Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Beer Battered Veggies

Had this on my mind for a long time, and finally whipped up a beer batter and
fried some veggies!

It's a pretty straightforward recipe,
but I'll write it down here anyway, just in case you need a not too healthy snack idea...

first, the batter:

-1 egg (stirred)
-1 cup of beer (any kind you like)
- 1 1/4 cup of flour
- 2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon of oil

The seasoning doesn't really matter, you can use something else if you like,
just remember to add salt if that's not in your seasoning already.
Also, you can start by stirring in 1 cup of flour, then add enough extra flour so your batter
is slightly thicker than a pancake batter.

Now, an unappetizing batter picture for your viewing pleasure:

Second step would be to cut your veggies and heat your oil.
I used sunflower oil.
Don't have a thermometer, so I waited until I figured the oil would be hot enough,
and then tested it by dropping a little piece of vegetable into the oil,
if it sizzles and bubbles, then you're good to go!

Make sure you've cut all your veggies before you start, 
also, have a colander ready, with kitchen paper, so you have a place to let
your vegetables rest after the deep frying.

First, I did a test run with halved white button mushrooms and
thick rings of red onion;
this is what I got after about 4 minutes:

Next up was my "real" batch of beer battered vegetables,
it's three slices of eggplant at the top left, 4 slices of zucchini at the bottom left
and again a small pile of white button mushrooms (cut in half).

Btw: the sauce (in both pictures) is a mixture of 3 tablespoons of mayo, 1 tablespoon of ketchup, 
some cognac and some salt and pepper.
This was a nice sauce, but any sauce would do of course,
just make sure you have some sauce for dipping!

Oh, and btw number two:
Next time I'll definitely make more onion rings and eggplant slices, those were the best!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chicken Kung Pao

This dish can be thrown together quickly...
it reheats rather well..
and it can be adjusted to your liking...
what more do you want?

well, a tasty dish of course, but that is taken care of

You'll need:

- chicken, cubed (300 grams)
- red bell pepper (I used two really small ones)
- red onion (I used two really small ones)
- garlic (1 clove, chopped up)
- dry red peppers (about 5, halved, seeds thrown away)
- szechuan peppercorns, a teaspoon (or oil infused with these peppercorns)
- 3 green onions, sliced into large pieces
- peanuts (unsalted) many as you like
- dark soy sauce
- dry sherry
- sesame oil
- corn starch
- brown sugar
and white rice to serve this with!

Let's begin with making the marinade for the chicken and the sauce for the dish:

2 teaspoons of dark soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of dry sherry, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil and 
2 teaspoons of corn starch.

2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of dry sherry and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar


Give them both a stir, then use the marinade for the chicken,
it doesn't need a long time, but try to give it at least 30 minutes to marinade

In the mean time, you can prepare the vegetables:

Next, heat up some oil and bake the chicken until it's nearly done

take the chicken out of the pan, and heat up a new bit of oil in the pan 
(if extra oil is needed),
then fry the dries red peppers and szechuan peppercorns in it.
next time I'm going to use oil infused with the peppercorns, as I do not particularly fancy the strong flavour when the actual peppercorns are in the dish,
it's up to you to decide what you like for yourself

Then, add the onion, bell pepper and garlic, stir it all around on high heat!
When they're to your liking, add the sauce, heat the dish well and keep stirring.

When it's done, add back the chicken and add the green onions and the peanuts:

Give it some more heat and a good stir,
and then it's ready to be plated, in my case with white rice
bon appetite!

Quick Portobello Lunch (or appetizer)

This is an easy and tasty recipe that can serve as 
a lunch or as a (large) appetizer.

per person, you'll need:
- 1 (not too big) portobello
- 1 small/medium red onion
- 0,5 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of pine nuts
- 1 piece of goats cheese (about 18 grams/0.65 ounces)
- 1 square of puff pastry
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- black pepper (to taste)

and 1 egg to make an egg wash for the puff pastry

made some really bad pictures, so you got to trust me that this 
indeed tastes really great ;-)

Anyway, chop up the onion(s) heat up the oil and slowly soften the onion in the oil.
Roast the pine nuts and add them to the onions, then add the sugar and the balsamic vinegar
and stir it all while on medium heat, let the vinegar evaporate (don't worry, it will not end up
as sour as it smells...that's the acid escaping your pan)
When the liquid is syrupy, turn of the heat and add a bit of ground black pepper.

Remove the stalk from the portobello and fill the mushroom with the onion mixture.
Put the goats cheese on top with a little extra ground black pepper, and let it cool down a bit while you defrost the puff pastry.
Also, preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius.

When the puff pastry is defrosted, the oven is heated and the onion mixture is cooled down,
wrap the top of the portobello with the puff pastry and use the egg wash to make sure
it comes out of the oven nice and shiny after 20 minutes:

Hope you'll like it as much as I did! :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Babi Ketjap

A very quick and simple thing to make is Babi Ketjap. 

This is what you need:

500 grams lean pork meat (I used a fricandeau)
-1 or 2 bell peppers
-2 red onions
-1/2 red chilli pepper
-1 clove of garlic
-5 tablespoons of ketjap manis
-2 tablespoons of (rice)vinegar
-2 tablespoons of oil (and 4 more to bake the meat in)
-1 tablespoon of djahe (ginger-powder)
-1 teaspoon of ketoembar (coriander-powder)
-1 teaspoon of djinten (cumin-powder)
-1 or 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
-2 teaspoons of sambal manis
cornstarch and/or water and/or salt as needed

Dice up the meat and marinade it in the ketjap, vinegar, oil, djahe, ketoembar and djinten.
(Preferably do this in the morning and put it in the fridge...or make it about an hour or (at least) half an hour before you want to eat)

Next, dice the bell pepper(s), onions, red chili pepper and garlic.
Heat oil in a large pan, and bake the meat on high heat (try to add as little liquid from the marinade as possible, but do keep the liquid for later use!)

When the meat is done, stir in the brown sugar, sambal and the vegetables.
Bake for another few minutes, then add the marinade to the pan.
bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for a while (5 - 10 minutes).
(add a bit of extra water if it's too dry...but the marinade should normally be enough)

Give it a taste, 
add salt if needed.
Finally, bind the sauce with some cornstarch,
and serve it with rice (and additional vegetables if you like).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Jerusalem Artichoke Salad

First time using Jerusalem artichokes here, so ...
I pretty much threw stuff together and made a nice salad with them!

Peeling them is remarkably easy:

I baked them in the oven, after covering the slices with salt, pepper and oil:
that took 40 minutes at 200 degrees time, I'll bake them in a pan,
as i'm sure they'll turn out even better!

Made a dressing with:
- small diced red onion
-lemon zest
-lemon juice

And dressed a nice salad of escarole endive with that, 
including sliced radishes and baby roma tomatoes

Finished it with toasted walnuts,
the baked jerusalem artichokes,
and some grated pecorino romano!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rice Cube "Temari Sushi"

They're not really sushi, as they're made with non-sour jasmin rice
and they're not really temari, as they're square,
but whatever!

I've got myself a rice cube:

If you do not own one of these, just use a piece of cling wrap and
shape your rice like you shape temari sushi,
at least your pieces will be round ;-)

Now, this is what I used for what I made today:

- jasmin rice (for 1 person) 
- 3 sticks of surimi
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon of mayonaise
- 1 teaspoon of sriracha
- 1 teaspoon of okonomiyaki sauce
- 1 green onion
- rice seasoning (nori flakes, sesame seeds, etc.)
- salt

Apart from the rice, everything else is optional and swappable...just make whatever you like and make it all to your taste (for example, I'm planning avocado, smoked salmon and a mayo/horseradish topping for next time)

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package (mix in rice seasoning when half of the rice is used),

cut/mash the surimi and mix it with the mayonaise and sriracha,

and last but not least, mix the egg with some salt and scramble it.

Now, assemble the cubes:

I used plain jasmin rice and scrambled eggs, topped with okonomiyaki sauce and green onions
the other half are seasoned rice, topped with the surimi mixture.

Jasmin rice is nice and sticky, so they felt just like ordinary sushi,
they didn't fall apart, even when picked up with chopsticks

a nice and festive rice option for weekday dinners, I think!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Red Braised Bean Curd Sticks

I made an unofficial version of a "red braised" thing, as I lacked star anise and a cinnamon stick, but I made up for it with a pinch of 5-spice-powder (I think)

Anyway, here's my first time cooking Dried Bean Curd Sticks!
They look rather tasty inside their package and smell like fish food when you open the package, but I just needed to know what they would be liked when prepared;
luckily, I was not disappointed!

- Half a package of dried bean curd sticks
- 2 tbsp oil

- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce

- 1" piece fresh ginger, rough sliced
- ¼ teaspoon of 5 spice powder
- ½ red spanish pepper (chopped)
- water (hot)

- salt, and sugar to taste
- 1 scallion, minced

First rehydrate the dried bean curd sticks as instructed on the package. 
Then drain the bean curd sticks and cut them into 1 bite size pieces
(throw away any parts that did not soften)

Heat the oil in wok, add sugar, stir and caramelize until brown. 

Add the bean curd pieces, the wine or sherry , the dark and light soy sauce, ginger, red pepper, 5-spice-powder, and water about halfway up the bean curd. 

Bring to a boil, then braise for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, reducing the liquid to a slightly viscous sauce. 

Add salt and sugar to taste.

Top with minced scallions and serve with rice and green veggies
(for example, with white rice and broccoli…picture sadly not included)

I really liked them,
even after all the rehydrating and cooking, they were nice and chewy!
(in a pleasant way)

if you've never prepared dried bean curd sticks, I recommend you try them at least once so you know what they're like.

yum ;-)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Quick, spicy, sweet and fresh sandwich

this is a really nice dinner that can be assembled quickly, 
with a maximum amount of taste!

First, stir together the components for 
a fresh garlic sauce:

- 3 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
- 1,5 tablespoon of mayonaise
- 1 clove of garlic (chopped)

then chop 1 cm thick slices of your red cabbage and place them in an oven dish

make the marinade:

- 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of ras-el-hanout

give it a good stir and brush the marinade on the slices of
red cabbage, then place the oven dish
in a preheated oven (200 degrees Celcius) for 25 minutes

in the mean time, cube one chickenbreast per person,
and bake it in a little olive oil.
When the chicken is done, stir in some sambal.

Then assemble the sandwich,
start with the bread,
add some garlic sauce,
the spicy grilled red cabbage,
then the hot chicken pieces,
some more garlic sauce,
and the final piece of bread!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar

A surprisingly tasty recipe;
especially if you grew up hating brussel sprouts, you got to try this.

- brussel sprouts (150 grams per person)
- red onion (1 per person)
- balsamic vinegar (2-3 tablespoons per person)
- oil
- salt
- pepper

This recipe can easily be scaled up to the number of people joining for dinner, however, you must be able to spread the brussel sprouts in your oven so there's just a single layer.

Start with cleaning and quartering the sprouts, then toss them in an oven dish with oil, salt and pepper.
Stick them in a preheated (450F) oven, for 15 minutes. In the mean time, cut your onions (not too small, you don't want them to burn). 

Add the onion to the sprouts, toss it well and spread it all out once again. 

Then let it all sit in the oven for another 15 minutes.

You do want to keep an eye on it, as it might take 5 minutes more or less cooking time (depending on the size of the sprouts and your oven)

When it's done, sprinkle the balsamic vinegar over it and toss it wel. Add some extra salt and pepper to taste.

Great with a couple of baked potatoes with sour creme and spring onions! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Haloumi-Veggie Burgers

These burgers are adapted from a Gordon Ramsay recipe. He adds loads of different fresh green herbs, but I just used what was in the house....which happened to be a block of haloumi cheese! 
It had been laying in the fridge for two months I think. 
So it was a perfect opportunity to give it a try.

for two burgers, I grated :
- haloumi cheese (appromimately 100 grams)
- zucchini (same amount, by volume)
- carrot (same amount, by volume)

It's important to use the same (course) grater on all three ingredients!
The grated carrot and zucchini go into a colander. Sprinkle them with salt and give it some time (5-10 minutes).

In the mean time, cut:
- 1 or 2 spring onions
- half a red pepper
-a piece of ginger

The red pepper and ginger go into a little bowl, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and sugar, then add rice wine vinegar and a bit of olive oil...give it a stir.

Now it's time to squeeze every last drop of liquid out of the carrot and zucchini...use both of your hands and make sure it's as dry as it can be, otherwise the burgers will fall apart.

When you're done, add the veggies to the grated haloumi, give it a quick stir, 

then add:
- 1 whisked egg
- about 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

Mix this up well and shape it into 2 burger patties.
Put it in your fridge for half an hour, so the patties get a little bit firmer before baking.

After that, drizzle some oil in a pan, gently add the patties and bake them on medium heat until both sides are a nice golden brown.

After plating them, scoop some of the red pepper and ginger out of the bowl (not the liquid) and lay it on top of the burgers for an extra kick.

Eat it with a nice green salad, 
or with couscous and grilled vegetables like I did.