4 November 2014
Curried rice, smokey flaked fish, boiled egg, butter, parsley and lemon juice. Not the usual ingredients to cross my mind first thing in the morning, but all living together in perfect harmony in this Anglo-Indian breakfast dish called Kedgeree. According to Wikipedia, Kedgeree is an extended version of Khichri, an Indian dish made with rice and beans or rice and lentils. During Indian Colonial times the British added smokey fish and eggs, and Kedgeree was born - and also easier to pronounce, I guess ;-) Indeed they liked it so much that they brought it back all the way to Victorian England, where it was served as a posh breakfast.The smoked haddock is definitely the big star of this dish, and the moment you start to poach it, the kitchen starts to fill with the most beautiful smokey buttery perfume, setting the scene for what's to come... Unfortunately it's tricky to find it here in Brussels in the shops, but there's a great fishmonger on Place Flagey at the weekend market, and he tends to stock it. I love its loud yellow-orange colour; it just looks and tastes so
25 October 2014
Tender turkey and meltingly soft courgettes in a creamy, tangy, paprika-flavoured sauce, served on a bed of steaming hot Fusilli pasta, also known as: Comfort Food! Well, I guess it depends on your idea of comfort food. Leaving the obvious chocolate aside, for some that may be sweet, rich, creamy, sugar-loaded puddings, cakes and snacks. For others a meaty, salty, umami-flavoured, rich, carbo-hydrated savoury treat; the soul-warming stew on a cold winters night (or the slice of salami all year long, any time of day!). For some it's the comfort of being cooked for, for others the pieces they secretly steal from the cooking pots of those cooking for them, making sure not to be caught and told off. For some it's getting a take-away dinner, for others it's being taken away for dinner. For some it's something that brings back memories, of home, of old times, a bit of nostalgia. For others it's a plate of food in solitude, on their lap, in front of the television - peace at last. It's the dot on the i for the happy, and the medicine for the unhappy. For some it's
31 August 2014
Galette - sugar-crystal-studded crunchy pastry crust, wrapped around meltingly soft, marzipan-perfumed, sweet-sour, juicy fruit... cake-heaven! And all put together in no time and with little effort. Galette has catapulted itself in record time to the top of our List-of-Favourite-Cakes, pushing even BLUSH APPLE TATIN (recipe to follow) off its high pedestal. Since final discovery last year (am I always last to catch on???) we have had so many and just don't seem to get bored with them.
17 June 2014
Tortilla, or Spanish Omelette - one of the best pantry foods in my book; and this version with additional artichokes and rosemary is quite irresistible! Not that Spanish Omelette was at all in any need of improvement, but with the artichokes adding freshness, crunchiness, and superb flavour, and the rosemary a distinct piney perfume, this one's a real keeper. It's delicious fresh out of the pan, slightly cooled to room-temperature, but also cold straight from the fridge. You can eat it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, as appetizer or dinner (or at any time in between, straight from the fridge, when you feel peckish...). There is literally no temperature at which, and no time of day when, you cannot eat Spanish Omelette. And if you have managed to keep some for the next day you will find it's even nicer, as all the aromas had time to infuse the potatoes and eggs.
13 June 2014
Japan meets Italy meets Ireland: Home-made Japanese Matcha Tea Ice-cream 'drowned' in Italian Espresso and Baileys Irish Cream. Affogato is our current favourite dessert. Not just because it's so easy and fast to make; not because we usually have all the ingredients at home; but because it's the perfect all-in-one after dinner treat... :-)
The original Affogato (= italian for 'drowned') al Caffè is made with vanilla ice-cream, or Tartufo Nero (chocolate-flavoured), or Tartufo Bianco (vanilla-flavoured), a ball of ice-cream shaped like a truffle, and a shot of espresso. But I have drowned many different ice creams, and as long as they are milk- or cream-based they work.
8 June 2014
These flower-like mini potato cakes are lovely. They are really tasty and look so pretty on the plate. They are relatively fast and extremely easy to make and are great for dinner parties, as they can be prepared ahead, pre-baked and then put back in the oven to brown and crisp up before serving. Based on the classic French potato dish 'Pommes Anna', or Anna Potatoes, where thin slices of potatoes, seasoned with salt and pepper and coated with melted butter are layered inside a round baking dish or ovenproof pan, these smaller versions, flavoured with thyme-seasoned butter, are a little more elaborate, as they are layered and baked inside muffin cups.
27 May 2014
Juicy, pink, tender roasted pork filet with a wonderful honey-thyme aroma. This dish is extremely fast and easy to make, has surprisingly few ingredients, but tastes absolutely scrumptious, which in my book makes it a perfect dish.
The thyme and honey work so well together, with the sweetness of the honey being perfectly offset by the thyme, seasoning, stock and the pork, leaving just the right balance of flavours in the dish. You would be surprised by how little sweetness is actually left at the end, versus the beautiful taste and aroma that develops during the short cooking time.
17 May 2014
Imagine Baklava but without the sicklish-sweet stickiness (yes, I know, nothing wrong with that!)... Imagine APFELSTRUDEL, but laid out flat, so that every layer of pastry turns into crispy magic. Imagine sheets of precious, thin, crunchy, buttery filo pastry between layers of sugary cinnamon-scented nuts and breadcrumbs.
And a little fruit with every bite... In other words: apple-filo-cake-heaven... and our latest addiction... :-)
9 May 2014
'Gratin Dauphinois' is a regional dish from Dauphiné, a historic region in the south-east of France. In its original version, the gratin is made with thinly sliced, uncooked, starchy potatoes and cream. (But no cheese!) A shallow gratin dish is rubbed with garlic halves for flavour, and then buttered. The potatoes are layered inside the dish, overlapping, like fish scales (But still no cheese!) The seasoned cream is added on top, and the dish is baked in the oven until soft and creamy, and with the typical beautiful golden-brown crust on top. (And not a gram of cheese in sight!)
So if you want to call your gratin 'Gratin Dauphinois', then make sure to leave that cheese away! But as for me, I like mine with and without cheese, so there you have it: 'Gratin Dauphinois WITHANDWITHOUT cheese'! Sorry dear people of Dauphiné! I add cheese depending on my mood, or the dish I serve the gratin with: meat, lamb or fish, lean or rich. Furthermore, I use waxy or starchy potatoes, simply depending on which ones I have at home at the time. But I do stick to the one rule to use uncooked potatoes.
25 January 2014
In Austria we like to eat hot sweet dishes for lunch, such as 'Kaiserschmarren' [literally translated as 'emperor's nonsense' or 'emperor's mess', but in culinary terms meaning a thick sweet pancake laced with rum-drunken raisins, and torn into bite-size pieces - yum!]. 'Grießschmarren' [more 'semolina-raisin nonsense' baked in the oven :-) ], 'Palatschinken' [thin, large pan cakes], 'Topfenknödel' [quark dumplings], or 'Obstknödel' [fruit dumplings], just to name a few. These would be preceded or followed by a soup. With a lot of 'Sweet-Tooths' in my family, this has always been a popular lunch combination at my parents' home. The soups can be 'Rindsuppe' [beef soup], with various garnishes, such as 'Leberknödel' [liver dumplings], 'Grießnockerl', [semolina dumplings), 'Fritatten' [thinly sliced 'Palatschinken'], 'Suppennudeln' [soup noodles] - oh the lovely 'Sternchensuppe' [soup with tiny star-shape noodles] or 'Buchstabensuppe' [alphabet noodle soup], that we were writing our names on the side of our plates with as girls - actually I still can't resist doing that now :-). Or the more hearty, thick varieties such as 'Gulaschsuppe' [Goulash soup], 'Gemuesesuppe' [vegetable soup], the list is long, hot and steamy. And of course, one of my favourites, the 'Bohnscharlsuppe' [bean soup].
7 January 2014
Crunchy, slightly sweet and pungent, with a subtle hint of dill, anise or liquorice. With the latter not exactly one of my favourites, I never used to cook with fresh fennel, except for using fennel seeds in my regular SOURDOUGH BREAD, where they add fantastic flavour, be it ground in the crumb or as crunchy seeds in the crust. Until I discovered this recipe...
The combination of fennel, curry, and the additional spices is fantastic and overrides that pungent liquorice taste, creating a beautifully scented and tasty vegetable. And the fennel looks so beautiful with its blossom-like shape, making it a star on any dining table.