Beetroot and Orange Salad

We were invited to a kid’s party last evening and I was asked to bring a salad with beetroots. I chose a recipe by German chef and TV star Christian Rach but adapted it beyond recognition because I was too lazy to cook the beetroot myself and bought already boiled ones. His recipes requires raw beetroot that you bake in tinfoil with star anise and cinnamon.
I started off by preparing some orange slices.

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To which I added chopped red onion and rice vinegar, sesame oil and olive oil. Next I grated the beetroot. This always looks like a blood bath… I highly recommend wearing gloves!

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Next I added chopped walnuts and chopped parsley and seasoned the salad with salt, pepper, some dried thyme and balsamic vinegar.

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It went great with the other salad and the delicious meat.

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Matzo Balls

Today’s recipe is from a new Swiss bestseller nominated for the Swiss Book Prize 2012: Wolkenbruchs wunderliche Reise in die Arme einer Schickse (translates into Wolkenbruch’s fantastical journey into the arms of a shiksa and you find a review in English on the blog Lovegermanbooks).
At the end of the book there is a recipe for matzo balls. I had to try it and I will do it again and again as it is very easy and the matzo balls are delicious!
Mix 3 eggs, 1/2 cup cold water, 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of matzo flour. Leave for an hour to soak. With wet hands (this seems to be important) roll the mix into little balls. Drop the balls into boiling salted water and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

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I served the matzo balls with a chicken and vegetable soup.

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A yumly sweet & sour sauce

I recently discovered Yumly, a plattform for sharing and tagging recipes. One particular recipe caught my eye because it is short and sweet or rather sweet & sour. It was a recipe for “the best sweet and sour sauce”. It simply combines 1 cup pineapple juice, 1/3 cup water, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1/2 cup brown sugar (and cornstarch to bind it).
I started off by frying diced onion in sesame oil and adding the brown sugar for some caramelizing effect.

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Next I threw in my vegetables (diced red pepper, courgette and tomato) and all of the other ingredients listed above (plus Worcestershire Sauce).

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In a pot I boiled asian noodles and sausage meat balls and stirred them into my sweet and sour sauce.

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I am not sure it’s the best ever sweet and sour sauce but a damn fine one. There wasn’t a shred of noodle or drop of sauce left.

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Baked Pork Chops

Today’s recipe is dead easy but very effective: pork chops covered in onions baked in the oven.
For 3 people I used 4 pork chops.

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Season them with pepper and cover them with Dijon mustard.

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Arrange them in an oven proof dish and cover with 2 sliced onions and 2 sliced cloves of garlic seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper.

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Now bake it in the oven for 20 minutes at 225C. Then add a sauce made from 2dl cream and 1dl veggie broth and bake for a further 10 minutes.

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Et voilà: your pork chops are ready to serve. I served them with boiled potatoes and Swiss chard. Delicious!

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Leftover Tart

I had a ready made tart pastry sitting in my kitchen that needed baking. Next to it were Sauerkraut, Raclette cheese, red onions and fresh thyme. I remembered reading about a Sauerkraut and Camembert tart and thought I’d try tossing my leftovers together with some dried bread cubes, 1 egg and 2dl cream and put them on the pastry: Leftover Tart!

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The Sauerkraut/cheese combination works really well and it turned into a great bite to eat.

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I think next time I’ll add some bacon or sausage.

Risotto ai funghi

I am a TV junkie and today’s recipe is from a local TV station’s website: Tele Zurich. It is a recipe for Risotto ai Funghi. Why I got a printout from their website, I don’t know. I didn’t know they produced a cooking show.
You start off cooking by sweating 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped clove of garlic and 200g risotto rice in butter.

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Add 50ml white wine and then keep stirring and add 8dl broth (I used a mix of chicken and beef broth) bit by bit every time the rice has absorbed all the previously added liquids. I used some of the water the dried mushrooms were soaked in for the broth. This intensifies the mushroom flavour.

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When the rice is creamy but still has some bite add 80g grated parmigiano cheese, then the soaked mushrooms and season with salt (if any is needed) and pepper.

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Fantastico!

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RIGUGEGL

RIGUGEGL is an acronym used to advertise raclette cheese in Switzerland. In English it would be “acronymized” as follows: RIGAGYIAGM Raclette is good and gets you into a good mood!
When serving raclette the traditional way you serve slices of plain raclette cheese with boiled potatoes and pickled spring onions and gerkins.

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I experimented with my raclette today for Recipes365 and added different ingredients to it. On my first slice I put one dried tomato and fresh thyme.

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It turned out to be my favourite.
The next was a combination of cheese with peppercorns and grapes.

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That was okay albeit a tad too sweet and fruity for my liking.
The next concoction was a complete and inedible disaster: raclette cheese with salted capers. Yuk!

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The broccoli cheese combo that followed was nice. No more no less.

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I managed to eat one more and made a cheese, bacon and rosemary raclette.

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Lovely, too. But the lesson I learnt from this experiment: Some things are not to be tampered with and the best way to eat raclette is the simple, traditional way. Good quality plain cheese, simple boiled potatoes and a good glass of white wine.

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Salsify satisfy

This weekend I ate a lot of hotel and restaurant food and wanted to end my Sunday with a simple and light vegetable dish. I chose a veg I have never cooked myself before as main ingredient: salsify aka oyster plant.

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I cooked them as instructed by the lady I bought them from; tricolore style with broccoli, parsley and cherry tomatoes.
First I had to wash and peel the salsify. This is best done with glove as the juice from the salsify is really sticky and leaves unsightly stains on your hands.

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The salsify pieces are best kept in a bowl of water with a dash of lemons otherwise they turn brown.

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I boiled the salsify in vegetable broth for 15 minutes then added the broccoli. Once they both were cooked (after a further 10 minutes) I strained the veg and put them back in the pot with the tomatoes and some lard.

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Just before plating up I added a handful of chopped parsley and seasoned the veg with salt and pepper.

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A tricolourific dish that would go well with a piece of meat or fish alike. And it is delicious on its own as well. Salsify satisfy!

Orange Chicken

There are a lot of new food and cooking magazines on the market. Last week a mag called Sweet Paul caught my eye and today I cooked one of the mag’s recipes: Orange Chicken.
For the sauce you put 1.25dl soy sauce, 60ml water, 1.25 dl orange juice, 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, 50g brown sugar, 2.5 cm finely chopped ginger, 1 cinnamon stick and 2 star anise pieces in a pan and bring it to the boil.

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Preheat the oven to 190C, rub the chicken with the olive oil and put it in an oven proof dish. Now pour 1/3 of the liquid over the bird and leave it in the oven for 30 minutes before adding the second third and another 20-30 minutes before adding the rest.

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I served the orange chicken with rice as suggested by Sweet Paul.

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The chicken was tender and juicy. The sauce, however, was much too sweet both to my taste and that of my two guests. The soy sauce was not enough to balance out the sweet flavour of the sugar, orange juice and the christmassy taste of cinammon and star anise. I will not try the exact same recipe again but maybe I can think of a way to tweak it to my gusto.

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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