go then next. I guess the following would be nice. Let us go back to Europe and do ...


There is still so much lovely food to enjoy. Italian food is one of my favourites. I reckon I need to get  some basil ready.
A few words for the trip ...
  1. Leave a comment with a link to your post here in this very post or send me an email at or even - if you don't have a blog of your own - post a fitting photo on my Facebook page.
  2. Link to my blog and this challenge in your post.  
  3. Use the "Bloggers Around the World" badge (the one you find at the beginning and end of this post ... you know!).  
  4. You can use a new or an old post, but it has to be adjusted accordingly (you know, all the linking). 
  5. You can have up to three entries, but ... if you just post on my Facebook page, you can have as many as you want.
  6. Enjoy cooking, eating and posting. La vita e bella ... I reckon.
So, make sure to check in before the 13th of June to leave something here with us.

We see us when we see us! 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Roast leg of lamb with aubergines and onions

Sometimes I get the idea I want a leg of lamb. Well, that happens not that often, maybe not even a hand full of times during the year. What do I do then? I go through all my cookbooks and see what I can do . The last time I did some French version with beans and something. That was very delicious.
Now I wanted to try something else. I ended up with a classic Italian way of cooking lamb with aubergines. Therefore I had to trust Jamie Oliver again to have a fantastic meal: Roast leg of lamb with aubergines and onions. You find the recipe in his book Cook with Jamie.

Apart from the lamb, the aubergines and onions, there were a lot of herbs involved, such as rosemary, oregano and parsley.
First of all the leg of lamb goes into the oven just rubbed with olive oil and salt and pepper.
After that the rosemary, aubergines and onions join.
In the meantime you have to prepare a tomato sauce with the usual suspects, garlic, chopped parsley stalks, anchovy fillets, tinned tomatoes, dried red chillies, vinegar, salt and pepper.
When the lamb is cooked, it gets removed from the roasting tray to sit around for some minutes.

While that is happening and having some room in the roasting tray, the tomato sauce is going to assimilate all the flavours and vegetables in it. So you pour the tomato sauce to the aubergines and the onions and cook it for a couple of minutes on a gently heat.
Afterwards it's time to eat. Get your usual lovely bread to it and dig in. If you fancy a salad together with it, fell free to do so.

For one person or for even two persons, you have quite some food here, the chance to eat a few times from it. It would be perfect, delicious and fantastic as it is, but you could have it as a pasta dish, too.

All in all I can say, Jamie hasn't disappointed me. Once more, it worked out totally perfectly.
Do you like to have a leg of lamb at times? What is your favourite way of having it?

Saturday, 4 May 2013

It's useless to resist - Double Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ...

... "It's useless to resist." ...

... "I am your father!" ...

... "No, no, that's not true. That's impossible!"


Let's start over: A few weeks ago in a small, normal kitchen ... It's useless to resist. No, not the dark side. No, rather the dark chocolate of those Double Chocolate Macadamia Cookies. I'm your cookie. Yes, it is true, it is possible. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

Just have a look at the list of ingredients first and you will see ...

Ingredients (get them and join):
200 g icing sugar
200 g butter
25 g cocoa powder
60 g macadamia nuts, chopped up
300 g flour
100 g dark chocolate, broken or cut into chunks

Method (no tricks, no nonsense):
Carefully melt the butter in a large saucepan. Then take it from the heat and stir in the sugar and the cocoa powder.
Add the macadamia nuts and incorporate them as well.
It's time for the flour then. Sift it in if you like or ... just go for it.
Finally give in to your feelings and use the chocolate chunk to make the cookie dough complete.
Did I say finally? Well, must have been for the cookie dough. 
Almost there! 
We only need to put small pieces of the dough on baking trays that have baking parchment on them and then put the whole lots of them into the oven for 15 minutes at 180 °C.
After a bit of cooling down ... for the cookies ... but if preparing them was too much hard work for you, you might cool down as well.
Said and done! Now it's useless to resist those lovely Double Chocolate Macadamia Cookies.

On the other hand you might reconsider your strategy. While Wookies might pull out the arms of innocent droids when they loose, you might let the cookies win anyway, but they might change something in connection with your body, if you eat them all at once on your own ... Don't ask!

Well, as far as I can see it, it's May the 4th. Does this have anything to do with Star Wars? Or with cookies? 

Don't have a bad feeling about this. Remember, if you go and make those cookies now, the 4th will be with you ... always!

Alternatively, you can put the cookies into your cookie jar and eat responsible. Well, this month's Tea Time Treats from Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked is about that Eh, not necessarily about eating responsibly - we are doing that anyway ... most of the time - but the theme is rather: The Biscuit Tin and Cookie Jar! Biscuits and Cookies. So for sure you find also some alternatives as to cookies at Lavender and Lovage, who is hosting Tea Time Treats this very month.

Tea Time Treats

So ... have a look around and join forces for that ...

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Christine & Christian - Episode 7: From Chicken Cutlets to Pancake

It can be very enjoyable to put together some lovely, well tasting dishes. However, it is even better to share with others. While doing so online, there is nothing better than sharing a good meal with family or friends. It can even be fun cooking together.
So far 22 days have pasted since cooking from Tasting India. Up to this day, I managed 25 recipes. Recently I enjoyed some Bengali-style mashed potatoes and the day after that even something for breakfast: Breakfast Potato Parathas. I didn't manage to take some nice photos from that. The breakfast was really nice ... a simple dough with wholewheat flour and water and then stuffed with mashed potatoes mixed with coriander and chilli.
But let us now go on with cooking and eating with friends ...
That's really more enjoyable than eating alone all the time. The cooking together part is also a great thing. A side effect of it is, you manage greater variety with less work.

It's good to prepare some naan breads to go with the meal. You can learn also a lot and you get encouragement to do things better. If you eat alone, it's easier to like everything you cook.

That's a way, how ready naan breads can look like. Maybe it's good to have a mint raita with it, too.

That one was really fresh, although it included a green chilli. But what about the main course? There was a vegetable dish with potatoes and chickpeas.

Lovely tasting that was. Then we got something meaty as well: Chicken Cutlets. That recipe was from Tasting India.
The pieces of chicken breast were to be marinated in yogurt mixed with spices and ... how dangerously ... with 40 g of chopped up green chillies. Do you have any idea on how many chillies these are?
Roughly around 20 small green chillies that would have been. Argh! I decided to go for 4 chillies instead.
After the marinating of the chicken pieces they  went into a batter, which had 4 eggs in it. Then the job was to fry the pieces.

Already with 4 chillies it was quite hot. Still, it tasted good. Fine, I didn't manage to get the presentation on the photo right ... again ... but ... no worries.
It was only a chance, that there was still some yogurt of the marinade and some batter left afterwards. I just mixed both together and thought ...

... why not have it as an Indian pancake to start the meal with. Well, it could have made two or three thinner ones as well, but this way, it was fine, too.
Altogether, the meal made at least four people happy instead of just one person for more than one time ... and still there were leftovers.
Do you also like to make people happy by cooking for them even if it's not your family?