Tuesday, December 28, 2010

20101228 Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

(SOURCE: Some magazine - Gevulde schelpen)

I wanted to make a vegetarian dish to give our bodies some time to detox before all the oliebollen in the New Year. Unfortunately this dish failed the purpose because of the awesome and cheesy spinach stuffing. Next time I may add some finely chopped basil leaves to give it a little more aroma.

450g frozen spinach, thawed and drained
300g jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente and drained
salt and fresh ground pepper
30g pinenuts, roasted
2 eggs
200g cream cheese
125g mascarpone
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10 sundried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
200g grated Gouda cheese
100g grated parmesan cheese
dash of nutmeg

1. Heat oven to 190 degree C. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, cream cheese, and mascarpone with a hand mixer. Then mix in the garlic, sundried tomatoes, and spinach with a wooden spoon. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Finally add half the Gouda cheese and parmesan cheese to the spinach mix.
2. Stuff the shells with the spinach mix and lay them in a greased casserole dish. Bake the dish in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Scatter with the roasted pinenuts and serve.

20101228 Chocolate & Cranberry Muffins

(SOURCE: BBC Good Food - Skinny chocolate & cranberry muffins)

My muffins are not skinny as I didn't use skimmed milk and low fat yoghurt as instructed, because I find all skinny dairy products not delicious. Who cares about diet in the week between Christmas and New Year anyways?! Oh these muffins tasted so good, especially when they were still warm and the chocolate was a bit gooey in the middle.

250g self raising flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
85g light muscovado sugar
85g dried cranberries
25g dark chocolate, chopped
125g yoghurt
125ml milk
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Heat oven to 160 degree C. Microwave chocolate on medium for 1 minute, stir, and set aside.
2. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and cinnamon into a bowl. Stir in sugar and cranberries.
3. Mix yoghurt and milk with oil and egg. Make a well in the dry mixture and gently stir in the liquid. Drizzle half the chocolate, gently fold in until swirled, repeat with the remaining chocolate.
4. Don't over mix! Spoon to 12 muffin cases, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until risen.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

20101226 Mojito Cheesecakes

(SOURCE: thepassionatecook - Mojito Cheesecakes)

I wanted a dessert that I can prepare few hours ahead, so I can relax and play sjoelen with the family before dinner. And this dessert is the STAR of our boxing day dinner - my father in law is never crazy about dessert, but he finished two cheesecakes last night! The rum in the cheesecakes make them perfect for a jolly Christmas dinner, and the lime and mint in the cheesecakes make them perfect for a barbeque party too. This is definitely my favorite dessert!

100g digestive biscuits
25g butter, melted
4 limes
120g light muscovado sugar
4 tbsp rum
1 large handful mint leaves + more for decoration
250g quark
100g creme fraiche
250g mascarpone

1. Heat the sugar in a saucepan with 5 tbsp of water until the sugar has fully dissolved. Leave to simmer for 2 minutes without stirring. Add the zest and juice of 3 limes, the rum, and the mint leaves to the saucepan. Remove from heat and leave to cool completely.
2. Blitz the digestive biscuits in a food processor until left with fine crumbs, add the butter and combine. Press equal amounts of the mixture into the base of 8 small cocktail tumblers or shot glasses as the base of the cheesecakes. Set aside.
3. Remove the mint leaves from the pan, draining them thoroughly. Pour the mojito mix into a bowl and beat in the quark, creme fraiche and mascarpone until smooth. Pour the mixture carefully on top of the base, then place the glasses in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set.
4. When ready to serve, cut the remaining lime into thin wedges and use one each plus a few small mint leaves for decoration.

20101226 Pork Tenderloin Gratin

(SOURCE: Koken & Genieten magazine - Varkenhaasgratin met verse cantharellen)

A lovely main course for our boxing day dinner - an attempt at having a healthier Christmas dinner. I was worried that the pork tenderloin would be dry, but it was so tasteful and very tender! This is a perfect dish for dinner party, because you could make steps 1 through 6 in the morning then you only have to pop the dish into the oven when it's dinner time.

800g potatoes (low in starch)
250g mushrooms, small and quartered
600g french beans, cut into 2 to 3cm length
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
600g pork tenderloin, cut into 8 to 10 medaillons
3 tbsp oil
75g butter
2 bags hollandaise sauce mix (each make about 250ml sauce), plus ingredients required to make the sauce

1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well, then set aside to cool and slice.
2. Cook the beans in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
3. Make the sauce according to the instructions on the package, then remove the sauce from heat and add 75g butter. Set aside.
4. Heat oven to 200 degree C. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan, and brown the pork medaillons for about 2 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from pan.
5. Add 2 tbsp oil in the pan, and cook the mushrooms and onions for about 3 minutes. Add the thyme, then season with salt and pepper.
6. In a greased casserole dish, lay the green beans and then place the pork medaillons in the middle. Surround the medaillons with potato slices, and pour the mushroom mix over the medaillons. Finally pour the hollandaise sauce all over the dish.
7. Cook in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes.

20101226 Rockefeller Mushrooms

(SOURCE: Koken & Genieten magazine - Rockefeller Champignons)

A simple starter for our boxing day dinner. This tasted a little too strong for a starter, so I would suggest replacing the brown gravy with a simple white sauce.

3 tbsp butter
1 cup beef bouillon
2 tbsp flour
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
450g frozen spinach
12 big mushrooms, about 450g, cleaned and stem removed
6 slices of bacon
1 tbsp oil
grated cheese

1. Make gravy. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan and stir in flour. Keep stirring until blended well. Add bouillon and bring to the boil while stirring. Continue to stir until smooth and it thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Heat the grill to high. Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium heat, and brown the onion and garlic. Add the frozen spinach and 2 tbsp of water to the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer the spinach mix for about 15 minutes. Season with nutmeg and salt and pepper.
3. In another pan, fry the bacon slices until crispy. Remove bacon slices onto a plate with kitchen paper to absorb the excessive fat. Break each slice into two. Add the mushrooms to the pan with the bacon fat, and fry for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the mushrooms on a casserole dish.
4. Stuff each mushroom with some spinach mix, then sprinkle with grated cheese and the gravy. Grill for about 5 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and place a piece of bacon on each stuffed mushroom.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

20101223 Oven Steamed Salmon with capers

Home alone tonight, so I had oven steamed salmon for dinner again! I have some capers and a lemon in the fridge, so I thought I would use them for my oven steamed salmon. Too bad I don't have any white wine at home, or I would drizzle some over the salmon too. I served it with just some steamed potatoes and carrots (tossed with dried parsley, salt, fresh ground four-season pepper, and olive oil). Yum!

200g salmon fillet
olive oil
2 tsp capers, soaked in water for a few minutes and drained
3 slices of lemon
sea salt
fresh ground four-season pepper

1. Heat oven to 200 degree C.
2. Fold a meter of aluminium foil to make two layers. Lightly oil the foil then lay the salmon fillet on top, skin side down. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground four-season pepper. Lay the lemon slices on the salmon and scatter with capers. Wrap up the foil and crease to make a packet.
3. Cook the packet in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon fillet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

20101222 Fragrant Chicken Curry

(SOURCE: BBC GoodFood 101 Hot-pot Dishes)

I got a zerkleinerer (food chopper? simple food processor?) today. So I found this recipe that I have already got all the ingredients at home and will allow me to use my new toy - perfect! The spices puree smelled so good, and frying it a bit in the saucepan made it even more fragrant. The sauce was so good, who cares if our house smells like curry for Christmas now!

2 medium onions, quartered
2 fat garlic cloves
2cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
20g fresh coriander
1/2 chicken stock cube
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
yogurt (at room temperature) and garlic naan bread to serve

1. Tip the first eigh ingredients and half the coriander into a food processor, and blend to a puree. Tip the mixture into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Crumble in the stock cube, pour in 500ml boiling water and return to the boil. Add the chicken, stir, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
3. Chop the remaining coriander, then stir all but about 2 tbsp into the curry with the chickpeas. Heat through. Serve topped with the reserved coriander and the yoghurt, with naan bread on the side.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

20101221 Beef and Bean Hotpot

(SOURCE: BBC GoodFood 101 Hot-Pot Dishes)

Another cold day with even more snow flurries and headache, and another day of wintry chaos as roads in our city are not properly gritted. I crave something very warm to get rid of the winter blues, and a bowl of this with extra dashes of Tobasco did the job.

320g minced beef
1 beef stock cube
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
200g carrots, sliced
600g potatoes, cut into large chunks
400g can baked beans
Worcestershire sauce and Tobasco, to taste
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat a large non-stick pan, add the beef and fry over a medium high heat until browned, stirring often and breaking up any lumps with a spoon. Crumble in the stock cube and mix well.
2. Add the vegetables, stir to mix with the beef and pour in enough boiling water to cover (about 500ml). Bring to the boil, season with fresh ground black pepper, then lower the heat and stir well. Cover the pan and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
3. Tip in the baked beans, sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce and Tobasco to taste, stir well and heat through. Taste for seasoning and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with extra Worcestershire sauce.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

20101216 Vegetable Stew with Chicken

(SOURCE: SimpleDailyRecipes.com - Vegetable Stew with a little Chicken)

I felt that we should have a vegetable dish this week before stuffing our face with all kind of Christmas goodies next week. But I know plain vegetable stew will not please my meat-loving husband, so I have chosen this dish. The stew has lots of vegetable and some shredded chicken. I served a big bowl of stew with some garlic ciabatta - I used a handful of dried basil instead and it was still good. It was a filling dinner that kept me warm for a Christmas concert at a basilica with poor heating!

3 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
400g can whole tomatoes
1 cup corn
500ml chicken broth
hot water
2 cups cooked shredded chicken

1. Meat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat, and cook onion, carrots and celery until soften. Stir in all the dried herbs. Add in whole tomatoes with their juice and break up the tomatoes into smaller chunks using a wooden spoon.
2. Add in corn, potatoes and chicken broth. Add ennough hot water to cover all the vegetables with 1/2 inch liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cover with lid and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fork tender.
3. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the cooked, shredded chicken.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

20101214 Beef Stew Provencale

(SOURCE: SimpleDailyRecipes.com - Totally Simple Beef Stew Provencale)

This is a satisfying dish especially when I have been feeling a little blue and craving a hearty meal. I served this with only some fresh garlic bread tonight. But I think the best way to serve this is by ladling big spoonfuls into bowls, accompanied by a glass of dry red wine and some crusty warmed bread!

650g beef for stew (I used sukadelappen), cut into 1 inch cubes
flour, salt and pepper for coating meat
2 tbsp oil
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup water
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150g little carrots
1 large onion, cut into fourths
1 tbsp dried parsley

1. Toss the beef into a bowl with a few tablespoons of flour, and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
2. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook the meat in batches, turning once, until browned. Remove the browned meat to a plate.
3. Add the red wine to pan and return to heat to simmer. Scraping and stirring in the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, keep simmering wine until it has reduced to half the amount of liquid.
4. Add the meat back, pour in the water and crushed garlic, toss and coat the meat with the sauce. Heat liquid to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
5. Add carrots, onions and dried parsley to pan. Cover and simmer until beef and carrots are tender, about 40 minutes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

20101212 Mughlai Chicken

(SOURCE: Nigella.com - Mughlai Chicken)

As I don't like my curry too sweet, I have skipped the 50g of golden sultanas. I also skipped the ground almond suggested by Nigella, because I couldn't find it in any supermarkets and was too lazy to ground some myself. The curry is still very good and the sauce is so creamy. The smell of curry made me so hungry so I rushed to serve dinner and forgot to scatter toasted almond flakes all over the curry, duh! We cleaned our plates with the garlic & coriander naan and made sure no sauce go to waste!

1.5cm fresh ginger, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp dried chilli
60ml water
2 cardamon pods, bruised
1/2 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 bay leaves
2 cloves
2 tbsp vegetable oil
750g boned, skinned chicken thighs
1 onion, finely chopped
150ml Greek yoghurt
125ml chicken stock
60ml creme fraiche
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
salt and pepper

1. Blend the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and chilli with a pestle and mortar, and set aside.
2. Put the cardamon pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cloves into a small bowl.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chicken pieces and cook them just long enough to seal on both sides, then remove to a dish.
4. Tip in the bowlful of spieces and turn them in the oil. Add the onions to the pan of spices, and cook until softened and lightly browned. Pour in the blended paste, and cook everything until it begins to color. Add the yoghurt, stirring it in to make a sauce. Then stir in the stock and cream.
5. Put the browned chicken back into the pan, along with any juices that have collected under them, and sprinkle over the garam masala, sugar, and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 20 to 30 minutes, testing to make sure the chicken meat is cooked through.
6. Take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool before reheating the next day.

20101212 Chocolate Banana Muffins

(SOURCE: Nigella.com - Chocolate Banana Muffin)

My headache has been difficult this week, so I thought I would indulge myself in some warm muffins on this rainy/sunny Sunday afternoon. I therefore looked through the recipes at Nigella.com to find a muffin recipe that I have all the ingredients for. Voila! These muffins look absolutely gorgeous as they are so round on the top. I used 3 rounded tablespoons of cocoa powder instead, but the muffins are still not very chocolatey. So if you are a hardcore chocaholic, you may want to add more cocoa powder and/or dark chocolate chips.

3 overripe bananas
125ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
100g soft light brown sugar
225g plain flour
3 rounded tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Heat oven to 200 degree C and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
2. Mash the bananas with a fork. Then with a freestanding mixer, beat the oil followed by eggs and sugar into the bananas.
3. Mix the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb together and sift this mixture, beating gently, to the banana mixture, then spoon it into the prepared cases.
4. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly in their tin before moving to a wire rack.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

20101211 Chicken Tangine

(SOURCE: Simply Bill by Bill Granger)

I learned something today - lemon juice brings out not only the highlights of your hair, but also the flavor of the spices in this dish. As my husband doesn't like olives, I first prepared his dish and then stirred in the sliced olives for myself. I don't know how to describe it but the green olives just made the sauce more "interesting" and flavorful.

8 chicken thighs
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1tbsp grated fresh ginger
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp paprika
2 pinches saffron threads
115g sliced green olves
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
a dash of chilli powder

1. Put the chicken, onions, garlic, ginger, spices and 500ml of water in a saucepan and cover with a lid. Bring to the broil then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 60 to 70 minutes, until the meat falls off the bone.
2. Increase the heat to high, remove the lid and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir through the olives and lemon juice.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

20101207 Old-fashioned Dutch Dinner

We had an old-fashioned Dutch dinner tonight - a one course meal with potatoes, cooked vegetables, and pan fried meat. And we follow the de Waard family tradition to serve the meal with lots of "boterjus", the excessive fat from cooking the meat with lots of butter. To be precise, we arrange the cooked potato, vegetable, and meat on a plate and then pour the boterjus all over the potato and vegetable. The key to a good old-fashioned Dutch dinner is timing - be sure you time it right, so everything is cooked and served at the same time! This is what my husband craves when he is recovering from a cold, because he finds this a "healthy" diet.

4 pork bellies
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp sugar

500g starchy potatoes
sour cream
garlic powder
salt and freshly ground four-season pepper

400g snijbonen, finely sliced (I don't know its English name)
1L chicken stock

1. Bring the chicken stock to the boil. Add the snijbonen and cook for 18 to 20 minutes. Drain well and serve.

1. Mix the spices in a small bowl, and use your fingers to rub the spices into the pork bellies.
2. In a large pan, heat a knob of butter (more if you want more boterjus) and cook the pork bellies over medium heat for 20 minutes.
1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, and cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes. Drain well.
2. Mash the potato with a knob of butter. Season with sour cream, garlic powder, and salt and pepper; and serve.

Friday, December 3, 2010

20101203 Kerriebroodje

As I am not feeling well tonight, my husband made us his famous kerriebroodje (literal translation: curry bread) for dinner. Mind you, my husband does not cook unless he got very specific instructions. This is the only dish he could master without any instructions, as he learned how to make this when he was working part time at a local supermarket during college. And I think this was the very first "dish" he made me when we first met 7+ years ago.

1 unbaked baguette, cut in half horizontally
2 small onions, finely chopped
kerrie (curry powder)
a couple slices of cheese

1. Heat oven to 225 degree C.
2. Arrange cheese slices on the halves of the bread, then sprinkle finely chopped onions over the cheese. Finally sprinkle kerrie all over the bread. Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

20101201 Chicken with Paprika and Chorizo

(SOURCE: Simply Bill by Bill Granger)

I love to have a pan bubbling away on the stove on such a cold and snowy evening. This is a very rich and strong flavored one pot dish - well, there are two chorizo sausages in it, what do you expect? This was very yummy, but a little too strong after a few more bites. So it would be best served with some plain white rice or crusty bread.

4 chicken legs (about 1kg, each leg cut into 2 pieces)
salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
2 chorizo sausages, sliced
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
500ml chicken stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree

1. Season the chicken with salt and papper, and then toss to coat with the paprika.
2. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and cook the chorizo until crisp. Remove the chorizo and brown the chicken in two batches for 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
3. Add the onion into the dish, sprinkle with salt, and brown for 5 minutes over high heat. Add the peppers and garlic, and cook for 10 minutes longer. Put the chicken on top of the pepper and pour the combined stock, tomatoes and tomato puree over the top. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium low heat, stir occasionally.
4. Remove the chicken pieces and bring the liquid to the boil. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes to thicken the sauce, then return the chicken and chorizo to the casserole to heat through.