Sunday, 29 September 2013

American style rhubarb pie

Rhubarb is one of those things I had never come across before moving north... But the BF is a big fan of it, so I had to try it. Turns out it's alright, not the best thing ever but quite nice in a double crust pie (those American style pies they have in Mickey Mouse cartoons...).

I've made it a few times now, using this recipe.

Here's a Europe friendly (metric!) version...

200g sugar
25g flour
1g cinnamon
2 eggs
15g butter
500g chopped rhubarb (that was about 4 stalks for me)
2 pie crusts (I use store bought puff pastries)

1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. 
2. Gently stir in the rhubarb. 
3. Line a pastry case with the bottom pie crust and add the filling. Dot with butter.

4. Cover with the top pie crust and seal the edges together (the original recipe says "Trim, seal and flute edges". I've no idea what this fluting business is, but what I usually do is fold the excess top pastry under and pinch it together with the bottom pastry edge. Then press a fork on the edge to make it prettier... This works just fine).

5. Cut slits in the top pastry so air can escape while its cooking, and the top pastry doesn't go flying off... You should have something like this...
6. Stick it in an oven preheated at 205 degrees C (or 185 for a fan oven), for about 45 minutes. As for most things, keep an eye on it the last few minutes;)

And this is what you get!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Beignets de fleur de courgette et citrouille (courgette and pumpkin flower fritters)

Those are typical from Nice, where I spent most of my uni years...

Our vegetable garden has pretty much been taken over by courgette and pumpkin plants (those grow BIG), and since it's getting to the end of the season (the -huge- leaves are starting to brown), I thought I'd use the flowers that haven't transformed into veggies yet to make those beignets...

But not before we got this loot:

Oh and here are some of the pumpkin plants:

(Yep, the whole mass at the back and on the left side is made of pumpkin plants!)

And here are the flowers:

(The small orange ones at the bottom are courgette flowers, and the bigger yellow ones at the top are pumpkin flowers. Next to some tomatoes and spring onions also from the garden).

Anyway... I used the recipe from this website.

Here's a translation of the important bits:

  • about 2 dozen courgette/pumpkin flowers
  • 75g plain flour
  • 10cl cold milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper


1. Wash the flowers delicately, checking that there are no creepy crawlies in them. Cut the stems at the base of the flowers.
2. Make the batter:
    a) Mix the flour, egg yolk, olive oil and a bit of the milk. Add the rest of the milk gradually while mixing.
    b) Beat the egg white until firm peaks form (damn, that takes a while!).
    c) Gently fold the egg white into the mixture. Season with S&P.
3. Dip each flower into the batter, and fry it for about 2 minutes, or until the batter is golden.
I don't have a deep fat frier so I just pan fried them, and that worked reasonably well.

Here's the result:

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Lemon Mayonnaise from Scratch

If something's typically Belgian, it's got to be fries with mayonnaise. I confess I didn't actually like mayonnaise before moving here. Well I had only tasted the fast food version. Turns out, the homemade stuff tastes quite different (quite a few restaurants here serve it with their fries, which they serve with most dishes).
Of course it's still to be eaten in moderation as it's not exactly good for you, but you know, every once in a while...

Anyway, I took that recipe from my big "150 Dutch & Belgian Recipes" book, which as you'd expect from the title covers quite a lot...

Here we go:
- 1 fresh egg yolk
- 5ml/1tsp mustard powder or mustard (I used Tierenteyn mustard, a Ghent specialty)
- 15ml/1tbsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar (of course for lemon mayonnaise, use lemon juice... duh)
- salt and ground black pepper (I hadn't thought of it, but I have lemon pepper that would have gone well in there... next time I guess!)
- 120ml to 200ml/4-7fl oz vegetable or sunflower oil (I used the full 200ml, but the mayonnaise tastes a little greasy to me, so I might reduce it next time)

1. Mix the egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice/vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl (I put that in the mixer, but if you're going to do it by hand they advise placing the bowl on a wet towel so it doesn't move while you whisk).

2. Whisk the mixture vigorously with one hand while adding the oil drop by drop with the other. When it begins to thicken, add the oil in a thin and steady stream (again, the mixer is your friend here).
Stop when the mixture is thick and creamy.

3. Check the seasoning, then serve.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Panzanella Salad

Here's one of my go-to salad recipes, courtesy of Dutch celebrity chef Rudolph Van Veen. The Dutch call this tomaten broodsalade ("tomato bread salad"), which I find a tiny bit funny:)
Here's the original recipe, and here's my version:

a few tomatoes
1 or 2 spring onions
a few gherkins
some fresh thyme
2 slices of old bread
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

(The original recipe uses garlic/capers/basil/white wine vinegar instead of spring onions/gherkins/thyme/balsamic vinegar)

1. Cut the veggies (yes, I know, botanically tomatoes are a fruit!) and herbs into pieces. 
2. Cut/shred the bread into pieces and sauté it in olive oil. 
3. Mix everything together, seasoning with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Here's what you get:

It makes a nice light dinner with some salmon filets:
And... a lot of it came from the garden:
And the thyme too, but it's now too dark to take a picture:)