Mayonnaise

I have never been a fan of mayonnaise, like most foods with a high percentage of fat it causes me nausea.

I remember that when I was a child we would often have some kind of potato salad with sausages, peas, carrots, onions and mayonnaise on sundays – real, selfmade mayonnaise with lots of oil and raw yolk. I could only eat tiniest amounts before I started to feel sick.

Nowadays I hardly ever use mayonnaise – if so, usually only on pasta salad, mixed with soyghurt, but even on that I prefer my usual dressing with wonderful pumpkin seed oil.

On those rare occasisons when I wanted to use mayonnaise, I bought it, as I had no idea of how to make it myself.

Several members of my family were kind enough though to prepare eggless mayonnaise for me on one occasion or another, as it’s getting harder and harder to find some in stores, and from what I’ve been told, it was a tedious task to prepare it, slowly adding drops of oil while mixing constantly .

When I recently stumbled over a recipe that claimed mayonnaise could be made within 30 seconds by simply mixing soy milk, oil and lemon juice with a hand blender, I got curious  and decided to try it. I only used half the amount of oil though, as I don’t like the taste of too much fat.

Maybe that was the reason for the complete failure of the recipe: all I got was a  sour, foamy soy-milk-oil-mixture.

I was frustrated,yet incited to succeed, so I poured it away and gave it a second try. My second attempt included the given amount of soy milk, oil and lemon juice.
Result: sour, foamy soy-milk-oil-mixture.

But this time I added some more lemon juice to the already foamy soy-milk-oil-mixture, mixed it for another 10 seconds – and voila, I had the most perfect, creamy mayonnaise you can imagine.

Mayonnaise

I was very enthusiastic and tried it two more times, to make sure I got the hang of it, and both times it worked perfectly. It takes less than a minute to prepare, looks and tastes like it should and the finished product can be stored in the fridge for a week without changing consistency or going bad.

Okay, that was a long prelude to a short recipe 🙂

So here we go!

You will need:

  • a small, fitting container for the mixing
  • a hand blender

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 2/3 cup oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • a dash of lemon juice – no need to be freshly pressed
  • some tumeric for a touch of yellow (optional)


Mayonnaise
step 1) pour 1/3 cup soy milk in container

Mayonnaisestep 2 – optiopnal ) add some tumeric if you want your mayonnaise to have a slightly yellowish colour

Mayonnaise
step 3) pour 2/3 cup oil in container

Mayonnaise
step 4) mix for 20-30 seconds, until you have a foamy, oily mixture

step 5) add a dash of lemon juice

Mayonnaise
step 6) mix for another 10-15 seconds

You’re done!

Now you can add salt, pepper, herbs or whatever you fancy.

Valentine’s Day Punch Hearts

For this recipe I took inspiration from an Austrian pastry called Punschkrapfen.

They usually have the shape of squares, but I thought it would be nice to make heart shaped ones for Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts

Sweet Punch Heart for Valentine’s Day

My first attempt yesterday didn’t turn out as I had planned: the cake was to high for the cookie cutter, so the hearts all were somewhat uneven. Also, the filling was too soft for being used with a cookie cutter. I had to place the cutter on top of a heart shaped cookie, fill it with the way too soft filling, put another cookie on top of it and then carefully pull the cookie cutter up without destroying the whole thing. I still managed to get them in shape, but it was very, very messy and time-consuming, I really don’t recommend that method.

It was so much work that I didn’t even bother to glaze them all, once I was finished. (They were really delicious though).

Valentine's Day Punch HeartsThe first attempt: somewhat messy production process, but very delicious outcome.

Today I made a second attempt: I used only half the amount of dough and a much larger baking tray. Unsurprisingly this time the cake turned out to be too flat 🙂

So I simply decided to turn this into a special feature of my very special Valentine’s Day Punch Hearts: instead of one filling between two cake layers they now contain two fillings between three cake layers.

Before I post the recipe just a couple of things in advance: making those Punch Hearts is a lot of work, it’s very messy and they are somewhat unhealthy, as they contain lots of sugar.

But hey, Valentine’s Day is only once a year, so it might as well be worth the effort and the extra calories on a special day and for a special person, and besides: I think they look really cute (and they taste great as well!).

Ingredients:

for the dough:

  • 90g sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 package of vanilla sugar (8g)
  • 120g flour
  • a bit of tumeric for a nice yellow colour (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 150ml water

additionally for the filling:

  • 55ml cherry liqueur rum (or regular rum)
  • 135g dark chocolate

for the glaze:

  • 200g powdered sugar
  • 50ml cherry liqueur rum (or regular rum)
  • red food dye

Preparations:

  • line a baking tray with parchment (the tray I used has a size of 37x26cm and the cake turned out very flat – I guess a smaller tray would be okay too)
  • preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Cooking:

  • mix sugar, baking powder, flour and  vanilla sugar thoroughly (add a little tumeric if you want your dough to have a nice yellowish colour)
  • add oil and water, mix with a blender
  • pour the very liquid dough on the parchment paper that lies on your baking tray
  • shake the tray a little to make the dough spread evenly

Valentine's Day Punch HeartsThe dough in the tray before baking…

  • put the tray in the oven and bake for 10-15 minute; the time depends on the size of your tray (the surface should be of yellow/light golden colour, you can also do the toothpick test to find out the right moment for removing the tray from the oven)

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts… and after baking. Nice yellow colour.

  • let the cake cool off for at least 30 minutes
  • remove the parchment paper from the tray
  • now cut out hearts with a heart shaped cookie cutter; I cut out 27 cookies for 9 punch hearts

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…cutting out the hearts.

  • make sure there’s enough cake leftovers, because you will need those  for the filling; I weighted my cookies and leftovers: the cookies weighted about 60% of the original cake, the leftovers 40%

Valentine's Day Punch HeartsThe leftover cake parts.

  • now put the leftovers in a bowl and crumble into smaller pieces
  • add cherry liqueur rum, then mash the soft, soaked crumbles with a fork (maybe start with less than 55ml rum and add more if necessary)

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…soaked in rum and mashed.

  • melt dark chocolate in the microwave oven; it should be soft, but not too hot
  • mix the melted chocolate with the rum soaked cake mash

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…mixed with melted chocolate.

  • the consistency of the cake mash should be soft enough to be spread on the parchment, being cut with the cookie cutter and stick with the cookies, but not so soft that it will loose its shape or melt away – depending on the amount of cake leftovers you started with, the amount of rum and melted chocolate you are going to need may vary; also the cake mash will get a little harder once the chocolate has cooled off, so you may want to wait a little or put the filling in the fridge for some time
  • spread some of the filling on a piece of parchment paper and use the cookie cutter to cut out a heart; remove the heart (by carefully lifting it up with a knife, if it sticks to the parchment paper) and place it on a cookie

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…cutting the filling, layering the punch cakes

  • place another cookie on top, another filling on that one and a third cookie on top of it, so that each little cake has 5 layers (if your cookies turn out to be much higher than mine, you can stick with a three-layered cookie-filling-cookie)
  • now it’s time for the glazing; put the powdered sugar and rum in a bowl and mix thoroughly; I recommend not to start with the whole 200g sugar/50ml rum, but with maybe half of the amount, and then slowly add either more sugar if it’s too liquid or more rum if it’s too viscid
  • add as much red food dye as you like, for bright red or tender pink
  • place each cake on a fork, and pour the sugar glaze over it

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…glacing the little cakes with pink or red sugar icing.

  • place the cakes on a little paper muffin cup
  • eat and enjoy – but not all at once 🙂 I calculated that each of the 9 punch hearts I made has a little over 300kcals.

Valentine's Day Punch Hearts…delicious!

On Natto, Flower Bread and Apricot Dumplings

First of all I can say that my natto experiences finally proved successful.

Natto

While according to an instruction I found on the internet the natto had to be in the joghurt maker for 24 hours, then additionally in the fridge for 48, I observed that keeping the soybeans warm for 48 hours proved to be a more prosperous solution for my natto.

Also I had to increase the amount of natto I make to the maximum that fits in the joghurt maker, as I would eat so much of it, that it didn’t even survive those 48 hours in the fridge that it needs to settle.

When I bought the joghurt maker a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea what a handy bargain that would be, as now I am using it around the clock, literally.

The selfmade natto really tastes great and I made it part of my daily diet: twice a day I now enjoy a small portion of those fermented soybeans.

All natto aside, I also managed to try out some very nice bread recipe.

Sunflower Bread

Called a sunflower bread, it doesn’t actually contain any sunflower seeds, but it looks a little bit like a sunflower. I found the recipe on this website, and although google translate tries to convince me that it is Italian, I am actually quite sure the page is in Romanian (otherwise, where the hell would I get 500g of weasel?).

I’m not 100% pleased with the outcome yet, but it’s heading towards the right direction, and I think it really looks nice.

And finally I had another very delicious meal yesterday: my almost-mother-in-law made some wonderful selfmade apricot dumplings for me.

I absolutely love filled dumplings, and as I am not good at making them myself, I am always looking forward to when I get them made for me.

My noble plans of eating those 8 large dumplings over a period of 4 days were completely in vain though, they were so delicious, I hat to eat all of them on the very first day.

Apricot Dumplings