Thursday, September 4, 2014

Saffron Risotto With Baby Asparragus And Prosciutto

Dear all,
hope you had a wonderful time celebrating summer in all its splendor, enjoying the gorgeous fresh fruits and veggies, gifts of this season and preparing delicious and inspiring new kitchen creations.
I had actually a great vacation, involving lots of travelling in mind.
We wanted to explore several regions of Peru we have not been yet and enjoy some time at the beach.
But instead of appreciating beautiful sunsets at the beach, nourishing my usual sunburn and counting my mosquito bites, I had to stay home due to some health issues.
Thank heavens everything is going well so far and I'm feeling much better.
So very sorry to have to disappoint you, but no new travel post this time. Instead, I hope you will enjoy this delicious, colorful saffron risotto.
My son Rafael is here for a visit and he enjoys cooking for friends, so we decided to take a culinary trip together and prepare our favorite risotto.
I must confess that usually I'm quite territorial in the kitchen, but  we managed to create our little dream team and no boarder conflict so far.
The saffron risotto turned out luscious and creamy, tasted heavenly and was very easy to prepare.
Anyhow, I'm very happy to be back, missed you all a lot and I'm looking forward to reading all your posts I've been missing during my absence.

You need:
1 cup risotto rice ( Arborio, vialone nano, or other short or medium-grain Italian rice)
6 cups vegetable stock ( I prefer homemade one) The amount of stock is aprox., depending on which rice you use
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (optional)
1 cup baby asparagus, only the heads cut into 2 inch length
1/2 cup prosciutto, roughly chopped 
salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Cook onions until translucent.
Add rice and stir until edges are translucent.
  It will look this beautiful and shinning
In another pot bring stock to simmer.
Add the wine and 1/2 cup of stock to the rice mixture.
Than add the saffron. Enjoy its golden deliciousness.
Stir and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup of broth and keep cooking, stirring and adding stock until the risotto is soft.After adding the last 1/2 cup of broth add butter, asparagus and prosciutto.   Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan(optional)
  Enjoy! Serves 4p.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

See You In September!

Dear all,
will be on vacation during August, looking forward to seeing you again in September.
Have a great summer!



Monday, July 14, 2014

Fresh And Light : Summerfruit Terrine

What does a foodie under stress?
Goes straight to the kitchen and prepares something comforting and yummy.
After a hectic week involving a small traffic accident (fortunately only a fender bender) I was taking refugee in my kitchen practicing a kind of gourmet yoga,
After lots of OOOms and some goodie sample testing I recovered my mental peace :)
Lima is a great city but traffic is..hmm..exciting.
Traffic rules are "flexible" and due to interpretation of the one with the more powerful car.
Don't get me wrong, I love to drive here because it provides you with the perfect adrenalin kick and strengthens your ability  to react on the spot.
It's a kind of daily surviving training on an asphalt jungle and can win you the title of Iron Driver.
If you think I'm exaggerating check out this link from the TV series "You don't want to drive here"
which has devoted a whole chapter to traffic in Lima.
Back to my kitchen I decided that something fresh,light  and easy to prepare would be the perfect way to relax.

This terrine is a stunner for summer parties and even people who usually don't eat dessert cause of diet reasons will love it.
And nobody will suspect it's so easy to make.
This is what you need:

About 900g of fresh summer fruits like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and white or black grapes.
-2 sachets of unflavored gelatin powder (11g  or 1/4 ounce each)
-2 cups cranberry juice or rose wine
-1/4 cup sugar , if you use rose wine take 1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Remove stalks and halve or quarter strawberries so that they are not much larger than the other berries.

Gently mix together fruits in a large bowl.
Place berries in a loaf pan ( 6 cups capacity). Put some of the smaller berries on the bottom of the loaf pan.

Bring 1/2 the cranberry juice or Rose wine to a boil.

Remove from heat and whisk Gelatin powder, sugar and lime juice into it.

Make sure that everything has dissolved well, than add remaining fruit juice and let the mixture cool down.
*If you want some delicious extra flavor add 1 spoonful of fresh raspberry puree.
Pour gelatin mixture over the berries mixture until covered.

Lay a sheet of cling film over the tin.

Place another loaf pan or something similar to act as weight over the cling film to weight the mixture down and refrigerate over night or until firm.

Dip bottom of pan in hot water for about 10 seconds to unmold.
Slice with a sharp knife and decorate with some strawberry or mint leaves.

Serve pure or with Greek yogurt or Crème fraiche.
Serves 10 to 12 portions.


















Monday, June 30, 2014

Stay Cool- Iced Coffee and Classic Iced Tea With A Twist

Coming home after our adventure trip to the jungle was relaxing and at the same time left me with mixed feelings.
Enjoying nature pure, no pollution, everything so green, smashing and far from civilisation was a once in a lifetime experience.
Now we are back to the vivid,noisy and exciting capital Lima.
On the other hand it can be quite relieving not to watch your every step if there is a snake crossing your way or a tarantula hanging from some tree over your head.
So far, we are back to normality.
Thinking about this weeks post I got inspired by my daughter who sent me a picture enjoying a gorgeous iced coffee in the historic center of Vienna.
This drink is absolutely addictive and you need not even the excuse of hot weather to enjoy it.
According to my mother, the secret of a delicious Viennese iced coffee, lies in the quality of coffee.

The same goes for this Ice tea with a twist.

If any drink was made to cool you down on hot summer days, it's definitely iced tea,
It's like a summer party in your mouth and the fresh ginger  adds a wonderful, slightly spicy flavor.  

 Freshly grated ginger

and fresh mint add a wonderful twist 

For the iced tea you need:
1.5l boiling water
4 bags tea
2-3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 /2 spoonful of freshly grated ginger
Mint sprigs
Make the tea with .51l water then dissolve the honey in the tea.
Add ginger and mint to the mixture and infuse for 10 minutes.
Strain and cool.
Pour into a jug.
Serve with lemon slices, mint and lots of ice.

For the iced coffee you need:
1 cup of espresso
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2cubes ice
1 spoonful of amaretto (optional)
2 balls of vanilla ice cream
whipped cream and cocoa powder for decoration
Combine the sugar with espresso until dissolved.
Let cool down, then mix in the blender with ice cubes.
If you wish, add amaretto.
Put vanilla ice cream balls in a previously chilled glass,
pour the espresso mixture over the ice cream and garnish with
a little whipped cream. Sprinkled with cocoa powder and serve with a straw.,

Enjoy! See you next week!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Amazonia - A Journey To The Green Heart Of Our Planet

It was always my dream to get to know the rainforest.
So this year my husband decided to offer me an extra special surprise gift :A journey to Peru's Amazonia region.
I must not forget to mention that the best husband of all was  quite skeptical about this trip.
Not a huge fan of adventure trips, his main concerns were:
mosquitos, snakes, tarantulas and the jungle in general :)
So there was not much left for him to look forward.
But what a surprise when his transformation started before my incredulous eyes as soon as we arrived: in one moment from couch potato to Indiana Jones!
Oh boy, I felt so proud. 
Already the flight from Lima to Puerto Maldonado, capital of the Madre de Dios region, offered some incredible sights first over the snow covered Andes, then over the winding Madre De Dios river, enclosed by deep rainforest, looking from above a bit like an accumulation of giant broccolis.
After arrival we were driven to the small river port  of Puerto Maldonado and after a 50 minutes boat ride arrived at the InkaTerra Eco Lodge.
The place is a fusion of comfort, culinary excellence and has developed a project of sustainable tourism and conservation that is unique in the region..
The first impression were the fantastic shades of green, the enormous extend of the river and the jungle and the sights and sounds of the wilderness.
Even the smell is unique: a particular mixture of water, mud, chlorophyll and humidity.
Excursions were led by very well trained guides and gave us the opportunity to get a close look at rare wildlife and unique natural beauty.
Sometimes we walked ankle high in mud, so thank heavens for the rubber boots we were provided with.
Thanks to the outstanding service and dedication of the Lodge's stuff, we spend an amazing and unforgettable time.
(I would like to mention as well that this post is proudly non sponsored, so our impressions and opinions are totally free of commercial interests.) 
According to the World Wildlife Fund at least 441 new species have been discovered between 2010 and 2013 in the under explored forest of the Amazon.
There are of course problems as well in this paradisiac region.
One of the most concerning comes from illegal mining.
The activity cuts deep wounds into the rain forest and polluting water and soil for decades and generations to come. 
Therefore, conservation plans to save the rain forest and improve the life of indigenous communities have an outstanding importance.
All in all this journey was an unforgettable adventure to a paradise of biodiversity and home to indigenous communities that is worth the effort to conserve this unique place for future generations.

View over the snow covered Andes on our flight from Lima to Puerto Maldonado

The Airport of the Capital of  The Madre de Dios department

The sun sets over the Madre de Dios river, displaying amazing colors and adding drama to the scenery.

Our cabaña at the InkaTerra Amazon Lodge 

View from our Bungalow at the Lodge's garden

Relaxing at our little veranda after a long walk through the jungle


Coming home at sun set

 Front view from our cabaña at the river

Walking at the river side at the Lodge's garden

Excursion to the rain forest
A turtle with a little butterfly on his head

The InkaTerra canopy walkway is made of the aggregation of continuous treetops intertwined with each other, giving the impression that the rainforest is a giant carpet.
The average tree size at the rainforest is about 98m (147 feet).
Crossing a hanging bridge over the giant trees at 23m(about 80 feet) height.

A view at the hanging bridge from the ground. Don't you think it looks a bit scary??? But I promise, it's worth while.
The trunk of a giant tree.
A cocoa tree
Exploring the rain forest, feeling so small
A lake with the most beautiful reflection, mirroring the landscape at Quebrada Gamitana.
Landscape at Quebrada Gamitana
The remains of Fitzcarraldo's boat
Fitzcarraldo was one of the famous rubber barons, who accumulated amazing fortunes during the rubber boom in the Amazonia's region. 
Evening impression

These boots were made for walking :)

A cashew nut fresh from the tree 

Beautiful fresh, exotic fruits. This one is called Zapote.

Amazonia landscape
Close encounter with a graceful snake
Sun rise at the Tambo Pata National Reserve

A swamp

A Cayman enjoying a mud bath

Lodge garden

A Shaman from a local indigenous community preparing a "Flowering Bath" where medicinal plants are used to relax body and soul and help to charge positive energies.

Full moon

Samy, the charming Tapir is the Lodge's pet and a very friendly and curious companion

Roots of a tree from which the indigenous communities prepare a kind of local Viagra. The shape is quite explicit.

One of the innumerous, exotic flowers of the region.

Puerto Maldonado, the lively capital where everybody moves around in motorcycle or scooter.

Saying goodbye to the rainforest at sunset
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