Monday, July 18, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

The mushroom season just started and the past days here in Berlin rather felt like fall then summer.
So Wil and I decided to leave the city behind for a few hours 
and take a train ride to the German forests to go on a mushroom hunt. 
Last year we almost came too late. 
Most mushrooms were picked already or rotten. 
So this year we wanted to make everything right...and were a little too early. 
Nevertheless we found some chanterelles!
I never found them myself and didn't know exactly where to look for them.
But then we spotted them underneath some birch trees.
I really have to say: mushroom picking is so much fun! 
It's like looking for easter eggs and you're outside in nature.
 When we came home I decided to use the chanterelles for a mushroom risotto.
For this you should mainly use dried mushrooms, since they are much more flavourful and aromatic.
But adding a few fresh ones, especially when you picked them yourself, gives it the final touch.

What you need:

500g Arborio/Risotto rice 
250g white wine 
2 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary 
1,5 to 2 l vegetable broth 
4-5 tbsp butter  
one medium sized onion, chopped  
2-3 finely chopped garlic cloves 
3-4 tbsp parmesan, freshly grated 
30-50g dried mushrooms (e.g. chanterelles, porcino) 
fresh mushrooms (approx 100-150g), 
cleaned from dirt and cut into small pieces. 
salt, pepper

photo by the wonderful Anna Coe
 In a bowl of water soak the dried mushrooms for at least 1 hour. 
In a large pan melt about 2 tbsp of butter. 
Add onion and garlic cloves and sautee them until golden. Add the chopped rosemary. 
Rinse the arborio rice under cold water until the water is clear. Add the rice to the onion, garlic and rosemary.
Pour 250ml of white wine over the rice.
On low to medium heat stir and let boil until the wine has evaporated. Strain the formerly dried mushrooms, but keep the water in which you soaked the mushrooms in. Add them and the fresh mushrooms to the rice.
Meanwhile in a saucepan mix the mushroom water and the vegetable broth and bring to boil.
Using a dipper slowly pour the broth-mix over the rice (1-2 full scoops at a time) and stir slowly until the rice  absorbed all the liquid. Then pour another one or two scoops of broth over it. 
Repeat the procedure until the 1,5 l of broth got fully absorbed by the rice. 
If the rice is still too tough you might have to add a little bit more liquid.
Risotto is supposed to be creamy and soft, but not mushy!
It's important that you keep stirring on low to medium heat.
When the rice is ready add salt and pepper and stir in 2 Tbsp of butter and 3-4 Tbsp of freshly grated parmesan. 
It gives the risotto the final creamy texture.

Serve with a small salad on the side!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!

So, Wil is a very, very good and dedicated gardener and has been taking care of our tiny balcony and the plants. 
We grew tons of tomatoes this year which are all ripening now.
As promised, here are some pics of our harvest!

before picking
after picking  

They taste sweet and fruity... almost like candy.

Wil made a salad with our first tomatoes adding arugula, mozzarella, 
chanterelles sauteed in butter and balsamico, bacon and pine nuts...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Best muesli in the world!

Why not start the week with a good healthy and filling muesli for breakfast tomorrow?
This here is definitely the best muesli I ever had. It's fresh, it fills you up for at least four hours and it is so good for you.
Instead of flakes you buy whole grains and get them ground up.
If you are lucky to own a flour mill, even better!
But some organic stores will do it for you, or you sometimes can even buy the ready-ground up grains.
It's important that they won't end up too fine. We don't want it to be flour but shredded grains.
I think grade 7 was what they did at Kiepert&Kutzner, where I got mine. But I don't know if this is a universal grade for grinding stuff...

However, here's what you need for one meal:

3-4 Tbsp ground grains 
the more different kinds the better!  
I used a mix with 6 different kinds.
But there is also bags with 4 or 5.
Or you just mix the ones you want
to use yourself.

1 Tbsp flax seed 
(whole or ground)

3-4 Tbsp cream

fruits  (about a handful)   
banana, apple, pear, straw- or
rasberries, melon, peach...
whatever you like and whatever
is in season.

5-10 nuts chopped        
hazelnuts are pretty good,
but again: use whatever nuts or seeds you like!

1 Tbsp rolled oats

In a bowl, soak the grains and flax seeds in water over night (2Tbsp of water for 1 Tbsp of grains). 
The next morning stir in the cream. 
Sweeten with honey if you like an add a dash of cinnamon for the taste. 
Cut up the fruits and put them on top (I usually use about half a banana and a quarter apple and/or pear, depending on the size).

In a pan roast the chopped nuts and rolled oats until golden brown. 
Remove from stove. 
Add a dash of cinnamon and about 1 Tbsp of honey and mix everything well until all the nuts and oats are coated with honey. 
Pour the honey-nut mix over the fruits and the muesli.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

GURKEN-RADLER: Shandy with pickle lemonade...

Beer with lemonade made from pickle marinade.
That's what this is. Seriously.
It even tastes alright. You can tastes the pickles. A bit sweet. But quite refreshing. 
I couldn't drink more than one, though. 
So weird...

What they do is, they make a lemonade from the water-vinegar mix where the pickles marinate in, 
by probably adding sugar and carbon dioxide.
Oh, and as you can see, they also add green food colouring, 
which in my opinion is completely unnecessary.
Then they mix this lemonade with beer, and here you go:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hangover Pizza on Canada Day

Yesterday both Wil and I woke up pretty hungover.
The reason for that was a night full of art, hanging out with friends, dancing to BritPop, 80ies music and rock n roll, and, yep, DRINKING TONS OF BOOZE.
Well I actually did not drink that much.
But Wil, who had an art opening and had been working his cute ass off for the last couple of weeks, rewarded himself with plenty of beers and cheap whisky.
In order to cure his massive hangover and to properly celebrate Canada day I decided to make pizza.
Okay, okay, pizza is not really a Canadian thing. I didn't even manage to make it American style with a deep pan crust.
But, come on, who doesn't love pizza?

For the dough I just mixed

15-20g yeast with
1tsp of salt, 
a dash of sugar, 
1tbsp of good olive oil and
210ml of warm water

Then I slowly kneaded in

350g bread flour (special flour for yeast dough)

After kneading the dough for at least 5 minutes I put it into a bowl which I covered with a damp towel and placed it somewhere warm so the dough could rise.
After one hour the dough volume had doubled and was ready to become a proper pizza!

I rolled it out on a baking sheet as thin as I could (which really wasn't that easy...) and brushed the top  with my homemade tomato sauce.

For the tomato sauce I chopped 

one onion and 
two garlic cloves

and fried them in a pan with 

2 tbsp of olive oil

Then I added about 

2 tbsp of tomato puree
150-200 ml of red wine
1 big can of canned tomatos (700g?)

Then I seasoned everything with

a dash of hot sauce
a handful of chopped basil leaves
dried oregano

I poured everything into a blender and mixed it until I had a smooth tomato sauce.
After that I poured the sauce back into the pan and let it simmer on low heat for almost an hour in order to reduce the liquids and make it a thick sauce.

What went on the pizza

For the pizza topping choose whatever you like.

I used:

bacon (CANADA DAY!!!!)
black olives
buffalo mozzarella
pine nuts

I baked it for about  25 minutes at 200°C.
Make sure to add the basil a bit later, after about 15 minutes.
Otherwise it burns.

I topped my pizza off with some arugula...

proud & happy
hungry & hungover

...then went back to bed and watched animal documentaries with pizza and the man.

I have to admit, the pizza dough didn't turn out as perfect. It was a little too dense and hard.
If anyone knows the secret for the perfect pizza crust, let me know!!!
Feel free to leave me a message.
I'm happy for any advice.

there was a beautiful sunset, too...only for Canada Day!