Friday, 28 January 2011

Better Than Sex....

I had friends visiting me last weekend and we kinda went on a trip down memory lane. In first year we used to have tea-parties with cucumber sandwiches, and shortcakes and lots and lots of brownies and at one of these sugar-fuelled afternoons someone who shall remain anonymous (I will love you forever for this quote though!) said the fateful 'Good chocolate is soo much better than sex'.
This recipe is dedicated to all you lovely people who I had way too much fun and waay too much sugar with :)
For everyone else, these brownies are chocolate therapy :)

Dark and Handsome Brownies
300g Really Good 75% Cocoa Chocolate (this goes for the white chocolate as well - don't waste your time on cheap chocolate)
200g Really Good White Chocolate
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
300g Sugar
50g Dark Brown Sugar
175g Flour
5 Eggs
1 tbsp Vanilla Essence
250g Butter
11/2 tsp Fleur De Sel

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Line a large brownie tin.
Sit down with all the chocolate in front of you and stare at it for a while.
Now that you're already in a better mood, break all of it into pieces, keeping the dark chocolate separate from the white chocolate.
Melt the dark chocolate and the butter, once you're looking at a buttery chocolatey mess, take it off the heat, and add the vanilla essence.
Combine the flour, salt, cocoa powder and about half the sugar in a bowl.
Whisk the remaining normal and brown sugar into the chocolate mix. Make sure everything combines well, then give the chocolate mix some more time to cool down a bit further.
Once we're nearing room temperature whisk in the eggs. Don't overdo it at this stage.
Fold in the flour mix, then the white chocolate pieces.
Pour the batter into the brownie tin and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The brownies will keep cooking after you take them out of the oven but you don't want to end up with a goopy mess.
These are perfect on their own. Or with a glass of milk when you get home from the lab late at night, or with your coffee in the morning for that matter :), but Alex is of the opinion that brownies only ever reach their true potential with some vanilla ice-cream...I guess I'll have to make them again ;)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Overnight Müesli

I thought I could come back to the quick recipe thing we had going on. In case you're wondering how I can have waay to much to do and still make brownies and cupcakes - my only explanation is that I seem to be more Stepford than I thought was possible (I was a bit scared of myself this weekend if I'm perfectly honest with you)
So let's get back to being lazy, and not standing in the kitchen at 7 on a Saturday morning. 
Sounds like a plan, doesn't it? :)
Here's a breakfast idea that will cut down the time it takes you to make breakfast in the morning. It's enough to last you for a few breakfasts, and it's really nice as a packed lunch as well. Oh, and you have to do close to no washing up, so in my book, this is a total winner.

Overnight Müesli
A handful of Rolled Oats (I like the old-fashioned kind for this)
150g Plain Yoghurt
50ml Orange Juice
Fruit (whatever is in season/in your freezer. I really like using a banana or an apple, and a handful of frozen raspberries right now)

In a bowl (that preferably fits into your fridge) combine the oats, yoghurt and orange juice.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
In the morning chop some fruit and mix with some of the oaty mixture.
Done :)

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Rhubarb and Polenta Muffins

Last week I felt really old.
After being responsible adults and making sure that my bottle of Chase Gin (soo nice!!!) hadn't gone off, Verena and I spent the evening listening to 1980s music on youtube and looking at cookbooks.
And while I'm still slightly worried about my music taste I came across this lovely recipe for a Rhubarb and Cornflour Cake in Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a domestic goddess' which just sounded divine.
And compared to the other recipes in the book it's actually not that unhealthy (ok, still not healthy but you know what I mean....) :)
Sooo, since I've been trying to find something to do with all this rhubarb I've been hoarding in the freezer this was my chance.
I felt like making something slightly more girly than a loaf cake (something has to balance out the bad music...) These muffins/cupcakes (I think muffins sounds nice in the name but they feel a bit more like cupcakes) are super easy and reallyreally nice and if you're looking for something to bring to a birthday party you can feel all Stepford without the effort by making the yoghurt cream to go with it (which takes like 2 seconds).

Rhubarb and Polenta Muffins (makes 24)
700g Rhubarb
300g Sugar
150g Flour
150g Polenta
1tsp Bicarbonate Of Soda
A pinch of Salt
1tsp Cinnamon
1tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
125g Butter
250g Plain Yoghurt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line two muffin trays.
If you haven't already washed and trimmed the rhubarb now's the time :)
Cut the rhubarb into 1cm pieces, then mix with 100g of the sugar and set aside in a bowl.
In a bowl, mix the flour, polenta, bicarb, salt, and cinnamon.
Cream the butter and the remaining sugar. In case you haven't heard me drone on about creaming butter and sugar, it takes time :) give it about 5 minutes with a handheld mixer. I know, it's annoying, but it's really worth it. Listen to some embarrassing music on you ipod if you get bored.
Mix in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla extract.
Add the dry mix and the yoghurt alternating as you go along. Since we're making faux-muffins, don't worry about everything being properly mixed, otherwise they can get a bit chewy.
Now add the rhubarb (including the juices), give it one last stir and then have fun trying to get similar amounts of rhubarb into each muffin paper.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
You can either eat them as they are, but if you're looking for something slightly more fancy, add some of the boozy yoghurt cream below.

Boozy Yoghurt Cream
200ml Whipping Cream
150g 0% Greek Yoghurt
1tbsp Sugar
2tbsp Desert Wine

Whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form (gosh I love writing this!), mix the greek yoghurt and the wine, then fold into the whipped cream.
Done :)

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Marshmallow Brownies

Ok, before I say anything about these brownies, they are pretty much a heart attack in a cake.
If you're even remotely concerned about your weight, just don't make them in the first place!
But, if you feel like indulging a bit (or have a party with lots of guests coming up) they are a winner :)
I first started making the precursor for these in my first year at university and I don't think there was a single tea party that we didn't have them (oh the fond memories...and the sugar rush).
It's based on Nigella Lawson's Brownies from 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' which is a gorgeous book full of scarily unhealthy but absolutely divine recipes.
The idea behind this version (with marshmallows) was that I wanted brownies with marshmallow pieces inside.
Unfortunately out of the 20.000 or so marshmallows that went into the batter, only about 5 didn't just disappear into the chocolate.
BUT :) you can still taste them which is why you're getting the recipe and it's not wandering onto the 'failed attempts' pile :)

Marshmallow Brownies
400g Butter
400g Dark Chocolate
6 Eggs
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
500g Caster Sugar
250g Flour
1tsp Salt
150g Mini Marshmallows

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Line a roasting dish/brownie pan (mine is a 25x30cm rectangle one) with baking parchment.
Melt the butter and the chocolate in a heavy bottomed pan (or if you're in a rush, heat everything in a glass bowl in your microwave (don't forget to cover the bowl) but make sure you watch it like a hawk if you do that). Once the chocolate mix has finished melting, take it off the heat, and allow it to cool for a bit.
In your main mixing bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar (try not to flinch when you pour all that sugar into the mixing bowl). In a separate bowl measure out the four and add the salt.
Whisk the chocolate mix into the eggs, then add the flour.
Stir in the marshmallows and now you're ready to pour the batter into the brownie pan.
Stick the pan into the oven and give it about 30 minutes.
Personally I prefer these once they're actually cold because something amazing happens to the texture but that might just be me. But whichever way you end up eating them, they are always amazing with some vanilla ice-cream.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Let's Call It Trifle...

As I promised you last night, here is the recipe for my take on trifle. We've been calling it trifle mainly because we can't think of a better word, but if you're like me and the thought of shop-bought custard mixed with tinned 'fruit cocktail' makes you not want to have desert for the next month, then this might be the desert for you :)
It's especially handy when you've been invited to a pot-luck dinner and you know there won't be any space in the fridge or when you're having a dinner party and you know you'll be too busy to deal with the desert in the evening - make it in the morning, even the night before (because it get's better and better if you leave it to do it's magic for more than just a couple of hours).

Stacked Berry Trifle
Sponge Fingers (for my pyrex bowl I go though about 300g of them)
1kg 0% Greek Yoghurt or Quark or Curd  (in my mum's recipe this gets mixed with some whipped cream but I don't like what that does to the flavour, but if you don't like the taste of the above try combining it with some freshly whipped cream)
150g Sugar 
1 tbsp Cointreau 
5cm (or so) Vanilla Pod
500g Frozen Mixed Berries

Mix the Greek yoghurt with the sugar and Cointreau, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and add to the mix. This will be rather sweet but unless you don't have any red currants in your berry mix you'll need the sweetness of the yoghurt mix to balance their tartness.
Also, if you don't want to use alcohol in the mix, just replace the Cointreau with some orange or lemon juice.
Put some sponge fingers at the bottom of whichever bowl you will be serving the trifle in, cover with some yoghurt mix and then add a layer of berries.
Repeat until the bowl is full/you've run out of ingredients. It's nice to finish with a yoghurt or berry layer, though.
Cover and either store it in your fridge or somewhere it's out of your way in your kitchen :)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Study Food

We're having a study session tonight (and I'm soo not procrastinating right now) and since I had to try out a recipe for my take on trifle for Bettina (I'll post the recipe tomorrow) I thought I'd make some individual portion ones with the leftovers...such a good idea :)
Now, I'll better get back to my data...or I'll never ever get to go to bed tonight...

Monday, 17 January 2011

Because it's Monday...

And I've been working since 6 this morning...and the chocolate buttons might go off....

Poached Egg Salad

I hope you guys are having a fabulous start of the week. I am :) Is there anything better than watching the sunrise during your morning run?
Anyhow, today's recipe is suuuper quick and super tasty.

Poached Egg Salad
Lettuce (washed)
Cucumber (if you're making the salad just for yourself I would go for 5 inches or so)
2 Eggs per person
Goats Cheese
Pumpkin Seeds
Vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
Olive Oil
Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce

Fill a frying pan with about 3/4 to 1 inch of water and put it onto a medium heat (we're cheating a bit with the poached eggs but bear with me), once the water is just about to boil add some vinegar and some salt and crack the eggs into the water. I find that they turn out better if the water isn't boiling like crazy.
While the eggs are doing their thing, put the lettuce on plates, peel the cucumber, chop it into pieces and add to the lettuce.
Make a dressing with some vinegar, olive oil and the sweet chilli sauce.
Pour some dressing over the lettuce and cucumber, then add some goats cheese pieces and pumpkin seeds.
You might have to wait a tiny bit here but once the eggs are ready, get them out of the water and arrange them on the salad.
Now, sit back and enjoy a lunch that should have taken you a lot less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Cardamom Infused Schokoladenpudding

So here we go, this is instalment #1 of the convenience food excursion we will be going on :)
Ok, it takes slightly longer than 10 minutes, but the amount of time you have to actually do something is way shorter!
So the next time you feel like having chocolate blancmange (see, you even learn something you know that blancmange is the same as the German Pudding) why not infuse the milk with some spices before making it?

Cardamom Infused Schokoladenpudding
500ml Milk
1 sachet 'Schokoladenpudding'  - you know you want to go and buy some, like right now :)
30g Sugar
1tbsp Maple Syrup
3 Cardamom Pods

Infuse most of the milk with the cardamom (heat it while watching and once it's just about to boil turn off the heat and cover the pot and leave it for a while - this is where you can wander off and do some actual work).
Once you're ready to get going, reheat the milk until it's nearly boiling. Fish out the cardamom pods.
Whisk the sugar, milk and blancmange powder together.
Take the milk off the heat for a sec, whisk in the chocolatey mix and start heating it again until it starts bubbling nicely.
Now, the reason I'm going through all of this is not because I think you're unable to read the instructions on the sachet, but because once you've done this, this is exactly the point where we start to take off from the instructions :)
You might be wondering what we're doing with the maple syrup - it's not just for the flavour, but I really feel that it adds some shine to the blancmange. This could obviously just be me imagining things, but then we still have the flavour on our side, but give it a go with the syrup and let me know whether it looks shinier to you too!
So, once you think it's ready, stir in the maple syrup, give it another quick stir and then pour it into some pretty bowls and wait until it's cooled and all lovely.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Convenience Food

©Kathleen Dowling

One of the worst things my dad would ever say about food is that it is convenience food (if you hear that word uttered you practically stop wanting to eat whatever is on your plate) and while I definitely share his sentiments about over-processed food for me it's sometimes a decision between running around trying to find something semi-nice or just eating whatever is handy and takes less than 10 minutes (and yes, before you say something, I know you can make a sandwich in less than 10 minutes, but try eating sandwiches 3 times a day).
Soooo, to finally get to the point :)
I've got a bit too much on my plate for the next few weeks work-wise but I really don't want to cave on the ready-meal front, so I've set myself the challenge to not eat a single microwave-meal for the next 4 weeks without having to stand in the kitchen for hours on end and without having to resort to take-away pizza.
It's gonna be about using whatever we can find in my cupboard and turning it into a month of semi-respectable food that will save us all some time but will still taste nice.
I hope you'll join me and perhaps you'll even find something you want to make yourself :)

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Sweet Potato Curry

I don't know about you, but what I really don't like about winter is how I'm always cold.
So this weekend, when Arti was running around in flip-flops, I was wearing a winter coat and was already regretting not having taken a hat during the 5 minute walk to the supermarket.
Today's recipe is a serious winter-warmer. It warms you from the inside and the cheerful colour makes you think of warmer days. It was born on a day that I couldn't find any coconut milk in town so yes, this is anything but authentic but it does a rather good job when your cupboards are looking a bit bleak.

Sweet Potato Curry
2 Sweet Potatoes peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 small Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1 handfull Coriander Leaves
1 generous handfull Shredded Coconut (the unsweetened kind...just a suggestion, if you live in a place where you can only get desiccated coconut, add a bit more water later on)
2-3 tsp Red Curry Paste
1 Red Pepper (if you feel like some extra veg)
100g Plain Yoghurt
Olive Oil
Potentially some stock cubes, most likely some salt and pepper

Dice the onion and chop the garlic.
Heat some olive oil in a pan, add the onion and give it a minute or so before you add the garlic. Once the garlic is making your kitchen all smelly and gorgeous, add the curry paste and give it some time to get all fragrant as well.
Now add the sweet potatoes (if you're adding peppers I'd probably add them at this stage).
Add enough water and a stock cube (or if you're too cool for that, add some stock) to cover the veg.
Stir in the shredded coconut.
Cover and simmer until the sweet potatoes are done.
Turn off the heat, then chop the coriander leaves and add them to the curry.
Stir some of the yoghurt into the curry (what the yoghurt is supposed to do is add some creaminess to the curry so see how it goes you might not need all of it, you might need more).
Enjoy with some naan (we found some in the freezer that day, whoop whoo :) ) and how about some proper lime and soda to complete the mental image...

Friday, 7 January 2011


What do you do if it's a Sunday morning, all shops are closed (or you just can't be bothered to leave your flat) but you want something nice for breakfast that might even make you feel like you're having brunch without the hassle?
The answer is Jägerbrötchen!
What are Jägerbrötchen, you might wonder. They're sweetish (breakfast)rolls.  Don't ask me how they got their name, I don't have a clue and the internet hasn't been able to tell me either within a 20 minute search (after which I'm able to tell you that for some reason lot's of people who write scary blogs about healthy eating seem to eat them, which I find incredibly confusing, because in my book they're not necessarily healthy) anyhow, they are made with a mix of curd (aka quark) and oil (so no eggs needed) and they're plain awesome.
When I was younger we used to spend Christmas in Switzerland and the friends we used to go with always made them at least once during our two week holiday. Let me tell you, that day tended to be my favourite day :)
They take less than 10 minutes to make and then you've got 20 minutes or so to do the washing up and to work out which jam you want to have with them (blackberry works especially well) and to make some more coffee. 
What are you waiting for? 

250g Quark/Curd cheese
6 tbsp Oil (sunflower or rapeseed works quite well)
6 tbsp Milk
1 pinch Salt
1 sachet  Vanilla Sugar/ 1-2 tsp Vanilla extract
3 tbsp Sugar
350g Flour
15 g Baking Powder (that's 1 sachet)

Mix the wet ingredients  and the salt in a bowl, sift the flour and the baking powder together, add to the wet mix with the sugar and once that is properly mixed in, throw in the raisins and once they're evenly distributed that's you pretty much done.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Roll the dough into a sausage and cut it into about 20 pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and lay them out on he baking sheet.
I use milk for the glaze, but that's a personal preference, I guess a sugary glaze like you'd use for hot-cross buns, or an egg-wash would be just as nice, but I like the milk one the best :)
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Enjoy with some butter and jam and a big glass of milk while enjoying the morning sun on your face.
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