Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Salmon & Spinach Lasagna

I prepared this dish for tonight's dinner to please my two boys who requested for both salmon and spinach.  Both fresh or frozen spinach may be used in the recipe.  I would recommend not to use any instant bechamel sauce.  Just follow the simple instructions on how to make your own delicious sauce.


Ingredients:
1 kg fresh spinach (or frozen)
400 g salmon filet (skinless), to be cut into 4 pieces
salt & pepper
lasagna sheets
60 g grated parmesan cheese

1 medium-size onion, to be peeled and finely diced
2 tbsp plain flour
2 heaped tsp instant vegetable stock granules
500 ml milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

a 30 cm x 30 cm (or 30 cm x 25 cm) baking dish

Method:
If you are using fresh spinach, remove the hard stems.  Then, immerse in water to remove all sand particles and transfer to a colander.  In a big pot, bring water to boil and add a little salt.  Blanch spinach for about 2 minutes.  It is better to blanch in two portions.  Once done, remove and immerse immediately in ice cold water. Then, squeeze to remove excess water and transfer to a bowl.

If you are using frozen spinach, add them to a medium-size pot and heat over low heat until thawed and warmed.  This procedure will take more than half an hour.  Do not add water.  Once thawed, stir gently and add a pinch of salt.  Transfer to a colander and squeeze excess water.  Leave aside in a separate bowl.

In a saucepan, heat butter over medium heat.  Add diced onion and stir-fry until transparent.  Then, add flour and cook for about 2 minutes.  Stir well by using a small whisk.  Add milk a little at a time and keep stirring in order that no lumps are formed. Then, add instant granules and season with salt & pepper to taste.


Season salmon with salt and pepper.  Leave aside.

Spread about 3 - 4 tbsp of bechamel sauce on the base of baking dish.  Add 2 - 3 lasagna sheets on top and spread bechamel sauce on lasagna sheets, making sure that all surfaces are covered.  Then, add half quantity of spinach and spread all over before adding two salmon filets on top.


Arrange another layer of lasagna sheets on top and spread bechamel sauce all over, followed by remaining spinach and salmon filets.  Then, sprinkle about 2 - 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese before adding the last layer of lasagna sheets.  Spread the remaining bechamel sauce all over and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


Bake in a preheated fan oven at a temperature of 180° C for about 35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.


Bon Appetit!

Baked Salami & Capsicum Bread Snack

If you are short of time and in a hurry to prepare something quick for your kids, try this simple snack. Just halve the bread rolls and spread cream cheese (herbs flavour).  Then, sprinkle some diced salami and red bell pepper.  Season with salt and pepper before sprinkling some grated Emmental cheese and then, bake in a moderate hot oven for about 15 minutes.  The taste is delicious and our son thought that I baked the frozen Bistro Mini Baguette from Dr. Oetker!


Ingredients (serves 2):
4 bread rolls, to be halved
any cream cheese spread (herbs flavour)
8 slices of turkey or chicken salami, to be diced
1 red capsicum (bell pepper), to be washed, deseeded & diced
salt & ground black pepper to taste
grated Emmental cheese

Method:
Spread cream cheese on bread rolls halves.  Sprinkle some diced salami and red bell pepper on top. Then, season with salt and pepper before sprinkling some grated Emmental cheese.



Bake in a preheated fan oven at a temperature of 180° C for about 15 minutes.


Serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Laugenbrezelsuppe

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)

Method:
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

Pancakes

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!


Ingredients:
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.

Method:
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

Method:
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!