Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mudslide Cookies with Fleur de Sel

I found the recipe for these delicious cookies here the other day
 and had to try them out right away!
With all their dark chocolate they just looked too tempting...and chocolate combined with Fleur de Sel works so well together, anyway.
The woman of the blog I got the recipe from did a far better job on the photos than I.
Check her blog out to get into the ultimate cookies baking mood!

I changed a few things in the recipe, though.
I'm not the biggest fan of boozy sweets.
Therefore I decided to only add 1 to 2 Tbsp of whisky to the batter.
You won't taste the alcohol at all. But the the whisky's oak- and peatiness adds a very nice and subtle flavour. I also didn't have instant coffee powder.
Instead of adding 1/4 cup of liquor I decided to brew a very strong coffee,
and replaced the liquor with the same amount of that, plus the whisky.
Oh, and I used margarine instead of butter.
I usually prefer the taste of butter.
But when it comes to baking the margarine helps making cakes, cookies etc.
more chewy and less crispy...

The cookies turned out fantastic!
They were a little bit more caky then I expected, but reminded me of chocolate fudge brownies. 
I had to give some away. 
Otherwise you would see me rather rolling than walking through the streets of Berlin, by now.

Here is the whole recipe :

2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (475g)
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (120g) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled for 10-15 minutes
1 cup (235g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (120g)sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60g) coffee liqueur + 1 teaspoon (Godiva, Kahlua, etc)
1 cup chocolate chunks
Fleur de Sel for topping

1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160ºC).

                              Mix the flour, cocoa, coffee powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. 
In another bowl, mix the melted butter and sugars until they are combined. 
Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Stream in coffee liqueur and mix. 
Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms – it will look crumbly at first, but it will come together. 
I even used my hands to help at one point. 
If you find you absolutely need more liquid add in a teaspoon of coffee liqueur, but it should come together. 
Fold in the chocolate chunks. 
Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
Remove dough from the fridge and roll into golfball sized balls. 
Set on a non-stick baking sheet with 2 inches between each. 
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are set and the middles are still soft. 
The centers should be puffy. 
Do not over bake. 
Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with sea salt. 
Let cool completely then dig in!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The perfect hangover food!

Soo hungover this morning! 
Thank God I got to celebrate it with a savoury American hangover  breakfast!
Grilled cheese sandwich with processed chester cheese (I don't even know what this bright orange shiny stuff has to do with cheese, anymore) and a little extra protein: two eggs, nicely placed in a cut out hole in the middle of each slice of bread, called "eggs in a hole" (logic) or "birds in a nest" (for the smarter kids out there) or many other names ("cyclops" would be my recommendation) .

Some might say this is not healthy, but it sure helped killing my hangover.

Thank you, America.

PS: bacon could be found in it, as well.
PPS: tomorrow = diet.
PPPS: no more booze for at least two days!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chanterelles tutorial...

Like almost at every weekend so far, today Wil and I went mushroom picking again. We are getting better and better at it; means we slowly figure out how to look for them and to find where they hide. Especially chanterelles are in season right now. It is so much fun to walk through the forest and search for them. A nice side effect: you get out of the city and get some exercise. Your eyes and legs get, anyway. And if you don't find any mushrooms, the mosquitos will find you for sure! Or you just run into one of the many spiderwebs...argh.
Besides that it's fantastic, I promise. Here is my very short amateur chanterelle video tutorial. You might even get to see a chanterelle in there, if you look closely...

Okay. it's not really a tutorial. 
All I wanted to do is to brag a little bit about our mushroom picking skills...

So, who is in for next weekend?

Wil looking tough-ass, with our harvest...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

EAT MORE FISH! - Creamy Cod Chowder

A couple of days ago Wil surprised me and made a delicious Cod Chowder.
It was delicious!
It was light and hearty at the same time.

He found the recipe in a book about soups that he brought from Canada.
It's called 300 sensational soups and every recipe Wil tried out of this book so far turned out pretty damn good, and it's pretty easy and done relatively quick.
In case anyone is surprised by my perfect English, it's because I just copied the recipe from the book...

What you need
6 slices bacon, minced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
750g / 1.5lbs yellow- or white-fleshed potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
1.25l / 5cups fish stock
1.25kg / 2.5lbs  boneless skinless cod fillets
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
375 ml / 1.5cups whipping cream (35%)
50ml / 1/4cup minced fresh chives

In a large pot, sauté bacon over medium heat until browned and crispy, about 5 min. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.

Add butter to the pot and heat until melted. Add onions and thyme; sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add potatoes and stock. If necessary, add enough water to barely cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add cod, salt and pepper; simmer until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork and potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer fish t a large plate. Using a fork, flake fish apart and set aside.
Stir cream into the pot and reheat over medium heat until steaming, stirring often. Do not let boil. Taste and udjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Return fish to the pot.

Ladle into heated bowls and garnish with reserved bacon and chives.


Variation: Halibut or Tilapia would also work beautifully in this soup.

 PS: Wil used bacon that we bought from a local market right next to where we live. There is a stand that carries pork products from an old breed of pigs called Wooly Pigs, named after their hairy 'fleece', that is similar to that of a sheep. 
They are pretty cute AND delicious!

Before...(picture: Geoff Robinson, Source

...and after (source:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Coffee banana muffins with dark chocolate chunks

I made these coffee banana muffins with dark chocolate chunks a while ago,
but didn't have the time to write about them, yet.
If you happen to have over riped bananas at home that you don't feel like eating anymore,
don't throw them away!
You can make great banana bread with those.
I decided to turn the banana bread I usually make into muffins and brought them over to our friends Anna and Beau who were having some friends from Edmonton staying at their house.
Because our friend Anna is allergic to nuts and Wil isn't such a big fan of walnuts I replaced the walnuts with dark chocolate chunks. 
No matter if you decide to make the banana bread or muffins, the recipe stays the same. Only the baking time is different.

What you need:
3 ripe bananas
200g dark chocolate chunks or 100g chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp strong coffee (warm not hot!)
110 g margarine
190g brown sugar
1/2 package of vanilla sugar
2 large eggs
300g all purpose flour
2Tbsp baking powder
1 dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
Remove the skin, then mash the bananas with a fork until mushy.
In a large bowl mix margarine, eggs, coffee, sugar and vanilla sugar with the mashed bananas and with a handmixer whisk everything until smooth.
Mix flour, salt and baking powder.
Slowly add the flour mix to the other ingredients and whisk everything well for about 2 minutes.
Mix in the dark chocolate chunks/chopped walnut.

Pour the batter into either a greased muffin or cake tin. The batter will rise in the oven. Therefore each muffin form only needs to be filled half way.

Bake the muffins for approx. 20 minutes.
The banana bread will need approx. 50 minutes in the oven.

Let everything cool down for a bit, then serve!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wiener Schnitzel @ Prater, Berlin

Yesterday our wonderful friends Anna and Beau decided to throw us an engagement party. 
We thought the best way to start the night would be with four giant Wiener Schnitzel at Prater
the oldest Biergarten in Berlin,
and so it came to pass:

Beau excitedly waiting for his Schnitzel,
a giant piece of veil that gets hammered,
then coated with egg and breadcrumbs and deep-fried,
served with lemon and potatoes/potato salad

Anna trying her first Schnitzel

in Schnitzel-Action

On an un-Schnitzel-related side note:
That's the ring Wil got me for our engagement!

Always remember: Only a Wiener Schnitzel made with veil is a real Wiener Schnitzel! 
Everything else would have to be called "Vienna style Schnitzel". 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roast beef in a hay nest...

 Now that I finally got rid off my stomach flu or whatever that nasty little beast was, 
that got stuck in my intestines, I'm finally ready to make a blogpost again!

Bye bye bland food and herbal tea, and welcome back: 

I decided to make a roast beef and to add a little extra flavour to it by cooking it with hay. 
That's right, hay, as in "hay-from-the-pet-store". 
It adds a really nice aroma and subtle...(almost) sweetness to it, 
and it makes the whole house smell like an Alpine meadow. 
You can use hay with pretty much any kind of meat. 
Lamb or goat, for example, are supposed to be really good with it, as well.
I, however, bought a 1kg piece of lean and dry-aged beef (e.g. haunch)
from my favorite meat provider Filetstück.
You should make sure that the meat has room temperature before putting it in the oven.
If you cover it with a plate or foil you can easily leave it out for 2-3 hours before you start cooking.

I brushed the meat with a bit of olive oil and seasoned it 
with freshly ground szechuan pepper and some salt. 
Not too much salt though. You're better to add more later. 

Fire up the stove and let your pan (preferably cast iron) turn really, really hot. 
I know this seems totally wrong. 
But heat is the only way to sear the meat properly by giving it a nice and solid crust.
I recommend to open as many windows as possible. 
It will get quite smokey!
Sear the meat from both sides for 2-2,5 minutes.

In the meantime take a saucepan and and line with hay, 
some rosemary twigs and cut in half garlic cloves. 
After searing place the meat in the hay bed on top of the rosemary and garlic. 
Cover it with more rosemary twigs, garlic cloves and finally another layer of hay.
Then let it cook in the oven until rare/medium rare/medium...whatever you prefer.
Don't worry the hay won't burn!
It takes about 50 minutes at about 140-150ºC for the meat to be medium rare. 
We only have a gas oven and this is the lowest temperature we can cook it at. 
But feel free to cook it at lower temperature. 
It will take longer but the results will be even better, 
and the chances to f**k it up will be quite minimal.

When done cooking, remove the hay and wrapped in aluminium foil, 
let the meat rest for 10-15 minutes.

Slice the meat in thin slices... 

...and serve with a salad,  horseraddish and a smooth red.