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Pasta Pesto

8 Nov

Since I’m stuck at home with the flu, and don’t have the courage or energy to cook/bake anything decent, there’ll be some easy and quick recipes on here the coming days…

I love pesto, it gives me an instant summer/vacation vibe… This is technically speaking pistou, the French version of pesto, because there are no pine nuts involved. I like pine nuts, but they’re kind of expensive so I just omitted them, and the pesto/pistou still turned out great.

Pasta Pesto

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 package (250g) filled tortellini (I used 4 cheeses)
  • 10g fresh basil
  • 25g aragula
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 15g hard Italian cheese, grated (I used Grana Padano)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • about 25g aragula for garnishing
  • about 1 Tbsp of grated cheese for garnishing

Directions

  • Cook the tortellini according to the instructions on the package
  • Blend the basil, the garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a food processor until it forms a smooth paste (I used a tall measurement cup and an immersion blender instead)
  • Add the grated cheese and stir well until you become a homogeneous paste
  • Dilute with the rest of the olive oil (I think I used about 2,5 tablespoons instead of 3) and stir again
  • Serve the tortellini with the pesto, the aragula and some grated cheese

Source: adapted from De Kooktips

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Thai Coconut Curry Soup

6 Nov

After work, I went to a cute little Asian shop on the other side of town. It’s an amazing place where I always find the obscure ingredients that I find nowhere else. I don’t go there very often because I always buy much more than I intended… But inspiration has been found, so next week there’ll be some more Asian dishes on the menu!

On the picture you’ll see my catch: lychee wine, rice paper, baking soda, dried lime leaves, tofu, canned lychees on syrup, cilantro leaves and a lime.

The curry soup turned out really good: a beautiful balance of sour, salty and spicy. That’s what the Thai kitchen is known for, and it’s a winner combo!
This soup is the ideal comfort food for a night in, when it’s cold and dark outside… like chicken soup, but better, much better!

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 can (400g) coconut milk
  • 1 small Tbsp Thai curry paste
  • 250ml vegetable broth
  • 1 carrot, cut lengthwise in half, and sliced (0,5cm)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, and sliced (0,5cm)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 4 dried lime leaves
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • the juice of 2 limes
  • 2 cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 125g rice noodles
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, rinsed well
  • salt
  • 2 scallions, chopped

Directions

  • Scoop the thick coconut cream from the top of the can into a large stockpot set over a medium heat
  • Melt the cream, add the curry paste and stir for a few minutes until they begin to sizzle
  • Add the coconut juice from the can along with the vegetable broth, carrot, bell pepper, zucchini, onion, lime leaves, soy sauce and lime juice
  • Grate the fresh ginger into the broth
  • Simmer for 20 minutes or so
  • Take out the lime leaves
  • Add the rice noodles, gently pushing them beneath the surface of the broth
  • Turn off the heat and let stand until the noodles soften, about 5 minutes. Rice noodles don’t need to simmer like pasta to cook; they simply need to rehydrate in the hot liquid
  • Stir in most of the cilantro leaves
  • Taste and season with a touch more salt as needed
  • Pour into large bowls and garnish with the scallions and remaining cilantro leaves
Source: adapted from Chef Michael Smith

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Goji berries and Couscous

5 Nov
When I grew up, we almost always had a 3 component meal: potatoes, vegetables and meat. But according to me, that’s a tad boring. I prefer a plate with lots of different colours, tastes and textures, all combined into one… Like this dish!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gojiberries and Couscous
Ingredients (for 2 people)
  • 500g Brussels sprouts, tips cut off, discolored leaves removed and sliced in half
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • 40g dried Goji berries
  • 75g crumbled goat cheese
  • 30g walnuts
  • 150g couscous
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Directions
  • Preheat the oven (and a parchment lined baking sheet) to 275°C, on grill stand
  • Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the instructions on the package
  • In a medium sized bowl, toss the prepared Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt. Toss well, so that the sprouts are evenly coated in a thin layer of oil.
  • Once the oven is preheated, get out the baking sheet and pour the Brussels sprouts onto the parchment
  • Put the baking sheet back in the oven and let the Brussels sprouts broil for about 5-10 minutes. Check the sprouts for doneness—their tops should be a little browned and the bottoms caramelized.
  • Meanwhile, toast the walnuts. Just heat them for a couple of minutes over medium heat in a nonstick pan without any oil or fat. Make sure not to let them burn!
  • Toss the couscous, sprouts, Goji berries, crumbled goat’s cheese and toasted walnuts onto a plate and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and honey. Season with salt to taste.

Source: adapted from Cookie and Kate

Risotto Primavera

4 Nov

To add some ‘spring feeling’ to this cold autumn weather, I made us a lovely risotto primavera today. Full of healthy green vegetables, and with a creamy yet light mouthfeel.

Be sure to not rinse the rice! This way you’ll rinse away the starch, and let that be the part that’s needed to create the creamy texture of the risotto. Just throw it into the pan, and let the starch do its work!
There’s also a misunderstanding about risotto: a lot of recipes tell you to stir constantly, but that’s really intensive and unnecessary. Just give the rice a good stir each time you add fresh stock, and let the heat do the rest.

Enjoy, or as the Italians would say: Buon appetito!

Risotto Primavera

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 200g peas (I used frozen ones)
  • 200g zucchini, diced (this is about 1/2 zucchini)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 small garlic cloves
  • 175g risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 750 ml stock, boiling (I used vegetable)
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp margarine
  • 5 Tbsp hard Italian cheese, grated (eg. Parmeggiano or Grana Padano)
  • pepper
  • some fresh basil leaves for garnishing

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat
  • Add the zucchini and peas, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender
  • Set the zucchini and peas aside, in a bowl or on a plate
  • Re-use the saucepan: sauté the onions and the garlic for about 5 minutes
  • Add the rice and stir until the rice becomes a bit transparent
  • Now pour in the boiling vegetable stock, about a glass (150ml) at a time
  • Each time, give the rice a good stir and then wait for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
  • When you pour in the last bit of stock; also add the scallions, zucchini and the peas
  • When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the margarine and the grated Italian cheese. Season with pepper to taste
  • Garnish with some fresh basil leaves

Source: adapted from’Vegetarische keuken, meer dan 100 onmisbare recepten’

Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes

3 Nov

As much as I love pasta, sometimes I also crave a nice pizza… When we have something to celebrate, we normally go to an authentic Italian restaurant here in Ghent (Il Peperoncino in the St-Pietersnieuwstraat or Picobello in the Belfortstraat, they have the same owner). They don’t speak or understand Dutch very well, but the food is amazing!

Since today is a regular Saturday, we stayed at home and I made us a delicious homemade pizza instead! You can top it with anything you like of course, but I like a simple pizza where you can taste the ingredients. So we stayed with mozarella and cherry tomatoes!

Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients (for 2 pizzas)

Dough

  • 150ml luke warm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 150g whole wheat flour
  • 125g all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Topping

  • 1 can (400g) tomato cubes
  • 200g mozzarella (I used light)
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, different colours, cut into half
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • pepper
  • salt
  • some fresh basil leaves for garnishing

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the luke warm water, the yeast and the sugar. Give it a good stir and set aside for about 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to form bubbles.
  • Sift the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt into a large bowl .
  • Stir in the olive oil and the yeast mixture until the dough is starting to pull away from the bowl (it gets less sticky and is forming a nice ball)
  • Now get the dough out of the bowl and start kneading for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Form a ball with the dough, place it back into the bowl and cover up with a towel.
  • Put aside in a warm place for 1 hour (I always preheat my microwave for a minute and then put my bowl in there).
  • The dough should have doubled in volume after an hour.
  • Knead the dough for another 10 minutes
  • Divide the dough into 2 pieces, and roll them out until you have 2 pizza crusts
  • Spread out the pizza crusts onto a parchment
  • Cover the crusts with a towel and set aside again for 30 minutes
  • Preheat the oven (and the baking sheets) to 220°C
  • Get the preheated baking sheets out of the oven
  • Very carefully slide the parchments with the pizza crustst onto the preheated baking sheets (this way the bottom of the crust will get scorched quickly, and you end up with a crunchy crust)
  • Garnish the crusts with the canned tomato cubes, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, oregano, pepper and salt
  • Bake the pizzas for 15 minutes (until the cheese has melted nicely)
  • Garnish with some basil leaves

Source: adapted from All Recipes

Quinoa Burgers

2 Nov

Quinoa Burgers

Ingredients

for 6 rosemary rolls

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 packet active dry yeast
  • 125ml luke warm water
  • 125g whole wheat flour
  • 75g all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons salt

for 6 quinoa burgers

  • 100ml water (I always preheat mine in the water boiler)
  • 85g quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 can (400g) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 75g dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Extra

  • 500g fries
  • some lettuce
  • 1 tomato
  • 10 radishes
  • mayonaise or ketchup

Directions

Rosemary rolls

  • In a small bowl, combine olive oil and rosemary; let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Pour the yeast into the luke warm water, stir and set aside for 5 minutes (until it forms some bubbles)
  • Sift the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and salt into a bowl. Add the yeast mixture and stir with a spoon until the dough forms a ball.
  • Add the olive oil and rosemary and stir some more.
  • Take the dough out of the bowl and knead for about 10 minutes
  • Shape the dough into a ball, and put it back into the bowl.
  • Cover up with a towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour (I always preheat my microwave for a minute and then put my bowl in there)
  • Knead again for about 5 minutes
  • Divide the dough into 6 rolls and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Cover the baking sheet with a towel and put aside again for about 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes, until golden and hollow sounding when tapped
  • Let them cool down on a wire rack.

Quinoa Burgers

  • In a small pot, bring the water to a boil
  • Add the quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed (around 15 minutes). Set aside
  • Blend the carrot with a mixer until finely chopped
  • Add the cooked quinoa, scallions, garlic, beans, egg, cumin, salt, pepper and 25g of the breadcrumbs
  • Mix until combined but still slightly chunky
  • Divide the mixture into four patties
  • Turn the patties through the rest of the breadcrumbs
  • Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet. Bake the burgers until browned, about 5 minutes per side

Garnishing

  • Preheat the deep fryer and cook the fries according to the instructions on the package
  • Cut open 4 rolls. Place a pattie on each roll, and garnish with a leaf of lettuce and a slice of tomato.
  • Serve with the fries, a side salad and mayonaise or ketchup

Source:
– Rosemary Rolls: adapted from Recipe Girl
– Quinoa burgers: adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner

Rice, Apple & Broccoli Salad with a Creamy Dressing

30 Okt

Tonight we had an easy but tasty salad. I love the different colours, it almost looks like a little piece of art…

Rice, Apple & Broccoli Salad with a Creamy Dressing

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 150g rice, uncooked
  • 200g broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 75g plain soy yoghurt
  • 1 Tbsp soy milk
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence (I used a mixture of equal parts dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and garlic powder)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 medium apple, diced (1cmx1cm)
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries (I used Goji berries)
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped

Directions

  • Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package.
  • Cook the broccoli in a pot boiling, salted water without a lid for about 5 minutes. Make sure to rinse it with cold water when done. This way the broccoli will preserve its beautiful green colour.
  • Combine the soy yoghurt, soy milk, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth.  Set aside
  • Arrange the rice, broccoli, apple, berries and walnuts onto the plates
  • Drizzle the prepared dressing over the salad
  • Garnish with the chopped up scallion

Source: adapted from Poor Girl Eats Well