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.

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.

Caribbean Night

 

Sun Cocktail

I was completely free styling with this one but it immediately brought the sun back into the house.

1 part limocello

1 part white rum

1 part fresh lime juice

4 parts fruity aromatic white whine

Mix everything together, decorate with a slice of lime, clothes your eyes and taste the sun.

Salad with smoked chicken and yogurt

2 hands full Baby leaf salad

2 tomatoes

½ red onion

½ red capsicum

2 tablespoons Turkish yogurt

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 smoked chicken breast

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon fresh coriander

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

1 peach

1 handful cashew nuts

Pepper and salt

Cut the chicken, onion, garlic, coriander and parsley small. Mix it together with the yogurt, lime juice, pepper and salt.

Cut the tomatoes and the peach, wash and dry the salad and mix it together. Put the chicken with yogurt in the middle of the salad and decorate with the nuts.

Bacon Rice

½ red onion

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

200 gram bacon in cubes

½ red capsicum

1 carrot

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 stock cube

1 cup brown rice

Water

Pepper salt

Cut the onion, garlic, carrot and capsicum. Warm oil in a deep pan and sauté the onion and the carrot after a couple of minutes add the garlic and the capsicum, sauté for 5-7 more minutes on medium high fire. Add the bacon and the tomato paste and bake everything together for another 5 minutes. Keep stirring so the tomato won’t stick to the pan. Add the rice, cover it in the sauce and add the stock cube and water up to 2 cm above the rice. Cook until the rice is ready, check if there is enough water, if the water evaporated before the rice is done, add some more water.

Serve with nice Caribbean music and a sun cocktail.

 

Chickpea burger in a half wheat pita

J

 

The pita:

125 gram white flour

125 gram whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

150 gram luke warm water

2.5 / 3 gram instant dried yeast

Dissolve the yeast in the water and let it come to work.

Mix the flours with the salt, make a well in the middle and put in the olive oil. Then bit by bit poor in the water and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. When it becomes to tough to handle with the spoon; switch to use your hands.

Knead until you have a soft and flexible, not sticky dough (about 10min) Form it into a ball and cover with a wet towel or cling film. Put it on a warm spot in the house and wait until it has doubled in size (45 min – 1 hour)

Preheat the oven to 230C and slide a baking plate in the middle.

Press the air out of the dough and form it into 4 balls. Flour your worktop with flour and leave them for 10 minutes.

With a rolling pin (or glass) flatten the pita’s (1/2 cm) and with a swing put them on the baking plate in the preheated oven. I was able to bake two at a time in mine. Try to open the oven door only short, you want to bake the pita very hot and if you leave the door open to long the heat will escape. Also try not to take out the baking plate because then you will also loose heat, just be careful when you put the pita in the oven.

Make sure you have a clean kitchen towel ready.

Bake them for roughly 10 minutes. They don’t have to be brown really; they can have a little color but don’t over bake them. When you take them out of the oven with a spatula, put them on the towel and cover it with another part of the towel. Pile them up like that. They will sink in again, by keeping them covered they will become soft and you will be able to stuff them.

The Chickpea Burgers

300 gram Chickpeas (soaked weight)

2 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

½ chili pepper (this is really to taste, if you like spicy feel free to use more)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 minced garlic cloves

½ cup bread crumbs

1 egg

½ finely chopped onion

Because I came up with this only a couple of hours before dinner I had no time to soak and cook dried chickpeas. If you plan up front you can use dried chickpeas. Soak them overnight or for 8 hours and cook the 1-2 hours until soft. Otherwise use canned ones.

Let them leek out so you lose most of the water, blend them with the parsley, coriander, onion, garlic, egg, pepper, salt, chili pepper, cumin, lemon in a coarse paste. It can be a bit chunky still. You can also add some whole chickpeas before forming the burger.

Mix this paste with the bread crumbs. It depends on how wet the paste is how much bread crumbs you need. I used about ½ cup to make a thick firm paste. Leave the mixture to set for 10 minutes, then check if it is firm enough to make burgers. If it feels still a bit wet, add a little more bread crumbs. Form nice small burgers and bake them in oil brown at both sides.

 

Sumac Chickpea Salad

 

sumac chickpea saladSumac Chickpea Salad

1cup welled and cooked chickpeas (or canned)

1 tablespoon sumac

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tomato

1 Lebanese cucumber

½ red capsicum

1 tablespoon Greek yogurt

Pinch of saffron dissolved in a little water or saffron powder

Squeeze of lime

1 crushed garlic clove

Pepper and salt

lunch

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Coat the chickpeas with the sumac, paprika, ¾ garlic clove, pepper and salt. Bake them in olive oil until a little browned.

Mix together the yogurt, saffron, ¼  garlic, pepper, salt and a squeeze of lime juice.

Cut the tomato, capsicum and cucumber in chickpea size.

Mix everything together and garnish with a little parsley.

Focaccia, salad and fig cakes

Foccacia

Focaccia with rosemary

½ package (3.5 gram) dried yeast

100 ml water

1 teaspoon dried and chopped rosemary

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for drizzling

½ cup flour

½ cup 00 flour ( fine Italian flour like you use for pasta dough)

Start with putting the yeast and sugar in 100 ml luke warm water, set it aside until the yeast tries to crawl out of your cup, about 5 to 10 minutes. In a wide bowl mix the flour, salt and rosemary. Make a well in the middle and enter two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the yeast mixture in the well too and start stirring carefully with a wooden spoon, constantly nibbling some flour from the sides of the well with your spoon. When you can’t handle it with the spoon any more, change to working with your hands. Knead in all your energy, aggression and love; knead, push and flip it over until the dough is soft, elastic and still a little bit sticky about 5 to 10 minutes. If it is so sticky you can’t get it from your hands, add some flour, is it to dry, add some water. Note that it is always easier to add some extra flour than extra water. Now cover the dough in some olive oil, put it back into the bowl and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Try to find a nice and warm spot in the house to let it rise for about one hour or until doubled in size. Take the dough out of the bowl and punch the air out of it; fold it a couple of times but make sure the seams will be at the bottom of your bread, this shouldn’t take more than 2 or 3 minutes. You can make it in any shape you like, just make sure it’s not too high, say about two centimeters. Brush a baking tray with oil and put the bread on it. Cover it with the damp cloth and let it rise again until doubled in size. In this second rise you can go back to it twice to push the dough down a bit with the tips of your fingers. This will give it the holes which also add to the focaccia look. This rise is very important; the air that forms in this rise will stay in the bread and make the bread soft. Preheat the oven to 220C. Drizzle some olive oil on the bread; it will find its way into the holes. Now put the bread in the oven, be very gentle, and don’t slam the oven door on it. After 5 minutes turn the heat to 190C and bake until golden brown, for about 15 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, wait a little until you take it from the tray, it can stick, but will be easily removed when cooled down a bit. Let it cool down further on a rack.

Fresh Fig and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Fig salad

200 gram spinach

2 or 3 tablespoons balsamico

4 tablespoons red wine

Soft goat cheese

1 cardamom pod

1 teaspoon date syrup

5 fresh figs

1 small hand of sun flower seeds

Black pepper

Take a wide pan and put the balsamico in it. Add a splash of red wine (about 4 tablespoons), a cardamom pod, the date syrup and some fresh grinded black pepper. Let it bubble and reduce just a little. Cut the figs in 4 or 6 parts depending on the size. Put them cut side down in the pan and let the fluids reduce some more.   It will caramelize a bit due to the syrup but don’t make it to thick; it will serve as your salad dressing as well. Wash, dry and cut the spinach, add the figs, crumble some goat cheese, sprinkle the sunflower seeds and voila!

my most critical eater

my most critical eater

If you have some dates and figs left, try this date and fig cake.

Fig and date cake

3 figs

5 dates

3 eggs

½ cup flour

½ cup almond powder

½ cup cane sugar

3 tablespoons brown caster sugar

Tablespoon butter

½ teaspoon salt

Zest of one lemon

Squeeze of lemon juice

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

5 tablespoons milk

Fig and date Cake

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cut the figs and the dates in half. Mix the flour, the almond powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and lemon zest in a bowl.

Separate the egg yolks from the white. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes creamy and light. Mix this with the flour, milk, lemon juice until smooth. Put the butter in the cake tin and put it in the oven. When the butter is melted, take it out of the oven and evenly sprinkle the brown caster sugar in the tin, add the figs, cut side down in the tin and the dates cut side up. Put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Mix the egg whites with the salt until foamy; carefully fold the egg whites in the flour mixture. Try to handle it as little as possible so the mixture stays light. Take the tin out of the oven and pour the mixture on top. Put it back in the oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. When ready let it stand in the tin for 5 minutes, now turn up side down on a rack to let it cool further.

fig and date cake