Saturday, 22 November 2014

Baeckeoffa

A hearty stew for dinner on a cold Saturday evening.  This dish is very popular in Alsace, France and it is usually cooked with pork meat.  This time, I added goose meat along with cabbage, carrots, potatoes & onions along with marjoram, parsley, thyme & a tiny bay leaf.  I used a traditional Baeckeoffa casserole which can be served directly on the dining table.   Otherwise, one can use a normal casserole with a lid. Tastes great when eaten with a crusty baguette.


Ingredients (serves 4):
2 goose legs (about 950 g)
40 g ghee or Butterschmalz
650 g potatoes, to be peeled and soaked in cold water
a bunch of flat parsley, to be washed, dried & plucked
a bunch of marjoram, to be washed, dried & plucked
200 ml chicken or poultry fond
300 ml Alsatian Silvaner or any non-alcoholic cooking white wine
300 g big onions, to be peeled & cut into wedges
500 g big carrots, to be peeled, halved & cut into 5 cm pieces
800 g cabbage, to be cut into strips (trunk removed), washed & drip dry
1/2 bunch of thyme, to be washed & dried
1 tiny bay leaf

250 g plain flour
2 tbsp cooking oil
125 ml water

Method:
Wash and dry goose legs.  Remove fat and skin - these are to be cooked in a saucepan over medium heat in order to extract the goose fat.  Remove meat from bones and cut into about 5 cm cubes. Leave aside.

Prepare onions, carrots and cabbage as shown.


Grease the base of casserole with 10 g ghee.  Thinly slice potatoes and arrange on the base of casserole in two layers:  sprinkle salt, pepper, parsley and marjoram on each layer.  Then, add poultry fond.


Heat 2 tbsp of goose fat in a big pan over medium heat and add goose meat.  Brown on all sides and season with salt & pepper, followed by 100 ml Silvaner.  Let it simmer lightly before adding to the casserole.


Wipe pan clean with kitchen paper.  Heat 10 g ghee over medium heat and add onion wedges. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes.  Then, season with salt and a good pinch of sugar, followed with 50 ml of Silvaner.  Let it simmer lightly before adding to the casserole.


Wipe pan clean with kitchen paper.  Heat 10 g ghee over medium heat and add carrots.  Stir-fry for about 2 minutes.  Then, season with salt and a good pinch of sugar, followed with 150 ml of Silvaner. Let it simmer lightly before adding to the casserole.


Wipe pan clean with kitchen paper.  Heat 10 g ghee over medium heat and add cabbage.  Stir-fry for about 2 minutes.  Then, season with salt and a pinch of sugar. Then, add to casserole and place the bunch of thyme with the bay leaf attached.


In a mixing bowl, knead flour, cooking oil and water together to form a pliable dough. Roll dough into a long roll, enough to line the lid of the casserole.  Position dough between the casserole and its lid as shown.  Press dough lightly.


Bake in a preheated slow fan oven at a temperature of 140° C for about two and three quarter hours.



Remove thyme and bay leaf before serving it hot with a crusty baguette.


Bon Appetit!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Linzer Cookies

Another new german cookie to add to my collection of Christmas cookies.  I added three spices i.e. cinnamon, cardamon and cloves in the dough.  Apart from the spices, I also added ground almonds. One may add clear cherry liquor for the extra taste.  The top biscuits with hearts are sprinkled with icing sugar and assembled together to their bases with red or blackcurrant jam.


Ingredients (yields about 100 pieces):
450 g cold butter
220 g icing sugar
60 g vanilla sugar
a pinch of salt
3 eggs
1/4 tsp cardamon powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp cloves powder
450 g flour type 550 or plain flour
450 g ground almond
3 tsp clear cherry liquor/Kirschwasser (optional)

extra icing sugar for topping
400 g red or blackcurrant jam

Method:
In a mixing bowl, knead butter, icing sugar and vanilla sugar together.  Then, add egg, salt, spices and cherry liquor (optional).  Gradually add flour and ground almond. Knead mixture to a pliable dough.  Wrap dough in a cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.

Roll out dough on a well floured worktop.  Cut out your desired shape and arrange on a baking tray which is lined with baking paper.  Ensure that the bases and tops with an opening are cut out as shown.


Bake in a preheated fan oven at a temperature of 150° C for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool down completely.


In a saucepan, heat jam over low heat and stir until smooth.  Leave aside to cool down a bit.  Arrange the tops on a baking tray and sprinkle with icing sugar.


To assemble, spread a little jam on the bases and carefully place the tops over it.  Leave to dry before storing in an airtight tin.


Happy Baking!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Springerle

Christmas is slowly approaching and it is about time to start baking some cookies. Various german cookies recipes can be found under the "Browse Recipes" section.

Springerle - A traditional german Christmas cookie which comes in different shapes and sizes.  I have my own collection of wooden moulds which I will add on as and when I find pretty moulds which are on sale at the christmas markets.  This cookie needs to be baked way in advance, at least four weeks before Christmas in order that they become soft.  Before baking, the cookies need to be left at room temperature to dry for at least 24 hours in order that they get an elevated base underneath during baking.  Once cooled, arrange them on a large tray and leave them in a cool place. Do not store them in an airtight container or else, they will become hard.  Another option is to store them in the freezer between layers of pergament paper in a plastic container. Thaw them for half an hour before serving!


Ingredients (yields about 50 pieces):
4 eggs (medium)
500 g icing sugar, to be sifted
grated zest of a lemon
500 g plain flour, to be sifted

Method:
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and icing sugar together until thick and creamy.


Add lemon zest and flour gradually.  Use the dough hook to knead.

Take a small portion of dough and roll out to 1-cm thickness on a well-floured worktop. Sprinkle flour all over on wooden mould and then, knock off flour from mould.  Position mould on dough and press evenly to make an impression.  Remove mould and by using a round cutter to cut the edges as shown.  Arrange on baking tray which is lined with baking paper.  Leave to dry at room temperature for at least 24 hours.



Preheat oven to a temperature of 160° C (fan:  130° C).  Bake on middle rack with the oven door slightly ajar (i.e.  place a wooden spoon in between oven door and oven) for about 20 to 30 minutes. The Springerle cookies should have a white top and a slightly browned bottom.  One also notice that the cookies have an elevated base underneath.


I also use another mould as shown below.


After baking, arrange them on a large tray and leave them in a cool place.  Do not store them in airtight containers or else, they will become hard.  Another option is to store them in the freezer between layers of pergament paper in a plastic container. Thaw them for half an hour before serving!

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Salmon & Tagliatelle in Cream Cheese Sauce

Prepared this simple and tasty lunch for our younger son today.  The preparation took me exactly 25 minutes.  The salmon strips were stir-fried with shredded red chilli in butter for just 3 minutes for that extra flavour.  Whereas, the sauce is made up of crème fraîche, grated Emmental cheese and vegetable stock.  His thumb-ups really made my day!


Ingredients (serves 4):
500 g Tagliatelle or Linguine noodles
350 g salmon filet
1 red chilli, to be deseeded and shredded
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
1 medium-size onion, to be peeled and finely diced
2 pips garlic, to be peeled and finely diced
125 ml instant vegetable stock
100 ml cooking white wine (one can add vegetable stock instead)
200 g crème fraîche
150 g grated Emmental cheese
salt & pepper to taste
chopped chives, for garnishing

Method:
Prepare noodles according to packet instructions.  Cut salmon into 1-cm strips and set aside.


In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp butter over medium heat.  Stir-fry diced onion and garlic until translucent. Then, add vegetable stock and white wine.  Stir in crème fraîche and grated cheese.  Cook for about 5 minutes until a creamy consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


In a medium-size pan, heat remaining butter over medium heat.  Add salmon and shredded red chilli. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.


There are two ways to serve this dish, i.e.  add a portion of noodles in a deep plate and pour sauce over.  Then, arrange salmon strips on top and serve garnished with chopped chives.  Or add hot noodles and chopped chives to sauce and mix well. Serve with fried salmon on top.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Apple Cake with Almonds Crust

My dear sister-in-law gave us apples which were hand-plucked from a relative's garden.  The idea of baking an apple cake with a slight twist came into my mind.  So, I decided to bake this delicious apple cake for our tea-time today.  The almonds crust topping is similar to the popular german Bienenstitch cake.


Ingredients:
5 medium-size Boskop apples (about 800 g)
175 butter
175 g fine sugar
3 medium-size eggs
250 ml plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

a little butter, for greasing
a 26 cm diameter cake springform

Topping Ingredients:
40 g butter
40 g fine sugar
40 g almond slices

Method:
Grease the bottom and sides of springform with butter.  Then, line the bottom with baking paper. Sift flour and baking powder together into a bowl and add salt.  Mix well and leave aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk butter and sugar until light and creamy.


Add eggs one at a time, alternating with about 3 tbsps of flour mixture.  Then, fold in the remaining flour.


Pour half of cake batter into springform and spread evenly with a spatula or spoon. Peel and quarter 2 apples, then slice into wedges.  Arrange apple wedges as shown.


Pour remaining cake batter on top and spread evenly.  Peel and quarter remaining apples, then slice into wedges.  Arrange apple wedges as shown.


Bake in a preheated fan oven at a temperature of 150° C for about 35 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the topping by gently melting butter in a saucepan.  Add sugar and remove from heat.  Leave to cool down before adding the almond slices.


Once cake is done, remove from oven.  Add topping mixture and spread evenly.


Bake further at a temperature of 175° C for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Once done, check with a skewer. If the top browns rather quickly, cover cake with a piece of aluminium foil or baking paper and continue baking until done.



Happy Baking!