31. Dezember 2006

lime coconut fudge

or: how to make your own homemade bounty bar!

i found the recipe over at is that my buréka? and i thought it was a bit weird at first that you would actually use a potato in a confection sweet. but it just sounded just too good not to try. i have no idea how these little babies should taste, but with my bountybar fantasy in mind i figured i just try to make bite sized minibars.

30 g mashed potato
150 g icing sugar
60 g unsweetened dried coconut shreds
1 tbsp lime zest
150 g milk chocolate

i'm suggesting you turn to burekaboy for the original recipe (because i think i went a little coo-coo on the recipe) and i'll present my little photo lovestory over here:

homemade bounty bar (or lime coconut fudge)

homemade bounty bar (or lime coconut fudge)

homemade bounty bar (or lime coconut fudge)

homemade bounty bar (or lime coconut fudge)

homemade bounty bar (or lime coconut fudge)

homemade bounty bar (or lime coconut fudge)

homemade bounty bar (or lime coconut fudge)
store the coconut/lime/chocolate-bits in an airtight container in the fridge.
... or better yet: store them in your belly!

homemade bounty bar (or lime coconut fudge)
and i have to admit: they taste exactly like my favorite chocolate bar!

maybe austrian potatos are different, but i had to use more sugar and much less dried coconut shreds. i also was very surprised that the potato turned all liquid once i added the sugar (apparently because of the potato's starch). they also did not have any peppermint extract at my local supermarket, so i added twice as much lemon zest (if i could marry lemon zest, i probably would! yumm-mmmiiieeee!!). maybe i screwed up the recipe after all, i am always shilly-shally about converting between metric and imperial system. i hate that and its really stupid since i actually am a total tech girl ... but burekaboy suggested a useful tool for all my future cooking conversions!

i absolutely love those little mini bars taken from the delicious peppermint & lime coconut fudge. that recipe is definitely a keeper! i might gain a few kilos if i keep making this candy and all my teeth will fall out eventually - but believe me, it's totally worth it!

and with this last post of 2006 i want to thank you all for stopping by from time to time!

it has been a great year for me and i have made a couple of great friends with my little foodblog! i hope you had a good year too and 2007 is getting even better!

i wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy 2007!

29. Dezember 2006

everything, everything, everything

there was an interesting challenge over at becks and posh somewhen in november: the "every single thing i ate and drank last week" - task. i was not up to join in the fun back then. i hesitated because i was afraid it might bring out my darkest cravings for the whole world to see ... too revealing, much too revealing! i was not at all prepared to let that happen!

but i made up my mind. i thought i could just stop being a coward and make one (and ony ONE) new years resolution for this very first week of 2007: take pictures of everything you eat and drink, gerda. but seriousely. no matter if i dig into a box of cereals in the afternoon or if i put a big chunk of chocolate into my mouth right before going to bed ... i will share it all with you. no cheating, i promise.

so ... are you even interested?

well, at least it will be a therapeutical new years resolution for yours truly.
watch out my friends, it's gonna be interesting!
and it'll probably look something like my dishes-photoset on flickr:

you could help me revive the becks and posh challenge if you also missed it two months ago! or you could just check out my adventures in eating and drinking over the next week ...

23. Dezember 2006

happy christmas!

"it's christmas! and unless you get your sorry ass in gear another holiday is gonna pass and all you'll have to show is your name urinated in snow!"

"but i like urinating my name in snow! almost as much as i like touching myself!"

hello friends!

i wish it was snowing in austria (not that i'd be able to pee my name in the snow ...), but staying with my folks for the past days definitely got me into the right mood. i'll only be taking a tiny holiday blogging break and i'll be back in a few days. now let me wish you

happy holiday to you and your loved ones!
enjoy lots of good food!
(and blog about it, please *g*)

21. Dezember 2006

risotto with leek, broccoli and feta

i have another fine dish for you that will soothe your tummy and tastes totally yummie! yes my friends, i am ryming. because i am finally over the stomache-ache. i am on my feet again.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium leek, chopped
125 g rice
125 g broccoli
50 g feta
600 ml vegetable broth
  1. cook broccoli for 10 minutes and make sure it's not overcooked. it will later be added to the risotto and has some more time to cook
  2. heat olive oil in a pot (or saucepan) over medium heat
  3. stir in leek and cook until it is just begining to turn color
  4. pour in the rice and stir until the rice is coatet in oil. stir for 2 to 3 minutes
  5. stir in one third of the vegetable broth and continue stirring until incorporated.
  6. repeat this process untill all the liquid is absorbed (should take about 20 minutes)
  7. when you pour in the last broth add the broccoli as well
  8. once the rice is toroughly cooked add the feta and stir until it has melted
  9. season to taste and serve
risotto: lauch, broccoli und feta

18. Dezember 2006

lets smoke out the malady ...

... with the scent of oranges, shall we?

several fairly large oranges have piled up over the last weeks due to my loss of appetite. actually, i did not use the content of my farm box at all. sure, i could have cancelled the delivery for a while, but i gave my veggies to my mother instead. she ran some errands in linz past week and she happily took all the organic food off my hands (minus apples and oranges).

when i bookmarked this recipe for orangettes over at smitten kitchen a while ago (i am totally smitten by that blog, btw) i figured i'd make those someday along the way ...

well, along the way is today! i am using up the whole batch of these organic oranges and i'll make orangettes and orange marmalade. the orangettes will definitely go into my adventcookie collection for future reference. honestly - i suppose i just will make this candy all year long whenever i peel oranges ...

this first batch probably gets zero points for their messy appearance - i think i have to work on my presentation next time. i did not find a decent way to cover them propperly in all that chocolate! i'm not too experienced with candy making and so i was virtually stuck in chocolate up to my elbows when i was finally done covering the slices ... (stuck in chocolate?! is there really anything wrong with that?)

however, they taste marvellous despite this messy overall impression.

orangettes: dip in dark chocolate

orangettes (original recipe at the food network)

4 large oranges
8 ounces water
8 ounces sugar
16 ounces dark chocolate
16 ounces bitter cocoa powder
  1. Slice the ends off of the oranges, score the peel from one end to the other, and remove the peels off the oranges.

    orangettes: peel
  2. Slice the peels into thin strips and trim the edges.

  3. Using a medium size pot, place the peels in boiling water and blanch them for a few minutes. Rinse the peels, and repeat this process a second time. This is done to remove the bitterness of the peels.

  4. Prepare the simple syrup by combining the water and sugar in a sauce pot. Bring the syrup to a simmer, place the peels in the pot, and simmer for 1 hour. Once the peels have cooked, remove them from the pot, and place on a rack to cool and drain.

    orangettes: cool and drain
  5. Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler. Dip the candied orange peels in the chocolate, remove them quickly, and roll them in the cocoa powder. Store the orange peels in an airtight container.

make sure to watch the pot while you cook the peels in the syrup! okay, a watched pot never boils, but you will quickly notice that if you set the temperature too high the water may boil off quickly and your slices will start to burn! if there's too little water in the pot just add some more and reduce heat!

the oranges themselves where quickly transformed into orange marmalade:

sugar high friday # 26

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17. Dezember 2006

a heavenly combination: apple / cinnamon / semolina

my sick stomache is slowly recovering and i want to thank you all for your kind words! right now i am having my first coffee in over a week (and i am usually a total coffee person). i am taking little sips of heaven! coffee is divine!

regarding all your tips about a stomache-friendly dish i decided to go with a sweet one (lacking a soup hen) for a start. so i am preparing a big pot of a sweet porridge-style semolina dessert. i am making it not too sweet though. i still need to give my belly a break and i don't want to kickstart my digestion - baby steps, everyone! because i learned from experience that bowel cramps are no piece of cake!

mmmmh ..... cake! but no, silly me! let me get back to my semolina-dish instead!

as a child i was not a big fan of semolina, although it is a big part of bavarian and bohemian (hence mühlviertler) cuisine. whenever we would have a main dish made of semolina little gerda would go on strike! like a little suppenkaspar i'd yell "i hate semolina! i HATE semolina" ... and i would run straight to my room and pout all day long. or at least until supper.

do you know the suppenkaspar? it is a story in the (very cruel!) german children's book struwwelpeter. oh yes, i hated that book too! die geschichte vom suppen-kaspar (the story of augustus who did not have any soup) begins as kaspar, a healthy, strong boy, proclaims that he will no longer eat his soup. over the next five days he wastes away and dies. VERY questionable stories for little children, if you ask me ...

again, i am drifting off! now let me really get back to my semolina-dish! it is easy, quick, and it tastes really good. and above all it totally soothes my stomach.

grießpudding apfel/zimt

30 g semolina
300 ml milk
50 g yoghurt
1 apple
  1. core, peel and dice an apple and cook in a little water until tender. add cinnamon and mash the pieces up when they're done

    grießpudding apfel/zimt: apple sauce

  2. in a small saucepan, stir together milk and sugar (as much as you may like, i took one teapoon) and bring to a boil 

  3. immediately remove from the heat 

  4. stir in semolina and return to the stove

  5. bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until thickened

    grießpudding apfel/zimt

  6. remove from heat again and stir in the yoghurt

    grießpudding apfel/zimt: + yoghurt

  7. pour in a bowl and top with the apple sauce
(serves one person)

the yoghurt adds a fresh touch to the dish, but you can skip the yoghurt altogether if you like.
grießpudding apfel/zimt
semolina - friend or foe? i can see why i changed my mind- semolina is just too delish!

14. Dezember 2006

this is really sick

actually i am sick. please feel free to look up the term gastroenteritis in wikipedia. i don't want to chase you away, after all this is a blog about ingestion and not the opposite. all i'm going to tell you is that i virtually spent the last 5 days in the bathroom. i totally lost my appetite.

i haven't been seriousely sick in a few years and honestly - i hate it! i missed some important classes at university and i could not go to work either - but the worst thing probably is that i am bored out of my mind by now.

today i slowly crawled out of bed again and i instantly started to think about cooking - despite the fact that my stomach has been numbed by pain in the previous days. i am suddenly craving dairy products although i usually don't like milk at all (and i have trouble digesting it). so what should i do now? i have no idea how to cook for my sick self :) my mama would always have camomile tea and rusk (zwieback) at home for emergencies like this. but me? nope, nada.

it returned to my mind that there was a chapter in "my first cookbook" and that we learned about cooking for sick people in home economics when i was ten. obviously i did not pay enough attention back then because i still had my mother to take care of my misery.

now i need to cook something to get me going again. i passed grocery shopping with flying color (without fainting), eating something and keeping the morsels down should be doable!

do you have any secret recipes for a sick stomach? maybe chicken soup for the belly?

12. Dezember 2006

just a quick reminder: 2006 food blog awards

Food Blog Awards Logo

you can nominate your favorite foodblog by leaving a comment in the desired category. and though i want to nominate myself (only a little bit) i probably won't do that. there are simply too many brilliant food blogs out there i enjoy every day.

they really deserve that award. because all of them raised the bar pretty high to what a gread foodblog is. and my humble little foodblog here is only striving for getting anywhere close to the brilliancy and wittiness of my foodblog heroes.

now go and nominate your favorites!

6. Dezember 2006

let the pleasant anticipation begin: vanilla crescent christmas cookies

i jumped out of bed like a little child today! it's nikolaustag!

the tradition of saint nicholas is a big thing here in austria. it goes back to nikolaus von myra as you probably know and when i was a child this was one of my favorite festivities in the church year. i did not have a very religious upbringing and i rarely go to church today, i practically only attend weddings, funerals or christenings in my close family and circle of friends. i am not very fond of the fact that advent season starts around mid-november these days and that everything seems to become more and more kitschy and sponsored by coca cola ... but i still love love loooove to celebrate the festivities i couldn't wait for as a child.

us kids would always find little "nikolaussackerl" on the breakfast table decorated with a tiny little rod reminding us that we did not always behave well during the year. the "sackerl" contained little presents, nuts, tangerines, apples, oranges, candy and a little saint nikolaus made of chocolate. while we where still very small children a person dressed up as st. nikolaus acompanied by the evil krampus would knock on our door in the evening, inquire about our behaviour and bring the presents himself. while i just adored the bishop with his flowing beard, miter and staff, i was always very afraid of the krampus, the evil helper that would discipline bad children with his rod and take them away ... of course we never were beaten up by this guy, but if you ask me threatening children to hit them if the are naughty is a very questionable educatinal method!

my mama still made us little presents on nikolaus day as we became teenagers and young adults and so i am still really into this children's holiday ... mama spoiled us for life!

as i am living alone and further away from my family now i need to treat myself to a little st. nikolaus celebration. that day usually marks the start of advent season for me. i throw in a little "last christmas" (kitsch, you say?!) and get in the mood.

and i start baking.

my late grandmother was famous for her vanillekipferl (vanilla crescent chrismas cookies or vanilla cornets in english) and although i can not look back on 60 years of baking experience (yet) i try my best today and make these cookies just like she used to make them. let me share the recipe:

vanillekipferl / vanilla crescent chrismas cookies
300 g flour
50 g sugar
1 pack of vanilla sugar
200 g soft butter
100 g ground hazelnuts
5 tbsp lukewarm milk
2 packs of vanilla sugar mixed with confectioners' sugar
  1. in a bowl, knead all ingredients until you get a dough of firm texture. be careful, the more you knead the more the butter in the mixture will soften. so work rather fast. start by creaming together butter and sugar and add the flour and the other ingredients after that
  2. let the dough rest (you can put it in the fridge) for half an hour. cover with wax paper
  3. preheat oven to 180 °c
  4. pinch off walnut sized pieces of the dough and place them on a cutting board
  5. vanillekipferl / vanilla crescent chrismas cookies
    roll each one into a strip and shape them by pulling the strips into a semi-circle
  6. arrange the crescents on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes
  7. coming straight out of the oven (still hot!) either dust them with a mixture of confectioners' sugar and vanilla sugar or simply pull every single crescent through the sugar mixture in a flat dish or a little bowl
vanillekipferl / vanilla crescent chrismas cookies
they turned out pretty fine although it took a while until i figured out the best way to roll those little strips into crescents. the second batch was by far less crooked than the first one! i wonder what my grandmother would say if she was still alive - i bet she would secretly think "mine are better" but i am also sure that she would be really glad that her former tomboy granddaughter is finally transforming into a domestic maniac cherishing and treasuring her legacy.

where did all the broken crescents go, you ask?

well ... straight into my mouth, baby!

3. Dezember 2006

chicken curry with steamed fennel on the side

i have been invited to join the masala mambo group on flickr - is there a better excuse to cook something india-inspired? i haven't cooked with indian spices in a while so i am really looking forward to this dish. i'm gonna have myself a little chicken curry with steamed fennel on the side. i have to admit that my sister is much more creative when it comes to indian cooking. she just loves indian food and owns about twice as many indian spices than i do. she also likes to experiment with almonds and grapes in her curries ... since i have neither of her secret ingredients at home, i am going to stick to the only remotely creative verison of a curry i am able to cook ... because i just love the taste of coconut milk! this curry is also quite hot due to the (massive!) amount of ground pepper in it. if you don't like it that hot i suggest you don't put any pepper in it and just season to taste with pepper at the end. i like all my dishes very mild and i rarely use black pepper at all, but every once in a while i can handle a spicy dish. the steamed fennel goes particularly well with that curry, it seems to soften all the spices.

chicken curry with steamed fennel on the side
1 diced onion
15 g fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 tablespoon curcuma
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
350 g chicken breast, diced
250 ml coconut milk
100 ml cream
  1. in a pot, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil and gently fry diced onion and minced ginger.
  2. add curry powder, curcuma, coriander and black pepper and increase heat.
  3. stir for a little while and then add the diced chicken breast.
  4. roast for another 10 minutes or so
  5. finally add coconut milk, cream (i used rama creme fin) and bay leaf, cover and let simmer on low heat for at least 20 minutes.
  6. season to taste - works well with steamed veggies or rice as a side dish.
chicken curry with steamed fennel on the side
i met my old friend christa the other day. i haven't spoken to her in like 10 years and i was really happy to see her. she is married now and her husband is from india - maybe if we revive this old friendship i can learn from her (or the husband) how to cook a propper indian meal *g*

anyway, i need to look for my bend it like beckham-dvd now.
whenever i cook indian food this movie pops into my head!

and of course i start to reminisce about my time in london (are you getting sick of my nostalgia and my stories of london?). i took a language class at ealing tertiary college and i quickly became a fan of the southasian lifestyle that was omnipresent in and around ealing. my favorite foodrelated locations in london are wembley and ealing ... i am still very fond of the colourfull things and flavours and i can't get enough of the local cornershops there.

man, i can not wait another 10 years before visitin london again. though i lived there 10 years ago i did not feel like a tourist at all on my trip this spring. certainly, very much has changed, but i guess i lost my heart for good ...

27. November 2006

mamas zwiebelkuchen (mama's onion tart)

i have rarely seen my mama cook anything according to a recipe and when i asked her about helping me with the zwiebel (onion) task for todays foodblog event she again improvised herself away.

man, i almost had to write in shorthand! mama was so quick throwing this thing together although she has not made anything like this before, can you believe that?! she suggested to make a "zwiebelkuchen" with some sort of a pizza crust and a quiche filling. gosh, that lady can improvise! apparently mama knows what the final dish will taste like just by combining the ingredients in her mind!

i was incredibly busy with taking pictures and keeping up with "a pinch of this and a pinch of that" - the only thing i could offer to help with was doing the dishes afterwards ... and eating the onion tart (pie?), of course! so with this post you'll get the german version of the recipe and a photo(love)story as well.

für den teig:
250 g weizenmehl in eine schüssel sieben, mit 1 päckchen hefe, salz, 50 ml öl und 125 ml lauwarme milch hinzufügen, alles miteinander vermengen und etwa 5 minuten zu einem teig verarbeiten. den teig an einem warmen ort so lange stehen lassen, bis er etwa doppelt so hoch ist, ihn dann nochmal durchkneten und auf dem mit butter oder margarine gefetteten boden einer springform (kasserolle) ausrollen und die form bis zum rand mit dem teig auslegen.

für den belag:
500 g zwiebeln abziehen, würfeln. 1-2 eßlöffel butter oder margarine zerlassen, die zwiebelwürfel darin glasig dünsten lassen. 1 eßlöffel weizenmehl mit 3 eiern, 2 bechern saurer sahne (etwa 300 g), kümmel und salz verrühren, mit den zwiebeln vermengen, die masse gleichmässig auf dem teig verteilen. 50 g durchwachsenen speck in würfeln schneiden, über die zwiebelmasse streuen, den teig nochmals an einem warmen ort für 15-20 minuten aufgehen lassen, die form erst dann auf den rost des vorgeheizten backofens schieben und auf 200 °C für ca 30 minuten backen.
and now the english version
for the pastry:
sift 250 g flour flour in a bowl and add a small pack of instant yeast, a pinch of salt, 50 ml oil and 125 ml lukewarm milk. make a firm dough and knead for about 5 minutes. let the dough rest in a warm place until it has doubled in size. knead again and roll out to fit either a casserole or a pie plate. make sure to trim pastry even with the edge of the casserole or pie plate.

for the filling:
clean and dic 500 g onions. melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter or margarine and fry the diced onions. in a bowl mix 1 tablespoon of flour with 3 eggs and 300 g sour creme, caraway seeds and salt and finally add the mixture to the fried onions. again stir well and spread the mixture evenly on the pastry in the casserole or pie plate. dice 50 g streaky bacon and sprinkle on top of the mixture. let the pastry with the filling on top rise again for another 15 to 20 minutes in a warm place then put in the oven and bake für about 30 minutes on 200-250 °C.

i really hope i got everything right. this woman is a very fast cook! and the onion tart was gone in the blink of an eye too! my grandpa, my aunt and my cousin and his wife (as well as their children) all wanted to have a taste. do i have to mention that i am really honored to be the daughter of the best cook in the family? she truly took over the wheel from my late grandmother. you can send fanmail to herta@haunschmid.biz ;)

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24. November 2006

the kitchen thing

okay, this will be a post not really related to food.

the other day, vasilisa from where is my dinner mentioned the ikea restaurant ... i am a huge fan of the food there, actually! since i sold my car i don't have the opportunity to go to my local ikea as often as i wish i could, but my mama, my sister and me have scheduled an ikea-date for next monday. i am so looking forward to this!

and who would have thought! i even have quite some money to spend this time! i am currently finishing my bachelor's degree in art and apparently i am a pretty good - i was granted a merit university scholarship (something like a merit bonus). now i can finally buy an essential piece of furniture: a BED! ever since i moved out of my shared flat two years ago i have slept on a mattress on my bedroom floor. and i did not even mind. i am more the student-type (despite i am 31 now) and i live a pretty low key life. i don't need a posh space to live, chrome faucets or mahogany sideboards - just any cosy old building will do.

one big disadvantage of my building are the crooked walls with no single right angle in my entire appartement. that will definitely drive you crazy if you want to hang shelves or if you want to mount wall storage in the kitchen. thank good i am totally into crafts, i sometimes have to be very creative if i have to come up with some emergency "this does not stick to the wall" - plan.

i really love my flat. you can't even tell that i have to live on a budget and that most of the furniture is rather cheap. it is really charming.

i'd love to be able to afford a new kitchen though. i have very little storage space and virtually no work space, this can be a bit of a hassle sometimes. the room layout itself is also a bit weird, since this large room contains kitchen, dining space, workspace and living room. i always gaze at the lovely displays at ikea (especially the "one room solutions") where they seem to be able to combine all the living space you need in a fassionable and affordable way. this is like furniture porn (or even more kitchen porn, since i loooooove to check out the kitchen departement at ikea)!

right now they have a contest at my ikea where you can win your dream kitchen.
of course i did enter the contest!
the only thing i had to do was design my dream kitchen with their kitchen planner:

i can soooooo see myself cook in my dream kitchen! now i either win or i somehow need to earn
€ 2.899,28 to actually buy the kitchen i'd really like to own ... okay, that won't happen. so i just have to win it.

23. November 2006

cooking with the queen bee

since i will spend the next few days at my parent's house i am planning to bring in the woman who taught me how to cook and let me dearrange her kitchen like a thousand times: my mama! but she has no clue yet. so please don't tell on me! i plan on having her as a guest-chef or even a guest blogger! her english is really okay but she is a little shy to actually use it. well, we can work on the post together, don't you think?

she agreed to join me in some organic food-shopping on our local market next saturday (finally i got her interested in a more healthy way of living!) and she is always very keen on hearing what i cooked and posted on my blog. she'd love to have one herself but the only thing she can do on a computer is play solitaire.

she'll be so surprised when we kids give the parents a laptop and "the internet" for christmas!!

then she can finally read the food blogs i slobber over all the time!
she's already a little jealous about all my access to wonderful recipes and websites!

i tell you, she'll never play solitaire again!

19. November 2006

i have to see (make, taste) for myself!

there is a hype going on in the foodblog world right now about this super-easy no-knead bread.

i think many other foodbloggers where shaking their heads in disbelief like i did, but by now i saw so many posts regarding the gorgeous results of this no-effort-recipe and i am convinced: i have to try this now. i have to pass the torch!

according to jim lahey of the sullivan street bakery in new york you only need water, flour, instant yeast, salt - and no tricks!

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2 cups of water
... are the exact measurements. i always have that in my kitchen cupboard, so lets get to work. actually, i will let the yeast do the work over night. it should take me only a few seconds to throw the ingredients together.

check out the video of mark bittman (nyt) right here. and stay tuned. i will post the results in about 20 hours. maybe i will be one of the many people fascinated by the simplicity of the recipe and the lovely result.

no-knead bread
all i have to do now is figure out how many °Celsius 515 °Fahrenheit are ... i can hardly wait until i come home from work tomorrow and finally bake this baby ... and join the hype of the blogosphere.

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this recipe seems to be really foolproof. when i came home from work today the dough had rested for about 20 hours and doubled its size. i was pretty impressed! yes i know, yeast does that to flour and water :) the smell of the dough when i lifted the cloth was a bit weird. it reminded me a lot of beer, actually. i was afraid that the bread might end up tasting like this too ... but it didn't.

one challenge i had to face was the baking itself. since my oven is not working propperly i had to stick the bread into my mini grill/oven-type of thing (which actually is half broken too ...). and since the capacity of this thing is very very limited i could not use a pot and a lid.

no-knead bread
i placed the dough in my casserole and tinkered an aluminium foil "hat / lid / cover". that is very lame, i know. but look how perfect the bread came out after one hour on 235 °C (again, this damn mini grill /oven is not able to produce more heat)

no-knead bread
perfect, don't you think?

it certainly tasted wonderful, a lot like ciabatta. and despite i am a big big fan of dark bread i really like this one and i will definitely make my own white bread from now on.

let me sum this up: you need flour, instant yeast, salt and water and it does not even seem to matter if you don't stick to the instructions religiously.

instead of a pot and a lid i used my casserole and some aluminium foil.
instead of 268 °C i baked it on 235 °C.

don't be scared to improvise!
be creative!
how much easier can it get?

... now let me get back to my light evening meal with my lovely bread ...

17. November 2006

the parsnip, the ancient vegetable

well, you must be getting tired of me rambling on about newly discovered food. but i have another one for you. i am starting to think that my diet was very dull and narrow minded before i ordered this farm box, because now i discover something new to feast on every week. amazing.

maybe i am just such a creature of habit and i only ate what i always knew. there even is a saying here in austria about the stubborn breed of humans north of the danube: "was der bauer nicht kennt, ißt er nicht" -"the farmer does not eat what he doesn't know".

totally true.

we tend to blame this on the granite and its massive, hard and tough geological features north of the danube and the resulting hardship for local agriculture.

before i get off the point again i like to draw your attention to the veggie of the week: the parsnip! apperently this veggie was quite popular in mediaeval europe until the potato appeared. the parsnip then fell completely into oblivion. time for some research, don't you think? and once again i turn to wikipedia:

"The parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a root vegetable related to the carrot. Parsnips resemble carrots, but are paler and have a stronger flavor. Like carrots, parsnips are native to Eurasia and have been eaten there since ancient times. Until the potato arrived from the New World, its place in dishes was occupied by the parsnip. Parsnips can be boiled, roasted or used in stews, soups and casseroles."

(image from wikipedia)

so again i have to dive into the depths of the internet to find a decent recipe. i have quite some experience with root veggies, so making something cool should not be a problem. but then again, i wanted to experience the taste of the parsnip as pure as possible. so i went for an easy ...
parsnip au gratin (inspired by this recipe of stuffed parsnip on chefkoch.de)

275 g parsnip
1 carrot
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
40 g breadcrumbs
  1. clean and peel parsnip
  2. cut off four large discs (about 3 centimeters) from the thicker end of the veggie and throw the rest of the root into a food processor
  3. cut the discs into chunks and also cut the carrot into smaller discs
  4. place in a casserole
  5. finely chop onion and garlic
  6. in a pan, heat some butter and gently fry onion, garlic and the rest of the parsnip.
  7. after about 5 minutes add breadcrumbs and continue to fry the mixture.
  8. spoon on top of the carrot and parsnip chunks, put a few knobs of butter on top and grill at 200°C for about 30 minutes
pastinaken au gratin pastinaken au gratin
this can be a side dish, but for me it was the veggie-main course of my late lunch. i ate it with a colorful mix of corn salad and radiccio. the gratin-top of the dish might also make a good stuffing for meat. i have to try that out some time.

pastinaken au gratin
okay, there is not much of the "au gratin" left when you ladle it onto the plate, but: oh my god! the taste was just perfect! hearty and rich, very nuttily and a little like parsley, a little like carrot ... it might become a staple food in my kitchen.

pastinaken au gratin

15. November 2006

flavour enhancers and food additives

for the most part of my life i did not really care what i ate. if i liked a particular product i did not at all care what the label said. while i was aware of some cancer-causing stuff in my preprocessed food, of flavour enhancers and of food additives (i like to call them "e-nummern"), i did not care at all. i ate what i liked and i ate it all up.

i have to admit that i am a very sateless person. and i am a creature of habit. i still am a bit of a careless eater today. if i discover a new taste that i like i usually stock up my kitchen cabinets with the product, fruit or vegetable and just indulge in the new flavour until i am totally sick of it.

that is stupid, don't you think?

but maintaining this foodlog has influenced me beyond belief. i broaden my horizon with every blogpost i read on one of my 300 favorite foodlogs. that might sound cheesy, but i honestly learn so much on my daily tour through the internet. new recipes, new ways of living and cooking ... ever tried to cook gluten-free? that is damn hard! while i don't have to deal with coeliac disease i am always inspired by foodies that cook in a different way. i highly admire that.

and i read labels now. one of my favorite condiments is "brathuhngewürz", flavoring for roast chicken.

mononatriumglutamat (monosodium glutamate)

when i rip open a pack and sprinkle it over my chicken, i always lick that stuff off my fingers because i think it tastes sooooo goooood. with an increasing feeling of guilt, of course. i have been looking into the subject of flavour enhancers and food additives and i am increasingly worried. i replaced lots of the things i eat with organic products, i make my apple sauce of real organic apples now instead of buying the jars. the jars of apple sauce that always taste the same. always.

i like variety now. i enjoy the different flavours and textures. i am really taking this organic lifestyle seriousely and a reduced waistline, way better sleep and feeling less drained are some of the great side effects.

but then again there are things like this flavoring for roast chicken. it contains monosodium glutamate, which supposedly is bad for your health. i don't use lots of it, maybe i cook roast chicken every other month, but it still worries me. can i ever call my lifestyle "organic" when i cook with this stuff? it should be easy to reproduce because it only contains salt, paprika, garlic, pepper, marjoram and rosemary. i would ignore that monosodium glutamate, of course.

can you let go of your preprocessed things "poisoned" with the nasty flavour enhancers and food additives? well, for me that is really really difficult.

i forgot to mention that i am not only sateless but also bullheaded, stubborn and very obsessive when i get something into my head.

i already made some good changes in my life.
maybe i shouldn't worry so much.

12. November 2006

stuffed onion

i am a real fan of food that makes your breath smelly :) it never occured to me that this affectation might be a problem until i once saw the sick look on my friend's face when i told her about the pleasures of garlic. we where just ordering doner kebap to go in a small turkish shop and she disgustedly asked me if i was ever worried about my bad breath after eating onions or garlic in public. well, i never really was! but from that moment on i always carried mints in my purse. thank good i hardly ever have to worry about my garlicky breath when i cook that stuff at home!

1 large onion
100 g swiss chard
50 ml teriyaki sauce
125 g rice

  1. peel and slice top of onion.
  2. bring 1 liter of salted water to a boil and add rice.
  3. reduce heat, throw in the onion as well, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
    stuffed onion
  4. wash swiss chard and cut into desired size.
  5. in a saucepan heat teriyaki sauce and add the swiss chard. reduce heat and cover
  6. make sure that the onion is tender when the rice is done. take out the onion and let it cool.
  7. drain the rice and make sure to keep it warm.
  8. remove centers of the onion and be careful to leave the shell intact.
  9. chop centers and add to the swiss chard.
  10. cook over reduced heat for a few minutes and add half of the rice.
  11. mix thoroughly. the mixture should be rather sticky. spoon it into the onion and place on top of the remaining rice.
  12. drizzle with teriyaki sauce.

stuffed onion

i just wish you could stuff garlic. or i could try to stuff an onion with garlic! perhaps i should try to stuff an onion with altoids instead if i have plans for an evening with my thin-skinned friend!*lol*

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10. November 2006

ever tasted an austrian central american tortilla española?

me neither.

but last week i had another cool new veggie in my farm box: the sweet potato. you should have heard my cry of joy when i saw it! because i have been sweet potato hunting here in linz for quite a while. no greengrocer in my area seems to have this central american veggie in their range of goods. how lucky am i to have it sent right to my porch?!

it is funny that the sweet potato is such a cryptical vegetable here in austria and a staple food in central america. is is becoming more popular these days though and people seem to know that a sweet potato is actually quite different from the potato we europeans know.

in my quest to cook this amazing batata i was browsing many recipes lately. originally i wanted to experience the taste of this new veggie as natural as possible. not to much spice, not to many other ingredients. should i make something like rösti? the purer the better, right?

but when i came across a lusty recipe of a remote relative of the rösti, i finally decided to make something inspired by the spanish omelette (tortilla española). i don't really know what a spanish cook would add to the basic recipe, but since i had some other stuff in my fridge i had to save from decay i accidentally made way more than just dinner for one ... and finally came up with a sweet potato tortilla served on a bed of salad.

150 g carrots
150 g potatoes
450 g sweet potatoes
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
4 eggs
75 g flour
salt, pepper, chili powder

(makes about 10 medium sized omelettes)

01 wash, peel and grate the potatos, the sweet potato and the carrots.
02 put them in a large bowl.
03 chop onion and garlic and add to the veggies.
04 add eggs and stir well.
05 if the mixture is too soft add flour to make it more smooth.
06 heat a little oil in a skillet and carefully spread the mixture over the bottom of the pan. i made little flat tortillas with a diameter of about 10 cm.
07 cook for about 3-4 minutes and flip once. cook another 2 minutes. the tortilla should be golden brown.
08 i then placed the mini tortilla on a bed of mixed salad.

i was a bit surprised that the mixture turned out so orange. i always figured the sweet potato is the same color as our potato. the tortilla tasted quite interesting and i still could identify the unfamiliar taste of the sweet potato. the taste of the eggs was quite dominant and maybe i should have taken less of them, but then again i killed to birds with one stone: cooking something remotely spanish for the first time and tasting a sweet potato for the first time as well.

sweet potato tortilla served on a bed of salad
sweet potato tortilla served on a bed of salad sweet potato tortilla served on a bed of salad

i did put aside a tiny portion of the sweet potato and i fried it in a little butter just to experience a more pure taste. i have to admit that i am a bit clueless how i could use this new veggie in my kitchen but then again i suppose i won't get my hands on one of these babies anytime soon ...

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