Category Archives: Cooking

Extremely Yummy Chili Chutney

Chilis

My tries at growing things this year were going better than last year. Especially the Chilis grew like crazy and I found myself wondering what to do with them… I came across a recipe for Chili Chutney in one of my Jamie Oliver Cookbooks (Jamie at Home; highly recommended, the book is great!)  and amended it slightly. What can I say – soon, I’ll have to make more of it because it’s so very good!

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Chilis
  • 6-8 bell peppers, red
  • 3 red onions
  • 1 sprig Rosemary
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150ml balsamic vinegar
  • some olive oil, salt, pepper
  • clean preserving jars to store the chutney

Step one: Roast the Chilis and Bell Peppers. Pre-heat oven to high heat and grill if you can. Half the Bell Peppers and remove the stem and seeds, place on baking sheet. I’ve put the chilis wholly on the sheet and in the oven and learned the hard way that they actually explode. 🙂 So you might want to cut a small opening lenghtwise so they won’t explode. 🙂

Bake/grill until the skin turns black and bubbly. You will have to remove the Chilis before the bell pepper, because they won’t take as long. Put the grilled Chilis into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. While they cool, the steam will make it really easy to remove the skin. Remove the stem and seeds and skin from the chilis. (you probably won’t be able to remove every single bit of skin, but that’s ok). Careful – DO NOT touch your eyes after that task, it burns! If you’re sensitive, you might want considering wearing rubber gloves. Repeat the skinning for the bell peppers.

Afterwards, you’ll have a nice heap of soft, grilled chili and bell pepper pulp. Chop with a knife or the help of a food processor.

Next, finely chop the onions and the rosemary leaves. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add the onions, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon and slowly brown for approx. 20 minutes. The onions will caramelize and almost fall apart. Add the chopped chilis and bell pepper, sugar, some salt and pepper and the balsamic vinegar and cook over low heat. Don’t forget to stir occassionally. Let cook until the liquid has vaporized and the consistency of the chutney is thick and sirupy. Have a taste to see if it needs some more salt and pepper. Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves and fill into sterilized preserving jars.

The Chutney is great with cold cuts, Fondue Chinoise or any other kind of meat. It’s also fantastic with cheese or warm cheese bread. The mister even incorporated it into a sauce for venison.

I also thought that next time, I try to add some figs instead of bell pepper to make it even fruitier and more exotic. 🙂

 

Chili Chutney

 

Princess Tomato Salad with Homemade Pesto, Buffalo Mozzarella and Breadrolls

I know, I’ve been away for far too long. What can I say – life happens. But here’s this fantastic summer dish that I just have to share. Not as many pictures as in other food posts, but I guess this will do anyways. 🙂 Also, testing the camera in my new smartphone, thus I can somehow not get the pictures any bigger. 😦

 

Princess Tomatos

Ingredients:

  • 500 g Date Tomatos (alternatively Cherry Tomatos or Perla Tomatos)
  • a generous bunch of fresh basil
  • pine nuts or almonds or walnuts
  • parmesan cheese
  • a couple of sprigs rosemary
  • garlic
  • sour cream
  • spring onions
  • paninis to finish baking yourself
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar, aceto balsamico

 

Start by finely chopping a clove of garlic and some rosemary. Mix with some coarse salt and olive oil and set aside. (you will need this to brush the bread rolls, so one to two tsp of olive oil will do)

Next, prepare the tomatoes. To make a regular tomato a princess tomato, you want to peel them. This is actually quite easy. 🙂 Firstly, you want to nick all the tomatoes on top. Just a small cut through the skin. Next, bring some water to a boil. Prepare a separate bowl with ice water in it. As soon as the water is boiling, you want to blanch the tomatoes for about 20 seconds. Simply count from 20 to 40, that will do. 🙂 Then dump the tomatoes in the ice water. You will now be able to remove the skin quite easily. Put the skinned tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with approx. 1 tbsp sugar and some olive oil. Yes, sugar. Trust me, it’ll turn out real tasty! Then set aside.

Next, the pesto. A traditional pesto is prepared with pine nuts. However, the price of pine nuts around here is exorbitantly high and therefore I went for the budget version. About five almonds or a couple of kernels of walnuts will work just as well. Put a generous amount of fresh basil, one or two cloves of garlic, some parmesan, five almonds (or pine nuts or walnuts) and a generous amount of olive oil in a food processor. Mix until you have a a nice paste. You might need to add some more olive oil to give it a sauce-ier consistency. Lastly, add just a dash of Aceto Balsamico to the pesto.

While you could obviously make your own fresh bread rolls, I went again for the quicker version – store bought rolls to pop in the oven and bake for a couple of minutes. Seriously, after a long day at work I don’t have the energy to be a perfect housewife and do use shortcuts whenever possible. 😉 Prepare as directed on the packaging.

Lastly, the sour cream dip. Finely cut the green of a spring onion. Mix with the sour cream, add freshly ground pepper and a dash of lemon juice. Mix well and set aside.

Now, to add the last touches to the princess tomatos. They have by now marinated nicely in some olive oil and sugar. Heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the tomatoes, sprinkle with some sugar, quickly stir them in the hot pan and take them out again. You don’t want to cook them, you just want to caramelize them.

Next, bring everything together. Chop a couple of fresh basil leaves and mix them with the tomatos. Cut the buffalo mozzarella into pieces. Brush the rosemary/garlic/olive oil mix over the still warm rolls. Arrange everything on a plate and then enjoy a caprese salad like you’ve never had one before. 🙂

Princess Tomatos

 

 

 

Fondue Chinoise

Fondue is widely considered a typical Swiss Dish. Most people think about Cheese Fondue when they hear about it and every tourist in Switzerland usually tries a “typical” cheese fondue and ends up with stomach aches, because they are not used to all this melted cheese. What many do not know is this: It is very important to NOT drink water or soda with a cheese fondue but either warm tea or some white wine. I’m not in particular fond of cheese fondue, but if I end up eating some, I ALWAYS drink only warm tea with it, which helps to digest the mass rather fatty cheese. (btw, this rule also goes for Raclette) 

This is what Wikipedia has to say about Fondue:

Fondue (French pronunciation: ​[fɔ̃’dy]) is a Swiss, French, and Italian dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon) over a portable stove (réchaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s but its origins stem from an area that covers Switzerland, France (Rhone Alps) and Italy (Piedmont and Aosta valley).

Since the 1950s, the name “fondue” has been generalized to other dishes in which a food is dipped into a communal pot of hot liquid: chocolate fondue, in which pieces of fruit are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, in which pieces of meat are cooked in hot oil.” 

I remember when I was in San Diego a couple of years ago I went to a small Fondue Restaurant in La Jolla called “Forever Fondue” with a couple of fellow students. For me, as a Swiss Person, it was absolutely hilarious! It was so incredibly cute to listen to the waiter explaining the dish to a group of Swiss and Japanese students. The Swiss thought it was totally funky to have Fondue in California and the Japanese were a bit flabbergasted by this weird food. The restaurant served Cheese Fondue for starters, Meat and Fish Fondue as a Main Dish and Chocolate Fondue for dessert. Let me tell you this: No Swiss person in their right mind would normally eat all of them in one sitting. 😀 But hey, it was a very unique experience! The people from Forever Fondue are also quite innovative and a visit is really worthwhile.  

When I was living in Germany, a lot of my german acquaintances would make Meat Fondue, where they cooked pieces of meat in hot oil. Which is, in my opinion, still way too heavy and not really my choice of fondue. 

Therefore, today I would like to introduce you to Fondue Chinoise – my favourite festive winter meal! (well… we’ve had it almost every weekend since X-mas and are still not tired of it, it’s simply so good!)

It is actually quite similar to Fondue Bourgingnonne but instead of hot oil, you use broth. Whether it is beef broth or veggie broth is entirely up to you. Personally, I like to use veggie broth. I also add one carrot and one leek cut into slices and heat it up on the stove. Here in Switzerland, you can buy very thinly sliced and rolled up meats in every variation. From beef, veal, pork, chicken and turkey to even horse. My favourite is turkey, since it’s not too expensive and it cooks to be very tender in the broth.

Fondue Pot and various Dips and additions.

Fondue Pot and various Dips and additions.

To go with the meat, there are various dips (either store bought or homemade), pickles, antipasti and potato chips. And that’s it. Everyone helps themselves to what they like, put the meat on the long forks and put them into the hot broth for a couple of minutes. When the meat is done, take it out and enjoy.

The plate with cooked and raw meat, dips and pickles

The plate with cooked and raw meat, dips and pickles

And here’s the best part – when you’re finished, don’t throw away the soup! Keep it for the next day, add any leftover meat and maybe some dried tortellini, heat up and voila – you have a full meal and an incredible tasty soup. 

My Mom doesn’t like to eat soup the next day, so she actually freezes the broth into ice cubes and uses it as a base whenever she cooks risotto. 

Fondue Chinoise is a great meal in my opinion, because it doesn’t involve a lot of cooking or preparation. The Mister and I love to have it during the winter months – just the two of us and a good movie. Heaven. 🙂

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Well, I might be a bit late with this recipe, but after all it’s still winter and therefore soup-time! 🙂

There’s almost nothing better on a cold fall/winter night than a bowl of creamy, homemade pumpkin soup. It’s easy, too! The most work for this is to cut up the pumpkin and other veggies. Therefore I suggest to cook up a big batch and then freeze the soup into portions. That way you have a quick and easy dinner or lunch at hand. The nice thing about pumpkin soup is that you can also add other veggies that you happen to have about and that might need using. For example carrots or potatoes. 

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • 1-2 pumpkins, cut into pieces (approx. 1-1.5 kg in total)
  • Powdered veggie broth
  • Curry powder 

Optional:

  • 1-2 carrots
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 1-2 onions

 For Serving:

  • Cream or Crème Fraiche
  • Optional: some grated cheese for sprinkling 

Peel and cut the veggies into cubes. Cover with water and add broth powder, depending on how much water you used. I suggest to go low on it, though, otherwise it might turn out too salty. You can always add a bit more if need be. 

The Veggies - cut and covered with water

The Veggies – cut and covered with water

Cook on low heat until the veggies are soft. Use a hand blender and mix until you get a smooth mass. Now add approx. 1 tbsp. curry powder and mix in well. Have a taste test to see if the spicing is ok. 

For Serving, add a tablespoon Crème Fraiche, Sour Cream or regular cream per bowl. You could also sprinkle the soup with some grated cheese. 

I usually cook a big pot full of soup and freeze the leftovers. When I don’t feel like cooking, I simply thaw the soup, throw in a lean sausage and voilà – Dinner.  

Note: Always add the cream just before serving and don’t freeze it with the soup.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

The woes of not blogging…

So I meant to blog about a gazillion of topics for the longest time. I took loads of fantastic screenshots in WoW and pictures of yummy food, I made notes in my head and still… I never got around to actually really write about any of those topics I came up with! And this since October and it’s the 31st December today! Woah… Ok, so here’s a mumble-jumble list of random thoughts:

In Cooking and Food News:

I made some awesome Pumpkin Soup; I even took pictures and wrote up the recipe. I only have to bring the two together and post them! Will definitely do so, Pumpkin Soup is just too good not to share.

I totally have to FINALLY share the recipe for mustard chicken. It quickly became a standard meal in our house because it’s pretty easy and quick to prepare and tastes fantastic!

I also wanted to introduce you to a traditional festive meal in Switzerland called Fondue Chinoise. We’ll have it for New Year’s Eve and I will totally try and take some pictures!

Tea. Tea is awesome. I love Tea. And we’ve indulged in a Special-T Tea machine from Nestlé. It’s pure luxury and probably a bit decadent – but OMG we love it!

In WoW News:

I’m raiding regularily and hey, we’re pretty good at it! I do hate the Heart of Fear with a passion, though. I really do. I even had some crying and swearing fits because of those pixels. Silly bugs in there…

I just recently got my fifth character to level 90 and also got the Double Agent achievement. That’s Tanyankâ (Huntress), Seely (Shadow Priestess), Blackmorgana (Rogue) and Credendo (Druid) on Horde Side and Kytara (Mage) on Alliance side.

I love Blizzards’ Story Telling. It’s so beautiful. I even came to like Anduin. He ain’t dead, right? He will come back and help us kick Garrosh’s behind?

I started to play a little Panda Monk named Shuilong. That means Water Dragon. I got the name from a list of possible Baby Panda names at the San Diego Zoo. 🙂

I love looking for treasures in Pandaria. It helps with the levelling, too!

There are incredible fun items in Pandaria to be found. For example mermaid shells.

Catching every single pet available in all of Azeroth will be a real challenge and I’m sure I’ll need a LOT of patience for it. It helps though to have both Horde and Alliance characters at my fingertips – makes taming some of the pets so much easier. 🙂

The guys at the Ogrimmar Fight Club pack a real punch. Ouch!

And just to give you a pretty picture as well:

Loh-Ki tells you the story of Alani

Loh-Ki tells you the story of Alani

This is Loh-Ki. He may be found a bit hidden up in the walls that surround the Valley of the Eternal Blossom. He tells you the story of Alani, the Dragon that flies around the Valley, where you need the sky shards to attack in order to get Alani as a mount. I love those loving details, those hidden treasures in the game.

Everyone – Happy New Year 2013. Let there be more interesting Blog entries more regularily. 🙂

Mists of Pandaria Marathon – Foods: Raspberry Yoghurt

This snack is really simple… Maybe even too simple to grant it a full recipe post, but I’ll do it anyways. 😀 So, you’ve just fullfilled another quest, reached another level and you get the munchies for something sweet. How about a fruit yoghurt with whole raspberries in there? Real quick, real easy, prepareable in advance:

You’ll need this:

  • plain yoghurt
  • frozen berries of your liking
  • liquid honey

You may use frozen berries for this or berries that are lightly thawed, this is entirely up to. Maybe you want this frozen yoghurt style or simply fruit yoghurt style. (It’s always a good idea to keep a packet of frozen fruit in the freezer, you can easily prepare something delicious with it.)

Mix the berries into the yoghurt, stir in one tsp of liquid honey and drizzle another tsp on top of it. Serve and enjoy!

Mists of Pandaria Marathon – Foods: Salmon Bites

Here’s another idea for a very tasty, yet quick snack that only requires a handful of ingredients. (And did you notice that I finally have new plates? 🙂 The Mr. said that I really needed some pretty plates to present my foods. See? We has now pretty plates. 🙂 )

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • smoked salmon
  • flour tortilla
  • cream cheese (plain or with herbs)
  • lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

Continue reading →

Mists of Pandaria Marathon – Foods: Tuna Dip with Veggie Sticks

This one is a snack that may be prepared in advance and it doesn’t take long to prepare. It’s a great snack to satisfy those munchies for something crunchy when you’re on a gaming marathon. 🙂

There are very little ingredients needed for the dip itself:

  •  1 can of tuna (I always use the one in saltwater, not the oily one)
  • 1 onion
  • either of these: plain yoghurt, cream cheese, creme fraîche, sour cream
  • spices – dried herbs, freshly ground pepper, some salt, paprika

Continue reading →

Mists of Pandaria Marathon – Foods: Stuffed Mushrooms

I previously posted recipes for Piadina and Focaccia, which will certainly be on the menu next week. Here’s another idea for some gamer food: Stuffed Mushrooms.

Granted, it takes a little bit of time to prepare these, but half an hour away from keyboard can’t hurt during a gaming marathon. 😉

Here’s what you’ll need for the stuffed mushrooms:

  • Mushrooms – I used champignons
  • 1 onion
  • some bacon cubes
  • cream cheese, plain or with herbs
  • some grated parmesan
  • freshly ground pepper, cayenne pepper, dried herbs, paprika

Continue reading →

Mists of Pandaria Marathon: Choice of Drinks

As promised, I’m going to talk about food and drink during a gaming marathon as it will come up very soon. In fact, next week! Pandaria, here we come! Woohoo!

The Non-Gamers amongst you might think that during a gaming marathon we live off Energy Drinks, Coffee, Soft Drinks, Beer, Wine…

Sorry to disappoint you, but no. While there will be the occassional Energy Drink or Coffee, I refrain from alcohol and Soft Drinks. We will be going through a rather unhealthy gaming marathon with little sleep, therefore it’s even more important to drink enough and drink the right things. Water would obviously be the best choice, but sometimes it’s just too bland and I need something with a taste to it that keeps me drinking enough.

One thing that I will prepare for sure by the buckets is this Ginger-Lemon Drink that I’ve introduced before. Another is tea. When I was little, my Mom would always brew a mix of lime-tree blossom and peppermint, add some lemon juice and a bit of sugar, let it cool and that was that. That was way cheaper than buying soft drinks. And that’s something I keep doing to-date, though I vary the teas a lot – I have quite the collection in my cupboard.

In fact, I need to go buy some more teas, the cupboard ain’t as full as it used to be. 🙂

One of my favourite teas is Mexican Spiced Rooibos. I knew the previous owner of SBS Teas and that’s how I know about this awesome online tea shop. They are based in the US, but ship internationally and I really recommend these ladies if you’re looking for something special. But I’m also lucky enough to have a good Tea House here in town, the London Tea Company,  that carry great teas. And I don’t mind at all drinking tea brewed from inexpensive grocery store tea bags. I usually sweeten my drinks with honey, sometimes I use sugar. But the great thing about brewing your own drink is that it’s entirely up to you how much sugar you add or if you substitute with something else.

And that’s my alternative to soft drinks. 🙂