Archive

Tag Archives: freeze

Celebrate the season in style by sipping a warm glass of Halloween blood

Celebrate the season in style by sipping a warm glass of Halloween blood


A moment ago we were still enjoying the carefree warmth of long summer days and suddenly the nights are turning long again. By late afternoon the shadows already begin to creep up. By early evening an inky blackness has spread. And as every child knows danger lurks in the dark; monsters, ghouls and unimaginable horror. All of a sudden it is Halloween again – the marker of the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death.

Time to usher in the winter season and to celebrate an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.

Kick off your Halloween party with these elegant little “blood” shots as appetizer. To stay in the theme serve them with some black grissini.

Should you have already had your Halloween celebrations there is no need to wait until next year to enjoy this little treat. These beetroot shots are a stylish amuse for any dinner party – great for the festive season that is right on our doorstep. (Although in that case I would leave out the plastic spiders….)

Not only do these little shots look stunning and taste fantastic, they can be prepared ahead and can either kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen for up to a month in advance.

 

231 IMG_4322

Ingredients
(I have made these shots for years and have no idea where I found this recipe or who I have to thank for it)
About 1 liter which makes 20 glasses of 50ml

Optional: black plastic spiders
1 bunch (15g) fresh tarragon
200ml yoghurt (use a liquid
2 red onion
3 tbsp light brown sugar (NL: gele basterdsuiker)
75ml red wine
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 liter vegetable stock (hot)
500g cooked or roasted beets*
Salt, pepper

Recipe

  1. Bring some water to the boil and pour over the plastic spiders to clean them.
  2. Chop the tarragon and blend all but 2 tbsp with the yoghurt.
  3. Optional: place a spider half-way in each ice cube.
  4. Spread the yoghurt in an ice cube tray, cover with cling film and allow to freeze.
  5. Peel and finely chop the onion.
  6. Place the onion in a pot and add the sugar. Cover with a lid and cook for 10min on a medium flame. Keep the lid on the pot and shake once in a while.
  7. Add the red wine and vinegar. Cook until it reaches a syrupy consistency.
  8. Peel the beetroot, cut into small cubes and add to the pan.
  9. Pour in the hot stock.
  10. Add the 2 tbsp of tarragon you reserved. Allow all to cook gently for about 15min.
  11. Blend smooth using an (immersion) blender.
  12. Pass the puree though a fine meshed sieve.
  13. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  14. Serve the soup in small (shot) glasses with an ice cube.
  15. To store: The soup can be cooled and kept in the fridge for a few days. Alternatively it can be kept in the freezer for up to a month. Remove from the freezer a day before serving to allow to defrost in the fridge. Heat for 5min on a medium flame.

231 IMG_4266

Tips & Variations

Consider some of the following

I prefer roasting beets but they can also be cooked. Heat oven to about 200C (400F) Wash the beets. No need to peel. Fold a large piece of aluminum foil double. Place the beets on top and rub with oil, salt and pepper. Wrap the foil loosely around the beets make sure the foil is closed well. Roast the beets for 40-60 min or until a knife pierces the beets easily. The beets keep in the fridge for up to a week.


Serve with

More Halloween party treats

Not your traditional meatballs - fabulously unique lentilballs with mushroom

Not your traditional meatballs – fabulously unique lentilballs with mushroom


I so love the first few days of the New Year: I get to cocoon at home and just laze around. The goal is to enjoy being as unproductive as possible. The only exception I make is for cooking – that is allowed as there are few things that are more relaxing than cradling a plateful of comfort food.

With my first dish this year I wanted to continue the tradition of starting the year with a lentil dish to symbolize abundance of happiness and prosperity. At the same time I needed a “veg of the week”. Granted, I am stretching the term vegetable by including mushrooms, but one bite of these lentilballs and you are sure to forgive me.

I did doubt trying this recipe: It seemed like way too much effort for some simple veggieballs – you have to use a pot, a food processor, a fry pan and then the oven. But oh, it is worth it! The lentils give these little morsels a lovely light texture and the mushrooms add to the deep full flavour. These lentilballs are too good to be called vegetarian “meatballs”- they really are a dish of their own right.

First, I had them in tomato sauce on zucchini ‘spaghetti’ with plenty of parmesan for a lovely healthy dinner. I think they would also be great with some (zucchini) pasta, pesto, fresh arugula and some parmesan shavings.
For my second dinner I had them in a tortilla wrap with some fresh veg and a yoghurt sauce. These lentilballs make a great alternative to the standard falafel and would also work great with a tabouleh and quick raita.

307 IMG_5539

There was an additional reason for choosing this dish: my fingers were itching to try out my newest kitchen gadget. The Spirelli spiral cutter, that I got for Christmas. What a fabulous little tool! Instead of producing those scraggily bits that you get with a julienne cutter, this gadget cuts the most perfect and incredibly long zucchini ‘spaghetti’.
My kitchen is tiny there is a very strict door policy: no egg slicer, garlic peeler or  corn stripper hidden at the back of my cupboards. But, if like me, you regularly enjoy zucchini ‘spaghetti’,  this is a great little utensil. A big thank you to my parents for a great gift.

307 IMG_5547307 IMG_5573

Ingredients
(from the blog ‘Cookie and Kate’)
About 20-25 meatballs

200g (1 cup) dried brown lentils
500ml (2 cups) vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
225g (8 oz) mushrooms
45g (1/2 cup) oats
20g (1/2 cup) flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp red pepper flakes
salt, pepper
2 tbsp oil
1 medium to large onion
3-4 garlic cloves
60ml (1/4 cup) red wine (or red wine vinegar, but then a little less)
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 eggs
salt, pepper


Recipe

  1. Place lentils, vegetable stock, bay leaf in a sauce plan. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 min. (Yes, they will still be undercooked.)
  2. Drain, discard the bay leaf and allow to cool a little.
  3. In a food processor, combine halved mushrooms, oats, parsley, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  4. Pulse until you have a crumbly mixture. Do not process for too long as you do not want the mixture to turn into a puree.
  5. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Chop the onion and cook for about 5 min or until translucent.
  6. Chop/press the garlic and add. Cook, stirring, for about 30 sec.
  7. Now add the lentil mushroom mixture. Cook for 5 min stirring all the time. (Do not worry if the mix sticks to the bottom of the pan, just keep on scraping it off with a spatula.)
  8. Add the red wine and soy sauce to the pan. Continue cooking and stirring until the liquid has been absorbed.
  9. Check the seasoning. (You want a little heat from the pepper flakes and enough salt.)
  10. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool until it is comfortable to handle.
  11. Make a well in the middle of the lentils, add the eggs and whisk them together before stirring them into the lentil mixture.
  12. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  13. With wet hands scoop little balls onto the sheet. (I made about 25 walnut size balls, but you can also choose to make about 15 golf-size balls)
  14. Bake for about 20 min (or 35min for larger balls).

Tips & Tricks
These freeze well. To reheat wrap well in aluminum foil and warm in a 200C (300F) oven.


Serve with

  • Tomato Sauce, regular or zucchini ‘spaghetti’ and some grated parmesan
  • Pesto, arugula, regular or zucchini ‘spaghetti’ and some shaved parmesan
  • In a tortilla or pita bread with lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and some yoghurt
  • With a tabbouleh and raita maybe a little beet salad on the side

Some of the health benefits of mushrooms

  • Vitamin D – Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable source of this critical vitamin. Like humans, mushrooms produce vitamin D when in sunlight.
  • Promote immune function by increasing the production of antiviral and other proteins that are released by cells while they are trying to protect and repair the body’s tissues. Also studies showed that white button mushrooms promoted the maturation of immune system cells–called dendritic cells–from bone marrow. According to the researchers, this may help enhance the body’s immunity leading to better defence systems against invading microbes.
  • Antioxidants—the substances that help fight free radicals that are the result of oxidation in our body—we’re more likely to think of colourful vegetables than neutral-hued mushrooms. But a study at Penn State university showed that the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC)—a measure of a food’s total antioxidants—of crimini and portobello mushrooms were about the same as for red peppers.
  • Boosting your metabolism with B vitamins that are vital for turning food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the body burns to produce energy. They also help the body metabolize fats and protein. Mushrooms contain loads of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Good for you bladder due to selenium. Studies have shown that the higher the level of selenium, as measured in blood serum and toenails, the lower the risk of bladder cancer. Selenium had a significant protective effect mainly among women, which the researchers believe may result from gender-specific differences in this its accumulation and excretion. Several types of mushrooms are rich in this essential trace mineral: 100 grams of raw crimini have 47 percent of your daily needs, cooked shiitakes have 45 percent and raw white button have 17 percent.
  • And last but not least they are low in calories
    (found on the site “Best Health”)
The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream (Wallace Stevens)

The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream (Wallace Stevens)

What do you do when life hands you lemons?

You sit there and stare for a while; lost at what to do next.

…but sooner or later you are bound to get hungry…

So you grab the sour lemons, add some silky yoghurt to make a big tub of creamy frozen yoghurt.

And then you sit there staring for a while longer. ….but at least you are holding a fabulously soothing desert in your hands.

 

Ingredients
Serves 1 (or should it really be 2)

250g Greek yoghurt (Total 0% is my favourite)
1/2 -1 lemon
2 tbsp honey (or 1tbsp honey, 1 tbsp agave)

 

Recipe

  1. Put the yoghurt into a wide freezer tub.
  2. Grate half the lemon and zest it. Stir into the yoghurt.
  3. Add the honey and mix well. Taste and adjust the amount of lemon if necessary.
  4. Place into the freezer for 1-2 hours.
  5. Stir well with a fork.
  6. Return to the feezer and freeze until solid.
  7. Place into the foodprocessor and process until smooth. (If the yoghurt is too hard allow it to soften for a few minutes).
Healthy no-fuss dessert: pineapple sorbet

Healthy no-fuss dessert: pineapple sorbet


Lately I have not been posting very much. Why? Because I have been eating.

The last few weeks I came out of hibernation and spent most evenings eating out with friends. I almost feel like I have been on a trip around the world:  enjoying Asian lounge restaurants, clattering dim sum eateries, pure Italian hospitality,  French Michelin starred luxury – just to name a few of the experiences I had.

On my couple evenings at home I balanced things out by eating healthy steamed fish and vegetables. But the contrast proved slightly too much of a shock.

Enter ….. my favourite healthy “emergency dessert”: pineapple sorbet.

This recipe really only has three steps: freeze tinned pineapple, allow to defrost a few minutes, blend. See below for the long version and maybe from now on you will also keep some pineapple in your freezer. Just for emergency purposes only of course 😉

 

Ingredients
(recipe found on the blog ‘Fat Free Vegan‘)
Serves 2-4

1 can of pineapple slices in their own juice (do not take the ones that are canned with syrup)
optional: fresh mint

Recipe

  1. Place the pineapple and juice into a zip-lock freezer bag or -container.
  2. Freeze until solid, overnight (or just keep some in your freezer at all times- for emergencies).
  3. When ready to eat. Allow to defrost at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  4. Place in food processor and process until smooth.
  5. If using add mint leaves when the pinapple is almost smooth.
  6. Serve immediately. Any leftovers can be stored in the freezer. Just briefly process again before serving.
Imagine having these on your table within 5 minutes of pulling them out of the freezer

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.

12-04-14: I put fudginggoods comment into practice and added lime zest and a little chili – fabulous! It adds just a touch of zing!

 

Ingredients
(from the blog ‘Rasa Malaysia‘)
About 20 dumplings

340g fresh, peeled and deveined shrimps (medium to large)
30g chives
zest of 1/2 lime
1/2 red chili
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
(white) pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon oil
about 20 wonton skin

 

Recipe

Make the filling.

  1. Rinse the prawns. Pat dry with paper towel. Cut each shrimp into small pieces.
  2. Chop chives.
  3. Zest lime, and chop chilli finely.
  4. Combine prawns, chives, zest chili and remaining marinade ingredients. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Make the wontons:

  1. Lay wonton skin on a flat and dry surface.
  2. Dab your index finger in a small dish with water. Trace around the skin.
  3. Add some filling to the center.
  4. Make three folds one side of the sheet.
  5. Now fold double into a half-moon shape.
  6. Press the two halves together.

100 IMG_8409100 IMG_8407

Cook the dumplings:

  1. Either steam: Bring some water to the boil with a steamer basket. Steam the dumplings for about 3 minutes (or 4 if frozen).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.

Serve with

  • 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