Category Archives: European menu

Ultimate Gingerbread


These intense little bars are great on their own or crumbled over a little bowl of gelato or ice cream.


Ultimate Gingerbread

(from Jamie Oliver Cook with Me)

Makes 9-12 pieces

1 x shortbread recipe or a 15 ounce package of store-bought shortbread

6 ounces of raw sugar

3 level t of ground ginger

1/3 cup mixes peel (dried and candied orange, lemon, pineapple), chopped

1/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

7 T flour

A pinch of baking powder

2 T golden syrup (white karo)

2 T treacle (black molasses)

5 T butter


If you are using your own shortbread, make it first.  Recipe follows. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Baking pan required is about 9 x 14 inches.  Place shortbread in food processor with the sugar and 2 T of the ground ginger.  Pulse until you have crumbs.  Remove about 2/3-1 cup of the crumbs and set aside.  To the remaining crumbs add the chopped peel, the crystallized ginger, the additional 1 T of ground ginger, the flour and the baking powder. And pulse until well mixed.  Place in a large bowl for further mixing.


In the meantime melt the syrup, butter, molasses in a saucepan.  When everything is melted ,mix it together with the crumb fruit mixture and mix until well combined.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan –making even with a spatula.  Place in the oven for about 10 minutes.

When done, take the tray out and sprinkle the hot gingerbread with the remaining crumbs, pressing them down with spatula or spoon.  Cut into squares while warm and leave to cool in the pan.

Serve on its own or use to sprinkle over ice cream.

This recipe dates back to England’s Lake District of 150 years ago.  It also makes a great base for cheesecake!


1 cup + 2 T butter (for pan preparation)

½ cup + 1 T superfine sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

2 scant cups all-purpose flour (for dusting)

2/3 cup semolina flour a 1 scant cup cornstarch

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Grease bottom and sides of 9 x 9 inch baking pan

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the flour and semolina or cornstarch.  Mix lightly until you have a smooth dough.

Press the dough into the prepared pan and prick all over with a fork.  Bake for about 45-50 minutes until golden.  Dust with additional sugar while still warm.  Cut while warm and let cool in the pan.




Schnitzel & Borscht for Dinner


How could you resist this?



Schnitzel with Watercress & Applesauce

Schnitzel with Watercress & Applesauce

(Adapted from Jamie Oliver Cook with Me)


1 Tablespoon of butter

Zest and juice of ½ orange

2 T. sugar

¼ t cinnamon

¼ t nutmeg

¼ t cloves

2 good eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch dice

1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch dice


In heavy pot gently melt the butter for a minute with the orange zest and juice, sugar, nutmeg, & cloves.  Stir until the butter foams then stir in the apples.  Cover and for 20-25 minutes until you have a soft, lumpy sauce.  Taste and add more sugar if desired.  It is nice to keep the separate flavors of the sweeter and tart apples to add interest.  Serve warm or set aside to cool.


Johanna considers whether all the apples will fit in the stock pot.





2 x 5 ½ ounce pork escallops’ (loin).  You may also use veal or chicken

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


1 large egg, beaten

3 large handfuls of dry breadcrumbs

Olive oil

A small bunch of cornichon, finely chopped

A handful of watercress washed and dried

1 lemon


Using three plates prepare the coating for the meat.  In first one place your salt, pepper and flout.  In the second one put the beaten egg, in the last the breadcrumbs. Place the meat either between saran wrap to pound to ¼ inch thick.  You may use the flat side of a meat tenderizer or a heavy skillet to do this.

Season the meat in the flour mixtures, shaking off excess.  Dip into the egg mixture, letting excess drip off.  Then dredge in breadcrumbs, patting them on firmly and gently shaking off excess.


Karen patiently prepares the meat - pounding, dredging, dipping, rolling.



Have a warm oven ready if you are cooking for a larger group.  In a heavy skillet, heat the olive over medium-high heat.  Put the meat into the pan and agitate it to get the olive oil up over the sides and turn over after about 2 minutes.  Brown until both sides are crisp and golden.  Remove to a pan lined with paper towels to drain.  Season again lightly with salt and pepper.


Make certain to let these get nice and crispy!



To serve put a little pile of cornichon on top and some watercress.  Add a spoonful of applesauce and drizzle meat with a quick squeeze of lemon juice and bit of olive oil.


Everyone is so hungry - they forget to take off their aprons!




Russian Beet and Cabbage Borscht

Borscht is a soup made primarily from beets.  It originates in eastern Europe, probably Lithuania, and as many recipes may be found for this as there are regions of eastern Europe.  It dates back to Medieval times and was primarily a food of the poor.  Beets were cheap!  But this is a delicious and hearty soup.  It must be served with a good sour cream add the fresh dill is a must.  We served it with hearty rye wheat bread from the local bakery and some beer pretzel sticks.  It is one of those dishes that is even better the next day, as the flavors meld together.

A hearty winter soup that takes some chopping, but is so worth the effort!

Russian Beet and Cabbage Borscht

(adapted from All Recipes and The Food Timeline)

Serves 8

1 ½ cups thinly slice peeled potatoes

1 cup peeled and thinly sliced or grated beets (coat with lemon juice to retain bright color)

4 cups beef, vegetable or veal stock

2 T butter

2 T olive oil

1 ½ cup chopped onions

1 leek, sliced thin – white part only

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 t caraway seeds

2 t salt

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced

3 cups coarsely chopped red cabbage

Black pepper to taste

Fresh dill

1 T cider vinegar

1 T honey

1 cup tomato puree

Sour cream for garnish

Place potatoes and beets in large pot over high heat, covered with the stock and boil until vegetables are tender.  Remove the potatoes and beets with a spoon and reserve stock.

Melt the butter and olive oil in stock pot and stir in the onions, garlic and caraway seeds and salt and cook until translucent.  Then stir in the celery, leeks, carrots and cabbage.  Mix in the stock.  Cook, covered until all the vegetables are cooked and tender – about 10-20 minutes.  Add the potatoes and the beets.  Season with salt and pepper and a bit of fresh dill weed.  Stir in the apple cider vinegar, honey and tomato puree.  Simmer, covered for about another 20-30 minutes.  Serve topped with sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh snipped dill.

Look at the ruby color of this fabulous broth.

Chop, chop, chop. Red fingers to boot!

December 2 Class Menu

It seems like weeks since we all gathered.  I was away in Europe on business for a week and of course the Thanksgiving holiday fell on our regular class day.  I hope everyone had plenty of good food to eat.  We had a traditional dinner complete with cornbread, sausage and cranberry stuffing and today the carcass has been simmering on the stove to make a big pot of soup for later in the week.

Inspired by European travel and the broad cultural influence we will explore some recipes in class this week from several different countries.  For starters we will taste a Manchego cheese (Spain) appetizer and move on to make a Russian Borscht (beet soup).  For the main course we will prepare a crispy schnitzel (Austria – although we will discuss its origins in class) with homemade applesauce and Hungarian Beer Breadsticks (Sorkenyhenyer Palca).  For dessert we will explore a lovely English Gingerbread (not like what you are thinking!) whose origins trace back to England’s Lake District with a recipe that is about 150 years old.

We will also discuss the Cookie Box.

See you there!