Onion soup

Onions

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We're into soup these days. Broccoli soup, minestrone, barley soup ... Today it was onion soup. One day after the Bernese "Zibele Märit" it seemed like the right thing to cook.

1 kg organic onions
1 Tbs butter
6 gloves garlic
1 laurel leaf
a bunch of fresh thyme twigs
1.5 l vegetable stock
baguette bread
100 gr good sbrinz cheese grated

Melt the butter together with some olive oil, add the thinly sliced onions and garlic, the laurel and the thyme leafs and fry covered over medium heat. Stir from time to time. Fry for 15 minutes. Turn up the heat and let them become golden. This gives them a sweet and intense flavour. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper.
Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.
Put the soup into a oven proof dish. Roughly break the bread and put it "on the soup" , drizzle some olive oil over the bread and ad the cheese. Put into the preheated oven until the cheese has melted and starts to become brownish.

We accompanied the soup with salad and a great selection of british cheese. Lincolnshire Poacher from the Isle of Mull, and Montgomery’s Cheddar.

More on the Zibele Märit?:

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Onion tart with mustard and fennel
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Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

Still in a baking mood and at home with a heavy cold. I decided to try something I have never done before, a Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake. Inspired by a post on smittenkitchen. I like cheese cake but have not done one for ages. But chocolate cheesecake? Incited by debs declaration  "And I know, I know, everyone’s got a chocolate cheesecake recipe that they or their cousin-in-law swears by, but I’m going have to, yet again, brashly step forward and pronounce this one better than all of them." I went into the kitchen, not to convinced because the americans always use cream cheese (philadelphia this is) Here in europe we use curd=quark and that sort of cake is called curd cake = Quarktorte. The mix of philadelphia cream cheese and chocolate seemed repulsive to me. But the thought of a Chocolate Caramel cake sounded so delicious that I had to try anyway.

I probably haven't ever had that much fun making a cake. First the caramelizing of the sugar and then throwing in the cold cream and everything bubbling very angrily and getting stiff again :-) was nice.
Into this very hot mixture you just drop the chocolate which melts right away. And then you ad the white sour cream ...
A recipe full of relish !


The 6 hours the cake had to rest were quite a torture. I was so curious, could one really eat this cake? Not that I doubt deb's judgement but ...
After six hours I carefully cut a tiny slice and tried -  well let me tell you the cake is fantastic! And if I "the queen of chocolate cakes" ( There are men who want to marry just because of my chocolate cake) says this it has to be true. As deb says: "Be warned, however: this is not a cake you get away with only making once."

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake
from smittenkitchen.com

Serves 8 to 10
1 crumb crust (recipe below)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped

1/2 cup sour cream
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla


Make crumb crust as directed in separate recipe, using chocolate wafer cookies instead of graham crackers.
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook sugar in a dry heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork, until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Remove from heat and carefully add heavy cream (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden).
Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Stir in sour cream.
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy, then beat in chocolate mixture on low speed. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 55 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.
Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on a rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Cheesecake keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.

Crumb Crust
I actually double crumb crusts; I can never get enough cookie.
Makes enough for a 24 centimeter cheesecake.
1 1/2 cups (5 ounces) finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 24-centimeter springform pan. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.

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Sablés au chocolat at à la fleur de sel

Chocolatesable

As you could see we had a busy weekend in the kitchen. Still in the fridge was the sablé dough, waiting to go to the oven.
The recipe comes from fanny from foodbeam, my new discovery. I love her blog, a feast to read and to look at.
I made the cookies together with my boy. We made the green tea and the chocolate at the same time. He knew immediately which ones he liked better... Already the dough is irresistible, instead of the 32 cookies we should have ended up with we had 22 rather small ones. From which only 15 survived the next hour - that's how good they are!

Here's the recipe which originally comes from Pierre Hérme from Paris

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Quince jam with vanilla

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Even though the weather is still like summer ( 20 ° Wednesday evening ) , there's no doubt that autumn is here. Our neighbours did harvest all the quinces from the tree between our gardens. There's always plenty of recipes I would love to try with quinces I usually just do jam. And that's exactly what I did yesterday evening.

It was one of these superwoman days that unfortunately are very rare. After bringing our boy to the nursery, working 8 hours and doing the shopping for the weekend I went home and cooked dinner for our boy. Since he basically only likes pasta, chocolate, corn-flakes and raw vegetables we often cook separately for him. Fusili, spinach and artichokes. He did eat it!
We had linguine with figs and chilli and artichokes after he went to bed. After dinner I baked bread and still had the energy to make the quince jam! I wish I always had that amount of energy.
After last year's disappointment with mould on the jam after 2 month I decided to use way more sugar.
It turned out very nice but strangely the jam is yellow and not orange as usually.

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Here my recipe:
Peel 1 kg ripe quinces remove the core and cut into quarters. Cook with 3 dl water and 800gr sugar in a shallow pan for approximately 30 minutes.
Puree put back into the pan and slowly bring to boil. Ad 2dl apple-juice a dash of lemon and 2 teaspoon of the best bourbon vanilla.
Immediately fill into hot glasses.

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Sardines with wild fennel

sardines
fild fennel marinadehttp://www.coeurdesel.com/files/r0026582-tm.jpg

In a bowl put green olives, fresh wild fennel seeds, Noilly Prat, olive oil, black pepper, a pinch of sea salt, some nutmeg. Rest for an hour.

Grill sardines with garlic inside, salt, black pepper, olive oil on the outside.

Chop one or two shallots, heat olive oil in a pan, throw in the shallots, quench with the fennel / Noilly Prat / olive mixture - simmer for five minutes on low heat.

Serve the sardines straight from the grill adding the fennel "sauce" straight from the pan as quick as possible - best directly at the table.

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Serving suggestion: with grilled vegetables.

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Easy fish soup

We finally arrived in sardinia for a 3 week holiday. The first few days we did nothing except lazy beach life and quick pasta dinners and the  occasional fish from the grill.
Grill-fish means lots of bones and leftovers. Time for fish stock.
When I got up in the morning,  the house was filled with the smell of simmering stock.

Fish stock:
Throw the left overs from yesterdays fish ( we had spigole ) in a big pan add lot's of water, celery stalks, parsley, laurel, carrots, chill, fennel seeds and onions. Season with pepper and cook for several hours.
Make lot's you can freeze it and use it an other day.

For the soup just ad fennel, onions and celery stalks and season with  salt and pepper. Bring to boil and cook for several minutes, ad fish, mussels and scampis cook till everything is ready.


We served the soup with grilled bread, rouille and aioli.

Rouille:
I did not remember how one makes a proper rouille so I just  pounced  2 chilies, some withe bread that I soaked in milk and some olive oil the mortar. I did not ad garlic. Not that I don't like it but there is plenty of garlic in the aioli and that's enough for me.

The aioli:

Aioli is basically a fresh mayonnaise with lots of garlic in it. What I do is instead of raw garlic I use braised one.
I cook a whole garlic head in a little white wine and vegetable stock in the oven for about 1 hour. For this I use a small oven tray and cover it with aluminum foil.

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Kulcha

A few streets from where we live is a lovely indian restaurant called Mahamaya we go there as often as our budget allows.  Which, at the moment is hardly ever. It's one of our favorite places for several reasons: It's a cosy place, they serve cobra beer ( kevins main reason to go there ;-) lovely indian food and they make a flat bread called kulcha which is my main reason to go there. Kulcha is supposed to be an punjabi speciality and it's just one of the best things I have ever eaten.

For several weeks now I tried to make my own kulcha. I started with googling kulcha and found several recipes, which to me did not sound like my kulcha at all, mainly because they don't use cilantro which to me is the main ingredient in the mahamaya kulcha.

It's my new grill party classic, people love it and keep asking for the recipe so here it comes - kulcha my way:

I usually buy readymade pizza dough but of course you can make fresh pizza dough. I guess thats makes even nicer.

tofuonions

Makes roughly 8 Kulcha

1 kg Pizza dough
1 big onion
100 gr silken tofu you could probably also use yoghurt or better paneer
a handful pine nuts
1 tbs good indian curry powder
a bunch of cilantro roughly chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper

Slice the onion, cook in a frying pan, slowly till golden and sweet. Ad the pine nuts and the curry power. Stir for a bit. Ad the tofu salt and pepper and continue stirring for a few more minutes. Take off the heat ad the and ad the cilantro.

Roll out the pizza bread and fill with 1- 2 tbs of the filling. Rub with some olive oil and put on the grill. It only needs a few minutes on each side, depending on how thin you rolled the dough. Don't walk away the get burned very quickly.
They are best grilled on the fire but you can also make them in the oven.

Oh and by the way, even people who say they don't like cilantro love this brad.

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Peanut sauce

et voila

At the moment we rush from work to the nursery then home to play horse-race or pirates. In between we have to do the shopping for dinner. So I'm really very uninspired when it comes to cooking. I'm not good with quick suppers. I lack ideas and maybe a adequate cookbook. It's really a shame because it's summer and one can get all these lovely vegetables and fruit. A quick supper I often do when I'm  fed up with pasta is fresh vietnamese spring rolls.

I was on a business trip to amsterdam last week and had some really nice peanut-sauce in a Indonesian restaurant.
I always serve Nuoc cham dipping sauce with the spring rolls but peanut sauce would go well with the fresh spring rolls too.
I don't really have a recipe so I called julien to give me some ideas what to put in.

shallot

lime

I fried some shallot and garlic added the peanut sauce, some cocos milk and the juice of a lime
and seasoned it with Hoisin sauce, sambal olek and Ketchup to give it sweetness.

sauces

It turned out nice, not as good as the one in amsterdam though. So I if someone has a tip please let me know.
But it was really nice with the nuoc cham and the spring rolls.

the table is laid

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Strozzapreti with crab and lemon sauce

strozzapreti

Yesterday we had cha ca and fresh spring rolls for dinner, so there was some crab meat left.
Something had to be done with it today...
Here a pasta with dish I really like and which is very simple.

Of course you can  do it with every pasta type but I really like the curly types. We brought Strozzapreti  home from Sardinia, they are a good choice for this dish.

Cook the Strozzapreti in lot's of salt water. Meanwhile slightly  fry some garlic in olive oil, I used fresh one from the garden, add chili flakes salt and pepper. Add the zest of one lemon. And the crabmeat and 1dl of the pasta water.

When the pasta are done mix with the crab sauce and ad 5 tbsp of double cream.

Decorate with some lemon basil if you can finde.

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Risotto with fresh peas

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300 gr fresh peas
1 spring onions
a hand full of mint leaves
good quality risotto rice (I prefer carnaroli type)
2 gloves of garlic
Butter
vegetable stock
a hand full of basil leaves
1 dl noilly prat vermouth
50 gr parmesan
lemon zest
maldon salt

Cook the peas with a hand full of mint leaves and  one whole garlic in salt water till al dente.
Drain peas, mint and garlic and keep aside 1,5 l of the water. Set aside.

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Fry the spring onion, the chopped garlic and the rice in a big lump of butter. Add a bit of the vegetable stock and stir. Continue stirring always adding vegetable stock when needed.

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When almost al dente add 2/3 of the peas.
Mix the remaining peas, the  mint, garlic and the pea liquid in a food processor.

Continue stirring, add 1 dl vermouth, the mixed peas.
When al dente ad the chopped basil leaves, 50 gr grated parmesan and an other lump of butter. Stir to incorporate the flavours. Season with black pepper, lemon zest and  maldon sea salt.

This recipe is inspired by the great "Rivercafe cook book Green"

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