30. Juli 2006

pudding from scratch

why did i always think making homemade cocoa pudding was difficult? it's not more difficult than ripping open a pack of dr. oetker chocolate pudding powder, actually! i found a recipe for cocoa pudding the other day at the tea-time blog and i was absolutely thrilled that it was totally easy and quick to have myself a little homemade pudding.

don't get me wrong, i do not shun finished products or convenience food from my kitchen, but i more and more like to look behind the scenes every once in a while. i'd like to know how a dish is actually made rather then shove it down my throat in an attack of the munchies. using instant products normally is way quicker than using the real thing (i guess i never ever prepared vegetable stock for a dish, i always use the instant one!) - but in the case of this pudding "the real thing" is even quicker and muuuuuch much more delicious:

500 ml milk
4 tbsp starch
2 tbsp cocoa
3 tbsp sugar

01 mix starch and cocoa with the cold milk and bring to a boil while constantly stirring
02 add sugar shortly before the mixture starts to boil
03 remove from the stove as soon as it starts to bubble
04 thoroughly whisk for a few minutes (i used a hand blender) until the kokoa creme is cooling down
05 pour in little cups and sprinkle with some pistachios, flakes or any other garnish you like ...

great recipe, quick satisfaction for my sweet tooth!

homemade schokopudding

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29. Juli 2006

i am really looking forward to ebbp#5

euro blogging by poston this weekend we're supposed to compile a parcel according to the theme "taste of summer" ... can't wait to send it off to its destination somewhere in europe ... this time cooksister is hosting the event.
although i was pretty sceptical at first because of the fiasco that happended to my parcel last time, i finally made up my mind and i also convinced my very own little cook sister (who practically is a foodblog virgin) to participate! i also was very inspired by the parcel i got from christina at ebbp#4. i found it particularly sweet that she included something homemade (pesto, baby!) and i decided to do the same for my addressee this time. so i am making a batch of "marillenmarmelade mit schuss" (apricot jam with a lacing of rum) in order send it off to ******* tomorrow ...

marillenmarmelade mit einem schuss rum marillenmarmelade mit einem schuss rum off you go, little parcel. you should reach your destination in 4 to 10 days!

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23. Juli 2006

you grow girl, day four

sprossen, tag 4
an overnight explosion in my jar! i've never seen them grow so quickly ...

22. Juli 2006

you grow girl, day three

sprossen, tag 3
the heat and the humiditiy here in austria seems to accelerate the growing of my sprouts dramatically ... usually it takes about 4 days for them to get that big!

20. Juli 2006

you grow girl, day one

sprossen, tag 1

i have to admit, that i have no idea what "sprossen ziehen" is in english. can anybody help me out here? i am throwing seeds of fenugreek, lentils and radish in a jar and after letting them soak for a few hours you can see them grow ... after 3-5 days the sprouts taste marvellous on salads or even on toast ...

15. Juli 2006

steaming, baby!

though i am very inspired by all you fellow foodbloggers out there i am often turning to www.chefkoch.de when i have to make use of various "leftover" things in my kitchen. so i was again going through their files in order to find a recipe for my swiss chard. i was immediatley convinced that i need to combine it with fish and dill ... though dill is not my favorite herb (in fact, i stopped eating it when i was a teenager) i figured that since i had it in my veggie-box this week i could again try if i might like it today ... and i was surprised that i hadn't liked dill for so long, because it is the perfect herb for steamed fish&steamed veggies!

3 frozen pieces of cod
salt, pepper, nutmeg
200 ml vegetable stock
300 g swiss chard
150 g cremefin (or sour creme)
3 tbsp dill

01 heat vegetable stock in a wok
02 clean swiss chard and cut into smaller pieces if necessary (i like big chunks!)
03 place in wock, cover with a lid and steam for abtou 10 minutes
04 add the frozen pieces of cod and steam for another 15 minutes
05 when the fish is done take vegetables and fish out of the wok and set aside
06 add cremefin (or sour creme) to the stock, add dill, season to taste and reduce until the sauce is getting really creamy
07 arrange the swiss chard and the fish on a plate and drizzle with dillsauce

mangold im wok dünstenmangold und dorsch im wok dünstenmangold und dorsch im wok dünstendillsauce

dorsch mit mangold und dillsauce dorsch mit mangold und dillsauce

after posting my pictures to flickr i was a little worried, because a fellow flickr-user pointed out, that cod actually is on a greenpeace list for endangered species ... though i think too that it makes more sense to use ingredients from local producers rather than having your piece of fish shipped around the globe, i would have my troubles with using carp or trout in my everyday cooking. i take pity in the poor fish when i have to cut off their heads and take out their guts ... i'd rather have my dead animals without their actual heads, eyes and guts. if i'd have to kill animals myself in order to get my meat, i guess i would be a vegetarian ... or i would probably eat spiders, because these are the only creatures i don't hesitate to knock off (bah, disgusting thought ... but maybe, if i fry them, and with a little seasoning, they would not even taste bad at all *ggg*)

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14. Juli 2006

EBBP#5 - the taste of summer

cooksister ist hosting EBBP#5 and i am in a moral conflict.

on the one hand i'd really like to get a surprise parcel by a fellow foodblogger. the first parcel i got on EBBP#4 was supercool!

but on the other hand my attempt to send david something nice turned out a disaster. i am still disappointed and i guess my adressee was disappointed too when he discovered that the thing i sent where totally rummaged by mice ... putting much effort (and money!) in the parcel and seeing it destroyed is not very funny ...

the thought of a surprise is very tempting, but i think i don't want to join in this time ...

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13. Juli 2006

bountiful harvest

gemüsekiste kw 29

looking at my gorgeous gemüsekiste was quite a surprise today. fantastic blueberries! i haven't eaten them since i was a kid and we picked them ourselves in the forrest. as i was going through the box "mmmmh"-ing and "aaahh"-ing i suddenly found myself with an unknown vegetable. it looked like spinach or salad ... being at my wit's end i decided to send my mother a snapshot. of course she came to the rescue. the mysterious vegetable is swiss chard. learned from the master (a.k.a. my mother) and i guess the master has to teach me another recipe containing mangold now ...

11. Juli 2006

a rehearsal lunch

i am afraid of yeast.


yeas is an ingredient i have never used before because i really think yeast is always getting out of control no matter if i precisely stick to a recipe. i've watched the women in my family cook with yeast like a million times, and i was always terrified by the duplication of the dough's volume.

i might not fully understand the concept of yeast. this is a "living" ingredient and i guess that's what makes it so uncontrollable for me. you never know what those little fungi are about to do. is it to cold for them to rise? am i killing them by pouring too hot fluids over?!

well. today i was taking on the challenge and overcoming my fear of the fungus.

as my sister and my brother are coming over on saturday and i have never ever made anything with yeast before i needed to make sure that the lunch my sister "ordered" was turning out fine. i mentiones before that we give eachother little presents for no reason and my sister gave me a lovely (and again colorful! yeah!) oven/serving dish that perfectly fits for a single household like mine. and the dish is perfect for buchteln, as she told me.

so i will rehearse a recipe for sweet yeast dumplings and berries for lunch today because i want to try out whether the fungus will obey me.

buchteln mit beeren - germteig

200 ml milk
60 g butter
375 g flour
1 pkt of yeast
50 g sugar

01 sieve flour into a bowl
02 add sugar to the bowl
03 warm up milk and let butter melt in the warm milk (leave a little of that mixture to pour on the dumplings later)
04 dissolve yeast the fluid and pour over the flour/sugar mixture
05 add one egg and combine to a smooth dough
06 cover bowl and let dough rise for about 40 minutes at a warm place
07 the dough should be easily removed from the bowl
08 knead dough and make little dumplings
09 place them in a greased oven dish. arrange the dumplings closely, touching each other.
10 cover and let rise again for about 20 minutes
11 pour over the rest of the milk/butter mixture
12 bake for 30 minutes at about 200°C

300 g frozen berries
50 g sugar
1 tbsp starch
50 ml water

01 heat berries in a small pan
02 combine water and starch, add to the berries and bring to the boil
03 pour the berries over the dumplings while still hot

buchteln mit beeren

though the dumplings where not as fluffy as i would have liked them to be, they tasted quite okay for my first ever yeast-experience.

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a little update:

my second experience with yeast was finally a winner! while i was on skype with my sister and my mom (her first time skyping *alone*) they both suggested to be more patient and let the dough rise a couple more times. i guess that was the whole trick!! i can't wait to have those little babies for breakfast tomorrow!

die buchteln, diesmal wunderbar aufgegangen
die buchteln, diesmal wunderbar aufgegangen

9. Juli 2006

traditions, memories, changing habits and a recipe

angelika from the flying apple had a nice quote on her page yesterday: "the united states and great britain are two countries seperated by the same language".

one thing i was always strangely proud of was my dialect (you can probably compare it to the thick southern accent of some americans which not everyone who knows english is able to understand). i grew up in rural austria, in the north of the country in a region known as the "böhmerwald" (bohemian forest). i think i mentioned my strong bohemian influence in the kitchen before. there's a sarcastic comment used a lot in our region: "standard german is the first foreign language you need to learn". i always found this was actually true. nothing is as hard as being eight years old and having to answer questions by word of mouth in proper german. our teachers really had to drill us back then in the 80s ... today this is practically irrelevant because kids grow up with both standard german and dialect and most of them are not shy at all to switch to standard german. i was always pretty embarassed if i had to lose my dialect because i simply was unexercised - there was never really a need to speak standard german until senior grades. i had to communicating a paper to the class every once in a while but i never really had to do the talking part in standard german.

i was entering a whole new world when i finally moved to the bigger cities of upper austria after school. and three years ago i moved to the provincial capital of upper austria, linz. ever since i have settled here things have changed a lot and i was rather oblivious to that. i still talk mostly dialect, but now that i am taking my vocational baccalaureat diploma in arts my friends come from all parts of austria and germany as well. and i have to adjust my talking a little. sometimes a lot, and sometimes i have to really speak propper german in cheerful talks or private conversations if i want fellow students from the ukraine, serbia, or even vorarlberg to understand me. vorarlberg is a federal state of austria whose dialect is pretty much schwyzerdütsch (swiss german). i often whip out my best german and this fellow student from vorarlberg only notices his relapse into his dialect by the questionmarks floating over my head.

i hadn't really noticed that the same thing happens from time to time when i am with my folks back home. my articulation really has changed and my folks unconsciously call intention to the fact that i modified my vernacular. they raise their eyebrows when i use "sprechen" instead of "redn". and only that reaction makes me notice that i have shunt another dialect word from my vocabulary. of course, give me one afternoon and i fall back into my dialect as though nothing had happened.

one thing i painfully realized lately is that i substitute the beloved word "erdapfel" (earth apple) with the standard german "kartoffel" a lot. erdäpfel are a staple food cultivated by virtually every household in the smaller villages of the bohemian forest. my grandfather still stores his potatoes in an "erdkeller", a cellar near the house excavated around 1900. it is located on a hillside and has a stone-vault and a time-worn wooden door. this cellar always was a magical place for me, my siblings and cousins. we would always sit on top of the hill with the cellar underneath us pretending that gnomes and dwarfs where living behind the wooden door of the cellar ...

der erdkeller beim haus meiner großeltern
der erdkeller beim haus meiner großeltern
(thank you for taking the pictures, karin)

my grandfather wants to give up this earth cellar as it is getting too difficult for him to store his potatoes and wine far away from the house. i think this is pretty sad as there are so many childhood memories connected with this magical spot. i hope he just leaves the cellar empty instead of really flatten the area in one go and also destroy the nearby meadow arranged as a garden by my late grandmother.

every member of the family currently is using up the big pile of potatoes in the earth cellar from the last harvest. and now we actually get to the point of my rampant post. i have an easy savoury potato spread for you that has a long tradition, especially in rural areas of austria. we mostly eat it as a snack with bread, a "jause", which is a light meal taken in the afternoon. today the spread is very popular for barbecues or parties: it's the famous "erdäpfelkås"

(about 20 servings)
1 kg potatoes
250 g sour cream (i use cremefin instead)
250 g onions
salt, pepper, parsley, chives

01 cook potatoes and let cool down
02 peel cold potatoes and mash roughly (using a fork)
03 chop onions very finely and combine with potatoes in a bowl
04 add sour cream / cremefin, add herbs and season to taste


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1. Juli 2006

oh my god, somebody stop me please!


i am going all domestic right now with that newfound inspiration for cooking. i have never made jam for example - and right now - guess what - i am making jam. actually, it might be marmalade, i have no idea what the correct definition is. in german this would be "pfirsichmarmelade" and i can't wait to put some on my toast tomorrow morning.

i guess i am finally ready to be a housewife. and since the way to a man's heart is through his stomach i only need to find myself a decent stomach now ... oh, sorry, i meant man, so we can eat, drink and be merry ...

oh and, thanks nerissa, i forgot to mention that this is actually peach marmalade :)

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