Sunday, 15 April 2012

Blood orange tartelettes

Hello and nice to see you again!

Long time since the last post, but finally we are settled in our new apartment and with the kitchen working in full speed! I am really enjoying spending my sundays trying out recipes and getting used to my new oven, new space... Today was particularly productive: home made bread, granola, a cake and these juicy tartelettes for dessert.

I have a fascination for blood oranges, the color is just wonderful and the tart taste... when I was in Sicily I drank a glass of fresh pressed blood orange juice every morning, they defiantly have the best oranges, whatever the type.

Here I used a spelt puff pastry (store bought), but any kind will do.

Blood Orange tartelettes

For the blood orange curd
100 mL blood orange juice
zest of one blood orange
100 g of brown sugar
50 g butter
3 eggs

To top the tartelettes
1 blood orange peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoon of honey, warmed up

Start by preparing the curd: in a small heat the blood orange juice, zest and butter until it melts. Add the sugar and let simmer until it dissolves. Mix the eggs and add to the previous mixture. Continue mixing until it starts simmer and the curd thickens. Set aside to cool down.

Put the puff pastry in the tartelette form cutting any excess pastry along the sides. Place the curd in the forms until half way full. Decorate with the orange slices and brush them with the warm honey. Bake at 200°C for 15-20 minutes. Let cool down totally before serving.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Forced blog vacation

It´s been a while since I updated this blog. A lot of things happening in the last months, exciting things!
We are in the process of moving to a new apartment, so I did not really had the time or space (how did I acumulated so much stuff in the last 2 years?? Boxes everywhere!) for cooking and taking pictures. In the new apartment we will not have the kitchen ready until the end of this month, so do not expect much news from this side for a while.

Meanwhile I will keep reading your blogs, and getting inspired!

See you soon!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Soba noodles soup

This is not an original japanese recipe, but quite a simplified version. Very easy and fast!

Soba noodles soup

(for 2 portions)

100 gr Soba noodles
1 tablespoon of oil (canola, sunflower...)
2 scallions cut in thin slices
7 mushrooms sliced (shitake is a good option)
2 cups of fresh baby spinach
4 tablespoons of Miso paste (I used the dark brown type)
salt, pepper and coriander powder (grounded seeds)

Cook the soba noodles in boiling water for around 4-5 min. After cooking drain and set aside. In a pan place the oil with the chopped scallions until they are soft. Add the mushrooms and stir for a couple of minutes. Add boiling water (1L more or less) and bring to a boil. Add the miso paste and stir well to dissolve. Add the cooked soba noodles and bring to a boil again for a couple of minutes. Turn of the heat and add the spinach stirring a bit. The spinach is not supposed to cook, but only soften in the hot water. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and grounded coriander seeds (careful the miso paste is already quite salty, usually I do not add any more salt to the soup). Enjoy!

Note: The recipe is quite versatile and any other vegetables can be added (paprika, zucchini, bok-choi,...). For a more original recipe you can add a bit of Mirin sauce and soya sauce. Also great topped with some toasted sesame seeds!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Hidden curry

I have developed in the last couple of years a real obsession with curry. Every once in a while I cannot resist and I buy another curry mixture to try. Maybe is just to much influence from my Indian and Pakistani colleagues.
I think pumpkin goes very well with spices and why not with curry also. I did it with bulgur, but I think it will taste wonderfully with rice and maybe even with chicken instead of shrimps. Again it´s all a matter of what your´re in the mood for (or whatever is available in you fridge).

Pumpkin and shrimp curry


1 small hokkaido pumpkin per person (or make it a bigger one for 2, for example)
1 cup of bulgur
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of spinach
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of tomato in small pieces (can be canned)
1 cup of shrimps (no skins, can be precooked)
your favorite curry powder to taste
oil, salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of bread crumbs per pumpkin

Cut the pumpkin above middle in order to make a sort of bowl and lid. Remove all seeds, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook in the oven until the inside of the pumpkin is soft. Let it cool down and scrape the inside of the pumpkin, trying not to make any holes on the "shell". Chop the pumpkin "meat" in smaller pieces and reserve.
In a pan soften the chopped onion and garlic until slightly brown. Add the curry powder letting it toast for a couple of minutes. Fold in the bulgur mixing it well to get all the spices involved. Add the chopped tomato and pumpkin, and the broth letting it cook until the the bulgur is soft and most liquid evaporated. Add in the spinach and the shrimps cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes. Distribute the mixture in the pumpkin(s) and top with bread crumbs and a sprinkle with coriander or other herb to taste. Take to the over for a couple of minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden. Serve with the pumpkin "lid" on.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Marzipan people

Dead or live, they are delicious.

I used a honey marzipan, which is not actually as sweet as the normal one. As a result the cookies are not extremely sweet, and have a light honey note to it.

Marzipan cookies
(recipe from Rapunzel website)

200 g flour
40 g of brown sugar
100 g cold butter
100 g of marzipan
1 egg yolk

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until the dough is consistent. If it is too dry and not holding together, add a bit of cold water (1 or 2 tablespoons). Refrigerate for at least one hour before shaping and cooking. When refrigerated, roll out the though thinly and use the cookie cutter of your choice. Bake the cookies at 180°C until golden (less than 10 minutes). Let them cool down before decorating if you wish.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Apple and almond pie for a special guest

Yesterday we had the best Mainz photographer, J.B. over our house for some coffee and cake, with a lot of chatting and photos on the side.

Nothing better than choosing the season products like some nice apples.

Apple and almond pie
(adapted from the magazine "Meine Familie & Ich")

For the shortcrust pastry
50 g sugar
100 g butter
150 g flour
1 egg yellow
2 tablespoons of cold water

Mix all the ingredients until you have a hard dough (if its too soft or to crumbly add more flour or water respectively). Place it in the fridge for 30 min or more.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Roll the shortcrust pastry until its quite tin and place it in a pie form (I used a 26 cm diameter). Cook the shortcrust pastry for about 15 minutes, covered with some aluminum foil (it should be quite pale and not brown).

For the apples
4 apples pealed and without core, cutted in quarters or smaller
2 tablespoons of honey
juice and peal of 1 lemon
1 package of vanilla sugar (or vanilla essence to taste)

Place the apples in a pan and cover them with enough water. Add the sugar, honey and juice and peals of the lemon. Bring to a boil, and let cook for around 5 minutes, just until the apples are soft but not overcooked. Drain the liquid (you can use it for something else later) and let it cool down slightly.

For the filling
240 g grated almonds
100 g of powder sugar
100 g of butter
2 eggs
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of flour

With a mixer mix all the ingredients together until you have a thick dough. Spread the almond dough over the shortcrust pastry and place the apples around, pressing them slightly inside of the dough.
Cook at 160°C for around 40 minutes. Let it cool down before removing from the pie form, and sprinkle with powder sugar.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Truffles in Croatia

Last week I was in Croatia, as usual in this time of the year due to working reasons. Every year the nice people from the Institute Ruder Boscovic in Rovinj, try to arrange some trips for us visitors to discover a bit more of Istria. This year we were visiting a family business dedicated to truffles.

The Karlić family has been dedicated to the truffles for some generations. They train their own dogs to sniff the truffles in the nearby Motovun forest in Paladini. In the small visit we made them, we were shown how the dogs were searching for the truffles (not very lucky though, we found only one) and of course the stock of white and black truffles they had for sale, as well as many other related products.

To finish things up, we were served some truffle cheese and smoked sausage, and truffle omelet (made with fresh eggs from the farmer down the road) . Devine! All served with home made wine.

It was a really nice familiar environment, reminded me of these small traditional places in Portugal that are becoming more and more rare.

I advise everyone to visit Croatia, in particular the area of Istria. Rovinj a harbor city, has a special meaning for me, but around it you find a lot of other towns and villages with a lot of history, good food and wonderful people.