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French pancake with fresh herbs

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Kerala 044This extremely light pancake is an excellent choice during the fast season

Ingredients: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon white sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 eggs, 2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon wild garlic, spinach, nettle, 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Methods:

Sift together flour, sugar and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together with an electric mixer. Add died oregano. Chop finelly the other fresh herbs and add to pancake base. Beat in flour mixture until smooth; stir in melted butter. Heat oven to 80 grades.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 2 tablespoons for each crepe. Tip and rotate pan to spread batter as thinly as possible. Brown on both sides. Bend pancakes in triangle forms.

Arrange pancakes onto a fire proof plate then place into the oven until serving.

 

My Oscar night

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Light! Camera! Photo! That is no way for anyone to watch the academy awards. I couldn’t make it to the Kodak theatre “this year”, thus last week I created my own glamour on the Oscar night with a vintage Hollywood bash at home. Eaten in front of the television, of course invite my own “Rat Pack” over it was a great fun.846x

The menu was:

Horse d’oeuvres: Smoked salmon roulades

Main course:        Pork fillet with French potato salad

Dessert:                Rasp and strawberry tiramisu

Setting the table/the scene: I sent invites in film canister with an awards ballot tucked inside. (downloaded from oscar.com)

The décor was: white, black palette accented with white, grey and black candles

I arranged flowers into vases of varying heights-(such as white tulips, lilies) and on the buffet, and lower arrangements on the coffee table. I entertained my guests with best song nominees from the past year (some classics downloads).

The winner was… I placed an Oscar ballots tray for completed ballots near the front door. After guests arrived, I passed out pens and had each guests pick another guests ballot to score during the show. During commercials I tested my friends Tinseltown knowledge with trivia questions.

For instance: What does Oscar stand for? What film and sequel both won a best picture Oscar? What was the first X-rated film to win best picture? etc.

Prizes were a bottle of champagne, and I gave some trivia champs gift certifications to a local movie theater ticket and a DVD of a past best picture winner

Recipes

Smoked salmon roulades

Ingredients for 12: whipped cream cheese at room temperature, 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill, chives, salt, pepper smoked salmon, thiny sliced

In a small bowl combine cream cheese, chives, salt and pepper. On clean work surface place 11×30 sheet of plastic wrap, with shorter sides positioned to the right and left. Carefully center a piece of salmon vertically on plastic wrap about 3 from the short side at left. Continue to lay pieces of salmon, overlapping each other about 1, until all salmon is used. Finished salmon layer should measure about 6×24 and should end about 3 from the right edge of plastic wrap. Using a cakefrosting metal spatula, gently spread cream cheese mixture over salmon. Sprinkle with dill. Starting at long side, roll up salmon into a log and wrap in plastic. Secure ends. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate until serving time. Then unwrap the salmon roll and slice into half thick pieces, which will resemble pinwheels. Arrange on platter and accompany with toast points if desired.pork-fillet2

Pork fillet: 6 oranges, 5t sugar, 2 garlic cloves, 2 pork fillets, 300g baby spinach, 1/4C pecans, 100g mange tout, half spoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon, 1 tbsp olive oil

For the glaze:
3 oranges, juiced and 1 zested
4 Tbs sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 pork fillets
Salt and pepper

For the salad:
300g baby spinach
¼ cup pecan nuts, toasted and chopped
100g mange tout, halved
3 oranges, segmented

For the dressing:
2 Tbs orange juice
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs olive oil

Methods:

Combine the ingredients for the glaze in a pot and bring to boil.
Reduce the liquid until a syrupy consistency.
Season the pork with salt and pepper then brush with the glaze and fry in lightly oiled pan for about 5 minutes per side.
Continue basting with the glaze until the pork is cooked through.
Combine the salad ingredients  in a large bowl
Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing  and pour over the salad and toss
Serve the pork fillet sliced on top of the salad.

French potato salad

Ingredients: 1/4 cup dry white wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, 4 green onions, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons drained capers, 1 teaspoon of dill, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of estragon, 3 1/4 pounds of 2 1/2-inch-diameter red-skinned potatoes

Methods: 1. Whisk first 7 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (It can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

2. Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 35 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes to pot. Place pot over low heat until liquid from potatoes evaporates, about 2 minutes.

3. Cut warm potatoes into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Add to dressing. Toss gently to coat. Let stand at least 1 hour at room temperature. Toss again and serve.

Rasp and strawberry tiramisu

Place this recipe on top of a completely cooled homemade or store-bought cheesecake or tiramisu

Ingredients: 2 cups raspberries, 1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar divided, 3 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered

In a bowl of food processor combine raspberries and half cup sugar. Pour into stainer. Using rubber spatula, press raspberry mixture through to remove seeds. Add strawberries to raspberry mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.img_0892

 

Bullhead fish festival at Lake Constance

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Irish Bayrish 013In Ermatingen, at lake Contance (in Switzerland) can man eat the best fish dishes ever. No wonder why because this village has a long history to prepare fishes. It was said to have taken in the fugitive Pope Johannes XXIII (1414–1418) during the Council of Constance and served him fried bullhead, a fish that is almost extinct today. He thus granted the locality the right to celebrate Groppen fasnacht (“Groppe” means Bullhead) every three years. And the people of Ermatingen have not forgotten how to prepare fish since then (they have the best fish restaurants ever).

The Bullhead festival in Ermatingen is unique because it is the latest masquerade in the world (takes place on the East-Switzerland’s side of the Lake Constance) since it is always held 3 weeks before Easter.

The village has a long-established fishing tradition comparable to almost nowhere else in Switzerland. Of the legends in circulation as to the origins of the event, the most likely appears to be a connection to a spring festival held by fishermen and fisherwomen in Ermatingen. White fish fishing in particular used to be very important here. However, this traditional practice has now disappeared from Ermatingen.

The highlight of the folkfest is the fish procession, which takes place once every three years (this year the village celebrates its 600s anniversary) and sees around 1,200 participants delighting 15,000 spectators. Led by an oversized bullhead fish, the procession includes traditional fishing groups, symbols of spring, fairytale characters, carnival groups and carnival musicians. During the parade, crowds can sample of locally caught fish and a glass or two of white wine. The procession is an integral part of the folk festival that lasts several days and includes the indoor village carnival night (called Beizenfasnacht), in the restaurants and a “Lumpenball” (a costumed ball where the costumes are made from old clothes) in the streets.

Replenishment for the gourmet’s table

Some 160 fishermen and a few fisherwomen as well venture out on the lake in the early morning to put out their nets. They have trout mainly in mind, and perch, also known Egli or Kretzer but they also catch eels, pikes, lake trout, zander and whitefish in baskets and on the hook- about 35 species of fish in all. 30-34 years ago things didnt look at all good for fish and fishing folk in lake constance overfertilization on the banks was washing too much phosphate into the water, promoting the grouth of algae, plankton and weeds, perches and whitefish multiplied and the felchen almost disappeared. But the great efforts made to keep the purity of the water succeeded the phosphate content is now two-third lower that it was 10 years ago. The ecology of the lake took another beating, the water becoming poor in nutritiens so that today perches grow more slowly and the number of whitefish is on the decline- to the great indignation of the fishermen, who would prefer to use nets with finer meshes. The Felchen stocks on the other hand, are recovering gradually. Only very few fish really hatch out of the egg in lake constance. There are seven hatcheries around the lake at which fish spawn taken from caught fish is incubated. felchen pikes, saiblings and lake trout are mostly already some weeks old when set free in their element. This is not entirely new-a hatchery started operation on Reichenau as early as 1927. But today the lake is stocked with 10 more times more fish that it had round 1960.10974528_912667522088669_3044837843344507426_o

As far as the gourmet is concerned, however, the end result-whether it is Felchen under a ramson potato crust, lake trout fresh from the smoker or Kretzerfilet with almonds seems to be more that worth all the effort!

However I ate a Sander filet with fried Fennel, my husband some smoked eel with green apple sauce and beetroot carpaccio and potato purée. Both were divine!!!

The bullhead is a freshwater fish that is widely distributed in Europe, mainly in rivers. It is a type of sculpin. It is also known as the miller’s thumb, freshwater sculpin.The bullhead is a small demersal fish that lives both in cold, clear,  fast-flowing small streams and in middle-sized rivers. It also occurs on gravelly shores of cold lakes. Further, it thrives in diluted brackish water of the Northern Baltic Sea.

An Early Bronze age lunch

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Constance lake 321The little oil lamp flickers and shadows dance on the loam walls and the tatched roof while the woman with the coarse features laborously grinds with a stone a handful of grains of barley into flour. Then from the outside there is the sound of splashing and someone calling out as a dugout comes in from the lake, the man triumphantly holding up a giant pike pierced on his bone harpoon yes that is how it could have been. Such are the impressions of life in prehistoric times given by the Pile dwelling museum at lake Constance (Germany and Switzerland)

Hans Reinerth an expert on early history from Tübingen, had the idea for the Uhldingen museum in the 1920s and found support from the mayor, Georg Sulger. The first pile dwellings were built in 1922, roughly as the Swiss archaelogist Ferdinand Keller had sketched the life of our ancestors from 1854. Today there are three village settlements with a total of 20 houses from the New Stone Age, ca. 4000 BC and from the Early Bronze Age, 1100 BC and Late Bronze Age, 973-966 BC standing on pile supported platforms in the lake and fitted out with replicas of old weapons, tools, clays ovens. Old cultivated plants such as spelt wheat and emmer grow in the garden area, and figures of people and animals liven up the scene. Visitors can see how pieces of jewellry were made or pots shaped and are allowed to bake bread, sharpen arrowheads, paddle around in dugout-it is all hands-on archeology. The palisade fence in the water surrounding the small port is, admittedly, not considered to be strictly correct historically, as the pile dwellings were probably built on the marshy bank. But because the level of the lake had risen somewhat, the remains were discovered in the water. The original findings from the excavations-there is said to have been about 100 settlements around the lake-are in the museum on the mainland. However Uhldingen (7880 inhs.) is also well known for the scrap regatta at the conclusion of the port festival at which imaginative contraptions looking as primitive as possible cover a route of 400 metres around the port entrance unless they go under with a gurgle before makig it. And as is fitting for a markedly environmental specialities are made exclusively of local ingredients, which the local restaurateurs offer on a regional menu.in-de-wulf-20-10-2012-019

Eggs cooked on hot stone

Bird eggs have been valuable foodstuffs since prehistory. Raymond Oliver (1909-1990),- who was a French chef and owner for more than 35 years of Le Grand Vefour (dated back to 1784) in Paris, France, author of 30 books on food, and was also the owner of a gastronomic library of 3,000 volumes dating back to the 16th century-so in his life-time he tried to reconstruct what was eaten by the caveman in the prehistoric time. He came into the conlusion that one of his favorite dish could be the stone-baked bird egg with roasted peanut-hazelnut. So he tried and succeeded in frying eggs on flat stone (in summer we can try to fry egg on the hood of the car because metal conducts heat better and gets hotter, so people actually have been able to cook an egg on a car hood’s surface)

His recipe: we need 6 eggs (about 400 grams), hazelnut (hulled) and 1/4 tbsp of sea salt

Instructions: Heat a flat stone until it is sufficiently hot. First, place the hulled hazelnut to hot stone. Flavour it with sea salt. Then when it start to roast break the eggs and drop to the stone. Let them cooked for about 15 minutes.

BC7B1D3B36C6CE31615DC532E52F_h498_w598_m2see recipe on the internet: Eggs Baked on Elvan Stone

Constance lake 324

Name day with quark and apple strudel

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Name days in Hungary are very popular, often as much as a person’s actual birthdate. A woman is typically given flowers on her name day by acquaintances, including in the workplace, and the price of flowers often rises around the dates of popular names because of demand. However a bottle of alcohol is a common gift for men on their name day and cakes are also given as a treatment for the celebrators. Children frequently bring sweets to school to celebrate their name days.

Name days are more often celebrated than birthdays in workplaces, presumably because it is simpler to know the date since most calendars contain a list of name days. You can also find the name day on daily newspapers by the date and on Hungarian websites. Some highly popular names have several name days; such as István-Steve, János-John, Joseph-József, Elisabeth Erzsébet-Mária- in that case, the person chooses on which day he or she wishes to celebrate. The list of the name days is, as usual in name day celebrating cultures, based on the traditional Catholic saints’ feasts, but the link of the secular name days calendar to the Catholic calendar is not maintained any more (For example, even religious Catholic people named Gergely (Gregory) after Pope Gregory the Great still celebrate their name days on 12 March however the Church celebrates on 3 of September)

In Hungary for the name day the most popular treatment is to offer rétes-strudel with sweet soft quark cheese or apple and poppy fillings. The traditional Hungarian strudel pastry is different from the strudels elsewhere, which are often made from puff pastry. The traditional strudel pastry dough is very elastic. It is made from flour with a high gluten content, water, oil and salt, with no sugar added. The dough is worked vigorously, rested, and then rolled out and stretched by hand very thinly with the help of a clean linen tea towel or kitchen paper. Purists say that it should be so thin that you can read a newspaper through it. A legend has it that the Austrian Emperor’s perfectionist cook decreed that it should be possible to read a love letter through it. The thin dough is laid out on a tea towel, and the filling is spread on it. The dough with the filling on top is rolled up carefully with the help of the tea towel and baked in the oven.

Apple strudel

Apple strudel consists of an oblong strudel pastry jacket with an apple filling inside. The filling is made of grated cooking apples (usually of a tart, crisp and aromatic variety, sugar, cinnamon, raisins and bread crumbs. Strudel uses an unleavened dough. The basic dough consists of flour, butter and salt although as a household recipe, many variations exist. Apple strudel dough is a thin, elastic dough, the traditional preparation of which is a difficult process. The dough is kneaded by flogging, often against a table top. Dough that appears thick or lumpy after flogging is generally discarded and a new batch is started. After kneading, the dough is rested, then rolled out on a wide surface, and stretched until the dough reaches a thickness similar to phyllo. Cooks say that a single layer should be so thin that one can read a newspaper through it. Filling is arranged in a line on a comparatively small section of dough, after which the dough is folded over the filling, and the remaining dough is wrapped around until all the dough has been used. The strudel is then oven baked, and served warm. Toppings of whipped cream, custard, or vanilla sauce are popular in many countries. Apple strudel can be accompanied by tea, coffee or even champagne, and is one of the most common treats at Viennese cafés!

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Coming popular names day: Susanne 19 th February, Mathew 24 February, Thomas 7 of March, Gregory 12 of March, Alexander 18th of March, Joseph 19th of March Benedict 21 of March…

Beet soup with carraway

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The usually deep purple roots of beetroot are eaten either grilled, boiled, or roasted as a cooked vegetable, cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar, or raw and shredded, either alone or combined with any salad vegetable. A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into boiled and sterilised beets or into pickles. In Eastern Europe, beet soup, such as borscht, is a popular dish. In Indian cuisine, chopped, cooked, spiced beet is a common side dish. Yellow-coloured beetroots are grown on a very small scale for home consumption.

Cook beets in Big Batches it is a simply do ahead work a good strategy any time! Cook beets once and you’re halfway to soups, salads or stuffed beets etc.

Big Batch of oven steamed beets

Toss 4 lb scrubbed red beets halved if large, with 2 Tbsp olive oil in 13×9″ baking dish, season with salt and pepper. Add herb of choice -a handful thyme or rosemary sprig 2 bay leaves- and 1/4 cup of water. Cover tightly with foil and steam beets in a 425 grades oven until a knife slips easily through the flesh, 60-70 minutes. Let cool in covered pan. Rub off skins with paper towels. Beets can be steamed 3 days ahead! Let cool cover and chill.

Prepare the soup: Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook 1 tbsp caraway seeds stirring until they start to pop and dance around the pan (about 1 minute). Quickly add 1 chopped medium onion, 1 thinly sliced leek and a splash of water to keep seeds from burning. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 5-7 minutes. Add half batch chopped ovensteamed beets and 2 and half cups water to pan, season with salt and pepper. bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook stirring accasionally until flavours come together, 15-20 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly, then purée in a blender in 2 batches, adding half cup buttermilk to each batch. Gently heat soup, adding water to adjust consistency if needed. Serve drizzled with cream and topped with chopped parsley or dill sprigs and with a nice spoon of horseradish mousse.

excursion in January 029

Broccoli with almond

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Ingredients:

1 large head broccoli, stalks trimmed

2 carrots

4 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup slivered almonds

cherry tomato

2 dl cream +1 tablespoon sour cream

1 egg

Japanese panko mixed with Parmesan cheese

Methods: Preheat oven for 220 grades.

Cut stalk of broccoli from florets. Peel the stalk and cut the stalk into 1/4-inch rounds. Cut head of broccoli into florets.

In a large sauté pan, toast almonds until golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan. Add butter and when melted, add garlic and sliced stalks. Sauté until garlic turns golden and stalks start to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the florets and continue cooking another 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and cover pan. Cook broccoli and carrots until crisp tender, about 3 minutes more. Season with salt.

Mix cream, sour cream and egg well together. Place broccoli florets and carrots into a tray or a fire proof plate and pour over cream mixture. Scatter the top with some panko-Parmesan mixture. Stir in toasted almonds. Bake for 20 minutes.