Coq au vin

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½ tbsp olive oil, 3 rashers (100g) dry-cured, smoked back bacon, fat trimmed, chopped 12 small shallots peeled, 2 free-range chicken legs (460g), skin removed, 4 free-range chicken thighs with bone and skin (650g), skin removed 2 free-range, skinless, boneless chicken breasts (280g), 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 3 tbsp brandy or Cognac, 600ml red wine, 150ml good-quality chicken stock, 2 tsp tomato purée 3 thyme sprigs, 2 rosemary sprigs and 2 bay leaves, to make a bouquet garni, small handful chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish, 1½ tbsp olive oil, 250g chestnut mushroom, halved if large, 2 tbsp plain flour, 1½ tsp olive oil, 1 tsp softened butter


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or flameproof dish. Tip in the bacon and fry until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Add the shallots to the pan and fry, stirring or shaking the pan often, for 5-8 minutes until well browned all over. Remove and set aside with the bacon.
  2. Pat the chicken pieces dry with kitchen paper. Pour the remaining oil into the pan, then fry half the chicken pieces, turning regularly, for 5-8 minutes until well browned. Remove, then repeat with the remaining chicken. Remove and set aside.
  3. Scatter in the garlic and fry briefly, then, with the heat medium-high, pour in the brandy or Cognac, stirring the bottom of the pan to deglaze. The alcohol should sizzle and start to evaporate so there is not much left.
  4. Return the chicken legs and thighs to the pan along with any juices, then pour in a little of the wine, stirring the bottom of the pan again. Stir in the rest of the wine, the stock and tomato purée, drop in the bouquet garni, season with pepper and a pinch of salt, then return the bacon and shallots to the pan. Cover, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, add the chicken breasts and cook for 50 mins-1hr.
  5. Just before ready to serve, heat the oil for the mushrooms in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the mushrooms and fry over a high heat for a few minutes until golden. Remove and keep warm.
  6. Lift the chicken, shallots and bacon from the pan and transfer to a warmed serving dish. Remove the bouquet garni. To make the thickener, mix the flour, olive oil and butter in a small bowl using the back of a teaspoon. Bring the wine mixture to a gentle boil, then gradually drop in small pieces of the thickener, whisking each piece in using a wire whisk. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Scatter the mushrooms over the chicken, then pour over the wine sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley.P1140825



Lamb with Port wine sauce

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Easter is coming! We have three more weeks to go so it’s high time to give a try to an excellent lamb recipe!

Ingredients: 6 small lamb shanks, visible fat trimmed, salt and pepper, to taste, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 pound brown mushrooms, stemmed, 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, 10 cloves garlic, split, 6 large shallots, split, 3 cups chicken stock (or low-sodium chicken broth) 1 cup port wine, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, 2 bay leaves
Methods: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Season shanks with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a roasting pan just large enough to hold shanks in a single layer over medium-high heat. Add the shanks and sear on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a platter.

Halve or quarter the mushrooms if large. Add both the brown and shiitake mushrooms, garlic, and shallots to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add stock, Port, rosemary and bay leaves. Bring to boil, scraping any bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the shanks. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or foil. Place the pan in the oven and bake at 350 degrees F 45 minutes, then turn the shanks. Continue baking until meat is tender and just starting to loosen from bone, about 45 to 75 minutes.

Set the pan on the counter until meat is cool enough to handle. Defat the cooking juices by pouring them into fat separator and skimming the top layer, or by pouring the juices into a bowl and freezing until the fat solidifies.

To serve, pour some of sauce over the shanks and arrange mushrooms on and around meat.P1140780


Spinach soup with poached or fried quail egg

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Ingredients: 25g butter, 1 bunch spring onion chopped, 1 leek (about 120g), sliced, 1 small potato, (about 200g), peeled and diced, ½ tsp ground black pepper, 1l stock (made with two chicken or vegetable stock cubes), 2 x 200-235g bags fresh baby spinach, 150g half-fat crème fraîche, 2 tbsp of milk making foam, quail eggs


  1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Add the spring onions, leek and peeled and cubed potato. Stir and put on the lid. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
  2. Pour in the stock and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until the potato is tender.
  3. Add the spinach and cook for a couple of minutes until wilted. Use a hand blender to blitz to a smooth soup.
  4. Prepare quail egg: you can poach or fry it on the traditional way.
  5. Stir in the crème fraîche. Make foam from the milk and spoon on the top.
  6. Reheat soup and serve with the fried quail egg (flavor egg with some balsamic vinegar).P1140777.JPG

Stuffed mushrooms

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Ingredients: 6 big champignons, 1 slice of white bread, 1 salted speck or bacon, 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 onion, 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped, 3 cl oil (extra virgin), pepper to taste

Methods: Preheat oven for 200°C.

Wash and peel the champions. Chop the stalks of the mushrooms and cut them into fine. Fry the bacon for five minutes then place them into a kitchen paper. Slice the bread for small pieces then fry them in the oil for 2-3 minutes.

Chop the onion and add to bread. Scatter the champignon stalks and the crushed garlic to frying pan as well. Let it simmer so that the liquid could be released from the mushroom. Stir it constantly. Add the speck, the croûtons and the parsley to garlic mixture and flavor with pepper and thyme. The stuffing is ready.

Rub the fireproof casserole with butter. Stuff the mushroom heads with the speck, bread, onion etc. mixture and place them onto the casserole. Let them bake for 25 minutes. Serve mushrooms as a starter. gevulde_champignons_lr



Turkey with cherry sauce and croquettes

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Ingredients: 1 (6 pound) turkey breast, cooking spray, 1/4 cup butter, cut 1 tablespoon sized pieces, 1 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup dry white wine lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon rubbed sage, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 cup water chicken bouillon, 1 jar of cherry compote

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

Place turkey breast in a shallow baking pan; coat outside of turkey with nonstick cooking spray. Tuck onion in breast cavity; place butter between meat and skin. Pour chicken broth and white wine into bottom of pan.

Combine lemon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sage, oregano, rosemary and paprika in a small bowl; rub seasoning mix over turkey.

Bake in preheated oven until a meat thermometer reads 175 degrees F (80 degrees C), basting every 30 minutes, 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Remove turkey and keep warm. Pour pan drippings into a cup and discard grease.

For the sauce: Combine flour and the liquid of the compote in a saucepan until smooth. Pour in pan drippings and chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. You can flavor with cloves (powder) and with 1 tablespoon of rum or brandy. Slice turkey and serve with the cherry gravy and with the fried croquettes.




Hunting of the eggnog liqueur filled donut

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Farsangi fánk 018In Germany the carnival has reached its peak this week! You can see from the pastry shop windows they are almost collapsed from the cakes, donuts and other carnival related delicacies! The Germans worship the donuts all over the year but at carnival time there is no bakery that wouldn’t offer donut with at least 25 kinds of different fillings.

I’m not particularly fond of donut, but yesterday I tasted an advocaat liqueur (egg+sugar+brandy+cream) Krapfen for the first time (Krapfen is the German name of the pastry that is made in a deep fryer) and it was divine. Today I went back to the bakery to get some again. No chance! It was sold out already at 7 a.m.

I heard a story related to the Krapfen that there is a common practical joke around carnival time especially in Berlin: some Krapfen is secretly filled with mustard instead of jam and serve them together with regular Krapfens without telling anyone.

Krapfen knowledge

In Germany Krapfens are very popular during the Fasnacht-Karneval season. The traditional Krapfen is similar to a donut with no central hole, made from sweet yeast dough fried in fat or oil, with a jam filling and usually icing, powdered sugar or conventional sugar on top. They are sometimes made with chocolate, champagne, custard, mocha or with this advocaat filling, (or with no filling at all)! Then they are dusted with a layer of cinnamon, cacao powder or sugar or icing.

Baking instructions of the Krapfen

The yeast dough contains a good deal of eggs, milk and butter. For the classical dough gets baled, deep-fried in lard, whereby the distinctive bright bulge occurs, and then filled with jam. The filling is related to the topping: for plum-butter, powdered sugar; for raspberry, strawberry and cherry jam, sugar; for all other fillings, sugar icing, sometimes flavored with rum. Today the filling usually is injected with a large syringe or  pastry bag after the dough is fried in one piece.

Ingredients for the Krapfen: 500g flour, 1 pk dry yeast, 50 g sugar, 150 ml milk
75 g butter, 1 pinch salt, 2 eggs, 1 organic orange, vanilla pudding, eggnog liqueur,
fat to deep fry, cinnamon-sugar mix

Methods: Place flour into a bowl, make  a mold in the middle, add yeast, 1tbsp sugar and luke warm milk, mix it. Cover it and let raise until the dough has doubled.
Melt butter, add remaining sugar, salt, eggs and grated orange peel (zest) and add to dough; knead until you get a smooth dough.
With 2 table spoons make small Krapfen and add to the hot fat, fry them until golden brown then drip them on kitchen paper and sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mix. Eat with jam or cream.

Advocaat liqueur: It is an alcoholic beverage made from eggs, sugar, and brandy. The rich and creamy drink has a smooth, custard-like flavor. The typical alcohol content is generally somewhere between 14% and 20%. Its contents may be a blend of  egg yolks, aromatic spirits, sugar or honey, brandy, vanilla, and sometimes  cream (or evaporated milk).





Hungarian trifle

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The traditional presentation of this typical Hungarian sweet is to scoop three balls of this dessert into a bowl or on a plate, dollop with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate sauce. A modern presentation is to cut it into squares so the different layers are evident. Rum is traditionally used in the simple syrup and chocolate sauce, but it can be omitted.

Ingredients: Walnut Sponge Cake and Cocoa Sponge Cake Plain Sponge Cake 1 recipe Vanilla Pastry Cream

For the Rum Simple Syrup: 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup water, 1 (3-inch) strip ​orange zest, 1 (3-inch) strip lemon zest, 1/3 cup golden rum

For Assembly: 1/3 cup apricot preserves 1/2 cup walnuts (finely chopped) 1/2 cup raisins (golden or dark)

Garnish: 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (Dutch) 

For the Rum Chocolate Sauce: 3/4 cup water, 3 tablespoons golden rum, 6 ounces chocolate (good-quality bittersweet, chopped) 3/4 cup sugar

For the Garnish: whipped cream (sweetened)

Directions: Prepare Plain Sponge Cake Recipe, Cocoa Sponge Cake Recipe, and Walnut Sponge Cake Recipe. Prepare Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe or just buy ladyfinger package and soak the ladyfingers into rum and milk mixture.
Meanwhile, make the rum simple syrup by stirring the sugar, water, and orange and lemon zest if using, in a small saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Continue to boil without stirring until the syrup has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool completely and stir in the rum, if using, and remove the zests, if using.
To assemble: In a small saucepan, boil apricot preserves over medium heat and keep warm. Combine walnuts and raisins in a small bowl and set aside.
Place walnut sponge cake in the bottom of a 13×9-inch rectangular pan. Brush with 1/3 rum simple syrup, then spread with warm apricot preserves. Spread 1/3 pastry cream over the preserves and 1/2 the walnut-raisin mixture.
Next, place the cocoa sponge cake in the pan, pressing down lightly. Brush with 1/3 rum simple syrup and 1/3 pastry cream. Sprinkle remaining walnut-raisin mixture on top.
Top with plain sponge cake, pressing down lightly. Brush with remaining rum simple syrup and remaining 1/3 pastry cream. Sift 3 tablespoons cocoa powder over top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
To make the Rum Chocolate Sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring 3/4 cup water, 3 tablespoons rum (if using), 6 ounces chopped chocolate and 3/4 cup sugar to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and cook at a brisk simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm.
To serve: the traditional presentation is to use a 2-inch ice cream scoop and place three “dumplings” in a bowl or on a dessert plate, then pipe with sweetened whipped cream and drizzle with the Rum Chocolate Sauce. A modern presentation is to cut the dessert into squares to show off the layers, and then garnish with whipped cream and sauce.