Saturday, December 20, 2014

Yule: Stuffed Almond Muffins

Tomorrow it is Yule, the shortest day of the year and the start of winter. I wanted to post more Yule recipes, but sadly I didn't make that many recipes beforehand as I wanted. For Yule you can think of almost any recipes you would make with Christmas, because a lot of Christmas traditions have their origins from Yule. I will bake something else on x-mas eve, but I am not the kind of blogger that bakes their goods before I need them for the sake of blogging ;) But for now enjoy these delicious muffins :)

Stuffed Almond Muffins: (makes 10, or 20 mini)
- 200 gr self rising flour
- 1 heaping tbsp of speculaas spices (or gingerbread spices)
- 150 gr brown castor sugar
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 100 gr hard butter
- 25 gr chopped almonds
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 1-2 tbsp milk (if needed)
- about 80 gr almond paste

Sift the flour, speculaas spices, sugar and salt in a large bowl and combine. Add the hard butter and make crumbs with 2 knives. Then add the egg yolk and almonds and knead until you have a ball of dough. If it is too crumbly, add first 1 tbsp of milk and if that isn't enough add another. Wrap the ball in plastic foil and leave it at least one hour in the fridge, but this can also be done overnight.

Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees. I use a silicone muffin tin, so I don't have to grease them but if you have a tin one, please do. Roll the dough into a rectangular and cut out circles that are slightly bigger than the holes of the muffin tin you are using. You can use a small glass to do this. Fill each hole with a piece of dough. Make little balls of almond paste with your hands and place them on the dough. Then cut out some smaller circles from the dough to function as a lid. Press them on the almond paste and make sure you the dough is connected so the muffins stay closed.

Glaze them with some egg. Bake them for about 25 minutes (15-20 for mini)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bento Bites: Sweet Potato Pancakes

I am digging up some really old recipes that I am blogging this week ;) Truth is that I stumbled into the pictures I took of the book page with my phone, because I didn't post the recipe yet but the book had to go back to the library. The thing is that I sometimes can't remember which book the recipe was originally from. It think this recipe is from Plenty by Ottolenghi, but I am not 100% sure. Anyway, I decided to blog the recipe right away before it would get lost in my archives again ;)

Sweet Potato Pancakes: (Serves 4)
- 100 gr flour
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 kg sweet potatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 0.5 tsp sugar
- about 3 tbsp spring onion
- butter

For the sauce:
- 50 gr Greek yoghurt
- 50 gr sour cream
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
- salt and pepper

Peel, cut and steam the sweet potatoes until soft. Leave them to drain in a colander for at least an hour.
Make the sauce by mixing all ingredients together, add salt and pepper to taste and set aside so the flavours can develop.

Mix all the ingredients with the sweet potato (except for the butter) by hand. Don't over mix, It needs to stick together. If it is too moist, add some more flour. Heat some butter in a pan. Scoop about 1 tbsp of mixture into a pan, and spread it out until you have a 5 cm pancake that is about 1 cm thick. There should fit about 3 in a pan. Bake on medium heat for about 6 minutes on each side. Layer the pancakes between paper towels to drain the moist. Serve with the sauce.

If you bake the pancakes in margarine, the pancakes are vegan. They would also taste great with some maple syrup :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Brilliant Basics: Risotto with Herbs

As you probably know, I posted a lot of risotto recipes over the years. But I won't stop any time soon because I just love to try all kind of new combinations. A few months ago I made a very basic risotto, with only a mix of different herbs for flavour. But this turned out so flavourful! O course you could add some veggies, but this is a very good basic risotto recipe that you can tweak however you would like. Original from Kruidenkookboek by Ann Wilson.

Risotto with Herbs: (serves 4)
- 1.5 L vegetable broth
- 50 gr butter
- 1 spring onion, in rings
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 440 gr risotto rice
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp rosemary
- 75 gr grated cheese

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Melt the butter in a pan and bake the onion and garlic shortly. Add the risotto rice and bake until the rice turns translucent. Turn the heat to medium and add a ladle of broth and stir it. Wait until the broth has been absorbed before adding more, a ladle at the time. Stir occasionally and never leave your risotto alone. After 20 minutes add the herbs and keep adding broth when needed for about 8 more minutes until the risotto is soft and creamy. Lastly stir through the cheese and serve.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Menu for week 50

I only blogged 3 recipes this week, but we are getting closer to x-mas and preparations are in full swing. This means that I have less time to do other things, like blogging. We did try plenty of new recipes though which I will get to eventually :)

Sunday: We made a typical Dutch fish dish, called kibbeling. It is cod in batter and then fried. The recipe will follow.

Monday and Tuesday: Potato and spinach curry in wraps. (recipe to come)

Wednesday Baking: Our first x-mas recipe! Almond muffins. Recipe to come :)

Wednesday: Chimmichurri, one of the few boxed meals we still eat. But we love this one :)

Thursday and Friday: Pasta with bell pepper sauce and cod. Recipe will follow.

Saturday: Pancakes with cheese and "bacon".

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Home Baked: Italian Tomato Bread

As some of you might have seen in the weekly menu posts, Nick and I own a bread machine. Normally we ask a friend who has a mill on walking distance to buy us some special mixes for the machine. But last time we were there, we forgot to take the mixes with us. So we had to think of something else. In the stores here we can only get the basic mixes, which often taste a bit boring. So we decided to pimp one of those basic mixes to get an interesting tasting bread.

Italian Tomato Bread:
- 8 sundried tomatoes
- a bunch of fresh Italian herbs
- 500 gr white bread flour (yeast included)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- a small pinch of sugar
- a pinch of salt
- a pinch of pepper

Chop the fresh Italian herbs and sundried tomatoes in very tiny pieces. Place all the ingredients in the bread machine and add 300 ml water. Use the white bread setting of your machine to knead and bake the bread. Enjoy ;) (If you want some more visible pieces of sundried tomatoes and herbs, reserve some and add them after the beep)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bento Bites: Vegetarian Teriyaki Balls

A while ago we had an anime evening with friends and we served some Japanese themed warm snacks. Alongside the Daigaku Imo we made, we served these Vegetarian Teriyaki Balls. They were very easily adapted from a Teriyaki meatball recipe from Damn Delicious by replacing the minced meat with it's vegetarian counterpart. I made these one day ahead before the party so the flavours could develop before baking them. Please don't mind the quite horrible picture. Nick is often not about the details when he serves things, and I only got to the chance to take a quick snapshot before grabby hands gobbled them up. I kind of halved the recipe, because 900 gr of vegetarian mince is quite expensive, and we had other snacks too.

Vegetarian Teriyaki Balls: (serves a 8 as a snack)
- 450 gr vegetarian minced meat
- 1/4 cups panko or bread crumbs
- 2 large egg yolks (vegetarian mince needs more egg to stick, so I used 1 extra)
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 2 gloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 0.5 tsp white pepper

For the sauce:
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 0.25 cup soy sauce
- 0.25 cup brown sugar
- 0.5 tsp grated ginger
- 0.25 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp honey

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the balls. Mix well with clean hands. Roll small balls with your hands, about 40. This is when I covered them and placed them in the fridge overnight so the flavours can develop.

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees and start on the sauce,
In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic powder, honey and 1 cup water; bring to a simmer. Stir in cornstarch mixture until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.

Place the balls on a baking sheet in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
But because our oven is small and we would have to work in too many batches, we just baked them in a frying pan in some oil. And served them with the teriyaki sauce.

I am aware that I used a full recipe of sauce and a half recipe for the balls, but to half the sauce recipe would leave us with 1/8 cups and that was too much hassle. Also I used more spices because (closer to the recipe for 900 gram) because vegetarian meat has a more neutral taste and needs more spices. They also taste great cold in a bento.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Very Veggie: Jamie's Cheesy Peas

Personally I love peas. They are sweet and easily tossed into all kinds of dishes. Nick doesn't mind peas in curries, pasta dishes or as part of whatever dish but finds them boring on their own. While I sometimes love to eat them on their own as a side to my potatoes. When I was watching a Jamie Oliver Marathon on 24-Kitchen a couple of weeks ago, I saw this recipe for cheesy peas. A very easy way to pimp you peas. So I thought we would give it a try and afterwards Nick stated that he liked them much better this way. Mission accomplished! Original recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Jamie's Cheesy Peas: (serves 2)
- 4 big handfuls (frozen) peas
- olive oil
- 1 handful of parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon
- white pepper

Boil the peas until they are still slightly crispy. Drain them and keep aside a small cup of the cooking water. Put hte peas back in the pan with some of the reserved water and a splash of olive oil. Add the Parmesan and stir until all peas are coated with a layer of cheese. Add a squeeze of lemon juice nad some white pepper to taste, Serve immediately.