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Provençal Tomatoes

Thursday, June 30, 2011

These easy-to-prepare juicy tomatoes are stuffed with a spicy mix of chilli peppers, finely chopped garlic, herbs and then a layer of grated Parmesan. They are delicious as a side dish or served on a bed of salad as a light lunch.
Recipe adapted from Essen und Trinken

  • 3 Fleshy beefsteak tomatoes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Small red chilli pepper
    , cut into rings
  • 1 Small green chilli pepper, cut into rings
  • 3 Thyme sprigs
  • 1 Rosemary sprig
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 25 g Fresh grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic bianco
  • 50 g Arugula
  • 50 g Radicchio, sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Thinly slice the chilli peppers into rings. Remove leaves from thyme and rosemary sprigs. Discard stem, and chop the leaves.
  2. Cut the cores from the tomatoes, and cut them in half crosswise. Place the tomato halves in a baking dish. Sprinkle generously with salt and freshly mulled black pepper.
  3. Place the chilli pepper rings, minced garlic, and chopped herbs on the tomato halves. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over and bake for 15 minutes or until they are tender.
  4. Whisk together the Balsamic bianco, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. In a large salad bowl, add in arugula and sliced radicchio. Drizzle in the prepared dressing. Toss gently until combined.
  5. Remove the baked tomatoes from the oven, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Serve on a bed of prepared salad.

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Rolled Spelt Cookies

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Those cookies, crispy and chewy, are loaded with spelt flakes, wheat germ, chopped nuts, chocolate and dried fruit. They are so freaking good. Rolled spelt flakes offer an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin B1 and niacin. They are a delicious and healthy alternative to rolled oats in baked goods, homemade muesli, or even in salads!
Recipe adapted from Better Home Garden

  • 50 g Butter, softened
  • 80 g Brown sugar
  • 70 g Granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 90 g All-purpose flour
  • 90 g Rolled spelt
  • 30 g Wheat germ
  • 70 g Dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 50 g Dried cranberries
  • 50 g Chopped walnuts, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugars, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour. Stir in rolled oats, wheat germ, chocolate, cranberries, and walnuts. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto baking trays lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. Let cookies cool on cookie trays for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Makes about 30 cookies.

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Roasted Potatoes with Sea Salt and Thyme

Friday, June 24, 2011

Those herb-roasted new potatoes are a tasty accompaniment to any meat dish. They are so easy to make and come out so nicely golden brown, crisp and delicious. A real crowd-pleaser! Turn the potatoes over at half-time to ensure even browning if needed, I left them unattended during cooking. Use other herbs, like rosemary, marjoram or even sage in place of thyme. I will definitely be making these again and again!
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten and Taste Food

  • 700 g Small or new potatoes, leaving skin on
  • 2-3 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly mulled black pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 4 Thyme sprigs, plus extra for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 215C/420F. Cut the potatoes in quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss until the potatoes are well coated. Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a baking tray. Scatter the thyme sprigs around the potatoes.
  2. Place baking tray in the middle rack of the oven. Roast the potatoes for an hour until golden brown and crispy. Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste, and serve.

I'm reposting the Pinotage Spaghetti with Arugula for a dear friend - Monet at Anecdotes and Apple Cores, who has had a really rough and difficult year. Two sweet ladies - Kate at Kate's Kitchen and Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake were really kind to assemble some comfort food recipes for Monet in an effort to support and show some love. I feel blessed to be part of something so special.

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Spaghetti Nests

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This is easy to fix and soooooooooo tasty! Linguine can be used in place of spaghetti and the vegetables, like carrots, and peas can be incorporated into the filling. Now open a bottle of Valpolicella Classico and enjoy your pasta!
Recipe adapted from Essen und Trinken

  • 200 g Spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan, grated
  • 2 tbsp Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 3 tbsp Whipping cream
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 50 g Prosciutto, diced
  • 125 g Fresh Mozzarella cheese, diced
  • 3 tbsp Chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tomato sauce to serve
  1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta. Return to same pot and toss with grated Parmesan and breadcrumbs.
  2. Use a fork to stick into the spaghetti and bring up a heaping forkful. Turn and twist the pasta to form a nest. Repeat until you have 8 nests. Place them on a baking tray lined with paper. At the same time, preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  3. Stir together the eggs and cream until just blended. Season to taste. Add in diced tomatoes, Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and chopped chives. Divide the mixture and spoon them in the center of each nest. Bake the spaghetti nests on second rack from the bottom of the oven for 15-18 minutes.

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Poppy Hamantaschen Cookies

Friday, June 17, 2011

Those cookies are traditionally in triangle shape, which represents the three corners of Haman’s hat, filled with poppy seeds or prune filling. The shape may also represent the three Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who inspired Queen Esther. More information can be found here.
Adapted from Smitten's Kitchen

DoughPoppy Seed Filling
  • 270 g All-purpose flour
  • 100 g Powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp Finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 tsp Salt
  • 1 Large egg yolk
  • 200 g Unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 Egg, beaten for glazing
  • 170 ml Milk
  • 70 g Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Finely grated lemon zest
  • 80 g Poppy seeds, ground
  • 40 g Dried cherries, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Lemon extract
  1. Place the flour, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to blend. Add the butter and egg yolk and process until the mixture forms a ball. Scrape onto a sheet of plastic and wrap it tightly. Chill the dough for an hour or overnight.
  2. If you can't find ground poppyseeds, use a spice mill or coffee grinder with whole poppyseeds. Heat milk, sugar, lemon zest, ground poppy seeds and chopped dried cherries in a small saucepan over medium heat. On a low simmer, cook until the seeds have absorbed the milk and the mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice, and butter and cook for 2 minutes more. Turn the heat off and stir in lemon extract. Cool completely.
  3. Preheat the oven 180C/350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 4mm/1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter or glass to cut 6cm/2.5 inch circles. Put a teaspoon of the filling in the center of each and press up the sides to form a triangle or any desired shape.
  4. Place them on the prepared trays and brush the tops with the beaten egg for glaze. Return tray to the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes; chilling them again will help them hold their shape while they are baked. Bake until cookies are golden, about 15 minutes. If trays are on different racks, switch them after about 10 minutes.

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Pan Seared Prawn Salad with Avocado

Monday, June 13, 2011

As the worst of the E.coli out break is over, and the cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce were given an official all-clear by German authorities. Finally I can buy again what my appetite tells me and enjoy without worrying about the salads.
A delicious combination of pan seared herbs-marinated prawns, fruit and vegetable. It's perfect as an appetizer or a light dinner on its own. If possible try to cook the prawns with the shell intact, as this will keep their flavour and helps in reserving the moisture.

Herb Marinade
  • 12 Giant prawns, deveined
  • 80 g Bio arugula
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Bio carrot, peeled and thinly shredded
  • 8 Bio baby roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 Red onion, peeled and sliced into rings or
  • Crispy onion rings
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • Lime wedges to serve
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp Dry white wine
  • 1 tsp Dried herbes der Provence
  • 1/2 tsp Dried tarragon
  • 1 clove Garlic, pressed
  • Salt and freshly mulled black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  1. Combine mustard, white wine, and herbs in a pan. Cook the mixture over lower-medium heat until the wine has almost been absorbed, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in pressed garlic, season with salt and pepper. Finally stir in olive oil and mix until well blended. Add the prawns to the marinade and mix well. Cover with a cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. In a pan, heat the oil over high heat until hot. Add in prawns and cook until they have turned pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  3. Mound the salad on two plates. Add avocado slices, carrot shreds, tomato wedges, onion rings and the prawns. Drizzle the salad with a bit of balsamic cream and serve with lime wedges if desired.

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Lemon Thyme Amaretti aka Italian Macaroons

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Crunchy, nutty amaretti cookies, also known as Italian macaroons, are usually baked with ground almonds, egg whites and sugar. They can be plain, flavoured with liqueur or sandwiched with jam. The creation doesn't stop there! I have found this creative amaretti recipe with THYME from Küchen Götter, and decided to give it try with my "lemon thyme". They have turned out so well and super delicious!

  • 3 Egg whites
  • 200 g Castor sugar
  • 10 g Lemon thyme leaves
  • 200 g Ground almonds (I used hazelnuts)
  1. Preheat the oven to 140C/280F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the castor sugar, ground hazelnut and lemon thyme leaves in a bowl. In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until firm. Fold in the dry mixture.
  2. Fill the pastry bag with the cookie mixture. Pipe 1inch mounds onto the prepared baking trays, about an inch apart. Bake in the heated oven until cookies become crisp, about 40 minutes.

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Chocolate Wafers

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Crispy, crunchy and loaded with chocolate flavours. Those chocolate wafers are perfect ANYTIME sweet treat! Serve with ice cream, or sandwich them together with whipped cream. They're also great by themselves.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 200 g All purpose flour
  • 70 g Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 200 g Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 180 g Unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into smaller pieces
  • 3 tbsp Whole milk
  • 1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
  1. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking soda in the bowl of food processor and pulse to mix thoroughly. Add in butter, milk and vanilla extract and process until the mixture clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl.
  2. Place the mixture on the work surface and form into a log about 14 inches/35 cm long. Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or overnight.
  3. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the log of dough into slices a 1/8 inch/3 mm thick and place them 1 inch/2.4 cm apart on the lined sheets (cookies will spread). Sprinkle the top lightly with granulated sugar if desired.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the the cookies puff up Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

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Red Wine Spinach and Spinach Prosciutto Pizza

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Spinach is low in calories yet packed full of nutrients, like vitamins, minerals and fibre, which are good for you. This is such a versatile vegetable. It can be eaten raw in salads or enjoyed cooked on its own or added to soups and other dishes. However, people who have kidney problems will have to be careful about eating this green, as "oxalates/草酸" in spinach may interfere with the absorption of "calcium/钙", as well as potentially crystallize. Find out more information of how to select, store, and enjoy spinach here.
The outbreak of the intestinal bacteria EHEC has now killed more than 10 people and hundreds of people falling ill in Germany. It is suspected that the outbreak is linked to contaminated salads and vegetables, but there has been no confirmation of the source. So to play it safe, I have prepared all sorts of leafy vegetables these days COOKED, even those greens on the pizza.

Red Wine Spinach (adapted from Essen und Trinken)
  • 375 g Spinach, roughly cut into chunks
  • 2 Shallots, finely diced
  • 1 clove Garlic, pressed
  • 25 g Butter
  • 200 ml Red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pinch off the spinach leaves and discard stems. Soak the leaves in the water for 30 minutes. Drain. Rinse and drain a couple more times until the water is clear. Drain and roughly cut the leaves into smaller chunks.
  2. Finely chop the shallots and crush the garlic through a press. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Stir in chopped shallots and garlic over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Pour in red wine and cook until it’s syrupy. Add in chopped spinach and cook, covered, for 2-3 minutes. Taste with salt and pepper.

Spinach Prosciutto Pizza
Fresh Tomato Pizza SaucePizza
  • 2 tsp Olive oil
  • 1 Large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 kg Fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1/2 tbsp Dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 300 g Bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 4 g Instant dried yeast
  • 210 ml Water
  • Tomato pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella or Gruyere, grated
  • Parmesan, grated
  • Spinach
  • Prosciutto
  • Black olives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cut small x in base of each tomato. Bring a large pot of water to boil. In a large basin or container add cold water and some ice. Using a slotted spoon put a few tomatoes in the boiling water for about 20 seconds. The skin will split where the x was cut. Transfer each tomato to the prepared ice bath. After the tomato cools use fingers to pull the skin off of the tomato. Slice the tomato in quarters. Remove the seeds and chop.
  2. Heat oil in large pan. Add in chopped onions and cook over medium heat for until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 30 minutes.
  3. Stir together the flour, salt and instant yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and knead the dough at the lowest speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch dough down, divide into 2 balls, and allow them to relax for another 30 minutes. Heat up pizza stone in a 250C/500F oven. Form a 12 to 14-inch pizza crust and place on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with yellow cornmeal.
  5. Top pizza dough with pizza sauce, spreading with back of a spoon to within 1/2-inch of edge. Place topping on the crust and place the pizza, with the parchment paper in the oven on the pizza stone. Bake until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 10 minutes.

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