Tag: onions

Roast Potato, Onion and Pear Wedges with Grapes and Rosemary

Roasted Potato, Onion and Pear Wedges with Grapes and Rosemary

The smell of autumn is finally back in the city! The strong aroma of moist soil lies heavily in the air as I pass another one of Berlin’s countless parks. The leaves are still green and dense, but I can see the little gold and brown patches poking through here and there.  The soft hint of a chill blowing through our open bedroom window early in the morning leaves no doubt – summer has come to an end.

At dinner time, it’s already so dark that we decided to move back to our long wooden table on the other side of our flat. As long as it’s warm and bright outside we love to eat at our small kitchen table, with windows thrown open to see the clear blue sky turn pitch black but now that September is welcoming the new season I gladly indulge in the heartier treats of the year served on rustic wood.

We enjoyed a pickled knuckle of pork (the famous German Eisbein) the other day, cooked in broth with a bottle of fruity Federweisser (young German wine) to go with it. It was a cozy feast that put us into the right mood for dishes such as beer roast, Alsatian Zwiebelkuchen (onion and bacon pie) and sweet cinnamon plum dumplings. You only need the right food to enjoy each season to the fullest. Inspired by my Moscato grape chicken legs, I came up with a dish of oven roasted potato, onion and pear wedges coated in lemon maple syrup oil, topped with juicy grapes and rosemary. Although I pre-cooked the potatoes, they still needed almost an hour in the oven to turn into golden bites; but I did’t mind, the smell of the roasting herb and fruit was beautiful, almost as good as the taste of our sweet and juicy dinner.

Roasted Potato, Onion and Pear Wedges with Grapes and Rosemary

 

Roasted Potato, Onion and Pear Wedges with Grapes and Rosemary

Roasted Potatoes, Onions and Pear with Grapes and Rosemary

For 2-3 for lunch or 4 as a side dish

medium sized, waxy potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 6 wedges each, 750g / 26 1/2 ounces
medium sized onions, cut into 10 wedges each, 2
large, firm pear, cored and cut into 8 wedges, 1
green grapes, on the vine, 350g / 12 ounces
fresh rosemary, a small handful
olive oil 3 tablespoons
white wine 1 tablespoon
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
maple syrup 1 tablespoon
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
flaky sea salt

Cook the potato wedges for 8 minutes in salted, boiling water. Drain and rinse them with cold water and let them dry on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes (a few hours would be even better).

Set the oven to 220°C / 430°F (top / bottom heat).

Spread the potatoes, onions, pear, grapes and rosemary (leave out a few needles) in a baking dish. Whisk the olive oil, wine, lemon juice, maple syrup and pepper and pour over the potatoes and fruits, mix with your fingers until they are evenly coated. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and cook in the oven for about 55 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with fresh rosemary needles and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Potato, Onion and Pear Wedges with Grapes and Rosemary

 

Roasted Potato, Onion and Pear Wedges with Grapes and Rosemary

 

Roasted Potato, Onion and Pear Wedges with Grapes and Rosemary

 

Roasted Potato, Onion and Pear Wedges with Grapes and Rosemary

 

Roasted Potato, Onion and Pear Wedges with Grapes and Rosemary

Spaghetti Carbonara with Onions and Prosciutto

Spaghetti Carbonara

There was a time when I had this meal at least once a week. It was a special winter that I spent in the North of England, in North Yorkshire directly on the coast. The sea was rough, the air was damp and salty, and it was cold, the kind of wet cold that creeps into your bones. My diet concentrated on fish and chips (every year, this place is voted for the best fish in England), pies and simple dinners I could cook in our tiny kitchen. Spaghetti Carbonara was one of them. Fried Prosciutto, onions and eggs and you can brave any weather.

I use my Tyrolean Prosciutto from San Cassiano – luckily there’s still some left. I tried many others for this recipe but I still think this one is the best. In the past I used to make it with crispy bacon but the spices of the Prosciutto add something really nice to the creamy egg and onions. I cut it into strips, like the onions, and fry everything before I mix it with the pasta, eggs, cream and Parmesan. And crushed black pepper, of course!

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

For 2 people you need

spaghetti 200g / 7 ounces
Tyrolean Prosciutto, cut into strips, 5 slices
medium sized onion, cut in half and into thin slices, 1 -2
egg yolks 3
cream 80ml
salt and crushed black pepper
olive oil for frying
Parmesan, freshly grated

In a large pan, fry the onions in some oil until golden and soft. Add the Prosciutto and fry for a couple minutes as well. Mix the egg yolks together with the cream, salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta al dente and immediately put it into the warm pan (off the heat) on the fried onions and Prosciutto. Pour the egg and cream mixture on top, mixing well. Sprinkle with lots of crushed black pepper and Parmesan, and enjoy a glass of red wine with it – that’s what I do!

Cheese Spaetzle, a Swabian Feast

Cheese Spaetzle

This meal is a feast, one of my all time favourite foods! It’s luscious, rich and simply stunning. I am talking about Cheese Spätzle – originally from Swabia in the South of Germany. Spätzle are little noodles made of flour, durum wheat semolina and egg. They are thick, with bite. You press the Spätzle dough through a potato ricer into boiling water and then you layer the cooked Spätzle noodles with lots of good mountain cheese and fried onions –  just addictive! Whenever our family comes together for a few days Spätzle is one of our dinners.

I make Spätzle with a ricer. Originally they are “cut” into pieces by placing the thick dough on a little chopping board, letting it run into boiling water and cutting pieces off. I must admit that I never tried this. I prefer to stick to my ricer.

Yesterday I had a big dinner for ten at mine and Cheese Spätzle were my first choice. They are so easy to prepare, hearty and perfect for the cold season and – to me – there is nothing more beautiful than placing a big bowl of food in the middle of my long wooden table. It was a true feast, savoured by us all!

Cheese Spaetzle

 Cheese Spätzle

You need a potato ricer with large holes or a special Spätzle ricer.

I served the Cheese Spätzle with a wintery salad with beetroot on the side. As there were 10 of us yesterday I made the Spätzle dough with 27 eggs! Usually I calculate 5 eggs for 2 people.

For 2 people you need

plain flour (I use spelt flout type 630) 130g / 4.5 ounces plus more for mixing
durum wheat semolina 180g / 6.5 ounces plus more for mixing
organic eggs 5
salt 1 teaspoon

onions, medium sized, cut in thin slices, 5
olive oil for frying

strong cheese (like Appenzeller or Raclette), grated, 200g / 7 ounces

salt and pepper

Put the flour, semolina and the salt in a big bowl, add  the eggs and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is combined. Whip the dough at bit harder until bubbles appear on its surface. Add more semolina if necessary until you have a thick, viscous dough which drips slowly off your spoon. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to the boil.

Place an ovenproof dish (big enough for all the Spätzle) in the the oven and set to 100°C / 210°F.

Fry the onions in some oil on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until soft and golden brown. Grate the cheese.

Fill your Spätzle or potato ricer with some of the Spätzle dough, press into the boiling water and cut off the dripping ends with a long knife. Let the Spätzle cook for 30 seconds, drain and place them in the warm dish from your oven. Season carefully with salt and pepper as you must season every Spätzle layer. Sprinkle the top with some of the grated cheese and fried onions. You have to divide the onions and the cheese depending on how many batches of Spätzle you make. Place the bowl with the Spätzle in the warm oven again and continue with the next batch, always seasoning each layer and topping with cheese and onions.

Place the bowl with your Cheese Spätzle on the table – you can offer some freshly crushed pepper and more salt with it.

Enjoy your Spätzle feast!

A small but important note: Clean the cooking ware that was in touch with the Spätzle dough only with cold water. Don’t use warm water as it will make the bits of dough as hard as concrete.

Cheese Spaetzle