Monday, January 30, 2012

Raw, Part II

There was meant to be a Conversation with the Stoic Man here, as he pointed out this dish to me. Alas, my transitioning from one computer to the other has destroyed all record of said conversation. Maybe it didn't happen at all! Hm...

Wherever I got this idea from, it's a great one. Raw meat is the best. When getting the meat, ask the butcher (or the meat person in your supermarket) for the kind that you would use for steak tartare. By the way: I have never had the original Korean dish. I can't tell if this is close to how it's supposed to be. I only know it's tasty.


200g beef. I had it cut right in the store, but the pieces need to be slightly more delicate than in the picture above. Think half a centimeter.
1 nashi (Asian pear), cut into matchstick-like pieces
pine nuts
1 quail egg. Not pictured, as I couldn't find any at my local Migros. I love raw eggs, so I'm sure it's delicious.

For the marinade:
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp of sesame oil
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 green onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp of toasted sesame seeds

Combine the ingredients of the marinade. Put the meat in the marinade. If you have to cut the meat yourself, it helps if you put it in the freezer beforehand, to give it stability. Cut up the nashi and arrange on a plate. Place the meat on top of the nashi structure, decorate with the pine nuts. If you want to add the egg on top of your meat, make an indentation for it on top with a spoon. 

Hmmmm, raw. Rawrrrr!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Advanced Level Cooking: Lamb

I omitted the obvious pun about silences and such. So, another experiment. I noticed that most of the meat I prepare is a) raw, b) in the form of a steak or similar, or c) cut into tiny pieces. Recently, I used one of Jamie Oliver's recipes to make a pork roast. It was surprisingly good. I'd have posted about it, if I hadn't forgotten to take pictures. I know, document before you eat! Which is why I'm starting the documentation of this lamb rack extremely early.

Part One: Marinating the Meat

1 rack of lamb, about 300g
4 sprigs of rosemary
6 leaves of peppermint
5 cloves of garlic
5 tbsp of oil. most people use olive oil, my personal preference is for sunflower.

Herbs in a bag.
I use a plastic bag for the marinating process. It's a very convenient receptacle, and it will take up a minimum of space in the fridge.

Chop up the rosemary and the mint, and place in the bag. Press the garlic, add oil. Then, add the rack of lamb. Allow to marinate for at least two to three hours. Which is what I'm going to do right now, as it's 4am.

Further updates as events warrant...

Update 1, 13:24h. I decided that the side should be

Mashed potatoes with garlic.

500g potatoes
20g butter
1 dl milk
2 cloves of garlic, pressed

Peel potatoes and cut in half. This, because it makes the cooking a bit quicker. Cook in salted water for about 20 minutes. Remove from water, mash, add butter, milk, and garlic. Add salt to taste.
Now, I'm kinda lying to you. I don't use milk in mine, I use about twice the butter instead. But I figured that most people might prefer a slightly lighter consistency, as the absence of milk makes it a very compact thing.

Part Two: Cooking the Meat

2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1dl of red port
1 tsp honey
some aceto balsamico

2 sprigs of rosemary for decoration

Preheat the oven to 200° C. Heat the oil and the butter in a frying pan. Remove the lamb from the marinade and dry with a paper towel. Put in the frying pan, and fry until crisp on both sides, but don't overdo it. Remember, we never go past "medium" on meat. Keep pouring the butter/oil mixture on it as you fry it.
Remove from pan and put in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Add the port and the honey to the pan, add a tiny bit of water if necessary. Season with salt, pepper, and balsamico.

So tasty. So pretty.

There. I imagined it to be harder. But, hell, this is one of the best things I've ever cooked. I'm totally awed by myself ;)

Monday, January 23, 2012

There Is No Meat In This.

Are you worried yet? Sometimes I eat a salad. In fact, I usually take a salad every day when I go to work. I *like* salad. I just don't like green salad, because it bores me to tears and has no nutritional effect I can tell. It needs something substantial to augment it.

Lettuce and Beetroot with Goat Cheese
1 mini lettuce
1 beetroot, cooked and pickled
1/2 red onion
100g goat cheese

balsamico dressing

Let me just admit that I'm lazy about the dressing. Anna's Best balsamico dressing is just fine for me. Of course, you can do your own. Be sure to send me a recipe.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Raw, Part I

Technically speaking, the fish in a Ceviche is not raw. But since it hasn't been cooked with heat, and I was looking for a title to tie in with other stuff, we'll go with it. Back to the interesting bit. The chemical reaction akin to cooking is achieved using the acid in lemons and limes. Leave a slice of lemon lying on raw fish for a while; you can see the effect pretty quickly.


200g of fish. I used pangasius, even if Samûm says they're the trashcans of the sea. Ask the fish vendor of your choice for good alternatives. Also, this is bound to be delicious with salmon; buy the sushi-quality kind.

1dl lime juice
1dl lemon juice
1/2 red onion, diced
a handful of cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
salt, pepper, dried chili

later: cilantro and avocado

Please note that lime juice is slightly bitter, more so than lemon juice. You may vary the quantities of either based on that information. Cut the fish into pieces of roughly one centimeter. Together with the other ingredients, put it into a receptacle that can deal with the acid. Ceramic was suggested, but my plastic storage units do just fine. Make sure that the fish is entirely covered with liquid. Let it sit for one hour in a cool place. Drain the liquid from the rest of ingredients. Add the avocado, cut into cubes, and the cilantro for decoration. Serve with toast, or rice, or, indeed, almost any carbon hydrate of your choice.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Sooo... The Season, the one and only, is over. I'll be honest, Christmas is my favourite time of the year. Everything is bright and shiny and pretty. I love buying stuff for people, and yet another year, I've spent eight (8!) hours straight in Desi's kitchen baking Christmas cookies. See below. But right now, I'm sick. As in, someone on that darn train gave me a cold. Or something. I am sick, and I want blood oranges and herbal tea. And soup.  

Quick and dirty vegetable soup with sausage

I believe that a lot of people don't cook because they think it's complicated. Those of us who cook know that it can be, but often isn't. This soup is the opposite of complicated. It was one of those seat-of-the-pants things. I wanted soup, so I just used every available vegetable in sight.

1 leek, cut into rounds
3 potatoes, cut into small cubes
3 carrots, cut into rounds
some broccoli
some sausage
1 liter vegetable or beef broth
spices according to personal preference

Melt butter in a pan, add the leek, sautee for a moment. Add the broth, along with the potatoes and the carrots. Let cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes. The solidity of the potatoes is your indicator whether it's done. When they're sufficiently soft, add the sausage and the broccoli. I used three paprika sausages I bought in Germany, the size of hot dogs, more or less. They are sufficiently spicy, so I didn't add any pepper or similar to the soup itself. There are, however, a lot of sausages that go really well in vegetable soup, so feel free to pick your favourite. For the second leg, use the broccoli as an indicator of soup-readiness. Fresh broccoli takes longer than the one from the freezer, obviously. The sausages should get a good ten minutes to interact with the soup. That wasn't hard at all, was it?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Second Bento

In yet another frightful display of non-traditional food choices, I bring to you: my second bento! Let's not kid ourselves, it's all about filling the pretty little boxes. With pretty little food.

Tier 1: Meatballs

Step one: prepare meatballs according to my recipe here. Put in the box, fill up empty spaces with cherry tomatoes.

Tier 2: Fried potatoes with scallions

3 small potatoes
oil for frying
pepper, salt, chili
2 scallions, chopped

Peel the potatoes and cut them into relatively thin slices. Fry them in an open frying pan until they're soft and partially brown. Season with salt, chili, and pepper. Add the scallions.

I made myself a dip of one part sweet chili sauce and two parts hot ketchup to with both the potatoes and the meatballs. Remove the "chili" or "hot" part wherever that seems necessary.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I want snow! Snow to go with the presents, and the music, and the lights. And the cookies! Behold, Christmas cookie extravaganza, Swiss style. Too late, you say? It is never too late for cookies. I can assure you, they will be well-received at your place of employment long into January. I try to keep the holiday spirit up until Candlemas, most of the time. Alternatively, just consider yourself well-prepared for this year's Christmas.

The ingredients of the recipes are listed in the order of their appearance.


The most essential Christmas cookie. Both pretty and delicious. If you're not gonna make these, why bother?

250g butter
125g sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg white (white only)
350g flour (normal flour. None of that self-raising kind.)

For the filling: redcurrant gelée

The way you prepare the batter is always the same, for all the cookies. With a mixer, soften the butter, then mix with the sugar, the vanilla sugar, and the salt. Add the egg, mix everything until smooth. Add the flour bit by bit, always making sure that all of it is absorbed into the mass. The dough should be firm but malleable. If it still sticks to your fingers, carefully add more flour.
Put the dough in the fridge for half an hour. Prepare your working surface with flour (so the dough doesn't stick), then flatten the dough with a roller to about 3mm of thickness. Or thin-ness, rather. Use a round cookie cutter for the bottom and a round one with an added hole of some sort to make tops.

Bake at 200° C for about five minutes. They should become golden at best, but certainly not brown. See the brown one in the center of the picture? Too long.

Once they've cooled, fill them with no more than half a tea spoon of redcurrant jelly. Blackcurrant is also good. You can warm the jelly to a liquid state to smoothen it, but it has to cool again before it can be used to fill the cookies.


The typical Christmas cookie. In my family, most often eaten before baking occurs. They're the ones at the top, angel-shaped.

250g butter
250g sugar
1 pinch of salt
3 eggs
grated skin of one lemon
500g flour

1 additional egg yolk, beaten, for glazing.

Again, add the ingredients to the bowl in this order. The lemon should be organic, if ever possible. After its stunt in the fridge, flatten the dough to a thickness of about 5mm. Use cookie cutters of choice. Glaze the cookies with the beaten egg yolk before baking them for 10 minutes at 200°C. Those are allowed to brown a little. Just a little.

Sablés with Chili

One of my favourites, both for easy preparation and unexpected taste.

175g butter
75g sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 red chili, seeds removed, chopped into tiny bits
250g flour

Mix the ingredients as above. Note that, since it's all held together by the butter in the absence of an egg, it might feel a little less "solid" than the others. Once everything is assembled, roll the dough into a roll (the poetry of it!) of approximately 5cm in diameter. Place in the fridge for an hour.
Cut the dough into rounds of 1cm thickness, bake at 200°C for roughly 8 minutes.

It all looks so easy, doesn't it? It is. It's also ridiculously time consuming. I think I made about 400 units that day.