A double recommendation : Passioned green tea whiskey & Lady and Pups

My favourite Food blog of the 2014 was definitely ladyandpups.com and I strongly recommend you to keep an eye on it. It's funny, unusual, has great pictures and nice recipes.
"An angry food blog - home cooking with extreme prejudice" it's says on top of the page, sounds go too me.
I could do with a lot more food blogs that talk about kitchen disasters, headaches and midlife crises !

We had her  "Passioned green tea whiskey " on one of the last days of the year  - good stuff you should give it a go to.

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Festive kitchen experiments

New cookbooks , time and a good reason.
I decided to try some new things over the holidays . Nothing overly exciting came out of it but I learned a few new things and had good fun in the kitchen.

I cooked from the Relae cookbook : Pickled Mackerel with lemon skin puree and Cauliflower mash.
The mackerel was nice and and the preparation totally new to me , so was the lemon skin puree.
The Cauliflower mash was not our thing at all all ...

Also on the menu were the stuffed onions from Ottolenghis and sami tamimis Book "Jerusalem" they were nice but but consistency was way to soggy. I  will give them an other go with a different, firmer rice.

With the jewish menu choice I pleased the mother in law more than the husband ... the red bitter salad with oranges he hated which I should have known. Sweet stuff in salads is a no go with him.
But when it was time for the christmas pudding, ruhm and  soul 7" we were all happy.

Here some impressions:

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Churros con chocolate - dreams of summer and sea


I do have a new dessert crush, it's home made churros with bitter chocolate cream to dip in!

Maybe you laugh at me know and tell churros are really nothing special, that one can buy them at any fun fair and they are very oily. Well I know all this!  And exactly for that reason I fell in love with them again. They are childhood summer holidays memories and they just make me very happy. I remember the wagons selling churros on the street in spain. I remember churros after a day at the beach with still salty lips from the sea and I remember churros in the morning with milk coffee and a cigarette ( when I was a teenager ). Good memories they are!

Also in this recipe from the moro cook book they come with a fantastic  bitter chocolate dip and this is just a match made in heaven.

serves 6

You'll need for the churros:

  • 400 gr plain flour
  • a poinch of salt
  • 1 tsp soda bicarbonate
  • 500 ml boiling water maybe even more more
  • lots of sunflour oil for frying
  • caster sugar for dusting

You'll need for the churros:

  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 400 ml milk
  • 300 gr very dark chocolate, I recommend 70 %
  • 250 ml sweetend condensed milk
  • lots of sunflour oil for frying
  • 250 ml cream

For the batter sift flour, soda bicarbonate and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in the water and quickly mix with a wooden spoon so no lumps form.
Transfer to a saucepan and cook over low heat , stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes.
Spoon the mixture in a bowl and let it rest for an hour.

For the chocolate, infuse the cinnamon in the milk by simmering it for 15 minutes. Take of the heat and discard the cinnamon. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or whatever your favourite way to melt chocolate. When melted gently stir in the infused milk and the condensed milk till smooth.

Fill into 6 glasses or nice tumblers. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form and spoon on to of the chocolate. Chill for at least an hour.

Heat the oil in a large shallow pan over medium heat until hot. Put the dough in a piping bag with a medium sized nozzle. Press the dough into the hot oil . I recommend making coils which you later can cut into pieces. The oil should not be too hot otherwise they turn brown before beeing cooked thoroughly .
When nicely brown take them out an drain on kitchen paper before sprinkling with sugar.

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picture of my grandmother with her 4 daughters on a summer holiday in italy.

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Looking pretty but tasting very very bitter

We get more and more old vegetable varieties on the market.
A few weeks ago I bought these stunning baby aubergines. Not knowing what to do with them expect having them lying in avow and looking good I made a gratin with them. I probably should have tried them before going through all the effort ... they were so bitter that one could not eat the dish.

Any one knows how to cook these little fellows?

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Workdesk still


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Kitchen Still #12

New Aiko Watanabe Sake set and bowl we brought back from Japan and an artichoke in blossom.

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Vietnamese salmon "burgers"

Salmon Cakes

This is a recipe I wanted to share with you since a long time but somehow it was impossible to get a decent photo.
Well last week I tried again and beside a lovely dinner I also ended up with a decent picture.
These little cakes or burgers are my favourite food a t the moment, they are incredibly yummy and not a big effort.

The Nuoc Cham

Start with making the "nuoc cham " the traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce which should be on every Vietnamese table . This recipe is my absolute favourite, it gives you a very balanced  "nuoc cham" which I'd almost want to drink. I recommend making at least 3 times the amount. It can be kept in the fridge for a week.

You'll need:

  • 1 ts rice vinegar
  • 3 ts sugar
  • 1 birds-eye chilli, finely chopped without the seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves squashed
  • 1 tbs fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbs fish sauce

Mix the sugar , vinegar and water in a pan. Bring to boil and let cool down.
Add the garlic, chilli and lime juice. Then add fish sauce.

The Caramel Sauce - Thang Nuoc Dung

You'll need:

  • 250 gr palm sugar or other sugar

Melt the sugar on very low heat. When the sugar has dissolved turn up the heat.
While stirring the sugar constantly let it caramelise until it turns brown. As soon as it starts to smoke take it of the heat and add 180 ml hot water. Be careful the sugar is very hot and adding the water will be quite "explosive".
In case the sugar crystallises again, put it back on the stove an let simmer on low heat until it dissolves again.

The caramel keeps a long time in the fridge.

The Burgers

You'll need:

  • 500 gr organic or msc salmon
  • 50 gr shallots finely chopped
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs fishsauce
  • 1 tbs caramel sauce
  • 5 tbs finely chopped cilantro
  • freshly ground pepper
  • rice noodles or soba noodles

Roughly chop the salmon. Add the chopped shallots, sesame oil, the caramel sauce, the chopped cilantro and fresh ground pepper.

Make little balls and gently press them into burger shape.
Fry briefly in a hot pan. Don't over cook them they are nicer on the raw side.

While the burgers are in the pan, cook the noodles. I like soba noodles (these take a little longer than rice noodles so start cooking them before the fish goes into the pan) but if you prefer rice noodles that's fine too.

Serve with fresh fresh herbs (dill, cilantro, mint and thai basil). As with the Cha Ca La Vong, take a bit of everything and mix in the bowl.

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Broadbeans pasta


A simple and delicious pasta dinner.

You'll need:

  • 1 kg fresh or frozen broad beans
  • 3 handfull of rockte washed and roughly cut
  • Pasta of your choice
  • a bit of Butter
  • zest of a Lemon
  • a bit of dry white wine
  • salt ans pepper

Pod the broad beans and blanch them in boiling water. When they are done drain and let cool down.
Peel off the greyish skin. To do this cut the skin with a sharp knife and just pop the bright green beans out.
Peeling broad beans twice is really worth the effort, not only for the bright green colour but also they taste much nicer.

Boil the salt water for the pasta. For this recipe I like to take a big pasta type. Cook the pasta al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, blend the broad beans with a good lump of butter salt and pepper and if you like a bit of dry white wine.
Warm the broad beans puree in a saucepan, add some lemon zest.

When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the broad beans puree. Add the rocket. Mix everything, adjust the seasoning and serve on a hot plate.

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The family cook book

We have Exiting news: Coeur de Sel is featured in a new cookbook. The book is called "Das grosse Familien Kochbuch" by Julia Hofer (AT Verlag).

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I like the book's approach: modern families (with working parents) are busy and cooking a decent maybe even healthy meal every evening is difficult. The basic idea is you cook once and eat twice. It's packed with recipes that, with a twist, turn into something a little different the other day. Like making enough risotto one night so you can have risotto fritters (the best!) the next evening. It's also packed with kids kitchen experiments, like making your own nutella, or home made pasta and there are a lot of kids and food related interviews in it too.

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Regular readers of this blog know that I'm an almost full-time working mum and how to arrange career and family is is a hot topic for me.
So I was happy to contribute my favourite cake, the layered show off cake, to this book. You will also find an interview with me on how we live with our fussy eater.

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Italian Summer B'day Bash

September is the busiest month for us. All the work related travels, the upcoming family holidays and of course THE birthday party for our son.
We have thrown crazy kids parties, but this year we did not have to much time for preparations.
The weather was supposed to be good and we wanted to have a last summer party.
I think we came up with some very funny ideas that were actually not to much work.
Instead of several cakes I decided to make popsicles.  I wanted something that is fun for the kids, something they can eat plenty without going to wild on sugar and formost something I could prepare in advance.
Popsicles can be so easy, different sorts of sirup are already perfect! Mango lassie or chocolate drink from the supermarket work perfect too. Don't invest your time in the ingredients instead come up with fun ways to freeze and decorate them.
If, like me , you one have one popsicle mould you have to start a few weeks in advance, but it's really not much work and you can only take them out of the freezer on the day and voila!



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With the popsicles ready in the freezer I had time to come up with some other fun thing for the feast.
Food wise I think this was our most successful b'day party, the kids just loved it.

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Of course we had a cake too :-)

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