Apples with custard (Appeltjes onder een deken)

I decided to participate in another foodblog event. I especially liked this one, because I have an excuse to use this delicious and typical Dutch dessert. The event was started by Raven's blog (which is a very nice blog to check out).
I never had this dessert before I met my boyfriend. It is one of his favorite desserts of his childhood and it is perfect on a cold winter night.
One other advantage of making this is that I once again get to try to make custard. I never seemed able to do it. Maybe it is because of my impatience or just that I never get it right. But I managed this time! Not perfect yet, but I found the method that works for me.

Ingredients (2 persons)

2 apples (I used Elstar)
3-4 tbsp raisins
2 tsp sugar
pinch of cinnamon
300 ml milk
200 ml whipping cream
5 egg yolks
60 g sugar
1 tsp cornflour

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Peel the apples and remove the core. Mix the raisins with the sugar and cinnamon. Fill the apples with this mixture and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the custard. Heat the milk. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornflour together.
When the milk is at the boil add the mixture to the eggs. Put the mixture in a clean pan and heat on low heat. Keep on stirring until the custard thickens, but do not let it boil.
When the apples are done put them on a plate and pour the custard over the apples.


Autumn Dinner

Sometimes it is a little boring to be just cooking for myself or my bf. Especially when I received a wonderfool cookbook: My favorite ingredients by Skye Gyngell. I have already read the book three times and enjoyed both the beautiful pictures as well as the wonderful recipes. I picked out three recipes from this book that are perfect for the season and produced this dinner for my family:

Sweet-and-sour pumpkin with roasted tomatoes and mozzarella

Steak with hazelnut-orange picada with rösti and endive

Pear stewed in Marsala

The absolute winner of this dinner was the pumpkin. If you want to impress your guests, this is the recipe you should make:

1 small Butternut Squash, 1,5 kilo (I used a different kind that also gives a sweeter taste), cut into small wedges
220 g sugar
200 ml red wine vinegar
1 bottle of white wine, (750 ml)
small bunch of thyme
3 laurel leaves
1 chili pepper

Put al the ingredients except the pumpkin into a pan and bring to the boil. Put the pumpkin wedges into the pan and let slowly simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on the pan. The pumpkin should be cooked but still firm. Let it cool down to room temperature in the syrop before serving. 


Pumpkin-Kale stew with lentils

I noticed that I tend to make a lot of dishes with meat. Considering the name of my blog it is a bit contradicting. So I needed to do something about it. I grew up with the idea that no dinner is complete unless you have some kind of meat in it. And I more and more come to realize that this is absolutely not true. I always loved vegetables and there are so many delicious ways to combine them without adding meat. This stew is one surprising dish. The addition of lentils made it very nutritious and the flavors are wonderful. The ideal meal on a cold winter night.
Since the dish was a succes I decided to submit it to the foodblog event My Legume Love Affair. This months host is Simona and the event was started already three years ago by Susan. I found out about the event by coincidence because one of the blogs I follow participated. It was great fun to make this dish and I am definitely going to participate more often!

Ingredients(4 persons):

1 pumpkin of about 1 kilo, peeled and cut into cubes (2x2cm)
250 g kale
1 can of lentils, drained
1 lemon, skin grated and juice squeezed
1 large onion, coarsly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 can tomatoes
pinch of clove powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
olive oil

Heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the onion, garlic, pumpkin and kale. Bake for about 7 minutes the vegetables have softened.
Add the lemon zest, juice, tomatoes, clove powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Fill the empty can of tomatoes with hot water and add to the stew. Bring to the boil and stew for 30 minutes.
Add the lentils in the last 7 minutes.
Serve with flatbread.


Brasato al Chianti

As my previous post this is an Italian recipe and I think many Italian recipes will follow. First of all because it is my favorite cuisine and second of all because my housemate lended me The Silver Spoon. It is an amazing book that gives me constant inspiration and an urge to keep on cooking. And that is what I am doing. I even woke at 8 in the morning on sunday to make this stew! And it was worth it!

Ingredients (2-3 persons)

500 g beef
1 onion, minced
1 carrot, sliced
1 can of tomatoes (only 3 tomatoes not the sauce)
1 tbsp of tomato paste
100 ml red wine (I used chianti, but another full-bodied red wine will also do)
100-150 ml beef stock
1 bay leaf
25 g of butter
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion and carrot. Let slowly simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the beef and bake until brown.
Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and add the red wine. Cook on medium heat until the wine has reduced by half.
Add tomatoes and squash them. Add the tomato paste, beefstock and bay leave. Stir well.
Let it simmer for 1,5 hour.
Serve with grilled polenta.

Eggplant Risotto

I often eat vegetarian dishes, but I haven't yet posted a recipe here. So for this post I decided to make a vegetarian dish with my favorite vegetable. And currently my favorite vegetable is eggplant. I don't like the word eggplant; it does not do justice to this beautiful, soft, slightly sweet vegetable. I much prefer the Dutch or French name aubergine. Anyway, not that it matters; back to the recipe. I choose this because it is so simple and quick to make and still very tasty. Moreover it is comfort food and that is exactly what I needed last friday. The recipe is for 2 portions or 1 if you eat as much of it as I did!


1 eggplant, diced
750 ml vegetable stock
175 g risotto rice
1 clove of garlic, minced
100 g mozzarella, diced
dried oregano
olive oil

Heat the vegetable stock.
Heat some olive oil in a sauce pan and add the garlic. Bake for a minute and add the eggplant. Bake for just a minute and add some pepper and oregano to taste. I added about a tbsp.
Add te rice and cook for a minute or two.
Add a laddle of stock and wait until the rice has absorped all the liquid before you add another laddle. Keep stirring the risotto with a wooden spoon to prevent burning. Continue in this way. This will take about 20-25 minutes.
At the end add the mozzarella and serve immediately.


Zucchini-feta pie

Last week I celebrated my birthday. My friends gave me the perfect birthday gift: a giftcard to spent at a kookwinkel (no idea how to properly translate that: a shop for kitchen appliances and tableware and cookbooks etc.).
So I bought Gizzie's Kitchen magic by Gizzi Erskine. A couple of months ago I read an article about this book and attached were two recipes that I really liked. Unfortunately these are also the best recipes from the book; so I am a little disappointed.
However, it contains some useful tips and inspirations. All in all, I am oke with it.
There is a pie recipe in the book with smoked salmon. Below it is a tip for a vegetarian variety with courgette and feta. That sounded nice and I decided to make it but I added some bacon. I must say a very successful pie!

But there pops up a small problem when making a pie: The crust. Pastry not always works for me and I do not like it that much. My mom sometimes makes quiche with puff pastry as a crust. which I like much better. In Gizzi's book there is a recipe for fake puff pastry, which is easier and faster to make than pastry and yields an amazing result. Ofcourse use a ready made crust if you are in a hurry!


Fake puff pastry:

225 g flour
1/2 tsp salt
170 g unsalted butter
120 ml icecold water


1 zucchini, cut into pieces (for my Dutch friends: dit is een courgette)
100 g feta, crumbled
1 red union, cut into wedges
225 g bacon strips
100 ml white wine
150 ml crème fraîche
3 eggs
fresh mint leaves

The most important thing for the dough is that the butter is cold and the water is cold. I cut the butter through the flour but you can also grate the butter. As long as you work fast so that the butter does not melt. 
Add the water and mix it well. Flour a work surface and dump the dough on it and form it into a ball. 
Roll out the dough into a rectangle and fold 1/3 over the middle and 1/3 over that. 
Cover with foil and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or when needed.
Roll the dough out onto a floured surface. Make sure it is large enough for a 17cm diameter cake tin. Gently push the dough into the form and cut away excess dough.

Preheat the oven to 170°C
Bake bacon strips for 5 minutes on medium heat and add the red union wedges. Bake for another 5 minutes. Let it cool a bit.
Divide the zucchini over the pastry. Add the bacon and union and divide the feta over this mixture.
Whisk wine, crème fraîche and eggs together. Add some pepper and salt and some fresh mint leaves. 
Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Eat the pie warm or cold!


Chocolate Mousse

As long as I can remember I am a fan of chocolate mousse. It has always been my favorite dessert. But I haven't always been very succesfull in making it. But I guess I had the wrong recipes. This recipe gives a great result and is so easy to make! And it is also fast if you do not count the washing up...


120 g of dark chocolate
6 eggs

Melt the chocolate au bain marie. Occasionally stir.
Split the eggs. While the chocolate is melting whisk the eggwhites until stiff.
Add chocolate to the egg yolks and mix well. Add 1/4 of the whites to the chocolate mixture and carefully combine.
Add this mixture to the rest of the whites and gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate. Transfer the mousse to a bowl or small serving bowls (whatever you like) and put in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.


Gnocchi with butter tomato sauce

I have never had gnocchi before, but somehow I was reading here and there about it and decided that I would take the challenge. I am little fearful of making my own pasta, since it has never worked out. Too dry, too moist, not cooked and so on. But gnocchi is a little different and I found a nice video about how to do it.
It did work out much better than my own pasta, but there is room for improvement. Especially the shaping ofcourse (as you can see). Plus I only used the few good ones for the picture. In general they were too moist.

Note that the recipe for the gnocchi is for 8 persons. After cooking your gnocchi you can freeze them. Freezed gnocchi should be cooked for about 6 to 7 minutes.

It was also the first time I made this kind of tomato sauce. And I must say I am a fan. It is absolutely delicious (although maybe not too healthy). I am going to try this in more varieties!


Gnocchi (8 portions):

1 kg of potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
200 grams flour

Butter tomatosauce (4 portions):

Two cans of tomatoes
70 grams of butter
salt, pepper
Handful of fresh basil (optional)
Gran padano cheese

Cook the potatoes with skin. I had 4 pretty large potatoes that I let boil for about 35 minutes.

Then make the tomatosauce. Put the cans of tomatoes in a saucepan and squash the tomatoes. Add the butter and some salt and pepper and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the basil at the end.

When the potatoes are done, peel them while they are still hot. Use a tea towel to handle them. Then squash the potatoes and make sure that there are no lumps left. Add the egg and stir very well to keep the egg from cooking since the potatoes are still hot.

Add 150 g of flour to this mixture and stir well until everything is combined. Flour your workspace with the leftover flour. Knead your dough for a minute.
For shaping your dough into a real gnocchi I refer to this video: Making Gnocchi

One tip I did not use but should have is that your gnocchi should not be sticky but soft. So don't be afraid to add more flour if your dough is still too sticky.

Now you can boil them in water for about 2 minutes (they are ready when they come to the surface).
Put some gnocchi on a plate and add the tomatosauce. Finish with some gran padano. Truly delicious!