Chard & goat cheese pizza

Chard and goat cheese pizza Super simple and delicious pizza. Chard is my favourite vegetable and this is a whole new way of preparing it. It gets a very strong, almost peppery flavour from being grilled on a pizza.

Ingredients: ready made pizza dough 1/2 jar tomato sauce that comes with the ready made pizza dough +-20 stalks of chard 1 small white goat cheese dried thyme salt & pepper olive oil

Pre-heat the oven at its highest setting. That is 250 degrees Celsius for mine.

Wash the chard, wrap it in a towel and swing it around to make it dry. I advise you not to do the swinging part indoors.

Roll out the pizza dough on an oven tray. It usually comes with baking parchment.

Spread the tomato sauce thinly over the dough, then lay the chard on top of it. Slice the cheese and spread it on top of the chard. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Bake till the dough is crispy and brown.

Chinese inspired turnip and stew

Image "What do you do with turnip?" Katinka asked me. "I don't know." I said "I never cook with turnip. I guess you could mash it with potatoes and make pommes duchesse with it.".

Then I remembered the dinner Xingfeng Huang cooked for me and my wife five years ago. He cooked many different dishes and I didn't remember exactly but some things I recalled. He made meat with ginger, garlic and star anise. He told me that he used many strong flavours to mask the flavour of the meat because in the region of China where he is from, people don't like the flavour of meat. I also remembered a dish with strips of white/yellow  vegetable. Potato or turnip but it might just as well have been cabbage. Flavoured with ginger. I thought of these flavours when I came up with this dish. I am sure it isn't Chinese at all. I used Dutch beer and I suspect I flavoured to Dutch taste rather than to Chinese taste. However, it certainly is my taste.

Ingredients 1/2 turnip 1 big leek (only the white part) 1 (leftover) scallion (leave out if you don't have one) 2 teaspoons of honey or sugar 250 g beef, diced. Any part that requires 3 hours simmering will do. fresh ginger 1 green chilli pepper 1 tablespoon of tomato puree 1 bottle of beer (I used Hertog Jan) 2 tablespoons Kikkoman less sodium soy sauce. 2 teaspoons roasted garlic (or use chopped garlic from a jar) 2 pieces of star anise 150g noodles

Make a marinade of soy sauce, roasted garlic and star anise. Add the diced beef and set aside to mind its own business.

Pre-heat the oven at 150ºC. Grate the green chilli and a piece of garlic the size of your thumb. Take a pan that is you can use in the oven and put it on the hob. Put some oil into the pan and fry the ginger and chilli for half a minute. Add the tomato puree and fry for another minute. Then add the beer, the meat and the marinade. Leave it on the hob for a little while to warm it through but you don't have to bring it to the boil. Put a lid on the pan and place the pan in the oven. After two, two and a half hours, check how tender the meat is and if necessary, give it another half hour or so. Once the meat is almost falling apart, take the pan from the oven and let it rest for half an hour with the lid on.

While you are waiting for the meat to cook, peel the turnip and cut it into slices a little smaller than McDonald's french fries. Also slice the leek and scallion and grate another half-thumb of ginger.

Put a big splash of water (100 ml or so, no need to take out a measuring cup) in a pan and stir in the honey. Wash the leek and add the leek, scallion and turnip to the pan. Put a lid on the pan and gently cook for half an hour or until the turnip is soft. You can prepare this and wait with cooking until you take the meat from the oven to rest.

Check the package of the noodles for cooking instructions. Time it so that the noodles are done just after the turnip is ready to be served.

Drain the noodles and put them in serving bowls. Scoop the meat and sauce over the noodles. Put the turnips on top.

Grilled coq au vin

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Have you seen Rachel Khoo's Little Paris kitchen? It is a great cooking show in which Rachel cooks French recipe's with a twist. One of her recipe's is a grilled coq au vin. I watched it and the idea got stuck in my head but I forgot how she did it exactly. So I set about trying to recreate it. I forgot a few ingredients and I ran into a few problems but the result was yummy!

Warning: this recipe takes 24 hours to prepare because the chicken needs to be marinated.

Ingredients (for two persons):
3 chicken thigh fillets
2 onions
1 clove of garlic
thyme
bay leaf
2/3 bottle of good quality red wine
1 big carrot
2 hands full of mushrooms
1/2 bag of frozen pommes duchesse (or make your own)
salt & pepper
1 drop of vinegar 

Day 1:
Peel and finely slice the onion and garlic. Gently fry them in some olive oil and butter with thyme and bay leaf until the onion is soft and pale. Add the wine and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve and set aside to cool down. It should not be hot when added to the chicken because the chicken shouldn't cook yet.
Chop up the chicken thighs and add them to the cooled down wine marinade. Set in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours.

Day 2:
So this is where things went wrong. I made pretty skewers with marinated chicken, carrots and mushrooms and tried to grill them.
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Unfortunately, they are packed so tight that the heat of the grill doesn't penetrate into the chicken fast enough. The result was chicken cooked on the outside and raw in the middle. So here is my solution:
Instead of making sticks, chuck all ingredients on the grill separately. Make sure not to put too much food in the grill pan at once and put everything that is ready in a bowl.

Meanwhile; bake the pommes duchesse according to the instructions on the package and boil down the chicken marinade with some salt, pepper and a drop of vinegar to make a sauce.

When everything is ready, serve on plates or bowls.

Bon appetit!

Ode to my father's chicory salad

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My father doesn't cook often. When he does, it is usually one of five or so recipes. His chicory salad is the one I remember best. When i was a child, I liked it but I didn't like the bitterness of the chicory. Now that I am older and more accustomed to bitter flavours, I like it a lot and I made my own version of his salad.

Ingredients:
400g tortellini
4 chalks of celery
3 or 4 chicory's
1-2 pears or apples
5-6 table spoons of yogonnaise (mayonnaise with yoghurt)
5 small gherkins
fresh parsley, finely sliced
salt & pepper

 Cook the tortellini according to the package. Meanwhile, chop the celery and gherkins and finely slice the chicory. Grate the pear/apple on a coarse grater or finely slice it. Cook the celery with the tortellini for the last few minutes of its cooking time.

Mix all ingredients together and serve it in a pretty bowl.

Snert

In the days before christmas, when it is cold, wet and miserable outside, there is one typical Dutch dish that lifts my mood: snert. It is a thick soup made with pork and split peas. It is easy to make, but it takes two hours to cook. Perfect for the weekend. I made it on friday with Anne and we ate it as a main course with three people. There was so much left over that it also was a starter for four on saturday and another main course for two on sunday. I guess this recipe is enough for 7-8 main courses.

Ingredients: 1 pork knuckle (700 g) 150 g diced bacon 1 'gelderse rookworst' (typical Dutch smoked pork sausage) 500g dried split peas 1 onion 1/4th celeriac 1 leek 1 big carrot

Put the split peas in a sieve and wash them under the tap. Put the split peas, the pork knuckle and the bacon in a pot and cover with water. Boil for 1.5 hours or until the meat comes off the bone easily. Take the knuckle out of the pot. Pull or cut the skin off and throw it away. Pull or cut the meat from the bone and put it back in the pot. Dice the celeriac in cubic centimetre sized pieces. Slice the onion, leek and carrot. Wash the leek to get rid of the sand. Add the vegetables to the pot and place the 'rookworst' on top. Boil for at least half an hour. Stir every five to ten minutes. Take the sausage from the pot and slice it. Scoop the soup into bowls or deep plates and place the sausage slices on top.

Mediterranean inspired lamb-stew couscous

Instead of sunday roast, I prefer to make saturday stew. Yesterday I was in the mood for lamb and because I was late, the butcher only had lamb roulade. You can use any piece of lamb that requires stewing for this dish.

Ingredients: lamb meat for stewing left-over red wine 1/2 vegetable and garlic stock cube (chicken stock or ordinary vegetable stock will be fine, just add garlic yourself) 3 onions 5 celery stalks half a hand full of mint leafs ground cinnamon 10 dried apricots 50 g pistachio nuts 75 g rocket 15 cherry tomatoes 250g couscous

Chop the onions and celery stalks. Cut the dried apricots in half. Put the meat, wine, stock cube, onions, celery stalks, mint leafs, cinnamon and apricots in a pan and add some water. You don't have to cover the meat entirely but it needs to be covered at lead 2/3d. Put a lid on the pan and put it on an oven. Turn the oven on at 180C and wait for 2 hours (depending on the type of meat you're using, ask your butcher).

Put the couscous in a big bowl or dish. Cover it with the cooking liquid from the lamb meat and cover the bowl with cling film. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the meat into short slices.

After 10 minutes or so, the couscous has soaked up all moisture. Use a fork to make it loose. Mix in the meat, cooked vegetables, pistachio nuts, cherry tomatoes and rocket.

Barbecue!

My parents gave me a really big barbecue as a present for my graduation. We fired it up for the first time it today. I made potato salad with grilled bell pepper, lamb kofta, tzatziki and marinated chicken legs. I also wanted to put some salmon on the bbq but we couldn't eat any more so we'll have that tomorrow. Recipe's: The recipe for grilled lamb kofta I got from Jamie Oliver's website. It requires an ingredient which I hadn't used before: sumac. If you're in Wageningen, you can buy it at the Toko. It's not on the shelf with the other spices. Just ask the owner to show you where it is, she'll help you. I didn't want to mince the meat myself so I bought minced lamb from the butcher at saturday's market. It's very good!

Potato and grilled bell pepper salad: Ingredients: potatoes bell peppers (i used 3 red ones and 1 green one) zest and juice of 1 lemon olive oil 1/2 small pack of cottage cheese a few pistachio nuts a few leaves of parsley, finely chopped a pinch of cayenne pepper salt & pepper.

Peel the potatoes and cut them in thick slices. Big potatoes can be halved lengthways first. Make a dressing of 1 part lemon juice and 3 parts oil, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper and the zest of the lemon. Deseed the peppers and slice them in large pieces that are as large and as flat as possible. Put some oil on the skin of the peppers and put them on a very hot barbecue or in a searing grill pan with the skin side down. You'll want to skin to go black and blistery. Once the flesh is soft, take them off the barbecue and allow them to cool down. Meanwhile, boil or steam the potatoes. Once they are done, drain them and put them back in the pan. Add half the dressing and stir it through. Peel the black skins from the peppers then slice the peppers and mix them with the parsley, pistachio nuts, cottage cheese and remaining dressing to the potatoes. Stir and then serve on a pretty plate.

Tzatziki Easy, refreshing and great with spicy food such as the lamb kebabs.

Ingredients: Cucumber Greek yoghurt 1 clove of garlic per person

Wash the cucumber. Cut it in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Throw those away (maybe you can use them to grow a cucumber plant?). Grate the cucumber on a coarse grater. Put the grated in a sieve and squeeze most of the liquid out of it. It shouldn't (and can't) become dry, you just don't want to dilute the yoghurt too much with the cucumber's juices. Mix the cucumber through the greek yoghurt. I can't give you quantities. About the same volume cucumber as yoghurt. Peel and grate or crush the garlic and stir it through the yoghurt with cucumber.

Lentils with spinach and cottage cheese

This food was so tasty that I couldn't contain myself. Only after eating a third of it, I could get myself to stop eating and take a picture. Yet another dish that was created out of necessity to use certain ingredients. We harvested spinach from the garden and I promised Iris to cook more with lentils. Who knew it would be such a good combination?

Ingredients: lentils 1 stock cube 1 tablespoon soy sauce spinach cottage cheese crunchy chicken (that tastes more like pork)

Wash the lentils, then boil them in plenty water with the stock cube and soy sauce. Wash the spinach. Wash it again. Wash it once more and you'll probably want to wash it again. Set it apart. Bake the crunchy chicken thing in butter (don't even try baking it in oil, it will taste even worse). When the lentils are almost done, stir fry the spinach until soft (3 minutes at most) Drain the lentils, stir in the spinach and cottage cheese. Serve with the crunchy chicken thing.