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Pineapple carpaccio with lemon sorbet

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Broccoli 007Here is a refreshing dessert with pineapple that looks and tastes spectacular!

Ingredients:

2 oranges

2 1/4 cups water

3/4 cup sugar

1 pineapple, chilled, peeled, and halved lengthwise

1 pint lemon sorbet

4 sprigs mint, for garnish (optional)

Methods: Using a vegetable peeler, cut the zest from one of the oranges in wide strips and then into matchstick strips. Put the zest in a medium saucepan with the water and sugar. Simmer until the zest is translucent and tender and the liquid is reduced to approximately 2/3 cup, about 25 minutes. Strain out the zest, reserving both the syrup and the zest. Squeeze 3/4 cup juice from the oranges, strain into the syrup, and chill in the refrigerator.

Core each half of the pineapple by making a diagonal cut on one side of the core with a long serrated knife. Make a diagonal cut on the other side of the core, forming a V. Remove the core. Turn the halves over and cut the pineapple crosswise into 1/8-inch slices. Arrange the slices on four plates in concentric circles.

Pour the orange syrup over the pineapple slices. Put a scoop of sorbet on top of the pineapple and the candied zest over the sorbet. Garnish with the mint.

Or scoop some vanilia ice cream place on the top and crumble some meringue on the top.10480100_736758359696134_3986733160890119976_o

Lowcarb cauliflower gratin with quinoa

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Cauliflower gratin with quinoaTollwood 003

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for dish

  • 1 cup quinoa (semolina pasta) or Israeli (large pearl) couscous
  • 2 large heads cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups cream or milk
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups finely grated (about 10 ounces) Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup coarsely grated (about 2 ounces) Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in lower third. Butter a 1 1/2-quart, deep, wide ovenproof dish. Cook cauliflower in salted water (or add 1 chicken stock). Put quinoa or couscous in a rice cooker. Wait until it’s ready. Arrange quinoa in the ovenproof dish evenly, top with the half cooked cauliflower florets.
  2.  Prepare the roux: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in milk or cream; cook, whisking, until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Let it cool. When it is cool enough add eggs. Mix eggs well into bechamel. Whisk in marjoram, salt, nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in Gruyere until smooth. Pour over cauliflower. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Set dish on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; bake until cauliflower is tender, about 40 minutes. (If browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Transfer to a wire rack; let it cool 10 minutes before serving.
  3. I have already tried cauliflower with rice but with quinoa I haven’t so far thus it was my first attempt and I have to tell you it worked very well. Actually my family spoke all week long of how delicious was the dish.Tollwood 005

German red wine choco cake

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St Claus 013This not too sweet classic German red wine cake was a cooking with wine experienced fluffy delicacy, at which I just used enough wine in the batter to give the cake a slight boozy flavor! Do not be fooled by the form of the cake which looks like a muffin but it is not.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups dry red wine

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3-4 cloves (ground or powder)

half teaspoon cardamom

150 gr or more chocolate flakes

To the top: 150 gr black chocolate fondant

  1. Methods:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and the spices and beat for 2 minutes longer. Working in two batches, alternately fold in the dry ingredients and the wine, until just incorporated.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack; let cool completely. Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar or cover with chocolate fondant.
  5. Melt chocolate in a pan (over hot water bath) add a bit of butter if you like and a teaspoon of rum. Cover the cake with the melted chocolate and until chocolate dries (Iprepared for Santa Claus’s day in Europe it falls on 6th of December) I decorated the top with fresh strawberry and whipped cream.Befana 005

Broccoli flan with seebass filet and with French horseradish-walnut sauce

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brokkoli flanThe light and fluffy broccoli flan, alongside with a seebass filet with horseradish walnut sauce, and with oven baked beetroot and potato was an excellent dish again! Here is my new recipe creation:

For the flan

Ingredients: 250 gr of broccoli flowers, 2 eggs, 100 ml cream, 100 ml cream fraiche, salt, pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, Parmezan on the top

Methods: Bring to boil the water and cook the broccoli flowers for 15 minutes in salty water. When it is completed strain the water. Mix together the sour cream and the cream, beat the eggs and add to creams. Stir everything well. Smash the broccoli and add to the sour cream sauce mixture, sprinkle with nutmeg and mix everything well together. Lay out smashed-puréed broccoli in a springform and place in a roasting pan filled with water and steam it for 20-25 minutes at 200 ° C (bain mairie). Before serving grate some Parmezan cheese on top.

For the Seebass filet

Ingredients: 100-150 gr seebass filet per persons, a pinch of salt, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon Sechuan pepper, oil to fry, flour to breading

Methods: Wash the fish and tear up the fishbones with a pair of tweezers. Salt and pepper to taste (crush pepper in a mortar roughly) and smear fish with some mustard on both sides. Bread fish in flour and fry it in some hot oil until crispy. Place it on a plate.

For the French horseradish walnut sauce by Escoffier

Ingredients: 150 gr horseradish from jar, 150 gr walnut ground, 150 ml cream or milk, salt, lemon juice and a pinch of sugar

Methods: Pour the cream into a pan add the walnuts then horseradish, lemon juice and a pinch of sugar. If the sauce is not thick enough add for 1 teaspoon of starch to make it thicker.

Shaved and oven fried beetroot and potato

Ingredients: 2 pieces of not precooked beetroots, 2 potatoes, 1 tablespoon of carraway seeds, salt, 150 ml olive oil, lemon juice of a half of a lemon

Methods: Peel beetroots and potatoes and shaved on a grater very finely. Pour oil in a bowl and add carraway seeds, lemon juice and salt. Cover or dip into oil the beetroots and potatoes. Arrange them onto the baking tin and bake for 20 minutes or until they are crispy.

At serving: arrange fish with the sauce on a plate and place alongside the broccoli flan and the fried vegetables.Broccoli 013

 

 

 

Sponge cake with arak liqueur and cassis cream filling

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Blumen style 131The Arack (araq) is the name of an Arab alcoholic spirit (40–63%) from the anis drinks family(ouzo, pastis, raki). It is a clear, colorless, unsweetened anise-flavored distilled alcoholic drink (also labeled as an Apéritif) and the traditional alcoholic beverage of Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, and Iran.

Blanche_absinthe_loucheArak is usually mixed in approximately 1/3 arak and 2/3 water in a traditional Levantine water vessel, called barik, (bariq) then the mixture is poured in small, ice-filled cups (named “Raki” in Turkey). This dilution causes the clear liquor to turn a translucent milky-white color; this is because anethole, the essential oil of anise, is soluble in alcohol but not in water. This results in an emulsion, whose fine droplets scatter the light and turn the liquid translucent, a phenomenon known as louching. In restaurants, when a bottle of arak is ordered, the waiter will usually bring a number of glasses along with it for this reason. Arak is commonly served with mezza, which could include dozens of small traditional dishes. In general, arak drinkers prefer to consume it this way, rather than alone. It is also well consumed with barbecues, along with garlic sauce.

Research suggests that the branches of arak tree (another names are toothbrush tree or mustard tree, miswa etc.) contain a number of medically beneficial properties. It is a popular chewing stick throughout the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the wider Muslim world and besides it has antiurolithiatic properties (its tonic is a well known medicament against kidney stones). Its fibrous branches have been promoted by the WHO for oral hygiene use. No need to fear that the arak liqueur does taste of toothpaste, but rather fresh anis and pungent flavour!

The recipe of the arak liqueur cake with cassis cream filling

Ingredients for the cake:

6 oz butter

6 oz caster sugar

3 eggs

6 oz almond flour

90ml Crème de Cassis

For the filling:

4 heaped tbsp redcurrants

2 tbsp caster sugar

200 ml cream

gelatin

For the icing: 5 oz icing sugar

4 tbsp Crème de Cassis plus Arak liqueur + 1 oz icing sugar mixed with a few drops of water for piping

Methods:

Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease and line 2 x 7 inch sandwich tins. Use the all in one method to make the sponge layers, whisk all the cake ingredients together using an electric mixer until smooth. Divide the cake mix evenly between the 2 tins and bake for 25 minutes until golden and risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn out the cakes on a wire rack to cool. Make the filling by heating the redcurrants and sugar together in a small pan and cook until the redcurrants start to go soft, this will take about 10 minutes. Leave to cool in the pan and it should set like jam.

In a deep mixing bowl, beat 1 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and Cassis liqueur over cream; beat until soft peaks return. Do not overbeat. Soak gelatin in luke warm water and heat until it’s melted. Add redcurrant jam to cream fold everything together carefully. Let cream set for a while.

For the icing mix together the liqueurs and the icing sugar until you get a fairly thick spreadable icing. In a separate bowl mix the icing sugar and water for the piping, this needs to be very thick so it will hold its shape when being piped. To assemble the cake place one half on a plate or cake stand and spread with the redcurrant cream and place the other cake on top. Spoon the icing over the top and spread evenly with a palette knife. Spoon the piping icing into a small piping bag and decorate the cake however you like.

The arak tree -(Salvadora persica),- is a small tree or shrub with a crooked trunk, seldom more than one foot in diameter. Its bark is scabrous and cracked, whitish with pendulous extremities. The root bark of the tree is similar to sand, and the inner surfaces are an even lighter shade of brown. It has a pleasant fragrance, as well as a warm and pungent taste. The leaves break with a fine crisp crackle when trodden on. In Pakistan these ancient, majestic and sturdy trees are more closely associated with graveyards similar to the cypress tree in English culture.

Arak is not to be confused with the similarly named liquor, arrack (which in some cases, such as in Indonesia—especially Bali, also goes by the name arak). Another similar-sounding word is aragh which in Armenia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Georgia is the colloquial name of vodka, and not an aniseed-flavored drink. Raki, Mastika and ouzo are aniseed-flavored alcoholic drinks, related to arak, popular in Turkey, Bulgari, Cyprus, and Greece, respectivelyToothbrush tree 007

Chestnut cream soup with celery and paprika

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Toothbrush tree 027I ate an amazing chestnut cream soup in Lyon last week (in France) and I liked it so much that I wanted to give it a try. So I prepared yesterday and it turned out a great success.

By the way did you know that that chestnut has many benefits, such as: the fresh chestnut fruits have about 180 calories (800 kJ) per 100 grams of edible parts, which is much lower than walnuts, almonds, or other nuts and dried fruit (about 600 kcal/100 g). Chestnuts contain no cholesterol and contain very little fat, mostly unsaturated, and no gluten.

Their carbohydrate content compares with that of wheat and rice; chestnuts have twice as much starch as the potato. In some areas, sweet chestnut trees are called “the bread tree” because of its nutrition values. So I ate not only a delicious food, but also a healthy one!

Ingredients:

2 cups hot water

1 rib celery, diced

2 large shallots, parsnips, finely chopped

1 bouquet garni (1 sprig each of bay leaf, thyme and parsley)

3 tablespoons butter

3 cups chicken stock or canned broth

1 1/4 pounds coarsely chopped peeled roasted chestnuts or 12 ounces bottled chestnuts

100 ml dry Sherry

for garnish: grilled paprika and crouton (deep fry julienned strips of leek as well in 365 degree F/ oil)

creme fraiche or cream for garnish

Toothbrush tree 022Methods:

1. In a saucepan melt butter and add julienned celery, parsnips and shallots. Sauté them until tender. Add bouquet garni and chicken stock. Add chestnuts. Bring to boil, reduce heat cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, return soup to saucepan. Pour over the Sherry. Bring soup to simmer, add 100 ml cream, correct seasonings (adding salt and pepper, to taste if it is necessary).

Grill diced paprika in some olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Whisk crème fraîche into soup, add black pepper and 2 tablespoons of sherry as well. Season with freshly, chopped parsley.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with vegetables, and garnish with crouton and grilled paprika.

This soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly and refrigerate. Re-warm over medium heat before consuming.

 

Mushroom and fried potato moussaka

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Advent 1 week before 044

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
500g cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cups (560g) tomato pasta sauce
600g char-grilled potato, 1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon cinnamon, oregano

Ricotta or feta sauce
3 cups (600g) fresh ricotta
1½ cup greek yoghurt
4 eggs, beaten
1½ cup feta cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

1. Preheat oven 220°/C and grease an 8 cup capacity baking dish. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium high heat and cook onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Stir in mushrooms and cook a further 3 minutes. Add tomato pasta sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened and mushrooms are soft. Season with thyme, cinnamon, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

2. Fry or grill sliced potatoes.

3. Meanwhile, combine ricotta, yoghurt and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Layer potato on the base of the baking dish. Spoon over tomato mushroom mixture and spread ricotta sauce over the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the ricotta layer is firm the cheese has melted and become golden. Serve with baguette.