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Featured Recipe: 37 Cucumber Recipes to keep you cool in hot Summer

Streusel Damson Plum Cake / Zwetschgendatschi

Monday, August 29, 2011 | © 2011 | | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

Zwetschgenkuchen, a delectable German Plum Cake, also called Sommerkuchen-summer cake, or Zwetschgendatschi is available during the late summer during the damson plum harvest. Datschi, presumably come from a southern German dialect datschen or detschen, means to press in, is a sheet cake (could be prepared in a springform pan too) made with a yeast dough or short pastry, and very often has a streusel topping, which is similar to a crumble. Streusel comes from the German word streusen, to scatter, which is how the topping is applied to the cake. The recipe is adapted from daheim und unterwegs - wdr.

  • 400 g All purpose flour
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 160 g Cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 90 g Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon peel, finely grated
  • 2 Small eggs
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 1200 g Damson plums
  • 125 g Sugar
  • 150 g Butter
  • 200 g Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Cinnamon powder (optional)
  1. Place all the ingredients for the crust in a bowl, mix them well to form a dough. Chill the dough, wrapped well with a plastic film, for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, wash and dry the damson plums. Cut them open and remove the stones. Grease a 28cm springform pan. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Remove the dough from the fridge and press it onto the bottom of prepared pan. Lightly press the damson plums into the crust.
  3. Use a fork or spoon to combine all the topping ingredients until mixture is like coarse cornmeal. Taste and adjust cinnamon to your liking. Sprinkle streusel topping over the damsons.
  4. Bake the cake in the center of hot oven for about 45-55 minutes until done and beautiful golden brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Unmould and serve at room temperature. | © 2011 | | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

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Peanut Butter, Sesame Paste and Raisin Cookies

Thursday, August 25, 2011 | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

Those peanut butter cookies are crisp and slightly crumbly, and have an fantastic peanut butter taste. Feel free to replace rolled spelt flakes and spelt flour with oats and wheat flour. The recipe has been adapted from Delicious Magazine.

  • 100 g Butter, softened
  • 180 g Crunchy peanut butter
  • 80 g Sesame paste
  • 150 g Light soft brown sugar
  • 1 Large free-range egg
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • 125 g Rolled spelt flakes
  • 80 g Raisins
  • 125 g Spelt flour #630
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper. Beat the softened butter, peanut butter and sesame paste in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the sugar and beat again until well mixed.
  2. Add in egg and vanilla to the peanut butter mixture. Beat again with the wooden spoon. Add the rolled spelt flakes and raisins to the mixture, sift over the flour and baking soda and mix well.
  3. Put large spoonfuls of the mixture onto the trays, spacing slightly apart, and bake for 20 minutes until light golden. Remove from the oven. Leave to firm up on their trays for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days. | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

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Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Sunday, August 21, 2011 | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

A fresh and delectable summer cake layered with Joconde sponge and yogurt mixture that has been lightened up with whipped cream and elegantly finished with fresh strawberries and pistachios as topping. It’s perfect for people who enjoy creamy and light desserts.
Adapted from Das Neue Blatt magazine (No.29 13.July 2011)

  • 2 slice Square Joconde sponge cake (9-10 inch)
  • 10 sheet Leaf gelatine
  • 150 g Strawberry jam
  • 1000 g 3.5% Wholemilk yogurt
  • 1 package / 8 g Vanilla sugar
  • 100 g Sugar
  • 250 g Whipping cream
  • 350 g Fresh strawberries
  • 2-3 tbsp Pistachios, finely chopped
  1. Soak the gelatine in a small bowl of cold water until softened. Spread half of the strawberry jam on one piece of sponge cake and place it onto the bottom of a 9-inch square springform pan.
  2. Beat together the yogurt, vanilla sugar and sugar in a bowl until well-blended. Gently squeeze the softened gelatine to remove the excess water and place the gelatine in a saucepan. Over a very gentle heat, allow the gelatine to melt slowly, stirring once or twice. Once it has melted, stir about 3 tablespoons of yogurt cream into the melted gelatin, then pour it back to the rest of yogurt mixture. Stir until smooth and blended.
  3. Whip the cream until firm and fold into the yogurt mixture. Pour 2/3 yogurt mixture onto the sponge. Top with second sponge cake, then spread with the rest of strawberry jam.
  4. Attach a pastry bag with a star tip and fill in the rest of yogurt cream. Pipe the cream on the top of cake. Chill the cake for at least 2 hours until set. Decorate with chopped pistachios and fresh strawberries. Slice and serve. | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

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Brown Rice Salad with Beet and Herbs & Roasted Beet Chips

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 | © 2011 |

It’s a shame that many people (my husband included) are averse to this appealingly rich purple bulb, that has been considered beneficial to the digestive system, as a cancer preventative, and a tonic of blood. It is a nutritious vegetable with many health-giving and healing properties. Aside from bringing immeasurable good to human health, the sweet, earthy and velvety beet makes attractive, colourful and delicious dishes.

Sweet, spicy and satisfyingly crunchy...could those chips convince your husband to eat beets who passionately dislikes them? | © 2011 |

Brown Rice Salad with Beetroot and Herbs

  • 250 g Brown rice
  • 350 g Roasted beetroot, chopped into chunks
  • 2 tbsp Spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp Fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1-2 tbsp White balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cook the brown rice according to the packet instructions. It takes about minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain really well and tip into a large bowl.
  2. Stir the spring onions, chopped tarragon, dill and beetroot though the rice. Mix together the dressing ingredients and taste to check the seasoning. Stir the dressing through the salad. Pile the rice salad on a large serving dish and garnish with some roughly chopped dill. Serve immediately.

Oven Roasted Beetroot Chips

  • 3 Medium beetroots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • Pinch of chilli powder
  • Sea salt to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/340F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Clean, dry and peel the beetroots. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice them into wafer-thin crisps.
  2. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, chilli powder and salt. Arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning halfway through, until crisp. Check often to make sure they don't burn. Spread out on paper towel until cool and crisp. Sprinkle with additional chilli powder and salt if necessary. | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

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Linzertorte with Port Stewed Damsons

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

A Linzertorte, originated in Linz, Austria, is basically a giant jam cookie with black currant jam filling, nutty pastry (usually hazelnut or almond) and a distinctive criscross design atop. Instead of using an usual jam, this recipe uses port wine stewed damsons to fill the crust, which I believe it tastes even better than the classic. If you can't find oval-shaped dark tannic damsons, use other types of plums.

Port Stewed DamsonsShort Crust
  • 800 g Damson plums, pitted
  • 100 g Sugar
  • 60 g Butter
  • 100 ml Port wine
  • 30 ml Orange juice
  • 50 ml Lemon juice
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 200 g All purpose flour
  • 200 g Ground almond
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp Lemon rind, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 150 g Sugar
  • 200 g Cold butter, , cut into small pieces
  • 1 Egg

  1. Wash the plums and cut them in half to remove the pits. Add sugar and butter in a pan. Cook the mixture until caramelized. Pour in port wine, orange juice and lemon juice. Add in damson plums and cinnamon stick. Cook the mixture over the medium heat, stirring constantly, until you have a thick paste, 35-40 minutes. Remove and allow it to cool.
  2. To prepare the crust by mixing all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in butter and egg. Using your fingertips, mix all the ingredients together. Shape into a ball and wrap with a plastic film and chill at least for 2 hours.
  3. Line a 30x20 cm baking pan with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough until it’s 3-4mm thick. Cut out a rectangular to fit into the baking pan, lightly press the dough about 2 cm up the sides of the pan. Prick the bottom a few times with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes. Wrap the rest of the dough in a plastic wrap and chill until firm.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Roll the rest of the dough between two sheets of wax paper into 3-4mm thick piece. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut it into 1cm wide strips, then freeze strips 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon the prepared damson paste onto the bottom of the crust-lined baking pan, then arrange half of the strips 1 inch apart across stewed damsons. Arrange remaining strips diagonally across first strips to form a lattice. Bake on the second rack from the bottom for 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes, then remove and completely. Serve with whipped cream if desired. | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

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Minty Grated Raw Beet Salad and Beet Greens Stir-fry

Sunday, August 07, 2011 | © 2011 | | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

Beets are delicious cooked or raw, in salads or soups, as an appetizer or a meatless main course with some couscous. This beet root salad recipe is really easy and tasty, and takes little time to prepare. The dark-green colored leaves with red tones are an excellent source of carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants and vitamin A.

Minty Grated Raw Beet Salad

  • 500 g Beets
  • 3 tbsp Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  1. Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler, and grate in a food processor fitted with the shredding blade. Finely chop the mint leaves.
  2. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with the beets and chopped mint leaves. Season to taste with salt.
  3. The raw beet salad can be served immediately or kept in the refrigerator, covered well, for a couple of days. It will soak up flavours and become more tender, yet stay crispy and crunchy. Toss again before serving.

Beet Greens Stir-fry with Shallot and Garlic

  • 350 g Beet greens
  • 2 tbsp Corn oil
  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove Garlic, sliced
  • Sea salt
  • White pepper
  1. Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced shallot and sliced garlic, cook 3to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the beet greens to the skillet. Cook and stir until they are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

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