Archief | oktober, 2012

Tortilla Soup

30 Okt

When I was in San Antonio  2,5 years ago I was properly introduced to tex-mex and mexican food. At home I had been to a commercial mexican restaurant once or twice before, but compared to the lovely food in San Antonio, that was nothing! Unfortunately there are not many real  mexican restaurants in the Netherlands and especially in Italy they are hard to find. However according to the blog of Parla Food there must be one or two good mexican restaurants in Rome and I am looking forward to try one of these restaurants out soon.
Next to the great tacos and enchilladas I learned a new great dish, which has become a favorite of mine! These past years I have tried out several recipe versions and only few get in the direction of what I tasted in Texas. Many recipes use different and hard-to-find ingredients, but I really like the basic version of Jamie Oliver which he put in his book Jamies America.


olive oil, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic, 2 large carrots, 1 green pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 2 tomatoes, 2 leaves of laurel, 2 tablets of chicken stock, 1 can of chopped tomatoes, sea salt and black pepper, 1 avocado, 1 lemon, 1 green hot pepper, grated cheddar or young cheese and 2 hands of tortilla chips.


The recipe of Jamie tells me to use 2 yellow and 2 green peppers, but I think this is too much. However, if you want to, you can use two of each if you want a more full soup.

Put a large pan on the stove and heat up some olive oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrots, laurel, and tomato pulp and crumble the tablets of chicken stock. Add the empty tomato pulp can two times with water and add this into the pan on the fire. Heat up the mix and when it cooks, turn down the fire and leave the pan simmering for 20 minutes. Stir regularly.

While the soup is on the fire, heat up the oven until 180 degrees. Cut the green hot pepper and slice up avocado in small blocks of 1 cm. Put them the  avocado on a plate and sprinkle some lemon juice to prevent it from getting brown. Sprinkle the tortilla chips with olive oil and put them in the oven for a few minutes.

While the chips is in the oven, look at the soup. If you think it is too thick, add some water or blend it a bit with a mixer. Finally add some salt and pepper.

Prepare the table with bowls of avocado, tortilla chips, green hot pepper and grated cheese. Put the soup into bowls and serve them.

I hope you like this soup just as much as I do! Buon appetito!


Risotto with Artichoke

28 Okt

I really like dishes that need to be cooked in one pan, because the smells mix together great! I sometimes just don’t put on the ventilator on on purpose, so the smell will stay longer in my kitchen :-). For tonight I just wanted to make a cheap and easy dish, because I was by myself. I figured that a risotto mixed with my favorite ingredient, artichoke, could be the perfect one-pan-dish! You only need a few ingredients for 4 people. I just made it for myself, so I can have some more with lunch tomorrow :-).


30 gr. of butter, 275 g. of risotto, 1 can of artichokes, 800 ml. of chicken stock (you can add 1 tablet of beef stock if you prefer) 1 onion, some (Parmezan) cheese, pepper and salt.


However this is an easy dish ingredient-wise , you have to keep stirring! Melt the butter in the pan and cut the onion. Bake the onion for 5 minutes until it glazes. Remember, don’t let it get brown! When the onion is done, add the risotto and stir it for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the can of artichokes, with the oil from the can! Stir it until the risotto ‘drinks’ the fluid. Then add the chicken stock bit by bit. Wait until the risotto takes the fluid in and then add another bit. Finally add some pepper and salt. Serve it with Gouda or Parmezan cheese.

And now you can make yourself comfortable on the couch and watch a movie. Perfect for an early autumn evening. Buon appetito!

Pumpkin fun!

23 Okt

Last year when my parents visited us in Maastricht in October we ate at a very nice restaurant NXT Door and we had the best pumpkin soup! Since then I wanted to make my own soup, but didn’t have the time for it and then the pumpkin season was over. Now I have lots of time, I decided to make pumpkin soup and use the leftover pumpkin for a Halloween crafting! For this recipe I used an Italian pumpkin of 7 kilos and so we had a lot of leftover pumpkin. When you dig in the pumpkin for the pulp you will get large bits of pumpkin and more pulpy bits. Use the large bits for the soup and leave the pulpy bits out for pumpkin-filled-ravioli! I will feature this recipe next week.


1 pumpkin, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 large carrot (250 g.), 2 onions, 2 toes of garlic, 2 leaves of laurel, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 2,5 tablets of vegetable stock, tabasco red pepper sauce, 1 cup of cream (125 ml.), pepper and salt and brown bread.


Dig in the pumpkin for the pumpkin pulp and put the large pieces in one bowl and the pulpy pieces in another bowl. If you don’t have such a large pumpkin, you can use all of the pieces for the soup, also the pulpy pieces. Make sure that you leave the ropy fibers and pumpkin seeds out! If you want you can clean the seeds and keep them in your kitchen storage for other recipes  :-).

Cut the pumpkin pieces, onions and carrots into small pieces, sprinkle some olive oil in a large pan and bake them for 5 minutes. Then, add the cut garlic, laurel leaves and cumin. Add one liter of water and the 2,5 vegetable stock tablets. Heat the soup until it’s cooking and leave it on the fire for 30 minutes. You can stir it occasionally. After 30 minutes, take out the laurel leaves and mix the soup with a mixer. Add a few drops of tabasco, pepper and salt and a bit of cream as much as you prefer. You can also add some (fresh) parsley as a topping. Roast the bread and put it on the side. Buon appetito!

Eggplant alla Parmigiana

18 Okt

This recipe was introduced to me by Sophie Dahl’s book ‘Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights’. As I already mentioned before, I love the feeling of having something on the stove or in the oven and this recipe uses both :). When I pick up the cookbook and try to find the recipe, the book falls automatically on the right page and the page is dirty from spilled tomato sauce. I have tried different versions of this recipe, however I keep using it again because Sophie Dahl has the perfect suggestion for the tomato sauce between the eggplant slices.


3 medium eggplants, sea salt, 125 ml olive oil, 1 large onion, 2 toes of garlic, 3 cans of peeled tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar, 50 g. of basil, 300 g. or 2 balls of mozzarella, 100 g. of grated Parmesan cheese and a bit of breadcrumbs.


Heat the oven until 200 g. degrees. Slice up the eggplant in 1 cm. thick slices, sprinkle them with sea salt and leave them to dry for 20 minutes. Please watch out with the sea salt! Because the first time I made this recipe I was a little bit too exciting with sprinkling the sea salt and when we ate it we got a stomach ache from all the leftover salt grains..

Heat up some olive oil and bake the onion and the garlic softly until they glace. Add the peeled tomatoes, salt and pepper. Sophie Dahl suggests to add brown sugar and some balsamic vinegar to the mix and I think this makes the tomato sauce perfectly sweet. Just put some balsamic vinegar in it as you prefer. Then leave the pan on the fire for 20 minutes with the lid on.

Sprinkle a bit of olive oil on the eggplant slices and put them in the oven for 15 minutes until they get brown. Grease an oven dish with olive oil and take the eggplant slices out of the oven and make a layer in the dish. Then, just as in normal lasagna, make layers of basil, mozzarella, tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese until you are out of ingredients . Finalize with a mix of Parmesan cheese, basil and breadcrumbs. Put the dish in the oven for 20 minutes and serve it with a green salad as you prefer. Buon appetito!

Thanks to Sanne for the recipe tip!

Robert Doisneau

16 Okt

“The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.”

Last week I went to the Robert Doisneau exposition in Palazzo delle Esposizioni: Paris en Liberté. I think everyone recognizes the feeling of needing some Parisian nostalgia from time to time and Doisneau is the perfect photographer! I love his view on developing Paris in the 20th century; you can see that next to poverty, Paris was already classy and charming.

Until his death in 1994 he photographed the life on the streets of Paris.

“Le Baiser de l’hôtel de ville”

“Coco Chanel au miroir”

“Pont ‘Iéna”

“La Vitrie de Romi”

The Perfect Lasagna!

10 Okt

The Italian food culture is one of the most appreciated food cultures of the world and every household cooks Italian once in a while. However, because everyone loves a good Italian meal, plenty of recipes can be found in cookbooks and on the internet. And not all of the recipes are that good.. I absolutely adore the lasagna, but I have tried several recipes to find the perfect one. For instance, in the Netherlands a lot of students use the standard meal package from Knorr for lasagna. However, it tastes nothing like what the perfect lasagna should be! The bechamel is a mess and the tomatoes in the sauce are hard to find..

Several years ago, my  parents got the best Italian cookbook and we have been making perfect italian dishes from it ever since. Unfortunately it is hard to find, because it is not published anymore, but if you are lucky you can find it on eBay, marktplaats or! For those of you who are not lucky to possess this pearl, I will present the perfect lasagna recipe! Yes, it takes a lot of work.., but hell yes it is good! If you prepare everything from scratch, even the bechamel sauce, you can be proud at yourself and serve a wonderful meal to your lover or friends!

For 4 people with good appetite


Bolognese sauce: (you can also use this bolognese sauce to serve with just spaghetti!) 1 carrot, 1 celery, 50 g. pancetta or smoked bacon, 1 onion, 2 toes of garlic, 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 300 g. chopped beef, 1 can of pealed tomatoes (400 g.), 300 ml. of red wine mixed with 1 block of meat stock, salt and pepper. Bechamel sauce: 50 g. of butter, 50 g. of flower, 750 ml. milk, salt and pepper and nutmeg. Pasta layers: about 250 g. of lasagna layers (if you use fresh pasta, make sure you cook it for 4 or 5 minutes before you use it in the lasagna), salt, 200-250 g. of Mozzarella, 100 g. of fresh Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of butter.


For the Bolognese sauce, wash the carrot and the celery and chop them in small parts. Chop also the onion, garlic and pancetta. Heat up the pan (save the lid for later) with butter and oil and stir the chopped ingredients together. Crumble the chopped beef until it’s done. Add the can of pealed tomatoes and squeeze them in the pan. Also add the whine with the block of meat stock. Season it with salt and pepper and leave it with the lid on the heat for 1 hour. Then the Bechamel sauce. I know it is hard, but you can do it! Just keep breathing and stirring. Put the butter in a small pan and let it melt, but done let it get brown! Use a wooden spoon and stir bits of flower through the butter until the mix looks smooth. Add small bits of milk and stir with a whisk to prevent the sauce to clot.  Leave the sauce for 10 minutes on a low fire and season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Finally cut the Mozzarella into small pieces and preheat the oven at 200 degrees.

Take a plate for the oven and put some Bechamel sauce in it. Then add lasagna layers, Bolognese sauce, Bechamel sauce, Mozzarella and so on. At last put some Bechamel sauce on the dish and finalize it with fresh Parmezan cheese. Put the dish in the oven for 40 minutes. If you are with 6 people, you can make a nice green salad on the side. I hope you enjoy this lasagna as much as I do! (Thanks to Anne for the recipe tip!)







Authors: Cornelia Schinharl & Sebastian Dickhaut. Publisher: The House of Books. ISBN: 90-443-0096-2.


Chicken With Chickpeas

9 Okt

When you are stewing something and the pans are simmering on the fire, it feels like you are really cooking something! Especially on rainy Sundays in fall, a stew is something to make you feel good. However it is still 25 degrees in Rome, I had to try this Jamie Oliver recipe out with a new found love of mine, chickpeas!


4 medium chicken filets, a couple of basil leaves. Marinade: 4 toes of garlic, one handful of fresh parsley, the juice and grater of 1 lemon, salt and pepper, and tablespoon of olive oil (extra vierge). Chickpea stew: olive oil, onion , 4 toes of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of (smoked) pepper powder, 1 jar of grilled peppers in olive oil (280 g.), 8 red and yellow tomatoes without seeds, 1 can of chickpeas (400 g.), white or red wine vinegar, 1 or 2 red peppers without seeds.


Cook the garlic toes for about 8 minutes until they are soft. Put them in a bowl and mash them with a fork. Mix the garlic with the parsley, juice and grater of a lemon, salt and pepper and olive oil. Marinate the chicken with this mix and put it in the fridge for 2 hours. If you would like to use chicken legs and chicken filets, just as Jamie Oliver does, be sure to put the marinade between the meat and the skin of the chicken legs.

If you are ready, heat up the oven until 200 degrees. Take a large pan with some olive oil in it and let it simmer on medium fire. Put the onion, chopped garlic and pepper powder in the pan and let it on the fire for about 10 minutes until it is soft but not darkened. Then, put the grilled peppers with the olive oil from the jar in the pan, with the chopped tomatoes and the chickpeas together with some vinegar, chopped pepper, salt and pepper. Stir it a little and when the stew cooks, leave it on the fire for about 30 minutes.

Take the chicken filets and grill them in a grill pan for 10 minutes, until they are brown and tasteful. Put them in the oven until the stew is ready. Serve the chicken on the stew in a nice dish.

Artichoke con Mustard Vinaigrette

8 Okt

When I still lived in Maastricht, I often went to Cafe Sjiek and this French grand-cafe-type restaurant introduced me to the perfect recipe for artichokes! This has become one of my favorite appetizers, because it’s easy to make, healthy, fun to serve and very delicious.


1 artichoke per person, 2 tablespoon musterd, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, a bit of piment d’espelette or pepper powder, salt and pepper.


Cut off the stems of the artichokes and trim the upper parts of the leaves. Put the artichokes in a large pan and fill it with water until 1/3rd of the artichokes. Bring the water to boil, reduce the heat and let the artichokes steam for 45 minutes.
In the meantime, you can prepare the musterd vinaigrette. There are plenty of vinaigrettes that go well with artichoke, but I prefer the musterd taste. Put the musterd, olive oil and vinegar together and mix it. Season it with salt, pepper and a hot pepper powder. You can use normal pepper powder or piment d’espelette.

After 45 minutes, you can see that the leaves of the artichoke have opened and now you can take the artichokes out. Dip the end of one leaf in the vinaigrette and taste the artichoke. Bon appetit!