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Dill Risotto with Salmon

Monday, November 29, 2010

This is rather a simple, modest, yet very flavourful, filling and soul-satisfying risotto dish that's quick and easy to make. From vegetables, fruit to meat, poultry, and seafood, the variations are endless, just like pasta. Get yourself a glass of Valpolicella Classico Superiore or Pinot Grigio if you prefer white, and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Essen und Trinken

  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 150 g Risotto rice
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 50 ml White wine
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 200 g Salmon steak
  • 500 ml Vegetable stock, hot
  • 2 tbsp Chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp Green peas
  • 2 tbsp Creme fraiche
  1. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add in the diced onion and stir until tender. Add in risotto rice and minced garlic. Stir until rice becomes translucent. Pour in the white wine. Simmer until the wine is absorbed.
  2. Cut the salmon into inch-sized dices. Season with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add in diced salmon and cook until lightly golden.
  3. Season the risotto with salt and pepper. When the wine is all absorbed, add half of the hot stock and keep stirring, until that has been absorbed. Pour in the rest of stock, stirring frequently until the rice is cooked al dente. This will take 20 minutes or more.
  4. Add in chopped dill, green peas and creme fraiche. When the rice is cooked, gently stir the pan-fried diced salmon into the risotto, and cook for a further 1-2 minutes to heat through. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper and serve.

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Flaxseed Bread

Friday, November 26, 2010

This is a very nutritious and delicious loaf with spelt, wholewheat, flaxseed and honey. It has become one of our favourite breakfast bread recipes and it's perfect for a lunch sandwich too. Flaxseeds contain high levels of dietary fiber, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and may lower cholesterol level, stabilize blood-sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart attacks, provide antioxidants and may play a role in decreasing your risk of cancer.

  • 200 g Spelt #1050 flour
  • 150 g Wholewheat flour
  • 5 g Instant dry yeast
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 120 ml Milk
  • 60 ml Water
  • 50 g Honey
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 2-3 tbsp Flaxseeds
  • 1 tbsp Butter, melted
  1. In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, wholewheat flour, undissolved yeast, and salt. Heat the milk, water, honey, and butter until the mixture combined and warm.
  2. Make a well in the center, and gradually add the milk mixture and the egg to the flour mixture. Stir at slow speed for 2 minutes, then stir in flaxseeds until well-combined. Increase the speed and stir until soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto the lightly floured surface and knead until the dough smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  3. Shape the dough into a round and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size. Roll out dough to a rectangle, about 12x8 inch/30x20 cm. Roll it up, starting from the short end, and pinch the seam to seal.
  4. Place, seam side down, in a standard loaf pan lined with baking paper. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Bake at 180C/350F for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Brush the top with melted butter. Cool on the wire rack.

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Spelt Croissants

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who doesn't love buttery and flaky croissants? They are rich, decadent and irresistible! According to Jeffrey Hamelman, when you know it's a good croissant after you take a bite and look at your shirt: if it’s covered with flakes of golden pastry that shatter from each bite, then it's a good one. It took me two days to make 16 croissants, and my husband finished 4 at one go in 20 minutes. So I strongly suggest you double the recipe!

  • 250 ml Whole milk
  • 30 g Fresh yeast
  • 40 g Brown sugar
  • 300 g Spelt #630 flour
  • 100 g Whole spelt flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 300 g Cold and unsalted butter
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  1. Stir together warm milk, brown sugar, and fresh yeast in bowl of standing mixer and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add spelt flours, and salt and mix with dough hook at low speed until dough is smooth and soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead by hand 2 minutes, adding more flour as necessary, a little at a time, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Wrap the dough with a cling film and chill for 1 hour.
  3. Place butter between two sheets of cling film and roll with a rolling pin to form 8x5 inch/20x12 cm rectangle. Chill until firm. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 16x10 inch/40x25 cm rectangle.
  4. Arrange dough with a short side nearest you. Put butter in center of dough so that long sides of butter are parallel to short sides of dough. Fold the bottom up over the butter, brushing off any excess flour, and then fold the top down over the butter to seal the butter.
  5. With a heavy rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately 15x10 inch/38x25 cm. Fold the length of dough into thirds, as for a letter. Turn so that the open ends are at twelve and six o'clock. The first simple “fold” is completed. Wrap well in plastic and chill overnight.
  6. Repeat the simple fold one more time. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and chill 1 hour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on the floured work surface. Unwrap and roll out to a rectangle, about 15x10 inch/38x25 cm. This time fold the top and bottom in so that they meet in the middle of the dough, then fold the dough in half again so that there are four layers of dough. Chill the dough, wrapped with plastic, in the fridge for 2 hours. Repeat the double fold once more. This is the final fold before rolled out and cut into croissants.
  7. To shape the croissants, roll the dough into a 25x15 inch/64x38 cm rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. It should be about 1/4 inch/6mm thick. From the long side, fold the dough into half and using a yardstick as a guide mark the folded strip into 8 triangles and the scrapings of dough at each end. Cut each double triangle into two. So you’ll have 16 triangles.
  8. Make a small slit in the base of each triangle, place a piece of dough trimming at the base. Starting at the base of the triangle, roll the dough up into a log. Tuck the tip the triangle under the body of the croissant. Bend in two corners to form the crescent shape.
  9. Place the croissants on a baking sheet and allow them to rise for 1 to 2 hours until almost doubled in size. Half an hour before finishing the proofing, brush the croissants with the lightly beaten egg. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F with a shallow dish filled with water at the bottom of oven. Bake the croissants for 20-25 minutes. Allow them to cool on a rack before serving.

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Wholewheat Penne with Arugula Pesto

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The distinct peppery tang and earthy flavour of arugula make this pesto especially rich, robust and utterly delicious! Besides using it for the pasta, I also used it to make one wholewheat pizza with lots of black olives, and tomatoes.

  • 200 g Wholewheat penne
  • 3 cup Baby arugula leaves
  • 3-5 Garlic cloves, sliced
  • 40 g Walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tbsp Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 70 ml Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the pasta to the boiling water and stir. Boil gently uncovered, stirring occasionally. Follow package directions and cook until al dente stage, chewy but not hard.
  2. Meanwhile, combine arugula, garlic slices, walnuts and Parmesan cheese in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in olive oil and process until evenly blended. Season pesto well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix until evenly combined.
  3. Drain pasta and return to the pot. Add arugula pesto and toss well. Serve immediately. The pesto will keep about 1 week in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

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Karlsbad Ring Cookies

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Karlsbad Ring Cookies" are a Christmas speciality from Czech, that are often decorated in contrasting coloured candied fruits. Since my husband refuses to eat candied fruit, I had to use the sugar crystals and chopped almonds instead. They truly are melt-in-mouth delicious! The recipe is adapted from "Böhmisch Kochen Adelheid Beyreder".

  • 200 g Butter
  • 80 g Powdered sugar
  • 4 Hard-boiled egg yolks, pressed through a sieve
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp Lemon zest, finely grated
  • 300 g All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Egg
  • Sugar crystals and chopped almonds to garnish
  1. Cream the butter and powdered sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in sieved egg yolks, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Beat until well combined. Add in flour and work to a smooth cookie dough.
  2. Wrap the dough with cling film and chill for an hour. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  3. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out between two sheets of parchment paper to 3mm thick. Use a 5cm-diameter waved shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cookies and place them on the prepared trays. Now cut out the rings with a 3cm-diameter circle-shaped cookie cutter. Reroll any scraps and repeat.
  4. Brush the rings with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle white sugar crystals or chopped almonds on top. Bake for about 15 minutes or until just beginning to brown around the edges. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

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Pear Salad with Walnuts

Monday, November 15, 2010

This pear salad is really simple, and it is only as delightful and delicious as the ingredients you use. Juicy sliced pears, peppery arugula lettuce (or lamb's lettuce, actually almost all kinds of lettuce will work), sweet sharp red onion rings, and crunchy toasted walnuts, are all tossed with a creamy maple-yogurt dressing. I used Anjou pear, but again, any other types of pears, like Bartlett, or Nashi, would all work fine. Serve the salad with some homemade bread and a glass of young and crisp white, like Pinot Grigio.

Yogurt DressingSalad
  • 125 g Plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp Coarse Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Walnut oil
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 Pears, sliced
  • 50 g Arugula lettuce
  • 1 Red onion, cut into rings
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 50 g Walnut halves, toasted
  1. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together until well combined. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Store the dressing in the fridge until ready for use.
  2. Rinse and dry the rocket salad. Place them in a mixing bowl together with onion rings and sliced pears. Drizzle with the lemon juice and gently toss.
  3. Divide the salad into 4 platters, pour the prepared dressing over, then sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, if desired.

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Bacon Pistachio Cookies

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bacon and cookies...the combination might sound odd to you, but they are so freaking good with salty, nutty, and crunchy texture. Highly addictive!

  • 50 g Bacon
  • 120 g Butter, cut into small pieces
  • 60 g Caster sugar
  • 50 g Egg white
  • 200 g Pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp Dried thyme
  • 50 g Pistachio, roughly chopped
  1. Cook the bacon until crisp. Dry them in a paper towel and roughly chop. Line two baking trays with paper. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg whites until combined. Add in the pastry flour, dried thyme, and chopped pistachio. Work the mixture until it comes together. Fold the cling film so that the dough is completely covered. Lightly roll it until you get a log, about 5 cm in diameter. Chill them at least 2 hours or overnight until thoroughly firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Line two baking trays with paper. Remove from the fridge, and slice the log into cookies, about 5 mm thick. Place the cookies on the prepared trays and bake 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on wire racks. Stir them in an airtight container for at least a week.

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Sourdough Caramelized Onion Boule

Monday, November 08, 2010

A delightful combination of the caramelized onion and dill makes this sourdough boule extremely flavourful and delicious!
Recipe adapted from Brot backen-Köstliche Rezepte aus der guten alten Zeit

  • 2 Onions
  • 50 g Olive oil
  • 200 g Whole spelt flour
  • 300 g All purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Wheat bran
  • 6 g Active dried yeast
  • 220 g Warm water
  • 100 g Rye sourdough
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp Sesame seeds

  1. Peel and dice the onions. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Add in diced onions and cook until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk together whole spelt flour, all purpose flour, wheat bran and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add in warm water, rye sourdough, the remaining olive oil, salt and fresh dill. Stir at the slow speed until dough comes away from bowl but is still sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  3. Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film, and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Remove from the bowl, add in browned onions and knead again until incorporated. Return it to the bowl and let rise, covered, for 20 minutes. Fill an oven-proof bowl with boiling water and set it on bottom shelf of oven. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.
  4. To shape a boule, invert a bowl of risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat to flatten it out slightly. Bring the edges up and to the center, forming a round. With both hands cupped over the dough, rotate the dough while further moothing and tightening the ball and seal the folds on the underside.
  5. Cut criss-cross slashes across the upper surface with a sharp blade. Lightly brush the top with water and sprinkle the sesame seeds over. Bake in the center of hot oven for about 45 minutes. Remove and cool the bread on a wire rack.

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Green Tea Almond Cookies

Friday, November 05, 2010

These buttery shortbread cookies have a delicate green tea flavour and would be just wonderful for an afternoon break. Not a fan of green tea? Well, these cookies might change your mind and lighten up your day!

  • 140 g All purpose flour
  • 100 g Ground almond
  • 15 g Matcha tea powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 200 g Butter, at room temperature
  • 100 g Icing sugar, sifted
  1. Whisk together the flour, ground almond, matcha powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat the butter until soften, then add in sifted icing sugar and beat until light and pale. Add in flour mixture and stir with a spatula until combined.
  2. Divide the dough into two portions. Place a large sheet of cling film on the work surface and place one portion of dough onto cling film. Fold the cling film so that the dough is completely covered. Lightly roll it until you get a log, about 5 cm in diameter. Wrap the other portion of dough with a cling flim too. Chill them at least 2 hours or overnight until thoroughly firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Line two baking trays with paper. Remove from the fridge, and slice the log into cookies, about 5 mm thick. Roll the other dough out to 5mm thickness and cut with cookie cutter. Place the cookies on the prepared trays and bake 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on wire racks.

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Pinotage Spaghetti with Arugula

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The red wine gives the pasta an unique deep purple colour and a sublime, earthy flavour complemented by a handful of rich, peppery arugula and sharp, nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Adapted from Food Network
  • 200 g Spaghetti
  • 350 ml South African Pinotage
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 clove Garlic, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 50 g Arugula
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. The pasta will finish cooking in the red wine. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. Add the pinotage and sugar to the pasta pot. Bring it to a boil over high heat and cook until reduced by half, about 5-8 minutes. Add in spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the red wine is absorbed and the spaghetti is al dente, about 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in olive oil, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in garlic until golden. Turn the heat off. Add in pasta, arugula, salt and pepper, toss gently and transfer to serving plates. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve.

Thank you, Elisabeth at Food and Thrift Finds, and Joudie at Moodfood Blog, for sharing this one lovely blog award with me.
And I also want to express my sincere appreciation to Gina at What's for Dinner across State Lines, and Alisha at The Ardent Epicure for thinking of me in the "Tag Game".
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Pumpkin Peanut Bars

Monday, November 01, 2010

These pumpkin bars are light in texture, wonderfully moist and delicious. A thick layer of delightfully spiced pumpkin filling in between a buttery crust and chopped pea-nutty topping. Drizzle some caramel over and enjoy them with a pot of freshly brewed tea. A perfect autumn treat!

Peanut ShortbreadPumpkin Filling
  • 80 g Roasted peanuts, ground
  • 110 All purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100 g Unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 80 g Golden caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 450 g Pumpkin puree
  • 100 g Golden caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 250 ml Sour cream
  • 80 ml Milk
  • 50 g Roasted peanuts, chopped
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