Wednesday, November 20, 2019

My Favourites From 2019

This will be my last blog post of 2019. I've decided to take the rest of the year off from blogging to enjoy the Christmas build up and holiday. I'll be back on the 1st January 2020 with more recipes from around the world.

Until then here's a look back at my favourite recipes from 2019.


Greece - Gigantes Plaki


Back in February I made this bowl of beans and we loved it. Delicious, warming and filling it's perfect for a cold February day. Topped with salty feta and in a thick tomato sauce, I'll be making these bad boys again now the weather has turned cold.


Hungary - Lángos

  
In March I made these versatile mini Hungarian fried dough discs. They can have a variety of toppings so maybe I'll make them again and try out some different ones. The fried dough is the star of this dish, crispy and delicious! 


Italy - Cannoli


I impressed myself in May by making these Italian Cannoli. They turned out much better than I'd hoped and were enjoyed by all. It might be time to get my cannoli forms out again for another batch.


Japan - Curry Udon Noodles


These Udon Curry Noodles might be the messiest food I've ever eaten. But worth it! The katsu curry flavour along with the soft smooth noodles is a perfect match. We loved this dish.

 
Korea - Dakgangjeong


This Korean version of Popcorn Chicken is delicious and incredibly moreish! It's hard to stop eating it. The sauce is sticky and covers the chicken completely. I'd love to try this again with rice and make a meal of Korea's popular street snack.


Netherlands - Hutspot met Klapstuk


Maybe the best thing about this dish was I got to have it all to myself. JD was in America and the kids were at their Dad's. Slow cooked brisket shredded on top of mashed vegetables with a brisket gravy. It was a beautiful, simple dish and I enjoyed every mouthful.



Well, that's all from me for 2019. Have a good Christmas, enjoy the food and I'll see you in 2020!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Netherlands - Oliebollen

These mini fried doughnuts are served traditionally at New Year's in The Netherlands. You can make them plain or include dried fruit such as sultanas or raisins. We're just having plain ones today!

Ingredients:

250g flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
175ml milk
1 egg
100g icing sugar


Put the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl and mix. Add the egg and milk.


Mix everything together well to make a thick dough. Leave it covered in a warm place for about an hour.


Take spoonfuls of the dough and drop into hot oil. I used a deep fat fryer but you could use a pan. Cook for 5-8 minutes until browned and floating in the oil. Immediately cover in icing sugar while they are still warm.


Eat while still warm.


Leigh and I really enjoyed these even though we ended up covered in icing sugar after eating a couple each. They're quite dense like proper gingerbread and really tasty with the sugar coating. I think I'd like them with fruit in too, maybe next time!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Netherlands - Appletaart

This is a brave move for me. Appletaart seems very similar to Apple Pie and I haven't eaten that in years. When I was a child we had an apple tree in our garden and we ate apple pie often. Not just apple pie either, we also ate apple cake, apple crumble, stewed apples, apple surprise...well you get it. It lost it's appeal about 1988 and I've never chosen to make it since. But I'm a grown up now, I can handle it. Bring it on!



Ingredients:

1 package shortcrust pastry
2 pounds tart green apples
1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon


Nice easy recipe! Roll out the pastry and line your tart dish.


Peel and slice the apples.


Add in the cinnamon, sugar and sultanas.


Mix everything together and tip into the tart dish.


Use any leftover pastry to make a lattice on top of the filling. If you have an egg you can use eggwash on top of the tart.


Bake at 175 C for 60 minutes.


It fell apart when I tried to slice it up so you get a picture of it in one piece instead! Despite it's appearance once served it was delicious! It was nicely sweetened by the sugar and cinnamon with a lovely caramelised taste to the apple pieces. I'm still not keen on the texture of cooked apple but it was overall a nice food experience. JD and Erin didn't have any and it was left to leigh to polish it of with the aid of custard.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Netherlands - Hutspot met Klapstuk

Hutspot is a slow cooked dish of vegetables that are then mashed which is often served with Klapstuk a joint of brisket or other braising beef. It's a perfect recipe for me, I love using my slow cooker and having a plate full of vegetables. I can't wait to try it.


Ingredients:

500g of brisket
3-4 carrots
2 onions
4 potatoes
1 beef stock cube
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black pepper


Peel and chop the vegetables. Since we're going to be mashing them it doesn't matter too much how you chop them. Put them in your slow cooker and rest the brisket on top.


Add the stock cube, pepper and bay leaf then add about 500ml of boiling water. Put the lid on and cook on LOW for about 6-8 hours.

Remove the brisket and leave to rest. Take all the vegetables out using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.


Mash them up using some of the cooking liquid if it's too dry.


I made some gravy from the cooking liquid and served the Hutspot with the shredded brisket.


Mmm, this was a beautiful dish. The meat was tender and falling apart and it was great to have a mouthful of brisket along with the vegetable mash. It's a perfect, easy dish for a cold day. You can just leave it cooking and there's minimal effort needed before serving. I love it!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Netherlands - Patatje Oorlog

Patatje Oorlog apparently translates as War Fries! Maybe fries you eat before going to war, well you don't want to go on an empty stomach that's for sure. This blog post is a bit of a lazy effort as this dish is so easy to put together. But who doesn't love a non-effort food once in a while. (or a non-effort blog post for that matter :D).


Ingredients:

Fries
Mayonnaise
Peanut Sauce
Onion

This dish is eaten as a snack or street food in the Netherlands. Often sold in paper cones with different toppings depending on the vendor. The peanut sauce can be substituted for curry sauce to make it Patatje Speciaal.

I diced an onion and warmed up a sachet of peanut sauce (the kind you can buy for stir fries).

When your fries are cooked (either baked or fried depending on how you like them, we won't judge you here) start by squeezing on a layer of mayo, top it with warm peanut sauce and finish with a sprinkling of  diced onion.

I wasn't quite sure what to make of this combination. Mayo on fries is usually my favourite but the peanut sauce addition gave it all a different flavour. JD really liked it but Leigh and Erin weren't keen to try it. It's something I haven't tried before so it was an enjoyable experience to try something new. I'm not sure I'd try it again though.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Netherlands - Bitterballen

N for The Netherlands! Home of one of our favourite blog foods ever, Stamppot!



It wouldn't be fair to The Netherlands to make Stamppot 5 times and not explore other options. So even though I'm tempted to I'm going to make Bitterballen instead. Bitterballen are small round meatballs served in bars and pubs around The Netherlands. They're not quite the same as meatballs although they are balls of meat.



Ingredients:

8 tablespoons butter
1 cup  flour
3 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons dried herbs
1 small onion 
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup breadcrumbs
3 eggs beaten


First of all we're going to be making the Bitterballen filling which is made up of a thick roux gravy and minced beef. So start by melting the butter in a frying pan. While it's melting make up the stock so it's ready.



Slowly add the cup of flour while stirring continuously.



Now start to add the stock a bit at a time whisking it into the butter/flour mix. You have to whisk constantly to keep it from being too solid. Eventually it will make a smooth thick gravy. Stir in the herbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.



Dice the onion as finely as you can and saute it in another pan until it's starting to soften.



Add the minced beef and cook until browned.



When it's finished cooking mix the meat into the gravy and put in a plastic container in the fridge for 3-4 hours (or overnight if you can).



Next it's time to coat the bitterballen. Use a spoon to scoop small amounts of mixture up and roll them into balls about 2-3cm in diameter. Roll them in the beaten eggs and breadcrumbs. Fry for 4 minutes in some oil flipping halfway through.




Serve with some mustard.


These balls were really difficult to cook. The first batch went to mush. It was tasty mush but the second batch were better. Bitterballen are crispy on the outside but very soft on the inside. You end up with a mouthful of mince in gravy which goes really well with mustard, by the way. I don't think I'd make them again as it's a bit of a hassle but it was great to try them once. I'd certainly eat them in a bar in The Netherlands if someone else was making them! Very tasty!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mexico - Masa Ball Tomato Soup

This recipe looks interesting. It has dumplings made of soaked tortilla wraps. Served in a creamy tomato soup. It's definitely soup weather!



Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. tortillas, torn
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 oz. feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk
  • 1⁄2 cup double cream
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 6 tablespoons tomato purée
  • salt & pepper

 About 30 minutes before you start you need to tear up the wraps and soak them in the milk.


When you come back to them they'll be all mushy. Add the feta, garlic granules, chopped onion and the eggs.


Using an immersion blender process everything until it's smooth paste.


Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and add tablespoons of mixture. I didn't roll mine into balls as the mixture was a little loose for that but you should if you can manage it.



Let them cook until the bottom seals and then flip them over and cook until golden brown.


Remove them from the pan. I put mine in the oven to keep them warm. Add the stock and tomato puree to the pan along with salt & pepper to taste. Stir as you bring it to the boil.


When it has boiled and thickened up take it off the heat and add the cream. Put the balls back in the pan and serve.


JD and I loved this soup and dumplings. It was very different from anything we've had before. The dumplings were soft inside but crisp on the outside with a lovely flavour. The soup was nice too, simple but tasty. Both together was a lovely combination.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Mexico - Chicken Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles is mostly eaten for breakfast or brunch in Mexico. We're having a chicken version for lunch. Looks great, can't wait to try it!



Ingredients:

1 jar enchilada sauce
1 bunch coriander
4 chicken breasts
8 corn tortillas
1 onion

grated cheese



First job is to boil the chicken breasts so they can be shredded later. Boil some water and place the chicken in a pan, you can leave it for about 20 minutes.


While the chicken boils you can cut up the corn tortillas. Cut them into 8 pieces each.


Spread them out on an oiled oven tray and spray more oil on the pieces. Put them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 200C. While everything cooks you can chop the coriander and dice up the onion.



Shred the chicken once it's finished cooking through.


Now you have everything ready to layer up the dish. Start with the tortilla pieces and then spread a layer of enchilada sauce on top, add some chicken and then top with cheese and coriander.


Carry on with a second layer of all the components and top with a sprinkling of diced onion. You can also add optional fried eggs on top. So I did. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until it's heated through and the cheese is melted.


JD and I really enjoyed this dish. It has lots of flavour from the enchilada sauce with a lovely crunch coming from the tortillas. If you like Mexican food I'd recommend you try this as it's quite easy to prepare and tastes great.
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