EVEN AFTER FINISHING ALL THE GOOD FOOD DURING CHRISTMAS, MR. SC AND I STILL HAD ROOM FOR MORE HEARTY GERMAN FOOD — AT PAULANER (am Haarplatz in Wetzlar, Hessen, Germany). I had the “Leberkäse mit Spiegelei und Kartoffelsalat”, which is a type of German meatloaf served with a sunny-side-up and potato salad. Mr. SC ordered the “Nürnberger Rostbratwurst”, which is a type of bratwurst from the city of Nürnberg. Made with lean ground pork, the Nürnberger Rostbratwurst is commonly seasoned with cardamon, pepper, salt, marjoram, ginger, and lemon powder. The dish is typically served with hearty slices of bread and a generous amount of sauerkraut.
Paulaner is not only a famous brewery in Germany but also a brand known for its Bavarian-styled restaurants, bars, and beer gardens. The brewery was started in the 17th Century by the Minim friars in Munich.
ROSINE-MAKRONEN (RAISIN MACAROONS)
Mr. SC’s mom had shared with me last week a wonderfully easy recipe on how to make the German “Dattel-Makronen” (Date Macaroons). They are perfect for the upcoming holiday season!
Because I couldn’t find any dates at the grocery store, I used raisins instead. My “Rosine-Makronen” turned out fantastic. I had to convert the recipe to ‘cups’ and change the ingredients slightly. The recipe given required one pack of the common German Vanillezucker (vanilla-flavoured sugar). Realizing that some countries definitely don’t have that available, I substituted it with vanilla essence, also thereby cutting down the sugar level (it’s healthier that way).
So here’s what you need:
[Please note that you can use any type of ‘cup’ (American, British, etc.), as I already scaled the measurements.]
1 1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups of oatmeal flakes
2 1/2 cups of raisins, dates or anything else you want to add in
2 eggs (use medium. I used large, found that it was too runny, and ended up having to add a little bit more oatmeal flakes to make up for the runny-ness.)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1. In a medium pot, melt the butter over low-medium heat. After it has been melted, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the oatmeal flakes and then the raisins/dates/etc.
2. In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the baking powder, sugar, eggs, and vanilla essence.
3. Combine the wet ingredients of the mixing bowl with the buttery oatmeal mixture.
4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
5. Line your baking trays with parchment papers, and start shaping your macaroons. These macaroons should be two (2) tablespoons big.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
This recipe should yield two trays of macaroons (or more, depending on the type of cup you decide to use)
I am so happy to have found so many nice teas at a local organic store. They came right in time when Mr. SC is still sick with a sore throat.
I think the Yogi bar code is very cute.
« SoulFood Serbia »
My mouth waters when watching this promotional video. Mr. SC was so lucky to had traveled to Serbia earlier this year.
(Source: SoulFood Serbia, National Tourism Organisation of Serbia)
For today’s lunch: Squid-ink linguine with aged-cheese sauce and mussels
It’s another experiment of mine. Man, don’t we ever love the cheese! Mr. SC had some Portuguese Mafra bread to eat with the linguine dish. (He was the one who modeled the bread in the photograph too! Thanks love!)
We are also loving our new olive oil, Vila Nova. Buying olive oil in Portugal is almost like buying wine. The supermarkets usually have a whole aisle of olive oils. It can be overwhelming.
Things have been pretty busy on my end: working on projects and studying. To add more pressure, the holiday season is approaching. I hope to post more regularly once our holiday begins.
THESE FISHCAKES WERE HEARTY LIL’ GEMS. It has been a while since I made a ‘cake’ of anything. For these, I’ve used:
- Leftover bread crumbs
- Olive oil
- A little of Chinese five spice, paprika, nutmeg, cumin, and curry powder.
- Of course, sprinkle of salt and pepper
I just mixed together all of the ingredients and shaped them into pancakes. One thing I should had used was parchment paper, but instead I only greased my baking tray. To avoid some sticking, use parchment.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.
People usually pan fry fish cakes; baking them is a healthier option.
They were very decadent! Very good for the autumn soul!
SUPER FRESH CHESTNUTS ARE SO HEARTY AND DELICIOUS! I’ve been roasting the ones from my classmate for the past two days. They are very easy to prepare.
Wash them and cut a little slit in each one (to prevent them from exploding). You can sprinkle a little salt on top for taste, but eating them plain is just as good. Then after placing them on an oven tray, roast them in the oven for 20 minutes at 185 degrees Celsius. A few of my chestnuts actually exploded in the oven because the slits I made were too small. No worries, no one was harmed during this whole process. It was just messy to clean up afterwards.
A Portuguese acquaintance of ours once told us that the Portuguese had used mostly chestnuts in their recipes before potatoes were introduced to Europe. Although many recipes are now using potatoes, there still remain some that use chestnuts.
A CLASSMATE FROM MY GERMAN CLASS GAVE ME SOME ‘CASTANHAS’ OR CHESTNUTS FRESH FROM THE TREES IN HIS BACKYARD. His mom or grandma helped dry them in the sun so that they won’t get too moist. Moisture can encourage mold or mildew. Mr. SC and I are very happy, and I’m going to prepare some roasted chestnuts tonight. Luckily one of the weekly magazines featured chestnuts last week. There it gave many ways of preparing them.
I will let you know how they turn out.
SOY SAUCE? DID THAT MAN JUST SAY SOY SAUCE? I went out yesterday for some arroz de pato — Portuguese duck rice — for lunch. The greeter chatted with me as I waited for this ever so popular dish, and then he shared with me that the secret ingredient is soy sauce. I thought that he was joking, so I responded, “Isn’t that a bit gross?”
Wrong response from me. The only thing is, he wasn’t joking.
A moment of awkwardness ensued.
After a brief moment of a pause, the greeter explained that the sauce helps enhance the flavour of the duck rice.
So all along the lovely brown duck rice that I have seen everywhere and taste so good to me has been ‘enhanced’ with soy sauce. I had always wondered how the Portuguese cooks get the rice to be so brown and beautiful from just duck broth and sausages. A part of me wishes that I never knew about the secret ingredient. The mystique surrounding arroz de pato is now officially over. Another part of me wants to kick myself because my thought is “how can I love eating the brown yummy duck rice when all along it was soy sauce?” “Such a gross abuse of soy sauce!” Then I realize that I have to accept it for what it is: using soy sauce is nowadays okay in Portuguese cuisine.
Without further ado, I want to share with you the Arroz de Pato recipe that I’ve written up and altered for my other personal blog in the past. Maybe you can try making this at home too!
I actually got the basic recipe from: http://ventoportugues.blogspot.pt/2012/08/arroz-de-pato.html. This is a basic recipe that all Portuguese home cooks and chefs more of less follow. I altered it a little to suit my taste.
So for ingredients I used:
- 1/2 duck or a whole duck (depending on how much meat you really want to eat. I used half a duck.)
- 2 cubes of chicken bouillon (or you can use 1 cube of chicken bouillon and use a few pinches of salt. Most Portuguese recipes really don’t need 2 cubes.)
- 1 chouriço (a smoked/fermented/or cured sausage that you find in Portugal. In Spain, it’s chorizo.)
- 100 to 150 g. of ham or presunto (optional. Some Portuguese don’t even add this)
- 400 to 500 g. of rice
- 1 lime (I used a lime because I love lime, but the recipe on the blog suggested lemon. Either one is fine).
- 1 onion, chopped into quarters.
- 2 cloves of garlic or just 1 teaspoon of that pre-minced garlic that you will find in supermarkets in Portugal
- some herbs like parsley, etc. to season the broth
- pepper for seasoning
- some olives (optional)
1. Clean the duck and portion it into four pieces to make it easier to cook. Find a big enough soup pot that can fit the duck. Bring the pot to the stove and add enough water so that it can cover the duck. Place the quartered onions, garlic, chicken bouillon (and the salt), ham/presunto, chouriço, and some herbs in the water, and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add the duck pieces. Then turn the heat down until the mixture is simmering. Let the whole broth simmer like that for 30-40 minutes. If you like, you can add a little bit of the lemon or lime juice so that the acid can help draw out the nutrients from the meat and bones of the duck. Add a little pepper to season.
2. Once the 30-40 minutes are over, turn off the heat and transfer all of the meats out of the pot, placing them on a dish somewhere (we will do something with the meat later). Afterward, use a sift to filter the broth into a smaller pot. Make sure that you filter out all the onions and big herb pieces. If you haven’t done so already, add the lemon or lime juice to the broth. Now in that smaller pot, add your rice and cook it with the clear broth. This should take around 15-20 minutes. If you end up with too much broth for the amount of rice you want to cook, save the remaining broth for something else! I had some leftover from last night, and I’m going to use it in a soup today.
3. With the meats, separate the duck meat from the bones and turn them into small strips. Do not keep the duck skin. Take the chouriço and cut out 6-7 round slices so that you can place the slices on top later. Chop the remaining chouriço into mini pieces. Chop the presunto/ham as well if the pieces are big.
4. Remove the rice from the stove just a little bit before the rice finishes cooking. The rice should be well cooked but moist. Sort of like risotto consistency. You would want to keep some moisture because we would need to put the whole duck dish into the oven later. You wouldn’t want the meats to be too dry.
5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (in a convection oven. Turn it up to 220 degrees if you use the conventional setting) or roughly 400 degree Fahrenheit. Now there is two ways to present the duck rice. One way is to mix together all the meat and rice, and transfer the mixture to a baking dish. The second way is to spread a thin layer of rice at the bottom of the baking dish, and then add all the meat as the middle layer. The rest of the rice would then go on top. Either way, once you transfer everything to a baking dish, place the pieces of chouriço on the top for a beautiful decoration. I even used olives as well. For the rice itself, I mixed in the remainder of my herbs for more of an aromatic touch. You can add a little pepper to the meat for more seasoning, but that’s optional.
6. Place the baking dish into the oven for 15 minutes for the top to brown.
And voila, there you have it — enough duck rice for four servings.
** Note for the Cantonese-style cooks:
If the idea of cooking the meats in a salted broth bothers you, you can add the salt and bouillon after you transfer the meats out of the broth.
** Extra note:
You can add some soy sauce to your liking!!