Month: April 2013
Walpurgis night is a traditional spring festival in large parts of Central and Northern Europe. It is held on 30th of April or 1st of May. It is usually celebrated with dancing and with bonfires. It is exactly six months from All Hallows’ Eve.
In Finland, Walpurgis day (Vappu) is one of the four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Midsummer.
In Germany, Walpurgisnacht, Walpurgis Night (in the folklore) the night of 30 April (May Day’s eve), when witches meet on the Brocken mountain and hold revels with their Gods and await the arrival of spring.
In Sweden, Walpurgis Night (in Swedish simply Valborg) has more or less become a de facto half holiday, thus people need some special treatment. The next recipe is a Swedish herring salad made for Walpurgis night. This colorful and healthy version of herring salad (Sillsalad), rich in both taste and omega-3 fatty acids. This recipe is also lovely when poached salmon is substituted for the herring (but then, it is call ed Laxsalad!).
- 1 to 1 1/2 cup wine-pickled herring -or- tinned smoked herring
- 10 to 12 new potatoes, skins on
- 3 green onions (scallions)
- 1 cup pickled beets
- 1 cucumber
- 1 green apple (like Granny Smith)
- 1 bunch fresh dill (about 1/2 cup when chopped)
- 3 to 4 hard-boiled eggs
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)
- 1/4 cup light olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
Scrub the new potatoes well and then boil just until fork-tender, about 30 minutes (depending upon the size of your potatoes). Cool and cut into 1/8” slices.
Place pickled herring in colander and rinse lightly under cold water (omit this step if using tinned smoked herring). Pat gently with paper towel to dry and cut into 1” pieces.
Dice green onions and julienne pickled beet slices into thin strips. Peel, seed, and then chop cucumber into 1/2” pieces. Wash apple well, core, and cut into 1/2” pieces or slices, leaving the skin on. Coarsely chop the fresh dill, leaving a few long stems for garnish. Peel and cut the hard-boiled eggs into wedges.
For Lemon-Caraway Vinaigrette Dressing: Whisk together olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, and caraway seeds.
Arrange first 7 ingredients on a serving platter, sprinkling with chopped dill and garnishing with hard-boiled egg wedges and lemon, if desired. Serve lemon-caraway vinaigrette dressing on the side.
Yield: 6 servings as a main-dish salad; 15-20 if part of a buffet or smörgåsbord table.
Hungarians are especially passionate about their soups, with fierce rivalries between regional variations of the same dish, (like the Hungarian spicy fish soup called Fisherman’s Soup or halászlé, cooked differently on the banks of Hungary’s two main rivers: the Danube and the Tisza). There is also a remarkable element of the Hungarian cuisine that are hardly noticed by locals, but usually conjure up much enthusiasm amongst foreigners, we have a kind of cold fruit soup, like cold sour cherry soup (Hungarian: hideg meggyleves) which is mostly consumed in the hot summer (see cold French cucumber soup).
Inspite of the German name of this soup, this is the one of the most popular soup in Hungary since we have really good saussages and a kind of thick sour cream make this dish more special. There is one more secret to tell the marjoram makes the soup simply irresistible.
The recipe ingredients:
1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
1.5 liter/2½ pts boiling water
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tbsp of marjoram
half of a Chinese cabbage, chopped
bunch of parsley
1 beef stock cube
1 tbsp Hungarian paprika
2 medium potatoes, chopped
2 frankfurter or Debreziner sausages (hot dogs), sliced
Salt, pepper, 2 tbsp sour cream
1. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and gently soaté the onion for 2 minutes.
2. Add carrot, Chinese cabbage, stock cube, fseason with paprika powder, marjoram, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Stir flour in vegetables and then gradually pour in the water, constantly stirring.
4. Add potatoes and Frankfurters and cook for another 15 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent the soup from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
5. Top with sour cream and fresh parsley.
This breakfast or afternoon brioche is the favorite of my family. It can be served with creme anglais or a jelly or other preserves to accompany tea or coffee, or with pate or hors d’oeuvre. The tops of the small ones can easily be pulled away, giving space for a sweet or savory filling. Brioche dough can also be used for wrapping other ingredients such as beef for boeuf-en-croute, a salmon filling, or for a spicy garlic sausage
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon active dry yeast, 1/3 cup warm water or milk (110 degrees F), 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teasp salt, 4 eggs, 1 cup butter, softened, 1 egg yolk, lemon peel, 150 gr raisins, 100 gr almonds
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour sugar and salt. Make a well in center of the bowl and mix in the eggs and yeast mixture. Beat well until the dough has pulled together, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 8 minutes.
- Flatten the dough and spread it with one third of the butter. Knead this well. Repeat this twice to incorporate the remaining butter. Add raisins. Knead it again. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes between additions of butter. This process may take 20 minutes or so. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Deflate the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. It needs time to chill in order to become more workable.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans (see Cook’s Note to make rolls). Beat the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water to make a glaze.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, form into loaves and place into prepared pans. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, about 60 minutes. Brush the loaves or rolls with the egg wash. Bake in preheated oven until a deep golden brown. Start checking the loaves for doneness after 25 minutes, and rolls at 10 minutes. Let the loaves cool in the pans for 10 minutes before moving them to wire racks to cool completely. Bestrew top of the brioche with almond and powder sugar.
As far as I am concerned I discovered the herb in Germany about three years ago but in spite of the lots of medical benefits, I didn’t become fond of it. Well, until yesterday when I got a bunch of ramsons from my neighbour’s garden and I decided to prepare a fennel soup seasoning with this new kitchen star. It tasted garlicy, no wonder as the plant has a strong garlic aroma, but without the side effects of the garlic, (such as smelly breath) and with the combination of the fennel, my family voted for that to keep the recipe and make it again.
Few more words about the herb
The Germans call the ramsons bear’s garlic, but in English it is also known as buckrams, broad leaved garlic, wood garlic and wild garlic, among other local names.
The wild garlic is a wild herb and it is native to Asia and Europe. The plant has both culinary and medicinal uses. I’s a very invasive plant and if left to grow uncontrollably, it usually creates a full blanket of dense growth in the area. One needs to be cautious while picking the wild garlic because of its similarity to other bell shaped flowers (are easily mistaken for Lily of the Valley, which is extremely poisonous and possibly deadly! The plant can easily be mistaken for other two poisonous wild growths too). One of the best ways to distinguish wood garlic from other wild growths is by rubbing the flower between fingers. If it releases a strong garlic aroma, it is the right plant. It is important to not consume the herb unless it has been properly identified. As a food, ramson is considered very healthy and its consumption is encouraged almost everywhere in the world. The plant has leaves that are fully edible and are used raw in salads and also as an ingredient in soups, spices, stews and other preparations. When added to homemade pesto, leaves of wild garlic add a powerful flavor to the sauce and make it more aromatic. Chefs generally opt for ramsons instead of basil to flavor pesto.
Wild garlic is a favorite of both brown bear and wild boar. The brown bear has quite a taste for the bulbs and has a habit of digging the ground to reach them. Cows that feed on wild garlic leaves produce milk that has a very strong garlic-y flavor. It is used to make a garlic butter that has been very popular in Switzerland since the 19th century.
When boiled, wild garlic can be eaten as a vegetable or added as an ingredient to other vegetarian dishes. In Russia, stems of the plant are preserved by salting and consumed as a salad. Bulbs and flowers of the wood garlic plant are quite delicious and added to various food preparations.
My beloved fennel bulb wild garlic soup
Ingredients: 2 fennel bulbs, oil and butter to cook
1 red onion, 2 cloves of garlic,
salt and pepper to taste,
1 tbsp of corn starch,
1 chicken stock, 1 bunch of wild garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds,
1 teaspoon of dill and freshly chopped parsley
sour cream to taste
Directions: Trim the fennel leaves (discarding any woody stems). Melt butter and oil mixture and add the onion, fennel leaves, garlic cloves and soaté them, add black pepper. Dense with 1 spoon of corn starch and pour over one and half liter of chicken stock, simmer for 5 minutes.
Let it to boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes). Bestrew with dill. Serve with sour cream on top and finelly chopped parsley. You can eat with crunchy bacon slices as well.
Actually La Belle Helene dessert was created first around 1864 by Auguste Escoffier who named it after the operetta La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach.
I prepared the dessert from pears poached in sugar syrup and I served with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and crystallized violets.
But there is a simpler version, in which poached pears could be replaced with canned pears and crystallized violets with sliced almonds.
Ingredients: 2 cinnamon sticks, ¾ cup granulated sugar, 2 ½ cups water, divided, 4 firm Bosc pears, cut lengthwise with stem intact and cored, 8 small scoops vanilla ice cream, Chocolate sauce, for drizzling
Directions: In a medium saucepan, combine the cinnamon sticks, sugar, and ½ cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 2-5 minutes, until it becomes thick like syrup and turns golden brown. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and gently whisk in the remaining 2 cups water, until the syrup is completely incorporated into the water.
Add the prepared pears to the syrup mixture and bring to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes. Test doneness with a knife prick in the thickest part of the fruit; the pears are poached when they are just cooked through, but not completely soft. Allow the pears to cool in the syrup until they are room temperature. Serve with 2 small scoops of ice cream and drizzle of chocolate sauce.
Ingredients for the courgette dish:
2 medium sized courgettes, grated /peeled on unpeeled (both are possible)
1 onion finelly chopped
1 teaspoon of dill
200 ml or 100 ml cream/100 ml milk or 100 ml sour cream
salt, pepper, paprika powder
1 tbsp of cornstarch or flour
2 tbsp butter or oil to fry
1. Wash and clean courgettes, peel or leave the skin on them. Grate them. Salt and pepper to taste. Chop onion.
2. Heat oil or butter in a saucepan and add chopped onion and grated courgettes. Cook for three minutes then add flour, stir it in and pour over a bit of water or milk.
3. Bestew courgette with the dill and paprika powder. Cook further about five more minutes.
4. Add sour cream or cream to courgettes .
5. Salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
Ingredients for the Hungarian hamburgers:
300 gr minced meat (pork and beef mixture)
half of an onion chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic
a dry or toasted two slices of bread soaked in water
1 tbsp of semi-sharp mustard
bread crumbs for frying
1. Chop onion and fry it in a little oil.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef/pork meat, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic, and fried onion and egg.
3. Soak bread until it is absorbed. Squeeze water from bread then add to minced meat.
4. Mix everything together using your hands. Shape the mixture into 10 hamburger patties.
5. Coat hamburgers in the bread crumbs. Heat oil or fritture and fry each hamburgers for 5 minutes per side, or until well done.
6. Serve with the courgette dish.
here is the recipe:
– 2 tablespoons water, 4 large kiwis, peeled and chopped, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
– ¼ cup fresh lime juice, 6 ounces high-quality white chocolate (about 1 cup chopped), 1 ½ cups chilled whipping cream
– 1/3 cup powdered sugar
-Garnishes: 2 kiwi, peeled and diced ¼-inch, white chocolate shavings (optional) ready raspberry syrup
1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine kiwi, granulated sugar and lime juice in a nonreactive saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a good simmer and cook for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, stirring often and mashing kiwi with the back of a spoon.
3. Remove from the heat, add softened gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in white chocolate and whisk until chocolate is completely melted. (Mixture will not be totally smooth; it will still have some texture with small pieces of kiwi, but chocolate should be melted all the way.) Refrigerate until chilled but not set firm, about 30 minutes.
4. When kiwi mixture is cool, whip the cream and powdered sugar together in a medium-large bowl until stiffly whipped. Gently fold in half of the cooled kiwi mixture. Fold in remaining kiwi mixture and divide mousse among 6 large martini glasses, oversized wine glasses or parfait glasses. (There is a little over ½ cup per serving.)
5. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve (up to overnight). Sprinkle each serving with diced kiwi and white chocolate shavings, and biscuit if using or pour over raspberry coulis.
500g Piedmont beef fillet, trimmed
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp baby capers
handful of rocket leaves, roughly chopped shaved parmesan cheese, to serve
Parmesan olive oil or extra virgin olive oil
1. As the beef needs to be sliced as thin as possible, ask your butcher to slice it for you. If you do want to give it a go yourself, wrap the fillet in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes to firm up. Using a very sharp, large knife, thinly slice the beef and cover the slices with plastic wrap as you go to prevent it from drying out. Refrigerate until needed.
2. Place yolks and lemon juice in a food processor and blend to combine. With the motor running, gradually add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream until the mixture becomes lighter in colour and thickens. Stir in the dill and season with salt and pepper.
3. To serve, arrange beef on cold plates, heap with rocket, drizzle over dill mayonnaise, then sprinkle with capers and a few shaves of parmesan. Heat one tablespoon of oil and one tablespoon of butter in a heavy-based frying pan over high heat until very hot. Serve over beef and drizzle with a little parmesan oil.
3 pre-ccoked beetroots, 100 g Parmesan cheese shaved, and balsamic vinegar cream, orange slices and mint leaf for decoration
Cut beet roots in fine, thin slices. Salt and pepper to taste, bestrew with grated Parmesan and sprinkle with the Crema di Balsamico. Serve on rocket salad bed and decorate with fresh orange slices and mint.
In Bavaria, (Münich) where I live at the moment one of the most popular dish is the sliced pork roast called Schweinsbraten. It´s hearty, simple and a perfect comfort food, with a crunchy crust. Usually made with beer and serve with red cabbage (Blaukraut), sour cabbage or fresh cabbage salad and with one or two dumplings. Tourist and local people can find everywhere, in restaurants, at B&B. But be aware of it the portions are so big I always have to share mine with my husband.
To cook the dish is kind of time consuming but it’s worth.
Ingredients: 4 -6 lbs pork shoulder or 4 -6 lbs pork butt, 2 tablespoons caraway seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons ground pepper, 2 tablespoons cooking oil, 3 medium onions, roughly chopped, 2 carrots, celery, peeled and chopped, 1/2 cup water or 1/2 cup stock or 1/2 cup white wine or 1/2 cup beer, 2 -3 tablespoons flour, 2 -3 tablespoons butter, coriander, marjory and garlic
Other seasoning that can be rubbed into the pork before roasting: marjoram or minced garlic or mustard
Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub the entire roast all over with the oil and sprinkle with caraway, salt, pepper.
Let stand for one hour. Spray your roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the vegetables into roasting pan and pour liquid of choice.
Place the roast, fat side down, in the roasting pan on top of the vegetables. Cover tightly and roast for one hour.
Remove from oven, uncover and turn roast fat side up. Cut decorative diamonds into the fat, insert meat thermometer and replace, uncovered, back into the oven for approximately 2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 165°F. Remove from oven and take out of roaster; cover with foil to preserve temperature, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and save the vegetables to serve on the side.
Measure pan juices; add enough chosen liquid (water, wine, stock, or beer) to make 2 cups. Make a roux by blending the flour and butter together very well in a saucepan; add the pan juices and bring to a simmer. Slice the roast thinly and serve with the gravy on the side. For additional richness, the gravy may be finished with a little butter, cream or sour cream.
Today Carpaccio is the international name of a typical Italian dish made with raw meat (beef, veal, venison, salmon or tuna). Usually sliced thinly or pounded thin and served mainly as an appetizer. The dish was proposed with this name for the first time in Venice, at the time of an exhibition dedicated to Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio (1465 – 1525/1526) which took place around 1950.
The diffusion and the name of this typical dish from Piedmont called the “Carne cruda all’Albese” (which was considered only a starter and never a main course) is due to Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, who prepared the dish for the countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo when he learned that the doctors had recommended that she had to eat raw meat. Inspired by the paintings by Vittore Carpaccio– the Venetian painter known for the tones of his reds and whites – composed the dish that today we all know by the name of “Carpaccio”.
The typical Piedmont Carpaccio is made with very thin slices of beef meat placed on a dish with a marinade made with lemon, olive oil and with shavings of white truffle or parmesan cheese. Today the typical Italian Carpaccio’s preparations are varied but usually they are prepared serving the thin slices of meat with olive oil, lemon, shavings of parmesan cheese on a bed of arugula.
The meat used for Carpaccio is beef sirloin, a cut tastier than the fillet. Since this is a dish best served raw, the meat must be fresh. Also in the Piedmont tradition, Carpaccio made with minced meat and garlic, the so-called “Carne cruda”.
Today the term Carpaccio is used for any preparation made with thinly sliced raw meat, fish or vegetables (usually seasoned with lemon, or vinegar, olive oil, salt and grounded pepper) or fruit.The spring is late this year but luckily the supermarkets are full of fresh vegetables.
I wanted to try the vegetable version of the carpaccio and my choice fell on the courgette
Here is the recipe
Ingredients: 2 green or yellow courgettes, 1 dl of good olive oil , a handful of rocket salad, a handful of parmesan shavings, 5-8 capers, lemon juice, salt and pepper, balsamico
slice or grate the courgettes finely and arrange them on a plate. Salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare olive oil dressing, add lemon juice (half) to oliva oil. Mix well.
Pour oliva mixture over courgette slices. Scatter some chopped capers on top and bestrew with parmesan.
Decorate with rocket salad sprinkled with balsamico.