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Monday, May 22, 2017

Lemon Curd Bundt Cake

Lemon curd Bundt cake

It´s a pretty nice thing to have friends living in different parts of the world. Not only do you have a good reason to travel, as you want to visit them. But also they can provide you with products not available in your country. One of my best friends currently is studying in London, so every time she visits her hometown I beg her to bring me some original British lemon curd. Not that you can`t get it here in Switzerland, but I just prefer the one directly flown in for me.
What about you? Any groceries you ask your expat friends to bring you when visiting?

Right now is also the perfect time to fiddle around with lemon curd, as we are saying goodbye to the heavy chocolate based desserts and welcoming the light, refreshing and fruity ones. In this case nothing better than a five o`clock bundt cake with lemon curd. 

Bundt cake with lemon curd

Ingredients (for one cake):
  • 150g organic butter or margarine, room temperature and cut into pieces
  • 100g organic cane sugar
  • 4 organic eggs
  • 150g lemon curd
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100g organic white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • eventually a few tablespoons organic milk
  • a Bundt cake pan 
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons organic vegetable oil
  • 75g confectioner`s sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice form an organic lemon
  • preheat the oven at 180° Celsius
  • mix together the soft butter and cane sugar using a whisk or kitchen machine with a whisk
  • add the eggs and lemon curd, mix until well combined
  • sieve white flour into a bowl, add baking powder and mix, then add to your cake batter and mix again until everything looks homogeneous
  • now check the texture of your batter, you should be able to pour it into your Bundt cake pan without a lot of additional help of a spatula, however it shouldn`t be too runny
  • if the consistency is too thick, add a little bit of milk, if it`s too runny add a little bit more flour
  • grease your Bundt cake pan with the vegetable oil using a baking brush or kitchen paper and fill in your cake batter
  • bake for about 40 minutes on the middle rack, but keep in mind to constantly check on your cake, as every oven bakes different 
  • take the cake out of the oven and let cool down
  • in the meantime you can mix together the confectioner`s sugar and the lemon juice, your glaze should be quite thick (mine was a little bit too runny)
  • as soon as the cake is cooled down, turn your cake pan upside down onto a cake plate (sry I did not had one at this time)
  • drizzle the glaze over your Bundt cake
A lemon curd Bundt cake

This Bundt cake is best to served on a sunny afternoon with some tea or refreshing lemonade. Any suggestions what flavor I could go for next time?

Read you soon,

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Green Spring Salad with Herbal-Breaded European Perch

Green Spring Salad with Herbal-Breaded European Perch

The European perch is a freshwater fish that is widespread in Switzerland. It can be found locally without any problems and if you like fishing you might even go catch yourself one. I am totally aware European perches are not regional for everyone of you, but the good news is, you can use whatever fresh fish you like for this salad. To be environmental conscious is highly recommended to go for a species that can be found easily where you live. Your local fishmonger surly is looking forward to inform you on what will work for you. 

To not overpower the natural flavor of the fish itself and the fresh herbs used for the coating, is advisable to use a simple green leaf lettuce. Besides those type of salads can be found easily in every local market or store with the plus that they are mostly seasonal. 
Please note that this recipe is not mine, but from the "Green Gourmet", one of my favorite cookbooks.

Ingredients for Herbal-Breaded European Perch

Ingredients (for 2 servings):
  • 1/2 bunch organic flat leaf parsley, rinsed off and finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch organic parsley, rinsed off and finely chopped
  • 1 bunch organic chive, rinsed off and finely chopped
  • 50g breadcrumbs, made out of grounded 2 day old hard bread
  • 1 organic egg, slightly whisked
  • 4 small European perch filets
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons organic white flour
  • salt and freshly grounded black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons organic canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar infused with herbs
  • 150g organic leaf lettuce salad, rinsed off
  • mix the bread crumbs, flat leaf parsley, chive and parsley together in a small bowl
  • mise-en-scene the whisked egg and the white flour, both of them in a separate bowl
  • season both sides of the perch filets with salt and black pepper
  • heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet
  • cover perch filets with flour, pull through egg and dredge in bread crumbs herb mixture
  • fry covered perch filets for about 1 minute on every side, put aside and keep warm
  • pour 2 tablespoons canola oil and vinegar in a shaker or closable glass
  • add salt and black pepper and shake until evenly combined
  • arrange leaf lettuce on plates, drizzle over the dressing and top herbal breaded perch filets on top
Herbal-Breaded European Perch on top of a green spring salad

What are your favorite salads during spring season?
What about using cookbooks? Do you like to cook by them, use them as an inspiration or don`t use them at all? For me is kind of a mix of all three. I like cooking recipes from cookbooks by scratch or just use them as an inspiration, but I also like to come up with my own recipe ideas.

Read you soon,

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Chicken Drumsticks with Oven Roasted Eggplant & Tomato

Chicken drumsticks with oven roasted eggplant and tomato

Chicken, being white meat, is the healthier choice in comparison to beef and pork, which are considered as red meat. The latter one should only be consumed in restricted amounts, like maximum one or two days a week. This is not the case with white meat, which up to now is not associated with elevated risk of colon cancer. Besides that it has a lower fat content than red meat. So if you want to eat meat is definitely safer and healthier to go for chicken, turkey and other white meats. Due to CO2 pollution and other environmental factors is still recommendable to even reduce your white meat consumption to one or two days per week. Considering animal farming, polluting and treatment with chemicals, is definitely a must to go for organic chickens from a local farmer. But enough of commodity economics and ecology for now.

If you like your chicken to be very juicy and crispy go for parts that still have the skin on, as the chicken drumsticks used in this recipe. Those pieces provide more fat than for example chicken breasts which are missing the skin. If you are on a diet or trying to reduce your fat intake just substitute the drumsticks for a part without skin. Just note that cooking time will be different, as you don`t want your chicken to be dry. 

Instead of pairing your chicken drumsticks with french fries, go for oven roasted vegetables. Not only are they healthier, but the process of roasting in the oven by the way fully develops the flavors of your vegetables and provides them with a delicate smoked taste. As summer is almost knocking on our doors this recipe goes for a Mediterranean twist using eggplants and tomatoes. However you can use whatever veggies you prefer, just once again keep in mind the different baking time of your chosen vegetables. 

Chicken drumsticks marinated and oven baked

Ingredients (for 2 servings):
  • 5 organic chicken drumsticks, rinsed off
  • 2 organic red onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 to 2 branches fresh organic rosemary, leaves picked off
  • 1 to 2 branches fresh organic thyme, leaves picked off
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly grounded black pepper to taste
  • tinfoil
  • baking sheet 45x40cm
  • 1 big organic eggplant, rinsed off and sliced (medium thickness)
  • 2 regular sized organic tomatoes, rinsed off and sliced or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • put chicken drumsticks, red onions, rosemary and thyme into a big bowl
  • add olive oil, salt and black pepper and mix well everything
  • let soak in the fridge for 1 hour
  • preheat the oven at 180° Celsius
  • lay out baking sheet with tinfoil and place eggplant slices onto baking parchment
  • add chicken drumsticks and onions
  • drizzle balsamic vinegar over the chicken
  • bake for 25 minutes at 180° Celsius on the middle rack
  • take out the baking sheet, turn the chicken drumsticks and add the tomatoes now
  • also check if the eggplant slices are already done, if yes take them out and keep warm
  • bake the chicken and the tomatoes for 20 to 25 more minutes, if the eggplants were not yet ready bake them for 10 more minutes, take them out and keep them warm
  • before serving check if the chicken is completely done, there shoulnd`t be anymore red meat
Chicken drumsticks and oven grilled mediterranean vegetables

What veggies do you like to roast in the oven? Please share your ideas and adaptions of this recipe.

Read you soon,

Friday, May 19, 2017

Vernal Chard Soup (vegan)

vernal chard soup vegan
One crucial point of cooking at home is trying to be as environmentally conscious as possible by buying and using not only organic, but also locally grown vegetables and fruits or locally bred fish and meats. Consequential you are automatically cooking with seasonal food. During spring there is a wide variety of vegetables you can choose from. For example green and white asparagus, fennel, cucumber, turnips or chard, the one we are going to use in this recipe. Please note that in your country other vegetables may be in season than here in Switzerland. 
As already mentioned, the main star of this recipe* is chard, but as this soup is perfect for leftover feel free to use any other vegetables you like and have at hand. Let`s dive into the preparation now.
ingredients chard soup
Ingredients (for 2 servings):
  • 125 to 150g organic chard, rinsed off and cut into stripes
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 organic middle sized waxy potatoes,cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon organic canola oil
  • 400 up to 450ml vegan vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly grounded black pepper or white pepper to your taste
  • heat the canola oil in a pan
  • add the carrots and potatoes and braise for about 4 minutes
  • add the chard (without the leaves) and braise for 2 more minutes
  • deglaze by adding the vegetable stock
  • cover the pan and let simmer for 10 minutes, then add the chard leaves
  • let simmer for about 5 more minutes until you can easily pierce the potatoes and carrots with a fork
  • season with salt and pepper
vegan chard soup
The cooking time can vary depending on the thickness and size of your potatoes and carrots, so make sure to check your soup frequently by piercing these veggies with a fork. The chard doesn`t need that much cooking time, especially the leaves. 

I am looking forward to see your creations and interpretations of this easy and healthy vegan soup, so please share.

Read you soon,
*please note that this recipe is highly inspired by the "Green Gourmet" cookbook!