Archive for the ‘fish’ Category

Plum Times

September 7, 2008

We went to the Bode museum today, just to see if we could manage with the three kids. It turns out, we can’t really: J. was only marginally interested in the sculptures/paintings, Bas. was in complete agony from being overtired, teething and hungry and Bal. was the only one doing ok, sucking his thumb while looking around. The visit ended abruptly with J. deciding it was a good idea to recline Bas.’ buggy so that he would sleep (sthg which he is not allowed to do, him being only three and all) and completely quetsching the poor childs arm in the process. Everyone started howling on cue — and we fled the scene for home.

After we had put everyone to sleep, we started relaxing, twittering around and generally doing things for our own enjoyment. Meaning, I baked and cooked, while L. computered!
I don’t know if it was to match the weather or the atmosphere in Berlin, but the meal ended up being a nice welcoming of fall: a plum tarte and neck of pork (Schweinekamm / échine de porc) braised in the oven with caramelized prunes. It was totally delicious and along with the nap made everybody feel much better about the weekend. I especially urge you to go make that pork now, because it’s that easy and good!

As an aside, I also tried to replicate the delicious meal L. and I had on our night out, celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary. We went to a big opening, which was great fun, the art on display just as much as the people we met, but the real highlight of the night was the fish with chanterelles in barbecue sauce that we ate later that night at Toca Rouge.
I had already been converted by my father to the idea of serving fish and fresh chanterelles together, but the barbecue sauce was just perfect. When I tried to re-do it (with ginger, hoisin, rice vinegar, soy and a splash of sichara hot sauce), I couldn’t figure out what it was that made theirs so special, but I will try again until I figure it out! In the meantime, please come forth with suggestions or, if you are in Berlin, go check out the place!


Braised Pork Neck with dried Prunes*

Prep Time: 15 min cooking time: 50 min

700 g pork neck, deboned
1 medium sized red onion, roughly chopped
200 g chopped dried prunes (1 packed cup)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar (you can subsitute it with balsamic vinegar)
1 /3 cup of water or a little more
1 tsp each of rosemary and thyme

cast iron pot with a tight fitting lid (can be substituted with tin foil)

Preheat the oven to 190°. Heat the oil in the pot on the stove and add the herbs and chopped red onion. Cook for a minute or until fragrant.
Add the pork and make sure to sear it well on both sides. Put the chopped prunes and stir until evenly coated. Pour over the vinegar, cover with the lid and cook in the oven for about 50 min.
When the meat is done, let it rest covered, for another 10 min to let the the meat stay tender and juicy. Eat with mashed / steamed potatoes or rice.


Plum tarte

prep time: 5min, cooling time: 30 min, baking time 40 min
metal mixing bowl and knife or food processor tarte tin

for the Dough**

2 cups of flour (about 240 g)
1/2 tsp salt
100 g sugar
145 g cold cold butter
3 tbsp icecold water

for the Filling

800 g ripe plums washed, stoned and halved
2 tsp of semolina
2 tsp of brown sugar
more sugar to taste

Keep your ingredients very cold. Cut the butter in cubes and using a knife, cut it into the flour, salt and sugar, or mix it in your foodprocessor until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the cold water bit by bit until the dough starts to come together. Roll it together in a ball, wrap it in clingfoil and put it in the fridge to rest for 30 min or up to overnight.

When you are ready, butter and flour your tarte tin and roll out your dough to fill it’s size. Sprinkle the sugar and semolina onto the dough and arrange your plum halves in the tin. I like to alternate between one half facing up and one facing down, so as not get the bottom of my tarte too soggy.*** Add a couple of pats of butter, sprinkle with some or lots more sugar and bake for about 40 min.

* I’m sorry, but dried prunes sound terrifyingly unappetizing!

** I have already blogged this tarte dough before and still stand by the fact that it’s the Bestest!

*** You can see in the picture that I ran out of plums halfway, I only had one scant pound, don’t make the same mistake: really pack the tin full with them!


Still Going Strong!

March 5, 2008

alright, that’s the third post in three days. Am i on a roll, or what? are you taking bets as to whether I will disappear again for a few weeks after this one, blaming another ‘technical malfunction’? Well, who cares, I had a backlog of a few dishes, and haven’t posted anything savoury in a while.

The dish I am about to post is the dinner equivalent of that awesome top/jeans/jacket that you got on sale at h&m and that gets you compliments each time you wear it. A dinner that you will get everybody ooohhing and aaahhhing on you, while you can be all like ‘oh, that old thing? Psshaw, it was done in no time!’. Seriously, all you’ll ever do for this dinner, is slapping some fish in tinfoil, sprinkle some glitter here and there, and open 2 cans of beans.

You can also totally decide to get all pretentious with the name and call it Fish Pillowed in Smoked Hot and Sweet Paprika with its Canellini-Cilantro Mash. Notice how that little fish pillow thing has ITS very own mash? Fancy, huh? In that case, I recommend taking the oohs and aahs very seriously as well as waxing about where exactly the smoked paprika is from, and how you imported those beans yourself, and soaked them. And gently boiled them in kabbalah water or something. Anyway, you get the picture. This dinner, it is dead easy, anyone can do it and so they should. On to the ‘recipe’.

White Fish Fillets with Smoked Paprika

Prep time: 5 min, Cooking time: 12 min

2 white fish fillets (mine amounted to 500 g, and easily served 4)
1 tsp of smoked paprika*, hot or sweet, depending on your taste
some olive oil

tin foil to make ‘parcels’

Preheat the oven to 180°. Take enough tinfoil to make an envelope for each piece of fish. Place the fish on the tinfoil, sprinkle some oilive oil and half the paprika. Close the parcel as hermetically as possible. Repeat with the other fish. Stick in the oven for about 12 min. When the fish is done, it will be all tender and fallin apart. Be careful not to burn yourself when you open the packages.

White Bean Puree with Cilantro

Prep time: 2 min, Cooking time: 5 min

2 cans of white beans, drained.**
100 ml (a scant 1/2 cup) of chicken broth
lemon juice, to taste
cilantro, to taste

saucepan, masher

Pour the drained beans into a saucepan, add the broth. Heat up until the beans are hot. Mash up, add some lemon juice and the cilantro. Serve.

Arange the fish and the purée on a plate and reap the reward of your hard work!

* I had to really, really look for smoked paprika powder — Berlin isn’t exactly full of gourmet supplyiers. In the end, I found both sweet and spicy smoked paprika, and generally use a mix of both.
** You really don’t need fabulous beans for this. The simple storebrand will be enough, no chichi-italian import necessary!