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.

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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.

Beetroot salad with yogurt dressing

Roasted beets have a wonderful sweet and earthy flavor; but if you end up with a pair of cooked beets of which most of the flavor is flushed away with the cooking water, there is still hope. Naturally roasted beets have my preference but I managed to make a very tasty salad with the cooked version as well. You can also change the peas for lentils but the peas do give a nice bite to the salad.

This is what you need (makes about 8 sides)

500 gram beetroot

Big handful of fresh spinach

1 cup yellow peas

1 pear in cubes

3 tomatoes

Chunk of fettah

½ cup full yogurt

5 garlic cloves

2 red onions

Bay leaf

1 tablespoon dried thyme

A handful of chopped mint

Teaspoon sumac

2 tablespoons balsamico vinegar

One tablespoon honey

One tablespoon cider vinegar

Pepper and salt

Lemon juice

Cook the yellow peas with the bay leaf and one chopped garlic clove until soft but not mushy.

Cut the onion and tomatoes in parts and slice 3 garlic cloves. Heat a layer of oil in a big skillet and slowly bake the onion, tomato and garlic on a low fire for about 10 minutes.

Cut the beetroot in little cubes and add them to the onion. Mix it well, add the balsamico vinegar, thyme and the honey, generous pepper and salt and turn the fire a little higher.

To make the dressing. Mix the yogurt with a crushed garlic clove, sumac, cider vinegar, mint, honey pepper and salt.

When the beet is warm and caramelized, mix it with the peas, crumble the fettah and add the spinach and the pear.

Serve the salad with a dot of the yogurt dressing on top.

Portobello stuffed with Taleggio

I made stuffed Portobello in all kind of variations but I prefer this simple version above all others.

This is a main course by itself and you don’t miss the meat, you can eat it with salad, polenta, potatoes, pasta, rice or whatever you prefer. A good substitute if you want to introduce another meatless day in the week. The taleggio and the portobello are a great combination, just as Jamie promised. I added a bit of walnut oil and rosemary to the palette and topped it off with some bread crumbs for a nice crusty finish. Next to flavor you also have think about the contrast in texture and the feeling it will give you when you take a bite.

Taleggio stuffed Portobello

1 portobello per person

Taleggio to stuff the inside

Fresh rosemary

Bread crumbs

Walnut oil

Pepper and salt

Remove the stem from the mushroom’s hat; sprinkle the inside with some walnut oil, pepper, salt and some finely chopped rosemary.

Place some nice slices of taleggio on the inside of the mushroom. Mix the breadcrumbs with some more rosemary and place it on top of the tallegio.

Bake it in the oven until the Portobello is soft. You can test this by sticking the tip of a knife in the side, if it doesn’t meet too much resistance, it’s done.

Garden Pea Zucchini Salad

Indian cooks work a lot with their hands. A cook has to be good spirited because he puts his energy in the food through his hands, which passes on to the people who eat the dish. A beautiful way of saying that things made with love are better.

Garden Peas and Zucchini salad

125 gram garden peas, fresh or frozen

1 zucchini

A small hand mint leafs, cut in stripes

3 tablespoons full yogurt

1 1/2  teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon chili powder

Squeeze of lemon juice

1 garlic clove, crushed

Salt

Shortly cook the peas and put them under cold water to stop the cooking process. The peas need to stay firm. Cut the zucchini in half moons and bake them with garlic in a little sunflower oil. Put the zucchini in the fridge to cool down.

Mix together the yogurt, cumin, turmeric, chili, lemon, salt and mint. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and serve.

Broccoli Curry

 

Broccoli Curry

1 broccoli head

½ cup milk

1 or 2 tablespoons raw tahini

½ chopped onion

1 crushed garlic clove

1 slice crushed ginger

3 cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

½ teaspoon coriander seeds

2 small dried chili peppers

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon masala Kerrie

1 handful of sesame seeds

Bake the onion, garlic and ginger in some oil. Add the spices and stir to combine. Add half a cup of milk and let it simmer a bit.

Toast a handful of sesame seeds.

Blanch the broccoli roses. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of tahini to the spices and mix it all together, add the broccoli, sprinkle the sesame seeds and serve.

The combination of spices spreads such a great sent through the house that there is no need to call anyone for dinner, they’ll be waiting next to you in the kitchen, drawn in there by their nose.

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!


Avocado Goat Cheese Salad

Another summer salad because the warm weather is still with us… hoera!

 

Avocado Soft Goat Cheese Salad

One good ripe avocado

100 gram soft goat cheese with honey

Basil oil

Spring onion

Basil leafs

Toasted sunflower seeds

Leaf lettuce

Salt

Wash and dry the lettuce, rip it into pieces and put it in a bowl. Cut the spring onion in rings and add it to the lettuce.

Cut the avocado in small cubes and work the goat cheese into a fine crumble with a fork.

Add it to the lettuce, sprinkle some basil oil, season with some salt and decorate with some basil leafs.

 

fresh Apricot and Leaf Lettuce

 

 

Salad with apricots

Leaf lettuce

Fresh basil

Fresh parsley

Spring onion

Fresh apricots

Bacon

Start with washing and drying the lettuce and the herbs. Rip them to pieces and tussle them together.

Halve the apricots, bake or grill them with some garlic oil so they’ll get some brown spots. Season with pepper and wrap them in a slice of bacon. Bake them again crispy and serve them on top of the lettuce. Serve with a dressing of white balsamico, olive oil, thyme, pepper and salt or your own favorite dressing.

Short Crust Pastry

Short crust pastry, quiche crust,

 

Short Crust Pastry

300 gram flour

½ teaspoon salt

160 gram cold butter

70 ml ice cold water

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter in small pieces and add to the flour. Rub the flour and butter together with your fingers until fine and crumbly. (or use a food processor)

Add the water and work it into a dough without handling it to much. When it comes together, stop, and form the dough into a disc.

Cover with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours (you can keep it up to 5 days in the fridge).

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Oil a tart tin or a quiche form. Flour a worktop and roll out the dough until 2-3 mm thick.

Place the dough in the tin and cover with wax paper, about the same size as your rolled out dough. Place it on the dough and fill it with dried beans or rice to bake the crust blind for 30 minutes.

Take the paper and beans out and bake the crust uncovered for another 5-10 minutes.

Take the crust from the oven and leave aside to cool down.

Prepare your filling. This time I made a spinach, goat cheese quiche. The general rule to make a good custardy filling is to use one egg on every 250 ml of fluid. Be aware that the ingredients you use, in this example the spinach, onions and cheese also leak some fluids.

Because the crust is very heavy I kept the filling a little lighter and used milk instead of cream for the custard.