Monday, 1 May 2017

Vegetables from the Griddle Pan


Kornelia Santoro

Dear all,

I wrote an article about easy, slimming recipes recently. My griddle pan played a prominent role. For me, it is one of the best instruments for producing dishes that tick all the necessary boxes: They are easy to do, fast to execute and taste delicious. So far, I have never presented any recipes from the griddle pan in my newsletter – time to remedy this omission.

Easy grilling with a griddle pan

A griddle pan mimics roasting on a charcoal grill without the fuss of setting up the BBQ-grill and lighting a fire. It has ridges that make contact with the food and leave the desired signs of roasting – a great flavour enhancer, although it might be a bit carcinogenic.

Acrylamide: Low levels in vegetables

The keyword here is acrylamide, a potentially carcinogenic substance. It is formed when food is cooked with high heat. Especially potato chips, French fries and brown toast contain a lot of acrylamide. However, I could not find anything about acrylamide levels in grilled aubergines and zucchinis although I discovered information about grilled carrots and onions. These levels are so low that I think our bodies can deal with this tiny bit of acrylamide – considering that eating zucchini and aubergines gives you plenty of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Any vegetable can hit the griddle pan

Basically, you can throw any kind of vegetable on the griddle pan. I prefer zucchini and aubergines. You can also prepare yellow or red peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus and even carrots the same way. Low-fat chicken breasts taste great when griddled.

The only rule to follow is:

You do not oil the pan; you oil the food.

Keeping this in mind, you cannot go wrong. Especially aubergines profit from this kind of preparation. This vegetable soaks up oil like a sponge during frying.

I salt and pepper the vegetables after roasting them and garnish with mint and parsley. If you like your food spicy, you might want to chop up some fresh chilli. Red ones deliver a lovely colour contrast. Lemon or lime juice adds a bit of zing.

Wishing you happy cooking, always!

Kornelia Santoro with family


Vegetables from the Griddle Pan

vegetables from the griddle pan

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 2 medium zucchini

  • 4 small aubergines

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • Juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon

  • Fresh mint and parsley (or any other kind of fresh herb)

  • Salt

  • Pepper


It is important to slice the vegetables evenly so they cook at the same time. So far, I had always sliced zucchinis and aubergines lengthwise. For the newsletter I wanted to test if the cutting technique makes any difference. It does not affect the taste.
slicing vegetables
However, lengthwise slit zucchini slices deliver grill marks more evenly. On the other hand aubergines are preferably cut into rounds. The reason: Their skin is quite hard. Slicing them lengthwise results in two end pieces with a lot of skin.

oiling vegetables

After cutting your vegetables, place them into a bowl and coat them with olive oil. The easiest way to achieve this is rubbing the oil with your hands over the slices.

Having written this: Just do whatever floats your boat. Because zucchini are quite long, I chop them in the middle. That makes slicing them lengthwise easier.


Heat your griddle pan: You need high heat to achieve roast marks in a short time.
veggies in the griddle pan
Place the vegetables in the griddle pan and let them sizzle for at least three minutes on one side without touching them. When you move the slices around, you will not attain clear grill marks.

After they have sufficiently roasted on one side, flip them over. The second side takes a bit less time to cook because the vegetable is already hot.
veggies with grill marks

After roasting, place the vegetables on a plate. Salt and pepper them evenly, squeeze lime juice over them and garnish them with the fresh herbs and/or chilli pieces. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Upside-Down Banana-Cake

Kornelia Santoro

Dear all,

This month I offer a recipe that intrigued me a long time ago: Upside-Down Banana Cake. I discovered this recipe on the website of one of my favourite foodies, David Lebovitz. He taught me how to make caramel. Since then I adore his detailed descriptions of procedures in the kitchen.

I love the classic upside-down cake: Tarte Tatin

I was intrigued by the recipe because I love Tarte Tatin. This classic version of an upside-down cake from France is an unattainable recipe for me here in India. It requires puff pastry, which is not available readymade here. In Europe you can buy frozen puff pastry in every supermarket.

For years now I want to try my hand on puff pastry. It is one of these things – like tempering chocolate – that I would like to learn. However, there is not a real need for these skills in my household and there always seem so many things to do. I guess, many of you know what I am talking about.

Plain atta and coconut oil instead of teff flour

Daniel Lebovitz uses a fancy kind of flour for his cake called teff. It is made from a small seed plant in Ethiopia. I simply replaced it with good, old atta from my supermarket around the corner. As fat for the dough I used coconut oil. For the caramel sauce I used lovely organic raw sugar from India.

My husband and son loved the banana cake. I was not so convinced – it tastes nice, but is a far cry from Tarte Tatin.

Wishing you all happy cooking!

Kornelia Santoro with family

Upside-Down Banana Cake

Ingredients ( for a skillet with a diameter of 25 cm or 10 inches):

For the dough:
  • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 table spoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 table spoon vanilla essence
  • 1 pinch of salt

For the topping:
  • 60 grams salted butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 table spoon rum

butter and sugar in panYou need a skillet with a thick bottom, that is transmitting the heat evenly. For the topping, place the butter with the sugar in the pan. Let the butter melt over medium heat.
stirring butter and sugarKeep stirring the butter and sugar, until you see the sugar crystals melting. This takes quite a while. During this process, the mixture will darken. Be careful not to burn the sugar through a high flame.
stirring caramel sauceWhen the sugar crystals have melted, add the rum to the mixture. This will provoke quite a volatile reaction. Keep stirring until you have a smooth mixture. Let the caramel sauce cool down.

caramel sauce with vanilla beanSlice the vanilla bean lengthwise and place it in the form of a cross into the skillet. Peel the bananas, halve them lengthwise und cut them into two pieces. Place the banana pieces onto the caramel sauce.

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
bananas in skillet
For the dough combine all the dry ingredients first and mix them well with a spoon.
dry ingredientsAdd the eggs, the coconut oil, the milk, the ground cinnamon, the vanilla essence and a pinch of salt. Mix everything well and pour the rather liquid dough over the bananas.
stirring doughBake the cake in the oven for around 35 to 40 minutes. A tooth pick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
baked cakeTake the cake from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Place a plate on top of the skillet and turn over the cake. Enjoy!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

New Video on YouTube: Crunchy Garlic Bread

Hi everybody,

Parsley plays a major role in my garlic butter.

I have uploaded my second video to YouTube with my recipe for crunchy garlic bread, also called crostini.

The video shows you step by step how to make garlic butter and then use it for garlic bread.

Thank you for watching and subscribing.


Monday, 30 January 2017

Sweet Potato Toast

Kornelia Santoro


Dear all,

Let’s start 2017 with a healthy recipe for a trending item: toast made from sweet potatoes. Replacing bread with sweet potatoes fits into a gluten free diet and is great for diabetics and everybody who wants to lose a few pounds after the holidays.

The giant, two kilogram sweet potato

I was asked to write about sweet potatoes. During my research I discovered this trending recipe and bookmarked it in my memory for my newsletter. The other day I discovered giant sweet potatoes in the supermarket. One of them was two kilograms heavy. I carried them home and set out to work.
giant sweet potatoes

Immediate oxidation

There are many kinds of sweet potatoes. In Goa we find mostly the reddish ones with light yellow flesh. They oxidize immediately when they hit the air and turn a rather unappealing darkish-greenish tone.

Warning: Sweet potato is difficult to work with although it delivers a healthy base for a kind of Ersatz-sandwich.

I knew this, so I had a big bowl with water ready to avoid oxidation of peeled slices. When I started to cut the skin of, I met with heavy resistance. It required all my gym-trained muscle to get rid of the dirty skin. Now I know why many cooks use sweet potatoes with the skin.

Slicing the massive root

The second difficulty was slicing the colossal sweet potatoe. I tried with my biggest kitchen knife from Solingen and failed miserably. So I took my sharpest, Swiss made kitchen knife and sliced all around the sweet potato to have a guiding line. That delivered chunky slices.

Mandoline? Chips-like thingy as toast?

Some cooks recommend using a mandoline. But this leads to tiny slices – I do not consider a chips-like thingy to be an adequate replacement for toast. Other chefs praise how easy it is to prepare sweet potatoe toast in a toaster. I consider this an urban myth.

Workout for my arm muscles

It took me half an hour to slice my giant. Once again I was astonished how quickly the sweet potato changes colour. I decided to blanch them to preserve their colour before baking them in the oven. This worked well. The slices left the salt water with a golden yellow colour. However, during baking they turned into their usual darkish-greenish tone. I might as well have saved the effort of blanching them – it reduced the baking time though. Next time I will try to deep-fry them in ghee, clarified butter.

The taste was a revelation though. “Highly addictive” was the comment of my 17 year old son who does not praise culinary achievements lightly.

Wishing you all the best for 2017 and happy cooking, always!

Kornelia Santoro with family

PS: My new book Cooking for Happiness received the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in the category innovation.
2. PS: I publishes my first video on my YouTube channel Kornelia's Kitchen. I am a bit ashamed because there is much to be improved upon, for example we did not shut off autofocus, we did not calibrate the microphone and we did not vary the shoots - but we will learn, I promise.

Sweet Potato Toast

sweet potato toast three ways
  • Sweet potatos
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt
  • Toppings of your choice

Keep a bowl of water handy. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes.
Slicing sweet potatoes
Keep the slices in water to avoid oxidation.
sweet potato slices in water
Bring plenty of water to boil in a big pot. Add salt and blanche the sweet potato slices for three to five minutes.
blanching sweet potatoes
Take the slices out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place them onto a cookie tray. I covered mine with a silicon sheet to avoid sticking. You can also spread some coconut oil over the sheet.
coconut oil for brushing sweet potatoes
I used homemade coconut oil and a kitchen brush to cover the sweet potato slices.
brushing sweet potato slices with oil
I brushed the slices on both sides with coconut oil to ensure crispiness. Then I baked them for half an hour at around 210 degrees Celsius. After half of the baking time I turned them. You want to see brown-golden marks on the surface.
Remember: The baking time depends on your oven.
baked potato slices
For the picture I chose three different toppings: Cream cheese with slices kiwi, tandoori hummus with stripes of red bell pepper and homemade chocolate-peanutbutter cream with slices of banana, sprinkled with cinnamon.

Our favourite: chocolate-peanutbutter cream with banana. For the cream melt dark chocolate with peanutbutter and some milk. Don’t ask me for amounts please. Just wing it. I also liked the cream cheese with kiwi. The slightly sour, fresh taste of kiwi provides a nice contrast to the sweetness of the potato.