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.

Courgette soup with Parmesan croutons

 

The weather is like it should be in a study week, stormy so I’m not tempted to go outside but the kitchen is still luring;

Courgette soup

1 big courgette (or 2 small ones)

1 onion

2 potatoes

4 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon of thyme/oregano mixed

Vegetable stock homemade or powdered (I’ll write a recipe for this below)

Pepper, salt

Optional

Parmesan croutons

Some old bread in cubes

Olive oil

Parmesan

Pepper and salt

The soup

Cut the onion and garlic small. Warm some olive oil in a soup pot and sauté the onions on a medium fire. When the onions are soft, add the garlic and the herbs.

In the meantime cut the courgette in pieces (about 2cm/3cm)and add them to the onion. Keep sautéing without coloring for a couple of minutes to extract some water from the courgettes.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable stock and cook until the vegetables are soft.

Puree the soup and add pepper and salt to taste. This it is a very healthy and light soup but of course you can make it softer by adding some cream to it.

The croutons

Cut the bread into cubes. Warm a nice layer of olive oil in a skillet, you need enough oil to coat all your bread cubes. Bake the bread on high fire and season generously with pepper and salt. Turn the heat of, add the finely grated parmesan and coat the cubes with it, the cheese will melt to the bread. You can do this in the oven as well but this way you don’t have to warm the entire oven for just some bread cubes.

Basic Vegetables stock

1 big carrot

1 onion

½ leek

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 bay leaf

Half the onion and garlic and cut the leek and carrot in  pieces, don’t peel any of the veggies, we’re going to use everything. (the longer you are going to cook it, the bigger you cut the veggies) Put all the ingredients with peel and all  in a pot, add cold water and bring to a boil. Let this simmer for an hour or so and strain the stock. Press all the liquid from the vegetables and your stock is ready to use.

Remember this is a very basic stock, just flavors and no salt, you should add the salt to the soup later.

Red Lentil Soup

some ingredients red lentil soup

Lentils are among the healthiest foods, partly because they contain plenty of protein and other goods. They are among the earliest food cultivated in the Near East (those facts are candy to me as a history student) They are eaten in many parts of the world in many different ways and go by the name daal, dal, lens, linzen and probably plenty of others too.

Anyway, I like them but my boyfriend doesn’t. So even though he doesn’t complain when I make them, there are no compliments either, only when I hide them in a soup does he happily spoon them away.  This red lentil soup is very filling, so great when your stomach is calling you.

Red lentil soup

1 carrot

1 capsicum, red or yellow

1 cup red lentils

6 garlic cloves

1 onion

1 small chili pepper

1 lemon

Ground cumin

Salt and Pepper

Parsley

Homemade stock or stock cubes (homemade stock is always preferable)

Cut the onions, garlic, carrot and capsicum small. If you like a spicy soup, you can also cut up the pepper, otherwise just cook it in a whole.

Warm some oil in a soup pan and sauté the onions, add the garlic and the pepper, sauté for another minute and add the carrot and capsicum. Sauté everything together for another 3 minutes without browning it and add the lentils.  Mix the lentils with the vegetables and poor in 3 cups of stock. The lentils will soak up some liquid so check after a while if there is still enough stock, if not add some more. The vegetables should be covered in stock.

When the lentils have lost their shape and the carrots are soft, the soup is ready. Add juice of half a lemon and taste if it needs some more. Season with cumin, pepper and salt to taste and garnish with some chopped parsley. You can play with the seasoning; maybe add some curcuma, masala kerrie or paprika.

December 14th 2009

I made almost the same soup today but instead of serving it like it is, I pureed the soup and added some left over shredded chicken. I replaced the cumin powder with coriander powder. I used home made chicken stock and cut back on the lemon. A very different soup with only minor adjustments.

Caramelized Shallot Galettes

If you have ready made puff pastry in your freezer or fridge these galettes are easy made bites. With a little salad next to it, they can serve as a starter. I still use the premade pastry to make my quiches and galettes but I will try to make my own some time soon. It is just more convenient to make these things in large quantities and I don’t have a freezer to keep it in. But enough with the excuses, the next short crust pastry of puff pastry recipe is going to be a homemade one.

Caramelized Shallot Galettes

Makes 4

4 shallots

4 slices puff pastry

1 ½ tablespoon blue cheese

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamico

Pepper/salt

Clean the shallots and cut them in half. Warm oil, balsamico, honey in a pan and place the shallots in this mixture with the cut side down, season with pepper, salt and the dried thyme. Cover with a lid and let this stand on the lowest fire for about 15 minutes, if you think they are getting to dark without being soft enough, just add a little bit of water.

Place the pastry on a baking sheet and cover with little chunks of blue cheese.  When the shallots are soft and the cut side browned, place them with the cut side up in the middle of the pastry, roll the edges up.

Bake in the middle of the oven on 200C until golden brown.

Pumpkin Soup

butternut-squash-

750 gram pumpkin (butternut squash)

2 red capsicum

1 big sweet potato

1 big onion

4 cloves garlic

1 Spanish pepper

1 tablespoon masala Kerrie

ca. 2 ½ liter bouillon

Coriander to garnish

Cut the onion, the Spanish pepper, paprika and the garlic small.

Clean the pumpkin and potato and cut them in large chunks.

Take a soup pan with a heavy base and sauté the onion, pepper and paprika for 10 minutes in oil. By doing this, water evaporates from the vegetables, which gives them more flavor.

Add the potato, pumpkin and garlic; bake it for 2 more minutes and poor over enough bouillon to cover the vegetables.

Cook it until all the ingredients are nice and soft; puree the soup, season with Masala Kerrie, pepper and salt. Garnish with coriander if you like the taste of it. Bon appétit!