Not much more than onion, meat and spice come together to make a spectacular stew
When I was only a teenager I started collecting my favourite recipes in a little book. I wrote down any exciting new discoveries and all the old family favourties. But then a few years ago, my car was broken into and my suitcase stolen – the worst thing was that it had my recipe book in it!
It still makes me sad to think that I will never recover those recipes again: I will never taste that Indonesian dish of poached mackerel in coconut milk – a recipe from friend from long ago and far away. I will never make that amazing chicken salad again – a treasured recipe I managed to coax out of a colleague after much begging.
At the same time, had I not lost my recipe book I would have never received one of the most special birthday presents ever: my parents made a book with a collection of my mother’s Ethiopian recipes. Each dish in this book my mother cooked especially, so that my father could watch, write down the instructions and then take photographs.
Below my mother’s recipe for Ethiopian Lamb stew, documented by my father, detailed a little more by my sister and then cooked by me and described through my eyes.
Pages full of food, family tradition and love
1 – 1 1/2 kg Lamb (for example leg of lamb)
2 cloves of garlic
2 cm piece of ginger (about same amount as garlic)
125ml olive oil
2 tbsp berbere
1 can (400g) tomato (optional, see tips)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
- Chop the onion very finely (in a food processor).
- Bring water (about 750ml) to the boil.
- Add the onion to a large pot and cook. Cover the onion with a lid and stir regularly ensuring that the onion does not burn.
- Only when necessary add a little water to stop the onion from burning.
- When the onion is soft and translucent add the oil (after about 10-15 minutes).
- Cook 10 minutes until golden. (Optional – see tips: add 1 tbsp tomato puree)
- Add the berbere and cook on the lowest heat for about 30 minutes stirring once in a while. Only when the onions begin to stick, add a few drops of water.
- Add the canned tomato.
- Cut the meat into small bite size pieces.
- Add the lam to the onion.
- Press garlic and ginger through a garlic press into the pot.
- Cook the meat, stirring regularly until the meat is just cooked. They say the sauce is done when oil rises to surface. (Depending on the meat this takes about 10 -30 minutes.) When the sauce thickens (after about 10 minutes) add about 200ml-500ml boiling water. You are looking for a thick and glossy stew.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Tips & Variations
Instead of using the can of tomatoes you can add 1 tbsp of tomato puree before adding the berbere.
Some lentils, cleriac, nuts and a bit of seasoning – amazing that something so simpel can taste this increadible
Do you already own Yotoma Ottolenghi’s amazing recipe book ‘Plenty’? No? It is a collection of extremely creative and unbelievably tasty vegetarian recipes.
I already shared recipes based on his chickpea pancakes and his lentils with roast vegetables and grilled aubergine. As I mention in this last post, I will not be sharing many of his recipes as you really should buy his book. But to whet your appetite, here is one more wonderful dish.
And just so you know: I have cooked a few other dishes from the book. I loved them, but will not share them with you. I will not even tell you what they are called so you cannot search for them on-line. You will just have to get the book yourself and explore
A big thank you to RE for the beautiful little dishes I served the lentils in. Such a lovely present – you know me so well
( hardly altered from Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe from ‘Plenty’)
60g whole hazelnuts
200g Beluga or Puy Lentils
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
1 small celeriac (about 650g)
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp hazelnut oil (alternatively use walnut oil)
3 tbsp balsamic (or red-wine) vinegar
4 tbsp chopped mint
salt, black pepper
- Preheat oven to 140C..
- Scatter hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool and chop roughly.
- Combine lentils, water, bay leaves and thyme in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or all dente.
- Drain in a sieve and discard leaves and thyme.
- Peel the celeriac and cut into 1 cm chips.
- Bring water to the boil. Add salt and cook celeriac for 8-12 minutes or until just tender. Drain.
- Mix the hot lentils (if they are cool they will not absorbe the flavours of the dressing) with olive oil, 2 tbsp of the hazelnut oil, vinegar, pepper and plenty of salt.
- Add three quarters of the celeriac and stir. Adjust seasoning.
- To serve warm: stir in half the mint and half the hazelnuts. Spoon on a serving dish and drizzle with the remaining tbsp of hazelnut oil. Garnish with the rest of the celeriac, mint and nuts.
- To serve cold: allow the lentils to cool and adjust seasoning again; possibly adding some more vinegar as well. When you are ready to serve finish the dish the same was as when serving hot.
- As a vegetarian main with a side salad. Yotam recommends radish, cucumber, dill dressed with sour cream and olive oil
- As a side dish to a plain steamed white fish
Quiche with Onion and Bacon in a Crust with Rye, Seeds and Quinoa
Quiche is so incredibly good….I hardly ever make it – I would just gobble the whole thing down in one go. But a brunch party, picnic or pot-luck dinner is the perfect excuse for baking a quiche and having a few slices. A big thank you to TC and VV for inviting me and giving me a wonderful pretext for making this quiche
Over the years I’ve tried many different quiche recipes and the variations are endless. This recipe combines the two things that I believe to make a truly beautiful quiche: First a rustic crust with some character to it, then a creamy, slightly salty filling that is pure decadence.
Eat the quiche at room temperature. And although leftovers taste good the next day, the quiche is at its best the day it is baked.
Besides tasting great, this healthy rye crust also incredibly convenient: the crust can be baked a day in advance. On the day itself you only need to add the filling and shove it in the oven for an hour.
If you are really pressed for time, you could replace the crust with ready-made puff pasty. Its a quick fix that tastes good.(This is how I used to make this quiche before discovering this fabulous rye crust.) But I am quite sure if you try this healthy rye crust just once you will be sold on it like I was.
Another time saver is to replace the onions and bacon with cooked ham cut into cubes. A lovely and more gentle tasting alternative.
(crust from the blog ‘Appetite for Life‘)
one quiche about 24cm
110g all-purpose flour
55g rye flour
handful of quinoa
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
cold water to combine pastry
100g bacon rashers / slices
200g gruyere cheese
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Line the base of a round cake tin and grease the sides.
- In a bowl combine flours, quinoa, seeds, salt.
- Add oil. Knead by hand slowly adding water until a ball forms that is not sticky.
- Set aside a small amount of dough to mend any wholes that might appear during pre-baking.
- Dust working surface with flour. Roll out the and transfer to the tin. (Should the pastry tear whilst you transfer it you can simply mend it in the tin.)
- Prick the base a few times with a fork.
- Pre-bake (empty) for 15 minutes until golden brown.
- When you remove the pastry from the oven check for wholes and mend them with the left-over fresh pasty.
- The crust can be prepared up until this point. Allow the oven to cool down and keep the crust in the oven over night, covered with a tea towel.
- Slice the onion into rings. Gently cook the rings until soft and sweet (about 10 min). They should not brown too much.
- Fry the bacon slices until brown (about 5 min) and drain on kitchen paper.
- Grate the cheese.
- This could also be prepared the day before.
- Pre-heat oven to 200C.
- Place onion into the crust. Rip the bacon into large chunks and crumble on top.
- In a bowl briefly stir eggs.
- Add cream, cheese, salt and pepper.
- Pour the egg mixture into the casing.
- Bake the quiche for 45 – 75 min. After 30-45 min start checking the quiche; if it is browning too fast cover it with aluminum foil.
- Allow the quiche to cool down to room temperature before serving.
Tips & Variations
- Crust: use ready-made puff-pastry for a quick fix
- Filling: replace onion and bacon with cooked ham in cubes. These can be stirred straight into the egg mixture
Tender chicken – one pot, no effort
Every year I am surprised that there are so few hour of light there are in a winter’s day. Inevitably I start dreaming of luxuriant sunshine and far away lands
The Philippines a tropical paradise
I wanted to bring some of those exotic flavours into my cozy, candle-lit winter home. At the same time the cold winter weather is making me crave hearty and rich foods. How to combine these two worlds? Chicken Adobo!
Adobo is cooking method from the Philippines that takes me back to my travels through that beautiful country. This simple chicken stew is full of deep and earthy aromas. Granted it is not sophisticated or refined, but its dark flavours with a hint of sweet and an edge of acidity make for perfect comfort food.
This dish must be the easiest recipe ever. Basically you just throw all the ingredients in a pot and allow it to simmer for at least an hour. You can make it ahead; the stew actually tastes even better the next day. In my eyes this makes for a just about the perfect weekday dinner.
(a found on the blog ‘Chinese Grandma‘)
4-6 chicken drumsticks
3 onions, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper, finely ground
3 bay leaves
70 ml (1/3 cup) soy sauce
70 ml (1/3 cup) apple cider vinegar
70ml (1/3) cup water
- Remove the skin from the chicken and place it into a large pot. (In the original recipe the skin is left on.)
- Slice the onion and add.
- Mince the garlic and add.
- Add all the remaining ingredients. Sugar, pepper, bay leaf, soy sauce, vinegar and water.
- Cover and cook for 30 minutes up to 1 1/2 hours depending on how much time you have. Stir once in a while. The longer it cooks the more tender the chicken becomes.
- Towards the end of the cooking time check the thickness of the sauce. If you find it too runny take of the lid and allow the liquid to reduce.
- Vegetables like green beans or pak soi
- A salad of cucumber, cherry tomatoes and bean sprouts with a oil and apple vinegar dressing.
A heavenly dish with all the flavours of the sea
This post was inspired by a recent trip to Hamburg and a dinner at “Die Fischkueche“. The dish is like the city: straight-forward yet elegant; down-to-earth yet set for the seas.
Such a simple plate: some fish, some shrimp, a potato – but what an amazing combination of flavours and textures. A dish that feels like home even if you have never eaten it before.
This simple meal relies solely on the pure flavours of its few ingredients. It will only taste wonderful if you use high-quality produce. If you use the vacuum-packed fish and prawns from your supermarket however, this dish is sure to disappoint. Go to your fishmonger for seafood that tastes of the far-reaching ocean and bring it home to your kitchen table.
Hamburg soaked in sunshine
(inspired by Restaurant “Brahms: die Fischkueche” in Hamburg)
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
2 filleted soles
Optional: lemon wedge
- Allow the fish to come to room temperature in about 15 minutes.
- Heat the oil moderately in a frying pan. Add the butter and allow to foam.
- Season the sole. Fry for about 2 minutes a side.
- Tip the pan to one side and allow the butter to form a pool.
- Put the shrimp into the butter.
- Plate the sole and scatter the shrimp across.
- Optional: Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with a lemon wedge.
- A plain steamed young potato.
- A few blanched green beans or asparagus stalks.