Latest Event Updates
The last thoughts of in October are of preparations for Hallowe’en parties, with a dazzling array of foods to choose from. And couple of days later a very definite change in cooking style and methods tells us we are in November. We hear the soft murmur of bubbling soups, stews and casseroles, helped along by the sharp frosts of late autumn. Trees are stark and bare, the fall has completed its natural course. Comfort foods become a daily feature on our kitchen table, with a hot mug of Pumpkin soup (see in my previous blog) or a bowl of Hungarian goulash, both waiting patiently for 5 November as well as baked potatoes and toffee apples and walnut cakes. During the season the clocks go back and in the same spirit, our classic cooking methods and combos of old come to the fore. The essence of this whole season with its tones of oranges, yellows and browns amongst its scenery of fallen leaves, is new, completely changed from what has gone before. Autumn is the season of give and take, with elements from summer giving their last brave performances before retirement and some from the winter eagerly taking centre stage.
Green walnut pickles with fois gras
In October and in November the berries and nuts are in their height. For example I like the walnuts when their fleshes are still white. By the way there is a unique recipe which is made from green walnuts and it is called the pickled walnuts. They have been a delicacy in England since at least the early 18th-century. The beginning of September is the best time to pickle walnuts, for then the walnuts have not began to shell, and moreover are not so bitter nor hollow as they will be afterwards; they will now be full-fleshed, and you will have no lose. There is one thing which must be regarded in this Walnut pickle recipe, which is, that if you don’t like the taste of onion or garlic just omit, and supply with ginger.
The first stage is to pick the walnuts whilst they are still green and before the shells have set. Most recipes say that late June is about the best time to pick them. The soft walnuts are then soaked in brine (salt water) for at least ten days. The walnuts are then drained and left to dry in the air. Soaking the walnuts in brine causes a chemical reaction to take place and the walnuts turn dark brown to black in color when exposed to sunlight. The now-black walnuts are then placed into jars and a pickling solution poured over them. This can vary from a straight forward pickling vinegar to a solution containing spices and sugar. The walnuts are sealed and then left in the jars for anywhere between five days and eight weeks depending on which recipe is followed.
So if you were late this year with making your own walnut pickles then buy one in a store and start with the fois gras. My recipe is a cheaper version of the pâté, which is may not be as good as a true foie gras, but it’s similar enough in flavor for a dish that costs only pennies to make. Not only can the pâté be served on toast, it can also serve as finish for a classic Beef Wellington or enhance a stuffing or a meat loaf.
Ingredients: 3 ounces duck fat, 1 large shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped (2 1/2 tablespoons), 1 duck liver (about 3 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces, 1/4 teaspoon herbs de Provence, 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon Cognac, 16 1/4-inch-thick horizontal slices from a small baguette, toasted. 1
1. Place duck fat in a skillet, and cook over medium to high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until the fat has melted and some of it has browned.
2. Add the shallots, and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Add the liver, herbs de Provence, and garlic, and cook over medium to high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the salt and pepper.
3. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the Cognac, and blend until liquefied. If a finer textured pâté is desired, push the mixture through the holes of a strainer with a spoon. This will yield 1/2 cup. Let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours, then cover and refrigerate until serving time.
4.Spread the pâté on the toasted baguette slices, and serve. The pâté will keep, well covered, for 3 to 4 days.
Serve the pâté with the green walnut pickles and pour over some Nocino (Green walnut liqueur) for more excellent aroma!
Pumpkin ice cream
To make your own pumpkin puree, use 1 large or 2 medium sugar pie or other eating pumpkins. Cut out the stem and quarter the pumpkin lengthwise. In a preheated 400°F oven, bake the quarters, cut side down, in a shallow roasting pan with a little water in the bottom until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool, scrape out the seeds, cut the flesh from the peels, and force it through a medium-mesh sieve or the medium disk of a food mill. Freeze any leftover puree for up to 2 months
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree or canned, unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1 tsp. vanilla extract , 2 cups heavy cream , 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar , 5 egg yolks , 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon , 1/2 tsp. ground ginger , 1/4 tsp. salt pinch of freshly grated nutmeg , 1 Tbs. bourbon
In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.
In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 1/2 cups of the cream and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Cook until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, the remaining 1/2 cup cream and the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar. Whisk until smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve. Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 4 to 6 minutes. Do not allow the custard to boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water, stirring occasionally until cool. Whisk the pumpkin mixture into the custard. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the bourbon during the last minute of churning. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days, before serving. Makes about 1 quart.
For the poppy seeds cream/mousse
Ingredients: 2 cups heavy cream, 2/3 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup (4 ounces) twice-ground poppy seeds, 5 large egg yolks, 2/3 cup sugar
Stir together the cream, milk and poppy seeds in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil then turn off the heat.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until creamy.
Reduce the speed to low; add one ladle of the cream mixture to the yolks, beating until incorporated, then gradually add the remaining cream. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, until completely chilled. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve. You can serve pumpkin ice cream with this poppy seed mousse and apple compote!
I’m sure everyone knows that Wiener Schnitzel is a very thin, breaded and pan fried cutlet made from veal. However this dish is the most popular in Germany, Austria and Hungary. In Germany there are lots of restaurants hold on Wednesday Schnitzel day for very low prize. In Hungary there was an era when the whole country ate Schnitzel with fried potatoes on every Sunday!
The history of the Schnitzel
Schnitzel is one of the best known specialties of Viennese cuisine and it is a national dish of Austria.
The designation “Wiener Schnitzel” according to a legend, field marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz brought the recipe from Italy to Vienna in 1857. However in 2007, linguist Heinz Dieter Pohl discovered that this story had been invented. According to Pohl, the dish is first mentioned in connection with Radetzky in 1969 in an Italian gastronomy book, which was published in German in 1971 as Italien tafelt-Italian table, and it is claimed that the story instead concerned the cotoletta alla milanese. Before this time, the story was unknown in Austria. The Radetzky legend is however based on this book, which claims that a Count Attems, an adjutant to the emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria gave a notice from Radetzky about the situation in Lombardy and mentioned a tasty veal steak in a margin note. After Radetzky had returned, the emperor personally requested the recipe from him.
Pohl relates this anecdote with the words: “This story is scientifically meaningless. No such Count Attems appears in any biographical work about the Austrian monarchy, which would have corresponded to this time and position. Pohl doubts that the Wiener Schnitzel came from Italy at all, with the basis that in the other “imported dishes” in Austrian cuisine, the original concept is mentioned, even if in Germanized form, such as in goulash or pancakes, and the Schnitzel does not appear even in specialized cookbooks about Italian cuisine.
Pohl hints that there had been other dishes in Austrian cuisine, before the Schnitzel, that were breaded and deep fried, such as the popular Backhendl, which was first mentioned in a cookbook from 1719. The Schnitzel was then mentioned in the 19th century as Wiener Schnitzel analogically to the Wiener Backhendl.
There are documents in the Milan archive of Saint Ambrose dated in 1148 where “Lumbolos cum panitio” (Latin) are mentioned, which can be translated as “little chops with breadcrumbs”. This can be a hint that a dish similar to the “Cotoletta alla Milanese” already existed at that time.
In 1887, E. F. Knight ordered a dish called Wiener schnitzel in a Rotterdam café and wrote “as far as I could make out, the lowest layer of a Wiener schnitzel consists of juicy veal steaks and slices of lemon peel; the next layer is composed of sardines; then come sliced gherkins, capers, and diverse mysteries; a delicate sauce flavors the whole, and the result is a gastronomic dream!
How to make it or the strict rules of making Schnitzel
Thus the typical/original dish is prepared from veal slices, butterfly cut, about 4 mm thin and lightly pounded flat (the typical sizes of an escalope used in the food industry range from 113 to 227 g (4–8 oz), slightly salted, and covered in flour, whipped eggs and bread crumbs. The bread crumbs must not be pressed into the meat, so that they stay dry and can be “souffled”. Finally the Schnitzel is fried in a good proportion of lard or clarified butter at a temperature from 160 to 170 °C, until it’s golden yellow. The Schnitzel must swim in the fat, otherwise it will not cook evenly: the fat cools too much and intrudes into the bread crumbs, moistening them. During the frying the Schnitzel is repeatedly slightly tossed around the pan. Also during the frying, fat can be scooped from the pan with a spoon and poured onto the meat. The Schnitzel is done after it turns golden yellow or brown.
The dish is traditionally served in Austria with (lettuce tossed with a sweetened vinaigrette dressing, optionally with chopped chives or onions), potato salad, cucumber salad, or parsley potatoes. Currently it is also served with rice, French fries or roasted potatoes.
In Germany it is common to serve it with a slice of lemon, to give the bread crumbs more taste, and a sprout of parsley. Nowadays it has become common in Northern Germany to serve it with lemon, cucumber slices, to achieve a pleasant appearance.
An other popular variation is made with pork instead of veal, because pork is cheaper than veal (usually about half the price). To avoid mixing up different products, the Austrian and German food committees have decided that a “Wiener Schnitzel” must be made of veal. A Schnitzel made of pork can be called “Schnitzel Wiener Art” (Viennese style schnitzel). In common parlance in Germany, a “Wiener Schnitzel” no more referred exclusively to a veal dish, but instead to a breaded steak in general.
Similar dishes to the Wiener Schnitzel also include the Surschnitzel (from cured meat), and breaded turkey or chicken steaks or the cotoletta alla milanese, the Schnitzel Cordon bleu filled with ham and cheese and the Pariser Schnitzel. The American chicken-fried steak is often said to be closely related to Wiener Schnitzel, the result of the adaptation of the recipe by German or Austrian immigrants to the Texas Hill Country to locally available ingredients. The Japanese tonkatsu is also a fried pork cutlet from the Japanese cuisine which is thicker than the European counterparts and widespread in Japan and South Korea.
It’s October we are for pumpkin season. I have to admit they are very versatile in their uses for cooking. And what is funny the most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers! In the United States and Canada, pumpkin is a popular Halloween and Thanksgiving staple. These countries have plenty of recipes with pumpkin such as purée, squash, fried etc. Pumpkin purée is sometimes prepared and frozen for later use. A can of pureed pumpkin, typically used as the main ingredient in pumpkin pie!
When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, steamed, or roasted. In its native North America is a very important, traditional part of the autumn harvest, eaten mashed and making its way into soups and purees. Often, it is made into pie, various kinds of which are a traditional staple of the Canadian and American Thanksgiving holidays. In Canada, Mexico, the United States, Europe, the seeds are often roasted and eaten as a snack.
So I bought a Hokkaido pumpkin on the other day and decided to make a meal to celebrate the “harvest”.
Ingredients:1000 gr of pork, 200 ml oil, 4 red onions, 2 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme
for the pumpkin squash: 1 small Hokkaido pumpkin, 2-3 potatoes medium sized, 200 ml cream, milk, salt pepper, 1 teaspoon thyme, sage
for the Brussels sprout: 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate, 1 tsp marjoram, 1 tbsp of white balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons good olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Directions: cut the pork into thick slices, meanwhile preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Pour oil and water into a waterproof baking pan, salt and pepper. Place meat in the pan and season with salt as well. Toss the pan into the hot oven. After 10 minutes cooking on high temperature, lower the temperature to 150 degrees. Add the peeled onions to meat and cook them together for 20 minutes or until the pork is tender-crispy enough.
Making the pumpkin: Put 1 squash or pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, quartered and thinly sliced into a pot. Add peeled and quartered potatoes as well. Pour water on vegetables and cook them for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put the garlic and half the sage in a saucepan, add the cream and milk, and heat gently, not allowing the mixture to boil, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then fish out the sage and garlic. Put cooked vegetables in a blender (without water) and pour over cream and milk mixture and blend pumpkin until smooth.
Making the Brussels sprouts:,
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt, marjoram. But you can cook with salt and bicarbonate and then fry them in a frying pan in a bit of butter and then flavor with white balsamic vinegar! It’s really delicious.
Serve the meat on the top of pumpkin purée alongside with the Brussels sprouts and pour over some sauce remained in the baking pan from the meat.
I got an invitation from a Belgian family member to participate in a beer fest in Mechelen. She sent me a poster of the event and I saw a cute, lovely creature which immediately captured my attention. It was the logo of the festival’s a little troll with a pointy nose who’s wearing a green hop hat made by Alain Poncelet, a well-known Belgian artist. I figured out later that the Cuvée des Trolls is a beer brewed at the Dubuisson Brewery in Pipaix, in Belgium. After google-ing about I have learned that that is a lager beer, filtered or unfiltered, refreshing and scented, with a fuller taste and well balanced, and contains 7% alcohol by volume.The beer is brewed from sweet must to which hops and dried orange peels are added. This is a beer fermentation (a temperature of fermentation of 23 °C during one week). The beer brewed by Brasse-Temps is not filtered and just decanted, so there is still some yeast. It tastes better served at 3 °C. In Belgium it is available in bottle or in keg.
The story of the Trolls beer
Cuvée des Trolls has been brewed from September 2000 by the micro-brewery Brasse-Temps, created by the Dubuisson Brewery in Louvain-la-Neuve. The success was immediate in this student city and then the Dubuisson Brewery launch the beer in Wallonia, then in Brussels and finally in the Flemish Region and abroad. In 2003, another le Brasse-Temps was created in Mons and in 2005 the production reached 5000 hectoliters.
But originally the brewery Dubuisson was founded in 1769 by Joseph Leroy as farmhouse brewery near Pipaix in Belgium which means it is the oldest and most traditional brewery in the Walloon region. In 1931 the Dubuisson brothers, Alfred and Amédée Leroy’s descendants decided to turn the operation into a commercial brewery. First the Cuvée des Trolls were born, which is an unfiltered blonde beer with a natural cloud. The beer is made using only yeast, malt, hops, sugar and water. Its rich and complex palette offers aromas ranging from fresh white and yellow fruits with impressions of citrus to touches of honey. There is a very important fact that from the very outset and up to the present, the brewery Dubuisson has remained a 100% independent brewery, making entirely natural beers with no chemical additives.
The other type of beer of the brewery Dubuisson is the Bush Blonde, which is a strong beer with an alcohol content of 10.5%. This is a beer which is well-balanced on the palate, with a fine sprinkling of hops and very low acidity. It is only slightly bitter and gives off subtle, delicately perfumed aromas, also offering exceptional digestibility. Bush Blonde Triple is Bush Blonde refermented in 75 cl bottles and this refermentation strengthens the aromas of Bush Blonde, accentuating the nose and the rich taste which were already there.
Bush Blonde is also highly suitable for use in cooking. Because it is only very slightly bitter, it can be used to deglaze cooking juices, or as a stock to keep meat or fish dishes moist while they are cooking. Here are some recipe suggestions cooking with beers
Cooking with the blond beer
Starters suggestions: Egg-based dishes (quiches, omelettes, etc.), Fine vegetables in sauce (Flemish-style asparagus, artichokes mousseline, etc.), Shellfish, seafood and fish in sauce (scallops, lobsters, sole, turbot, etc.), Chaud-froid salads with white meat or poultry (Caesar salad)
Fish / Seafood, Crabs, lobsters, rock lobster in white sauces or au gratin, Fish in white sauces
Meat / Poultry, Simple poultry in stock or in sauce (Ghent-style waterzooi, chicken with tarragon.), Herb-based white meat dishes (salti in bocca with sage, Provençal herbs.). Braised white meat (blanquettes, fricassees, etc.), Grilled or barbecued meat, Chicory au gratin, stoemp with chicory, Southern-flavoured cooking: Provence, Italy (Pizzas, pasta with pesto, etc.)
Desserts / Cheeses, Creamy cheeses (Camembert, Brie, etc.), Cooked hard cheeses (Comté, etc.),Savoyard fondue, used instead of white wine
Cooking with the dark beer
Starters: Beer soup, farmhouse soups (garbure, etc.)Poultry, meat or game foie gras pâtés, Offal-based starters (kidneys and lardon salad, etc.).
Fish/Seafood, Oily fish in a rich sauce, which can be livened up with Bush (monkfish bourride),Eels (matelote with Bush)
Meat/Poultry, Braised red meats, or in sauce (carbonnades, cutlet with shallot, etc.),Roast beef, lamb, Powerful poultry (magret or confit of duck, goose, etc.)Ground or feathered game (hare, doe, venison/pheasant, partridge, etc.)Offal in sauce (beef or calf’s liver, calf’s or beef kidneys, calf’s sweetbreads, calf’s tongue, ox tongue)
Desserts / Cheeses, Dark chocolate-based dishes (fondant with dark chocolate, chocolate pudding, pralines with strong ganache), Pralines or caramel, Coffee sorbet, Cheeses with powerful flavours: Blue cheeses (Gorgonzola, Fourme d’Ambert, Roquefort), strong cheeses (Herve, Maroilles, Boulette d’Avesnes)
Brebis d’Acremont cheese.
The Limoncello and the Cosa Nostra
I’m sure everybody knows that the Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy, especially in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi, and islands of Procida, Ischia, and Capri. It is also produced in Abruzzo, Basilicata, Apulia, Sicily, Sardinia, Menton in France, and the Maltese island of Gozo. In northern Italy, the liqueur is often referred to instead as limoncino!
In Sicilia the Mafia,-where it is called the “Cosa Nostra” (in English means-Our Thing)-was created in the 19th century as a “cartel of private protection of the Limoncello farms”. The society provided of the protection of the Limoncello business. But later on the Cosa Nostra started to use their fearsome reputation for violence to deter people from swindling, robbing, or competing with those who pay them for protection. For many businessmen in Sicily, they provide an essential service when they cannot rely on the police and judiciary to enforce their contracts and protect their properties from thieves (this is often because they are engaged in black market deals).
Traditionally, limoncello is made from the zest of Femminello St. Teresa lemons, also known as Sorrento or Sfusato lemons. Lemon zest, or peels without the pith, is steeped in rectified spirit until the oil is released. The resulting yellow liquid is then mixed with simple syrup. Varying the sugar-to-water ratio and the temperature affects the clarity, viscosity, and flavor. Opaque limoncellos are the result of spontaneous emulsification (otherwise known as the ouzo effect) of the sugar syrup and extracted lemon oils.
Limoncello is traditionally served chilled as an after-dinner digestivo.
Ingredients: 15 lemons, 1 liter vodka, 3 cups sugar, 4 cups water
1. Zest the lemons, and place zest into a large glass bottle or jar. Pour in vodka. Cover loosely and let infuse for one week at room temperature.
2. After one week, combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. DO NOT STIR. Boil for 15 minutes. Allow syrup to cool to room temperature.
3. Stir vodka mixture into syrup. Strain into glass bottles, and seal each bottle with a cork. Let mixture age for 2 weeks at room temperature.
4. Place bottled liqueur into the freezer. When icy cold, serve in chilled vodka glasses or shot glasses.
business! Along the Amalfi Coast, it is usually served in small ceramic glasses that are also chilled. This tradition has been carried into other parts of Italy!
Do you crave wild romance? Then a hike through the Höllental gorge is just for you. (The Höllental, English translation “Hell Valley” or “Valley of Hell” is one of the routes on the German side leading up the Zugspitze on the German-Austrian border in the northern Alps. It is located in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.) You can discover the pristine charm of pure nature with all your senses. The Hammersbach stream with glacier run-off carves its way down through the high mountains, tumbling over boulders and dropping over cliffs into pools with milky foam, roaring and thundering along the way. Some of the adventurous sections of the trail go through electrically lit tunnels where you
can hear the dampened pounding of the wild water through small windows. The air you
inhale is fresh and clear, particularly refreshing on a hot summer’s day. The Höllentalklamm gorge is easily accessible, has a length of about 1 km (0.6 mi) and offers an experience entirely distinct from any other gorge.
Follow the signs to the alpine lodge at the bottom entrance to the gorge, the Klammeingangshütte (1047 m), which you will reach after approx. 1 to 1 ½ hours (snacks, cake and coffee, small meals available). Hike through the gorge, passing through tunnels in the cliffs (electric lighting) and going over small bridges and up steps, until you reach the end of the gorge at 1193 m (3914 ft) above sea level after approx. 45 minutes.
It is worth going the extra meters to the Höllentalangerhütte, the alpine lodge further on
up with a splendid view and food and lodging. The wide green valley here reveals a view of the Waxenstein peaks, the Riffelwände walls and the Höllentalferner glacier with the towering peak of Zugspitze 2962 m (9,717 ft) in the background. To return, follow the route going to the Neuneralm alpine meadow lodge above Obergrainau as described under “Höllentalklamm”. The trail is a little more strenuous when going from Hammersbach,
but the extra effort is rewarded by gorgeous views.
Important tips: it is highly recommend ankle-high hiking boots and rain gear. Bulky objects such as baby carriages and bicycles are not permitted in the Höllentalklamm gorge. Temperatures
in the gorge are always cool, even on hot summer days. Therefore, make sure to dress accordingly. The Höllentalklamm gorge is in alpine terrain, so be sure to always exercise the necessary caution. If you are taking children along, it is advisable to secure them with
a rope and maybe a harness.
The Höllental gorge is open for summer season.
Places to stop for a bite to eat:
Höllentalklamm-Eingangshütte: opening 13 May
Entrance fee per person (up and down):
Adults: 4.00 EUR
Adults with a “Kurkarte” (guest card): 2.00 EUR
Children: 1.00 EUR
DAV members: 1.00 EUR
Group tickets: 2.00 EUR
A museum at the gorge entrance showing interesting cultural exhibits was opened in July, 2011. The exhibits in the museum cover the following topics: Mining and ore mining – History of Höllental, the “Valley of Hell” – History of the Höllentalklamm gorge – General history. Entrance to the museum is included in the gorge entrance fee.