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Friday, April 30, 2010

Oven Baked Fish

My mother cooks fish sometimes like this one.  It's basically oven baked fish with some vegetables and some simple sauce or only some olive oil.  As I was cooking this, I also came across a similar recipe like this one in Jamie's Dinners.  It was originally made with Salmon, but I had only Pangasius fish in my fridge but it still turned out so good that I had to write it here.  I love Salmon more than any other fish here, but I thought I will try some other kind this time and that's why I ended up with the Pangasius fillets.  I also tried my new and not so thyme-like, lemon thyme herb from my freshly re-done herbs garden.  Only because it had a lemon-like smell, I thought it might go with fish.  You don't really need to put that if you don't have it, but some fresh dill or even dry dill will go perfectly with the fish.  If you need a light summer meal and you have some potatoes, some vegetables at home then try this one.  I thought it was a great dish, because it was all-in-one meal.  The carbs, veggies and fish baked at the same time without so much preparation beforehand.  I love practical dishes for our weekday lunches and I really try to find healthy and simple dishes as much as possible, although I'm not always so successful at that.  If you are a mother who has little time to cook, try this. Next time I'll be making this with Salmon. Yummy...

(Serves 4)
4 Pangasius fish fillets
800 g new potatoes - with skin but washed and scrubbed well
about 300-400 g of green beans - cleaned and the tops removed. 
about a cup of peas
2-3 spring onions - chopped
juice of half a lemon
half lemon - thinly sliced
some olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh dill
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon thyme
about 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary
salt and pepper

Start with boiling your potatoes in water for about 10 minutes and boil your beans for 5 minutes.  Leave them to cool a little while, while you prepare your fish.  Rub the fish with some salt, pepper and olive oil.  Preheat your oven to 200°C(392° F).  Half the potatoes if you want them to be a little bit crispy.  Put all of the potatoes, beans, peas and spring onions on the tray and season them with salt and pepper.  Add some olive oil and stir them so all the vegetables are seasoned.  Place the fish fillets in between the vegetables and sprinkle the dill and thyme on the fish fillets and rosemary on the vegetables.  Put a little more olive oil and add your lemon juice over everything then place your sliced lemons on the fish fillets. Bake it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the fish is cooked.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Swiss Sunday Bread from Spelt flour - Zopf

Sometimes I'm not really sure if there is more varieties of cheese in Switzerland or more varieties of bread.  Just like it is with all different kinds of cheese, every Swiss canton has its own traditional bread.  Zopf is a very traditional one and it's quite unique.  Zopf means braid as in the shape of this bread.  It has a very special buttery taste and it's mainly preferred for Swiss Sunday breakfasts.  I prefer this bread sometimes to the other breads, because it lasts longer and with all the butter, it stays softer.  I bought a bread machine about 5 years ago.  Yes, I have just said I live in the bread country, but sometimes it's nice to make fresh loaf at home.  It was the best kitchen appliance I have ever bought and it was certainly the most used kitchen appliance I have.  Especially in the last couple of years, as I've been finding it difficult sometimes to get out of the house with my two little children, I used my bread machine a lot more than I used to.  I've also started trying different shapes of breads, because we all know a loaf can be boring sometimes.  Then I use the machine only to prepare the dough.  For this bread I have also made the dough in the bread machine.  If you don't have one then basically follow the instructions for normal dough.   I used spelt flour for this version, which is not the traditional zopf bread, but it tastes great.  I made the same bread again couple of days later to use the left over flour, but sprinkled some sesame seeds over it to give it a slightly different taste.  I also took out the egg that is normally used in the traditional dough, because I believe this way the bread is softer and lasts a bit longer.  I only used one egg to brush the bread over with.

500 g spelt flour
270 ml milk - at room temperature (If you don't want to use milk, you can also use water to replace.)
50 g butter - at room temperature
15 mg of dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1 egg - beaten - to brush the dough
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

If you are using a machine, put the first 6 ingredients and start making the dough.  If you're kneading it by hand, make sure that your ingredients are not too cold.  Ideally they should be at room temperature, otherwise you'll have to wait longer for your dough to rise.  For hand kneading, mix all your ingredients well and knead a dough until it's all smooth.  Leave your dough covered with a clean kitchen towel in a warm place for about 1 to 1,5 hour until it's doubled in size. 
When it's ready, preheat your oven to 180° C(356° F) degrees and get ready to braid your bread.  Divide the dough into two pieces, where one piece is double size of the other one.  Then form one long and one short rolls from the dough.  Put the longer one on a baking sheet shaped like a "U" and put the short roll in the middle of that "U". (See picture)  This will give you three rolls where you can form your braid.  Your braid should look like the second picture in the end.  Once ready, brush it over with the beaten egg and sprinkle sesame seeds if you'd like.  Bake it in your preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes.  When it is done, leave it to cool at least for about 15-20 minutes before any attempt to slice it with a knife.  Spread some butter on your lovely freshly baked Zopf slice and enjoy your breakfast!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chocolate Rolls

I can't believe I never thought of this before.  It's the combination of chocolate and yufka, which is the Turkish phyllo pastry for making börek.  I love chocolate, as you can probably tell by now.  I always have some cooking chocolate in my kitchen somewhere, if I haven't eat them at some point.  The phyllo pastry is something, I could never find in the supermarkets here in Switzerland, until few years ago.  I used to buy them once in a while from a Turkish food shop or in some gourmet stores in Zurich.  In the last few years, they started showing up in the big supermarkets first and now I can find them almost in any food stores.  However, I still think like that I find gold when I see them, so I generally end up buying 3-4 packs and then put them in the freezer at home.  If I want to make a börek, I just take the pastry out of the freezer couple of hours before I have to prepare (until now I didn't attempt to make baklava as it seemed too complicated but I will for sure let you know about my experiences if I do).  This came up only because I took out two packs of pastry out of my freezer, but then decided two of them will be too much to make a börek so I made this.  It's the idea of the cigarette börek (a famous Turkish recipe), but instead of cheese, I put chocolate and some other things.  I wasn't sure what to call it.  Chocolate heaven, chocolate baklava, chocolate börek... chocolate rolls was the winner in the end. These things are super delicious.  Believe me, you won't regret it if you try them.

(Makes 25) 

8 Turkish (or Greek) phyllo pastry (Yufka) - The sizes of these pastries are generally different everywhere.  I used 20x30cm rectangular ones and cut them into triangle shapes (see photo below).  In some shops you can even find triangle shaped ones in packs. 
200 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
115 ml half fat cream (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons of coconut flakes
2 tablespoons of crushed almonds
1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar
50 g butter
1 tablespoon of milk
1 tablespoon of water

Put the cream in a sauce pan and bring it to boil over medium heat.  Take the cream off the heat once it's boiling.  Break your chocolate into little pieces and stir them into the hot cream to melt.  Add the coconut flakes, crushed almonds and vanilla sugar to the chocolate-cream mixture, then set it aside.  Melt the butter in a separate pan and add the milk and water in it after it's melted.  Prepare your pastries in triangles as in the picture above.  Once your pastry is ready, brush the melted butter mixture all over the pastry.  Put a tablespoon of the chocolate mixture on the long side of the pastry as pictured above and spread it a little bit.  First fold the ends from outside to the inside, so that the chocolate will not leak outside when you roll it.  After that, roll the pastry up.  Place the rolled pastry on a baking sheet and brush it over with the butter mixture.  This will give them a golden color once they are baked.  Repeat the same until you use all the pastry.  Bake them in a preheated oven at 180° C(356° F) for about 15 minutes.  Once they are done leave them to cool for a while.  I found them more delicious after they were really cooled down.  Enjoy your chocolate treat.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Potato salad

You may think "Why on earth she's putting a potato salad recipe?".  Mainly because this is by far the best potato salad on earth.  It's my mother's recipe and although I have tried other potato salads, this still remains my favorite by far.  It has plain and natural flavors, not so many ingredients.  No cream, no butter, no mayonnaise, no vegetable stock.  It has the best flavor combination.  I've tried the vegetable stock version of the potato salad, which I think is a typical way of adding flavor to the potatoes around here, however I much prefer the natural potato taste in this version.  This goes perfect with grilled meat dishes in the summer and you can keep in the fridge for 2-3 days without a problem.  I made a lot of it this time, because I absolutely love the left over of this salad.  I think that it tastes even more delicious the next day.  If you have time, prepare the salad couple of hours in advance so that potatoes can absorb the dressing a little bit more.
I have slightly modified the salad dressing this time by adding some mustard.  I would like to hear from you if you try this salad.

700 g potatoes
2 spring onions - chopped
a handful of fresh parsley - finely chopped

Salad dressing
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of canola oil
1 teaspoon of mustard
1 tablespoon of apple vinegar
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
some freshly milled black pepper

Cook your potatoes by boiling them in water without peeling them.  Be careful not to overcook them.  After they are done let them cool.  When they are cool enough, peel and dice them.  After you chop your onions with their green bits, add them onto the potatoes.  Prepare your dressing by mixing all your ingredients in the above list.  Pour the dressing into the salad and stir it all very slowly.  Try not to mash the potatoes while you are doing this.  At last add the chopped parsley to the salad.  Leave the salad to rest for about an hour before you serve.  

Monday, April 19, 2010

Shish Kebab

I have to say from the start, this is my dear father's most loved recipe.  The smell of this kebab means home to me.  I know it's a very classical Turkish dish but before you start yawning let me tell you,  once you taste this, then you can tell the difference between a real kebab and the ones you ate so called kebabs here and there.  I made this one last weekend, because it was such a lovely weather and we decided to grill.  We generally eat this back home with some green salad, grilled vegetables and cacik (garlic, cucumber, yogurt mix).  Of course, with some lovely Turkish flat bread to wrap it up.  ( Instead, I made my mother's potato salad with the kebab and I will be writing its recipe in my next post.)  The secret of this kebab is the marinade sauce, which gives meat the appetizing smell and taste.  Here is what I've done different this time, I used beef instead of lamb, because that is what I had at home.  However, I'm going to write you the recipe with both because the original kebabs use lamb, but if you prefer beef that's absolutely fine and still very tasty. 

(Makes about 6)
700-800 g lamb or beef (from the leg or tender cuts like loin) - cut into cubes
6 skewers (metal or wooden)
1 clove of garlic - crushed
1 tablespoon of tomato pure
1/2 tablespoon of chili paste
1 tablespoon of olive oil 
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed chilies (optional)

To prepare the marinade, crush your garlic with garlic crusher or a mortar and pestle.  Put it in a bowl and add all other ingredients for the marinade.  When it's all ready rub the mixture on the meat and leave the meat to marinade for 2 hours in the fridge.  You can also prepare this a day before and leave it over the night.  Once ready, thread the meat on skewers and cook them on a preheated grill until the meat is brown on the outside.  Repeat the same on all sides of the meat until it's brown on every side.  Make sure not to overcook it, otherwise the meat will not be tender.  Enjoy it on some warm Turkish bread, if you can find some, otherwise some Naan or Arabic bread will do as well. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Green Lentil Salad

I grew up eating a lot of lentils and I probably ate every type of lentil dish there is.  Later on when I got to know the Indian dal I loved it.  It was a little bit different than the dal type of dish my grandmother used to make, but it was just a little bit more spicy.  My favorite lentil dish is the red lentil soup that my mother makes, however, I will put that recipe here some other time.  The green lentil salad is something I have tried in a restaurant and I have made it probably only once before this time.  Lentils are very nutritious and very healthy legumes and I always want to cook more lentil dishes for my family but I always end up making the soup.  I had some sun dried tomatoes in my kitchen, which inspired me to make this salad.  It's a very light salad but it's filling.  Perfect for spring and summer meals. 
I will for sure put more lentil recipes here in the future because I just bought loads of lentils again.

200-300 g green lentils
1 spring onion - chopped
1/2 leek - chopped
7-8 pieces of sun dried tomatoes - soaked in warm water for about 10 minutes (alternatively you can use sun dried tomatoes that are soaked in olive oil)
1 tablespoon of chives - chopped

For the dressing:
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
chili powder - optional

Start with putting your lentils in a pan, cover them with water and bring to boil.  After they start boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the lentils for about 20-25 minutes.  If you overcook them, they will get mushy so check regularly.  After lentils are done, drain them and leave them to cool.  While you are waiting, chop the soaked sun dried tomatoes into small bits.  Start making your salad dressing by mixing all your ingredients listed above and set it aside.  When lentils are cool enough, mix them with the other ingredients and finally add your salad dressing.  You can garnish with some more chives.   The salad tastes even better if you leave it few hours in a cool place, so feel free to prepare it a little bit in advance.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fudge Brownies with Pears

After all the birthdays and Easter, basically after all the cakes and the chocolates, I thought I shouldn't cook anything sweet or with chocolate for a while and just cook very healthy things like salads and vegetables.  Then I decided to have a look at my long time ago purchased low fat cookbook.  I bought this book, not only because it looked like a healthy food book, also because I really liked the simple recipes and yummy photos in it.  The season being spring and the urge to eat something light and healthy, made me want to make one of those light salads or pasta or soup or noodles.  When I was looking through the book, I came across something I couldn't resist and it was non of those above.  It was a very delicious looking fudge brownies recipe. The fact that it was in a low-fat book made me wonder if it was really this good, so I decided to try it.  As usual, some of the ingredients were replaced with what I had in my kitchen.  It's hard to find self-raising flour here so I never use it even if the recipe calls for it.  I ended up making something quite different than the one in the book but I managed to keep the oil bit more or less the same.  The brownie turned out to be a very moist and a very light one.  The kind that you can eat more than one slice at a time which kind of cancels the low fat factor.

( Makes about 16 pieces)

1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons of cocoa powder
3/4 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar
2 tablespoons of butter or margarine - melted
250 g of quark (you can use fromage frais instead)
1 peeled and grated medium size pear
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to to 180° C(356° F).  Put the first three ingredients (flour, baking powder and cocoa) in a bowl and mix them well.  In another bowl mix eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla sugar and quark. 
Add both mixtures together and stir them well.  Finally, add the grated pears into the mixture.  Put the mixture in a baking tin and bake about 25-30 minutes.  Check if it's cooked by inserting a knife in the middle and see if it comes out clean.  If it's done then take it out and leave it to cool for five minutes. Slice it up and dust it with icing sugar before you serve.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easy Flammkuchen

Flammkuchen (French call it tarte flambée) is actually something I have had first time in Switzerland, so it has been a Swiss dish for me from the start.  I never tried it in France or Germany.  It's basically like a very thin pizza, but it feels much lighter to eat than a pizza.  This version I made is an easy version because I used a ready puff pastry, not even a usual pizza base or a dough.  If you want to make the dough yourself, there are few different recipes out there, however I hardly recommend to make this version with puff pastry because it's delicious.  I got this idea of using puff pastry from my dear neighbour R. and I made it many times since.  The real taste of flammkuchen is not just its dough, but the crème fraiche (sour cream) that is spread to the base of it.  The original version has some bacon and onions on top, however you can replace the meat with other kinds or try to put leeks instead of the onions.  I have tried several versions of this and it tasted good each time.
I cooked this one last weekend, because my daughter wanted to eat pizza for lunch and she was very hungry.  I only had some ready puff pastry in the fridge, so I decided to make a quick flammkuchen with minced beef.

I made only one flammkuchen but if you want to feed 2 adults, then double the recipe below.

1 round puff pastry (33cm - app. 13'')
100 g créme fraiche (about 1/2 cup)
150 - 200 g minced beef ( about 1 cup)
1/2 of a medium tomato - diced
1 small onion - chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

Start with preheating your oven to 180° C(356° F).  Put the pastry on your baking tray and make holes on the pastry by using a fork.  You need to do this in order to prevent the dough to rise too much.  Then spread the crème fraiche over the pastry and put your onions, meat and tomatoes.  I don't recommend to put too much tomato on it, because it will make the pastry too juicy and then the flammkuchen won't be crispy enough.  Last step is to sprinkle the parsley on top and season with some salt and freshly milled black pepper.  Put it in the oven for about 15-18 minutes until the pastry is looking nice golden brown color.  Serve it warm.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Aubergine Rice

Aubergine is my favorite vegetable on earth.  It's very tasty and you can make a lot of different dishes with it.  In the Turkish cuisine and in the Mediterranean kitchen, the aubergine has a very distinctive place.  It can easily be combined with any other vegetable, with cheese or meat.  I buy a couple of them every week.  They are kind of like olives to me.  I have to have them in my fridge just in case I run out of everything else.  Aubergines are always there to rescue me.  It was one of days where I didn't know what to cook.  Then I remembered my purple friends in the fridge.  I generally try to cook some rice or pasta or anything with grains to complete the meal for the kids.  Because mine love rice and pasta and pizza, just like all the other children.  This rice was a good idea to cook, especially because it combined vegetables and rice in the same dish and it was a success.
This actually is a typical Turkish rice (pilav), which I have learned from my mother.  When I was looking around for alternative recipes, I have seen that in most of them tomatoes were added to the rice.  I haven't used tomatoes here as I believe they will shadow the taste of aubergines here.

(Serves 6 as a side dish)

2 Aubergines ( peeled partially in stripes and chopped)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
about 250 g (1.5 cups) rice ( I used long grain white rice here)
about 600 ml (3 cups) water

about 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley to garnish

Start with stir-frying your aubergines with the olive oil in a non-stick deep pan over medium-high heat.  Don't worry if aubergines absorb all of the oil in the pan.  They will release the oil after they are cooked.  When they are done, take them out to a plate.  Put your onions in the same pan and using the oil that is left in the pan saute your onions.  After the onions are cooked, put your rice in and add the water and salt.  Put the lid on and cook it for about 20 minutes.  Check regularly in between if there is still some water left in the pan.  Right before almost all of the water is absorbed, turn off the heat, add the aubergines on top of the rice, cover the pan and leave the rice to rest for about 10-15 minutes. When it's ready, garnish it with chopped parsley leaves and serve.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tomato and Red Onion Salad

I had this in London many many years ago.  It was the first time I was visiting the city during my first travel to Europe and it was the first time I've been outside my home country.  Too many first times of everything, I have been on the road for about 10 days and have eaten in various hotels and restaurants in Europe.  I have never eaten outside my own country before so I wasn't very used to all European food.  By the time I was in London, I have already started craving for something fresh, something Mediterranean, something that had olives or tomatoes or feta cheese or fresh onions in it.  We found a restaurant that looked very good and I saw a tomato salad in the menu.  I instantly thought it was "the tomato salad", the Turkish kind.  In the end how many kinds of tomato salads could there be? How wrong was I?  There was a plate of sliced tomatoes, then couple of red onion rings that were randomly placed on top.  I was slightly disappointed, because there were no cucumbers, no peppers, nothing else in it.  Then they brought some balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  That made that salad divine, which made it worth in the end.  I never forgot this salad and made different versions since.  When I saw some fresh basil in the market last week, I thought of making the classic mozzarella salad with fresh tomatoes and basil, but then I remembered this salad.  It goes really well with a spring or summer BBQ and takes about 5 minutes to make.  You only have to have very nice and tasty tomatoes to make it with.  This one here is enough to serve 2.

Tomato and Red Onion Salad

2-3 fresh tomatoes - sliced
1 medium red onion - sliced
a handful of fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt to taste

Prepare your salad sauce first, by mixing the olive oil and balsamic in a small bowl.  Add some salt and taste.  You can add some chopped basil leaves to the sauce if you'd like.  Put your tomatoes and onions in a salad bowl then mix it with the salad sauce.  Leave the salad like that for about 5 minutes before you serve.  Put your portions in flat salad plates and garnish with the fresh basil leaves. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

ANZAC biscuits

Here we go.  I have been meaning to put it here since I started this blog.  These are my all time favorite biscuits and they are very easy to make.  I learned how to make them about a year ago from my dear Aussie sister-in-law Kate, who brought some to me.  Thanks to her, I've been baking these at least once a month since I got addicted to them.  They are just really practical and you can store them for weeks, if you are not going to eat them right away.  There is a story of course to all of this, which you can read here.  I guess there are thousands of recipes for them on the internet, but I'm going to stick with the original one I have learned from Kate, who got the recipe from her mother.  If you have the feeling you can't get it right, don't worry because they still taste delicious no matter what they look like in the end.  You can't really go wrong or mess it up with this recipe.  They are really hard biscuits and if you prefer them a little softer, try to form them a little bit thicker or use not too deep biscuit pans.

1 cup of flour
1 cup of rolled oats (see picture below)
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
125 g butter
2 tablespoons of molasses (this has been replaced with golden-syrup or honey in some recipes)
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of baking soda or baking powder

Put the butter together with the baking soda, molasses and water in a sauce pan over low heat.  Stir until butter is melted and remove from heat.  Mix all the other dry ingredients (flour, oats, sugar, coconut) in a bowl.  Pour the butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix them all really well.  When ready, take a tablespoonful of dough and put it on a oiled baking tray or over baking sheets.  Press on the tablespoon of dough with your hand to make it a little bit flat.  The dough should be crumbling a little bit and it's normal that you can't roll it nicely and make perfect round forms.  This makes these biscuits a great recipe to try with your children. 
When you have the biscuits ready, put them in a preheated oven at 175° C on a top-shelf for about 12-15 minutes until they have a golden brown color and they look a little crispy on the edges.  Leave them on a grill or something similar to let them cool. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Baked Vegetables with Cheese

As soon as the weather gets a little bit warmer, I start to crave vegetable dishes.  Especially if we are grilling in the weekends, I like to have some vegetables with whatever we are grilling.  This is something that got inspired by Sarah Wiener's cookbook Frau am Herd, which I bought recently.  It's only available in German for now, but it's a great book if you just want to cook natural and simple food.  The saute part of the cooking was a very good tip from my mother.  This is a very easy and quick way of making vegetables, but most importantly, it's very light.  You can replace any of the vegetables in the recipe with others or use another kind of cheese that you already have in your fridge.  Try this once and believe me you won't regret it.  It's so good that I made it again today, but this time I added potatoes and leeks to below combination, but excluded the onions.  It was equally yummy.  This recipe here, serves about 4 as a side dish.

2 carrots - peeled and chopped
3 zucchinis - chopped
1 yellow pepper - chopped
1 red onion - chopped
about half a cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper

Start with heating your oven to 200° C.  Then start sauteing all your vegetables at the same time in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add some salt and pepper while you are doing so.  This shouldn't take more than 8-10 minutes.  When your vegetables are still looking fresh and not completely done, put them in a gratin baking dish or in a roasting tray and sprinkle your grated cheese over them.   Stick it in the oven on a top shelf for about 15 minutes.  That's all.  Enjoy your light and tasty vegetables.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Beef Wellington

The first time I made this I was a little bit afraid, because I really thought that it was a bit too gourmet for me.  The fact is, when you have a ready-made puff pastry and you don't use the fancy ingredients, it all becomes very easy.  You can make various dishes from ready puff pastries that looks like gourmet food anyway.  I have never tried to make a real puff pastry at home, although I have probably made all other kinds of pastries.  There are even organic ones available in the supermarkets if you want the healthier option.  For this version of Beef Wellington,  I don't use the pâté de foie gras (chicken liver paste), which is called in the original recipes.  This one I have, is an adapted version of a recipe from my good old Swiss Betty Bossi cookbook Fleisch Küche.  I don't think there is an English version available, but I love this book.  It was recommended to me by my dear friend V. and I learned how to cook nice meat dishes from this book. 

600-700 g beef fillet
1 round or square puff pastry (you may need to cut bits out or trim it according to the size of your fillet- I used a round one here-33cm)
1 egg white - beaten
1 egg yolk - beaten together with a tablespoon of water
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of olive oil

300 gr of mushrooms - finely chopped. 
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of mild chili powder
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Start to make your filling by sautéing your mushrooms in a frying pan with the olive oil, salt and lemon juice.  When it's done, take it off the heat and add the chili powder and chopped herbs and leave it to cool.  
In another pan with a tablespoon of oil, cook your fillet for about 5 minutes on all sides until it forms a nice crust on the outside.  Take it out and leave it to cool for a while.  While the meat and your filling is cooling, prepare your pastry.  You can trim the ends if you have too much pastry like I had and then decorate your pastry parcel later on with these left over pastry bits.  Open the pastry on a baking paper.  It will make it easier to transfer on a baking tray later on.  If you are using a large try you can open the pastry directly on the baking tray.  

When it's ready, first spread the filling over your pastry and then put your meat on it.  Brush the ends of the pastry with the egg white so it can stick together when you wrap it up.  After this, wrap the meat up, turn the the parcel on its other side so that the folded part is at the bottom.  Move your parcel onto a baking tray.  Brush the top of the parcel with egg yolk and put it in the pre-heated oven on a bottom shelf at 220°C for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180°C and roast for another 15 minutes.  In my case this resulted in medium to well-done meat.  If you like medium-rare then roast it for about 10 minutes less.   
For serving, I recommend some green salad and a glass of red wine.  Enjoy your meal! 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Crepe with Mango and Apples

Although it was really difficult for me to understand at the beginning, at some point in the last 5 years, I learned how not to make a big meal for dinner.  Of course this is only valid during the week.  Weekends, on the other hand,  are a different story.  In my culture (the Mediterranean culture in general) dinner is a big deal.  Dinner is when we are really eating something good and enjoying a real meal with our family.  Where I live now, it seems that generally lunch is more important than dinner.  At least in the families I know of.   Now I got used to eating leftovers from lunch or some cheese and bread for dinner.  It's probably healthier anyway, but sometimes, I really don't feel like eating leftovers or even cheese, although I love cheese. Then I cook something light.  In the winter, a nice soup is normally what I go for, but yesterday I thought the winter was over, so I felt like making crepes or pancakes for dinner.  The kids love it and so do I.  I made this one with half spelt flour and half whole wheat flour because that was all I had.  It was a very healthy meal if you exclude the butter bit of course.  You can combine it with different fruits.  I used some mango and apples then I put some maple syrup on top to sweeten it.  Here I have given the amounts I have used,  but depending on the kind of flour or milk you use, your mixture can have a slightly different density than mine had, therefore I have given some tips below for this.
With the upcoming long weekend, this is a good option for breakfast or brunch.  Enjoy!

(makes about 5 medium size crepes)

3 tablespoons of spelt flour
3 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
2 eggs
2 cups of milk (makes a little bit more than 400 ml)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
A pinch of cinnamon
Butter or oil to cook
For serving:
1/2 mango peeled and chopped
1 apple peeled and chopped
Maple syrup

Make your batter by whisking the eggs, flour, milk in a bowl.  Add in salt, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon and whisk it for another minute or so until your mixture has a creamy texture.  If the batter is too thin, then add some more flour and if it's too thick, then add a little bit more milk and continue to whisk.  When ready, heat up a little bit of butter or oil in a non-stick small pan over medium-high heat.  When it's hot enough put about 1/2 ladle of the mixture in the pan.  This can slightly vary according to the size of the pan you use.  Just make sure the batter covers the surface of the pan.  Cook it for about two minutes until the bottom side is light golden brown.  Turn it over with the help of a spatula and cook the other side.  Serve it hot with the chopped fruits and some maple syrup on top.  Alternatively you can put the fruits and the syrup in it, then fold it before serving.