Autumn Quiche

I saw this recipe on the BBC Good Food Website today and couldn’t resist even though I am not a massive fan of quiche usually. It is a little bit time consuming to make but it is absolutely worth it and stores well in the freezer as well.

For one 20cm quiche:

For the pastry:
250g plain flour
150g butter (cold, unsalted)
1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons ice-cold water
50g roast chopped hazelnuts

For the filling:
25g butter (unsalted)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small butternut squash
150ml whole milk
150ml double cream
2 whole eggs, 1 yolk
100g feta cheese

For the pastry, put flour, cubed cold butter, hazelnuts and a pinch of salt into a food processor and blitz until it has a breadcrumb consistency. Add the egg yolk and water and blitz until the dough just comes together. Form a ball without overworking the dough and cover in cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the oven to 180°C (fan). Melt the butter in a small saucepan (I would add the vegetable oil here as my butter burned slightly) and fry the sage on low heat until crisp. Take out with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel to remove excess oil.

IMG_8527

Keep the butter/oil mix and pour over cubed butternut squash in a roasting tray. Season with salt, pepper and optional chilli powder or flakes. Roast for about 30 minutes until tender and place on kitchen towel and leave to cool.

IMG_0456

Roll out the pastry carefully to about 3mm and cover the tarte tin. Pinch the bottom with a fork before chilling it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

Whisk the milk with cream and eggs and chop 2/3rds of the fried sage leaves. Add to the mix.

Blind bake the tarte shell with baking beans for 15 minutes, remove them and bake for another 10 minutes until it starts to brown. Remove from the oven. Fill with the butternut squash, cubed feta and pour in the egg mix. Be careful not to overfill the case as moving it to the oven might cause some spills if too full.

IMG_3404

Bake at 160°C for about 45 minutes until it browns and the quiche has set. Leave to cool before serving, enjoy.

IMG_6057IMG_3169

Adapted from BBC Good Food (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/butternut-sage-hazelnut-quiche).

Pasta with Aubergine sauce

I started listening to a podcast by a German radio station that revolves around all sorts of food-related things. One entire episode was dedicated to aubergines (eggplants for the Americans) and they featured a few simple recipes. They came to my mind when I checked the fridge this evening to make a simple but delicious dinner after a long day of work. I changed it a little and it turned out pretty well. Tuck in and enjoy 🙂


For two portions:

1 medium sized aubergine
1 clove of garlic
25g pine kennels
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed thoroughly
12 black olives, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon tomato puree 
150ml white wine
150ml water
250g wholemeal penne 
olive oil, salt, pepper

Wash the aubergine and cut off the stem and cut into 2cm chunks.

Brown the pine kennels in a dry pan over medium, set aside.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a pan and cook the aubergines for about 5 minutes (until they start to brown). Add garlic, pine kennels, capers and olives and continue to cook until aubergine becomes soft. Turn down the heat and deglaze with white wine. Add the water and leave to simmer on low heat.

Cook the pasta according to packet instruction. Just before draining, take one small ladle-full of the cooking water and add to the sauce. Drain the pasta and serve with freshly grated Pecorino or Parmeggiano Reggiano.  Enjoy 🙂

Sweet and Spicy Vegetable Curry



For 2 portions:

1/2 medium aubergine
1/2 small sweet potato
1 medium onion
6 fresh (or dried) apricots
100ml vegetable stock
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 large tomatoes
fresh chillies
for seasoning:
olive oil, salt, pepper, ground turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper, Garam Masala, spicy curry powder

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.

Dice the aubergine and peeled sweet potato into large and small chunks, respectively. Place in a large bowl, add two good glugs of olive oil (to coat all chunks) and add some salt and pepper. Season with 1 teaspoon of turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper (depends on how spicy you want it), Garam masala and curry powder. Place on baking sheets lined with baking parchment for about 20 minutes until crisped up.

For the sauce, heat some neutral oil in a casserole dish. Dice onions and cook until they become translucent. Prep the apricots by removing the stone and cutting into quarters. Add the apricots to the casserole dish and cook for 2 minutes. Add the roasted aubergine and sweet potato and brown a little. Deglaze with the stock and simmer on a medium heat. Blitz the tomatoes with some chilli, salt and pepper in a food processor. Add the tomato sauce to the dish and cook for another 10 minutes.

To thicken the sauce slightly, dissolve corn flour in some water and add to the sauce. Serve with fresh basmati rice, sprinkle with some almonds/hazelnuts and enjoy 🙂

Pesto Courgettis


For 2 portion:

2 medium courgettes
30g fresh basil
30g parmesan cheese
50g pine kennels, toasted in a pan
good quality olive oil
salt, pepper

Spiralise the courgette and cut into individual spaghettis if too long (mine came out like one ultra long spaghetti :D). Place onto a kitchen towel and tap dry.


For the pesto, blitz fresh basil with parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and a good glue of olive oil in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you like to serve this dish warm (recommended so that the sauce and courgettis mix better), cook the courgettis in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain and mix with the fresh pesto.

You can store the remaining courgettis in an airtight container lined with some kitchen towel in the fridge. The pesto can be stored in a clean and sterilised jar (etc. old jam jar) in the fridge.

Enjoy 🙂

Gyros pita breads

This recipe is so easy, you have to give it a try:

For 4 large pita breads:

250g strong white bread flour
1 sachet of dried fast acting yeast (7g)
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or olive)
150ml lukewarm water

For the filling:

400g diced pork (I used leg meat)
1 sweet onion
2 teaspoons oregano
2 cloves of garlic
4 lemons
olive oil
100g yoghurt 
100g low fat creme fraiche
1 stalk of fresh mint
1 medium cucumber, peeled, deseeded, finely diced
3 large tomatoes, deseeded, finely diced
1 sweet pointed pepper (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow)
100g feta cheese
salt, pepper

Start off by marinating the meat for a few hours (or overnight). For that, place the diced meat into a glass bowl and season with oregano, olive oil, the juice of one lemon, one pressed garlic clove, salt and pepper. Finely chop 1/2 sweet onion and add to the bowl. Mix well, cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours.


For the pita breads, add flour, salt, oil and yeast in water in a large bowl. Combine ingredients with a spoon and start kneading inside the bowl. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover the surface of the dough with some oil with your hands. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for one hour (should double in size).

img_2908img_2910

Knock back the dough, knead briefly and cut into 4 pieces  (do not rip the dough but cut it). If you prefer to make smaller pitas, cut into more than four pieces. Leave the dough balls to rest for another 10 minutes (cover with damp cloth again).

Preheat your oven with a baking tray to maximum (I used 230°C).

Flour your worksurface and start rolling out your dough ball. The pita breads will not open up and form an air pocket if the dough is too thin or too thick. Aim at the thickness of a (standard :D) finger.


Take out the baking tray, flour lightly and place your pita breads on top. Place back in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes. They are done as soon as they puff up. Do not leave them in to brown too much or else they dry out too much. Transfer pitas onto a wire rack and cover with a cloth to keep them from drying out.

img_2913.jpg
For the filling, deseed and dice up your vegetables. Finely chop the remaining onion and add to the vegetables. For the sauce, finely dice some cucumber and add to the yoghurt and creme fraiche in a bowl. Press one garlic clove in, add juice of 1-2 lemons (depends on the size), finely chopped mint and season with salt and pepper. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge until further use.

For assembling, cut open the pita breads on one half, fill with tzaziki sauce, vegetables, meat and enjoy! Use the remaining vegetables and cheese for a Greek salad!

img_2927

Salmon Lasagne


I have tried many different varieties of this lasagne so far and decided it is about time to share it with you. Feel free to exchange the squash with any other pumpkin or sweet potato or other vegetables. You can also go all veggie by excluding the salmon in this recipe.

For one lasagne (2-4 portions):

1 packet wholemeal lasagne sheets (or 5 large homemade pasta sheets)
1/2 butternut squash (about 500g), diced 
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon hot paprika powder (e.g. La Chinata)
1 teaspoon sweet curry powder
olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
200g baby spinach
50g butter
50g flour
500-1000ml milk
1 tub of goats cheese (125g)
nutmeg
juice of one lemon
100g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
2 salmon fillets (200g), diced
salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Start off by dicing the vegetables (squash, pepper, onion). Place the squash and red pepper into a large ovenproof dish and season with olive oil, salt, pepper, hot paprika, and curry powder. Mix and place into the oven for 20-30 minute until they are cooked.

Saute the onions in a pan with some olive oil. Add the spinach to the pan and turn the heat down. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to get a thick roux, transfer to a small bowl. In the same pan, heat up some about half a litre of milk. Stir in some of the roux and whisk. Wait for it to thicken and add some more roux if necessary. You are looking for a thick sauce consistency. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper before adding the goats cheese. Stir until all is dissolve, season with some lemon juice if necessary and set  aside for assembling the lasagne.

In a large ovenproof dish, assemble the lasagne as follows: The bottom should be covered with pasta sheets so that the lasagne can be ladled out later. Next, add a little béchamel sauce to cover the pasta sheets (this allows them to cook properly). Top with some of the roast vegetables, spinach, and raw salmon.  Sprinkle over  a little parmesan cheese and top with béchamel sauce before adding the next layer starting with pasta again. Try to get three to four layers in total. Top with some pasta sheets, béchamel and a generous serving of parmesan cheese.


Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Enjoy 🙂

Dukka-spiced Chicken Rice


For 6 portions:
1 whole chicken
2 carrots
1 onion
1/2 leek
2 bay leaves
200ml vegetable/chicken stock
250g basmati rice 
2 teaspoons Omani spice blend
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
Coconut oil 



Cut the chicken into legs, wings and breast with bones and remove the carcass. Place into a pot with spice mix, vegetables chopped into chunks and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes. Take out the chicken pieces and leave to cool. Pick off all pieces of meat in bite size.

Rinse the rice until water runs out clear. Soak with fresh warm water for 30 minutes. Cook in a pot with Omani spice mix, cloves, cinnamon stick and water. The rice will be cooked after a few minutes as it is already soaked. 

Cook the chicken pieces in a pan with hot coconut oil until they start to brown. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Dukka spice and cover all pieces evenly. Add about 150-200ml of vegetable or chicken stock. 

Combine the drained rice and sauce. Season to taste with some lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Serve with some fresh yogurt. Enjoy!

Mutabbal

One of my favourite Mezzeh in Oman was Mutabbal, a roasted aubergine dip. I ate it for breakfast and most often later during the day again. This recipe is super easy and tastes absolutely delicious, have a try!

2 medium aubergines
1 clove of garlic
60g tahini
125g yoghurt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 250°C.

Cut the aubergines into half, place on a baking tray lined with parchment with the cut side down. Pinch the dark side with a fork all over the aubergine.

Bake /grill (if you have one) the aubergine in the oven until very soft (about 30 minutes). Take out and leave to cool for a while. Peel off the skin and chop the flesh into rough chunks. Place in a sieve and press out as much liquid as you can.


Blitz the drained aubergine with garlic, tahini, yoghurt, lemon juice and cumin into a smooth paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in a bowl topped with good quality olive oil and fresh pomegranate seeds, sumach, and arabic flatbreads.

Omani Chicken Biryani


I spent New Years in Oman this year and was fascinated by this wonderful country. Of course, I was also very interested in the food. We managed to eat out in a very simple traditional restaurant and enjoyed it very much. This one here is with grilled chicken but the idea of it was similar:


Back in Germany, my  friends gave me a book about Omani cuisine for Christmas and I couldn’t wait to try the recipes. This was my first attempt at a recipe and it turned out very well.

For 6 portions:

spice blend:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

chicken:
600g chicken pieces (I used breast and legs)
2 cloves garlic
1 small piece of fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vegetable stock cube

rice:
500g basmati rice
3 whole cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
salt

onion garnish:
250ml vegetable oil
1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced

sauce:


1 plum tomato, cored and chopped
1 medium red onion, halved
1/2 teaspoons whole black pepper corns
3 whole cloves
2 whole cardamom pods
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
vegetable oil
1 medium red onion, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, pressed/mashed
1 small piece of fresh ginger
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 tablespoons tomato paste

optional:
3 tablespoons ghee for assembly

To make the spice mix, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and cardamom in a small bowl.

Prepare the chicken by removing any skin and excess fat. Place in a large pot with garlic, ginger, salt, cumin, cinnamon, stock cube, 2 teaspoons of the spice mix, and water to cover  everything. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth (keep for other dishes if you like) and leave to cool completely.


Prepare the rice by rinsing with water until it runs clear. Place into a bowl and soak with water for 30 minutes.


To make the sauce,  puree tomato, halved onion, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, and 2 tablespoons of water in a food processor. Add more water if neccessary to form a smooth paste.

For the onion garnish, heat the vegetable oil in a pot and fry the thin onion slices until golden brown (about 8-10 minutes). Repeat this in small batches to avoid cooling of the oil. Transfer onto a paper towel to remove excess fat and set aside. Keep the pan with oil for later.


Heat a generous amount of vegetable oil in a large casserole dish. Sauté the chopped onions until brown. Add the garlic and ginger and stir. Increase the heat to high and add the pureed paste with 1 tablespoon of the spice blend, the stock cube, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes before stirring in the tomato paste and water to prevent burning.

While the sauce is cooking, fry the chicken in the pan used for the onions previously. Add the fried chicken to the sauce and mix well. Cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the rice with water, cardamom, cinnamon stick, salt. Bring to  boil rapidly, for 6-8 minutes only! Turn of the heat, drain the rice and set aside.

Remove the sauce and chicken from the casserole dish and set aside. Do not clean the pot!

Assemble the biryani by spreading half the rice into the pot, covering it with the sauce and the remaining rice. Sprinkle with the fried onions and cover for 15 minutes. Serve with some fresh yoghurt and enjoy!

Gluten-free pizza crust


I found this recipe for a gluten-free healthier pizza dough in the BBC Good Food Magazine a while ago and was excited to try it out – it sounded just like the right thing when trying to avoid eating too many carbohydrates for dinner.

The recipe makes one large or several small pizzas.
1 medium cauliflower

100g ground almonds

2 eggs

Salt, pepper, oregano, spices to taste 

Heat the oven to 200C fan.

Chop the cauliflower into florets and blitz  in a food processor (small portions at a time). Place into a microwaveable bowl, cover with cling film and cook on high power for 5-6 minutes. Pour out onto a clean tea towel and leave to cool. 


Press out any liquid from the cauliflower in the tea towel.

Place into a clean bowl, add ground almonds, eggs and spices to taste. 

Place baking parchment and spoon on the cauliflower mix. Form one or more pizza bases and form a little rim around the edge to keep in the sauce later. 


Bake for 15 minutes until slightly brown. 


Top the pizza to your taste. I used tomato Passata with spices, capers, Schinkenspeck and Gouda cheese. The original recipe calls for mozzarella cheese and grilled aubergine for example. 


Enjoy 🙂