My Mom's "Paprika-Hack-Makkaroni Pfanne" (bell pepper - ground beef - macaroni pan)

This is a simple and fast dish that easily gets addictive. I like the bright colors, so I usually use several different colored bell peppers. You can adjust the flavor by playing around with the paprika seasoning and also adding a bit more canned or fresh tomatoes.

I like to keep the onion rings still a bit crisp, so I add them quite late to the dish. If you like them softer, just add them early on with the bell pepper.

Ingredients:

  • 100g long macaroni 
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 300g ground beef
  • 1 chili (sliced)
  • 2 bell peppers, different colors (cut in stripes)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp passata or canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1-2 small onions (cut in half rings)
  • 1/2 cup water (possibly more)
  • 1-2 tsps paprika seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt, pepper to taste

 

Preparation: 

  1. Break the macaroni noodles into 5 cm long pieces. If you have already cut/smaller pieces, it's ok as well. I prefer the long straight macaroni. Cook the pasta till al dente in salt water. Drain and set aside. 
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil. Add the ground beef, break it down. Add the diced chili and fry for about 5 minutes. Keep stiring. Fry, till ground beef is browned.
  3. Add the sliced bell pepper, the tomato paste, passata, harissa, salt and pepper and give it a good stir. Fry for another 5 minutes, till bell pepper starts to soften (not too much!).
  4. Now, add the halved onion rings, stir and keep frying for a few minutes. Add some water, not too much. The beef-veggie mix should not completely swim in the water. Put on the lid and let the beef-veggie mix stew for another 5-10 minutes till veggies are soft, but not overcooked.
  5. At last, add the macaroni and mix well. Season with paprika seasoning, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Heat up the noodles with closed lid for a few minutes. Serve in a bowl.  

 





 

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Easter Bunny (sweet yeast bread)


This is another Easter recipe :) Like my Easter Lamb last year, these Easter Bunnies are sweet yeast bread. The recipe is almost the same, a little sweeter.

I did accidently use a little too much yeast and the dough rose a little too much (especially during shaping the Easter Bunnies), so they may not look as smooth and detailed as they should...

 

Ingredients:

  • 200ml milk (warm, not hot)
  • 30g yeast (fresh - or substitute with 1 package instant or active dry yeast)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 500g flour
  • 70g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon peel
  • 1 egg (lighly beaten)
  • 75g butter (melted, but not hot)
  • 1 egg (beaten, as egg wash)
  • 2 Tbsp hail sugar or pink sprinkles ;)

 

Preparation:

Use all ingredients at room temperature.
Preheat oven at 180 degree celsius (Ober- und Unterhitze) / 350 degree Fahrenheit (convection oven).

Dough and First proofing

First, activate the yeast. Don't use a metal bowl as it will prevent/ slow down activation. Warm up the milk in a glas or plastic bowl to about 30 degree celsius. It should not be too hot for your own skin if you try to dip in your finger. Add 1 Tbsp sugar and add the yeast (not too much). Stir (with a wooden spoon) till it is dissolved and let stand for about 10 minutes. It will activate and you will see bubbles, the volume will increase.

Second, in another big bowl, add the flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt and lemon peel. Mix. Create a little well in the middle. Pour in the beaten egg and the melted butter. Now, pour in the milk-yeast mix. Give it a stir with a fork by adding the flour from the sides, bit by bit. Either continue mixing with the fork or use the machine with a dough hook. Keep mixing for about 5 minutes, the dough should not stick to the sides of the bowl any more and be realtively smooth. Take it out of the bowl and keep kneading and stretching it by hand for another few minutes.

Kneading and stretching the dough will result in very fluffy bread and helps the yeast to activate and rise. Do not cut down on that step, it does take several minutes to knead.

Now, form a smooth dough ball, place it in a bowl and cover it. Let it rest in a warm place till it doubles in size. This will take about 30-60 minutes. If you do not have a warm place, you can put warm water in a tray and place the bowl in it.

Shaping (Second proofing)

When the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and quickly beat it down again. Now, cut the dough in 8 pieces (see picture). First, cut the dough in half, then each half again in halves, and the same one more time. Take each piece and form a dough ball (instruction on how to form a smooth dough ball can found in the recipe of my Easter Lamb).

Roll each dough ball into ropes/ strips of about 30 cm. Cut off a piece of 2 cm at the end and form a little ball out of it (it will be the Easter Bunny's tail). Form an Easter Bunny with each rope (see pictures): Overlap one end of the strip over the other to form a loop, bring the end that's underneath up over the top end (a double twist), letting one end extend on each side to make ears, pat tips of ears to shape in point.

Place the Easter Bunnies on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Add the little tail balls on the Easter Bunnies. Use the egg wash and brush on the Easter Bunnies (this will result in the golden brown coloring during baking). Now, sprinkle hail sugar or other colorful sugar sprinkles onto the little tail balls. 
 
Let the Easter Bunnies rest and rise for another 20 min before baking. They won't dry out thanks to the egg wash.

Baking

Place the baking sheet with the Easter Bunnies in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes till they are golden brown on top. Exact time depends on your oven, so keep an eye on it. Best served fresh and warm :)

 









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My Mom's "Minuten Steak mit kleinen Ofenkartoffeln" (Spicy fillet with small oven roasted potatoes)

 

The spiced pork loin fillets taste deliciously tender (when not overdone) and are very lean cuts of the back of the pork. 
 
However, my highlight of this dish is the spicy gravy/ sauce from the marinated fillets. My Mom uses her traditional spice mix here with harissa, biber salcasi and sambal olek. It gives it an exotic kick. 
 
The sauce tastes great with the oven roasted potatoes. Another great side dish are My Mom's Spicy Cauliflower
 
The sauce is also delicious if you scrape out the frying pan with some bread. If you have leftover sauce and fillets, you can also eat it cold in the evening, just spread the sauce on a slice of bread and top with cut pieces of the meat.
 
 

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 "Minuten Steak" (thin fillet) 
  • salt, pepper 
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • mustard
  • biber salcasi (Turkish hot red chili pepper paste)
  • sambal oelek (Indonesian style chili-based sauce with garlic, lime, ginger)
  • harissa
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 4-6 flakes of margerine (for each fillet piece)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-2 Tbsp "dunkler Soßenbinder" (z.B. Mondamin) 
  • salt, pepper to taste

 Potatoes:

  • 4-5 medium seized potatoes (waxy, not starchy)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • salt
  • margerine flakes 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 190 degree Celsius ("Umluf mit Oberhitze" - fan with top grill/ top heat).

Marinade the Fillet:

Tenderize the fillet a bit by pounding it quickly from both sides with a meat mallet. Lay them all out and marinade them from the top side only. First, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, mince the garlic and spread on each fillet. Lastly, add  abit of mustard, biber salcasi, sambal oelek, and harissa on top of each and spread evenly out.

Small Oven Roasted Potatoes:

Peel potatoes and cute in small 1-1.5 inch cubes. Pour oil in a roasting pan so that the bottom is slighly filled (a few milimeters). Place the potatoe cubes on it. Sprinkle with salt and some margerine flakes on top. Roast for 10 minutes, than flip the potatoe cubes. Roast for another 30 minutes till the potatoes are slighlty golden brown, cripsy on the outside but still soft inside.

Fry the Fillet and Prepare the Sauce

Heat oil in a frying pan. Make sure that the pan's bottom is covered well with oil. Add the fillet with the marinated side facing up. Top each fillet with a margerine flake. Quickly fry it from one side for only a short time, about 2 minutes, till the ends get darker. Then flip the fillets and fry for another 2 minutes. Not too long as they are very thin and you don't want them overdone. 
 
When done, take the fillets out of the pan and prepare the sauce. The frying pan should still have a layer of oil in it with some of the spiced marinade from the fillets. Add some water to the sauce, heat up and stir well. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Use the thickening agent ("Soßenbinder") to thicken up the sacue a bit. 

Serve the fillets with the oven roasted potatoes, possibly some additional vegetables and/or a side salad.




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Oriental Three Bean Casserole

 

This is a recipe that my Mom and I spontaneously made when my brother brought home lots of fresh green long and broad flat beans. It was inspired by a Turkish green bean stew. However, as my Mom and I do love casseroles a lot, we decided to turn the bean stew into a casserole with a layer of potatoes on the bottom and on top.

For our version of the Turkish bean stew, we used ground beef, three kinds of beans and lots of oriental flavors. These included our standards such as sambal olek, harissa and biber salcasi. 

And the next time I made it, I also added a special Turkish seasoning, sumac, that I just recently acquired. It has a slightly fruity and tangy flavor and adds a tart, lemony taste. If you don't have it, don't worry, it's optional. The casserole will also taste delicious without it :)

Ingredients:

  • 4 potatoes 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 rosemary twig
  • 1 cup long green beans (fresh)
  • 1 cup broad green beans (fresh)
  • 1 tomatoe - sliced
  • 1/2 zucchini (sliced)
  • 1/2 eggplant (sliced) 
  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 250g ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/4 cup diced eggplant
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • big white beans (canned, drained)
  • 1 Tbsp sambal olek
  • 1 tsp biber salcasi
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 1 tsp sumac (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp freshly chopped thyme/parsley/lovage (Liebstöckel) - optional
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 150g cheese (shredded)

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius (390 degree Fahrenheit), fan with top heat.

Prepare potatoes, green beans and veggie slices:

Boil potatoes till almost soft with skin on. Drain. Peel. Cut in slices. Greas a small casserole dish. Lay out half of the sliced potatoes on the botton (set the other half of the potatoes aside for the top of the casserole). Sprinkle with salt and rosmary twigs. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, till potatoes turn slightly crispy.

In the meantime, if you use fresh long green beans and broad green beans, get them cleaned (chop of the ends) and boil them in water for about 10 minutes. Make sure they are not too soft! Drain, cut the long green beans in half and cut the broad green beans in 2 inch pieces. Set aside.

Slice the tomato, eggplant and zucchini. Sprinkle salt over the eggplant and zucchini slices and let them sit for 10 minutes. They will release water. Dry the water of before further use.

Prepare the bean / ground beef mix with oriental flavors:

Heat olive oil in frying pan. Add diced onions and fry for about 3 minutes till they turn slightly translucent. Add the ground beef and the gralic. Stir and brown (fry) the beef for another 5 minutes. Add the diced zucchini and eggplant, fry for another couple of minutes. Now, add the canned tomatoes, the white beans, the precooked long and broad green beans, and the seasoning (sambal olek, biber paste, harissa, sumak, paprika, cumin, chopped rosemary and other fresh herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything well and let simmer for 5-10 minutes and medium heat. Make sure not to overcook the beans and veggies.

Prepare the casserole: 

Pour the bean/ ground beef mix over the layered potatoe slices in the casserole. Add a layer of tomato slices and a layer of eggplant/ zucchini slices (alternating between eggplant and zucchini). Last, layer the casserole with the remaining potatoe slices. Sprinkle cheese on top. Add a few margarine flakes. Bake for about 30 minutes till cheese is melted and browned.







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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Thyme and Bread Crumbs

 


Brussle sprouts - an acquired taste... I have to admit I discovered them late in life as well but now I just love them. Maybe the taste buds do indeed change with age? I never liked them as a child and I was always impressed that my brother ate them. We were both kind of picky eaters as children...

Brussel sprouts can be a bit bitter which you can balance out while cooking.

This year, I saw this very pretty picture of an easy oven roasted brussle sprout dish from Hapa Homecooking. I love roasted veggies and these just looked so pretty, I just had to try to recreate the dish :) I made a few minor adjustments, mainly giving it a bit more heat.


Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds brussels sprouts (fresh, not frozen)
  • 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt (including onion and garlic as an ingredient)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, each
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt (less, if the butter was salted)
  • 1 tsp thyme (freshly chopped)
  • Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt and a wedge of lemon

Preparation:

Roast the brussels sprouts:

Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius / 390 degree Fahrenheit (top/bottom heat). Trim and half the brussels sprouts. In a bowl, toss the brussels sprouts with olice oil and the spices (salt, seasoned salt, garlic, pepper, red pepper flakes) till they are coated evenly. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and spread the brussles sprout out. Thop with the fresh thyme sprigs. Roast for about 30-45 minutes till the brussle sprouts are soft and slightly browned and crispy.

Prepare the yoghurt-lemon dip:

Mix the yoghurt with the lemon juice. Add salt/pepper to taste. Cool in the fridge till serving time.

Prepare the bread crumps:

Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the bread crumbs, salt and chopped thyme. Stir on medium heat till bread crumbs are golden brown. Take of the heat.

Serve:

Place and spread out a spoon of the yoghurt sauce on your plate. Top with the roasted brussle sprouts. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of bread crumb mix over it. Add a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and a wedge of lemon.








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Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

 

An original Thanksgiving side dish - the Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmellows. The first time I heard about it and tried it, was during my college times in my dorm kitchen. Even though in Germany, my friends and I liked to celebrate and cook for Thanksgiving - or better Friendsgiving ;) 

My friend M. had this recipe and I actually had never heard of this. I found it a funny recipe, putting brown sugar in a savory dish and topped with sweet melting marshmallows... And indeed, it does taste sweet like a dessert, but strangely, it also goes very well with the traditional Thanksgiving turkey meat and gravy. 

And, in my opinion, this dish just looks adorable :)

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 big sweet potatoes (1.5-2 pounds)
  • 1 l salted water to boil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 100 g mini marshmallows (3.5 oz)

 

Preparation: 

Boil the sweet potatoes: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit/ 170 degree Celsius. Peal the sweet potatoes, cut into cubes. Cover with salted water and boil till soft, about 10 minutes. Drain.

Prepare the sweet potato mix: 

Mash the potatoes with a potato masher (not the electric one, you do want to have it a little bit rustic, with pieces). Add the brown sugar, butter, salt, orange juice and cinnamon. Mix well with a spoon. Adjust salt and orange juice to taste.

Bake: 

Butter a 8x8 inch casserole dish. Spread the mashed sweet potato mix into the casserole evenly. Sprinkle with the marshmallows. Bake in the oven for about 30-45 min till marshmallows are a little melted and crispy golden brown on top.







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