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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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!

Asparagus Soup

We all throw away too much food. I am no exception but I try to do reduce food wastage. Yesterday we ate white asparagus and I kept the trimmings and the water the asparagus were boiled in for today’s recipe: asparagus soup.

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I boiled the trimmings, the leftover asparagus and potatoes in the asparagus stock and then blended the leftover asparagus and the potatoes with some of the stock leaving aside the trimmings.

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I added a veggie stock cube (one of those new jelly cubes) and some crème fraiche.

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Then I put the soup back in a pan and cooked it over medium heat for a few minutes.

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I finished off with seasoning the soup with salt and pepper. I only had a spoonful to taste as I will not serve my soup until tomorrow. The first taste was lovely but I’ll keep you posted on the end result!

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My update is simple: simply yumm!

Carrot soup with caramel peppermint drizzle

Today’s recipe is from a fellow Tweep, @_rem__. For 2 servings you need ca. 400g carrots, 1 small leekstalk and 1 shallot onion. Finely chop the onion and sweat it in some butter.

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Add the sliced and diced leek and carrots.

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Then pour 5dl veggie broth over the veggies, bring to the boil and then cook at a moderate heat for 30 minutes with the lid on the pot.

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Then blend the soup in the mixer.

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Pour it back into the pot, add 100g crème fraiche and season with salt and pepper.

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For the caramel sauce, caramelize 50g sugar, then add 50ml water to dissolve it. I like adding a personal touch to recipes so I chopped in a few peppermint leaves.

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Rather than mixing the caramel into the soup as suggested in the recipe, I drizzled a generous bit on top. Looks prettier and lets you taste the soup with and without the caramel.

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Pretty to look at and very tasty!

Boiled & roasted marrow bone

Yesterday I started reading the new spine tingling Sean Duffy thriller by Adrian McKinty called The cold cold ground.
While I had time to cook yesterday, I didn’t have time to blog about it because I couldn’t put the book away.
Yesterday’s recipe is an old recipe from my grandmother who often used to cook bone marrow for us when we were children. Today a lot of people buy it for their pets and when you google for bone marrow recipes you get a lot of search results from pet forums.
I always boil the marrow bones with vegetables before roasting them in the oven. Then I put the sucked out bones back in the stock. This way you do not only get delicious marrow bone but also a nice soup on top.
Fo the stock I used carrots, leek, celery root and parsley.

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Add 1 litre of vegetable stock and the marrow bones.

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After 20 minutes remove the marrow bones and put them in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

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They will have oozed a lot of fat when you take them out of the oven. Don’t throw the fat away but pour it into your soup for extra flavour (it is reallyreally worth it).
The marrow bones are ready to eat. I serve them with sea salt (Maldon smoked sea salt works a treat!) and crispy bread.

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I finished the meal with a nice bowl of soup. Lovely!

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I know a lot of people don’t like marrow bones. If you do and are in Zürich, these restaurants have marrow bones on their menu:
Markthalle
Schützengasse
Bederhof
And now I’ll go back to “the cold cold ground” hoping to finish before today’s recipe…

Top of the Swiss Chards

After yesterday’s raincheck I have cooked a starter and a main course today with what allegedly is a very popular vegetable in Switzerland: Swiss chard. I presume popular in comparison to other countries where it is hardly used at all.  Its popularity in Switzerland explains its name, although according to LEO it is also known as  chard, chard plant, leaf beet, mangel, seakale beet, silver beet, spinach beet or white beet.  

My mum always steamed the Swiss chard as a side dish and I remember them as a very bland and uninteresting vegetable and avoided them. That’s why I bought a big bunch today as I thought I’d give them another chance with these two recipes: Swiss chard and coconut soup, a recipe I printed out ages ago from the German recipe database Chefkoch.de and a recipe from an unidentifiable magazine cutout (could be Now could be Women’s Own) for Swiss chard wraps.

For the soup (for 2 people) you need 300g Swiss chard, 50g diced onions, half a chili also finely diced (remember to remove the seeds first, otherwise the soup will be very hot), 15g butter, 3.5dl vegetable stock and 0.5dl coconut milk. Dice the stalks of the Swiss chard and cut the leaves into bite sized pieces.

Sweat the onion, chili and Swiss chard stalks in the butter. Add the vegetable stock and cook for approx. 10 minutes at medium heat. Add the coconut milk and the Swiss chard leaves and cook for further 10 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper and any other spice you like and enjoy your Swiss chard coconut soup.

The second recipe is a Swiss chard wrap filled with couscous and feta. You need 350g Swiss chard, 50g couscous, approx. 3dl vegetable broth, half an onion and half a packet of feta. Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet. When it has soaked in the vegetable broth enough, add the diced feta and onion.  The recipe adds a handful of sultanas to the couscous. I don’t like sultanas and added finely chopped fresh pineapple instead.

Blanch the Swiss chard leaves in boiling salt water for 2-3 minutes. Remove, rinse with cold water and dry the Swiss chard leaves with kitchen paper or a towel.  Wrap portions of the couscous mix in each leaf and put in an ovenproof dish.

Fill the bottom of the dish with a little vegetable broth (I used some of the soup) and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 180°C.

Both recipes are very tasty and I will definitely buy Swiss chard more often now.

A trip to the market

After all the ice creams, cakes and muffins I felt like cooking vegetables today. Tuesdays and Fridays is market day at the Bürkliplatz in Zürich so I decided to browse the market stalls for some fruit n’ veg (reminds me of Eastenders…). I had a great time and it reminded me of how nice it is to have a little chat in the morning and have the sellers recommend stuff to you instead of getting your usual (boring) veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, fennel etc. in your supermarket.

At the market I saw lots of things I have never tasted let alone cooked with before. Here is what I took home with me:

Top row from left to right: Buck’s horn plantain (in German Mönchsbart) and round courgettes.
Bottom row from left to right: Potatoes (duh) and root parsley (in German Peterwurzel).

I have never cooked root parsley before and when I asked the lady at the stall how she cooked it she said she just boils or steams it like other root vegetables such as carrots.  An older lady next to me then told me that she always makes soup with it together with potatoes and some Noilly Prat. I decided that the latter was going to be the recipe for today.

But then I saw the buck’s horn plantain at another stall and wanted to buy some of that as well. The lady at the stall there gave me her recipe for buck’s horn plantain spaghetti which is simply to add the buck’s horn plantain to the boiling spaghetti water about 6 minutes before the spaghetti are done and then add some tomato sauce. An easy recipe no. 2.

For the soup I diced the potatoes and parsley root.

I boiled the vegetables in 7.5 dl of beef stock for approx. 15-20 minutes and blended them. Then I added a dash of cream and a dash of milk to get the right soupy consistency. I seasoned it with salt, pepper and some nutmeg and that was it. The soup tastes really lovely. The parsley root tastes a bit like celery root but not as strong and a little sweeter.

For the spaghetti I first chopped half an onion, one tomato and one of the round courgettes and sweated them off in some olive oil. I then added some water, balsamic vinegar and capers and let it simmer on low heat until I got a nice sauce.

I boiled the spaghetti and added the buck’s horn plantain 5-6 minutes before the spaghetti were done.

It is very difficult to describe what the buck’s horn plantain tastes like. It is very bland but still has a fresh taste. If I had to compare it to a familiar taste I’d say it is somewhat similar to Swiss chard (in German Krautstiel or Mangold). It is nice but frankly it does not add much to the dish and I don’t think I will buy and cook it regularly.

Now I know that these were two fairly easy recipes. But two recipes nevertheless so you can expect me to shout RAINCHECK some day soon.  And I would like to end this post with a call for you to pay your local market a visit. You’ll find small treasures there that your big supermarket chain won’t bother stocking. The fruit and veg might be slightly more expensive but you’ll get great recipes and a nice chat on top for free.

 

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