Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you enjoy the free days especially with this gorgeous weather as much as I do :) And for this occassion I'd like to share this Hefezopf recipe with you. It's a braided white yeast bread and traditionally eaten around easter time.

Hefezopf (Challah) - one big or two small loaves

1 kg wheat flour (405)
500 ml milk
100 g sugar
42 g fresh yeast (1 cube)
150 g soft butter
3 eggs
1 tbsp lemon zest
salt &  sugar

Sift the flour into a big bowl  (I used the bowl of my Kitchen Aid). In a medium pot heat up the milk until lukewarm, transfer to a new bowl and add the yeast. By the time the yeast has dissolved, add the lemon zest and two of the three eggs and mix with a beater or mixer until just combined. Pour it all at once into the bowl containing the flour and add the softened butter and a pinch of salt. Knead the dough with your hands on a floured surface or with your Kitchen Aid until elastic and smooth. Let the dough rise until doubled in size (approximately 2 hours ) in a bowl covered with a damp towel. Once doubled knead again and seperate into three same-sized portions. Form three strands and out of it a braid, transfer to a baking tray covered with parchment paper and let it rise for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile heat up the oven to 200°C (395°F).

Beat the remaining egg with a pinch of salt and sugar and brush all over the top of the bread. Bake for 45 minutes.

So make this and enjoy a slice of bread with thick layers of butter and jam or plain with Nutella :)

Kisses* Sabrina

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Hey there!

Heeeello! :) I know its been a long time since my last blogpost and I really hope this time is over. It happened very much in my life lately: I passed my diploma exams (the reason I didn't find the time blogging) and started with my diploma thesis. Back at the laboratory - yay! :)

This broccoli salad is very tasty and don't taste like the normal cooked broccoli I know... even Stephan liked it - and he is by all means no broccoli lover. It looks like much olive oil in the recipe, but the resulting salad is very light with a lovely garlic taste and a little heat. So make this salad and be happy ;)

Chargrilled Broccoli Salad with Garlic and Chilli
serves 2 as main and 4 as starter - adapted from the Ottolenghi cookbook

2 heads of broccoli ~ approx 500g
100ml olive oil
4 garlic gloves, thinly sliced
2 mild red chillis, thinly sliced
coarse sea salt
black pepper

Breakup the broccoli heads into florets and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Keep a bowl of icewater ready. After 2 minutes (and no longer!) drain the florets and transfer immediately into the bowl of icewater to stop the cooking process. Drain again and let it dry completely. Once dry, toss the broccoli with 40ml of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat up a large griddle pan to high heat and grill the broccoli in small batches - it should have grill marks all over. In the meantime, heat the remaining olive oil with the garlic and chilli in a small pot on medium heat and cook until the garlic takes on a hint of golden color (be careful, the garlic will cook further even when off heat - burned garlic, meh!). Pour the falvored oil over the broccoli and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. I prepared it in the evening and ate it at lunchtime the following day - still very yum :)

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Butternut Squash Muffins with a Soured Cream Topping

Butternut Squash Muffins with a Soured Cream Topping serves 12 normal and 24 small muffins

[please use your imagination and try to visualize some yummy looking muffins, thank you - my muffin photos got lost]

400g butternut squash, peeled and finely grated
300g brown sugar
150g plain flour
150g whole wheat flour
175mL oil (I used 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 rapseed oil)
4 large eggs
2 heaped tbsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a handful of hazelnuts, finely ground

140mL soured cream
zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1/4 lemon
2 heaped tbsp icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). In a large bowl, combine the grated squash and eggs. Then add a pinch of salt, the two different flours, baking powder, hazelnuts, cinnamon and the oil and mix with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until just blended, it's important not to overmix. Fill the dough in a muffin pan lined with paper cases and bake in the preheated oven around 20-25 minutes for regular muffins or 10-12 minutes for small ones or until a wooden skewer comes out clean after sticking right into the middle of a muffin.

To prepare the topping combine the soured cream, zest, juice and icing sugar. It's intended to be on the runny side. Taste and balance sweet and sour by adding more lemon juice or icing sugar. Spoon over the completely cooled muffins. Since it's difficult to transport these muffins with a runny icing, I only topped half of the muffins with icing and left the other half plain - they're in both ways delicious.

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Pasta Roll with Squash, Spinach and Ricotta

Gosh, I love this weather! :) It's real indian summer with bright blue sky and almost 25°C (felt). At the end of the week we're packing our bags and heading of to Firenze in Italy. I'm really excited to see the tuscan landscape and enjoying some nice vino with traditional italian food... and maybe some gelato, too... ha!

For this occsasion I'm sharing today a recipe I tried just yesterday. It's a pasta roll filled with butternut squash, ricotta and spinach. The roasted squash is really good and I ate it today on it's own - yum! It's a little on the time-consuming side but give it a try, it's really worth it.

Pastar Roll Filled with Squash, Spinach & Ricotta  
serves 4 - adapted from Jamie Oliver - Jamie's Italian

1 recipe fresh pasta dough (see recipe below)
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and deseeded - cut into big cubes
800g spinach, fresh or frozen
150g Ricotta
250g butter
50g freshly grated parmesan
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried majoram
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 dried red chilli (I used a whole one, I like it pretty hot)
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
20 fresh sage leaves
olive oil
salt & pepper

After preparing the dough heat up your oven to 220°C (430°F). To make the seasoning for the squash, grind the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, the dried chili with some coarse sea salt and black pepper in a mortar or food processor. Place the squash cubes in a ovenproof baking dish and give it a rub with some olive oil and the prepared seasoning. Cover with some moistened parchment paper and bake in the oven around 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes until golden. Meanwhile heat up a pot over medium heat and add the olive oil, garlic, majoram and oregano. When the spices are sizzeling heat up to high heat and add the spinach. Cook until no liquid remains. Season with the nutmeg, salt, pepper and add 1-2 tbsp of butter. Set aside and let cool down a little.

Take your prepared dough and roll with a rolling pin into a rectangle in the size of a clean kitchen towl. Now place it carefully on a kitchen towl and turn so the longer side is facing you. Place the squash in a line on the lower rim. Sprinkle the spinach over the remaining dough, leaving a free space approx. 5cm to the upper rim. Scoop the ricotta over the spinach and sprinkle with parmesan. Brush the upper rim of the dough with water and form a roll starting with the lower side, wrapping the role in the towel and secure both ends with kitchen yarn.
Place in a large pot with boiling salted water and make sure that the whole roll is covered with water. Cook for 25 minutes.

Put the butter in a ovenproof bowl and melt in the oven at 80°C (175°F)  around 10-15 minutes. Discard the white flakes on top and spoon the clear butter into a clean bowl. Discard the white remains at the bottom of the bowl. Take 5 tbsp of the clarified butter and heat it to high heat in a small pot.  Fry the sage leaves until crisp.

Remove the pasta roll from the pot, unwrap and cut into slices. Arrange on plates, spoon over some sage butter and top with the crispy sage leaves and some more grated parmesan.

Pasta Dough

600g flour (Tipo '00' is recommended, I used 450)
6 eggs

Grab a large bowl and add flour and eggs. Whisk together with a fork, then kneed it with your hand until a silky smooth ball forms. Wrap in cling film and chill at least 30 minutes.

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Squash: A Little Guide & Recipes

Since the temperatures dropped and the trees are emblazing in autumnal colors we find us again in squash season. A warm and slightly spicy pumpkin soup with cocokut milk or Flammkuchen with thinly sliced squash, sweet apple slices and crispy bacon are common guests on our table this time of the year. Some squash varieties are available year-round, but their actual season runs from late summer until mid-winter. Winter squash are fabulous storage vegetables, the sweet orange flesh protected from a thick skin. Most people think of jack-o-lanterns when it comes to pumpkins / squash, not knowing that there are many kinds of squash coming in different shapes and flavors. This little guide and recipe collection of my favourite blogs should help those who are newbies cooking with this vegetable and those who are looking for inspiration (like me).

Heirloom Pumpkins like those used for jack-o-lanterns have dry flavorless flesh. Some varieties like the Blue Hokkaido or Cinderella Pumpkin can be baked or turned into soup, but the majority are best left for carving or decoration.

Sweet Pumpkins, like Sugar-Pie or other small varieties are best filled, roasted or turned into soup or puree.

The dark green Acorn Squash has a moist, sweet tender flesh and is an all-around talent. It can be roasted, stuffed, steamed, sauteed and transformed into soup or puree.

Red Kuri Squash comes in apperance of a small pumpkin with firm flesh with a chestnut-like flavour. It's perfect for a large variete of soups, stews and casseroles. It's also good in breads, muffins or cakes. The often seen quash in germany is a subvariete of it called Hokkaido and it's very easy to prepare since the skin can be eaten as well.

The pear-shaped Butternut Squash is the sweetest winter squash and has only a few seeds and is easy to peel. With its thick and moist flesh it's best roasted since it's done quickly or turned into soup or puree.

This is a funny one: when cooked forms the Spaghetti Squashs' flesh spaghetti-like strands. It can be served like real spaghetti, with tomatoe or a creamy sauce or in a gratin or carresole.

The Turban Squash comes in a nice turban shape and comes in speckled green, yellow and orange colors. Though their apperane they're widely used for decoration, but with their floury texture they can be used for soups, too.

Warm Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad
Israeli Couscous with Butternut Squash & Preserved Lemons
Roasted Delicate Squash Salad
Farro & Roasted Butternut Squash
Warm Salad of Roasted Squash, Prosciutto & Pecorino

Savory Tarts & Other Baked Goods
Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onions Galette
Simple Butternut Squash Tart 
Hokkaido Squash & Celeriac Tart
Pumpkin Feta Tart  
Pumpkin and Feta Muffins

Stews etc
Sweet-Roasted Rosemary Acorn Squash Wedges
Zucca al Forno (Baked Squash)
Butternut Squash & Chickpea Stew with Israeli Couscous
Gratin of Red Kuri Squash
Squash Casserole
Spicy Roasted Squash

Pasta & Risotto
Baked Spaghetti Suqash with Garlic & Butter
Squash, Bacon & Goat Cheese Pasta with Basil
Squash, Chorizo & Hazelnut Pasta
Pumpkin Angolotti
Pumpkin Ravioli
Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage
Chorizo Arugula Pumpkin Sauce for Pasta
Pumpkin Risotto
Roast Squash Risotto with Sage, Chestnut & Pancetta

Acorn Squash Soup with Brown Butter & Maple Yoghurt
Curried Pumpkin Soup
Squash & Fennel Soup with Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Buttermilk Squash Soup
Roasted Pumpkin & Majoram Soup
Party Squash Soup

And for the sweet tooth...
Moist Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Lentils with Sausage and Tomato Salsa

I recently bought a nice package of Lentilles du Puy, french green lentils ("the caviar of lentils"), in our spanish-italian deli, so this recipe was a must try. It was so delicious, I think it could even be a recurring meal on our table. Despite everything tasted really good on it's own, the combination of the earthy, slightly sour lentils with the sweet rich tomato sauce and the spicy salty sausage was mouthwatering good. Eaten on a friday evening accompanied by a nice glass of semi-dry red wine, perfect for calling it a day :)

Lentils with Sausage and Tomato Salsa serves 4
adapted from Jamie Oliver - Jamie's Italy

8 medium sices italian sausages (salsicce)

For the tomato sauce

800g canned whole tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 small stick of cinnamon
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
olive oil

For the lentils

400g Puy lentils
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
fresh parsley, leaves finely chopped & stalks reserved
red wine vinegar
salt & black pepper
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).

Let's start with the sauce. Heat a pot over medium-low heat, add some olive oil and cook the onions, sliced garlic, cinnamon stick and the chilli for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and sweet. Now turn the heat up and add the red wine vinegar, be careful not to hang your nose directly over the pot or you're going to cry like a baby ;) Turn the heat back to medium-low and add the tomatoes. Cook for about 30 minutes until the sauce is thick and yummy.

Put the lentils into a pot and cover with plenty of water. Throw in the bay leaf, the whole garlic cloves and the parsley stalks and bring to a simmer.

Now it's sausage time! Toss your sausages in a little olive oil, lay them on a roasting tray or into a deep baking dish and put them in the oven for around 20 minutes until golden and crispy. And I'm going to warn you, the smell that comes out of your oven is so so good, so please don't eat the sausage right away... just maybe a tiny piece - whoops! :)

By the time the lentils are cooked, remove the bay leaf, parsley stalks and garlic and drain well. Put them back into the pot. Mash the garlic a little with a knife and mix well with the lentils. Add the finely chopped parsley. Dress them with olive oil and red wine vinegar and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.

Remove the sausage from the oven and discard the oil. Remove the cinnamon stick from the tomato salsa and discard it, too. Season the salsa to taste.

Time to assamble :) Tip the lentils onto your serving bowls and spoon over some of the tomato sauce. Place two sausages, whole or sliced - whatever floats your boat - on top. Bon appetit! :)

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Hey, It's an ''I'm sorry Tomato Ketchup'' Recipe!

I'm sorry for neglecting my little babble space and you :) So much to work on and still recovering from a little illness...

For now I just want to share a tomato ketchup recipe. It's high season for tomatoes, I bought 7kg last weekend - some to boil down and freeze for tomato sauce and some to try the ketchup recipe I glanced at so often while leafing through my cookbooks. It needs a little prep time but it's definitely worth it. And I thinks it's pretty darn cool to serve homemade ketchup to my friends, announcing that I made it myself and hear them say how kick-ass this is ;)

Homemade Tomato Ketchup makes about 500mL
adapted from Jamie At Home (p 314)

500g plum tomatoes, halved
500g canned plum tomatoes, chopped
200g red wine vinegar
70g brown sugar
1 large red onion, roughly chopped (mine from the farmers market were HUGE!)
1/2 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
2 gloves garlic, sliced
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked and stalks chopped
2 cloves
salt & pepper
olive oil

Heat a large pot oder saucepan over medium heat, add the oil, all the vegetables and the ginger, garlic, chilli, cloves, coriander seeds and basil stalks. Cook for around 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. This smells really really good by the way :) Now add all the tomatoes and 350mL water. Bring to boil and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half. Add the basil leaves and puree with a hand blender, then strain it through a sieve twice. Grab yourself a fresh pan or the cleaned old one and add the sauce, the sugar and the vinegar and heat over medium high heat. Let the sauce reduce until you reached your preferred consistency for tomato ketchup. Season to taste with salt and pepper and fill while still hot in sterilized bottles. It should keep for six months.

Enjoy! :)

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