Saturday, 21 February 2015

Pan-Baked Spiced Millet-Balls

As Sunday is coming, I thought this might be nice for you to read on Sunday or maybe even to make!

Well, no ... in fact I didn't plan this. I just made it the second time this week. The first try was not quite what I wanted, but I think I've now found a good way to make these. And tomorrow it just happens to be Sunday and I was looking for a nice introduction to this post.

The recipe Millet Cakes with Carrot and Spinach by Love & Lemons, which I read earlier this week, was my inspiration for these. I have changed a few bits and pieces to my taste, though.
The key to these is to get them nice and crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. But I have to say that the mixture itself tastes pretty good too. I just couldn't resist while forming the balls...

Maybe, you'd like to do these as a starter or have them as a side, but you could also do a lot of them and just eat them on their own. Or make a lot and save some for lunch the next day...
Which was my plan, but in fact my housemate and I ate all of them ;-)

I can imagine that either a tahini-based sauce - like hummus - or something based on sour cream would go well with these. They are not hard to make and something quite different.

Time: I forgot to precisely watch the time, but I think in total it took me about 45-50 minutes to make these.

for 16 tabletennis-sized balls
(1 as a main or 2 as a side)
100 g millet
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 onion
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot
90 g spinach (fresh or thawed)
1 heaped tbsp flaxseed
1 tbsp cashews
about 1/4 cup water
1-2 tsp curry (depending on the curry)
mint leaves (fresh & chopped or dried and crumbled)

  • Put millet in a pot, along with 1 cup of water and ¼ tsp of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer with the lid half on for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off as soon as the water has been absorbed and let stand covered until you have prepared everything else.
  • Chop the onion and separately chop the garlic. Grate the carrot and chop the spinach into large pieces.
  • Heat the olive oil over low heat in a pan. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes. In the meantime place flaxseeds and cashews in a blender and blend finely. Add the ¼ cup of water and blend again. Then add carrot and spinach to the pan and continue frying for another 5 minutes until the vegetables have wilted.
  • Add some salt, pepper, the garlic, the mint and the curry and fry for another 3 minutes.
  • Put flaxseed-cashew milk in a bowl. Add millet and the spinach-mixture. With a spoon mix everything very well.
  • Take out a large plate. For the millet mixture into little balls (I'd say about the size of table tennis balls). Place all balls on a plate. Over low heat. heat a little bit of butter in a frying pan (you can use the same one as before) and place the balls in the butter. Over medium heat fry the balls from one side. Don't turn them, since you want them to get brown. Be patient. When they turn brown, turn them over, using two spoons. Also add a bit more butter in little pieces at different places into the pan. Fry the balls until the other side is also brown. The balls might stick a bit to the pan, but if you use a spoon you should be able to "lift" them off the pan so they stay relatively whole. If they don't do that completely, don't worry, the crusts will still taste good!
  • Turn off the heat, place balls on a plate and serve them in whatever way you like.

You could replace spinach and carrots by other vegetables and adjust spices to your taste!

I hope that you enjoy these or thinking about them! :-)

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Schneckkennudeln with Orange, Almond & Raisin Filling

Hey there to all of you!
As I wrote on Monday the Anti-Gloom-Orange Jam had a "greater purpose" ;-)
...yesterday morning it found its final destination in some Schneckennudeln.

Schneckennudeln are the German version of cinnamon rolls and usually, if bought at a bakery, bigger and available with different fillings. Most common are probably poppy seed or nut fillings and often Schneckennudeln are coated with sugar icing. They could be filled with anything and still be a Schneckennudel, though, as the name means "Snail"-"Fried-Dumpling". Snail, because of the shape and "Nudel" is a special term for yeast-dough, that is formed into rolls, which are then either fried or baked, so that one side is crispy and all other sides are steamed.
I hope this doesn't sound too weird ;-) At some point I'll try making some Dampfnudel as well, but since you need a nonstick-pan with a well-closing lid (preferably glass so it's see-through) I cannot do that right now. In fact it was my special Christmas wish last year when I was at home and we had salty Dampfnudeln with pea-soup on Christmas day. And that was very, very nice!

So, back to the weird German cinnamon rolls!

These take a bit of effort to make, but they are totally worth it I think and you do not have to be a magician to make them. With a bit of practice you will get better and better at doing this!

Time: it will take about 45 minutes to make the dough the evening before and another 30 minutes to assemble the rolls in the morning plus 1 hour rising and baking.

dough (make ahead the night before)
500 g flour (I used whole wheat)
5 g dried yeast
OR 10 g fresh yeast
65 g honey
250 ml cashew milk (blend 25 g cashews & 225 g water)
1 1/2 eggs (I used self-made egg replacer, see below)
½ tsp salt
70 g butter
orange jam
100 g raisins
40 g almonds, slivered or chopped

  • Dissolve yeast with one tsp honey in half of the cashew milk. Put flour in a bowl and make a dent in the middle. Pour mixture into the dent and stir in a bit of flour from the edges until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency; cover by gently nudging a bit of flour from the edges over the mixture. Put a lid, cling film or a plate on top of the bowl so that any draught is kept out. Put the bowl in a warm (!) place and let rise for about 15-20 minutes until you see that the flour over the mixture has cracks.
  • Put butter and the remaining milk in a casserole or small pot and melt very gently over as low heat as possible. Add honey, and egg to the bowl. Put salt around the rim of the bowl (not directly on the yeast mixture, since salt tends to kill the yeast). Pour the warm butter and milk mixture around the rim of the bowl as well (since it is warm it is better to avoid direct contact with the yeast, as too high heat can also kill yeast cells).
  • Knead all ingredients (easier with some kind of food processor or anything that can knead heavy dough) until a smooth dough forms (about 5-7 minutes with a machine, so I guess about 10 minutes by hand). Then take the dough and fold edges to the middle, rotating the dough when doing so, until the bottom side of the dough is completely smooth. Then, that side facing up, place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a lid (as before). Place the bowl in a warm place and let rise over night.

  • In the morning, line a baking tray with baking foil or baking paper (not greaseproof paper!). On a nonstick baking mat or on a very well floured surface roll out the dough into a rectangle of about 5 mm thickness. Make sure all the corners are well defined and not too rounded.
  • Spread the orange jam evenly over the rectangle (up to all edges). Sprinkle raisins and almonds on top.
  • Now, from the long side of the rectangle roll up the dough. If you have a mat, it might help to lift the mat up at times. If you use a mat roll the roll onto a cutting board for slicing. If you have it on your counter then also try to get it onto a board or use a knife that won't damage your counters.
  • Slice the roll into rounds of about 2 cm width. Use a knife that you would use for cutting tomatoes (not with an even edge, but with lots of small ripples (does anyone know the name of that?) or a very sharp one).
  • One by one, tucking the end of the roll under it, place each Schneckennudel on the baking tray. Let them rise on the tray in a warm, draught-free place for 20-25 minutes and then bake at 200 °C for 25-30 minutes until slightly browned.

  • Let cool on a rack or freeze immediately (that way the moisture stays trapped in them and they'll be fresher when thawed). For thawing, thaw them in a plastic bag for 4-5 hours. If possible you can warm them up on a toaster or in the oven, but they are great either way!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Anti-Gloom Orange Jam

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend! For my part I am happy that for the past few days it has been relatively warm (even if it has been raining and is now).
I almost look like a normal person today and not like someone who just put on the warmest things she could find. But I don't want to jinx the weather so I'd better shut up ...

Last week my best friend told me she was going to try every single recipe I posted here at some point sooner or later so that really is a motivation to put on as many amazing things as possible =) Thank you so much for that!!! =)

For this Monday I've got something fast for you, which is not a main course, but a nice thing to make, which looks like sun and spring and that I hope will blow away any gloomy mood you might be in, because it's Monday and probably raining again or cold or whatever thing you don't like!

This is a kind of jam and even though it's orange jam I wouldn't consider it being traditional English marmalade, but it still has a slightly bitter taste. So maybe that's due to it being orange or maybe to the fact that I didn't segment the oranges and left the skins on the pieces.

If you know me then probably you know that I can never be bothered to peel anything that can also be eaten with the peel on - which, at least if it is organic, I think is healthier anyway.

The jam being slightly bitter, as I mentioned, is not a bad thing, though! Maybe I should have kept that quiet to not put you off from trying this, but I wouldn't want to give you a black box and then have someone complaining about it ;-)

It doesn't require a largely complex process, you I suggest you just give it a try!

You only need two ingredients:


I think 4 tsp of raisins would work instead of the dates, in case you don't have those. I haven't tried that yet, though.

Peel the oranges. Wash them beforehand with hot water and also wash your hands if the oranges were not organic to get rid of the chemicals the peel is usually treated with.
Half them and take the white bits out of the middle (anything you wouldn't eat). Cut the oranges up and blend them until smooth. Pour the mixture in a small saucepan.
Cut up dates in small pieces and add them to the saucepan.
Then, heat gently until the mixture is simmering. Simmer with the lid off or half-on for 10-20 minutes, until the orange has thickened up slightly.

The consistency you'll want to go for depends on what you want to use the jam for. If you are planning to use it as a filling for something baked, like I am, then 10 minutes will be fine and if you want to eat it straight away on bread then I'd recommend up to 20 minutes. In any case, don't walk away and make sure to check the mixture isn't burning every few minutes.

When thickened up pour back into the blender and blend again. Even though dates on their own are usually quite hard to blend up this shouldn't be a problem now anymore for any blender, since the dates will have become soft by cooking.

If not sweet enough you can add some more honey.

Pour the jam into a jar and keep in the fridge, as, since there is no sugar in it, it doesn't have anything to preserve it in it. Therefore it will keep for only a week or so, which is why I always only make as much as I think I'll eat in a week.

And for all of those who are probably just reading this, I hope that the cheerful colour of the photograph gave you something positive!

Did you notice the fancy border around the recipe? ;-) I'm learning!

Friday, 13 February 2015


Over the past week I've collected some photographs of what I've made, but it's kind of hard to decide what to post next for you. Right now there was the choice between....hmm...should I tell you? No, I won't so it will still be a surprise in case I decide to write about the other things as well ;-)

Today you're seeing something that is a really great winter dish that doesn't require any fancy summer-ish ingredients.

This is it!

In this case it is a potato-broccoli casserole, but in fact it's all about the sauce. Over time my Mum and I have had several versions of this dish with potatoes plus several varying vegetables. Without the sauce, though the dish wouldn't be as good as it is. I had this with my housemate during the week and the thing she said to me was that the sauce was really nice (was this a British understatement for "great"? - I'd hope so), so this must be the key factor.

350 gpotatoes
250 gbroccoli
20 gbutter
about 4 tbsp = 35 gmillet flour (you can make that in any blender from millet grains)
125 gcashew milk (grind 15 g cashew nuts and blend again with 110 g water)
250 gvegetable stock
1/4 tsppaprika powder (sweet if possible)

  1. First of all, cut the potatoes (unpeeled) into halves if they're big or leave them whole if they are small. Make sure that all pieces are relatively evenly sized. Cut the broccoli roughly in smaller florets. You can use the stems as well. You don't need to make them as small as you want to eat them though, it's less fiddly if you do that after steaming,
  2. Place all vegetables in a steaming basker or a metal sieve and steam over boiling water for about 15 minutes or until as soft as you like it. In the meantime prepare the sauce.
  3. Prepare cashew milk, vegetable stock and millet flour.
  4. Finely chop the onion. Gently heat butter in a small pot and fry the onion in the butter. When fried, add vegetable stock and cashew milk. Bring to a boil. With a fork whisk in millet flour. Over low heat cook for a bit and keep stirring. The mixture should thicken up and get creamy after a short while. If it doesn't add some more flour. Season with spices to your liking.
  5. When potatoes and broccoli are tender, cut potatoes in slices and the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Grease a small casserole dish with butter and first put in potato slices and then the broccoli pieces on top. Evenly distribute the sauce on top.
  6. Bake at 250 °C (or as hot as your oven goes) for about 20 minutes until the top is slightly browned.

Instead of millet flour you could also use regular flour, but millet flour makes the sauce have a nicer looking yellow colour.

You could vary this by for example adding some fried mushroom (this adds a dirty pan, though) or by  cooking potato slices and zucchini in a bit of vegetable stock. I recommend you try it as written and then you'll be able to make up your mind as to what vegetables go well with the sauce until maybe I've made the other varieties of the dish as well ;-)

Ah, by the way I've added a print button to the blog! When you open a specific post (not the home-site, but by clicking on the title of the post) you can now find it under the post and can optimise each page to the way you'd like to print it! In case you ever want to print something which I sincerely hope :-)

Monday, 9 February 2015

Coconutty Raisin Granola or Flapjacks

Today I've got housemate-approved recipe for you. Since they specifically asked if this was going to be on the blog I'm sure that you all will enjoy it as well!

In fact I had left it to cool on the counter when I left in the morning and when I came back the first thing I heard was that I was lucky there was still something left. Which is .... well, on the one hand I'd be happy to have some left for me, of course, but it is also so nice to hear that it seems to have turned out alright!!!

As you've probably seen from the title this is a granola or flapjack recipe. You can make anything you like out of it.
Personally I like to break this into chunks which I can one-by-one nibble while having hot chocolate and talking on the phone or watching some of my favourite German TV crime stories. And it's so much faster and easier to make than any cookies which you'd have to form or use a cookie cutter for. Even though I have to admit that cookie cutting is really fun for me. But sometimes ... okay, maybe rather often, I just don't feel like I have time for relaxed cookie cutting, but just need to keep up the supply of baked goodies to brighten up cold winter days. Maybe you can identify with that ;-)

In any case this is what you'll need:

about 20*30 cm baking tray
100 grolled oats
60 graisins
50 gsunflower seeds
50 gwhole wheat flour
40 gdesiccated coconut
1/2 tspcinnamon
1 pinchsalt
4 tbspliquid honey
4 tbspcoconut oil, soft
ORsunflower oil
ORolive oil
ORmelted butter
3 tbspwater

  • Line a baking tray with baking foil or baking paper.
  • Mix all dry ingredients. That is oats, raisins, sunflower seeds, flour, coconut, cinnamon and salt.
  • Add honey, your oil of choice or butter (I have not yet tried butter, but I think it should work with butter!) and water.
  • Mix very well with a spoon or with your hands.
  • Pour mixture onto the tray and spread out so that the mixture has a thickness of about 1 cm and is tightly packed.
  • Bake at 150°C for about 25 minutes until slightly browned. Let the granola cool on the tray until completely cool. Don't remove any earlier, as then you will end up with crumbs. When completely cool the mixture will have firmed up slightly (it won't be as sticky as a granola bar from a shop, though!).
  • My preferred method is to break it up into large chunks and to store these in a cookie tin. You can break them into any size you want.

  • If you want to cut them, cut them while hot, but otherwise don't move until cooled. The third option is to place them in cookie-ish shapes on the tray in the first place.

Feel free to double the batch so that you actually get to eat some of it! ;-)

Let me know if you tried it!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Very Green and Creamy Broccoli Sauce With Pasta

During this past week I've thought of so many things that I could put on my blog for you, but each time something was not quite right.

There was the Grape-and-Onion-Focaccia Bread I made for a vegan potluck-dinner this week, but actually I had not changed much in the recipe and you can find the (really good!!!) recipe on boxofspice. I can only recommend that, so have a look over there :-)
Second, I made a curry, but the cabbage in it did definitely not any bonus points to its taste...
Last night I roasted rutabaga/swede for the first time ever in my life and had that with some chickpeas, but that really was the very first stage of testing something and it needs some more goes. But I've got some ideas there! Some greens, orange zest and a dressing... hmmm!
This morning I made my favourite banana rolls, but they didn't seem 100% right to me even though they usually are great. So far, though, I've only eaten some crumbs (don't ever use greaseproof paper when you run out of baking paper - better go to the shop and get some...) and have frozen the rolls for lunches. So I haven't really tested the batch yet.

But that's the way it is - no trials, no fun ;-)

Today, though, I had broccoli sauce with pasta for dinner and it actually turned out the way I liked it to so that I can safely tell you how I made it.

This sauce makes broccoli taste so much better than any steamed broccoli you often get as a side dish. The mint gives it a fresh tang which fits in so well and the colour is simply amazing!

As I like pasta with a lot of sauce it was more sauce with pasta than the other way around, but feel free to adjust the ratio if you feel differently!

I blended the sauce in a high-speed blender - otherwise I recommend blending the cashew nuts before adding any other ingredients. Alternatively you could use cashew nut butter instead.
Nutritional yeast you can get in a health shop. I use it, because it has a slightly cheesy flavour, which I think is very nice! If you cannot find it and don't mind cheese you might like to use a small bit of parmesan (I haven't tried that, though!).

pasta with broccoli sauce

for 1for 2for 4servings of pasta (about 130 g each)
mint, to taste
3/4 cup (ca. 130 g)1 ½ cups (ca. 260 g)3 cups (ca. 520 g)broccoli, florets or pieces, stems can also be used
1/8 tsp¼ tsp½ tspsalt
3*6*12*pepper (turns of the grinder)
5-610-1220-24cashew nuts
1- 1 ½ tsp2-3 tsp4-6 tspnutritional yeast
¾ - 1 tsp1 ½ - 2 tsp3 – 4 tsplemon juice, to taste, start with less
olive oil (a small bit)
¼ tbsp½ tbsp1 tbspbutter
124garlic cloves

  • Steam the broccoli until soft (about 14 minutes). If you don't have a steaming basket you can use a metal colander/sieve and a matching pot with lid.
  • Heat butter on low heat in a small pot and sauté garlic until fragrant. Do not leave it unattended! It takes only about 2 minutes and it burns very easily!
  • While the broccoli cooks, put all other ingredients, including the garlic and butter, into a blender (see note above about cashew nuts).
  • When the broccoli is soft, retain the steaming liquid. Add broccoli and a bit of liquid to the blender.
  • Blend until very smooth. Adjust amount of liquid and seasonings to taste.
  • Cook pasta, drain and mix with the sauce.

This sauce also freezes well.

I would love to hear how you like it!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Hearty Buckwheat Gnocchi

Hi to everyone!
After a long time of my housemate not giving up on trying to persuade me to actually start a cooking blog I've finally done it and actually (technically, that's it) managed to write my first blogpost which even includes a table. That's stunning for me ;-) I hope you can see it all alright! Please excuse any mistakes or anything that look out of place...

My first recipe for you is one including buckwheat.
Buckwheat, huh? Have I confused you there?

In case you have not heard of that: buckwheat is actually a seed and not a grain and is gluten-free even though the name suggests otherwise. It has a quite hearty flavour and is good for any main courses, but maybe, from my point of view, not so much for sweets and desserts. You can cook the grains and eat them in salads and lots of other dishes, make porridge, or - as here -  grind them into a flour. Buckwheat flour is, I guess, available also from health food stores just as buckwheat itself. As the grain is rather soft grinding it should be possible with most blenders, though.

If you've gone through all this and now finally have gotten hold of some buckwheat this is a recipe that requires relatively few ingredients.
I have to admit that I needed some motivation before I started making this today, as I still had frozen potato soup and ...well, but, no, the thought of buckwheat gnocchi definitely was more appealing.

Buckwheat Gnocchi - here with Tomato Sauce with Fresh Rocket

125 gbuckwheat or buckwheat flour
+ some for dusting
1/4 tspsalt
nearly boiling water

When preparing your meal start with the dough for the gnocchi, as it benefits from resting for a short while, which it can perfectly do while you get started on the sauce you want to have with your gnocchi.

For the gnocchi themselves you only need three ingredients.
The rest is up to you, as these are very versatile. So if you'd like to brown them in a bit of butter, make some tomato sauce, have some leftover pesto or anything else you think would go with them you can take it from there.

For the gnocchi:
  • Grind the buckwheat in a blender or measure out your buckwheat flour. Mix with salt in a bowl. Heat up some water so that it is close to boiling. This is important, as otherwise the buckwheat won't absorb the moisture as nicely.
For the next step it's actually easiest to use any appliance than can mix dough, as the dough gets quite sticky and is hard to stir. If you fancy some exercise though or have someone there who is happy to help you ;-) use a heat-resistant bowl and a heavy-duty spoon that doesn't bend (like a wooden spoon or metal spoon, but not plastic).

  • Now, very slowly, add splash for splash of hot water and keep stirring. Do this until all flour is just incorporated and forms a soft dough. Then do not (!) add any more water, as otherwise you will end up with a sticky mess. Keep stirring for a bit longer, so you can be sure that the dough is all smooth. The amount of water you need can vary from day to day as it depends on circumstances like the humidity of the air. (I forgot to take a photo at that point, sorry for that!)
  • Using a spoon place the dough in a bowl, smooth the surface, so that the dough doesn't dry more than necessary and cover with a lid, a plate or foil wrap. Leave this to rest for 20 - 30 mins.
  • In the meantime bring some water for boiling the gnocchi to a boil.
  • Prepared Gnocchi
  • Take a large cutting board, a non-stick baking mat or a plastic placemat and, through a sieve, dust lightly with additional buckwheat flour or normal flour (if you don't mind it not being gluten-free). For the amount mentioned above I recommend dividing the dough in two sets for forming the gnocchi. Take dough out of the bowl and place on the dusted surface. Dust with more flour. On the flour-covered board roll each portion into a rope of about 1.5 cm in diameter. Then take a glass with water and a knife, wet the knife often (after every few cuts) and cut the ropes into 1.5 cm wide pieces. Make sure that all pieces get placed on flour-covered patches so that they don't stick to the surface. Also make sure that you use a knife suitable to your surface so you don't damage e.g. your baking mat.

  • When you've completed this make sure your sauce is ready, put salt in your boiling cooking water (about 1 tsp per litre) and gently (best with your hands, but beware from splashing water) drop the gnocchi in the boiling water (I recommend doing this in two batches). Make sure the water actually returns to a boil. When the gnocchi rise to the surface they are done. Fish them out of the pot using a slotted spoon.
  • Technically they are done now!
What I usually do is that I place all cooked gnocchi directly in the pot with the sauce which I then, having added all gnocchi, let simmer for a minute so that the gnocchi can immerse in the flavour of the sauce.

As mentioned the gnocchi go really well with tomato sauce.
Today, there was rocket in my tomato sauce, but feel free to add anything you like, such as parmesan or, if frying the gnocchi in butter, maybe some caramelised onions.

Let me know how this worked out for you if you tried it please! =)