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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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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Pumpkin Soup

Temperatures dropped considerably thus I went for hot soup today. Pumpkin soup. The recipe is simple: boil pumpkin flesh with potato and onion. Blend, season (curry powder, salt, pepper), garnish (with crème fraiche and pumpkin seeds) and serve. Easypeasy!

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I served my soup in the pumpkin and turned it into a lantern after dinner. Brilliant!

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Burrata

Every once in a while a product surfaces that is hyped to death. To me Burrata is one of them. It has been talked about a lot recently and when it was on sale at my local supermarket today I thought I’d give it a try.

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I researched Burrata a little and apparently it is best served with a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper. I added cucumber and tomato and a dash of balsamic vinegar.

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It tasted okay but I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. It was not that different from mozzarella.
I also made figs wrapped in parma ham. A tasty favourite of mine. I simply criss cross the figs, stuff some goat’s cheese in the middle, add a tiny drizzle of honey and then wrap each fig in a slice of parma ham.

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After 10 minutes at 180C the figs were cooked to perfection.

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Fantastic! I will do the figs again anytime. Not too sure about the burrata…

Cold Soups

It is really hot at the moment and I thought about having bottled vegetable juice for dinner today. Solid foods are still a bit of a problem because of my tooth issue.

But I wanted to cook something today and rembered a very tasty Yoghurt Gazpacho recipe by Betty Bossi. Simply blend 1/2 clove of garlic, a small onion, a (small or large) piece of chili pepper and 3 large skinned tomatoes with 2 dl broth (I used beef). I briefly boiled the tomatoes in the broth and the skin fell off almost on its own.

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I seasoned it with salt, pepper and some Worcestershire Sauce and put it in the freezer for a bit (I was hungry and the fridge wouldn’t have cooled it down fast enough).

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Just before serving I added a tablespoon of yoghurt and topped the soup with a little mushroom and broccoli garnish.

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It tasted great but a bit too hot for my taste so I will go easier on the chili next time.
I was still hungry after this and decided to experiment a little. And I am very glad I did! I blended half a cucumber with two handful of fresh boiled spinach, 2 dl beef broth, the juice of half a lime and a chunk (a cube of about 1cm) of fresh ginger.

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I seasoned it with salt, pepper, a little splash of sesame oil and rice vinegar. This too I packed away in the freezer for a short bit.

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I also mixed it with a tablespoon of yoghurt before serving it.

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I LOVED it and actually preferred this cold spinach & cucumber soup to the Gazpacho.

Prawns on cucumber

I had lunch and cake at my grandparent’s place today. This inevitably means that I had to cook a very light dinner.
I went for a fish recipe I cut out of a German magazine called “Welt der Frau” which means “Women’s World”. It is an awful magazine that I come by through my grandmother or aunt.
The recipe is for oven baked salmon in a lime, chili and cognac sauce. Instead of salmon I used prawns. The recipe is very simple: marinate the prawns in lime juice, sesame oil, chili powder, pepper and salt and leave them in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

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Put the prawns and marinade in tin foil making a little parcel. Then put some diced deseeded cucumber on top and add a little cognac to the parcel.

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Now I baked/steamed it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 150 degrees. You have to check on the prawns repeatedly to prevent them from overcooking. Mine turned out very well indeed and the cucumber turned out to be the surprise hit. It was still crunchy but hot and added a really fresh summery taste.

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Raiders of the Full Fridge

Today it was time to raid the fridge and try all those goodies I concocted last week.

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The quails eggs were very tasty and still gooey in the center. Well worth the effort!

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The feta, chili sauce and olive tapenade tasted fantastic, too. I think next time I’d go easier on the anchovies in the tapenade, though.

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The combination of all three is brilliant!

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The only produce I am not too sure about is the chicken liver paté. It’s just too – for lack of a better word – livery for my taste.

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And because yesterday’s pizza bread was such a success I made another one, this time with coriander, tomato purée and sunflower seeds.

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Move over the Baker Boys!

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Dual Use Pizza Dough

My internet connection was down yesterday but here goes yesterday’s recipe(s). It was the last day of my juice detox and I faltered… I made pizza for my two men and made my own pizza dough.
The recipe is from a Swiss website called Gutekueche.ch (meaning good kitchen). Mix 300g flour and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a separate bowl mix 20g fresh yeast, 25g sugar and 1.25dl lukewarm milk. Add one tablespoon of the flour and mix until combined. Leave in a warm place for 20 minutes.

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Then mix with the rest of the flour, 1dl lukewarm water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and knead thoroughly until you get a soft, springy dough. I had to add quite a bit of extra flour to get there.

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The dough then needs to rest for another 30 minutes (or longer if you’ve got the time).

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Now, if you’re Italian brace youselves: I put (home made) bolognese sauce on my pizza, topped it with mozzarella cheese and some of my chili sauce.

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Wonderful!
I had quite a bit of dough left and made a chili bread with it by adding some chili sauce to the dough.

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It turned out to be a great idea. It tasted devine!

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Chicken Liver Paté

Today’s recipe uses an ingredient that I’d normally never buy nor cook with: liver. I made a chicken liver paté using a recipe from the book I used throughout the week.
You start off by washing 250g chicken liver.

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Not a pretty sight!
Then I cooked it in a pan in 1 tablespoon of butter.

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Still not a pretty sight and frankly giving off a very strong livery smell I don’t like.
After adding 1dl of cognac, it doesn’t look prettier but certainly smells nicer. You could get drunk inhaling the steam from that pan!

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I seasoned it with salt, pepper and nutmeg and after cooking it for about 8-10 minutes, left it to cool.

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Then the liver and the leftover juice went into the blender.

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Bit by bit I added 100g butter to the liver and to get the right consistency I put some more cognac in there as well.

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It still is no beauty to look at but tastes very nice. The cognac flavour is a bit overpowering but I hope that the flavours all will melt together once the paté has rested in the fridge for a couple of days.

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Black Olive Tapenade

It’s day 3 of my juice detox and the goodies in my fridge increase by each day. I like it!
Today I made a black olive tapenade using a recipe from the same book like the feta and chili sauce recipes.
For the tapenade I stacked 200g black olives, 40g pine nuts, 40g tinned anchovies (rinsed in cold water to remove the oil from the tin), the rind of half a lemon, 1 tablespoon tomato purée and ground black pepper in a blender.

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I topped it up with about 1.5dl olive oil and let the blender do the rest.

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The tapenade fits in perfectly with the chili sauce, the feta cheese and the quails eggs. Oh boy am I looking forward to try them all!

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