Archive for ‘August, 2012’

Within a couple of days I’ll be in Beijing. At the moment I’m taking a break from packing my suitcase and since I’ll be subletting my room I also have to pack all my other stuff in boxes. I’m only allowed to bring 20 kg on the plane, so I have to leave my cookbooks behind. Some girls have a shoe obsession – wait, I also have one of those – some girls just want shelfs full of cookbooks. I got How To Be A Domestic Goddess as a present at christmas 2009 – it was my first decent cookbook and turned out many were to follow. I’m really fond of my books and because I don’t want them to be unused for the next year (or more) I’ve lent them to friends and family. My plan is to buy some cookbooks in China and practice my Chinese with them – but before I can do that I first have to get myself on the plane..

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The thing I like best about cooking with friends is that you often turn out making other stuff than you usually would’ve. It takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to use other ingredients or make combinations than you’re used to. This rocky road was part of the big cooking marathon and it is something I would never have picked myself. I’m glad we did anyway, cause even though I wasn’t a fan of the processed marshmallows in there, it brought me new ideas and inspiration. The dried cranberries we’d bought at the farmers market were incredibly flavorful and delicious and they paired very well with the white chocolate. This gave me lots of ideas for other baked goods with dried cranberries. Continue reading…

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When my friend and me had a cooking marathon two weeks ago, we finished the day with these dumplings. Although they don’t look appetizing, they tasted pretty good. We had much fun cooking all day long, the only thing was that we got a bit tired after making a croque monsieur, a rocky road, a banana cake with caramel sauce and cookies that we kept reading the recipe over and over again without actually reading the words. So of course we added the wrong ingredients, but other than their ugly appearance and not so authentic outcome, they were still very delicious.

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I promised to post this recipe a couple of days ago, but then the weather got all tropical in the Netherlands and I couldn’t do anything else than enjoying these last steamy and sweaty days of summer. Now the temperatures have dropped again I’m happy to post this incredible porchetta. Just as most pork belly-recipes it’s very easy to prepare, the hardest part is tying the knots and if you find that difficult you should just order in tonight, cause it probably isn’t going to work out for you in the kitchen.

I didn’t get my skin as crispy as I wanted to, but maybe that’s because I didn’t (I mean: my butcher didn’t) make as many scores as stated in the recipe. Anyway, it was still very delicious and, once again, the guys in my student house made sure there wasn’t any piece of pork left.

Since my final outcome pictures failed, this last picture in which you see me focussing – and biting my lip in concentration – on cutting the meat is the most decent picture of how the porchetta turned out.

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My housemates rarely complain when I say I’ll be cooking dinner. I’ll get the groceries, do all the cooking, start the cleaning up and most of the time it even tastes good too. But the part where they start to grumble is when the food is cooked and everyone is ready to eat and I’m telling them to wait for a minute because I first want to take some shots of the food. This mostly results in me sitting on the floor/lying in a weird angle attempting to get a nice shot and them standing two meters away from me, taking shots of this scene and making fun of me.

This also happened last night. I had a pork belly wrapped up with herbs in the oven for a couple of hours. The whole house smelled like baked pork, everyone was extremely hungry and they were all waiting for the moment I would state the pork had been in the oven long enough. The tables were set in my room, so there was no place for me to take the pictures so I took them at our little balcony (too bad all these pictures turned out crappy). So here you see me trying without succeeding, but what you don’t see are about five housemates standing inside, laughing at me and my crazy hobby.

I’ll post the recipe later today/tomorrow.

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I don’t like bananas. The picture in the cookbook looked so incredibly luscious, I just had to make this cake. And I reasoned that a little sticky caramel sauce would make everything taste incredibly good. Boy, do I hate to say these words: I was right. The cake is airy and light, it has pieces of banana in it, but it’s not densely packed with them. The crunchy exterior of the cake gives a nice contrast to the soft inside and the cake itself isn’t extremely sweet, so the caramel sauce brings a good balance to it. So even me, a banana-disliker, liked this cake. After taking a piece of my own, I placed the cake on the kitchen table of my student house and left it there to be judged by my housemates. When I entered the kitchen the next morning there was only an empty plate and a dirty knife left.

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I had a full cooking/baking marathon with my friend Esther yesterday. We met each other when we were working in the same shop, but we became friends through our love for food and traveling to far places (especially to places where there is an abundance of great food). For our marathon we both picked out a couple of recipes we would like to try out, we went to the farmers market and started cooking. In the end we had made croque monsieurs, a cake, cookies, white chocolate rocky road and dumplings. We started at 11.30 AM and finished our dumpling dinner around 7.30 PM. I’m writing this the morning after, on a lazy Sunday from my bed and I’m in no way hungry yet. Wonder why that is.

We completely followed the original recipe, except for the part that I threw in an egg in the bechamel sauce. If you’re already making a calorie bomb, why stop with regular bechamel sauce? We weren’t big fans of the sauce on its own, but it gave a nice creamy texture to the grilled sandwiches. After we made them, we devoured them on my little balcony which you can enter if you climb through a big window in my kitchen. The weather was great and our croque monsieurs were crispy and gooey. It was the perfect kick off for our cooking marathon.

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This is yet another anything-but-boring salad from Ottolenghi. A bunch of aubergines are cut into large slices and roasted until soft and brown. A drizzle of fresh yoghurt dressing, basil and pine nuts are added and the salad is finished with a good amount of fiery red pomegranate seeds. I bet there’s a farmers market near your house tomorrow, so find yourself some delicious, organic aubergines and go make this salad.

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