Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My favourite chicken

I'm picky about my chicken.
For years I only ate chicken breasts, but finally one day I realized that chicken breasts are dry as paper. Neither do they taste much unless you marinate them in something that does.
So I switched to tights. Chicken tights, that is. With skin!

Not only is the meat juicier and holds more taste, I believe this meat is healthier for me too. It makes me happy to eat chicken tights, and being happy is good for my health. My mental health, that is. And everyone knows that ones mental health is important for ones physical health.
See where I'm going?
Since I switched to chicken tights I haven't looked back but I'm back at loving chicken.

I like my chicken baked. I like the meat juicy and the skin crispy.

This is how I make my favourite chicken:

1 chicken tight per person
canola oil
1-2 teaspoons of soy sauce
a pinch of paprika

Preheat oven to 350F.

Drizzle some oil into an oven proof pan to prevent the chicken to burn.
Then brush chicken with canola oil.(Just enought to coat it lightly).

Place the chicken tights in an oven proof pan. Lightly sprinkle soy sauce over chicken tights. (I will use 1-2 teaspoons per chicken tight)

Then you sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of paprika over the tights. (I use the paprika more for colour than for taste in this recipe).

Place on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until done.
Turn the oven off and let the chicken rest in the still hot oven for 5 minutes before you serve it.

I usually serve this chicken with cheese filled tortellini or rice, with a salad on the side.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Navratan Korma missing two ingredients...

So, I got home from work the other day and I was so hungry I could hardly wait to get dinner ready.

I made this really tasty Navratan Korma but alas, I was so hungry I completely forgot to add the peas and the nuts at the end *LOL*.

Anyways, it tasted great still but next time I will add all the ingredients. And for the record, this dish is so good it will definitely go into my regular file.

This is an Indian vegetable korma with nuts, paneer cheese, and an adjustable list of vegetables. It is in a tomato-cream sauce as opposed to the usual yogurt based sauce.
I didn't find paneer cheese so I substituted it with regular cottage cheese.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil,
1/3 cup nuts, chopped (you can mix cashews,
pistachios, almonds)
1 medium onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1 (8 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup water
1 T raisins
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup chopped potatoes
4 ounces paneer, cubed (Or use cottage cheese)
3/4 cup coconut milk
salt to taste

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir onion into the skillet, and cook until tender. Mix in garlic paste and ginger paste, and cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce, cayenne pepper, turmeric, coriander, and garam masala. Pour in water, and mix in raisins, carrots, cauliflower and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
2. Heat remaining oil in a separate skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the paneer on both sides, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place in a bowl with enough hot water to cover for about 2 minutes to soften, then stir into the skillet with the vegetables.
3. If you don't have paneer cheese, add cottage cheese straight to the skillet.
Stir coconut milk into the skillet with the vegetables. Add frozen peas. Bring to a boil, and continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Sprinkle nuts on top and serve with rice, salad and naan bread.

Friday, September 5, 2008

100 vegetarian foods that everyone should eat at least once.

I'm not a vegetarian by any means, but I am definitely a listmanian.
Here's my score:

1. Real macaroni and cheese, made from scratch and baked
2. Tabouleh
3. Freshly baked bread, straight from the oven (preferably with homemade strawberry jam)
4. Fresh figs
5. Fresh pomegranate
6. Indian dal of any sort

7. Imam bayildi
8. Pressed spiced Chinese tofu
9. Freshly made hummus
10. Tahini
11. Kimchi
12. Miso
13. Falafel
14. Potato and pea filled samosas
15. Homemade yogurt

16. Muhammara
17. Brie en croute
18. Spanikopita
19. Fresh, vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes
20. Insalata caprese
21. Stir-fried greens (gai lan, bok choi, pea shoots, kale, chard or collards)
22. Freshly made salsa
23. Freshly made guacamole
24. Creme brulee
25. Fava beans
26. Chinese cold sesame peanut noodles
27. Fattoush
28. New potatoes
29. Coleslaw
30. Ratatouille
31. Baba ganoush
32. Winter squash
33. Roasted beets
34. Baked sweet potatoes

35. Plantains
36. Chocolate truffles
37. Garlic mashed potatoes
38. Fresh water chestnuts
39. Steel cut oats
40. Quinoa
41. Grilled portabello mushrooms
42. Chipotle en adobo
43. Stone ground whole grain cornmeal

44. Freshly made corn or wheat tortillas
45. Frittata
46. Basil pesto
47. Roasted garlic
48. Raita of any type
49. Mango lassi
50. Jasmine rice (white or brown)
51. Thai vegetarian coconut milk curry
52. Pumpkin in any form other than pie

53. Fresh apple pear or plum gallette
54. Quince in any form
55. Escarole, endive or arugula
56. Sprouts other than mung bean

57. Naturally brewed soy sauce
58. Dried shiitake mushrooms
59. Unusually colored vegetables (purple cauliflower, blue potatoes, chocolate bell peppers…)
60. Fresh peach ice cream
61. Chevre
62. Medjool dates

63. Kheer
64. Flourless chocolate cake
65. Grilled corn on the cob
66. Black bean (or any other bean) vegetarian chili

67. Tempeh
68. Seitan or wheat gluten
69. Gorgonzola or any other blue veined cheese
70. Sweet potato fries
71. Homemade au gratin potatoes
72. Cream of asparagus soup
73. Artichoke-Parmesan dip
74. Mushroom risotto

75. Fermented black beans
76. Garlic scapes
77. Fresh new baby peas
78. Kalamata olives

79. Preserved lemons
80. Fried green tomatoes
81. Chinese scallion pancakes
82. Cheese souffle
83. Fried apples
84. Homemade frijoles refritos
85. Pasta fagiole
86. Macadamia nuts in any form
87. Paw paw in any form
88. Grilled cheese sandwich of any kind
89. Paneer cheese

90. Ma Po Tofu (vegetarian style–no pork!)
91. Fresh pasta in any form
92. Grilled leeks, scallions or ramps

93. Green papaya salad
94. Baked grain and vegetable stuffed tomatoes
95. Pickled ginger

96. Methi greens
97. Aloo paratha
98. Kedgeree (the original Indian version without the smoked fish, not the British version with fish)
99. Okra
100. Roasted brussels sprouts

Read more here:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Stale bread with tomatoes....or Panzanella if you want.

The Italians have an amazing way of making the most boring food taste like it was made to please your palate. Take stale bread, for instance. Most of us will throw away the last slices of three days old bread. Not in Italy. Not only do they transfer it into something new, they even dare to call it a salad. Or Panzanella, if you want.
I love this dish but make sure you use day old bread and the best tomatoes you can buy. It makes all the difference!

4 slives of stale bread, cut into cubes
1 T garlig oil
4 T canola oil

1/2 red onion, sliced paper thin
1 lb tomatoes, cubed*
1/2 cucubmer, cubed
fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

4 T canola oil
1 T balsamic vinegar

Preheat ove to 300F.
Place cubes bread in an oven proof dish.
Mix 4T canola oil and 1T garlic oil in a small cup. Sprinkle oil over bread and toss gently afterwards. Let the bread dry in the oven for about an hour. Let cool.

Mixt the ingredients for the dressing in a cup.
Then mix tomatoes, cucubmer and onion in a large bowl. Add the dried bread cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle the dressing over the bread and vegetables. Sprinkle basil leaves ontop and toss lightly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm still picking chanterelles...

I have found this wonderful place in the forest behind my house.
It's a little opening between the trees, and the ground is covered in orange, meaty and delicious chenterelles.
I call it my heaven.
I have lost count on how many pounds I have picked so far. Most of them are already in the freezer, but last night - after another hunt for the forest gold - I sauteed some of the mushrooms in REAL butter and ate them with brown rice.
It was so good, I decided I deserved a little treat. You know, I had picked the mushrooms, cleaned them and sauteed them, of course I deserved a treat.
So I opened a bottle of Chardonnay white wine and poured myself a glass.
I am pretty sure, at least about 99 percent sure, I would pick last nights chanterelle dinner over any ice cream.
Yup.....pretty sure!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'll never grow tired of pasta salads

There is nothing fancy about pasta salads.
But if you ask me, I think that the community of pasta salads haven't gotten the credit they deserve. They are often a great way to add more vegetables to the table and if you don't use too much dressing, it's actually healthy too.

But, this blog is not about health, it's all about taste.
This pasta salad is one of the few I've had that doesn't use a vinaigrette, but a yogurt dressing. The yogurt adds a zing to this dish that makes the pasta less boring.
You can basically add whatever vegetables you want to this salad, but do not omit the spring onions, the cashew nuts or the rucola. Those three ingredients are definitely necessary for the flavor.

To make this pasta salad, you'll need:

1/4 pounds of pasta (any short pasta will do)
4-5 spring onions
1 cup champignon mushrooms
8-10 red cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of green asparagus
3 tablespoons unsalted cashew nuts
a handful of rucola
2 tablespoons of canola oil

For the dressing:

1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
1 tablespoon chili sauce (I used Heinz chili sauce)
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of sweet paprika powder
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

Chop the spring onions, quarter the champignoins and cut the asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of canola oil in a pan. Add the onions, the asparagus and mushrooms. Saute over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Add tomatoes and cashew nuts and saute for another 5-6 minutes.

Drain the pasta in a lolander. Mix the sauteed vegetables with the pasta in a big bowl. Add half of the rucola and the salad dressing. Mix well. Sprinkle the rest of the rucola on top just before serving.

The good, the bad and the still not tried

I love it when people create interaction on the net.
One of my favourite occupations lately, is reading peoples Omnivore's 100 (aka food lists) at

Here's how it works:

The Omnivore’s Hundred
Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.
Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

Eva's Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison

2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dark and sinfully sweet honey cake

I don't eat a lot of sweets. I'm more into salty foods.
This honey cake though, is an exception.
The sweet honey, combined with spices and almonds, are totally orgasmic. (If there is such a word.)
Also, once baked, this cake can be wrapped in aluminum foil and plastic wrap and it will keep in the fridge for weeks. Not that the expiration date is a problem in this house hold. The cake barely lasts a week, and we are talking a good week here.l

I bring this cake to family gatherings, to picknics or to work. It travels well and there is never a problem with leftovers.

This recipe comes from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman
Serves 8 to 10

3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark- think I tested with light)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whisky
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds

You can bake this cake in a 10-inch tube or bundt cake pan, a 9 x13-inch sheetpan, or three 8 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pans.

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Lightly grease the pan(s). For tube and angel food cake pans, line bottom with lightly greased parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Make a well in the center, and add the oil, honey, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee, orange juice and rye or whisky.
Using a strong wire whisk or electric mixer on slow speed, combine the ingredients well to make a thick batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom of the bowl.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top of the cake evenly with the almonds.
Bake until the cake springs back when you touch it gently in the center. For angel and tube cake pans, bake for 60 to 70 minutes; loaf cakes, 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet-style cakes, the baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.
This is a liquidy batter and, depending on your oven, it may need extra time. Cake should spring back when gently pressed.
Let the cake stand for 15 mintues before removing it from the pan. Then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: If you prefer not to use the whiskey, replace it with orange juice or coffee.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I think today is my lucky day

I took the dog for a walk this afternoon.

We went into the woods behind the house and I met a sweet older couple there, on their way home with a bucket full of freshly picked blueberries.

I told them I was looking for mushrooms and this sweet lady offered to show me a place where chanterelles grow.

I couldn't believe it! First of all, people usually don't share where you can find wild mushrooms. Second, the place she took me to was literally loaded with pretty chanterelles.

I picked six pounds before I had to call it a day and went straight home.
I cleaned them and washed them (I know some people are against rinsing mushrooms. I'm not one of them) and decided to give myself a treat.
It's really simple, but totally to die for. I toasted a slice of bread, sauteed some chanterelles in butter, as in REAL butter, gave it a sprinkle of salt and voila - one of my favourite dishes in the whole wide world!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vegetable Moussaka and a small problem

Lately we've had a tiny problem in this household.
You see, food keeps disappearing!
Not from the cupboards, but from the dinner table. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy that people enjoy my food, but today is the second time in a row I didn't manage to get a decent photo of a dish before it was gone. I managed to snatch a slice of aubergine with tomato and cheese and a spoon of sauce for todays picture but to be honest, this picture doesn't give full credit to this dish. Think silky smooth aubergine, sun ripe tomatoes, potatoes and white sauce, a little mustard and melted cheese on top.
Am I the only one drooling now?

Vegetable Moussaka

50g/2 oz green or brown lentils (I used red and it worked just fine.)
570ml/1 pint water
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
110g/¼lb mushrooms, wiped and chopped
2 - 3 tbsp tomato purée
2tsp dried oregano
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
350g/12 oz or 2 medium aubergines, washed and sliced
2 potatoes, scrubbed, boiled and sliced2 tomatoes, washed and sliced thickly

For the sauce:
20g/¾oz butter
1 tbsp flour
225ml/8fl oz milk
1 small egg
½ tsp mustard powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
75g/3oz grated cheddar cheese.

1. preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Pick the lentils over for sticks and stones, wash them thoroughly, then bring them to the boil in the water. Cover and simmer for 40 - 45 minutes or until they are soft.
3. When cooked, drain and reserve the liquid for stock.
4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic gently so that they remain translucent.
5. Then add the chopped mushrooms and cooked lentils and cook for a further few minutes, mixing well.
6. Remove the vegetables from the pan using a slotted spoon so that as much oil as possible is left in the frying pan.
7. Put the vegetables in a bowl and mix in a little stock, 2-3 tbsp of tomato puree and the oregano.
8. Season well with nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then add a further 2 tbsp of oil to the frying pan and fry the aubergine slices until soft, turning them over constantly. (You may need a little extra oil for this.)
9. Put the slices onto a piece of kitchen paper to drain and let them cool.
10. Grease a 1.75L/3pt ovenproof dish and put in a layer of lentil and mushroom mixture, then a layer of aubergines, then of potato and tomato slices.
11. Next make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook the roux for 2 - 3 minutes.
12. Pour on the milk and bring the sauce to the boil, stirring constantly.
13. Simmer for 5 minutes and then allow to cool.
14. Beat in the egg and season the sauce well with mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
15. Pour the sauce over the top of the casserole and sprinkle over the grated cheese.16. Bake for 40 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.
Serve piping hot.

(From BBC Food)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So, what's new in the world?

I just got back from vacation.

I spent four wonderful weeks with family and friends and I came home tanned, broke and a few pounds heavier than I was when I left. In other words, I've hade a great time!
I have hardly cooked in four weeks so by the time I came home I couldn't wait to get back into the kitchen.

Also, with the temperature dropping and the rain starting, I was craving comfort food (- as opposed to weeks og BBQ food and salads.)
I created this tasty cauliflower soup but, alas, my company loved it too. It was all gone before I had the time to take a picture of it. I'm so sorry.

I hope the picture of the beautiful sky can compensate a little for it.....I took it while on vacation and I love the dramatic light around the clouds.
Here's the recipe for the cauliflower soup:
2 heads of cauliflower, rinsed and cut into flower heads
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 quarts vegetable broth (equals 8 cups)
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt
a pinch of cayenne (I mean a really small pinch. The cauliflower is so delicate in taste the cayenne can easily overpower it.)
black pepper to taste
a small dash of heavy cream
Heat the vegetable broth in a large casserole. Add the vegetables, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the vegetables are soft (about 40 to 50 minutes).

Let the soup cool a little before you run it through the food processor - you might have to do this in a few batches depending on the size of your food processor.
Pour the soup back to the casserole, add heavy cream and bring back to a boil before you serve it.

I served this soup with garlic bread.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Spicy curry soup

I'm currently trying to incorporate more vegetables into my diet.
That said, I have grown slightly tired of the green leaf salad. Or most salads, actually. (And we are not half way through summer. Doh!)
So I have turned to soups.
I'll probably grow tired of soups by autumn, but then I can always go back to salads. Until then, this is a wonderful soup that will satisfy most people. Even dedicated meat eaters, I believe.

This soup is tasty, spicy, filling and healthy.
What more can you ask from a single soup?
I serve it with whole grain rolls and garlic butter. It's delicious!

2 carrots
2 spring onions
1/4 root celery
1 yellow onion
1 garlic clove
1 inch fresh ginger
1 green apple
2-3 tablespoons canola oil or other vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1/2 cup red lentils
1 15oz can coconut milk
2 quarts vegetable stock or vegetable bullion
juice from 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cube vegetables.
Peel and finely shred the ginger. Finely chop the garlic clove.
Peel and core apple. Cut it into cubes.

Heat the oil in a three quart casserole.
Saute vegetables and the apple cubes in oil for 2-3 minutes.
Add the spices, and saute for a couple of minutes more.
Add vegetable stock, coconut milk and lentils, and let boil for an hour.

Puree the soup in a food processor or with a hand held blender. (Make sure to keep the hand held blender well into the soup to avoid having it turn into a fiercy hot soupy vulcano.)

When pureed, add juice from 1/2 lime and salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


If you were to give only one shot at making home made salsa, this should be it.
I made it once and never turned back to the store bought kind.
It's good, it's hot and it only takes ten minutes to make.
(adapted from The cookbook critic)
Red Salsa
2 cups ( 5 large) diced ripe tomatoes
1 minced jalapeño pepper (use more or less depending to how hot you want the salsa)
2 chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 clove finely chopped or pressed garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp ketchup
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nigella's sesame peanut noodles

This recipe comes from Nigella Express.

It's fast and easy to make, and delicious both warm and cold. I make it for dinner one day and bring leftovers to lunch the next.
I usually use what vegetables I have.
Today I used some broccoli florets, sliced carrots, sugar snap peas, sliced spring onions and some sliced white cabbage. Use what you prefer, but for a start, here's Nigellas recipe with the vegetables she uses.

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon garlic-infused oil or 1 tablespoon oil and 1/3 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice

1-1/4 pounds cooked noodles, ( I use egg noodles)
2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed
1-1/2 cups snow peas, whole or cut in half or strips
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into small strips
2-4 scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Boil noodles according to package. (Let cool if you want to serve the salad cold.)
Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a bowl or small pitcher.
Mix the noodles, bean sprouts, snow peas, radishes, sliced red pepper and scallions into a bowl.
Pour over the dressing and mix thoroughly to coat everything well.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chicken curry

(photo by: Romulo Yanes)

This recipe is from Gourmet in January 2005.
It's the best curry recipe I have ever come across!
"In this recipe adapted from Charmaine Solomon's Complete Asian Cookbook, ground cashews thicken the curry and give it a rich, nutty flavor. Both roasted and raw cashews work well, so use whichever you prefer."
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 (3 1/2- to 4-lb) chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup cashews (1/4 lb)
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

Accompaniment: cooked basmati or jasmine rice
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro

Heat butter in a 5- to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides, then cook onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, including juice, and cilantro and bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Just before serving:Pulse cashews in a food processor or electric coffee/spice grinder until very finely ground, then add to curry along with yogurt and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.

Cooks' note:Curry, without yogurt and cashews, can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat over low heat before stirring in yogurt and ground cashews.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Potato salad for warm days

It's been too hot to cook lately.
But after several days of iced tea and salads, I started craving some real BBQ food.

I made grilled salmon, as salmon on the grill takes just a few blinks compared to a T-bone steak. (It was so hot I could hardly bare the thought of standing next to a hot grill!)

I served the salmon with potato salad and buttered corn. Not that buttered corn and salmon is a great combination (not by any stretch, really), but corn with butter is almost as good as chocolate, and have you ever heard anyone say that you can't serve chocolate with anything?
Because you can. ;-)

Anyways, here's the recipe for the potato salad:

2 pounds cooked potatoes, cooled and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sunflower oil
8 raddishes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

I usually boil the potatoes a day ahead. I keep them in the fridge overnight so they will 'set'.

Mix mustard, honey and lime juice in a bowl. Add the oil little by little while whisking all the time. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix cubed potatoes with the raddishes and onion in a separate bowl. Fold in the oil, mustard and honey dressing.
Sprinkle chopped oregano on top.

(If you want, you can add 8 slices of fried bacon to the salad. Fry the bacon and let it cool till room teperature. Chop the bacon roughly before adding it to the potato salad. NB! Watch the salt if you are using bacon. The bacon is salty and you will need a lot less salt in the dressing.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Green lava for salmon and trout

When I cook, I now and then stumble upon a perfect combination of tastes. Last time it happened was today.
I made baked salmon for dinner and served it with a pea sauce, and it was marvellous! This is definitely something I will make again.
The pea sauce is inspired from a cooking show with Nigella Lawson. She served this pea sauce with lamb (she also added some dry mint to it which I omitted for this recipe).
I decided to try and mix it with fish and it paired perfectly with baked salmon. Since salmon and trout share many of the same qualities, this delicate sauce goes with both.

I baked my salmon in aluminum foil in the oven (400F) for ten minutes. Before I baked it, I sprinkled my salmon with some fresh lemon juice, a little salt and fresh dill on top.

For the pea sauce, you will need the following ingredients:

1 garlic clove, peeled
1 to 2 cups of peas
2 tablespoons parmesan sauce
3 to 4 tablespoons creme fraiche (- or mascarpone cheese)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a couple of cups water in a pan. Add the peas and garlic clove, and cook until peas are done. (I used frozen peas so it only took a couple of minutes.)

Drain the peas and add all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend on high for a fev seconds, then scrape down the edges of the bowl with a spatula, add the lid and blend for a few seconds more.

I served the fish and pea sauce with baked potatoes and steamed asparagus (- asparagus being the vegetable of the season right now.)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tomato soup for cold days

After days of sunshine and warm weather, it turneed cold and wet today.
I was craving something to keep me warm, and nothing tastes better than a hearty, warm soup.
I started with a recipe from the Vegetarian Times, and after some twists and tweaks, this is what I ended up with:

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (about 1 tsp.)
12-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed, then roughly chopped
3 (8-oz) cans chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 buillion cube
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup macaroni

Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic and a little salt, and sautè for one minute more.
Add tomato paste to the onions. Stir well and make sure the onions are coated in the paste before you continue.
Stir in peppers, tomatoes, sugar, bullion and water thyme.
Simmer 20 minutes.
Transfer mixture to blender, and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer back to pot. add water and macaroni, and let boil fro about 10 minutes under a lid. Remove pot from plate and stir in heavy cream.
Serve while still hot.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is pie considered comfort food?

Having spent most of the last two weeks in bed (food poisoning, then the flu, followed by an angry bronchities, no less!) I was craving a home cooked meal once I got back on my feet.

As it happens, the magazine Country Homes and Interiors showed up in my mail box this day, featuring what looked like a good recipe for cheese and spinach pie.
As it also happens, I'm unable to follow a recipe to it's T, so after some alterations and tweaks, I ended up with a cheese, spinach and pine nut spanakopita, which is a Greek pie where the pie dough is made with olive oil rather than butter. (I changed it to canola oil. I told you I'm incapable of following a recipe! *LOL*)

Anyways, for the dough, this is what you'll need:

1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil or canola oil
1/2 cup milk (I use 2% but any milk will do!)
1 egg, beaten.

Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough. Cover bowl and refridgerate for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling, you will need:

2 tablespoons butter (the original recipe calls for olive oil, but I prefer butter in this case)
6 anchovy fillets, chopped (I forgot to add the anchovies, and the pie still tasted great. Add them if you like, or omit them if you can't stand anchovies)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 pound spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup double cream.
1 teaspoon dries thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts
dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat butter in a frying pan and add the anchovies, onion and garlic. Saute for five minutes, or until tender.
Add the spinach and saute for another couple of minutes.
Set aside.

Some people will say that you need to roll out any pie dough. This dough, on the contrary, is so flexible and easy to push out with your fingers, I just add a little dough at a time to the pie tin until the tin is covered. Make sure you let the dough sit all the way up the edges as it will shrink a little.

Pre-bake pie shell for about 10 minutes in the oven, or until lightly golden in colour.
Take the shell out of the oven, let rest for some minutes, then sprinkle dried bread crumbs on the bottom of the pie shell. The bread crumbs will soak up excess moisture and keep the pie shell dry.

Spread the onion and spinach mixture over the base, and sprinkle with cheese.
Mix the eggs and double cream. Rub the dried thyme between your palms to get out more flavour out of the dry herb before you add it to the egg and cream mixture. Add salt and pepper, and pour the mixture into the base. Sprinkle with pine nuts, and bake the pie the oven for 20 minutes, or until the filling is set.

Serve with a green salad on the side.

This pie will serve four hungry people!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Breakfast for a busy bee

This is an easy, tasty and healthy breakfast when you are in a hurry. Or for fruit lovers like myself.

I make a fruit salad from fruits I already have in the house, like apples, pears, banana, kiwi, pineapple, melon, strawberries and grapes.
I top the fruit salad with Greek yogurt or yogurt naturel, and top it with nuts. I used hazel nuts here.

If you want, you can sprinkle some honey on top, but the sweetness from the fruit usually does it for me.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Salmon and rice with vegetables in pita bread

Leftover rice is a common problem with a simple solution. Mix with vegetables, add meat or fish and dump into a pita bread. Voila, dinner!

Here's what I had for dinner today:

1 cup leftover rice
2 spring onions, finely sliced
6 champignon mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 salmon fillet, cubed
1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 pita breads
6 to 8 tablespoons tatziki (-Greek yoghurt sauce with garlic and cucumber)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat pita breads for 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil or other vegetable oil in a skillet.
Saute spring onions and mushrooms for a couple of minutes. Add frozen peas and cubed salmon. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until salmon is almost cooked through. Add leftover rice and soy sauce. Gently stir the ingredients together, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Slice pita breads in half, add the salmon and rice filling. Top with tatziki and serve while still hot.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ciabatta sandwich on the grill

What do you do when friends show up un-announced for lunch?
(To their excuse, they were already in my neighborhood and *I* was the one who invited them in for lunch.)

So, having almost nothing in my pantry, this is what I ended up serving them: Grilled, open sandwiches and tea. And believe it or not, it tasted REALLY good.

To serve four people, you need:

4 Ciabattas, split in half
garlic butter
8 slices of tomato
some fresh oregano sprigs
semi hard cheese, like Gouda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread garlic butter on every ciabatta half. Place a tomato slice on each, place a couple of oregano sprigs on top of the tomato, and top with sliced cheese.
Grill in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

I didn't have any garlic butter, so I made my own:

Garlic butter
1/4 pound soft butter (room temperature)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Mix all ingredients well.
This butter will keep for a week in the fridge.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vegetable pita sandwich

Last year I bought three beautiful bikinis on sale. They are the prettiest bikinis I've ever owned!
The only problem is, they are one size too small. Or rather, they are in the size *I* should be! *LOL*

With summer just around the corner, I have decided to loose the extra pounds, because I really want to get into these bikinis. Not because I love using bikinis. I don't think I have used one since 1993!
But I love a challenge, and I think that exercising and eating more healthy will be good for me.

This morning, I made myself a vegetable pita that tasted wonderful. It was an easy start on the "new" me!

Vegetable pita sandwich

1 pita bread
5 to 6 slices of cucumber
1 medium tomato, sliced
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
2 to 3 tablespoons tatziki (Greek yogurt sauce).

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan. Transfer to a small bowl or plate when done.

Toast the pita bread in a hot oven or a toaster. When done, cut the top of the pita almost off, and fill it with sliced vegetables, toasted pine nuts and tatziki.

You can buy tatziki at most stores, but it's easy to make your own:

2 cups Greek yoghurt OR make your own from regular plain yoghurt
(put plain yogurt in a big coffee filter in a big strainer/colander, set it in the fridge and next morning it has drained off the water and is wonderful and thick like Greek yogurt)

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)

Sprinkle the chopped cucumber with a generous pinch of sea salt and let it drain for a few minutes Avoid using a food processor to chop the cucumber since it will then have to be drained in a strainer)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Keep in the refrigerator until served.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


At least once a month I make Paella, the Spanish dish that started out as a poor man's fare but are now one of the regions most popular dishes. Why? Because just smelling the paella cooking makes me feel good. Eating it afterwards is even better! I think, hands down, that this Paella is one of the very few things that can make me forget about chocolate. It is actually that good.
I wrote down the recipe from a TV-show long time ago. What show it was, I no longer remember. But, as with all recipes, this one is also best when shared.


2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika powder
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika powder
1 teaspoon saffron
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cup rice (Calisparra rice or Arborio rice)
2 quart bullion
3 oz Choritzo (a Spanish sausage), roughly chopped
1 pound cubed fish and/or other seafood like shrimp, lobster and crab meat.
1/2 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste

This dish is best prepared in a large paella pan, alternatively a large wok.

Fill a small casserole with water and bring to a boil. Cut a cross on the opposite side of the stem on the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in the hot water for a minute or two, until the skin starts to peel off. Lift out the tomatoes, let cool a little and peel off the skin. After the tomatoes are skinned, chop them roughly and set them aside.

Heat the bullion in a casserole. Keep the bullion on low heat once it's warm.

Heat the oil in the paella pan, and add onions and paprika. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt.Sautè for about five minutes.
Add Choritzo, hot and sweet paprika powder and garlic.
Sautè for a few more minutes before you add the tomatoes and the saffron.
NOTE: Add the saffron after the tomatoes, as the saffron burns easily and the liquid from the tomatoes will keep it from burning.

Add the rice and wine.
Let the wine evaporate before you start adding more liquid (the bullion).

Add the bullion a little at a time. I usually add a cup, then I let the rice absorb the liquid before I add another cup.
Let the rice cook for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the fish and seafood, and let it sit in the paella until it's cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir very gently in the paella at this point so the fish and seafood doesn't fall apart while cooking.
Add the peas, stir gently, and wait another couple of minutes until the peas are heated through.

Serve the paella with a green salad.

Honey Dijon vinagrette

As much as I like a good salad, I love a good salad dressing!
Really good salad dressings are hard to come by. The bottled stuff you buy in the store is okay, but nothing beats a good, home made dressing.

This is one of my favourite salad dressings. It's got tons of flavour, and it keeps for days in the fridge.

I made this salad this morning while cleaning out my fridge. I used lettuce, a couple of tomatoes, two spring onions and salad wheat (-you can use bulgur instead of the salad wheat).

Honey Dijon vinagrette

1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 to 4 teaspoons honey
6 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
black pepper
1/2 cup canola oil

Mix the six first ingredients. Emulsify with canola oil, menaing whisk in a little at a time so the dressing thickens.
Let set in the fridge a couple of hours before you serve it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pasta with salmon creme sauce

Some people will tell you that fish and cheese is a bad combination.
I find that to be true most of the time, but in some dishes, cheese gives the dish a wonderful flavour. When I cook this dish, I sprinkle parmesan on top of the fish and pasta. A lot of parmesan! If I ever was addicted to something, parmesan would be very high on my list of addictives.
But, some people prefer to stick to the old advice and keep cheese and fish separated. This dish will also work without the parmesan, but if you omit the cheese, add a little morer salt.

Pasta with salmon creme sauce

1 1/2 pound salmon fillet, cubed
1 1/2 pound spaghetti
1 onion
1 1/2 cup heavy creme
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
shredded Parmesan to sprinkle on top

Heat oil in a wide pan and cook onion until soft, about five minutes.
Add salmon, and cook for a couple of minutes. Add cream, dill, cayenne and cucumber, and cook for another couple of minutes or until the salmon is done. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook spaghetti according to package.

Serve dish with shredded parmesan.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Baked trout with tabbouleh

Salmon and trout is one of the healthiest choices you can make when it comes to fish. Loaded with healthy Omega 3 and with a delicate taste, it's on top nof my list when I want to treat myself to something delicious.
In this recipe, I serve my trout with tabbouleh, a traditional Middle Eastern salad that goes so well with fish one could think they were made for each other.

Baked trout with tabbouleh

one trout fillet, about one pound.
1 teaspoon canola oil
one lemon
fresh dill sprigs
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 430F.

On a sheet of aluminum foil, brush one teaspoon canola oil.
Place trout onto foil, skin side down.
Slice three to four slices of lemon from the middle of the lemon, leaving full ends.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon ends over the trout. Sprinkle with salt, place dill sprigs on the teout and top with 3 to 4 lemon slices. Close the foil gently around the fish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until done.

For the tabbouleh you'll need:

1/4 cup bulgur

1 cup finely chopped parsley

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon honey

1 oz chopped unsalted cashew nuts

1/2 cucumber, seeded and finely chopped

1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped

4 green onions, finely chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint

salt and pepper

Place bulgur in a bowl and add 1/3 cup hot water. Let stand 15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and honey, and leave until done.

If there is still liquid in the bowl when the bulgur is done, strain bulgur before you mix it with the other ingredients.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place the tabbouleh in the fridge until it is being served. It tastes best cold, and it's absolutely at it's best when the flavours have had a chance to set so you can make it a day ahead.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chicken curry with cashews

I need to clean out my freezer, and it so happens that my freezer is full of chicken!

As much as I love creamy sauces, I try to stick to more healthy choices during the week. Also, it's easier to use a healthy dinner as an excuse to have some ice cream for dessert!

Tonight I made chicken with a curry and cashew nut sauce. This sauce is so tasty and good, I find myself wondering why I don't make it more often.
This recipe is adapted from a recipe printed in Gourmet, January 2005.

Chicken Curry with Cashews

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

4 large chicken breasts, cut into one inch cubes

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 oz cashew nuts, finely chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt

Accompaniment: cooked basmati or jasmine rice.

Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderate heat.

Cook onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and stir well. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes, including juice, and bring to a simmer.

Cover and let simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

When chicken is cooked through, add finely chopped cashew nuts. They give this dish a delicious nutty flavour.

Add a couple of tablespoons of yogurt right before serving.

NB: Do not let the chicken curry come to a boil after the yogurt is added. The yogurt can separate under high heat.

Garnish with chopped cilantro if you like, and serve.

(Serves 4)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A simple solution

I believe in simple solutions.
Sometimes, when life takes on a tough roll, a night with a good friend and a bottle of wine is all I need.
And that's what I did the other night.
It was great. We talked and talked, laughed and comforted each other.
I strongly believe, that if we spent more time with friends and family, we'd need less medicine and therapy for depression and low self esteem. Seriously, I think my friends are the best medicine I have on hand. They make me feel valued, funny, important and loved. You can't beat that.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pasta with Peas and Parmesan

Fuzz free pasta

Sometimes, when I get home from work, I'm so hungry I can't see straight.

In those times, it is really tempting to order a pizza or to take a huge dive into the stack of chocolate in the pantry. My stomack is literally screaming and there is no way in Hades I'm waiting for a sauce to thicken. Fire up the BBQ? Forget it!

In times like that, I usually go for my Pasta with Peas and Parmesan. This dish is good, easy, fool proof and ready in minutes. What else can you wish for?

1/2 to 2/3 pound of penne, farfalle or other short pasta

1 cup frozen peas.

Chopped parsley (- to suit your taste)

freshly grated parmesan

Cook pasta according to package. Drain.

De-freeze peas in a pot with warm water over moderate heat while the pasta cooks. Drain.


1/4 cup herb vinegar (I often use apple vinegar)

1/2 cup olive oil

3 to 5 cloves of garlic, smashed and finely chopped

juice of one lemon

a dash of salt

1 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard

Mix all the ingredientd for the dressing.

Add the dressing to the pasta (- don't add everything all at once. The garlic can be pretty strong, especially if you use chinese garlic, so add a little, taste, then add some more and repeat tasting until you find the taste that suits your palate.)

Add the peas, and sprinkle parmesan and parsley on top!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Posh cod

Butter fried cod with foie gras

At a restaurant a few weeks ago I had butter fried cod with foie gras, and the combination was so good I had to try it at home.

(4 servings)

2 pounds fresh cod fillet, cut into four pieces

2 oz foie gras

1-2 tablespoon butter

four lemon wedges

salt to taste

Melt butter in a pan. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the cod filets. Fry fish on both sides, about 3-4 minutes on both sides. It is very important to NOT over fry the fish, because the meat will dry out.

Transfer fish fillets onto plate and put a slice of foie gras on top.

I served my cod with steamed sugar peas and spring onion, hasselbach potatoes and a veal sauce (made from veal stock).

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cod cannelloni

Fish and creamy cheese in soft pasta with a rich saffron sauce.

This dish became an instant favourite. It is easy to make, and it tastes rich and delicious.

(2 portions)

4 lasagna sheets

1 tablespoons butter

150 g (1/3 pound) cod or other white fish fillets


freshly ground pepper

juice from 1/2 lemon

150 g (1/2 cup) ricotta cheese

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives

freshly ground nutmed

Saffron sauce

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

small pinch of saffron

150 ml (1/2 cup) single cream

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F

To make the filling, melt the butter in a pan and cook the fish on 3-4 minutes on each side. Season with pepper and lemon juice.

Transfer fish to a bowl, leaving the juices and butter in the pan.

Add ricotta cheese, parsley, chives and egg to the bowl. Add nutmeg and salt to taste.

Blanche lasagna plates in hot water.

Take out, let them drain in a colander and add a little oil to them so they don't stick together.

Put some filling down the centre of each pasta sheet. Roll into a tube. Arrange the cannelloni in a greased ovenproof dish.

To make the sauce, heat the remaining juices and butter in the pan. Add more butter if necessary. Fry the shallot and garlic for 3-4 minutes, but be careful so it doesn't burn.

Add saffron and cook for one minute. Pour in the cream, bring the sauce to a boil and let it cook for a few minutes until it thickens.

Pour the sauce over the cannelloni and cover with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until heated through.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fish cakes - the ultimate comfort food

I love fish cakes!
I can have them for lunch and dinner (breakfast is too early for most foods, in my humbe opinion) , but too often, store bought fish cakes tastes too bland and - frankly - the texture is rubbery.

I prefer to make my own fish cakes. Real home made fish cakes, with a lot of taste.
These fish cakes are so good, they should be prescribes by doctors!

Broiled fish cakes with ginger and chili
(serves 4)

2 baking potatoes
Salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds fillet of cod
2 teaspoons peeled and minced ginger
1 fresh medium hot red chile, minced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons canola oil
Lime wedges.

Boil potato in salted water to cover until it is tender but not mushy.
Meanwhile, place fish in a skillet. Add water to cover, salt the water, and bring to a boil. Turn down heat. Cover, and set a timer for 10 minutes. After that time, use a slotted spoon to remove fish to a bowl.
When potato is done, peel it and mash it with the fish. Add heavy cream and seasonings, along with some salt and pepper, and work the mixture with your hands until it is well blended. Shape into 6 equal burger-shaped patties.

Preheat broiler, and set rack about 4 inches from heat source. Brush patties on both sides with oil, then place on a non-stick baking sheet. Broil carefully, until nicely browned on top, then turn and brown on the other side.
Serve hot, with lemon wedges.

The fish cakes before broiling.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Cod in creamy fennel ragout

(4 servings)

4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 fennel bulbs (sometimes called anise; 2 lb), stalks discarded and bulbs cut lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped drained sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 (7-oz) pieces cod (about 1 inch thick, cut into cubes)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Garnish: chopped flat leaf parsley

Cook bacon in a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate and let it drain on a piece of kitchen paper.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to fat in skillet. Add fennel. Cook with salt and pepper over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add broth, cream, tomatoes, and garlic to fennel and cook, partially covered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until fennel is tender and cream is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Ten minutes before the ragout is done, add fish and let it cook in the ragout.

Stir mustard and half of the bacon into fennel ragout and season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with chopped parsley and the remaining bacon.

I serve this dish with pasta.

(Adapted from Gourmet, December 2003)

I got a flower!

My good friend Anneli was helping me chopping radishes for dinner the other day.
Suddenly she gave me a little glass of water with a raddish in it. She had cut a pattern into the raddish while I had my back to her.

"Leave the raddish in the water overnight. It will swell in the water and look like a flower in the morning", she said.

And she was right.

Can you believe that a simple raddish can turn into a decorative flower?
This flower will look great as a decoration in a salad or a pie!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fish tacos

I'm not going to join the debate wether the fish in fish tacos should be dipped in a batter and fried, grilled on the BBQ or butter fried. I like mine the latter, because I think the batter coated and fried fish often gets too greasy.

This is how I make mine. Fish Tacos (4 -6 servings).

Preheat oven to 400F.

First I make the cumin sauce, which is a must-have with the tacos.
Then I wrap up the tortillas in aluminum foil and heat them in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
I then chop up the vegetables for the tacos.
I fry the fish at the very end, because the fish can easily dry out and you want to serve it on the table while it's stille hot.

Cumin sauce

1 cup plain yoghurt
1 large tablespoon of sour cream
1 large tablespoon of mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon cumin
juice from one lemon
salt to taste.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and refridgerate until it's ready to be served. The taste of the sauce will mature in the fridge. Taste it before you place it on the table. If it tastes too bland or too yoghurty, add more cumin. Some of you like food tasting hotter than I do, and those of you who do, might want to double the amount of cumin.

Berfore you start chopping the vegetables, remove the tortillas (I use flour tortillas, but use corn if you like them better) from their original package and wrap them in aluminum foil. Place them on the middle rack in the oven.


I serve my tacos with:

cabbage, sliced thin and roughly chopped
Tomatoes, cut in chuncy bits or wedges
raddishes, halved and sliced
lemon wedges to sprinkle over fish

chunky tomato salsa, mild or medium taste

Put each of the ingredients in a bowl, or serve them placed separately on a platter (see below).

For the fish:

1 lb cod filet, cut into finger thick strips
1 lime
1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons butter

Place fish in a soup dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice from one lemon, canola oil, salt and pepper.
Let marinate for 15 minutes.

Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a pan. Add fish, and fry for about four minutes, then turn and fry for another two minutes. Transfer fish to a serving dish.

Serve the flour tortillas still wrapped in the aluminum foil. It keeps them warm all the way to the table.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spring time moment

Spring can give you some of the most beautiful scenic moments.

A freezing cold night with combined with strong winds that threw sea water ashore at full speed created this free form ice sculpture.

Sometimes Mother Nature creates amazing sculptures. This one, unfortunately, melted after a few hours in the sun.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Salt is salt, or maybe not?

As I walked up and down the aisles at the grocery store yesterday, my eyes suddenly fell on a shelf of salt. As I looked closer, I saw that salt occupied several shelves.

Call me ignorant, but so far my use of salt have gone by "flaky" or "fine".

Those days you can choose between exotic salts like French Fleur de Sel, Himalayan Pink, Hawaiian Red, Blac Coral, California Sea, Cyprus Black, Australian Pink, Danish Viking Smoked and Balinese Coarse, to name a few.

Salt comes in a wide range of colours, from white, pink, red and gray, to golden, brown and black.
I bought a few jars and decided to taste and see if I could tell the difference. Let me tell you, salt tasting is nothing like wine tasting or cheese tasting. Be prepared to drink a lot of water afterwards. (- and to reduce your salt intake for the next few days because salt is hard on the kidneys!)

I have to admit, the designer salts (as some like to label them) do indeed look fancy. But I must say, it was still the texture - size of the salt crystals - and not the type of salt, that tinkered my palate. As fine salt crystals will spread more evenly on the tongue and give you an all over salty taste, the larger crystals salt will act as surprising little salt bombs on the tongue.

Salt is 99 percent sodium chloride. The rest are minerals that will give some salts a hint of pink colour, others turn black. All in all, I think the amount of minerals in salt are in such low numbers that you won't be able to taste the difference when the salt is mixed with other ingredients.

When you use salt in a recipe where the salt is to dissolve, there is no point in using a fancy label, in my humble opinion.
If you are an avid cook, you'll see that many recipes ask for kosher salt. Kosher salt doesn't contain additives like calcium silicate, dextrose or potassium iodide like many other salts do. Also, kosher salt has larger crystals that makes it easier to sprinkle than many other salts.

One question is, can you substitute one for the other?
If used in stews, sauces and cooking in general, I'd say yes. Just be aware of that the large salt crystals take up more volume than finer grind salt, like table salt. If you substitute large crystal salt with finer grind, you can reduce the amount with 50 percent. If you go the other way and use large crystal salt in a recipe that calls for fine grind, then you can double the amount.

But, in baking you should go with the salt the recipe calls for as the ingredients in salt can affect the finished result. Also, when salt is sprinkled over a dish right before it hits the table, nothing beats using the large crystals.

So, do we need designer salt or not?

Probably not. Even though most of the celebrity chefs have their favourites (Jamie's is Maldon salt, Stefano di Pierie uses Murray River salt, for instance), I wasn't able to tell much difference. Also, in the times of environmental awareness, transporting salt all across the world is probably not helping the pollution problem.

Next time I buy salt, I will probably get the same salt as I have used for ages. But I have to admit, the pink Himalayan salt looks indeed fancy on my table.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hello there, white beauty.

I took the dog for a walk down by the harbor this evening.
I enjoy looking at the boats and the birds down there, but rarely do the birds come up to me and say "hello".

I was walking back and forth by the seaside when I saw a white swan swimming towards me. I took a few pictures from distance, but suddenly I realized that the bird was just 5-6 feet away from me. He looked at me, and I looked at him back. He was such a beautiful sight. I have to admit, I was a little scared that he would rush out of the water and come up to me and bite my nose, but my curiosity got the better of me. He was too beautiful to turn my bak on.
The bird did a couple of graceful turns in the water, before he swam back out.

It was such an intense moment. I only wished it had lasted a little longer (and now I wish I had had a little more ligt too, because the picture is too grainy for my liking.)

Then we got winter...again!

After a cold winter with very little snow, the Weather Gods have suddenly decided to shower us with snow.
As much as I like snow - and I really think it looks good when it is laying on the ground like this - most of the time it has swirled around in the air because of the strong winds.
Besides, I was really getting ready for spring now.
I can't wait to have my first cup of tea outdoors in my garden. But as it looks now, I have to wait another few weeks for that to happen.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Russian tea, anyone?

Kusmi tea is one of my favourite teas.
The tea house Kusmi tea was established in the Russian city St. Petersburg in 1867 by Pavel M. Kousmichoff.
During the russian revolution, his son Constantin fled to Paris and in the process, moved the tea house permanently to France.
The Kousmichoff family ran the business until 1975. Today it's owned by a family in Paris who have modernized the tea house. Today Kusmi tea offer everything from classic Russian tea, to organic rooibos and spicy chocolate tea.

My favourite is still the old Russian classic Prince Vladimir.
With it's strong taste of Ceylon and China tea flavoured with orange, lemon, vanilla and cinnamon, it's the best thing that can be mixed with hot water, in my humble opinion.
The milder tasting Anastasia, is a close second.
Some like their tea flavoured with sugar and lemon. I prefer mine plain. But when the tea is served plain, the taste needs to be full bodied, it must please the palate and have a smell that tinkers the nose. Kusmi tea is a little more pricy than most other teas, but it's well worth the money.

I'm addicted to spices

I love spices. I literally have a drawer full.

I use them every day, but I have to admit, some I have bought just for the fancy jar!
Whenever I travel somewhere, I can't wait to go to the nearest grocery shop and check out the spice shelves. I love the paprika I bought in Hungary, the oregano from Greece and my Jamaican nutmeg.
But even with a drawer full, I still miss some. I haven't found smoked paprika yet. If you know a great source, please let me know.

Halibut with tomatoes, capers and cinnamon

This recipe is adapted from Gourmet magazine (December 2007)

Makes 6 servings

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 (15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 (6-ounce) pieces halibut fillet (about 1-inch-thick)

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Chopped flat leafed parsley to garnish

Heat cumin in oil in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in tomatoes, capers, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Pat fish dry and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Add the fish to the skillet, cover and simmer until fish is just cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes.

This dish can be served with a green salad and boiled rice garnished with sliced and lightly toasted almonds.