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Archive for the ‘Alain’s Cooking’ Category

I do not eat a lot of meat. I call it inefficient food as it mobilizes way to much energy in my body to digest it. But when I do, there is nothing like a good roast of veal. I love to cut fresh rosemary and thyme in the garden, bundle them up, cut lots of red onions, carrots, parsley roots (this was new), tomatoes & potatoes.

While I quickly prepare 1.5dl a broth for the veg and the meat at the bottom of the cooking pan before throwing everything for 2 hours in the oven, I “flash-grill” the meat. And then 160 degrees for 2 hours. time to drink a glass of red.

Bon appetit.

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Honey Cakes

Donna Hay is “my Jamie Oliver”. . . I have never thought, with my Swiss-French origins that I would take an Australian cook as reference. But I have now done dozens of recipes from her and they always pan out. No bad surprises with quantities, cooking times given can be trusted etc…. I like the assemblage of ingredients and her simple, modern way of cooking.

I always think of myself  an absolute rookie when it comes to baking desert. I treat even the simplest desert recipes with greatest respect and measure everything with the constant fear of doing something wrong. Here is a simple cake recipe I tried and found quite nice…especially when accompanied by a sweet white wine.

  • 185gr butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Icing

  • 1 cup thick double cream (or whipped)
  • chilled honey

honey cake in muffin tinsHeny cakes coming out of the ovenWhipped cream, and honey appliedPreheat the oven to 160. Place the butter, sugar and honey in a bowl and beat until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Fold the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture. Spoon the mixture into 12x 1/2 cup capacity lightly greased non-stick muffin tins. Bake in the over for 15-20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool the cakes on wire racks. Spread the cakes with the cream. Before serving, drizzle with the chilled honey.

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Green Prawn Curry

This recipe is a classic in our family. It is done in less than 30 minutes with a ready made curry paste. It may sound like a sacrilege to use ready made paste, but I swear the one I buy from my local Asian store is so good, I can’t beat it! so why bother?

What you need:

  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 table spoon green curry paste
  • 150gr baby corn
  • 150gr Asian baby aubergines
  • 200gr Asian green beans
  • 1/2 liter coconut milk
  • 1/2 liter chicken stock
  • 300gr Black Tiger Prawns
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 table spoons fresh coriander
  • 2 twigs of lemongrass

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the onion and stir until golden add the paste and cook the mixture 3 minutes. Add the stock and reduce the heat to medium. Add lemongrass, aubergines and beans. Cook for 10minutes. Add the coconut milk, prawns and the baby corn. Cook for another 10 minutes. Stir regularly.

When cooked, remove the lemongrass, serve curry on 1 side of the plate. Add some roughly chopped coriander on top of the curry. Serve with Basmati rice.

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Seared Tuna with Crispy Caper DressingWith all the preparation for our departure from Vienna and my busy training schedule for the upcoming Ironman in Zurich, I have had little time to practice my cooking skills. The invitation of our neighbours for a small dinner at our place gave me the perfect opportunity to see how rusty I was in front of the stove. The planned menu was:

  • Seared Tuna with Braised Zucchinis (own recipe)
  • Green Curry Prawn (own recipe)
  • Honey Cakes (Donna Hay)

And yes, I know now how out-of-practice I am by the sheer facts that I forgot to add salt and pepper to the salad and forgot to cook Basmati rice next to the curry. I also tried new type of shrimps which came out pretty dry… (I will keep the Black Tiger Prawns in the future). It was all a bit embarrassing and I told my self that I need to cook at least once a week from now on.

Here is the recipe of the starter:

  • 150g Corn-Salad Roughly chopped
  • 150gr White Beans (pre-cooked if you need to save time)
  • 1 large Zucchini cut in thin slices
  • 300gr fresh tuna, thinly sliced

For the Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamon vinegar (Greek Balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons small salted capers, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped dill sprigs
  • cracked black pepper & salt

To make the dressing, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil, capers and lime zest and cook for 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove the pan from the heat and add the dill and pepper. Allow to cool.

To make the rest, re-heat the same pan over high heat. Add some oil and quickly cook the thin slices of zucchini until golden. Remove the slices and put them in a bowl. Allow to cool.

Place the chopped corn salad on serving plates, add on top some whit beans, cover the beans with some grilled zucchini slices.

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Sear the slice on tuna on 1 side only for 10 second and add the slices on top of the Zucchini. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve.

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Zucchini & Caper Penne

This is one of my all-time favorite pasta recipe. The original recipe, from Michele Cranston in Marie Claire’s cook-book “Fresh”, foresees spaghetti but I prefer it with penne. It really is fresh, “mid-summery” and I love the mix of parsley & capers.

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 zucchini (courgettes), grated
  • 500gr. penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup (15gr) roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons capers (big or small)
  • 110gr Parmesan cheese

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Heat a deep frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil and garlic. Move the garlic around the pan with a spatula until it is lightly golden and then add the grated zucchini.

Shopping Parsley

Grating the zucchinicooking the zucchini & pastaFinal Zucchini and Caper PenneSlowly braise the grated zucchini, stirring it as it cooks, for about 15 minutes or until it begins to dry out and catch on the bottom of the pan.

Cook the pasta until al dente then drain and return it to the saucepan. Add the parsley, capers, most of the Parmesan and the zucchini. Toss everything together and divide the pasta between four pasta bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan

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