Tag Archive | Memories

Dora’s Moqueca Prawn Stew

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The Olympic Games are still in full swing in Rio – and by now many of us will have already “square eyes” for watching too much television at unusual and peculiar hours!!!

Rio – Brazil – Moqueca – all this and much more is taking me on a wonderful ‘memory-into-my-past’ journey all the way back again to my years in Trinidad/W.I.

I tasted Moqueca for the very first time in the house of the then Brazilian Ambassador to Trinidad & Tobago and immediately ‘fell in love’ with this dish (loving prawns of course as I do). From then on I spent many many happy hours in her Residence down by the Sea, listening to beautiful soft samba music and listening to her talking to me about this and that in her charming deep voice. She had no children and I think in a way very shortly after my arrival on the Islands I became a sort of substitute child to her – and I had no objection, in fact loving every moment of this. She became my close trusted friend – my mentor on this, sometimes difficult, diplomatic parquet and I could not have wished for a better and sweeter one. But sadly due to illness she had to leave this earth far too early – but certainly never my gratitude nor my fond memories. So Dora, the posting of this ‘your’ Moqueca is for you. Obrigado!!

I am talking here about Ambassador Dora Alencar Vasconcellos – who was already a very well-known Poet in her own country before she accepted this diplomatic post and one of her most famous poems “Canção do Amor” (Love song) was set to music by Heitor Villa-Lobos.

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To make this Moqueca like in my pictures you will need:
½ kg prawns, cleaned and deveined

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½ x of large capsicum, cut into “matchsticks”
½ x of large green capsicum, cut into “matchsticks”
½ x of large yellow capsicum, cut into “matchsticks”
5 x garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 x medium sized onions, finely chopped
2 x large tomatoes, deseeded and cut into “matchsticks

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½ x cup of coconut milk, medium thickness
2-3 x good splashes of Fish Sauce
100 ml oil, more or less (I used Coconut oil here)
Some fresh lime/lemon juice,
¾ x Tbsp of red chilli flakes (we always use a bit more!)
A pinch of salt and paprika- (or chilli-) powder
1 good fish/prawn stock cube (Knorr is good) or fresh stock if you have it ready
Generous amount of fresh coriander, finely chopped

How to cook this:
At least a couple of hours before you start cooking start marinating the prawns.

Into a bowl add 3-4 Tbsp of lime/lemon juice, a pinch of salt, a pinch of paprika (or chilli) powder – optional – and the sliced garlic. Mix all this (best with your clean hands), cover and keep in fridge until needed.

Take Wok, using medium heat, add oil, onions and fry for a few minutes, and follow this with all your capsicum/sweet peppers, tomatoes,

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pinch of salt

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and all your chilli flakes. Mix gently and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Now taste this; your vegetables should not be mushy but just a little bit ‘undercooked’ still. Add coconut milk, stir, reduce heat to simmer!!, cover and cook maybe for another 10 minutes, not more.

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Keep checking on vegetables and spices. Take all your prawns with the marinate and add this to the wok.

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Check – you might need some more lemon/lime juice at this stage. When prawns turn pink check once again. Your Moqueca should be done by now. Sprinkle a very generous amount of fresh coriander of your dish before serving.

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Fluffy Basmati rice is best with this. Dora gave me a tip: add a couple Tbsp (or a cube) of prawns/fish stock to the boiling rice – this gives the rice a very subtle flavour.

Note: The beauty of this dish is, that you just add more of the above mentioned vegetables and prawns – and also add some nice firm fish cubes (no bones!) – a real feast – trust me!

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Bom apetite – Guten Appetit – Enjoy your meal!

For you who wish to listen to some more Brazilian music here is a special link:


the famous Astrud Gilberto with Stan Getz with her most popular song “The Girl from Ipanema” – surely there are a number of you who still remember this song!!!

Carina

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“Falscher Hase” – or, a meatloaf by any other name

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This is not a dish you often find on the menu card of restaurants in Germany or in other countries. It was known in Germany just after the war as “the poor man’s Sunday roast” – then later it ended up on many of Buffet tables at parties as part of “the spread”, only to fade over the following years slightly into the background – but never ever disappeared completely.

This happened in our house, too – up to now!

My mother used to make “Falscher Hase” (Imitation Hare) when I was little, but I never got the original recipe from her, I had to make it up from memory.

Then, when in my ‘previous life’ we lived in Trinidad + Tobago/W.I. and I had to really learn to cook good food fit for entertaining in our own Residence, it was the wife of the then American Ambassador, herself a superb cook, who taught me to make her kind of meat loaf, which I then adapted to our own personal taste.

I started, originally just as an experiment, a monthly get-together for some of us wives of Ambassadors (and/or their No 2!) and High Commissioners where we only served a typical dish of our home country – a family dish! really – and not something we would serve our official guests. To my surprise, it became a huge huge success. And every time our own British High Commissioner and his wife had to give a big buffet reception, (it was their custom to get each of the wives of our own Mission to contribute a special dish to their buffet table) I was asked (or shall I say correctly “ordered”) to make at least half a dozen of my meat loafs, of which nearly always 2 wandered into their own personal deep freezer for future use. As it turned out that the ones with plenty of garlic and hotness were the High Commissioners personal favourites – a nice compliment, really.

But, over the following years, I somehow stopped making this dish. Did we grow tired of the taste, or what. I really do not know.

And then, only the other day, my friend Heidi in Berlin mentioned “Falscher Hase” in her email and I developed this near urge to seek out my old recipe and make one for JS; so off we went shopping (again!) for the items needed and not readily available in our kitchen at that time and so, here is the result of my first “Falscher Hase” in Kerala.

I like to point out again; as always I give the details for the dish we actually have on our own table – cooked to our own personal taste. Feel free therefore to adjust any measurements and ingredients to your liking.

For this dish there are most likely as many recipes as there are families. It is an ideal dish for which to use your imagination in regards of ingredients, spices, herbs, etc. etc. Feel free to experiment – I do; quite often.

Oh – and one more thing I have to mention – we never used a hardboiled egg inside the meat, but served halved hard boiled eggs on the side at buffets, for those guests who loved their eggs.

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For the Pyrex dish in the photograph I used:

Ingredients

750 g Mincemeat (I could only get Buffalo that day)
2 slices of stale bread, soaked in broth (from a Knorr cube) and squeezed out
1 leek (white only, very finely cut into rings)
10 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
10 green olives, chopped
3 Tbsp good tomato ketchup
2.5 tsp of Mustard (readymade)
1.5 Tbsp of Lingham’s Hot Chilli Sauce (optional)
Fair amount of chopped parsley
Fair amount of chopped chives
Pepper and ‘black salt
1.2 Tbsp Paprika powder
1 whole egg
½ cup of stock cube broth

Method

Make broth, soak the bread, squeeze out and keep aside.
Pre-heat your oven to 200 C.

Add all the above ingredients into a large bowl, mix well, taste and maybe adjust your spices.

If you are using a dish, like I did, for baking, make sure it’s very well-oiled or buttered (this is my preferred method)

Or, if you like, take a baking sheet, line with paper and add your mixture, shaped as a loaf, on top.

Bake in pre-heated oven for app. 1 hour. After 30 mins just add a little bit of your broth to the dish (to keep it moist).
After 1 hour check to see if it’s cooked. Switch off heat and leave inside the oven for a little while longer in order for the meat to settle.
That’s it – serve with either smooth mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes, Carrots, Peas, Cauliflower, Beans. But most importantly – ENJOY!

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Guten Appetit!
Carina

Valentine – Memories of Torcello

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                                                          Love is indescribable and unconditional.
I could tell you a thousand things that it is not,
but not one that it is.
– Duke Ellington

2V ….is for VALENTINE!
Right now the Internet is crowded with advertisements to buy this, that and the other for your loved one on the occasion of Valentine Day. Buy, buy, buy is the bombardment onto your brain, conscience and purse. So a small fortune will be spend on highly overprized flowers, mainly deep red roses, chocolates, champagne etc. etc.

Not in this house thou, take me for example – I loathe deep red roses (call it bad memories), don’t particular care for chocolates and champagne…….! hmm, now that is a totally different matter, but sadly this we cannot get here easily (so we will have to wait for another trip to Le Paris!).
JS today surprised me with two things: he wants to take me out for Dinner and a bit of dancing on Valentine’s Eve and he also wanted me to cook for him one of his favourite Pasta dishes for Lunch taking him (and me!) down a very beautiful memory lane.

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Venice lovers know of this beautiful little island just off the northern end of the Venetian Lagoon. For JS and I there has and never will be a time we visited Venice when we would not take the boat and motor away from the main frenzy of tourists from all over the world in order to enjoy nearly a whole day in the far more peaceful surroundings of this beautiful little island – Torcello!

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On the odd occasion we not only had our customary lazy lunch there but even spent a night in the famous LOCANDA CIPRIANI. Heaven – sheer Heaven!

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The Locanda and the Island deserve their own story, but another time, for now just enjoy the recipe given here and maybe you too have your own memory of this place; do let me know. So, at my very own Valentine’s request I give you today

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Memories of Torcello
(i.e. Spaghetti, Prawns in a creamy caper-white-wine sauce)
For 2 servings I used today:

½ lb spaghetti
½ lb of cleaned/deveined prawns
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp capers in their brine
1 big handful of Spring onions (greens and all), chopped, app. 2 cups
1 Tbsp crushed dry red pepper flakes (adjust to your personal taste)
1 large lemon, zest and the juice of…
½ cup of dry white wine (adjust to your personal taste)
¼ cup of heavy cream
Salt to taste

Preparation:
Boil your Spaghetti in a large pot of salted water until just ‘al dente’.
Wash prawns, pat dry and add some salt, mix.
Heat ½ of your olive oil in a wide pot (I used my Wok), add prawns and cook only for 2-3 minutes maximum i.e. until they turn just a bit pink. Lift out of the oil and keep aside.
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Now add the rest of the oil and all the spring onions for another 2-3 minutes, keep stirring all the time. Add the capers and the chilli flakes and cook these for app. another minute. Add lemon zest and juice and white wine and simmer for another 2 minutes or so.
Take ¾ – 1 cup of the cooking water from the boiling spaghetti, add this to the pan together with the cream. Simmer very gently for another couple of minutes.
When Spaghettis are cooked remove from their water with a tong and move them straight into the sauce.
Gently mix all this together. Garnish with a few more red chilli flakes, green Spring onions and prawns and serve with a big smile to your loved one.
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Mangia Bene – Enjoy our memories.
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PS: For a more in-depth story re. Valentine’s Day, please read JS own story on his personal blog http://www.manningtreearchive.com : “The Roots and Wings of Valentine

PPS: Sadly I lost most of my pictures in a computer crash, hence I used other sources.

Culinary Memories of Madrid

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The Festivities are over – children have gone back to school and our two daughters also came and went for an only too brief a visit to Cochin. Bianca went back to her job as a Fashion Designer
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with her company in Bangalore and Andrea, having after 5 years graduated as an Architect now started her first full time job on the 1st of January.

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Like all parents we too kept looking at them surreptitiously occasionally and wondered “…where has time gone, only yesterday they were still little girls with white bows in their hair and wearing their school uniform and now they are all grown up, gaining more and more self confidence by the day and proofing their own worth in their chosen profession”. Seeing them leave is still very much a pull on our heart strings and yes, I do admit, a tear or two always escapes from my eyes once the door is closed behind them.

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Having the girls here only for such a short time we were not really able to do all the things we hoped to do, like learning yet another House-recipe to take along to their own places. Kerala cooking of course from their father, who is a brilliant cook and has taught me nearly everything I know about his kind of food, The-rest-of-the-world, especially German and Italian cuisine from yours truly, but of course, there is always the next holiday, like Easter, just around the corner.

But as soon as Bianca reached Bangalore a request for one of her favourite soup recipes arrived. Favourite because it is Spanish (and we all have very fond memories of our family holiday in Madrid), its cold (the heat here right now is getting to all of us) the main ingredients are fresh tomatoes and best of all, no actual cooking in a hot kitchen after her long day at work.
The following recipe was given to me by a friend in Madrid whose roots are in Andalusia. And so, yes, you guessed it, what this daughter wanted was GAZPACHO .

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And finding myself with a slight glutton of fresh tomatoes in the kitchen I decided to make this deliciously refreshing soup for our lunch as well.
I do not always work using exact and detailed measurements – so, just follow me and use your own judgement here according to your own taste buds.

G A Z P A C H O (partly rooted in Andalusia!)

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5 x large ripe tomatoes, skin removed and ‘blitzed’ a couple of times in your blender
1 x onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 x fat garlic cloves, peeled
1 x Capsicum (l/2 green and l/2 red), deseeded and roughly chopped
1 x large cucumber, washed and de-seeded
Pinch of ground cumin
3 x Tbsp of red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to your taste
1/4 cup of good virgin olive oil
4-6 drops of Tabasco (optional – gives your soup that ‘kick’)
2 x slices of bread (or more, if you like soup to be thicker)

Method:
Soak your bread in some water until soft. Squeeze out and keep aside
‘Blitz’ your tomatoes briefly and keep aside.
‘Blitz’ garlic, capsicum and cucumber briefly and keep aside.

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Add all the above into a large bowl and add vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and if you wish also the Tabasco, stir. Now add the previously soaked bread and mix gently. Cover and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours or longer. If you find the soup a bit too thick for your liking, just add some iced water and stir. Decorate with some finely chopped Coriander or Parsley (whatever you have in your fridge) and for a little Dinner-Party-Edition serve separately with one or all of the following: chopped almonds, some orange segments, small selection of finely chopped red, green and yellow capsicums, some finely chopped spring onions and some fresh mint and cumin crushed. Delicious.

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Variation:
Depending on our mood at the time I might just add all the above into the blender and puree this until smooth. And if you do not have time to cool it in your fridge, just add a few icecubes to your soup just before serving.

രുചിയോടെ ഭക്ഷണം ആസ്വദിക്കാന് കഴിയട്ടേ
(ruchiyode bhakshanam aaswadikkan kazhiyatte) this is in our local Malayalam language meaning:
Guten Appetit – Enjoy! – Buen apetito!

Carina
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Meine FREIE Uebersetzung:

Kulinarische Erinnerungen an Madrid.

Die Feierlichkeiten sind vorrueber – die Kinder sind wieder zurueck in die Schule und unsere zwei Toechter kamen and gingen wieder, leider nur fuer einen kurzen Besuch nach Cochin. Bianca ging wieder zu ihrem Job als Modeschoepferin mit ihren Firma in Bangalore zurueck und Andrea, die nach 5 Jahren ihr Studium als Architektin absolvierte fing auch ihren ersten Job am 1. Januar an. Wie alle Eltern schauten wir sie beide hin und wieder Heimlich and und wunderten uns ….”wo ist die Zeit geblieben, nur gestern waren sie noch kleine Maedchen mit weissen Schleifen in ihren Haaren und trugen ihre Schulkleidung, und jetzt sind sie alle erwachsen, gewinnen mehr und mehr Selbstbewusstsein tagtaeglich und beweisen ihren eigenen Wert in ihrem gewaehlten Beruf”. Aber wenn wir sie weggehen sehen, tut das Herz doch etwas weh und ich gebe zu, das seine oder zwei Traenen aus meinen Augen kullern, aber erst wenn die Tuere hinten ihnen geschlossen ist.

Da wir die Maedchen hier hatten, besonders fuer eine solche kurze Zeit, wir konnten nicht all’ die Dinge unternehmen die wir vorhatten, wie z.B. wieder mal ein anderes Haus-Rezept fuer ihre eigenes Leben zu erlernen. Kerala Kueche selbstverstaendlich von ihrem Vater, de rein brillianter Koch ist und mir uebrigens fast alles beigebracht hat bezueglich Kerala Cuisine; und ‘den rest der welt’ speciell Deutsche und Italienische Cuisine von mir aber dann ist natuerlich immer noch der naechste Urlaub, wie z.B. Ostern, das ja nicht mehr weit we gist.

Aber sobald Bianca wieder in Bangalore ankam erhielt ich eine Anfrage bezueglich eines ihrer Lieblingssuppen Rexepte. Lieblings Rexet weil es Spanisch it (und wir alle haben noch sehr schoene Erinnerungen an unseren Familienurlaub in Madrid), sie ist kalt (die Hitze here macht allen sehr zu schaffen) die Hauptzutaten sind frische Tomaten und das allerbeste ist, dass man nicht zu kochen braucht nach einem langen Arbeitstag.

Das folgende Rezept wurde mir von einer Freundin in Madrid gegeben deren Wurzeln bis nach Andalusien gehen. Und so, ja, Ihr habt es erraten, was diese Tochter wollte war Gazpacho.

Und da ich selbst einen kleinen Ueberfluss von frischen Tomaten in meiner Kueche hatte, entschloss ich mich diese leckere und erfrischende Suppe auch fuer unser Mittagessen zu machen.

Ich arbeite nicht immer mit exakten und detailierten Messungen – so, folgt einfach meinem Rezept und folgt Eurem eigenen Urteil bezueglich Euren eigenen Geschmackes.

GASPACHO – verwurzelt in Andalusien.

5 x grosse reife Tomaten, Haus abgezogen und 1x, 2x oder 3x ganz kurz nu rim Mixer ‘blitzen
1 x Zwiebel, geschaelt und grob geschnitten
4 x dicke Knoblauchzehen, geschaelt
1 x Paprika (1/2 gruen und ½ red) entkernt und grob gehackt
1 x grosse Salatgurke, gewaschen und entkernt und grob gehackt
Prise gemahlener Kreuzkuemmel
4 x Essloeffel Rot-Wein-Essig
Salz und Pfeffer nach eigenem Geschmack
¼ cup gutes Olivenoil
6-8 – Tropfen Tabasco (gibt der Suppe den “Kick”)
2 x Scheiben Brot (oder mehr, wenn Ihr die Suppe etwas dicker haben moechtet)

Anleitung:

Tauche das Brot in etwas Wasser bis es weich ist. Druecke es aus und halte bereit.
“Blitz” die Tomaten ganz kurz und halte bereit
“Blitz” Knoblauch, Paprika und Gurke ganz kurz und halte bereit.
Alle Zutaten und nun auch Essig, Oil, Salz und Pfeffer und wenn gewuenscht den Tabasco in eine Schuessel und umruehren. Jetzt kommt noch das eingeweichte und ausgedrueckte Brot hinzu, wieder umruehren. Klingfilm ueber Schuessel und ab in den Kuehlschrank fuer mindestens 2 Stunden, besser laenger. Wenn Euch die Suppe fuer den eigenen Geschmack etwas zu dick ist, dann fuegt einfach etwas Eiswasser hinzu. Dekorieren mit etwas feingehacktem Koriander oder Petersilie (je nachdem was im Kuehlschrank vorhanden ist). Und fuer eine kleine Dinner-Party serviert doch entweder das eine oder alle in kleinen Schaelchen, gehackte Mandeln, feingeschnittene Orangenscheiben, fein gehackte rot, green und gelbe Paprika, ein paar feingehackte Fruehlingszwiebeln und etwas frische Minze mit Kreuzkuemmel zerdrueckt. Hm Lecker.

Variante:
Je nach Lust und Laune kommt es auch schon mal vor, dass ich einfach alle Zutaten in dem Mixer zusammen puriere bis die Suppe ganz fein ist. Und wenn dann auch noch keine Zeit vorhanden ist die Suppe im Kuehlschrank zu kuehlen, kann man ein paar Eiswuerfel kurz vor dem servieren in die Suppe tun.