Daffodil Honey

The fields were a sunny yellow today thanks to the blooming daffodils. One of the Swiss newspapers (BaZ) printed a recipe for daffodil honey. So off I went and picked daffodils.

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To make 3-4dl honey you need 50g daffodil flowers. I suggest you use gloves to remove the yellow flower leaves otherwise your fingers look like you’ve been smoking 2 packs of Gitanes a day.
Add the rind of half a lemon and boil the flower leaves and rind in 5dl water for 7 minutes.

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Next you cover the pan and leave the infusion to soak overnight.

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To be continued…
After leaving the daffodils to soak overnight, I strained the infusion to remove the flowers. The liquid went into a pan with 250g sugar and the juice of half a lemon.

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Then I cooked it until it had a sirupy consistency and filled it in jars.

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Beef in Cider

Originally I had planned to make pork belly in cider sauce, a recipe from
Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain cookbook. The local butcher didn’t have pork belly though, so I adapted the recipe to make slow cooked beef in cider.
I browned onions and garlic in a little oil.

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Then added the floured beef (400g) and bones.

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When the beef was browned I poured in 7.5dl cider.

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After letting it bubble away for a while I added 5dl beef broth and 3-4 carrots.

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I let it simmer over low heat for 3 hours and enjoyed a Kir Breton (or two) together with a great view and lovely weather.

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Finally I seasoned the beef with salt, pepper and herbs provençale, added 2dl cream and 200g small potatoes and cooked it for a further 30 minutes.
The meat and vegetables were tasty and tender and the cider sauce was lovely and makes a nice change to the red wine sauce I usually make.

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Crumble

The best crumble I ever had was a rhubarb and apple crumble at a small tea room in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. When I saw the crumble recipe in Jamie Oliver’s cookbook Great Britain I had to try it. I only used the crumble part of the recipe, though.
But first I cut the fruit. I used rhubarb, strawberries and apple.

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For the crumble mix 100g flour, 100g brown sugar and 75g butter. I also added a handful of rolled oats and some rosemary.

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After 20-25 minutes in the oven (200 degrees Celsius) the crumble is ready to eat. It is best served still warm (or reheated).

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If you need additional calories you can serve it with ice cream, whipped cream or custard. I ate it plain. Delicious!

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Braided Bread

I am cheating big time today. I meant to make a typical Swiss braided bread called Zopf (i.e. braids) for ages. I didn’t have much time to dally in the kitchen today, so I bought a ready to use flour mix.

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All you have to do is add 2.5dl water at room temperature, mix it into a dough and leave it to rise for 30 minutes.

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Then divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll them into equally sized rolls.

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Now the flour pack doesn’t have instruction on how to braid the Zopf. I think I made a right pig’s ear of mine…

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Now you are supposed to let it rise again for 40-50 minutes. A baker once told me that yeast bread tastes even better when you have the time to leave it to rise overnight.
I do have the time and so my Zopf will spend the night covered with a damp cloth in the fridge. I hope it will rise and shine tomorrow!
Update: And rise it did! I brushed it with egg wash and baked it for 50 minutes at 190 degrees in the oven preheated at 220 degrees Celsius.

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To leave it in the fridge overnight was a top tip! The Zopf turned out really airy and tasted great.

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Next time I do it myself from scratch but I’ll take braiding lessons from my dad first…

Farewell Cupcakes

Tomorrow two friends at work are embarking on a new journey and will no longer be work colleagues. A great pity, indeed and I thought I’d bake them a little culinary send-off. I adapted an Earl Grey muffin recipe and used peppermint tea to bake my farewell Minty Raspberry Cupcakes.
I started by soaking a peppermint teabag in 1.5 dl milk.
In a bowl I whisked together 125g sugar and 80g soft butter and then added 2 eggs.

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Next I mixed in the minty milk.

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In a separate bowl I combined 250g flour, half a packet of baking powder, and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. I added the dry ingredients to the liquid ones and filled the dough in a muffin tin. In each cupcake I put 3 raspberries.

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I baked them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

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For the frosting I squashed a handful of raspberries, added 50g cream cheese, 50g butter and about 250g icing sugar.

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This was the perfect frosting to try out my frosting ‘gun’.

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Mnamnam!

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Greencorn

Today I blended two recipes into one from Betty Bossi’s vegetable cookbook: red pepper salad and greencorn salad. Greencorn is a word I invented based on the German word for it, Grünkern. Apparently in English it is known as ‘unripe spelt grain’. Too complicated for a recipe.
I soaked the greencorn in water for the whole day.

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When I got home from work I put it in a pan and cooked it in lightly salted water for about 40 minutes. I added a bit of beef broth towards the end.

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While the greencorn was cooking I prepared the vegetables. First I oven roasted red peppers and an aubergine.

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I left the peppers whole and sliced the aubergine. I sprinkled them in olive oil and spread them on a baking tray.

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After baking at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes they smelled and looked ready to eat.

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I diced the roasted veggies and mixed them with the drained greencorn.

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Then I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the greencorn salad and mixed in a generous heap of chopped parsley. After seasoning the salad with salt and pepper it was ready to be plated up.

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I served it with feta cheese and other vegetables (celery, tomatoes, radishes) on the side.

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Healthy and tasty. After the Cordon Bleu I had for lunch, this was the perfect dinner and there’s just enough left over for a light office lunch tomorrow.

Lasagne al Forno

I was feeling so much under the weather yesterday, that I forgot to call in a raincheck. I didn’t manage to cook let alone blog about it either.
Today I am feeling better and I needed some feisty comfort food. What could be more feisty and comforting than a home made lasagne baked to perfection?
Nothing! Good thing I had made a big pot of bolognese sauce on Sunday so I only had to cook the béchamel sauce. For the bolognese I usually simply sweat onions and garlic and then brown the minced meat. To a kilo of meat I add 6-7 cans of pelati tomatoes, half a bottle of good red wine and some balsamic vinegar. I then leave it to bubble away for 2-3 hours and season it to taste with Italian herbs, salt and pepper.
I have never made béchamel before but it is surprisingly easy. The recipe I was using is from the Betty Bossi Lasagne al Forno recipe.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan.

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Add 3 tablespoons of flour.

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Whisk and cook the butter/flour mix over low heat without browning the flour. Remove the pan from the stove and add 6dl of milk.

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Put the pan back on the stove and bring the sauce to the boil. Continue whisking until it has the right creamy consistency.

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Pour 1/4 of the béchamel into an oven proof dish. Add the lasagne pasta and the meat sauce and repeat until finishing off the top layer with béchamel sauce and grated parmesan cheese.

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Now put it al forno for 45 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

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Mmmmmnamnam!

Wild Garlic Soup

I am fighting a nasty cold and barely managed to cook today. I opted for something simple and warming: wild garlic soup. The recipe is from
the lady at the local market in Wipkingen, Zürich.
For 2-4 servings (depending on whether you make a starter or a main) you need 1 large Spanish onion. Dice and sweat it in some olive oil.

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Wash and cut a 100g wild garlic.

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Add it to the onion. Then add 5dl of water and a jellied pot of broth (I used veggie broth).

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Bring to the boil and then pour it into a blender to … ehm blend.

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Pour back into the pan, add 1 dl crème fraiche and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Green goodyness!

A Wee Trifle

Today’s recipe is not a proper recipe with fixed ingredients but rather a set of suggestions. It is for trifle and is from
an issue of the gossip mag Now Magazine (date of issue illegible). They suggest stacking sponge cake, fresh fruit and nuts in a glass, drizzling it with booze (unless you are making these for a kids’ party, of course) and topping it with whipped or double cream.
I filled the bottom of 2 glasses with Ardbeg’s Almost There.

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I then put in small slices of yesterday’s birthday cake.

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To this I added raspberries, almond slices and strawberries.

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I topped it with lightly whipped cream to which I added a bit of vanilla sugar.

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I then put the trifle in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to set.
I tasted lovely and the mix of cake, fruit and cream works a treat. The last few spoons were a boozy but delicious mess. The Ardbeg was a tad too peaty for this dessert but as I love peaty whiskies it worked just fine for me.

Birthday Cake for the Italian Boy

We have an overnight guest today who is partying his a#% off right now while I am slaving in the kitchen baking his birthday cake.
He’s Italian and I have no clue what cakes he likes. Whatever I’ll make it won’t be as good as his Mamma’s but I’ve given it my best shot.
I chose an Italian recipe for a ricotta cake I got from the foolforfood.de website.
You need 125g butter that you whisk together with 250g sugar.

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Then add 3 eggs one at a time.

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Mix in 1 grated apple and the grated rind of 1 lemon.

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Add 250g of Ricotta cheese.

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Finally, add 185g flour, 1 pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon (yes, tablespoon) of baking powder.
Put it in a round cake tin (26cm diameter) and bake it for 25-30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

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Instead of simply dusting the cake with icing sugar I made a frosting with lemon juice, Grand Marnier and icing sugar.

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I decorated the cake with sugar flowers, candles and a sugar ‘ink’ message.

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I hope the birthday boy likes it!

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