Monday, 26 October 2015

Chocolate Spread

I'm personally not keen on Nutella as I find it far too sweet. Also, it's made with eggs from battery hens, which is an absolute no-no for me. A friend of mine who used to be a Nutella addict now makes her own so I asked her for the recipe because I want to spoil our Airbnb guests. The first time I used chocolate with 60% cocoa solids and though the result was nice it was still too sweet for me. So next time, I'm going to try chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids, probably opting for 80%+. Since I don't tend to use white sugar I'm also wondering if I could use fine, unrefined sugar instead of icing sugar. I will report!

90 g icing sugar
60 g ground hazelnuts
100 g chocolate
70 g butter
100 ml milk

1. Place the chocolate in a saucepan and melt in a bain marie.

2. Place the sugar, hazelnuts and melted chocolate into a bowl and stir vigorously.

3. Next, add the butter and the milk, mix a and return to the saucepan. On very Using the bain marie method again, heat over a low heat (do not boil) while stirring continously with a wooden spoon until you have a homogeneous and liquid result (after approx. 3 to 5 minutes). Pour into sterilised jars and place in the fridge for a few hours. The chocolate spread needs this time to get harden so it can be spread.

Tip: Place in the fridge over night so it's ready for breakfast. Store it in the fridge.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Raspberry Liqueur

This summer, I finally got around to making raspberry liqueur though the time of year didn't really matter as I used frozen raspberries. I let them steep for almost 4 months and strained them this morning into a lovely tequila bottle given to me by a friend. I really love its gorgeous, deep pink colour. Can't wait to taste it with some cava.

500 g raspberries
1 bottle of vodka
1 small handful of brown rock sugar or unrefined sugar

Place the raspberries and sugar into a large sterilised jar then top up with vodka. Store in a cool, dark place for 3- 4 mmonths. Shake the contents every now and again. Strain and pour into a bottle. 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Spiced Apple and Date Chutney

I'm not an expert in chutney making so when my next-door neighbours gave me 2.5 kilos of apples a couple of weeks ago I had to research some recipes on the internet and found two I liked bits of, in particular an apple and pear chutney that didn't use ordinary sugar but dark moscovado. From the other recipe, I used the cayenne pepper and allspice. I still had quite a lot of elderflower infused cider vinegar from last year so I used that – the first time round. Then another neighbour send an e-mail to everyone in the street as they also have a glut of apples. I loved the first chutney so went and got another 2.5 kg. This time I used balsamic vinegar. Can't wait to find out what it tastes like!

2.2 kg apples, peeled and sliced
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
500 ml balsamic + 100 ml white balsamic or 600 ml cider vinegar
2 lemons or limes, juice and zest
1 tsp mustard seeds
250 g dates
250 g raisins
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp allspice
1 tbspoon sea salt
1 kg dark moscovado sugar

1. Place the apples, 500 ml vinegar, mustard seeds, onions, garlic and ginger into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is almost cooked.

2. Add all the other ingredients, incl. the remaining vinegar, bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes stirring occassionally.

3. Rest for 15 minutes and fill into sterilised jars. Leave for 3-4 weeks.

German beef roast marinated in red wine and vinegar

"Sauerbraten" is a typical German dish that I ate for the first time in over 25 years a few days ago at my mums. We even marinated it ourselves and even my Scottish partner thought it was delicious. Traditionally, it's served with potato dumplings and red cabbage but I opted for boiled potatoes. The rub is that it needs to be marinated for 5-7 days but it's well worth the wait. Of course, in Germany you can buy it ready marinated at the butchers. (BTW, apologies for the picture quality. I didn't take my DSLR...)

(serves 4)

1 kg beef roasting joint
2 bay leaves
3-4 cloves
1 heaped tsp mustard seeds
1 heaped tsp black pepper corns
1 heaped tsp allspice
1 heaped tsp juniper berries
sea salt
1 onion, cut into rings
equal amounts of red wine vinegar, red wine and water to cover the meat completely
2 slices of ginger bread
1 onion, sliced
1 heaped tsp flour
cold water

Place the meat into a large ceramic bowl or traditional marinating jar, add the onion and spices, then cover with the vinegar, wine and water. Marinate in a cool place or the fridge for at least 5 days.

Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Heat some oil in a saucepan and sear the meat on both sides. Add the fresh onion and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add about half the marinate.

Bring to the boil and cook for 1.5-2 hours until the meat is cooked. Crumble in the gingerbread about 15 minutes before serving. If this is not enought to thicken the gravy, dissolve some flour in cold water and add. Bring to the boil. Remove the meat and strain the gravy.

Creamy Savoy Cabbage with Herbs and Seeds

Wonderful with pasta and great as a vegetable side dish.

1 savoy cabbage, shredded
1 green chili, seeded or deseeded
4 tbsp toasted seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower)
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
boiling water
300 ml soured cream
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
olive oil

Sauté the cabbage and chili in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Once it starts browning, add the water and gently cook until almost al dente. Add the soured cream and heat through. Mix in the chopped herbs, check the seasoning, sprinkle with the seeds and serve.

Stuffed Aubergines

I've probably said this before: Aubergines are among my favourite food and I try and vary the way I make them because we have them every week. Just enter "aubergine" as a search term on this blog for different ideas.
(serves 2-4)

2 aubergines
2 pointed red peppers
400 g mushrooms
1 onion
1 whole bulb garlic
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp toasted ground cumin
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
1 mozzarella
extra virgin olive oil

Hollow out the aubergines using a table spoon. Chop the aubergine flesh, mushrooms, peppers into small cubes. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat some olive oil and sauté the veg until golden and starting to soften. Add the cumin and fennel. Sauté for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush the skin of the aubergine halves with olive oil and arrange in a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper. Fill with the sautéd veg, cover with tin foil and bake at gas mark 5/200° C for 45-60 minutes or until the aubergines are cooked.

Turn the oven up. Thinly slice the mozzarella and top the aubergine halves. Return to the oven for 10 minutes or until the mozzarella is browned.

Serve with brown rice and a leafy salad.