Frau Kuchen

cooking and eating in Berlin (and elsewhere)

Posts Tagged ‘recipe

Lemon Verbena cake

with 6 comments

Some time ago I posted a link to some Verbena recipes I’d bookmarked in Delicious. A friend of mine had a glut she needed to use up so I nosed around the internet adding recipes that looked worth trying.

My own verbena is now growing like wildfire along with the rest of my balcony plants, so I asked which of the recipes she had used.  The Lemon Verbena Bread came back as a clear favourite.


Image 1: Verbena                          Image 2: Cherry Tomatoes       Image 3: Peppers

I have to say I agree, it’s a lovely light sponge with a light lemony taste, although I’ve no idea why it’s called a bread – there’s no yeast and nothing bread like about it.  The first time round I made it without nuts; the second time I threw in a couple of handfuls of nibbed almonds. I couldn’t tell you which I preferred, both were good – the first went down stormingly well at a house warming party.

The recipe is unclear on a couple of points:

  • I recommend warming the glaze ingredients slightly to dissolve the sugar
  • A large loaf tin is a 2lb tin (or 1 kilo), small is 1lb (or 500g) and mini are 8oz (or 250g)

Image 4: Adding the syrup

This isn’t a cake Hudson’s will be able to sell – I can’t grow enough Verbena – but I do urge you to try it out at home. And if you don’t have Verbena it’s a good adaptable sponge recipe.

Advertisements

Written by hudsons

August 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Spaghetti with Squid

leave a comment »

I found some really nice fresh squid in Karstadt this week – on an unsuccessful trip to buy a sugar thermometer [1].  It was a hot day so a light evening meal was called for, and Jim suggested a twist on my favourite Spaghetti Vongole.

Recipe

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • As much squid as you want to eat (about 6 usually works, depending on size)
  • As much spaghetti as you want to eat
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Chopped fresh red chillie(s)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Lemon juice (to taste)
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Put the spaghetti water on to boil.
  2. Clean and prepare the squid – there’s a good video here showing you how to do it.
  3. Slice into rings, leave the tentacles whole.
  4. Add the spaghetti to the (now boiling) pan with a drop of olive oil.
  5. Mix some olive oil, a little lemon juice and the chopped parsley in a bowl. (Be careful with the lemon, the white wine will add acidity too)
  6. Heat a griddle pan to fairly hot and add the squid; leave it for a couple of minutes (if that) until it’s turned an opaque white colour, turn it over an give it a minute or so more – you really don’t want to overcook squid it goes really rubbery.
  7. Throw the cooked squid into the olive oil-lemon-parsley mix.
  8. Drain the pasta.
  9. Heat a little olive oil in the (now empty) pasta pan and fry the garlic, chillies and lemon zest together for a few minutes.
  10. Add the spaghetti, squid-parsley-oil-lemon mix and a cup of dry white wine to the pan.
  11. Give it a few second to heat through and the alcohol to evaporate.
  12. Add salt and pepper and check to see if it needs a touch more lemon (or serve lemon wedges on the side).
  13. Serve.

With the day being as hot as it was we ate ours on the balcony with a green salad and white-wine spritzers, followed by some fresh apricots and plums.

————————————————————————————————————————–

[1] Does anyone know where I can buy a sugar thermometer in Berlin? I’m planning on making some jam with the last of this summer’s fruit; and trying out some of Dan Lepard’s caramel recipes.

Written by hudsons

August 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Granola (or Muesli)

with 2 comments

Over the years I’ve tried numerous muesli and granola recipes, and although I think that homemade granola is 100% the way to go, I’ve never found that perfect recipe.  In my experience they’re either too sweet (lots of honey, sugar or syrup)…or too healthy (look and taste like sawdust).

Recently I’ve decided to trust my instincts; I’ve played around with proportions and ingredients and now I think I’ve come up with the perfect mix – slightly sweet, crunchy and made with loads of seeds.  I’m not mad keen on dried fruits and nuts in my muesli; I prefer to top it with seasonal fruit, yoghurt and a touch of honey, – or perhaps a fruit compote and greek yoghurt, – or (in winter) spiced and soaked dried fruit — (it sounds as if more posts may be needed to tell you some of my favourite toppings…).

Frau Kuchen’s (not too sweet, and not too dry) Granola Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 200g rolled oats
  • 150g porridge oats
  • 80g pumpkin seeds
  • 60g sunflower seeds
  • 30g linseeds
  • 20g sesame seeds
  • 20g poppy seeds
  • 10g wheatgerm
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 160C
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl
  3. Spread the mix in a shallow layer in an oven proof pan
  4. Put in the oven
  5. Stir occasionally to stop it catching
  6. It’s done when it looks toasted on top and around the outsides (30-40 mins usually does it)
  7. Turn off the oven, but leave the tin in until it’s cooled right down (this helps it dry out and go nice and crunchy)
  8. Store in an airtight container

Written by hudsons

August 16, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Za’atar

leave a comment »

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while – I’ve been away in London for work. Luckily whilst I was there my hosts – both fantastic cooks – made me numerous tasty meals, and in the process introduced me to za’atar.

Za’atar (also known as satar, zahatar or zatr) is a mix of spices used most frequently in middle-eastern cookery.  My friend made Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar and Lemon, a recipe which he’d adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.  The recipe and some pictures of my version of the same are below.

I’m a big fan of Yotam Ottolenghi and have frequently used his New Vegetarian recipes in The Guardian.  I’ve just ordered my own copy of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi) – so I’ll let you know what it’s like when it arrives. Apparently garlic and lemon are involved in nearly every recipe (presumably not the baking) – perfect for me, I already use both in nearly everything I make.

If you can’t find za’atar in the shops don’t fret, there are plenty of recipes on-line. I used this one which seems to be quite representative. Like many  spice mixes there seem to be many variations, although the basic ingredients for this one always seem to include thyme, marjoram, salt and sesame seeds.


Image 1: Making Za’atar

Roast Chicken with Sumac, Lemon & Za’atar

Ingredients:
(serves 4)

  • 1 free range chicken cut into four (I used 4 legs, you could also use thighs – chicken on the bone is is definitely better for taste)
  • 2 red onions thinly sliced
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced (mine were small so I used 2)
  • 200 ml chicken stock or water (I used my favorite Reduced Salt Marigold Vegetable Bouillon)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 20g butter (I didn’t use this)
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 4 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Method:

  1. Combine the chicken, onions, lemon, garlic, oil, spices (bar the za’atar), stock and salt & pepper in a large bowl
  2. Marinate overnight, or at least for a few hours
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  4. Transfer the chicken (skin side up) and marinade to an oven tray and sprinkle with the za’atar
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes, basting regularly towards the end
  6. Fry the pine nuts in the butter (I dry fried mine).
  7. Serve the chicken with the nuts and parsley.

We ate ours with what’s known in our house as, Egyptian Rice (recipe below); and a greek style salad made of cos lettuce, cucumber, tomato and red onion dressed in an olive oil, lemon juice, sumac and salt & pepper dressing.

———————————————————————————————

“Egyptian” Rice

I have no idea whether this is really egyptian or not – a housemate in my long past student days taught me how to make it.

Ingredients
(serves 4)

  • 1.5 cups rice
  • 3 cups water
  • a good dollop of butter
  • a glug of olive oil

Method:

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins (I really do find this helps)
  2. Heat the olive oil and butter together
  3. Drain the rice
  4. Measure out the water
  5. Add a couple of tbsps of rice to the butter/oil mix
  6. Fry the rice until it is a nice nutty colour, as soon as it’s brown throw in the water (it only takes a minute to catch and go over) and add the additional rice
  7. Bring to the boil then cover with foil and the lid and simmer
  8. When nearly all the water has disappeared turn off the heat, cover the pan with a tea-towel and the lid and leave it (for about 10  minutes)

  9. Fluff up with a fork
  10. Hopefully you have fluffy rice with lovely little nutty brown nuggets.

Written by hudsons

August 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Spiced Breakfast Bread

leave a comment »

This is a post I meant to make a couple weeks ago, but I keep getting distracted elsewhere. I took the recipe from Gordon Ramsay “Makes it Easy”, but The Times Online has repeated it here.

It’s a deliciously warm spicy and very slightly sour (from the buckwheat) bread, although it is a bit fiddly and time consuming so make sure you have a cup of coffee at hand and a snack before you start. I guess you could make it a day ahead but you’d miss the smell to whet your appetite and the warmness of the bread. Having said that, there are only two of us, so I put half the loaf in the freezer and we finished it off the following Sunday.

Image 1: Spiced Breakfast Bread

Gordon’s cookbook suggests serving it with a cherry compote, and as we’re in the cherry season I did just that. The recipe for the compote is below – I reduced the sugar in the original recipe and it was still sweet, so I suggest adding sugar to taste.

Image 2: Spiced Breakfast Bread with Cherry Compote & Greek Yogurt

Cherry Compote (serves 6):

  • 1 kg pitted cherries
  • 250ml fresh orange juice
  • 100g sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • mint leaves

Put everything in a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Shake to stop it sticking. Allow to cool then remove the mint leaves and lemon zest. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

The following Sunday I served the defrosted remaining half with a compote of (some slightly overripe) apricots and apple, and again with greek yogurt. For the compote I used about half and half apricot/apple to the same total weight as the cherries, I added about the same amount of orange juice and sweetened it with runny honey towards the end of cooking instead of using sugar.

Written by hudsons

July 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Nigella’s Lamb Cutlets

leave a comment »

A very quick post to say that we tried out Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Lamb Cutlets with Chilli & Black Olives last night. Served with new potatoes and a green and tomato salad dressed with an olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herb (from the balcony) dressing – it was a perfect summer meal.

Their can be few simpler pleasures than nibbling the remaining pieces of lamb from the bones of a lamb chop or cutlet and licking your fingers afterwards.

Lamb is one of my favourite summer meats, ideally cooked on a barbecue so it’s slightly charred on the outside, but retains its pink and juicy interior.

Unfortunately most of the lamb on sale in Berlin seems to be from New Zealand [1], and I try my best to avoid huge food miles. Last week I found some bio (organic) lamb on the Türkenmarkt – at €18/kilo it was pricey, but we eat so little meat that I don’t begrudge spending a little more now and then.

—————————————

[1] If you know of anywhere else (particularly in the Kreuzberg area), that sells German – or at least European – lamb, please do let me know.

Written by hudsons

July 20, 2009 at 8:49 am