Thursday, May 29, 2014

Macrel With Sweet Potato Salad


2 smoked macrel fillets
3 medium size sweet potatoes
3 stalks celery sticks, chopped
2 tbsp kalamata olives, chopped
1 tbsp capers
bunch of fresh parsley, chopped finely
bunch of fresh argula leaves
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup

She came across this recipe in a Dutch magazine called Red and wanted to try it out immediately. The combination of salty smoked macrel, sweetness of the potatoes and sourness of the capers made this dish an extraordinary taste buds experience. Simply boil the sweet potatoes until soft for about 10 minutes depending on their size, but be careful not to overcook them as they would not hold shape while cutting. Meanwhile prepare the rest of the ingredients and throw them in a bowl, mix with cooked skinned and cubed sweet potatoes. Season with chopped parsley, salt, pepper, lemon juice and maple syrup and stir gently altoghether. Serve with the macrel filet on side or with pieces incorporated in the salad.
Bon Appetit!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Porn Star Martini


2.5 cl Passion fruit juice - here Innocent Mango and Passion Fruit smoothie
1.5 cl Vanilla syrup
1cl Lime Juice
3.5 cl Vanilla Vodka - here Absolut
1/2 Passion Fruit
50 ml Champagne or Prosecco
1 cup ice cubes

This was one of her favorite cocktails that she discovered in a bar close by their place. And as the prices in the bars are not so friendly, they decided to try their own version.
Shake up the vodka, lime juice and passion fruit juice and vanilla syrup with ice until the shaker becomes frosted. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top up with champagne or for cheaper version with Prosecco. Place half a passion fruit on the top as a decoration.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Linguine With Spinach And Smoked Salmon


200g linguine pasta
100 g smoked salmon fillet, cut into cubes
100 ml sweeter white wine eg. Muscat
5 champignos, sliced
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
3/4 of pack Philadelphia cheese spread or creme fraiche
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon butter
Bunch of fresh dill, chopped finely
Bunch of fresh baby spinach leaves

Another pasta variety. Cook the linguine al dente with a pinch of salt.  While the pasta is boiling, melt the butter on a pan, add chopped onion and fry until soft and golden. Add the cut smoked salmon pieces. Pour in some sweet white wine and cook until the wine almost reduces. Meanwhile also add the mushrooms and spinach leaves. At the end comes the Philadelphia spread or alternatively creme fraiche. Cook until it melts and creates sauce that is thick and not too runny. Season with salt, pepper and fresh chopped dill. Finally, throw in the linguine and stir all together. Sprinkle the top with a bit of Parmesan cheese.
Bon Appetit!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Thai Style Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup


1/2 pack (150 g) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into stripes
1/2 pack (75 g) oyster mushrooms, cut into stripes
1/2 can unsweetened coconut milk 
1 nest of noodles
3 cups chicken broth (1/2 bouillon cube)
1 tbsp fish sauce 
1 tbsp sugar 
1stalk fresh lemongrass
1/2 chili pepper
Small piece of ginger, peeled 
5 kaffir lime leaves or 1 tbsp lime zest and ¼ cup lime juice 
Bunch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Cooking this soup was a true senses experience. The beautiful exotic scents of lemongrass and lime, the sweet and spicy taste, the texture and vibrant color palette, all together was a perfection. This became one of her favorite dishes of all times.
 Using the back of a knife or mortar stick, lightly smash lemongrass and ginger; cut lemongrass into 4 pieces. Bring lemongrass, chili, ginger, lime leaves, and broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors melt, 8–10 minutes. Strain broth into clean saucepan; get rid of the solid parts.
Add chicken and return to a boil. Reduce heat, add mushrooms and simmer, skimming occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and mushrooms are soft for about 15-20 minutes, add noodles for the last cca 5 minutes. Mix in coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar. At the end season with salt, throw in chopped coriander and a bit of lime juice.
Divide soup among bowls. Serve with lime wedges.
Bon Appetit!

Recipe altered from BonAppetit.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Puff Pastry Tarts


1 pack of puff pastry
1 egg, whisked

A few circles of chorizo salami
A few circles of thin sliced courgette
A few sun dried tomatoes in oil
A few pine nuts
Fresh rosemary, chopped finely

A slice of prosciutto ham
15 g soft goat's cheese
1 dried fig, cut in circles

1 teaspoon tomato sauce or ketchup
1/2 thinly sliced tomato
3 anchovies in oil
3 green olives, sliced
15 g feta cheese
Fresh rosemary, chopped finely

1 caramelized onion with a pinch of nutmeg
1 slice of Parma ham
15 g crumbled feta cheese
Fresh thyme

This meal was so much fun and so easy to make, one can play with different combinations as per personal preference and the food is ready in literally 10 minutes. Just place your chosen ingredients on the pastry, don't forget to score about 1 centimeter from the side which you brush with the whisked egg at the end. Above were examples of her combinations, other ingredients you could use were canned tuna, mozzarella and basil, brie cheese and dried cranberries, smoked salmon with capers and dill; the options were endless. Just work with what you have at home. Bake in over until the pastry rises and gets golden brown color.
Bon Appetit! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Couscous With Chickpea And Chicken Sausage


1 cup couscous
4 chicken sausages, cut into rounds
200 g canned chickpea
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 carrot, cut into thin slices
1 tbsp olive oil
Bunch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely
pinch of dried out chicken bouillon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of chili powder
pinch of safran
curry powder
cumin seeds

This recipe also falls under the "what to do with the opened 800 gram can of chickpeas" story :). Put couscous into a bowl with a pinch of nutmeg, salt and dried out chicken bouillon. Pour over boiling hot water, cover with a lid and let rise and soften. Meanwhile start to saute the chicken sausage cut into rounds on a bit of olive oil, add thinly sliced carrot and red bell pepper. Add a bit of water, season with cumin seeds, curry powder, nutmeg and pinch of chili along with safran and stew until carrot is soft and sausage is well cooked. At the end throw in chickpeas and couscous, stir well together. Finish off with some finely chopped fresh coriander, salt and pepper.
Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Homemade Hamburgers


400 g minced lean beef meat
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tbsp bread crumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Bunch of fresh parsley leaves, chopped finely

4 hamburger buns, halved
4 slices cheddar cheese or similar (here Dutch Oud belegen)
Bunch of  lettuce leaves
1 tomato, sliced
4 gherkins / pickles, sliced
2 tbsp mayonnaise (optional)
2 tbsp ketchup (optional)
1 tbsp mustard (optional)
1/2 red onion, sliced into circles (optional)
1 avocado, peeled and sliced (optional)
4 Pancetta slices (optional)
Tabasco sauce (optional)
Pinch of chili powder (optional)

Since they managed to get a brand new "hamburger making machine" on the King's Day flea market for 4 Euros, they had to try to make their own hamburgers, that was without a doubt. The device has proven to work fine but its cleaning wasn't that joyful :).
The basic way how to make your own hamburgers from minced beef is as follows. Place the beef mince, onion, Worcestershire sauce, bit of parsley, breadcrumbs and egg in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until evenly combined. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion with your hands into a patty. It is recommended to put the patties (covered with plastic wrap) in a fridge for about half an hour to rest so that the chilling helps them hold together during cooking.
Now, if you have a hamburger making machine, you can just place the patties on the upper part made of non stick material (Teflon) and fry. At the same time you can place the buns into the casket opening from the side and close it while the heat from the upper pan part will warm them up. Smart ha? :)
If you don't have the machine, just use any non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat and cook half the patties for about 4 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through. It is important to cook mince right through. Heat up an oven or a toaster and warm up the buns. Even better, the best would be to use the outside barbecue grill if the weather and occasion allows so.
The fun part about making your own hamburgers is to experiment with different ingredients. She wrapped her patty with Pancetta bacon and placed some Dutch Oude Kaas on top of the patty towards the end of its cooking. You can put all sorts of things into your bun once it is warmed up. She used a bit of mayo and mustard,  he loved ketchup as well. Always put some tomato and lettuce, gherkins are also great. This time she made a Mexican version and topped up her burger with some avocado slices and seasoned it with Tabasco and a pinch of chili powder.
The options are numerous. You can also use mushrooms, red pepper, blue cheese, bacon, and different types of meats -chicken or lamb instead of beef. You can even top your burger with fried egg. Just have fun and experiment. 
Bon Appetit!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chicken With Dark Chocolate Sauce


300 g chicken tights boneless and skinless, cut into medallion pieces
100 ml chicken bouillon
70 g dark chocolate
2 tbsp raisins, chopped 
2 teaspoon butter
1 tbsp almond flakes
1 tbsp agave syrup
pinch of dried sage
pinch of chili powder
pinch of nutmeg powder
pinch of cinnamon

This recipe must be the weirdest she tried so far but also the most exciting and daring. Dark chocolate in salty meals is quite common in South American cuisine, especially Mexican and she wanted to give it a try.
Roast the chicken cut into medallion on a pinch of butter, seasoned with salt, pepper and sage. Once roasted from both sides, place in pre-heated oven to finish off. Use the sauce pan on which you roasted the chicken, throw in the chopped raisins and almonds, roast with another pinch of butter. Pour over the chicken bouillon and add the chocolate cut into smaller pieces. Stir until it melts and keep stirring so that the chocolate sauce doesn't become too thick. Add agave syrup and season with chili, nutmeg and cinnamon. Serve with rice or potatoes.
Bon Appetit!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mango And Cucumber Salad


Handful arugula leaves
50 g ripe mango, cut into thin slices
1/3 cucumber, peels cut into thin slices
1/3 carrot, peels cut into thin slices
30 g feta cheese
1 teaspoon of coconut paste
Juice from half a lime
1 tbsp olive oil

Try this amazing exotic salad in warmer days. The sweetness of the mango with saltiness of the cheese and spice kick of the arugula create a lovely taste palette. Just cut the cucumber, mango and carrot into thin long slices. Create dressing my mixing the coconut paste with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pour onto the vegetables slices, mix nicely together along with arugula. Serve on a plate and sprinkle with feta cheese or semi soft goat's cheese.
Bon Appetit!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chickpea Soup With Chorizo


200 g canned chickpea
1 small potato, cut into pieces
1/3 medium size courgette, cut into pieces
50 g chorizo salami, cut into pieces
Bunch of fresh spinach leaves
Bunch of fresh coriander leaves
1/4 chicken bouillon cube
Pinch of nutmeg powder
1 teaspoon butter

This is what happens when one opens a 800 gram huge can of chickpea, number of different recipes and variations come to life in order to use the can and one ingredient in the most creative way. After salad with beetroot comes this soup option. Melt the butter in a sauce pen, throw in potato, all chickpea except of about two tablespoons which should be put aside, and the courgette. Roast for a moment. Pour over about 1 liter of water along with the chicken bouillon cube. Let boil for about 15 minutes until the potato is soft. Add spinach leaves and coriander leaves, season with salt and pepper. Mix all with an immerse mixer or in a blender and continue cooking the soup on a low heat for a few more minutes. Meanwhile fry the chorizo on a frying pan. Once the excess fat from the salami appears, add the chickpea and roast with a pinch of nutmeg.
Pour the soup into a bowl and throw in some of the chickpea and chorizo with a tiny bit of the oil from the salami. Serve with some dark whole grain bread.
Bon Appetit!