Pure and simple
One day a year the Netherlands turn into an Orange on steroids, we call it Queensday. That is until today we called it that: this will be the last Queensday for at least a few decades with a new king taking the throne.
Queensday is not so much a celebration of the queen as an excuse for a great party: when I was a kid it was all about selling old junk on your doorstep. Then it became about joining the thousands of people on the streets of Amsterdam drinking way too many luke warm cans of beer. Nowadays the perfect Queensday is sitting at a friend’s window looking out on the mayhem, enjoying a lovely glass of wine.
The food that I associate with Queensday has also changed over the years: First I remember eating half of the cake I was trying to sell by slice. Then there were years of greasy shawarmas, French fries and burgers. And now I am nibbling on a few delicacies that have nothing more in common with Queensday than that they are ….orange.
These salmon bites take no effort to put together and make a great appetizer for any celebration.
Small tip: as only part of the salmon filet is thick enough to cut it into beautiful even cubes, have another recipe handy for the remaining salmon. Have some Salmon Burgers for lunch, for example.
a piece of thick sashimi quality salmon
Fish roe ( I used orange for the occasion, but black roe gives a very sticking effect as well)
- Cut the salmon into even cubes.
- Place salmon onto serving dishes.
- Top each piece with a dollop of roe.
- Cut the green parts of the spring onion into oval slices.
- Top each cube with a few onion slices.
Tips & Variations
You could prepare the fish in a soy sauce marinade for an Asian twist
Enjoy gravlax with ease
Why are we so ready to believe that great results require great effort?
We live in a culture that tells us that to achieve anything worthwhile, we have to work hard, to struggle and to fight. But I am beginning to feel that quite the opposite is true. There is no proof that struggle leads us to success. Actually the focus on battling through life seems to undermine any goals of peace and happiness.
The key seems to be to look at life through different eyes; to let go of fear and strife, and to replace them with effortless and creative living.
So with this in mind, this post is not just a recipe for wonderfully tasty cured salmon, but my proof that effortless living is the secret to joy
For this dish you need to do nothing more than wrap some fish in salt, sugar and dill. Let some days pass (they will do that all on their own) and then enjoy the experience of a beautifully, clean tasting, tender piece of cured salmon.
(And just to prove that ease and adventure go together hand in hand, see “tips and variations” below for a truly wild way of making gravlax.)
400g fresh salmon skin on
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
a large bunch of dill
- Rinse the salmon and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Place a double layer of cling film on your counter top. Place half the dill on the cling film.
- Combine salt and sugar. And rub all over the fish.
- Place fish on cling film and dill. Top with remaining dill.
- Wrap fish tightly in cling film and place into a (zip lock) bag.
- Put the parcel in a Tupperware container or oven dish.
- Place a plate or chopping board on the fish and weigh it down with heavy objects. (Or completely forget about this step as I sometimes seem to do.)
- Keep the salmon in the fridge for 3-5 days. It is best to turn the fish once a day to ensure even curing.
- Unwrap the fish and discard the dill.
- Rinse, pat dry and remove the skin.
- Cutting against the grain, serve in thin slices.
- The cured fish keeps for at least one week in the refrigerator.
Tips & Variations
Consider some of the following
- add a little crushed black pepper to the salt and sugar
- drizzle the fish with a tablespoon of vodka or aquavit
- Add lemon zest
Adventurous Gravad Lax
A friend of mine shared his way of making Gravlax with me. It is so much more exciting & wild than my “domesticated” recipe. Unfortunately it is a true winter recipe that requires frost. So although winter is hardly gone I am already looking forward to its return to try this myself.
- Rub the salmon generously with Cognac (he uses Osborne)
- Wrap the fish in aluminum foil and then in cling film.
- Bury the fish in the garden about 40cm deep (this is where the name originates from: gravad lax.)
- Dig up three weeks later and enjoy.
Thank you GdB for this amazing recipe!
This tuna olive tapenade is full of powerful flavours that pack a punch
You know you are a lucky person when you can look up from your plate and see a table surrounded with the smiling faces of friends. The air is full with the sound of buzzing conversation, bubbling laughter and clinking forks. The table is full of tasty bites and scrumptious nibbles. Life is good!
This tapenade is a great little make-ahead dish for a fuss free dinner party. It tastes salty, rich and earthy. Originally tapenade is made with just olives and capers. This version includes tuna. Quite moreish!
Thanks againTC and VV for giving me….and my tapenade… a place at your table.
(from ‘Aller Lekkerste Zomer’)
150g good quality pitted black olives
3 anchovies filets
1 can of good quality tuna in olive oil (about 200g)
a pinch of dried thyme
1/2 tsp lemon juice
about 2 tbsp olive oil
- Rinse the capers. Add to a food processor together with all the ingredients except the olive oil.
- Blend until the dip has reached the desired consistency. Add extra olive oil if necessary. ( I like my tapenade rather smooth.)
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour or preferably over-night. Can be stored in the fridge for about four days.
Tips & Variations
Consider some of the following
- leave out the tuna and anchovies for a more traditional tapenade
- replace anchovies with anchovy paste
- add a clove of garlic
- add lemon zest
- replace thyme with oregano
- add chopped parsley
- raw vegetables as a dip
- cream cheese or rye bread
- crostini and baked ricotta
Imagine having these on your table within 5 minutes of pulling them out of the freezer
Cook once and eat twice – or in this case three or four times. I love foods that you can make in bulk and then just keep in the freezer.
These prawn dumplings are one of my favourite freezer dishes. They are very easy to make and once you have the hang of folding the dumplings, they do not take that much time to put together. The dumplings freeze beautifully and only take about four minutes to cook from frozen.
Make a large batch and keep them in the freezer for about 3 – 6 months. Then next time you feel like having a lazy evening, just pop the dumplings in a steam basket, defrost some edamame beans and relax. These dumplings make a lovely starter or great little dish for a dim sum style meal. Or serve with stir fried vegetables and rice or vermicelli for a light and effortless dinner.
The flavour of these dumplings is very light and delicate. The crunch of the prawn contrasts wonderfully with the soft wonton skin.
(from the blog ‘Rasa Malaysia‘)
About 20 dumplings
340g fresh, peeled and deveined shrimps (medium to large)
30g. chives (cut into very short pieces)
1 teaspoon egg white
1/2 teaspoon tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon chicken or vegetable bouillon powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon oil
about 20 wonton skin
Make the filling.
- Rinse the prawns. Pat dry with paper towel. Cut each shrimp into small pieces.
- Chop chives.
- Combine prawns, chives and remaining marinade ingredients. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Make the wontons:
- Lay wonton skin on a flat and dry surface.
- Dab your index finger in a small dish with water. Trace around the skin.
- Add some filling to the center.
- Make three folds one side of the sheet.
- Now fold double into a half-moon shape.
- Press the two halves together.
Cook the dumplings:
- Either steam: Bring some water to the boil with a steamer basket. Steam the dumplings for about 3 minutes (or 4 if frozen).
- Or fry: Heat some oil in a pan. Fry the dumplings 2 minutes until golden. Add about 100ml water and immediately cover with a lid. Steam for about 3 minutes (or 4 if frozen).
- To freeze the dumplings, place them on a chopping board. Do not let them touch. Place in the freezer until frozen and then transfer to a freezer bag.
- soy sauce for dipping
- edamame (I buy mine frozen at the Asian supermarket)
- for a full meal serve with stir-fried vegetables and (fried) rice or vermicelli.
Tips & Variations
- the marinade can be replaced by a 1 1/2 soy sauce, 2 tsp rice vinegar and some (white) pepper
- with any leftover wonton skins you can make wonton cups to serve an appetizer salad or with filled yoghurt and fruits as desert
Quick, versatile and packed with flavour
This recipe is for my nieces. They liked these little silky, salty tartlets so much, they made me promise to share the recipe so they can make these themselves at home.
It is one of our fabulous family traditions to have large and late brunches when we are all together. The tables (yes, tables) are full of cold meats, smoked fish, jams, cheeses and different types of bread. It usually is not easy to find space to squeeze in some more food, but sometimes I try. This time I just craved some quiche. Seeing it was still early (only around 1 pm) I could just not get myself to make pastry. So crustless quiche is what I went for. Very tasty and so fabulously easy I only needed to lend a helping hand as my nieces did all the work.
With so many other delicacies to choose from we had some tarts left over to snack on throughout afternoon. Personally I think I had a slight preference for the cold quiche. However our seven year old struggled thorough a few moments of deliberation before she had to admit that she really could not say which one was better as both options were so good.
This below is more of a guideline than an recipe. The variations for the filling, but even the batter are endless. At the end of the recipe you will find a few alternative ideas.
(found on the blog ‘Cherrapeno‘)
12 muffin size quiches
120ml (1/2 cup) milk
60ml (1/4 cup) double cream
60g all-purpose flour
1/2 generous tsp baking powder
1 tbsp chives
1 tsp dill
210g (2/3 cup) strong cheese (cheddar or similar)
70g (1/3 cup) smoked salmon
- Heat the oven to 180C. Grease a 12-whole muffin tin. (This is not necessary for non-stick or silicon tins.)
- Whisk eggs, milk and cream together.
- Add the flour and baking powder. Whisk again.
- Chop the chives and dill.
- Grate the cheese.
- Chop salmon roughly. Add all the ingredients to the batter.
- Season with pepper. (There is no need for salt as the cheese and salmon are quite salty already.)
- Fill the 12 wholes of the muffin tin.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden Check that they are cooked through..
Tips & Variations
If you are looking for a lighter version consider turning the tartlets into mini frittatas. (Click here for recipe.)
For alternative fillings consider:
- sautéed onion and crisp bacon
- green chili and crisp bacon
- sautéed leek and ham
- spinach and shredded zucchini
- sautéed red capsicum and mushroom