Roasted Asparagus and Poached Egg with Yellow Miso Hollandaise

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I’m sure some of you know I’m on Instagram. I resisted on using for years because I thought it was for people who can’t take photos. Ooops. Did I mention I’m not the greatest photographer in the world? Silly me. I ended up downloading the app a year ago and started using it once in a while, until it became a daily thing. I used to take photos of food and post them on Facebook, but I didn’t want to annoy people by posting too many photos. Instagram seemed like a perfect sphere for posting food photos without people looking at you weird. Plus I didn’t have to face questions like, “why do you always take photos of your food?” , “everything you post is about food!”, “oh my god Ange, you are obsessed!” 😄

Anyways, I’ve started following chefs like Rene Redzepi and David Chang, magazines like Bon Appetit, and websites like Food52 or thekitchn.com. The photos they post are not only far better quality than mine, but sometimes I get inspired by the dishes they create. The other day, Momofuku (the famous restaurant empire by David Chang) posted a dish that perfectly captured spring. So, I waited until yesterday when the farmer’s market was open, to buy fresh asparagus, and recreate the dish from the photo. The miso is unusual in a hollandaise, but it gives a subtle umami kick to this classic french sauce. My kitchen lab rat friend yesterday tasted and approved so I hope you guys like it too. It probably tastes nothing like the exact dish you would eat at Momofuku, but I hope it’s close!

Ps. My sambar recipe was the winning recipe of the week two weeks ago in The Guardian Recipe Swap.  Needless to say, I was stoked! The coleslaw with peanut dressing was also printed in The Guardian this weekend. It totally made my day! 🙂

Roasted Asparagus and Poached Egg with Yellow Miso Hollandaise

Re-created by an Instagram photo from Momofuku.

Note: I make my hollandaise in a hand-held emersion blender. If you don’t own one, I guess you will need a bit more elbow grease than me. Just whisk vigorously while trickling in the melted butter. 

Serves 2

400g green asparagus (preferably local), trimmed.

A good drizzle of olive oil

A good pinch of salt

2 poached eggs (see here to learn how to poach an egg properly. And practice. From 1:49)

For the hollandaise,

100g butter

1.5-2 tsp  yellow miso paste

1 egg yolk

1.5 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or substitute with lemon juice)

To serve,

Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning. Skip it if you don’t have it)

1. Melt the butter and whisk in the miso until well emulsified.

2. Fill a small saucepan with water, enough to fill about a quarter of the pan. Bring to boil and turn the heat down and keep it on a simmer. In a smaller pan (a double broiler), add the egg yolk and the rice vinegar. Whisk over the simmering water until frothy (Do NOT let the pan touch the water!). Transfer the egg mixture to a bowl or the long cylindrical container that usually comes with the hand-held emersion blender.

3. Trickle the melted butter into the egg yolk, either with the blender running, or constantly whisking. Do this until the butter is used up and you are left with a beautiful, silky sauce.  (NOTE: Always add the butter a bit by bit, otherwise you will split the sauce. Should this unfortunate disaster happen in your kitchen, trickle some cold water. Mine never split, so I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve heard that trickling in some cold water into the split sauce while whisking helps. But if you trickle in the melted butter slowly, a bit by bit, while constantly whisking or the blender running, you won’t be left with a split hollandaise!)  Keep the sauce warm.

4. Preheat the grill function in your oven to high. Fill a large oven-proof frying pan ( with water and bring to boil. Boil the asparagus for 1 minute and drain. Lay the asparagus on a clean tea towel to absorb the moisture. Wipe the pan clean and add the asparagus back in the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt. Slide the frying pan under the grill for about 8-10 minutes until they are nicely roasted. Keep an eye on them after 5 minutes though. Every oven is different.

5. Poach the eggs according to your method. Or watch this video  from 1:49.

6. To serve, place the asparagus on a plate, and place an egg on top. Drizzle with as much hollandaise you would like, and sprinkle some furikake on top, if using. (Note, by now the hollandaise might have cooled down. Just place the pan over simmering water again and whisk until the sauce has warmed and loosened up)

Lemongrass and Coconut Tempeh, Coleslaw in Peanut Dressing, and Coconut Brown Rice

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I have three new recipes for you today! Jackpot!

When I first saw a block of tempeh sitting next to tofu at an Asian grocer, I was put off by the way it looked. I vaguely see that there were some soybeans in the block, but the whole thing looked slightly rotten to me. (click here if you don’t know what tempeh looks like). I’ve never given a second thought about buying it until I started reading 101cookbooks.com. This wonderful blog was the first food blog that I started reading regularly and still do until this day. Tempeh showed up once in a while in her post and after a casual googling, I realized this block of off-looking soybeans was in fact a delicious food originating from Indonesia, and has spread to the western world as a healthy meat substitute. It’s fermented and therefore easier for your body to digest. It’s also full of vitamin B-6, iron, magnesium, and calcium. So after trying this recipe  from 101cookbooks, I was hooked. It’s meatier than tofu, and really delicious after being marinated and grilled. I know many people frown upon hearing the word “tofu” but this distant cousin, tempeh, my friends, is a whole different business.

After vaguely trying to plan a holiday to south-east Asia, I have created a marinade for tempeh that includes ingredients from there, and the result was absolutely delicious. Lightly coconut-y, spicy, and the addition of lemongrass and lime leaf made me want to teleport myself to the street food stalls in south-east Asia, although I imagine the food there would be a zillion times better than mine. 🙂 I paired the tempeh with coleslaw with peanut dressing that was inspired by the Gado-gado sauce from Indonesia, and coconut brown rice cooked with galangal and lime leaf. If you have never cooked with tempeh, give this a try. I swear you will be hooked like I did.

 

Lemongrass and Coconut Tempeh

Serves 2

250g tempeh, cut into triangles

1 lemongrass, 5cm from the root, the outer layer peeled, and the soft center part finely minced

1 lime leaf, finely minced

60ml coconut milk from a very well shaken can

1.5 tsp sambal olek or sriracha

1 Tbsp soy sauce

Juice of 1/2 lime

To fry, coconut oil or vegetable oil with high-smoking point.

To serve, a small handful coriander leaves

1. In a medium sized saucepan, bring water to boil. Add the tempeh and steam over medium heat for about 5 mins. This process eliminates the bitterness that might be present in some tempeh, and also it will make the tempeh absorb the marinade faster.

2. In a blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Drain the tempeh and transfer them to a large but shallow casserole dish. Pour the marinade over and coat well. Marinate for 1 hour. It can sit in the fridge for a couple more hours if you want to make ahead of time. Flip once or twice.

3. Heat the coconut oil or vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Lay the tempeh slices in one layer and fry for about 4 mins. Flip and wait for 3 minutes. Pour the remaining marinade and reduce to a thick sauce.

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Coleslaw with peanut-chili-coconut dressing

Serves 4-6 as a side

1/2 head small green cabbage, finely sliced

1/2 head small purple cabbage, finely sliced

3 spring onions, white and green parts, finely sliced

1 large carrot, julienned

1/2 large kohlrabi, julienned

1 bunch coriander, chopped

A small handful mint leaves, chopped

A handful roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

For the dressing,

2 Tbsp peanut butter

1.5 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbs coconut milk

1 thumbnail sized ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

2 small cloves garlic

1.5 tsp sambal olek or sriracha

1 lime, juice only

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp palm sugar or raw cane sugar

1. In a large bowl, mix the chopped and sliced vegetables.

2. To make the dressing, add all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Check the seasoning. The dressing at this stage should be a little salty. Not to worry, the vegetables will absorb some of the salt.

3. Toss the dressing and the vegetables thoroughly, preferably with hands.  Leave to rest for 30mins to 1 hour. Scatter the peanuts on the salad before serving.

Coconut Brown Rice with Lime Leaf and Galangal

Serves 2

1 cup short-grain brown rice

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup water

2 lime leaves

A thumb-nail sized galangal or ginger, sliced

1/2 tsp salt

To serve: Lime wedges

1. Wash the brown rice and soak, if possible, for 4-8 hours.

2. In a medium sized sauce pan, bring the rice and the rest of the ingredients to the boil and turn the heat down to low. Steam the rice for 35-45 mins, until tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the rice with fork.

 

 

Leipziger Wochenmarkt (Farmer’s market in Leipzig)

I started shopping at the open-air farmer’s market every week only 6 years ago. I’ve been there a couple of times before but I thought the market didn’t have stands directly from the local farmers. I wasn’t entirely wrong.  It’s not a pure farmer’s market in a sense, because about 60% of the stands are whole-sale. But I slowly discovered which stands are locally produced, and which stands were local and organic. From spring through early winter, my favorite days of the week are Tuesdays and Fridays when the market is open.  Last Friday, I bought ah-maaazing spring produce and thereby spending way too much money. The market haul includes fresh locally produced radishes, pink baby chard, baby mustard leaves, green asparagus, bunches of chard, portobello mushrooms, and yellow carrots. I also purchased broccoli rabe (cime di rape) from the Italian stand and a bunch of Italian purple sprouting broccoli (!!!) from the new organic stand. I was so excited to see the purple sprouting broccoli, I almost squealed. Anyways, here are photos of the stands I usually buy from. Enjoy!

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This stand has directly imported fruit and vegetables from Italy. I usually buy artichokes (above), broccoli rabe, dandelions, and sun-dried tomatoes here. The Italian guy who runs the stand is very friendly. Behind this stand, there is a cheese and charcuterie vendor also from the same guy. Highly recommended!

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This stand only sells button mushrooms and portobello mushrooms. Their products are from Thüringen, the neighbouring state next to Sachsen. This is the only stand where I can get large portobello mushrooms. The lady seller here is so jolly, it gets me into a really good mood after stopping by.

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This is a newcomer at the market. An all organic stand, with some products from whole sale, and some are from their own farm near Leipzig. Some products can be quite expensive but they have unusual vegetables like purple sprouting broccoli (yes, they are still foreign here). I’ll be on the watch for this stand.

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This organic stand from Halle is one of my favorites. All their products are from their farm. In late spring to autumn, they have amazing vegetables. I bought purple, orange, yellow, pink, and white carrots here. Around summer, there are at least 5 different kinds of absolutely delicious tomatoes (which I thought, were impossible to find in Germany). They had yellow beetroots (!) last autumn, after I begged them to grow a year ago. Also, you will find 3-4 different kinds of eggplants, 2-3 kinds of cucumbers, great salad leaves, oh and their pink apples are my favorite apples ever….and the list goes on. A must visit if you are on a look out for tastier and more interesting colored vegetables!

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One of my favorites. This is a demeter quality fruit and vegetable stand. Depending on the season, they sell 40-50% of their own produce from a farm in Baalsdorf, near Leipzig. They have delicious spinach, kale, and chard. I also love their tiny broccoli they have around June-July, possibly the best broccoli I’ve ever had. I like the herbs and salad leaves too. The lady seller here knows me well by now and saves me a bundle of coriander when they occasionally have them. 🙂

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Not the friendliest sellers but not too bad. On the bright side, they have  delicious local free-range eggs and egg noodles. I like to poach my eggs with these because they are much fresher than most organic eggs from biomarkt, and the egg yolks are soooo orange. Love them.

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Frau Müller, my favorite stand for fresh green and white asparagus!

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A local creamery, Mölkerei Bennewitz. They have fantastic hand-made butter, milk, cream, and buttermilk. I’m not so convinced with their cheese though. None-organic.

I hope this overview gave you some ideas about the market.  Go! What are you waiting for?  🙂 (Marktplatz, Innenstadt. Tuesdays&Fridays 9am-5pm).

Mango and Raspberry Clafoutis with Coconut

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I own many, many cookbooks. I love most of them and have fond memories cooking from the books, not only because the recipes are great but also they remind me of a particular time and space that I was in when I bought them or received them as gifts. The one and only cookbook I brought with me from Australia to Germany was Marie Claire Supper Cookbook by Jody Vassallo. It’s a tiny book with 36 easy and simple but very stylish recipes for suppers during the week. It was given to me by my friend Angelique as a graduation present. I cooked many meals from it in the beginning, although I have to say some ingredients were hard to come by in Germany 10 years ago. Australia is always a step or two ahead in the culinary world, mainly because of their incredible produce and the melting pot of immigrants in the country. And even though I ate my fare shares of cadbury chocolate frogs, frozen meat pies, (oops did I just say that?), greasy lemon chicken and etc, now I think back and I remember most people being genuinely interested in food. When I read these cookbooks from the 90s to early 2000, the recipes in those books I have photographed below, are still in sync with what we would see in food magazines and blogs today. I also own two Vogue Australia Entertaining cookbooks from 10-15 years ago and they are also just gorgeous; full of beautiful photographs and simple yet elegant multi-cultural and fusion recipes. I saw on buzzfeed a month ago, that the food Aussies miss the most is Asian food when they go overseas. I also miss going to the Adelaide Central Market and slurping on a big steaming bowl of spicy Laksa or a comforting bowl of Bibimbap from Sunmi’s. Mmmm…

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I guess I have come a long way. I live on more than fried eggs and instant noodles nowadays, Ange! Thanks!! 🙂

Anyways, enough of nostalgia for today. I have baked a dessert! It was slightly adapted from Table Australia. I just looked up but apparently this magazine hasn’t been printed for many years now. Clafoutis is a very classic french dessert that according to some articles, every housewife can whip up without a recipe. (correct me if I’m wrong!) This version is very unfrench, so I’m not sure if I should call it a “clafoutis” and thereby offend some die-hard french food connoisseurs, but the basic idea here is the same. You have some fruit, whip up a egg-y batter, bake, and eat warm. The addition of coconut milk, raspberries, mango, and lime gives this classic dessert a ring of change. I reduced the amount of sugar from the original recipe, swapped mango instead of pear, added some spice, lime, and desiccated coconut. I don’t know about you, but it reminded me a bit of warm Aussie sunshine. Enjoy! xo-A.

 

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Mango and Raspberry Clafoutis with Coconut

Slightly adapted from Table Australia Cakes, Biscuits and Puddings

Note: Make sure your coconut milk is very well shaken. The cream and the water should be well emulsified when you open the can. If not, run it through a blender quickly. And I don’t usually separate the eggs in clafoutis, but chocolate&zucchini’s cherry chestnut flour clafoutis gave me the tip. It turned out fluffier than usual. If you are too lazy, just blend the eggs (both white and yolk) into the batter.

Serves 4-6

1 medium-sized mango, peeled and flesh cut into cubes

250g frozen raspberries (no need to be thawed)

1 Tbsp Muscovado or brown sugar

1/2 Tbsp corn starch

1/4 tsp ground ginger

Juice of 1/2 lime

Zest of 1 lime

2 eggs, separated

70g raw cane sugar

50g all-purpose flour

20g unsweetened, dessicated coconut

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

200ml coconut milk from a very well shaken can

10 shredded mint leaves, to serve.

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Generously grease a 22 cm pie dish or any deep, medium sized oven-proof dish.  with butter.

2. Add the mango cubes and 2/3 of the raspberries in the pie dish. Sprinkle the brown sugar, lime juice, corn starch and ground ginger over the fruits and toss to mix. Set aside for 10 mins.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, coconut milk, flour, vanilla, sugar, desiccated coconut and lime zest until a smooth batter is formed.

4. In clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peak forms. Gently fold into the batter in two batches.

5. Pour the final batter over the fruits. Scatter the remaining raspberries on top of the batter and gently push into the batter.

6. Bake for 25-30 mins until the top is puffed and golden. Leave to rest for about 20 mins. Serve warm with some shredded mint leaves on top.

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Roasted Spring Vegetables with Za’atar

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Beautiful spring vegetables have finally arrived at the farmer’s market in Leipzig last friday. I bought my first bundle of green asparagus of this year from Frau Müller’s local vegetable stand, a bunch of crunchy pink radishes from the organic stand from a farm near Halle, and yellow and orange carrots from a new organic stand.  Frau Müller always has beautiful local green asparagus, unlike the other asparagus stands where they only sell the thick white ones. Most germans I know don’t seem to eat the green ones. At the beginning of May when the asparagus season really starts kicking off, I can usually get 3 bundles for 10 Euros from Frau Müller, because she says not many people are interested in them and she needs to get rid of them before she packs up to go home. When I first came to Germany, I had no idea that there were any white asparagus. And boy, do the germans go nuts over them. I have to say, they looked, ehem, strange to me. It was 7 years after I first set my foot in this country did I finally try the white ones. My boyfriend doesn’t cook (I’m not really sure what he ate before he met me?!) but one night after work, he told me to come over and try the white asparagus with potatoes. He just peeled and boil them in salted water, and served with steamed potatoes and butter. It was that simple, but I loved it! Since then I buy both when they come in season. I still prefer the green ones though. Simply because they look so much better on a plate, and they don’t need to be boiled for 20 minutes until soft. I love the crunchiness of somewhat undercooked green spears, or even raw in salads.

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In this dish I just created for lunch, green asparagus, radishes, carrots, and cauliflower florets are roasted with za’atar and olive oil. Za’atar is an aromatic middle eastern herb-spice blend I discovered when I went to Israel 6 years ago with my string quartet. I just received a fresh batch from my best friend who traveled to Israel a couple of months ago. They are certainly greener and tastier than the ones I still have from my trip (oops). I served the vegetables with a simple bulgur pilaf and dollops of lemony chive yogurt. You can eat them with just bread, or even flat breads with even more za’atar and olive oil.

Enjoy! xo-A.

Ps. My Saffron and garlic beans with wine-braised leeks made it to The Guardian Cook section last weekend. I’m stoked! 🙂

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Roasted Spring Vegetables with Za’atar, served with Bulgur Pilaf and Lemony Chive Yogurt Sauce

Note: Make sure you season the vegetables well with salt. And do not over-bake them! Leipzigers, you can buy Za’atar at the herb/spice store in the Königshaus Passage. And lastly, vegans can just sprinkle a little more lemon juice on the vegetables before serving instead of the yogurt sauce. Or use vegan yogurt if you like. 

Serves 3-4

For the vegetables,

1 bunch of pink radishes, trimmed and halved

400g green asparagus, sliced at 5 cm interval

6 young carrots, sliced biased, thin-ish

1/2 small head of cauliflower, broken or cut into small florets

6 small shallots, peeled and halved

3 tsp Za’atar, divided

Glugs of olive oil (didn’t measure. sorry!)

About 2.5 tsp salt, divided

1 tsp lemon juice

Bulgur Pilaf,

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 shallot, finely minced

1 tbsp tomato paste

150g medium bulgur

375m water

1 Tbsp chopped mint leaves

1.5 tsp cumin powder

Lemony chive yogurt,

125ml full-fat yogurt or greek yogurt

Zest of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp chives, finely chopped

Salt&Pepper

 

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius. In a large bowl, mix the cauliflower florets and shallots with 1 tsp za’atar, 3/4 tsp salt, and a glug of olive oil. Spread them out on a large baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper. Roast for 15 mins.

2. In the same large bowl, mix the rest of the vegetables with 2 tsp za’atar, 1.5-2 tsp salt, pepper, and a large glug of olive oil. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and spread out the vegetables. Roast for another 15 mins until the vegetables are just tender. Stir once or twice in between. Once they are out of the oven, sprinkle them with some lemon juice and combine. Check the seasoning.

3. Meanwhile, make the bulgur pilaf. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a medium sized saucepan. Sautee the minced garlic and shallot for 4 mins until soft.

4. Add the tomato paste, stir around for 10 seconds or so. Add the bulgur and toast for 30 seconds. Add the water, bring to boil, and turn the heat down to very low. Simmer for 8-10 mins with the lid on, until the bulgur has become tender and absorbed all the liquid.

5. Take off the lid, and add the mint leaves and cumin. Check the seasoning.

6. To make the yogurt sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Lightly salt the sauce.

7. To serve, scoop out some of the bulgur pilaf, and the vegetables on top. Serve the yogurt sauce on the side, or in dollops over the vegetables.