Farrosalad with feta, zucchini and mint

5 sep

Finally I am back again, after our holiday and move to the Netherlands. Hooray! I needed a few weeks to start eating normally again and shopping for groceries myself. While doing groceries in my new neighborhood I found this great Turkish shop in Maastricht where they sell fruit and vegetables by weight. Much cheaper than other supermarkets, where they sell eggplants for 1 euro instead of eggplants for 1 euro a kilo. Also, I think it is much more fun buying fruit and vegetables in a fruit & vegetables shop. They have the best pieces and you can only buy products that are in season.

I wanted to share this healthy recipe with you, because it uses a product which they use a lot in Umbria, a province in Italy. It is called farro and in the Netherlands you can buy spelt instead. It is some sort of thick brown rice and it has a nice tough bite. If you cook it, it looks a bit like risotto, but it is less sticky. You can buy it in a healthy food shop (natuurvoedingswinkel) and you can use it to fill up your salads or make this delicious Jamie Oliver recipe, with zucchini, feta and mint.

Ingredients

300 g. of farro, 1 chicken stock cube, 400 g. of zucchini, 6 garlic cloves, 1 spanish red pepper (without the seeds), 1 hand of fresh mint, 6 springonions, 200 g. of feta, 1 lemon, salt and pepper.

Preparation    

Put the farro in a pan and add water until the farro is completely under water. Let the farro cook for about 20 minutes. The farro is ready if it has softened, but has a nice bite, without being sticky. If they are done, put them aside and leave them. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini, garlic and pepper and add them, with a splash of olive oil to a pan. Bake them until they glace. Then, rinse and cut the mint and the spring onions. Add them to the pan with zucchini, together with the lemon juice.  When it is ready, take the farro and add the zucchini mix and a bit of olive oil. Cut the feta in small parts and add these to the salad. Season it with salt and peppers and enjoy!

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The dying city – Civita di Bagnoregio

9 jun

I just wanted to share this trip we made to Civita di Bagnoregio, a fairytale city in the midst of the Umbria hills between the lake of Bolsena and Orvieto. Our friends in Rome, David and Marcello, told us about this ‘dying city’ and when I saw the pictures I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked just out of a Lord of the Rings movie! We decided to go there, on a Saturday afternoon and when we arrived, we were amazed. The pictures we had seen did not even grasp what was there.

The city was founded by the Etruscans 2500 years ago (you can still visit on of their houses they built in the caves of the rock!) on a plateau of volcanic tuff stone. By the 16th century, the hillside of the city started to crumble because of an earthquake and parts with houses fell of the rock into the valley. In the years after that more and more of the city fell of and the mayor of the neighbour city Bagnoregio encouraged every citizen to leave Civita before the city was swallowed. A few people ignored this and the city was never abandoned totally. In these days only 21 people live in the city.

We climbed the road towards the city center and walked around the medieval streets. Afterwards we had a nice apiritivo. If you are in the area, please don’t forget to visit this beautiful medieval pearl!

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Pork roast

6 jun P1010067

The past few months were a bit crazy with guests coming over to visit us in the eternal city. The time has been flying! We checked out new restaurants and visited our favourites. Only 3 more weeks to go! It’s unbelievable that almost a year passed so quickly. Last week my friend Sanne who also likes to cook, asked me if I quit writing for my blog. “No way!” I said and told her about the past few months. I thought about the weekend and felt like making a nice oven dish. While cleaning the house, I found the last Christmas edition of an old food magazine. I saw this amazing recipe and immediately was inspired to make it! On Saturday we bought the groceries after a trip to this amazing fairytale city, Civita di Bagnoregio. While the roast was in the oven, we watched a movie and drank a good Italian wine. The roast smelled delicious when it came from the oven and it tasted perfect! I forgot how nice it is to make something from scratch! I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I did.

Ingredients

8-10 persons

100 g. mixed mushrooms, 200 g. spinach, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 100 g. pine nuts, 1 piece of pork meat from the belly (1-1,5 kg.), salt and pepper, a food chopper or kitchen machine and kitchen string.

Preparation

Peel and chop the garlic and cut the mushrooms into small pieces and set them aside. Wash the spinach and squeeze the water out. Heat the olive oil, put the garlic in and bake it until it starts to smell good. Then add the pine nuts and the mushrooms bake them for 3 minutes and add the spinach bit by bit until it shrinks. Let it cool off and sieve it until all the water is out. Then, put everything in a food chopper and chop the mix grossly. Flavour it with salt and pepper.

Preheat an electric oven on 200 degrees (or 175 degrees for a convection oven). Cut the pork meat through the length (see pictures) and flavour it with salt and pepper. Put the meat with the fat facing downwards. Rub the pork meat with the spinach meat and coat it nicely. And now the hard part: roll the meat, with the spinach mix, tight and tie the roll with kitchen string. Watch that you don’t push the spinach out of the roll.

Put the roll in an oven dish in the oven for 1,5 hours. From time to time, drain the fat from the oven dish.

I made a nice salad on the side, click here for the recipe.

Buon appetito!

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Green chili

6 jun P1000721

Ingredients

flower tortillas, olive oil, 600 g. chopped beef, 1 teaspoon of sage (I used fresh), salt and pepper, 2 onions, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 green bell peppers, 3 small hot peppers, 4 red tomatoes, 1 lettuce, 1 small bunch of fresh mint, 4 spring onions, 1 lime and yoghurt to serve.

Preparation

Put a large pan on high heat and add some olive oil. Add the chopped beef, sage and salt and pepper. Cook them for a few minutes and stir occasionally. Meanwhile, chop your onions, bell peppers and hot peppers.  Add them to the meat and let the stir fry for 10 minutes. Then you can chop the tomatoes. When the stir looks good, add the chopped tomatoes and a bit of water (as you prefer). A chili needs to be a bit dry, so don’t add too much water. Turn the heat down to medium and let the stir be for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, you can chop the lettuce and the spring onions. Mix it with the mint leaves.

After 10 minutes, add some lime juice, salt and pepper. Warm up the tortillas (want them homemade? click this link!).

Buon appetito!

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Wrap with Eggplant Pesto

29 mrt melanzwrap5

This recipe is one of my favorites! Me and my brother have come across this dish at a theater festival in the Netherlands. During the summer that I worked there at the ticket center, I loved this dish so much, I ate it every night :). Sometimes with fish, sometimes with chicken or beef, it didn’t matter which version of the wrap I chose, the taste of the pesto together with eggplant was perfect with everything! After several nights in a row me and my brother asked the chef for the recipe and I we were so glad he gave it to us! Yesterday I made these wraps with homemade tortillas, which makes it even more delicious. To make tortillas yourself is really easy. Click here for the recipe.

Ingredients

(for 2 people)

4 small eggplants, 30 g. basil, 25 g. of Parmesan cheese, 1 clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, 10o g. rocket salad, 6 small wraps (buy them or make them yourself), 300 g. of white fish(filet) or chicken.

Preparation

Preheat the oven on 200 degrees Celsius. Cut the eggplants vertically in half. Lay them in the oven for 15 minutes, so the vegetable will dry. Roast the pine nuts shortly in a pan until they are brown.

Put the basil, pine nuts, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and salt and pepper together in a jar. Blend them until they become Pesto.
Take the eggplants from the oven and peel the vegetable meat out. Add this to the jar with pesto. Blend them together so the pesto becomes mixed with the eggplant.

Meanwhile, you can make the flower tortillas.

Cut the chicken into small pieces and bake them seasoned with salt and pepper. If you want to use fish instead, go ahead :).

Take a flower tortilla, put some rocket salad on it, the fish or chicken and add the eggplant pesto. Buon appetito!

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Homemade flower tortillas

25 mrt tortilla4

Because filled tortillas are one of my favorite dishes, I decided to make my own flower tortillas. Recipes I found showed me that they were not at all hard to make. I was still a bit suspicious that it would not work out, so when I went to the store to buy the ingredients for the green chili recipe, I still bought a package of flower tortillas, just in case. But the tortillas worked out perfectly! They were really easy to make and tasted delicious! So much better than from the store..

Ingredients

300 g. of flower, 250 ml of hand warm water, 40 g. soft butter, 1 teaspoon of salt

Preparation

Chop the butter into small parts and mix it with the flower, salt and water until it is a soft ball of dough. Chop the dough into 12 small parts and roll each part with a rolling pin until it looks like a tortilla (use some extra flower otherwise the tortilla sticks to your rolling pin). Make sure that the size of the tortilla fits into your pan. Heat up a pan and put a tortilla in the pan. Heat each tortilla on both sides until it starts to get a bit brown. You can prepare them in advance and warm them up later.

Want to have an idea for a filling? Click here.

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E(x)ggs-Benedict

4 mrt eggs7

It must have been all brought under your attention that the Pope in Rome resigned on the 28th of February. Last week when I was on holiday in Austria he said goodbye to everyone of his staff and flew by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo, where he will reside for two months. I read on this nice blog that while the helicopter was flying above Rome, thousand of church bells were ringing. Although I am not religious at all, I have the feeling that this must have been a magical moment. I just feel so excited living in this eternal city during such a historical moment in time! That’s why I want to feature this amazing but difficult recipe, which I was send by my friend David, whom I met during my Italian lessons at the language school. Eggs Benedict is a traditional American breakfast of poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. I had never made or even eaten this before, so this was my first introduction. Although the recipe was difficult to make by myself (I got some help of my fidanzato J), it worked out fine and tasted delicious!

Ingredients

5 tablespoons of white wine, 1 tablespoon of tarragon vinegar (dragon in Dutch; I used normal vinegar because I couldn’t find the tarragon version), 5 grains of pepper, 1 leave of laurel, 2 egg yolks, 75 grams of melted butter, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 2 egg, salt and pepper and 2 slices of toasted bread (and some parsley if you’d like).

Preparation

First, melt the butter and separate the egg yolk from the egg white.

Cook the wine, (tarragon) vinegar, grains of pepper and laurel together for 5 minutes in a small pan on low fire. Then, separate the liquid from the herbs and put the wine in a glass bowl. Add the egg yolk and mix it. Heat up some water in a pan and hang the bowl with the mixed egg yolk on the pan, to heat it with steam. Add the melted butter slowly and mix it gently until the sauce gets thicker. Then, take the bowl and put it in cold water for about 10 seconds. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with a lid to keep the sauce warm.

Heat up 1,5 liter of water and 2 tablespoons of regular vinegar with 2 teaspoons of salt until it almost cooks. Break and egg in a ladle or a soup spoon and put is gently in the hot water. Poach the egg for 5 minutes (for soft boiled) or 7 minutes (for hard boiled). Don’t let the water cook! Meanwhile, toast the bread slices. If the eggs are done, put them on a plate with paper towels to let them dry a bit. Then, put the toast on a plate with on top the poached eggs and then the sauce. Finally add the parsley, salt and pepper. Buon appetito!

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Cheese-onion bread

3 mrt kaasbr5

When I have a holiday coming up for which I have to drive far to actually reach the accommodation, I always start thinking about the food that you can buy on the road. Memories will come up immediately of disgusting pre-packed almost wet sandwiches with cheese looking like plastic and tomatoes tasting like water. Also being car sick (which I did not grow out of unfortunately) and not able to read while I sit ‘shotgun’ doesn’t help either for a nice driving experience. However this year when I started to organize our drive to Austria, I thought of my blog and cae up with the idea of making a cheese onion bread for lunch. Cheese onion bread doesn’t need anything else and you can keep it covered in aluminium foil for a long time to keep it fresh! I found this nice recipe which I wanted to share with you guys :-)

Ingredients
45 g. of butter, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 7-10 g. of dried yeast, 1 onion, 450 g. of flower, 1 teaspoon of musterdpowder, 180 g. of Gouda cheese or Cheddar if you like (grated), 1,5 dl. of milk, 1,5 dl. of water, salt and pepper.

Preparation
Melt a knob of the butter in a pan and bake the chopped onion until it is goldenbrown. Let the onion cool off for a while. Put the flower in a bowl and add the yeast, musterdpowder, salt and pepper. Add the cold onion and 3/4 of the cheese to the flowermix and stir gently it until it is mixed. Make a small hole in the middle of the flowermix and add the milk. Knead the dough and add some water if it is too dry. If the dough is well mixed and shiny, put it in a bowl under foil and let it rise for 60 minutes.

After 1 hour you can take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a flower-covered workbench. Knead the dough again for a few minutes. Take an ovendish and cover it with the olive oil. Make 11 balls out of the dough and put 6 of them in the dish. Cover the dough balls with some melted butter (as you like). Put the rest of the dough balls on top of the other 6. Cover the top also with melted butter. Protect the dough with foil and let it rise again in 45 minutes.

Meanwhile you can preheat the oven on 190 degrees. After 45 minutes sprinkle the bread with the leftover 1/4 of grated cheese and let the bread cook in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

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Superbowl Chicken

4 feb P1000519

As I am writing this blog-message, I am starting to recognize that lately I have been eating a lot of comfort food. Maybe I should feature some nice healthy recipes again.. But first! These amazing chicken wings covered in Parmesan cheese found online by my fidanzato. The taste is awesome, different and they are really easy to make, you don’t need to fry them! You just need the oven. Aside that this is more easy, it feels a bit more healthy too ;-)

Ingredients

Chicken: 1,5 kg. of chicken wings, 3 liters of water, 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of time, oregano and rosemary, 1 leave of laurel, 2 tablespoons of salt. Marinade: 1,5 base of garlic, 2 teaspoons of fresh black pepper, 1 teaspoon of white pepper, a few flakes of pepperoncini, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, half hand of breadcrumbs, handful of grated Parmesan cheese.

Preparation

For this recipe you can take large or small chicken wings, however small chicken wings will taste a bit better I think, because they can be covered better by the marinade and seasoning. Take the 3 liters of water and add the seasoning written under ‘chicken’. Heat it until the water cooks and add the chicken wings. Wait again until the water temperature rises to boiling temperature and let the wings cook for 15 minutes. After they are cooked, let them dry on a dish for 15 minutes. They need to dry this long, because they need to be dry when you cover them with marinade.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven on 225 degrees and make the marinade with the garlic, black and white pepper, olive oil and flakes of pepperoncini (how many as you like). If the wings are dry, cover them with marinade. Then, add the breadcrumbs and cover the wings. After this, add the grated Parmesan cheese and cover the wings. Put the wings on the griddle and leave the skin part facing upwards. Add some extra Parmesan if you like and put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The wings need to become brown and crunchy. Buon appetito!

(I found this recipe on http://foodwishes.blogspot.it /)

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‘Long Live the Queen’ cupcakes

3 feb orange8

Tomorrow it will be exactly one week ago when the Dutch queen announced the abdication in favor of her son. Such an historical moment for us Dutch people! Inspired by this I decided to make something orange, which we use at special national occasions, such as football matches and queens day and which is in fact the last name of our royal family. At first I wanted to make the typical dutch treat ‘tompouce’ topped off with an orange glace, but then I found this wonderful recipe in Nigella Lawson’s book “How to become a domestic goddess”. Although the cupcakes are not exactly orange, they do require orange carrots. :-)

Ingredients

Cupcakes: 100 g. brown sugar, 1,75 dl. sunflower oil, 2 large eggs, 225 g. flower, 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda (‘zuiveringszout’ or ‘dubbelkoolzuur soda’ in Dutch), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, a bit of salt, grated skin of 1/2 lemon, grated skin of 1/2 orange or a whole mandarin, 150 g. of carrots, 100 g. of walnuts. Glace: 125 g. of mascarpone, 250 g. of powdered sugar, 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 12 half walnuts.

Preparation

Preheat the oven on 200 degrees. Mix the brown sugar and the oil together and add the eggs one by one. Add the flower, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and citrus grate. Mix this and then add the grated carrots and mashed walnuts and mix it again. Add the mix in the cups and bake the cupcakes in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can make the glace. Sieve the powdered sugar and mix this with the mascarpone and lemon juice. When the cupcakes are ready, take them out of the oven and let them cool off for a while. If you think they are done, put the glace on the cakes and add a walnut on each. Mmmm :) Buon appetito!

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