Bruadarach

Scottish Gaelic: Dreamer, Visionary

Month: August 2013

Cookbook Challenge 4 – Austro Tapas

Next up is the Austro Tapas cookbook: basically classical Austrian dishes in small and handy versions. The added challenge, which Mick gave me, was to make it with breadcrumbs. Since they are very prominent in Austrian cuisine, I thought this was going to be easy. I could just pick some kind of Schnitzel, since it was going to be used for lunch, and do that in tiny. Boy, I was wrong.

For some weird reason there weren’t any Schnitzel dishes in it, and though some desserts had breadcrumbs on it – and battered mushrooms which isn’t much of a lunch in itself – there wasn’t much I could pick from. What I did find was a cheese cordon bleu, which I decided to use as inspiration. In general I felt that it was an Austrian (ish) cookbook where everything was just smaller. It feels a bit like the new cookbooks for the small pots – same thing but smaller. Not too inspiring. I think it works for desserts better though, where you can then prepare a range of smaller desserts. So I think I’ll have to come back to this cookbook for a dessert recipe, which then I shall follow a bit more…

But now onto what I ended up making:

 

Rustic Cordon Bleu

4 pork escalopes (you can use veal too which is the classical one, but pork is more flavourful)
2 eggs
Plain Flour
Salt
Breadcrumbs (made out of dry white bread or bought if you can get decent ones)
4 big slices of cheese (something with lots of flavour, I used smoked cheese)
Slices of Smoked Bacon (not what you’d get as ‘bacon’ in the US or the UK. I mean proper smoked bacon. I used smoked garlic bacon.)
Half a Lemon

Green Salad
Red Wine Vinegar
Pumpkin Seed Oil

 

DSC_9913 DSC_9915

First up, tenderise the meat with a meat hammer. It needs to be properly beaten so the slices get a bit thinner. Then, depending on the size, you can use two Schnitzel or fold one up. Since I was making Tapas (ish) Cordon Bleu, I folded them. After hammering the meat was thin and larger, so it was still decent sized even in half.

Spread the bacon out on the meat, covering it up. Then the cheese in the middle. It shouldn’t be filled too thick, or it would just fall apart when you make the batter. A classical Cordon Bleu is made with ham and cheese, so you can vary the filling.

DSC_9917 DSC_9919

Fold the Cordon Bleu and use toothpicks to hold them together. Then hammer once more to get them a bit flatter. For the batter put flour in one bowl, two eggs mixed with salt on the second, and the breadcrumbs in the third. Use deep bowls if possible, as the flour and breadcrumbs may end up everywhere. How much you’ll end up needing, largely depends on the size of the Cordon Bleu. The same is true for Schnitzel, which you can also make following this recipe. Just don’t stuff anything in it.

DSC_9930 DSC_9931

First, the meat goes into the flour. Make sure it’s properly covered and shake the excess flour off. Next up is the egg-salt mix. Again, the whole Cordon Bleu should be covered. If you rub your hands in the flour before starting, you’ll avoid your fingers getting clogged up with eggy crumbs!

DSC_9932 DSC_9924

The last step of the batter is the breadcrumbs. Cover the Cordon Bleu completely, and apply some pressure to make sure the breadcrumbs stick to it. Make sure to cook them straight away; if you leave them lying around too long, the batter will end up coming off the meat. Once you press the whole thing a bit, the toothpicks can come out again.

DSC_9928 DSC_9933

Use a deep pan with about half a finger thick of oil. Wait until it’s sizzling hot – best checked with some loose breadcrumbs – and put the Cordon Bleus in. If the fat isn’t hot enough, it will just soak into the batter and leave it greasy. Bake it about 3 minutes on each side, until the batter is golden brown.

As a side dish I prepared a traditional green salad. The one I made is customary for the South of Austria. After washing the salad leaves, you put some salt, red wine vinegar and pumpkin seed oil on it. The latter is a speciality from my home region of Styria. It’s a very dark green thick oil, which can be used for many dishes but not as oil to fry food in.

DSC_9937 DSC_9939

All in all, the cookbook was a good inspiration, and like I initially said, I will probably try one of their desserts next. The Rustic Cordon Bleu though was fantastic. I usually have it with a sprinkle of lemon over the top of it. I should’ve used more cheese though – maybe two slices each or even goat cheese if I had managed to cut it thinly enough to get it in. I did enjoy it a lot though, the garlic bacon went very nicely with… well, really everything. I cannot believe I had never made Cordon Bleu before – I always thought it was more complicated than this!

Cookbook Challenge 3 – Paul Bocuse Standard Cookbook

The second cookbook in my challenge is the “Paul Bocuse Standard Cookbook”. Paul Bocuse is one of the big names in French cuisine, and this cookbook has it all. Everything but pictures, which is a good thing for me in this case. It’s more a reference book than a fancy and pretty cookbook. You’ll find any French classic and any basic you can think of – sauces, doughs, everything. A good French cookbook has always been my go-to place for a decent meal. I have made many of the classics, from Coq au Vin to Bouillabaisse to different desserts. So going for something classic French, which I haven’t made before, was already a challenge in itself. On top of that, Mick gave me the extra challenge of adding an ingredient I’ve never used before.

Reading through the index of recipes, I was immediately drawn to the Chateaubriand. The big chunk of filet steak. Now, I have made steak before, so I had to use something I’ve never done as a side dish. The recipe talks about pommes frites, so I wondered if I couldn’t just make them out of sweet potato, since I’ve never made anything with it before. A bit of research later, I found it’s not uncommon. So that’s what I was going to do – Chateaubriand with sauce and sweet potato frites. It usually comes one of the classic French sauces, like a Bérnaise, but here the tastes can vary so I am going to make something a bit more simple and fresh…

This time, I felt more comfortable with the recipe than the ones before – after all, I love cooking meat. I’ve just never made a piece that big! As always, I’ll take photos alongside cooking and then write up what I did afterwards.

 

Chateaubriand

600g piece of filet of beef
Crème fraîche
3 Sweet Potatoes
Garlic
Chives
Paprika
Flavourful cheese

DSC_9748

First up, I put the filet in oil, salt, pepper and paprika, for some extra taste. I like my meat rather on the rare side, so the times I am going to quote here will not be enough if you prefer your filet of beef medium or well done. Then you’re going to need to add a few minutes on the frying side or later in the oven.

DSC_9734

Preheat the oven to 220C. Knowing the meat would probably be quicker, I decided to start with the sweet potato fries. Peel them and slice them in fries-sized pieces. Then coat them in oil and paprika and spread the sweet potato fries out on a baking tray on top of baking paper. Make sure they don’t lie on top of each other.

DSC_9741

While the oven is heating up, put the crème fraîche and a bit of milk in a small pot. Take a garlic press and squeeze the garlic into the mix, then grate a big handful of cheese into it. I used Tyrolean mountain cheese which has a strong taste. It’ll be balanced out by the crème and milk a bit. Add salt and pepper, then heat it up on the oven and stir until the cheese is melted. Once it’s a nice sauce, take it from the oven, pour into a saucière and put it in the fridge to cool down.

DSC_9740

The sweet potatoes need to go in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, so depending how long you want to fry the meat, you can start with it when the potatoes are in. Fry the filet in one piece in a large pan. For rare you only need a couple of minutes on each side, so it gets a nice brown colour. The piece I used was thicker on one end, so I knew the narrower bit was going to be rather medium rare. Like this you can cater to different tastes.

DSC_9750

With a 600g piece you can feed 2 hungry people, or 3 if you add more side dishes or a starter. After being fried, the meat needs 5-10 minutes in the oven, mainly so it’s warm throughout. Once the sweet potato fries are about 10 min before being finished, put them on the bottom of the oven and the meat in the middle. Pour some of the oil over the meat before you put it in to keep it from drying out.

DSC_9757 DSC_9753

The fries are softer than regular potato fries, so once they are done, use some kitchen roll for the spare fat and put them in a bowl. For the meat, it’s best served on a big wooden board. Before serving it, slice it in about 2-3 cm thick pieces. Like that, everyone can take fries, meat and sauce to their liking.

The sweet potatoes with the paprika tasted super and the paprika also added a nice flavour to the meat. The light creamy sauce with the chive-garlic-cheese taste was a great addition to the dish – it made it light and summery. I am glad I didn’t go with a heavy classic sauce this time, it would’ve been too much on a Summer day.

 

Cookbook Challenge 2 – Haggis, Whisky & Co

As promised, there will be a second recipe inspired by (because I barely ever follow a recipe precisely) from my Scottish cookbook. For this challenge, Mick added the comment “leave out one single ingredient”. Since this recipe included 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, this was an easy one. I haven’t had nice experiences with it and wasn’t willing to get one for one teaspoon. So I left it out. Might have replaced some other things too, but that’s just how I cook. The fact that you don’t mince actual steak for a steak pie helped as well (that would’ve been just cruel I’m sure)!

I’ve never had Steak Pie when I was in the UK, always a bit suspicious of them. Especially because they often have intestines as well which I don’t eat. So I thought for my first one, I might as well do it myself. On top of that, I’ve never made any meat pie and seldom a pie like that at all! I hoped at least the filling would be tasty in case the whole thing fell apart. The recipe talks about smaller pies but without a muffin form – just moulded and then filled. Now that sounded as if it was going to fall apart, so I went with the variation that suggests just one big form. Obviously I was left with more dough than I needed for one big pan – so the recipe is made for smaller pies.

The Steak Pie is part of the “Bill o’Fare, The Burns Supper”, which is usually eaten on Burns Night. Needless to say I left out the part of the menu that had Haggis in it, though the Cock-a-Leekie soup tempted me (but not in this heat).

 

Steak Pie

500g Minced Meat
150g Mushrooms (I used porcini)
150ml Beef Stock
2 Shallots [Disclaimer: I ran out of shallots or onions, so in this version, I made do without and used more mushrooms instead]
25g Butter
150ml Gravy [I didn’t have any gravy, so I used a bit of water. It got very soupy, so handle gravy with caution!]
Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg

For the dough:
175g Butter
500g Flour
Water
Salt
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Milk

DSC_9705

Here it goes 🙂

Preheat oven at 150C. Mix flour and salt for the dough, making a dent in the middle. Melt butter with a bit of water in a small pot, then pour it in. Mix until you have a smooth dough. The original recipe didn’t have an egg but there was no way I was going to get a smooth dough, so I thew one in. It was still a bit on the crumbly side – hence the patching in the form – but much better than what it was without the egg. People with experience in doughs get a feeling what it might need. Like I said above, the amount is for smaller pies, if you put it in one or two big forms you’ll have some dough left over or it’s not a thick layer of meat in the middle.

DSC_9708 DSC_9709

Roll out the dough and fit into the oven form of your choice. The recipe talks about how you can make it by hand without a form, but I was sceptical about it.

DSC_9710 DSC_9718 DSC_9721

For the filling, cut the shallots into small pieces and throw them into a steep pan. Then add the meat and fry it for a few minutes. In the end, add the mushrooms. Here, the recipe suggests to add gravy, but I just put in a bit of water and found it quite soupy in the end. That’s where I hope it wouldn’t make the whole thing fall apart later. Now add the spices. There was still feta cheese in the fridge, so I mixed that in. Once I had filled the form with the meat mix, I grated some mountain cheese over the top before I put the layer of dough over it. After I put a layer of dough on the top, I spread milk over it.

Now bake in oven at 15C for 45min.

DSC_9726 DSC_9727

I wasn’t really sure if upon getting it out and cutting it, it was going to be a solid piece like a cake of if the filling will fall out. Either way I wasn’t sure which was the thing it was supposed to be… 🙂

Consequentially, I was very excited when I got it out of the oven. It stayed where it probably should’ve – inside the pastry. There was some liquid coming out but nothing fell apart. One larger bit in the middle was a bit tough to get out of the form for the lack of right instruments, but that was the only trouble there. All around, the dough was firm and quite sturdy.

Eating it, the filling was rather flavourful and I think the cheese fit very well. If you put it in a muffin form, I think it would make a great meal to take along or out for a picnic. Once you have the dough you can get creative with the filling. I am sure the dough itself will get smoother and prettier when I make it more often. All in all, I enjoyed making and eating it, would definitely make it again.

Cookbook Challenge 1 – Haggis, Whisky & Co

DSC_9645The first challenge was only for half a weekend, so it only included one cookbook, “Haggis, Whisky &  Co.” A Scottish cookbook (written in German and published in Austria) where each recipe goes along with a poem by Robert Burns.

I got the book for my birthday from Mick, so I figured that’s why he made me try it first. Maybe it was because he missed Haggis. Poor him, I wasn’t going to make that… 🙂 Since I had only one cookbook for this weekend, I decided to make a main course and a dessert, starting with the latter. To actually pick one was not that easy. First of all, there aren’t many recipes in this book to begin with – all of them being assembled in menus following a theme.

Venison and other autumn specialities are a bit hard to come by in the middle of the summer, and so are some of the fish specialities you can get in Scotland. Not as fresh at least. One of the first recipes had a caramelized apple cake in it – so that obviously caught my eye. On reading the recipe I realized it was much like the French Tarte Tartin, and I fell in love with that in Paris a few weeks ago. The only ingredient I was missing were eggs, so the choice was easy!

The cake was from the “Bill o’Fate, O my Luve’s like a red, red Rose” menu. A menu for lovers. 🙂

I didn’t follow the recipe by the letter, here’s what I actually ended up doing:

DSC_9650 DSC_9656

Caramelised Apple Cake

4 Apples
Juice from half a lemon
3 Eggs
250g Sugar
175ml Oil (something which no to little taste)
175g Flour
1 Packet Baking Powder (approx. 8g)
A bit of Baking Soda
1 Packet Vanilla Sugar (approx. 8g)
50g Butter

DSC_9659

Preheat oven to 175C. Slice and de-seed apples and pour lemon juice over it, so they won’t turn brown. Whisk the eggs and 150g of the sugar until it’s foamy, then slowly add the oil. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla sugar and then add it to the egg-sugar mix. Stir thoroughly until it’s smooth.

DSC_9666 DSC_9675

Heat butter and add the 100g of sugar. Mix thoroughly and caramelise it on low heat until it becomes a thick mass. If sugar doesn’t dissolve, add some of the lemon juice from the apple slices.

DSC_9671

Put baking paper in a spring form. Pour caramel in it and evenly cover the bottom. Put the apple slices on top of the caramel and then the dough over the top.

DSC_9683 DSC_9686

Bake for 45 min at 175C. Let cool for 15 min, then overturn the cake. Goes well with vanilla ice cream and coffee 🙂

DSC_9687

I think I used a bit too much baking soda, so I changed the recipe accordingly. The dough was superbly light, fluffy and moist, whilst the apples started to get a bit of a crunch to it. Once the cake has cooled down properly, the caramel will get even crunchier. I think it tasted really super and I also like the slightly rustic taste to it.

DSC_9692 DSC_9698

The Cookbook Challenge

DSC_9701

I love cookbooks. I would go so far as to say I collect them to a certain extent. The problem is, there are some I haven’t opened since I got them. Much like my husband Mick who collects musical instruments and sometimes doesn’t try them out. I called him out on it and last December, I gave him a challenge that would make him use all the instruments he hadn’t played before. 10 Weeks – 10 Sounds was very successful and led to really interesting music and a brand new instrumental album.

Now here I was, challenging him to play unused instruments when I still had cookbooks that sat unused on the shelf. There are three that I always use, you can find the reviews below. I can only warmly recommend to get them all. But this time, it’s about other books.

This time, the tables are turned. Now he is giving me a challenge to use the cookbooks that have – so far – only sat on my shelf. Here is the challenge:

You should create one dish from each of the following cookbooks, photograph the process and blog about each one. Let us know a bit about the book, why you chose the recipe, what (if anything) and why you had to change any ingredients or processes. What was difficult? What did you learn? How did the final result taste?

1. Haggis, Whisky & Co.    (leave out a single ingredient)
2. Paul Bocuse Standardkochbuch [The Paul Bocuse Standard Cookbook]    (use an ingredient you have never used) 
3. Austro Tapas    (use breadcrumbs)
4. Crèmes Brûlées    (change an ingredient)
5. Gordon Ramway’s Great British Pub Food    (pick a recipe that contains alcohol (it’s pub food, after all!))
6. Natürlich Jamie [Jamie at Home]    (add something red) 
7. Macarons    (something that goes well with coffee)
8. Vive la France    (add vanilla)
9. La Cuisine Grecque [The Greek Kitchen]    (served with a feta side dish) 
10. Plachutta – Meine Wiener Küche [My Viennese Kitchen]    (traditional, but different) 

 

Now my Favourite Cookbooks:

La Bonne Grand-Mère (The Good Grandmother) – for  French recipes.

No matter if it’s Coq au Vin, Crème caramel or Bouillabaisse, for everything French this is the go-to book. As much as I love full-colour cookbooks with photos, in my experience, the ones without are the ones I end up using most. Like this – there aren’t any photos, merely small sketches that really don’t do anything to help with the cooking. That might make you surprised at how some things actually look in the end, but that’s ok. The cookbook is just that good!

Die Gute Küche (The Good Kitchen) – for  Austrian and other basics.

One of the authors, Ewald Plachutta, is the beef king and Christoph Wagner knows his food too…! Whenever I need a recipe for a dough, a dumpling, any of the basic things that I grew up with and love – this is my go-to book. It’s not just Austrian recipes, also all-time favourites.

Süßes aus dem Sacher (Sweets from the Sacher) – for dessert and cake recipes.

Get it for the Sacher cake – and  then try out all the other recipes as well. If it’s poppyseed noodles or the fantastic lemon meringue pie, Austrian or international desserts… The dishes are really fantastic and one can spend many weeks cooking and eating their way through it all!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén