Sunday, 24 March 2013

Herb Mash

I love mash, particularly in winter and when I make it I make lots of it so it can be pan-fried the next day or the day after.

1 kg baby potatoes, unpeeled
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
250 ml warm semi-skimmed milk
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch dill
1/2 bunch tarragon
1/2 bunch coriander
or any herbs you like

Baby potatoes have a very thin skin that can be left on. But if you don't like skins on potatoes peel them. Cook in salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes depending on size. Add black pepper, too.

Chop the herbs and set aside.

Drain off the cooking water but catch it, particularly if you don't like using milk. You'll need it to make the mash creamy - unless you want to use huge amounts of olive oil. :)

With a potato masher start breaking up the potates, add the milk and olive oil and work into a smooth or chunky purée. Season with pepper and a touch of nutmeg. Check the seasoning. Lastly, add the chopped herbs, stir and serve.

Left-over Chicken with Herbs and Rice

When there are just two of you even a small chicken is too much to finish in one session. So I'm trying to come up with tasty ideas for left-over chicken. This time this involved lot and lots of fresh herbs, soured cream and brown rice.

brown rice for two
left-over organic or free range roast chicken, torn in bite-sized pieces
150-200 ml soured cream
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove,  finely chopped
a few handfuls of fresh herbs, e.g. dill, coriander, tarragon, parsley, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Boil the rice in 3.5 times the amount of cold water for 30 - 40 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic and sauté over a low to medium heat for a few minutes until tender. Add the chicken pieces and stir. Pour in the soured cream and season. Stir and add the herbs. Heat through gently and serve immediately when ready.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Garlic Soup

It seems that everyone needed soup this week to get warm from the inside as winter has returned with a vengeance, much more so in Germany, where some people are practically drowning in snow. I remember a friend of mine talk about garlic soup but never really made one, though pretty much all my dishes used copious amounts of garlic. So when I saw this recipe in a German blog called Querschnitt, I decided it was high time to try it out for myself. And, OMG, was it good!

1.25 kg potatoes
750 ml - 1 l vegetable stock
250 ml milk
1 tub of soured cream
2 whole bulb garlic bulbs
1 small onion
1/2 - 1 red chilli
1 bay leaf
freshly ground nutmeg
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
freshly chopped herbs

Peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes. Finely chop the onion and chilli and coarsely grate the garlic. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes without letting them brown. Add the potatoes and stir until they're coated with the garlic mix. Add about 3/4 of the stock, the milk and bay leaf, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Remove the bay leaf and blitz the soup. Season with some nutmeg, check the seasoning and stir in the soured cream. Serve sprinkled with freshly chopped herbs and/or some dukkah.

Chestnut Soup

As it's been really, really cold again this week, I made a variety of soups.

(serves 4-6 as a starter)

500 g preecooked chestnuts (from the supermarket)
2 small banana shallots
2 garlic cloves
750 ml vegetable stock
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
extra virgin olive oil

optional ingredients for serving:
bread for croutons
parseley or coriander
butter bean paté

Finely chop the shallots and garlic, heat the oil and gently sauté for 2-3 Minuten minutes until the shallot have become transparent. Meanwhile coarsely chop the chestnuts and add to the saucepan. Mix, add the stock and season. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. When the soup is hot, take out  4-5 tablespoons of chestnuts. Chope a little more finely and set aside. Blitz the soup, check the seasoning and stir the chopped chestnuts back in.

Serving suggestions:
1. Make croutons by browning diced bread in a little butter and olive oil. Scatter onto the soup and sprinkle some chopped coriander or parsley over the top.
2. Toast some baguette slices, spread with some butter bean paté and sprinkle with dukkah (see photo).

Beetroot Soup

I got the idea for this recipe from Katja who writes the German blog Glücksmomente and altered it slightly. It looks stunning and is simply delicious. Raw beetroot works just as well but I would recommend coarsely shredding and not just dicing it as it takes quite a long time to cook. You'll probably also need more stock.

1 kg precooked beetroot without vinegar
750 ml vegetable stock
500 g potatoes
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
a thumbsized piece of fresh ginger
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
soured cream
1 heaped tbsp hot horseradish sauce

Peel and wash the potatoes. Dice the potatoes and beetroot. Finely chop the onion and garlic, peel the ginger and grate.

Heat the olive oil and gently fry the onion, garlic and ginger until soft. Add the potatoes and beetroot. Stir until well coated with the onion mix. Season with pepper. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and  simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Blitz and add the horseradish sauce. Check the seasoning. Add salt if required. Serve with a nice dollop of soured cream.

Red and green slaw

I got this idea from a recipe for winter slaw in Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook Plenty, which I'd intended to make only to realise I didn't have all the ingredients. I'd forgotten to buy a mango and papaya among other things. But I did have a red cabbage and fresh greens. So instead of using them in a hot dish, I decided to make a salat that is based on both the German "krautsalat" (white cabbage salad) and coleslaw. I reaky love the colours of the finished salad.

500 g red cabbage
250 fresh greens
150 ml natural yoghurt
1-2 tbsp mayonnaise (optional)
juice of 2-3 lemons
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
100 g brazil nuts
maple syrup

Place the brazil nuts into a roasting and toast with the oven at full whack for about 10 minutes. Remove and leave to cool when done. Slice or chop and keep aside for serving.

Slice the cabbage and greens very finely and place into a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix well with your hands scruncing the cabbage to bruise it. This will make it more tender and enable it to absorb the dressing much better. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate for at least an hour, ideally weighed down with several tins or similar.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkling of brazil nuts (2-3 per portion).

This salad will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Linguine and Kale Sauce

I read about this kale "sauce" in the Guardian Food section and just had to try it out. No recipe was given so I've no idea what it is actually called. I think that cavolo nero would be great for this as well.

(serves 4)

300 g kale
lots of extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
fresh parmesan
linguine or other ribbon pasta

Ideally, you'd use whole leaves and remove the centre rib. Unfortunately, I only had the ready-chopped stuff including the centre rib and had to run the finished kale through the food processor to achieve the paste.

Melt the kale in a frying pan adding lashings of olive oil until it has turned into an almost black, thick paste. Season as you go along.

Serve with Linguine, spaghetti, tagliatelle etc. and some crumbled or freshly grated parmesan.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Smoked Haddock Ceviche

Normally, a ceviche is made with raw fish and the lime and lemon juices do the "cooking" of the fish. But we had this at friends' and I thank Hamish from London for introducint us to this delicious alternative.

250 g undied smoked haddock
1 bunch of fresh dill (approx. 30 g)
1 whole bulb garlic
chilli flakes/dried chillis
juice of 3 limes
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

1. Wash and spin the dill. Coarsely grate the garlic and if whole chillis are used, chop them up. Place in a serving bowl.

2. Check the haddock for pin bones and remove them. Cut at an angle into 1 cm strips. Add the fish to the serving bowl.

3. Roll the limes with the palm of your hand on the work top exerting a little pressure. They produce much more juice this way. Squeeze the limes and lemons and pour over the fish.

4.  Add the olive oil, season with pepper and salt and mix. Cover with cling film and marinate for at least half an hour, longer if possible.