Grilled eggplant with tuna and sun dried tomato sauce

 

 

Grilled eggplant with tuna

2 eggplants

1 can tuna in oil

¼ sweet onion

1 garlic clove

sumac

Spring onion

Lemon juice

Pepper, salt

For the sauce

4 sun dried tomatoes

Balsamico vinegar

White wine vinegar

1 garlic clove

Tomato paste

Pepper, salt

Cut the eggplants into slices lengthwise. Brush them with a little oil , sprinkle with pepper, salt, sumac and bake them in the oven until light brown and soft.

Combine the tuna with the finely chopped sweet onion, minced garlic, pepper, salt and lemon juice.

Cut the sun dried tomatoes small, mince the garlic. Bake the garlic in oil, add the tomatoes and the tomato paste. Bake for a minute and add the vinegars, pepper and salt. Add some water, stir everything together and let the sauce boil. Taste if it needs some more seasoning, vinegar or maybe a drop of honey. Make sure the sauce is reduced and thick when you are ready to serve.

Put some tuna on the eggplants, put a sprig of spring onion on it and roll the up.

Put the rolls in the sauce so the tuna can warm through. To serve, put a big plate on your skillet, one that covers the entire pan. Now swiftly turn the pan and the plate while pressing the two together and voila!


Stuffed calamari

 

 

I’ll give you the recipe for my ½ kilo of little calamari, the measurements will be different probably when you us big ones so keep that in mind.

Stuffed Calamari

Ingredients

½ kilo Calamari

100 gram Rice (Arborio or another short grain rice)

3 Sun dried tomatoes

½ bunch Parsley

Squeeze of Lemon juice

Drizzle of Olive oil

½ big or 1 small Red onion

2 garlic cloves

Clean the clamari.

Cut the onion small. Cut the tentacles in rice size peaces.

Rinse the rice and cook it with the onion and a minimum amount of salted water until not quiet done. It will continue the process after you close the fire because it is a mass and later in the oven.

In the mean time, use a little food processor to make a paste of sun dried tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, pepper and salt. You can do it by hand but this requires a lot of small small cutting.

Mix the pesto and the tentacles with the rice and stuff the calamari with it.

Brush an oven dish with olive oil and lay the stuffed squid inside.

Bake them until done. I baked mine for about 15-20 minutes but try to adjust the time to the size of your calamari. Also keep in mind that if your rice is still warm, the baking time is shorter than when you made them up front and they are completely cooled.

 

Meatloaf wrapped in Vine leafs

We ate three days of this meatloaf. The first day we had it next to a salad, the second day I used the leftover meat and the leftover vine leafs to make dolmades and the third day, when I wasn’t home, my boyfriend ate the leftovers.  A bit too much probably, three days in a row but if you have a freezer you won’t have this problem. The meat is fruity because of the raspberry ketchup and the berries and the vine leafs add a great extra flavor to the whole.

(In the picture you can see that I tried to bake the meatloaf without the ketchup over it first. The leafs dried out and got a beautiful silver color but it is much tastier if you cover the leafs with the ketchup.)

Making the sauce is very nice to do; it tastes so much better than anything from a tube or a bottle. It is such a simple thing that can spice up sandwiches and other dishes, and if you skip the step of poaching the shallots it is quiet easy and fast to make.

Vine Leaf wrapped Meatloaf

Ketchup

1 can tomatoes (400 gram)

2 shallots

4 garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon coriander seeds

¼ cup raspberry vinegar

10 drops Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Olive oil

Making the Ketchup


Cut the shallots in half and put them in a pan (including the ones for the meat loaf). Cover them with oil, add a bay leaf, all the garlic cloves and the coriander seeds. Bring the oil to a boil and leave it on your smallest fire until the shallots are soft.

In a skillet bake the tomato paste until it smells sweet and add the tomatoes, the vinegar, the Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt and sugar. Also add 4 of the poached garlic cloves and 2 shallots. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it simmer until the sauce has the desired thickness. Blend it into a sauce in your food processor and set aside.

Meat Loaf

5oo gram mixed pork and beef minced meat

1 slice old bread (I had sourdough)

Milk

1 egg

50 gram bacon

3 tablespoons homemade ketchup

2 shallots

3 garlic cloves

Pepper, salt

Vine leafs

150 gram blackberries

Clean your food processor, put in the bread and add a little milk to soak it. Add the egg, the remaining shallots, the garlic and the bacon and pulse it into a coarse paste. Add this mixture to the meat and add 3 tablespoons of the ketchup, season with salt and pepper. Mix it good together and last, carefully mix in the berries.

Grease a cake tin and cover it with vine leaves. Put the meat in the cake tin and cover with more vine leafs. Don’t press the meat to hard so the texture will stay a bit loose, we don’t want to make a paté. Cover the leafs with the ketchup and bake on 180C for one hour.

Delicious Roast Chicken with Muscat grapes and white wine

How to make a roast chicken with delicious juicy legs and soft breast meat?  The problem with roast chicken is that the breast is done when the meat is 80 C but no more, and the legs are done when they are 95 C or above. If you put the entire chicken in an oven of 220C how are you going to get these two different temperatures right? The authors of the book cook & chemist did all the experimenting for me, I just had to test it for myself.

 

Delicious Roast Chicken

1 happy chicken (free range or something)

1 big red onion

5 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons dried sage and a small bunch of fresh sage

2 teaspoons thyme and a small bunch of fresh thyme

2 tablespoons butter

½ bottle white wine (not the vinegar type but not an overly sweet one either, there is a lot in between there)

250 gram Muscat grapes

250 gram cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon honey

Pepper/salt

1 bag of ice cubes

Kitchen paper

Preheat the oven to 220 C.

There is not so much to it actually, it is a really simple recipe. Cut the onion in 4 parts and cut one of the parts small. Take the paper of the garlic cloves and crush one with a bit of salt and your knife.

Wash the grapes and the cherry tomatoes.

When the chicken is ready, take it out of the fridge and rub it with butter. Season with pepper and salt, fill the inside with the three onion part, the whole garlic cloves, the fresh thyme and sage and tie the legs together. Sprinkle the outside with a teaspoon of dried thyme and dried sage. Bind the hens legs together, butter the baking tray and place the chicken on it.

Bake the bird for 20 minutes. Take it out of the oven and rub it again with butter and garlic. Poor half of the white wine in the tray and add half of the grapes and half of the tomatoes. Press the grapes a bit. Put the cut onion in the wine.

Bake it for another 55 minutes (or until the breast and legs have the right temperature).

Take the chicken out of the oven and place it on a serving dish. Arrange the grapes and tomatoes around the chicken. Cover it with aluminum foil. Poor the juices from the tray into a skillet and add more wine, also add the other half of the tomatoes and grapes. Add a teaspoon of honey, some dried sage and dried thyme and let the sauce reduce. Poor this sauce over the chicken and serve it like that.

 

Spicy Fishy Balls

400 gram white fish (cod or similar cheaper variant for the student under you)

2 small onions

4 garlic cloves

1 egg

4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

4 tablespoons bulgur

2 teaspoons harissa paste

3 tomatoes in small cubes (or canned)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1 lemon

Pepper and salt

In a food processor pulse the fish with 1 onion and 2 garlic cloves until everything is small. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro and 2 tablespoons parsley, the harissa, egg, bulgur, cumin, pepper, salt and half of the paprika. Mix it together and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or more.

In a skillet (or tajine) warm some oil and bake the second onion and garlic until soft. Add the tomato paste and bake until it starts to smell sweet. Add the tomatoes and the remaining paprika, the bay leaf, pepper and salt. Let this simmer so it can turn into a sauce. (I add more water to the sauce and cooked some broccoli in it but that is only if you like to eat broccoli next to it). If you like spicy, you can add some harissa to the sauce as well.

Form small balls out of the fish mixture and lay them in the sauce. Bake/cook them in the sauce on a low fire for about 15 minutes. Turn them only once very carefully because they are quiet delicate. Before serving add a squeeze of lemon juice, the remaining cilantro and parsley.

Chicken Tajine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemons

Some time ago I did a preserved lemon experiment and I thought it was about time to test the result. Since I actually only know this ingredient from the traditional chicken with green olives and preserved lemon tajine, I thought this was a good recipe to start with. It’s a delicious combination, no wonder it’s a classic. Other recipes with preserved lemons are most welcome!

As always with tajine recipes, time is an important factor since it is a slow cooking dish. If you don’t have a tajine, you can make it in a heavy based pot with lid, or in a deep oven dish with cover.  Put your tajine in water one hour before you use it. Heat it slowly on your lowest fire (preferably with a flame dispenser) and never let it on the fire without any liquid in it because than it will burst. So in other words, be sweet to your tajine and it will give you some nice dishes in return.

For two persons (I have a small tajine so I can only fit in two chicken legs)

2 chicken legs

1 onion

2 minced garlic cloves

Pinch of saffron

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ginger powder

2 teaspoons paprika

½ tablespoon coriander powder

½ tablespoon ground cumin

½ preserved lemon, (peel cut into dices)

Handful of green olives without pit

small hand chopped fresh cilantro

small hand chopped fresh parsley

Prepare the tajine and warm a splash of olive oil in it. Cut the onion in half rings and bake them in the tajine until soft, add the garlic and bake for another minute. Bake the chicken until it has a nice and brown crispy skin. If you have a small tajine like me you might prefer to do this in a separate skillet, otherwise use your tajine. To get a crispy chicken skin, put oil in the skillet and heat it up well, bake the chicken on high fire, the inside does not have to be done; we’re just creating a tasty skin.

Add the chicken to the tajine and sprinkle the spices on top. Add water almost to the edge and place the top on the base.

Let it simmer on your lowest fire for at least an hour and a half but preferably longer. Ten minutes before serving, add the lemon and the olives. Serve with the fresh parsley and cilantro on top.

Grilled Mixed Chicken

 

 

Chicken liver, heart and breast

150 gram chicken liver

150 gram chicken breast

100 gram chicken breast

Handful toasted sun flower seeds

2 red capsicums

1 teaspoon baharat spices

1 teaspoon paprika powder

Salt

Olive oil

Baby leaf salad

Tahina Sauce

4 tablespoons raw tahini

2 garlic cloves

Pinch of salt

Juice of ½ lemon

½ bunch parlsey

½ bunch cilantro

Water

To make the sauce

Cut the parsley and cilantro really small, crush the garlic cloves with a good pinch of salt.

Mix the tahini with lemon juice, the garlic, the herbs and add water until you have a nice thick sauce.

The meat

Cut the liver, heart and breast in the same size pieces. Make a marinade with 1 teaspoon of baharat, 1 teaspoon of paprika, a pinch of salt and a good drizzle of olive oil. Put it in the fridge for a day or at least half a day.

Take the top of the capsicum and take out the seeds. Brush the outside with olive oil, put the top back on and put them in a preheated oven (200c/390f) oven until soft, this may take an hour or so.

When the capsicums are done, heat a heavy skillet on a medium to high fire and bake the meat until done.

Put some lettuce on a plate, put the capsicum in the middle and fill it up with meat, drizzle the sauce on the meat and end with some toasted sun flower seeds. Serve with more of the sauce on the side.

 

North African Sea Brass in paprika oil

 

North African Sea Brass

1 fresh Sea Brass

1 red capsicum

5 garlic cloves

1 big sweet potato

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 glass sun flower seeds

1 ½ tablespoon tomato paste

1 tomato

Pepper salt

Gut the fish and clean it (if the fish man did not do this for you) make some cuts in the skin. Cut the sweet potato in cubes and cut the paprika in rings. Cut the tomato in cubes

Take the paper of the garlic, lay them on your worktop, put the flat side of your knife on it and press so it will crack open a bit.

Put one glass of oil in a wide pan that can fit the fish in a whole. Warm the oil, put the garlic and the spices, pepper and salt in it and bake until fragment, add the tomato paste and stir it in. It will not become a homogeneous mass but that’s alright. Taste to see if it is spicy enough for you or if you like some more chili.

Add the potato and the capsicum and mix it all together. Leave it for a couple of minutes and add half a glass of water. Cook the potatoes until almost done without a lid so the water will evaporate again.

Make some place in the pan and put the fish in the middle, fill the belly with all the flavors you have in the pan and poor it over the skin as well. Bake the fish until done (about 10 minutes).

Poor more of the oil over the fish when serving.

Bean pot, winter food

Here is some real winter food, sausages and beans to help you through the winter.

 

Bean pot

1 red onion

3 garlic cloves

½ Spanish pepper

Handful of black olives

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 can tomato cube (or fresh tomatoes)

250 gram pork sausages

1 capsicum

250 gram red kidney beans

150 gram fava beans

Your favorite cranberry sauce

The night before, put the kidney beans in double amount of water. Cook them until almost soft. Cook the garden beans until almost done.

Cut the onion in half rings. Cut the garlic, pepper and the capsicum.

Put some oil in a heavy cooking pot and bake the sausages brown. Take them out and cut them into pieces ( they are easier to cut when baked on the outside then when fresh)

In the same pot, bake the onion, add the garlic, capsicum for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and paprika and bake some more. The tomato paste will have to smell sweet; then add the tomato cubes and the beans. Season generously with pepper and salt and add the oregano.

Cook everything in the tomato sauce until the beans and capsicum are soft. Add the black olives and serve with some small dashes of cranberry sauce on it and with some garlic bread on the side.

You can make an easy and fast garlic bread by toasting some slices of bread in the oven with olive oil, pepper and salt. When they are crunchy, just rub a halved garlic clove over the surface and’ klaar is kees’ that’s it.

Mackerel Salad

Mackerel salad

Ingredients

1 smoked mackerel

½ sweet onion

½ apple (elstar)

Some lettuce leaves

Small hand of raisins

3 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon honey

Drops of white wine vinegar

Pepper and salt

Soak the raisins in warm water.

Mix the yogurt with honey, vinegar, parsley and generous pepper and salt. Cut the onion small and the apple a little bigger.

Take the meat of the fish and mix it with the apple, onion, raisins and combine with the yogurt.

Decorate a bowl with lettuce leaves and place the salad on top of it.