SUMMER TIME: Watermelon Salad with Toasted Walnuts


It's summer time and I was craving something light, fresh and exciting. I decided to make a fruity watermelon salad with balsamic glaced onions, toasted walnuts and feta cheese. I always thought it strange to mix a salad with fruits, but this time I wanted to give it a chance and it turned out amazingly delicious. Best tp 

Ingredients:

  • mixed lettuce (e.g. Endive, Rocket, Arugula, Spinach)
  • 3 cups watermelon cubes
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
For the Dressing:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill and/or other dried herbs (basil, oregono, thyme)
  • salt

Preparation:

  • Wash the lettuce and shake the water off. Transfer to a bowl.Cut the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. Mix.
  • Cut the watermelon into 1 inch cubes.
  • Cut the red onion into rings. Heat the butter in a pan, add the onion rings and sauté at low temperature. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir. When soft and translucent (after 5-10min), remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Heat the oven at 375 degree Fahrenheit. Spread the walnut halves evently on an oven pan and toast for about 5-10 minutes till slithly brown. Turn walnuts in between.
  • Mix all ingredients for the dressing, stir well so that the vinegar, lemon juice and oil are completely mixed and not separated. Season to taste with salt and herbs.
  • Now, serve the salad on a plate. First, the lettuce with tomatoes. Second, add the watermelon, onion rings and walnuts. Third, sprinkle with feta cheese crumbles. And in the end, dribble the dressing over it.







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    BRUNCH TIME - Potato Mushroom Hash



    It's time for another brunch, and what would be a better inspiration as "Brunch at Boobys" again? This time I tried to use up some left over potatoes and recreate Bobby's "Wild Mushroom-Yukon Gold Hash". Instead of Yukon Gold potatoes, however, I used Russet potatoes as I still had and I also added some bell pepper, spring onion and spinach.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 pounds potatoes - boiled and cubed
    • Salt
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 4 tablespoons oil
    • 1.5 pounds wild mushrooms (cremini, oyster, chantrelle, etc.) - sliced
    • 1/2 red bell pepper - diced
    • 2 green spring onions - sliced
    • 3 cloves garlic - chopped
    • 1 shallot - diced
    • Pepper
    • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves (optional)
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley - chopped
    • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme - chopped
    • splash sherry vinegar
    • 1 sunnyside-up egg for garnish

    Preparation:

    • Scrup and clean the potatoes, cook in salt water until soft (20min). Drain and let cool.
    • Heat 2 tablespoon butter and oil, add the mushrooms, bell pepper, spring onion, garlic and shallots and cook till mushrooms are golden brown and liquid evaporated. Shallots should be translucent. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
    • Cut the potatoes in 1/2 inch cubes. Heat the rest of the butter and oil and add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, spread them in a layer and cook till they get a little brown and crispy (about 5 min). 
    • Then stir in mushrooms. Add spinach and cook for a few minutes till slightly wilted. Add the fresh parsley, thyme and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. 
    • Cook a sunny-side egg and serve on top.




    with spinach (optional)




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      TEA TIME - Afternoon Tea style Brunch at Miyuko's in Zurich



      This entry is well overdue. Back in February when I visited my good friends Lisa and Simon and their fairly newborn baby at that time (see my post about a delicious Fish Curry with Coconut and Lime), they took me out for brunch at this amazing little cute place called Miyuko. This was the beginning of my love for so-called "Afternoon Tea" or "High Tea" sessions.

      Afternoon Tea

      Traditionally, "Afternoon Tea", also known as "Low Tea", was a light afternoon meal (e.g. scones and finger sandwiches) accompanied by tea and served on low tables in sitting rooms, next to sofas. Loose black tea was served, and the caffeine with the sandwiches was supposed to provide fortification against afternoon doldrums. While "Afternoon Tea" was historically considered a social occasion often enjoyed especially by women, the so-called "High Tea" was a meal for the working class, served on higher tables and also incorporated some meat snacks.

      It is said that the "Afternoon Tea" started in the mid-1800 by the Duchess of Bedford, one of the ladies-in-waiting of Queen Victoria, who had invited friends over for tea and light snacks in the afternoon. At the time it was common to have only two meals, a mid-morning breakfast and a late-night dinner with a long wait in between meals, leaving the Duchess with a sinking feeling at around four o'clock. The practice of inviting friends to an afternoon tea quickly picked up.

      Pinkies up!

      Did you ever wonder, where the habit of lifting the pinkies while holding a tea cup originated from? Originally all porcelain tea cups were made in China, small cups with no handles. In order to not spill yourself, you had to hold it with the thumb at the 6 o'clock position and middle and index finger at 12 o'clock and raising the pinkie up to hold the balance.   

      At Miyuko's

      Miyuko is a tea salon where you can get the traditional English Afternoon Tea. However, they also serve brunch. Our brunch was served in a similar fashion, on an old-fashion and elegant three tier etagere.They had a long list of different tea selections and also brunch drinks such as smoothies.They served fresh rolls and croissants in a little basket and then fruits, yoghurt, cured meat and cheese and desserts on the three tier etagere.

      A wonderful experience that started my interest in Tea Times :)

      Top tier - Desserts

      Middle tier - Cured Meat and Cheese

      Lower tier - Yoghurt and Fruits

      Fancy Hot Chocolate




      BRUNCH TIME: Coconut Pancakes with Lime Syrup and Mango




      I am a big fan of Gordon Ramsay, even though I do not like all of his TV shows. However, I watched enough of them to decide that I wanted one of his cookbooks which I got as a Christmas gift from my boyfriend's sister :)

      The first recipe that caught my eye was of course a brunch idea: delicious exotic coconut pancakes with fresh mango and lime syrup. Doesn't that sound great?

      Ingredients:

      • 1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
      • 3/4 cup flour
      • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
      • 1 egg
      • 1 cup coconut milk
      • 1 Tbsp honey
      • Oil
      • 1 ripe mango
      For the syrup
      • 2/3 cup sugar
      • 2/3 cup water
      • Juice of 4 limes, finely grated zest of 1

        Preparation:

        Pancake Batter
        Blend the desiccated coconut in a blender until it becomes a coarse powder. Add the flour and baking powder and blend. Pour mix into a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle, add the beaten egg. Stir. Now, whisk in the coconut milk and honey until you get a smooth batter. Cover the batter and let rest for 15 minutes. 

        Lime syrup:
        Put the sugar, water, lime juice and zest into a pan and heat. Simmer and stir till the sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer for 15 more minutes to reduce liquid and create a syrup consistency. Let cool down a little bit.

        Cook the pancakes
        Heat oil in a frying pan. If the batter is too thick, add a little water or coconut milk. Place a heaping tablespoon in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Turn over and cook other side. Remove and set aside and continue to make more. You can store them in the oven to keep them warm. 

        Serve the pancakes with slices of mango and the lime syrup on top. 







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        Brazilian Night at Hipcooks



        Do you know what the term "Hipcooks" means? I did not and my boyfriend jokingly guessed actually the right meaning. It doesn't mean that the food is "hip", no, it means that you cook from the "hip", without measuring the ingredients.

        My boyfriend and I had this giftcard for a class at Hipcooks and we decided to use it for a Brazilian themed class. Registering for the class ended up being not a very good experience. We had some problems with the management and the giftcard. The giftcard was for 2 spots and did not expire, however Hipcooks had raised their prices and did not accept the giftcard completely, so in the end we had to pay an additional amount on top... As these were giftcards, we did not expect that and were a little disappointed with the management.

        Understandably we were a little miffed about the situation. However, the class was so much fun, the teacher was a well-spirited Brazilian cook and the food was delicious. If we wouldn't move and had not had these problems with the management, we would definitely go to one of their other classes.

        Menu

        • The Brazilian menu started with some very tasty cheese bread puffs (called "Pão de queijo") that my boyfriend was really crazy about, and a black been soup ("Caldo de feijão). This was accompanied by self-made "Caipirinha", a Brazilian sweet and sour rum drink (with cachaça rum, lime juice and sugar).
        • As the entree, we had a delicious slow cooked halibut coconut stew with onions, bell pepper and tomatoes ("Moqueca de peixe") and  a very creative salad with collard greens, hearts of palms, mango and roasted cashews (called "Salada Brasileira"). I never had hearts of palms before and was amazed how flavorful they were.
        • The desert was a simple but tasty maracujá mouse, served with a pineapple-mint juice.

        Going to this class was a very fun experience and I cannot wait to recreate some of the dishes. I will definitely do a cooking class again :)


        And class get started... with the caipirinha drinks right in front of us
        my boyfriends favorites - the cheese puffs

        Dining the first course: bean soup with cheese puffs and fresh salsa

        Delicious green collard salad with heart of palms, mango and roasted cashews

        Tasty Halibut stew with coconut milk, onion, bell pepper and tomatoes

        So yummy!


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