Sunday, March 17, 2019

Spinach Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

Looking at this dish one might notice that I am totally looking forward to spring. February spoilt us with mild temperatures, but then, the weather got back to gloomy and rainy winter moments. I  absolutely love hearty dishes , especially when baked with loads of cheese, but at some point you just want to switch to juicy fresh produce. 

Luckily I had a break from all this gloom and went to Costa Rica end of January. We had loads of typical flavours and some inspired this colourful bowl. So my usual bell pepper carrot salad has transformed into a tropical delight. I have to admit that I had to get used to limes in savoury dishes at first, as for me they're THE ingredient that defines mojitos. Now that I'm a fan, I like to replace lemons by limes quite often. So if you're curious what tropical flavours are hidden in my salad, read on and try the recipe. 

For 4 servings you'll need:
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 cucumbers
4 handful spinach
2 handful coriander 
2 mangoes
4 carrots
4 tbsp chives
450g black beans (canned)
4 tbsp olive oil
3 limes
2 small onions
4 avocados
salt & pepper

Rinse the bell peppers and cucumbers then cut them into little cubes. Peel the carrots and cut as well. Chop the chives and coriander and add the herbs to the vegetables. Now add the spinach as well as the black beans to the mix. Stir until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Peel the mango, press the lime juice and chop the onions into medium-sized chunks. Add everything to a food processor and mix. Divide the salad mix onto four plates, then drizzle the mango vinaigrette over each plate. Cut the avocado and place on top of each salad. Season with salt and pepper ate serve. 


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Blood Orange Rosemary Cake

The thing with cakes is, that every time you try/develop a new recipe that turns out well,  you think it's the best cake you've ever baked. What might seem illogical, is totally normal in the quest of baking high quality cakes every single time you switch on your oven. The texture of this recipe was so silky, I had three pieces in only one day - a thing that I usually don't do. 

Even though I'm more a chocolate cake kind of person, I must say that with the right fruit-spice ratio, I'm very curious to discover new combinations. When I first saw a recipe of lemon and rosemary cake I was very suspicious these two could match. During my travels, I was once served a lemon-thyme and a lemon-lavender treats, and I was very positively surprised. From that moment on, I was eager to create a recipe with a similar effect on its tasters. 

For one cake you need:
7 blood oranges
225g butter
200g sugar + 2 tbsp
3 eggs
2 large rosemary sprigs 
300g flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sour cream 
150g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°

In a large bowl whisk together butter and sugar until they're very well combined and fluffy. Filet 2 blood oranges (make sure that all the white parts of the orange cut off), chop the rosemary, then add everything to the sugar butter mix. Bring in the eggs one by one and beat until you get a smooth batter. Now you can also add the flour and baking powder.

Butter a bundt cake mold and add the dough. Bake the cake for around 50 minutes.  

While the cake is baking, prepare the blood orange syrup. In a saucepan bring the juice of 4 blood oranges to a boil, add the two table spoons of sugar, stir for about 3 minutes then reduce heat. Stir regularly until the syrup has reduced one third of its mass. Let cool until the cake is ready.

As soon as the cake is ready, let cool a few minutes until turning it on a wire rack. Now poke a few holes into the warm cake and pour the blood orange syrup over the cake. Make sure to put a bowl under the wire rack and repeat at least twice. Let the cake cool completely

In another bowl, gently beat the sour cream until creamy. Add 2 table spoons blood orange juice and 100g of icing sugar. Mix then add more icing sugar until the mixture gets real creamy. Now cover the cake with the icing and cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Butter

I did it! I finally managed to prepare the perfect sweet potato gnocchi. Whereas normal gnocchi are much easier to make, the sweet potato gnocchi are quite a challenge. I remember, when I first tried a recipe with my friends. We were standing in the kitchen for hours, not getting that dough into the right consistence to finally bring them to a boil and eat. Either the dough was to sticky oder not moist enough at all. Juggling with flour and water almost ruined the flavour. Because at some point, one could barely taste the sweet potato. 

For this recipe, I was also standing in the kitchen for a few hours. This time I prepared myself a little differently and hat flour and mashed sweet potato at each hand to find the perfect ratio and finally find  THE recipe for sweet potato gnocchi. It definitely is a balancing act but I am very very happy with the result. 

For 4 portions you'll need:
500g sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
360g flour
5 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
200g butter
5 tbsp olive oil
7 sage leaves (sliced)
150g rucola

Preheat the oven to 220°

Cut the sweet potatoes in half. Then put them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper cut side down. Roast for about 30 to 40 minutes (depending on the size of your sweet potatoes). When the sweet potatoes are tender, take them out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle peel of the skin and place them into a bowl. Mash the potatoes until there are no chunks left. Stir in the egg. salt and nutmeg, then mix again until you get an even mixture. Now add the flour and stir everything together until well combined. 

Dusk a work surface with some additional flour. Place the dough on it and knead very gently. If needed, you should add more flour. Be careful, it should still be moist but not sticky. Divide the dough into 6 portions. If necessary, dust with more flour. Now you can roll each portion into a long 1cm wide log. Cut it into 2 cm pillows. To shape the gnocchi, I chose to lightly press them with a fork, then pressing them back into a rectangular with my thumb and index finger. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil over a medium heat. Drop 20 gnocchi and wait until they float up to the surface. Wait 1 more minute, then fish them out of the water with a slotted spoon. While the gnocchi are cooking, you can prepare the sauce. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat as well and melt half of the butter with half the oil. When the butter is melted, add the chopped garlic and sage. Pour in 4 tablespoons of the gnocchi water, cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes. Add the rucola, cover again, and cook once more for 2 minutes. Finally add half of the gnocchi to the pan and toss to coat. Repeat the process with the second half of the ingredients. 

Serve the gnocchi immediately. Cheese lovers may sprinkle their portion with some grated parmesan. 


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