Wednesday, October 29, 2008

White beans curry


I saw this packet of white beans at the grocery store and felt like trying it out. I have tried a different variety of white beans, the Italian Cannellini very often, but not this one so far. A couple of days later, when I was going to prepare the white beans, after soaking them for 12 hours (!!!) as per the instructions on the packet, I saw this pile of apples I had from my neighbours house, and thought of the recent post I had seen at Deesha's blog Vegetable Platter, where she had prepared an Apple daal. I felt doing my experiment with white beans. These are a very mild, but tasty variety of apples, but, which taste best only once they are ripe. Half of these apples fall on our side of the house and our neighbours, an elderly couple, said that we could use the apples if we wanted, so I collected some of them. I didn't remember to take a photograph, but they resemble the "Boskob" variety a lot. The neighbour is also not sure, but thinks the same.
So, I washed and cored one apple and cut it up and used it for my Indian style white beans.
Now, it was only after I had prepared the beans that I got to know that these beans are the ones used for the famous American (or even British?) "baked beans". And then I thought "Of course...they look the same too!" . Although, I have yet to come across a "baked beans" which tastes good to me. Maybe it is time to prepare this dish myself......

White beans curry


Ingredients:

1 cup white beans, soaked overnight or for 8 hours with at least 4 times the quantity of water
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cooking apple, washed, cored and cubed
2 cups water
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8th tsp asafoetida, crushed with the flat side of a large knife on a cutting board

Chaunk (Tadka):
2 tbsp oil (I used one each of rapeseed- and sunflower oil)
1tsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander seeds, ground
1/4 tsp red chili powder or to taste
1 large onion, halved vertically and chopped finely
1 clove garlic, finely grated or chopped
1/2 inch ginger, grated or chopped
1 large tomato, chopped coarsely
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 pinch black salt

Method:
  • Change the water of the soaked beans in between (reduces the substances from the beans causing flatulence)
  • Cook the beans in 2 cups fresh water in a pressure cooker for about 15 minutes*
  • Add cubed potatoes and apple, and turmeric and salt and cook for another 10 - 15 minutes*
  • In a fry pan, heat oil on medium high heat and add the spices so that they splutter
  • Immediately add the garlic, ginger and onion and stir and fry till the onion becomes golden
  • add the tomatoes and the tamarind paste and cook till the required firmness or softness of tomatoes
  • Add to the cooked beans along with black salt and mix
  • Serve warm with rotis or steamed basmati rice, or even buttered toasted bread slices
*NOTE:
  • If you do not have a pressure cooker, then you would require at least 1 hour of cooking in a covered vessel
  • Depending on the pressure cooker used, the cooking times could vary, something one has to figure out on ones own,
  • The cooking time also depends on the size of the cooker and the quantity of food.
  • Usually the smell of the cooked food can also be an indication.
  • Use the booklet accompanying the pressure cooker for guidance.
This curry turned out really good and I loved eating it. I would have loved to add some more spices, but restrained bacause of sonny boy, who has yet to learn eating spicy food. And hubby...well....let's put it this way: He didn't complain, and on being asked even said "good", but also told me that he didn't like the apples in the curry. So, it is also a matter of taste. And that means, for my family's sake this is probably the last time that I prepared it with apples. But, I had good fun doing this small and successful experiment! And it was a really good combination too, if you like it, like I did. Otherwise you wouldn't have seen it here.

I'm sending this off to My Legume Love Affair, Fourth Helping started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and being hosted this month by Sra of When My Soup Came Alive.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin halwa with Butternut squash


I wanted to make a nice sweet for Diwali this year (on 28th October-if you want to know more about Diwali, go here). It had to be something special, but no kheer or the kinds, and I was in no mood for gajar halwa (carrot halwa). Somehow I don't like the taste of these orange carrots found here despite cooking them in milk and adding cream or butter or ghee. But then I remembered the event Tried and Tasted by the Zlamushka and thought of Indira and her wonderful blog Mahanandi.

While searching, I came across this yummy recipe there and I knew it was just the right thing for Diwali. Something totally new to me. I have never made any other halwa with vegetables except for gajar halwa (carrot halwa). And I was on the look out for something simple but Indian to make at home for Diwali. And on seeing this recipe, I knew this one had to be it. On reading further, I found that she was using butternut squash, a North American variety which is not so common here, but I had seen it the last time I had gone to Edeka, a supermarket which usually has a large variety of things, including the lactose free milk products for my son I'm so thankful about and fruits and vegetables from all over the world. Now, these were not brought from some far off place but rather grown locally here, but still is something fancy with fancy prices too! But, I had made up my mind and went to buy my very first ever butternut squash and brought it home and began my experiment, which reallly turned out to be one.....!Before I continue, a very concise information on the health benefits of pumpkin is here at About.com. The main features are the high amounts of beta-carotines, a part of the pro vitamin A found in pumpkin, high amount of potassium - a very important mineral for a healthy cellular functioning, and it is high in fiberes. Although raw pumpkin also contain good amounts of Vitamin C, I'm not sure how much of it remains after cooking or baking. And I think it is a well known that pumpkin seeds have the repuation of helping against prostrate problems and incontinence.

Butternut Squash Halwa

Based on the recipe from Indira's Mahanandi


Ingredients:

1 Butternut squash (1,6 kg), peeled and grated
3 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
1 1/2 l Milk (low fat lactose free)
2 cups sugar, or adjust to suit your taste
8 caradamoms
3 tbsp rosewater
1/2 cup almonds, soaked overnight or in hot water for about 2 hours, and chopped
1/2 cup ground almonds with skin, readymade



Method:

  • Cook the milk and sugar on medium low heat till it thickens and reduces to one fourth its quantity - mine became quite brown with time, maybe because I ket the heat to about medium high and later medium and while I cooked it in a deep pan I needed 1 1/2 hours instead of the 40 minutes as in the original recipe (explaination: Maillard reaction?!)
  • In the mean while grate the squash
  • grind the caradamom seeds to a fine powder and chop the almonds - I did not grind it to a fine paste like in the recipe, but used ready made ground almonds for it
  • heat ghee in a large saute pan and cook the peeled and grated butternut squash in it till it turns yellowish and soft - I cooked it for very long and it had become quite soft, but mine never turned orange like in the original recipe
  • Once done add the thickened brown khoya or kova to the pumpkin and the ground cardamom and almonds as well as the chopped almonds and the rose water and stir to mix evenly.
  • My pumpkin had turned very soft and mushy and I had to cook it for another half an hour and later again for another half an hour bake in the oven at 120 °C and let cool in a slightly open oven till it thickens
  • Place them on the table and let it cool down. Cut it into pieces - very soft pieces!
NOTE:
  • Although I have cut it into pieces, it was so soft that one can only eat it with a fork or spoon and not with ones hands.
  • It became quite sweet as I didn't take into consideration that at the end the quantity would reduce. One could easily reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup. But, it was just the way I actually like it!
My verdict, despite all the differences that appeared compared to the original recipe - Fabulous!...Great taste!!... Marvelous!!! And a wonderful recipe!
I'm very happy to have made it for Diwali. Something I'm surely proud of, as I have never made something sweet with pumpkin before. And what I loved about Indira's recipe was the method of preparing the halwa. First prepare the thickened khoya and then after cooking the vegetable or fruit for short, be it pumpkin or whatever, mix the both.
Genial! Unlike the way I know and have tried so far where you add everything together and cook it for very long. This is one way of cooking I'm surely going to adapt more often, for sure!
This recipe goes to Zlamushka's T&T event: Mahanandi.

And of course, how could I forget to send it to the Festival Jivha being hosted by Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasons, which I was so happy to discover and A Fruit A Month (AFAM), an event started by Maheshwari of Beyond the Usual and being hosted this month by Madhuram.

And I just realised, now that it has turned brown, it would be a good entry for the event Food in colours: Brown at Sunshinemom's Tongueticklers for this month too! So, be it!


Now, the list of events to which this blog post is going is getting longer an longer!
But this one has to be, I feel, which I just saw and feel is very appropriate for this event:
Time to be Thankful at Ivy's Kopiaste

Friday, October 24, 2008

A hearty dinner with fish and potato casserole and the sustainable seafood event

Eating fish in a sustainable way, without a bad conscience? Yes, it is possible. But, no, it isn't an easy task.
Not, once you know what is happening with the seas, how they are being overfished and what ways are being used to destroy the marine ecosystems. The news is everywhere, but somehow nobody seems to care. Atleast not the governments. It is all left to the individual to decide what they want to do.
I had been reading about fishes being overfished since many years now. But, since we weren't such big fish eaters, I didn't bother. And when we did buy, we bought these cultured trouts (German: Forelle) from the fish shop, baked them with some vegetables and wine in the oven and that's it. But, with time I learned that frozen fish is as good, still it was rare that we bought fish. And the couple of fish names I got to know through the newspapers, I started avoiding them. I rememeber some, like Atlantic cod (Kableau), or the halibuts (Heilbutt) and the hakes (Seehecht) and the European plaice (Scholle). And then I got a baby. And to put it simply, we started eating fish more often. We bought that which was offered in the cold shelves of supermarkets, usually Redfish (Rotbarsch) or Alaska pollock (Alaska-Seelachs) and also Zander (closely related to perch) and salmons sometimes.
So, if you are well informed about the state of the oceans and their (over-)fishing, then there is nothing so great about it. But, then you assume that the governments must be taking required steps and doing controls etc. What a fool I was. My sister in law expressed her concerns about it once when we had gone out for dinner. That was about a couple of years back. So, I checked the greenpeace website, as she also said to have this information from them. And I actually found a list of fishes to avoid. But, then the whole thing started for me, where I got to know more and more about these reports and I saw and read more and more and went into more details adn the more i read the more horrified I was. In a way, I shouldn't have been surprised. What else does one expect, fish eating has almost become like a trend. Being more healthy and the exquisiteness associated with them and now we can all afford everything, we don't need to be rich to eat fish or meat every day if we want. But, when you look deeper into the matter - you don't have to look so deep, though- the moment you get to know of the methods of fishing being used, you don't have to think long to realise the the huge impact of these on the oceans and the ecosystems in them. Wonder what is left of that now, after we have been ruthlessly, and I really mean it - ruthlessly, overfishing the oceans. So, I'm not surprised that my SIL has stopped eating fish.
I haven't stopped it. I am still in a phase where I am trying to figure out a way to combine both: of taking up my responsibility and not waiting for the others to do it, and at the same time being able to do something as simple as eating fish now ans then.
Since I have got to know of this and realised it, we have reduce eating fish a lot. Also, because Rishab gets his "healthy" portion in the kindergarten (Now, don't ask me what fish they eat there, I don't know and I am not in a postion yet to question them, not yet atleast). But, still the urge to eat it is there and I do want to know what and how I can do it to be able to eat fish without a bad conscinece. Initially I thought it is going to be simple, just leave out the ones you want, but then the more I looked the more difficult it became. We love shrimps or prawns and I still have to figure out which one are Ok, if there are any. As for warm water prawns , they are not Ok. And I was happy to know that the cold water shrimps (Pandalus borealis) I can buy here are a good choice, but I'm not so sure any more. It is not so easy to get the right information ans noby seems to care. All the restaurents, the canteens and the whole market. All the endangered stocks of fishes are being exploited and nobody seems to care. I would love to get hold of a good German source about it.
I think I have written enough. This post was my vent to my thoughts. But, before I end this I also want to give you the information i have been able to collect here at my blog. This post was meant to be shorter and now I would finally write about the recipe I want to post here.
I had initially planned to make something else and I ended up making this, something totally different, another one of my experimenst which worked out!
I wanted to make "Rotkohl" with this not-so-red pointed cabbage. It is a variety which looks like cross between red cabbage and a pointed (green) cabbage. I'm not sure of "pointed cabbage" is the correct name, this is how we call this variety of cabbage here, which in my opinion tastes much like the Indian variety than does the "traditonal" German white ones.
I wanted to bake the potatoes with some broccoli pieces in a white sauce and in addition have a red cabbage side dish, as it is traditonally made with apples. I had choosen a recipe from Le Cordon Bleu: Vegetables (the German version of it), a series of books brought out by the cooking school Le Cordon Bleu. It is a simple but tasty recipe I liked immediately. But, then one thing led to the other and I decided to modify and bake this preparation along with the potatoes.

Potato Red Cabbage Casserole
with Pan fried Fish (see below)

Ingredients:

6 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 5 mm (1/5th inch) thick round slices
1/2 broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 red cabbage, quartered and thinly sliced (I used a pointed cabbage variety)
salt to taste
1 large red onion, halved vertically and thinly sliced
1 cooking apple, thinly sliced into small pieces
1 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar, depending on its strength and to your taste

White sauce:
30 g butter (about 2 heaped tbsp)
30 g all purpose flour (about 2 heaped tbsp)
300 ml milk (or soya milk)
100 ml water (or the broth of the potatoes)
1 1/2 tsp vegetable broth (powder)
1/2 tsp salt , or to taste
1 tbsp soya cream (17% fat)
chilli powder or black (or white) pepper


Method:
  • Cook the potatoes in water for 15 minutes on medium heat, they should not be cooked through
  • Cook the broccoli and red cabbage(1) slices for 3-5 minutes(2) till they are slightly tender (not cooked through)
  • In the meantime heat butter in a fry pan on medium heat and add the onion slices and stir
  • Add the apples and cook both till they begin to take a nice brown colour, reduce heat if required and then set aside
  • Prepare white sauce :
    • melt butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour
    • stir till it is roasted without turning brown(3) and has a nice aroma and throws bubbles
    • remove from heat and while whisking add milk,
    • keep whisking, add water and the vegetable broth powder
    • whisk till you have a smooth mixture
    • put it back on the heat and cook on high heat while stirring with the whisk till it starts boiling
    • reduce heat to medium or medium low so that it keeps throwing bubbles
    • cook for another 3 minutes while whisking
    • it will thicken, add the soya sauce and stir
    • remove from heat and check the salt and add pepper or chili powder to taste, set aside
  • Remove the vegetables and place in a bowl, add the vinegar and mix carefully to get back the red/pink colour of the cabbage
  • Remove the potatoes and place in a colander to let drip and then place in a baking casserole porcelein baking dish
  • Layer the vegetables over the potatoes, followed by the fried onion and apples
  • and pour the sauce ovet it
  • bake in a preheated oven at 165°C (150°C convection) for 20-30 mnutes till it gets a nice brown colour on top
  • serve warm with fish or meat of choice or just eat wit some bread(4)
NOTE:
the quantity of vegetables can be increased and it can be baked with a layer of grataed cheese of choice on top
  1. the red cabbage on adding to hot water turns violett, but it will get back its colour the moment vinegar is added to it.
  2. Blanching the vegetables together with the potatoes saves energy, but they can also be cooked / blanched separately
  3. Roast the flour in butter on medium low heat so that it does not turn brown, but remains whitish yellow
  4. If it is to be use as a vegetarian meal:
    • the quantity of vegetables can be increased
    • and it can be baked with a layer of grated cheese of choice


Pan Fried Fish:
for 3 servings

Ingredients:
3-4 Fish filets (I used frozen MSC certified Alaska Pollock)
juice of one lemon
salt
pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten (optional)- I left out this step
2-3 tbsp all purpose flour
olive oil for frying

Method:
  • To fry the fish, thaw it, wash it once and pat dry.
  • Then let it marinate in the lemonjuice, salt and pepper.
  • Before starting to fry the fish, dip in the egg (I left out this step) and then roll the fish filets in the flour on a large plate to coat them properly.
  • heat olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat.
  • Place the fish filets in the pan and cover with a lid
  • After a few minutes change sides,
  • Be careful not to break the pieces, if the fish sticks to the base, reduce heat if required
  • Cook for another few minutes untill you get a nice brown colour
  • Don't cook for too long as it will get dry otherwise.
  • Serve with a lemon wedges to sprinckle on it.
Enjoy it while it is still warm and juicy! Guten Appetit!

Now, hubby is not a very big fan of white sauces, but just as I had guessed the fried onion and apples had given so much flavour to the casserole that he appreciated it a lot and sonny boy was picking out the onions lie always, whenever he saw any large pieces, even though I had tried to slice them really fine. This made a wonderful combination with the fish. The slightly sweet and a hint of sourness from the white wine vinegar in the casserole and the fish with the thin brown crust was wonderful.
This one goes to a very special event "Teach a Man to Fish" at Jacqueline's wonderful blog The Leather District Gourmet. I am really happy to be able to take part in this event. I had seen the one from last year and it was good to see others who think like oneself. I'm really looking forward to this years round up.

This is my packet of MSC certified Alaska pollock or walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Birthday, the Day of German Unity and Apple Cheese Pie!

It was Friday, the 3rd of Oktober. It was the Day of German Unity and my sister's birthday. It being a holiday, we had all the reasons to celebrate them - one being an excuse for the other. I always tell my sister, "you see, the whole of Germany is celebrating your birthday!" :D
I wasn't sure of what cake to bake, except that it had to be something with quark, as this time I had bought for the first time lactose free quark for my son, as he is on a lactose free diet. So, it had to be a cheese cake, as we call them here. It is nothing to be compared with the American recipes, as these cakes are called cheese cake because of the quark present in them.
But, then I found that I didn't have any canned fruits at home to use for the cake and none of the fruits I had in the fruit basket were appropriate for a cake, except for the apples. "Apples in a cheese cake.?!" I thought. I had come upon a recipe in one book, but not satisfied I decided to search further in the internet and came upon a lovely recipe - a very tempting one with pictures at Chefkoch.de. It was a time consuming recipe, but the efforts paid off at the end, to my relief. As, this time I wasn't sure of the results.

Apple Cheese Pie
Recipe from Chefkoch.de

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Resting time (includes further preparation time): 1 hour
Baking time: 55-60 minutes
Baking temperature: 170°C (150°C convection)
For 1 Springform (Ø 26 cm)

Ingredients:

Crust:
250 g all purpose flour (I used type 405)
125 g butter
1 pinch salt
30 g sugar
1 egg (I used an egg white in addition)

500 g apples (4-5 apples), peeled, cored and sliced
juice of 1 lemon

Cheese layer:
500 g quark (low fat)- I used lactose free quark
2 tbsp oil
200 g sugar
30 g cornstarch (or any edible starch)
zest of 1 lemon
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites

Top layer (custard):
2 egg yolks
200 ml heavy cream (I used lactose free cream)
50 g sugar
1 envelop vanilla sugar
1/2 tbsp cornstarch (or any edible starch)


Method:
  • Quickly prepare a pie crust by kneading all the ingredients together
  • Place in bowl covered with a clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour
  • In the mean time wash a lemon under hot water, zest it and keep the zest aside
  • Sqeeze out the lemon juice, peel, core and cut the apples, sprinckle lemon juice over the slices
  • Beat all the ingredients of the cheese layer except for the egg whites to make a fluffy quark cream
  • beat the egg whites in a deep bowl to make it stiff*(1) and gently fold it in(2) the quark cream to make the cheese layer
  • beat all the ingredients of the top layer together
  • grease the bottom and sides of the springform
  • Roll out the crust and place over it, followed by the cheese layer, then the apples and then the custard (top layer)
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 170 °C (150°C convection) for 55 - 60 minutes(3)
*NOTE:
  1. It is very important that no traces of egg yolk or fats are found in the bowl or on the egg beater while beating the egg whites. They say that the eggwhites should not fall out on turning the bowl upside down
  2. To fold in the egg white, don't use an egg beater, but use a spatula for slow downwards and upwards rotating movelments
  3. I baked the cake at 160°C convection for 45 minutes and kept it in ther oven after swithing it off for another 10 minutes
We all enjoyed eating this delicious cake. It got late by the time I finished it and Rishab just about managed to eat it before he could brush his teeth and go to bed. I purposefully left out the ground or chopped nuts, which I usually like to add to cake crust or batter and also the raisins, as this time both hubby and sonny boy unanimously agreed on not wanting any raisins! I also felt that this cake could do without them. Rich as it already was with quite a number of eggs I am not used to. It was also my luck that I had just bought some eggs and had a good stock on eggs to be able to make this cake. If this cake did not have so many eggs and wasn't so time consuming I would readily make it again. But, now I would ove to try it out with a new ingredient I have discovered at Madhuram's Egglesscooking.com as an egg replacement.
But, this recipe, as it is, is a wonderful recipe and is worth all the efforts put in it. And it is versatile enough that one can easily replace the fruits with anything else of choice. If I were to grade it, it would get an A+ from me and my family.
And I'm sending this over to wonderful Ivy's wonderful Sweet Pies event at Kopiaste.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chocolate muffins

I feel like I have made them hundreds of times. Whenever we have friends over, which usually means Rishab's friends rather than ours, I practically toss everything together and put them in the oven to bake ready while I finish up the rest of things before we expect our guests. Most of the time it is last minute preparations. Muffins are so easy to make, require small amounts of everything, can even be made without eggs, easily, and are ready so fast, in about 40 to 50 minutes if you are quick and use a simple recipe like this one.
Chocolate muffins, we love them and they are my son's favorites. Well... now that I think of it, it isn't that easy to decide, but he never says no to chocolate in any form! Maybe also because he does not get it so often. I made them quite spontaneously and found all the ingredients I needed for that, most important of it: chocolate of course!

Chocolate Muffins
(Basic recipe)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 25- 30 minutes

Dry Ingredients:
250 g (10 oz) all purpose flour
3 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
50 -60 g (1 1/2 -2 oz) dessicated coconut, grated (optional)

Filling:
12 large or 24 smaller pieces of any type of chocolate like chocolate chips, 6 bountys - halved, chocolate filled with whole hazelnuts, or with raisins and nuts or with almonds, or even chocolate with biscuits

Wet Ingredients:
3 tbsp apple puree/ yoghurt (instead of 1 egg)
200 g yoghurt
75 ml sunflower oil
125 g sugar
1 envelop Bourbon vanilla sugar (or use a teaspoon of vanilla extract)

Glaze:
1 packet (200 g ) chocolate couverture/icing, melted in a water bath or double boiler on low medium heat

Method:
  • Mix the dry ingredients evenly in a bowl
  • add the chocolate pieces now or later, just before pouring the batter into the muffin tin
  • In a large bowl stir the wet ingredients together for short
  • Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix everything for short with a spoon, just to make everything wet
  • DO NOT STIR anymore!
  • Quickly spoon the batter into the muffin tins, if the chocolate is not already inside, add the pieces into each of the muffin moulds
  • And bake at 165 °C in convection oven (175 °C electric) for 25-30 minutes
  • Check with a knife after 25 minutes if they need to be baked further or not.
  • In the meantime melt the chocolate couverture/icing and dip the muffins into it by turning them upside down and
  • place them on a plate to cool down or serve warm
  • If desired, you can always serve these with some whipped cream or chocolate sauce instead of the couverture

I made these muffins with bounty chocolates. I just halved them and tucked each piece into each muffin pan for the 6 muffins I made. I used to make 12 muffins, but then I realised that you end up collecting too many and eating them all away is doing no good to our healths, so I started making them with half the quantity and it works out great! And at the end you are left with no muffins anymore either...... to my relief!
It is wonderful to bite into these chocolaty
Can you get bored of these muffins? Nooooo...........!! Not of course! Not us.

I'm sending this over to the Event Food in colours: Brown, this months colour, at Sunshinemom's Tongueticklers.


And now about one more thing which is special. I never realised what was happening until I saw this article in The Daily Telegraph. I was contacted by someone to give my views to some questions three days before she was supposed to publish her article. I somehow felt like answering the questionnaire, but due to time stress wrote in quick short answers, but to the point. And then the whole thing was forgotten. And then I got an email from the author sending me this link. I was a pleasantly surprised. Hubby dear, who does not care so much about my blogging, when he heard about it on phone while I had called him up for some other matters, even he was happy and said "and you are telling this to me so casually!" I was totally taken aback by his response and it actually made me feel good. Well, food blogging is in trend, so they are being talked about in the media. But, it was fun and somewhat exciting too to see my name and that of my blog in the newspapers!

I'm sending these muffin to Madhuram's Egg replacement event: pureed fruits taking place between 18th November and 31 December 2008.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Home grown tomatoes and my first ever Tomato sauce!

It was a very spontaneous decision to buy three tomato plantlets whe I saw them in the market. I was amazed at how well they grew in my kitchen garden. I also learnt for the first time a few basic things about tomatoes, like, for example, that one needs to pinch off the side shoots just when they start to show up. If they have grown a bit longer then just cut them up and throw them down on the ground where the tomato is growing, apparently they like it. And for the first time I got many tomatoes, but usualy one or two at a time and also with long waitings in between. But then, my happiness knew no bounds when I for the first time, after waiting for so long, got enough tomatoes to be able to make something like a chutney or a sauce.
So, I started searching for some recipes and came across a number of good ones. But then I settled for this one at Aayi's recipes as this seemed to me to be the closest to how I imagined my chutney with a number of ingredients I also wished to have in my preparation.

Tomato sauce

Based on the recipe of Tomato pickle at Shilpa's Aayis Recipes

Ingredients:

1 kg tomatoes, washed and chopped finely (all from my kitchen garden!)
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 tsp Sesame seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 large garlic cloves, grated or crushed
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp tamarind paste (also works as an acidifier)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (I left it out)
5 g citiric acid (1packet of Dr. Oetker)-neccessary to make the sauce acidic enough
1 tsp whole cane sugar (jaggery)
3 1/2 tbsp gelly sugar (contains pectin in addition)
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 pinch red chilli powder (or to taste)


Method:
  • Roast the 3 seeds in rapeseed oil in a deep saucepan till they smell good on medium heat
  • add the tomatoes, stir and cook for further 5 minutes
  • add the remaining ingredients, mix and cook for another 5 minutes covered
  • Remove the saucepan from heat and puree with a hand blender
  • Cook further for another 10 minutes covered*
  • store in boiled jars with twist off lids (check the link)
  • And let them cool down before placing them in the fridge
I used the leftover gelly sugar I had from my previous experiments I'll be talking about soon to make the sauce a bit thicker, as my tomatoes were very watery. Maybe had I used a larege flat frypan or sauté pan it would have thickened faster, but I think if you want to preserve something for long it is better to use a deeper saucepan and the lid should be kept covered , keeping the spoon with a long handle in the pan all th time, so there is some space for the steam to escape as wll.

*NOTE:
Cook for atleast 10 minutes or longer, till you feel that it can be preserved for long in that state.
Do read the guide lines of canning in my link before trying to preserve yorself, if you are a beginner.

And now coming to the results. I made a sauce , at least a tomato sauce like this for the first time. And all i can think of is, "why did I wait sooooo long to try it?!". It is such a wonderful taste I have never tasted before in a tomato sauce. I love this sauce and it will surely go into my tried and tasted and passed recipes which are then preserved in my precious folder with such special recipes. Thank you Shilpa for this wonderful experience which I could have with my home grown tomatoes!

This post goes to this month's MBP event started by Coffee and being hosted this month by Rachel of Tangerine's Kitchen.

And of course I will send this one to Grow your own at Andrea's Recipes, being hosted this time by Andrea herself, the initiator of this wonderful event.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Zucchini Bread

Last weekend I realised that I had a packet of fresh bakers yeast which waas getting old and I needed to use it to make something or I may have to throw it away. So, I decided to make something with Zucchini and since I also got to know about the World Day of Bread, I thought it fits perfectly.
And how perfect it fit...! The bread was just perfect, it rose perfect, it smelled perefect, it looked perfect (well... almost!), and it was a perfect dinner for us, which we -sunny boy, hubby and me - enjoyed with some butter and my home made tomato-apple-onion chutney, which I had made on the same day. Now my list of jams and chutneys which I want to post about is getting bigger, but somehow I am just not getting the time for it. But, I plan to do it this month for sure.


Now coming back to the bread, I used a recipe from the book I talk about a lot. These were just guidelines for making a bread with vegetables, but good enough for me to be able to make my own proportions and I was happy that it turned out good. And I must say that I had actually planned to make a whole wheat version, but when I started collecting the ingredients, I realised that I had no whole wheat flour anymore, but enough of type 1050 and 550. So, I thought " well....that's even better", as that was like a guarentee that the bread will rise well. But, I will try it out with whole wheat flour too.

Zucchini Bread

Recipe from "Backen Köstlich wie noch nie (GU)"

Baking temp. : 200 °C (180 °C Convection oven)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Proofing time: about 2 hours in total
Baking time: 40-50 minutes**

Ingredients:

300 g wheat flour type 1050
200 g wheat flour type 550
1/2 cube (21 g) fresh yeast
1 tsp sugar
50 ml lukewarm water
200 g Zucchini, grated coarsely
1 tbsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
1 tsp cumin, freshly ground
1 level tsp salt
150 ml yoghurt or buttermilk


Method:
  • Mix both the flour types in a deep bowl and make a deep well
  • Add the sugar in the well and crumble the yeast over it and mix with sugar
  • Wait for 3 -4 minutes before adding about 50 ml lukewarm water to the yeast
  • Dissolve the yeast gently with the water, sprinkle with some flour
  • Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and keep at a warm place for 15 minutes
  • Add the remaining ingredients unless using buttermilk, add it slowly, and mix everything quickly and knead throughly
  • When using buttermilk, add it in small portions while kneading the dough
  • Make a round ball in the bowl, cover again with a kitchen towel
  • Let it rise at a warm place for an hour or until the dough doubles in volume
  • Punch it down and and knead it again throughly and place in a rectangular bread tin or simply over a baking tray
  • Let it rise again for about 30 minutes
  • make a few slanting cuts or one long cut on the bread surface
  • brush with some olive oil
  • Place in the preheated oven at 200°C (180 °C Convection) and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes**
** If the bread is baked in a bread tin, then bake for 50 minutes or
if put directly on the baking tray, for 35 - 40 minutes

As I already said, it was a delicious bread and we enjoyed eating this warm bread that evening fully and on the following days as well. And this is by far the best bread I have made so far. The crust was so good to bite into, which surely got the good flavour from the olive oil which I used quite generously on the bread. But, my journey with bread baking has just begun, which can only get more interesting. And I'm looking forward to some more experiments.

This is my entry to the event World Bread Day being hosted by Zorra of 1x Umrühren bitte.

3rd World Bread Day hosted by 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf

Update: by mistake I had published the post yesterday itself while I wrote the post. So, if you were here just aroud that time and were wondering then I'm sorry for the confusion!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pumpkin baked with Potatoes


Yesterday, it was a Sunday and I saw this lovely red organic Hokkaido pumpkin lying in my vegetable basket for much too long. With pumpkins you always take it easy. You buy when you see something nice and let it rest there with its other friends in the basket , thinking "it has time...."as you want to prepare something nice on a weekend when you have more time at hand". Now, I felt, it really was time and I also knew what I wanted to make.
Hubby dear was playing with Rishab or, so to say, giving in to all his demands of " Now...we'll do this ...." and a while later "..now let's read a book...this one of Rabe Socke..." So, I had the peace of mind to prepare the meal and many more things I had planned for the day. For me to be able to spend time in the kitchen at length undisturbed has become a luxury, now that sonny boy also requires his attention and I always loved to be in the kitchen, especially on weekends, as that was the best way I could relax... to cook a nice meal and enjoy it. Earlier I didn't have the time to cook so often like I do now, but the fun factor has still not gone and now blogging has surely added the icing on the cake.
Since I had chosen a recipe which has almost become like our family recipe, there wasn't much thought I had to give while preparing it. It just comes from the heart. You know what I mean...? I came up to it without referring to any recipes or books (blogs were unknown to me then). I have created it entirely trusting my own instincts and after trying to get a feel for the new fruit (variety) which it was then. Ever since the recipe has remained more or less constant with only a few small variations depending on my mood. As, this is our family favorite and we love to eat it this way every year in Autumn.
So, this time I did not put whole coriander seeds, but ground them in my coffee mill. And used a small bunch of fresh thyme leaves which I think go quite well with the Indian spices. Though, dried fenugreek leaves taste splendid with the pumpkin. And I always have pumpkin nuts and I somehow feel they should not be missing in the dish either.

Ingredients:

1 large Hokkaido pumpkin, seeds removed and cut into small pieces
6 potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into thick long slices / wedges
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, optional
2 large cloves garlic, grated or thinly sliced
2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or chopped fine
2-3 large tomatoes, sliced
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried herbs like thyme or dried fenugreek leaves
3 tsp salt, or to taste
4-6 tbsp olive oil

Roast separately:
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds,
2 tbsp coriander seeds,
1 tsp cumin,
6 cloves
2 star anise and
2-3 black cardamoms,
2 red chillies (or to taste),
10 peppercorns

Method:
  • Roast the whole spices one by one and, clean and cut the vegetables.
  • Mix all the ingredients together in a large porcelain baking dish
  • Bake for 1 hour in a preheated oven at 175°C (160°C Convection)
  • In between, take out and mix the vegetables
  • At the end check if the potatoes are done with a fork, if not extend time as required to up to 20 minutes or until done

Both of us just love this very nutty flavour of Hokkaido and its smooth texture as compared to other pumpkin varieties and this fruit stays quite high in our list of favorite vegetables. And this time it was no different.
We ate this pumpkin with some Arabic whole wheat flat breads (they are just like Indian rotis) which hubby had bought at a shop in the city centre. We had made them warm on a cast iron pan before eating. But, this is also a perfect side to a nice pan fried fish or chicken breast. A bowl of fresh green salad would have made it even more better, but we were happy with it alone this time, as we had already had large portions of fruit salad I had made as a small midday snack for us.
Now that I am writing this post, I'm thinking that I haven't tried using pumpkin seed oil which I have been wanting to since a while now. But, I could imagine that a green salad with white wine vinegar vinaigrette with a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil must be a perfect match to it. I really have to get a small bottle and try it.
This one goes to Sensational sides at Meeta's What's for lunch Honey being hosted by Ruth of Ruth's Kitchen Experiments this time.

And I'm sending this off to another wonderful event World Food Day created and being co-hosted by Val of More than Burnt Toast and Ivy of Kopiaste.


Update:
This recipe also goes to the AFAM Event started by Maheswari at Beyond the Usual and being hosted this month by Madhuram of Egglesscooking.com.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Savoury Pumpkin pie (Pikante Kürbis Torte)

This is a pie I saw at Kopiaste in her savoury pies event and it was her own entry to it. I instantly liked it and bookmarked the recipe and since the pumpkin season has started now, which means not just Hokaido, which you start getting in August itself, I didn't have to wait long to try it out.
And the results were just as I expected : Wonderrrrr...ful! Dellllll...icious!
Now this is one recipe which I know I will use to impress others at partys! " you know....this is a greek........... and ......called Badjina........." Ha! :D ( :[ as if I'm celebrating partys every month.....
:)
Ivy, thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!
I have actually tried another recipe of hers but will post it as soon as I get time for it.

Since I'm sending this recipe off to a "German" event -my very first ever(!!), the remaining post will be in German (for the original recipe please visit Ivy's blog here)Für den Fall, daß es tatsächlich jemandem aus dem Deutschen Sprachraum gibt, der das obige nicht versteht, ich erwähne es hier nochmals und noch mehr dazu.....:

Diese pikante Torte habe ich auf einem Food Blog "Event", wie es so schön heißt, entdeckt and mir lief schon das wasser im mund zusammen und wollte es unbedingt probieren. Da der Kürbis Saison schon angefangen hat, mußte ich nicht lange warten. Es ist eine Griechische torte Badjina, und wird ein ksevrakoti genannt, was so gut wie "die torte ohne unterhosen" heißt, da es dem der Teigboden fehlt. (Das Rezept findet ihr auch hier auf English auf Ivy's Blog Kopiaste).


Backtemp. : 180 °C (160 °C Umluft)
Vorbereitungszeit: 45 Minuten
Backzeit: 1 Stunde

Zutaten:

1,3 kg Fruchtfleisch von 1 mittelgroßen Kürbis, geraspelt (geschält und ohne kerne gewogen)
500 g Mehl (405)
500 g Maisgrieß
1 gestr. TL Backpulver
1 1/2 Tassen extra natives Oliven Öl
1 TL salz
500 g Feta (ein Teil musste ich mit Gouda ersetzten)**
100 g Ziegenkäse ( habe mit Camembert ersetzt )**
3 kleine Eier
2 EL Margarine oder Butter zum einfetten der Backform

(Das nächstes mal werde ich wohl genauer auf den Zettel schauen :P)

Zubereitung:
  • Kürbis schälen, und mit einer Reibe raspeln
  • Alle Zutaten bis auf eine Tasse Käse (ich habe dafür Gouda genommen) mischen, es müßte eine ordentlich feuchte Masse sein
  • Ein Backblech einfetten und die Kürbismasse reinfüllen
  • Im vorgeheizten Backofen auf 180 °C (Umluft 160 °C) für 1 Stunde backen, wenn es anfängt oben braun zu werden, dann ist es auch fertig
  • Warm mit ein paar Blätter Petersilie garniert servieren (diese waren sogar aus meinem eignen Garten!)
Guten Appetit!

**Da ich die Mengen für Feta falsch eingeschätzt hatte und beim Einkaufen nicht daran gedacht habe Ziegenkäse zu kaufen, habe ich sie dem entsprechend ersetzt. Was für ein Glück, daß ich so viel käse noch parat hatte! :´´( *wein*
Trotz der Pannen mit der Käsemengen und fehlender Käsesorten, war das Gericht einfach super lecker!! Sehr empfehlenswert! Wir haben sogar daraus unseren Hauptmahlzeit gemacht, mit einem einfachen Rukola-Gelbepaprika-rote Zwiebel Salat mit Viniagrette als Beilage. Aber trotzdem blieb einiges überig, das jetzt in unserem Gefrierfach ruht....
Wir sorgen für die Speckfalten für den bevorstehenden Winter, wo die Gas- und Öl-preise so wie so so hoch steigen..... können wir da vielleicht ansparen?!!

Blog-Event XXXIX - Quiche, Tarte & Co.
Diese Torte schicke ich zum BLOG-EVENT XXXIX - Quiche, Tarte & Co. , daß von Genial Lecker bei Zorra's 1x Umrühren bitte ausgerichtet wird. Es ist mein allererster Beitrag zu einem deutschen Blogevent, und daher bin ich doch irgendwie aufgeregt!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Going green...


....NO! not with envy!:)
But, with broccoli for an Event. These pictures were mainly inspired by this event started by the wonderful Sunshinemom at her blog Tongueticklers . Unfortunately I didn't manage to post them in time.
But, then I don't want it going waste. Delicious as it was.
It is a very simple recipe, but my favorite way of eating broccoli: when it is still crunchy, stirfried with lots of freshly ground coriander seeds and rape seed oil.

Ingredients:

1 broccoli , washed and cut into small florets
1 large red onion, sliced into thick pieces
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and julliened finely
2 small tomatoes, sliced into wedges (I used two from my kitchen garden)
2 tbsp rape seeds oil
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
2 tbsp corinader seeds, ground
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder, or to taste (I used a little lesser for my sonny boy!)
salt to taste

Method:
  • heat oil on medium heat in a wok or saute pan, add all the spices, stir once - the spices will throw out bubbles and cumin should splutter and add turmeric, garlic and ginger, stir once again shortly and add onion and keep stirring
  • soon after the onion starts to turn golden brown add the broccoli and stir again.
  • reduce heat, add a few tbsp water and salt and cover for about five minutes
  • remove lid and stir, if required one more tbsp of water let cook uncovered stirring in between for another few minutes
  • add tomatoes about a couple of minutes before the broccoli is done and has turned soft.
  • eat it with some basmati rice, or some daal (lentils) of your liking
NOTE:
  • cook broccoli to your desired crunchiness or softness. It can also be blanched before stir frying - thast helps it to turn softer from inside as well than stir frying. The crunchier, the healthier, and the rest depends on your liking.
  • before adding the spices in the first step, make sure the oil has turned hot. To test this, add one or two cumin seeds into it, they should immediately turn whitish because of throwing out steam bubbles in the oil and maybe make some noise too, if that is the case don't wait and have everything ready to add the spices to prevent the oil from getting too hot and preventing the spices to burn.
  • keep the vegetables ready before adding the spices to the oil. add them as soon as the spices have been stirred once and have spluttred (if that is the case, depending upon the vegetables), to prevent the spices from burning.
Although the broccoli turned out to be crunchier than expected (for hubby, for e.g., :I) Rishab enjoyed them, just like me. I find it hard to get the broccoli right and I try to keep it crunchier than making it too mushy, as that is something which none of us like. So, if you like it, keep it uncovered throughout, to prevent it from loosing its fresh green colour, which happens really fast.
But, on the whole it was just wonderful and we had it with arhar (toor) daal, my favorite daal and steaming hot basmati rice for dinner.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Home grown radishes


Rishab was being quite wild when it came to plucking flowers and leaves all the time. I thought that I might help him develop a little bit more sensitivity towards plants, if I let him sow the radish seeds I wanted to sow himself. Though I know he is quite young (3 years) and I keep hearing from mothers that it is normal, but I thought it was worth trying. Both Rishab and I sowed the seeds in the soil as per the instructions on the package. And now that I think of it, it seemed to have worked, at least to a certain extent.
Although we got quite a lot of radishes - about 2/3rd of all that we planted, I realised that they had not been planted deep enough. In the package they just said, 1 cm deep and I think many a times (luckily!) we sowed the seeds 2 cm deep. So, in many cases, though they grew (the leaves), the radish tuber didn't get thick and were protruding out of the soil and were thin like any other root, to our disappointment.
This was the first summers where I actually planted or sowed seeds for vegetables and I also got something at the end. Also the first time for radishes, but I think that is the easiest thing to do. Last year the slugs ate aways everything one by one, even before they could grow. This year I had sworn not to plant a single plant! :D "Why waste my energies with the bad weather here - cloudy and wet, cold and no sun, which in any case doesn't allow plants to grow", I thought.
But, come summer and the warmer days with it, and I again became optimistic about it. The last year was also a bad summer - wet, cold and little direct sunlight. These summers were again nothing so special, but good enough that I at least had some small successes, enough to motivate me to do some more gardening next year. Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Yes, this is no big deal I know, when I see so many blogger gardeners doing it in a big way, but this is my very first time ever!
So, what all did I plant this year in my garden. I planted some new herbs. I already had mint, oregano and a small plant of thyme from last year, but since I chose a wrong spot to plant them, where they were always in too much of shade, they didn't like it. So, last Fall I changed their position to another well lighted spot. It helped a lot this year. I planted some more herbs -sage, another variety of mint, and a wilting pot of organic chives which I had used up (it came so well) and two different strawberries. One of them I had mentioned in my earlier post. Tomatoes, this time they grew much better than I had expected, unlike last time. And bore fruit heavily, but, now that it has become cold, they don't like it any more. And i am forced to pluck the remaining ones which are not compeletely ripe. I think I waited too long to buy and plant them. It was a very spontaneous decision when i saw them and couldn't resist buying them. Don't know if it makes sense to buy a small glass house for it next year, if it will keep the tomatoes warmer. I realise that they don't like it wet and cold at all. well, time will tell. I am learning so much with such small experiments. And the best thing is the only fertiliser I used was this organic horn and hoof chippings /meal (German: Hornspäne) which help enrich the nitrogen content of the soil and is allowed for organic farming under the EU law.
But, I also have to mention that I actually had also bought zucchini seeds (or was it cucumber, I had cucumber seeds too) and wanted to plant them too. I had sown them in small pots in the house in Spring time. It was almost summers and after two weeks and already about 18-20 °C outside, I thought that I might as well transfer the seedlings outside. But, as it looks like, they got a climate shock and all wilted one after the other, to my big disappointment. That I didn't even bother to plant the other set of seeds (either cucumber of zucchini). Will have to check that in the packets I still have.
But, whatever, next year I will surely do some more sowing and planting and see what I get.
So, here is my humble recipe for a simple salad which we ate as a side with Italian dressing (oliveoil, white wine vinegar or lemon juice, salt and pepper, ad i also added some dijon mustard) which everyone added to his own salad bowl at lunch. I think key to a good sald is the dressing, which again depends on a good vinegar, which makes a world of difference in the taste. So, it is worht it to use natural vinegar, any kinds one likes. Some of my favorites are white wine vinegar - a lot of times flavoured with different herbs, sherry viengar, balsamico - white and dark, apple cidre vinegar. Right now I bought one flavoured with elderberry (Sambacus) must, a sweet and mild one - tastes good.
For the salad, I just cut up some cucmber and organic Iceberg from the local market, and radishes and chives from my own garden. The radishes were especially tasty. Spicy and pungent that my son found it hard to eat them! It was a totally new taste for him. I have noticed that here in the market you also get spicy radishes, but only during summers. I'm sending this to Grow Your Own event initiated by Andrea and taking place this fortnight (1st to 15th Oct.) at Maria's A Scientist in the Kitchen.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Oregano Omelet

Are you puzzled or startled? Or may be even shriek at the very thought of oregano in Omelet?
No...No...No! Don't worry...go ahead and read. Believe me. It is one beautiful, humble but tasty recipe.
It was weekend. Of course it was, as that is the only time I prepare eggs for breakfast, or eat eggs for that matter. All three of us got up and I saw these pink flowers of oregano blooming in my kitchen garden, looking so beautiful. Since I knew that these flowers are edible, my first thought was " why not make an omelet with these flowers?!" I asked Rishab, if he wanted eat an omelet with oregano flowers and he was so happy to hear that "Yaaaa....I want to eat it. Yaaa! with oregano flowers!...."I went and cut a few sprigs, before they all wilt and cannot be used anymore.
Servings: 3-4 servings
Preparation: 10 minutes
Baking: 3-5 minutes

Ingredients:

4 eggs
2 tbsp milk
salt to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper from the mill, or to taste
1 tbsp butter
8-10 fresh oregano leaves
6-8 fresh oregano flowers (bunches)

Method:
  • Beat the eggs with the milk and salt till light and frothy. Ideally it should become quite stiff
  • heat a fry pan on medium heat and add butter, spread evenly on the base and the sides by tipping it and swirling it
  • place the leaves and flowers evenly on the surface
  • add the egg froth over it carefully with a spoon or gently letting the froth to flow down while moving the and sprinkle with pepper
  • reduce heat a little, add a little more butter, if required from the sides to prevent it from sticking to the pan, and cover the pan with a lid until the omelet is almost not fluid anymore
  • turn the omelet carefully but quickly with a large spatula and switch off the heat and leave the pan on the stove for another minute before serving with bread rolls or toast
Added later: I forgot to mention about how it tasted. This was a wonderful taste, very new to me in an omelet and still was the right instinct to use it an omelet. Even my son enjoyed eating it. It is a very mild taste, nothing to be compared with dried oregano. I love this taste of fresh oregano in food and anybody who likes fresh oregano would surely love it in an omelet too.

This is my entry to the event 101 Recipes #1: Omelets I found just a couple of days back at the wonderful blog of Sangeeth.
Right now there are about 33 recipes and if nobody else has already submitted, mine is the 34th, so those still interested, go ahead and post your favorite omelet recipes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

cauliflower broccoli soup

I was looking for a good recipe with cauliflower, something simple but still to fill up the stomach and satiate the soul too. And I was also in the mood of trying a soup. But, didn't really know what. I had already bought some nice hazelnut bread rolls too. So, I googled with Food Blog Search and came upon this recipe from her blog. I think most of you know her. I had seen the name of her blog listed at quite many places (blogs), but never had a chance to really go through it. But this time I did it and found a number of wonderful recipes. Yes, I'm talking about 101 Cookbooks !
And this recipe really caught my fascination, and I knew that this would be our meal that evening. I followed the recipe as truly possible. Since I had bought one small cauliflower and one small broccoli , both being organic, I also added broccoli to the recipe and instead of using Gorgonzola - for two reasons - I didn't have any and secondly it would have made the flavour for us, at least for my sonny boy, too strong, I opted for some alpine cheese and some Grana padano instead, which she had also talked about in her post - of substituting the cheese. And I used lactose free sour cream (10% fat) instead of creme fraiche. And I also added a chopped potato and a piece of ginger to the soup.For the garnishing, parsley had been suggested, which I think is a wonderful combination.
But, I wasn't keen on cutting the parsley in my pot on the terrace yet, which wasn't as optimal in its size - it was still growing. So, I thought of giving the recipe another PG-twist! I made a totally different garnishing - with an Indian touch. I cut up one large potato into fine cubes and fried it in olive oil along with cumin seeds and finely cut onion rings. For hubby and myself, I also fried a couple of whole red chillies in the oil at the end. And served it with the flavourful hazelnut bread rolls, which is a speciality of a bakery nearby.
Now i have made broccoli and cauliflower soups and usually don't even look for recipes for that. But this time it just so happened. And it was very good change to our regular meals, as I am not so much into soups generally, but every now and then I do feel like it. And this was a new recipe for me. Rishab, like always ate up all the bread and had to be practically blackmailed to eat his soup. NO soup - NO "Princessin" (author Tony Ross), a 10 minutes programme he is allowed to watch along with the 10 minutes "Sandmännchen" which follows it where Sandmännchen carrys a bag of "sleep-sand" and at the end of the cartoon he throws out a handful to make the children sleepy (at least in the cartoon!).
Usually he does try the food and a lot of times he realises that it wasn't bad at all, and he ate a little bit of the soup in fact, which means it has to be a good one.
The meal made a wonderful combination in my opinion and I can recommend it further to all, especially who are on the look out for simple and quick but tasty meals.