Friday, 30 July 2010

Lemon & Mint Water

Today's recipe is in loving memory of the week of actual summer I got to experience in Berlin (I am sitting here in St Andrews contemplating whether it's ok to either dig out the cashmere or to wear two cardigans on top of each other in July). Judith made some incredibly refreshing mint water when I was staying with her and I've been hooked since. If you are like me and you get bored with drinking water halfway through the day but you're not that into the idea of drinking soda all day long this is your drink.
I hope it's warmer where you are :)

Lemon & Mint Water
Some mint leaves (if you're making about a litre, a handful should be fine)
Some lemon zest

Put everything into a jug/bottle/whatever you want to use and chill overnight.
Now that was easy :)

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Raspberry Brownies

Over the last few years I have been complaining about not having anywhere to grow herbs to cook with - if I have to make the trek down to the garden I'm not gonna use them (I love fresh herbs but I guess the love is not quite THAT strong) and everything we try to grow on our kitchen table just seems to die within hours of you putting it there. So when I was staying in Berlin I got serious balcony-envy at Judith and Mimi's place. Apart from lots and lots of fresh herbs they were growing the most amazing strawberries on their balcony (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the tomatoes!!!). One evening we were having dinner with their neighbour Daniel and the conversation moved to the raspberries he's growing and how they're all amazingly amazing. Thinking of raspberries (while having one of Judith's amazing peanut brownies) got me excited about how well raspberries would go with brownies. Here's the end product :)

Raspberry Brownies
200g Butter
200g Good dark chocolate, broken into pieces
150g Wholegrain spelt flour
100g Buckwheat flour
200 - 250g Caster sugar
A pinch of salt
1/2 Vanilla pod
4 Eggs
250g Raspberries

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
Melt the butter and the chocolate in a small saucepan and let it cool slightly.
Put the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, add the chocolate mixture and mix until it's well combined. At this point you could try what you've got to see whether it's sweet enough. I prefer them with 200 grams of sugar but if you've got a sweet tooth you might want to go for 250.
Mix in the eggs, make sure they're properly incorporated, and add the raspberries.
Find a brownie tin (mine has reappeared, oh the joy!), pour the batter in and bake the whole thing for about 18-20 minutes. Since the raspberries are so juicy I baked mine until they were rather well done (so while you don't get the normal gooeyness that way they're not a complete mess the next day).
Make your labmates love you by sharing them :)

Monday, 26 July 2010

Linguine Alfredo

When I've been travelling I crave comfort food. One of the things that I normally tend to look forward to the most when I come home to see my parents (well obviously apart from seeing them) is the Maultaschensuppe my mum makes for me. Just thinking about it makes me feel at home and relaxed.
Since I didn't have any Maultaschen left last night (yes, I have taken some back to the UK with me in the past) I had two options - cry myself to sleep or think of something else :)
And the winner this time was linguine alfredo. There's something incredibly soothing about the scary amounts of butter, cream and parmesan that go in there but if you ignore the surprisingly loud voice in your head that tells you that you're completely out of your mind eating something like this...pure pleasure.
The recipe below should be enough for 3 or 4.

Linguine Alfredo
250g Linguine
80g Butter
75ml Double cream
150-175g Grana Padano (for once in my life I actually prefer the cheaper option, I wish that would happen more often)
Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg

Boil the linguine in enough water.
While they're bubbling away, heat the butter in a skillet. Once the butter has melted, add the double cream and stir until they're properly mixed.
Grate the cheese ( I prefer it finely grated here, but if you want to have more of a cheesy experience I could imagine a very coarsely grated version working really well), put it into a serving dish and add the butter-cream mixture. You can stir the mix but there's really no need for now.
Just before the pasta is done take away some of the water and keep it for later in case the pasta mix ends up being too dry.
Once the pasta is al dente, drain it and put it straight into the serving dish. Now you're allowed to mix everything together :)
Season well, keeping in mind that you won't need much salt because of the cheese.
Enjoy the sheer bliss when you get to eat the linguine!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Grilled Vegetables

Do you know the feeling - you go to your greengrocer's and there's soo much that looks amazing that you can't decide; and then a couple of days later you're wondering what to do with all that veg in your fridge. This is the perfect recipe for just that situation. Grilled vegetables are so quick and easy to make and I could eat them every day :)

Grilled Vegetables
Whatever veg you want to use up. I realy like using some courgette, peppers, onions, fennel, beetroot, and brocoli. Try to include some potatoes (nice and then you don't have to worry about being hungry again in like half an hour).
Olive oil
Some garlic cloves (peeled)
Salt, pepper and some herbs if you're feeling adventurous

Oven-wise you have tow options - either preheat it to 220 degrees (if you don't have a grill or would rather have them baked) or wait until you've chopped all your veg and then turn on the grill in your oven.
Chop your veg into relative large bitesize chunks.
Toss them in a bowl with a small amount of olive oil, add the garlic and season well.
Stick them into the oven until they're nice and grilled (keep coming back to turn them from time to time - so don't get too engrossed in that paper you're trying to finish or the trashy novel you're reading).
Serve with a generous helping of tzatziki or a goats' cheese sauce (recipe will come when I get back to St Andrews....hopefully).

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


I know this is gonna lead to a few more annoyed emails amongst those of you in St Andrews, but I'm still complaining about the heat :)
Berlin is boiling, so most of the time I don't even feel like thinking about food (how often will you hear me say that?!) so today's recipe is a chilled soup. I must admit the picture is one I took this weekend when I ate some gazpacho in a lovely little restaurant serving only soup (and before you ask - I was lost at that point and don't have a clue where I was, I had an  awesome time being lost and looking at buildings though!) but the recipe is one (based on a BBC Good Food recipe) that I made last week with my amazingly amazing friend Bettina while admiring her flat (oh the floor-jealousy!!!).
Give this recipe a try if you're somewhere warm, If you're somewhere cold I promise to write about something more warming :) once I get back to St Andrews and start complaining about being freezing again.

6 Really ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 Spring onions, chopped
1 Garlic clove
1/2 Cucumber, peeled
Olive oil
Aceto balsamico
Salt & pepper
1/2 Green pepper

Put the tomatoes, spring onions, garlic, and cucumber in a blender and whizz until smooth (the original suggested straining the mix through a sieve but our mix was already ultra smooth so we couldn't be bothered, if you don't like pulp then that would be an option).
Turn down the speed of your blender and add some olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper (I didn't add any quantities because that really depends on how you prefer your gazpacho - keep trying!).
Put everything into a container you can cover and put it into the fridge (this is a step that makes it nice but if you're as rushed as I was last week it'll still taste nice at room temperature - sorry I had to rush off, Bettina!).
Once you're ready to serve the gazpacho, chop the green pepper into 1cm cubes and use them as a garnish.
Serve with some bread and hopefully more time than I had :)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Yoghurt and Chèvre Rolls

As I mentioned we made mezze last week (lots of fun and lots of strong language when we attempted to make beetroot falafel...I think my beautiful friend Juliane had a lot of fun laughing at me, am I right?).
Anyhow, one of the things we made were yoghurt and chèvre rolls that we covered with chopped pistachios and chopped zereshk (dried berberis berries, you can get them in lots of Iranian food markets).
I must admit I'm slightly in love with them. Yoghurt and chèvre are already two of my favourite foods by themselves but when you combine them they bring out the best in each other.
If you don't add any salt or herbs you can have them either savoury or with some honey, dates, or some berries. Oh the possibilities!

Yoghurt and Chèvre Rolls
500g Strained yoghurt
200g Chèvre
1 handful Zereshk
100g Pistachios

Line a sieve with a muslin cloth and strain the yoghurt further for a couple of hours (don't be tempted to argue that since it's already strained it'll be fine).
Mix the chèvre with the now rather dry yoghurt (we're still talking yoghurt so dry is relative here) and whisk until you have a smooth paste.
Chop the zereshk and the pistachios and put them onto large plates.
Now you get to pretend that you're still in kindergarten and you're playing with playdoh (we're noticing a pattern in what I like to do with food, don't we?) and roll about 2 tsp of the chèvre and yoghurt mix in either the pistachios or the zereshk.
Put it on a pretty plate and repeat until you've used up all the chèvre and yoghurt mix.
Now lean back and enjoy the pretty colours!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Gooseberry Juice

It's still on the slightly hot side of things so here's another juice recipe.
I have a slightly ambivalent relationship with gooseberries. My mum always used to get loads from my grandma and because 'they're soo nice' we had to freeze the majority of them....and then they always ended up in deserts for the rest of the year forcing me to develop gooseberry-related-OCD when picking them out of my food.
I have realized, however that they're rather nice in a juice, so the plan (before I move on to the plan that includes me taking over the world) is to make juice every time I get home so there are no gooseberries left that even have a chance of appearing in my food over Christmas.
I used frozen gooseberries because we're emptying the freezer for all the fruit that is to come but the fresh gooseberries I've seen  this year are already looking very promising.
I love how the gooseberry flavour mixes with a hint of cinnamon and the slight minty-ness without being too sweet. If you like your juice quite sweet you'll definitely want to add more sugar to this recipe.
This is quite a concentrated juice so mix it with plenty of water when you serve it.
Anyhow, I hope it's not quite as hot wherever you are!

Gooseberry Juice
6 cups Gooseberries
1 cup Blackberries
1 cup Blackcurrants
2 cups Redcurrants
1/2 Cinnamon stick
about 3cm of a vanilla pod
3 leaves Moroccan mint
15-20 leaves Vervaine
11/2 tbsp Sugar
Zest of 1/2 lemon
100ml Water
50ml Orange juice

Put everything into a heavy bottomed pot and cover with a lid.
Cook until the fruit has gone all mushy and the gooseberries look like they're not happy anymore.
Turn of the heat and let the mix cool down a bit.
Strain, put it into a pretty jug and wait until it's properly cooled down.
Enjoy on a balmy summer evening.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Plum Ice-Cream

At some point a few days ago I started daydreaming about plum ice-cream. I don't remember ever eating plum ice-cream before but I consistently kept imagining what it would taste like and how gloriously summery it would be.
It was getting quite distracting, I was working on a talk and every second slide or so I noticed my train of thought going something like this: 'how could I explain this? perhaps if I draw it as a top down view it will work better.....hmm.....plum ice-cream....hang on, I'm supposed to work!!! But the ice-cream would be sooo nice.....'.
So armed with a BBC Good Food recipe (the original was more sugar and cream heavy....sounded nice as well, but I wanted plum-awesomeness) I decided to raid my mum's freezer instead of working.
We'll have some more of it tonight with lots and lots of mezze that I'm gonna make with my friend Juliane - photos and recipes will follow.

Plum Ice-Cream
900g Pitted plums, fresh or frozen
1/2 Cinnamon stick
1 Cardamom pod
2tbsp Sugar
4 Eggs
150g Icing sugar
400ml Cream

Cut the plums into pieces (quarters should be fine) and put them into a heavy bottomed pot with the cinnamon, cardamom and sugar. Heat slowly for 10 minutes until they're swimming in plum juice.
Turn up the heat a bit and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
Take of the heat and allow the mix to cool completely (give it some time!) then stick it into the fridge.
Heat the eggs and the icing sugar in a bowl over, not in (the BBC told me) a pot of boiling water and continuously beat it with an electric whisk. Heat until the eggs are heated through, take it of the heat and keep beating until the mix has trebled in volume (this is another one of those things that the BBC told mix just about doubled, no trebling in sight).
Put the mixture into the fridge and leave it there until you need it.
Once everything is properly cold, whip the cream until soft peaks are just starting to form.
Mix everything together and put it into an ice-cream maker or a container that fits into your freezer.
If you're using the ice-cream maker follow the instructions, otherwise give it an hour and then scrape down the first crystals at the sides with a fork before putting it back in (repeat every hour or so until everything is properly frozen).
Enjoy on your own (that way you don't have to share it) :)

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Rhubarb Juice

I don't feel like food today so you get a juice recipe :)
When I discovered that we have rhubarb in our garden a couple of weeks ago I didn't quite know what to do with it. I had just made the rhubarb tartlets and was still eating the leftovers of the raspberry and rhubarb compote. But then I remembered a rhubarb juice that I had a few years back and how refreshing it had been.
Since making this I have come across another rhubarb juice in Silvena Rowe's 'Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume' which had some cinnamon added (which sounds absolutely glorious to me).
The recipe below should make about 500ml juice.

Rhubarb Juice
400g Rhubarb cut into 2cm pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 4 oranges
Zest of 1 orange
100ml Water
1-2 tbsp Sugar

Put the rhubarb, the juice, the zest and the water into a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil, give it a few minutes until the rhubarb looks like it's starting to fall apart.
Remove from the heat, add the sugar, and let it cool down (or just leave it for a couple of hours and do something productive).
Strain the juice and enjoy it with some soda water or some tonic water.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Pea and Chèvre Pâté

A few weeks ago I was stuck trying to figure out what to cook. I was too lazy to actually cook but another day of apples and peanut butter was just not an option. And so I was searching the shelves of my local supermarket (you know that feeling when you know you have to buy something sensible but you're wondering how little effort you can get away with) when I came across a packet of shelled peas. I always seem to miss the point when they start selling fresh peas but it always makes me incredibly happy to see them smiling at me waiting to be eaten :)
I had just come across a recipe for a pea and goat's cheese spread on La Tartine Gourmande so that made the decision for me.

Pea and Chèvre Pâté
Olive oil

Boil the peas until they're just getting tender (this should take 2-3 minutes max), rinse them in cold water, mix them with the chèvre using a blender, season with the salt, pepper, olive oil and some chopped mint leaves.
Enjoy in the company of some amazing friends and good banter (oh, and rosé bubbly doesn't hurt either :) )

I hope you have a fabulous beginning of the weekend and I shall write again once I finally get home (imagine me doing a little dance of joy here).

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


We haven't had a pancake recipe in a while, and this time I even have one that's a main course :)
The recipe is from Sandra who's the queen of all Austro-Hungarian food (and I worship her for that).
I think it was meant for 6 but it fed 3 hungry postgrads rather well.

8 Eggs, separated
5 tbsp Sugar
240 g Flour
500 ml Milk
60 g Raisins
1 tbsp Vanilla sugar
1 tbsp Rum
1 pinch Salt
Some butter for the frying

If you like raisins soak them in the rum for about half an hour, otherwise leave them out and just put the rum in with the next step.
In a large bowl mix the milk, egg yolks, vanilla sugar and the flour (add raisins if using).
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites, sugar and salt until soft peaks form, then fold it under the egg yolk mix.
Heat your pan over a medium heat with a generous dollop of butter and put about 1/3 of the batter into the pan. This is the biggest pancake you'll probably ever make so no worrying!
Wait until you see little holes forming, flip the pancake, wait for a minute and then you get to rip it to pieces.
This is Tim attacking the Kaiserschmarrn.

Give it another 2 or 3 minutes until the little pieces are golden brown and all fabulous.
Serve with icing sugar sprinkled on top, or with some apple sauce, or some berries - oh the possibilities!
You'll next hear from me on the train back home (whoop whoop), have a glorious week until then.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Grapefruit and Campari Granita

I'm in Amsterdam at the moment and while it seems to be cooling down at the moment I am feeling distinctly summery. I just love it when you can walk around town in the evening and you don't have to bring a coat or thousands of extra while I was enjoying the warm air on my skin last night, I couldn't stop thinking of how nice it would be to have some granita. Actually, I was thinking of a very specific granita.
I found the precursor to it in 'Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons' by Diana Henry but I felt it was too sweet (if you like your granita sweet add some more sugar, I like it when you can taste the tartness of the grapefruit).
Thank you, Sandra for indulging me a while ago when we spent the better part of 10 minutes taking photos of the granita when all you could think of was that it was melting away :)

Grapefruit and Campari Granita
500ml Ruby grapefruit juice
100g Caster sugar
75ml Campari

Heat the juice and the sugar until the sugar has melted. Mix the remaining juice and heat until it's properly cooled down.
Add the Campari.
Find a container that fits into your freezer and put it in for about an hour (with the granita mix that is).
So after an hour it will have little crystals forming at the edges. Using a fork, mix them back into the juice.
Repeat this a few more times until you have a boozy competitor to Mr Slushy, now you put it in for a bit longer, we're pretending to be grown-up here :)
Serve in some pretty glasses on a lazy summer evening.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Raspberry and Rhubarb Tartlets

This one is for you Mama! And no cheating and asking someone to help you with the translation ;)

A while ago my mum asked me for a recipe that she could make for coffee with friends. One of the first things that I had to think about was the lovely cover photo of Kim Boyce's 'Good to the Grain'.
Unfortunately I seem to have this weakness that I can't just use a recipe as it is and I have to start changing things all the time (and yes, in case you wonder, a lot of the time it goes all horribly wrong, I'm thinking of a certain Brownie debacle, Sandra....).
So this weekend a, no doubt, amazing rhubarb tart recipe turned into an experiment that fortunately worked rather well :)
You'll have to make a compote either the night before or in the morning (doesn't take long though, so no worrying!!) and the only other thing is, the dough is a bit of a pain to handle, don't ask the girls about the language that was used in my kitchen the evening I made them - if you're hoping for a fun recipe that is going to make you feel like a domestic goddess, stay away from this recipe! If you're tired and have just come home from a long day at work, don't go for it! If you're all relaxed and happy anyway and you're looking for an amazingly crumbly, buttery and flaky (in a good way) tartlet this is just the recipe you're looking for.

Raspberry and Rhubarb Compote
750g-1kg Rhubarb
250g Raspberries
250g Golden caster sugar
1tbsp Rosewater

What you do now depends on what your rhubarb looks like. The one I had wasn't that tender anymore so I decided to peel some of it in the hope to get rid of some of the not-so-nice bits. If you've got some young and lovely rhubarb (like the one I discovered in my garden after buying some) all you'll have to do is rinse it and cut off the ends.
Depending on the size of the stalks you might want to cut them in half lengthwise. Then you cut them into 1.5cm chunks.
Set aside about 300g of the rhubarb and mix the rest with the raspberries and the sugar in a pot and cover with a lid.
Turn your hob quite low and slowly heat up the mix (don't think you can speed up this part, give it the time it needs). This takes about 15 minutes.
Once the fruit is swimming in gorgeous rhubarb juice, take off the lid and turn the heat a bit higher. Add the rosewater. Cook until the rhubarb is all broken down and the liquid begins to thicken. Keep stirring at this stage, don't just run off to chat to your mum :). This should take just under 20 minutes.
Stir in the rhubarb you put on the side, leave on the heat for another couple of minutes and then pour the compote onto a large dish (I used a stoneware gratin dish) and allow it to col down.
Once it's completely cooled down the compote likes to live in the fridge.

Right, now let's get to the tartlets.

Raspberry and Rhubarb Tartlets
60g Corn flour
125g Spelt flour
125g Fine cornmeal
80g Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
115g Butter (cold and cut into small chunks)
90ml Cream
2 Egg yolks

Mix the dry ingredients, add in the butter and mix until it's well incorporated and looks all crumbly and lovely. Add the cream and the yolks and mix well. Don't be tempted to add water or anything, the dough will look fairly crumbly.
Divide the dough into 10 pieces. On a lightly floured work surface flatten each piece until they are about 12cm in diameter. Spoon 4 tbsp of the compote onto the centre of each base and then fold the edges up. For me that was when I was nearing despair. My edges didn't really want to stay up. Keep trying and keep telling yourself that it's not supposed to be picture perfect but that you're going for a rustic look (and that the taste is going to be soo worth it!!).
Use one of those handy bench scrapers to slide under a tart, pick it up and place it onto a plate or a baking sheet (if you want to make your life easier, put a layer of clingfilm onto the plate beforehand)
and put the tarts into your freezer so they can harden.
Note: If your freezer is small think about what size plates you can fit into it :)
Your tarts can stay in the freezer anything between an hour and two weeks.
Right, nearly there, heat your oven to 190 degrees, put the tarts onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes until the tarts are the most amazing golden brown.
Enjoy them still slightly warm or cold.
Hmmm, I'll be dreaming of tartlets while working on my code today.....
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