Monday
Aug182014

courgette carbonara

 

courgettes are wonderfully versatile and during summer i always have some in – i love finding new things to do with them and while i have lots of recipes pairing them with pasta use of them in ribbon form is quite different. so pretty too.

the starting point was felicity cloake’s courgette carbonara recipe but i have tweaked things a bit. i found her recipe too rich and creamy, so reduced the cheese content while upping the lemon flavour and adding a pinch of chilli flakes.

if you feel like tweaking further, the only thing i’d say is to keep the red onion in – i did a batch without and it was definitely not as good as when it is added. extra vegetable content too.

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Friday
Aug082014

pfifferlinge

it’s pfifferlinge season here in germany and i’ve been enjoying using these golden chanterelle mushrooms in a variety of dishes. they have quite a mild flavour but are robust in texture, which means that you can use them in lots of different ways – it also means they take a little longer to cook than you might expect, so test as you go.

you have to spend quite a lot of time cleaning chanterelles - their gills are often filled with bits of twigs and dirt so you need to be patient and work through them one by one. however, the good news is you can clean them in advance and they will last a few days in the fridge once clean.

so, what have i been cooking with my pfifferlinge? i started off sautéing them in butter with some garlic and fresh thyme and used this as a filling for omelette or stirred through scrambled eggs. a second batch started in the same way but was finished with some fresh cream and served on top of toasted ciabatta. a similar approach, but with the addition of chilli flakes and lemon zest, plus parsley in place of the thyme, was stirred through some tagliatelle. my next plan is plans for a pfifferlinge and pancetta risotto.

any more ideas for me?

Thursday
Jul312014

negroni tredici

the negroni is one of my favourite drinks, not least because i love campari and all its bitterness. i think this links back to my childhood – i remember my mum drinking campari and soda and me being allowed, when we were on holiday at the lake, having a small splash in my lemonade (which obviously smoothed out all its rough edges) and feeling very sophisticated.

this is a different take on a negroni – quantities of all the ingredients are altered and the campari is reduced significantly while cynar, an artichoke-based bitters, is added.

cynar has a much richer flavour and the drinks reflects this – being smooth, richer and less refreshing than a negroni. i think this version is probably also good as a digestif, perhaps an alternative to my favourite old fashioned. interestingly, both the campari and cynar flavours come through despite the relatively small quantities used.

for each drink, stir with ice, 2 shots gin, 1 shot red vermouth, ¼ shot cynar, ¼ shot campari and a lemon zest twist. strain, discarding the lemon twist and serve over ice with an orange wedge for garnish. 

Tuesday
Jul222014

fried courgette and burrata pasta

i’ve been catching up on my blog reading and have been particularly inspired by a few smitten kitchen recipes, including this ottolenghi pasta and fried courgette salad. it was an intriguing read – deep-fried courgette is dressed with a little red wine vinegar plus a basil and parsley pesto, the combination of which is very moreish. add capers, lemon zest and more basil plus pasta and you end up with a lovely fresh-tasting vegetable-laden dish. add torn pieces of creamy burrata and the deliciousness is amped up several notches.

the original recipe also includes edamame beans, which i didn’t have so couldn’t include. fresh peas or broad beans would also have been nice but again i was out of them so just increased the courgette, which was no real hardship given how amazing the deep-fried discs tasted, especially once they’d been marinating in the dressing. 

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Sunday
Jul202014

hugo

i’d not heard about hugos until summer arrived in frankfurt. apparently this is a drink with an italian heritage but everywhere i go, i see it on the cocktail list, so it has obviously been enthusiastically adopted here in germany. it’s lovely and refreshing – a combination of sparkling wine and water plus elderflower and a hint of lime and mint.

to make your hugo, over ice, in a wine glass, pour 50ml sparkling water, 85 ml sparkling wine (we used a dry cava), 15ml elderflower syrup/cordial (we used bottle green) plus a slice of lime and a sprig of mint. stir and serve.