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Red Lentil Spread

Here I got a sweet little recipe for you. It was all made with things I had in the pantry and fridge so that’s always a plus. Plus it’s healthy AND I can use my new foodprocessor to make this!!! That was really the most important reason to create this recipe. We ordered this foodprocessor a few weeks back and I have been using it non stop. It does everything! Grate, cut, blitz, juice, grind… loving it! Especially the juices me and my boyfriend Bas now drink daily makes us happy and feel super good and healthy. So it’s a win win it seems. It only takes a little time to clean all the elements afterwards, but that’s ok.

So this spread or dip is delicious in many ways. I had it for lunch on a piece of toast, topped with some avocado and some melted cumin cheese over the top. To die for! It’s also a  great addition when you are creating a little cheese and/or charcuterie platter. Or on a wrap, just add some crunchy greens and spicy chicken strips and you’ve got yourself a dinner!

Let’s cut to the chase:

  • 1 small cup of red lentils
  • One small or one half a clove of garlic
  • Bottom tip of a chili pepper
  • Ridiculously big spoonful of Turkish/Greek yogurt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • fresh or ground coriander
  • fresh parsley
  • pinch of paprika powder
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Half  of a vegetable stock cube
  • Zest of half a lemon (can be replaced with a dash of vinegar)

You’ll need a food processor or blender for this. :D.

Add the lentils and stock cube to a pot of boiling water and cook the lentils until soft. Meanwhile start adding your ingredients to the foodprocessor. I felt half a clove of garlic was enough because you add it raw. I also cut of the bottom tip of chili pepper for a bit of a kick. (ofcourse add more if you desire a bigger kick!). spoon in some yoghurt, the herbs and spices. Don’t forget to add a little sourness, like lemon zest or vinegar. Add the lentils and a dash of olive oil. Then start processing! Should take you but a few minutes.

Taste it and add more spices and/or herbs if you like. I always like to ground over some fresh black pepper. Be careful with addaing any extra salt because when you cook the lentils in stock they become a little salty. Sometimes that can be salty enough.

Enjoy again guys. Next week I am definitely posting something with meat muhahaha.

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Berenjenas Fritas – Spanish Fried Eggplant

Hi guys!

It’s raining buckets outside, you really do not want to go grocery shopping right now, but you want to eat something GOOD. If you have even half a leftover eggplant you can relax! No cycling in the rain for you. (Yes us Dutch, we cycle everywhere, all true) Within minutes you can whip up this Spanish tapas-style dish.

This is actually my mum’s favorite Spanish dish and I tried making it before. That did not work out so well. Amongst other things we tried a beer batter for the eggplant. But you actually do not need to go through all this trouble.

We were once standing or hanging on a Grenada counter in a small bar. We ordered a plate of these berenjenas fritas and we saw a women walking around with an eggplant in her hand, talking to the bartender, meanwhile working the eggplant. Minutes later we had an enormous pile of fried eggplant in front of us. How did she do it this fast and so delicious? My boyfriend and I recently tested this simple version and we thought it came closest.

Time to get started:

  • 1 eggplant
  • flour
  • water
  • sunflower oil
  • salt, pepper
  • syrup or ‘stroop’ as we call it. (In Spanish: ‘miel’, a sort of honey).

IMG_1004Cut up the eggplant in the shape of fries. Whip up some batter with water and flower. I did not measure this but it needs to be the consistency of pancakes. A bit runny, not too thick. I mixed in some fresh pepper. I took one piece of aubergine to test this batter. Take out a small, high saucepan and put it on the stove. Fill it about halfway with sunflower oil and heat it. Once you thing it is hot enough you can trow in a tiny piece of eggplant and see if it sizzles. Another way is to add a tiny tiny drop of water which needs to create sizzle as well.

Once the oil was hot I added my test piece. It took longer then I thought, but maybe I was just anxious for the outcome. Once the eggplant had browned properly we took it out and… loved it :-)!

This was just too good to be true, the best recipe turned out to be the most basic one, with a batter of water and flour.IMG_1005

For the next batch I just poured a little batter of the eggplantpieces, covering it slightly. Do not simply pour over all the batter you have made, see the photo below. I believe coating is the right word here. I cooked the eggplant in batches and we just devoured every single one.

In Spain they pour over a sweet syrup, called ‘miel’. The literal translation of miel is actually honey, but what they pour over the berenjenas fritas is more of a syrup. Maybe you’ll think it strange but the sweetness just adds another layer of delicious flavour.

I’dd say go for it!

 

 

 

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Spanish style

So we just got back from Spain. I can’t wait to go back there again. Seriously, I want to live there! If anyone knows of a job opening there… I am game!

I thought I might add a recipe to my blog while we were in Andalucia, but I was really to busy, with, well, enjoying all that Spain has to offer. I am talking food and wine ofcourse, but also sun, loads of sun, nature, history, flamenco music and dance and brushing up on my Spanish and talking to the local people. Upon arriving back home the temperature was a lot less agreeable and it was pouring with rain… I really don’t know whether to post some sort of hearthy stew or other warming dish, or write about sunny Spain and it’super tasty foods and tapas… Well it is going to Spain, what else?!

All the foods we had there… loads of meat, what else. I am talking ham, chorizo and lomo. Delicious pork. Not a lot of chicken and beef to go around, they do love their pork. If the pork here would be as tasty as in Andalucia, I would eat it all the time, now I rarely eat pork. Then there is the manchego cheese, queso fresco, queso de cabra… Then we move to the warm dishes such as fried eggplant – OMG never had eggplant that good. Of course it is fried and covered in syrup, but it is so finger licking good, worth every calorie! I plan to recreate this dish soon! We also have the abundance of homemade croquettas, which I fear will be a bit harder to make, but I will attempt those too! Let’s not forget about the soups: warm garlic soup, cold gazpacho and salmorejo, silky smooth gazpacho made with white bread. Seeing we had days as hot as 30 degrees celcius, that cold soup tasted amazing! I really wanted to make salmarejo today, but it is pouring with rain. No cold soups. What then…. Maybe we will just have it easy tonight and feast on all the delicious things we brought with us: some heartwarming red wine, delicious sausage, cheese. The only think I will make are roasted red peppers, or pimientos in Spainish. This is easy and quick, and a perfect accompaniment for every tapas board. I also love it on a manchego sandwich or on a green salad. With some nice olive oil, sherry vinegar and a good glass of red wine perhaps?

OK I must run to the gym as soon as possible, looking back on our stay it looks like all we did was eat… But we walked a lot to, discovered Seville, Cadiz, Jerez de la Fronterra, Arcos the la Fronterra, Ronda, Grananada… All beautiful villages, cities and nature. Some of these places I had actually visited before, but I never tire of strolling through Seville, driving around and for miles and miles, just seeing olive trees and cork oaks. Strolling through the Alhambra palace again it took my breath away, just like it did the first time, just like it would do on another visit.

So please, get going. To Spain. Bring me some jamon while you’re at it.

Spanish roasted red peppers 

The red peppers in Spain are enormously huge. I never knew peppers could grow so big, and be so sweet as well! They are just perfect, but I think our own red peppers will do nicely too.

Ingredients:

– 2 large red peppers

– salt, pepper

– good quality olive oil

– vinegar of your choice

Heat your oven to about 250 degrees Celcius, or as hot as it can get. Put your peppers on a tray and into the oven. You don’t have to do anything with them, just turn them every five minutes. Check after 20 minutes if they are blackened en the skin is starting to come of. If so, take them out. I have noticed that in some ovens this will go a bit faster or slower, maybe also depending on the peppers. Give it more time if needed, do not worry if it blackens. There are other ways to roast peppers, but I prefer this one, just too simple!

Leave them to cool slightly so that you can touch them, then start pulling of the skin. This should be fairly easy. If the skin does not come off, they need more time in the oven. When you remove the skin, you automatically remove the black bits. Remove the seeds as well.

Cut up the peppers in long small strips. Put them in a bowl and grind over fresh salt and pepper. Use a good drizzle of olive oil and vingear. I like mine quite sour because of the sweetness allready in the peppers, but add vinegar and oil to your own flavor. Also, there will be juice coming from the peppers. No need to throw this away, just mix it in.

There you have it allready, something typically Spanish, but also something fast, delicious and not super unhealthy ;-). Disfruta! (Enjoy:-)!)

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Celeriac Fritters with harissa-yoghurt dip

Hi all!

How are you? The weather here is great, so I haven’t been spending that much time in the kitchen here! Sitting in my living room, I am bathing in the sun right now, thinking up a new recipe for this week.

I wasn’t really inspired so for my grocery shopping I cycled down to a local market, right in the city, quite close to our home. Walking in the sun you hardly realize its autumn already, but the produce helped reminding me. Pumpkin, celeriac, potatoes, all sorts of produce for an autumn or winter dish, although I didn’t really feel like making some sort of mash already, way too early! I did buy the celeriac however and ended up making celeriac cakes! Something light and it made me think of summer – perfect picnic food no?

If autumn does set in all of a sudden you can have them with a nice piece of fish or meat but I just had them for lunch with a green salad and some harissa-yoghurt sauce.

Here it goes:

 

For the celeriac cakes:

Half a celeriac, peeled and grated

Half a sjalot, very finely diced.

Fresh (or otherwise dried) thyme

Peper and salt

2 tablespoons of flour (any type will do)

1 tablespoon of spicy mustard

½ teaspoon of Cajun herbs

1 free-range egg.

Olive oil (coconut oil or sunflower oil work well too)

 

For the harissa sauce:

3 tablespoons Thick yoghurt, such as Greek or Turkish yoghurt

1 teaspoon of harissa

 

Mix the grated celeriac with all the ingredients. Fresh thyme works really well with celeriac, it is just a really good flavor combination I think. If you do not have Cajun spice, perhaps you have some cayenne pepper or paprika powder to add to the mixture.  I like my mustard a bit spicy, but ofcourse, if you have a milder mustard it will definitely work as well. Give the mixture a good stir to make sure all is properly mixed.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Start scooping in the celeriac mixture with a spoon and press several heaps of mixture into the pan. You can shape them a little, until you have your desired shape and size.

They need at least 5 minutes on both sides, until golden brown. Keep a close eye on them, they may need a minute less or more.

When golden brown status has been achieved, put them on some paper kitchen towels while you whip up the sauce. When I say this sauce is easy I really mean it! It’s just some yoghurt and harissa. Harissa is a red pepper paste, while reading the ingredientslist I see that harissa is from Tunesia, did not know that! It’s mainly peppers, with some garlic, salt and coriander.  It’s perfect for spicing up soups or tomato sauces. And also for tasty dips!

Mix the yoghurt with the harissa. You can adjust to your own flavor, depending how much spicy you like it.

Serve them warm and crispy. Good work well as an evening meal with some fresh green salad and a piece of salmon from the oven, I am guessing. Or as a picnic snack, the sun is still shining here!

 

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yeah well I am no fan of these photo’s either… but this is how they turned out! Besides that they looked way better and tastier in real life!

Note to self: Practice your foodfotography…

 

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Cheesy Onion Bread

I have been wanting to try this for ages! I remember the smell from my childhood when my mother came back from the bakers and we would have warm onion bread for sunday lunch. Wait, I don’t think she got the bread from the bakers but from a Cheese and Dairy truck that drove through our neighbourhoud on the weekend. I remember it being a huge truck you could enter and buy milk, eggs, cheese and this delicious bread. My memory might be mistaken, but not on that bread, which always tasted great!  It’s almost weekend, so good enough of a reason to give this recipe a go! I always try to put some wholemeal flour in my bread, since I think it is healthier and better for you then only eating white bread. Some breads also call for a lot more salt then mine, but since the cheese is already quite salty, I consider 8 grams more then enough. We already eat enough salt as it is!

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams of wholemeal flour
  • 200 grams of plain flour
  • 8 grams of salt
  • 12 grams of dried yeast
  • 300 – 400 ml water
  • a little olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 100 grams of cheese (more or less) I used a matured Dutch famers Cheese. Other hard cheeses will do nicely too. Grated and/or cubed both works.
  • A hand of fresh thyme

 

Start with sifting the flour together. I tried something new and I mixed the dried yeast with some water and let that stand for a few minutes. Then I mixed it in with the flour and added the salt. I just wanted to see if the proving process would turn out differently by solving the yeast in water but I noticed no big diffrence. If you want, you can just add it to the flour and then add the water. Just make you don’t let the dry yeast and salt touch until you add the water.

Do not add all the water at once. If the dough needs more, simply add a little more. The dough should be a little wet, but definitely not sticky or soggy. Start kneading the dough on your workbench. You can lightly oil your bench or sprinkle some flour on it. Work the dough for a minimum of five minutes. The dough should feel soft and be a little shiny and smooth now. Turn it into a ball with your hands and put it into a slightly oiled bowl. You can make a large cut in the dough, which can make it easier to incorporate the onion and cheese at a later stage.  Cover with clingfilm and a clean, dry tea towel. Leave the dough to rise for at least 90 minutes, but two hours is definitely fine as well.

Take this time to thinly slice the onion, grate and cube the cheese, get some fresh thyme from your garden and relax with a cup of tea.

Once the dough has rise to almost twice the original size, take it out and use the cut you made earlier to incorporate the onion, thyme and cheese. Start kneading and incorporating. I actually found this quite hard because onions kept falling out. I just kept going and decided this was as good as it was going to get. Onions falling out would give it a nice, rustic look, or at least I hoped.

Now you can choose to divide the dough in two for the second rising. I found that it rose easier and, more importantly, baked faster and easier in the oven when I put in two small loaves instead of one big one.

Let your dough rise on an oven tray, covered again with some plastic and a tea towel. Turn on your oven to 200 degrees celcius. Once your dough has grown to almost double it’s size again, take off the plastic and tea towel and pop the tray in the oven. You can sprinkle it with a little leftover cheese if you like.

The time needed in the oven depends on the size. A big one will need 35-40 minutes, two smaller ones about 25 minutes. Check your bread on time, it might need a few minutes less (or more). Once you knock on your bread and it sounds hollow, it is done!

Let it cool on a rack or tuck in straight away. Bring out the butter and some more Dutch farmers cheese!

An extra note: If you do net let it cool on a rack, the bottom will get soft. It needs air to keep it’s crust crisp and fresh.

I do hope you will enjoy this bread as much as I did. The next day you can toast it for a minute, and eat it warm again.

 

 

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A kitchen essential

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Absolving the yeast in tepid water

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Mixing in the water, yeast and salt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Start Kneading!

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Make a deep cut into the dough. This will help incorporate the onions and cheese in a later stage

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Onion, fresh thyme, finely grated cheese and some cheese cubes for an extra cheesy surprise inside

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See how it grows!

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Use the opening to add the onions and cheese

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Just a little bit more onions and cheese please 🙂

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knead it for a minute to incorporate the ingredients

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More cheese you say?

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My bread exploded a little… But it did not lack in flavor!