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.

Garlic oil

The oil will have a warm and soft garlic taste and is great served with some bread, pepper and salt. You can spread the cloves out onto a toast. I also use it in dressings or to bake with.

Garlic oil

1 or two garlic heads

Olive oil

Herbs like thyme or a green pepper

Peel all the garlic cloves and gather them in a pan. Cover the cloves with oil, add the herbs or a pepper and bring the oil to a soft boil. Take the pan from the fire and put it back on it when the bubbles went away. Do this three times and after the third time, leave the pan on your smallest fire. You cook the cloves in the oil until they are entirely soft and slightly browned.

Keep the oil in a clean jar.

Sourdough bread

Even though I make lots of bread, I don’t write about it so often. That is because I don’t use a recipe. The way I make bread is as following, and if you follow my hands you don’t really need a recipe, just some practice.

Take some of your sourdough starter and put it in a bowl.

For a big loaf I use about a cup of sourdough starter but if you like it more sour, you can use more or less if you don’t. Add water and flour to your starter so you’ll get a substance which looks like a thick porridge. Stir until all the lumps are dissolved, you’ll notice the dough will become stickier as you keep stirring it. Cover it with a damp cloth and set it aside.

It depends on the amount of starter you use and the strength of it how long you should wait. I generally wait until it is completely filled with air bubbles. You can make it rise overnight in the fridge as well, the slow rising will give the bread a more complex and full flavor, let the dough come to room temperature before you use it again.

After the first rise, add enough flour and salt, and knead with your hands until you have a soft and flexible dough. It shouldn’t stick anymore. You can shape it into a loaf, let it rise until doubled in size and bake it right away or, give it a second rise. Cut in the top before you bake it or else it will crack open in another place. Brushing the top with oil, or egg will make the crust darker in color.

You can vary with the shape, size and with the baking time and temp to get a thicker or thinner crust.

And voila, there we have a new bread again, not so hard, everybody can do it.

A different result you get when you bake the bread in a preheated Dutch oven or other type of oven proof dish. When you don’t make cut’s in the top you end up with beautiful cracks like on the picture.

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.

Summer Melon Cocktail

Ingredients

1 cup of water

½ cup of sugar

1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses

¼ honey melon

6 mint leaves

Combine the water, sugar and molasses in a sauce pan. Warm until the sugar is dissolved and set aside to cool down.

Make the melon into puree and add it to the syrup. Cut the mint leaves small and stir them into the mixture as well.

Put it in the freezer and try to stir after half an hour and after an hour.

Wait until the sorbet freeze. Put some of the half frozen or frozen sorbet in a glass, pour a little rum on it and serve with a little spoon.

Proost!