Category Archives: Snacks

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.

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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.

Single girl pasta

Once a month my husband needs to go to a congres or a training in some far corner of Belgium. Sometimes I let myself be tempted by junk food. I heat up a lasagne or I pop some chinese into the microwave, but most of the time it is my only chance to eat pasta.
The husband dislikes pasta and whines for hours when I dare to put it on the table. So in my lonely moment I tried myself to a plate of hot steaming pasta. Most of the time I make this meals from what I can scatter together in my cupboars. Like yesterday I found 6 scampi in my freezer. A splash of cream that was left from a previous diner and another can of delicious italian cherry tomatoes.
boil up some pasta and dinner is ready. It might not be very healthy and certenly not good for your weight. It is not culinary either and it will not be your most impressive cooking, but it is delicious, comforting food that you eat on the sofa wearing pyamas and watching a real girlmovie.

INGREDIENTS1 clove of garlic, diced
1/2 onion, diced
6 scampi
1 spring onion
1 can of cherry tomatoes
200 ml heavy cream
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1 teaspoon of sambal oelek
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of cayennepepper
boiled pasta
Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan en simmer the onion and the garlic in it for a couple of minutes.
Poor in the can of cherry tomaties and add the scampis. (It is not neceserry to bake them first. They will heat up in the sauce without turning into chewing gum.)
Let this bake for a couple of minutes. You want all the sauce of the tomatoes to evaporate so that you are left with only those wonderful, glooming red little tomatos.
Now add the cream, the sambal, the ketchup, the basil and the cayenne pepper. Stir this together and let it simmer for just a couple of minutes.

Now taste. Do you want it sweeter? Add some ketchup. Do you want it a little more spicy? Knock yourself out with the sambal! Just dont forget to finish it of with salt and pepper.

Now poor in your steaming pasta and diner is done!
A small amount of parmasan cheese on top of it makes this pasta for one ready to eat! So where is that chickflik?

Purslane salad with a creamy dressing and crushed potatoes

In the supermarket I noticed this little package of purslane. Time and time again I held the package in my hands but placed it back in the rack. Because I kept wondering what I could do wit purslane. Obviously it was mend to eat… but how did you eat it. Did it need steaming, bowling, mixing or mincing? I had absolutely no idea. At my recent trip to the supermarket I noticed that the purslane was very cheap so I finally bought a package and told myself “I would figure out a way to serve it later”. The internet suggest 101 different types of recipes, going from purslanesoup over baked purslane to purslane gratin. I also learned that in the US purslane not considered a vegetable and that in Indian it’s a very popular ingredient.
In Belgium it’s a little bit of a forgotten vegetable. Very popular with my grandparents, but the next generations forgot about it totally. Its hard to come by in the stores even. I silently chuckled when I saw the girl at the counter twist and turn my package like seven times to figure out what I actually was buying.
Eventually I gave the purslane my own twist and neglected all the very well meant internet advices. I served it in a lovely creamy salad dressing. And ow boy, did we love it! The leaves are thick and very meaty for a vegetable. They have a lovely light sour flavour that makes me think of a mixture between spinach, chard and endive.
I wont doubt a minute on my next grocery hunt to bring another package!
I served the salad with “Crashed hot potatoes” which is a recipe I got from Ree, the Pioneer woman. She is a wonderful cook and I am always enchanted by the lovely recipes and the way she writes.
The lovely, hot potatoes have crusty skin and a soft, fluffy filling. My kitchen smelled wonderful with all the fresh herbs I used from my herb garden.

INGREDIENTS PURSLANE SALAD1 package of purslane
cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
fresh parsley
fresh chives
2 tablespoons of mayonaise
3 tablespoons of sour cream
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of harissa (can easely be replaced by tabasco)
1 teaspoon paprikapowder
pepper and salt
Lets start with assembling the dressing for our purslanesalad.
Minced the garlic really fine with a good knife. Do the same with the fresh herbs.
To make life easier on myself I use the following method: take a large glass (type long drink) and place the herbs in the glass.
Now use a scissor the cut the herbs into really small pieces. Very easy and no flying pieces of herb in your kitchen!
Now add the mayonnaise and the sour cream to a small bowl and mix them together.
Then add the garlic, the fresh herbs, the harissa and the paprika powder.
Mix this all very well.
If the dressing is not runny enough you add a tablespoon of cream. (If you like runny salad dressings you can even add a little more.)
Now season this with salt an pepper.

INGREDIENTS POTATOES6 potatoes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
pepper and salt
2 stalks of rosemary
2 stalks of thyme

Purslanesalad 


Potatoes 

These potatoes are so simple and still so very delicious.
And there must be a million ways to combine them. I can imagine that they ll taste wonderful with some bacon or slice of cheddar cheese on top of them.
boil the potatoes (with their skins!) in some salted water. They don’t need to be cooked thoroughly. You just need to be able to prick them with your knife.
Drain them and let them rest for a couple of minutes.
In the mean time get an oven tray ready and drizzle it with some olive oil. (To make this even more delicious I used garlic infused olive oil.)
Now toss in the potatoes, just make sure they have plenty of space around them. Although it is cosy so close to each other, they need the room to go nice and crispy.
Now take your potato masher and press it very carefully down until each potato slightly mashes, now rotate the masher 90 degrees and mash it again.
You will see the potatoes burst open and from the little cracks in their skin the soft, fluffy interior will poor out.
Now brush the potatoes with some olive oil. Sprinkle some black pepper and sea salt on top of the potatoes en plunch in the fresh herbs.
Pop the tray in the oven for about 20 minutes on 175 degrees.

The recipe for the potatoes is from The Pioneer Woman.

classic goat cheese salad

On my dutch blog I posted this wonderful recipe for Italian style goat cheese salad. I already mentioned there that the hubby and I simply adore goat cheese. For this diner with the In laws I decided to go the classic tour with goat cheese and serve it up with some wonderful raspberry dressing.
My husband had been warnings me that he never had goat cheese while he lived at home and that his parents would be very surprised to find this on their plates. I could only hope it would be pleasantly surprised. It felt like a giant leap into the dark. Because goat cheese is something you have to like. It’s not a somewhere in the middle product. Or you love its delicate robust flavour or you detest it.
Apparently my in laws thought they were missing out on a big treat for all those years, because the goat cheese was a big hit! They were very enthusiastic about it and there plates were sparkling clean when I put them in the dishwasher. My mother in law phoned me a couple days later to ask where she could by goat cheese.

INGREDIENTS

Mixture of lettuce (I used lollo bionda, red oat leave lettuce and lamb’s lettuce)
1 pink lady apple
200 grams of salted bacon cubes
2 goat cheeses
roasted pumpkinseeds

2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of raspberry vinegar
red fruits to decorate the salad with. (On the picture you don’t see any fruits because my hubby was still assembling the plates!)

Place the goat cheeses in an oven (you can use your grill to if you like) for about 10 minutes on 170°.
In the meantime dice the apple and bake the bacon until crispy.
Now mix the honey with the raspberry vinegar and whisk till you get a runny, thick dressing.
Now assemble the plates, a little bit of lettuce, some apple cubes, some bacon, the cheese, sprinkle the pumpkinseeds and the red fruits. Drizzle with the dressing and serve it!

USA OKE :Burgers with onion rings

The hubby and I love a good burger from time to time. But visiting a burger restaurant is something we rarely do. We both aren’t to keen about McDonalds. We are however big fans of Burger King. But up till today there is no BK restaurant in Belgium, even though thousands of people are a member of the “We want a BK in Belgium” group on facebook.
So are visits to burger restaurants are limited to holidays abroad where BK is present. Once or twice a year I get the delightful Whopper in my hands and all is well again.
The rest of the year our burger consumption is limited, but when I saw that Jamie Oliver had a recipe for the real American burger I just had to give it a try! I adapted the recipe to my wishes and I must say it was a very tasty burger.
On my various holidays to the USA I discovered another delicious treat that is probably very bad for my health but so divine I could not resist it. I am talking about onion rings, another thing we don’t have or know in Belgium. After every stay I pack several ready to use mixtures for onion rings into my suitcase and I spend them well once back in Belgium.
But a couple of years have past since my last stay in the USA and I ran out of mixture. And with that I ran out of delicious onion rings. And the lord knows I have tried different recipes and all have failed. I even gave up hope to ever taste that crispy, sweet and again savoury ring once more… until I found a wonderful recipe on blogchef. Unbelievable but true… these are the onions rings I wanted. I even brought some over to my parents, because I could not believe I finally nailed it and the delicious onion ring days were back again.   

INGREDIENTS FOR THE BURGER

500 grams of minced meat (I used a mixture of pork and beef meat)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 heaped teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 large egg
a handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese
100 grams dried  breadcrumbs

To serve with the burger:
Whatever you like!
We used:
fresh mayonnaise
mustard
ketchup
tomatoes slices
slices of gherkin
some sautéed onions
slices of Chester cheese
and pistolets ( we don’t like the burger buns you can buy in the supermarket. But any type of bread or bun you like will do just fine!)

INGREDIENTS FOR THE ONION RINGS
1 large onion cut into thick rings
150 grams all purpose flour + extra coating flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
250 ml milk
90 grams dried breadcrumbs
coarse salt
oil for frying

Making the burgers

 

 

Making these burgers is so simple and it hardly takes any time. If you want them to be a little “healthier” I would recommend you to bake them in the oven or use a grill pan like I did.
Take a large bowl and add all the burger ingredients (minced meat, the egg, the breadcrumbs and the seasoning.) Now scrunch the mixture together with your hands. Now devide the mixture into 6 equal balls. Wet your hands with cold water and roll the balls into burger shaped patties about 2 cm thick. Place the burgers on a plate that you covered with a little bit of vegetable oil and place them in de fridge for about an hour. This will give the burgers time to firm up and let the flavours blend in.

If you, like me use a grill pan, put it on a medium high eat en let it get very hot. Now add the burgers and cook them for about 4 minutes. Then flip them and cook them again for 3 minutes on the other side. I like to have thosewonderful grill patterns on my burgers… so you might want to move them a little while cooking.

When the burgers are done, you only need to assemble your favourite burger! And for that you can let your imagination run wild!

Making the onion rings

 

Heat the oil in your deep frying to 180 degrees.
You have sliced the onion in thick slices and you have separated the onion in rings.
Now mix together in a large bowl the flour, the baking powder and the salt.
Whisk in the eggs and the milk with the flour mixture until you have a batter that will stick to your rings.
Now line up a plate with some extra flour, the batter and a plate with the breadcrumbs.
Dip the onion rings into the flour, move along to the batter and dip your onion rings into the batter.
Finally dip the onion in the breadcrumbs and coat thoroughly.
Now it is time to deep fry the ring in batches for about 2 to 3 minutes or until they come golden brown. Let them drain on paper towels and season them with a little bit of coarse salt!

Recipe for the burgers is based on a recipe from the America cookbook by Jamie Oliver.
Recipe for the onion rings is based on a recipe from blogchef.