I’m in a pickle

or rather they are in a pickle.

I am talking about the 8 quails eggs that I pickled today. The recipe is from the Chow’s website.
First I boiled the eggs for 3.5 minutes and put them in ice cold water.

For the pickle mixed I roughly cut a small precooked beetroot and cooked it in a pickle mix consisting of 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1 star anise, 1/2 a cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon of peppercorns, 1/2 a teaspoon of dried chili, 1/2 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar.

The came the fiddly bit, removing the shells from the egg. Once I had managed that, I put the eggs in small glass containers.

I sieved the pickle mix into the containers until the eggs were fully covered.

Now the pickled eggs are sitting in the fridge for a few days next to my other goodies desperately wanting to be eaten!



Herbanized and spicified feta cheese

Day 1 of my juice fast. Things are still fine except that my boyfriend brought home a Sacher Torte from Vienna. Luckily the use by date is far enough off. I’ve built a barbed wire fence around it!
As for today’s recipe, I chose to drown some feta cheese in herbs, spices and olive oil. The recipe is from the same book as yesterday’s.
I started off by grinding 1 teaspoon of pepper corns, 1 star anise and 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes in the mortar.

I forgot to buy rosemary which is the herb originally used for the recipe. I used basil, oregano and thyme instead.


After having added the rind of half a lemon to my spice mix I cut up the feta cheese and layered the cheese and spice/herb mix in a glass container.


Lastly I topped up the glass with olive oil and put it in the fridge to marinate. Just like the chili sauce it will keep for 6-8 days in the fridge.




Today is prep day for my juice fast so I was only allowed steamed veggies and curd cheese for dinner.
Over the next 7 days I will cook and make stuff that will keep for at least a week. This way I will have great food (I hope) when the fasting period is over.
For today I chose a chili sauce recipe from a German cookbook called Gifts from the Summer Kitchen (Geschenke aus der Sommerküche by Regine Stroner).
For the chili sauce you cut up 6 chilis, using as much of the seeds as you want (the more seeds the hotter the sauce).


In a mortar or blender grind 6 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt, half a teaspoon of cumin seeds, half a teaspoon of black pepper corns and a handful of oregano leaves.


Add 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar) and 1.25dl of olive oil.

I blitzed the sauce with the cut up chili peppers and filled it in a container. The author of the recipe says it keeps in the fridge for 6-8 days.


So while I am drinking various juices for breakfast, lunch and dinner this week I can think of a dish to serve my chili sauce with. Pasta? Fish? A juicy grilled steak? Uhoh, I’m hungry already…

Cake Pop Gallery

Today I posted my gallery of cake pops on mnamnam.com.
Tomorrow I’ll start a 7 day juice fast with Biotta Wellness Week, a well known Swiss juice fast kit (wedding coming up, not my own of course!).

I am a bit at a loss as to what to post in the coming week. Juice, juice & juice?

A coole swanny panna cotta

Yesterday I bought my first bottle of Coole Swan dairy cream liqueur and loved it. It is a dessert in itself (taste- and very likely caloriewise…) but still I was looking for recipes to use it in. The panna cotta recipe on the Coole Swan website tempted me the most. It is very easy to make, simply heat 500ml heavy cream and infuse it with 1 vanilla pod. While the cream is simmering away, have a sip of Coole Swan.

Then take the cream off the heat, remove the pod and dissolve 3 gelatine sheets in the hot vanilla cream.



Have another sip of Coole Swan while the mix cooles down.

Whisk 150ml of Coole Swan into the cream and pour it into glasses or ramekins.


Now leave to set in the fridge for a few hours (mine took 4 hours to set properly). I served them with squashed raspberries with a drizzle of Coole Swan on top.

Everybody loved them. A proper dessert for grown ups! Best served with a teenyweeny glass of …


Coole Swan is a cool one

I don’t like Baileys or any of the other cream based liqueurs. I think they’re too sweet and the balance between cream, whiskey and chocolate never seems to be right. There is one exception and it comes in the shape of a cool swan!

20120526-230804.jpg Coole Swan is a dairy cream liqueur that was completely unknown to me until they commented on one of my Tweets. It has taken me ages to get my hands on a bottle as I could not find one single shop in Basel or Zurich that had it in stock. One shop in Basel (Ullrich) had not heard of Coole Swan before either but made some inquiries and got hold of a bottle for me.

I was invited to a birthday party this evening and didn’t have time to cook but when I got home I had to try a glass of the milky gold (the bottle cost me CHF 87.-, that’s EUR 72.- and in Ireland it apparently is available for EUR 24.-, funny math we have in Switzerland…).


I think I’ll enjoy another very chilled Coole Swan on this fine summer evening and maybe I’ll come up with a cool idea for a coole swanny recipe…


Quak Quak à l’orange

Today, I dug up my duck.
The salt was heavy and wet and the duck looked and felt like an old squashed shoe.



I washed off all the salt and cut the duck breast into thin slices.


It was fairly dark but pinkish in the middle. It tasted really lovely and had a nice bite to it. It was not chewy as I had expected. There is a hint of orange when you first taste the meat and of course the meat is fairly salty. I think next time I will try something else than orange such as spices and/or herbs.

I served the duck ham for lunch with a spinach, chicorée and orange slice salad. The dressing was made of sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt, pepper and a little fresh thyme (only a little as thyme can easily overpower the rest of the flavours). The orange slices nicely set off the saltiness of the ham.



My verdict: duck ham is easy to make and guaranteed to impress your guests. So give it a try!

Cake Pop Class

I have enrolled for a 4 hour (yes, four hours!) cake pop baking class this evening so I will use one of my Wild Cards today and report on the results later on. I hope they will let me take pictures and hope to take home cake pops that look a bit more professional than the ones I made a while ago. Mind you, they were a pretty sight.

Pretty to look at but sickly sweet. Details will follow on mnamnam.


Unfortunately our neighbours are moving and we had a farewell dinner today. I needed a recipe for a quick dish or dessert and opted for butter cookies with an orange zest rim. The recipe is from a cookies cookbook called (duh) ‘Cookies, biscuits, bars and brownies’. And it is a recipe for disaster, so don’t try this at home…

You mix 175g butter with 90g sugar. I added some thistle tea to give it an extra flavour. When they are combined in a fluffy mix you add 250g flour.





Then knead the dough into a roll and cover it with demerara sugar. I added orange zest as well to complement the tea in the dough.



I put the cookie roll in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then I cut it into 1cm thick pieces and bake the cookies for 20 minutes in the oven.
They should have looked like Sablés but I ended up with unattractive and as it turned out inedible blobs.

Very disappointing and a shame for all the ingredients that went to waste!

Once in a blue moon

I love Van Morrison and I love the song Once in a Blue Moon. And it’s true, ‘once in a blue moon something good comes along’. In my case in the shape of a truly fantastic cookbook: Hand Made by Yvette van Boven. Her recipe for cinnamon buns was great and now I hope the one for duck ham turns out as great, too.
Just two weeks ago after watching Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo make Bresaola I told my boyfriend that I’d love to make my own ham as well. And along came Home Made with the recipe for duck ‘ham’.
Buying a duck breast turned out to be a bit of a chore in itself. My usual food source only sold Hungarian duck and the label did not contain any information as to the breeding/rearing method of the duck. I read somewhere that duck meat from Hungary often comes from animals that have been force fed for duck liver production. I definitely did not want to buy meat from a force fed duck. So I looked for a butcher shop to sell me an organically and ethically grown duck. I found one. Although all I can do is rely on the information provided by the butcher.
My duck breast ready, I filled salt in a dish.

I cut the fat of the duck in criss cross cuts and spread the rind of 1 orange on top.



I placed the duck in the dish with salt and added more salt on top until it was fully covered.


All that was left to do was put another dish with weights on top of the duck.

Now the duck will hopefully ‘hamify’ while sitting in the fridge for 2 days.

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