Stuffed portobello with pommes duchesse and caramelised carrots.

My parents came over for dinner for Iris' birthday. That is the kind of occasion when I try to make something impressive. For starters split pea soup. For the main course a portobello stuffed with crème fraîche and almonds, pommes duchesse from potato and celeriac and carrots caramelised with balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients: 4 portobello mushrooms 100 g crème fraîche 100 g almonds pinch of salt pinch of pepper 3 drops of Worcestershire sauce

200 g potato 200 g celeriac 50 g gruyere 20 g butter

500 g carrots 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon sugar 1 small hand fresh corriander

For the stuffed portobellos, grind the almonds in a blender, mix them through the crème fraîche and flavour with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Cut the stalks out of the portobellos and scoop the almond mixture in. Place the portobellos in a greased oven proof dish. Pre-heat the oven at 220C. Bake for half an hour (together with the pommel duchesse).

For the pommel duchesse, peel and dice the potatoes and the celeriac. Boil them with little water and a pinch of salt. Meanwhile, grate the gruyere. Drain the potatoes and celeriac and mash them, together with gruyere and butter, salt and pepper to form a thick paste. You need to mash them really well because otherwise the bits left will block the piping bag. Put baking parchment on an oven tray and pipe little mountains of mash onto it. Pre-heat the oven at 220C and bake (together with the portobellos) for half an hour.

For the carrots, heat little oil in a wok, add the carrots, sugar and balsamic vinegar, put a lid on top and cook for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and turn up the heat. Stir gently until almost all liquid has evaporated. Chop or tear up the coriander roughly and place it in a dish. Scoop the caramelised carrots on top of the coriander and mix together.

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.

Lentils with morcela and apple

I went to Portugal in October. That is one of the reasons why I haven't posted any recipe's for such a long time. I've had the most amazing food but one of the things I some how did not eat is morcela: Portuguese black pudding. Fortunately, there is a shop in Den Haag that sells it and now that I've bought it, I had to come up with a recipe to use it. I understand that the Portuguese toast the sausage over burning alcohol and eat it as a snack. I wanted to use it to give flavour to a dish, similar to how I use chorizo. The dish I came up with turns out to be full of flavour. Sweet, savoury, earthy with a hint of pork and sage.

Ingredients: 300g lentils 125g diced, smoked bacon 50g diced morcela 4 small (cooking) apples 3 spring onions 4 sage leafs black pepper

Finely slice the spring onions. Peel and cut the apples. Finely slice the sage leafs

Heat a few drops of oil in a pan and bake the bacon and morcela with sage. After a few minutes, add the spring onions. Meanwhile, bring 1 litre of water to the boil.

When the spring onions begin to soften, rinse the lentils and add them to the pan. Add the apple and ground black pepper and cover it with boiling water. Put the lid on the pan and turn down the heat.

Cook for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are soft but do not yet fall apart. Stir every 5 minutes.

Serve with a glass of cider.

Kruidnoten milkshake

 

I've bought a liquidizer! After copying a gazpacho and a fruit milkshake recipe, this is the first recipe I made up myself. It is tasty and it fills you up more than you expect.

Ingredients (for 2 milkshakes) 2-3 hands full kruidnoten 1 banana milk

Put the kruidnoten in a liquidizer and crush them to powder. Break the banana in four pieces and add it to the liquidizer. Generously top it up with milk. Press the 'smoothy button'.

Traditional Dutch dinner with a twist

Dutch dinners traditionally consist of three components: meat, vegetables and potatoes. A dish like this looks very similar to what my grandmother would have put on the table. What sets this dish apart from my grandmother's recipes is the use of balsamic vinegar and roasted paprika powder. I have no idea whether she would have liked my version of  her classic recipe but I know for sure that I do.

Ingredients: More or less equal quantities in weight of pork chops, green beans and potatoes 50g butter 10g oil (I used rice oil today but any oil suitable for baking will do) 1 teaspoon roasted ground paprika 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar salt & pepper

Wash the beans and trim off the ends. Wash the potatoes. My potatoes were freshly harvested from the garden so I didn't bother peeling them. I think the peel gives a nice texture and flavour. If you use old potatoes or don't like potato skins, peel them. Cut the potatoes lengthwise in half.

Put the beans in a medium or small pan with 1.5 cm of water, 25g butter and roasted ground paprika. Put a lit on the pan. Put the pan on a hob and leave to steam for 20 minutes. Once the water is boiling, turn down the heat.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a medium sized pan, add a few cm water and a pinch of salt and bring it to the boil. Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes. Turn down the heat once the water is boiling.

Wait five to tent minutes until you start preparing the meat. Put a frying pan on a very hot hob. Once the pan is hot, add the oil and the remaining butter. Stand back as it may spit while the water from the butter evaporates. When the bubbles are gone, put the pork chops in the pan. Make sure to drop them away from you to prevent hot oil from splashing over yourself. After a few minutes, turn the pork chops. Turn them once or twice more until they are nicely brown on both sides. It takes about 8 minutes, depending on how thick the meat is. When the meat is done, put it on a plate and cover it with tinfoil. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to the frying pan and bring it to the boil. Turn off the heat.

Drain the potatoes, put them back in the pan and leave them to steam dry for a minute or so. Meanwhile, serve the beans and pour half of their cooking water into the frying pan. Turn up the heat under the frying pan and bring it's content to the boil again. Use a wooden spoon to dissolve all bits that stick to the bottom of the pan, then turn off the heat again.

Serve the potatoes and the meat. Put the juice from the frying pan in a sauce pot. put the sauce pot on the table and scoop the sauce over the meat, potatoes and beans.

Eet smakelijk!

 

Sweet and sour beef with green beans

Ingredients 250 g steak or other lean cut of beef 500 g green beans 15 g tomato paste 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon golden syrup or sugar 1 teaspoon soy sauce 250 g couscous 1/2 stock cube

Mix the tomato paste, vinegar, golden syrup and soy sauce and set apart. Slice the beef into 1cm wide strips. Clean the beans.

Steam the beans in a pan with little water for 15 minutes.

Bring water to the boil. Put the couscous in a bowl. Crumble the stock cube and mix it in with the couscous. Pour just enough boiling water on top of it to cover.

Stirfry the beef for two minutes. Pour the tomato sauce onto the beef and mix it. Stirfry for another two minutes. Drain the beans and mix them in with the beef.

Take a fork and mix the couscous to mix in the stock cube and to make it fluffy.

To serve: put the beef and beans on top of the couscous. This enables the sauce to drip into the couscous.

 

Manti, Turkish ravioli

Ebru took me and Iris to a Turkish shop where we bought all kinds of cool food. One of the things we got was manti. It is a kind of ravioli but it is very different from Italian ravioli though. This is spicy and it is served in yoghurt instead of tomato sauce. Ingredients Manti Turkish yoghurt 10 mint leafs

Boil the manti in plenty water with a few mint leafs and pinch of salt for about five minutes. Taste to test if they are ready yet.

Put the yoghurt in a bowl. Drain the manti and add it to the yoghurt. Tear up the remaining mint leafs and mix those in.

 

 

Arrepiados (Portuguese almond cookies)

  Portugal and Portuguese food have been a major attraction for me the past year. Yet it was only last week that I first cooked a Portuguese dish (chicken piri piri, I'll write down the recipe soon, and pastéis de belém). I loved it and decided to buy myself a Portuguese recipe book. Today I set the alarm 30 minutes earlier so that I'd have time to bake myself these lovely almond cookies. They are like a flavour explosion in your mouth. You can taste every ingredient: the almonds, sugar, lemon and cinnamon. It is super easy and you can do it in 20 minutes, 30 if you're still half asleep.

This recipe does not contain wheat and therefore it is suitable for people with coeliac disease.

Ingredients: 500g ground almonds 250g unrefined cane sugar or brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon grated zest of 1 lemon 2 eggs

Preheat the oven at 180C. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Use your hands and get dirty! Press everything together to make a firm and sticky dough. Make little balls and flatten them somewhat. Put the balls on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. The recipe I used says to bake it for 10 minutes, I baked them for 12-13 minutes. I guess it depends on how thick your cookies are. If you touch them, they should be firm.

Chard and merguez salad with baby pumpkin

A major advantage of growing our own vegetables is that we get to eat things that you can't buy in a shop. Most supermarkets don't sell baby pumpkin and chard is also really difficult to buy. It is a pity that these vegetables are not easily attainable because they are delicious! Of course, the fact that they have been grown in our garden with love (and a lot of chicken manure) makes them taste even better than any vegetable one can buy. Ingredients: chard carrots baby pumpkins (pick the pumpkin's fruit when it is a few days old) merguez sausages couscous feta olive oil balsamic vinegar 7 mint leafs

Tear the leafs from the chard stalks. The leafs have a much shorter cooking time. Chop the chard stalks, carrots and baby pumpkins and wash them thoroughly (the disadvantage of growing your own food is that you need to wash it two or three times to get rid of all sand).

Put a frying pan on a hub and turn up the heat really high. Meanwhile, bring half a litre of water to the boil. Once the frying pan is really hot, throw in the sausages. Shake the pan every now and then to make sure the sausages brown evenly.

Take a pan with a lid. Put the chard stalks, carrots and baby pumpkins in the pan with a splash of boiling water. Put the pan on a hub and steam the vegetables for 5 minutes.

Roll up the chard's leafs and finely slice it. Wash it. Also wash the mint and slice it as thin as you can.

Once the sausages are done, take them from the pan and put them on a cutting board. Turn of the hub. Put the couscous in the frying pan and pour the boiling water on top of it. Set aside and let rest until the couscous has soaked up all water. Slice the sausages in 1cm slices.

Put the chard's leafs in the pan, stir and steam for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and drain the pan.

Mix together the vegetables, couscous, sausages, crumbled feta, sliced mint, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve on a big platter.

I don't remember the recipes!

Cooking something new every day is a challenge for me that I enjoy very much. Writing about it, although fun, sometimes gets seconds, third or fourth place and as a result of that, I don't write down all recipes of what I cook. Now I've got some photographs of food that I made, of which I remember that it tasted really good, but of which I can't remember exactly how I made it. I want to share the photos with you anyway.

I remember how to make the tomato salad: finely slice an onion. Sprinkle some salt and vinegar over it and pinch it together. Put it aside to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes and the sun dried tomatoes and finely chop some mint. Mix it all together and add some olive oil.

The pie was something with chard, dried tomatoes, goats cheese, feta, eggs, Turkish yoghurt and puff pastry.

Inspired by Marjanne's holiday pictures, I made a recipe with beef meatballs wrapped in cabbage and cooked in stock with tomato paste. The meatballs contain crumbled bread, pine nuts, fresh herbs from my garden (parsley?) and an egg.

Mac'n cheese

I've heard about it, I have read about it but I had never, ever seen it in real life before: Macaroni and Cheese dinner.As far as I understand, this is the summum bonum of American processed comfort food.  It is for sale at Hoogvliet at the moment so I had to buy it. In case you don't know what this is; this is the food that fed an entire generation. It is easy to make, fills you up and it tastes alright. It is a product of the technological achievements of the past century. This represented modern food, in the 1970s. So... what is it? It is macaroni and something that supposedly resembles cheese. According to the ingredients list, the cheese is made from milk (which you need to add to the powder in the package), butter (also added by you) and a powder that mainly consists of whey powder, salt, sugar, food colouring and flavouring.

It is nothing like macaroni and cheese the way I'd make it. The cheese really isn't cheese after all. Yet, it has a magical attractiveness. The cheesy sauce is fat, sweet and salty and is strangely addicting. Once you start eating, you'll finish your plate before you know it. All in all, it was a nice experience but I won't be making it again.

 

Pastéis de Belém

Pastéis de Belém are little traditional Portuguese tarts. I am not sure whether this recipe is original. I do know for certain that these are the most delicious little tarts I ever tasted! The combination of cinnamon, vanilla, orange, custard and caramel wrapped in a puff pastry tart is mouthwatering and addicting. Ingredients: 9 sheets of puff pastry ground cinnamon 200 ml cream 2 eggs zest & juice of 1 orange 5 drops of vanilla essence 4 tablespoons sugar

Pre-heat the oven at 200C.

Generously sprinkle the sheets of puff pastry with cinnamon. I mean, really generously. Roll each sheet up and cut it in half. Put each cylinder of pastry on it's side and push it down to create a flat circle of dough. Put the dough circles in a metal muffin tray. Use your thumbs to push the dough up against the sides to create a space where you'll later pour the custard. Bake the dough in the oven for 7-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the cream, eggs, orange zest and vanilla essence in a bowl to create a custard mixture. Take the pastry from the oven and use a spoon to push the dough back to the sides of the moulds. Scoop the custard into the dough. Place the muffin tray back into the oven until the custard firms up. Take the tray out of the oven and use one or two spoons to scoop the tarts onto a solid, heat resistant surface covered with baking parchment.

Now, you are going to make caramel. This is potentially dangerous! Caramel gets really hot, about 180C I believe. If it touches your skin, you can't wipe it off, it will stick and will burn you badly. Take the following precautions to make sure that you are and remain calm wile making caramel: 1. take a moment to think through all the steps you are going to take. Make sure everything you need is within reach and logically positioned.  You don't want to improvise or panic wile making caramel. 2. make sure there are no kids nor pets in the kitchen 3. make sure that you have got easy access to a tap with running, tepid water.

Put a saucepan on the hob and make it hot. Add the sugar and orange juice to the pan. You may gently shake the pan to help dissolve the sugar. Do not use a spoon, it will cause crystallisation. Caramel burns before you know it so keep your eyes on it. First it will bubble violently. Then the bubbles will change colour from white to yellow to orange/brown. As soon as the bubbles are dark yellow, turning orange/brown, turn of the heat. Take a table spoon and scoop some caramel onto each tart.

You will have some caramel left over. As soon as you have scooped caramel over the last tart, pour some water or milk into the saucepan and put it back onto the fire. The caramel will dissolve. The reason to use milk is because caramel flavoured milk is really tasty where as caramel flavoured water isn't.

 

 

Asian inspired noodles

My inspiration for recipes mostly comes from cooking shows on television or from memories. After i saw the fifth episode of de Wilde keuken, all I could think of were recipes with noodles. This is one of my three noodle creations. Ingredients: 1 bok choy 1 chili pepper 2 sticks of lemon grass 1 bag mixed sea fruits (shrimps, mussels, squid, etc.) 30g creamed coconut 2 cloves of garlic 1 teaspoon fermented fish sauce 1 tablespoon soy sauce juice of 1 lime 1 tablespoon oil noodles

Clip the stalks from the bok choy. Tear the green leafs from the stems and set them aside. Chop up the stalks and wash them. Finely chop the leafs and wash those too.

Finely chop the chili pepper, lemon grass and garlic. Puree them with a pestle and mortar, then add soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and stir it through. Grate the creamed coconut on a course grater.

Put a wok on the stove and wait until it is hot. Meanwhile bring 2l water to the boil in a big pot.

Stirfry the chili/lime grass mixture in some oil. After 30 seconds, add the bok choy. Stirfry for three to five minutes, then add coconut and sea fruits.

Put the noodles into the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes, then drain them and add them to the wok.

Serve in bowls and eat with chopsticks.

Risotto with carrots, peas and ginger chicken broth

   

 

Now that I made my own chicken broth, I wanted to use it for my favourite dish with broth: risotto.

Ingredients chicken broth or stock, home made or from a cube 1 large knob of butter short grain rice 1 onion (frozen) peas 1 carrot 50 ml of wine (if you haven't used wine to make chicken broth) 1 hand full of grated parmesan cheese

Chop up the onion and finely dice the carrot, defrost the peas with some boiling water and bring the broth to the boil.

Take a wide pot with a thick base and high sides, a casserrole for example. Gently fry the onion in the butter. Once the onion has softened, add the rice and stir it through. Bake the rice on a medium/low heat for a few minutes. Add the wine and stir it in. Add a ladle of broth and stir it in. Add the peas and carrot. Keep adding a ladle of broth and stirring it in until the rice is soft on the outside and firm inside. Then turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.

 

 

 

 

Chicken broth

So, now that I roasted and ate the chicken (see my previous post), I had a carcass left over which I used to make what I initially intended to make: chicken broth. To make the broth, chuck all vegetables, bones and leftover meat in a pot. Cut a garlic bulb in half and roughly slice up three thumbs of ginger. Add these to the pot. Pour in 100ml white wine and top up with water. Add salt & pepper. Bring this to the boil and let it simmer for at least one hour, preferably more.

Once you think the broth has enough flavour, pass it through a sieve. You can use it straight away or keep it for a few days in the fridge or a few weeks in the freezer.

 

 

Roast chicken

Iris is feeling a little under the weather so I decided to buy a whole chicken and make her a chicken broth. On my way home from the supermarket I realised that it would be a waste of good chicken meat to turn it into soup without roasting it first. So I took the ingredients for my chicken broth and turned it into a roast chicken.

Ingredients 1 chicken 1 leek 1 fennel 1 carrot zest of 2 clementines zest of 1 lemon 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger finely chopped rosemary 20g butter salt & pepper cider vinegar parboiled potatoes chorizo mushrooms 1/3 bottle white wine

Preheat the oven at 180C

Wash the chicken under the tap and pat it dry with kitchen paper or a towel.

Mix the clementine and lemon zest with ginger, rosemary, salt and pepper through the butter. Rub the butter over the chicken.

Chop the leek, fennel and carrot roughly. Wash them and spread them out in a baking tray. Choose a baking tray that is small enough to be at least half way filled with vegetables. Sprinkle some vinegar and water over the vegetables. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and place the tray in the oven for about 2 hours.

How to check if the chicken is ready: Use two forks to lift the chicken up over a plate. If the liquid that comes out of the chicken is clear, the chicken is ready, if the liquid is bloody, put the chicken back into the oven. The second test is how easy it is to pull off the legs. These should come of easily simply by pulling the leg. If they don't, put the chicken back in the oven.

Once the chicken is ready: take it out of the oven and place it on a plate to rest for 10 minutes. Add the wine to the vegetables in the baking tray and place it back in the oven.

Carve the chicken: pull off it's legs and wings. Cut off it's breasts, take the skin off the breasts, slice the breasts. Put all breast meat in a bowl. Keep the skin separately with the legs and wings to keep it crispy. Take the vegetables from the oven. Scoop them in a bowl. Pour some of the liquid over the chicken breast meat.

Side dish: Chop up some parboiled potatoes, chorizo and mushrooms. Mix them with some oil in an oven dish. Bake for 30-45 minutes.

 

 

Tortillas

I guess a tortilla can be anything, as long as it is wrapped inside a flatbread. We had snow peas and carrots from the garden, leftover tomatoes, frozen peas, frozen rösti, chicken schnitzel and leftover tzadziki.

All ingredients are listed above. If you want to know how to make tzadziki, check out my recipe here.

Fry the chicken schnitzel in a frying pan. Bake the rösti in an oven. Blanche the peas, snow peas and carrots. Dice the tomatoes.

Dice the chicken and the rösti.

Bake the tortillas in the oven.

Serve in bowls. Place the tortilla on a plate. Scoop a little of all ingredients onto the tortilla and wrap it up. Eat with your hands and get dirty.

 

 

Easy pizza

I have found the most amazing cheat for making pizza! Hoogvliet sells fresh pizza dough. Now I can make pizza without having to make dough and without having to use a pre-baked base.

Ingredients Pizza dough

For the sauce: 7g tomato paste 1 teaspoon ketchup a few drops Salsa de Aji or other hot sauce

For the topping: anything you like. On this one I used: mushrooms canned mackerel bell pepper grated parmesan cheese Mozzarella capers cherry tomatoes rocket.

Pre-heat the oven at 230C.

Open the package with pizza dough. Throw away the can with tomato sauce. This sauce tastes like Olvarit and you really don't want to eat that. Make your own sauce by mixing the tomato paste, ketchup and Salsa de Aji. You could also add a few drops of balsamic vinegar if you like.

Place the dough on a baking tray. Spread the sauce over the dough. Put things on top of the pizza. Don't add the rocket yet! Bake for 15 minutes or so. Slice, put on plates, drape some rocket over it and serve.

 

 

Quick fruit pie

This recipe is great for improvising a last minute dessert. It basically is a tarte tartin for people like myself,  who don't have an oven proof frying pan. You can make it with any fruit: apples, plums, pears, cherries, strawberries, pineapple. You can also go crazy with herbs and spices if you like. Think apple and cinnamon, pear and anise... I don't know. Do whatever you like.

I had some plums in the freezer so I made plum pie.

Ingredients puff pastry fruit spices (if you like) sugar (if the fruit isn't sweet enough)

Pre-heat the oven at 230C.

I defrosted the plums by putting them in a frying pan. If you use other fruits or fresh fruits, you might want to bake the fruit with a little sugar and the spices to caramelise it a bit.

Grease an oven dish. Pour or scoop the caramelised fruit into it. Cover it with puff pastry. Put in the oven until the pastry is golden brown. This takes 15-20 minutes in my oven.

Serve by turning over the pies on plates. Eat them wile they are warm. You can't store these pies. The crust will go soggy.