Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Butternut squash soup

Butternut squash soup or pumpkin soup is one of my favourites. It was and is still made very regular in my parents house. Nothing is better than coming home on a cold day and warming up with a hot, steaming bowl of this delicious soup. It immediately makes you feel cozy and comfortable.
This soup is very versatile and can be made with different ingredients. I sometimes add apples and in my parents house even oranges are added sometimes. Instead of butternut you can use other pumpkins as well.


- 1 medium butternut, peeled and cubed
- 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cubed
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- ½-inch piece ginger, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock/bouillon
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tsp. Curry powder
- Salt to taste
- Red chilli powder to taste
- 2 Tbsp. Butter
- 2 Tbsp. Canola oil


In a large pot heat butter and oil. Add the onions, garlic and ginger. Fry for 2-3 minutes then add the butternut, potato and carrot. Fry for about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock/ bouillon and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 15 minutes till vegetable are soft, and then puree everything with a hand blender. Then add curry powder, salt, red chilli powder and cream. Mix well and simmer for couple more minutes. Serve.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cherry-chocolate cake

Since I am a little child I love baking. When I got my very own baking recipe book one day, I was in heaven. One of my first baking attempts was a lemon cake recipe, made with biscuit, cream and a lemon glaze. As far as I remember, it turned out quite good. Since then I have tried out many different recipes and have experimented quite a bit with different ingredients.
This cherry chocolate cake came together through many trials, some of them egg less, some of them not. Somehow the egg less versions never turned out well enough to post it here. So last weekend I wanted to give it another try with eggs and this time it turned out nicely.


- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 cup finely ground almonds
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- ½ Tbsp. Rum
- 3 oz. Milk chocolate
- 1 Tsp. Cinnamon powder
- 1 Tsp. Baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 10 oz pitted cherries, fresh or frozen
- Powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a bowl beat softened butter and sugar. Mix in the egg yolks. Grate the chocolate with a hand grater finely and add step by step to the batter along with ground almonds, cinnamon powder and rum. Mix everything well together.
In another bowl combine flour and baking powder and add to the batter. Mix but don’t over mix. Beat the egg whites with pinch of salt until stiff, then fold in to the batter along with the cherries.
Grease a 9-inch cake pan and fill in the batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and dust some powdered sugar on top.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Panzanella (Italian bread salad)

Panzanella is an Italian bread salad and can be served with different ingredients.
This recipe is inspired by Ina Garten from the Food Network. When I saw the recipe some days ago I didn’t write down the ingredients or quantities, so when I made it yesterday I went with my own measurements and changed some ingredients as well. Though S. eats happily whatever I make, he went literally crazy over this dish and put it immediately on his all-time favourite list. It is a very colourful salad and can be easily prepared ahead of time.


- half baguette or ciabatta bread, cubed (it is best to use bread which is 1-2 days old)
- ½ cucumber, cubed
- 2 medium tomatoes, cubed
- 1 red bell pepper, cubed
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cubed
- ½ cup black olives
- 1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½-1 Tsp. Oregano ( I used dried one)
- 6 Tbsp. Olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Handful fresh basil leaves or Italian parsley, chopped
- 3-4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese


Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pan. Add the bread cubes and fry till golden brown. Let cool. In a large bowl combine bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, black olives and bread cubes.
In a small bowl whisk together 4 Tbsp. olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and add the basil or parsley. Mix well. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and mix. Let the salad soak at room temperature for about 30 minutes or longer.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Leek quiche

Quiche is a dish from France and comes in different varieties. A very popular form is traditionally made with bacon and called “Quiche lorraine”. It has its name from the region Lorraine in France. Nowadays you can find it made with spinach, leeks or other vegetables. In my parents house Quiche was made at bigger get-togethers as it could be prepared ahead of time and was always a crowd pleaser. It is perfect for a potluck or a picnic as well.


For the dough:
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cold butter, cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup ice cold water
- ½ Tsp. salt
- 1 Tsp. sugar

For the filling:
- 2 leeks
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups grated Parmigiano reggiano cheese
- 3 eggs
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ Tsp. cayenne pepper powder


For the dough, combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and add the egg yolk. Distribute the butter cubes on top of the flour. With your fingertips incorporate everything till crumbly. Add the water step by step and knead to a smooth dough. Shape into a ball and wrap in plastic foil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
For the filling heat butter in a large pan and add the leeks and onions. Sauté till onions turn translucent. Turn off heat and keep aside.
Roll out the dough on a with flour dusted surface. Grease a quiche form and place in the dough. Cover bottom and sides. Bake for 20 minutes.
Whisk the eggs with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Add in the cream and Parmigiano cheese and mix.
Remove the dough from oven and distribute the leeks and onions on it. Pour the egg mixture evenly on top. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool for some minutes and then remove from form. Quiche can be served hot or cold.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 17, 2009


The idea for this dish came from my love for curd or quark as you say in German. It is not to confuse with yogurt, as curd is much thicker and depending on the fat content, creamier. In the US it is almost impossible to get curd. So I had to find a solution, how I could still have yummy Mueslis and cheese cake which is traditionally made with curd as well. (A recipe for cheesecake is coming up soon.) I found out that if you drain all the whey from yogurt it becomes almost like the curd I know and can be used in almost all recipes requiring curd.
Yesterday morning we wanted to have a change from the usual pancakes or waffles and have something light and fruity. So I decided to make Birchermuesli.
Birchermuesli is a popular breakfast dish of Switzerland and can be made with different fruits and grains. It is eaten also as a snack or a light dinner.
This recipe turned out to be so delicious that we finished the whole bowl at once. :-)


- 2 lb yogurt to make curd
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup milk
- 1 apple, grated
- 1 pear, chopped in small cubes
- 1 orange, cubed
- 1 Tsp. Vanilla essence
- 2 Tbsp. Mascarpone creme
- 2 Tbsp. Raisins
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 4 Tbsp. Agave nectar or to taste


To make the curd, line a mesh with a fine cloth or cheesecloth and fill in the yogurt. Place it over a large bowl and keep in the refrigerator over night to drain all the whey.
In a bowl soak the oats in milk for about 15 minutes.
In another large bowl mix curd, mascarpone crème, oats with milk, vanilla essence and agave nectar. Fold in the grated apple, pear, orange, raisins and walnuts. Serve or refrigerate till serving.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Apple and almond muffins

I simply love muffins and can eat them any time of the day. They make a good breakfast or a nice snack. The combination of apples, almonds and cinnamon is just great and as soon as you put them in the oven it will start smelling delicious. :-)

Makes 12 muffins.


- 2 ½ cups pastry flour
- 2 apples, grated
- 2 Tsp. Baking powder
- ½ Tsp. Baking soda
- ½ cup chopped almonds
- 1 Tbsp. Egg replacer mixed with 3 Tbsp. water
- 1 Tsp. cinnamon
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tsp. vanilla essence


Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl combine sugar, oil, vanilla essence, egg replacer and buttermilk. Mix well. Add in the grated apples and almonds. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add in step by step to the batter and mix carefully. Make sure not to over mix otherwise the batter will get sticky and gluey. Fill the batter into 12 muffin cup forms and bake in a muffin tray for about 30 minutes.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Penne con vegetable bolognese

This recipe came to together as I wanted to make pasta yesterday and use up some vegetables as well. I also wanted to have a change from the usual tomato sauce. It turned out to be a big hit in my house and has been requested again.


- 1 packet penne pasta
- ½ eggplant, cubed
- 2 small carrots, peeled and cut
- 1 red bell pepper, cubed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 ½ cups vegetable stock/ bouillon
- Handful Italian parsley leaves
- 1 Tsp. Cumin seeds
- ½ Tsp. Coriander powder
- 1 Tsp. Red pepper powder
- 1 Tsp. Cumin powder
- 1 Tbsp. Tomato paste
- 2 generous Tbsp. Mascarpone creme
- Salt to taste
- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil


Place eggplant, carrots and bell pepper in a food processor and chop finely. In a large pan heat olive oil and add cumin seeds and onions. Fry till the onions are translucent. Add the vegetables and fry for 2-3 minutes with occasional stirring. Add the vegetable stock/ bouillon, spice powders and salt. Mix well and cover. Let simmer for some minutes.
In the meantime cook pasta according to packet directions.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook for some more minutes. Add the Mascarpone crème and parsley. Mix well and cook for 2 more minutes. Mix pasta and sauce together and serve.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A movie and some baguette rolls

As soon as I had seen the first preview of “Julie and Julia” some weeks ago, I knew I had to see this movie. What could be a better movie as about food, learning to cook in a foreign country and then of course blogging. I was so excited that whenever I saw the ad coming on TV I told S. how I could not wait for the release. It must have been a 100 times that I made him promise to see the movie with me as soon as it would come out, that he finally got a bit annoyed. :-) But of course over the weekend we went together to the theatre to see the long awaited movie and I have to say I just loved it.
Meryl Streep has always been one of my favourite actresses and as always she has done a fantastic job in this movie. Her portrait of Julia Child is just divine and seeing her wandering the streets of Paris made me once again miss Europe and home so much.
So yesterday I decided to make some baguette rolls as I have always loved this kind of bread. It reminded me of many vacations in France, sitting in a small roadside café on a beautiful sunny morning, sipping a café au lait and biting in this heavenly crunchy baguette topped with butter and apricot jam.
I better give you the recipe now before I sink deeper into my daydreams of France and Europe. :-)
Makes 6 rolls.


- 6 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. active-dry yeast
- about 3 ½ cups lukewarm water


In a large bowl combine flour, salt, sugar and yeast and mix. Add the water step by step while kneading the dough with your hands. Knead for some minutes. If the dough is too dry add a little more water but make sure it does not get sticky. Take on a smooth surface and knead for some more minutes. Divide the dough in 6 portions and shape into oblong rolls. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the rolls on it. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Takes about 1-1 ½ hours.
Cut the top of the rolls slightly lengthwise and brush some cold water on top.
Place the rolls into the cold oven and then heat to 400 F. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars

Occasionally I like to watch Food network and although the majority of dishes are made with meat, I sometimes find a recipe which turns out nicely. Some days ago I found a recipe for granola bars which was not just easy to make but very tasty as well. It’s a perfect snack to eat in between meals and as a quick breakfast bite too. It can be made with almost any dried fruit and tastes so much better than any store bought bar.
Find the recipe here.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Today is Raksha Bandhan in India. The festival celebrates the bond of brother and sister and is marked by the sister tying a holy Rakhi thread around her brothers wrist. I wish all readers a happy Rakhi.
Since it is a festival day today I thought of posting an all-time favourite dish of my family in-law in India. Rajma. S. is literally crazy about it and could eat it anytime. When he and his siblings were small it was made every Sunday and served with rice. Since they ate chapatti with daal or vegetables the whole week everybody was very much looking forward to Sunday. The version my mother in-law makes is rather simple and doesn’t use so many spices as the recipe below. I have experimented with different spices and stuck finally to the recipe given.


- 1 cup red kidney beans
- 3-4 cups water
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 big tomatoes, chopped
- 1 inch piece ginger, grated
- 1-2 green chilli, chopped
- 3-4 black cardamom seeds
- 1 Tsp. Black mustard seeds
- 1 Tsp. Cumin seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tsp. Garam masala
- 1 Tsp. Cumin powder
- 1 Tsp. Coriander powder
- ½ Tsp. Turmeric
- red chilli powder to taste
- 2 Tbsp. Coriander leaves, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Oil
- Salt to taste


Soak kidney beans over night in water. Discard water and wash thoroughly. Pressure cook with 3-4 cups water for about 7-8 whistles. Wait for steam to release.
Grind tomatoes and green chilli into a paste and keep aside.
In a large saucepan heat oil and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they pop, add bay leaves, cardamom seeds and cinnamon stick. Fry for some seconds. Add the onions and fry till translucent. Add the tomato paste, ginger and spice powders. Mix well and cook till oil leaves the sides. Add the kidney beans along with cooking water and salt. Let simmer for some minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Homemade gnocchi with eggplant and fresh pesto

Lately I have made a lot of Italian dishes and somehow neglected others. S. already complained today that I think I have to make some more Indian dishes next week.:-) However I made homemade gnocchi the other day and really wanted to post it as it turned out really well and even S. liked it very much. So here goes the recipe.


For the gnocchi:
- 7 medium potatoes
- 4 ½ cups unbleached white flour
- ½ cup semolina

For the eggplant vegetable:
- 1 big eggplant, cubed
- 2 big tomatoes, chopped
- Pinch asafoetida/hing
- 1 Tsp. Coriander powder
- ½ Tsp. Cumin powder
- ½ Tsp. Red pepper powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil

For the pesto:
- 1 big bunch basil
- 2 Tbsp. Roasted pine nuts
- 4 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
Traditionally garlic is added in pesto which I mostly omit. Per your choice you can add one clove of garlic.


For the gnocchi boil the potatoes till soft but still firm. Peel and mash in a large bowl when still hot. Add the flour and semolina and knead to a smooth dough. It should not be sticky. Divide dough in 2 parts and roll into a long thin roll. This goes best when taking the dough roll between your palms and roll. Cut the roll into ½-inch pieces and press down slightly with a fork to make a pattern on the gnocchi. In a large pot bring salted water to boil. Add the gnocchi and boil till the gnocchi come up to the surface. Drain.

For the eggplant vegetable heat oil in a pan and add the asafoetida. Add the eggplant and tomatoes and cook covered till eggplant is almost done with occasional stirring. Add spice powders and salt. Mix well and cook for about 2 more minutes. Take off heat.

For the pesto grind basil with half of the oil to a paste. If adding garlic grind with basil. Then add the pine nuts, Parmesan, salt, black pepper and rest of oil and grind to a paste. Keep in an airtight container and fill up with olive oil till pesto is covered. This helps in keeping the pesto fresh.

Serve gnocchi with eggplant and pesto.
Text and photographs are copyright protected. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.
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This blog is my attempt to share and chronicle experiences and recipes which I have learnt on my own through long hours in the kitchen or which were passed on to me from my family, in-laws and friends. All texts and photographs in this blog are mine unless otherwise noted and it is prohibited to copy or distribute them without my written permission. If you would like to use any content for non-commercial purposes ask first by contacting me at Please respect that this blog and all its content is the result of hard work and that it is not allowed to violate any of its copyrights.
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