Posts Tagged ‘romertopf’

This month’s IMK is dedicated to Barbara Harris of Winos and Foodies, who passed away yesterday. I hadn’t known Barbara very long, but she was always kind, and a highly respected member of the Australian food blogging community.

The last entry on Barbara’s blog was her joyous June IMK post. Our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

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In my kitchen…

…is a beautiful new egg basket, woven from our rosemary prunings by our friend and neighbour Nic. I think it’s a work of art…

In my kitchen…

…are three varieties of apples.  The one at the back left are Pink Ladies – an old favourite of ours – but the Rouge Pinks on the right and the Stirma Pippens at the front are both new to us…

In my kitchen…

…are my new Turkish ceramics, purchased from Turkuaz Motif.  I loved the matching inside and outside fish! I bought this bowl, perfectly sized for dips and condiments…

…and a matching mini bowl for sauces and oils…

Here is a close up of the tablecloth we bought – our dining room is painted Egyptian red with sage green wood trim – and the tablecloth matches perfectly…

In my kitchen…

…is a Römertopf clay garlic holder, which arrived in the same Peters of Kensington order as the loaf pans

In my kitchen…

…is the best purchase I’ve made in ages!  My new iPod dock takes up very little room, produces a reasonable sound, and lets me cook while dancing around the kitchen to Meat Loaf…

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Tell me, what’s happening in your kitchen this month?

If you’d like to do an In My Kitchen post on your own blog, please feel free  to do so. We’d love to see what’s happening in your kitchen this month!  Please link back to this blog, and let us know when your post is up, and we’ll add it to our monthly listing.

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Here are this month’s posts…

Roz @ Taste Travel

Rebecca @ InTolerant Chef

Shelley @ All Litten Up

Tandy @ Lavender and Lime

Christine @ Invisible Spice

Lizzy @ Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things

Christine @ Food Wine Travel

Rose @ Greening the Rose

Mel @ The Adventures of Miss Piggy

Karen @ Soul Kitchen

Misky @ Misk Cooks

Claire @ Claire K Creations

Heidi @ Steps on the Journey

Sue @ Sous Chef

Anne @ Life in Mud Splattered Boots

Mandy @ The Complete Cookbook

Christie @ Fig and Cherry

Pamela @ Spoon Feast

Emilie @ The Clever Carrot (brand new blog!)

Shirley @ The Making of Paradise

Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe

Brydie @ CityHippyFarmGirl

Jane @ The Shady Baker

Glenda @ Passion Fruit Garden

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I’ve learnt two things tonight.

Firstly, moghrabieh, or Lebanese couscous, needs to be precooked before it’s added to a dish.  I boiled these little pearls for 20 minutes in salted water, before draining and adding them to the Römertopf curry I was preparing.   Even after the extended boiling, the moghrabieh wasn’t cooked through and as a result, kept their shape and texture beautifully over the following hour and a half in the oven.

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Secondly, spice mixes from Pakistan are seriously hot.  But also very  delicious!

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I’m still experimenting with my Römertopf, and tonight’s dish was a hit with the boys.  We’re finding lots of the meals we cook in this terracotta pot are rice based – it seems to really suit the slow cooking process.  This dish was created on the fly tonight and the next time I make it, I’m going to use thighs and drumsticks.  Cutting up the whole chicken into pieces meant that the bone-in pieces cooked to perfection, whereas the breast meat dried out a little too much.

To start with, some basic principles we’ve learnt so far about cooking in the Römertopf:

1. Always soak the pot and lid in cold water in the sink for about half an hour.  Put it in the sink after you’ve washed all your ingredients, and let it soak while you prep.

2. Always put cold ingredients in the wet pot, and pop it into a cold oven, then turn it up to heat.  When you pull it out of the oven, put the hot dish onto some folded tea towels – plonking it on the cold bench might cause it to crack.

3. We always set the oven at 200C fan-forced (electric).  No real reason why, it just seems to have worked for the recipes we’ve cooked so far.  We also seem to cook everything for two hours.

4. Clean the Römertopf by putting it in the dishwasher.  Those are the instructions that come with our glazed pot, and I have to say it’s been cleaning up brilliantly in the machine.

5. Don’t get too stuck on exact quantities or ingredients.  This really is peasant food, so make use of anything you can find in the fridge.  The only rule we have about quantities is this: to make the Arborio rice in the way we like it (sticky and expanded), we need to add twice as much liquid as rice in volume terms.  So for one cup of Arborio rice, we add two cups of water.  In the recipe below, I substituted ½ cup red lentils for some of the rice, which gave the dish an extra sticky consistency.  Surprisingly the lentils disappeared completely on cooking, although they were easy to taste in the flavour and texture of the finished dish.  Feel free to use 1½ cups rice instead if you’d prefer.

Note: when we use Basmati rice, we only add 1½ cups of liquid per 1 cup of rice, as we prefer the texture less creamy in that case.

  • 1 cup arborio rice, rinsed
  • ½ cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • King Brown and Swiss Brown mushrooms
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • ½ leek (white part)
  • 1 large free-range chicken, or chicken pieces
  • small piece of salami or pancetta
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Herbie’s Tagine Spice Mix (I think smoked paprika might a nice alternative, but you could use anything you have at home)
  • salt and pepper

Step 1: Fill the sink with cold water, then soak the Römertopf Baker for 15 – 30 mins.  In the meantime, prepare the ingredients.

Step 2: Cut the chicken into pieces and remove the skin off everything except the wings.  Rub 1 – 2 tsp of the spice mix onto the chicken pieces.

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Step 3: Chop up all the other ingredients.

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Step 4: Remove the soaked base from the sink.  Add the rice and lentils, then all the chopped vegetables and salami.  Give them a mix to combine.  Nestle the chicken pieces into the rice.  If I was doing this again with a whole chicken, I’d be inclined to bury the breast pieces, to keep them moist.

Step 5: Pour the chicken stock over the ingredients, ensuring all the rice and lentils are covered.  Season to taste with a little salt and pepper (this might not be necessary if you’ve used a lot of salami, or if you’re using a salty chicken stock or spice mix). Take the lid out of the sink and pop it onto the base.  Put the whole pot into a cold oven and turn the thermostat up to 200C.  Note: you might need to do this more gradually if you have a gas oven – please refer to your Römertopf instructions.

Step 6: Come back two hours later and pull the finished dish out of the oven.  Depending on your oven, you might want to check on the dish after the first hour or so to see how it’s traveling.  We usually let our dishes rest a little while before serving, to allow the rice to absorb any excess liquid.  Enjoy!

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I’ve admired these Römertopf clay bakers for years, but could never bring myself to fork out the $90 plus required to own one.  So when Peters of Kensington had them on sale recently for $39, it wasn’t a hard decision to make.  Well, it wasn’t hard for me, but Pete took some persuading,  since our kitchen is bulging at the seams.  This certainly is a bulky piece, but oh so very gorgeous.

The whole pot is made from terracotta and needs to be handled with a little care.  Ingredients go in cold, then the covered pot is placed in a cold oven and brought up to cooking temperature gradually.  If you move it  from hot to cold (or vice versa) too quickly, it will crack.  It’s not safe to go on the gas hob, but it’s fine in the microwave, although I’m not sure it will actually fit.

On the up side, it’s completely dishwasher safe, which makes it much easier to clean than the bulky Le Creuset pots we have.  It also produces tender, succulent meals, which are dead simple to prepare.  The pot and its lid are soaked before use, allowing the porous terracotta to absorb water, which it then uses to steam the meal as it bakes.  This enables you to cook with less oil – it also means that cooking times are a bit more flexible, and that things rarely burn in the pot.  The glazed interior should prevent the pot  from absorbing too many odours, although the manufacturers recommend that you buy a separate one for fish.


I’ve used the Römertopf a dozen times since it arrived in the mail.  It’s only been a month, but I’ve  become hooked on the ease of cooking it provides.  I can fill the pot up with raw ingredients, put it into the oven, then pull out a perfectly cooked meal two hours later.  And I’ve finally found a place to store it, after Pete objected to it living on the cereal shelf…

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Römertopf Bakers – Revisited

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