Monthly Archives: February 2010

Daring bakers: Tiramisu

My first challenge as a daring baker and it was titled “heaven on a plate: tiramisu”.
Tiramisu… one of my favourite desserts of all times! The best tiramisu I ever had was in a little restaurant in Rome called ” the cricket in the oven”.
It was so light and exquisite, I never had any better… And no, this recipe did not cross boundaries and brought me to that perfect tiramisu. I am not even sure the tiramisu that night was so delicious. Sometimes you make memories better then they were.
That night in that little restaurant was perfect in every way. My husband (who was then my boyfriend) and I celebrated our first real trip away from home together, we drank a little to much wine and we talked for hours. After diner we walked the streets of Rome hand in hand and we threw a coin into the trevi fountain. Ah sweet, sweet memories.
And that is what this daring baker challenge brought to me too. Sweet memories of a dessert so ancient and so authentic. Sweet memories of how easy it is to make mascarpone yourself. And sweet memories of seeing eyes glow when biting that lovely savoiardi biscuit for the first time.
I always make classic tiramisu… you know with marsala wine and cacao powder on top. But when I saw all those beautiful and original creations my colleague bakers make, I started to think about something a little different. I decided to go for two small shaped tiramisu versions and serve them together. One I made with chocolate and amaretto, the other I made with orange juice and orange blossom water. A little unexpected (cause who can resist chocolate? I know I can’t) the orange one was a huge success.
I want to thank the wonderful ladies Aparna and Deeba for this great challenge, which once again pushed my boundaries and made me rethink my old ways!

INGREDIENTS MASCARPONE

500 ml whipping pasteurized cream (I used 32% cream.)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

INGREDIENTS SAVOIARDI BISCUITS

3 eggs. Separated
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
95 grams cake flour
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar

INGREDIENTS ZABAGLIONE

2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons of sugar
60 ml marsala wine (I used amaretto)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

 

INGREDIENTS VANILLA PASTRY CREAM

55 grams sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
175 ml whole milk

INGREDIENTS WHIPPED CREAM

235 ml chilled heavy cream ( I use 25% cream)
55 grams sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

INGREDIENTS FOR THE TIRAMISU

1/2 cup of amaretto
1/2 cup of orange blossom water
½ cup orange juice
50 grams dark chocolate

75 grams mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Making the mascarpone (+/- 2 days in advance)

To make the fesh mascarpone you use the au bain marie technique.
Just heat a little bit of water into a sauce pan and bring it just to the boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low, so the water is barely simmering. Now pour the cream into a heat resistant bowl and place the boil into the saucepan.
Now heat the cream, stirring very often to 80 degrees Celsius. I don’t have a cooking thermometer (I know, shame on my!) So I just waited until small bubbles kept trying to push the surface.

It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Then add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, while stirring very gently, until the cream starts to curdle. The cream will start to get thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise or a thick vanilla pudding!
Now remove the bowl from the sauce pan and let it cool for about 20 minutes:.
In the meanwhile line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl.
After the mixture is cooled, pour the mixture into the lined sieve. Now step away from the cheese! No only joking, it is just very important that you not squeeze the cheese or press it. Time will work its magic on it. So just place the cheese into the refrigerator and leave it there for about 24 hours.
You will get a thick, creamy cheese with a luscious white look. The cheese is now ready to use, but can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Making the savoiardi biscuits (+/- 1 day in advance)

Start with preheating your oven to 175 degrees Celsius and prepare an oven tray with some baking paper that is lightly buttered. Now you are set to go and make the cookies!

Beat the egg whites until you get those stiff peak forms that remind you of snow topped mountains. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the eggs become stiff, glossy and smooth!
In a small bowl beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them carefully into the meringue, using a wooden spoon.  Sift the flour over this mixture and fold very gently until just mixed. It is very important that this happens gently, cause when you overdo it the egg whites will loose their firm and your cookies will end up flat and hard.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into wide strips leaving a little space in between them. (I went a little wrong here. I have some kind of oval cookies. But not to worry… they work just perfect in the end.)
Sprinkle have the confectioners sugar over the cookies and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or start looking wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the cookies their very characteristic crispness.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheers and bake for another 5 minutes or so until they puff up, turn golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the cookies from the baking sheet with a spatula while still hot and let them cool on a rack.
When you store them in an airtight container, you can keep them up to 3 weeks.

Making the zabaglione

Heat water in a double boiler. I did not have a double boiler so I used the au bain marie method like described in making the mascarpone.
In a large mixing bowl mix together the egg yolks, the sugar and the marsala (or amaretto), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl over the pan. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. (If you want it to be a real zabaglione you need to stir it into an 8 form. That’s the only true way! But I found that this is not really a zabaglione. This is more like a custard. One of these days I will post a real zabaglione with some local beer I made a while back.) Let the mixture cool at room temperature and transfer the zabaglione into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or even better over night!

Making the pastry cream

Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. To this you add the egg yolks and half of the milk. Whisk until you get a smooth liquid.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk slowly, a little bit at a time, while stirring constantly. After about 10 minutes the mixture will be thick and free of any lumps an begin to bubble.  Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with some plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight until thoroughly chilled.

Making the whipped cream

Combine the cream, the sugar and the vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

Finally making the tiramisu

CHOCOLATE TIRAMISU

In a large bowl beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will help you later on to fold. Add the prepared and the chilled zabaglione and the pastry cream, blending until just combined. Now Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Melt the chocolate au bain marie and let the melted chocolate cool down a little bit.
I used little forms for my tiramisu so I did not need 12 biscuits per layer. For the chocolate one I did not even need layers. But I think its easier to give you the recipe for a square tiramisu and you can pull of your own presentation.
So work quickly from here. Dip 12 of the cookies into the amaretto for about 1 second. The cookies should be moist and in no way soggy. When you soak them to long, the will break and go all soggy.
Immediately transfer the cookies to the platter and place them side by side in a single row. Break cookies into pieces if necessary to ensure you have a firm base for your dish.
Now mix the melted chocolate into your mascarpone – zabaglione – cream mixture. Gently mix.
Spoon one third of the cream mixture on top of the cookies, then use a rubber spatula or a spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the ledges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 cookies and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture, cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

TO SERVE IT MY WAY: I used round metal shapes to serve my tiramisu. Dip the cookies into the amaretto and line them up around the base of the metal ring.
Then spoon in the cream mixture in the middle of the ring. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Be careful when you remove the metal ring. I did not cover the top of my tiramisu with cacao powder, cause it is chocolaty enough. But a nice though to it, is to sprinkle it with some grounded white chocolate!


ORANGE TIRAMISU

In a large bowl beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will help you later on to fold. Add the prepared and the chilled zabaglione and the pastry cream, blending until just combined. Now Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

I used little forms for my tiramisu so I did not need 12 biscuits per layer. But I think its easier to give you the recipe for a square tiramisu and you can pull of your own presentation.
So work quickly from here. Place the cookies into your serving bowl and sprinkle them with the orange blossom water. No need to dip them, sprinkling will get them just as moist!
Break cookies into pieces if necessary to ensure you have a firm base for your dish.
Now mix the orange juice into your mascarpone – zabaglione – cream mixture. Be careful with the orange juice. I started adding little bits, so the flavour would be just right. Mix a little bit in, taste and add some more if necessary. Gently mix.
Spoon one third of the cream mixture on top of the cookies, then use a rubber spatula or a spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the ledges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 cookies and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture, cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

TO SERVE IT MY WAY: I used  square metal shapes to serve my tiramisu. It exactly the same as the big square form, only work on a little scale!

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Sunday breakfast: buttermilk pancakes

On weekdays we both eat breakfast at our jobs. We take some corn flakes or bread with us and eat it between phone calls and paperwork.
But on Sunday we make time for our breakfast. There is even coffee and fresh orange juice for crying out loud!
Anyway I try to make Sunday breakfast a little special.
A little treat at the end of a hard week and the only breakfast we get to spend as a real family.
This week I made buttermilk pancakes.
Pancakes are my favourite breakfast next to bacon…. bacon and pancakes together are breakfast heaven as the matter of fact.<
The husband however wasn’t all to happy about my pancakes. “When do I get those thick, fluffy American pancakes I see on TV” he asked.
And I must admit in Belgium we don’t have thick, fluffy pancakes. We eat crepes, thin, large pancakes.
So I decided  to give it a try with a recipe I have been holding for years now in my recipe box. I only replaced the milk with buttermilk, that was a left over.
And it was delicious, the buttermilk made the pancake extra fluffy and gave it some extra taste.

INGREDIENTS FOR BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

130 grams of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of salt
30 grams sugar
1 large egg
240 ml buttermilk
40 grams unsalted melted butter
raisins
vegetable oil
topping: I used maple syrup, but you can serve it with whatever you like.

Mix the flour, the baking powder, the sugar and the salt together in a food processor.
Whisk in a small bowl the egg, the buttermilk and the melted butter together.
Now add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir it till everything combines.
Don’t worry if your batter has little lumps in it. Its because of the buttermilk, but when you bake the pancakes the lumps will disappear.

I divided the batter into two batches and added some dried raisins to one of the batches.

Now heat a little vegetable oil into a non sticking pan and let it heat gently.
Now add tablespoons of batter to the hot pan. One tablespoon should be enough for one round, fluffy pancake!
I baked them 4 pancakes at a time but all depends on how large your pan is. Just make sure the pancakes can’t touch each other!
When the surface of the pancakes starts to bubble you can turn the pancakes around. The bottom of the pancakes should be hazelnut brown. Let the pancake bake for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Place the pancakes on a platter and serve them like I did with some maple syrup.
The earthy sweetness of the syrup is delicious with the sour touch of the buttermilk.

Banana Split Brownies

The husband did not feel well on Saturday, his throat hurt, his legs were heavy and he was a little tired. By Sunday he was in his sweater on the sofa coughing his lungs out and his temperature went from cold to very hot.
Instead of having a fun weekend with lots of plans and lots of shopping, I transformed into a faithful nurse for the very grumpy patient in my living room.
He drunk the tea with fresh lemon zest and honey  with a long face. The fresh chicken soup with lots of vermicelli got a little more enthusiasm, but nothing could thrill him or make him smile a little.
He stayed a whole day on the cough, slumbering, coughing, and winning because I made him drink orange juice and tea.
So there I was, grounded… well I could just as well experiment a little in my kitchen. Nothing better than a little hocus pocus with my pots and pans.
In my refrigerator I found some bananas which  had seen better days, I also found some mascarpone which was about to expire and  chocolate is a must have in my house. I even have a little chocolate cupboard in my kitchen.
The ingredients reminded me of banana split, the royal wedding of these delicate flavors and one of my favorites on a hot summer night. So banana split brownies It would be!
After the whole house smelled of delicious freshly baked brownies, I could even seduce my sickly husband to take a little nibble of the heavenly pastry. His verdict:  delicious chocolate lushness with a little hint of banana.
Mission accomplished!

INGREDIENTS

150 grams dark chocolate
30 grams milk chocolate
100 grams butter
200 grams sugar
2 bananas
150 grams mascarpone
3 eggs
50 grams cacao powder
60 gram all purpose flour

Preheat the oven at 175 degrees.
Melt the chocolate together with the butter on a low fire or use the au bain marie technique.
In the meanwhile mass the banana.
Now take the melted chocolate away from the heat and pour it into a large bowl or into your food processor.
Now add the sugar to the chocolate mixture and mix it in. The heat of the melted chocolate will make the sugar melt into the dough.
Add the mascarpone and the mashed bananas.
Now add the eggs one by one and turn the food processor to the highest stand.
Wisk everything together.
Sift the flour and the cacao powder and add it to the mixture.

Now pour the batter into a brownie form and bake for about 30 minutes.

Mezze dessert

A good diner party always ends with a nice dessert. I doubted for a moment to just serve a classic Sunday ice cream or just some Greek yoghurt with honey. But then I would neglect a very important part of the traditional Greek cooking culture, wouldn’t I? Cause lets be honest, who has never heard of the world-famous Greek pastry baklava?
I myself am not a big fan of dessert who swims in honey and where it is impossible to have a bite without spilling some on your cloths. That’s why I tried to make my version of the national dessert and I tried my very best to keep the honey soaked parts to an absolute minimum without abusing that authentic flavor. The baklava was in the beautiful company of another well known Greek dessert Tyrokafteri, also known as angel hair.
As a counterpart to all that sticky sweetness I made a lovely crispy Moroccan pastry M’Hancha.

INGREDIENTS BAKLAVA
450 grams phyllo
Melted butter
2 cups walnuts (+/- 250 grams)
2 cups skinned almonds (+/- 250 grams)
1/4 cup pistachios (+/- 75 grams)
½ teaspoon grounded cloves
2 tablespoons cinnamon powder
4 teaspoons  + 300 grams sugar
250 ml water
85 grams honey
the juice of ¼ lemon

INGREDIENTS TYROKAFTERI
750 grams kadaifi dough (angel hair)
100 grams butter
300 grams skinned and minced almonds
2 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
½ tablespoon cinnamon powder
300 grams sugar
250 ml water
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon orange juice
the zeste of a lemon


INGREDIENTEN M’HANCHA

Phyllo
1 egg
Butter
200 grams almond powder
2 tablespoons orange blossom water
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 tablespoons icing sugar
honey


BAKLAVA

Pulse your walnuts, pistachios and almonds in a foodprocesser till they have a crumbly consistency.
Mix the crumbled nuts with the cloves, the cinnamon powder and the tablespoons of sugar.
In the meantime you take the phyllo out of the refrigerator and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Melt the butter while you wait.

Take a large square tray and grease it with a little bit of vegetable oil.
Now lay in the sheets of phyllo till the tray is fully covered. (It took me 4 leaves to get this done.) Remember that the sheets have to hang over the tray at every side!
Take a extra sheet of phyllo and place it in the middle of the tray to cover the  other sheets. Now brush the sheets with a little bit of melted butter.

Now sprinkle in a layer of the nut filling onto the phyllo. Repeat this process till you have about 3 to 4 layers. (Phyllo, butter, nuts, phyllo, butter, nuts, phyllo, butter, nuts)
Now fold in the flaps that overhang the tray and place 2 extra sheets on top of this for the top layer.

Brush the top layer of the baklava with some melted butter and cut the pastry into those famous baklava triangles.
Now place the baklava into a preheated oven at 175° for about 90 minutes or until the top layer is golden brown.
Keep an eye on the baklava, when it colors to fast you can put a little piece of aluminum foil over it.

Now add the water, the sugar and the honey together in a little pan and bring to the boil. Let the syrup simmer for about 10 minutes, before tossing in the lemon juice. Once the juice is added let it boil for another 10 minutes.

Now let the syrup cool and poor it imidiatly over the hot baklava when it comes out of the oven.

TYROKAFTERI

Mix the grated almonds together with the cinnamon powder, the egg, the sugar.

Now unfold the angel hair very carefull onto a flat workboard. Keep in mind that you need enough place to move around your workboard and that the angel hair needs to be rolled out as far as possible in order not to break it.

Now place thick heaps of almondpaste. on top of the angel hair and model it in de form of a big sausage with your hands.
Rol the sausage very carefully into the angel hair and when the almond paste is full rapped cut of the hair. Repeat this with the rest of the hair and paste.

Preheat the oven to 150°.
When the oven tray is full with angel pastries you poor over a little of the melted butter, just enough to grease the pastries a little.
Now place the pastries in the oven and let them bake for about 30 minutes. The angel hair must become crispy and golden brown!

In the mean while add the water, the sugar and the cinnamon stick together in a pan and bring this to the boil. Let it simmer for 10 minutes and then add the orange juice. Let it simmer again for 10 minutes.

Let the syrup cool and poor it over the hot Tyrokafteri when it comes out of the oven.

M’hancha

Heat a non stick frying pan on a low fire and add the almond powder to it. Stir constantly until the powder gets a hazelnut color.

Let the roasted almond powder cool for a few minutes, before mixing it together with 2 tablespoons of icing suger, the cinnamon powder, the orange blossom water en a little bit of melted butter.
Mix this into a sticky dough.

Take a sheet of phyllo and place a thin sausage of almonddough on to the sheet. Use the beaten egg to make the sides of the sheet a little sticky, so they won’t unfold in the oven.
Roll the phyllo with the filling into the form of a long sausage.
Now roll the sausage in the form of a snail. Use wooden pins to keep the snail in place.

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees, while you make little snails out of the rest of the dough. Now bake the pastries for about 10 minutes or until they go beautiful golden brown and crisp.

In the meanwhile heat in a little pan on a low fire 3 tablespoons of honey with a splash of orange blossom water.
When the pastries come out of the oven you shower them with the fragrant honey sauce. Once the M’Hancha cool down a little sprinkle them with some chopped almonds and a little bit of icing sugar.

Mezze for the meat eaters!

And we keep on going with our greek mezze challenge. A few days ago I placed the spotlight on the delicious veggie possibilities that mezze have to offer. For my herbivore friends I served grilled halloumi and falafel together with some wonderful spreads and dips. Today I want to go the carnivore way and share with you some typical Greek fish and meat platters that I served at my mezze party.
Greece always brings back sweet memories of vacations in the years past. Lunch at a little tavern by the beach where the fisherman brought the squids from the sea straight to the kitchen. I remember them throwing the fishes against the rocks to tenderize the meat. 10 minutes later that same fish played the head part in our delicious salad!
Or should I tell you about the long walks we made in the medieval town of rhodos where the aroma of charcoal, grilled meats and exquisite herb bouquets filled our noses and made our tummies grumble.

Yes, they sure know how to use spices and herbs around the Mediterranean. As good as on those hot, southern night my ribs will never taste, but they come pretty damn close!
   
INGREDIENTS CALAMARI
350 grams squid (I used fresh clean squid from the fishshop, but you can also use frozen squid.)
150 grams all-purpose flour
Seasalt
2 tablespoons of black pepper
2 tablespoons of paprika powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
vegetable oil for frying (You can also use your deep fryer but your oil will get heavy polluted.)

INGREDIENTS GREEK RIBS
2 racks op ribs
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of lime zeste
1 tablespoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of grouned bay
1 teaspoon of dry oregano
1 teaspoon of dry thyme
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of paprika powder
2 tablespons of Greek honey

INGREDIENTS ARAB STYLE SHRIMPS
Large cleaned shrimps ( 4à 5 shrimps p.p)
2 tablespoon of Raz El Hanout
1 teaspoon harissa herbs (This is not the shop bought ready to use Harissa. That is Harissa paste. These are dried herbs to make the paste yourself. I bought mine in Tunisia, but I also found them at my local Moroccan grocery store. If you cant find any replace them by some hot paprika powder.)
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of dried mint
pepper and salt
fresh chopped cilantro
a hint of lemon zest
olive oil

INGREDIENTS KEFTEDES
500 grams minced lamb meat
fresh chopped cilantro
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of raz el hanout
1 teaspoon of dried mint
1 teaspoon of dried cloves
a hint of cinnamon powder
Peper and salt
Olive oil

Calamari

I bought fresh squid at my local fish shop. Ask the fisherman to clean the squid for you! It saves you a lot of time and the quest to find the ink inside of the fish!
Cut the tubes into rings and cut the tentacles into little pieces. If you don’t like to use the tentacles, just throw them out and only use the tubes! Pat the squid dry with a kitchen towel

Now mix in a bowl the flour, the pepper, the paprika powder and the garlic powder.
Heat the oil on the fire.
When the oil is hot (This is the secret of a good calamari fritti, the oil needs to be searing hot!) you dip your squid into the flour mixture and fry it in about 3 minutes golden brown.
Now season the calamari with some sea salt and serve with some lemon wedges.

Greek Ribs

Mix in a small bowl (or do as I did and use one of those very handy zip lock bags. It saves you a lot of dishes and its easy to shake the marinated around.)  the garlic powder, de lemon zest, de pepper, the grounded bay, the oregano, the thyme, the salt, the paprika powder and the honey. Mix this all together till you get a sticky marinade. Now toss the ribs into the marinade and shake until the ribs are fully covered with your wonderful rub.
Place the ribs into the refrigerator for 4 hours at least, but the best is to keep them there for about 12 hours.
Take the ribs out 30 minutes in advance so they can come back to room temperature before cooking them. Preheat the oven at 175°.
Now put the ribs on some aluminum foil or use a trow away baking tray and cover the ribs with some aluminum foil.
Cook for about 30 minutes in an oven at 175°, then lower the head to 150° and cook for another 30 minutes, but now without the foil on top.
Keep an eye on the ribs so they don’t get scourged.

Arab Shrimps

Mix in a bowl (or use a zip lock bag again.) the raz el hanout, the harissa spices, the cumin, the dried mint, the pepper, the salt, the lemon zest and the finely chopped cilantro.
Now pop in the scampi and shake so that the marinade is all around the shrimps.
Toss this into the refrigerator overnight so the shrimps can soak in all those lovely flavours.
The next day you put the shrimps on wooden pins and grill them in the pan or on the BBQ.

Keftedes

A very simple dish but a true flavour bomb! I serve it very regularly at home with some seven vegetables couscous and in summer they are a very regular guest at bbq-parties.
Just mix the minced lamb meat with the herbs and the fresh cilantro.
Roll little balls of them and put them on wooden pins.
Drizzle with some good quality olive oil and just put them in de refrigerator overnight.
The next they you only need to grill them in the pan or on the bbq!

Veggie mezze with grilled halloumi and falafel

Like I said in my previous post, the challenge of this months daring cooks was the reason we had our own private mezze party at home.
The most important part of a mezze meal for me is the huge variety of dips and spreads that come with it. I love to indulge myself in the creamy loveliness of all those wonderful Mediterranean sauces with just a chunk of bread or some fresh pitas!
Forget the delicious roasted meats and the lovely fish the Greek are famous for, just concentrated on the many dips and sauces that accompany almost every traditional Greek supper.
And even more wonderful is the fact that most of these dips are veggie! No problems when you go down to a typical Greek tavern by the beach with some friends for some ouzo and mezze. Its veggie heaven for them.
And for me in the kitchen too, cause no need to cook differently for the non meat eating friends that came to the party!
To spoil them a little bit extra I made some grilled halloumi cheese and falafel to go with their dips. But you can just as well serve it with some pita bread! They‘ll love it anyway!

INGREDIENTS TZATZIKI
500 grams Greek yogurt
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 cucumber
2 tablespoons of chopped dill
1 tablespoon of ouzo
salt and peper
olive oil

INGREDIENTS TARAMASALATA
125 gram fish roe (better order this a couple days in advance at your local fish shop.)
1 small onion
the juice of halve a lemon
2 slices of a old white loaf bread
1 small boiled potato
a splash of vegetable oil
a splash of cold water (I used corn oil)
2 sneetjes oud wit brood

INGRDIENTS MAROCCAN CARROT SALAT
400 grams of carrots
salt
5 cloves minced garlic
4 tablespoons of chopped parsley
½ red hot chili pepper
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika powder
cilantro
1 teaspoon of crushed cumin seeds
4 tablespoons of olive oil
the juice of 1 lemon

INGREDIENTS TYROKAFTERI
250 grams feta cheese
125 grams ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
50 ml olive oil
50 gram roasted bell peppers


INGREDIENTS GRILLED HALLOUMI
olive oil with garlic essence (or pop in some cloves when you heat the oil.)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1,5 tablespoon of chopped parsley
250 grams halloumi cheese
fresh cilantro
Pepper

INGREDIËNTEN FALAFEL
250 grams chickpeas
3 tablespoons tahina
parsley
cilantro
salt
cumin
zathar
1 red hot chili pepper
1 chopped onion
paprika powder
olive oil

TZATZIKI 

For a nice, creamy tzatziki you better start one day in advance. Let the Greek yoghurt drain for a night in a strainer, so all the liquid can flood away and you are left with a creamy thick yoghurt.
Now take the cucumber and peel it. Then deseed it en grate it. Then pop the grated cucumber in a strainer and let it drain for a night. You can sprinkle some salt over the cucumber. Salt always helps when drawing out moist!

The next day you add the shredded cucumber to the yoghurt and you mix this together with the minced garlic, the ouzo and the chopped dill.
Now season this with some salt and pepper.
Just before serving you drizzle some olive oil on top and you garnish with a little bit of extra dill.
 
TARAMASALATA 

Soak the bread in some cold water and leave it a couple to drain in some of the moist. Now squeeze out the excess liquids from the bread and leave to rest on a kitchen towel.

Depending on your fish shop it could be that you need to drain the fish roe under some running water. Fish roe can be quit salty! So taste a little bit and then decide if it’s necessary to drain.
Now add the fish roe, the chopped onion and the filling of the boiled potato to the bowl of your food processor. Mix this all together at the highest stand. After a couple of minutes at the broad and mix it again until you get a thick paste.

Now add the vegetable oil very slowly to the mixture, until you see that your pasta combines. Be careful not to use to much oil! You don’t want a taramasalata that is polluted with greasy oil stains!
Now poor in the lemon juice and add a little bit of cold water. Now whiz this all together one last time!

Now the most important part… taste! The taramasalata must be creamy and thick, but it also needs to melt on your tongue. When it’s not quit that yet, add a little bit more oil and taste again. You can season it with a little more lemon, pepper or salt!

MAROCCAN CARROT SALAT 

Peel and cut the carrots in round pieces. Boil the carrots in some water with a little bit of salt till they are just about al dente. (Watch it that the carrots don’t go to soft! You don’t want to end up with mushy carrots!)

Now mix in a bowl the minced garlic with the chopped parsley, the red hot chili pepper, the paprika powder, a little bit of salt and some cumin seeds.

Take a large non stick fry pan and heat a little bit of oil in it.
When the oil is hot enough at the herb mixture to it and poor in a couple of tablespoons of the carrot water.  
Stir and let it come to the boil.
Let the sauce and the carrots cool before adding them together and season with a splash of lemin juice. Now let the carrot salat rest for at least a couple of hours before serving!
 
TYROKAFTERI 

The easiest spread of all!
When you roast your own peppers its important to let them cool down and remove their skins before using them. When you use store bought peppers, let them drain for about 30 minutes.
Now add the feta cheese, the ricotta cheese, the lemon juice, the olive oil and the bell peppers in the food processor. Mix it at the highest stand till you get a creamy paste.  And you are done!

 GRILLED HALLOUMI

Combine the oil, the lemon juice, the pepper and the parsley in a small pot together as vinaigrette.
Let the halloumi drain a couple of minutes before slicing him into 1 centimeter pieces.

Heat a grill pan (or when the weather gets a little better the BBQ!) and grill the cheese at every side. Don’t worry about the cheese melting. It wont! Halloumi is a cheese especially made to cook and grill with.

Dry-fry all the slices until they are golden brown at both sides. Now place the cheese on a plate an poor over the vinaigrette. Just before serving sprinkle over some fresh chopped cilantro!

FALAFEL

Falafel is best made with dried chickpeas. It ask a little more efford then stained beans, but it will only help you get that awesome flavour! Let the chickpeas soak for 24 hours in cold water, drain them and cook them in some light salted water. When they are cooked through, drained them and leave them for a couple of minutes.

Now pop the chickpeas into the foodprocessor and mix into a creamy pasta. Then add the tahine, the chopped parsley, the red hot chilipepper, the garlic and the onion and blend this into a thick dough. Now you can flavor this to your liking with some zathar and cumin powder. Whiz it together and place the dough for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator! Roll small balls from the dough and fry them until they are nice golden brown and crisp! Let them drain on a kitchen towel en serve them with some chopped cilantro! 

Inspiration for these dishes comes from the wonderful cookbook The food of the Greek island written by Aglaia Kremezi.
The recipe for the grilled halloumi is from the cookbook Nigella Bites from Nigella Lawson.

Daring Cooks January: Mezze

I was so excited when I saw the challenge that Michelle from Veggie Num Nums had for us this month.
Mezze is so great we eat it very regulary here at home. Michelle only wanted us to make fresh pitabread and hummus.
So that left me with a lot of oppertunities to go wild on other dishes to serve on my mezze-party!
I made it a greek mezze with some arab influences and I must say my guests where thrilled with the results.
They ate their tummys full and there was not one little piece left!

THE DELICIOUS HOME MADE PITABROADS

HUMMUS
MOROCCON STYLE CARROTSALAT
TARAMA
TAHINA
TYROKAFTERI
TZATZIKI


FRIED SQUIT

KEFTEDES

TOMATO FRITTERS

ARAB STYLE SHRIMPS

TIROPITAKIA

GREEK STYLE RIBS

KADAIFI
BAKLAVA
M’HANCHA

In this post I will only share the recipes we were obliged to make for the foodblog event itself.
In the upcoming weeks I will share all the other recipe too of course. (But if I did that right now it would be such a monster post 🙂 )

INGREDIËNTS FOR THE PITA BREAD
12 grams of dry yeast
591 grams of lukewarm water
596 grams of all purpose flour
An extra 200 grams of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Take a large bowl and poor in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water en stir till the yeast is completly dissolved. Now stir in approximatly 300 grams of flour. Stir this mixure well (Michelle told us to stir it a 100 times during 1 minute.) I was a wee bit lazy and let my kitchenrobot do all the work! Its important that you stir the dough in the same direction all the time, this to activate the gluten.
Now put the dough aside for about 10 minutes (but you can let it rest for up to two hours!)

Now sprinkle the salt over the dough and stir in the olive oil. Mix well (again I used my kitchenrobot.) Now it is time to add the rest of the flour. Do this slowly will stiring, so the dough gets the change to take it all in and become a sticky dough. The amount of flour mentioned in the recipe did not do the trick for me, I needed a lot more flour. Thats why I mentioned the extra flour in the ingredients section. It may very well be that you dont need the extra flour or you could just like me need a lot more. A lot has to do with the kind of flour you use. Put the dough on a lightly flour surface and knead it for about 8 to 10 minutes. When you see that your dough is quit runny and not at all a sticky dough, add flour and keep adding till you get that smood and elastic dough we are looking for!
Now clean out your large bowl and grease it in with a little bit of olive oil. Put your dough in the bowl and let it rise for about 1,5 hours in a dry and warm place.

Now preheat the oven on 230 degrees and putt some baking foil on an oven tray.
Gently punch down the dough (that looks like an exploted balloon) and place it on a lightly floured surface.
Divide the dough in half and place the rest of the dough back in the bowl, while we are gonna make pitabreads from the first half!
Divide the piece of dough in 8 pieces and role them out till they are very very thin!  Place the rolled out pita breads on the baking tray ( I did it 3 at a time, but it depends on how large your oven is!) and place them for about 2 to 3 minutes in the oven.
Now watch… cause it is quit amazing to see the pita breads puff up till they look like little bread balloons.

If you like you can season the next batch of pita breads what makes them taste even more delicious! I flavored mine with a little Zathar and some fennel seeds. Delicious!
If you bake the pita breads at diner you can wrap them in a towel to keep them warm till all the breads are baked. Or you can do as I did and bake them in the morning and put them in the toaster a few minutes before serving!

INGREDIËNTS FOR THE HUMMUS:
300 grams of chickpeas ( I used tinned chickpeas, because I am a little bit lazy and because I always have them in the cupboard.)
the juice of 2 lemons
3 garlic gloves, peeled and crushed
a little pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of tahini

I drained the chickpeas the night before. To make a good Hummus you need to be sure that all of the liquids are reduced to a absolute minimum. You want to get a creamy hummus that melts in your mouth.
Now puree the drained beans and the garlic in a foodprocessor or use a puree masher.  I added some extra olive oil to get a creamy mixture. (Don’t add to much, you dont want it to go all fat and sticky!)
Now add the tahini to the mixer and stire well.
I added half a tablespoon of harissa to get a little heat in the hummus. But he is very tasty just the way it is or if you like you can add other flavours to it like smoked paprika or some dried fennel seeds. Anything you like will do just fine!

The recipe for the pita bread is based on a recipe from Flatbreads and flavors by Jeffrey Alford.
The recipe for the hummus is based on a recipe from The new book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden.