This dinner we made whole chicken in the Schlemmertopf.
We started off with a nice mix of spices:
black pepper and
Together with that we cut a leek into three pieces and chopped a red chili, which we spread out on top of the chicken.
I have found that it makes for a better dish seasoning wise to decide on the amount of spices before one puts them in the pan or stew, etc. Putting them straight into the food I tend to be a bit restrictive, whereas if I place them on a plate or in the mortar and then pour them into the food I tend to be closer to the sweet spot. The past few times I have done this way I have ended up with close to perfect amount of the spices I selected. There is still a long way to go for me to get the whole composition between the tastes right, but in terms of using the spices to bring out the flavours of the food this seems to be working for me at least.
After pre-soaking the Schlemmertopf, mortaring the spices in need of that and chopping the chili it all was placed in the pot and put into the oven at 140 °C.
As sides we made white cabbage wedges that we roasted in the oven after taking out the chicken, that we left to rest in the Schlemmertopf.
Finally we served the chicken and the cabbage wedges with a few leaves of lettuce and some freshly grated carrots and red beets.
Of all vegetables cabbage must be the easiest one to cook and there are so many different ways of cooking it as well. Steaming, roasting, frying, etc. and all produce really wonderful flavours. It was time again for some oven roasted cabbage and fennel.
Keeping it simple we chopped the cabbage and fennel and seasoned them with black pepper and some fresh basil. Then placed it in the oven at 160 °C.
We roasted it in the oven for about 30 minutes. Since we had some leftover chuck steak from the other day we simply heated some of that and fried an egg.
Served with some rucola, olive oil, coconut vinegar and a click of butter and we had a tasty and extremely simple dinner, which we enjoyed with a glass of cold kombucha.
Last week we picked up a purple kohlrabi from FRAM. It really is wonderful to use vegetables with all different colours. Not only are they beautiful but they are also healthy with a lot of phytochemicals that help taking care of your body.
As you have probably realised by now, we do like oven roasted vegetables, so that was what we decided to do with the kohlrabi as well. Together with the kohlrabi we chopped some carrots and a fennel. It turned out to be a really nice combination. Seasoned with some white and black pepper and salt.
After roasting in the oven at 180 °C for about an hour they were ready to be served.
Some days one just get that surge of creativity and energy to do things. The other day I got that when I started cooking lunch way too late in the day. Halfway through the cooking I realised that I would never get to eat lunch if I were to wait out the vegetables that I had put in the oven, so they ended up in some lunch boxes instead. However, I was quite happy with the combination of vegetables, so I thought it would be worth sharing anyways.
I copped and mixed fennel, sweet potato, onion, carrots and some fresh garlic cloves. Seasoned with salt and pepper as well as with two branches of fresh rosemary from our newly planted plant.
The vegetables then went into the oven at about 190 °C for almost a full hour. It was maybe slightly to high temperature for the delicate and small pieces that I had made, as can be seen from the slightly dark edges below… Since I ended up cooking something simple for lunch while the vegetables were in the oven I guess they also ended up being left in there for a few minutes too long as well.
They tasted great though, so nothing to worry about in the end and the made two perfect lunch boxes when mixed with some leftover pork chops and a few slices of butter.
Have you had any creative surges lately? Or misplanned your cooking?
One of the things that we miss with living in an apartment is a grill. During winter time it is not a huge deal, but when the sun stays up in the evenings and it is getting hotter having the possibility of doing a BBQ would have been really nice. Not to mention the different flavours that one is able to get with a grill compared to an oven!
Well, we don’t have a grill, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have spare ribs. We prepare them in the oven on a semi-high temperature for at least a few hours. This time we used an assortment of peppers, including black, white, rosé and green, together with salt to season before the spare ribs were put into the oven at about 200 °C.
To spend the time waiting for the spare ribs to be finished we went on a combined walk and workout in the evening sun. Perfect prelude to a dinner with ribs, right?
Getting back from the walk we cut and steamed some fennel and prepared some salad as sides.
After spending about two hours in the oven the ribs were ready to be served and they were delicious.
Together with the steamed fennel and the feta cheese salad it was a really nice summer evening meal. Crisp and light, yet full of healthy energy and nutrients. Having the home-brewed kombucha to drink together with the meal was also a perfect way of quenshing our thirst.
I know it starts to get difficult to keep track of our favourite meats now, but pork belly definitely comes in at the top. It doesn’t trump ox tail, but it is not too far behind. Anyways, this time I ventured to try something different. During our year in Dublin we ate a lot of pork belly and found some really nice recipes and this is an iteration of one of those.
A really nice combination is chili and cacao. It also goes really well with the fat of the pork belly. To really get a nice flavour use a lot (!) of seasoning. The fat can accommodate a lot of the seasoning and a good way of getting adequate exposure to the spices is to rub them into the meat. Make sure that your butcher helps you to slit the rind.
Fennel, cabbage and pork belly in the Schlemmertopf
Starting off I chopped up the fennel and wedged the cabbage and put in the bottom of the Schlemmertopf together with some water. Put the pork belly on top of the vegetables and add the chili, cacao and cayenne pepper. I used two table spoons of cacao and a pinch each of the cayenne and chili powder. However, with the result in mind I would suggest you use more spices and rub them into the pork belly really thoroughly. When serving the meat one will only get a really small slice of the crust and to compensate for that it is nice to have a lot of spices there. I will definitely use more spices next time around.
After the seasoning is done put the whole thing in the oven for as long as you can wait… No, but at least for a couple of hours. Depending on the time you have available you might want to tune the temperature accordingly. I used 160 °C for the first two hours and then turned it up to 210 °C for the concluding 30 minutes.
Before the last 30 minutes I removed the Schlemmertopf from the oven and added some feta cheese on the top. For this last part of the cooking I left the lid off, to allow the feta cheese to get a nice colour.
After waiting for the pork belly to finish I sliced it in thin slices and served with some fresh home grown salad from our balcony together with a glass of kombucha.
Hope you found some inspiration from this outline of a recipe. Do you have any favourite seasoning for when you cook pork belly?