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My company recently moved to a new office building. I now have a desk on a nice and sunny spot next to a window, the coffee is much better than in our old building and there is free cup-a-soup! But… there’s no microwave. Big bummer! Although microwaved food is not as great as freshly made dishes I did enjoy having a cup of home made soup for lunch from time to time.

I could only think of one solution: Gazpacho.

A cold soup would be the perfect solution. I went through some of my cookbooks and found this really great recipe that I just have to share with you: a Fennel and Bell Pepper Gazpacho.

Here’s what you need: (8 – 10 portions)

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 leaks
  • 1 onion
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 large carrots
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • 200 ml white wine

for the salsa topping:

  • 1 small tin of maize (maïs)
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tomato (sweet)
  • 1 lime
  • mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • salt and pepper

Let’s go:

We are going to start with the soup. Finely chop the onion and shallots, mince the garlic clove and cut the leak into fine rings. Then clean the carrots and slice them. Cut the fennel bulbs in two, remove the core and coarsely chop the bulbs. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onion, leak, garlic and shallots. Then add the thyme, carrots and fennel. Cook the vegetables on a medium fire, with the lid on the pan until they are done.

While you wait for the vegetables to cook, cut the bell peppers in 4, remove the core and put them skin side up into a preheated oven or grill. When the skin turns black, take them out and remove the skin. Watch out, they are hot!

Add the bell pappers, wine and vegetable stock to the vegetables and cook for 20 minutes. When you are done, use a blender or hand blender to puree the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste and let the soup cool down.

Let’s proceed with the salsa. Remove the seeds from the tomato and finely chop both the tomato and the onion. Add the maize, and the coarsely chopped mint leaves, coriander, parsley and the juice of one lime. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.

Put the cold soup into a bowl, add a few spoons of yoghurt and a few spoons of salsa on top.

Enjoy!

Credits:

Title: Soep. Zalige soepen, licht en smaakvol voor creatief koken.
ISBN: 90-66-1375-2

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Bami Goreng is an Indonesian dish that has become very common in the Netherlands. It was introduced by Indonesians and Dutch that migrated (back) to the Netherlands after WWII. Today you can get bami (and nasi for that matter) in any supermarket and any Asian restaurant you enter, especially the Chinese restaurants.

I hope to get the chance to visit Indonesia one day to taste the local cuisine. I’m not 100% sure but I suspect that the Indonesian food we eat here is adapted to our Dutch habits and taste. It would be great to see and taste the real thing once and compare… Untill that happens I’m not gonna say this is an authentic Indonesian recipe. It’s bami the way I know it :)

Here’s what you need:

  • 500 gr. noodles
  • 350 gr. pork
  • 2 tbsp. sambal
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp. sweet soy sauce
  • Pepper and salt
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 chinese cabbage (paksoi)
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 leek
  • 2 bell pepper

Spice mix:

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. kurkuma powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • Pinch of chili powder (or two)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

On the side:

  • Salad
  • Pickles
  • Atjeh
  • Soy sauce
  • Fried onions

 Let’s start cooking:

Start off with marinating the meat. Cut the meat in dices and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil, pressed garlic, the soy sauce, sambal and a little pepper and salt. Stir well and let the meat stand for 30 min.

In the mean time, cut the onions, carrots, leak and cabbage.

Bake the meat untill it is done, then add the vegetables and spice mix and stir fry the whole.

Cook the noodles al dente. Then add the noodles to the veggies, add the diced bell pepper and stir fry the whole. Add sambal, pepper and salt to taste.

Serve with a salad, pickles and atjeh. Sprinkle some sweet soy sauce on top. Enjoy!

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Red lentils… I find them kinda difficult. They don’t taste bad but I always found it hard to make a red lentil soup that was full of flavour. Green and black lentils just have a little more flavour of their own I think. So what about the red ones? I was convinced there was a way to make a nice red lentil soup, but I only really started trying after having had a really great red lentil soup at a cultural event in Amsterdam.

Without any recipe to start with I made this red lentil soup with cumin and coriander. I think I came close to the one I had that time in Amsterdam and it is definitely on my list of soups I have to make again one day. Let me know what you think!

This is what I used:

  • 250 gr. red lentils
  • 2 potatoes (medium to large)
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp kurkuma
  • 2 tsp curry
  • 4 tsp cumin powder
  • Fresh coriander (10 gr)

Here’s how:

Take a big pan and add the lentils and 2 liters of water. Bring the water to a boil and then put the heat down and boil the lentils for 45 minutes.

While you’re waiting: Peel and dice the potatoes, onion and carrots. Clean the celery stalks and slice them. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the onions with the coriander seeds, kurkuma, curry and cumin powder.

When the lentils have cooked for 45 minutes add the potato, carrots and celery stalks with the spiced onions. Let the soup cook for another 15 minutes. Use a hand blender to give your soup a more smooth consistency. I always leave some chunks in because I like the bite it gives to the soup. All up to you though! Add pepper and salt to taste.

Finely chop the fresh coriander. Before serving add the fresh coriander.

Bon appetit!

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When preparing for my Halloween party I was google-ing around for creative decoration ideas and found a picture of a guacamole vomiting pumpkin with veggy dip fingers. I loved the idea! Not only do I love guacamole, especially the home made version, but I also know that although all my friends loooove snacks, we are all also trying to keep our weight. So I thought it would not hurt to present some healthy snacks besides the Spider Cupcakes.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 medium sized pumpkin
  • 1 cucumber
  • 200 grams of carrots (finger thick haha)
  • 2 avocado’s
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2/3 red pepper
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • sliced almonds

Let’s start:

…With the pumpkin. You’ll need to take the pumpkin flesh out and I can tell you… this takes time. Let’s first start by taking the top off. Use a whiteboard marker to draw a pentagon or sextagon on the pumpkin. This is easier than a circle since the pumpkin is rather hard and you will not be able to cut it round anyway. Take a big knife and diagonally cut down the pumpkun on the pentagon markings. (If you cut down straight, the top will fall down in the core of the pumpkin when you are done scraping the flesh out.) Then take out the seeds.

Next, the hard work starts. You basically need to scrape out the pumpkin flesh. I used a knife and spoon for this, but you can use anything that helps you get into the pumpkin and get the flesh out. Don’t scrape too much of the flesh out, you don’t want the pumpkin to become too thin and collapse. You can keep the pumpkin flesh to make a delicious pumpkin dip. (that goes well with the dip fingers as well.

That’s that! Now for the Guacamole:

Peel and cut the avocados, dice them and put them in a mixing bowl. Mash the avocado’s. Then finely chop the shallot, dice the tomato and grate the garlic. Add this to the mashed avocado’s and mix well. Then cut the red pepper, remove the seeds and slice finely. I usually add 2/3 to 3/4 of a pepper, but you can add more if you like it spicy. Add it to the guacamole. Then add the juice of one lime, and finalise with salt and pepper to taste.

For the dip fingers:

Cut the cucumber into finger shaped sizes. Take the top off the cucumber and carrots to create a ‘nail’ shape. Put a half almond on top to create the ‘nail’.

 

 

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Take your biggest soup pan out of your cupboard for this spicy vegetarian curry soup! It is full of taste, low on fat and very nutritious. Ideal for when you need to feed a hungry crowd (or yourself)!

Remember that when you freeze part of it down for later, the spiciness will tone down.

 

Here’s what you need for 8 persons:

  • 1 pumpkin of average size
  • 4 potatoesIMG_5508
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 parsnips
  • 6 carrots (medium)
  • 4 courgettes
  • 400 gr. green peas
  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • salt pepper
  • fresh coriander
  • 2 table spoons butter
  • 1 table spoon curry
  • 1 table spoon garam masala
  • 2 table spoons kurkuma
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 table spoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes

Here’s what to do: 

First start with the hard work: Cutting all the vegetables! Peel and cut the pumpkin, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots into medium sized dices. These vegetables are meant to cook first. Then slice the courgettes and keep them in a separate tray or bowl.

Once this is done we can start the cooking. Put your pan on a low fire and melt the butter. Then add the curry, garam masala, kurkuma, ginger and chilli flakes. Press the 4 garlic cloves and add it to the spice mixture. Mix the spices with the melted butter. Then add the pumpkin, potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes and carrots and mix the whole into the pan. Let it fry for a couple of minutes and then add the vegetable stock. Bring the soup to a boil and then let it boil for another 45 minutes on a low fire.

Then add the sliced courgettes, peas and coconut milk and boil for another 15 minutes.

Almost done! Just add pepper and salt to your liking and use some fresh coriander as a garnish.

Bon apetit!