27 May 2013

sunny afternoon, a cup of coffee and...


... what else do you need?
Here are some things which might be helpful to have a sweet afternoon.
As you can see strawberries are quite important. And you have to make a Crème Anglaise.
So, put on your shoes and go shopping.
For the Crème Anglaise you need:

    4         Yolks
100   g     Sugar
500   g     Milk
 1/2 tblsp Starch (potato or corn)
    1         Vanilla pod
200   g     Cream, whisked

Just because you are well organised I am pretty sure that you are doing the shopping in the morning. And especially this is a great day. It is warm and sunny. And do you see this little coffee bar at the corner of the other side of the street?
Yes, this one with the red sign and the green sunshade shadowing a small dark brown table with a yellow flower in a porcelain vase.
Go over, take your time and order what ever you want. Relax.

You ordered something. Fine.
Before you are going home you still need some icing sugar and some frozen puff pastry sheets.

When reaching home you should be in a good mood and start the preparation. Keep some of the pastry sheets outside.
For the Crème Anglaise beat the yolks, starch and sugar over a water bath until its creamy and white. Meanwhile boiling up the milk with the vanilla pod which you cut in halves before.
Remove the vanilla pod and the egg mixture from the waterbath. By stirring constantly slowly pour half of the milk into the eggs . Then pour everything back into the milk. Bring back to low heat until it thickened. Do not forget to stir constantly. Allow to cool.
Whisk the cream until stiff and keep in the fridge. When the vanilla cream is cold fold in the cream and put it back into the fridge.

Instead of rolling the pastry sheets in flour you are using icing sugar.
Roll out the sheets very thin and cut into shapes you like (round, triangle, squares...). Place the pastry on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven at 170°C until the pastry is done and caramalised.
When they are cold cut lengthwise in two halves. Add some cream with a spoon or piping bag to the bottom, place some washed and cut strawberries. Add some cream on top of the strawberries and cover with the top of the pastry.

Enjoy the afternoon.

6 May 2013

greens of spring

Isn't spring a great season?
More hours of sunlight, increasing temperature and smiling faces everywhere.
Even  the markets become more colourful and like every year at the same time people become curious about asparagus. For another six weeks asparagus is in season. Typical for Germany is white asparagus which mostly is boiled and served with melted butter or traditionally with Sauce Hollandaise. But before you can boil you have to peel it thoroughly. 
For the following dish we make it a bit easier and use green asparagus. And we serve it with one of my favourite dishes: Risotto.
Risotto is a great dish. You can combine any flavour with the rice, mussels, prawns . . . and any vegetable you think of. The only thing is that the cooking takes approximately 20 minutes. So do not add the vegetables from the beginning. Anyway it is recommendable to sauté the vegetable lightly in a pan to increase the taste and add shortly before the risotto is done.

Risotto with green asparagus  (enough for two)

Aborio rice                               250  g 
Asparagus, green                      250  g
Onion, finely chopped                50  g
Lime, Zests and Juice                   2 nos
Vegetable stock                      1000 ml
Parmesan cheese                         30 g
Butter                                          50 g
Olive oil
Salt, Pepper  

Cut of the dry ends of the asparagus, and peel the lower quart of it. Dice and keep aside.
Sweat the rice and the onion in some olive oil. Add the lime zests and quench with lime juice and some stock. Stir and reduce the liquid. Pour in some stock just enough to cover the rice and stir and stir and stir.
This procedure you repeat until the rice is just done. You might not need all of the stock. Maybe not more than 750 ml.
In the meantime you sauté the diced asparagus in some oil until it is done but also still has a bite.
Now you add butter to the risotto and stir well. Adjust seasoning and fold in the asparagus and Parmesan cheese. 



1 May 2013

what's all about this

Time is running fast.
Although I haven't mentioned the last one we start planning the next Speak Easy Club .
What is this all about the Speak Easy Club?
It is all about food, but not only. 
It is all about a glass of red wine or maybe some more, but not only.
It is all  about the people coming to us to take a seat at the table, but not only.
It is all about candles, flowers, music, conversations, laughter, coffee and espresso, but not only.

It is all about having dinner with friends even if you do not know them.
You might say it is just another supper club. Maybe you are right, but it is all about a bit more, but not only.
Once a month an artist and a chef are sending out a menu to share the evening for a studio dinner they call Speak Easy Club. Delicacies, completely homemade from regional and seasonal food which is reflecting the warmth of the oven and the atmosphere of the place.

Next day when the cutlery and crockery are back in the cupboard and the dog found a place to relax you realise that once again the people made the last evening a success.
And the wine and the food and the atmosphere and...