The Flammeküeche

My hometown Basel borders to Germany and France. The part of France that is called Alsace. One of their traditional foods is tarte flambée or in the local dialect Flammeküeche. It is a flat tarte with a dough similar to a very thin pizza (they’d kick me for saying that, I’m sure) topped with crème fraiche, onions and other toppings (speck, mushrooms, etc.).
The recipe I was using is from a special food edition of a German magazine called Bild der Frau (awfully conservative and boring magazine but the food editions are always good).
For the dough you need to mix 400g flour, 1 packet of dried yeast, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Add approximately 2.25 dl lukewarm water and knead into a dough that you leave to rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes.

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When the dough has doubled in size it is ready for baking. It will be enough dough for 2 large Flammeküeche. I made one Flammeküeche and one pizza and thus only used half of the toppings of the recipe which were 1 onion and 50g speck both cut into little pieces as well as 200g crème fraiche with 1 egg yolk, salt and pepper mixed in. The dough needs to be rolled out really thinly. Then you spread the crème fraiche/egg mix on top and add the onions and speck.

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That’s it. Serve with a nice Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Lovely!

With the other half of the dough I made a pizza using some of the tomato sauce I made on Friday. For toppings I used anchovies, capers and garlic.

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The B.E.T.S. !

Two events prevented me from posting yesterday: Van Morrison’s new album & a wedding. I cooked, though. The B.E.T.S. Upon a request (yes, I happily take them) to cook and blog about a tomato sauce. So here it is: the Bestest Ever Tomato Sauce! I believe best results are achieved, when you combine as many different tomato products as possible. I always combine fresh tomatoes, tinned tomatoes and tomato purée. For this recipe I added sundried tomatoes to the list.
Also, I caramelized the tomato purée beforehand. This was described as your “secret weapon” in a bon appétit article.

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Caramelizing tomato purée is easy, simply cook tomato purée in vegetable oil over medium heat until it turns a deep crimson colour. Take 1 part oil & 2 parts tomato purée. I cooked 6 tablespoons purée in 2 tablespoons olive oil.

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For the sauce I started off with frying 1 onion and 1 carrot (both finely chopped). Then added 2 peppers, grilled and skinned and also finely diced.

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Next I put in the flesh of 8 tomatoes (skinned and deseeded), 1 can of tinned chopped tomatoes, a handful of finely chopped sundried tomatoes and my caramelized tomato purée.

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I seasoned the sauce with salt, pepper, dried oregano and balsamic vinegar (2 tablespoons) and let it bubble away for 15-20 minutes. Because I have a 2 year old at my table, I didn’t put any wine in the sauce but I am sure a combo of balsamic vinegar and red wine would also work a treat.

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Budget Cordon Bleu

Today’s recipe is definitely not for the health and calorie concious. I made a meat loaf (Fleischkäse in German) cordon bleu, a recipe I found in old Betty Bossi book.
You simply slice the meat loaf, fill it with cheese and then fry it. With the cheese I also put sliced courgettes and fresh cilantro between the meat and fixed it all together with tooth picks.

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After frying it in a pan with a little oil I served it with a cauliflower and cherry tomato salad.

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Worth every calorie!

Pumpkin Risotto

Today’s recipe is from bestrecipes.com and is a pumpkin risotto. Again, I adapted it quite a bit and left out the spinach and feta cheese.
I started off by frying garlic (1 clove) and finely chopped ginger in oil. Then I added diced pumpkin, courgettes and button mushrooms.

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In a separate pan I fried the onion (1/2 an onion finely chopped) and rice (1 cup for 3 persons) and added white wine (1 cup) and vegetable broth (also 1 cup) bit by bit until after about 30 minutes the risotto rice had the right consistency.

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Just before plating up I added parmiggiano cheese to the risotto, mixed in the vegetables and sprinkled roasted pine nuts on top.

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A simple and delicious dinner or lunch!

Coconut Tomato Chicken

Today I am again throwing things together not strictly following a recipe. Coconut milk and chicken were on sale today and I bought some other ingredients for a thai inspired chicken sauce.

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I got some button mushrooms, small corn cobs, ginger, lime and lemongrass.
First I browned the chicken (400g) in some oil and then threw in the chopped veggies, a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes and the juice of half a lemon. Next I added a can of coconut milk and a tablespoon of tomato purée.

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I seasoned the sauce with salt, pepper, chili flakes, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar (gives a hint of sweet and sour) and a pinch of cinnamon and then served it with jasmine rice garnished with fresh coriander and a slice of lime.

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Mmmmhmmmm!

Filled butternut squash pumpkin

I still had the bottom half of my butternut squash. The upper half was used for my butternut stacks last week.
I did not fancy any of the pumpkin recipes in my “archive” and invented my own.
First, the seeds had to be removed. Them I skinned the pumpkin but otherwise left it whole as it was.

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In a bowl I mixed my meat stuffing combining bread (a handful) soaked in milk and egg (1 egg) mix, 1 chopped clove of garlic, salt, pepper, ground paprika and the meat of one sausage.

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I stuffed the pumpkin with my meaty filling and baked it in the oven for about 45 minutes at 200C.

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A lovely autumnal dish. I think next time I will add some chestnuts and/or mushroom to the stuffing as well.

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Egg Coddler

I went on an early morning run today and took some photos along the way.

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When I got back I was very hungry for something savoury and salty. I remembered buying egg coddlers ages ago and used those to make eggs for breakfast.
I buttered the coddlers and layered bread, cherry tomatoes and anchovies in them before adding an egg into each coddler.

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The eggs are cooked in a bain marie with the water coming up to about 1cm below the lid.

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The eggs are cooked in about 12-15 minutes, longer if you want the yolk to be firm, too. I served them with bread with tomato purée spread and coarse sea salt. A simple but satisfying breakfast!

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Suser Ice Cream

It is Suser season in Switzerland. Suser is new wine (red or white) still in fermentation, i.e. with only little alcohol (around 1.5%).
I really like the taste of it and bought 6 bottles. As I haven’t plugged in my ice cream maker in a while I thought Suser would also taste lovely frozen.
I have a recipe for Suser sorbet which I had to adapt because I did not have freshly bought eggs at home. The eggs are still fine but because the recipe asks for the use of raw egg whites, I did not want to risk anything. I replaced 1 egg white with 250g mascarpone. An excellent idea, as it turned out. The recipe is really simple. You need 5dl Suser, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 100g sugar which you bring to the boil to reduce to 4dl.

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When the liquid has cooled down, mix in 250g mascarpone cheese (or whisked egg whites from
1 egg and 1 tablespoon sugar) and off it goes into the ice cream maker.

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A deliciously sour, sweet and creamy ice cream.

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Butternut Squash Stacks

It was time to tackle the butternut squash today. Instead of using an existing recipe I created my own. Butternut squash stacks.
I skinned the butternut sqash and cut the slim top bit into disks (about 1cm thick).

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Then I put them on a baking tray, brushed them with a little oil and seasoned them with coarse sea salt and pepper. Next I put a few strips of bacon on top of each disk and baked them in the oven at 160C for about 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes I added different herbs (thyme, sage and rosemary) and sprinkled them on the disks as well.

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I stacked four of the butternut disks on top of each other adding half a teaspoon of crème fraiche in between each layer.

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We ate it as a starter but it would work just as well as a side dish with a nice piece of meat.

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Raincheck – an evening with Dylan Moran

No time for cooking today. I enjoyed a couple of Cool Hendrick’s and an evening with Dylan Moran. He’s on tour with his program called Yeah Yeah. He was hilarious!

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