Nectarine Cake with Amaretti

Nectarine Cake with Amaretti

This is the perfect recipe for those who love simply, rustic and tasty cakes.

My mother prepared this for us with a lot of love and we still enjoy it though the picture or we make this again.

You need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Kirsch
  • 150 g all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
  • 15 amaretti cookies, crumbled
  • 500 g nectarines, pitted and cut into 1 cm pieces
  • 2 tablespoon sugar, for topping
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Procedure

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat until fluffy eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt.
  3. Fold under melted butter and Kirsch
  4. In a bowl combine sifted flour, sifted baking powder and two thirds of amaretti
  5. Fold dry mixture under the wet mixture.
  6. Pour mixture in a prepared (greased and dusted with flour) baking mold of 24-26 cm.
  7. Drop nectarines on the batter.
  8. Top with remaining amaretti and 2 tablespoons sugar.
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and done (toothpick test).
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  11. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Grashalms and Morning Thaw

Sour Cherry Cake on a Tray

Sour Cherry Cake on a Tray

This was a fruits year. Our garden produced tons of fruits like never before. While the apple harvest had already started we still have fresh plums and peaches from the three and in addition our freezer is full of fruits. Of course we love apples, plums and peaches, but we also love to cherries and other fruits. We also need space in our freezer. For this reason I prepared created this recipe with pitted frozen sour cherries, but you can use preserved cherries as well. This is a moist cake, the juicy fruits are surrounded by a soft and tender dough.

You need:

  • 200 g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup margarine, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 tablespoons bitter almond aroma
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pound cherries, fresh, preserved or defrosted (pitted)
  • 4 tablespoons quince jelly (or other fruit jelly)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Procedure:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking try with margarine or line it with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, margarine and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add milk, egg, bitter almond aroma and vanilla to the cream cheese mixture. Beat with until well combined.
  4. In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir together to combine.
  5. While mixing with an electric mixer, gradually add the flour to the cream cheese mixture a little at a time. Mix until just incorporated.
  6. Spread the cake batter into the prepared baking tray.
  7. Drop cherries over top the cake batter evenly.
  8. Drop jelly over the cherries and sprinkle with the brown sugar.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick before removing from the oven.
  10. In a small bowl mix powdered sugar with cognac spoon by spoon until smooth, If needed to adjust desired consistency adding more powdered sugar or cognac,
  11. Drizzle over the cake.

Grilled Octopus

Grilled Octopus

I learned how to make grilled octopus many years ago, after enjoying it in a restaurant.

Now this one of our summer favorite seafood dishes and I prepare it often at home.

Octopus needs to be boiled before grilling it, but first of all you have to clean it!

You need

  • 2 pounds octopus, or the quantity you like (defrosted!)
  • Garlic clove (variations: bay leaf, sliced onions, parsley stems,…)
  • Water to boil (some people add little white wine)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon juice only
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, optional (or fresh parsley chopped or smoked paprika)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Cleaning:

Wash your octopus under current water, remove stomach, ink sac and the part of the head with the eyes.

  1. Boiling:

Place the octopus in a pot cover with water add some peppercorns and two cloves of garlic. Let the mixture slowly simmer. Cook until soft enough to eat. This usually takes about 1 hour but this depends on the size and perhaps on the quality of the octopus. You check the octopus piercing it with a sharp knife: if tender, the knife should go in very easily.

Remove from water and allow to cool. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If necessary remove flabby parts of skin and cut into big chunks or leave small octopi whole.

  1. Grilling:

Brush the octopus with olive oil and grill it over hot charcoals until you get a little bit roasted here and there. Don’t burn it!

  1. Serving:

Let cool down until desired, cut into bite size chunks and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper and if like with oregano.

Arrange on a plate with cherry tomatoes or what you like (boiled potatoes would be fit as well) and serve.

Green Witch Lemonade

Summertime, summer drinks! This means lemon and mint!

Our son served us this drink prepared with bottled lemonade. He decided to freeze the lemonade

You need:

  • 4 cups lemonade, sparkling lemonade (made with fresh lemon, syrup or bottled)
  • 1 handful fresh spearmint leaves
  • Sweetener, to taste, depends on lemonade

Procedure:

  1. Freeze 2 cups of lemonade in ice cube tray or ice cube bags.
  2. In a food processor combine lemonade ice cubes, mint, 2 cups chilled lemonade and sweetener.
  3. Pulse until the ice is crushed.  Taste and adjust for sweetness then serve immediately.

green witch lemonade

Pretzels

Pretzels

For this recipe you will not need to buy soda ash (sodium carbonate) as with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) it will work very well and the taste is perfect. The important this is respecting the boiling time!

You need

Dough

  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soften butter or margarine
  • 1 cup warm water (not too warm!)
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • coarse salt

Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4 cups water

Preparation

  1. Put yeast, sugar and water in bowl and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes to proof. Add salt, butter and 1 cup flour. Stir till smooth.
  2. Add rest of flour and knead dough till smooth and not sticky.
  3. Place dough back in bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250°C/ 475°F.
  5. Prepare the glaze: boil water with baking soda.
  6. When dough has risen, punch down and knead shortly.
  7. Divide dough into 24 portions and form rolls of about 30 cm (12 inches), or the size you like.
  8. Allow pretzels to rest for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Place pretzels one by one into the boiling baking soda water and let boil for 1 minute on one side, then flip them over and boil 1 minute seconds on the other side. Remove them using a large slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper or simply greased.
  10. Finally sprinkle with coarse salt.
  11. Bake 12-15 minutes until they are a medium to dark golden brown.

 

Watermelon Cocktails or Mocktails

Watermelon Cocktails or Mocktails

Looking at the list of Pacific Northwest Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables I was surprised to find watermelons.

For this reason I will propose you for this region this cocktail, but I confess that I tried the mocktail version (no vodka but added a few mint leaves to the mixture) and I found that really as good as well.

Try this refreshing drink and enjoy the summer taste!

Yield: Makes 2 cups

Preparation time: 20 Minutes

You need

  • 2 cups seeded and cubed watermelon
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cups ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup lemonade, sparkling from the store
  • Garnish with lime slices, diced watermelon or fresh mint leaves

Procedure

  1. Prepare your water melon and process using your blender until smooth. Strain through a sieve in order to remove large particles.
  2. Add vodka, lemon juice and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add ice, and top with lemonade; stir gently and serve immediately

Chinese Stir-Fried Water Spinach

Chinese Stir-Fried Water Spinach

This is another easy homes tile recipe from Shanghai, quick and easy and perfect for more fresh veggies dishes on your Chinese dinner.

Water spinach is also known as water morning glory. This has numerous ways of preparation, but a simple and quick stir-fry, either plain or with minced garlic, is probably the most common.

You can prepare this dish using fresh greens you have on hand (I used fresh young chard from the garden) and it will be delicious as well!

You need:

  • 500 g fresh water spinach ((or chard or common spinach)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon roasted sesame oil, optional
  • 1 pinch monosodium glutamate

Preparation:

  1. Trim and wash well the spinach. I wash it always twice.
  2. Heat 2/3 of the oil in a wide skillet, add spinach and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and monosodium glutamate.
  4. Stir and add remaining vegetable oil.
  5. Stir shortly again and serve

Bubble Tea, Pearl Milk Tea or Boba Milk Tea

Bubble Tea

We had our first bubble teas a few years ago in the China Town in Bangkok as this became very popular soft drink.

This is beverage was created during the latest 1980s in Taiwan and consists of chewy tapioca balls (also called pearls) commonly added to the drink, mostly cold tea.

There are many variants bubble teas (hot and cold!) and many different ingredients may be added. The most popular bubble drinks are bubble milk black tea with tapioca and bubble milk green tea with tapioca; both of them are often fruits-flavored.

Searching in the internet you will find colored pearls, recipes with non-dairy products (as fruit juice, coconut milk, almond milk,…) and also with sugar alternatives this including honey, stevia or aspartame.

For my bubble tea I used “China lychee black tea” as this is what I had had on hand and uncolored tapioca pearls.

Now it’s your turn to try or adapt this recipe to your taste; have fun!

You need (for two serving!)

  • 1/2 cup dried tapioca pearls per serving (NOT quick-cooking boba)
  • 4 cups water (for boiling)
  • 1/2 cup water (for syrup), hot
  • 1/2 cup sugar (for syrup)
  • 2 teaspoon teas (I used lychee flavored black teas, Earl Gray may be good alternative)
  • 1 cup of hot water (for tea)
  • Milk or sweetened condensed milk, to taste

Procedure

  1. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan and add tapioca pearls.
  2. Boil stirring from time to time (prevent sticking at the bottom) for about 15 minutes; remove the pan from heat, cover, and let soak the pearls sit for another 12-15 minutes (or prepare the pearls according package instructions).
  3. In the meantime prepare the syrup mixing hot water and sugar until dissolved and prepare the tea infusing it in hot water. Let cool down and place in the fridge
  4. When the pearls are ready drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Place them in small bowl and cover with the prepared syrup. Best let sit for a few hours. The pearls would keep in the fridge for about 2 days.
  6. Pour the prepared pearls into tea into a glass and add the tea and milk for a creamy/milky bubble tea. Sweeten to taste with the syrup from soaking pearls.

Chicken with Fresh Figs

 

Chicken with fresh figs

Fresh figs are delicious fruits mostly eaten fresh or as marmalade. Sometimes you can find tarts or other sweets with them and sometimes served as starter or appetizer with a combination of salted ingredients as cheese or ham.

Shortly I found a Greek recipe of cooked fresh figs with chicken which I had to with fresh Greek figs as now it’s the perfect season for this as I have enough of them around.

For this recipe I used “Romeiko”-wine, a typical strong wine form Chania (Crete, Greece) in taste and smell similar to sherry, but not sweet at all. This is my absolutely favorite wine! This is the wine I used for the figs compote as well.

The result was a tender aromatic and sweet chicken with a rich tasty sauce. As side dish I suggest simply baked potatoes or bread, but bulgur could be a great choice as well.

You need

  • 1 chicken
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 small onions, peeled, halved in sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10-15 fresh figs, washed and halved
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and peel (removed with vegetable peeler)
  • 250 ml strong wine (I used “Romeiko” wine form Chania) or a good rose wine

Procedure

  1. Wash the chicken, pat dry and cut it into 8 pieces. Cut out the fat part of the skin, but don’t remove it completely.
  2. Place the chicken into a wide baking mold, sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon and oregano. Rub well the pieces this the spices and arrange them skin side up in the mold.
  3. Place onion, garlic, bay leaf and lemon peel around the chicken.
  4. Arrange figs filling the spaces nicely.
  5. Add lemon juice and wine.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F until golden brown and serve warm.
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