Creamy lamb’s lettuce soup with carrot and ginger vinaigrette

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Last time when Mr. T and I went away on a short trip, I came across a recipe with lamb’s lettuce. Of course I didn’t have all ingredients at the apartment when I wanted to cook it. But I managed to cook a very tasty soup changing the recipe to this one below. I also didn’t have any backdrops, probs or photo equipment with me so excuse the IPhone picture in this post!

Creamy lamb’s lettuce soup with carrot and ginger vinaigrette 

For the vinaigrette

1 carrot, sliced with a peeler and cut into short strips 

1 red onion, finely chopped

3 cm ginger, finely chopped

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper 

For the white beans

1 can white beans, drained

2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1-2 tbsp olive oil

For the soup

3 tbsp rape seed oil

1 white onion, chopped

300g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

100ml Noilly Prat (or white wine)

500ml vegetable stock

150g lamb’s lettuce, washed and drained

200ml double cream

salt, pepper

Mix all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a bowl and set aside to marinate.

In a small pan fry the beans with the garlic and rosemary over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Sauté the onions with the oil in a big pan for 3 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and sauté for another 5 minutes. Pour in the Noilly Prat, cook until half has evaporated. Add the vegetable stock and cook 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add the double cream, bring to boil and fold in the lamb’s lettuce. Take off the heat and blend with a hand blender or in a food processor. Season the soup with salt and pepper. To serve fill the soup in either bowls or deep plates, add some beans in the middle and drizzle the vinaigrette over.

Bon Appetit 

Homemade granola

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Homemade granola

250g spelt oats

200g almonds, chopped

100g sunflower seeds

100g pumpkin seeds

50g line seeds

50g hemp seeds

1-2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 pinch sea salt

30g cacao nibs ( optional )

5 tbsp grape seed oil

Preheat the oven 175 degree fan

Take a big mixing bowl and add all the ingredients. Mix well until all is coated with the oil. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. You might want to bake it a bit longer, but be aware if you over do it, the granola will taste burnt.

Once the granola is completely cool store it in a airtight container. You can add fresh fruit to your morning bowl. I love mine with blueberries. 

 

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Pickled gherkins

 

B8ABAA5C-B25C-49DD-8181-041266133AEEPickled gherkins 

Since years I have wanted to pickle my own gherkins, but never got around to it. Last week when the thermometer reached 35 degrees I eventually did it!

20 small firm pickling gherkins

5-6 750ml jars

for the brine:

500ml vinegar (10%)

2,5l water

1 handful salt

250g sugar

spices for each jar:

1-2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

1 medium onion, cut in quarters or sliced

1 dill flower

2-3 tbsp dill finely chopped

6 pepper corns

2  whole allspice

1/4 bay leaf

Heat the ingredients for the brine in a big pot and bring to the boil. Set aside and cool completely.

Wash the gherkins with cold water using a soft brush to clean them well. Dry them and pack the gherkins tightly into the jars. Add the spices to each of the jars and pour the cold brine over. The liquid must cover the gherkins. Screw the lids on. Take a very big pot which can hold all the jars. Place a kitchen towel at the bottom, arrange all the jars in the pot standing upright. Now fill cold water into the pot until the water reaches half way up the bottom row of glasses. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Store in a cool place and let them marinate for 6 weeks before eating them.

 

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Griddled Quesadillas with kidney beans

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I am a little annoyed with myself, as I do not post my recipes often enough on this blog. The reason is very simple I love cooking but I DON’T  like writing. Today I came opon  a blog where there are no stories, just the recipes and 2 or 3 photos. I myself tend to scroll down to the recipe, very often skipping the text before, so I decided I’ll try something new on my blog: Hardly any text, recipe as short as possible and only a few photos. Hopefully this will mean more recipes for you to find here and to try out. Let’s see how it works.

Recently I tried out a recipe from the magazin Slowly Veggie. It was so delishoius that I want to share it here with you.

Griddled Quesadillas with kidney beans

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. white vine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 can red kidney beans, slightly mashes with a fork

good pinch of paprika

salt, pepper

75g cheddar cheese, grated

200g cherry tomatoes, cut in slices

2 spring onions, fine slices

small bunch coriander, chopped

8 tortilla wraps

Marinate the onion in white wine for 10 minutes. Mix the mashed kidney beans with the onions, garlic, chilli, paprika and season to taste.

Spread some bean paste over half of each tortilla, arrange some tomatoes and spring onions on the beans and sprinkle with cheese. Fold over and griddle on each side for 2 minutes or until golden brown in a hot, dry pan.

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Bulgur salad with preserved lemon chicken

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One of my favourite grains is bulgur. I always have at least 1 bag at home. Mainly I use it in salads, combining it with all sorts of vegetables. Recently I bought very juicy Medjool dates while shopping and once back home I had to decide what exactly I wanted to use them for. It took only a few minutes brainstorming to come up with the following recipe. Since then I have made this recipe a couple of times. Hope you will find it as tasty as I do.

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Bulgur salad with preserved lemon chicken

250g bulgur

500g vegetable broth

1 red onion, halved and sliced

6 Medjool dates, stone removed, cut into long stripes

100g pine nuts or chopped pistachios

1 garlic, finely chopped

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 heaped tbsp harissa paste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil, for drizzling 

For the chicken breast:

2 skinless chicken breasts

4 garlic, crushed and chopped

1 big preserved lemon or 2-3 small ones, chopped

1 pack coriander, chopped (including stems), keep some leaves aside for decoration 

Lemon juice, to taste

100ml olive oil, for marinating 

First marinate the chicken breasts. Put all the ingredients for the chicken including the chicken breasts into a large freezer bag. Let most of the air out and close the bag with a knot. Now massage the chicken with the oil, lemons, garlic and coriander. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180C fan.

Bring the bulgur with the vegetable broth to a boil and simmer with a lid on, over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Transfer to a big bowl and use a fork to fluff it up.

For the salad, fry the nuts in a dry pan until they turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them and shake frequently so they don’t get burned. Once done, put them into a bowl and set aside. Use the same pan putting 2-3 tbsp of olive oil into it and sweat the onions with a pinch of salt over a medium heat until soft. Add the chopped garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine vinegar. Tip the onions, dates, pistachios and the harissa paste into the bulgur and mix well.

Use the same pan to fry the chicken with all the marinade, both sides 3 minutes then transfer all of it onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Place the chicken onto a plate to rest, while mixing the marinate into the bulgur salad. Season to tase with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Divide the salad between two plates. Cut the chicken into slices and lay on top of the salad. Drizzle with some olive oil, decorate with the leftover coriander and serve. I like to eat my portion with plain yoghurt on the side.

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Instead of putting the chicken on top, you can cut the chicken into smaller pieces and mix it under the salad.

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It’s also very tasty without any chicken!

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Apple Strudel my way

 

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A few weeks ago I met a friend in town and we went to a restaurant. The main course was really nice but the dessert was something very special. It was an apricot strudel with tonka bean flavoured ice cream and custard. The inside of the strudel wasn’t normal either, I could taste a kind of marzipan flavour throughout. It had rough chopped almonds in it as well. I went home and on the train I immediately decided I had to bake a strudel just like that one. As usual, there wasn’t any time right away to sit down with pen and paper (yes old school) and write down some recipes ideas. Eventually I did sit down however, to write down two recipe ideas. Instead of apricots I also decided to go for apples as they are currently in season. On the first try, the strudel turned out nice, but didn’t taste quite right in comparison to the one I had at the restaurant. The second recipe however, was bang on!  That’s the recipe I want to share with you now – and trust me, it’s so good I have made it twice since then!

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Apple strudel for two

60g butter

30g sugar

1 egg

1/2 tbsp flour

1 tsp cornflour 

Pinch of cinnamon 

20g ground almonds

35g chopped almonds

1/2 apple peeled and diced

2 sheets filo pastry, folded in half

2 pie dishes 10cm, greased with oil

Cream butter and sugar until pale. Add egg, flours and cinnamon and mix well. Fold in the ground almonds, chopped almonds and the diced apples.

Line each pie dish with one folded sheet of filo brick. Divide the filling in half and fill into the prepared pie dishes. Bush the overlapping pastry with oil on the inside then fold it over the filling, tucking the edges into the sides of the pie form. Brush with some oil and bake in a preheated oven at 180℃ for 20 minutes or until golden brown. 

The strudel can be served warm or cold. Dust with icing sugar and serve with vanilla custard.

 

Buon Appetite!

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Homemade Cheesecake

 

598C8BE7-327C-467D-BED7-D9E26D386141When I went food shopping for the weekend it was already past lunch time, I was still hungry and craving a coffee & a piece of cake. While strolling through the isles all I could think of was what kind of cake I would like and which one would be quick to make. There are two cakes I vividly remember from my childhood. One is a Bundt cake that every family member got as a birthaday cake while the other one is my grandmas famous cheesecake. After those two popped into my head, I instantly knew I wanted a slice of the cheesecake, I could already taste it. I also knew that Mr. T and child #1 would be more then happy to share a slice or 3!

German cheesecake dates back to 1598 and there are many different recipes – and believe me when I say I’ve tried a lot of them. I have to say however, this one is still my favourite one. I decided to make a smaller version so I halved the original recipe and used an 18cm loose bottom cake tin. As I have also been trying to reduce sugar as much as possible over the past 4 years, I only used half the amount of sugar the original recipe called for.

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Homemade Cheesecake 

500g Quark

63g butter, room temperature

175g sugar (90g if you want to eat less sugar)

2 eggs, egg yolks in one bowl, egg whites in another

1 sachet Bird’s instant custard (or Dr. Oetker’s original Pudding or 37g corn starch)

1 vanilla pod, seeds only

1 tbsp semolina (some more for dusting)

1 tsp baking powder

1 lemon, juice and zest

Heat the oven 180C/160 fan/gas6. Grease the cake tin and dust with semolina, make sure the sides are covered too. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form and set aside. Take the bowl with the egg yolks, add all other ingredients and mix well. Now fold in the egg whites and mix well. Fill the cake tin evenly and put into the oven on the lowest shelf. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

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Delicious – my cravings had been satisfied. It did turn out however that making the smaller version wasn’t the best idea afterall… Child #1 complained the pieces were far too small.

Warming winter soup

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I just came back from a fantastic round trip in Italy. Driving through Tuscany, Amalfi Coast and Umbria, I had so many delicious meals, that I got inspired to cook a typical Umbrian soup: Zuppa di legumi. The weather here is getting cooler each day and I am longing to go back to Italy to soak up more sun, but instead I’m standing in my kitchen and cook hearty Italian food to share the recipes with you.

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Warming winter soup

500g mixed dried pulses ( red, green, yellow and brown lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas, butter beans,cannellini beans, borlotti beans)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

200g smoked streaky bacon, diced

1 carrot, chopped

1 leek, sliced in thin rings

3 sprigs rosemary, chopped

5 medium tomatoes ,  hopped

5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

4 tbsp olive oil

1,5 liter vegetable stock

salt, pepper

rind of Parmesan, approx. 2-3 cm thick

Heat the olive oil in a big pan, add the garlic, carrots, leek, bacon and rosemary and cook gently for about 10 minutes. Add the pulses, tomatoes, Parmesan rind and the stock, bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add the potatoes  and simmer for further 30 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.

 

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Coleslaw with a twist

Coleslaw with a twist

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It is a bank holiday weekend and I have been home alone for 5 days. Technically I am not alone, our dog is with me. However child #2 has already started uni, child #1 is still on vacation and Mr T is on a business trip in Japan. I always think about food and I am always hungry and it’s even worse when I am just slightly bored (fact from a very good friend – she must know!) So in between searching our cupboards for my next snack, I have so far cooked home made potato salad with cod fillet (my moms recipe), a vegetarian curry with chickpeas and spinach (from scratch of course), and two little chocolate cakes that are to die for.

Today is Sunday, the fridge is almost empty, and I am craving coleslaw for dinner. All that’s left is 5 carrots, 2 yellow peppers, 2 turkey breast fillets that are already fried, and of course the usual store cupboard ingredients, like mayonnaise (always Heinz), mustard, milk and a pot of creme fraiche. So I walked into the kitchen closely followed by our dog, who is always hoping for something to fall off the chopping board. Only 10 minutes later I had created something extremely delicious – And that’s how Coleslaw with a twist was born.

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Coleslaw with a twist

400g carrots, peeled and grated

2 yellow peppers, deseeded and sliced

1 bunch chive, finely chopped

For the sauce:

3 tbsp good quality mayonnaise (I always use Heinz)

3 tbsp Crème fraîche

1 tsp mustard

1-2 tbsp milk

1 tsp white vinegar

Salt and pepper

 

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In a bowl, mix the grated carrots and sliced peppers and set aside. In a separate bowl combine all the ingredients for the sauce and mix well. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and add the chopped chive. Toss until well combined. Season to taste.

I served my coleslaw with sausages, but you can use chicken, turkey breast filet or just a slice of home made bread as well.

 

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Red Thai curry paste

Thai red curry paste

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Some of you have asked me if I quit posting after just starting…No worries I am still here, ready to cook and post. The reason for not posting: I have been on a fabulous family holiday to various destinations in Asia. We started in Singapore, followed by Vietnam and then to Thailand, Bangkok and Koh Samui. I have seen so many great things and took thousands of photos, but this is not a travel blog, it is all about food. And yes, we had the most delicious food in all of the places. While being in Koh Samui we did a tour around the island with a guide and at the very end she showed us how to make authentic red Thai curry paste. There are plenty of different recipes for curry paste, each family has their own. I took some photos while she was making the paste and this is the recipe I will share with you.

 Thai red curry paste

2 tbsp dry red little chillies

3 shallots, sliced

6  cloves garlic

1 tbsp sliced lemongrass

1 tbsp sliced galangal

5 cm turmeric root, sliced

3 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

1 tbsp black pepper corns

1 tsp salt

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Put all ingredients into a mortar and start pounding with the pestle until you have a fine paste.

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You can use this paste now to make your Thai red curry. Heat some oil in a pot add 1 tbsp of the paste and fry for 1-2 minutes. Stir in 1 can of coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Cut 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into pieces, add into the sauce and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until fully cooked. Season with salt, or even better with fish sauce, and a bit of sugar. Serve with steamed rice.

You can freeze the leftover paste for up to 2 months.