30 January 2016

Cabbage in white wine

This recipe called Verza in Umido stems from ITALY The Beautiful Cookbook. I have been preparing it a lot since I started to order a weekly assortment of organic vegetables, because there have been lots of cabbages supplied. The recipe is meant for savoy cabbage (green with curly leaves), but works for other types of white and green cabbages.

Serves 4-6

1 cabbage
100 g pancetta or bacon, cut in small pieces
1 tbsp butter
1/8 - 1/4 l dry white wine
salt and pepper
1 tbsp aceto balsamico

Cut the cabbage in thin pieces and wash it.
Put the butter in a big pan and bake the bacon until golden brown.
Add the cabbage and some pepper, close the lid and let the cabbage cook for about 30 min on medium heat until all the juice has gone.
Add wine, aceto and salt and let it cook for another 20 min.
Serve hot.

Roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes with caper vinaigrette

A recipe from a magazine, which came in handy because I had parsnips, sweet potato and red onion lying about, from the weekly bag of organic groceries I order at Citeco and coming from La Ferme Nos Pilifs.

Serves 4

4 parsnips
4 red onions
olive oil
2 rosemary sprigs
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp small capers (roughly chopped if large)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp mustard
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Peel the parsnips and cut them in peaces of about 5 cm long and 1 cm wide.
Peel the onions and cut each into six wedges.
Place them in an oven dish and add olive oil, rosemary, garlic, 1 tsp of salt and some pepper.
Mix well and roast for 30-40 min.
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in half and then in wedges. Add them to the tin and stir well.
Roast for a further 30-40 min.
Meanwhile, wisk together the mustard, lemon juice, maple syrup, 1/2 tsp salt and some more olive oil. Stir in the capers.
Pour the dressing over the roasted vegetables as soon as you take them out of the oven.

The original recipe also adds thyme and cherry tomatoes (for the last 10 min.) and suggests to sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the dish when cooked.
Even without the dressing, this colourful dish tastes delicious.

16 November 2015


Een lekker recept, leuk om met kinderen te maken!

200 g bloem
halve koffielepel bakpoeder
1 koffielepel speculaaskruiden
100 g bruine suiker
100 g boter, in stukjes gesneden
2 eetlepels melk
snuif zout

Meng bloem, zout en bakpoeder en meng de boter erdoor.
Voeg dan speculaaskruiden, melk en bruine suiker toe.
Kneed alles door elkaar tot een glad deeg. Voeg melk of bloem toe als het deeg te droog of te nat is.
Verwarm de oven op 150  °C (stand 5-6).
Rol het deeg uit op een bebloemd oppervlak tot ong. 5 mm dik.
Leg bakpapier op de bakplaat.
Steek koekjes uit het deeg met vormpjes en leg ze op het bakpapier.
Bak de speculaasjes 15 - 20 min in de oven, tot ze bruin worden en lekker ruiken.

02 November 2015


A Dutch cookie for this time of the year...

100 g sugar
250 g flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp syrup (Hollandse stroop)
100 g butter
2 tbsp milk
2-3 tsp speculaaskruiden
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven at 150 °C (nr. 6-7).
Melt butter with milk and syrup (or use soft butter).
Mix all other ingredients, then add butter, syrup and milk.
Mix this into a dough. Add some more milk if necessary.
Cover an oven tray with baking paper.
Make small balls out of the dough and put them on the tray. Flatten them a bit.
You can put them close to each other, the dough doesn't spread while baking.
Bake them for around 20 min.

15 June 2015

Red beetroot salad

A recipe from Casa Benali

Serves 4-6

500 g red beetroots, boiled
1 piece of endives (witloof)
1 tomato, deseeded and cut in dice
1/2 shallot or 1 spring onion, cut finely
1 tbsp fresh coriander, cut finely
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
 a handful of young spinach leaves

Cut the beetroot in 0.5 cm slices.
Cut the endive in half, remove the hard core and cut it in rings.
Add the remainder of the ingredients except for the spinach, and mix well.
Add the spinach carefully.
Leave the salad in the fridge for at least half an hour.

PS: I left out the spinach

15 November 2013

Meat balls in tomato sauce

A favourite recipe in our household... stemming from Claudia Roden's book of Jewish food.

Serves 4

500 g minced beef
1 small onion or shallot, minced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, cut finely
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp sugar
500 g tomato passata

Fry garlic in sunflower oil, then add tomatoes and sugar. Season with pepper and salt. Bring the sauce to the boil, then let it simmer.
Meanwhile prepare the meat balls: mix beef, onion, cinnamon and salt. Form small balls, the size of a big walnut.
Add the meat balls to the sauce, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and let the meat balls simmer for 15-20 min until cooked.


You can leave out the onion.
I used to add a small pepper (peperoncino) to the sauce to spice things up, but I'm leaving this out now for the sake of the little ones in our household.

05 January 2012

Cake with pears in syrup

While staying at my mum's I was leafing through The Silver Spoon cookbook (Il cucchiaio d'argento). Since we had guests coming to dinner I decided to make the Corona alle Pere for dessert. Another opportunity to sample the great St-Rémy pears from my mother's garden, a special variety that needs to be stewed.

Serves 6-8

4-6 pears, depending on the size (I used 4 huge pears)
juice of 1 lemon
250 g sugar
500 ml red wine
50 g butter
3 eggs
3 tbsp milk
120 g flour
pinch of baking powder

Peel the pears, remove the core and cut them in 4-8. Put them in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Move them to a saucepan, add 100 g sugar and the wine. The pears should just be covered in wine.
Bring to the boil over a low heat and simmer gently until the pears are cooked. Cooking time depends on the variety of pear used.
Leave the pears to cool in their syrup.

Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
Grease a cake tin with butter and dust it with flour.
Beat the egg yolks with 150 g sugar until pale and creamy.
Mix baking powder with flour and stir it in.
Melt butter and add milk and stir this in.
Wisk egg whites and fold them in.
Pour the mixture in the cake tin and bake for about 30 min.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile remove the pears from the syrup.
Put the cake in a serving dish.
Reheat the syrup, then sprinkle some of it on to the cake, a little at a time, to allow absorption.
Pour the reminder of the syrup over the pears again.
Serve the cake with the pears.

Note: The original recipe tells you to bake the cake as a crown and place the pears in the middle of it. The pears are cored and left whole. A lot more wine is used. Baking powder is only added completely at the end when making the cake.

Note: Another great recipe using stewed pears was blogged by Leafy Cooking.

22 July 2011

Chick pea casserole

Our favourite vegetarian dish at the moment also stems from Sarah Brown's Vegetarian Cookbook. It's quick and easy to prepare and you can use any vegetables that are lying around.

Serves 2

1 can of boiled chick peas
some olive or sunflower oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a few celery sprigs, chopped
some fennel, chopped
some green beans, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp fennel or cumin seeds

Fry onion and seeds in oil for a few minutes, then add garlic and vegetables. Fry for a few more minutes. Drain chick peas and rinse them. Add them to the vegetables and fry for a few more minutes. Add some boiling water so everything is just covered. Add bay leaf and pepper and salt. Bring to the boil, then let it simmer on low heat for 15-20 min., until the vegetables are cooked.

We serve this with couscous and chilli paste (sambal or harissa). Sometimes I add chilli pepper while cooking the dish. You can vary endlessly with vegetables and spices.

Chicken or pork marinade

Someone in my household refuses to eat chicken breast or pork chops, unless they have been marinated, especially when they are going to be cooked on the barbecue. I use a marinade meant for tofu from Sarah Brown's Vegetarian Cookbook, a vegetarian classic that was a favourite in my student days.

For 2 chicken breasts or pork chops

1 small onion, chopped very finely
4 tbsp peanut or sunflower oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, crushed

Mix all ingredients, then add the meat and let it marinate for 2-3 hours. Take the meat out for cooking. Pour the marinade trough a sieve and let the juice boil for a few min. if you would like a tasty sauce.
No pic in these extremely busy times.