Friday, 31 January 2014

Fish Maw Soup for Reunion Dinner, 2014

































This soup is a MUST for me during chinese reunion dinners.  My grandma would inevitable cook a hugeeee pot of these every year and all I remembered was, the happy smile on everyone´s face when this soup was served.  The yummy goodies are well hidden underneath but dig a bit further, and you will be rewarded with something.  Some people likes Buddha Jumps Over the Wall but to me, this is even better.  There´s the lovely fishmaw, fishballs, prawns, cabbage, sea cucumber, pork bones and lots of garlic oil.  I love it and this is the reason why I´ve cooked a huge pot for myself here in Germany by hook or by crook.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Pinepple Tarts for Chinese New Year, 2014

































More colourful post to follow, as it is Chinese New Year tomorrow and I´ve cooked up a storm since yesterday!  As colourful as it sounds, it is my first time celebrating Chinese New Year out of Malaysia and away from my family due to my work commitment here.  Not wanting to miss out, I went all out to grab whatever ingredient I can find here to replicate what I miss eating during the festive season.  Some requires tedious preparation, for example this pineapple tart you see here but since it is hubby´s favourite, its my pleasure to make them.  Today is officially reunion dinner´s day.  It is the day where parents await their children from near and far to come home to celebrate Chinese New Year with them.  I have been calling my parents every single day.  Both of them sounded cheerful so its nice to hear that.  But of course, nothing beats being there physically.

More post to come so I´m going to keep this short (besides, I´m working today! arggg!)

Friday, 24 January 2014

Out Hops the Easter Bunny!

Easter is four months away but I can´t help bringing these lovely looking pastel bunny out.  Our home is currently being festively decorated in red hues due to upcoming Lunar Chinese New Year.  Its my first at home and hubby has been pestering me for plans and programmes?!  I think he meant pineapple tart which he totally dig whenever he´s back in Malaysia.  Oh well, looks like I have to start looking for a good recipe online soon!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Wreath Bread

































What a long overdue post this is! But it is something which I´m very, very proud off and would be a grave mistake if I don´t share them here.  It had been in my mind for awhile when I thought, hmmm .. instead of cooking the usual stuff for your yearly family feast that, this year, for a change, I should do something in addition for each to bring back to. 

Point in case, my brother in law and his girlfriend who lives some kilometres away and is always munching in their car during their long journeys as I was told.  Germans as one knows, loveee their bread so why not, bake my regular No-Knead-Bread and shape them into a wreath which befits the occassion.  What I did to the regular recipe is adding in olive oil, an egg, some butter and substituting normal water with milk.  And it worked marvelously.  Our dinner was italian inspired so I added in some parmesan cheese and got them sprinkled with olives and seasalt ...

It turned out lovelier than I anticipated .. so I´m pretty please with it :-)

Monday, 20 January 2014

Dahlia Chateau de la Bourdaisiere























A picture speaks a thousand words.

It is winter here as ones know but it isn´t stopping me from buying more plants.  Last year, I feel head over heels with Dahlias when most of the summer flowers wilted away.  There weren´t just beautiful to look at, its easy peasy to grow, does not cost so much to own and maintain and, a little trick I learned which excites me even further is, the more you cut them off for your decoration needs, the more will surprise you the following days. I told myself, I´ve got to have more of these beauties next year which is exactly what I am doing.  Now is the season to scout for new Dahlia tubers and look what I found :-)

I bought a few to be planted in a row ... can´t wait for it to arrive!

p/s : Photos credited to Poetschke Online.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Herren Torte





German cakes are so under-rated I feel that I need to do justice to it sometimes.  Apart from the world famous Black Forest Cake, there isn´t any other cakes I´ve come across the moment I step out of Germany which is sad.  Cake and coffee time in Germany is a big thing.  But why aren´t they not making an impact begulf me. 

One of my latest love apart from Donauwelle, Baumkuchen, Bienenstitch, Gugelhupf, Kaltehund, Frankfurter Kranz etc is this cake call Herren Torte.  At first glance it passes of as Sacher Torte.  But the moment you bite into it, there´s something to it that you can´t pinpoint but its delicious!  This piece was store-bought, but I am very inspired to get to the bottom of this by baking it one day. 

Just awhile ago, I found out that the secret ingredient inside are red wine and ground cinammon.  Wow. I am more intrique now that ever! Stay tune for my mission :-)

Friday, 10 January 2014

Kroketten

Recently, I got myself a mini deep fryer.  Small enough to fit whatever needs frying just for the two of us without the need to fill up so much oil to get the work done.  Hubby was a bit apprehensive as it was a no-brand fryer, but after searching around, this local brand seems to be one of the best for its size.  So for the past few days in a row, I have been putting the deep fryer to good use.  The first thing I made few nights ago were Kroketten, or deep fried potato and meat patties.  Sorry for the bad lighting because the Kroketten looked a lot better than what you see here! Its goldenish brown and crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside.  Hubby loved them as much as I do so he agreed that the machine proved his worth :-)

Thursday, 9 January 2014

2014 Home Activities ...

Hubby is thinking of starting a new lego architecture collection set.  As for me, I have been painting a bit but ended up amateurish looking.  Perhaps this `paint by number`series might help me a little and I already have a perfect spot for it which is in my PJ home for my parents :-) Hope I will finish them on time.  The other two game on top is something new we got for ourselves ...

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Undecorated Dala Horses

Shame.  It was left unattended because we simply had too much biscuits laying in the house this year.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Roast Prosciutto Chicken

Our Christmas meals was held 3 nights in a row.  Eve was spent at my inlaws where my hubby did the cooking.  From appetiser to dessert, it was wonderfully executed.  We had Gravlax as a start, a very good one that is and I only wish they carry them here regularly at the supermarket.  Sigh.  Main course was a 3 ingredient roast.  1kg onion, 1kg potatoes and 1kg of pork neck ... all stuffed into our Staub pot and braised on a slow for hours.  The result were heavenly!  Thank you Mr.Staub, you never failed us!  We ended the night with a simple Haagen Daz Belgium Chocolate ice cream which hubby decorated with more chocolate! What an indulgence ...  Second night was my turn to cook.  And again, it was a 3 course.  It was italian inspired because I wanted more vegetables in my courses.  So I started with Minestrone Soup from scratch.  No short cut with good chicken stock, good chopped up tomato in broth and vegetables all julienned finely.  Thankfully we went with vegetable starter because as the celebration progress, one just can´t find anymore hidden space to fit all the food in.  My main course was rolled up Roasted Prosciutto Chicken Breast serve with Vodka Tomato Ragu Sauce, which I fell in love with many months ago after watching them in Gordan Ramseýs cook show.  I laced them lightly with rosemary and it worked wonder.  To introduce some green, I simply blanched a batch of currently in season Brussel Sprout and lightly toss them with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  A bit of Fried Gnocchi as a side (inspiration from Nigella Lawson) and its complete.  As you can see here, we can´t finish them.  I think we have been binging too much the night before with all the biscuits and what not, and its only day two!  On our third day, it was again my turn to cook.  But this time, we had a simply Ricotta Tomato base fondue with Italian meatballs, Grilled Mushrooms, Pepper and Onion, Caprese Salad and a side pasta dish, thats it .. oh, yes one more ... which I will blog about next.  We ended the night with Affagato & Tiramisu. 

Monday, 6 January 2014

French Glühwein (Mulled Red Wine)

Every year, I make it a point to experiment with the various types of Glühwein recipes available.  This year, its french inspired!  It seems the french (possibly near Alsace, the state formerly belonging to Germany) makes them pretty well too.  In here goes red wine with all the classic cinnamon, star anise and cardammon thrown in, but in addition, they like them with fresh orange and lemon juices too.  If you like your drinks palatable and not too heavy like the German version, this one´s good ...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Yule Log Cake




Now that Christmas and New Year eve is over, its time to get serious with taking off the pounds piled.  First thing first, cut down all the sugar.  Secondly, less carb and its a blessing that this winter had been pretty mild which means, we don´t have so much carb craving for fill up our tummy.  Third thing, MOVE our butt MORE!  Happy New Year everyone!

Picture above was my first attempt in making a Yule Log Cake, just two days before Christmas Eve.  It was a disaster, even right from the swiss roll underneath.  Nigella Lawson´s recipe did not work out for me this time so I reverted back to Mary Berry´s recipe.  So here it is ... after much clamouflaging effect ...