It’s pumpkin time and this recipe is an easy way for a tasty recipe and yummy dessert.
I used fresh pumpkin from the garden, which I previously baked und the microwave (10 minutes at max) and blended after cooling down.
How to prepare caramel sauce directly into the mold; Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease your mold with butter. Scatter 50 g brown sugar to the baking dish and 2 tablespoons butter spreading evenly. Place in the oven until you see it begins to turn lightly darker. Remove from the oven and whisk shortly. Return to the oven and continue to bake a few minutes until a brown color is reached (be careful, do not burn it). Let cool in the mold.
Fronds are those cute frilly light green leafy things attached to the stalks that grow out of a fennel bulb. They look like fresh dill, and they have a light taste similar to aniseeds. I grow fennels in my garden especially for these, I add this to spinach or chard to make the Greek kaltzunias (little small pies) and to attract butterflies in my garden. If you buy fennel with these, don’t throw these away and if you do not need them at the moment, freeze them! If you do not get them, then replace them with tinny fennel bulb slices.
The origin of fennel and orange salad is not completely known, but it may have its roots in the Arab world and come to Europe after the invasions of Spain and. The orange salad was created as a poor dish (wild fennel can be found at the border of many roads) and it doesn’t require cooking. Today, the fennel and orange salad is known all over the world and it is served as an appetizer/salad or as a final dish after an important meal.
I love to collect fennel fronds if traveling in Greece in Early spring, the same period as oranges get ripe.
In this recipe I completed the ingredients with avocado for its soft texture and the taste which combines well with citrus, In addition a roasted pine nuts give a welcome crunchy texture.
For the dressing I opted for some white balsamic vinegar flavoured with honey and Dijon mustard.
Green salad leaves to cover the bottom and the sides of the serving bowl, washed
2 ripe but firm avocados (reserve some slices for decoration drizzled with lemon juice)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 oranges peeled and diced (make a few slices and reserve for decoration)
2-4 tablespoons fennel fronds, chopped (reserve some for the topping)
2-4 tablespoons green onions slices (reserve some for the topping)
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly roasted
Arrange the green salad in the bowl.
Peel and slice the first avocado, place then in another bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss well with your hands. Peel and slice the second avocado add this to the first and gently again toss them together.
Add the other ingredients for the salad over the avocados.
Combine well the ingredients for the dressing.
Pour the dressing over the salad and very gently toss them together.
Place the mixture over the arranged salad leaves, decorate with the reserved avocado and orange slices and sprinkle with the herbs and the pine nuts
ماست و خیار Mast-o-khiar is a delicious, cooling and very popular Persian dish that is served with most meals. You will find the combination of yogurt and cucumbers in Greece (Tsatziki), but also in many other Balkan and Arabic countries and as well from Turkey to India (Raita).
The use of rose petals (fresh or dried) and rosewater for cooking was popular all over the Middle East and spread to Europe during the Middle Ages. However rosewater had been replaced by vanilla once world exploration had been brought from America to Europe.
About 20 years ago we planted in our garden a very strong scented white and red striped rose, since then its petals had been used in our cooking for several sweet recipes and we prepared hundreds of rose jam jars.
The basic ingredients for Mast-o-Khiar are yogurt, cucumber, mint, rose petals, salt and garlic. Other herbs can be added as well as chopped walnuts and raisins.
Tip: skip the cucumber for a delicious sauce for salad.
Guacamole is very popular Mexican dip with many variations.
This variation, which includes also the use of tomatoes, is the most appreciated in our family and every times is comes out a bit different as we do not measure the ingredients, we change it a little bit depending on what we have on hand.
This is great as appetizer with tortilla chips, but also with wraps or other dishes.
Never throw your stale bread away! You can make breadcrumbs, bread pudding, meatballs, and French toasts, and, and, and! Did you know you could also prepare a wonderful pizza? Once again, this is great opportunity to make your family happy with this great meal and at the same time, your stale bread will be gone very quickly!
Figs trees are native in the Middle East and western Asia and had been cultivated since ancient times. Today they are widely grown throughout the world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant. Two crops of figs can be produced each year. The first or breba crop develops in the spring on last year’s shoot growth. The main fig crop develops on the current year’s shoot growth and ripens in summer (August in Southern Europe) or autumn (September to October in Central Europe). The main crop is generally superior in quantity and quality, but some cultivars produce good breba crops. There are three types of edible figs: some of them need pollination by the fig wasp with pollen for fruiting and some not. In Central Europe where this wasp is not present, the cultivation of figs is possible. This year we had a many figs during summertime (breba crops) and in addition, after the warm September, we are getting many figs again and we are enjoying them.
I would like to present you this simple but very impressive recipe, which is perfect for a starter or appetizer.
Traditionally bakers make this rich Alsatian (southern part of France near the Swiss border) bread in hand-painted earthenware molds, but steel, non-stick-metal or glass molds are fine too. The size of the mold corresponds to about 2 liter. This soft savory Gugelhopf (or Kugelhopf or Gugelhups) is perfect to be served (if possible lukewarm) as appetizer with some wine and it goes always very quickly.
substitute walnuts with pecan or almonds
add chopped rosemary or thyme
substitute bacon by diced cheese
add fried onion rings
substitute pork bacon by dried smoked beef or turkey bacon
1/2 cup walnuts (pecans works well as well), coarsely chopped
For this recipe, you have to activate the starter combining the sourdough starter you kept in the fridge with the same amount of each water and flour (each 100 g). Best do it the evening before and loosely cover in a bowl; it should be ready after about 10-12 hours at room temperature. At this time starter should be very active and spongy.
Note: his is left to mature (ferment) until ready to be used to mix into a dough.
Now it’s time to add the ingredients for the dough. Add the milk, the 350 flour, the salt, the butter and the egg.
Knead with the hock until it looks smooth and it begins to loosen from the walls. Cover and let rise until it doubles the volume. Depending on the kind of your culture, this can take 4-8 hours.
Dice the bacon into 5-8 mm cubes and roast in in a pan. If it loos to much fat, drain it.
Bring bacon and nuts into the risen dough it over several times. I don’t knead it in order to keep the dough as soft as possible.
Make a hole into the center of the dough and place it in the prepared tin (please butter it before; you may also use the fat of the bacon).
Cover and let rise in a warm place until it at least doubles the volume. This may take about 2-3 hours.
Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes in the lower half of an oven preheated to 200°C. If notice that during the baking time the surfaces begins to turn to dark, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Wait a few minutes before unmolding and serve it possible lukewarm.
This is a traditional Roman (Italian) dish which can be severved as appetizer or as a side dish.
Now, that we are approaching the spring and in southern Countries the spring is already there, artichokes appear in the shops and I really don’t want to miss them!
The kind used for this preparation is called “Mammole”, they are quite big sized artichokes and the leaves are rounded shaped.
The mint used for this dish is usually the “mentuccia romana”, in my case I used Turkish mint in my garden, from which I can find some leaves even in winter. I think that the Greek mint (diosmos) would fit also perfectly; for this preparation I would avoid pepper mint, chocolate mint or mint kinds intended for drinks or cocktails. Spearmint would be good as well.
I prepared 3 artichokes, but give you the recipe for 4 of them.
In a small bowl combine the herbs and the garlic, add ½-teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
To clean the artichokes prepare some lemony water (using the juice of half lemon) and rub your and with some lemon as well in order to prevent blackening.
Remove the outside leaves which appear woody and without pulp. Peal the stem and cut it but leave a small piece. If the remaining stems appears soft, do not discard them, but add it to the preparation.
Cut the top of the artichokes (depending on the size, about 4 cm). Open the center of the artichokes and remove the filaments with spoon, a knife or better with the vegetable carving instrument. Place the artichokes in the lemony water; this will prevent them from darkening.
Open the artichokes with your fingers and stuff them with the prepared herbs mixture.
Place the artichokes head side down in pot where they can fit tightly. Add the stems.
Pour the remaining olive oil and the water.
Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, open the lid and let reduce the liquid.
Ossobuco is one of the most appreciated dishes of Milanese cuisine. Veal shanks are cut crosswise to reveal the bone (osso) with its hole (buco) where you will find the delicious marrow. This inexpensive cut of meat is finished with a gremolata, which is a mix of chopped parsley and lemon zest. This combination turns this dish into a very delicious meal. In Italy, the ossobuco is served typically with saffron risotto.
2 veal shanks of about 350-400 g each (you may also use beef shanks)
2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 small golden onions, sliced
100 ml white wine
1 small rosemary spring
about 2 cups chicken or beef broth, more if necessary
salt and pepper to taste
For the gremolata
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
1 big or 2 small garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Lemon zest of half lemon
Slit the skin around the veal shanks in 2 or 3 places so that slices do not curl when cooked.
Dust the meat with flour.
Heat the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, fry gently, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain the onions and set them aside.
Add veal shanks; cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Add the reversed onions. Pour in white wine and simmer until reduced, about 5 minutes.
Add the rosemary and pour in 1 cup the stock. Simmer and add gradually the second cup of broth, stirring between gently. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, turning the shanks occasionally, until tender, about 55 minutes. If necessary, add more stock or water. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper, as you like. If you used beef, you will have to cook it longer until you see the meat is soft enough. When the meat is almost done place the meat aside on a plate and sieve (press the sauce well through) the sauce; return the meat to the skillet as well as the drained sauce; all some water only if it is really necessary.
If you do not like raw garlic, fry it gently in a small skillet.
Sprinkle garlic, parsley and lemon zest over the meat, some should be added to the sauce. Cover and cook until flavors combine, about 5 minutes.
Note: during the cooking time, take you time for the risotto.
This festive cake looks wonderful and tempting. I used a big quantity of cherries we still had in the freezer and as we did not use a lot of fat, the result is a quite light cake, which is perfect after a heavier lunch or dinner.
liquor soaked chocolate covered cherries or Maraschino cherries
For the cherries: In medium saucepan, combine sugar and cherries. Place over medium heat, whisking constantly until the cherries begin to release some liquid (the liquid should only be lukewarm). Switch off and let defrost completely the cherries. With a colander take out the cherries and set them aside. Add cornstarch to the juice, stir to dissolve and heat again. Cook until the sauce thickens, add the amaretto and stir again. Let cool down. Note: depending how much liquid is released you may add some more cornstarch, in this case dissolve about 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch to some juice (or more amaretto), stir in again and bring and heat until it thickens. Add the reserved cherries stir once gently again, remove from heat and let cool down.
For the sponge cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk, beat 3 eggs for 1 min on high speed until foamy, add gradually the sugar and mix for at least 5 minutes. Sift together the flour with the baking powder add for this under the egg mixture until well incorporated. Transfer the batter into a 26 cm cake pan or better a springform pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes or until it appears golden brown and it begins to loosen form the pan. Remove from the pan and the parchment paper and let cool down on a grid.
For the frosting: beat the heavy cream until it thickens, add the mascarpone and beat well again until firm and fluffy (only about 1 minute!). Add the sugar and beat shortly again.
Assembling: Place the sponge on the cake platter, drizzle with Kirsch, pinch with a fork and top with the cherries (placed them one by one on the cake) spoon the sauce (it is too much reserve this for your breakfast yogurt!) over the cherries. Let rest some minutes. Spread the frosting, top with the shaved chocolate and decorate with the liquor soaked chocolate covered cherries.