Fragrant Onion Boreka’s (optional vegetarian or vegan) Kruidige Uien Boreka’s

Nederlandse vertaling onderaan.

The ingredients of this dish are cheap and simple but the spices make this dish.

Use whole spices which you crush in a mortar, this way the taste is much more intense. By making your own spice blends you can give your signature to a dish.

Vegetarians can make the dish without the sardines.

Vegans can omit the fish and use (whole wheat) filo pastry instead of the whole wheat short crust pastry. Brush the layers of filo with oil before you stuff them.

I imagine next time I make this to sprinkle sesame seeds and black cumin between the filo pastry leafs or even add some of the spice mixture.

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Beetroot cake (vegan) Bietjes cake

Nederlandse vertaling onderaan.

A beetroot cake, designed to fit a vegan diet without having to compromise on taste or structure.

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Ingredients

Uncooked beets: 150gr
Oil (neutral tasting): ¾ cup
Flaxseeds: 3tbsp
Date syrup: 1cup
Lemon zest and juice: ½ lemon
Baking powder: 10gram
Baking soda: ½ tsp
Flour (1/2 whole wheat, half cake flour) : 1 ¾ cup
Almond milk: ½ cup

Mix the flaxseeds with 9tbsp of water, let it soak for 10 minutes. Add 1/2cup of almond milk and puree it into a glue like consistency.
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Grease and dust a spring form.
Grate the beetroot.
Mix the flaxseeds with the oil, syrup, beetroot and lemon.
Mix the baking powder and soda with the flour, then add this to the liquid mixture.
Stir just long enough to combine, don’t over mix.
Pour the cake mixture in the spring form and bake for 1 hour in the oven.
Test with a skewer if the cake is ready, if there are still crumbs on the skewer when you take it out, give it some more time.

Topping:
Almonds: 3/4 cup
Almond milk
Rose water
Honey

Put the almonds in a tight bowl and cover with almond milk.

If you soak it for an hour you’ll have a more crumbly texture. Soak it longer and it will become creamier.

Puree the almonds and flavor with rose water and honey to taste.

My mother in law found this recipe in an Israeli newspaper. We exchanged the sugar for date syrup and came up with our own topping.

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Een veganistische cake waarbij je niet in hoeft te leveren op smaak en textuur.

Ongekookte bietjes: 150gr

Olie (neutral van smaak): ¾ cup

Lijnzaad: 3 el

Dadelsiroop: 1cup

Citoen rasp en sap: ½ citroen

Bakpoeder: 10gram

Baksoda: ½ tlp

Bloem (half meergranenmeel , half patentbloem) : 1 ¾ cup

Amandelmelk: ½ cup

Mix de lijnzaad met 9 eetlepels water. Laat het 10 minuten weken en pureer het dan met de amandelmelk tot een lijmachtig geheel.

Verwarm de oven voor op 160C.

Vet een springvorm in.

Rasp de bietjes.

Mix het lijnzaad mengsel met de olie, siroop, bietjes en de citroen.

Mix de bakpoeder en baksoda met het meel en de bloem en mix dit alles door het vloeibare mengsel.

Mix net lang genoeg tot het samenkomt.

Stort het cakemengsel in de springvorm en bak ongeveer een uur in de oven. Als er na een uur nog kruimels aan je prikker zitten, geef hem dan nog wat extra tijd.

Topping:

Amandelen: 1 cup

Amandelmelk

Rozenwater

Honing

Week de amandelen in de amandelmelk. Als je ze na een uur pureert krijg je een iets korrelig resultaat, als je ze langer laat weken dan wordt het mengsel zachter.

Zoet met honing en rozenwater naar smaak.

Mijn schoonmoeder vond dit recept in een Israelische krant. We hebben de suiker vervangen door dadelsiroop en onze eigen topping bedacht.

 

Mejadra

Mejadra

Rice, lentils and caramelized onion. It’s such a simple recipe yet so delicious. This basic threesome is easily enriched with your favorite spices.

I added bulgur to the mix to add texture and used curcuma, garam masala and chili to spice it up. Serve with spiced yogurt and fresh herbs.

Red Rice

Bulgur

Mountain lentils

(use a lentil type that doesn’t fall apart during cooking and a coarse bulgur)

Spices: curcuma, chili, garam masala, coriander

Spring onion

Tarragon

Onions

Yogurt

Lemon juice

mejadra

Boil the rice and the lentils. Add hot bouillon with curcuma, garam masala and cumin to the bulgur and leave to soak for 10-15 min.

Make sure none of the ingredients are over cooked; it’s nicer when you have a bite.

Caramelize a big heap of onion and add curcuma, garam masala, cumin, salt/pepper, ground coriander when it’s almost done.

Mix everything together and taste if it needs some more seasoning, be generous with the spices.

Add fresh tarragon and spring onion.

Yogurt dressing:

Mix together: Greek yogurt, lemon juice, curcuma, chili powder, cumin, salt

Anise Cookie

In an attempt to make a healthy(er) cookie, I adjusted a recipe found in a Spanish cookbook (De Complete Spaanse Keuken.) This cookie has a nice crunch and is not overly sweet but flavorful because of the anise and whole wheat flour. A great company for a cup of thee or coffee.

 

Ingredients:

190 gram whole wheat flour

190 gram plain flour

1.25 dl olive oil

1.25 dl water

3 tablespoons anise liquor

40 gram sesame seeds

3 tablespoons anise seeds

1 tablespoon baking powder

125 gram cane sugar

Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until you have a sticky dough.

For easier rolling you can cool the dough in the fridge or just get your hands dirty.

Roll small pieces of dough between your hands and flatten them into any shape you wish about 3mm thick.

Place the cookies on a baking tray lined with baking paper or dusted with some fine polenta.

Bake the cookies for about 25 minutes or until light golden brown on the top (the bottom will be darker).

Let them cool down on a baking rack.

Taleggio packages with apple salad

 


This is a nice starter or, if you build it a little further, a light meal.

Ingredients:

 Young leaf lettuce

Apple (granny Smith, the sour one)

Dressing:

Apple cider vinegar 1/4

Olive oil 3/4

Honey

Pepper and salt

Puff pastry (frozen is alright)

Taleggio cheese

Thyme and rosemary

Pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C. Defreeze your sheets of puff pastry and cut the taleggio in pieces, big enough to fit inside a puff pastry package. Place the Taleggio on the pastry, season with thyme, rosemary and pepper and fold it to close.

Bake the pastry packages until golden and crisp (about 20 minutes).

Wash and dry the lettuce and put the leafs in a salad bowl. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and shake until emulsified, adjust seasoning to taste.

Just before serving, cut the apple in small pieces and mix them in the salad.

Serve the salad with pastry packages on top.

Yogurt Lavender Pie

A friend reminded me yesterday about this pie I made. If he remembers it after more than a month I think it’s a good enough recipe to write down. The flowery taste and spring make a good pare, it’s best eaten outside, sitting in the grass.

Photo Credit: Lotte Hoeksema

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Ingredients:

Bottom:

100 gram rolled oats

125 gram flour

1 tsp anise seeds

30 gram sugar

200 gram butter

Filling:

350 gram yogurt (10%)

4 eggs

3 tbsp cranberry compote

1 tsp dried lavender

3 tablsp honey

cacaopowder

PhotoCredit:

Lotte Hoeksema

You can choose to make the bottom with crumbled cookies (like kandijkoeken) as well, than you can omit the sugar.

Melt the butter

Mix the flour, oats, sugar and anise seeds

Combine the two and decorate a round cake tin with it.

Press the mixture to the bottom until it’s more or less a flat bottom without and holes in it.

Prebake the bottom on 180C and let it cool down.

Mix together the yogurt, 4 eggs, honey and lavender until everything is combined. Swirl the cranberry through the mixture with a spoon.

Poor the filling on the prebaked bottom and bake it in the oven until it’s set.

To serve you can dust the top with cacao powder but I think it would be even nicer with a layer of melted chocolate on top. Put it in the fridge before serving.

Whoever tries to taste before it cooled down will get punished immediately, it’s far from tasty when eaten warm.

Dusting the cake while holding it out of the window is a great idea on a less windy day…

And again, the credit for the pictures is for Lotte Hoeksema

Lychee Cocktail

 

Lychee Cocktail

For 6 small cocktails

-          Canned Lychees on light syrup (ca 500gr total weight)

-          250 gram frozen red fruit

-          1 tblsp chopped mint

-          150 ml vodka

-          Optional: crushed ice

Keep 6 lychees aside and poor the rest into the blender. Mix the fruits and syrup on the maximum speed until mushy.

Add the frozen fruits, mint and vodka, mix again shortly.

Put the lychees on a cocktail picker and place them in the glasses.

If you want to add crushes ice, do this just before serving. Poor the drink into the glasses and serve.

Cheers!  To Spring!

Not yet spring salad

This horrible wind that has been blowing for the past week is gone and the sun showed her smile in the past two days! The first snowdrops are flowering; how they do it in this cold is a mystery to me. My cat is even losing her hair as if to show me that a scarf, hat and gloves are not necessary anymore but let’s not be hasty, it’s just the beginning of February, it’s winter.

Even though nature comes to life again when the temperature is well above zero degrees, the vegetables are not yet to be persuaded, there is still a big chance of frost. We have to live of cabbage, potato’s onions etc for some time still or, if we can’t resist, eat a water inflated tomato bomb.

I’m not a big cabbage fan but it is what the land offers us in this time of the year. Hence my mission became: how to make something tasty out of a cabbage.


Cabbage salad

Cut some red cabbage into very thin stripes. Do the same for an equal amount of lettuce. With a fork mince some fettah and add some sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon zest, black pepper and za’tar. Mix everything together well and add some juicy green olives.

Another option

Cut the red cabbage in very thin stripes. Do the same for the lettuce. Cut cucumber in long, small stalks.  In a bowl mix together a tablespoon of tahina, 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, salt, a minced garlic clove,  a tablespoon of sesame seeds and a tablespoon of yogurt. Add enough water to make a dressing. Mix well, it will get lumpy first but this will straighten out if you keep on stirring. Mix everything together.

Thai Cooking


After three and a half weeks of rice and noodles I’m happy to be back in my own kitchen. I discovered the Thai kitchen, sometimes even in the mornings, and I started to appreciate spicy food. In times the tears were running down my face and I felt the flames shooting through my throat but it was all for the good, I’m spicy proof now; a chili doesn’t scare me anymore.

Most of the ingredients were new to me and I couldn’t get myself to taste everything but I felt quite a hero already when ordering frog clay pot, and preserved eggs (eggs marinated in bull urine). After this adventures lunch I thought a safe carrot cake was well deserved. You can imagine the horror when I found some worms/caterpillars in this steamed and carrot flavored mushy cake.

At first we tried to avoid eating from the thousands of road eateries that have their restaurant on the back of their motorcycle, no refrigerator or running water. But after a while we became careless, like with the anti mosquito spray, and luckily our sensitive European/Israeli stomachs didn’t complain.

We also found out that the cheaper the food, the better it is. When a place starts to be pretentious or cater to westerners it hurts the taste. Three times we craved European food so much that we sat in an overpriced Italian restaurant and twice it was a disaster. Let Thai cooks cook Thai food not pizza.

We had a fabulous cook on the live aboard diving boat in the Similan Islands. She cooked some amazing dishes but when she tried to make us something European on New Year’s Eve, with the best intentions, we were somewhat disappointed and missed her Thai cooking art right away.

A Thai market is something different. Fresh fish is very important on the coast but also sweet water fish is on the menu. The fish are crammed in small buckets with just enough water to keep them wet. Crabs are tied alive, sitting neatly in a row waiting for a buyer.

Even though pork is on every menu, some of the small road restaurants didn’t have anything besides pork, even the candy is layered with fluffy pork on top, still we didn’t see any life pig. Plenty of chicken running around, cow’s next to the road but not one pig? They do appear in pieces on the market so it’s probably just not a popular pet.

The Thai kitchen doesn’t have any use for an oven; food is prepared in a wok, steamed or fried. Fish generally comes fried or prepared on the bbq and they don’t believe in preparing it shortly to keep the meat juicy, deep frying is the preferred method.

They don’t see the point in vegetarianism either; all dishes come with some type of meat or fish.

I really don’t mean to be negative about Thai cooking, I ate some beautiful curries and papaya salads. The fruit juices are heavenly and also the simple steamy soups are a delight but there are a couple of things I missed.

For one, there was no bread! There is no bread in the Thai kitchen! The same for cheese; I didn’t eat any type of cheese for three and a half weeks. To make the trio complete: wine. The little wine there is, is relatively expensive and there is of course no wine culture. Of course you can find everything when you search well, especially in the touristic places.

I did find out that the Thai kitchen is relatively easy when you are in possession of the right ingredients. The challenge back home is to find ingredients like pickled radishes, Thai coriander; tiny green eggplant the size of a pea, tamarind/chili paste, keffar lime leafs and so on.  So I’m on a mission, I didn’t make any Thai food yet but I better start soon now the memory of it is still fresh.

The pictures below are from some of the dishes I made on the Thai cooking Farm. It was a very nice course. Like most cooking schools around, we went to the local market where they explained about some of the key ingredients.

On the farm every person had his or her own cooking station and we made all the dishes ourselves from scratch. Our teacher first gave an explanation about the dish, then he gave away all the tips and tricks while cooking it ones himself. After this little show we had to  copy him and eat it all. I had a nice group of people, there were nice conversations at the table and at the end we were brought home by car because we couldn’t walk anymore after 6 courses.