Month: March 2015
Ok you guys I am basically not a big burger fan, but this one rocked my world. It’s the kind of burger you would not feel ripped off after paying €20 for it. I have thing for lamb meat anything from lamb chops to lambmince to lambstew,… I am always happy when there is lamb in my food! To me it tastes like spring, and since spring began this weekend I am gladly sharing this amazing recipe with you.
My mother bought plain lamb/beef burgers for me and my sister. Because she was heading out for gala party with my dad. I decided to make the absolute best lamb burger I could possibly make with the stuff we had in the store cupboard and fridge. It didn’t take long to decide to make my my burger a little Greek. Since I love the freshness of feta and tzaziki. Yes this burger is an absolute winner and I will definitely make it again very soon!
Costa Rica, I have wanted to go to Costa Rica for ages! A breathtakingly beautiful country were the sun always shines and the jungle is still what little kids think it is, a place where wild life is still wild and alive. More empty beaches then you have ever time to see a place where there a more people in street then cars. A small country that almost beat another small country (The Netherlands) at soccer during the 2014 WorldCup in Brazil (sorry Costa Ricans that’s the only time when I hated you a tiny bit, I cried and almost tore my hair out) luckily The Netherlands won if not I would have written this piece about Costa Rica in a totally other way!
Here are some fun facts about Costa Rica
- Pedestrians have very few rights in Costa Rica. They joke that Ticos love to use their horns but hate to use their brakes! It’s so bad that the Tico word for “speedbumps” is “Son muertos,” or, “The dead people.”
- You aren’t allowed to wear sunglasses or hats inside of the banks (due to so many robberies)
- When a woman is pregnant they say she is “con luz,” or “with light.”
- A saying I love is that when someone is your significant other, your other half, they are your “media naranja,” or the other half of your orange.
- Prostitution is legal but possession of pornography is illegal. They even have unions, membership cards, health benefits, and police protection.
- You are not allowed to wear shorts in a government or public office in Costa Rica – they see it as disrespectful and may turn you away.
This rice dish was sooo surprising, so different from normal rice. I loved it! It tasted like summer 😀
This recipe is for 6 people
Ingredients: 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, 4 teaspoons minced garlic, 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 6 tilapia fillets, 3/4 cup long-grain rice, 1 cup chopped onions, 2 oranges, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped, 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained 1 can black or pinto beans, drained, rinsed, 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, pinch of cinnamon
For the tilapia marinade, combine lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar in a shallow dish. Add tilapia and marinate 15 minutes, turning once.
To prepare the bean and rice mixture, cook the rice according to package directions and keep warm while the tilapia is marinating. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large, high-sided skillet or saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Add remaining garlic and onions; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro, oranges, tomatoes, beans, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, cayenne and cinnamon . Cook, uncovered, until hot, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer hot rice to a baking dish. Spoon the bean mixture on top of rice and gently blend. Slightly overlap tilapia fillets on top and scrape marinade over fillets. Bake until the flesh of the tilapia just begins to flake at the nudge of a fork, 16 to 20 minutes.
You know the places you used to dream of as a kid. Blue lagoons, white beaches, girls with flowers in their hair etc etc? What if I told you a place like this still exists. On 15 tiny islands in the South Pacific you’ll find a thousand years of Polynesian culture sitting side by side with some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the world. And the best thing is, the Cook Islands are not overrun by mass tourism yet. Probably because it’s very very expensive to go there. The Cook Islands is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system in an associated state relationship with New Zealand. Their currency is New Zealand Dollar.
Here are some fun facts about the Cook Islands:
- The Cook Islands are the world’s second largest producer of black pearls.
- It is summer year-round in the Cook Islands. The drier months are from April to November with average temperatures between 20 to 26 degrees Celsius. The hotter, more humid months are from December to March with an average maximum temperature of 28 degrees Celsius. (Seriously??!). Oh yeah the ocean is also 29 degrees Celsius so swimming pool temperature! (Is this the actual paradise?)
- The official language on the Cook Islands is English, but many people speak Maori. Still there is concern of the youth thinking that learning Maori language is irrelevant.
- Cook Islanders are very religious (catholic) they have strong sentimental feelings towards their past, traditions and culture.
- Dancing and music is a very important part of the Cook Island culture.
Ika Mata is sort of a ceviche like salad. I absolutely loved it! I felt like I a wizard when the fish sort of cooked in the lemon juice :P. I put in the fridge raw and took it out cooked! TADAAA!! And it was yummy, tasted so summery and tropical. It would be perfect starter or side dish on hot summer day. Really something to impress people with and believe me it is so easy that you could train a monkey to make it! 😀
Ingredients: salt to taste, 1 cup of coconut cream, 1 cup of lemon juice, 1 kg firm fish (I used monk fish), tabasco to taste, 1 red onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 spring onion, 1 cup of chopped coriander, 1 cup of chopped mint leaves, 1 cup of parsley.
- Cut the fish into small dice and put into a bowl. Tip over the lemon juice and stir. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pour the fish and the juice into a colander and drain.
- Return the fish to a clean bowl and add the coconut cream, salt and Tabasco. Taste and add more salt and Tabasco if desired.
- Stir through the onion, capsicum and spring onion while reserving a little of each to garnish. Refrigerate before serving in small bowls. Garnish, adding optional torn fresh coriander leaves
As I said before baking is not my strongest suit, but I refuse to give up! I will bake something that looks at least halfway decent. Now I got a KitchenAid machine it shouldn’t be complicated at all right? My friend was coming over for dinner and I decided to make a desert as well, and what could possibly go wrong with lemon bars right?!! However it does get quite hard when you do something wrong with measuring the ingredients. I had to start over twice, just because I didn’t properly calculate how much I needed. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! Luckily the 3th time I finally managed to do everything right and the lemon bars turned out great! You just have to make sure that the eggy-lemon mixture is evenly distributed when you put it in the oven, otherwise some parts will have a lot of lemon mixture and others won’t have any at all!
The other reason why I’m sharing an extra recipe this week is because I wanted an excuse to share this amazing song with you guys that has been stuck in my head for ages.
So I hope you enjoy this song and this great recipe!
This recipe is for 12 people
Ingredients: 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced, 1¾ cups, plus 3 tablespoons, all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar, plus more for dusting at the end, ¼ cup cornstarch, ¾ teaspoon salt, 4 eggs, 1⅓ cups granulated sugar, 1½ teaspoons lemon zest, about 2 lemons, ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 4 lemons, ¼ cup whole milk, 2 tablespoons lemon flavored liqueur, optional
- Line your baking dish with parchment paper.Let about a cm of paper hang on either side, this will allow you to easily pull out the bars once they are baked and cooled.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 1¾ cups of flour, ⅔ cup powdered sugar, the cornstarch, and ¾ teaspoon salt.Turn the mixer on low, to avoid the flour flying everywhere, and mix until evenly combined.
- Add the diced cold, very cold, butter into the dry ingredients. You can use two forks, a pastry blender, or the mixer to do this. Try not to use your hands as the heat that you generate will warm up the butter, and we want cold butter.
- I use the mixer and it works perfectly. Cut in the butter until it resembles course crumbs the size of peas. You’ll know it is ready when you squeeze the crumbs and they hold together tightly. Pour the crumbs evenly between the two baking dishes, if using, or the one 9×13 dish.
- Pat the crumbs down using your hands into a ¼ inch thick crust. Press it into an even layer and allow the crust to come up the sides slightly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 350° F. After half an hour, bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- In the meantime, while the crust bakes, assemble the filling. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar. Whip on high until the eggs have become thick and pale in color, about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons flour, and lemon zest and whisk to combine. Stir in the lemon juice, milk and lemon liqueur if using, mix once more.
- Once the crust is golden brown, remove it from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325° F. Stir the filling once again and pour it onto the warm crust.
- Bake until the filling is set (it doesn’t move when you jiggle the pan) about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Using the excess parchment paper as handles, pull out the lemon bars gently and place on a cutting surface.
- Peel off the parchment paper. Using a serrated (bread) knife cut the bars into even squares. If you wipe the knife after each cut it will make the process easier and less messy for you.
- Dust the bars with powdered sugar for garnish and serve immediately.
I know there are 2 Congo’s but to avoid confusion I just did one recipe.
Yes we are officialy there, Congo… the poorest nation on earth. Some of you might know I grew up in Belgium, I was born there, went to school, my parents still live there. Here is what I learned about Congo as a Belgian colony. “Congo is a colony of Belgium in Africa, King Leopold the Second claimed it for himself and then around 1960 Congo gained independence.” And yes I did pay attention in history class since it was my favorite subject in school. I still learned NOTHING about how the Belgians left Congo or how they treated the Congolese. I think this is a disgrace! It’s like Germans never learning about the damage they did with the World Wars. Over 10 million Congolese were slaughtered (that was 50% of the entire population)! And for what,… ivory, gold, diamonds (sooo money???).
So on the bright side there also some things about Congo you probably don’t know:
- The great apes, such as the bonobos and the eastern lowland gorillas, can be found only in Congo.
- You should not take pictures there and local residents will get upset when you shoot them because it is believed that capturing a person’s image will remove his/her spirit.
- The Congo rives flows through 10 countries
- Despite being one of the poorest nations on earth the Congolese are a very proud nation. As said on Anthony Bourdain Part’s Unkown, even the poorest people spend most of their income on soap, clothes and their haircut. They take great pride in looking clean, fresh and well taken care off.
This recipe is great for using up leftovers of a sunday roast since you can literally use any meat!
Ingredients: Any meat you can boil (I used left over roast lamb), 3 unripe green plantains, 1 large onion, 3 large tomatoes, 1/4 cup of parsley, 1/2 cup of basil, 1/4 cup of celery leaves, 2 teaspoons of grated ginger, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 green onions, 1 teaspoon white pepper, 2 teaspoons of curry powder 1 tablespoon of thyme, vegetable oil, 1 stock cube
- In Large saucepan boil meat seasoned with salt, and, onions until tender depending on the meat with plenty of water for stock. You can shorten this process in half by using a pressure cooker. Reserve stock
- Using a sharp knife cut both ends off the plantain. This will make it easy to grab the skin of the plantains. Slit a shallow line down the long seam of the plantain; peel only as deep as the peel. Remove plantain peel by pulling it back
- Cut the plantains into 2-3 pieces depending on size
- Chop the tomatoes, onions, green onions and place in a food processor or blender: garlic, basil, parsley, celery with a little bit of water -if using a blender to facilitate blending. Blend until puree.
- Heat up a large pot with oil, then add the tomatoes mixture, white pepper, curry, and meat with meat stock, bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Then add plantains, Maggi and/or stock / water (enough to cover the plantains)
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let it cook until the plantains is super tender about an hour or more. Add water as necessary to prevent burns.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Serve warm
So Wednesday I was home and my parents were working from home so my mom decided to make me and my dad something special for lunch. Normally we would just get a cup of instant noodels of a slice of bread with Nutella. We are not really the kind of people that go big on lunch. Although our weekend family breakfasts are legendary, complete with danish, fresh squeezed orange juice and home made chicken salad ! In fact our weekend breakfasts are so extensive that we usually skip lunch during the weekends. But Wednesday was special since my dad had been traveling a lot over the past few weeks and my brother got home early from school.
Since my mom is a magician with leftovers, she just grabbed whatever leftovers were in fridge and made us a delicious and incredibly tasty sandwich! This sandwich could be served in a restaurant or a deli! I swear it’s that good!
Ingredients: roasted red pepper in slices, slices of aubergine grilled in a pan with a little oil, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper
Ingredients for the guacamole: avocado, lemon juice, a little bit of mayonaise, knoflook, half a chili, little bit of olive oil
Instructions on who to roast red peppers can be found right here:
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
- Toast a slice of bread and drizzle it with a little olive oil.
- Start wit a laying a slice of aubergine on the toast.
- Next up is a slice of roasted red pepper.
- And last but certainly not least a slice of cheddar cheese.
- Put in the over for about 5 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted
- In the meanwhile blits up the guacamole in the mixer.
- Grind a little bit of pepper on the toast.
- You ready to go! serve with the guacamole on the side!
Scattered across the ocean the Comoros Islands a place you go when you want to escape reality for a little while or if you are fugitive it would also be the perfect place to hide out, since most people haven’t even heard about this mysterious little dot in the ocean. So what kind of people live in the Comoros Islands? The charming inhabitants of Comoros are mixture of Arab traders, Persian sultans, African slaves and Portuguese pirates. Islam, and all its traditions, is recognizable everywhere. Women are expected to show modesty and cover up, and alcohol is an absolute no-go. But if your idea of the perfect holiday is less about drinking rum punch in a bikini at a resort, and more about long, lazy days sipping tea and talking politics with the locals, then a safari in the exotic Comoros will probably be the kind of unpredictable adventure you’ve been craving for.
Things you didn’t know about Comoros:
- The Comoros Islands have the nickname ‘Cloud Coup-Coup’ land because of their crazy politics, the three independent islands have experienced almost 20 coups since gaining independence in 1975! In fact, a Comorian president is lucky if there’s time for his official portrait to be taken before armed men are once again knocking on the door.
- Comoros is the second-largest producer of vanilla in the world! Madgascar is the first.
- Each island has its own dialect.
This rice tasted so comfy and heartwarming! Yummy for a weeknight meal! Strangely it reminded me a lot of the Afghan dish I did (that was my first recipe!), strange since they are so far away from each other! I mean Comoros is a tiny island in the ocean and Afghanistan is a freaking desert!