15 November 2016

THYME-ROASTED AUBERGINES

THYME-ROASTED AUBERGINES

Creamy soft, golden-brown caramelised aubergines with a distinct perfume of thyme, finished with a little fresh lemon juice, a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil and a couple of Maldon salt crystals for that extra crunch. 

THYME-ROASTED AUBERGINES

These aubergines are extremely easy to make, with only a few ingredients and hands-on steps required, but are incredibly tasty with a real WOW factor due to their beautiful thyme perfume. The diamond-cut aubergine halves are salted and left to 'sweat' for a little, dried, coated with olive oil, and then oven-roasted on a bed of thyme until tender, golden-brown, caramelised and beautifully fragrant.

14 November 2016

MOCHA-BANANA PICK-ME-UP SMOOTHIE

MOCHA-BANANA PICK-ME-UP SMOOTHIE

Freshly brewed espresso, chocolatey bitter cocoa powder and creamy sweet frozen bananas, all blended together with fresh cold milk and ice cubes to gorgeously rich and creamy frothiness. Easy, fast, and with a delicious mocha-banana taste, this smoothie is great to wake you up in the morning, or a pick-me-up in the afternoon. It's beautifully creamy and tasty, rather satisfying and filling thanks to the bananas and milk, and on top of that quite healthy: full of protein and fiber, it is also high in magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. 

3 November 2016

CARROT CAKE SOURDOUGH PANCAKES


Thick, fluffy, sweet, moist pancakes with a perfume of warm autumn spices and an aroma of carrots, walnuts and sourdough, sprinkled with crunchy walnuts, and drizzled with glossy golden-brown sweet maple syrup. Served with a dollop of refreshing Greek yogurt, or better still, maple-syrup-caramelised bacon on the side (thank you, Helen, for taking over the pan on that one!). Could you really wish for more? :-)



A recent extended knife cutting exercise from my latest adventure: a Rouxbe cooking course, left me with a huge amount of carrots and carrot scraps - I wonder, do all students need to use so many carrots and hours to produce perfect Batonnets, Dice and Juliennes? Do they all use a ruler? ;-) Are the carrots in their countries so much larger that they can cut perfect 2 cm large cubes without any wastage? It's an online course, so I guess, I will never know :-)

29 October 2016

SPICED ROAST PLUM AND ALMOND FRENCH TOAST - OR: THE POOR KNIGHT SO POOR NO MORE

SPICED ROAST PLUM AND ALMOND FRENCH TOAST - OR: THE POOR KNIGHT NOT SO POOR NO MORE

Warm, cinnamon-anise-spiced sweet roasted plums on a bed of golden-brown caramelised slices of French toast (poor knights), and an almond crunch with every bite - just my idea of autumn weekend stay-in-bed breakfast.

SPICED ROAST PLUM AND ALMOND FRENCH TOAST - OR: THE POOR KNIGHT NOT SO POOR NO MORE

French Toast, also known as Eggy Bread in England, Pain Perdu (lost bread) and Pain Doré (golden bread) in France, Arme Ritter (poor knights) in Germany, and Pavesen in Austria and Southern Germany, according to Wikipedia leads back to the 4th or 5th century to the Romans, with an entry in the oldest collection of Roman recipes. It relates to bread that is soaked in milk, fried, and served with honey, with the not so charming name: 'alter dulcet' 'another sweet dish'. In medieval Europe French Toast was often served with game birds and meats. 

26 October 2016

AUSTRIAN AUTUMN LAMBS LETTUCE SALAD WITH A STYRIAN PUMPKIN SEED OIL VINAIGRETTE



Velvety lambs lettuce, warm baby potatoes, crunchy fried bacon, sautéed mushrooms, and an egg, hard-boiled, on top; all brought together by a nutty vinaigrette made with 'Steirischem Kürbiskernöl'. Who said that a salad cannot be autumn comfort food? As the days get colder, my salads get warmer, and this one ticks all my grey and rainy Brussels weather boxes.




It's an Austrian salad, with typical ingredients you would find in Austria, and a vinaigrette made with 'Steirischem Kürbiskernöl' (Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil), all reminding me of fields and woods, well, Austria.

13 October 2016

GRISPELLE DI PATATE, POTATO GRISPELLE, AND: MI SONO INNAMORATA DELLA CALABRIA

GRISPELLE, AND: SONO IN AMORATA CON CALABRIA

I had to wait for a whole year to finally taste the famous Grispelle, also known as Crespelle, or Zeppole di Patate. Not that I wasn't invited. Not that I didn't suffer so badly for not having been able to go! Not that I really enjoyed all the juicy Calabria details without having been there myself!



GRISPELLE, AND: SONO IN AMORATA CON CALABRIA

I had simply run out of holidays. But luckily this year I was able to follow our friends' invitation to Calabria. Little did I know, how I would fall in love with this beautiful part of Italy - mi sono veramente innamorata della Calabria! Mille Grazie La Signora Giulia, Vincenzo, Stefania, Vittoria e tutti la Famiglia! :-)


CONFLENTI
Conflenti after sunset
Calabria is said to be the undiscovered South of Italy, and you can really feel it. Right on the toe of the Italian boot, and only separated from Sicily by the Street of Messina - in fact, in some places Sicily looks so close, you feel you could just swim over there - it is so natural and beautiful, and not at all overrun by tourists. It's where many Italians spend their vacation, especially around 15th August, Ferragosto (from 'Feriae Augusti' the holidays of the emperor Augustus), that also coincides with the Catholic Holiday of the Assumption of Mary. With processions of the Madonna, pilgrimages, fireworks, and many  festivities that go on until end of August.

5 September 2016

RAINBOW CHARD POTATO FRITTATA

RAINBOW CHARD POTATO FRITTATA

Rainbow chards have a hypnotizing effect on me. I see them, and I have to put them into my shopping basket. They are just so pretty, and I have to have them, and decorate my house with them. It doesn't come as a surprise to some, meanwhile I have a record of putting vegetables into vases, as table centre pieces, such as Roman artichokes, to go with artichoke dinner, with matching artichoke napkins. Yes, I know that makes me sound really weird... or over the top... or maybe just appreciative of nature's beauties - well, that will be my excuse then ;-)

RAINBOW CHARD POTATO FRITTATA

But just look at them, aren't they just sooo pretty! I think they deserve to be cherished - especially as a centre piece! :-)

RAINBOW CHARD POTATO FRITTATA

I think I know what it is. As a child (not sure anything has changed though...) I had a passionate liking for colourful pencils and crayons, especially arranged in a box in the colours of a rainbow, and these stems to me are no different. Like veggie crayons that need me to draw with them. Just look at my SWISS CHARD CAKE - hopelessly lost. But are you seriously not itching to give them a go? If not, I will definitely not come to play with you! :-)

25 August 2016

ALMOND-CRISPED NECTARINES

ALMOND-CRISPED NECTARINES

Soft, warm, creamy, sweet-sour nectarines, topped with an almond-sweet crunch, accompanied by a dollop of sweetened Greek yogurt or Crème Fraîche to add some tartness, a dollop of whipped cream, or a spoonful of vanilla ice cream, if you like it sweet. I need nothing with mine. Easy and fast to put together, and handy if you have nectarines in need to be used up, but with an incredible WOW factor - the perfect summer pudding. 

10 August 2016

KUMATO TOMATO, ANCHOVIES AND FETA SALAD

KUMATO TOMATO, ANCHOVIES AND FETA SALAD

Pungent, tasty, meaty anchovies, paired with salty, tangy, soft Feta cheese, on a bed of sweet, juicy and crunchy tomatoes, flavoured with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a dusting of oregano. The simplest of salads, put together in literally minutes, but full of flavour, colour and texture. I used Kumato tomatoes, not just for their flavour and texture, but also their red-brown-green colour makes the dish look more interesting, I think. 

11 July 2016

LENTIL, RICE AND KALE STUFFED PEPPERS, WITH TOMATO SAUCE

LENTIL, RICE AND KALE STUFFED PEPPERS WITH TOMATO SAUCE

Don't you just luuuv stuffed peppers! Well, if you are my age, I bet, you do :-). They are without doubt one of my favourite childhood dishes. They bring back memories of hot summers in Austria: garden, ping pong table, badminton, old lopsided wooden shack, 'Tante Finni' hiding in neighbour's garden... and... paddling pool. Just big enough to provide some cool and lots of entertainment for us girls (well once you were finished filling it with buckets and buckets of hot water to take the edge off the cold from the garden hose), and most definitely big enough to create a big mess on the grass at the end of the day - what fun!