Forging Paneer

Simmered Kashmiri Paneer

forgingfromageSome time ago, I clicked on a little badge on Natasha's blog (see, men are visual creatures ;) ) and discovered forging fromage, an informal meeting place for home cheese makers. This seemed to be a logical step to take the fun of bread making to the next level. The Cheese Challenge for February was to make Paneer from scratch, which was very easy and straightforward. I put the paneer into a soup plate to prevent flooding the fridge during the overnight rest, but the paneer just firmed up without rendering a drop of whey.
The finished paneer will hold it's shape through the fry and simmer to make a spicy kashmiri dish which goes well with some basmati rice.

Weighing down the paneer with a milk carton

Homemade Paneer

Simmered Kashmiri Paneer

Source: Mangoes and Curry Leaves by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid


2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, or substitute 3 cups crushed good-quality canned tomatoes
about 1 pound paneer
about 2/3 cup ghee, peanut or safflower oil,or raw sesame oil for frying
1/2 cup minced garlic, or garlic mashed to a paste
3 Tbsp minced ginger , or ginger mashed to a paste
3 cups chopped onions (1/2-inch dice)
3 to 4 cups water
2 Tbsp minced seeded green cayenne chile
3 brown cardamon pods, smashed, or substitute 5 green cardamon pods, smashed
2 cloves (optional)
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 to 1 tsp Spanish pimentón or 1/2 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste


If using fresh tomatoes, peel the tomatoes and remove and discard the cores. Crush the tomatoes between your fingers into a bowl and set aside. Slice the paneer into rectangles 1/2 inch thick and about 1 by 2 inches, and set aside. Fill a wide heavy skillet or wokwith just over 1/4 inch ghee or oil. Heat over medium-low heat, then add only as many paneer slices as will fit in the pan without overlapping and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Lift out, letting the oil drain off, and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining paneer.

Measure out 1/3 cup ghee or oil from the pan and pour into a large heavy-bottomed nonreactive saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, then add the garlic and ginger, lower the heat to medium, and stir-fry for about a minute. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and pale honey in colour but not caramelized to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir in, then add 3 cups water. The mixture should be very liquid; if not add some more water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the green chile, cardamon, cloves, if using, turmeric, pimentón or cayenne, and salt. Lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. You may have to lower the heat a little more halfway thourhg the cooking as the mixture thickens.

Add the paneer to the sauce and simmer for another 45 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.


Source: forging fromage
Original Source: 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes


4 quarts whole milk
4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, approx.


- Sterilize all equipment. In a large stainless-steel pot over low heat, slowly bring milk to a boil, stirring gently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

- Add lemon juice. Stir for 5 minutes or until milk begins to curdle and the solids rise to the top. If it does not curdle, add another 2 tbsp lemon juice and continue stirring.

- Pour contents of pot into a cloth-lined colander. Let curds drain. Rinse curds with cold running water, then twist them in the cloth to remove as much of the water as possible.

- Twist the cloth tightly around the cheese and place on a plate. Cover with another plate and place a 2-lb. (1 kg) weight on top. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

- Unwrap cheese and place in a small bowl. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Herbs and Greens Egg Pie

Herbs and Greens Egg Pie

Blazing Hot WokThis egg pie relies on the current workhorse of my kitchen, the winter leek. I made half the recipe given below using only leeks and no spinach. The pie turned out delicious due to all those herbs. I guess the flour is supposed to soak up some of the water rendered by the greens, as my pie was a bit soggy in the bottom maybe a little more flour is necessary.

I'm submitting this dish to the current "Middle East"-edition of Regional Recipes, which has found a new host and home in Joanne from Eats Well With Others.

Herbs and Greens Egg Pie

koukouye sabzi - Iran

Source: Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid


1 cup finely chopped well-washed leeks
1 cup spinach leaves, washed, stemmed and shredded*
1/2 cup shredded leaf lettuce
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped flat-leafed parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander*
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
8 large eggs
1/2 cup walnut pieces, finely chopped*
2 tsp unbleached hard white flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp baking soda (optional)
2 Tbsp plain yoghurt (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
coarsly ground balck pepper
1 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil

* Omitted.


Preheat the oven to 325°F.
In a large bowl, mix together all the chopped vegetables and herbs.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs well. Stir in the walnuts. Place the flour in a small bowl, add the water, and blend to a paste. Stir the paste into the beaten eggs, then stir in the optional baking soda and yoghurt. Add salt and pepper to taste, and pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and herbs. Blend well.
Heat a 9- or 10-inch ovenproof skillet or an 8-inch square baking pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan with oil. Remove from the heat and immediately pour in the egg mixture. Bake in the upper third of the oven until golden brown on top and the eggs are set, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with plenty of fresh bread.




The Bread Baking Babes wanted to meet the slowly approaching spring halfway and made a bread from Spain, chosen by Baking Soda from Bake My Day!
As the dough was supposed to be sticky, I didn't use my hands but kneaded it with a plastic spoon which worked pretty well. The finished ensaïmadas turned out light and fluffy with a pleasant yeasty smell. Still warm and slathered with some plum jam they made a perfect Sunday afternoon snack.

I'm sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.

Source: Delicious Days
Inspiration: küchengötter.de

Ingredients (yields about 10 Ensaimadas):

500g all-purpose flour (plus additional as needed)
75 g sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
40 g fresh yeast (= 1 cube)
200-250 ml lukewarm milk
2 eggs (M)
2 Tbsp olive oil
150 g soft pork lard, bacon grease, or softened butter
powdered sugar for dusting

Add the flour together with sugar and salt into a large bowl and mix well. Make a hollow in the center, add the crumbled yeast as well as a decent pinch of sugar and pour over just enough of the lukewarm milk until the yeast is covered. Stir the yeast milk once or twice, then cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rest for about 15 minutes or until the surface of the yeast milk looks bubbly.

Add the other ingredients (the remaining milk, eggs,olive oil ) and knead well, either by hand or with your kitchen machine until the dough comes together nicely. Let the covered bowl rest again in a warm place for at least 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled.

Punch it down softly, then flip the dough onto a well-floured surface and sprinkle with flour. Cut into about 10 equally sized portions and form into neat little balls, before letting them rest – sprinkled with flour, covered with a kitchen towel – once more for at least 30 minutes.

Shaping the Ensaimadas: Flatten one doughball, then roll out with a rolling pin (use flour as needed) until you get a pretty thin dough circle and brush it generously with the softened pork lard (or bacon grease or softened butter). Roll up cautiously, then let rest for a couple of minutes and continue with the other dough balls. (Meanwhile line the baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone mats.)
Coil up each dough piece until it resembles the house of a snail (tuck the outer end under), ideally very loosely, because any spaces will fill up as the dough rises further. Place about five Ensaimadas on one baking sheet, making sure to leave enough space between them. Lightly brush with lard and cover up again.

The final rise is supposed to last overnight, but do as you like.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (~390° Fahrenheit) and bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden brown. Take out and let them cool down on a wire rack for a couple of minutes, then generously dust with powdered sugar (leave the bacon grease ones plain) and enjoy while still warm.


beet soup with feta

beet soup with feta

Days are getting slightly longer but still it's definitely soup time. This little beet soup will certainly see you through the end of the cold season. Even though it was puréed, the soup was not completely smooth, like a creamed soup, but still had little bits of beet in them, which gave it some crunchy bite. The best part are the slightly salty feta bits, which get a smooth texture from warming through in the soup without melting away.

beet soup with feta

Source: The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall


3 to 4 medium (apple-sized) beets (1 to 1 1/4 pounds total)
1 Tbsp olive or sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups good strong stock (beef is best, but chicken or vegetable will do)
1/2 recipe Roast Tomato Sauce *
3/4 cup (4 ounces) crumbled real (i.e. Greek, not Danish) feta cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

* Used one can of diced tomatoes.


Peel the beets and grate them coarsly, or chop them into small dice. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion in it for a few minutes, until soft. Add the beets and stock and bring to a boil. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then simmer gently for 7 to 10 minutes, until the beets are tender. Stir in the tomato sauce, transfer the soup to a blender* and process until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Reheat the soup until thoroughly hot but not boiling. Divide between warm bowls and sprinkle over the feta cheese, then serve with crusty bread.

* Used an immersion blender.


Lemon-Poppyseed Cake

Lemon-Poppyseed Cake

For some reason, February seems to make me crave poppyseed cake. Maybe it's the anticipation of spring or vitamin D-depletion. Whatever the cause may be, poppyseed cake satisfies the craving. And if one cake should be not enough, here is the one from last year.

1-2-3 Poppyseed Cake

Source: Delicious Days by Nicole Stich


250 g butter
5 eggs
75 g creme fraiche
200 g sugar
1 lemon
100 g poppyseed
200 g flour
2 Tbsp baking soda


For an optimal result, all ingredients should be at room temperature. Preheat oven to 180 °C. Butter and flour the cake pan. Using an electric mixer, whisk together butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, keep whisking. Zest the lemon into the bowl with the dough. Add creme fraiche and poppyseed and whisk in. Add flour and baking soda and whisk in.
Transfer dough into the cake pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then flip the cake from the pan. Let cool completely, then sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.


Washoku Warriors - Comfort Food

Miso Ramen

During the cold time of the year everyone needs a little comfort and why not getting it from some lovely food. The Washoku Warriors could choose between (or decide to make both of) a miso-enriched noodle soup and beef burgers.

Originally, I had intended to make the burgers with some sandwich bread which Rachael had posted about, but due to some sudden re-scheduling of weekend activities, I went for the noodle soup instead.

To extend the comfort in comfort food to the preparation, I substituted two smallish winter leeks for the scallions, used mie noodles instead of ramen (because I had, or rather didn't) and some dried shitake mushrooms for the fresh ones. For the dried sardines, which I was totally unable to find (same goes for katsuo bushi), I used some bonito-flavoured seasoning.

The finished soup was light but still hearty in taste. Comfort was achieved. :)

Bonito Seasoning and
(according to the first two red characters in the lower left)


Tuna Pasta

Tuna Pasta

While clearing out some cupboards, I found two cans of tuna which needed to be used up. (Probably I bought those about two years ago, even before I moved to the flat where I currently live. Can't remember for what reason. :) ) So, after two years without any tuna in my life, I just wanted to use them up gracefully without any need for immediate restocking. But then I found this recipe where the tuna is simmered in a tomato sugo and then paired up with some fresh basil into a really flavourful combination.
If it were just for the recipe I would buy some more tuna tomorrow, but I think I need to do some reading up about sustainable fishery, MSC etc. first.

Tuna Pasta

Source: Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver


olive oil
1 red onion
1-2 fresh red chilis, deseeded and minced
1 leveled tsp ground cinnamon
1 bunch basil, pluck the leaves, mince the stems
2 cans (400 g each) good quality tomatoes
600 g tuna in oil, drained and pulled
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
500g rigatoni or penne pasta
zest and juice of 1-2 lemon(s)
a small handful freshly grated parmesan


In a pan with a heavy bottom heat some olive oil and gently fry the onion, chili, cinnamon and basil stalks on medium-low heat. When the onion turns soft after about 5 minutes, increase the temperature and add the tomatoes and the tuna. Season with salt and mash the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Bring to the boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Roughly chop up the basil leaves. Drain the pasta and reserve some of the cooking water. Add pasta, basil leaves, a bit of olive oil, lemon zest and juice and the parmesan to the sauce and mix well. If necessary add some cooking water to loosen up the pasta.


Chocolate Mousse Bombes

Chocolate Mousse Bombes

A recent birthday party provided an excuse to make these chocolate mousse bombes by Jen from use real butter. They consist of a chocolate shell filled with chocolate mousse, which is placed on a chocolate chiffon cake base. The shells are prepared by coating half-globe silicon molds with molten chocolate, then adding the mouse, some chilling (I put the shells in the fridge due to lack of space in the freezer) and finally flipping over. It's easiest to start the flipping over from two diametrically opposed points as this seems to distribute the mechanical stress on the shell most evenly.

In the original recipe some raspberries are placed into the mousse. I had some frozen ones at hand but found that the shells were to shallow to accomodate them. (I used 4 cm silicone molds and a 6 cm ring mold for cutting out the cake) The bombes turned out rich and chocolaty (well, how couldn't they :) ) and received favourable remarks.

I spread the chiffon dough on a baking sheet with parchment paper which worked all right. The cake on the next picture comes from the middle of the baking sheet (yielding a higher cake base than the one on the first picture, which was cut closer to the edge) and the shells are slightly cracked, so you get a sneak peak of the chocolate mousse.

Chocolate Mousse Bombes, cracked