Sunday, 24 July 2011

Recipe XVIII - Carrot and Coriander Soup

The thing about soups is that they don't keep for long in the stomach. But this one is like a meal in a bowl. It takes less than an hour to make and puts a warm glow on these cold July days!

One onion
As many carrots as you like
1l max. vegetable stock (or warm up a vegetable in the saucepan with some herbs, pepper, garlic and salt if you don't have any)
About a tablespoon of ground coriander
Two cloves of garlic
A handful of fresh coriander, or freshly dried green coriander

Take your carrots, onions and garlic and cut them into small pieces.
Fry them gently in a high-sided frying pan.

In a separate saucepan heat the vegetable stock.
Once the carrots, onion and garlic have been there for a good five to ten minutes, they should be getting softer.
Add the stock to the carrots and boil vigorously for ten to fifteen minutes.

Remove it from the pan and put it in a blender.

Whizz until all the ingredients are a runny liquid.

Put it all in a clean saucepan and add the green coriander.
Gently heat and serve with some freshly cut bread.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Recipe XVII - Two-in-one: Sour Cherry Clafoutis and Austrian Kaiserschmarrn

Last night was a very good night for cherry picking - the moon was over half-full, scattered clouds were letting the light seep through and I was out cycling with a special companion in the hills where fruit grows in abundance and you can see as far as next Thursday. The collection was pretty quick, provided I hoisted her on my shoulders so she could reach the higher branches, but we made a pleasant occasion out of it. Remember, Nature gives us Her fruit freely and with love; the least we can do is sing a song of thanks to the tree that provided us with its produce. Leaving something there in return (bread, some home-made alcohol, etc.) is also a good thing to do.

3 large eggs
300-350g sour cherries, preferably freshly-picked but from your local market is fine
300ml fresh milk
60g ordinary flour
60-75g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Baking powder
Icing sugar

Go to your local cherry orchard in the evening after the sun has crossed the horizon but is still giving light.
When you come home, put your oven on to about 180°C.
Get three eggs and crack them into a bowl.
Pour the sugar and vanilla essence into the bowl and beat thoroughly into the eggs.
Take the milk and flour, and give them a beating until it becomes a consistent batter.

Put the cherries into a baking dish, arranging them on the bottom. Don't be afraid to use some of the less nice-looking ones as they provide taste to the dish.
Pour the batter over the cherries (often, not all the mixture gets used), and put the baking dish in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is thoroughly cooked.

To see if it is ready, put a knife in the middle and if there is a lot on the blade, it still needs 5 more minutes.
Once out of the oven, leave it to cool slightly (10 minutes should do) and serve at a warmish temperature. It will probably reduce in size a little in the dish. This is normal.
Sprinkle some icing sugar on top of it if you like.

Goes well just on its own with a nice cup of tea in the afternoon, or as an early Sunday evening dessert. Cold vanilla sauce or ice cream would go down very nicely.

What to do with the rest? An Austro-Hungarian treat, Kaiserschmarrn! (Or in Hungarian, Csaszamorzsa)
Take the rest of the batter (top it up if necessary with another egg, a bit of flour, sugar and some milk) and put it in a sizzlingly hot frying pan with some butter. Immediately pour some currents and sultanas in it, sprinkle cinnamon on the top, and fry for two minutes. Put it under the grill for a further three to four minutes (until it rises) and serve hot or cold.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Recipe XVI - Pasta Carbonara

Please excuse the one-day delay in this recipe - I had quite a busy weekend, and I'm only now coming to terms with the fact it's Monday...

To make a carbonara is one of life's little pleasures in my kitchen - it's simple, quick and is perfect for this type of weather as it re-salts your body after sweating so much in the heat. I like my Speck/pancetta nice and chunky, because it looks so appetising!
Carbonara is not, like the packets in supermarkets like you to think, a runny cheese sauce, at all. It is more like scrambled eggs wrapped in pasta. Don't leave the final part of the sauce too long to cook though, or you'll be having an omelette instead...

Timing is the key.

200-300g pancetta/Speck (or equivalent smoked pork belly from your local area is also OK)
4 eggs
1 medium-sized onion
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 small carton (140ml) of cream
150g pecorino/cacciotta di pecora (or parmesan, if you can't get any)
Some fresh marjoram
Ground black pepper
I also like to add one ball of mozzarella, but only because I am addicted to it.

  • Cut up the onion and garlic into small pieces.
  • Take your kitchen scissors and cut the pancetta into strips.
  • Fry the onion, garlic and the pancetta lightly in the pan until crisp.
  • Meanwhile, heat up your (lightly salted) water.
  • Crack open the eggs and beat them. Add the cream, mozzarella and some of your cheese.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the pan with the pancetta and turn the heat up a little. Cook until the consistency is to your liking.
  • Add the pasta to the pan as soon as it is al dente. Do not leave it to cook much longer, or it will become a mushy pap.
  • Stir all the ingredients in very well and serve immediately.
Buon appetito!