Bloglovin site & app

bloglovin

I am struggling to keep up with all of the blogs that I like to read and I’ve looked around to find sites or tools that will gather posts from different blogs and so far the best one I found is bloglovin.  There is the site (bloglovin.com) or you can download the app in the itunes store, either way you get a nice overview of all new posts of your favorite blogs.  I really enjoy using it and reading on it.

You should give it a try!

Carlos

Let’s talk about buns …

In a desperate attempt at avoiding supermarket burger buns that taste like cotton balls, I started looking for a good recipe to make them myself.  The ‘All Recipes’ website has a great recipe for burger buns that I slightly adjusted based on the comments that had been left with the recipe and my own attempts.  They are simple to make, just take into account however that there is a good two hours of rising needed to make the dough light – firm buns are only delicious when they are attached to a man.

Burger buns

The ingredients are as follows:

- 235 ml milk

- 120 ml water

- 55 g butter

- 560 g all-purpose flour

- 10 g instant yeast

- 25 g white sugar

- 9 g salt

- 2 eggs (1 for dough, one for egg wash)

- sesame seeds

Start with heating the milk, water and butter together (don’t boil them, just heat them through), this can be done in a sauce pan on the stove or in the microwave.

Mix yeast, sugar, salt and half of the flour with the milk/water/butter mixture and one egg.

Beat the mixture until smooth.

Put in the remaining flour, one cup at a time, beating in between each addition.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).

Heat the oven to 40 degrees C and put the dough into an oil greased bowl covered with a damp towel and let rise for an hour.  The dough should about double in size.

After an hour, turn down the oven, take the dough out of the oven and out of the bowl.  Divide the dough into 12 pieces and put them on a tray and back in the oven for another hour of rising.  Try not to handle the dough too much, leave it as is, otherwise the buns will turn out too dense.  The oven is turned of to avoid the dough from drying out.  Also don’t put a towel or cling film on them because it will stick to the buns and ruin them.

After an hour take them out of the oven, brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the buns.

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C and then bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!

C.

Chocolate strawberries

I don’t like fruit, if it isn’t covered in sugar or cream, I’m NOT touching it.

A couple of weeks ago I saw these strawberries on Pinterest with a chocolate base and some kind of cream filling which immediately sent my fat genes into crazy mode.  I attempted to recreate them, using white chocolate mousse for the filling.  They are so good and look very pretty!  The additional bonus is that you have the impression you’re only being semi-naughty because there is actually fruit involved and this will count for one of your five a day.

photo

To make 10 of these babies you will need:

- 10 firm large strawberries (slightly under-ripe)

- 120 gr of good milk chocolate

- 100 gr of cheap white chocolate (cheap variety seems to work the best)

- 100 gr of double cream

- 1/2 the egg white of 1 egg

Cut off the top and the bottom of the strawberry  (just enough so the strawberry can stand).

Empty out a bit of the inside of the strawberry with a spoon or a knife.  If like me you have two left hands, you can just leave it like it is, it will still be delicious.

Melt the milk chocolate either in the microwave or by putting the chocolate in a bowl on top of a pan with boiling water (in fancy cookery this would be “au bain marie”).  Poor the melted chocolate into a small cup or bowl big enough to dip in the bottom of your strawberry (I used a teacup). Let the chocolate drip off the strawberry and then put them on parchment or baking paper to cool down.

Then sit down, you’ve deserved a little break, take a spoon and lap up whatever is left of the melted milk chocolate.

For the chocolate mousse start by adding the egg white to the cream and whip it up.  Melt the white chocolate, let it cool down a bit and then fold it into the cream.  If you would add the hot chocolate into the cream mixture it might curdle.  Put the mousse into a piping bag and put it in the fridge for a good two hours to firm up.  Finally pipe white chocolate rosettes on top of the strawberries and that’s it, they are ready to be devoured!

Then you can either eat them all immediately (like I did, bravo for me and my waist line) or you put them back in the fridge were they’ll keep at least for a day or so.

strawberry

Enjoy!

C.

Baked Camembert

For work I go to Paris regularly and one of the restaurants I love going to is situated in the heart of Versailles: L’Aparthé (1 bis, rue Sainte Geneviève 78000 Versailles) has got a quirky interior and tasty unpretentious food.  It’s here I discovered the delight that is baked camembert.

aparthe-3 (1)

You start by taking the cheese out of its rapper, cutting of the top crust/rind and popping it back in its wooden container.

You can put it in the oven just like this, but it is best to season it somewhat.  Camembert at room temperature is quite fragrant and has a distinctive taste, however when it gets baked part of that taste disappears, so you need to add some flavoring agents.  Simply press some finely sliced garlic (1 clove) into the soft cheese and sprinkle some herbes de Provence on it.  If you don’t have herbes de Provence sprinkle some thyme or rosemary (or both) on it.  That should do the trick.  In order to let the cheese absorb all the aroma’s add the garlic and herbs a good hour before baking the cheese, it makes a big difference.

Before putting it in the oven I like to add a teaspoon of wine or truffle oil on the hard cheese, it adds taste but most importantly it makes the cheese nice and runny once it is baked.  Just pop it in a preheated oven of 180 degrees C for 15 to 20 minutes and in the meanwhile toast some slices of bread and you’re ready to go.

camembert

One last tip: it is always best to put the wooden container in some kind of oven proof dish, if the heat would split the container, you risk ending up with a terrible mess in your oven.

Enjoy!

C.

 

Lemon Meringue Pie

I am not much of a cake maker – don’t get me wrong – I love desserts, I have a larger then average waistline to show for it, but I have discovered that any dessert involving cake or sponge is not something I can pull of.  My cake attempts often resemble a toddlers craft project and taste like old shoes covered in icing.

A couple of weeks ago I had a lemon pie from our local bakery and it was so delicious that it got me browsing for some ‘lemony’ desserts.  I ended up on the sortedfood.com website where the boys showed how to make a lemon meringue.  It might not sound possible, but I found their version a bit to rich and sweet, it involved a digestive biscuit base and an unbaked meringue topping, all loaded with sugar.  Too much of a good thing.

lemon meringue pie

I finally ended up on the Good Food website of the BBC and tried the ‘ultimate’ meringue pie recipe, the name did not disappoint.   Baked meringue that through the use of corn starch remains chewy on the inside, and lemon curd with a balanced tang as part orange juice is used to take the edge of.  Definitely worth a try!  Check out the recipe on the BBC Good Food website: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3482/ultimate-lemon-meringue-pie.

Enjoy!

C.

 

Cook it from the book : book reviews

Friends often have a snicker when I tell them that on my bedside table there are no novels,magazines or comic books, just a big stack of cook books.  For some people it’s clothes and shoes, for me it’s cookery books.  Some are pretty, some are ugly, some are stained, but all are loved.

I thought it might be cool to share on here the cookery books that I really like.  If you are looking for a good purchase (some of these babies are not cheap!), it might give you some ideas.  Some cookery books are rubbish: featuring recipes that are old and tired (how many times do you need to explain how to make a chocolate chip cookie?) or featuring recipes that simply do not work!  Luckily there aren’t many of these, most are of good quality with innovative recipes, good descriptions and most importantly: full of pretty pictures!  When I am hungry I am not a good reader and it’s handy to be able to flip through the book and immediately get to see what your choices are for dinner.

So keep an eye out for my reviews!

C.

Carrot, Coriander and Ginger Soup

Carrot Coriander Ginger soup

I am not a big soup fan, but I like this one.

It is so easy to make, it’s creamy yet it has a bit of punch from the ginger.  I tend to make a big batch of this soup and freeze it for the nights I don’t feel like cooking or simply don’t have time to.

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

- 1 onion

- 1 clove of garlic

- 2 kg of carrots (I did say I like to make a BIG batch)

- one tablespoon of ground coriander seeds

- one tablespoon of ginger powder

- 20 to 30 gram of fresh coriander

- 1,5 l of chicken or vegetable stock

HOW DO YOU PREPARE IT?

1. Chop the onion and garlic.  I like to use a garlic press for the garlic, much easier then cutting it.

2. No need to wash the carrots: with a potato peeler you shave of the outer layers of the carrots and chop the carrots in large chunks.

3. Fry the onions and garlic in a large pot.

4. Add the carrots, 1 tablespoon of coriander powder and the stock.

5. Bring to a boil and let it boil for about 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes check if the carrots are soft and if they are turn the heat down.  If not, boil for another 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Add the fresh coriander (I use stalks and all).  No need to chop it, the blender will take care of this.

7. Blend the soup to a smooths consistency.

That’s it!

Let’s eat!

C.

 

Lemon Risotto


Honestly! Who does not like risotto? Such creamy deliciousness!  I’ll tell you who did not used to like it: my husband.  I’ve discovered a way to make him eat it – and  loooooooove it – by adding a simple ingredient: lemon.  The Lebanese and their precious lemon – it’s an affair of the heart.

This risotto is a basic risotto, I like to add garlic mushrooms at the end because it adds flavor and texture but if you don’t like them you can leave them out.  You can also add scallops or shrimps at the end and let them cook for a couple minutes in the hot risotto.

WHAT DO YOU NEED (SERVES 4)? 

  1. 400 gram of arborio rice
  2. 20 gr of flat leaf parsley
  3. 400 grams of mushrooms
  4. garlic powder
  5. pepper and salt
  6. two lemons (juice and zest)
  7. one glass of dry white wine
  8. 4 spring onions
  9. grated parmigiana cheese
  10. 1 1/2 liter of water with two cubes of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  11. nob of butter
  12. a bit of oil

HOW DO YOU PREPARE IT?

…the mushrooms…:

  1. cut the mushrooms in slices (not to thin)
  2. put a tiny bit of oil in a non-stick hot pan – really: a tiny bit otherwise the mushrooms will not brown, they will turn in a soggy mess.  Best is to just take a brush and brush some oil onto the bottom of the pan.
  3. put the mushroom slices in pan, put garlic powder and pepper on them
  4. then let them brown on one side (don’t touch them, don’t move them around, just let them just sit there for a minute of two), then turn over and do the same on the other side
  5. take them off the fire and set aside

…the risotto…:

  1. cut up the spring onions and fry them slowly on low heat in the butter, please don’t burn them, just sweat the onions (tip: if you are afraid of burning the butter, add a tiny bit of oil)
  2. add pepper and salt
  3. add the rice and fry it for a minute or two until it turns glazy and has absorbed some of the cooking fat
  4. crank up the heat, add a glass of wine and keep stirring the rice until the alcohol has evaporated
  5. then for about 15 to 20 minutes, keep adding two glasses of stock at a time and keep stirring the rice till the stock has been absorbed, then keep repeating
  6. after about 15 to 20 minutes the rice should be cooked
  7. add in the parmigiana, the mushrooms, parsley, lemon juice and lemon zest and stir well.

Done!

Let’s eat!

C.

 

Ta-ta-ta-tagine!


Living in Brussels means also somewhat living in Morocco.  There is a huge Moroccan population in our town and the food they make is simply delicious!  One of the most simple and most forgiving dishes to make is a tagine which is nothing else but a spicy Moroccan stew.

Moroccan spices give the dish a gentle, warm and deep flavor without being overpowering.  Its a forgiving dish because you can adjust the seasoning of the dish as you go along, the only thing that could go wrong is that you put too much spice in it.  Start with the proportions indicated below and if they are not to your taste, add.  Add small amounts of spice, not too much in one go – once there is too much spice in it you can not correct it anymore.  So, be careful.

352052b

The main spice mix used here is called “ras el hanout”, it is a mix of all kinds of different spices that you can find in most supermarkets today.  You will notice that the flavor accents can be different depending on the brand that you buy.  If you ever go to Morocco and buy ras el hanout in one of the many souks you might be lucky and see the shop owner mix up the spices in front of you.  Although the components might vary slightly – the dish will always have a similar aromatic flavor.

Like with any stew, the principle of cooking today and re-heating tomorrow really makes this dish go from yummy to WOW, so if you can prepare it in advance, do it!

The tagine described below is a beef tagine, the beef can easily be replace by lam if that picks your fancy.  The cut of meat you use should not be the best cut, most butchers sell a kind of ‘stew meat’, this meat gives the best result.

You will notice that I add 0.5 kg of potatoes  however this is not necessary and is to my knowledge not done in Morocco.  I just like the way the potatoes suck up the tagine juices and take on the aromatic flavoring   On top of this I also add couscous and the combination of AND potato AND coucous might seem very strange but it is delicious.  I have to blame the Arabic heritage of my husband for this, because in Arabic cooking it is not unusual to have a dish with potatoes in and eat rice with it.  So the potato and couscous combo is somewhat based on the same principle.

WHAT DO YOU NEED? (FOR 6 PEOPLE)

  • oil for frying
  • 1 kg of beef: stew meat is fine (not the best cut, but ideal for stews)
  • 0.5 kg of potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika (sweet/mild paprika)
  • 2 teaspoon of ras el hanout
  • 200 gr of dried apricots, chopped up
  • 200 gr of dried prunes, chopped up
  • 100 gr of mixed raisins
  • 2 big onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 250 ml yoghurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • bunch of fresh coriander
  • almond flakes
  • 1 liter of water with 2 cubes of vegetable stock
  • 0.5 kg of couscous

HOW DO YOU COOK IT?

  1. Dry the meat with a towel (otherwise it won’t brown properly).
  2. Put pepper and salt on the meat.
  3. Fry the meat in oil.  When finished, keep the oil in the pan.
  4. Cut up the onions, chop up the garlic and fry in the oil used to fry the meat.
  5. Add the meat back in and add the spices and dried fruit.
  6. Add the water with stock cubes.
  7. Bring to the boil and then bring heat down and let simmer for one hour.  At this point taste the sauce and if needed add some additional seasoning  put some more ras el hanout in and let simmer again for another hour.  The meat will be ready when it is tender and slightly falls apart.

HOW DO YOU SERVE THE DISH?

  1. Take the yoghurt, add in the mint and the garlic powder.  Put it back in the fridge.
  2. Cut up the coriander in small pieces (stalks and all).
  3. Toast the almond flakes.
  4. When you are ready to serve the dish, make the couscous.  This is done quickly by adding an equal amount of hot water to the amount of couscous and letting it absorb the water.  Once all the water is absorbed add in a knob of butter and stir around till the couscous has gotten a grainy consistency.
  5. Layer as follows in the dishes: couscous, tagine, good spoonful of yoghurt, sprinkle of coriander, sprinkle of almond flakes.

You’ll get the most wonderful combination of textures and tastes … hot and cold, soft and crunchy, mild creaminess and spice … heaven.

Let’s eat!

C.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
The Esquire Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.