Tag: polenta

Herbed Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter – and a feast!

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. I finished my English book and happily gave in all the recipes, text and pictures 3 days before my official deadline – something that had never happened before according to Holly, my editor and it impressed her and the Prestel team in New York quite a bit. I just wanted to have everything off my desk at one point – and celebrate. And that’s what we did!

Holly came to visit us in Berlin for a few days and all we did was talk and eat (and work on the cover for my book). We showed her around the city as it was her first time here and I planned a special dinner for her with some of the people at the table who have strongly influenced me during my eat in my kitchen blog and book experience. Not all of them could make it, but to see how many came and how some of them tried to make it possible truly touched me. Molly from My Name Is Yeh wanted to come from North Dakota just for this dinner, she even checked out the flights – this is crazy! – but she had to be in the States the day before and after. Thank you girl!! Malin from The Bread Exchange came with her handsome baby boy Lode – in the early days of my blog we made sandwiches together with her bread and now we even share the same publisher (for her German book that will come out in the Spring of 2016). Marta from What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today? – my great inspiration for photography and positivity in life (this lady has the most beautiful smile!) and one of the first meet in your kitchen guests – was here to celebrate with us. And she took the pictures of us at the table, which I love because usually I’m the one taking pictures so I’m never in them. They truly show what a happy night we had, thank you Marta! Cynthia Barcomi – the founder of my favourite Berlin Deli – already had her cake for our dinner in the oven but sadly had to cancel at the last minute. Luckily, we didn’t have to worry about having enough sweets on the table anyway. My apple cinnamon crumble was delicious and looked rather rustic next to Laura‘s elegant raw chocolate avocado cake. The Berlin Tausendsuend baker impressed all of us with her composition and took us right to chocolate heaven.

It was an amazing night with amazing people that I’ll never forget. And a nice coincident gave us another reason to cling the glasses – in the same week of my deadline, my boyfriend finished the EP he produced for a fantastic artist from Australia. Josh The Cat happened to spend a lot of time at our apartment in the past few months for the production and became one of my book’s first testers. He loved my recipes as much as I love his music and we shared far more than just food and songs this year, he and his girlfriend, the gorgeous artist Phia, became close friends of ours and we’re more than sad that they’ll soon leave us to go back to Australia. But I’m sure we’ll hear more about their music soon!

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

A dinner becomes special through the people and conversations at the table, it’s delicious through the right food – we enjoyed some of my book’s recipes which I can’t share with you yet – and it’s a feast when you have good wine in the glasses. I have to send a big thank you to a man from the South and fantastic wine maker who made it possible for us to enjoy amazing wine on that special night. Martin took over the Weingut Robert Bauer – which is now called Martin Albrecht Weingut – more than 10 years ago, a wine maker who’s filled my mother and step father’s wine cellar since I was a child. You could certainly call it our family wine. With a family tradition of more than 400 years of producing wine, Martin comes from the right background to continue Mr. Bauer’s philosophy of creating only the best wines  – ohne Restzucker (without residual sugar). This is wine of the highest quality, which you can smell and taste with the first sip. We enjoyed an excellent Gelber Muskateller (Muscat) with an autumny, fruity soup and an outstanding 2012 Herbstnebel (Syrah, Cabernet-Sauvignon and Nebbiolo) with hearty lamb. I love this wine! We were over the moon with our treat from the Württemberg area. If you’re looking for a wine, handpicked in old vineyards, a wine that guarantees to please your taste buds to the fullest and puts a smile on your face, get in touch with Martin through their website, send him an email, give him a call or visit him in Flein (50km / 30 miles from Stuttgart). He also offers the best vinegars I know – his Balsamic Pear vinegar is one of my favourites, you can basically drink it off the spoon. Thank you Martin!

And thank you Holly for giving me a reason to bring all these great people together at our table!

I can’t share the recipes with you from that night, we have to be a little more patient until my book comes out, but as we enjoyed a dish that featured scrumptious parsnip I decided to create a dish for you that fits the current mood of autumn and allows the roots to bring out their confident qualities – fluffy herbed polenta topped with crisp parsnip chips and sizzling maple butter.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey for making all this possible, it makes me a very happy person – and a happy cook!

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

Herbed Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

Serves 2

For the polenta

polenta 120g / 4 ounces
water 240ml / 1 cup
milk 240ml / 1 cup
salt 1 teaspoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons

For the parsnip chips

parsnip, very thinly sliced, 200g / 7 ounces
vegetable oil
fine sea salt

For the maple butter

butter 2 tablespoons
maple syrup 1/2-1 tablespoon

For the topping

fresh rosemary, finely chopped, 1-2 teaspoons
fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped, 1-2 teaspoons
ground pepper

In a sauce pan, heat the water and milk, add the salt and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the olive oil and polenta and whisk. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and put the pan back on. Cook the polenta for 10 minutes, stirring and adding more water once in a while if necessary. When the polenta is thick and creamy, take if off the heat and season with salt to taste.

Heat a generous splash of vegetable oil in a heavy pan, the bottom should be covered. When the oil is hot, add the parsnip, just enough to lay them next to each other. Turn them after a few seconds and take them out immediately once they are golden and crisp but not too dark. Mind that they burn very quickly! Transfer the chips to kitchen paper and season with salt.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, whisk in the maple syrup when it’s sizzling and take the pan off the heat.

Scrape the polenta into bowls and sprinkle with maple butter, parsnip chips, pepper and fresh herbs.

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

 

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

 

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

 

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

 

Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

 

polentaparsnipchips11

 

polentaparsnipchips10

Cumin Cinnamon Aubergine with Capers and Orange Polenta

Cumin Orange Aubergine with Polenta

Today, all the warm colours of autumn are combined on my plate, brown cumin, golden cinnamon, green capers, purple aubergine and bright oranges! The transition from summer to the next season brings the spices back into my cooking, my big spice box is out almost every day! In June, July and August, I follow my love for fresh, woody herbs, rosemary, thyme, oregano or fleshy sage, mint or basil leaves, but now it’s time for some exotic mixtures again. Salty and citrus flavours mixed with earthy cumin and sweet cinnamon. It works great, and the juicy aubergine, with its unobtrusive taste stands up surprisingly well and holds it all together.

I got all excited surrounded by these deep aromas in my kitchen, so I decided to try out something new when I mixed the cornmeal into the milk for my polenta. I cooked it with a few strips of orange zest, I didn’t want it to be pure and naked next to the rich composition I prepared for the aubergines. It was a wonderfully warming dish, in colour and taste, a little bit surprising in flavours, but really, really good! So good, that I already bought a couple more aubergines for the next batch!

Cumin Orange Aubergine with Polenta

 Cumin Cinnamon Aubergine with Capers and Orange Polenta

For the aubergine

aubergine, cut into small cubes (1/2cm / 1/4″), about 200g / 7 ounces
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
cumin 1/4 teaspoon
cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
capers, rinsed and drained, 1 tablespoon
freshly squeezed orange juice 50ml / 2 ounces
orange zest 1/2 – 1 teaspoon
Balsamico vinegar 1 teaspoon
olive oil
salt

In a large pan, heat a splash of olive oil, the garlic, cumin, cinnamon and capers for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add a little more oil and the aubergine and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat or until the aubergine is golden and soft. Deglaze with the juice and season with vinegar and salt to taste. Sprinkle with orange zest and serve with the warm polenta.

 

For the polenta

polenta 120g / 4 ounces
water 250ml / 8.5 ounces plus around 100ml / 3.5 ounces for cooking
milk 250ml / 8.5 ounces
salt 1 teaspoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons
orange peel 3 long strips

In a sauce pan, heat the water and milk, add the salt and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the olive oil and polenta and whisk. Add the orange peel, turn down the heat to the lowest temperature and put the pan back on. Cook the polenta for 10 minutes mixing and adding more water once in a while.

Cumin Orange Aubergine with Polenta

 

Cumin Orange Aubergine with Polenta

 

Cumin Orange Aubergine with Polenta

Baked Aubergine Mousse with Rosemary and golden Polenta Slices

Roast Aubergine Mousse with Rosemary + Polenta

This pale aubergine mousse isn’t a beauty but its taste and smooth texture make up for it! Something changes in the purple fruit’s  flavour when it has been cooking in the oven. If you fry it in a pan or cook it in a stew it’s nice but only oven baking manages to extract the aubergine’s finer qualities. Sliced, grilled and filled like my aubergine rolls or baked in foil which turns the aubergine into a soft mousse. Both recipes leave no doubt as to why aubergines are so popular in Mediterranean cooking!

Baking aubergines al Cartoccio together with spices and herbs allows them to become infused with lots of different flavours. The spongey flesh, its soft texture is perfect to absorb tasty liquids and aromatic steam which is why they are also know to soak up so much olive oil! Rosemary was my herb of choice this time which I also used for the golden fried polenta slices. I’m a big fan of this yellow corn, either turned into a thick purée and mixed with gravy and meat or fried, buttery and crisp.

Roast Aubergine Mousse with Rosemary + Polenta

 Baked Aubergine Mousse with Rosemary and golden Polenta Slices

For 2-3 people you need

aubergine, cut in half, 1
garlic,  4 cloves in their skin
rosemary, the needles of 3-4 sprigs
olive oil 2 tablespoons
salt and pepper

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F.

Place the aubergine on a big piece of aluminum foil, sprinkle with olive oil and some rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Turn the fruit’s cut side down, add some more rosemary and the garlic and close the pouch. Bake on a baking sheet for about 40 minutes till soft. Check if the flesh is soft and scrape it out with a spoon. Mix in a bowl together with the soft roasted garlic, some of the roasted rosemary and season with salt and pepper, mash with a fork.

 

For the polenta

polenta 120g / 4 ounces
water 250ml / 8.5 ounces plus around 100ml / 3.5 ounces for cooking
milk 250ml / 8.5 ounces
salt 1 teaspoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons plus more to grease the baking dish
butter for frying 3-5 tablespoons
rosemary, the needles of 2 sprigs

In a sauce pan, heat the water and milk, add the salt and bring to a boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the olive oil and polenta and whisk. Turn down the heat to the lowest temperature and put the pan back on. Cook the polenta for 10 minutes mixing and adding more water once in a while.

Grease a 28 x 20cm / 11 x 8″ baking dish with olive oil. Pour the polenta into the baking dish, let it cool for around 10 minutes. When the polenta is cold and a bit hard, flip the baking dish gently around, either on cling film or directly on your working surface, mine is made of marble and it worked fine. Cut the polenta into diamond shapes and fry in hot butter together with the rosemary on both sides, just for a couple minutes till golden.

Roast Aubergine Mousse with Rosemary + Polenta

 

Roast Aubergine Mousse with Rosemary + Polenta

Ginger Honey Glazed Duck with Spices and Polenta

Honey Glazed Duck

Sometimes I don’t have the time or patience to slow cook a whole duck for hours like I do with my Christmas Duck. Although this really makes for the most tender and juicy meat, I need a quicker alternative. Here’s what I came up with, honey glazed duck legs, juicy as well, with crisp skin, rubbed with spices and – most importantly – you can enjoy all of this after about an hour. If I find the time I marinade the meat in the morning so that the flavours can spread and soak into the skin during the day but it’s great either way.

I prefer the darker, deeper meat of wildfowl like duck, goose and pheasant, especially in the cold season. They allow you to rub strong spices and herbs into their skin without loosing their own qualities. For my duck legs, I went for an aromatic mixture of clove, bay leaf, ginger, star-anis, thyme, allspice and a good amount of honey for a crispy caramelized skin. The juices made an amazing sauce, a concentrate of all the spices, I just added some red wine. Perfect to dip the polenta in which I seasoned with thyme and rosemary.

Honey Glazed Duck

 Ginger Honey Glazed Duck with Spices and Polenta with Thyme and Rosemary

I prepare the polenta around 4o minutes after I put the duck legs into the oven.

For 2 people you need

duck legs 2
red wine 250ml
(or 100ml red wine and 150ml broth)
salt and black pepper
olive oil

 

For the marinade

strong honey 2 tablespoons
ginger, thumbnail sized, grated
thyme, leaves of 5 sprigs
allspice berries, ground, 3
cloves, ground, 5
bay leaf, ground, 1
star-anis, ground, 1
cinnamon, ground, 1/4 teaspoon

Warm up the honey in a small sauce pan until it becomes liquid, spread on the duck legs together with the spices and rub everything into their skin marinating them for 1 hour (if possible). You can also prepare them in the morning (like I do) and keep them in the fridge all day before you cook them in the evening.

 

 For the duck legs

Set the oven to 260°C / 500°F. My oven has a Rotitherm roasting setting which works perfectly for poultry.

Put the duck legs into an oiled baking dish, skin side up, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining honey and spices of the marinade over the duck and place the dish in the hot oven. When the skin starts to get brown after a few minutes turn the temperature down to 130°C / 265°F and pour the red wine into the baking dish (a little over the duck as well) and bake for 60 minutes. Check with a skewer, if only clear juices come out the duck is done. Keep the duck legs in a warm place, pour the juices into a sauce pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. I didn’t even need to cook the sauce down. It was perfect, very intense, it didn’t need anything else. If you like you can add some more honey, Balsamico or a little orange juice.

 

For the polenta

polenta 120g / 4 ounces
water 250ml plus 150ml for cooking
milk 250ml
thyme, leaves of 4 sprigs
rosemary, chopped, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon
salt 1 teaspoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons

In a sauce pan, mix 250ml of water with the milk and salt and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the olive oil, polenta and herbs and mix with a whisk. Turn down the heat to the lowest temperature and put the pan back on. Cook the polenta for 10 minutes mixing and adding the rest of the water once in a while.

Honey Glazed Duck