Sunday, November 16, 2014

Indian Butter Chicken

Don't be put off by the long ingredients list in this recipe. It's mostly spices that you pull out of your drawer (or off the supermarket shelf) and mix together to marinate the chicken. It's a very easy dish that doesn't take long to make once the chicken is in the bag. The chicken will get very juicy and tender and the taste is phenomenal. I got this very cute little Indian spice box that you can see on the picture called Masala Dabba for my birthday from a dear friend. This box makes it very easy to cook dishes that use lots of spices. You don't have to use it for Indian spices but you could use it for any kind of spices that you use very often.

Indian Butter Chicken

(from the New York Times)

1 ½ cups full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 pounds chicken thighs, on the bone
¼ pound unsalted butter
4 teaspoons neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil
2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely diced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 medium-size tomatoes, diced
2 red chiles, like Anaheim, or 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
 Kosher salt to taste
⅔ cup chicken stock, low-sodium or homemade
1 ½ cups cream
1 ½ teaspoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons ground almonds, or finely chopped almonds
½ bunch cilantro leaves, stems removed.


Whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala and cumin in a large bowl. Put the chicken in, and coat with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate (for up to a day).
In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil until it starts to foam. Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds, and cook until the onions start to brown.
Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, chiles and salt, and cook until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken and marinade to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes.
Stir in the cream and tomato paste, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the almonds, cook for an additional 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Garnish with the cilantro leaves.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

German Nut Cookies - Nussecken

A typical German Cookie that has almost a cake like consistency is the "German Nussecken". They are made from pastry dough topped with a layer of jam and caramelized nuts.  My brother in law loves to bake and he makes great cookies and cakes. He has a great recipe for these cookies and he gladly shared it with me. Now I can share it with you. Thank you Jörg!

German Nussecken

300 g of Flour
2 packages of Vanilla Sugar
1t Baking Powder
130 g of Sugar
2 Eggs
130 g of Butter, cubed

4 T Apricot Jam or Orange Marmalade, slightly warmed

Nut Mixture
200 g of Butter
200 g of Sugar
2 packages Vanilla Sugar
2 T of Water
400 g Nuts of your choice, chopped

Decoration (optional)
Melted chocolate

Knead the ingredients for the dough together quickly until you have a smooth dough, wrap in cling wrap and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Let the butter, sugars, and water melt over low heat in a medium pot. Let come to a short boil, then add the nuts and take off the heat. Let cool.

Preheat your oven to 350 F / 190 C.
Roll out the dough directly on the baking tray. You might not have enough to fill the whole baking tray (my tray was about 2/3 full). Spread a thin layer of the jam on top, then add the nuts.
Bake for approximately 20 - 30 minutes and watch closely. It may burn from one second to another.

Let cool slightly, then cut into triangles and drizzle with melted chocolate if you like.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Onion Tart Tatin

I love Tart and I love caramelized onions, so what could be better than putting those two together in a beautiful French Onion Tarte Tatin? Not only is this an elegant and beautiful dish, but it also comes together rather quickly and is less complicated to make than you might think.

French Onion Tart


Serves: 2
Preparation time:  20 minutes
Cooking time:  35 minutes

You will need
2 brown onions (I used 10 shallots instead of the brown and red onions)
1 red onion
50g butter (I used less than half the amount)
2 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
A few thyme sprigs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g ready rolled puff pastry
Goat Cheese (optional)
Little flour for rolling

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 6/ 350 - 400 F.

2. Cut the onions into wedges from the roots to the stems. Melt the butter in a 20 centimetre frying pan with a metal handle.

3. Add the onions and fry over a medium heat for about five minutes, turning from time to time until just beginning to brown.

4. Add the honey and vinegar and cook for a further five minutes, moving and shaking the pan occasionally so the onions do not stick to the pan. Arrange the onions so they make a pretty pattern, remembering you will be inverting the tart.

5. Add the thyme stems and season well. Leave to cool while you prepare the pastry.

6. Roll out the pastry on to a lightly floured surface and cut into a circle slightly larger than the diametre of the frying pan. Lift the pastry over the onions and tuck down the sides of the pan or tin. Make two small slits for the steam to escape.

7. Bake for 25 to 20 minutes (Mine took more than 40 minutes) until the pastry is well risen. Leave to stand for five minutes. Turn the pastry gently to release, you should be able to spin the tart tatin when it is ready to serve. Cover the pan with a plate, invert then remove the pan leaving the tart now on the plate.

8. Serve warm or cold with a scatter of rocket and parmesan shavings.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Waldorf Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is quite popular right now. Understandably so, since it has a pleasant nutty taste, is high in protein, iron, magnesium, and fiber. It is easy to cook and makes a great pantry stable. Here is one example of what you can do with it...

Quinoa Waldorf Salad
(from Quinoa Revolution)

serves 8

2 cups (500 ml) water
1 cup (250 ml) quinoa
3/4 cup (175 ml) halved red grapes
2/3 cup (150 ml) thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup (125 ml) thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup (125 ml ) halved fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1/2 cup (125 ml) toasted walnuts
1/2 cup ( 125 ml) orange juice
2 T (30 ml) flaxseed oil
1/4 t salt
pinch of cinnamon
3/4 cup (175 ml) cored and diced apple

Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the cooled quinoa with the grapes, celery, green onions, cranberries and walnut pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, oil, salt and cinnamon. Toss diced apple in dressing then toss dressing and apples together with the quinoa mixture. This salad is best served after resting for about 2 hours in the fridge but can be served right away.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

French Apple Tart

Can you believe that ten apples can fit easily into a 9 inch tart pan? I wouldn't believed anybody who would have told me so if I hadn't done it myself. But believe me, it works. The trick is to cook half of the apples down to a delicious elegant apple sauce and then layer the slices of the rest of the apples upright on top. The result is an amazing apple packed apple tart that is perfect for a cold day in fall, or any other day that calls for cake.

French Apple Tart

You may have extra apple slices after arranging the apples in step 6. If you don’t have a potato masher, you can puree the apples in a food processor. For the best flavor and texture, be sure to bake the crust thoroughly until it is deep golden brown. To ensure that the outer ring of the pan releases easily from the tart, avoid getting apple puree and apricot glaze on the crust. The tart is best served the day it is assembled.

serves 8

1 1/3 cups (6 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons (2 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

10 Golden Delicious apples (8 ounces each), peeled and cored
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/4 teaspoon salt


Adjust 1 oven rack to lowest position and second rack 5 to 6 inches from broiler element. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in bowl. Add melted butter and stir with wooden spoon until dough forms. Using your hands, press two-thirds of dough into bottom of 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press remaining dough into fluted sides of pan. Press and smooth dough with your hands to even thickness. Place pan on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and bake on lowest rack, until crust is deep golden brown and firm to touch, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Set aside until ready to fill.


Cut 5 apples lengthwise into quarters and cut each quarter lengthwise into 4 slices. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add apple slices and water and toss to combine. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples begin to turn translucent and are slightly pliable, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer apples to large plate, spread into single layer, and set aside to cool. Do not clean skillet.

3. While apples cook, microwave apricot preserves until fluid, about 30 seconds. Strain preserves through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl, reserving solids. Set aside 3 tablespoons strained preserves for brushing tart.

4. Cut remaining 5 apples into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add remaining apricot preserves, reserved apricot solids, apple wedges, and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are very soft, about 10 minutes.

5. Mash apples to puree with potato masher. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until puree is reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes.

6. Transfer apple puree to baked tart shell and smooth surface. Select 5 thinnest slices of sautéed apple and set aside. Starting at outer edge of tart, arrange remaining slices, tightly overlapping, in concentric circles. Bend reserved slices to fit in center. Bake tart, still on wire rack in sheet, on lowest rack, for 30 minutes. Remove tart from oven and heat broiler.

7. While broiler heats, warm reserved preserves in microwave until fluid, about 20 seconds. Brush evenly over surface of apples, avoiding tart crust. Broil tart, checking every 30 seconds and turning as necessary, until apples are attractively caramelized, 1 to 3 minutes. Let tart cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Remove outer metal ring of tart pan, slide thin metal spatula between tart and pan bottom, and carefully slide tart onto serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

TO MAKE AHEAD: The baked crust, apple slices, and apple puree can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Apple slices and apple puree should be refrigerated separately in airtight containers. Assemble tart with refrigerated apple slices and puree and bake as directed, adding 5 minutes to baking time.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

French Mussel Bisque

This soup was our Friday night dinner. The vegetables are cooked separately first. Then the cooking liquid of the mussels and some white wine (acutally a lot of white wine) will be added to the vegetables. The soup is finished with some cream and you will be rewarded with a silky delicious soup that tastes best with a little bit of French Baguette and a crispy white wine. Bon appetit!

French Mussel Bisque
(Ina Garten)

3 lbs. fresh mussels, cleaned
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
1 large leek, white and light green parts, cleaned and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
½ teaspoon saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 whole canned plum tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or dill

Bring 1 1/2 cups water and 1 cup of the wine to a boil in a large, shallow pot. Add the mussels, cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the mussels open. When the mussels are cool enough to handle, separate the mussels from the shells and set aside, discarding the shells and any mussels that didn't open. Strain the cooking liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl and reserve.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in another large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions, leek, carrots, garlic, saffron, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute.

Add 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid (discard the rest) and the rest of the wine, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the reserved mussels, the half-and-half, and the cream. Heat until just heated through but not boiling. Stir in the parsley or dill, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Serve hot.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spanish Omelette

Whenever I am not really sure what to cook I go for eggs. This omelette comes together quickly and is a very pretty dish that you can make ahead of time. The vegetables, the cheese and the potatoes complement each other. You can serve this omelette hot, warm, or cold the next day.

Spanish Omelette (Tortilla Espanola)
(Nigella Express)


12 baby new potatoes, halved and boiled until cooked through
5 eggs
3/4 of a jar of flame-roasted peppers, roughly chopped
3 green onions, finely sliced
3/4 cup old cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Serves 4


Heat an oven-safe, heavy-based frying pan on medium heat.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs then add the peppers, green onions and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked, drained potatoes.
Heat the butter in the frying pan and, when hot, pour in the omelette mix and cook gently for five minutes.
By this time, the bottom of the omelette should be set; rather than turn it, simply sit the pan under the grill for a few minutes to set the top. It should be a little wobbly in the middle still but it will continue to cook as it cools.
Once cool, slice into wedges and serve at room temperature.