Thursday, 27 February 2014

Trying to make Crema Catalana

The other day I tried to make crema catalana with my friend Judith. I had found a powdered version in  an Italian supermarket (I know how random this is) and we decided to make a 'proper' one as a comparison.
Before you get too excited, neither was super amazing. The home-made version was still a hundred times better than the shop bought version.
We also made a video :)


We used a Rachel Allen recipe I found on this page. Since we had over 90 minutes of video you won't find any actual recipe information in the final video but I'll give you the original recipe and my thoughts on it here.
You are supposed to use:

350 ml Milk
125 ml Cream
Zest of 1 Orange and 1 Lemon, cut into long strips (untreated citrus is always nice...)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
4 Egg Yolks
50 g Sugar
3 tbsp Sherry
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Demerara Sugar for caramel

What you do is put the citrus zest strips, milk cream, and cinnamon sticks into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat the mixture until it starts to simmer. Then you take it off the heat, cover it and let it infuse with all the flavours while it cools down for half an hour. Here is where I suggest you do something different. Our crema catalana was super orangey and super cinnamony. Judith and I love both of those flavours but they were so intense the whole thing was a) too much and b) kinda bitter. What I would do is heat everything up and then take the zest and cinnamon sticks out after 15 minutes. That said, if you like bitter flan, then just go ahead...
Once you have a lukewarm milk mixture, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, sherry, and vanilla extract.
Preheat your oven to 150˚C and boil some water.
Whisk the milk into the egg mixture. The easiest way of doing this is by adding a small amount of the milk mixture to the eggs, whisking until there are no weird lumps or anything and then adding the remaining milk. Pretty much like when you're adding egg whites to the rest of the batter.
Next, place ramekins that will hold the flan (i.e. do the math before you start) in a deep baking tray or fat pan or similar. Pour the flan mixture into the ramekins and then place the baking tray in the oven. Now you pour the hot water you have just boiled into the tray. Judith will tell you more about all of that in the video.
'Bake' for 35 to 40 minutes, until the flan is set on the outside but the middle is still wobbly. Judith says it's supposed to wobble for about 15 seconds. She knows her flan so we're going to trust her on that one.
Once the flan has the desired wobbliness, take the ramekins out of the oven. A slotted spoon works really well for this. Put the ramekins into your fridge and do something different for an hour or two until the flan is cold. You can use this time to clean your kitchen. Or, you could make home made cannelloni from scratch like Judith did. I went and had coffee at the farmers' market :)
When you are ready to face the flan again, find a blowtorch. For some reason most of my friends have one in their kitchen. You can also use the grill of your oven, but apparently that's not what the cool kids do these days. We had four ramekins and put a very generous tablespoon of demerara sugar in each. Then you caramelise the sugar. Whichever way you are going to caramelise the sugar, watch it like a hawk. It's one of those things where nothing happens for like forever and then it burns in the blink of an eye.

If you decide to make this, let me know how it goes. Also, if there is something you would like me to make or talk about, let me know.


Monday, 17 February 2014

Hot Chocolate & a Video

Hi there, it's been a while. I moved back home to get some work done, watched my friend Anna marry the loveliest guy imaginable, and then my friend Juliane and I made a video of me making spinach and pomegranate salad and had a blast.

Some of you encouraged me to make some more videos so this week my camera and I shot a video ourselves. Actually...of me and this new thermos flask of mine :)


Anyhow, if you want to cook along with me, I have added the recipe for the hot chocolate I made below. Let me know whether you want me to keep making these videos and if so whether you have something you want me to cook in a video. If you want to make me really happy, you can also subscribe to my YouTube channel or like the video. Or you can send me an email and tell me what you think...you know, real old school.

All right, do you want to make some hot chocolate?

For 750 ml you'll need:
250 ml Coconut Milk
500 ml Water
2 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
4 tbsp Sugar (e.g. rapadura)
1/2 tsp ground Vanilla Pods or 1 tsp Vanilla extract

Whisk the cocoa powder into the coconut milk, add the water and heat over a medium flame. Whisk in the sugar and ground vanilla pods. Bring the mixture to a boil. I don't have a proper reason for this but this old recipe book I inherited from my great grandma says you're supposed to bring hot chocolate to a boil. Who knows whether you have to actually do that or whether that's a milk thing. Though, if you're going to fill it into a flask then you might as well heat the hot chocolate properly.
Anyhow, I hope you have a fantastic week. I have no idea what I'll be cooking next week, so stay tuned :)


Saturday, 7 December 2013

Roasted Root Vegetables with Quince


My mum and I made some super easy roasted veg the other day. In a way they were just your standard roast vegetables, but my mum added a few slices of quince to the mix. Best idea ever. The tartness of the quince goes super well with the caramel undertones of the root vegetables. A perfect combination in my book.
In case you are interested in this non-recipe, here are the things we used for two:

1/2 Sweet Potato
2 Purple Carrots
2 Normal Carrots
1 Beetroot
1/2 Quince

Preheat your oven to 220˚C.
Cut everything in wedges, then toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Bake/roast until the wedges have the level of crispness you like. Personally I like sweet potatoes that are very close to burning but that is a personal preference.
By the way, mayonnaise goes incredibly well with these :)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


Today was my grandma's 90th birthday and the whole family got together to celebrate. Instead of going to a restaurant we celebrated at my parents' house and had a local chef do the catering.
What can I tell you...the food was amazing.
We had made pumpkin soup as a starter - I'm not going to tell  you that much about the soup because my mum and I agree that we've had way better soup. We managed to save it in the end but I think we should have gone for a different type of pumpkin.
Anyhow, the reason I'm telling you about the soup is that we topped the soup with some roasted pumpkin seeds.
And those were rather amazing.
What we did was roast them in a dry pan and just before taking them out, we sprinkled some salt and sugar on top. The sugar ends up caramelising, making the salt stick to the seeds. Together the sugar brings out the saltiness and the salt brings out the sweetness. I think the end result is super nice and saves even a distinctly mediocre soup.
I can only imagine what it would do with a great soup.
In case you want to make pumpkin seeds for your next pumpkin soup (or for snacking), here is what we did:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
60g Pumpkin Seeds (the kind without the hard shell)
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt

Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan and add the seeds. Keep the seeds moving so they don't burn. I like flipping them in the pan, but that doesn't work in all pans. That or I'm too stupid to work all pans. I blame the pans. When the pumpkin seeds are fragrant sprinkle the sugar and salt over the seeds, making sure they are all covered evenly. Transfer the pumpkin seeds onto a piece of baking parchment and let them cool down. Don't try them before they are properly cooled. They get super hot when you roast them.

I hope your weekend was a awesome as mine. Now that I have a proper kitchen again, you'll get more recipes from me from now on :)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Moving and Banana Muffins

I'm leaving Berlin in three weeks. This is partly why I have been so quiet lately - I've had way too much to do.
This is the current situation in my living-room.


Up to this morning it looked so much worse but my parents helped me pack lots of stuff this weekend. And I sold my washing machine. After carrying a the beast down four flights of stairs I am convinced I'll never do crossfit - seriously...why would I want to lift crazy-heavy stuff or my own crazy heavy body for fun (and yes, before today I was totally toying with the idea of giving it a go)?!?!?
Anyhow...on the up side - three weeks to go till the rest of my stuff descends upon my parents' house and three weeks to go till I don't have to wear the stupid ankle brace from stupid land anymore. Wanna bet I'll fall down the same set of stairs with yet another box the second it comes off? 
Before I packed up the muffin tins (they're getting a tour of East Germany right now) I made banana muffins. The original recipe was from Felix Olschewski's Urgeschmack Dessertbuch which you should have a look at irrespective of whether you have allergies, are following a Paleo diet or eat pretty much everything. Also, if you don't speak German, buy it anyway and use Google translate. The first half of the book is about ingredients and he discusses their pros and cons in a way I really liked (in two sentences he pretty much convinced me to use honey rather than agave syrup). 
Anyhow, a few changes and 20 minutes (18 of which were baking time) after deciding to make muffins I was staring at these beauties

There are a few caveats though:
If you are looking for super airy muffin-top heavy muffins, make something different, they're quite dense and I doubt you'd manage to get them to overflow properly even if you filled them to the brim.
If you don't like coconut -  don't make them because they do taste of coconut.
If you are baking for a nut-free event - there are some almonds in there.
I'm sure there are lots of other things I could warn you about, the most important one is probably:

These are some of the nicest muffins I've made in a while!

 They are super moist from the banana, they don't have that baking soda taste to them most other muffins have (because the eggs and banana are used as raising agents), and last but not least, since I really like coconuts and bananas they are pretty much my personal version of the ideal food.

All right, you can preheat your oven now :)

Banana Muffins (adapted from Oschlewski)
4 Eggs
2 medium Bananas
50g Chopped Almonds
125g Desiccated Coconut 
40g Coconut Oil (melted)
Vanilla Extract (optional)
Pinch of Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 180˚C.
Mash the bananas with a fork, then whisk the mush with the eggs until the mixture is frothy.
Add all the other ingredients and stir until things are just combined. I don't actually know whether that makes a difference for this recipe because I was worried I had combined them for too long and they didn't turn all solid and leathery or however you want to describe the weird state lots of other muffins go into if you over-mix the wet and dry ingredients.
Fill 12 lined muffin tins with the batter and bake for 18 minutes or until they start to brown.
Wait until they are cooled before you eat them. Trust me. It's worth waiting.



Thursday, 17 October 2013

'Everything' Free Porridge


Last time I told you about the grain free porridge I've been making. It's actually grain free and nut free. More importantly, though, it tastes really nice and makes for a really nice start of the day.
I prefer it cooked because that way the chia seeds thicken faster and it starts having a similar texture to millet porridge. But if you're in a rush, it's still really nice eaten cold.
That said, since I'm already venturing into allergy-land with this recipe, if you're doing Whole 30, you won't want to make this (chia seeds), if you are allergic to compositae, then I'm very sorry because that really sucks but more importantly, keep in mind that when you're replacing the sunflower seeds - they add a buttery touch to the mix so you might want to look for something that will do that as well.
Now to the fun part :)
This porridge is super nice with frozen raspberries added just before serving, but the other day I had no fruit left but some roasted butternut squash was staring at me from the fridge. That was a really lovely combination. You should try it.

'Everything' Free Porridge
1 cup Pumpkin Seeds (raw, not roasted and smothered with stuff)
1 cup Chia Seeds
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
1/2 cup Ground Flaxseed
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)

Stick everything into a food processor or blender and whizz until you the texture resembles porridge oats. I am completely convinced this is part of why this tastes so nice - I mean if it looks like porridge it will obviously taste as good as porridge...
Done :)
When you're ready us make your porridge, use about one third to half a cup of the mix and cook with some water and/or coconut milk.
If you wait for a few minutes, the chia seeds will begin to thicken, the flavour doesn't change though. So if you can't wait, you could also just eat it cold.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

How ice-cream made my day


You were supposed to get a recipe for grain-free 'porridge' but the time since my last post tells you something about my motivation. It's actually super nice but it's kinda boring. That has been a general theme with the food I have been eating. I enjoy what I eat but whenever I ask myself whether somebody else might want to know how to make the same thing I never feel that's the case. I guess red velvet cupcakes are sexier than grain-free zucchini muffins. Please tell me if you disagree but I am currently operating under the assumption that there are enough allergy/paleo blogs around so I don't need to start writing about that stuff.
Anyhow, enough complaining for today. I made ice-cream the other night and it blew my mind. Perhaps that's because it was the firs time I have used anything other than fruit to sweeten my food in a month or so. It was glorious. And I sat around in that haze like a 5 year old who has just stuffed their face with way too much cake and gummy-bears at a birthday party (before the hyperness starts...).
I'm aware the photo doesn't look very exciting. I'm sure the chocolate version of this, which is my next project, will be more photogenic :)
That said, coconut and bananas - winner!

Coconut-Banana Ice-Cream
400ml Full Fat Coconut Milk (the stuff that doesn't come from the dairy alternative section of your supermarket)
2 very ripe Bananas
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp Honey (if you want the ice-cream to be super sweet you might want to use more)
1/4 tsp Salt (so the freezing-point is lower)

Whisk all ingredients together.
Done.
Not really, but nearly.
Pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container (e.g. an old 500ml ice-cream tub - hence the quantities) and freeze for an hour or two before scraping down the crystals that have formed on the sides of the container with a fork. Over the next few hours keep coming back to break up the crystals that are forming so you end up with one giant popsicle. Personally, I prefer it slightly thawed because then the banana flavour takes centre-stage but that might just be me :)
This ice-cream goes really well with a cup of coffee after dinner. 
Have a fab evening! I'm gonna eat some more ice-cream.
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