new cookbooks and ugly bagels

I know I haven´t been posting for a very long time but I guess I should aim for 2 posts per month and then I wouldn´t disappoint anyone :D

For Valentines day I did a Mr Bean...I ordered myself a few "gifts" and then I pretended surprised every time the postman came with a book. I know Valentines day feels far away now, but some books came all their way from the US, so it took time.
So here´s my spring harvest:

During this time I have been cooking and taking photos, just didn´t have the time to blog about them, but I will eventually. This weekend I had lots of energy so I have been cleaning the house, the closets, parts of the pantry (or is it larder?...don´t know the difference unfortunately) AND have been cooking and baking. I have been thinking of baking bagels for a very long time now, but this weekend I did it. I didn´t use one of my many cookbooks of course, but I chose a recipe from the King Arthur Flour Bakery´s site.

I started on Saturday evening (does this sound pathetic? Perhaps that´s the reason for me still cooking for one ;P) and finished it off on Sunday morning. I followed the recipe slavishly...ummm...with a little exception: I mixed the wheat flour with rye. Everything went well, I loved my bagels! Of course I feel that I should mention one tiny detail: I have never had "real" bagels, original bagels, so I don´t have the slightest idea what they should taste like:D These bagels were chewy (as I read they should be) were slightly crispy on the surface (that´s from boiling them is sugary water before baking them) BUT they didn´t look great. In fact they look strange. Of course, as I read later on a blog, one shouldn't´t use the "poke-a-hole-in-the-bun-with-your-finger"-method, because it´s not great for a Bagel´s look. So I noticed.
You see, uneven and kind of bad skin :)
Anyway, whatever bagels should taste like, I loved these ones. I am already planning on baking a new batch withing two-three weeks, trying a different recipe and method. Also the idea that you boil them before baking them makes me believe that it is healthier for my stomach, as it stops rising and I am guessing that it affects the starches forming in the bread. Don´t know if this is true, but if not, then it had some kind of placebo-effect on me, because I didn´t feel a thing after eating 2 still-slightly-warm bagels ;P
I did forgot to take a photo as I had so many other things to do, but I have a strong feeling that I would have remembered if they came out gorgeous... I´ll see if I can take a reasonable pic tomorrow as I take them out of the freezer. Yes, from the freezer. When I read that bagels are best eaten fresh, I put most of them in the freezer as I couldn´t possibly eat a dozen bagels all by myself. This way, I´m hoping to have fresh bagels every morning for a week.

Sunday afternoon I got a sudden craving for something sweet and recalled a pear & walnut muffin I´ve seen on Pistachio´s blog. I didn´t think twice, they looked and sounded great, now was the time to make them. They were delicious!!! The thought of using wholewheat flour was appealing but I only had graham at home, so I went with it and it came out great. I was a bit doubtful, whether they would be heavy or compact but they weren´t. They were soft and juicey inside but crunchy on top, actually just perfect. Thanks Pi for the inspiration:)

Tonight I cooked meatballs in pomegranate molasses and a thick ground almond sauce after a recipe that I got from Julie P over at MrX Cooks. This was another success and it is also perfect for Passover.


1 kg chopped/minced meat
1 medium onion grated
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 tbsp. oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups of ground almonds

1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
2 cups water
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup dried apricots, soaked in water for 2 hours
1 tsp. allspice

Mix the meat, grated onion, salt and pepper and shape into small meatballs. Brown the meatballs in the oil so they retain their shape; remove. In the same oil, saute the onions till golden. Add the almonds and the meatballs.
Add the sauce ingredients to the pan and bring slowly to a boil. Mix occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn. Lower the flame and cook, covered for one hour stirring gently now and then. Serve hot over rice.

Not a great photo but the dish certainly tastes good
And then I started to think. With all those new cookbooks around me I was using recipes from virtual friends, other blogs or just surfing the web for new ideas. It IS fun surfing around on Amazon and try to have a peek into some book I don´t own. It is fun imagining the wonderful recipes and stories I am going to read about and cook when I have the book. But then very often I get disappointed. Either no stories in the book or no pictures I like or great photos but uninspiring recipes...
So I´m asking myself, why I need new cookbooks? Is it the hunt? Or is it just greed? :D


Gloria said…
I really love you comeback again!!!we miss you! xxx Gloria
Gloria said…
Sorry, I wanted to say too, Love this recipe too Vonsachsen! xGloria
Great to see you back blogging Eva, I've missed reading here.

All that food looks gorgeous, and what a lovely selection of books. I have the Silvena Rowe one and it's a great read, the Magnolia Bakery is full of decadent delights too.

Happy Reading and Happy Cooking

George xx
Anna said…
Ah, yes, Eva! The big question!
Why DO we need new cookbooks?!
Just seeing that big pile of new books made me happy, LOL! :-)

I've never tried making bagels, I should do.
Your meatballs look great too, in fact so do the muffins :-)

It's good to see you around!
Anna xxx
Lisa said…
That is very funny about you being like Mr. Bean! I can picture the scene.
I'm so impressed with your bagels. Maybe one day I will try these. Those meatballs look like a dish I would love!
Your photographs are always so beautiful. Like Anna, I was happy to see your books, too.
Lisa xoxo
vonsachsen said…
Gloria, you always have some nice words to everyone:)

George, I was a bit disappointed by Magnolia Bakery. Feasts, on the other hand I already like. I just find the quality of the book jacket and the paper in the book a bit poor.

Anna, haha, we all know what YOUR aswer would be to the great question!! If you like bagels, you should try it,I find it very nice with my ten o´clock tea, keeps me going until lunch.

Lisa, "being" Mr Bean feels fun, funny and from time to time:pathetic...but, it´s up to me to decide what I choose to feel, and I choose happy.
When it comes to the bagel: I figure the taste is the most important the first time, then I´ll see if I can make it better next time :)
Sandy said…
Wow, you have been busy! I'm so glad you're back, even if it is once or twice a month. :)

Everything looks yummy and inspiring. Your pile of books sent my heart racing too.....hope they're all good!

ps. I tagged you on my blog as well.
Linda F said…
So lovely to 'see' you again Eva, you really need to submit some of your gorgeous photos to Tastespotting! I see a Julie Biuso book there, she is a New Zealander, and a regular writer for Cuisine magazine which I get! She has some lovely recipes!
vonsachsen said…
Sandy, remember? The Cold Weather Cooking is your recommendation :) There are LOADS of recipes in there, I thought it was a smaller book. I´m not complaininig though, it seems to be a treasure chest.

Linda, I haven´t start reading the Julie Biuso book yet, but it seems like there are no recipes in it, it´s an essay book and it´s about her life. Thanks for the nice advice, I might try to submit some of my photos to Tastespotting :)


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