Showing posts with label Spring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spring. Show all posts

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumbcake

It is Michael's birthday today, and this is the cake he always request for a birthday cake. Not this particular recipe, but this type of cake. A rather flat sheet cake, topped with fresh fruit and a crunchy crumb topping. They always do not look like much, a little unassuming for a birthday cake. And if he did not have an opinion himself, I would make him a fancier cake, like the Chocolate Hazelnut Crepe Cake in Deb's cookbook. Or her recent cake, this Bienenstich cake. But who am I to argue with the birthday boy?
Truth is, I like those cakes, too. They are a lot easier to eat. All you need is a napkin. You could actually eat a slice of this cake standing in front of the fridge, in the middle of the night.
The recipe I used here is great. It makes a wonderful coconut pineapple crumbcake, or a great orange crumbcake with this orange marmalade between the cake layer and the crumb topping. Here I doubled the cake recipe, layered some rhubarb and strawberries on top and finished it off with a simple crumb topping. But you can take this anywhere you want.
And I am off, pizza and beer await me.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumbcake
Note: If you use darker sugar in the topping than I did, the cake will look less pale. Also working some agave into the topping would result in a crumb that turns more golden. If you don't care for the cake to be vegan, you can subsitute regular milk for the soy milk.
cake layer:
1 1/3 cup soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 cup canola oil (or another mild tasting oil)
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

~2 stalks rhubarb
~1/3 pound strawberries

crumb topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
Slice the rhubarb and strawberries into 1/2 cm thick slices (~1/4 of an inch). Add a tablespoon of sugar to draw out some of the water before baking.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients for the cake layer. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the cake batter on top. Spread out a bit until it is between 1 and 2 cm thick. Top with rhubarb and strawberries.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the ingredients for the topping, until crumbs form. Sprinkle over the fruit layer and pat down a bit using your hands.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rye Tea Sandwiches with Avocado-Wasabi Salsa and Cucumber

(I wrote this a few days ago, but did not have time to make these sandwiches before today, as I imagined last week.)
When this post is published I will already have settled into my new home, not that far away from my old, but nevertheless in a very different life. Moving in with my boyfriend has been a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions. While I am really happy about getting to know him better, about being closer, about taking this leap, I know it is also going to be a challenge, and for the past few weeks we both were a bit scared, too. Scared because we don't know how this is going to turn out, if our ways of seing the world really are going to fit together.

It is difficult to acknowledge these feelings when it all is supposed to be unicorns and rainbows. But I guess that is just normal for any big change in life, they are happy events, but also scary. I know that if I'm ever going to have kids, I will feel the same. Big move. Marriage.
In the next few weeks we are going to ease into this thing, into living together. And I am looking forward to it. These are good changes, and I think I'll especially enjoy not having to carry around fresh/worn underwear all the time, while moving between his home and mine.
This weeks pick for the Food Matters Project was for Updated Tea Sandwiches, and I think this recipe comes at the perfect time, being so simple. After days of packing and now unpacking, and eating out, I wanted to ease back into the kitchen and start cooking in this new environment.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Chimichurri Dressing

As I type this, I am sitting in my bedroom, surrounded by boxes and bags full of my stuff. I packed away most of my cookbooks, except the Food Matters Cookbook, that I still needed for today. There are still so many things to do before I move next Saturday, a bed to paint, boxes to fill, so much to clean.
Packing and moving all your stuff is revealing, only now do I realize all the things I bought in the 2 1/2 years I lived in this apartment. Books, kitchen appliances, and so much food, too. I am slowly going through all the things I bought (because I really needed them), and deciding whether I truly like all the things I have at home.
I found that I can do without Amaranth (I really didnt like it) but love quinoa. Kamut is fine, but farro is a lot better. I love chickpeas and split peas but I am not that crazy about other beans.
This is good to know, and as my last recipe, cooked in this small, less than perfect kitchen, I want to share a quinoa salad that I made.
It was inspired by this weeks pick for the Food Matters Project, Mixed Grill with Chimichurri. I decided to try out a new way of posting the recipes I post here, based more on the way I cook, only giving exact measurements when they are necessary. Please let my know your opinion on that in the comments.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Strawberry Peach Scones

My little sister is on her way to visit me, to help me pack my life together and move and just spend the day together.
It's a funny thing, having brothers and sisters. I am the oldest of four, two boy and two girls, just as if my parents had perfectly planned it; each child three years after the one that came before.
As I grew up I had lots of fights with my brother, we hit each other hard and fought over toys, until we moved and we got rooms of our own, with enough space between us to live without fighting. Only recently have we become closer again, and only now have I found the unique quality that is in the friendship between brothers and sisters.
Seeing them grow from the kids they once were into the persons they are now is truly amazing, I can only imagine how this must feel for a mother, not just a sister.

So to get to spend time with my sister today is great, and in between packing and decluttering I found time to make these scones for us to eat while we paint my bed.
I have seen different recipes for scones with summer fruit in them recently, and took a few ideas I saw and combined them in this recipe.
Ever since I spent time in Ireland (Oh Galway I miss you) I have loved scones. Scones for me equate calm and fun times, reflecting the time I had in Galway. Mixing in summer fruit makes them even better, though. Scones can be a bit dry when not totally fresh, juicy fruit packed in the middle can fix this easily.
These scones were really easy to throw together, the only flaw of baked goods in summer is the heat the oven generates. They are worth it, though.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Braised Chickpea Fritters and Vegetables - The Food Matters Project

 This week it is my turn to host the Food Matters Project. It took me quite a while to choose a recipe for everyone to cook. It was the mix of legumes, vegetables and ethiopian spices that made me decide on this recipe for chickpea fritters and vegetables.

When I reread the recipe this week, it seemed a bit strange to me not to cook the chickpeas. I have done that before with lentils, and found that some did become soft but others not, so I decided to not follow the directions Bittman gives and cooked the beans until they were soft.

For the rest I tried to follow the recipe as closely as possible, but decided to bake the fritters in the oven instead of deep frying. Baking them worked well, but they ended up being a bit crumbly. It wasnt a problem in this recipe, but if you wanted to use them in a pita bread, this might not be the recipe to use. And I also used a mix of chickpeas and white beans, because I did not have enough chickpeas in the house (and want to buy more only after moving).
I really like how this recipe turned out, and I'd say without the deep-frying, it is not as labour-intesive as Bittman mentions in the recipe notes. And I hope you liked it, too. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else came up with. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lentil and Greens Taco with Avocado Cucumber Salsa

When I was a kid I loved to read. I'd lie in my bed all morning and read. I really loved to read, it gave me an opportunity to live in another world. What I remember particularly well is the time when I read Harry Potter. At that time the books were still rather unknown (at least in Switzerland), and I'd have to wait at least another year until the next book came out. I think I devoured the first book when I was 10 years old, and on my 11th birthday I really wished to get a letter from Hogwarts. I mean, I knew that it was just a story, but I still was a bit disappointed when it did not arrive. You see, on one hand I really wanted to leave my class at school, I had no friends there, but also I wanted to be told I was special.
This need to feel special, it never served me well. I started many things, playing the violin, singing, volleyball, dancing, etc, just to find that thing I'm talented at. I thought I'd just find something I'd be good at naturally. I thought I would not have to work for it.
Still today, I really struggle to continue doing something I'm not good at from the start. And I came to realize that if I ever have kids, I'll never talk about talent in front of them. Talent alone doesn't get you anywhere. It's the work you put into it that counts.
One thing that I am trying to improve is my photography. I recently bought myself a Holga, a cheap toy camera, that makes me think long about the shot I want to make (Getting the film developed is quite expensive here).  But I need to dig deeper, practise more. If you have any tips or ressources I would love the hear them. But I also just need to get out and shoot. Just do it should be my new mantra. Just do it. (if you have any assignments for me, please give them to me)
Marx and Engels in Berlin

For this weeks Food Matters project installment, I made something simple. Since I did not change much, I'll just link to the recipe at the end of the post. I followed the basic recipe, but substituted lentil du puy for the black beans and used salad greens instead of kale because that is what I had on hand. I served it in taco shells with a simple avocado cucumber salsa, made with a little onion, avocado, about the same amount cucumber, a few sliced radishes, salt and lemon juice. The original recipe can be found over at good things grow: Beans 'n Greens Burritos. Check out what the other participants came up with this week over here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Apple Rhubarb Chutney with Halloumi

Today's adaptation for the Food Matters Project came to me after I was pondering what to use instead of the fish for quite some time, before I decided to go the Indian route. And then paneer was the first thing that came to my mind. I had to make do with halloumi, a cheese similar to paneer but quite a bit saltier. If you can get your hands on paneer or have time to make your own, please use it here.
The chutney I made to accompany the slices of pan-fried halloumi surprised me with quite a few layers of flavour and texture. The raw rhubarb stays crunchy and constrast nicely with the soft, cooked apple. The little sugar I added just cut down the sourness of the rhubarb without making the chutney to sweet. While I looked for inspiration for a chutney recipe I found this quote in Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons: To me, the beauty of chutney is that something delicious is created from something old and unwanted.
And in this spirit I decided to use apple in my adaptation, because making something delicious from something old is a great feeling.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Warm Moroccan Spiced Broccoli Orzo Salad

I did not actually plan on posting today's lunch until I tried my first bite. I am at home, writing an outline for my bachelor thesis, sanding the sides of my bed to later paint them and preparing for tomorrows classes. I only planned on making a quick lunch, using what I have.
A look in the fridge told me that I really needed to use this broccoli that I got in my csa last week (or was it the week before that? I really don't know). A quick search on 101cookbooks provided me with an idea for the broccoli: Broccoli Orzo salad. I mostly follow the recipe when it came to the main ingredients but decided to add some Moroccan spices. Or what I think are Moroccan spices, I really am not an expert on Moroccan cooking. Harissa, a little cinnamon and some preserved lemon and I am in heaven.
I have to keep this short, should be back to work by now.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lemony Asparagus and Spinach Crepes

This is a quick post for a rather quick meal. I found myself in a bit of a hurry the last week or two. Or rather, I put myself int a bit of stress by not doing much during the first part of semester. Duh! I really should know by now, this is not my first semester. But every time I do the same, relaxing and enjoying my free time in the first part and then stressing about getting everything done on time.
 Thats when I crave simple food, simple but still delicious. Because I really need to step away from cooking all day in this time of the semester. Simple might mean different things to you, but making these crepes and filling them with simple ingredients was just the thing I needed. This is not the quickest meal around, but they were easy enough to make and reconnected me with something real.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Potato, Chickpea and Asparagus Salad

I never considered myself to be a creative person. Creative were the others. The painters, the musicians, the crafters. The people who knew what they were doing. Who can take a pencil into their hands and just start drawing and produce a wonderful drawing. The people who constantly took beautiful pictures with their cameras. I always looked at their work and said to myself: Oh well, your just not the creative type. They just have talent.

Only recently I realized that creativity is not the same as talent (and talent is a concept I try to distance myself from) and expertise. Being creative is the process, not the outcome. No matter how the end result turns out, the mere act of creating something makes us creative people. And John Cleese shares this view, that creativity is not an ability but a process. If you happen to have time, please watch this video. It is really worth your time.

And it really is good to know that we all are creative beings.

It is in cooking that I often feel my creativity the most. I usually sit and read and write and type the whole day or spend it with friends or maybe on the bike, but don't spend it creating stuff. Creating something in the kitchen is when I feel really connected, to the food I make but also to life in general. Cooking is really grounding to me.

For this weeks recipe in the Food Matters Project, I really planned on making a soup, maybe adding a bit more garlic, pureeing the bean part and leaving the asparagus whole. But then summer came, it is really pleasant outside, I wear a dress, drink beer and just can't imagine eating hot soup right now. And turning it into a cold soup did not sound too great. So here I am today, with a version of the dish that is more suited to the temperatures right now.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pad Thai Salad

We all have those stories that our parents like to tell about us. You have to know those, they are told to people entering the family, like boyfriends, the new husband of the aunt, or maybe a new friend, too. One thing about me that my mother loves to share is my early love for travelling.
Apparently, when I was 2 (or 3, I have heard it many times but still don't remember), I went to my grandmother on "holidays", and unlike other children who get homesick and want to see their mothers, I loved being there, and when it was time to go home, I am said to have called my parents (with help, obviously) and asked whether I could stay longer.

What can I say, it is still the same today. I am always planning the next trip, and more than that, probably also smaller trips in between and the next bigger trip is being discussed. Despite all this, I have never travelled outside of Europe so far. There were many plans to do so, but somehow France, Ireland or Spain made it to the top of the list. Maybe next year I'll make it to another continent for the first time.

I have found that this also influences my cooking, or rather my confidence in labeling a certain dish "Indian" or "Vietnamese". The Indian food I had in my life was cooked in European kitchens, and was adapted to European tastes. And then come the cuisines that are not so common in Europe as in the US. I have been very careful to not cook something and then label it "Mexican", because really, the only Mexican food you can buy here are these taco kits. Nevertheless, I still feel myself in need of labelling things - Arugula, Carrot, Asparagus, Peanut Salad with Lime, Soy Sauce and Cilantro dressing just does not sound too great. So let's call this a Pad Thai Salad, even though I know this is not the real thing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Apple Rhubarb Crumble

 Last week I went out one evening, to drink some micro brew beer and meet some friends. At some point in the evening we talked about one guy we all know. He got married last fall and started working for a Swiss bank (in a low position, but with still a high wage compared to our student wages). Two guys in our group thought of him as being successful, while I silently disagreed.

To me, in my situation, this would mean failure (and I really don't want to step on any ones toes here, I am just speaking of myself. I love my independence.). And since this conversation I could not stop thinking about success, and what it means to different people.

I don't have a definite answer even for myself, as I see my definition of success change with my changing lifestyle, but these are a few ideas I came up with.

Doing work that has a purpose.
Earning enough money to be able to live comfortably.
Working not too much, so I can enjoy this comfortable life.
Putting thought and effort into the small things, because ultimately they are what makes us happy.
Having honest and open relationships with friends and family.
And right now, making a delicious crumble with things I have on hand.

But before I share this recipe with you, what do you consider success? 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tartines with Asparagus, Fennel Confit and Sheep Milk Yogurt

You may have seen from my last post, that I was away for a few days.(I only just saw that I did not actually post the post I am talking about here, it is up now: 5 things i love right now) My boyfriend and I spent the last 5 days in Berlin, eating our way through all the amazing restaurants they have there. I think I'll share some photos and stories later on, but I just got home, wanted to make this weeks recipe for the food matters project and share this here with you. I am back, and happy to be cooking again. After 5 days of eating out I really started to get a bit detached from myself.

These tartines were inspired by Heidi from 101cookbooks. I love pizza and it is probably the only recipe that I make quite often, but right now I really did not fancy making pizza.
So when I saw Heidi's recipe for her asparagus tartines, I knew I wanted to make something similar as soon as I get home. This is what I came up with

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chickpea Nuggets with Escarole in Caramel Sauce

As I am writing this, I feel the urge to sneak into the kitchen to nibble on another of these chickpea nuggets. (Back again).
I have found that the food matters project makes me search for meat alternatives, while I usually just go without. I am not really one to buy fake meat or use tofu in abundance. I usually go for chickpeas, beans or lentils if I feel the need to add protein to a dish.
But for this project, I felt I needed to change this approach. For the coq au vin, I just left out the meat altogether, but doing that for another week for the cassoulet seemed kind of strange, and then this week: rhubarb sauce alone does not really sound like much of a meal. But luckily I stumbled onto this recipe for chickpea nuggets, or gatta as it is called, and new that I wanted to give them a try. They are really easy to make, but oh so delicious. While last weeks sausages need some improving, these I can really recommend. They can also be frozen (I guess, none survived to try it out), or dried as the recipe I found suggests.
For the sauce I used the escarole version Bittman suggests as a variation. Rhubarb is still not quite in season here, and I had escarole already at home. I also used a radicchio I had in the fridge. Since I stayed true to the original recipe this week, I only include the recipe for the chickpea nuggets here, please go to Camilla's blog for the whole recipe and check out what everyone else did with this recipe here. I have to say though that while I loved the nuggets, I wasn't too crazy about the sauce. It was to liquid, sweet and orangey. Something was missing and I couldn't find out what.
I also used these nuggets in a couscous dish a made earlier in the week. Cooked some couscous. stirfried some fennel and pea shoots, add the couscous to the skillet, season with a curry powder, throw in some apple and the chickpea nuggets. I liked that better than this recipe, and might make it again and share it with proper measurements.