Monthly Archives: July 2010

Indian style wedges

You must have noticed I like Indian curries. No wait… I love Indian curries. Most of the time I serve it with rice and papadums. But today I was craving potatoes. I am Belgian and Belgians love their potatoes. Did you know that we eat potatoes for diner 96% of the time? Well, I guess the husband and I are not a traditional Belgian family, cause I don’t think we get to that number. I would guess its around 50% with us. But sometimes I indeed crave potatoes. Not the very dull boiled potato like most Belgian people eat them. No I wanted an exciting potato. I was thinking crispiness, a little spicy and a nice warm feeling to the tongue.
So that’s how these Indian wedges came to life. I add a little of this, I squeezed in a little of that and I top it of with a little of everything.

INGREDIENTS

Potatoes (any kind will do, but I prefer a hard boiling potato.)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of chilli powder
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
2 tablespoons of garam masala
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
6 curry leaves
A pinch of sea salt

 Was the potatoes, but don’t peel them. I think potato wedges should have skins. That’s what makes them so lovely and crisp. So no peeling for this dish! Just simply cut the potatoes into wedges form. Then put all the wedges together in a large bowl and pour over the vegetable oil. Start adding the herbs and stir it all together. When you use a bowl with a lit, just put on the lit and give the bowl a good shake. All the wedges should be cover with the spice mixture.
Then lay the wedges out on a baking tray cover with baking paper and place the tray in an oven of 175 degrees for about 25 minutes. Then take out the wedges, turn them around and place them back for 15 to 20 minutes.

When the wedges start to look golden brown, have a taste. They are done when the exterior is crispy and the interior is soft inside.

Advertisements

Daring bakers: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake Pina Colada style

I was totally thrilled when I saw the new daring bakers challenge this month. Sunita from Sunita’s World – Life and food challenged us into making a Swiss Swirl Ice Cream cake. The moment I read the challenge it was about 25 degrees celcius in Belgium Perfect weather for ice cream and some baking. The day I actually made the cake it was about 35 degrees and I almost melted away in my kitchen. But it was worth it! Every drop of sweat, every hot breeze from my oven.. I forgot about it when I finally took a bite of the cake. It was divine, completely divine! One bite brought me into Ice Cream Cake heaven. I even forgot how scared I was about this recipe. I had nightmares about rolling a cake. Asleep I saw the cake fall into pieces when rolling. But this cake was so easy to make and I will certainly try it again.
Because of the tropical heat and the fact that summer holidays have started over here I made a Pina Colada version of the cake.
Like I mentioned in a previous blog post I am the proud owner of an ancient ice cream maker who I fell deeply in love with. I used my dearly beloved machine to make the creamy coconut ice cream and the pineapple sorbet, but don’t be afraid. You can make ice cream without a machine!

One last warning before digging into the mysteries of the Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake. don’t try to make this in one day. Its just to much. J It took me 3 days to complete the challenge. The first two days I made my ice cream. It could be done in one day though, but my machine was not cold enough to make two sets of ice cream. The third day I made the cake and assembled the who thing. On the fourth day I was in ice cream heaven.

 INGREDIENTS FOR THE SWISS ROLLS

6 medium sized eggs
225 grams caster sugar
45 grams all purpose flour
40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
30 ml boiling water
30 ml rum essence
500 ml of whipping cream
70 grams caster sugar

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CREAMY COCONUT ICECREAM

3 dl coconut milk
4 egg yolks
75 grams of caster sugar
3 dl whipping cream

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PINEAPPLE SORBET

100 grams caster sugar
100 ml cold water
100 ml pineapple juice
250 grams pineapple

FOR THE SWISS ROLLS

Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius. The recipe states that you should use 2 square baking pans from 11 inches by 9 inches each. I did not have that and I just used my regular round baking pans, what work pretty well, but I am convinced that square pans would make a better result. Brush whatever baking pan you are using with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper.

 In a large mixing bowl add the eggs and the sugar and beat till very thick. When you lift the beaters out of the mixture they should leave a trail for at least 10 seconds. I timed my beating and it took me about 12 minutes to get the right consistency.

 Now add the flour mixture in three batches while folding it gently in with a spatula.
Then fold in the boiling water!

 Now divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread out evenly. (I had to use 3 baking pans to get the job done. If you don’t have that many baking pans, just let them cool down and bake a second batch in the same pan!)

Now place the pan in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake if for about 10 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch!

 Spread a clean kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle it with a little caster sugar.
Now turn the baked cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges. (If you use round forms like me, you could trim it into a square form like I did.)

Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Place the roll an a rack, seam side down and let it cool down completely.
Keep repeating this for the next cakes.

Now for the filling! In a large bowl add the cream and the sugar and beat it till very thick and fluffy. Be careful don’t beat it into butter! Halfway trough the beating process add the rum essence.

Divide the cream mixture between the now completely cooled cakes.

Open the cake rolls and spread the cream mixture. Make sure it does not go right into the edges, cause it will poor out when you start rolling.

Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour in the fridge. This will firm them up and make the slicing a lot easier on you.

 Creamy Coconut Ice

In a large bowl add the sugar and the egg yolks and beat until they are doubled in size and all the sugar is evaporated in the mixture.
Now spoon under the coconut milk and the whipping cream.
Poor this mixture into the ice machine and let it “cream” for 25 to 30 minutes.
When done place the coconut ice cream for at least 5 hours in the freezer.
The downside on making ice cream yourself is that the ice cream is very rich and creamy, but also very soft. The problem is solved when you freeze the ice cream for at least 5 hours. Then the ice cream gets the hardness that store bought ice has.

Pineapple sorbet

In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, the pineapple juice and the water. Place the pan over a medium heat and sit constantly, till the sugar begins to melt into the water. Don’t let it boil, cause it will start to caramelize. When the sugar is totally melted into the water turn down the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
In the mean while mix the pineapple with a blender into a puree.
When the syrup is cooled add the puree to the syrup and poor it into the ice cream machine. Let it cream for about 25 to 30 minutes. When done place the sorbet for at least 5 hours in the freeze.

 Assembly

Cut the Swiss rolls into equal slices (approximately 2 cm each)
Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with plastic wrap.
Arrenge two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides from the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm. (I froze them for about 1 hour)

 Take the creamy coconut ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften up a bit. Then take the bowl out of the freezer and remove the film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides to the bowl. Cover again with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour.

In the original recipe you add to add a layer of fudge sauce between the two layers of ice cream. I left that part out, just because I thought that with the flavours I had chosen it was already rich enough.

 Take the pineapple sorbet out of the freezer and let it soften up a bit. Then take the bowl out of the freezer and remove the film cover. Then add the sorbet on top of the coconut ice cream. Spread it out evenly. Wrap again in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 8 hours.

Remove the plastic cover and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic wrap. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water.

Slice the cake with a hot knife and serve!

Good old chilli con carne according to Jamie

There are few things I don’t really like in life. One of them is wasps, another one is dirty underwear and I certainly must not forget beans. I don’t like beans. Don’t get me wrong.. I ll eat them when they are on my plate. And over the years I did eat some delicious beans, but I wont make it for myself if I don’t need to. The problem is that my dearly beloved husband has a thing for beans. One of his favourite dishes is chilli con carne.
I don’t eat chilli con carne. To many beans and to much corn, another thing I am not to found of. Sometimes my mother in law makes some extra portions for her eldest son and we freeze it, so he can have some when I am not around the house. Only problem his, the husband is not really keen on his mothers chilli con carne. So for the love of my husband I crossed my boundaries and I made chilli con carne. Not just any chilli con carne, but “good old chilli con carne” from the ministry of food cookbook from Jamie Oliver. There are few things in life I really like, one of them is Jamie. And so everybody was happy. The hubby loved the chilli and thought it was better then his moms. I got to cook a recipe from Jamie and I saw my husband happy. What else isn’t there to like?

INGREDIENTS

2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 red peppers
olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 heaped teaspoon of grounded cumin
1 heaped teaspoon of grounded cinnamon
sea salt and black pepper
400 grams of tinned chickpeas
400 grams of tinned red kidney beans
400 grams of chopped tomatoes
500 grams of minced meat
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Start of with peeling and finely chopping the onions, the garlic, the carrots and the celery. Deseed the red peppers and chop them up roughly.
Don’t forget chilli con carne is a rough dish, so no need to be very careful while chopping. Rustic pieces wont ruin the dish, it will just make it more authentic.
Add two tablespoons of olive all to a casserole and put it on a medium high heat.
When the oil is hot add all the chopped vegetables at once.
Now season it with the chilli flakes, the cumin and the cinnamon and end it with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Stir every 30 seconds for about 7 minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened and lightly coloured.
Poor in the drained chickpeas, red kidney beans and the tomatoes. Stir it all together and let it simmer for about a minute.
Then add the minced meat, breaking the larger chunks up with a wooden spoon.
Fill one of the empty tomato tins with water and poor this into the pan.
Slice the stalks of the coriander and finely slice them before adding them to the pan.
Now add the balsamic vinegar and a little bit of salt and pepper again.
Bring this all to the boil, when it starts boiling turn down the heat and let it simmer with a lid slightly askew for about an hour, stirring the stew every now and than.
When the hour has almost past, taste and season it a little extra to flavour.

The husband ate the chilli with some tortillas, sour cream and cheddar grated on top of it.

Tortilla al Horno

The day after we returned from vacation my parents in law came for diner. My head was still in the lovely Perigord; so I did not want to spend my whole day in the kitchen. Do you know that lovely rush that follows you a couple of days after you returned home. That feeling of complete inner peace. Its like walking in a cloud of good vibrations and still the holiday feeling. The husband choose to serve them paella. Quick, easy but delicious. I shared the recipe with you before and it always is a big hit when I make it. As a started I made a little buffet of Spanish tapas. Chorizo, gambas a la plancha, calamari, jamon, manchego cheese, some good olives and this tortilla al horno.
I ll just be plain honest with you guys.. I cant make a regular tortilla baked in a pan. It does not work for me. I always end up with scrambled eggs and hard potatoes. Horrible! So I fled from that challenge months ago and I go with this “It just cant go wrong recipe”. Tortilla baked in an oven. I was ashamed to tell anybody, but when I finally told my friend Maria, who happens to be Spanish and lives in Sevilla, she yelled: “What do you mean, you just recently discover that? That how I been doing that for years! And not just me, also my mom and grandma.” And to be honest, when a Spanish grandma does it, it cant be wrong, right?

INGREDIENTS

olive oil
1 large clove of garlic (pureed)
4 spring onions (cut into small rounds)
1 red bell pepper (deseeded and cut into small pieces)
175 grams potatoes partly boiled (they don’t need to be cooked through) sliced
75 grams of hot chorizo (cut into small cubes)
5 large eggs
175 grams of grated manchego cheese
Salt
Pepper
A pinch of cayenne pepper

I used my crème brulee forms to bake the tortilla in. But you can do it just aswel in a square baking form. Just cover the backing form with some baking paper and grease it with a little olive oil.
Now add the oil, the mashed garlic, the spring onions and the paprika to a large pan and let it simmer for about 10 minutes on a medium heat. Remove the garlic, onions and paprika from the pan and add the chorizo cubes. Let it bake for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Take a large bowl and add whisk the eggs together with the cheese, the salt, pepper en the cayenne pepper.
Now poor in the garlic, onions, paprika, chorizo and potatoes. Fold it together carefully. Don’t be to enthusiastic, cause you don’t want the potatoes to break into little pieces.

Now poor the egg mixture into your forms and place them in a preheated oven op 190 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the tortilla looks golden brown.
The tortilla is ready when it feels pretty firm, but still a little springy when you push it with your finger.
Let the tortilla cool on a rack before removing it from the spring. The cool down time will allow the tortilla to firm up some more. Then cut the edges with a sharp knife and turn place a serving plate on top of the form. Turn it around and remove the form. Remove the baking paper carefully.

You can serve the tortilla hot or cold.

Fresh Vanilla Ice Cream goes Dame Blanche

The past few days, or is it turning weeks already its been pretty hot in Belgium. Tropical I would even dare to call it. Its so hot that we sleep with all the windows open and without sheets. We eat salads and things that don’t make me stand in the kitchen for longer then 15 minutes. My dearly beloved carnivore and husband even agrees to eat mozzarella with tomatoes for diner. That’s how hot it has been the past few days. And when its hot, I crave Ice cream. No wait, that is not entirely true. I crave Ice cream all year round, but on hot days I have an excuse to indulge myself in lots of ice cream. Midwinter people tend to look at me a little strange when I dive into the freezer and come out with a large bucket of ice cream.
When I was a little girl my mom bought an ice cream machine and made some mango sorbet. I was not very into mango at the time, so I just ate a little scoop and gave the rest to my father, who loved it so much that he brought heavy bags of mango home from work. It was actually the only ice cream my mom ever made and the ice cream machine disappeared onto a shell in the kitchen. But it was still in my mind and my love for ice cream made me ask my mom if I could adopt the ice cream maker. So that’s how I became the proud owner of a 15 year old ice cream machine! The hubby and I tried it out a couple of days ago with big eyes. Would it work? But never underestimate a old timer machine made in the 90’s, when machine where still strong and robust. The old lady made some damm fine ice cream! I can tell you, she wont be enjoying a peaceful retirement anytime some.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE VANILLE ICE CREAM

3 dl whole fat milk
4 egg yolks
75 grams of caster sugar
3 dl whipping cream

1 vanilla pod

 

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHOCOLAT SAUCE

100 grams dark chocolate
20 grams butter
1 tablespoon of icing sugar
4 tablespoons of milk

In a large bowl add the sugar and the egg yolks and beat until they are doubled in size and all the sugar is evaporated in the mixture.
Now spoon under the whole fat milk and the whipping cream.
Poor this mixture into the ice machine and let it “cream” for 25 to 30 minutes.
When done place the ice cream for at least 5 hours in the freezer.
The downside on making ice cream yourself is that the ice cream is very rich and creamy, but also very soft. The problem is solved when you freeze the ice cream for at least 5 hours. Then the ice cream gets the hardness that store bought ice has.

In a small saucepan on a low heat melt the chocolate together with the butter. You could do this au bain marie, but sometimes I am just to impatient for that. I don’t like messing around with hundred pots and pan. So for me it works perfectly on a low fire while constantly stirring. When the chocolate has melted remove the sauce from the fire and stir in the icing sugar and the milk. Mix well and poor it over the vanilla ice cream. Top of with some freshly whipped cream and serve immediately.

Mussels with Pastis and tomato cream sauce

I love mussels.. I really do. Once the season is there to eat them I kind of go wild. I make them at home, I eat the in restaurants or I just tag along at my moms table and eat her portion. But to be quite honest… there are only two ways I have ever eaten them. Fried with a golden crispy crust and some lovely tartar sauce and the classic Belgian way to serve them with onion, leeks and carrots accompanied with a little jar of mosselsauce.
While on holiday in France the husband and I tend to eat lunch in local restaurants where there are no tourists and all the townspeople. Its quit an easy thing to do… drive away from the large towns and stop at a cafe/restaurant in some local village. Mostly they have a menu du jour… for about 12 euro you have soup, salad, a main course, dessert and some coffee. For an extra 2 euro you get wine! How lovely is that!
One of those lunches we ended up in a little restaurant with a lovely few on the river and they served mussels marinara.
I got a huge plate of lovely mussels in a divine sauce. I could not resist to dip my bread in it until it has soaked all that lovely goodness.
Back home I tried to look up the recipe for mussels marinara, but I found nothing that looked or resembled the lovely mussels I had in France.
But now that I had seen the other side of mussels I was ready to experiment and this lovely dish is the result of it!

INGREDIËNTEN

3 kg fresh mussels
2 large onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
200 grams of finely sliced carrots and leeks
15 ml op pastis
200 ml cream
mussel herbs (We buy them at our local fish shop.)
150 grams of canned chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons of herbes de
provence

Wash and clean the mussels. (I do it as followed: clean the mussels, wash them, wash them again and wash them a third time! The cold water opens the mussels a bit and the shaking of your hands pours out the sand and weeds in the mussels.

Now take a large casserole (I use one for soup) and fill it with a layer of mussels, a layer of onions, carrots and leeks and a layer of herbs. Then again a layer of mussels, a layer of vegetables and a layer of herbs. Keep repeating this until all the mussels are in the pot.
Now add some water to the pot… its hard to say how much cause I normally do this by heart. But I would say 300 to 400 ml. Put a lit on the top and put it on a medium high fire for about 10 minutes. Shake the casserole a couple of times so that all the flavours can mingle!

Now take a little pan and heat some olive oil in it on another fire. When the oil is hot, add some onions and the garlic. When it turns golden brown add the pastis and the tomatoes. Stir this well before adding the cream and the herbes des provence. Now let this boil until you get a thick and creamy sauce.
When the mussels are done you take about 150 to 200 ml of the cooking juices and you add it to the cream sauce. Bring to the boil again and season with some pepper and salt.
Place the mussels in a large dish and pour over the cream sauce. Drizzle some fresh parsley over it and serve immediately!