Alive and Kicking: Strawberry Quark Dumplings

I haven’t given up on food, far from it, but sometimes life throws you curveballs and blogging about food suddenly doesn’t fit in anymore.

I’ve long wanted to re-design this blog and change the content, abandoning any restaurant reviews and instead focusing on bringing you the recipes that I love, the ingredients I adore and the things that inspire me.

Taking a step back and having a break has given me this opportunity. And now I can’t wait to get started (again).

 

strawberry quark dumplings 3 Alive and Kicking: Strawberry Quark Dumplings

 

The first recipe of this new era is a traditional Austrian dessert/sweet dish. Yes, I am quite happy to have this as a main. People here in London seem to find it rather strange that you could have a sweet main but it is something I grew up with. We’d probably have a sweet main once a week, or maybe every fortnight. They’d range from baked rice puddings, layered apple & bread puddings and muesli soaked overnight to the classic Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancakes).

This recipe makes the most of the beautiful local strawberries that are at their best right now. They are encased in a light and fluffy quark (a kind of soft cheese; fromage frais) dough and rolled in sugared bread crumbs.

 

strawberry quark dumplings Alive and Kicking: Strawberry Quark Dumplings

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Pumpkin Pie Fudge

 

DSCF8505 21 Pumpkin Pie Fudge

 

My first ever go at making fudge was a complete success, unbelievably. A nice crumbly texture, the autumnal flavours of pumpkin & ground spices and little bits of white chocolate make a great combination.

Also, the preparation is reasonably simple, although you do require a sugar thermometer (available for a few quid through Nisbets, Lakeland, Amazon etc) & some muscle to continuously stir the mixture for about 20-30 min until it reaches the required soft-ball stage (check out this link for more information about candy-making stages).

The original recipe calls for store-bought pumpkin pie spice mix but as it turned out to be quite difficult to track down & ridiculously highly priced, I decided to mix my own – using spices I had readily available in my cupboard. I’ve also included a few alternatives to the ingredients of the American original.

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Sea Bass Ceviche With Spicy Tortilla Crisps

 

DSCF6118 Sea Bass Ceviche With Spicy Tortilla Crisps

 

As I am writing this, London is experiencing the rarest and most unlikely of things, a  heat wave. As each and every Londoner rushed to their wardrobe to pull out those barely worn summer dresses / shorts (I might be exaggerating a bit, but just a bit) a change towards more summer-appropriate food suddenly proved to be necessary.

I was first introduced to Ceviche during my time living in Spain, when I really struggled to cope with the unbearable temperatures during the summer months. At one of the many outdoor parties of that summer, a Peruvian friend of mine brought with him a big plastic container of Ceviche. I have to admit to being very sceptical about raw fish cooked in lime juice (at that time I was still to be introduced to one of my now-favourite foods, Sushi). But it turned out to be the perfect summer food. A cold dish which packs quite a bit of heat, the lime juice is incredibly refreshing and the texture of the fish very intriguing. As the acid of the lime juice reacts with the fish, its texture changes but it still retains that “raw” taste that I have come to appreciate.
Originating from Central / South America, Ceviche can be prepared in a variety of different ways, with different types of seafood (e.g. shrimp, squid, tuna, flounder,…) but I prefer the version I first tasted on that summer evening, using sea bass as the main ingredient.

The tortilla crisps I used to garnish/accompany the ceviche on this occasion might look harmless, but being brushed with a combination of lime juice and spices they have a nice kick to them.

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Recreating A Classic: Grilled Chorizo Sandwich

 

DSCF5066 copy Recreating A Classic: Grilled Chorizo Sandwich

 

You might remember me raving about Brindisa’s famed chorizo sandwich, to be found at their stall at Borough Market, London.

Last weekend I tried to recreate this classic at home, as in typical London-stylie the July weather was anything but tempting me to leave my warm & dry flat.

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An Alpine Treat: Moosbeernocken

There is a short season of wild-growing mountain blueberries that every decent traditional restaurant in Tyrol (my home county in Western Austria) will exploit to put one of the most traditional desserts of the region onto their menu: Moosbeernocken.

 

DSCF4938 An Alpine Treat: Moosbeernocken

 

You could possibly translate it as “Blueberry Pancakes”, although the term “Moosbeere” doesn’t necessarily mean blueberry. It depends on which part of  Austria/Germany you are in. It could just as well refer to a cranberry.

And a “Nocke” isn’t exactly a pancake but generally more a dumpling, related to the Italian gnocchi or the German “Schupfnudel”. In the case of this recipe though it is just a basic drop of not too runny batter. Well, mini-pancakes, really – just more solid & with more height.

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