Monday, 20 October 2014


Laugenbrezel is a kind of speciality bread in South Germany.  Made of yeast dough, the Brezeln are dipped in Natron (bicarbonate of soda) mixture and sprinkled with coarse salt before baking.  As the Bavarian saying "Ruck zuck a schnelle Suppen" (soup in a flash) goes, it is true that the preparation of this soup does not take more than 20 minutes.  A wonderful idea to use up day old Brezeln, of course you may use any kind of bread of your preference.  This soup is very tasty and will fill up any hungry tummy in no time!

Ingredients (serves 2 - 3 persons):
1 "old" Brezel from the day before
100 g Butterschmalz or butter or ghee
1 medium-sized onion, to be peeled and finely diced
2 pips of garlic, to be peeled and finely minced
1 litre instant beef stock
1 egg, to be beaten lightly
salt & ground black pepper to taste
chopped chives for garnishing (optional)

Slice the Brezel into thin slices.

In a saucepan, heat butter over medium heat.  Stir-fry Brezel slices until golden brown.  Then, add diced onion and stir-fry until transparent.

Add minced garlic and beef stock.  Bring to a slight simmer before adding the beaten egg.  Bring soup to a boil, do not stir in order that the egg solidifies.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot garnished with chopped chives.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, 19 October 2014


I prepared some pancakes for afternoon tea today.  The recipe is very simple and can be multiplied to your needs.  Following recipe yields about 24 pancakes of 12 cm in diameter.  Taste delicious when served warm with honey.  They are also great for breakfast!

3 cups plain flour
6 tsp baking powder (for thicker pancakes) - I used less today i.e. 3 tsp
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
3 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp cooking oil or olive oil
3 cups milk
3 eggs

some cooking oil to grease the pan

Note:  I used a 250 ml capacity cup.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients together and mix thoroughly until there are no lumps.

Heat a small pan over medium heat and brush with some oil.  Pour a ladleful of batter in pan.  Once bubbles appear on the surface, turn over the pancake and cook the other side until golden brown. Once done, transfer to a serving plate and repeat procedure until batter is used up.

Serve warm with honey!

Happy Baking!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel)

A popular traditional pastry in Austria and other European countries for our tea-time today.  It is a sweet layered pastry with a filling which consists of apple slices, raisins, chopped almonds, etc. Other kinds of fruits may be used as filling i.e. pears.  Strudel dough is very elastic and must be thinly stretched until one can see through it. Tastes excellent when sprinkled with icing sugar and served warm with vanilla sauce.

Dough Ingredients:
300 g plain flour
4 tbsp cooking oil
a pinch of salt
150 ml warm water (straight from the tap)
1 tbsp cooking oil (extra)
plain flour (extra)

Filling Ingredients:
60 g chopped almonds, to be roasted in a pan without oil until golden brown
50 g raisins, to be soaked with 4 tbsp of rum (optional) or apple juice
zest & juice from one lemon
a pinch of salt
100 g castor sugar
60 g breadcrumbs
120 g butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 kg apples i.e. Elstar or Boskop

2 tsp icing sugar

Bring water to boil in a pot which is large enough to cover a plate.  Leave pot on stove.  When the hot pot is required, pour away the boiling water and wipe dry.

In a mixing bowl, add flour, 4 tbsp cooking oil, salt and warm water.  Mix all together with hand. Then, transfer dough to worktop and knead to a pliable dough by hand. Do not overknead dough for more than 8 minutes.  Form dough into a large ball and coat with extra oil.  Place dough onto a plate and cover with a hot pot.  Leave aside for about 30 minutes to an hour - the longer the better in order that the dough can be stretched out easily.

In a small saucepan, melt 50 g butter.  Then, add breadcrumbs and roast for a few minutes before adding 50 g castor sugar.  Mix well and leave to cool down completely.

Peel and cut apples into quarters, removing the cores as well.  Slice thinly (about 0.5 cm) and transfer to a bowl which contains lemon zest and juice.  Stir well each time apple slices are added in order that they do not turn change colour.  Then, add roasted breadcrumbs, soaked raisins, cinnamon powder, salt, roasted chopped almonds and remaining sugar.  Mix well and leave aside.

In a saucepan, melt balance 60 g butter over low heat.  Lay out two dishcloth over each other on worktop to a size of 60 cm x 60 cm.  Sprinkle flour over dishcloth. Place dough in the centre and by using a rolling pin, roll dough thinly as shown.

Hold dough with both hands and using the back of your hands, stretch dough to a size of 60 cm x 60 cm.  Then, cut away the thick edges.  Brush dough with half of melted butter.  As one can see from the picture below, the dough was thinly stretched.

Spread filling on the bottom section of dough as shown.  Once done, bring both sides of dough over the filling.

By using the dishcloth, start to roll over the filling i.e. like rolling a swiss roll as shown below.

Transfer to a baking tray which is lined with baking paper.  Remove excess flour by using a brush. Then, brush with remaining melted butter all over.

The picture below shows the actual size of the Strudel.

Bake in a preheated fan oven at a temperature of 180° C for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving with vanilla sauce.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Kuih Cara Manis

A change from the usual german cakes during the weekend, I prepared this traditional malay kuih for our tea-time today. I have been wanting to make this kuih for such a long time but had to shelf my plans due to the absence of the proper mould.  During our last trip home in August, I bought a few types of moulds and of course, other baking stuff as well - all carefully packed to be sent off.  The seafreight journey took almost six weeks and I am very happy that all my barangs arrived safely without any damage.

This particular mould is made of aluminium and in order that your kuih do not get stuck in the mould, one have to "season" it first.  Please do NOT wash the mould with water and soap!  What I did was to fill the mould with cooking oil and "bake" it in a preheated fan oven at a temperature of 180° C for about 20 to 30 minutes.  Once done, pour out the oil into another metal container (oil to be thrown away) before pouring the batter.  Kindly note that the following recipe yields about 50 "doubled" kuihs, each measuring about 5.5 cm in length.  Just cut the recipe in half to adjust to your requirements.

8 pandan leaves, to be washed, dried and cut into pieces
2 cups water
440 g plain flour
4 medium-size eggs
80 g castor sugar or to taste
a pinch of salt
1 cup coconut milk
a few drops of yellow colouring
1 tbsp ghee, for greasing mould

In a blender, blend both pandan leaves and 2 cups water until smooth.  Pass through a fine sieve into a small bowl.

In a mixing bowl, add plain flour and salt.  Pour pandan leaves juice a little at a time while keep stirring.  Then, add coconut milk, castor sugar and eggs (one at a time). Mix thoroughly and then, add a few drops of yellow colouring (optional).  Pass mixture through a fine sieve into another bowl to get rid of any lumps.

After "seasoning" the mould and removing the oil, heat mould over an electric stove. Grease mould with ghee by using a small brush.

Add batter to mould as shown below.

Put on the lid and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes or until cooked.

Once done, remove the kuihs by using a toothpick and a tablespoon.  Leave to cool down on a tray before putting two halves together.  Serve either warm or cold!

Happy Baking!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Ossobucco II (Geschmorte Beinscheibe)

I prepared this italian speciality of beef shanks braised with vegetable broth for today's lunch. There are various versions of this dish but this recipe is based on the german version.  This time, I served it with flat noodles.

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 thick slices of beef shanks (Rinderbeinscheiben) - total weight:  1 kg OR veal shanks (Kalbshaxe - ask your butcher to cut into 4 portions)
salt & ground black pepper
5 medium-sized tomatoes, to be washed, dried & cut into 4
2 pips garlic, to be peeled & minced
3 large onions, to be peeled & coarsely cubed
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
250 ml instant vegetable stock (or 125 ml instant vegetable stock & 125 ml cooking red wine)
2 tbsp tomato puree
a handful chopped parsley
an extra pip garlic, to be peeled & lightly crushed
olive oil

Wash lightly and dry beef shanks.  Cut the sides of beef shanks at intervals in order that they stay in shape during frying - see picture below.  Season with salt & pepper.

In a heavy casserole pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium/high heat.  Brown beef shanks on both sides.  Remove to a platter and set aside.

Add cubed onions and minced garlic.  Stir-fry until almost golden in colour.   Then, add tomatoes, bay leaves and dried thyme.  Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Add in vegetable stock and tomato puree.  Bring to a light boil.  Return beef shanks to pot and put on lid.  Cook over low heat for about 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender.

Once done, check seasoning - if necessary, add one or two teaspoons of sugar to adjust the taste. Lastly, add chopped parsley and bring to a light simmer.

Serve hot with either flat noodles or baguette or just a simple green salad and boiled potatoes.

Bon Appetit!