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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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Wrap with Eggplant Pesto

29 Mrt

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

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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Cheese-onion bread

3 Mrt

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

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

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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Cordon Bleu

21 Jan

Last week I was watching the movie Julie & Julia with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep. The movie is about a woman who thinks she needs a new goal in life next to her boring job at an insurance company. She decides that she is going to write a blog about making the 524 recipes of Julia Child’s book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one year. I loved the movie because it resembles my passion for cooking and writing a blog about it! In the movie, Julia Child, the wife of Paul Child who worked for the United Stated Information Agency in Paris, needs to find a new hobby, because she needs something to do in the city she loves, Paris. She starts with going to a hat-making club, but decides that a cooking club is more convenient. The name of the school where she goes to, is “Le Cordon Bleu” and that was my cue for this new recipe. I have never made Cordon Bleus myself. I always buy them in the store and then think they are okay. However, I started to think that making them yourself must be a boost for the taste, and god I was right! You can read the recipe below.

Ingredients

400 g. of pork meat (1,5 cm thick), 2 slices of cooked ham, 2 slices of young cheese, 1 egg, 25 g. of flower, 25 g. of breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, butter or olive oil.

Preparation

Preheat the oven on 180 degrees. Add the flower, breadcrumbs and the egg in three low bowls. Take the pork meat and make sure they are 1,5 cm thick. If not, take a wine bottle or rolling pin and roll the meat until it’s more thin. Take two slices of meat that are of the same size (or cut them until they are) and put cheese and ham between the slices. Do this until all of the meat is used. Take the packages and roll them gently through the egg, flower and then breadcrumbs. Heat up a pan and use some butter or olive oil. Take the Cordon Bleus and bake them until they get brown along both sides. Then, put the Cordon Bleus to the heated oven for about 8 minutes. Then you are done! Buon appetito!

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Simmering meat and homemade fries

12 Dec

Although I love Italian food, sometimes I just need something else. International restaurants, Surinam food and sushi are unfortunately hard to find or extremely expensive and as you can all understand the dutch/belgian ‘snackbar’ is nowhere to be found (funny detail: the first thing a Swiss guy from the italian language school asked me when I introduced myself as being Dutch, was if I missed the ‘frikadellen’ :-). The New Kids from Maaskantje were apparently a cult among his Swiss friends!).

But a good thing is that I started this blog about cooking! And this inspires me to search for and come up with nice recipes 🙂 So, I found this great recipe on ‘Suddervlees’ which I could maybe be translated as ‘Simmering meat’? If you have any other suggestions, let me know! For this simmering meat you need at least 3 hours, because you have to watch the meat from time to time, so I think this comfort food recipe is perfect for a sunday night! It’s expecially comfort food for me, because the meat tastes a little bit like ‘Zuurvlees’ from Maastricht! The recipe is for 4 people, but if you are only with 2, just cut the amount of beef and potatoes in half (not the rest of the ingredients).

Ingredients

1 kg of beef meat, 2 tablespoons of flower, 50 g. of butter, 1 tablet of beef stock, 3 cloves (‘kruidnagels’), 1 leaf of laurel, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 8 medium potatoes, 1 liter of sunflower oil

Preparation

Cut the meat into small parts and season them with salt, pepper and flower. Heat the butter in a large pan and add the meat. Bake the meat 8 minutes on a medium fire until it’s brown on all the sides. Cook 500 ml of water and add the tablet of beef stock. Add the stock to the meat including the leaf of laurel, vinegar, cloves and a bit of pepper. Leave the pan on a low fire for 3 hours with the lid on. Check from time to time and add some water if the water is evaporated.

Then, after 2,5 hours, cut the potatoes in slices of 1 cm. Dry them with kitchenpaper. Bake the fries in a frying pan or in a pan with sunflower oil. Watch out! It’s very hot.. Bake the fries in portions.When you put the portions in for a second time, wait until they get to the surface, then you will know they are ready. Salten them with salt or fries-seasoning. Before you serve the simmering meat, leave the leaf of laurel and the cloves out of the dish. Buon appetit!

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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.

Ingredients

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.

Preparation

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!

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.

Ingredients

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.

Preparation

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!