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This tuna olive tapenade is full of powerful flavours that pack a punch

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.

Ingredients
(from ‘Aller Lekkerste Zomer’)

50g capers
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
salt, pepper
about 2 tbsp olive oil

Recipe

  1. Rinse the capers. Add to a food processor together with all the ingredients except the olive oil.
  2. Blend until the dip has reached the desired consistency. Add extra olive oil if necessary. ( I like my tapenade rather smooth.)
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. 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


Serve with

  • raw vegetables as a dip
  • cream cheese or rye bread
  • crostini and baked ricotta
Smoky aubergine dip also know as caviar d’aubergines

Smoky aubergine dip also know as caviar d’aubergines

Baba ganoush is an aubergine dip with an amazing smoky flavour; I have never tasted anything like it! Gorgeous! I was over the moon when I discovered it really is not that hard to make yourself.

You start by charring some eggplant over an open flame or under a grill. The hob method is more adventurous. Cooking them under the grill is particularly good if you are making larger amounts (and you will want massive amounts, this stuff is so delicious).

Before making the baba ganoush I would actually set aside a little of the roast aubergine to use as part of this recipe for Lentils with Roast Vegetables.

Serve your baba ganoush as an appetizer with some wraps.
Or as a side dish to spiced lamb and a salad for a fabulous main course.
Or….go crazy and serve this dip as part of a mezze style feast.

Last but not least this dip not only keeps in the fridge for about five days, it actually tastes better after a day or two.

 

Ingredients
2 large aubergine
3 garlic cloves
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp tahini (roasted sesame paste)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of cayenne or chili
optional: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp leaf parsley

 

Recipe

Aubergine
I know two methods for preparing the eggplant.

Option 1: Hob & oven

  1. Heat oven to 200C.
  2. Prick the eggplants a few times with a fork. Char them by placing them directly on the flame of your gas stove. Turn them regularly until the skin is blackened and bubbles.( I so enjoy this part of the recipe – I mean how often do you get to do something like this.) Depending on how smoky you like you dip, char them for about (5 to )15 min.
  3. Put the aubergine in an oven dish and bake about 45 min until soft and wrinkled.
  4. Transfer them to a colander and allow to drain for 30 min.

Alternative: Grill

  1. Line a baking tray with a double layer of aluminum foil.
  2. Pierce aubergines a few times with a fork (to stop them from exploding.)
  3. Place them directly under a hot grill for about 1 hour, turning them a few times. The aubergines should deflate and the skin should burn and break.

Making the dip

  1. Boil a little water and throw in the garlic just briefly. (This removes the sharp edge of the garlic.)
  2. Carefully remove the garlic skin. Cut the aubergine into rough chunks and put these to your food processor together with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cayenne, cumin (if using). Process until you have a creamy dip. (I prefer my baba ganoush with some texture, but you can go as smooth as you like.)
  3. Chill at least for a few hours before serving. The dip will taste even better after a day or two. It will keep for about five in the fridge and can be frozen.

Serve with

Spicy Lamb Chops or Mini Kofta
Soft Warps or Pita Breads
Cauliflower Tabbouleh or Watermelon Feta Salad
Lentils and Roast Vegetables (you can use either baba ganoush or plain roast aubergine for this dish)

Grilled Aubergine on Lentils and Roast Veg

Grilled Aubergine on Lentils and Roast Veg

Super simple stewed strawberries


My local supermarket stopped selling my favourite fruit jam.  It was a no-sugar-added compote with chunks of real fruit. Why they would take the best jam ever off the shelves beats me; but then I also do not understand how people can eat that artificial tasting sweet stuff that gets passed off as jam.  I guess I was spoiled growing up on my grandmother  and uncle’s home-made jams.

Thankfully every cloud has a silver lining: looking for a replacement I discovered this ridiculously easy compote. Sugar free and slightly tart it goes wonderfully with anything from scones to yoghurt. In the fridge it should last for at least two weeks. By the way this recipe works fine with strawberries that have too soft for eating fresh.

One day I am going to tackle real jam making, but for now I am happy to make this quick and easy compote.

Recipe
(found on the blog ‘Appetite for Life)

 

  1. Hull and halve a punnet of strawberries. Place them in a small saucepan.
  2. Add a tablespoon or so of water.
  3. Bring to a soft simmer on a medium low heat.
  4. Turn the heat low and cook without a lid. Stir once in a while until the compote has reached the desired thickness. (About 30 minutes is a good guideline. You can cook them for longer if you are looking for a smoother compote, like on the above photograph)
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (Should last about 2 weeks)

 

Tips & Variations

In the last 5 minutes you can add some

  • Sweetner: Agave syprup, honey, stevia or sugar
  • Flavouring: lemon juice, orange juice or vanilla sugar


Serve with

Effortless Apple Sauce Straigth from the Freezer

What a discovery: No Cook Freezer Apple Sauce. This must be the simplest dish I know: you slice, bag, freeze, puree – and you have apple sauce (with as many vitamins intact as possible).

….and then I made another discovery that had me reeling: you can use apple sauce to replace butter or oil in baking!!!

With these discoveries the world is a different place: a world that has apple sauce in my freezer and guilt free muffins on my breakfast plate (try these Oat and Blueberry Muffins).

Ingredients
(found on the blog “back to her roots”)

2 tablespoons lemon juice
4-6 medium apples (about 1,5 kg)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Recipe

  1. Fill a large bowl 2/3 with water, add lemon juice and mix.
  2. Core the apples and cut into eights (no need to peel).
  3. Add apple slices to the water and stir until all apple slices are coated in the mixture.
  4. Drain apples well.
  5. Place apples in a large zip-lock bag, add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Seal bag and toss to coat.
  6. Place bag in freezer until apples are frozen solid ( a minimum of 4-6 hours but you can keep the apples in the freezer for a long time).
  7. When you are ready to use, remove the apples from freezer and allow to defrost on kitchen counter (or in fridge).
  8. When apples are soft mash in a food processor. Serve cold.

Use it to make
Oat and Blueberry Muffins
 

Airy, delicate hummus (and lower-carb on top of that)

Has it ever happened to you…..

That you liked a dish so much you made it over and over again (let’s say hummus)?

You even found ways of tweaking it to make it more special  (let’s say pink beet hummus)?

One day you decide you need to try a healthier version, even if it means sacrificing flavour  (let’s say hummus with steamed cauliflower)?

….and then you are just blown away by the result!

It happened to me:  In my opinion hummus with cauliflower tastes even better than traditional stuff!

The cauliflower gives an airy texture and an adds an extra delicate flavour dimension.
Last but not least the fact that you are adding an extra portion of veg to your meal just makes this a winner.

Ingredients
(a recipe from the blog “adventuresofvegirl’ which unfortunately no longer exists)

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
equal amount of cauliflower (about 1/4)
2-4  tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp tahini OR ground sesame seeds
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Optional: 1-2 whole garlic cloves

 

Recipe

  1. Steam the cauliflower until just tender (about 7-10 minutes). Allow the cauliflower to cool.
  2. Optional: Peel the garlic cloves. Put them into a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Once boiling remove immediately. This will reduce the pungent smell of the garlic. Of course you can skip this step or (what I usually do) even leave out the garlic all together.
  3. Rinse the chickpeas.
  4. Add all the ingerdients to a food processor and blend until smooth.

 

Tips & Variations

This dish freezes perfectly: spread the mix into an ice cube tray. Freeze until solid and the transfer into a freezer bag.

Hummus with beets – popping in pink


I still remember how years ago I discovered how easy it is too make hummus: you throw some chickpeas and a little seasoning in a food processor; you whizz it all together  – that is all. Not much of a recipe really.

But now I discovered that adding roasted beets turns hummus a stunning pink. Now this is a recipe worth sharing….

 

Ingredients
(inspired by the blog ‘Our Share of the Harvest’)

2 medium beets
60 (-120) ml lemon juice
2-3 tbsp tahini (to taste)
1-2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
optional: a few splashes Tabasco
2-4 cloves of garlic (depending on how much of a kick you would like)
2 cans of chickpeas (about 450g / 16oz each)
1 tbsp parsley
optional: 60ml-100ml olive oil

 

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F. Wash the beets. Wrap them in a foil parcel and bake 20-60 minutes unitl tender (depends on the age of your beets). They are done when you can easily insert a knife. When the beets are cool enough to handle remove the skin (wear gloves).
  2. The trick to smooth hummus is the order in which you mix the ingredients: start with the tahini, lemon juice and water. Mix in a food processor until creamy, scraping the sides a few times.
  3. Then add chopped beets and process until smooth.
  4. Now add chopped garlic and chickpeas.
  5. Blend until you have a creamy consistency.
  6. If you would like a smoother consistency drizzle in the olive oil with the machine running.
  7. Before serving drizzle with olive oil. Chop parsley and sprinkle on top.


Tips & Variations

Leave out the beets and you have a quick and tasty hummus.

Serve with

Other pink foods for a baby shower:

This easy sauce keeps well in the freezer. Freeze in an ice-cube tray and store in a zip lock bag.

Straight from the Freezer: Pizza Sauce

 Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 gloves of garlic, minced
2 cans of tomato pieces (or chop up canned plum tomatoes)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
½ – 1 tsp red chili pepper flakes
optional: 1-2 tsp dried oregano

Recipe

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and sauté briefly.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until thick. Stirring frequently to prevent the sauce from sticking to the base.
  5. If you prefer a smoother sauce you can process in a blender.

 To store

– In an airtight container the sauce keeps for about 1 week in the refrigerator.
– If you wish to store it longer: let the sauce cool. Spread in an ice cube tray. Once frozen transfer into a zip lock bag. Per pizza you will need about 6 ice cubes.

Serve with