Posts from September 2013

Klosterneuburg Monastery Hosts Austria 1st Carbon Neutral and Oldest Winery

The Austria Info team always delivers a monthly newsletter chockful of information.

Mid September edition is focused on 2013 wine harvest and wine highlights.

One of them is Klosterneuburg Monastery which they describe as oldest, largest and first carbon neutral winery in Austria.


Another item worth mentioning is Wine Travel online tool created by Austrian Wine which showcases wineries, restaurants and vintners and most important allows visitors to create their own itinerary including descriptions and distances.

(* Photo of Klosterneuberg monastery and vineyards from their Facebook page)

Breakfast on a Budget, Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins or Cake from 'Cook on a Shoestring'

Need to reign in your budget after spending too much on vacations or just looking for simpler life, here comes Cook on a Shoestring (Kyle Books USA, September 2013) by Sophie Wright.

Peanut Butter and Banana Cake... or Muffins

This recipe will also give you fantastic muffins. Follow it in exactly the same way, only when the batter is ready, simply spoon it into silicone muffin baking cups rather than a cake pan.

Preparation 15 minutes

Cooking 40 minutes,

plus cooling

Makes 12 squares

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter,

at room temperature

1 cup sugar (brown is best for a more caramel-like flavor)

6 tablespoons crunchy, salted peanut butter

3 eggs

1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork

Peanut butter and banana

1 Preheat the oven to 350.F. Line a 8 x 8-inch square cake pan with wax paper.

2 Cream the butter and sugar together until you have a smooth and light paste. Add the peanut butter and mix again before adding the eggs, one by one, beating all the time, followed by the milk. Now fold in the sifted flour, baking powder, and, finally, the mashed bananas. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. You want the cake to be just cooked and golden brown on top—insert a skewer into the center if you’re unsure, if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.

3 Let cool before cutting into 12 squares and serving with a lovely cup of tea.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Cook on a Shoestring' by Sophie Wright -published by Kyle Books USA, September 2013- photography by Jemma Watts, all rights reserved)

Rieslings For the Birds, Hummingbird and Emil Reichart Single Vineyard

There's no reason why you could not love both birds and Riesling.

Browsing through the very few pictures I took at Destination Riesling 2013 tasting two and a half months ago, i found a bird thread with these 2 Rieslings for birdlovers.


First the Emil Reichart 'Spatlese' Single Vineyard 2011 (above)...

Then the Hummingbird Classic Riesling from Weingut Adolph Schmitt, a family winery with 400 years of experience, also from Mosel, chilling on ice.


Rieslings for the birds

(* Second photo is not as clear as I wished yet it might make birds sing)

Fancy African Adventures, Journeys by Design New Blog talks about Bishangari

As part of my concierge work, I have been following the work of Journeys by Design who combines offering boutique African adventures with preservation and social entrepreneurship for a few years now.

They recently reshuffled their online presence and added a Journeys By Design blog where one of the first stories is about Bishangari, an eco-lodge in Ethiopia.


Read it and start dreaming about faraway escapes.

(* Bishangari image from 'Journeys by Design' blog)

Hint of Anise, Sticky Sweet Cicely Buns, Sunday Brunch recipe from Gifts from the Garden

I let crafty ideas from Gifts from the Garden (Kyle Books USA, June 2013) by Debora Robertson pass me by. Among them you will find food recipes you can bring to a party or a housewarming.

Sticky sweet cicely buns

Sweet cicely seeds add a hint of anise flavour to these sticky buns. They’re a delicious contribution to take along to a brunch or afternoon tea.

Makes 12

1 tablespoon fresh sweet cicely seeds

450g strong white bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

7g sachet fast-action yeast

Finely grated zest of 1 small orange

50g caster sugar

80g butter, melted and cooled

2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

150ml tepid milk

For the filling

60g dried apricots

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

85g light muscovado sugar

60g pecan nuts

For the topping

120g melted butter, plus extra for greasing the trays

120ml runny honey, warmed, or maple syrup

50g light muscovado sugar

80g pecan nuts, roughly chopped

2 baking trays, 40 x 27 x 2cm

Sticky sweet sicely buns

  • Reserve 2 teaspoons of the sweet cicely seeds. Place the rest of the sweet cicely seeds on a chopping board and chop them finely with a knife. If they’re more dried than green, pound them until fine using a pestle and mortar.
  • Sift the flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. Whisk in the chopped sweet cicely, yeast, orange zest and the caster sugar.
  • Make a well in the middle, pour in the butter, eggs and milk and mix until you have a soft dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until silky and elastic.
  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a plastic bag and leave to rise until doubled in size.
  • This takes 1–2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
  • To make the filling, put the apricots in a small bowl and add just enough boiling water to cover. Leave for 15 minutes, drain, pat dry and chop roughly.
  • Meanwhile, put the reserved whole cicely seeds into a food processor with the cinnamon, muscovado sugar and pecans and pulse until quite fine.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it lightly for a minute.
  • Divide it in two and roll each piece into a 20 x 30cm rectangle.
  • Melt the butter for the topping. Brush some over the rectangles of dough and sprinkle half the nut mixture and half the apricots over each. Press the filling into the dough.
  • Roll each rectangle up into a tight cylinder, starting at the widest end.
  • Cut each roll into six pieces.
  • Brush the baking trays with melted butter.
  • Mix the melted butter, honey/syrup and sugar together and spoon into the bottom of each tray, spreading it out for an even coating.
  • Scatter over the nuts. Put the buns in the trays, leaving about 2.5cm between each one.
  • Cover with tea-towels and leave in a warm place for 40 minutes until slightly risen.
  • Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4.
  • Remove the tea towels and bake the buns for 30–35 minutes until they are golden and feel firm.
  • Immediately turn them over and place on a wire rack to cool.
  • The buns are best cooled, stored in an airtight container and eaten within a day of baking.
  • (* Recipe excerpted from 'Gifts from the Garden by Debora Robertson -published by Kyle Books USA, June 2013- all rights reserved)

    Sweet Spicy Mango Chicken Taco, Quick Lunch Bite Thanks to Mexi-Flip Taco Truck

    Good things happen for a reason.

    As my stomach was begging for food to fuel my brain, i found Mexi-Flip Taco Truck.

    They were kind enough to offer me a taste of their Sweet Spicy Mango Chicken Taco with a bit of avocado and a medium spicy sauce.


    Stop by Mexi-Flip Taco Truck if you happen to be near Rutgers university campus in Newark.

    They have been around for about a year now.


    Wash down spice with a nice Riesling.

    On Menu, Fluke Ceviche with Beets and Fennel, from 'Balaboosta' Cookbook by Einat Admony

    First excerpt from  Balaboosta (Artisan Books, September 2013) by Einat Admony was Melon Gazpacho.

    Second helping would not feel out of place in Peru.

    Fluke Ceviche with Beets and Fennel

    Serves 4 to 6

    At Balaboosta we offer a ceviche special that changes every day. I alternate between fluke, arctic char, salmon, and tuna, plus a few others. Ceviche is a playful dish, and this recipe is one of my favorite results. The raw beets that get mixed with the ceviche add crunch, the orange provides the sweetness and citrus, and the fennel spices it up.

    This recipe works just as well with salmon.

    3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1⁄2 pound skinless fluke fillet, cut into small cubes
    1 small beet, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
    2 tablespoons very thinly shaved fennel
    2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
    4 orange segments, cut into small pieces
    1⁄2 small jalapeño chile, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
    3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
    Toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
    Microgreens (optional)

    Fluke Ceviche with Beets and Fennel

    Mix together the lime juice, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Toss with the fish to combine thoroughly. Then add the beet, fennel, red onion, orange, jalapeño, and cilantro. For a fancy-schmancy presentation, use a ring mold or large round cookie cutter to form the ceviche into a nice circular shape, then top with toasted pistachios and microgreens.

    ( Recipe excerpted from Balaboosta by Einat Admony- published by Artisan Books, Copyright © 2013- Photographs by Quentin Bacon.)

    Wine and Media Pros Invited to Taste 'Nicosia Vini' Sicily in a Glass at 2 New York Events, October 2 and 3

    Wine and Media Pros are invited to taste Nicosia Vini or Sicily in a Glass at 2 New York Events in October.

    On October 2, 2013 at Bottle Rocket (5 W. 19th Street) from 6 to 8 pm (registration required here).

    On October 3, 2013 at Vino-Versity (1657, First Avenue) also from 6 to 8 pm (registration also required here)

    I look forward to sampling their Sosta Tre Santi, a blend of Nero d'Avola and Syrah, at another tasting on October 1.


    Cantina Nicosia has been making wine in the shadow of Mount Etna since 1898.

    Pickle Your Way to Green Life with Melbourne Style Pickled Cucumbers

    "In 2006 a group of Jewish women in Sydney, Australia began meeting every Monday morning - they cooked, ate, drank endless cups of tea and discussed the merits of different recipes. After just a few weekly meetings the Monday Morning Cooking Club was born. Five years and hundreds of dishes later, six members of the sisterhood handpicked their favorite recipes to go into their book."

    Pickle your way to a greener life with this recipe from Monday Morning Cooking Club (Harper Collins USA, September 2013).

    Melbourne-style pickled cucumbers

    Michalle and I still laugh about the pickles. As a full-time working mother I always made sure the fridge was filled with jars and food with long use-by dates, and always kept a good stock of pickled cucumbers, which I bought by the boxload. For many years I volunteered at the Holocaust Centre in Melbourne, and we would all bring in food to share, and swap recipes with each other. This recipe was given to me then. It is so simple – you will never need to buy another jar again.

    80 g (G cup) salt

    250 ml (1 cup) boiling water

    24 fresh gherkins (pickling cucumbers), all the same size (8–10 cm in length)

    1 small bunch dill, washed, bottom stalks removed

    6 cloves garlic, peeled

    5 red bird’s eye chillies, washed

    2 slices rye bread

    Pickled Cucumbers

    You will need a 2 litre (8 cup) wide-mouthed jar or earthenware container. The mouth of the jar needs to be large enough for you to put your hand in.

    Make a salt water solution by mixing the salt with the boiling water to dissolve. Add cold water to make 1.5 litres (6 cups) salt water.

    Leave to pickle for 7–9 days in a cool, dark place. The jar needs to stand in a deep dish, as juice might leak. The cucumbers are almost ready when they change from bright green to dark green. Wait a few more days before opening the jar. Once the jar is opened, the pickling ceases and the dill, garlic and chillies can be removed if you desire. Store the pickles in the pickling liquid in the same jar in the fridge. Keeps for months.

    Trim the bread so it is just bigger than the mouth of the jar, and use the bread to seal the top of the jar, being careful that it stays in one piece. Place the second slice on top, pressing gently into the jar. Add a little more salt water, which will seep through the bread and fill any air bubbles underneath. Cover with the lid.

    On top of the first layer of cucumbers, put 6–8 dill fronds, 3 cloves garlic, 3 chillies and then another very tight layer of cucumbers. Top with 6 dill fronds, then fill the jar with salt water to the rim. You will use around 1 litre (4 cups) of salt water.

    Wash the cucumbers in cold water and pat dry. In the bottom of the jar, place 6 dill fronds, 3 cloves garlic and 2 chillies. Place about half the cucumbers in the jar, arranging them vertically, making sure they are a very tight fit. Try to match up sizes and shapes so there is as little air as possible. It is important that you have packed them very tightly – if you were to turn the jar upside down at this stage, the cucumbers should not move.

    Pickling away for Green Day # 258

    Previously: From the Rooftops, Brooklyn Grown Sweet Basil by Gotham Greens

    (* Recipe reproduced with permission from Monday Morning Cooking Club -Harper Collins USA, September 2013- 

    Still Time for Zuccotto Summer Pudding, No Stale Bread Recipe from Say it with Cake

    There's still time left for Zuccoto Summer Pudding from Say it with Cake (Kyle Books USA, August 2013) by Edd Kimber, a self taught British baker.

    Edd was the winner of BBC2's The Great British Bake Off in 2010.

    Zuccotto Summer Pudding 

    Summer pudding is a stalwart of British cooking. Normally made with stale bread, it is a classic that is very easy to put together. My version crosses the British classic with an Italian classic, zuccotto, which is similar in presentation except that it is a cake filled with a cream or ice cream mixture. My dessert combines the best of both worlds. 

    2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra butter for greasing

    4 large eggs

    1/2 cup superfine sugar

    3/4 cup all-purpose flour

    heavy cream, to serve (optional) 

    For the fruit filling

    11/4lb summer fruits (such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, redcurrants, blackberries, and cherries)

    cup superfine sugar

    2 tbsp crème de cassis 

    For the cream filling

    1 cup heavy cream

    1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

    1 tsp vanilla bean paste 

    Serves 8–10 

    Summer Pudding

    Preheat the oven to 350°F, then line a 10 °— 15in high-sided baking sheet with parchment paper, greasing the parchment too. Put the eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is just warm to the touch.

    Remove from the heat and, using an electric mixer, beat for 5 minutes on high speed, then reduce the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. By this stage the mixture should have tripled in volume, and when the beaters are lifted from the bowl they should form a slowly dissolving ribbon.

    Sift in the flour and gently fold together making sure all the ingredients are combined but trying to keep as much volume as possible. Take a large spoonful of the batter and add to the melted butter, then mix together (this will lighten the butter and help to incorporate it into the batter). Gently fold this into the batter.

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan and very gently level out. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cake is risen; a skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

    To make the filling, put all the ingredients in a medium pan and cook over medium heat until the fruit has softened slightly and there is a vibrant syrup in the bottom of the pan. Drain the fruit and set aside, reserving the syrup.

    To make the cream filling, whisk all the ingredients together until the cream holds stiff peaks. To assemble the pudding, line a 1-quart bowl with plastic wrap, making sure there is an overhang to help remove the pudding later. Cut out two discs of cake, one to fit the bottom of the bowl and one to fit the top. Cut the remaining cake into thin strips.

    Dip all the cake into the reserved syrup and use all but the top piece to line the prepared bowl. Spread the cream filling across the bottom and up the sides of the bowl, covering all the cake. Pour the fruit into the bowl and seal with the larger disc of cake. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the top of the pudding and put a small plate on top. Put a weight, such as a can of beans, onto the plate to weight it down. This helps to seal the pudding so that it holds its shape. Chill for 4–5 hours before serving.

    Remove the weight and plate, and turn the bowl over onto a serving plate. Use the overhang of plastic wrap to tease the pudding from the bowl. Serve on its own or with a little extra cream.

    (* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Say it with Cake' by Edd Kimber -published by Kyle Books USA, August 2013- photography by Georgia Glynn Smith)