Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012


Some people are not afraid of the cold and others regard it with utter contempt. Even if I'm the kind of person who enjoys every single period of the year, I nonetheless definitely prefer the fresher season as I hate to sweat excessively or get sunburnt like a shrimp on a barbie.

Sometimes I wonder if those predispositions are linked to my DNA or is it just a personal preference. What if our genes influenced our manner of conducting ourselves and our traits of character? Hmmm, that is quite a difficult question to answer, however I believe that if our health can be defined by our bloodline, then there are chances that our emotions, temperament and identity is also outlined by it.

You see, my father's ancestors were Swiss mountainers who might have had Danish or English origins (my family name is NOT Swiss at all). Then, on my my mother's side they came from the rugged areas of Northern England where Viking settlers made themselves at home and also from European Russia, a place which is famous for its dreadful freezingness.

Because of this heritage, as a child my hair was so straw-straight and pale blond that I had the appearence of a Swedish little girl (my eyes are blue and my skin is fair too, hence the similarities). It is the reason why I was so popular amongst Japanese tourists who invariably asked my parents if they could shoot my portrait every time they caught a sight of me. Those features attracted them like crazy...
The care with which these nations cherished their hair was remarkable. A striking instance of their solicitude respecting it, is afforded by a young warrior who was condemned to be beheaded. His last and most earnest request was, that it might not be stained with his blood, or exposed, after his death, to the rude touch of a slave. In some instances, ringlets of auburn hair have been found in the tombs of the early Britons.
- Excerpt form "The Scottish Gael" by J. Logan
The light thou beholdest
Stream through the heavens,
In flashes of crimson,
Is but my red beard
Blown by the night-wind,
Affrighting the nations!
Jove is my brother;
Mine eyes are the lightning;
The wheels of my chariot
Roll in the thunder,
The blows of my hammer
Ring in the earthquake!
- "The Challenge of Thor" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Sadly, the older I grew, the darker and frizzier my mane became. Nowadays, my locks are light auburn colored with golden highlights and they are still quite wavy. Once again, this is another sign of the legacy of my forefathers as both my complexion and reddish-brown tint occurs most frequently in the phenotypes originating in Northern Europe*, so it is no surprise if my spirit is that of a "true daughter of Thor".

*Scandinavia, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, the Benelux countries, France, Poland and Russia - Leading the pack, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England have the most redheads. Scotland has the highest proportion with 13% having red hair and ~ 40% possessing the recessive redhead gene. Ireland is second highest with ~ 10% having it and 40% carrying the gene.

Beet Salad BibI Pic 1 3 bis
~ Picture taken by my late English grandfather ~

I carry the love for harsh and dramatic weather within my blood. It is encoded in my genetic material and deeply rooted in me. There is no doubt about that. Yet, I must admit that although I find crisp air rather envigorating, the last two weeks' Polar conditions took a toll on me and brought my mood down since I didn't set a foot out of the door from fear of being transformed into a giant human icicle!

Well, in my defense, until not long ago, Europe had been experiencing the worst Winter in decades. On the 27th of January we were hit be a coldwave that brushed across the continent, brought blizzards and caused the thermometer to dip to bitter levels. Temperatures of - 35.1° C were recorded during the night in the Swiss Alps (though nothing quite like the -41.8° C recorded in 1987 in La Brévine, Neuchâtel) and in Geneva they sank to - 13° C. Besides, massive snowfalls transformed our landscapes into Siberian wastelands, intense frost swept through the country and the Bise (mean and dry North-Eastern wind) was so violent it went right through you. Brrrrrrr!

The town of Geneva resembled a deserted Illinois ghost town and the rural areas looked like the icy Finnish tundra. Needless to say that there weren't many crowds defying the benumbing elements. The only courageous individuals who braved the harsh conditions were disciplined blue-collars who wore impressive layers of clothes and rushed through the streets as if it was a matter of life and death.
O Winter ruler of the inverted year. . . I crown thee king of intimate delights, Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness, And all the comforts that the lowly roof Of undisturb'd Retirement, and the hours Of long uninterrupted evening, know.
- William Cowper
On the positive side, this kind of climate is perfect for hibernating, cocooning, taking care of yourself, cuddling with that special someone, finding excuses to stay home, lying longer in your snug bed, eating more comforting foods than usual (I nourish myself in a balanced way, but when the days are dark and glacial it is difficult not want to uplift your mood with cheering grub such as chocolate or cakes) and for being as lazy as a ferret.
But, as we all know, even if this kind of behavior is good for our soul, it is impossible to close our eyes on the negative impact all this hedonistically "shameless" binging and sluggish lifetsyle has on our body. I have to admit that while my trousers still fit me, I wish they'd be a little less tight around the hips, hence I've decided to take things in hand and start cutting down on hyper-calorific treats as well as exercizing again.

Spring is around the corner and I really want to be in shape when the warm rays of the sun caress my skin and nature is blooming. I would be terribly angry with myself if I felt unwell and out of breath while riding my bike through the fields or while walking up the Salève mountain. So, in order to attain my goal, my plan is to re-tone my muscles, have a better control of what I devour and limitate my ingestion of flour, sugary goods as well as nuts.

Having said that, I have to point out that I refuse to go on any diet as I don't find it is a good and lasting solution to weight gain. In my opinion, instead of fasting like an anorexic model, following the latest nutrionists' doolally fads or transforming into a fitness fascist, one should lead a harmonious life by giving priority to mindful nutrition and physical activity without ever forgetting to find pleasure in food and joy in existence.

Consequently, at the moment, big quantities of vegetables are on the menu, but that is no problem for me as I adore greens and I'm used to cooking with them. It is rare that I come across one veggie I hate or simply cannot stomach. In fact, I am quite a legume enthusiast.

One of my favorite veggies is beet. This gorgeous root is available in a range of pretty colors that illuminate the plate, has an interesting sweet and earthy flavor which is really refined and is extremely versatile. Beetroot is so awesome and totally indispensable. It's a real must-have in my kitchen. I can't imagine not using it on a regular basis as I appreciate inventing exotic or regional recipes with it.

My most recent creation is a classy, easy, fresh, nourishing, flavorful and nutrient-ladden salad which consists of thin slices of blanched beetroots that have been marinaded in a balsamic vinegar vinaigrette and which are topped with onions rings, cottage cheese, walnuts and a soft-boiled egg. This meatless course makes a great main dish if accompanied by a few slices of dark rye bread/crackers or a few buttered potatoes. Wonderful!

~Beet Salad With Cottage Cheese & A Runny Egg ~
Recipe by Rosa Mayland, February 2012.

Serves 4.

Ingredients For The "Vinaigrette":
5 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs Malt vinegar
2 Tbs Olive oil
1 Tsp Kikkoman (sweet)
A few drops of Chipotle Tabasco
Balck pepper, to taste
Fine sea salt, to taste
Ingredients For The "Salad":
900g Cooked beetroot, peeled & cut into thinnish slices
1 Onion, thinly sliced into rounds
200g Cottage cheese
4 Big Eggs, soft-boiled (see method)
A handful walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Pimentón or Espelette pepper, for sprinkling

Beet Salad 1 1 bis
Method For The "Vinaigrette":
1. In a big bowl, mix all the ingredients for the vinaigrette together.
Method For The "Salad":
2. Add the beetroot slices to the vinaigrette, mix delicately and let marinade for about 1 hour.
3. Prepare 4 plates and arrange the slices on them.
4. Add the onion slices and the cottage cheese.
5. Place a soft-boiled egg on top of each salad and cut it open.
6. Sprinkle with the walnuts and the pimentón or Espelette pepper.
7. Serve.

When I need cooked beets, I generally buy them already boiled (it saves time and in that way I always have them on hand in my fridge), but you can also cook yours at home (see method).
Instead of using walnuts, you can sprinkle your salad with toasted pumpkin seeds or any other nut/seed of your choice.
The soft-boiled eggs can easily be replaced by a poached or fried eggs.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as main course with some wholesome bread (ex. Norwegian Mountain Bread) or some boiled/jacket potatoes with butter.

Beet Salad 7 2 bis
~ Salade De Betteraves, Cottage Cheese Et Oeuf Mollet ~
Recette par Rosa Mayland, Février 2012.

Pour 4 personnes.

Ingrédients Pour La "Vinaigrette":

5 CS de Vinaigre balsamique
2 CS de Vinaigre de malte
2 CS d'Huile d'olive
1 CS de Kikkoman (doux)
Quelques gouttes de Chipotle Tabasco
Poivre noir, selon goût
Sel de mer fin, selon goût
Ingrédients Pour La "Salade":
900g de Betteraves cuites, pelées et coupées en fines tranches
1 Oignon, finement coupé en rondelles
200g  Cottage cheese
4 Gros Oeufs mollets (voir méthode)
Une poignée de noix de Grenoble, grillées et hachées grossièrement
Pimentón ou piment d'Espelette, pour saupoudrer

Beet Salad Tree 1 1 bis

Méthode Pour La "Vinaigrette":
1. Dans un grand bol, mélanger ensemble tous les ingrédients pour la vinaigrette.
Méthode Pour La "Salade":
2. Ajouter les tranches de betterave à la vinaigrette, mélanger délicatement et laisser mariner pendant environ 1 heure.
3. Préparez 4 assiettes et y disposer les tranches.
4. Ajouter les rondelles d'oignon et le cottage cheese.
5. Placer un œuf mollet sur le dessus de chaque salade et l'ouvrir en deux avec la pointe d'un couteau.
6. Saupoudrer avec les noix et le poivre d'Espelette ou le pimentón.

7. Servir.


En général, lorsque j'ai besoin de bettraves cuites, je les achète déjà cuites (cela économise du temps et de cette manière je les ai toujours sous la main), mais vous pouvez aussi cuire les votres à la maison (voir la méthode).

Au lieu d'utiliser des noix de Grenoble, pourquoi ne pas saupoudrer vos salades avec des graines de citrouille ou les noix/graines de votre choix.
Les œufs mollets peuvent être remplacés par des oeufs pochés ou à la poêle.

Idée de présentation:

Servir comme plat principal avec du pain complet (ex. pain de montagne norvégien) ou quelques pommes de terre cuites à l'eau/au four et servies avec du beurre.

Beet Salad Glass 2 1 bis

Friday, February 17, 2012


Lenk 2 3 bis
~ Lenk Am Simmental, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland - October 2011 ~

No recipe today...
I'm taking some time for myself and trying to slow down.
But, next week, I'll be posting like usual.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Oreo 3 2 bis
A fellow who does things that count, doesn't usually stop to count them.
- Albert Einstein

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.
- Chinese Proverb
The blogosphere is brimming with heartwarming suprises and extraordinary individuals. Since I have started Rosa's Yummy Yums in 2005 it has never ceased to amaze me and blow my mind. This ever-growing community of culinary geeks and fanatics who share the same passion for cooking and baking is like a second family to me.

Throughout the years, I have met a load of fascinating people and made some very good friends among my fellow bloggers, some of which I have been lucky enough to meet physically and others I still dream of having a cup of coffee with in the future.

Of course, I am not exactly so naive as to believe that everything is shiny, pink and perfect in this virtual world. As a matter of fact, it is without a doubt no different from reality. Concurrence is big there too, so you'll sometimes come across a lot of rip-offs as well as mean and jealous trolls with a complex of inferiority and be the favorite target of anonymous psychos who get thrills out of insulting and harassing you.

Nonetheless, even if there were days when I felt discouraged, disgusted and depressed because a sad and ugly mofo with a twisted mind decided to vent his/her spleen on me in order to relieve himself/herself of his/her frustration, anger, hate and low self-esteem by bringing me down and making me feel bad, I have not let this adversity destroy me. What kept me going was the awareness that there is also a lot of kindness and generosity out there to outbalance the negativity.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls.
- Jack Kerouac
For example, last week, when I was feeling rather low-spirited and wrote about my life story, I received many supportive and attentionate comments as well as personal messages which showed me that I was not alone, gave me hope, encouraged me to follow my path and brought back a smile on my face. This display of attention touched me deeply and I wish to thank my readers and colleague foodies for their sympathy, solicitude and friendship. You rule!

Lately, I have also been blessed to win a few giveaways and to be offered a bunch of wonderful cookbooks. Speaking of which, a few months ago Isabelle Lambert of the popular "Les gourmandises d'Isa" sent me an exemplary of her first publication. How nice and thoughtful of her. I was extremely thrilled that she had thought of me...

I have known this young woman for quite long now - we started blogging and joined The Daring Bakers practically at the same time - and have followed every step of her journey as a gourmande, so it is a enormous honor for me to present her work on my site.

abelle was born in France and
has been living in Québec (Canada) for about a decade. She hails from a family of professional bakers/pâtissiers, butchers/pork butchers and caterers, and grew up being surrounded by cuisine enthusiasts who produced their own fare, hence it is no wonder that she cultivates a strong interest for the arts of the table.

This bubbly and dynamic lady decided to start a blog to stock all her recipes and constantly have them to hand, but after a while, comments came in and she began to realize that what she created impacted on others. As a result, she began to take this activity more seriously and put together posts with more detailed explanations and better pictures. Over the years, she gained many followers and ranks among the most influential French-speaking bloggers on the internet.

In her book, Isabelle shares 150 of her favorite recipes inspired by her love for Québecois and North American chefs. It is chock-a-block full a ideas for delectable savory dishes such as quiches, Flemish beef stew, caramel pork, rillettes de Mans, monkfish blanquette, chicken tajine with dried apricots, lobster rolls as well as  abunding with marvelous sweet treats (2/3 of the book is dedicated to desserts) such as piña colada muffins, maple syrup bars, creamy orange tart, bacon toffee, coffe éclairs, churros, salty caramel spread and many more.

Provided that you can read and understand the language of Molière (no translation exists),
"Les Gourmandises d'Isa" is a lovely compendium of family-style, easy-to-achieve and tasty specialitise which will satisfy your appetite for fullfilling and comforting grub.

After a lot of hard-thinking and endless flipping through the pages of this softcover (taking decisions isn't my strong point), I finally decided that I was going to share with you Isabelle's own version of the famous Oreos.
I am still convinced that a good, simple, homemade cookie is preferable to all the store-bought cookies one can find.
- James Beard

Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet.
- Julia Child
I occasionally buy the original cookies when I come across a packet in my supermarket and moderatly appreciate that confection, yet I can't say that I entirely understand the fad about them nor that I can really say I find them as irresistible as everybody does. Originally, I was attracted to them because I have an open mind, thus I like trying new things and because they are a symbol of a country - USA- I dream of visiting and which's gastronomy I adore. However, I prefer not to consume junk on a regular basis (only rarely and there are still things I categorically refuse to touch) as I try to ban as much industrial "food" as possible from my diet. As a result, Oreos have only graced the shelves of my cupboard twice and I am seriously considering ending my relationship (if there was ever one, though) with them right now considering that they can easily be replicated at home.
We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.
- Alfred E. Newman
High-tech tomatoes. Mysterious milk. Supersquash. Are we supposed to eat this stuff? Or is it going to eat us?
- Annita Manning
Homemade Oreos are by far my drug of choice. Not only are they made with 100% natural ingredients, but they have a finer taste too. It is impossible to compare them with those produced by Nabisco, a division of Kraft Foods and another big corporation whose interest is not your health, but rather to create monopoly control over the food system.

Unlike the palm oil-loaded, additive-ladden, nutrient-poor and fashionable wafers, Isabelle's Oreos (which I have slighty altered - salt added to the filling and I substituted the margarine with butter) don't have a cardboardy/dusty flavor or fail to deliver oomph. Those "Artisanal Oreos" are not overly sweet and offer an intense aroma of cocoa, vanilla and butter. Once you've bitten into one, you'll get hooked and will forget your addiction for the manufactured stuff. It is definitely worthwhile investing efforts into the baking of those babies as store-bought biscuits cannot compare to these!

Oreo 2 3 bis

~ Artisanal Oreos ~
Recipe adapted from Isabelle's book, "Les Gourmandises d'Isa".

Makes about 20 Oreos.

Ingredients for "Cookies":

80g (5 Tbs + 1 Tsp) Unsweetened cocoa
113g (7/8 Cup) All-purpose flour
1 Pinch Fine sea salt
125g (1/2 Cup + 1 Tsp) Unsalted butter

200g (5/8 Cup - 1 Tsp) Castor sugar
1 Big Egg (~ 63g)
1/2 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
Ingredients For The "Filling":
125g (1/2 Cup + 1 Tsp) Unsalted butter
125g (1 Cup + 1 Tsp) Icing sugar
1 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
1/2 Tsp Fine sea salt

Method For The "Cookies":
1. Sift the flour, cocoa and salt together. Set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in order to obtain a pale, fluffy and creamy mixture.
3. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well until fully incorporated.
4. Add the dry ingredients and using a spatula, mix well until just blended (don't knead).
Wrap the dough in clear plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 15 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 160° C (325° F).
7. Sprinkle your work surface with cocoa, then roll out the dough to a thickness of 5 mm.
8. Using a fluted round cookie cutter (4 cm/1.6 inch in diameter), cut the dough into about 40 rounds (you can re-roll the scraps).

Oreo Snow Village 1 1 bis

9. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets 2.5 cm apart.
Place the cookie sheets in the freezer for 15 minutes.
11. Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.
12. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
Method For The "Filling":
13. Beat the butter, until light and creamy.
14. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt, then beat well until smooth.

Method For "Assembling The Oreos"
After cookies have cooled, put 1 1/2 Tsp of the filling between two cookies, putting bottom sides together.

It is very important to freeze the pastry rounds if you do not want the cookies to spread out while baking.

Serving suggestios:
Eat your Oreos with a glass of ice cold milk.


Oreo 1 1 bis bis tagged

~ Oréos Maison ~
Recette adaptée du livre "Les gourmandises d'Isa" par Isa du blog "Les Gourmandises d'Isa".

Pour environ 20 oréos.

Ingrédients Pour Les "Cookies":
80g de Cacao non-sucré
113g de Farine blanche
1 Pincée de Sel de mer fin
125g de Beurre non-salé
200g de Sucre cristallisé
1 Oeuf (~63g)
1/2 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure
Ingredients Pour La "Garniture":
125g de Beurre non-salé
125g de Sucre glace/en poudre
1 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure
1/2 CC de Sel de mer fin
Méthode Pour Les "Cookies": 
1. Tamiser ensemble la farine, le cacao et le sel. Mettre de côté.
2. Battre le beurre et le sucre en pommade, jusqu'à obtention d'une crème légère et pâle.
3. Ajouter l'oeuf et la vanille. Bien incorporer.
4. Ajouter les ingrédients secs et bien incorporer à l'aide d'une spatule, mais sans pétrir.
5. Réserver la pâte 15 minutes au frigo.
6. Préchauffer le four à 160° C.
7.  Saupoudrer le plan de travail avec du cacao, puis abaisser la pâte sur une épaisseur de 5 mm.
À l'aide d'un emporte-pièce rond cannelé de 4 cm de diamètre, couper la pâte en ~ 40 cercles (vous pouvez rouler les retailles).

Oreo Snow Salève 1 8 bis

9. Déposer les biscuits sur les plaques préparées, en les espaçant de (2,5 cm).
10. Mettre les plaques à biscuits au congélateur pendant 15 minutes (opération très importante, si on ne veut pas que les biscuits s'étalent).
11. Cuire les biscuits au centre du four pendant 15 minutes.
12. Les sortir du four et les laisser complètement refroidir bien à plat sur une grille.
Méthode Pour La "Garniture": 
13. Battre le beurre, jusqu'à l'obtention d'une préparation légère et crémeuse.
14. Incorporer le sucre en poudre, la vanille et le sel, puis bien battre le tout, jusqu'à obtention d'une texture homogène et légère.
Méthode Pour Le "Montage Des Oreos":
15. Retourner la moitié des biscuits à l'envers et couvrir chacun d'eux avec 1 1/2 CC de garniture.
16. Poser les autres biscuits sur le dessus de la garniture en pressant légèrement pour former des sandwichs.

Il est impératif de mettre les ronds de pâte au congélateur car sans cela, il vous sera impossible de les cuire sans qu'ils ne s'étalent.

Idées de présentation:
Déguster avec un verre de lait très froid.

Oreo 4 2 bis

Friday, February 3, 2012


Rendang 4 1 bis
Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long.
- Leonard Bernstein
One of the most challenging things about having a blog is being able to constantly find enough inspiration to feed it, no matter the circumstances. This task is particularly difficult when your present life is unsatisfactory, terrifyingly monotonous and your intellect doesn’t receive sufficient input from the soul or stimulation from its surroundings in order to be at the maximum of its resourcefulness.

That feeling of hitting a creative rock bottom is discouraging. It undermines my confidence and drives me crazy. Sometimes I desperatly stare at a blank page for hours without end, my brain refuses to work and is empty like a dry sponge, no recipe seems to be good enough to mention, I have the impression that my photography "skills" let me down and I end up surfing relentlessly on the net so as not to face the bleak reality and failure to be productive. On such days being a blogger is a real curse and you wonder why you are putting yourself through so much trouble when this activity, just like any job, takes all your precious time, yet it does not pay your rent, let alone your dinner. I must confess that in such moments I am tempted to let it all go, throw the towel, chuck my computer out of the window and say "f**k it all"!

You see, unlike a majority of people, I
am careerless as I never found my true calling or had any parental support in order to develop myself in this field (well, I’d love to have  a delicatessen or be a contributor to a magazine, but I lack money or the papers to carry those dreams out), my CV has holes and is a disaster, I have been unemployed since years and unsuccessful at finding a job, so I entirely depend on my boyfriend (I am not entitled to unemployment benefits as my last job lasted less than a year and I live in a couple, so I get no reinsertion support and I am out of the picture - I have been told that there was no need for me to report to the unemployment office) who is far from being a rich man, thus my future as an active person is extremely foggy and I have dropped all hopes of finding my place in this unforgiving, discriminating, competitive as well as superficial society who is not interested in our true values (we are all just numbers) and offers no second chance to "irrecuperable losers" or dropouts like me. Once you have blown it, you are seriously in trouble.

It is quite a dark and degrading place to be, and consequently, I occasionally feel low down and suffer mood swings. My existence is repetitive and not exhalirating at all as I am quite lonely (very few friends and no family), don’t do much apart from cooking, writing articles, shooting photos, listening to music, watching movies, reading magazines/books and being online.
I rarely step out of my apartement or leave my village. Everything I undertake is limited by the absence of resources so I never have the possibility to experience much in terms of travelling, going out or attending social events. Yet, I’m a fighter and firmly believe that it will once be my turn to be happy for a while and to have luck.
These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep, loving concern.
Beautiful people do not just happen.
- Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.
- Oscar Wilde

My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.
- Henry Rollins
Meanwhile, Rosa’s Yummy Yums gives me courage, hope for a better tomorrow and a reason to get up in the morning, brings me self-esteem, gets me through rough patches, helps me stay in contact with the outside world (how paradoxal is that?) and makes me dream. Therefore, even if I get tired of it I never forget those details and try not to take my work for granted. Let’s not foget that thanks to my blog I have met a bunch of wonderful folks/fellow bloggers, grown up a lot in the past 6 years, developped my passion for cooking as well as discovered a strong interest for writing and picture-taking.

Rendang Tree 1 3 bis

Nowadays, I am proud of whom I have evolved into and accept my situation philosophically. My austere lifetsyle has even become a source of stimulus. For example, in spite of having had no idea regarding what to share with you in today's post, I nonetheless put together an entertaining article and came up with a titillating recipe.

I am a foodie and writer who lives on a tightrope, but I’m totally comfortable with that fact, because I know that what I create is unique and doesn’t carry the stigmatas of my brokedome. Despite that, I am a wizard at transforming humble produces into refined dishes and an expert at finding subjects to talk about eventhough not much is happening around me. Having learnt to do more with less, quick-wittedness and inventiveness are my middle names.

Last week, for instance, I craved "Daging Rendang" (one of the most popular specialities in Indonesia together with "Nasi Goreng"), but as our limited budget doesn't allow us to buy superior meat cuts (in Switzerland meat is dear and even lower cuts are quite expensive), I opted for pork liver, one of the cheapest and most nutritive offals on the market.
The best thing about liver is how virtuous it makes you feel after you've eaten some.
- Bruce Jay Friedman, ‘The Lonely Guy Cookbook’ (1976)
Did you know that apart from being delectable, liver is exceptionally beneficial for our well-being as it is fairly low in calories, provides substantial amounts of vitamins (one slice covers 100% of your daily vitamin intake) and is rich in proteins as well as minerals (it contains 6x more iron than meat)? Apart from being a fantastic remedy against anemia, it is also perfect for reducing the levels of homocysteine in the blood as it contains large quantities of vitamins B12, B6, and folate, and as a result, in improving cardiovascular health and decreasing your risk of having a heart attack. No wonder that in the past this superfood was only served to warriors and to hunter!

As you can see, although I cook in a low-costly manner, it doesn’t mean that our plate’s contents are unhealthy or unpalatable. Contrarily to common belief, spending loads of cash on food is not a guarantee of quality. It is the cook who makes the difference as it is he/she who carefully chooses the goods and who transforms them according to his/her knowledge and ingenuity…

This curry was like a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony that I'd once heard.....especially the last movement, with everything screaming and banging 'Joy.' It stunned, it made one fear great art. My father could say nothing after the meal.
- Anthony Burgess
I found the basic Rendang recipe on Rasa Malaysia and adapted it according to my taste. The beef was replaced by pork liver and for a rounder flavor, I substituted fish sauce for salt (I cannot live without this amazing condiment) and incorporated turmeric as well as shrimp paste to the dish. The sauce was left to simmer longer than indicated and as a result, my "Liver Rendang" was extremely pungent, sumptuous and round. This creamy, seductively spicy, slightly sweet, gently piquant and complexly tasting curry suffused with the intoxicating aromas of coconut and fragrant herbs is so luscious and quirky that you'll want to take seconds and thirds!
Rendang 3 4 bis

~ Liver Rendang ~
Recipe adapted from Bee Yin Low's "Rendang Daging" recipe found on Rasa Malaysia.

Serves 3-4.

Ingredients For The "Spice Paste":
5 Shallots
1 Inch (~3cm) Knob Fresh Galangal
3 Sticks Lemongrass (white part only)
5 Cloves garlic
1 Inch (~3cm) Know Fresh Ginger
1-2 Tsps Sambal Oelek

Ingredients For The "Rendang":
1 1/4 Pound Liver, cut into thickish strips
5 Tbs Peanut oil
1 Cinnamon stick, about 2-inches (6cm) long
3 Cloves
3 Star anise
3 Cardamom pods

1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Sticks Lemongrass, chopped and pounded in a mortar
1 Cup Thick Coconut Milk
1 Cup Water
2 Tsp Tamarind paste

1/3 Tsp Shrimp paste
6 Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves, very finely sliced
6 Tbs Toasted Coconut
1 Tbs Brown sugar/palm sugar

Fish sauce, to taste

For The "Spice Paste":
1. Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend them in a food processor until fine.
2. Heat the oil in a wok or stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamom and curcuma. Stir-fry them for about 1 minutes or until aromatic.
3. Add the pounded lemongrass and stir-fry for another 1 minute.
4. Add the coconut milk, water, tamarind paste, shrimp paste, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes.
5. Stir the kaffir lime leaves, toasted coconut, sugar/palm sugar and a little fish sauce into the sauce.

Rendang Mousse 1 5 bis

6. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and let simmer for 2 1/2 hours or until the sauce has "dried up" (stir often and make sure to scrape the bottom of the wok and add more water if it dries too quickly).
7. A few minutes before serving, place a frying pan over high heat and then stir-fry the strips of liver for 2 minutes in a little oil (the liver should still be pink in the middle.
8. Add the liver to the sauce and more fish sauce, to taste. Turn off the heat.
9. Serve immediately.

For this recipe, I used pork liver, but you can also use beef liver, kidneys or even heart(s).
Rendang tastes even better when reheated.

Serving suggestions: 
Serve with steamed jasmine rice and slices of cucumbers.
Wine suggestions: Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürtzramminer or a dry Rosé.


Rendang 1 1 bis

~ Rendang De Foie ~
Recette adaptée du blog Rasa Malaysia.

Pour 3-4 personnes.

Ingrédients Pour La "Pâte Epicée":
5 Echalottes
~ 3cm de Galanga frais
3 Bâtonnets de citronnelle (partie blanche seulement)
5 Gousses d'ail 

~3cm de Gingembre frais
1-2 CC de Sambal oelek
Ingrédients Pour le "Rendang":
~650g de foie, coupé en lanières assez épaisses
5 CS d'Huile d'arachide
1 Bâton de cannelle, d'environ 6cm de long
3 Clous de girofle
3 Fleurs d'anis étoilé (badiane chinoise)
3 Gousses de cardamome

1 CC de Curcuma
1 Bâtonnets de citronnelle, hachés et pilés au mortier
400ml de Lait de coco épais
240ml d'Eau
2 CC de Purée de tamarin
1 / 3 de CC de Pâte de crevettes
6 Feuilles de kaffir fraîches, très finement émincées
6 CS de Noix de coco, râpée et grillée
1 CS de Cassonade ou de sucre de palme
Sauce de poisson, selon goût

1. Hacher les ingrédients pour la pâte épicée puis les broyer au mixer afin d'obtenir une purée fine.
2. Dans un wok ou un cassoton, faire chauffer l'huile et ajouter la pâte d'épices, la cannelle, les clous de girofle, l'anis étoilé, la cardamome et le curcuma.
Laisser frémir, tout en remuant, pour que la pâte développe ses arômes.
3. Ajouter la citronnelle pilée et la faire sauter pendant 1 minute.
4. Ajouter le lait de coco, l'eau, la pâte de tamarin, la pâte de crevettes et laisser mijoter à feu moyen, tout en remuant fréquemment, pendant environ 20 minutes.
5. Incorporer les feuilles de kaffir, la noix de coco grillée, la cassonade et un peu de sauce de poisson.

Rendang Ruin 1 5 bis

6. Baisser le feu, fermer avec un couvercle et laisser mijoter pendant 2 1/2 heures ou jusqu'à ce que la sauce soit très épaisse/sèche (remuer souvent et racler le fond du wok - ajouter plus d'eau si la sauce est devient sèche trop vite) .
7. Quelques minutes avant de servir, chauffer une poêle à feu vif puis faire sauter les lanières de foie pendant 2 minutes dans un peu d'huile (le foie doit être encore rosé à coeur).
8. Incorporer le foie à la sauce et ajouter un peu de sauce de poisson, selon goût. Eteindre le feu.
9. Servir immédiatement.

J'ai préparé mon curry avec du foie de porc, mais on peu tout aussi bien utiliser du foie de boeuf, des rognons ou du/des coeur(s).
Ce plat est encore meilleur réchauffé.

Idées de présentation:

Servir le Rendang avec du riz parfumé cuit à la vapeur et des tranches de concombre.

Vin: Sauvignon blanc, Gewürtzramminer ou rosé sec.

Rendang 2 1 bis

Wednesday, February 1, 2012