Tag Archive | Healthy food

QUARK – GLORIOUS QUARK !

…….and my today’s Lunch!

Quark-1

You who have visited Germany no doubt will have come across this delicious, super healthy and versatile cheese at most breakfast tables in their Hotel or/and in private homes.

As a born German I simply cannot, for the heck of it, imagine sitting down for breakfast and not finding a bowl of this cheese waiting to be lavishly spread on my preferably “Vollkornbrot” (whole grain bread), Pumpernickel, or toast, with just salt and pepper added or mixed with chopped fresh herbs or simply topped with a slice of tomato.

Quark to me (my family and friends) is quite obviously what the potato is to the Irish!

And when I lived in those faraway lands and also in England I missed my daily dosage of Quark, never of course even thinking of making it myself at home. Come to think of it, I actually knew not a single person who made this in their own home; it was always readily available in most shops and at a pretty low price, too.
So, living here now again I found that Quark was not available and only with the opening of India’s largest Hypermarket near us just over a year ago, did I find out to my delight, that a certain world famous creamcheese (imported, of course) was occasionally available – but……… at a price!!!

So a quick telephone call to one of my close friends in Germany and hey presto – her recipe for making my own Quark at home came flying into my email account. And as you will see, it is sooooo dead easy to make, that I got a bit annoyed with myself for not having made this all those years ago. But then, as the saying goes “…one is never too old to learn new tricks...”

Surely you can understand my amazement when subsequently I googled “Quark” and found that now, only a couple of years or so ago, a company in the UK started producing Quark and from a sheer commercial point of view they never looked back.

So, for all of you, who are not suffering from a dairy intolerance or are vegans, here is the recipe I make now for the past year in my kitchen on average once a week.

I not only use Quark for cooking (often instead of cream), baking (use it to make your favourite cheese cake), I often eat it just on its own mixed just with delicious fresh herbs (if and when I can get them), mixed with fresh fruit like kiwi, apple, grapes etc, on bread/toast and/or water biscuits or the typical German way, just some boiled potatoes (Pellkartoffeln), and a salad on the side or a filling of a baked potato mixed with a chopped hardboiled egg for example. There are 1001 and more ways in which to consume this, so I suggest, just let your imagination run wild – go ahead, try out anything!!! It is soooo good, healthy and slimming, too. After all on average you will find that in 100 grams, it has just 0.2 grams of fat. So in short, it is a healthier alternative to many cheeses and yoghurts.

Here are just a few ideas how to eat Quark – the sky is the limit, as the saying goes. Just experiment.

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As you see in my photograph below, I use 4 pouches of milk and later, after boiling, I add 1 pouch of Curd. A couple of days later I have a yield of app ½ kg plus of beautiful Quark.

And regarding cost? It is so very low cost, (app GBP = 1.101, USD = 1.48, Austr. Dollar = 1.935) that I believe you too will rush into your kitchen and start making QUARK – GLORIOUS QUARK!!!

What you will need!

4 x pouches of milk (500 ml each)
1 x pouch of curd
Large pot, cheese cloth, large spoon and large bowl, 1 scissor

Quark-2

How I make my QUARK – GLORIOUS QUARK

1) Empty 4 x pouches of milk into a large pot.
2) Put on flame and WHILST WATCHING bring this milk to just boil.
3) Switch off and let cool down (since I live in a tropical country I switch on my fan in the kitchen to cool milk down quickly)
4) Once cool enough add 1 pouch of Curd, stir, cover and keep aside overnight (I normally make this late morning)

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5) Next morning, dampen your cheesecloth, line a colander and carefully pour your milk with curd into this

And then knot cloth, cover with heavy lid, and keep inside fridge once more overnight!

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After that discard of whey (some people might want to use this – I do not!), open your cloth and transfer Quark into a smaller bowl (with lid) and keep in fridge – ready to be used!

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And now tada tada once again – this is it – ready!!

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Enjoy …. und Guten Appetit!

Carina xx

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Kerala Style “Pachadi”

1 Cooking-Today
( ….. and how to beat the heat!)

No doubt about it, summer is here; the days are still getting hotter and I am dreaming (yes, it has to be a dream for now!) of a dip into the clear cool waters of the Sea or if that’s not possible, at least into a swimming pool.

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And everywhere I go; people keep talking about the heat and how they long for June when the Monsoon is due to arrive here in our State, bringing the long-awaited rain and coolness.

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But to be more realistic for now I have to just be contend with a good working air conditioner (set to near ‘freezing’) hoping as usual that there will be not another powercut and a nice big bowl of delicious Sambar Cucumber (Vellarikka) Pachadi.

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What is this, you who never had this, might ask. To put it simply: lightly boiled yellow/green striped Cucumber mixed with tasty (sour) Yoghurt (Curd) and only a very few spices. And it is made literally in a jiffy – JS and I always have a jar of this ready in our fridge especially now during this hot season.
Pachadi is not only sooo very cooling, but healthy, too. I can easily give you a long list of health benefits using this vegetable, from keeping you obviously hydrated – after all a cucumber is 96 % water!

Cucumbers help to relieve stress, since they are extremely rich in Vitamins B and for Energy lavishes you with Vitamins A, B and C which give you energy and keep you looking radiant.

Of course for all of us with find we have those dreaded “bags-under- the-eyes” – from sitting much too long at the computer staring at our screen and thereby straining our eyes far too much, the age-old remedy of putting a slice of cool cucumber on your eyes whilst resting, really works!!!!

Cucumbers are a wonderful aid in weight loss – and don’t we love our healthy salads with plenty of this vegetable?

Cucumbers contain Erepsin, which is an enzyme that helps in protein digestion and also supplies your body with skin-friendly minerals like magnesium, potassium, silicon. This is maybe one of the reasons why Spa’s use plenty of cucumber based treatments.

The list is “endless” – it is even said, that to cope with the dreadful hangover the morning after it is advisable to eat a cucumber before going to bed!?
I suggest that you make double the amount of Pachadi since you will find that this dish is quite Moorish and you will want more and more.

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Follow my guiding steps – it’s easy:

1. Peel skin of a Vellarikka, cut in half lengthwise, discard seeds with the help of a small spoon and then cut into cubes. Wash and cook the cucumber with just a little water, salt and some curry leaves for appr. 10 minutes or until they are soft, but don’t overcook them, since a little ‘bite’ is just nice. Keep aside.

2. Now in your Mixy grind ½ cup of grated coconut, 3 green chillies, ½ tsp of mustard seeds and 4-5 peeled pearl onions (Ullis) to a fine paste using maybe a little bit of yoghurt (Curd) or water. Keep aside.

3. Take a Wok (or any other deep pan) and on low heat gently fry the coconut- etc. paste, for appr. 5 minutes, stirring all the time.

4. When done, remove from heat and let it cool down (I switch on my ceiling fan for this to speed things up).

5. Take 1.5 to 2 cups of Yoghurt (Curd), add to a bowl with ¾ cup of water and with a small whisk ‘beat’ the yoghurt until nice and smooth.

6. Now mix all his with your cooked cucumber and gently stir. Check on salt.

7. In a small pan heat not more than 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil, add ¾ tsp of mustard seeds and let them splutter (avoid your eyes – the seeds are like dangerous little ‘bullets’ and can hurt); 1/3 tsp of Fenugreek seeds and then add 2-3 red dried chillies (stalk removed and halved) and some curry leaves, stir only for a few seconds and finally pour all this over the Pachadi.

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That’s it, dear friends. I do so hope that you enjoy this as much as we do.

Carina