Monthly Archives: February 2012

poppy seed cake

So, as said, no sweet things bought from the shop for me, but self-made sweet things are ok. This indeed reduces the number of sweet things i eat enormously. Luckily we have self-made marmelade in the house.
Anyway, we got visitors last weekend, so i baked poppy seed cake. It is from the delicious days cook book, and really a very very very nice cake.

hmmmmmmmm

 

fasting

The whole concept of not eating is a bit problematic for me, but the idea of abstainance in order to become more aware of habits, or to become more concious about food is something i like a lot.

So today the fasting time starts. i have never ever done anything about that, although i played with the idea very often. Now, not eating is not an option, that would neither be good for me, nor for the people around me. Not eating meat then? Well, yes, maybe next year ok? No smoking, ha well, i hardly ever do that anymore anyway, so that would not be a challenge.

After thinking about it for some time, i found a habit that i don’t like all that much, and that will cost me something to abstain from: I will not eat any bought sweet things. Home made jam, cake, desert etc. is fine, so are sweet vegetables and fruits. But no sweets, chocolate, liquorice, cookies, or cakes bought in a store. I happen to eat a lot of sweet nonsense, i have a really sweet taste, so, here goes. As of today until eastern i will not eat any bought sweet things.

I’ll let you know how that goes. i am especially worried about the chocolate easter eggs. To make life easier i will start with making poppy seed cake  (from the deliciousdays cookbook) on thursday.

first challenge: patties

One of the reasons i started this blog is that i just recently joined the Daring Kitchen. I like to cook new things, and sometimes i like to be told what to cook, so that i’ll cook things i would not have thought of myself. So when a friend mentioned the daring cooks to me (she joined for baking, i’m afraid I’m not much of a baker really), i looked it up and got interested. The site is sometime a little hard to find your way around, basically while it is so full of information and fora etc. but, i get used to it and just ignore what i don’t need.

And then of course it starts. This month my first challenge. Which was indeed a bit of a challenge, mainly for time reasons, cause there is so much going on at the moment, and (see previous post) on top of that i was away for a whole week. But all is well, this friday i had some time, and also someone in need of food, so there we go! I was very happy about the challenge, cause it gave me the opportunity to make a recipe that i had wanted to make for a very long time, namely: Jamie Oliver’s Brasilian Fish Cakes.

What you need: lots of parsley, good handful of mint leaves, one red chili peper, the zest of one lemon and one lime, half a teaspoon of fennel seeds (i used anis seeds, since i had no fennel, worked as well), 1dl milk, 500gr haddock filet with skin, 500gr potatoes, one egg, flour, oil. i think this will serve about 3-4 eaters. The two of us had plenty of left-overs (not a bad thing at all).

I first peeled the potatoes, cut them in pieces and cooked them until done. at the same time, i put the haddock in a baking tray covered with the milk and added the bay leave. These i cooked in the oven for about 15 minutes at 180-190 degrees (i honestly have no idea, my oven is not very exact).

In the meantime i prepared some snacks for my girl (rilette left over from Christmas, cheese from Tours, she was happy), so she would not starve during the process of making and baking the patties. I was afraid it takes quite some time. it does, but it is not too bad, and its worth it.

Then i cut the parsley, mint, chili and grated the zest from the lemon and lime:

and added the egg, and the fennel seeds to it. in the meantime the potatoes where done, i mashed them thoroughly over very low heat, so that they would be dry enough. I took the fish from the oven and out of the milk on a plate to let it cool.

when it cooled down, i flaked the fish into a bowl, made sure i got rid of all the bones (well most of them as it turned out later :-)) and then let it cool a bit more. Then it was time to mix everything, and add salt and a little peppper. I used my hands to quickly mix everything, and added a little flour to make it a little bit more dry so that it did not stick to the bowl too much. first taste: great already, one could eat it like this. now i let it cool for another 15 minutes (it is winter here, i put it outside, but i guess the fridge will do as well).

After this cooling down period it was time to play: working space dusted with flour, hands dusted with flour, as well as my shirt: i took one table spoon in my hand and made small patties. This worked out perfect, it was a little sticky, but all in all nice work and not a problem. I left them on a plate to wait:all in all i think i had about 25 patties which i baked in portions of 5-6 at a time. the baking part turned out to be the most challenging part. In the original recipe the patties have to be deep fried. But of course the challenge was to NOT deepfry them and i also didn’t really want to. So, i took a non-sticking pan, put in quite a bit of sunflower oil and baked the first batch:

perfect! it took about 5 minutes, we tried one to see if all was well, and, yes, all was well.

Then i made a mistake, cause i tried to bake the rest in less oil: not such a good idea, they almost burned. So, i learned: take enough oil, which should be hot enough so that it results in a nice crunchy crust. This was really the most challenging part, and i guess i’ll have to try out a few more recipes to get this perfect constantly and not only for the first batch.

Anyway, this is what our dinner looked like:

the taste was great, the combination of the potatoe with the fish and then the chili and the herbs and lime/lemon zest: very very nice. Some  of the patties had a really nice crust and the left overs where nice too. as a matter of fact, i think i might have one now.

see you around for the next challenge. and i guess i will make some more patties in the future. great fun, nice food.

Tours

Two weeks ago i was on a work visit in Tours, France. Very nice  city, must be even nicer in spring and summer. If i can i will be back some time.

Should you ever be in the area, here are a few things you shouldn’t miss:

-go visit the cathedrale, very beautiful windows

-take a walk along the Loire

-for restaurants: do not go to the old square, go to ‘rue colbert’ instead. Try La Ruche for instance, local food for a very good price. (i’m afraid i chickened out the frog legs, I’m already regretting it.)

-le Rideau Rouge is a nice place too, next to the theatre, rue de scellerie, reservations needed in the weekend.

-visit the market on saturday: les Halles and the market place outside.

-buy as many different goat cheeses as you can, they are delicious!

-drink vouvray (still! i brought home a bottle of sparkling wine as well, but didn’t try it yet, it waits for a special occasion. no just any special occasion, a specific special occasion).

and tonight, i will be trying my first daring kitchen dare. exciting! More about that on february 14th.