Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Healthy fingerfood No.2: Soybeans in a pod

I have to admit I'm really not a big fan of vegetables. 
But just like artichokes (and some other vegetables...) soybeans in a pod, 
also called "Edamame" (Japan), "Kong" (Korea) or "Maodou" (China), are an exception.
You either steam or boil them in hot salted water for approx. 8 minutes.
Drain the pods in a colander.
Sprinkle them with salt.
Serve hot or cold in a bowl and with an extra bowl for the empty pods.


You eat the beans by squeezing them out of the pods.
I usually do that by pulling the pods through my slightly clenched teeth.
That way the beans directly pop into my mouth and I still get some of the salt that sticks on the pods.
Other people prefer splitting the pod with their fingers in order to get to the beans.
However, soybeans in a pod are easy to make and a delicious, yet healthy snack!

And yes, you can just eat meat WITH it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Sauce

Yesterday we had friends over for dinner.
After we all were stuffed from the "main course" (we made burgers again) I was happy that everyone of us still had a little room left for dessert.
The burgers were already quite rich  so I originally intended to prepare something light for dessert.
Well, since Panna Cotta is based on cream and sugar it cannot really be considered as being especially light. But with all that delicious fruit sauce it doesn't seem to be heavy at all!
See? You can actually trick yourself!
I can't promise you that you can trick your scale or your skintight jeans with that, though...

Panna Cotta is very easy to make.
It doesn't require many ingredients or complicated techniques.

All you need for 4 servings is:

four small bowls
500ml cream
50g white sugar
1 vanilla bean
2,5 leaves gelatine

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for about 5-ten minutes until soft.
Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon.
Pour the cream into a saucepan and mix in sugar and vanilla seeds.
add the scraped out vanilla bean, as well to for additional flavor.
Bring the cream to a boil. Then let it simmer (not boil anymore) for about 15 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk occasionally.

Remove the cream from heat and also remove the vanilla bean.
Now squeeze out the excess water in the gelatine leaves and add them to the cream.
Whisk until the gelatine has dissolved.

Now pour the cream into four small bowls or cups, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.

In order to unmold the Panna Cotta briefly dip the bottom of the bowls/cups into hot water.
Run a thin knife around the edge of each bowl/cup to losen the cream from the inside.
Place a plate topside down on top of each bowl. Invert the cream onto the plate and shake gently to release it. Then carefully lift off the bowl.

You can also just eat it out of the bowl, of course!

For the rhubarb sauce cut 500g of rhubarb into 2cm thick pieces.
Place the pieces in a saucepan.
Add approx. 100g white sugar, 4 Tbsp of water and 1 Tbsp of vanilla sugar and bring to boil.
Let it boil for about 5-10minutes (depends on how soft you want your rhubarb to be).
If the sauce is too thin mix a teaspoon of starch in a small bowl with water and slowly whisk in the starch-water mix into the rhubarb sauce. This will thicken the sauce.

Serve the rhubarb sauce with the Panna Cotta.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Artichoke with sour cream-mustard-balsamico dip

For everyone who thought my diet only consists of meat and chocolate, here is the proof that every so often even I consume green stuff with vitamins in it...

One of my favorite vegetables are artichokes.
They are a good side dish and perfect finger food.
I usually buy the big ones. I remove the stem and cut off the tips of the petals with a scissor. 
After that I throw them into a big pot of boiling water with a dash of lemon juice.
It depends on how big they are but usually artichokes need to cook for around 30-45 minutes.
You know the artichoke is ready to eat when you can easily pull off the outermost petals.

Unfortunately you usually cannot eat all parts of an artichoke. 
Especially the big ones are often hard and spiky.
Here are some instructions on how to eat them properly:
  1. Start at the base of the artichoke, pull off one of the outermost petals. 
  2. Dip the base of the petal into your sauce/vinaigrette. 
  3. Pull the petal through your slightly clenched teeth to remove the soft, tender flesh at the bottom of the petal. As you progress upward from the base, the leaves become more tender, with larger edible portions until you reach the choke (the undeveloped flower).
  4. Remove and discard the "hairy" choke using a teaspoon.
  5. Cut the remaining Artichoke Heart into bite-sized pieces, dip and enjoy!
PS: For the dip mix sour cream, mustard, honey and balsamico vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Visa vis" with the T-Bones

Wil got his one year artist visa at the Ausländerbehörde Berlin yesterday!
In order to celebrate he bought two giant T-Bones at KaDeWe.
He always wanted to get some of those.
Yesterday his dream finally came true.
And what can I say?
I'm still stuffed!

That was probably 500g of meat per steak...

As good as it was, I kind of am now looking forward to vegetable season!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hot Rice Pudding with sugar&cinnamon

When I was a kid once a week my grandmas would cook a "sweet lunch" for me.
Rice pudding was one of my most favorite dishes.
Here is the recipe for how my grandmas used to make it for me.
It's rich, hot, creamy and definitely not recommendable if you are trying to lose weight.

Here's what you need:

250g round grain rice (risotto, Italian rice)

900ml whole milk
100ml cream
1½Tbsp vanilla sugar
pinch of salt
white sugar


Mix milk and cream with vanilla sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil (be careful not to have it boil over). Stir in the rice and let it all boil for a maximum of 2-3 minutes.
Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan with a lit.
Let the rice sit and soak for at least 30-40 minutes (depends on the rice!) but until the rice is soft and there is no spare milk left over. It should have a heavy and creamy texture.
Stir every five minutes!
If the rice got too cold or there is milk left over but the rice is already soft you can also turn on the heat again to fasten up a little.

Carefully melt some butter (depends on how much you want) in a pan until golden brown.
Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Sprinkle the sugar&cinnamon mix and pour the brown butter over the rice pudding.
Serve hot!

  • Of course you can also eat it cold. But it is so much better when served hot!
  • Some people like to add grated lemon zest to their rice. I never liked that so much and preferred the recipe to be as simple and pure as possible. But that's just a personal thing.
  • You can also serve it with hot and thickened cherry sauce.
  • And yes, you don't necessarily need the cream. Just milk (1ltr.) will be just fine...

Friday, March 18, 2011

German Sweet&Sour Eggs

Sweet&Sour Eggs ("Süß-Saure Eier") or "Mustard Eggs" ("Senfeier") is a typical East German dish. 
I remember mentioning it to people from the West who just cringed because the name suggests something rather gross than tasty.
But it is delicious!
The description "sweet&sour" refers to the sauce with which the eggs are served.
It's a roux-based sauce containing vinegar and mustard for a sour note and sugar that adds the 
sweetness to it.

What you need:
6-8 large eggs
60-80g butter 
approx. 3-4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¾-1 ltr. cold water and milk (e.g. ¼ milk, ¾water)
white wine vinegar
white sugar
1-2 tsp mustard
150-200g smoked bacon cubes
salt, pepper
chopped chive or parsley for decoration


Fry smoked bacon cubes in a pan until brown.
Prepare a roux; melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour until crumbly.
Now slowly pour in the water-milk mix and continue to whisk.
If the sauce gets too thick add a bit more water or milk.
If it is too thin just mix some flour with water in a small bowl and pour this mixture into the sauce.
Now season with whit wine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and mustard.
Start with 1tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, one tsp salt and one tsp mustard.
You will probably have to add more.
But you rather start with small amounts and try in between before adding more.
Your goal is to have a sauce that is sweet and sour at the same time.
You can taste the mustard such as the vinegar, the salt and the sugar without having one ingredient covering up the others.
Now add the bacon cubes and chive or parsley.
In the meantime boil the eggs for 6½-7 minutes (depends on the size of each egg).
The egg yolk should still be soft inside.
Chill them in cold water for a moment.
Then peel off the eggshell and add the eggs to the sauce.

Serve with potatoes.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Let the games begin!

The best catch from todays trip to Schmachtenhagen's farmers and flea market.
A brand new meat grinder (German: "Fleischwolf" which translates as "meat wolf"...) for 8 Euros!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pear & goat cheese tarte with smoked bacon and mustard dressing

In the latest issue of German food magazine Essen&Trinken I found this nice tarte:

I made this recipe using ready-made pastry that you can buy frozen in every grocery store.
You defrost two sheets of pastry, put them on top of each other and roll them out on a floured working surface using a rolling pin.
The pastry needs to be bigger than the tarte pan.
Place the rolled out pastry in the tarte pan and slightly press the pastry to the border of the pan.
Top it with one thin sliced pear, smoked bacon cubes(40-80g) and goat cheese (100-150g).
In the recipe they recommend using cream cheese, but I decided to take camembert instead.
The dressing is made out of:

2 tbsp of maple syrup
2tbsp of lemon juice
1tbsp of extra hot mustard (eg. Dijon)
1tbsp of whole seed mustard (eg. Dijon)
1tbsp of thyme (fresh if possible)
salt and pepper

You mix all these ingrediences together and sprinkle most of the dressing over the tarte.
Preheat the oven to about 200-220°C and bake the tarte for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Serve with the rest of the dressing.

  • If you are not a fan of goat cheese just replace it with cow milk based cheese instead.
  • Be careful with the dressing. It is quite intense! You can use less mustard or use a milder kind.
  • next time I will fry the bacon before adding it to the tarte for more smoky flavor ...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ayayaaaay....Big Nacho Time!

Ok. So my boyfriend Wil who is Canadian kept complaining about not being able to buy proper Mexican food supplies...for Nachos, Tortillas etc.
The salsa comes from Belgium, tiny bags of Nachos for 3 euros and no canned jalapeños or refried black beans...
Germany is a bad country for that.
And I thought he would die.

Until we both discovered MITTE MEER!
A big supermarket with all kinds of mediterranean food for relatively cheap, mainly Spanish and Italian.
It just opened a few days ago near Bornholmer Strasse.
Not only do they carry Rosemary Manchego (pure or marinated in olive oil) prociutto di parma, lardo and DeCecco pasta.
No, they also sell some Mexican products.
A giant bag of Nachos for 1,50 or 2,- euros, refried black beans, canned jalapeños AND Salsa from actual Mexico!
To round up the perfect Mexican-North American bar snack we also bought black olives, onions, tomatos, sour cream and a big chunk of cheddar cheese.

At home Wil put the chips in a casserole, sprinkled tomatos, olives, sliced jalapeños and chopped onions over it, topped everything with grated cheddar cheese and baked it until the cheese was melted and brown on the edges...
He served it with sliced avocado and sour cream, refried black beans and the salsa as dips.

That was pretty awesome!
The perfect food while watching a movie or hanging out with your friends.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You either love or hate it:


"Nattō (なっとう or 納豆) is a traditional Japanese Food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis. It is popular especially as a breakfast food. As a rich source of protein and good bacteria, nattō and the soybean paste miso formed a vital source of nutrition in feudal Japan. Nattō can be an acquired taste because of its powerful smell, strong flavor, and slippery texture"