Summer rolls with peanut-chilli dip

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As I mentioned already before, my husband and I like to eat Vietnamese and Thai food. And there is a really good restaurant in our city where we eat since few years. But lately we discovered another one and went there at our date night. That was the first time that we ate summer rolls. Usually we order spring rolls but this time we had taste for a change 🙂 I had a lotus root salad and Christian summer rolls. We liked them so much that I had to try it at home. I had rice paper and rice noodles at home, shrimps I have always in the freezer and I have some fresh vegetable in the fridge all the time. So I could start right away. I was surprised that it was very easy to make and I will do it definitely again for some party. It can be our next cooking evening with friends, instead of making sushi 🙂

You will need:

  • rice paper
  • rice noodles (thin or thick ones)
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • scallions (spring onions)
  • fresh cilantro (coriander)
  • shrimps
  • bean sprouts (if you like)

In a pot, bring water to boil and soak your rice noodles there. See what they write on the package, sometimes you have to cook them but I like to just soak mine. They were done after approx. 10 minutes. Taste one noodle and if it is still to hard, leave it to soak longer. Then drain and set aside. Usually Vietnamese people use thin noodles but I only had thick ones. I think it was also okay and it didn’t have any impact on taste 🙂 Also prepare a bigger flat frying pan with hot water where you will soak your rice paper. You can also use some bigger bowl or deeper plate.

Cut all your vegetable in 10 cm long thin pieces and wash your cilantro.

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Wash and dry your shrimps and fry them in oil on both sides. Put them on a plate and, when they cool down, cut them in half horizontally. To assemble everything I put the rice paper (one at a time) in the hot water. Don’t leave the rice paper too long in the water because then it tears easily (happened to me a few times). It usually just takes 10-15 seconds. When it starts to get soft, take it out, make it flat (if it’s a little bit scrunched), put a few rice noodles, carrots, cucumber, scallions, cilantro, and 3-4 halves of shrimps in the middle of the paper.

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Then I flip the left and right side onto the vegetable.

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Then I flip the down part (close to me) onto the vegetable with my both thumbs and with my fingers I hold the vegetable and pushing it closer to me. Like this it will not spread so much and it will stay in the middle. I roll to the end until the upper part of the rice paper will stick to my roll. If it happens that the rice paper tears a little bit, take another rice paper, break one piece which is a little bit bigger than your hole (tear), soak it in the hot water and, when it is soft, stick it to the hole. This is definitely not a professional way how to do that but hey… it is better than having a roll which is completely getting apart and just messing in your dip 😀

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It might sound difficult but you will see that after one or two rolls you will know the trick. Btw. I watched some videos on YouTube and there are few ways how to “roll” the rolls. But this works fine for me 🙂

For the dip you will need:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 red chilli (I used 1 teaspoon of chilli paste in glass)
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  •  juice from 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1-2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • chopped peanuts, chilli rings and cilantro for garnish (optional)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl a taste it. Everybody has a different taste and preferences, so please adjust it to your taste. If you want it more hot, add chilli… more sour, add lime juice etc. Sprinkle it with chopped peanuts, chilli rings, and fresh cilantro.

Summer rolls are healthy, fresh and so delicious. You can make them with different vegetable, different meat. So let your fantasy go crazy. Enjoy 🙂

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Buttermilk scones “The best ones”

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I have already one recipe for scones on my blog, but those are different. There is no egg in this recipe and I mostly do them from spelt flour, whole grain spelt flour, or mixture of spelt flour and spelt bran. I make them almost every week because my family loves them and they are our number 1.

I usually prepare the dry ingredients the night before I go to bed. I also put a silicon mat on my kitchen counter and prepare the dough attachment to my kitchen aid. I also get out the measuring cup for 1 cup of buttermilk and a scale to weight the butter. So the next morning when my kids come to me… like 6 or 6:30 and they tell me “Mommyyyyy, we are hungryyyyy”, I can go, put the morning gown on, and stick my hands deep in the flour 🙂 This usually doesn’t happen on weekdays because my daughters are sleeping and it is hard to get them out of the bed. BUT Saturdays and Sundays are exceptional. They are awake around 6:30 at latest and full of energy.

You will need:

  • 3 cups of flour (all purpose or spelt flour or mix of both)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I use cane sugar)
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (Natron)
  • 1 and 1/2 stick of cold butter from fridge (170 g)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (+ little bit for brushing the top)

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius (428 °F).

As I mentioned in the beginning, put all your dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them.

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Here on the photos you can see that sometimes I mix flour with some spelt bran to make it more healthy 🙂

Now you can do these scones in different ways. I have a kitchen aid, so I mix the dry stuff in the kitchen aid bowl, add butter, and let the mixer do some kind of a crumbs. Then, while still mixing, I am adding the buttermilk until the dough is formed.

You can do the same thing using a food processor. Make the crumbs by mixing the flour and butter and pulsing until no big chunks of butter are to be seen. Then add buttermilk and pulse few times until the dough is formed.

If you don’t have any of those, you can, of course, do it by hand. You can add butter cut in small pieces to your bowl and with your fingers mix it until even crumbs will form. Than add the buttermilk and make a dough.

In all cases you can add a little bit more flour if it is too wet, or little bit buttermilk if it is too dry. Then put the dough on a clean surface and push it together into disc approx. 3-4 cm high. I am trying not to touch the dough so much because the warmth from my hands would melt the butter. And I wouldn’t have these nice flaky scones any more. I think the butter is doing something similar like in puff pastry dough or pie dough. So don’t work it to long.

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It should now have some kind of round shape, so you can easily cut it like a pizza in 8 equal parts. Then put the triangles on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

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Brush the top of your scones with buttermilk and bake it 15 minutes or until golden-brown.

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Our favourite combination is to eat them with butter and strawberry marmalade.

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But somebody serves this to an afternoon tea with some whipped cream and fresh strawberries. You can also eat it with chocolate spread or simply as you wish. I hope you give it a try and enjoy 🙂

PS: If you leave the sugar away, you will have nice dinner rolls. Add a little bit cheese or sautéed spring onions and bacon and you move to next level.

PS2: You can also make the dough a little bit flatter and cut any shape you want. Round, squared, or a hearts for Valentines day.

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Potatoe patties

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Do you also have sometimes times when you have leftover potatoes which are already 2-3 days in the fridge and you don’t know what to do with them? I always have a heavy heart to throw food. So let me show you what we do with them in the Czech Republic. We add some stuff which you usually also have at home and make “bramborové placky” (potato patties). With potatoes, ham or sausage, cheese, and scallions they can be a party snack, dinner or a side dish if you like.

You will need:

  • 500 g cooked potatoes (or mashed potatoes)
  • 100 grated Cheddar cheese (or other cheese like Gouda)
  • 100g sausage (Wiener, Frankfurter or Bacon, ham) cut in small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g flour (I used half all-purpose and half whole grain spelt flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or less if your potatoes were already kind of salty)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 scallions (finely chopped) (optional)

Grate your cooked potatoes on a small grater:

IMG_0362Make a well from them and add all the other ingredients.  Put a little bit of flour in a bowl next to your working surface, just in case that you will need to add a little bit more. I hate to open a flour jar with dirty hands, and even more when in the middle of dough making I have to scrape my hands, wash them, and then open the jar with flour 😀

With your hands, make a dough. It shouldn’t be sticky, but also not very hard. Otherwise the patties will be to dense. From this amount, you will make like 8-12 patties. It is up to how big you will make them. For a party, you can make very small ones, so you will have like 32 pieces. First, separate the ball of dough in half, then 1/4, then 1/8, untill you will have the amount of pieces you want.

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IMG_7782Then form a ball with your palms and flatten the ball into a disc-like shape. In a frying pan, put one centimeter of oil and put it on medium high. Now fry your patties on both sides until they are golden brown.

IMG_7790It should take like a minute or so on each side. If it is tooo quick, they will not be cooked through. Try one in first place and you will see. If it is going to fast, then lower the heat a little bit.

We usually eat them like this in my country. But last time I made some “dip” with it and it was even more delicious. If you want to try it with the dip, here is what you need:

  • 150 ml mayonnaise (2/3 cup)
  • 3 Tablespoons white yoghurt
  • 2 finely chopped pickles
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped capers
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped Italian (flat) parsley
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve it with the patties as a dip.

Maybe next time, before you throw some potatoes, you will rather try my recipe. I hope you will. Enjoy 🙂

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Pumpkin pancakes

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My first pumpkin pancakes. I always wanted to try them and today was the day. They are easy to make and they have this nice “Christmassy” taste. My daughters love pancakes… but when I was making these pancakes, I was thinking: “they will not eat it.” It is something new and it has another taste than normal pancakes. But I was wrong. They loved it. They said immediately that it tastes like ginger bread house 🙂 I didn’t have pumpkin pie spice. So I made some mixture by myself which I am also using for gingerbread house. They are practically the same. Some cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, allspice. And the pumpkin puree I also had to make by myself. I don’t even know if I can buy such a stuff in Germany. If somebody from Germany reads my blog and know where to buy it, please leave me a comment 🙂 So the pumpkin puree I did by baking a pumpkin, cut in half with skin on it. After it was baked and soft, I peeled the skin and chopped the pumpkin a little bit. Then, with a food processor, I made a puree. You can also do it with a hand blender.

For the pancakes you will need:

first bowl (dry ingredients)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice (German: “Lebkuchengewürz”)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda (German: “Natron”)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

second bowl (wet ingredients)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 and 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest

First mix all your dry ingredients, then all your wet ingredients. Finally mix both bowls together. But don’t mix it too long, otherwise you will over-mix it and the pancakes wouldn’t be as fluffy.

Then take a tablespoon or ice-cream scooper or a measuring cup (1/4 cup) and pour batter on a dry skillet (pan). When you will start to see bubbles going through middle of the pancakes, turn them.

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Bake them on the other side until golden brown. After you take them out, brush them with melted butter from both sides. Actually this you have to do just with your first pancake, because the next one you put on top will get buttery from the previous one. Then serve them with a small knob of butter and hot maple syrup on top. Those pumpkin dishes belong to this season, so I hope you give it a try. Btw. the original recipe is from Food Wishes.

Enjoy 🙂

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Vegetable | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Toasted Ciabatta with bell peppers and tomatoes

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Toasted Ciabatta with bell peppers and tomatoes. I wanted to try this dish since I saw the movie “Julie and Julia” for a first time. How Julie´s husband is biting in the toasted bread full of grilled bell peppers and tomatoes… hmmm. I stand it long enough… but not anymore. I was carving this so much, I had to make it. And because it is super easy and quick you should give it a try.

You will need:

    • Ciabatta
    • 2 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange or green… totally up to you)
    • 4-6 tomatoes
    • Parmesan
    • sea salt, pepper
    • olive oil
    • garlic (optional)

Wash and cut your vegetable. Put it on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Pour over an olive oil and mix with your hands until properly coated. If you like garlic, I suggest that you cut one whole head of garlic in half horizontally and let it bake together with the vegetable. After it is baked the garlic will be soft and kind of sweet. You can than squeeze the sides and push the garlic out. Mix it with the baked vegetable. You don’t have to mix all the garlic with the vegetable, you can safe the rest for later. Roasted garlic is great with a little bit of olive oil, Parmesan and pasta (lunch next day?).

Five minutes before you take your vegetable out of the oven, put your Ciabatta slices on the baking sheet to the vegetable. It will be crispy and nicely golden brown. After your take it out you can drizzle them with olive oil and even smear some of the roasted garlic onto them. Then heap some vegetable on top, drizzle with some more olive oil, and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on  top. Great for dinner! What do you think? Additionally I baked some chicory, so I had some salad to go with it. Enjoy 🙂

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Posted in Appetizer, Dinner, Party, Vegetable | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chicken thighs with vegetable

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This meal I did two weeks ago when I had to do something really fast for lunch. So fast will also be this recipe 🙂

You will need:

  • 4-6 chicken thighs
  • frozen vegetable (peas, carrots, corn, beans… whatever you have in your freezer or what you like)
  • 2-3 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic (cut in half)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • pinch of thyme
  • butter
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • water

Preheat you oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Put all your frozen vegetable in a baking dish. add onion cut into bigger pieces, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper.

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Wash your chicken, dry it. Cut the skin and a little bit of the chicken meat. Season it properly with salt and pepper. Loosen the skin with your finger and put a small piece of butter under the skin. Put few drops of lemon juice on every chicken thigh (optional)

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Place the chicken on the vegetable, add 1/2 cup of water and bake for 1 hour or 1 and 1/2. Every 20 minutes or so, brush the top of the chicken thighs with the juice which is formed from the chicken and the butter. Like this you will have some nice crispy skin. Check your chicken after one hour with a knife: stick the knife deep (close to the bone where the meat is the thickest). When you come through easily and you can lift the meat from the bone, it is done. Sometimes it is done after one hour or less, some bigger chicken thighs take longer. Serve it with mashed potatoes or rice, salad or whatever your heart (stomach) wishes for. Enjoy 🙂

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Homemade vanilla extract

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I love to add a little bit of vanilla extract to every baked Goods. It adds a nice smell and taste to it. Usually I bought it but it is kind of expensive, so I decided to make it by myself.

I was totally thrilled how easy it is and also cheaper then the bought one. It will be up to you how much you will make… if you make it just for yourself or like a Christmas present for your family or friends. I am using vanilla extract often, so I made a whole bottle. If you don’t bake that often, make just half. The first photo what you see is a vanilla extract after two weeks. So after 6-8 weeks it will get much darker and stronger. I can’t wait to taste it.

You will need:

  • 8-10 vanilla beans
  • 700-800 ml of clear vodka or rum (be aware that rum has already some specific taste)
Cut your vanilla beans lengthwise in half. With a knife, scrape all the vanilla seeds out. Put them in your clean bottle (I used the bottle from the vodka) and add also your empty vanilla beans. This everything will give the vanilla extract a great aroma and a dark color. Pour your alcohol over the beans. Close the bottle and give it a good shake. Then store it in fridge for 6-8 weeks: It is needed to get all the aroma. Shake it once a week, so the beans will move a little bit and they will not be bored in the fridge 🙂 Btw. there is now like 7 weeks until Christmas, so if you would like to give this as a present to somebody… start making it now 🙂

IMG_9039     IMG_9201 After one week it is getting darker already.
You can also just cut the vanilla beans in half and not scrape the seeds, but I like the small black seeds in my baked stuff. It looks like bourbon vanilla ice-cream 🙂  Or you can also strain your vanilla extract after it is done through a strainer which is lined with a cheese cloth or coffee filter. Like this your will have just clear vanilla extract. But I usually don’t get to this point because when I am like in half of the bottle, I fill it with new vodka again and the vanilla beans will give the aroma again. I do this like 3 times and then I exchange the old vanilla beans or I add some empty vanilla beans. If I just make a vanilla ice-cream of Crème brûlée, I barely throw an empty vanilla bean. If I have a bottle full of vanilla beans and I can’t fit it anymore, I stick them into my sugar for baking. So I have homemade vanilla sugar every time I need it. Make some vanilla extract for your friends this Holiday season, you will make them happy. Enjoy 🙂
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