Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Salad of beetroot and fresh herbs from our garden

We live in the city, so we only have a small garden, which we are very fortunate to have! Last year we redesigned it so we would have enough space to eat, sit and play on our terrace. We also wanted to have plenty of flowers in the garden, so at first there was no more space for a vegetable garden.
Both my son and I were a little disappointed by that, so in March we bought a big planter and got out our unused terracotta pots. We planted some vegetable seeds and plants as well as lots of herbs. And of course, strawberries for the kids. It is the first time we have vegetables in our garden, what a joy it is to pick something out of your garden and put it right onto your own plate.

So this weekend we went out in the rain and picked two beetroots and a lot of fresh herbs out of our own garden to make this great salad by Yotam Ottolenghi, my ultimate favourite author of vegetable dishes and salads. How cool is that! The salad was delicious, it had a good and fresh bite from the raw beetroot (I never knew you could eat it raw.. but I've never been a fan of beetroot before), a nice little punch from the chiliflakes and lots of flavour from all the different kinds of herbs. The mixture of textures with the raw beetroot, nuts, seeds and leaves was also very pleasant. Mmmh, my mouth is watering again... And besides all of that, the salad is also a beauty!

We ate the salad as a sidedish next to a simple butter-baked trout and some potatoes, but the salad definitely was the star of the evening.

Salad of beetroot and fresh herbs from our garden
Salade van rauwe biet en kruiden
Plenty More, page 21
Author Yotam Ottolenghi

Ingredients for 2p
2 raw beetroot
3 spoons of slivered almonds
1 spoon of sesame seed
4 spoons of pumpkin seeds
2-3 hands of basil leaves (torn)
1 hand of parsley
1 hand of dill
1 hand of cilantroleaves
Leaves of a small branchlet of tarragon
1 teaspoon of dried chili flakes
Zest of 1 organic lemon
3 spoons of lemonjuice
75ml of a nice olive oil
Salt & black pepper

Peel and slice the beetroot into small strips. Roast the slivered almonds, pumpkin and sesame seeds for a few minutes in a pan (or oven) untill they are slightly browned. Let it cool.

Mix the beetroot, most of the fresh herbs, chili flakes and lemonzest in a big bowl. Add most of the nuts & seeds, lemonjuice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix it all, put it in a nice deep plate and garnish with the extra herbs and seeds. (I put dill flowers on top, to finish it off nicely)

Score: 5 out of 5
Tip: I like the seeds and nuts better when panfried. Ottolenghi advises to eat the salad next to grilled lamb or fat fish, I think that would make a better combi.
Time: 20-30 minutes, most of the time will be spent by cutting and gathering the herbs, so timing depends mostly on your speed. If you are fast, probably you could make it in less than 10 minutes.
Degree of difficulty: Easy
Amount of work vs waiting: All work
Ideal for: Side dish, salad, lunchmeal

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Moroccan Saddle of Lamb with Pomegranate Couscous

It was a beautiful Dutch summer evening, nice and warm, with a jentle breeze of cooler air blowing through the garden. These evenings are rare but precious, they last long and make for lovely nights sitting outside, enjoying pleasurable conversations with a good glass of wine and a luscious plate of food.

I was lucky to have already been doing groceries for a recipe I found in the Delicious. I had bought earlier this week. It had a lot of inspiring recipe's, but since it has been a long time since we've been eating lamb my eye fell on a lambchop recipe with pomegranate. Pomegranate is one of my favourite ingredients, when I have plenty of time to cook. When opened up, the seeds look like jewels, so pretty! And they have this nice fresh-sweet taste, that enlivens many savoury dishes. The only adverse of pomegranates is that it takes me ages to get all the seeds out. Maybe I'm not doing it the right way, but I often spent at least ten minutes or more to get all the little jewels out without mixing it with the inbetween whites.

Luscious our plate of food was!

Moroccan Saddle of Lamb with Pomegranate Couscous
Lamskoteletjes met granaatappel op z'n marokkaans
Delicious. augustus 2015, page 32
Author Valli Little

Ingredients for 2p (or more)
4 Saddles of lamb
2 Spoons of ras el hanout (moroccan spice-mix)
80ml Olive oil
200g Couscous
Zest of 1 organic lemon
1 pinch of salt
150ml chickenstock
60ml molasses of pomegranate
1 Spoonful of sugar
A bit of aluminium foil
1 handfull of freshly roasted and chopped pistachios
1 (or more) hands of freshly chopped mintleaves
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
2 teaspoons of rosewater

Mix 1 1/2 spoons of the ras el hanout with most of the olive oil, and mix with the saddles of lamb. Put it aside for 30 minutes.
Roast and chop the pistacchios. Take the seeds out of the pomegranate. Grate the lemonzest. Boile some water.
Mix the couscous, lemonzest, salt and the rest of the ras el hanout. Add 250ml of boiling water, cover with a dishcloth and put aside for 5 minutes.
Mix the stock, pomegranate molasses and sugar on a low fire and leave it on untill you have a slightly viscous fluid.
Fry the saddles of lamb on a grillplate, bbq or in an ordinary frying pan for 2 minutes each side and put aside, loosely packed in aluminium foil.
Stirr the couscous with a fork, add most of the pistachios, mint and pomegranate seeds.
Pour the juice of the lamb in the sauce, add the rosewater and the last spoon of olive oil.
Plate your couscous, put the lamb on top and finish with the sauce, and the extra mint, pistachios and pomegranateseeds.

Score: 4 out of 5
Tip: Nice change of taste for lamb, couscous also nice as a salad without the lamb. Could use more vegetables/herbs.
Time: Original recipe 25min + waiting for 30 minutes. It took me about 50 minutes, because a lot of the waiting time can be used for the preparation of the other components.
Degree of difficulty: Moderate
Amount of work vs waiting: Continuous work during waiting time
Ideal for: Romantic dinner, main course at a small dinner party, bbq

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sausage with a soursweet onion-ale marmelade

Yesterday the kids were quite tired, so the little one had an extra afternoon nap and the oldest sat half asleep in front of the TV. Time for some cooking.....!
Since it is holidayseason and I have a little bit more time at home, I thought ahead and bought for the first time in ages a cooking magazine from where I selected some dishes to cook this week.
In the prekids era, I used to buy these kinds of magazines at least ones a month. Also my bookshelves are full of cookbooks, so really, if I were to cook all of the recipes I've collected in all those years, I'm not even sure I would have sufficient time left...
But there is something about those culinary books and magazines that it keeps me wanting more and more. Maybe it is the gorgeous pictures and lay-out, I don't know, but they have a strong appeal on me.

So, as I said before, it has been a long time since I last bought a food magazine, so for my first try-out recipe I sought out something easy and tasty, something that would appeal to all the members of my family. (That's quite difficult, but I'll write about that some other day)
I wanted to be able to make this meal with two children screaming and hanging around (or on) my legs, as cookingtime usually is a difficult time for the kids. But, this time I was lucky with my little (half)sleepers. It isn't the most attractive food to look at, but it tastes great!


But I must admit, it would have been easily done with two children in my hair, and it was delicious, it will therefore be not the last time this sauce was cooked at this house!
I will no longer hold you in suspence, here it comes...
As always I adjust recipes a little to my liking, so ingredients and workways may differ from the original recipe to which I refer.

Sausage with soursweet onion-ale marmelade
Broodjes worst van de bbq met bier-uienmarmelade
Delicious. augustus 2015, page 44
Author Valli Little

Ingredients for 4p.
Olive oil 50 ml
2-3 Onion, sliced in thin rings
Pinch of salt
Half a bottle of dark ale
Spoonful of butter
40 Gram of sugar
1 Spoonful of redwine vinegar
4 Sausages (pork)
4 Crispy breads (I used bake-off German breads)
4 Spoons of Groninger musterd (or whatever you have available)
Lettuce, rucola or watercress

Heat the oil in the frying pan at medium high. Slowly bake the onion goldenbrown with a good pinch of salt (about 30 minutes). If you are not precooking the sauce, now would be a good time to put your sausages (if they are as big as mine) in another frying pan. Pour the ale in the pan and reduce by half (5-10 minutes). Add butter, sugar and vinegar and let it reduce to a dark, sticky sauce. Put aside, this you can make the prior evening or during kid's naptime.
Now, you can either light up the bbq as the original recipe said, or you can just put your sausages in another frying pan, like I did. That is, if you haven't got them in your pan already... Also heat up the oven, if you have to bake-off your bread.
Cut the breads and grill them if you want. Put as much musterd as you like on both sides of the bread, add lettuce/rucola or watercress, put in the sausage and add a good heap of your onionsauce. It's delicious!!!

Score: 4 out of 5 for the sauce
Tips: I liked it best with rucola
Time: Original recipe 45min; it took me: Sauce only 45 minutes, whole dish 50-60 minutes
Degree of difficulty: Easy
Amount of work vs waiting: Low
Ideal for: Simple family dinner, BBQ-party's