The Retiro Park, Madrid (Spain)

After publishing many recipes, I would like to post a few photographs of my vacations in Spain.

First of all I will start posting some pictures of the retiro park we visited during the short stop over of a few hours in Madrid.

 

Chinese Sautéened Dumplings – Guo Tie or Jiǎozi

Chinese Sautéened Dumplings

We cannot speak about „authentic“ Chinese recipe, since there is no agreement within China how any particular dish should be made.

Coming back from a study stage in China my daughter brought me a Chinese cookbook and her knowledge and cooking experience she had there.

Dumpling were among her favorites especially in broth for breakfast. She learned how to prepare dumplings and we prepared some together.

Jiaozi and guo tie are made with beef or pork but may also find shrimp, dried mushrooms, cabbage or other filling.

The easiest way is to buy factory made skins for making jiaozi and guo tie in most Asian groceries.  However you can make it yourself by and or with the help of a pasta machine.

I bought a package of skins, but after preparing and dividing the filling I noticed that I had to prepare some more myself. This went easily and quick, however I did not respect the full resting time for the dough. I will give here the complete recipe and I think, next time I will make it myself.

For the skin cold water can be used, but hot water dough produces a softer, more elastic dough, which is preferable in making most dumplings.

Folding styles (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK3iG2LyWnY

You need:

Skins:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup hot water

Filling:

 

  • 350 g minced meat (pork of beef)
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 5 tablespoons rice wine (substitute dry sherry mixed with white vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soya sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or a mix of white wine vinegar and dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

For cooking:

  • 2 tablespoons oil (as peanut oil)
  • 1 cup of water (approximately)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Procedure:

  1. Place flour in a big bowl and slowly add water mix until a crumbled paste forms.  Knead the dough on a floured board with your fingertips as soon as it is cool enough to handle.  Add more flour if necessary to form a soft, elastic dough which is not too sticky to handle.  Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for about an hour.
  2. In the meantime combine all the ingredients for the filling, mix well and divide into 48 small balls.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 portions. Roll each quarter into a rope approximately 2 cm in diameter.  Cut the rope into 6 equal portions and then dived each of them into two portions. Now you should have 48 portions (4 x 6 x 2).   Flatten each segment with the palm, dust with flour and then roll out into a disk approximately 10 cm of diameter.
  4. To assemble keep all dough and rolled skins covered to prevent drying or better share the work (somebody rolls out and the seconds assemble with filling to make dumplings. Moisten the edges of a circle all the way around with water. Place a filling portions in the center, fold it making waves. There are many different kind of folding, but important is to seal them well and to form a flat side perfect to place the dumpling standing and browning.
  5. Add peanuts oil to a wide flat bottomed non sticky skillet and arrange the dumplings on it.
  6. To prepare the Guo Tie heat to moderately hot, then add water to cover the dumplings to one-third of the wrap way up. Cover the skillet and cook high heat until the water is almost adsorbed. After the dumplings are well steamed, uncover drizzle with sesame seed oil and cook for another two minutes to evaporate any remaining water and to re-crisp the dumplings.
  7. Remove dumplings to a platter, and serve with browned sides facing up with a small bowl of dipping sauce.

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Gazpacho

gazpacho

This world famous soups was created in Spain after the discovery of the New World and its vegetables. Like many other old World Specialties the gazpacho traveled back and became popular there as well.

Sometimes gazpacho is served as chilled soup, sometimes served as appetizer chilled drink, but is also used to describe a type of salad of Spanish origin.

This recipe is based on New World foods: tomatoes and peppers, and it is supposed to be a variant on a much older recipe.

Ajo blanco, or white gazpacho. It is a creamy chilled soup containing ground almonds, cucumbers, yogurt and garlic. The addition of yogurt and almonds can be found in Arabian but also in Indian drinks as well.

Green gazpacho does gets its color from spinach, lettuce, parsley and other greens with the addition of yogurt or chicken broth.

Red or tomato-based gazpacho can be blended or crushed or the vegetables can be finely diced to add more texture and make the soup more salad-like.

Red gazpacho, also known as gazpacho Andaluz, usually includes sweet peppers and cucumber, but no yogurt,.

Traditional gazpacho was flavored with cumin, a spice beloved in the Middle East and in South America.

In the US we can find red gazpacho with cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.
The soup is traditionally served with toasted bread, but would also be excellent accompanied by warmed fresh tortillas or tortilla chips.

You need:

  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet red peppers, diced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2-4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 diced chili, optional to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes, optional

Preparation:

  1. Reserve some diced vegetables and dice them finely.
  2. Add all the ingredients to the blender and pulse until smooth.
  3. Poor in cups or glasses and top with diced vegetables

 

Dolce Di Ciliegie – Italian Old Fashioned Cherries Cake

Dolce Di Ciliegie - Italian Old Fashioned Cherries Cake

This historical family recipe has been published by the famous Italian cook Artusi in his book “L’ arte la scienza in cucina e l’ arte di mangiar bene” in 1891. Note: between the first reviewer and second review the recipe has been altered! I corrected the recipe back to the original.

You need

  • 1/2 lb ( 250 g) cherries, fresh or frozen

Mold

  • 1 teaspoon butter or 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces (60 g) almonds, ground
  • 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs, finely grated

Filling

  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 4 ounces (120 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 ounces (60 g) breadcrumbs, finely grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch ( if using frozen cherries)
  • 2 tablespoons Amaretto (alternative nuts liquor or Maraschino or a few drops bitter almonds flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 lemons ( grated peel only)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar ( to serve)

Procedure

  1. Wash and pit cherries
  2. Grease your mold (more or less 10 to 10 inches).
  3. Distribute the almonds and one tablespoon bread crumbs to coat the bottom of the mold.
  4. Blend egg yolk with the icing sugar until creamy and soft.
  5. Incorporate bread crumbs, cornstarch (if using frozen cherries and you have a lot of juice), liqueur, vanilla or lemon zest and the liquid of the cherries (if using frozen ones).
  6. Beat egg whites separately to soft peaks; incorporate gently into the egg yolk mix.
  7. Distribute this soft mix equally on the coated mold.
  8. Drop the cherries on it.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven at 400 °F/200°C for about 30 minutes or until brown and cooked through (heat and timing are basing it on convection oven).
  10. Top with powdered sugar.
  11. Serve hot or cold. Suggestion for top presentation: place one piece on the dish, add 1 tablespoon cherry liqueur (or maraschino or sherry) on it and heat in the microwave until hot (about 15-20 seconds). Serve with vanilla ice cream.

No Knead Ciabatta with Olive Oil

No Knead Ciabatta with Olive Oil

This is an easy variation of the no knead bread. The ciabatta shape is very convenient to prepare sandwiches or simply to serve with you meal. The olive oil gives them a genuine flavor and the long raising time improve the taste as well

You need

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast or 1/4 teaspoon other active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • flour, for dusting
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Procedure

  1. In a medium bowl provided of lid, combine flour, table salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon mix until you have a sticky dough, about 30 seconds.
  2. Cover the bowl and let sit at room for 12 to 18 hours.
  3. Dust generously your work surface with flour.
  4. Scrape the dough out of the bowl using in one piece a rubber spatula onto your working surface. Fold the dough over itself two or three times and gently shape it into a somewhat flattened ball. Brush the surface of the dough with some of the olive oil.
  5. Place a tea towel or a parchment sheet on your work surface and generously dust it with flour. Gently place the dough on it, seam side down.
  6. Cover the dough with a tea towel or place in the cold oven.
  7. Let it rise for 1 to 2 hours or until it is almost doubled.
  8. Half an hour before the end of the second rise take it out of the oven brush it with olive oil and preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C).
  9. Oil your baking sheet. Cut the dough into two pieces. Gently transfer it to the sheet and stretch into ciabatta shape leaving at least 1 inch between the loaves. Dust with some flour.
  10. Place a fireproof bowl with boiling water in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown (keep an eye on them!).
  11. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, use a spatula to transfer on a grid and let cool down completely.

Shrimps on Pineapple Planks with Couscous

Shrimps on Pineapple Planks with Couscous 1

Arranging this cute Pacific Northwest recipe like flowers or shining suns you will get back a lot of smiles. This is an attractive dish or better combination of recipes for a healthy and light exotic full meal during summer days.

You need

Shrimps and planks

  • 1 fresh pineapple, peel removed and sliced into 8 rounds
  • 40-50 shrimps, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved

Couscous

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lime, grated peel only

Dressing

  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1-2 chili, not too hot chopped or sliced
  • alt and pepper, to taste

Procedure

  1. Prepare pineapple and place them on a try with parchment foil.
  2. Toss shrimps with BBQ sauce and place them on the pineapple slices. Top with a halved cherry tomato.
  3. Heat broiler.
  4. Cook couscous with salt and water according package directions, add lime zest and make fluffy with your fork.
  5. Meanwhile place the topped pineapple slices under the broiler. Broil not to neat the heat source until for about 5-7 minutes and shrimps are through and shrimps will begin to brown.
  6. Mix the ingredients for the dressing, adjust with salt and pepper.
  7. Arrange the topped pineapple slices and couscous on the plates and drizzle with the dressing.

Shrimps on Pineapple Planks with Couscous 2

Cuajada with Caramel Sauce- Spanish Créme Brulée

 

 

 

Cuajada with Caramel Sauce- Spanish Créme Brulée 2

Cuajada is a compact, almost curd lik product, like curd “grains” coagulate tightly to make a cheese. It is popular in the north-eastern regions of Spain (Basque Country, Navarre, Castilla y León, La Rioja), but you can find it in almost all South and Central American countries as well (Columbia, Nicaragua, El Savador, Mexico, Honduras, Brazil and Costa Rica).

Raw warmed milk is mixed with cuajada powder or rennet or with other plant extracts and left to curdle. It was traditionally made in a clay recipient or a wooden one called a kaiku and heated with a red-hot poker, giving it a distinct faintly burned taste. Cuajada means ‘curdled’ in Spanish.
A similar product named Coalhada is found mostly in northeast Brazil, especially in rural areas. It is made from curdled milk (specifically boiled) and yoghurt. Recipes vary but usually contain sugar and/or fruit juices.

 

I’ve got this recipe of this traditional pudding from Adi, a Spanish friend, after having enjoyed it her house.

If you not living in Spain it’s probably not so easy to find the “cuajada powder” ingredient, you can try your luck in Spanish specialty shops; but you can make an easy substitution using half tablet “Rennet” (to find in drugstores) of a few drops rennet.

 

Youn need

Cream

  • 175 g philadelphia cheese
  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 500 ml milk
  • 100 g sugar
  • 12 g cuajada powder ( 1 envelope cuajada or 1/2 tablet rennet or 5 drops rennet)

Caramel

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Procedure

  1. Mix all the ingredient for the cream in a pan and wish until the cuajada looks dissolved.
  2. Heat it until it begins to thicken.
  3. In the meantime spread 3 tablespoon of sugar in your baking mold and place it under grill until it changes the color to medium brown.
  4. Take out mold oven and wait until the mold is still warm but not hot.
  5. Poor in the cream.
  6. Let cool down and turn on a plate.

Note: you can add some grated citrus peel, cardamom, cinnamon or, or — to add different flavor. You can also top the warm cream in the mold with crumbled cookies; after inverting the curd they will stay at the bottom of it.

Cuajada with Caramel Sauce- Spanish Créme Brulée

Passatelli – Italian Bread and Parmesan Cheese Soup

This is very classic specialty from Emila-Romagna (Italy) easy to prepare, but for the preparation you will need a passatelli iron. Alternatives are pastry bags or better using a a potato ricer with the large-holed disk.

Try this simple, warming and very tasty soup!

Ingredients

o    100 g parmesan cheese, grated

o    100 g breadcrumbs, small

o    3 eggs

o    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

o    1 lemons, zest only (optional)

o    1 1/2 liters broth, if possible homemade ( beef or hen broth with celery, carrots and leek)

Directions

  1. Place the bread crumbs, Parmesan, nutmeg and the lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and carefully mix together with your hands until it forms a soft dough-like consistency.
  2. The mixture should be like a wet dough, barely holding together.
  3. If it seems too stiff, add 1 tablespoon water or stock. If it’s too soft, add more breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
  4. Allow the dough to rest for approximately 20 minutes in a cool place.
  5. Once ready, put the dough in a food mill or ricer. Press to create short noodles (like little worms).
  6. Bring the meat stock to a boil and add the pasta. Once the passatelli have risen to the surface, they are ready to eat.
  7. Serve immediately.

Passatelli

Malva Flowers and Bees

Spring is over and nectar sources are decreasing now.  Beekeepers are planning the honey harvest and prepare the hives for next season.

Mite control is now a “to do”. Bee diseases: Varroa (mites) control in Switzerland

In the garden a huge mallow plant got many guests. Too pretty for not stopping by and taking some pictures

Bombay Karachi Halwa – Microwave Recipe

Bombay Karachi Halwa – Microwave Recipe

Sometimes I’m missing Asia, I’m missing India. This halva recipe with the contrasting colors, the decoration, the smell and the taste is like a fast trip in Country of my dreams. Take a halwa in your mouth, close your eyes and dream!

Note: Cardamom and rose scent are very popular in Indian sweets, you could use also saffron and make yellow halwa.

You need:

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • cardamom powder to taste (or for second variation 1 tablespoon rose water)
  • Food Color, optional
  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups water
  • Ghee or butter
  • 1/3 cup Cashew Nuts, chopped (or for second variation almonds sheets)
  • Chopped nuts or sugar pearls for decoration (or for second variation chopped dry red rose petals)

Procedure:

  1. Combine in a microwave safe bowl corn starch, sugar, cardamom powder, and food color.
  2. Stir well until well mixed.
  3. Add water and stir again until smooth and not lumpy.
  4. In a frying pan melt the ghee and roast the nuts.
  5. Microwave at maximum strength (about 1000 W) for 2 minutes. Stir shortly.
  6. Microwave for other 2 minutes at maximum strength stir well and add nuts, stir shortly again.
  7. Finally microwave for to more minute, give a stir and if it is not thick enough microwave for a few minutes.
  8. When the halwa is cooked, pour it in a greased mold, top with the reserved nuts.
  9. Let cool down completely before cutting into small square pieces.
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