Sunday, December 26, 2010

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas...

Have you ever heard this line in that stupid christmas song "Do they know it's christmas time at all?"??? Have you ever been to Africa? I have and even before I had been the only thing that came to my mind when I heard this song was 'Well thank God there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas... climate change is already doing enough damage on the continent and snow would really be the last thing people need...'. Anyway, enough of my christmas wisdom! Schlachtplatten wishes you a merry Christmas!

I am sure you are all enjoying your favorite Christmas dinner this weekend so I spare you a recipe and instead show you some christmas impressions! We are having a white, relaxed, food and laughter filled christmas and are enjoying a few days off and you should be doing the same!

We have enough christmas tree ornaments to decorate 20 trees with, but for the last three years, we decided to go with a tree decorated with birds only. Along with that came a Maneki Neko standing underneath the tree trying to catch the birds.... if that ain't a modern interpretation of a nativity scene then I don't know what is...

copyrigth of all photos j.

Scientists have recently solved the problem of getting as many cookies out of a sheet of dough. Read all about it here (in German).  Little did they know that our grandmothers had already developped the perfect multi-cookie-cutter! This must be one of my all time favorite kithcen utensiles!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cherry oat muffins

Are you already sick an tired of Christmas flavors? Do you wish cinnamon, cardamom, anise and clove would go to hell? Or at least move to the far end of the kitchen cabinets until next October when the supermarkets will start to fill their aisles with Christmas products again? Well, I am almost at this point, and it's not even Christmas yet! For all you out there who are almost at that point today's muffins will be the right thing.They conain a hint of cinnamon which makes them qualify for Christmas-baking, yet they are not too overtly sweet and the oat flakes give them a healthy appearance.

  copyrigth of all photos j.

Cherry oat muffins

75 gr of butter
175 gr of morello cherries (drained)
125 gr of flour
30 gr of oat flakes
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of natron
1 egg
a pinch of salt
50 gr os sugar
1 package of vanilla sugar
100 gr of unsweetened yoghurt

Melt the butter and let it cool off again. Preheat the oven at 180 °C. In bowl number one, mix the oat flakes, the flour, the baking powder, the natron, the salt and the cinnamon. In a second bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, the vanilla sugar, then add the butter and the yoghurt. Pour the mixture from bowl two into bowl number one and mix only for a short time. Add the drained morello cherries and fill the dough into muffin molds. I used canelé-mold because I thought they looked cute. Bake for about 25 minutes until the muffins are golden brown. Let the muffins rest in the molds for another 5 minutes, then let them cool off on a rack.
The muffins taste great after a long walk through the winterwonderland, I recommend a cup of hot chocolate to go with it.Yields about 6 muffins, or 8 canelé-shaped muffins!

I found this recipe already some time ago on her blog.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Same same but different

I guess when all you have seen for ten days in a row is snow, it makes sense to post a recipe for white food. Sort of blends in with the onset of winter which we have lately braved here in Berlin. I found this recipe for a blanquette de la mer on her blog already some time ago and it reminded me very much of my childhood: every time we would go to a gault-millau-rated-higher-than-16 restaurant I would order a dish with fish, a creamy sauce based on white wine, and some rice. That was before I was old enough to enjoy a 5 course dinner, of course.  I don't recall being a picky eater, but apparently, there was one occation where I insisted on having french fries at a very high-end restaurant in France. According to my liking, the garcon started to call me "the belgian girl". Whether I got the french fries or not, I can't remember, but I am pretty suere that my parents ordered something else for me instead.

The blanquette tasted really nice, hot and steamy as it was. I still think the acidic flavor of the white wine goes excellent with the fish! It was same same but different though, since I made some changes to the original recipe. For instance, I did not use shrimp. I also made some more vanilla carrots to make sure that some little vitamine would find its way into the dish as well. 

 copyrigth of all photos j.

 Blanquette de la mer

400 gr of monkfish
300 gr of salmon
200 ml of vegetable stock
100 ml of dry white wine
1 egg yolke
120 gr of crème fraîche
1 small onion
1 dry bay leaf

Cut the onion into tiny dices, braise them lightly in a casserole. Cut the fish into dices, say between 1,5 and 2 cm. Add the diced fish into the casserole and braise for a moment, then add the vegetable stock,  the bay leaf and the white wine. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. Now, mix the crème fraîche with the egg yolk and bind the sauce. Do not bring the sauce to a full boil after you have added the egg, or it will curdle. 
This is a quick and easy dinner that leaves enough time to prepare rice and some vegetables on the side!
Makes between 2-3 servings, depending on how hungry you are!

This recipe was insipred by her recipe in German.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nut triangles

It's snowing! Like crazy! It's almost christmas! I really love this time of the year! Sitting inside with a hot cup of tea, trying to count the millions of snow flakes that  rush past my window, and the christmas candy in the oven is spreading a promising scent...
Nut triangles are a classic German christmas candy, but are also sold and eaten throughout the rest of the year as well. I made some last weekend and brought them along to a nice creative afternoon spent in the outskirts of Berlin in the sewing studio of Kaffiknopf - a very talented friend of mine: check out her homepage if you still need chistmas gifts for children or coffee-cozy lovers or knitting-addicts because she sells all kinds of cute handmade prodcuts she makes in her studio which always seems flooded with light.
In exchange for some nut triangles, she let me use her sewing machine and never tired of my stupid questions on how to continue my little sewing project!

copyright of all photos j.

Nut triangles

For the crust:

110 gr of spelt flour
25 gr of sugar
1 tsp. of vanilla sugar
1/2 egg (or one really tiny one)
50 gr of butter

For the topping:

2-4 tbsp of apricot jam or hjortron (cloudberry)

100 gr of butter
115 gr of sugar
1 tbsp. of heavy cream
100 gr of finely ground hazelnuts
50 gr of coarsly ground or chopped hazelnuts

50 gr of dark chocolate

For the crust, cut the cold butter into small cubes, add the flour, the sugar, the vanilla sugar and the egg and mix. Let  the dough rest in the fridge for about an hour. Preheat the oven at 180 ° C and spread the dough about 1 cm think into a square baking pan. This was sort of messy with my dough, but the cookies still tasted fine in the end, so don't start to worry, if the dough has a mind of its own. Prebake the dough for about 10 minutes. While the dough is in the oven, prepare the topping. Melt the butter with the sugar and the heavy cream in a casserole, turning it into lightly browned caramel. Add all the nuts. Take the dough out of the oven and spread the apricot or cloudberry jam on the crust. Then, take the nut caramel and spread it out  on top of the jam layer evenly. Put the baking pan back into the oven and bake for another 15 minutes until the topping has a nice brown color. 
Once out of the oven, let the big square cool off for a while, but not until it has entirely cooled off. To cut the big square into neat small triangles, it is necessary for the topping to still be luke warm. After you have cut the big square into the triangles, let these cool off before you melt the chocolate. Now, dip two corners of the nut triangles in chocolate.
It's time to enjoy the triangles. They are really dense, though, so it is good to know that they keep fresh and tasty in a can for 2-4 weeks!

This recipe was inspired by her recipe for Nussecken in German.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Grapefruit Sorbet

Business as usual this week, it's Sunday, and a new blog entry is up! 
Do you like tart things? I do! My favorite fruit is grapefruit. I eat a grapefruit every morning. EVERY morning. And I do not add any sugar. I like my breakfast to be fruity and tart. It' s a good way to wake up. But I do not only eat grapefruits for breakfast. Actually, my favorite dessert contains grapefruit (recipe comming up sometime in the near future!). And this summer, I came across the best ice cream ever. Of course, it was grapefruit sorbet. After having passed my last university exam, I rewarded myself with a visit to Vanille & Marille, an ice cream parlor I had heard many good things about. And, yes, me too, I fell in love with their products at first taste. I remember  that after I had the first spoonfull of grapefruit sorbet, my vocabulary was reduced to yummmmm, yummmmm, yummmm!
Grapefruit sorbet is the most refreshing ice cream and full of vital vitamines (at least I think so). I tried to make my own, and was pretty satisfied with the result, although its texture obviously was not as smooth as Vanille&Marille's sorbet. I did not use an ice cream machine, so if you do, let me know about the result!

Copyrigth of all photos j.

 Grapefruit sorbet

4 grapefruits
2 egg whites
some sugar

Squeeze the juice of 4 grapefruits, add some sugar by the teaspoon if you want to and depending on how sweet the juice is. Heat the juice if you added sugar in order for the sugar to melt. Let the juice cool off.  Beat the eggwhites and mix with the cool juice. Place the mixture into a flat container which you put into the freezer. Now, go read a book. Once every hour, you should pay your sorbet-to-be a visit. Take a fork and scratch the layer of ice which is slowly building up along the edges. The more often you scratch and mix, the smoother your texture will be, though do not expect your sorbet to be really smooth. You would need an ice cream machine for that.

Even though it is as cold as ice in Berlin these days, I wanted to share this recipe with you now, because I am sure that it will make a nice and light dessert which will be very much appreciated as part of a Christmas menu.
You think ice cream is unhealthy and contains too many calories? Check out brilliant Christoph Niemann's scientific solution (well, almost) to this problem!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Culinary hide-and-seek: Thyme Supperclub

What? It’s not Sunday today? Not even if I lie and claim to be on the other side of earth in a different time-zone? Darn! Sorry about the delay of this week’s post, especially since I know some of you have already started to worry I might be sick! Actually, a surprise-trip to Gothenburg is the reason for this delay – sorry folks, I promise to do better in the future! To make amends, I am offering a detailed, mouthwatering and passionate review of the wonderful evening I spend at thyme supperclub in Berlin on 12th of November!

Fisk und Gröönsaken was the first supper club I visited back in October, and like I said before, I was so amazed by the performance of the hosts and chefs that I immediately fell in love with the whole concept of supper clubs. So I went ahead and signed up for an evening at thyme supperclub, whose hosts were two of the guests that night at Fisk and Gröönsaken.
The secretiveness makes every supper club experience unique and so I was still a little bit excited this time as well, although I already knew what to expect. I was pretty sure that once again, it would be anything but a boring night.

The evening started off perfectly, since host Tobias gave me a last minute call, telling me that my sister, who happened to be in Berlin that weekend, could join me - a last minute cancellation made it possible for her to jump in!
We arrived at Tobias’ and Caroline’s beautiful turn of the century apartment (which they renovated all by themselves!) some time before eight and were warmly welcome by Tobias, who gave as the tour of their humble abode. We started the evening with a glass of prosecco mixed with cassis and some finger food (empanadas and parmesan crackers, just what you need in order not to get drunk right away from drinking prosecco empty-bellied) together with all the other dinner guests who arrived one after the other in the salon.
The food bloggers were busy taking pictures of the beautifully set table, and before we knew it, we had all settled around the table. There were a total of 18 guests, and we were all seated at one large table. I had the honor to sit next to the foodie in Berlin, a food blogger whom I had already met virtually! It’s a small world after all, and here, we meet, in the real world, and – foodie is as foodie does - at a supper club of course!

The amuse gueule served was a pasta whirl, filled with salmon and served with a saffron sauce! It looked delicious and also tasted great! A nice surprise to start the dinner with!
Thyme supperclub does not announce the menu they will serve beforehand, so I was glad to see that Schlachtplatte was not on the menu… I really liked the concept though because it makes you try new things which you probably wouldn’t have ordered from a restaurant’s menu.

Next was a leek soup with scallops (sorry, no photo - I simply forgot to take one), and again, Caroline, the petite host, did a great job in the kitchen! Served with all the courses was wine which was informatively described on the menu distributed to every guest. At thyme supperclub, the hosts do not keep track of the amounts of glasses you pour yourself, and trust you to keep a tally with the pens provided. They also invite their guests to live out their artistic streak so by the end of the evening, the table cloth looks like this.

A bouquet of green salad topped with slices of duck and pomegranate seeds followed the soup. I was especially ecstatic about the dressing which had just the right balance between sour, fruity yet mild, with a pinch of sesame oil and I will definitely peek into the recipe collection on the thyme supperclub blog in order to recreate this dressing.

The main course was a perfectly pink lamb roast on a bed of potato and artichoke purée. A lukewarm salad of cherry tomatoes was served with it and the combination of flavors really did it for me!

Right before dessert, we were offered a glass of Slyrs Malt Whiskey Liqueur, with a taste of honey and vanilla. Though I am not really a whiskey lover, I liked this sweet liqueur a lot. The dessert in turn was an homage to autumn-flavors, with an oven baked pear, walnuts and an orange cream to go with it. I am really into desserts that taste great without being outrageously sweet, so this was totally of my likening!

The cherry on top of the ice cream however was the salt caramel which was served with the complimentary cup of tea (for me) or espresso (for most of the guests). It was a wild food-fantasy that had become real! Perfect caramel bites topped with fleur de sel - could you ask for more? In fact, the salt caramel was so good, it was difficult for the also very tasty chocolate truffles to attract my attention. I especially liked the fact that in addition to the small selection of these petit fours which every guest received on a small plate, a large extra serving was brought out of the kitchen for those who wanted to have more salt caramel or chocolate truffles!

 copyright of all photos j. 
So, now that you were able to experience an evening at thyme supperclub through reading my review, all that is left to say is: go there! You will be met by passionate food-crazy hosts who will go out of their way to make to feel comfortable, you will taste some great dishes, and you will meet interesting, fun, witty other guests at the long family-style table with whom you will swap tips about the best places to eat, shop and drink in Berlin and simply have a great time!

You think I am biased? Go check out the foodie in Berlin’s review, but be warned, it is equally full of praises!