Monday, November 22, 2010

And: Truffle...

I bought my first truffle. It smelled fanastic and wasn´t even as expensive as I thought.
Maybe because I didn´t get a summer truffle.
Ten grams of that would have been 43 € whereas mine was only 5,98 € for ten grams.
I guess that's a bit of a difference.
I grated it into thin slices and served it on top of filet and pasta.
But I have to say I wasn't really impressed.
I don't know what I did wrong but I could hardly taste any truffle.
My white truffle butter was far better! And less expensive...
I know using truffle oil is one of the major sins, because they always use
artificial flavors to create/imitate the typical truffle aroma.
Nevertheless: I LOVE TRUFFLE OIL.
It tastes like truffle and that's what's most important to me...

That's my "Guilty-face"while buying the truffle.


  That´s my "Happy-Face" after buying the truffle.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


A while ago we bought these fantastic entrecote at KaDeWe, a department store in West Berlin.
Like Harrod's in London they have one incredible but pretty pricey floor with just FOOD!
The steaks were supposed to cost 80 Euros a kilo. But they were on sale for half-price.
You can definitely find good entrecote or rib-eye steaks for much cheaper, but make sure that they dry-aged for at least 2-3 weeks. The meat loses water and shrinks which makes it far more tender and concentrates the flavor.

After letting the steaks sit outside at room temperature for about 1-2 hours we slightly oiled them with vegetable oil using a brush (it only requires a little tiny bit). Then peppered them (NO SALT!) and seared them from one side for one and a half minute in our iron cast pan. Make sure the pan is really, really hot. Keep it on the fired stove for about 2 or 3 minutes before putting the steaks in.
Then turn the steaks, put some white truffle butter (yum) on top and put the pan together with the steaks in a pre-heated oven. The oven needs to be really hot (+250°C). The hotter the better!
Leave the steaks in for about 4-6 minutes (depending on the thickness and oven temperature) if you like them medium rare. For medium just cook them approx. two minutes longer. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, and take the steaks out when they reach 5° lower than the desired doneness. You can find a temperature guide here.
Wrap the steaks in aluminium foil and let them rest for about ten minutes. They will continue to cook, and the juices will re-distribute.
If you like you can make a sauce from the drippings in the pan. We tried a mix of brandy, maple syrup, red wine and more truffle butter. Let it boil so that the alcohol diffuses and the sauce reduces a little bit.
Finally add some salt to the entrecote.
Serve it with some bread or a nice salad.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake

Today I made this fantastic cake. I found the recipe here.
I just changed it a little tiny bit and used a Cream Cheese Icing instead of the chocolate frosting.

Preheat oven to 175°C-180°C
360g all-purpose flour
290g sugar
10g Vanilla sugar
1½ tbsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
120g unsweetened cocoa powder
320ml vegetable oil
360ml buttermilk
3 large eggs
360ml cups freshly brewed, extra-strong hot coffee
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Mix all the dry ingredients together, than add buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract and eggs using an electric mixer on low.
Slowly add hot coffee by pouring it down the bowl in a thin stream (to prevent the eggs from clotting).
Mix everything until smooth.
Don't be alarmed by the thinness of the batter!
Everything is fine...
Grease two pans (26cm Ø) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Divide batter in two and pour it into the two pans  or use one pan and bake both halves one after another.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.
Let it cool down (otherwise the icing will melt and won't be able to stick on the cake).

For the Cream Cheese Icing mix
250 confectioner's sugar
115g soft butter
500g cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
with an electric mixer until smooth.

Place one layer of cake on a serving plate.
Cover the top of the layer with the Cream Cheese Icing (approx. 0,5-1cm thick).
Place the other layer of cake on top of the iced layer pressing gently.
Carefully spoon the rest of the icing on the layer top and smooth it around the sides of both layers, until the whole cake is completely covered with icing and nothing is shining through.
Allow to cool.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Al Contadino Sotto Le Stelle

Not only is 'Al Contadino Sotto Le Stelle' one of my favorite restaurants here in Berlin. 
Marjita(?), our waitress of the night, offered us incredibly good tasting red wine: 
But let's start at the beginning.
The Italian restaurant 'Al Contadino sotto le stelle' is located on Auguststrasse 36 in 10119  Berlin Mitte.
You'll find homemade pasta, veil, rabbit, fish, tartufo, prosciutto etc on the menu; 
solid Italian cuisine that is both, rustic and fine, at the same time.
'Al Contadino' is not a cheap restaurant. It's rather a restaurant where to go on a date.

Me and my partner went there for our anniversary and had:

  • Prosciutto with fruit mustard
  • Entrecote with truffle
  • Homemade Chestnut-flour Tagliatelle with veil liver, apple and truffle oil
  • Warm chocolate-hazelnut cake with vanilla ice cream.

Sadly they had to move out of their original venue which was even more cosy and romantic.
Their new location is a little less intimate and on our last visit we discovered that the tables in the front are cramped.
But sitting in the back of the restaurant can be quite loud and busy with waiters rushing past. 
Still it is one of my favorite restaurants. 
The food is excellent and the service is very friendly and knowledgeable.

PS: The name of the restaurant means 'The Farmer Underneath The Starry Sky'.