Month: September 2013

Happy plum overkill

From sweet cakes to spicy chutneys – Three ways of turning plums into deliciousness

Plums are taking over my kitchen. Thanks to my dad’s amazing gardening skills, I ended up with a bucket load of them.

Plums, anyone?

Plums, anyone?

As I can’t eat all that plum before it gets bad, I had to find some ways of preservation again. My dad came up with the first one. He sent me this yummy recipe for a yellow plum cake. I translated it into English for you. This is what you need:

750 g of flour

500 g of yoghurt (soy yoghurt works, too)

75 g of sugar for the dough

1-2 TS for the plum mash

a few drops of vegetable oil (sunflower for example)

two packets of dry yeast

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

juice of half a squeezed lemon

2 kg of yellow plums (purple plums work as well)

a pinch of salt

optional: 2-3 TS of apple juice

Mix flour, sugar, yeast and salt with a spoon. Then use your hands and knead the dough with your hands. Cover a baking tray with flour and roll the dough out on it. Then use a fork and put a few holes in it and let everything rest for about an hour.

pics: courtesy of my dad

pics: courtesy of my dad

In the meantime you can wash the plums, remove the stones and cut them in half. Once the dough got enough rest, you can put about 3/4 of the plum halves on it. Mix the other quarter with cinnamon, sugar and add some apple juice if you want to. Then put everything in a preheated oven (175 degrees celsius) on the middle rack and take it out after 25 min. And this it the pretty-looking result:

yellow plum cake

yellow plum cake

I love cake, but it’s just one of the things you can’t shouldn’t eat everyday. So I used some of my dad’s purple plums to make chutney and jam. The plum jam recipe doesn’t need any more explanation and is very similar to my drunken plum jam recipe:

I washed the plums, removed the stones and cut them in halves. For 2 kg of plums I used 1 kg of jam sugar (that always depends on the brand, check the label for that) and blended everything until the plums turned into a soft mash. Then I boiled the mash for about 3 minutes, added a TS of sugar and vanilla and filled everything in glass jars (re-use old jars!). Done!

Plum jam

Plum jam

As there is only so much jam my friends and I can eat, I had to find an alternative way of preservation. So I ended up making plum chutney. I used this German recipe for inspiration (Here’s a yummy English recipe), replaced the shallots with red onions and added some pimento, cloves (make sure you take them out before you fill the chutney in glasses) and a dried chilli. Then I filled up my old glass jars with the chutney. I used it as a party dip the same week.

Plum chutney

Got any other ideas what to do with plums? If you do, let me know and post a link in the comment section!

Save the herbs!

Preserving herbs or how I decided to make my own herbal oil

It’s getting colder and a lot of my herbs would be about to die if I left them outside on my balcony. As I don’t have the space to take all of them inside, I started to freeze some of them. The problem is that my freezer isn’t big enough to put all of my herbs in there. So I had to come up with a new plan – and once again my dad inspired my. He just puts rosemary, garlic and oregano in an ordinary olive oil bottle and uses it as his own, unique herbal oil. He’s been doing that for ages.

I decided to go for the deluxe version and re-use some of the prettiest bottles I had at home. I turned one into a herbal oil bottle and using all kinds of herbs from my balcony, pepper corns and garlic. For the second bottle (forgot to take a picture of that…) I used a handful of chilli – it’s gonna be a spice explosion! Together with a bit of fleur de sel (put in a tiny jam jar) it made a great birthday gift for some of my friends. Making your own herbal oil is a great way of preserving herbs, re-using bottles and surprising someone with a unique gift from your kitchen. So what are you waiting for, save your herbs!

homemade herbal oil

homemade herbal oil

The tale of a smashing pumpkin (curry)

Spicy Hokkaido pumpkin curry with sweet potato and chickpeas – A project inspired by Leckerbox’s MittwochsBox #27

wpid-Kuerbis-2013-09-19-07-003

Question of the season: What looks great on your window ledge and in a curry? Obviously pumpkin! Ever since I discovered my love for this vegetable, I’ve been trying to find new ways of cooking with it. As I happened to feel like having some Indian curry today, I decided to combine my to foodie passions: Making curry and cooking with pumpkins. It’s a quick, easy recipe that doesn’t require much attention and it’s almost plastic free. So here’s what I used (the recipe serves 4):

1/2 Hokkaido pumpkin

1 small sweet potato

1 red onion

1 clove of garlic

1 tsp of fresh ginger

1 chilli

4-5 big tomatoes (alternatively jarred tomatoes)

1 jar of pre-cooked chickpeas (from the Turkish supermarket)

2 TS of peanut oil

100 – 200 ml of water (depends on how thick you want your curry)

1 tsp of cumin

1/2 tsp of green cardamom seeds

1/2 tsp of brown cardamom seeds

1 tsp of cloves

1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp of curry powder

salt

black pepper

the juice of 1/2 lemon

a handful of fresh coriander

a bit of soy yoghurt

Pumpkin

First I peeled the sweet potato and the pumpkin. Then I chopped them into cubes and cut garlic, ginger, onion and chilli finely. I chopped the tomatoes into cubes and mashed them up with a blender so that I got a kind of tomato puree (Don’t blend it too much). I heated up the peanut oil in a big pot, added the garlic, ginger, onion and chilli and stirred it for a few seconds. After that I added the spices, the pumpkin and the sweet potato cubes and mixed it together for about a minute. Then I poured the tomato over it, added a bit of water (optional, if you like your curry thicker you don’t need that) and let everything boil on low heat for about 20 min. until the pumpkin and the sweet potato are cooked (This depends a bit on the size of the cubes). At the end I added the pre-cooked chickpeas, added the lemon juice and the fresh coriander and served the curry with soy yoghurt.

Pumpkin curry1Pumpkin curry2

When I’m at home I like to serve my currys on naan bread (pita bread works well, too) or on Pappadams as a little snack. It makes a great office lunch the next day and it still tastes very yummy even if you don’t have a microwave at work and have to eat it cold. Put it in a container (if you don’t have one you can always recycle an old ice cream container or use an empty glass jar), take a bit of bread with you and make your colleagues jealous 🙂

Pumpkin curry to go

Pumpkin curry to go

Recycling and giving

How “Pfandgeben” combines two awesome ideas

What do most Germans have in common? The answer is a balcony, a cellar or a larder full of empty bottles. As you get a refund on these bottles that varies from 8 to 50 cent (for plastic bottles and cans it’s 25 cents) most people tend to accumulate quite a lot of them before they get rid of them eventually. So just like every other German I usually go to the supermarket once or twice a month to get my two or three euros worth of refund (Mind you, I might not be the biggest consumer of bottled drinks, so don’t take this amount as the average).

my collection of empty bottles

my collection of empty bottles

This money is something I never really calculate with, it’s something I feel like I wouldn’t necessary need to survive, I just want to get rid of them and recycle them properly. Yet there are a lot of poor people who dig through rubbish bins and search the streets for bottles. So this is where the idea of “Pfandgeben” (loosely translated: “giving refund”) starts.

The initiative brings people who want to get rid of their bottles and “bottle collectors” together in an extremely uncomplicated way. On their website you can just choose your location and you immediately get the phone numbers of bottle collectors in your area. You can then call them up or text them and agree on a place for the empty bottles to be picked up. And you can even rate your experience. That’s all you’ve got to do. You get to recycle your bottles and other people get a bit of the money you don’t really need. Easy.

I haven’t tried “Pfandgeben” yet, I just discovered it and couldn’t wait to share this with you. So far I can only say that I’m amazed by the idea. I will definitely give it a try and tell you about my experience. So save your bottles and spread the idea!

Five documentaries you should check out

Another project inspired by Ohhh…Mhhh…’s Frage-Foto-Freitag (question-photo-Friday -> read more about how it works here)

The parks are deserted, the beergardens are closing and it’s undoubtedly getting colder outside – at least on this side of the world. We all know: There’s no better place to spend a rainy day than on the couch watching crap. Good news: You can still keep your brain working – by watching some of these really kick-ass, mind-blowing, eye-opening documentaries. I have watched all of the following movies except the first and I will definitely watch them again this fall. And so should you. They’re worth it. I hope. See for yourself, these are the documentaries that make me talk like madwoman. I tried to use pictures to represent them following the “Frage-Foto-Freitag’s” guidelines.

Bottled Life – Telling you all about the business behind bottled water

Bottled Life

Plastic Planet – One of the reasons why I started ingloriousplastics. You can watch (in German) it on the website of ZDF Mediathek.

Ingloriousplastics

Taste the Waste – An inspiring movie that makes you think about what we throw away

Taste the WasteFood Inc. – Makes you wonder what you eat everyday

Food Inc.

Forks over Knives – Makes you think about the above mentioned once again

Forks over knives

So what’s your opinion? Anything missing on my list? Let me know, would love to find out more!