wattecanon

No matter how bad things get, it's impossible not to love someone who made you toast. Once you've bitten through that crusty surface to the soft dough underneath and tasted the warm, salty butter, you're lost forever.

FEBRUARY 20

Dear Nigel,

What can be happier than sitting down at a table and gobbling with friends after a long busy day. This quick supper February 20 The pancetta question just fits the best for such indulgence. I don’t mind to prepare everything and cater come-to-your-home. A vacuum-packed pancetta, a bag of cans, a potted parsley, they don’t seem to be attractive at first sight. But with a little fry and little magic, no one can resist the charm of finishing up 4 portions by threes.

Sincerely

CZ

Pancetta and bean soup with spaghetti

Pancetta is really a class higher than normal bacon. No wonder it is also triple more expensive. I was frightened from its great percentage of white fat at first. But It is not greasy at all after a brief fry and cook. Its meat consistence and aroma just properly thicken the simple spaghetti and bean combi. Yum!

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FEBRUARY 17-19

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Dear Nigel,

I am still in February. The sweetness, the sunshine and the snow, they are all still in February. The apricot scent was dispersing little by little in the passed month. It was a tight schedule in the second half of February. Many cakes, but also many easy cooking dishes. There was just one technical problem again about finding the right soft cooking chorizo. I didn’t have time to go to a Spanish specialities supermarket in west. It used to be the place to have a piece of Pastel de Nata in the afternoon when I lived little nearer to there earlier. I bought cooking chorizo eventually in Metro, where the catering business in the town does their purchase. I can get almost everything there every time I am deeply disappointed by the other retailers. I like cooking chorizo much better than the dry version. The result from your recipe was suprisingly interesting with rosted almonds and kale. I believe before every recipe becomes a dish, it will be a suprise, small or big. This is the mystery allures me to cook and carry on cooking. It has been slower posting recently, but I am here, keeping my promise.

Season has turned into summer time. April please be warmer.

Sincerely

CZ

 

Butter beans with mustard

 First cooking with black treacle. I put bravely too much of it disregarding its powerful sweetness. My beans nearly became a dessert but still yummy yummy.

Kale with chorizo and almonds

The best thing in this dish is simply using the roasted garlic flavor to harmonise the meat and vegetable. I hate eating only garlic, I eat its aroma.

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Little apricot and oat cakes

 After break up, the apricots and candied peel are entirly integrated into the solid sweety. It looks healthy but offers excessive calories. The crystal demerara grains shine on the top. Although they will scatter messily on table after a bite, it is joyful to crunch betweent the teeth.

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FEBRUARY 13

Dear Nigel,

After reading February 13 Sharing a pudding, I believe that I feel the same when I order mushi-pan, one kind of Japanese steamed cake at table with many other friends. I would rather rudely claim for only one spoon than any hypocritical hospitality in this moment. In many other moments too, it is not that I don’t wish to share the food but it is more like that I don’t want the tasting process being interrupted when it becomes such a pilgrimage.

Today I came to your journey of food pilgrimage with a prune pudding – dark brown body with light brown cream. The camera flash sparkled a almost golden luster on the cake. And then a not much different colored main course Chicken with potatoes finished on my plate. They together suddenly inspired me of Wan Ka Wai’s movie scenes. High contrast, high saturation, high savour.

Sincerely

CZ

Little prune puddings with caramel sauce

What else can I say to this little thing that makes Slater a little selfishness. Perfect!

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Chicken with potatoes and dill

It was not a easy cooking dinner. A friend paid her first visit at my place and had a rather expectation of quick meal. But she waited and waited whilst I was telling all the time,”yes, another 15min…another 15min…” It took 2 hours at the end and the time was still not enough for cooking the chicken through and evaporating cider. My cider is already in a higher alcohol concentration than normal. I am such a bleeding heart. I would better let friend be drunk than starve. Dinner is ready!

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FEBRUARY 12

Dear Nigel,

Seems the time has beaten me hardly. Squeeze time for that and squeeze time for this. At the end nothing has really progressed well. Well, at least a piece of happiness exists every time in your meal that reminds me to carry on. Few progress is not worse than no progress. I need a better plan. A better plan that is able to carry every task till saturation. An agenda tells me to do this and do that in the matter of time. But it sounds so unlike me. I do things following the temperature of sunlight, the moan of winds, the music in the radio, the book next to me. Too sentimental, just I have gotten too far in a life that simply needs an agenda.

The dinner was ready cooked quite late at 10pm. With or without a reasonable schedule on this day, this was my best experience ever with “Fish and Chips”.

Sincerely

CZ

Smoked haddock with potato and bacon

I have to emphasis that it is not a haddock here. What you see is a Schwarzer Heilbutt. Very hard fish texture but with intensive flavor. I think anyone is going to eat this meal should only take few. There is enough fat and calories even though I only use half double and half single cream.

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FEBRUARY 10 (coming soon…)

Down to the bone – Braised neck of lamb with apricots and cinnamon

I don’t eat lamb but I would like cooking for someone likes it. Cooking postponed and post is coming soon.

FEBRUARY 7 + 9

Dear Nigel,

It was a strained and chaotic early morning when I cooked those two dishes at the same time(February 7 Fish, some new thoughts and February 9 A little brown stew for a little brown day). There was no minute for appreciating the February grey-white sky nor contemplating on a calm grey-brown like day. All I wanted to do was cook them delicious and then pack them into my lunch box. A good wish but probably a greedy one as well, the cooking process didn’t go as neatly as determined.

The idea was bring the two high contrast colored grains onto one plate. Arborio risotto and pearled spelt, they don’t differ as Yin and Yang but are more like two of the basic elements-water and earth. White water carries fishes, brown earth fosters mushrooms. They together unite two to one, bring the variety and make a solo main course not boring. I could have cooked this morning very stylish, only if I hadn’t confounded Arborio with already drained spelt and only if I hadn’t hesitated too long why the risotto today didn’t soak up the liquor. Maybe mistakes can only be revealed when things are muddled up enough. Well, it was literally not difficult to start everything again from the beginning, I was just too late for work.

It was a pleasant lunch sharing with Nitnit but sorry I let her starve.

Sincerely

CZ

 

A risotto of smoked cod and spinach + A little brown stew of mushrooms and spelt

It turns out to be normal now that I can’t always find the exact ingredients. This time smoked Rotbarsch(in German) stood in for cod or haddock. To be honest, the tenderness of cod was really missing there, because the rice is cooked rather dry by me and chewy as it usually is.

For the dried mushrooms in brown rice I used Shiitake which is my favourite flavor maker since Childhood. I stewed the spelt a bit too long or too few water I poured in, the result was also not as watery as it should be. I had my best excuse though. That is food that is taken out should be safely dry.

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FEBRUARY 4

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Dear Nigel,

I made it to 7 small jars plus one big sized preservation.  The oranges used are Spanish, organic, however Navel-late. The unique bitter “Seville oranges” are seemingly only exported to UK for producing the distinctive English marmalade. It might have been the right season and the right reason to make my first batch of marmalade in life, I should have also lived in a proper place.

Seville, a place that I used to be invited to by a dear Spanish roommate. He sent me a postcard from there. The magnificent cathedral lifts impressively on the card center. I still haven’t travelled to the small southern city, so the image of the world largest Gothic cathedral remains on my fridge door. If I choose a month to go to Seville now, it could be the next February. Besides strolling among the decorative oranges planted along the roadside or leaning out of someone’s garden to enjoy the sun of southern early spring, a lucky harvest of authentic Seville oranges is a good purpose too.

I gave away 4 small jars and friends say it is delicious. The marmalade makers do “pass their golden pots of happiness on to others”.

Sincerely

CZ

Seville orange marmalade

I reduced almost half sugar for the oranges used were not as bitter as they ought to be.

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JANUARY 30

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Dear Nigel,

The marmalade chocolate chip ice cream has been frozen in fridge since 3 weeks. It was taken out thrice: first two times for showing off the succeeded homemade icy elf; the third time for a self-indulgence evening. Share is the warm-heart nature. Ice cream is the cold elegance for alone.

It was amazing to attend the whole process of this creamy object being gradually crystallized hour by hour in and out of freezer. The last phase needed its first independent night to become real ice tough. Like a mom, I was anxious about the well sleep of my ice baby in the next morning. With almost a mood of pilgrim, I held my ice baby to my bright kitchen window. With an triumphant grin, I saw the white frost glistening against the sun.

February is still bitterly cold. At home I have my sweet sweet cold.

Sincerely

CZ

 

Marmalade chocolate chip ice cream

Nigel made this ice cream by using up his marmalade, while I bought a jar of Danish orange jam. Because its fruits are only heated at max 85 Celsius degrees, there is no bitterness extracted from the peel. Thanks to the 80% cocoa dark chocolate, it balances the whole over-sweetness. Just proper sweet!

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JANUARY 22 + 28

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Dear Nigel,

It is a super postponed blog writing this time because my whole computer just crashed days ago right after the blog pictures were freshly laid on the hot plate. The browser went frozen first and I forced to restart my computer. After system preloading it only showed black screen. Heart trembled once unconsciously. Another several seconds passed, black screen remained… More time was taken till my heart sank enough to understand that this darkness seemed to be no end. My old fellow machine finally encountered his doomsday. I had been torturing him too much but no mater how unresponsive he acted to me in the last time, I never wanted to change him away. Now after couple of days struggle, I have reinstalled him a new soul and he becomes my good fellow again.

I am not happy that two January posts are going to land in February. I am not happy that plan can’t be fulfilled when the endeavor is beaten by objective causes. However I am more not happy if no effort is brought out to something I surly enjoy and have promised. So a self-praise I would say to January: I have made it.

I come from a small town where fishermen deliver fish alive and kicking everyday. I usually run by fish counter frowning disgustedly and screamed silently due to its dead appearance or smell. These I can really appreciate are already relished finely on the plate. Cooking fish seems to be a missing process for me from market to dining table. January 22 A potato crust for a fish pie is a good attempt, while tasting the mixture of bitter, sour and pungent of salad dressing is a pleasure. I saved a good portion for eating with a friend on the second day and baked the marzipan cake from January 28 using up the marzipan by the chance ahead of time. The satisfaction after sharing food makes me feel so real about the value that I get in every new cooking step. Thank you Nigel, for giving me more attempt and pleasure awaiting in this year.

Sincerely

CZ

Gurnard, basil and potato pie

Is gurnard a typical type of fish in England? I failed to find the exact one in Berlin. I understand the meaning of respect to each recipe but also understand its agility. I bought over 600g white fish named Kabeljau in German. It is a Cod type, so tenderness is expected. Besides the good quality of fish, basil makes the perfect faint scent.

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 Winter leaves with gherkins and mustard

The salad dressing is way too both brave and creative. Aggressively stick to every facet of leaves, harmonised its salty with sour gherkins and spicy Dijion mustard. The heavy texture endues eating salad with more fun from not only chewing the salad but also the dressing. An adventure in mouth!

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Almond, marzipan and berry cakes

I have never thought about that I could ever enjoy marzipan since I tasted this one. Cut the bar of Lübeck Marzipan in big chunks and scattered into the almond pastry. For those who don’t like Marzipan, the unique-tasting nuggets will only emerge in mouth unguardedly afterwards. It means after a cake is finished, the gate of marzipan gourmet has also been opened wide to you. Very very yum!

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JANUARY 20-21

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Dear Nigel,

Last Sunday on the January 20th I was walking down in an Oriental-resident district in a desperate search for this golden fruit — Quince. The air was freezing, the street was deserted, I trembled despairingly, “at least any shop is open today…” I believed in my understanding of this city, so as you try your best, you will get what you want at the end. But this time Berlin didn’t make her offer. Although I tramped all the Sunday-opening supermarkets and the possibilities of street markets, seemed quince doesn’t like cold wave as much as human beings, neither the fruits nor the street markets were seen. So I had to postpone the cooking for the quince recipes until I finally found some in the middle of this week, at Leopoldplatz where is famous for the Turkish vegetable-fruit vendors and the aggregating habitation of foreign students. I had never bought quince before as it feels so inaccessible despite its familiar appearance. A quince resembles pear but much harder and scents sweeter. I know now after reading your recipe how this rock-hard fruit should be treated in kitchen.

Since I couldn’t stick to the letter of the cooking dates, first on Saturday, a blessed rare winter sunny day, I welcomed my best VIPs May and Nather couple for Browning meat and more quinces( January 21). A very happy day full of laughter and food, from bright to dark.

Sincerely

CZ

Quince and apple tart

It is such a delicate recipe. Three sorts of sugar are used for each layer. Maple syrup emphasises the fruity note by its caramel scent. Caster sugar put the decent sweetness in the crust. Due to the coarse grain of Demerara sugar, the texture of the crisp top is enriched to another level. The baking result is just as the recipe describes,” Just two quinces in an apple pie are enough to imbue the entire filling with their scent and flavour.” Comes with a cup of tee, Tasty!

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Quick, mildly spiced beef

If I could ever well master the cooking length of beef! Either NOT too long or long ENOUGH can keep the quality of tenderness of beef. I reached a perfect seasoning of this dish but failed in the meat quality. Chewy chewy, however super suprised with the result from the first introduced Indian mix spice – garam masala! Wanna go Indian? Cook with this!

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Baked quince with orange and mascarpone ginger crunch

Christmas has been over for a month and we started to bake ginger biscuits just now. Grate fresh ginger, grate cinnamon stick, mix with flour, butter, egg and sugar. Roll out the dough and prepare some motive cutters. Jingle bell, evergreen, snowman, wooden horse are all obviated. Some are just formed freely for crushing later on. I have gotten some blood oranges for extra pinky hue added to the amber main part. While the quince is baking in the bath of orange juice, cinnamon and vanilla, the kitchen air is permeated with deep wooden fragrance. It is room mist rather than food. Take a deep breathe, nose always eats earlier than mouth.

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