Quick Pickled Carrots and Radishes

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Quick Pickled Carrots and Radishes

I didn’t really plan on making these quick carrot and radish pickles. The actual plan was to make banh mi pickles – you know, these awesome daikon and carrot pickles that pimp up every banh mi sandwich. So I did (the recipe will follow soon). And, I made a lot of them. I even had quite a lot of julienned leftover carrots. Therefore, I pickled them together with some radishes that begged me with a sad face to finally use them.

Quick Pickled Carrots and Radishes

These crisp radish and carrot pickles are easy to throw together and liven up everything. I particularly like them on tacos, burgers, and as a condiment on the side of almost every dish. Hello, creamy, saucy Indian dishes!! Hello, cheese plate!

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Orange Muffins

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Orange Muffin Recipe

I simply love the combination of oranges and almonds – particularly in cakes. And what’s not to love about this combo? Ever since I have developed this gorgeous tasting Blood Orange Almond Cake about a year ago, I am including these two ingredients in all sorts of cakes.

These orange muffins are a new favorite of mine, so it’s high time to post the recipe before orange season is over again. They make a perfect second breakfast when your stomach is already growling before lunch. Also, they come in handy as a hostess gift for brunch and breakfast dates.

Orange Almond Muffins - Recipe

The recipe is straight forward, and you don’t need much else than two bowls and a whisk.

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Brioche-Striezel – Soft Mini-Brioche Braids

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Brioche Austrian Style (Germ-Striezel) - recipe

Around Easter time, braided yeast-loafs are very popular among Austrians. Well, not only around this time of the year, but especially. It’s an Easter tradition. People either bake the Oster-Striezel (= Easter-Braid) at home or buy it in one of the many bakeries. Usually, the loaves contain raisins (I prefer golden, by the way) and are deliciously soft and fluffy.

Recipe Austrian Brioche Braid

The recipe makes either 3 small loaves or one regular 9×5-inch loaf (see pic).

I made a couple of these brioche-braids recently and found them good for any occasion throughout the day. They sure make a lovely breakfast or brunch, either plain or with a slab of butter and some delicious jam. You can easily pre-slice the loaf and freeze it for longer term storing to use them later for a lovely breakfast – any day of the week. If I forgot to take some slices out of the freezer the day before, I usually simply toast them in the morning. This brioche also makes a perfect lunch since it is not overly sweet – especially topped with a slice of ham and some aged cheese.

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Cacao Banana Smoothie Bowl

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Cacao Nice CreamAs I have noticed on Instagram, “nice cream” is everywhere. This vegan ice cream made out of frozen bananas, which is probably not a new concept to you, but was a revelation to me. A healthy dessert that tastes like chocolate but is vegan and sugar free?? Jackpot! This raw cacao banana bowl has become one of my regulars already.

Whenever I am craving something chocolaty, I’ll try a bowl of half-frozen cacao smoothie bowl first. I only alternate the toppings: Sometimes I sprinkle chocolate granola on top; next time I choose toasted sesame seeds, pumpkins seeds, or sliced almonds. Frozen or fresh fruits are always a good idea. Since this cocoa nice cream is my favorite dessert right now, I always keep some frozen, ripe, bananas in the freezer – you know, just in case.

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Blood Orange Almond Cake

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Blood Orange Almond Cake - Recipe

This cake is super-moist and ohhhhh soooo delicious, and ready in no time. I am particularly proud of this recipe since I developed it from scratch without having any other recipe as basis to work from. And do you know what? It worked so perfectly that I did’t need to change the recipe at all after the first try.

Moist Blood Orange Almond Cake

I posted it on my German blog Taste of Travel a year ago and I have been making this cake pretty often ever since. It soon became one of my go-to recipes and the batter is brilliant for cakes and muffins!

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Krapfen – Austrian Jam Filled Donuts

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Krapfen Fluffy Doughnuts

These soft and fluffy Austrian-style donuts are eaten year round but are particularly popular during carnival season (“Fasching”) and on Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday (or Mardi Gras) is called “Faschingsdienstag” in Austria and is the peak of carnival, reflecting the practice of the last day of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting starts on Ash Wednesday. And even though, most people don’t fast any more, they do enjoy the rituals of carnival.

On Fat Tuesday, people dress up to celebrate carnival … and they eat a lot of Krapfen on this day. Kids dress up for school or kindergarten and usually they get to eat this fluffy treat. Sometimes even employer are buying Krapfen for their employees to celebrate Fat Tuesday. I am not that kind of person who likes to dress up but I enjoy the perks of this day ;-)

Krapfen dusted with confectioners' sugar

I’ve made Krapfen before, using a different method for filling them. I used to cut out the dough, then put a spoon of jam in the center, put another dough round on top and cut the two layers of dough again with a slightly smaller cutter. This takes a lot of time, that’s why I switched to a way easier method: filling the Krapfen with a pastry bag. Making donuts or Krapfen takes a little time and practice, so don’t worry if the first ones you make don’t look like from a pastry shop. They will still taste amazing!

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Cheese Dip with Bacon and Beer

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Bacon Beer Cheese Dip with Pretzel Bites

David and I couldn’t agree on if the Quick Cheese Dip or this one would be the most delicious. And with that I am not saying, one of us favors one dip and one the other dip. No, neither of us could pick a favorite. Both were simply too delicious. So we settled on the Quick Cheese Dip to be our new weekday favorite – you know, ‘case it is quick and easy – and the Cheese Dip with Bacon an Beer would be our new weekend favorite – ‘cause it contains beer and bacon and needs 15 minutes more of our precious time. By the way: These two cheese dips are the perfect accompaniment for Fluffy Pretzel Bites or Taco Chips. Superbowl Sunday is almost here….

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Quick Cheese Dip

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Quick Cheese Dip Recipe

So this is it, the dip I’ve dreamed of: Easy, quick and soooo delicious … a new weekday favorite. Poor lactose-intolerant people!

This cheese dip is basically a béchamel sauce with the addition of sharp cheddar. I used orange-colored sharp cheddar in this recipe, but feel free to experiment with any other cheese. Sharp ones are best but I’ve even tried this dip with mozzarella, when I ran out of sharp cheese. Mozzarella is per se rather tasteless, but the dip didn’t seem to care. It required a little more salt and cayenne pepper and I added a pinch of paprika, for a nice color.

This dip simply is the perfect accompaniment for fluffy Pretzel Bites or Tortilla Chips, or really anything else. Super Bowl Sunday can come, we are prepared!

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The Fluffiest Pretzel Bites

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Pretzel Bites Recipe

As you may know, I am writing a cooking column about US food for an Austrian newspaper. Yes, Austrians are also allowed to do so ;-) I have been writing this column for almost two years now and the readers don’t seem to get tired so far – no, surprisingly they are getting more and more enthusiastic about American food. Yay!

As next Sunday is time to watch Super Bowl 50, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce my readers to some game day snacks. Last year I made loaded nachos (I simply looooove those), and with that I set the bar high for this year’s Super Bowl-food. I was thinking about pretzels with a genius-dip when a picture of pretzel bites popped on the screen (was it on Pinterest? Instagram? Whatever.) I knew immediately that I had to make the bites instead of their bigger cousins.

Fluffy Pretzel Bites

When developing a recipe, I always make several batches of the same dish. I ended up making three batches to figure out how to get perfectly fluffy Pretzel Bites. Turns out they were so good that I simply had to make two more batches after the recipe was finally published, all within a week or so *harrumph*. So can you guess how good they actually are?? You have no idea! They are the fluffiest Pretzel Bites I could ever imagine.

Accompanied by an extremely creamy cheese dip – and in addition a bacon-beer dip, they make sure you will forget any bad news. Even though if your team really messes up. The Patriots didn’t make it into the Super Bowl this year, and yet my good mood prevailed (→ only ‘cause of, you know). Since I do step-by-step recipes for my newspaper, you will find them here this way too. I included two methods for “pretzeling” them: Firstly, I make them in a baking soda bath; Secondly, I just brush them with some baking soda-wash. I don’t use food-grade lye since it’s caustic and therefore not really ideal for a home kitchen.

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Homemade Paneer in 30 Minutes

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Paneer Indian Fresh Cheese

Don’t you love Paneer Tikka Masala, Palak Paneer or Paneer Butter Masala? Well, I do! Ever since I traveled to India a couple of years ago, cravings for the mentioned dishes seem to occur more often.

The key ingredient in all these dishes is the cheese: Paneer. Paneer is a type of a no-salt-added Indian fresh cheese that requires no ageing or culturing, thus it is very easy to make at home.

How to make perfect Paneer

It’s basically just milk simmered on the stove and splashed with vinegar or lemon juice. Then you have to strain and press the resulting curds and voilà: Your homemade Paneer is ready. This is a recipe for 30-minute Paneer – everything included, even cooking the milk. Depending on how firm you wanna enjoy the paneer, you want to press it between 15 and 30 minutes – the longer, the firmer.

Step-by-step recipe for quick paneer

Making homemade Paneer

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally in the beginning and all the time towards the end to make sure the milk doesn’t scald. I find a rubber spatula perfect for this job.

Once the milk has come to a boil, reduce heat to low and stir in the vinegar – the milk should begin to curdle immediately.

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Masala Chai – Indian Spiced Milk Tea

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Masala Chai Indian Tea

When I traveled to India a couple of years ago, I got in touch with masala chai. In India, “masala” is a mix of spices and “chai” means tea. Of course, I’ve known this kind of spiced milk tea before my trip to India, but I’ve never really been a fan of these intense smelling tea bags that are widely available in supermarkets and neither of their result. In India, I drank a lot of masala tea; the spice mix tasted slightly different every time, sometimes the chai had a more intense cinnamon flavor, sometimes the cardamom was dominant. Same with the milk: I drank masala chai’s that were watery; some were creamier, depending on the amount of milk added. I even tasted chai with goat milk and for that I know: I am definitely not a fan of masala chai with goat milk.

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The Most-Read Blog Posts of 2015

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Another year has passed, so let’s focus on 2016! But before we do that I think it’s interesting to see what posts people are reading on our blog and in which recipes they were especially interested in 2015. I hope you do too and maybe you’ll stumble upon a new recipe you want to cook this year.

With that in mind, here are our 5 most popular blog posts of 2015. Thanks for reading and supporting us, Ursula, David & The citizens of Li’l Vienna!

Easy no yeast Naan1. Easy No-Yeast Naan
Who would have guessed that on a blog focusing on Austrian food, an Indian recipe is by far the most read? I have to admit – I simply looooove this Naan. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s delicious.

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