Plenty of vegetables

Oh was this a lovely holiday! We came back from Krakow late thursday evening. So we spent a whole week down in Poland attending Jens & Aga's wedding. Beside that, we ate a lot, walked a lot and made many pictures, too ;)

Later this week I hope to show you more of our (foodie) adventures and some restaurant recommandations. Today I'm going to share a really yummy recipe, which comes from a cookbook that arrived just yesterday :) Plenty from Yotam Ottolenghi, whose first cookbook I bought recently, is not only a collection of vegetable recipes which were released in his column 'The New Vegetarian' for the Guardian's Weekend magazine, it also features brand-new recipes. After a first run over the pages I found plenty (haha - sorry ;) ) of eye-catching recipes. I also like its clean and simple style and cover, lovely food photography and a short introductional story to every recipe.

Here I'd like to list you some meals featured in the book which I'm definetly going to cook:
  • Beetroot, yoghurt and preserved lemon relish
  • Caramelized garlic tart
  • Crusted pumpkin wedges with soured cream
  • Soba noodles with aubergine and mango
  • Caramelized fennel with goat's curd
  • Lemon and aubergine risotto

Today I cooked a multi-vegetable paella, which we enhanced with codfish and king prawns.

Multi-vegetable paella serves 2 generously
adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi 'Plenty' p. 80

olive oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 small red and 1 small yellow onion, cut into stripes
1/2 fennel bulb, cut into stripes
2 garlic gloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
150g paella rice
100mL sherry
1 tsp saffron threads
450mL chicken stock
200g shelled broad beans
12 mini plum tomatoes, halved
one hand full of coarsly chopped parsley

Heat a large pan over medium heat, add a gulp olive oil and fry the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and fennel and fry until soft and golden. This should take about 5-6 minutes more. Now add the garlic gloves. After one minute it's time to add the spices. Throw in the bay leaves, paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper and stir until the vegetables are nicely coated. Surely you can adjust the heat to your taste. Then add the rice and stir continuosly the next 2 minutes, then add the sherry and saffron threads. Boil until the liquid is absorbed and add the stock and a pinch of salt. 

Reduce the heat to a barely simmer, don't cover the pan and don't stir the next 20 minutes. In the meantime you can shell the broad beans. If they're frozen or fresh just cover them with plenty of boiling water, leave for a minute and drain well. Shell when they're cooled down. Remove the skin by gently squeeze each bean and discard the skin. Now the 20 minutes shall be over. 

Remove from heat, adjust the seasoning to taste without stirring to much and scatter the tomatoes and broad beans over the rice. Cover the pan tightly with foil and leave for another 10 minutes. Take off the foil and add the parsley. In the meantime the paella rested, I fried the codfish and king prawns in a seperate pan with olive oil on high heat. On each side ca. 1 minute, then I cut it into mouth-sized pieces and added the fish along with the parsley to the paella. The traditional recipe also calls for 5 small grilled artichokes (in oil in a jar, drained and quartered) and pitted kalamata olives (15, crushed or halved). If using them, just add the artichokes with the beans and the olives with the parsley. I hope you will enjoy the paella just as I did today!

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odzież męski - I'm going to krakow!

Today we're going to visit Stephan's parents over the weekend and attending the silver wedding of Stephan's godfather and his wife. We will come home monday, then tuesday is washday since we're heading to Krakow on thursday. Jens and Aga, our dear friends we visited back in december, are getting married churchly. I'm really looking forward to being back in Krakow, seeing the lovely old town and to chow down some traditional polish food (hmmm... bigos, pieroggi and barszcz). We're going to stay in the hotel Bracka 6 located in the ul. Bracka near by the market square. I'm curious about it, it's really new and looks pretty stylish.

We already visited Krakow two years ago and have nothing but very good memories about it. We were there during the European Football Championship and watched the game Germany vs. Croatia in a polish pub (we lost btw...) - it was fun since the polish people supported germany ;) This time I hope to experience the local culture, food and the polish way of celebrating even more. Of course I'll try hard to capture everything on pictures and stories!

Cześć! (Bye) :)

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Buon Ricardo, Sydney

Kind of Food: Italian
Price: 35 AUD starter, 45-55 AUD mains, six course degustations menu 125 AUD per person
Points on the NOM-scale: **** (1/2*)

As a highlight, we visited Buon Ricardo on our last evening in Sydney. Since I've red about it over at The Chubby Hubby I wanted to go to this restaurant. Buon Ricardo is an italian restaurant located in Sydney's suburb Paddington, where head chef and owner Armando Percuoco serves traditional high end italien food. Armando Percuoco, grown up in Naples, came to Australia in 1972 and opened Buon Ricardo in 1987. Buon Ricardo is highly awarded and recognized by almost every australian gourmet magazin. The restaurant, known as one of the best restaurants in Sydney, lays rather hidden and inconspicuous in an old rustical looking neighborhood. The welcome was very kind and we were seated at our table for two. The interior looked charming with an old school italien touch. At the other end of the restaurant, not far away from our table as the dining area is small but not narrowing, was a big crowd of italien people talking and loughing. Through an, in the dining area integrated, window you can catch a glimpse right into the small but very efficient looking kitchen.

Soon as we were seated the waitress brought us the menus and told us the today's specials. As primi piatti (the starter) I ordered the signature dish of the restaurant, the Fettuccine al tartufovo - Fettuccine with cream and parmesan, topped with a fried truffle egg. I've red before that this dish is an culinary experience and even mind blowing. As second piatti I ordered pesce (fish) with eggplant mousse, shamefully I can't remember the name and the menu changed since we visited Buon Ricardo. After the waitress wrote down our orders the sommerlier arrived and - already knowing what we've ordered - suggested a nice italian white wine accompanying our first course. Since this was the first time visiting such a classy restaurant, I was surprised as the waitress unfolded a cloth napkin and laid it on my lap. I was feeling like a little princess ;). Soon after an amuse gueule our primi piatti arrived and what can I say. The Fettuccine al tartufovo... the smell.. oh my gosh... mind blowing - for real!

The waitress placed the plate in front of me and worked with a fork and a knive her way through the fried egg on top - the egg yolk slowly oozing over the pasta and while tossing  transforming it into a creamy truffel-infused sauce. Now the parmesan freshly grated on top, tossed on more time. I couldn't even resist to tell her that the pasta smells devine. Oh my, if I had known it before I would have ordered this dish as primi, secondi piatti and dessert! It was really that good.

The secondi piatti arrived, this time accompanied with an australian white wine. Australian wine is good! The fish was perfectly done and the eggplant mousse was delicious. What should I say,
since this moment I'm an eggplant lover ;) Very satisfied I  ordered as not being the biggest dessert fan a hot chocolate instead. They brought a cup of fine dark hot chocolate, which I ate with a spoon.
The second surprise was the sweet italian treats in fingerfood size, accompanying our non-dessert choice (for free!).

This visit was really a appropriate finish of our vaccation and I highly recommend a visit in Buon Ricardo if you're in Sydney. It was actually the best italian food I've ever eaten. The price range begins with 30-35 AUD for starters up to 55 AUD for the main course. We reservated one day in advance with a confirmation cal madel by Buon Ricardo on the reservated date.

Ristorante Buon Ricordo

108 Boundary St,
Paddington Sydney
(02) 9360 6729

Friday & Saturday: noon - 2.30pm
Tuesday to Saturday: 6.00 - 10.30 pm

Reservations are highly recommended

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Delicious Strawberry Yoghurt Ice Cream

Strawberry is one of my favorite fruits... slowly the strawberry jam I made last spring is coming to an end and the craving for fresh sweet strawberries, plain with a little sugar and whipped cream or on top of cakes, is hardly to resist. While the first pints of strawberries coming to the market I hesitate... they're still really pricey and not harvested in germany yet. But a few weeks ago Stephan and me couldn't resist and we bought a pint. The same evening we ate a few sliced over the yoghurt lavender ice cream I made. But the majority went into the strawberry yoghurt ice cream the other day. I was out of heavy cream so I made at first a light version. But the next time I  used the cream againg, not because of the taste - the light version was really d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s - only the texture was a little less creamy we like.

Strawberry Yoghurt Ice Cream yields ~ 500g

250g yoghurt
250ml heavy cream
100g sugar + 2 tbsp vanilla sugar
400g strawberries, stem removed and cleaned
2 tbsp brandy

Heat cream and sugar in a pot over medium high heat until the sugar and vanilla sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool. Mix the strawberries with the cream and blend until smooth. Take a spoon of it and taste... hmmm, delicious, isn't it? Now stop tasting... ha caught ya! ;) Stir the strawberry cream and brandy into the yoghurt until well combined.

Next Step Using Ice Cream Maker

Pour in your ice cream maker and follow the instructions according to your machine. Pour in a container and store in the refrigerator until use.

Next Step Without Ice Cream Maker

Pour in a container and freeze in the refrigerator. Stirring the mixture every hour until completely frozen.

Next time I plan to use some fresh mint to flavor the sugar/cream mixture while simmering a few minutes.

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Chickpea Zucchini Salad

After I red the announcement that my lecture dropped out yesterday, my plan to eat at our cafeteria was messed up. For this reason  I raided our pantry with the result of a can of chickpeas. With fresh parsley and a zucchini at hand, I decided to make a salad as I like chickpeas even more cold than warmed up. Combined with a nice yoghurt tahini dressing and some spice adjustments I nourished a really comforting and delicious meal.

Chickpea Zucchini Salad serves 2 as main and 4 as side dish

1 medium zucchini, cut into thin stripes
500g canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small bunch parsley, chopped


3 tbsp yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini paste
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp za'tar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt & pepper

Heat a large pan over high heat. Add a little oil and add the zucchini stripes and toss until fully coated with oil. Roast until golden brown, it's no problem if there are black burned spots on some points. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas with dressing and mix well. When the zucchinis have cooled a little add to the salad and stir until nicely coated with dressing. Adjust seasoning to taste.

I served mine with pita bread and greek yoghurt seasoned with salt and pepper.

If you don't have sumac and za'tar at hand, a good substitution for sumac is a little lemon juice. Za'tar is a blend of arabian thyme, sumac, sesam seeds and salat. Instead I would throw in some common thyme leaves and a little more lemon juice.

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