Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tajikistan Tea Room

At the Tajikistan Tea Room time still seems to stand still. The Soviet Republic of Tajikistan contributed some of the interior to this former East German establishment. The ambiance is quite, smoke-free and it is ok to read. The tea ceremonies are very elaborate. This place is in stark contrast to many buzzing cafes.

Update: Atlas Obscura should 'explore' the conditions of usage of images under Creative Commons.'You may not use this work for commercial purposes.' Especially hurling ads.120809

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Spinach-Yoghurt Casserole

1 bunch spinach
1 tbsp olive oil

200g bio-dynamic yoghurt
2 tbsp organic spelt flour
0.5 flat tsp ground nutmeg
150 g baking cheese, e.g young gouda, cheddar


Wash spinach and separate stems from leaves. Drain well.
Chop stems and put into casserole dish with olive oil.
Bake at 190°c for 15 minutes.
Add spinach leaves.
Bake a further 10 minutes to reduce size.

Mix yoghurt with flour and nutmeg.
Spread on spinach.
Grate cheese and sprinkle on the yoghurt.
Bake without a lid for 25 minutes.
Cover with lid to keep warm.

Serve with potatoes or rice as this dish has a lot of sauce.

This simple dish turns a bunch of spinach into a main course if you like. Adjust the amount of nutmeg to taste.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ranking restaurants to avoid illness

As food-related illnesses are very common in Australia it would be wonderful to participate in a consumer-driven ranking of restaurants and other eateries such as CleanScores.

"The goal of CleanScores is to reduce the incidence of food-related illnesses by helping consumers make informed restaurant choices based on official hygiene inspections."

Cheese cake

300g wholemeal spelt flour
1 tbsp organic honey
1 egg yolk
125g organic butter

1kg organic quark
3tbsp organic honey
25g wholemeal spelt flour
3 free-range eggs, separated
1 egg white
1 untreated lemon
100g washed organic currants or sultanas

Add spelt flour to a large bowl.
Mix in honey and egg yolk.
Add butter in flakes and knead to a pastry.

Soak currants in lemon juice with grated lemon peel (zest).
Beat 4 egg whites and add honey. Continue beating until stiff.
Beat quark, 3 egg yolks, flour.
Add currants and lemon and mix.
Lift the egg white mixture under.

Roll out pastry into a 28cm buttered round spring form with sides about 4 cm high.
Add filling.
Bake at 180°c for 45 minutes.
Turn off oven and let the cake cool in it.
Remove from form.

Best eaten on the second day. And thereafter

Cheese cake is best made with quark. In Germany this is no problem. In Australia there is at least one brand of organic quark. I use one from the Adelaide Hills which is excellent, both the Swiss and German styles. The German style is very low fat. High-fat cheese should be avoided for health reasons. Some other types of curd cheese like cottage cheese are difficult to render smooth. Smoothness is an important quality for a cheese cake.
The egg yolk in the pastry functions to bind the pastry to the cheese mixture.

There is now a new version of cheese cake.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Lemon slices

300 g organic wholemeal spelt flour
1 heaped tbsp organic honey
1 organic free range egg
130g butter

200g organic almonds, blanched and finely grated
2 lemons
2 tbsp honey

50 g organic icing sugar

Put flour in a large bowl
Add honey and egg in the middle
Mix to a thick paste
Add flakes of butter
Knead to a pastry. If it is sticky, add more flour, if not smooth add more butter
Cool for an hour.

Mix almonds with grated lemon rind (zest), juice of 1.5 lemons and honey to make a thick spreadable paste.
Roll out half the pastry into a large thin rectangle on a linen cloth. Turn it over as you go to facilitate rolling it thinly.
Place on a buttered baking tray (e.g. 40 x 30 cm). Cut the edges to fit
Spread the lemon-almond paste evenly on the pastry
Roll out the other half of the pastry to the same size and place carefully on top.
Bake at 190°c for 15 minutes on the second shelf from the bottom.
Mix 0.5 lemon juice with icing sugar. Paint it on the hot pastry.
Cut into slices (about 40 rectangular biscuits)
Remove from baking tray and store in a tin.These biscuits are very tangy and light. The recipe seems quite simple and it is. Most of the time is spent rolling out the pastry thinly. This involves rolling it on a tea towel, squaring the edges, turning it over and rolling again. You need to turn it and roll it a few times before it is large enough and thin enough. Carefully turn it on the backs of your hands.
Arranging the top pastry on is also tricky. If necessary, cut it into 2 pieces.
These lemon slices last well in a tin, but are generally eaten very quickly.
>Check also the alternative jucier variety out.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Glazed Baby Turnips

Inspired by Delia Smith, Delia's Vegetarian Collection. Here is my variation

900g young turnips

800 ml stock

1 tsp. mustard

2 Tbs. white wine/lemon juice

1 tsp. sugar or agave sweetner

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsely

S & P


Peel veg thinly

Place into boiling water for 3 min.

Drain, return to saucepan
Add enough stock to cover veg, boil

Then simmer for 10 min, until tender

Remove and keep warm

Blend mustard with lemon/wine and sweetner and
add to stock
Re-heat, season
Simmer rapidly, until it has the consistency of syrup

Pour it on over turnips

Sprinkle with parsley

Friday, August 3, 2007

Rejecting green stuff

Why is it that it so hard to buy organic lettuce, when in most eateries (in Australia and Europe) it is the 'green stuff' on the plate that is being returned.
What resources did it take to grow?
Where does it go?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Apple Pie

This apple pie is different every time you make it. It depends on the type of apples and the quantity. If you take a lot of apples - about 2.5 kg - it becomes a very generous moist pie. If you take more almonds and fewer apples it becomes dryer. According to season, you can use red or green apples and each variety gives a different quality to your apple pie. I prefer red delicious, granny smiths, boskoop (from Holland) and cox orange.

450g wholemeal organic spelt flour
1 heaped tbsp honey
2 eggs
125g butter

1.5 - 2 kg organic apples (green, red, large or small)
0.25 cup water
100g organic sultanas
1 lemon
75g ground organic almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon

50g organic icing sugar
lemon juice

Put flour in a large bowl.
Add honey in the middle and eggs.
Mix together with some flour into a paste.
Cut in butter. Mix.
Knead together into a pastry. Add more flour if sticky, more butter if not smooth. Cool.

Wash sultanas, soak in lemon juice and grated rind for 15 minutes.
Peel apples and core them. Slice into a large pot.
Add water and cook at a low temperature on the stove with the lid on until soft but not to mash. Turn of heat.
Add sultanas, then almonds to the apples. Add cinnamon. Mix.

Butter a 28 cm round spring form.
Cut pastry into 3 pieces for the pie (2 equal, one smaller).
Roll out one piece for the bottom, make 3 cm sides with the small piece. Save the other piece for the top.
Cover the bottom of the pie shell with greaseproof paper and put a few weights on it (e.g. nuts or metal spoons).
Bake on second shelf for 10 minutes at 190°.
Remove from oven, remove paper and weights.
Fill the pie with the apple mixture.
Roll out the remaining pastry and cover the pie with it.
Press down the edges using a patterned object (e.g. knife tip, lemon zester) to seal the pie.
Bake a further 20 minutes.
Loosen the pie from the bottom and sides of the form with a knife after 10 minutes and remove from form . Cool on a grid.
Sieve icing sugar. Mix in lemon juice until a sticky mass forms. Paint this on the pie with a spoon and smooth over.
In Germany they would serve it with cream, in America and Australia with ice-cream, but this pie needs neither.
>> Pear Apple Pie

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Baked cauliflower

1 cauliflower
1 head of broccoli
several Brussels sprouts
3 tbsp wholemeal flour (spelt)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
100 ml boiling water
150 ml rice milk
200g cheese (e.g. young gouda, cheddar)
0,5 nutmeg grated

Break cauliflower into pieces discarding the thickest stem, cut broccoli in half, remove outer leaves from Brussels sprouts and cut into the hard end.
Steam vegetables until soft but firm.
Melt butter in the oil in a small saucepan on a low heat.
Add flour and stir. Let it cook a little but not change colour.
Add boiling water slowly while stirring avoiding lumps forming. Stir into a smooth mixture.
Add cold rice milk gradually while stirring and cook at a low temperature until it boils. Stir continuously as it thickens. The mixture should be thick but easy to stir. Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Turn of the heat. Stir occasionally.
Grate a little nutmeg into a casserole.
Arrange the vegetables in it. Grate more nutmeg on top. Grate some into the sauce and stir.
Pour the sauce onto the vegetables covering everything.
Grate cheese on top.
Bake at 190°c on the second shelf of the oven for 25 minutes.
Serve with steamed potatoes.

Baked cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts