Sunday, June 24, 2012

From Cologne to Milan

I went to Cologne on Friday where I had the possibility to see the archaeological excavation around the famous cathedral. It was amazing to see the work of the archaeologists live. They were digging in 2000 years of history. I saw excavations of ancient Roman vaults from the 2nd century CE, ruins of Jewish houses from the 11th/12th century and the oldest inscription North of the Alps in Hebrew language from the 12th/13th (?) century. The areal around the cathedral was first the Roman settlement, later the Jewish quarter for ages. It was amazing to be part of it and it was a strange feeling to watch into a Roman fountain or a medieval Jewish sewer. In that sewers the archaeologists found 800 years old slates with texts written in Hebrew, Yiddish and German in Latin letters. Because of a ban of photography I can not post any pictures here, but I'd like to show you some pictures which I think about they are legendary.

I wrote from Cologne to Milan, so back to my kitchen blog: My granny asked me to bake again the Milan cake I made one week ago. I doubled the ingredients and made it in a larger baking pan. It took me exactly 15 min. to prepare it. It's really a fast cake.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Most Awful Pancakes

I made pancakes today from this recipe What can I say, they were the most awful pancakes I have ever eaten. But they were really fluffy so I am going to do them again. I know where the problem is. When I read that I should add 1 teaspoon of salt for only one cup of flour I though "it just can't be". I reduced it to 1/2 teaspoon and they still were too salty. So, next time I'll skip the salt and add 1 tablespoon more sugar, I will add some cinnamon and vanilla extract and double the recipe because it was only enough for one person. The recipe was not bad at all but you should not follow it the way it is. So my idea is:
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp backing powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
That's the way I usually make my pancakes an I am pretty sure that they will taste great with this small modifications next time. Use a non-stick pan for the pancakes. You know that you have to turn the pancakes if you can see the air bubbles. I used some marmolade, a nectarine and yogurt for the topping.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Do you know Schwäbische Maultaschen?

My home and especially my desk is a big mess. I have only two days to finish a law paper I am going to talk about next Saturday. The script has to be finished until Monday. The only thing I have time for is cooking coffee and running to the supermarket to buy something done I only have to heat up. But also in this case, although I hate fast food, I am paying attention to buy something organic and quite "usual". So my rescue this Friday were Schwäbische Gemüsemaultaschen, which we could translate as Swabian pasta squares filled with vegetables. I always buy them when I know that I have only a few minutes time to cook something. I still had some tuna from the yesterday pizza, so I made a sauce: Tuna, onions, milk, yogurt, white wine, herbs, pepper and some flour. I warmed up the pasta squares and then cut them in small pieces and put to the sauce. Tomorrow, because I am going to spend the day in the library, I'm going to eat something in the city. Sometimes also kitchen devils like me have no time to cook. Wish me luck for the next 2 days.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fast Pizza

This is one of my favourites: tuna pizza. Yes, I am vegetarian but I do eat fish. I use my bread baking machine for making the yeast dough, because it means I really have no work. My trick is to prepare the dough the evening before I know I am going to bake pizza and put it to the refrigerator for the night. The pizza dough tastes than better than when I prepare the dough before baking. The recipe for the dough is very easy. If you have a bread baking machine, just follow the instructions. If you don't, so prepare it as you would usually prepare a yeast dough.

All you need is:
  • 3/4 oz (20 g) fresh yeast
  • 11 fl oz (310-320 ml) water
  • 18 oz (500 g) flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Mix the yeast with the water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Put it to the machine.
  2. Add the flour and the salt and olive oil.
  3. Choose the dough programme. It should be ready after around 1.5 h.
  4. Put the dough for around 12 h to the refrigerator.
  5. Use only one part of the dough for your pizza, the other one you can deep freeze for the next time.
  6. Use whatever you want as topping for the pizza.
  7. Bake it around 20-25 min.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Milan Cake

I've found an old baking book which I got from my neighbour who passed away a couple years ago. I had a few minutes time and saw an interesting and fast recipe for a cake. It was called "Milan Cake". The recipe was really easy and the food processor made the whole job. So here's the recipe:

  • 2 eggs
  • 5 oz (150 g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla sugar or some vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon OR cardamon (I used cinnamon)
  • a few drops of lemon flavour
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl oz / 120 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (8fl oz / 240 ml) milk
  • 7 oz (200 g) flour, all purpose
  • 2 oz (50 g) starch flour / cornstarch
  • 2-3 tsp baking powder (not baking soda!)
  1. Mix the eggs + sugar + vanilla sugar + salt + cinnamon + lemon flavour for a few minutes in the kitchen machine.
  2. Add the oil and the milk.
  3. Add slowly the flours mixed with the baking powder and mix it again for 2 minutes
  4. Oil a cake pan and add some baking paper on the bottom of it, so you will be able to remove the cake easily.
  5. Bake the cake for about 60 minutes at well, something around 180°C. Since I have a gas oven I bake the cakes at my gas mark 2-3, but don't ask me how high the temperature is because I have no idea. Just try and observe the cake every 10 minutes. If it's getting too fast dark, reduce the temperature.
  6. After 20-30 minutes, just cut the cake with a knife in the middle, so that you will get a nice crack along the cake.
If you want, you can make a frosting: use some powdered sugar and just a few drops of water/ lemon juice or a frosting from the supermarket. I used the last one because I had one left. It was quite funny - as maybe some of you know, the European Union is one big single market and nobody wonders to get every stupid package of food or other goods with descriptions in 5-6-7-8 languages at once. It's normal. But today also I got shocked after I could count 21 languages on a stupid package of cake frosting...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Milchreis aka Rice Pudding

Today I made the typical German Milchreis which my English speaking readers maybe know as rice pudding. After I was trying to find the right translation for the German Milchreis and saw some recipes and pictures of rice pudding on the Internet - I decided not to translate it and stay with the German word which literally means milk rice. The Milchreis I know is like a very viscous soup but it's not like a typical pudding and it's made with the middlecorn-rice (for example the risotto one) or with that which had a nice round corn. So what do we need? For a two person dish:
  • around 3-4 oz (100-120g) rice, 
  • sugar (2-3 tbsp), 
  • milk (between 1 and 1 1/2 pint (500-750 ml), 
  • a 1/2 tsp salt, 
  • some vanilla sugar or vanilla extract, 
  • some cinnamon (if you like). 
  • AND: My special ingredient: a good shot of rum - hey, I'm European, I am used to cook with alcohol ;). If you are planing to serve it to children, skip the rum in their portion. 
Today I added two chopped apples to the Milchreis to make it more juicy and "freshy".

  • Put all the ingredients to a pot with a thick bottom and add as many milk that it's covered at least twice. If you want, add the apples as well.
  • Boil up the milk and than cook it on the lowest level of your stove for about 20-30 minuts, until the rice is soft and done. Check the cooking time on the rice package. If you want to be sure that's ready, just try it.
  • You might have to add some more milk if you see that it's getting too viscous. You can always add some extra milk when the dish is ready.
  • Don't forget to stir the rice while cooking. That's why I told you to take a pot with a thick bottom - they won't burn your dish as fast as other. 
  • At the end of the cooking, add a good shot of rum.
  • Try the Milchreis with some marmolade or crushed fruits.
  • Good luck!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Friend's High Tea

Last Saturday a very good friend of mine invited me and a common friend for high tea. She moved into a new apartment 9 months ago and I never had time for a re-visit. But finally! My friend was complaining all the time that she can't cook and every time we were going to try some of the dishes, she told us "that it will taste horribly, because I made a mistake here or there in the recipe". My dearest friend - It's bull***trala la la la la you told us! Believe me, the dishes were so delicious that I want some recipes from you and you did a great job in the kitchen. Especially because we were only expecting coffee and cake. Once again: THANK YOU.

We spent the time sitting on the balcony, drinking French wine and coffee, eating the delicious meals and thanking the Gods of Weather, that the Summer finally arrived. Here are the pictures of our high tea:

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