Showing posts from May, 2020

Avocado Tuna Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

The menu headings on this blog probably give it away - I eat a lot of salads. Especially when it’s hot. Or when I feel bloated. Or when I’m particularly lazy. It’s a kind of ‘cooking without cooking’ and as someone with quite a bit on my plate most days (in the figurative sense ;)), I can appreciate that. Ideas that leave me eating well but with time to spare are always quite welcome in this kitchen.

Ingredients (serves 2): 1 can tuna in water, drained 1/3 cucumber, cut into cubes 1 avocado, seeded, peeled and diced 1/2 red onion, chopped 1 large scallion, copped 1 handful cilantro and parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (I used cayenne pepper) a dash of cumin salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: 1. Place the avocado, cucumber, red onion, scallion, tuna, cilantro and parsley in a bowl. 
2. For the dressing, mix the olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. 
3. Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl…

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

I grew up in South Korea. From my 8th until my 13th I lived in Seoul, in a neighborhood called Hannamdong, right behind the popular tourist shopping street Itaewon. It was an age at which I wasn’t much used to change, and I wasn’t a big fan of the crazy smells of Korean food. But nothing lasts forever, and if there’s anything that’s subject to change it’s taste. My adult self is oh so thankful for that. 

Ingredients (serves 2):
500g lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup reduced salt soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2-3 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (I didn’t have any, so I used freshly grated ginger)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 scallions, chopped
2 cups hot cooked white or brown rice
sesame seeds to garnish

1. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to a large skillet and cook the beef and garlic, breaking the beef into crumbles until it is no longer pink.

2. In a bowl, mix the remaining sesame oil, chili flakes, ground…

Asparagus with Ham, Bell Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar

You know those dishes you used to love as a child? This is a twist on an asparagus dish we used to eat when I was little. It graced our dinner table many-a-time, often on special occasions. I serve my asparagus in many different ways by now, but every now and again, I crave them just like this. 

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter):
14-16 asparagus spears 200g ham, thinly sliced  1 red bell pepper, finely chopped 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped 1 medium size onion, finely chopped 6 tbsp olive oil 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar  salt

1. Bring a large pan of water to a boil and salt it slightly. Add the asparagus spears and boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and place the asparagus spears in a big bowl of icy cold water.

2. Wrap each asparagus spear in ham.

3. Pour the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion. Fry for 2-3 minutes until glazed. Add the bell pepper and the balsamic vinegar and fry for 1-2 minutes more. Season with salt.

4. Arrange the h…

Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients (serves 1): 1/4 medium-size watermelon,  1/4 red onion, halved and sliced 50g goat cheese, crumbled 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Cut the watermelon into 1 cm thick slices and the slices into wedges. I like to leave the edges on for looks, but  if you prefer you can remove them for easier eating. 
2. Plate the watermelon wedges. Toss over the red onion, the crumbled goat cheese, and the chopped mint. 
3. Mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle over the watermelon right before serving.  

Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Mango Peach Salsa

Before I first made shrimp, it always scared me a little. For some reason - at the time, I had next to no experience to base my fears on - I had gotten it into my head that seafood was difficult to make. Difficult to make, and difficult to get right. Irrational as it was, that fear stopped me from making shrimp dishes for years - until one day, I realised there was hardly anything to it. That it is probably harder to get it wrong, than it is to get it right. Try this simple coconut shrimp dish, and see for yourself. :)

Ingredients (serves 2): Coconut Shrimp 250g shrimp, peeled and deveined (if you’re buying them fresh, get them with the tail left on. If you’re using frozen shrimp they may not have tails - that’s ok. Make sure they’re thawed.) 1/2 cup shredded coconut 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (these are lighter and crunchier than regular bread crumbs) 1/2 cup flour (tapioca flour or all purpose flour - both will do) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1-2 eggs (start with 1, you may not need more)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Danish

Not long ago, I made goat cheese and peach puff pastry tarts. With a big tin of fresh strawberries in the fridge, I thought I’d try something with strawberries this time.

Ingredients (makes 4):
4 squares puff pastry (the ones I used were roughly 14 x 14cm), thawed
200g cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup strawberries
1 small egg
cane sugar
few leaves fresh mint, shredded

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius

1. Place the puff pastry sheets on a floured surface. Cut a small strip about 1cm from the outer rim all around, but leave a small piece at two diagonally opposing edges uncut. Then grab the corner that is not left uncut, lift it, and fold it, placing it on top of the rim opposite it. Take the bit you cut off from that side and flip it the same way, making a little raised ledge all around the puff pastry. You can use a bit of water to make it stick better. The corners you left attached are the ones that a…

Creamy Coconut Lime Salmon

Sometimes you see a recipe that makes your mouth water just thinking about it. I had that with this dish, which of course meant I had to try to make some to see if it was as good as it sounded. I played with the quantities and ingredients a little bit - the original recipe was a little too sour for my liking, but this was just right.

Recipe (serves 2):
2 salmon filets
250mL full-fat coconut milk
juice of 1 lime, plus a few slices to garnish
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 medium shallot, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch lemon grass, skin removed and inner core grated
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp corn starch (if you prefer a runnier coconut milk-texture rather than a thicker sauce, leave this out)
1 tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh cilantro and oregano leaves, chopped.

*Serve with brown or white rice.

1. Pad the salmon filets dry with paper towel, and season both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a skillet and pour in some oli…

Roasted Cherry Tomato Caprese

Some days you just want to go easy. Easy as a no-work meal, but one that still tastes like home cooking. I wanted something somewhat warm and I wanted cherry tomatoes. But I didn’t want to cook, and I didn’t want them cold. So I used a recipe from Bon Appetit, slightly altering the spices. The result is a warm spin-off of the regular Caprese salad. It was lovely!

Ingredients (serves 2):
4 cups cherry tomatoes
1 ball of mozzarella
6 sprigs thyme (I used a mix of regular thyme and lemon thyme).
60 mL (about 1/4 cup, or 4 tablespoons) olive oil
5 cloves garlic, smashed
flakey sea salt and freshly grated black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

1. Place some aluminium foil or baking parchment on a rimmed oven tray. On top, place the tomatoes and the garlic. Drizzle over the olive oil and the thyme leaves, sprinkle a bit of salt over it, and toss fully coat the tomatoes. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes are bursting and lightly browned.

2. Remove …

Asparagus Frittata with Spinach and Mushrooms

It’s almost Sunday, and I love my eggs on Sunday. And if you’re at all like me, you might find yourself in the kitchen tomorrow morning, eggs on the counter, wondering what to make. You might even think that perfect breakfast or brunch warrants an early trip to the supermarket. If that’s you and you need some inspiration, look no further because I’m sending you my recipe a day in advance - all the easier to enjoy tomorrow.

Ingredients (serves 2):
3 medium-size eggs
60g spinach
60g mushrooms, cut into slices
120g asparagus, washed and ends trimmed.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup milk
salt and freshly grated black pepper
handful grated cheese (optional)

Need: an oven-proof skillet (preferably one with a non-stick coating)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

1. In an oven-proof skillet, heat the oil and add the shallot. Fry for 1-2 minutes and add the spinach. SautĂ© for a couple of minutes until i…

Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad

I thought I loved mozzarella, but I really, really love burrata. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. So if you like the one, chances are pretty good you'll like the other too. What I love about it is the creamy texture, the way it comes apart on your mouth. That texture makes that it works great as a salad cheese, perhaps even more so than its cousin. 

Ingredients (serves 2): 2 ripe (but firm) peaches, stoned and quartered  a small bunch basil 2 handfuls rocket salad (arugula) 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted 1 ball burrata  6 slices serrano ham balsamic glaze* olive oil  salt and freshly ground black pepper.
*If you don't have any balsamic glaze but you do have balsamic vinegar, you can also make yoru own. Just pour some balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan and place over medium heat to reduce until you get a syrupy consistency.
Instructions: 1. Brush the peaches lightly with olive oil. Preheat a grill pan, then place the peaches on the hot grill and grill…

Spinach and Lemon Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto

Risotto time! As usual I let my fridge dictate my dinner. I had some leftover spinach, so I opted for a spinach risotto. Rich and creamy, but also green and healthy :)

Ingredients (serves 2):
100g spinach
small bunch of parsley
750mL vegetable stock
150g arborio rice 4 slices of prosciutto
4 slices of prosciutto
the white of 1 leek, chopped
1/2 lemon, zested and then juiced
1 shallot, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
20g parmesan cheese, plus some to garnish
10g butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cream (optional
dash of white wine (optional)
1 whole nutmeg seed, for grating (fresh nutmeg is tastier than the pre-grated versions)

1. Pour the vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and parsley for 30 seconds until wilted, then remove using a slotted spoon. Set aside and let cool, while you turn down the heat of the stock. Take the cooled spinach/parsley mixture, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon water, and blend to a fine …

Grilled Halloumi with Cucumber

Because I have been going out and getting ingredients I never use, I had some halloumi in the house. It's a cheese from Cyprus that is traditionally made from a mix of sheep and goat cheese. In terms of texture it falls somewhere between feta and mozzarella. It's great for grilling because its texture holds up really well when heated. I decided to try it in a simple, straightforward Cypriot recipe - halloumi with cucumber. 

Ingredients (serves 2 as a starter): 250g halloumi, rinsed with fresh water and cut into slices  300g crispy cucumber, cubed handful fresh basil leaves handful fresh mint leaves 3 tablespoons olive oil  1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional) freshly ground black pepper
Instructions: 1. Slice the halloumi. Heat a grill pan. Rub the halloumi with some olive oil on each side and place on the grill. Turn when browned and do the other side. (This should take a couple of minutes per side).
2. Place the cucumber on a plate, top with the halloumi. Sprinkle with the min…

Citrus Meringue Salad

I wanted a dessert that was fresh and light, but still felt like dessert. I still had some meringues at the house. They don’t usually last long - I really like to eat them as they are - but this time I decided to try something different. I wondered about the combination of citrus, the freshness of orange, the bitterness of grapefruit, along with the crunchy sweetness of meringue. In my mind, it all somehow seemed like quite a satisfying combination of flavours. I'm the first to admit that plating-wise it looks a little messy, but in terms of taste it didn’t disappoint :)

Ingredients (serves 2):
1 grapefruit
2 blood oranges (if these are not in season, use regular oranges)
2 small mandarin oranges
4-6 meringues (about the size of those you make in this recipe)
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons condensed milk
to garnish: a few mint leaves for each plate, shredded


1. Peel the fruit and cut into 5 mm thick slices. Make sure there is no skin on your slices.

2. Drizzle the sli…

Shaved Asparagus Salad with Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette

I was honestly a bit sceptical before I tried this. I’ve come to like a lot of raw veggies if cut and prepared right, but raw asparagus - could that possibly be any good? The answer: it really could. :)

Ingredients (serves 2): 7-10 stalks asparagus 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice  3 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus some more to top 2 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted in a pan over medium heat until golden brown) salt and freshly grond black pepper. 
Instructions: 1. Wash your asparagus stalks and cut off the hard bottom centimeter or so. 
2. Using a vegetable peeler, slice it into thin ribbons lengthwise. It’s easiest to do this if you flip it over after a couple of slices off the first side, otherwise it’ll be next to impossible to get the last bit off the other side. The last bit is easiest if you place the asparagus on a spatula with a wooden handle so you can create some distance between what you’re peeling and the flat surface of the counter. Don’t remove the asparag…

Smashed Avocado on Toast with Poached Egg and Tomatoes

Slow Sundays are for great brunch dishes - and since I recently learned how to poach an egg, I decided to go poached. Not a bad choice: this dish made my day before the clock even hit noon. The roast tomatoes are a lovely compliment to the avocado and egg.

Ingredients: 2 very fresh eggs 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar handful cherry tomatoes 2 slices wholewheat bread 1 avocado juice of 1/2 lime
a dash of tabasco sauce or sprinkling of chili flakes salt and freshly ground pepper to taste olive oil

Preheat your grill.

1. Place the tomatoes in an oven-proof dish and stick in the oven under the grill for about 15 minutes.

2. Brush some olive oil on the top and bottom of each slice of bread and place under the grill, removing when nice and crispy.

3. Mash together the avocado and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Instead of tabasco, I stirred in some chili flakes. (Be careful not to add more lime juice or your avocado smash will get too sour).

4. Heat some water plu…

French Meringue

The Italians, Swiss and French all have different base recipes for meringue. The version I grew up learning how to make is the French, which only requires 2 ingredients practically everyone always has in the house. Perfect for those sugar cravings days  :)

1 large egg (you will use the white only) 70g fine white sugar

Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius.

1. Clean and thoroughly degrease a mixing bowl and whisk. Lemon or vinegar work well for this.

2. Separate the egg white from the yolk, and pour the white into the degreased bowl. Make sure none of the yellow gets in, or you’ll have to start all over.

3. Whisk the egg white until it gets foamy and peaks begin to form, then add in the sugar one tablespoon at a time, only adding the next after the first has been incorporated. When you are done you will have a stiff, smooth, shiny white mixture. The peaks shouldn’t collapse when you lift your whisk.

4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using two spo…

Peach Tarts with Goat Cheese and Honey

I have a secret love for ready made frozen puff pastry. I love how versatile it is, and how much you can do with it. I love how little time it takes to prepare, making for effortlessly easy breakfasts that impress nonetheless. Sweet, savoury, or sweet and savoury combined - when it comes to puff pastry, anything goes. In these peach tarts, the sweetness of the peach is a wonderful balance to savoury goat cheese. The honey and black pepper finish it off. 

Ingredients: 2 squares frozen puff pastry (the kind I use is about 14 x14cm, or 5.5 x 5.5 inches), thawed 60g goat cheese 1 ripe peach, cut into slices 2 teaspoons honey freshly ground black pepper
Instructions: Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. 
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the puff pastry (thawed) on top. If still frozen, let it thaw for 15-20 minutes. 
2. Using a fork, prick tiny holes into the puff pastry all over the surface. Then, spread with goat cheese leaving about a 1.5 cm rim all around. Top wi…

Creamy Tuscan Salmon with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

I couldn’t believe it: two milestones coincide today. This post is both the 100th recipe on this blog, and at the same time, the 60th recipe in the 60 days/60 recipes lockdown sequence I started March 16th. I’m a little humbled, and incredibly grateful. This project has taught me so much - I’m getting better at flavour combinations, starting to understand herbs and learning to cook with ingredients I never even thought I liked before. I can now poach an egg cook a salmon steak to perfection. I have been eating better than ever. 
All these are very reasons to continue this experiment a little while longer. So I’ve set the next mark at 90/90 - 90 days/90 recipes. But first, today. And today, of course, calls for an amazing recipe. This salmon steak, perfectly tender in a beautiful creamy sauce, was absolutely irresistible. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

2 salmon filets, skin removed 1 shallot, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced 60g sun-dried tomatoes, cu…

Mango Pomegranate Salad with Lime Tahini Dressing

Some days, the sun shines so brightly it calls for food that is tropical, colourful and makes you feel like it’s summer, even if it’s still cold out. I like to look up recipes by searching for combinations of ingredients I have in my fridge, and this time I had mango and pomegranate. In my search I came across a lovely recipe by Seasonal Sprouts that combines the savoury and sweet, and has a lovely bit of bite.

Ingredients (serves 2): 60g rocket salad (arugula) 1/2 mango, peeled and sliced 150g peas 2-3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds 1/4 red onion, finely sliced 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (I like black, but you can also use white)
Dressing: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon lime juice 1/2 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped 1/2 cm fresh ginger, grated 1 tsp tahini
Instructions: 1. To make the dressing, throw all the ingredients together in a small glass jar with a lid, and shake well. If you don’t have a jar, you can also just throw them in a glass and stir really well. 
2. Blanch the peas -…

Cream of Asparagus Soup (Spargelsuppe)

Germans love asparagus just as much as the Dutch do, so it's no wonder that the best asparagus soup recipes I found were recipes for 'spargelsuppe', asparagus soup in German. Here’s a light, easy version you’ll be glad you made. 

Ingredients (serves 2): 400g white asparagus  1 shallot 40g butter 1/4 cup half and half, plus some to garnish  750mL vegetable stock
sprinkle of nutmeg (to garnish)
few leaves fresh parsley, chopped (as garnish)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions: 1. Peel the asparagus, from tips to end. Then cut into pieces. Set the tips aside.

2. Melt the butter in a soup pan, and add the shallots. Sweat these for a couple of minutes, then add the chopped asparagus and sweat for 5 minutes more.
3. Add the stock to the pan and let the mixture boil for about half an hour, until the asparagus is tender. (For extra flavour, I also added the shavings from peeling the asparagus, but you can leave them out if you want to.)

4. If you used asparagus shavings…