Tag: garlic

Spaghetti with Crisp Bacon, Tomatoes and Fennel Seeds

Bacon Fennel Tomato Pasta

A fruity tomato sauce with spaghetti together with a glass of red wine can never go wrong. To add some crisp bacon and fennel seeds makes it even better! I don’t even remember all the different variations on tomato sauces I’ve made in my life but this one is really good, and quick to prepare. For days I’ve been wanting to make a Sauce Bolognese but I never found the time as it needs to cook for an hour. This one here is meaty as well but only needs 10 minutes on the cooker. The bacon (I used lots of it!) makes it hearty and the aromatic spice adds a Mediterranean touch to it.

For 2 people I used 100g / 3.5 ounces of bacon, cut into little cubes and fried until golden and crunchy. I fried 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds, 2 cloves of garlic (crushed) and 1 small dried chili together with the meat for about 2 minutes before I added 400g / 14 ounces of tinned tomatoes (crushed), 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper. The sauce simmered on medium temperature for 8 minutes while the spaghetti (200g / 7 ounces ) cooked in lots of salted water until they were al dente.

If you prefer a vegetarian sauce just leave out the bacon and add a bit more olive oil to fry the fennel seeds, I make that sometimes and it’s great, too.

Bacon Fennel Tomato Pasta

 

Bacon Fennel Tomato Pasta

Yu-Kyong’s Bibimbap, a traditional Korean treat

bibimbap

A few weeks ago I met a very sweet couple from Norway, Lena and Knut, we sat opposite each other at a supper club and started talking. Days later I found out about their wonderful blog Teak Tray Weekdays where they share little treasures of their daily life in Trondheim and their traveling trips, I got peacefully lost in their stories. When Lena asked me if I would like to cook something together with them I was very happy. I liked the idea of the three of us cooking the same meal in different kitchens in different countries and with different recipes. I let them choose what we would cook and they suggested Bibimbap. They had just been to Berlin and enjoyed this Korean speciality at a restaurant so much that they wanted to cook it at home. You can find the link to Lena’s and Knut’s Bibimbap here.

At first, I wasn’t sure about my approach to this meal. I had never cooked Korean before and I usually need an experience, a memory, a story, taste, something that opens the door to a new culinary experience. I asked my oldest friend Yu-Kyong for help, we lived next to each other through our whole childhood, she has Korean roots, her father grew up in North Korea and her mother in the South. She lived in Germany all her life but her mother cooks Korean for the family and introduced her daughter to the traditional recipes, like Bibimbap.

When I asked Yu-Kyong to write down the recipe so that I could buy all the ingredients she told me that this wouldn’t work, we would have to go shopping together! We met at an Asian market and she gave me an introduction to Korean cooking. She explained the necessary spices, mixtures, spice pastes and preparations to me, all in between hundreds of boxes, tins and bottles of food, freezers stuffed with tiny crabs, octopus and fish. The scent of a different world in my nose, visually overwhelmed, I tried to keep up with her. She told me about the different flavours and qualities of sesame oil, I learnt how to cook sticky rice properly, which cutlery I have to use (a metal spoon and metal chopsticks, not wooden!) and so much more. Basically, a one hour crash course on Korean cooking, in the middle of an Asian market, typing everything more or less precisely into my phone, not to forget a single detail.

bibimbap6

I got home with bags of vegetables, Kimchi, roasted seaweed, Obok Gochujang hot pepper paste, many colourful tins and boxes. I bought the first tofu of my life and I felt happy and finally prepared for this new cooking experience.

Here’s a quick description of Bibimbap, it’s a one pot meal, rice at the bottom and steamed vegetables mixed with a sesame oil and soy sauce dressing on top. I steamed spinach, sprouts and carrots and added strips of seaweed, Kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage), fried tofu and eggs. The spinach is glazed with the special Bibimbap Gochujang sauce which is mixed into the rice as well. I made a traditional cucumber salad on the side, mixed with sesame oil and soy sauce, sprinkled with chili powder and toasted sesame seeds.

This meal needs good preparation before you mix everything together, it’s a ceremony of pure tastes mixed with the strong flavour of good quality sesame oil and the spiciness of Gochujang. When you make your own Bibimbap you should allow some extra time to enjoy the cutting, steaming and mixing, it’s meditative. I learnt that this is not a warm meal, the rice and egg (which I fried in the end) have to be warm but the steamed vegetables can be cold.

Bibimbap

 Vegetable Bibimbap  and Cucumber Salad

For 3-4 people you need

sticky rice, rinsed, 170g / 6 ounces
soybean sprouts, steamed for 1-2 minutes, a handful
spinach, steamed for 1-2 minutes, 250g / 9 ounces
carrot, cut into julienne, steamed for 1 minute, 1-2
tofu, cut into 0.5cm / 1/4″ slices, 200g / 7 ounces
Kimchi 6 tablespoons
spring onions, cut into thin slices, a small handfull
Korean roasted seaweed, cut into strips, 5 sheets
organic eggs 3-4
sesame seeds, toasted in a pan for a couple minutes on medium heat, 2 tablespoons
cucumber, peeled, cut in half, without the seeds and soft parts, a 15cm / 6″ piece for the cucumber salad
dried chili spice for the cucumber salad, 1/8 teaspoon
Gochujang hot pepper paste 1 tablespoon
sesame oil 6 tablespoons
soy sauce 5 tablespoons
sugar
garlic, crushed, 4 cloves

Whisk the following ingredients for the sauce used for the steamed soybean sprouts, carrots and cucumber salad

4 1/2 tablespoons of the sesame oil
3 tablespoons of the soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
and 3 small crushed cloves of garlic

Whisk the following ingredients for the Bibimbap sauce (used for the steamed spinach and the rice)

1 tablespoon of the Obok Gochujang hot pepper paste
1 1/2 tablespoons of the sesame oil
2 tablespoons of the soy sauce
3/4 tablespoon of sugar
and 1 small crushed clove of garlic

Cook the rice in a pot filled with water and a pinch of salt (the water should be 2cm / 1″ above the rice) for 12 minutes, on medium heat, keeping the lid closed. If the rice is still hard and didn’t soak all the water, keep it on the heat for a couple more minutes. When it’s done, keep the rice covered and set aside.

For the salad, cut the cucumber into strips, mix with 1/3 of the dressing (not the Bibimbap sauce) and sprinkle with some sesame seeds and the dried chili spice. The cucumber salad is served as a side dish, not on top of the Bibimbap like the rest of the vegetables.

Glaze the steamed soybean sprouts with 1/3 of the dressing (not the Bibimbap sauce) and the steamed carrots with the rest of the sauce, sprinkle both with sesame seeds.

Mix the steamed spinach with 4 teaspoons of the special Bibimbap sauce (keep the rest of the sauce to mix with the rice).

Fry the tofu in a little sesame oil for 2 minutes until golden, turn gently and fry on the other side. When it’s done, set it aside.

Fry the eggs, leaving the egg yolk soft.

Put the rice in a large bowl and the spinach, carrots, sprouts, Kimchi, spring onions, tofu and seaweed on top, arrange them in a circle next to each other. Place the fried eggs in the middle and sprinkle everything with sesame seeds.

When you serve the Bibimbap at the table, you can either mix everything in the bowl together with the rest of the Bibimbap sauce or divide it between the plates and add some sauce to it (that’s how I did it).

bibimbap2

 

Bibimbap

 

Bibimbap

Broccoli Pesto with Spaghetti and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Broccoli Parsley Pesto + Spaghetti

Finally pesto! I love it, bunches of basil, parsley, chopped green or black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, anchovies mixed with olive oil, nuts or cheese. There are endless possibilities to bring one of the most satisfying meals onto the table, pasta with pesto. It’s so simple yet so special! When I make pesto I just follow my mood and appetite, picking what the kitchen herbs on my window sill offer and mixing it together with the Mediterranean fruits and vegetables preserved in salt or oil I keep in jars in my fridge. Sometimes I mix fresh vegetables in as well, like green asparagus or broccoli.

Today is a broccoli day! I cook it al dente, put some of it in a blender and mix it with parsley, ginger, garlic, anchovy, lemon juice and olive oil. Some of the water used to cook the broccoli stirred in makes the pesto nice and smooth, it’s lighter than using just olive oil. When the warm spaghetti has been mixed with the broccoli pesto, I sprinkle some broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes and red chili on top. There are lots of different flavours in this pesto but they blend in perfectly and allow the broccoli to show its fresh side.

Broccoli Parsley Pesto + Spaghetti

Broccoli Pesto with Spaghetti and Sun-dried Tomatoes

For this meal it’s best to warm the plates in a 75°C / 165°F warm oven for a few minutes. I prepare them while the pasta is cooking.

For 4 people you need

spaghetti 400g / 14 ounces
broccoli, florets and the soft part of the stem, 450g / 16 ounces
water used to cook the broccoli 50ml
sun-dried tomatoes, cooked in a little water for 2 minutes to wash off the salt, dried and chopped, 1 1/2 tomatoes for topping
water used to cook the sun-dried tomatoes 3 tablespoons
parsley, chopped, 3 heaped tablespoons
garlic, crushed, 1 big clove
ginger, grated, 1/2 teaspoon
anchovy preserved in salt (optionally), rinsed and dried, 1 fillet
lemon juice 2 teaspoons
olive oil 3 tablespoons
salt and pepper
fresh red chili, chopped, 1 for topping

In a large pot, bring water to the boil, add some salt and cook the broccoli al dente. Keep 1/3 of the cooked florets, cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Cook the spaghetti al dente.

Put the rest of the broccoli (florets and stem cut into pieces) in a blender and mix together with some of the water used to cook the broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes. Add the parsley, garlic, ginger, anchovy, lemon juice, olive oil and mix well. Season the pesto with salt and pepper but keep in mind that the tomatoes used for the topping will add some saltiness as well.

Arrange the spaghetti and the pesto on big plates and sprinkle with the chopped tomatoes, pieces of broccoli, chili and some more black pepper.

Broccoli Parsley Pesto + Spaghetti

A Sandwich with Lemon Lentil Mousse and Roast Garlic

Lentil Mousse Garlic Sandwich

The legume section in my pantry is overflowing, it’s time to empty some lentil boxes! My plan is to make a smooth lentil mousse enhanced with parsley, lemon and garlic, to spread on sandwiches and to eat together with raw vegetable sticks. I prepare a big bowl as we’ll have my brother in law over for the next couple of days. When guests stay with us, I like to have some food ready in the fridge, easy nibbles and snacks that everyone can enjoy whenever they feel like, but first I’ll need the mousse for my Sandwich Wednesday.

Besides the lemon and parsley aromas, the garlic plays an important role. I don’t leave it plain and raw, I roast it, golden and sticky, almost sweet. I bake big, fleshy cloves in their skin and after 10 minutes in the oven they turn into a delicious paste. They taste so good that I throw a couple more into the oven, as an extra topping. Squeezed with a fork I lay the warm and juicy garlic on top of the lentil spread. This is such a great combination, the nuttiness of legumes together with the sourness of the lemon juice and zest, the aromatic parsley and the sweet and spicy garlic. I’ve made a few variations on this lentil mousse already, but this one is the freshest!

Lentil Mousse Garlic Sandwich

 Lemony Parsley Lentil Mousse and Roast Garlic on a Sandwich 

For the sandwiches you need white buns with a nice crust, crisp and crunchy. I made lots of mousse, it stays fresh for a few days. It’s also great as finger food for parties, on slices of bread or served together with vegetable sticks!

lentils 350g / 12.5 ounces
(I use a small type which doesn’t need to soak overnight)
bay leaf 1
parsley, chopped, the leaves of  a medium bunch plus more for topping
freshly squeezed lemon juice 5 tablespoons
lemon zest 3 teaspoons plus more for topping
olive oil 50ml
salt 2 1/2 teaspoons
black pepper
garlic, 12 big cloves in their skin
(6 for the mousse and the rest for topping)

Cook the lentils in 1 liter of water together with the bay leaf for 20 minutes or until they are done. Don’t season with salt yet or the lentils will stay hard. Take out the bay leaf and drain the lentils.

Set the oven to 220°C / 430°F (I used the Rotitherm roasting setting) and roast the cloves of garlic in their skin for 12 minutes or until they are soft. Peel the garlic and squeeze with a fork.

Mix the lentils in a blender to a smooth paste together with the parsley, lemon juice and zest, olive oil and half of the garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the sandwiches, cut the buns in half, spread the lentil mousse on one side and lay 1 or 2 squeezed, roast garlic on top. Sprinkle with some parsley and lemon zest and close the bun.

Lentil Mousse Garlic Sandwich

 

Lentil Mousse Garlic Sandwich

 

Lentil Mousse Garlic Sandwich

Carnival and a Cauliflower Soup with Ginger and Lemon

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower Soup

A couple weeks ago I wrote about our traditional family feast, a time when we all meet at my mother’s house in the countryside to celebrate carnival. It’s always silly, loud and involves lots of good food. The festive highlight is the making of our “Berliners” which involves each family member. A “Berliner” is a sweet speciality which looks a bit like a doughnut without a hole. It’s made of yeast dough, filled with jam, deep fried in vegetable shortening and sprinkled with cinnamon icing sugar. The jam filling changes with the years, a few weeks ago I filled mine with blueberry jam which became my favourite (for now), they tasted divine! The reason I made them at my home without my family before carnival, was a blog tour I was asked to joined. I decided to share our “Berliner” family tradition. I made them on my own for the first time in my life, they were as good as at my mother’s but it’s more fun with family and friends.

In the end it turned out to be (subconsciously) a wise choice as this carnival will be different. This year there is neither a family feast nor a “Berliner” to enjoy, for us it’s soup instead. A wisdom tooth got in our way and needed to come out quick. Needless to say, a jam filled Berliner isn’t the appropriate food in a situation like this, porridge and soup is more like it!

I have a big, beautiful cauliflower in the kitchen, a cabbage I don’t use so often but in a velvety soup it shows its finer qualities. The sweet taste and smooth texture is great for puréed soups. I don’t add any cream, just broth, onion, garlic and some tangy flavours, lemon and ginger. A piece of ginger simmers together with the cauliflower in the broth before I season it with grated ginger to taste. I add the lemon’s juice and zest when the soup is done, arrange it in plates drizzled with some good olive oil and sprinkle some more lemon zest on top. I’m impressed, it’s still smooth but fresh!

Last week I told you that eat in my kitchen was nominated for The Kitchn’s Best Daily Read Cooking Blog Award 2014Food52 won the award but I want to thank you all for your support and all your votes, with your help eat in my kitchen reached the final!

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower Soup

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower Soup

For 4 people you need

a big cauliflower, rinsed and cut into 5cm / 2″ pieces, around 750g / 1.5 pounds (weight without stem)
vegetable broth 1500ml
onion, chopped, 1
garlic, cut in half, 1
bay leaf 1
ginger, thumbnail sized piece plus 1 teaspoon grated
lemon juice 1 tablespoon
lemon zest 1 teaspoon
salt and black pepper
olive oil for frying and topping

In a large pot, fry the onion and garlic in a little oil until golden and soft. Add the cauliflower, bay leaf, the piece of ginger and broth and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is al dente. When it’s done take out the bay leaf and ginger and put a few smaller pieces of cauliflower (a small plate full) aside before you mix the soup in a blender. Season with salt, pepper, the grated ginger, lemon juice and zest and put the cauliflower pieces back into the smooth soup. When you arrange the plates, drizzle some good olive oil on top and sprinkle with some lemon zest.

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower Soup

Homemade Sausage with Herbs and Spices and Baked Fennel with Parmesan

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

Our last visitors from Malta brought some of my favourite sausages along, coarse Maltese pork sausage stuffed with lots of spices and garlic. The kind that you can use to spice up a whole pot of soup. When it comes to sausage that’s exactly what I like! When I’m in Malta I fry them for breakfast without their skin and cut in half, like a burger, some fried zucchini (qarabaghli in Maltese) on the side and and I’m prepared for a day on the beach.

The gift from Malta inspired me to make my own sausages, but without skin from the start. I make mine like burgers without egg and bread (apart from a tablespoon of breadcrumbs) and with pork and beef unlike the original. Most importantly they are enhanced with plenty of rosemary, parsley, coriander and fennel seeds (luckily I still have some left from Malta to keep it even more authentic) and my coarse sea salt from Mr. Cini’s salt pans in Gozo, Malta’s sister island. Spices and salt from other parts of the world will work as well, I just like to add the nice memories and to me, they taste best. As fennel already has such an importance in this meal I add the bulbs as well, baked in the oven with onions, garlic and parmesan. It’s the right addition to my Mediterranean sausages which I fry first before I deglaze them with a splash of white wine. This makes a thick sauce of juices, delicious together with the meat and the vegetable.

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

Homemade Sausage with Herbs and Spices and Baked Fennel with Parmesan

This makes a dinner for 3-4.

For the sausage

minced beef 300g / 10.5 ounces
minced pork 300g / 10.5 ounces
breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon
parsley, chopped, a medium bunch
fresh rosemary, chopped roughly, 1 teaspoon
coriander seeds, ground in a mortar, 1 tablespoon
fennel seeds, ground in a mortar, 3/4 tablespoon
black pepper, ground in a mortar (coarsely), 1 tablespoon
garlic, crushed, 2 big cloves
coarse sea salt 1 1/2 teaspoons
white wine for deglazing
olive oil for frying

Mix the ingredients well and shape thick sausages. Heat some olive oil in a large cast iron (or heavy) pan and fry the sausages on medium heat until all sides are golden brown. Deglaze the sausages with a splash of wine  so that the bottom of your pan is covered, the liquid shouldn’t evaporate completely. Turn down the heat, scrape the juices off and close the pan with a lid for 1-2 minutes until the sausages are done inside.

 

For the baked fennel

big bulbs of fennel, quartered and blanched together with 1/2 lemon for 8 minutes, 2 bulbs
(keep the green of the fennel bulbs uncooked and chopped for topping)
medium onions, chopped, 2
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
olive oil
fresh parmesan, grated, 3 tablespoons (you can add more if you like)
salt and black pepper

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (I used the Rotitherm roasting setting) and brush a medium sized baking dish with olive oil.

Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil on medium heat until golden brown.

Put the fennel in the baking dish and sprinkle with olive oil and the green of the fennel. Season with salt and pepper, add the fried onions and garlic and cover with parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and crisp.

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

 

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

 

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

Thai Soup and Beef

Thai Soup

The past couple of days have brought a lot of snow, turning the world outside into a winter wonderland. Everything is covered by a soft white blanket, which is true magic to me! It looks different, sounds different and it even smells different. Two days ago I had time for a short walk so I went down the road to a tiny park that looks a bit like a secret garden. It’s my city hideaway as it seems to leave the noise and bustle outside as soon as you enter the iron gates. The trees and bushes were covered in snow and I had my camera with me, luckily, so I could take some of these wonderful impressions home with me and share them with you.

After walking for a while I started to feel cold and I got in the mood for a warm, spicy broth, a Thai soup. I have all sorts of broth in my freezer. Every few weeks I cook a few litres of  vegetable broth to use for soups and risottos, but I also have duck and pheasant broth in stock at the moment. When you have a strong broth you are already well on your way to a good soup. I warmed up the duck broth and added some lemongrass, ginger, fresh chili and coriander. I was really hungry, so I decided to throw in some pointed cabbage and some tiny meatballs mixed with the spices. The meatballs weren’t bigger than walnuts, after cooking in the soup for 5 minutes they were done, the cabbage needed even less. If you prefer the vegetarian version just leave out the meat, which is what I often do. Either way, this soup is a perfect treat for this cold season, you can be sure you will feel warm, strong and refreshed afterwards!

Thai Soup

Thai Soup with Meatballs

For 2 people as a main or for 4 people as a starter you need

broth 1500ml
pointed cabbage, sliced thinly, 250g / 9 ounces
ground beef 400g / 14 ounces
fresh ginger, thumb sized piece, 1/3 sliced thinly, 2/3 grated
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
coriander roots, ground in a mortar, 2-3
coriander leaves, a handful
fresh chili, sliced thinly, 1
lemongrass, peeled and cut into thin slices, 1
salt and black pepper

Mix the coriander roots, the grated ginger, the garlic and a generous amount of ground black pepper in a mortar and grind to a smooth paste. Mix the paste together with the beef, half of the coriander leaves (chopped) and a teaspoon of salt. Form little walnut sized balls with a teaspoon.

Season the broth with salt and pepper to taste, add the slices of ginger and lemongrass and bring to the boil. Cook the meatballs in the broth on medium heat for 4 minutes. Keep the lid closed. After 4 minutes, add the cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve in deep bowls topped with the chili slices and the rest of the coriander leaves.

Thai Soup

 

Thai Soup

 

Thai Soup

White Pizza with Spinach and Ricotta

White Pizza with Spinach

A few years ago curiosity got the better of me and I tried a “white pizza” at one of my favourite pizza restaurants. White pizza is made without tomatoes and I didn’t quite know what to expect. I had my virgin white pizza moment with a spinach and ricotta topping and all my reservations melted away after the first bite. Lighter and with more space for the single ingredients, the absence of tomato sauce didn’t lessen that feel good pizza pleasure.

I wrote about my Sunday pizza tradition a few weeks ago and yesterday was no exception. It has been ages since my last white pizza and, as it’s been on my mind for a while, I bought some crisp winter spinach and ricotta. To finish it off I added some olive oil infused with garlic and some crushed black pepper. The dough was light and crisp, it soaked some oil, but not too much, a bit like a Focaccia. The spinach was crisp and had some bite as in winter it’s a bit thicker while the ricotta brought a touch of velvety smoothness.

White Pizza with Spinach

White Pizza with Winter Spinach, Ricotta and Olive Oil

I start to prepare the dough 2 hours before I bake it to give it enough time to rise.

For 1 big pizza (size of 1 baking sheet) you need

For the topping

fresh spinach, rinsed, 250g / 9 ounces
fresh ricotta 250g / 9 ounces
oilve oil 4-6 tablespoons
garlic, cut in half, 1 clove
salt and crushed black pepper

Warm up the olive oil together with the garlic for 2-3 minutes.

For the dough

plain flour 350g / 12.5 ounces plus more for mixing
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
water, lukewarm,  190ml
olive oil 3 tablespoons
salt 1 teaspoon

Combine the flour with the yeast and salt, add the olive oil and the lukewarm water, slowly, not all at once (you might not need all of it). Mix with your dough hooks for a few minutes. The dough shouldn’t be moist and sticky at all, more on the dry side. Continue kneading and punching with your hands until you have an elastic dough ball, not too hard, not sticky. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in the warm oven (35°C / 95°F) for 40 minutes. This works really well but make sure that your oven is set to top/ bottom heat and not to fan.

When the dough is well risen, roll it out on a very well floured (this is very important!) working surface. It should be a bit smaller than the size of your baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for another 10-15 minutes.

The pizza

Set your oven to 260°C / 500°F. My oven has a special pizza setting but you can use top / bottom heat as well. Put the baking sheet on the bottom of your oven to heat it.

Take the hot baking sheet out of the oven, flip it over and place it carefully on two stable wooden boards or mats as it will be very hot. Place your risen dough carefully but quickly (best done by two people) on the baking sheet, push it gently into place if necessary. Sprinkle the olive oil and the ricotta in lumps on top. Put the baking sheet back into the oven, on the bottom again, and bake for a few minutes until the pizza is golden. Take it out and spread the spinach on top immediately. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle some more olive oil on top if you like and enjoy!

White Pizza with Spinach