Tuesday, 31 July 2007
this peppermint sirup is a wonderful thing for the pantry, something to sweeten your fruitsalads, spice up your couscous and even an avocado soup or a simple green salad. you could even add a splash of this to champagne or just a glass of water. this humble little recipe was given to me by the lovely tanja grandits. a wonderful cook and such a great girl to be with - she loves pink aprons and laughes very loud - really, she is a bit like me (or i am a bit like her). the recipe was taken from her latest cookbook AROMA.
30 twigs fresh peppermint (try to get maroccan peppermint)
zest of one lemon
1/2 liter hot (boiling) water
1 cinnamon stick
8 allspice grains
1/2 teaspoons of coriander grains
wash the peppermint and pat dry. reserve 3 twigs, pluck the rest and mix in a bowl with the lemon zest. douse with the hot water, then cover the bowl with clingfilm and let rest in the fridge overnight.
the next day, pass the liquid through a sieve , put in a pan with the sugar and bring to a boil, let simmer for about 10 minutes.
put the rest of the ingredients in a preserving bottle and add the hot sirup. close bottle and keep in a cool place.
Monday, 30 July 2007
do you know how - for example when you start a new job - you just wanna do good? wear some nice shoes, dress up a little, good hair, perfect lipstick? you just wanna make sure you leave a good impression so you get a good start and you make friends and people love you and say nice things about you. this is how it should be, right?
july was my first month as a daring baker. the daring bakers are a great bunch of people, she is one, so is she - chek out her, too. all good cooks with a good hand at baking. i thought, i can do this too. i can mix butter, eggs and flour, put it in the oven and out comes a cake. so i joined.
the strawberry mirror cake was our recipe for july. really, a wonderful recipe with fresh, sweet strawberries, a light and creamy bavarian cream and on the top of all, a juicy red strawberry mirror. i should have known better, when i read the recipe. i though it was easy peasy. but arent things usually far from easy-peasy when you think they are?
so i bought a couple of eggs, got some flour out of the cupboard and spent a fortune on the best looking strawberries on the market and started baking. that's when the misery started.... a phonecall interrupted my cake-batter-mixing - silly me forgot to check and by the time the cakemix was on the baking sheet, i realised the flour was still sticking to the bowl. that was the first time i used a unholy word and it wasnt the last time. because the cake came out of the oven, lets say... a little deflated. not good looking. no good shoes, no nice lipstick if you know what i mean.
the bavarian cream, i thought would be fun to do. i am a big fan of pastry cream and the bavarian is very similar to pastry cream and hey, i will just do this in a dash... then the egg curdled. once. twice. - by the third time i was cursing so loud, my neighbour called to find out if i was ok. 10 eggs later the cream was done. looking perfect and nice - smeared between the layers of cake, sitting and chilling in the fridge and i was putting my feet up and treating myself to something sweet. - only that little mirror to make, i thought. mixing some strawberry sirup with gelatine, that shouldnt be a problem. i am a food journalist after all. i tell people how to cook so such a little sirup is so NO BIG DEAL for me. until i didnt quite know if it was sirupy enough. i poured it over the cake and it was looking so good, i was feeling like a proud mama. two hours later my mood changed...
the syrup wasnt syrup enough and sunk all the way to the bottom of the caketin. the bavarian was floating on the sirup - it was a big fluffy pink island in my fridge. i was so over with this misery - already thinking about what i should tell the girls from the daring bakers. that maybe i dont belong to that group, maybe my baking just wasnt good enough and that this cake and i just wouldnt belong together. i grabbed a plastic bag and just wanted to chuck that silly little cake into the bin. then half of the cake ended up on my floor. - was this a sign? did this not only mean that my floor was ruined (the cake splashed all over the place - there are still pink spots on my dishcloth...) but also, that the cake wasnt ready for a divorce, yet? - i gathered all the courage i had, scraped the bavarian off the floor - made another sirup that was sirupy enough, made another cake (a tiny one, as you can see), let it sit in the fridge and by the time it came out it was all lovely and soft and shiny on the top. so i put that tiny little darling on a cakestand: it's a strawberry mirror cake after all. one for dwarfs in my case.
and here i am, a proud & brave daring baker. bring on the cakes, they wont scare me, oh nooo!
Thursday, 26 July 2007
dont worry, my blog has not turned into a mushroom shrine. i just couldnt resist the chanterelles in the store. even if its not the season, yet. even if they were shipped all the way from russia. i just cant resist a chanterelle.
this time i used it for a simple, tasty dinner that can be prepared in just half an hour. if you have any leftovers, simply serve it as a salad.
salt and freshly ground pepper
about 300g orecchiette or other pasta
3 hands full of mushrooms, such as chanterelles
4 strips of streaky bacon, cut in fine strips
2 shallots, finely diced
about 150g soft goats cheese, crumbled
in a large pot with boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, then drain.
in the meantime, heat a skillet with some oil, cook the shallots until soft, then add the bacon and cook until it starts to brown. then add the mushrooms and cook on high heat until soft. add thyme, season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
put pasta in a bowl, cover with the mushroom mixture, then sprinkle with the goats cheese crumbles and mix well.
looking for more pasta dishes? then head over to once upon a feast, where ruth is hosting her weekly pasta party presto pasta night.
Sunday, 22 July 2007
oh time flies - another week and july will be history. it's about time i present my latest centrepiece of the month for janelles wonderful event "centrepiece of the month", that she hosts on her lovely blog talk of tomatoes.
this one is so simple and easy, gosh i almost feel like a cheater. i bought some wheatgrass (we call it katzengrass / cat's grass - you know the green suff cats enjoy) and cut it to fit a square vase. some colourful faux butterflies and the centrepiece was done. you could always use round vases - baking dishes even or the tiniest little glasses to fill with some of this grass. butterflies seemed so obvious because it's summer but i did the same at easter once, where i lay some colourful eggs into the grass. easy, quick and cheap. what more can a girl (and her guests) ask for?
Saturday, 21 July 2007
i am a sucker for goats cheese. i could eat truckloads of goats cheese every single day. goats cheese toast is one of my favourite little dishes on the planet and sometimes i just drizzle some honey over some fresh goats cheese and call it a dinner.
when i recently discovered kate zuckermanns recipe for a soft goats cheese cake, i knew i had to do it. unfortunately my cake was more like a souffle (that collapsed the minute i wanted to slice the cake...) all runny and very unpresentable. so i worked on the recipe a little bit and added some cream cheese and just baked the cake in the oven like a "normal" cheesecake. the result was nice and soft and full of goats-cheese flavour. that for once - smellend sweet. the cake is pretty rich in flavour so dont serve too much at once. tiny slices with a generous topping of apricot or apple are just perfect.
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
300g soft, fresh goats cheese
50g creme fraiche
100g cream cheese
2 hand full of walnuts, roughly chopped
3-4 apricots, halved, stoned and cut in slices
line a small, round cake tin with a diameter of about 15 cm with baking paper.
mix egg, egg yolk and sugar until it's pale and kinda foamy. then add pinch of salt & soft goats cheese and mix until well combined. then add cream cheese and creme fraiche. pour mixture into prepared cake tin.
bake in the middle of the oven at 150 c° for about 70 minutes (or until the mixture is set and has started to brown just a little on the surface). let cool, then decorate with chopped hazelnuts on the sides and some apricot slices on top.
cut in small wedges and serve as a sweet starter or as dessert.
Thursday, 19 July 2007
"I have been tagged to post 8 random facts. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts: Each participant posts eight random facts about themselves. Tagees should write a blogpost of eight random facts about themselves. At the end of the post, eight more bloggers are tagged. Go to their blog and leave a comment telling them they're tagged."
promise you will still love me, even after the satin ribbon stuff?
1 i cant stand still. if i dont travel for a month i start to get nervous. i am a saggitarious so that explains a lot. we are always going somewhere - there is always some kind of project on our heads. a lot of people think of me as this super-cosmo-girl - when really for me it is an utter necessity to travel. this is where i find my inspiration for work. strangely enough if i am totally pooped and ready for a break i go to new york. somehow in this busy place that never sleeps i find calm. a trip to union square market, a walk all the way up from battery to central park, a pizza bianco at granddaisy bakery or just the veggie section at whole foods clears my head and brings back all the energy i need.
2 i love baking tarts but hate shortcrust pastry. i hate the consistency of it. it feels like sand on my tongue. but i love working with shortcrust pastry, it's such a wonderful smooth pastry and makes the best base for my favourite tarts. once it's out of the oven i eat the filling but leave the pastry to others at the table (they all cant get enough of it).
3 i love watching greys anatomy. i remember being in the US, when it all started and everybody was so excited about it but i didnt really understand what the big deal was about. until last october when i started to watch it. i then ordered the complete second season on DVD from the US when it was out in december and watched the whole thing in 4 days. then i was flying to amsterdam for new years eve and when i arrived at the airport the lady couldnt find a reservation for me in the system. i watched so much greys, i simply forgot what day it was and showed up a day too late for my flight. i saw the lady from the airline staff the other day. she still remembered me and couldnt stop laughing. how embarassing is that? (i couldnt help and laugh out loud, too).
4 i drink diet coke for breakfast (how bad is that for a food editor?). i hate the aftertaste of coffee in my mouth and cant drink anything warm in the morning anyway. so i will have my diet coke. i love it, its so refreshing!
5 i love satin ribbons. i have a whole cupboard full of it and would carry them home from all around the world. pink and lime green is my favourite colour. i once made some lampshades with satin ribbons and my gay friends still make fun of it. whenever i tell them something about my latest creative project they add "oh and you could always tie a satin ribbon around it". they dont get it. and i think it's a bit sad that my gay friends dont get the cuteness of a satin ribbon. ohmylord gay friends are just not what they used to be!
6 i have been working for the radio since i was 15. i used to be a "youth reporter", then got my first proper job right after college. so i never did the around the world trip with a lonely planet guide and a packpack (this also means i never had to sleep in yucky hostels somewhere in india). when i was 22 i decided it was time to take a break. i took a year off from work and moved to amsterdam. i bought a white bike and made it a rule to eat a piece of applecake with whipped cream every day. it was such a wonderful time i had there - it's been 7 years since i lived there but still think of it almost every day.
7 my worst and best interview at the same time was with shoedesigner manolo blahnik. you have to understand that he has a very quick mind - i wasnt able to ask him one single question. as soon as i mentioned a name or place he would start telling me what he thought about. i wanted to dress nicely that day (good shoes, that was important), then the airline f*** up my suitcase on the way to london. and i had a horribly swollen cheek from a wisdom teeth that i had to take out the day before. not much to do in the fashion department that day. when mr blahnik entered the room he also had one big swollen cheek from an appointment at the dentist. we couldnt help but laugh. after the (very, very bad interview - i got none of the answers i wanted) we chatted about our love for jackie o. and audrey hepburn (that he refered to as: the adorable mrs. kennedy and the wonderful mrs. hepburn) and probably sounded like the biggest chatterboxes on the planet. but it was such a wonderful afternoon - really my worst and best interview at once.
8 i am obsessed with jaqueline onassis, grace kelly and audrey hepburn. my aparment looks like an audrey shrine with pictures from her all over the place. i love her style and believe she had so much grace. something our heroes from the 80ties (think madonna) were never able to give us. one of the greatest days in my whole life was when i met her son sean for an interview in her chalet in gstaad. the house looked exactly the way she designed it 25 years ago. it is a wonderful innocent place that i will always remember.
if you are not embarassed by the satin ribbon lampsades & are still reading this, here is my list of tagees
1 haaloo from cook almost anything at least once
2 jenjen from milk and cookies
3 deb of smitten kitchen
4 anh of a food lovers journey
5 un-swiss miss
6 matt of matt bites
7 helen of tartelette
8 coco & me
looking forward hearing about your 8 random facts.
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
today i discovered the most beautiful chanterelles on the market. not that it is the season yet - but i simply couldnt resist... some sheets of fresh pasta dough, a little thyme, bacon and grated parmesan cheese (ok, and a couple of dollops of mascarpone) was all i needed to make this deluxe mushroom lasagne.
as you see i put it in a small dish - it's simply too hot to eat a whole plate full of lasagne. i served it with a fresh green salad and a crunchy baguette as a light summer lunch. (serves 2)
ok this one is not very accurate - just give it a try and use as much of the ingredients that you happen to have in your fridge.
chanterelles, button mushrooms, dried (& soaked) porchinis
bacon, finely diced
thyme, salt & pepper
finely diced shallot
fresh pasta sheets
parmesan cheese, finely grated
heat oven to 200 c°
clean your mushrooms with a small brush if needed and finely dice them. heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the shallots and bacon until starting to brown. then add the mushrooms at once and cook on high heat until soft. seson with thyme, salt and freshly ground pepper.
in a small roasting dish, put layers of fresh pasta sheets, then add musroom mixture and top generously with mascarpone and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. reapeat, finishing with a layer of mushroom-mixture and mascarpone. generously top with parmesan cheese.
bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes until pasta sheets are cooked and top of lasagne is nicely browned.
serve with a green salad and some crunchy baguette as a starter or light summer-lunch.
fancy more pasta recipes? - then head over to once upon a feast for this weeks roundup of presto pasta night.
Monday, 16 July 2007
i am awfully sorry it took me so long to launch a new round of browniebabes! but here we go again - melting butter, whisking eggs and sugar and handling a serious amount of chocolate in our kitchen.
i am looking forward to all your fudgy, nice and delicious brownies. dont forget that blondies count, too!
make sure you take a picture before you eat them all up, then post about it on your blog, including a link to this post, so people know what the event is about. feel free to use the pic, too.
once you’ve baked and posted about it send an email with "browniebabe of the month" in the subject line to: onceuponatart AT yahoo DOT de by friday 17th of august with the following information:
• your name
• your location
• the name of your blog and its URL
• a link to your post
• a picture
i’ll put all the delicous brownies together and post a round up of all entries by sunday, the 19th of august the latest. i consider myself an ok brownie expert (i believe that a brownie a day keeps the doctor away) and will crown a winner at the end of this event, that will be awarded with a personal "browniebabe of the month" apron. browniebabes of this world - come and join!
cant wait! *myriam
Friday, 13 July 2007
it's been a dream of mine to have my own little apron collection since i was a little girl. there was always something that kept me away from doing it - a busy job, another book project or simply the stack of unread books piling up in my office.
ilva's call to show our favourite apron gave me the last kick i needed to finally spend an evening with my sewing machine. and here it is: my first little collection of once upon a tart - aprons for saucy little tarts, sweet peas and cupcakelovers. more styles and quotes will follow in the future - but i hope my first ones will win your heart.
these aprons are made of high quality cotton & can be washed at a high temperature in the washing machine (to get those raspberries & chocolate stains out!). they are 60 x 80 cm wide and even fit my -rather large- browniebabe hips.
each apron is 20 US $ / 19 euros plus postage (8 US$ for economy, 14 US$ for priority mail if you live in the US / 5 euros for economy, 10 euros for priority mail if you live in europe). if you would like to order an apron, simply e-mail to onceuponatart AT yahoo DOT de. paying is easy through paypal (i will give you all info you need via e-mail).
you can also order a custom made apron with an embroidery of your name (or the one of your favourite sweet pea...). it's available for an extra 3 US $, various colours are available for the embroidery (from orange to black), apron is available in white only, more colours will follow in the future.
Tuesday, 10 July 2007
Monday, 9 July 2007
all in all, a zwetschge is a wonderful little fruit, one i cant wait for at the market because it makes a wonderful tart and is queen fruit for a decent compote.
then zwetschge is - and now dont get me wrong - my favourite swearword for people. everybody uses the a-word. stupid cow is good, but i think there is just no such thing as a "du tummi zwetschge" (as: you stupid zwetschge). it's something we used very often when we were kids, back then when i grew up in the countryside. a couple of weeks ago i met people who grew up in the same area. and then somebody used the zwetschge-swearword. i couldnt stop laughing. it was just such a wonderful and honest word to hear - because it came straight from somebodys heart and we all could just sit there and laugh. you can get a girl out of the country, but not the country... . so i dont mind being a "tummi zwetschge" because a zwetschge is a wonderful fruit. and it just makes a kick-ass compote!
500g zwetschge (damson plums)
200g frozen raspberries
250ml / 1 cup water
1 stick of cinnamon
wash and halve the zwetschge / plums and remove the pits. bring the water and sugar to a boil in a medium pan. add the plum slices and cinnamon stick, reduce heat and simmer for about 5-8 minutes. remove from the heat and add the raspberries. cover and let stand until it cooled to room-temperature.
serve with cake, icecream, plain yoghurt or rice pudding.
looking for more recipes using herbs, veggies and fruit? then head over to this weeks WHB, hosted by food blogga susan this week.
Saturday, 7 July 2007
laura from eat drink live is asking for sorbet for this moths HHDD. i couldnt resist to make two (not trying to be an overachiever, i just couldnt help it!). the strawberry rhubarb caught my eye the first time i opened up david lebowitz'es perfect scoop (anybody out there who hasnt got that book, yet?). one look at the recipe was enough to know it is a must on my list.
then there was this mascarpone sorbet i had at this restaurant the other day. knowing i could do a sorbet and also knowing i could eat mascarpone all day i gave it a go. i added some lime juice and zest for extra freshness and was so happy with the outcome, i decided to have mascarpone sorbet as a main dish for dinner that day. fresh and slightly sour - a wonderful rich sorbet that goes wonderful with any fruit sorbet you could think of.
zest and juice of 3 limes
place sugar and 450ml water in a medium saucepan over low heat. stir until the sugar dissolves, then add the lime zest and juice. simmer for 3 minutes, cool, then strain into a jug, discarding the lime zest.
spoon the mascarpone into a bowl and slowly whisk in the lime-syrup. pour into a jug and let cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours. then churn in an icecream maker, following the instructions.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB SORBET
280g fresh strawberries, rinded and hulled
1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
wash the rhurbarb stalks and trim the stem and leaf ends. cut the rhubarb into 2cm pieces. place the rhubarb, water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bringt to a boil. reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rhubarb is tender and cooked through. remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
slice the strawberries and purée them with the cooked rhubarb mixture and lemon juice in a blender until smooth.
chill the mixture thoroughly then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
taken from the perfect scoop by david lebowitz
head over to lauras blog around the 15th of july. all posts of this months HHDD will be up for you to vote!
Thursday, 5 July 2007
these sweet ravioli are called sebadas and are a traditional sweets from sardinia. they are filled with pecorino cheese and drizzled with orange blossom honey.
i once saw an italian nonna make these on TV - i must have been 4 or 5 years ago. but she did such a good job that i was almost licking the TV-screen and i have never forgotten about it to this very day. i thought it was about time i tried to make my own sebadas. i added some cinnamon - it tastes just so wonderful with the cheese and honey.
makes 4 large raviolis
4 slices of young pecorino, about 5mm thick and cut in circles of about 10cm (about 150g)
sunflower oil to fry
120g orange blossom or lavender-honey, slightly warmed in a pan
about 125g fresh pasta dough *
place your fresh pasta sheets on a clean surface (or roll it out, if you are working with homemade dough). then cut 8 circles of about 15cm diameter. place one slice of cheese on 4 of the circles, brush the edges with water and top with remaining pasta circles. seal the edges tightly. or: cut cheese in 4 squares and place onto the rolled out pasta dough, cover & cut ravioli by using a ravioli cuter or sharp knive (thats how i did it - it's easy!) . make sure you seal the ravioli tightly since you dont want the cheese to run out while frying.
heat the sunflower oli in a pot that's suitable for frying, making sure it's not getting too hot and smoky or the ravioli will burn. fry the ravioli for about 7-8 minutes until golden brown on every side. place them on kitchen paper and let drip off, then drizzle generously with the warm honey and dust with cinnamon. serve hot!
*if you cant get hold of fresh pasta dough at your deli, try this one: homemade pasta dough
fancy more pasta dishes - then head over to ruth's weekly pasta event on once upon a feast.
Monday, 2 July 2007
there is one thing that - even if i am at the other end of the world - makes me feel like home. this apricot tart thats sweet and juicy is the smell of my childhood, something we ate almost every day, as long as the apricots were in season. and sometimes we coulnt wait for summer and used some out of the freezer.
of course it's best warm out of the oven (plus: we couldnt wait until it had cooled anyway and had to eat it as soon as it was out). as time went by i changed the recipe a tiny little bit, which was just adding some pistacios. it makes this simple tart a little fancy and i think the pistacio-green goes so well with the apricot. slather some whipped cream on top and you are in heaven. at least i am...
1 ready made shortcrust pastry, rolled out
about 800g apricots, halved & stoned & quartered
2 generous hands full of ground almonds
1,5 dl cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
2-3 tablespoons of chopped pistacios
icing sugar for dusting
whipped cream, to serve
heat the oven to 200 c°
line a 28cm tart tin with the pastry and - working quickly - spread the ground almonds over the tart bottom. then arrange apricots in tart tin and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.
mix eggs, cream, vanilla and sugar and pour evenly over the tart. return to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until the filling has set and the tart starts to brown a little. i usually give it another 5 minutes with bottom heat in the oven to make sure the pastry is crunchy and lovely when it comes out of the oven.
let cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the chopped pistacios and serve with some whipped cream.
fancy more recipes using fruit, veggies and herbs? - then head over to mele cottes blog, who is this weeks host for weekend herb blogging.