Appetizers, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free, Miscellanious, Sides, All Recipes, Vegan, Snacks

Kersenchutney met verse dragon

Kersenchutney met verse dragon

Het is kersentijd! Kersen zijn absoluut wel mijn favoriete zomerfruit. Kan me er ook echt ziek aan eten, want ik kan gewoon niet stoppen als ik eenmaal aan verse kersen begin. Daarom doe ik het met inkopen ook wel rustig aan. Maar dan krijg je ineens een emmer verse kersen van vrienden, met 2,5 kg kersen. Dat was zelfs voor mij erover. Dus ging k ermee kokkerellen. Ik maakte o.a. een kersenchutney met verse dragon. read more

Cakes, Bars & more, All Recipes, Bananabread & Co

Caramel Waffle Cookie Banana Bread

Stroopwafel Bananenbrood

Caramel Waffle Cookie Banana Bread

Caramel Waffle Cookie Banana Bread – that really is a mouth full. Caramel waffle cookies or ‘Stroopwafels’, literally translated as syrup waffle, are thin crisp waffle cookies, with a gooey layer of soft caramel in between. These Dutch stroopwafels are quite popular worldwide and have found their way to supermarkets across the globe.

United Airlines

In 2015, United Airlines even started serving original Daelmans stroopwafels on their flights. The stroopwafels were so popular, that when United Airlines stopped serving them last year, passengers kept asking on social media to please have them back in their snack rotation. And United Airlines listened. Since January of this year, the stroopwafels are back. read more

Cookies, Gluten-Free, All Recipes

Hazelnut Macaroons

Hazelnut macaroons

While coconut and almond macaroons are well known around here, hazelnut macaroons are quite a rare thing at least outside Germany. And that really is a pity, as they are darn delicious, if I may say so. And easy to make.

Ground hazelnuts

As long as I can remember, well almost that long, you can buy ground hazelnuts in Germany. They can be found in the baking aisle in most supermarkets. Just until fairly recently, it was pretty hard to get them in Belgium and the Netherlands. But also there, they are finding their way into the supermarkets. And you can now order ground hazelnuts or hazelnut meal at most of the online nut and seed shops.

Grinding your own

Grinding your own hazelnut meal in a blender or food processor is also an option. That’s what we used to do when I was a kid, when there were ground nuts at all. I can remember me and my mom grinding almonds and hazelnuts for Christmas cookies.

Easy does it

Anyway, even though I can perfectly do that myself, and it might be a lot cheaper, it’s so easy to simply them already ground. I usually buy them in bulk whenever we’re in Germany, either on holiday or on a shopping trip. Which is so fun to do especially in December, with all the Christmas markets and decorations.

Leftover egg whites

I usually start the Christmas cookies frenzy with other types of cookies for which I mostly need only egg yolks. Which means that I’m stuck with 10 or more egg whites once I’m done. I keep them portioned by 3 or 4 egg whites in containers in the fridge. So, I can just grab a container and start on some macaroons. Just like these hazelnut macaroons that I made with the 4 egg whites I had left after making my Butterplätzchen.

Ingredients

4 egg whites

A few drops of lemon juice

250 g sugar

400 g ground hazelnuts

Instructions

Preheat oven to 150°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I usually use 2 ro 3 baking sheets to be able to quickly bake them all off.

Beat the egg whites with a few drops of lemon juice until stiff peaks are formed.

Keep beating and slowly add the sugar.

Fold in the ground hazelnuts.

Beslag maken voor de hazelnootmakronen

Using two small spoons, lay small heaps of the batter on the prepared baking sheet. If you use larger spoons, you’ll get larger macaroons. Either is fine. A great tool for portioning are cookie scoops.

Portioneren en afbakken van de hazelnootmakronen

Bake ca. 15-20 minutes in the middle of the oven.

They are still very soft when you take them out of the oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 to 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to let them cool completely.

This recipe rendered 16 large and ca. 45 small macaroons.

Heerlijke hazelnootmakronen

They are really utterly delicious. To make them extra special, you could dip them in chocolate.

Enjoy!

Hazelnut Macaroons
Hazelnut Macaroons

Cakes, Bars & more, Cookies, All Recipes

Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookie Bars, I think these are fairly unknown outside of the US. That is, I have not met a person who was familiar with these. It’s like one giant sheet pan cookie cut into pieces. This is a recipe I have made for several years now. And I’ve made these cookie bars so often, it never occurred to me to actually right everything down and publish the recipe.

Lauren’s Latest

The original recipe is from an American food blog, Lauren’s Latest. It’s one of the first food bloggers I started following, about 6 years ago. When Lauren published this recipe a couple of years ago, I made them right away and it’s been a favourite ever since. In the original recipe, the sugar cookie bars are topped with icing, but I don’t think these cookie bars need that. I leave them plain. And with just a few minor adjustments, this recipe has become a staple in our house.

Popular

So, it’s safe to say that these are quite popular, whenever I make them. Though there is the odd one who doesn’t like them. There is almond extract added, which makes the cookie bars taste like marzipan. If you are not a fan of marzipan, you can still make these bars by simply swapping the almond extract by any other extract of your liking, such as vanilla or lemon.

Easy cookie

It’s just not the taste and texture (soft bite) that I like very much. These bars are so easy to make too. I love cookies, but sometimes it’s just too much hassle. Cooling the rough, rolling it, cutting it out, etc. These sugar cookie bars are way easier and faster. Everything goes into one bowl, all ingredients at once, kneed it together, press it into a baking dish, bake it, cut it, eat it. That’s it, now let’s get baking!

Ingredients

250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

225 g sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

400 g flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking dish with parchment paper. I usually use a brownie tin. You could of course use any other baking dish, like a 13×9”.

Put all ingredients into a bowl and quickly kneed into a dough. I love using my KitchenAid for this, but you can do this by hand as well.

Press the dough into the prepared baking dish. Use the back of a spoon or the bottom of a glass to smooth out the top.

Sugar Cookie Bars

Bake ca. 25-30 minutes in the middle of the oven.

Let cool completely and cut into pieces.

Enjoy!
Sugar Cookie Bars

 

Bread, Cakes, Bars & more, All Recipes, Bananabread & Co

Banana bread with apple and oats

Bananenbrood met appel en havermout

Banana bread with apple and oats

Autumn seems to keep its schedule this year. As if on cue, right on the 21st of September, the warm weather is gone and it’s rainy and windy outside. Like flipping the switch. And I can’t help it, but I’m immediately in the mood for fall baking. So, I started the season with this delicious banana bread with apple and oats.

Banana

There is so much you can do with banana. I really don’t like eating (over)ripe bananas, but they are a perfect natural sweetener for cake. If any at all, you just need to add a little bit of sugar or other sweetener to your dough and much less fat. From classic banana bread to heavenly chocolate, everything goes. There are already more than 15 recipes using banana on the blog and I’m still bubbling with ideas for more.

Apple and oats

The weather will get better towards the end of the week, but the wind and rain made me long for comfort food. Apple pie is the ultimate comfort food. We still had a full bag of apples in the pantry and I needed to come up with recipes to make use of those. So, I made apple sauce, apple pear sauce and this utterly delicious banana bread with apple and oats. Perfect with a cup of tea and easy as a grab&go breakfast.

Healthy-ish

By using (over)ripe bananas you need much less sugar or other sweeteners. Compared to a regular cake, there is a lot less sugar in this bread. And by using whole wheat instead of white flour and throwing oats into the mix, you’re adding extra fibre. Which is not only healthier, it keeps you full longer. Though I don’t think that food should ever make you feel guilty, if it really does bother you, this banana bread definitely should invoke less guilt ;).

Ingredients

2- 3 sweet-tart apples

1 tbsp light brown sugar

2 bananas (peeled ca. 250 g)

2 eggs (L)

100 ml vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla-extract

50 g light brown sugar

150 g whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

100 g oats

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a cake tin with parchment paper.

Peel the apples and cut into small cubes.

Add 1 tablespoon sugar to the apples and mix.

Mash the bananas and mix with the eggs, oil and vanilla-extract.

Add sugar and mix well.

Bananebrood met appel en havermout

Now add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix until no lumps remain.

Fold in the apples and oats.

Pour the batter in the prepared cake tin and bake ca. 50-60 minutes in the middle of the oven.

Bananenbrood met appel en havermoiut

This banana bread / apple cake is delicious in the afternoon with a nice cup of coffee or tea, but it’s also great for breakfast. As is or with good dollop of cookie or peanut butter.

Enjoy!
Banana bread with apple and oats

Appetizers, Miscellanious, All Recipes, Snacks

Hot Cheese Dip

Hot Cheese Dip

Hot Cheese Dip

It’s become a vast classic in our house: Hot Cheese Dip. Not hot as in ‘spicy’ (though that is a possibility of course), but rather as in ‘very warm’. That’s because this dip is served straight form the oven. For those of us who can’t wait (not mentioning any names), this may result in a burnt mouth. I mean, this is really, really good, you won’t be able to wait that it’s cooled down just a tiny bit.

Let’s dig in

Once on the table, everyone digs in. No-one is willing to share just the tiniest bit. That lovely golden brown, bubbly crust, the gooey cheese, it will disappear right before your eyes. There’s never been a dip as popular as this one. Dip those (tortilla) chips, fresh bread or veggies in it. Serving this at a party? Double or triple the recipe and prepare several dishes.

Variations

I used mature cheddar in this dip. Cheddar has quite a strong taste and might not be to everyone’s liking. As the cheese is quite strong, I did not add any salt to the dip. If you’re using a much milder cheese, you might want to consider adding a bit of salt, but most of the times that won’t be necessary. Try Emmenthal, Mozzarella, goat’s cheese, blue cheese or a mix of cheeses. Do you want it hot and spicy? Add chili paste, sriracha or extra chili powder toe or finely dice jalapeño’s or a red chili pepper and mix it in.

Ingredients

200 g cream cheese

150 g grated mature cheddar

75 g mayonnaise

¼ tsp pepper

½ tsp chili powder

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Ingrediënten voor Hot Cheese Dip

Put the mixture into a small baking dish and smooth out the top.

Hot Cheese Dip voordat dat ie de oven in gaat

Bake ca. 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

Hot Cheese Dip

Serve immediately, but watch out: it’s piping hot! And now, dig in.

Enjoy!
Hot Cheese Dip

Breakfast, Gluten-Free, Miscellanious, All Recipes

Blueberry Lemon Curd

Blueberry Lemon Curd

Blueberry Lemon Curd

Do you ever do that, buying way too much if something is on sale, without thinking about what you’ll with all of it? No? Well, I do (unfortunately). Just recently, I bought buckets full of blueberries, just because they were extremely cheap. Yes, buckets, two of them. Way too much of course, because after baking muffins with blueberries and putting loads of blueberries in my yogurt and smoothies, there was still about a bucket left.

I could have made my Blueberry Chia Seed Jam, but we still have quite a few jars with all sorts of jam in the pantry. So, I had to come up with something different, something new. It’s fun, trying new things. And as I also had a whole lot of lemons (same principle), I thought of combining those two and make Blueberry Lemon Curd.

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd is becoming more and more popular in our region since it’s been ‘imported’ from the UK and the US. A deliciously fresh, tangy yet sweet cream. Wonderful on scones or added to yogurt. Or incorporated in pies and other baked goods. It’s becoming more and more available at supermarkets around here, but it’s so easy to make yourself and it’s much tastier.

With blueberries

And since blueberries and lemon are a match made in heaven, just like in my Lemon Blueberry Crumb Cake, I used both to make this wonderful Blueberry Lemon Curd. And I can safely (and proudly) say: I nailed it. An utterly delicious cream, silky and smooth, sweet and also a bit tangy due to the lemon. Delicious on freshly baked scones with a slather of clotted cream, but also so tasty added to your yogurt for breakfast. Or straight from the jar (I promise I won’t tell). And just as easy to make, like regular lemon curd.

Ingredients

250 g fresh blueberries (it doesn’t have to be exact, a few more or less berries are just fine)

100 ml lemon juice (depending on the size and juiciness of the lemons, you’ll need 2-3)

Zest of 1 lemon (optional)

3 egg yolk

1 egg

175 g sugar

50 g unsalted butter (cold)

Instructions

Put the blueberries, lemon juice and zest in a small pan and bring to a boil.

Let simmer for a couple of minutes until all blueberries are soft.

Strain through a sieve and press all the juice through is. Make sure to scrape the underside of the sieve.

Blueberry Lemon Curd - sap maken

Return the juice to the pan, set aside and let cool.

Beat the egg yolk, egg and sugar until the mixture reaches a light-yellow colour.

Pour the egg-mixture into the blueberry lemon juice and mix well.

Blueberry Lemon Curd - eimengsel maken

Bring slowly to a boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes on low heat, whisking constantly.

Let cook until the mixture starts to thicken. When the ‘sauce’ covers the back of a spoon, it’s ready.

Take the pan off the heat and beat in the butter, a small cube at a time, until all the butter has been incorporated.

Blueberry Lemon Curd - bijna klaar

Pour the curd in clean jars and put the lid on.

Let cool completely.

Well sealed and refrigerated, the curd will keep well for a couple of weeks. Once you’ve opened a jar, it’s best to eat it within a couple of days.

Enjoy!
Blueberry Lemon Curd

Sides, All Recipes

Stir-fried vegetables with freekeh

Stir-fired vegetables with freekeh

Stir-fried vegetables with freekeh

Stir-fried vegetables with what? Exactly. That’s the reaction I got when I answered the boys’ daily question ‘what’s for dinner’. Freekeh seemed to gain on popularity a couple of years ago and was even called the ‘new quinoa’. But to me, it seems it’s already losing ground and is disappearing from the shelves in supermarkets. Which is a pity, if you ask me. Fortunately, I still had one box stashed away in the pantry and I made this delicious side with it.

Freekeh

Now what is freekeh? Actually, it’s simply wheat but harvested when it has not ripened yet. It’s dried on the land with the chaff and then set to fire. Might seem a strange process, but due to the high moisture of the unripe kernels, only the chaff and straw are burnt. The kernels remain and get a nicely toasted flavour. Freekeh is chuck full of nutrients and fibre which makes this grain a healthy supplement to your diet.

Freekeh

Preparation

Freekeh is cooked like rice and can then be used in a wide variety of dishes, hot and cold. The cooking time is a bit longer compared to other types of grain and rice. The instructions say 15 minutes, but I usually cook it quite a bit longer. But even after cooking it longer, the texture remains quite chewy. I use stock to cook it in, which gives it even more flavour.

Flat beans

I went even a bit further than this extraordinary grain, by adding a less obvious vegetable to the stir-fry: flat green beans. As it is, I happen to love flat beans, but rarely prepare them. When I spotted fresh flat beans at the store, I had to buy them (without thinking about what I would make). So, when I stood in front of the fridge, contemplating what I would make for dinner, I figured I could use them in a stir-fry. And I think this really is a nice addition.

Middle East

Freekeh finds its origins in the Middle East. It is often added as a filling to soups and stews. But it is also a great addition to salads or stuffed vegetables. As I used it in this stir-fry with peppers and flat beans, I figured that a Middle Eastern spice mix was just fitting: Baharat. With only a handful ingredients, you’ll get this fragrant and delicious side everyone will love.

Ingredients

200 g freekeh

2 chicken stock cubes

1 yellow bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

400 g flat beans

1 à 2 tsp Baharat

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

Put the freekeh with 1 litre water and the chicken stock cubes in a pan and bring to a boil.

Let cook for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Cut the peppers and flat beans into 1-2 cm pieces.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and stir-fry the vegetables with a pinch of salt, pepper and the Baharat spice mix.

Preparing the freekeh and the vegetables

Drain the freekeh and add to the vegetables.

Stir and fry for one more minute.

We served the freekeh with lamb burgers and a fresh salad. I actually saved the cooking liquid as it had become this gorgeous, thick and tasty broth. Would have been a sin to just throw it out. Added a small can of tomato puree and let it reduce a little bit. Then a bit of sugar and pepper to taste and we ended up having a wonderful, rich tasting tomato sauce with our meal.

If you don’t have Baharat at home or you don’t like the taste, simply add your favourite spices. Anything goes, really.

Geroerbakte groente met freekeh

Have you ever tried freekeh?

Enjoy!

Drinks, All Recipes

Lemon Lime Syrup

Citroen-Limoen-Siroop

Staying hydrated

Guys, how hot has it been these past few weeks?! Today, we finally got some cooling air coming in. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed these hot temps. But I know a lot of people are really suffering from the heat. For some, this even means getting sick or not being able to function at all. The most important thing during such heat waves, is staying hydrated. Whether you can easily stand the heat or not, there is always the risk of dehydration, without you even noticing it. With disastrous consequences.

Infused water

Water is by far the best drink, but I know it gets boring and you would like to taste something else as well. Infused water is an easy way to pimp regular tap water. Simply add fresh fruit and/or herbs and let those infuse the water with a subtle flavour. Delicious. But you know what I like best? Homemade lemonade. And making your own syrup for lemonade isn’t hard at all and way better than store-bought syrup. My favourite: lemon-lime syrup.

Lemonade

Once you have the syrup ready, fresh lemonade is made in just seconds. The syrup is made with a lot of sugar, but you can use as much as you want. Personally, I don’t like overly sweet beverages, so I just use a wee bit of syrup. With a good amount of ice cubes, a bit of extra fruit and a twig of fresh mint, you’ll get this wonderfully refreshing, non-alcoholic summer drink.

Ingredients

350 ml freshly squeezed juice (ca. 5 – 6 lemons and ca. 2 – 3 limes)

250 g sugar

Instructions

Squeeze the lemons and limes. The exact amount of fruit you’ll need, depends on the size and juiciness of the lemons and limes.

Put the juice and the sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Let simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Pour the syrup through a strainer into a clean bottle.

Seal the bottle and let cool completely.

Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Refrigerated, the syrup will keep well for several weeks (though it never lasts this long on our house).

The syrup is now ready to make a nice refreshing lemonade. Add a few ice cubes to a glass, pour a little bit of syrup into the glass. Start with just a little bit, you can always add more to taste. Fill the glass with cold water (I like to use sparkling water). Add a twig of fresh mint and/or a slice of lemon (or other fruit).

Enjoy!

xoxo

Nicole
Lemon Lime Syrup

Bread, Cakes, Bars & more, All Recipes, Bananabread & Co

Classic Banana Bread

Klassiek Bananenbrood

Classic banana bread

Alright, I know it’s been way too hot the past weeks to even think about turning on the oven. But if you don’t mind or it’s not as hot where you live, I got this wonderful recipe for you: classic banana bread.

Cookbook review

Just recently, I reviewed a new cookbook, called ‘Bananenboek’, the banana book. Unfortunately, it’s only on Dutch. As the title already says, it’s a cookbook all about the banana. Banana a s ingredient for sweet AND savory dishes. Quite interesting. So, for the review, I tried several recipes form the book, but I didn’t try any of the baking recipes. Why? I already have about 15 different banana recipes on my blog and there are still more to come. And then I suddenly realised that there is still one important recipe missing: one for good, old fashioned, plain banana bread.

Anything but plain

Although I wouldn’t want to call it plain, really. But next to all those funny combinations and unexpected ingredients, the most delicious recipe was missing. Of a simple, easy, and tasty banana bread. Banana bread as it is supposed to be. And even though the hot temps are not really inviting me to turn on the oven, this definitely is worth the extra sweat. And it might be a welcome distraction from all those recipes for the BBQ, drinks, ice cream and salads ;-).

Ingredients

3 small bananas (peeled about 250g)

2 eggs

200 g crème fraiche or sour cream

75 g sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

100 ml vegetable oil

300 g flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a cake tin or line with a baking sheet.

Mash the bananas.

Mashing bananas for the banana bread

Beat the eggs with the sugar, crème fraiche, oil and vanilla until smooth. You can use a whisk for that.

In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Mixing wet ingredients

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and fold the two together. You could use a whisk or electric mixer, but down overmix.

Fold in the mashed banana.

Mixing the batter for the banana bread

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for ca. 60 minutes in the middle of the oven.

Beslag is klaar en kan de oven in

Out comes this wonderfully fluffy banana bread. Now you should wait until it’s cooled down, but I have to admit that that is the most difficult part for me. I can’t muster the patience and usually cut off a piece when it’s still warm. It’s so good!

Klassiek bananenbrood

It’s tasty just as is, but I also love to slather it with peanut butter (especially if it’s the salted caramel type).

Enjoy!
Classic Banana Bread

 

Gluten-Free, Sides, All Recipes

Smashed Potatoes – crispy, oven fried potatoes

Smashed Potatoes

Smashed potatoes, say what? That’s one of the most common reactions around here, as this dish is fairly unknown outside the UK or the US. But they’re gaining ground as there are quite a few chefs (like Jamie Oliver) are putting smashed potatoes on the world map. And I can tell you, they are a big hit in our house. I’ve never seen potatoes disappear that fast, not even French fries.

New potatoes

A friend brought over some new potatoes, new harvest, straight from the field. My initial thought was to make potato salad, but these gorgeous new potatoes did deserve a more prominent role than that. And as we don’t like boiled potatoes all too much, frying or baking them came to mind.

Smashed potatoes

Smashed potatoes had been on my must-make list for quite a while, since I first saw a recipe online a couple of years ago (yes, it did take me that long, but my must-make list really is quite extensive). So, it was about time. And boy, did they turn out good. Better than good. They were gone in the blink of an eye. Even though I had made more potatoes than I usually did, there wasn’t a teeny tiny crumb left. The wonderful flavour of the new potatoes most likely did play a role here too, but this way of preparing them definitely is a winner. The boys asked, no demanded, that I make them much more often. Luckily, they are a breeze to make.

Ingredients

1,5 kg potatoes (or more/less, depending on how much you would normally make)

Olive oil

Salt/pepper

50 g Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Thoroughly clean the potatoes.

If you have some bigger potatoes, cut them in half or quarters.

Put the potatoes in a bowl, add a tablespoon of olive oil and coat all potatoes.

Divide the potatoes on the prepared baking sheet.

Aardappelen wassen en eventueel doorsnijden

Roast in the middle of the oven until the potatoes are cooked and have turned golden brown.

Aardappelen zijn geroosterd

Carefully take the potatoes out of the oven and smash them with the bottom of a glass or cup.

Pletten van de aardappelen

Drizzle a bit of extra olive oil on top, season with salt and pepper and scatter the Parmesan cheese generously on top of the potatoes.

Zout, peper en kaas erover

Put back int the oven for an extra ten minutes or so.

Smashed Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes

These smashed potatoes are delicious with meat or fish, with the BBQ, as part of a buffet… Try some variations by adding herbs or spices, add some bacon or use a different kind of cheese. The possibilities to ‘pimp’ these potatoes are endless.

Smashed Potatoes

Enjoy!
Smashed Potatoes

Desserts, All Recipes

Limoncello Mousse with Raspberry Sauce

Limoncello-Mousse met Frambozencoulis

A couple of weeks ago, we went to a BBQ and our contribution would be dessert. Which then prompted the question: what shall we make this time? After a BBQ, where you usually do eat more than you’d normally do, it’s good to have a light dessert to finish the meal. Something that ‘will always go down’. A light mousse is what comes to mind then, like the Greek Yogurt Mousse. Just this time in a fresh and more ‘adult’ version: Limoncello Mousse with raspberry Sauce.

Limoncello

Limoncello is such a gorgeous summer drink. The pure stuff is a bit too strong for me, but I love it in cocktails. A light and fresh lemon flavour. A flavour I like all year round, but especially in summer. Which is why I love to get tangy lemon ice cream at the Italian ice cream parlour. So good. And if Limoncello is nice in cocktails, it must be nice in desserts as well.

Raspberries

Raspberries not only give extra colour to the dessert; the flavour also pairs very well with lemon. I used fresh raspberries for the sauce, as they are in season and not expensive right now. But you can very well use frozen ones. Frozen raspberries are just not recommended for garnish, as they won’t look very pretty defrosted.

Ingredients

125 g fresh raspberries (+ extra for garnish)

2 tbsp powdered sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp corn starch

250 ml whipping cream

200 g cream cheese

Zest of 1 lemon

50 ml Limoncello (or less, then add lemon juice)

25 g powdered sugar

Instructions

Put the raspberries in a small sauce pan together with 2 tbsp powdered sugar and the lemon juice.

Slowly bring to a boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes, until all raspberries are soft.

Pour through a strainer to remove the seeds, press as much juice out as possible and return sauce to the pan.

Mix the corn starch with a little bit of cold water.

Stir through the raspberry sauce and bring back to a boil.

Keep stirring until the sauce has thickened.

Divide over 6 glasses and let cool.

Bereiden van de frambozencoulis

Whip the cream until stiff peaks have formed.

Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, Limoncello and lemon zest.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Bereiden van de limoncello-mousse

Divide over the 6 glasses and garnish with a few raspberries.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

A perfect summer dessert.

Enjoy!
Limoncello Mousse with Raspberry Sauce

Cakes, Bars & more, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free, All Recipes, Vegan

Vegan Breakfast Brownies – a healthier indulgence

Vegan Breakfast Brownies

Brownies are definitely my weakness. Especially if they are soft and moist, with a full chocolate flavour. I simply can’t refuse. I could even eat them for breakfast. In fact, that wouldn’t even be that bad, if you’re otherwise watching what you’re eating and following a healthy and balanced diet. Yet there is always that little voice in my head: shame on you! Well, then there’s only one option: creating a healthier version. And I think I (finally) managed: Vegan Breakfast Brownies.

Healthier indulgence

Even though this is a much healthier version than my ultimate brownies, it’s still an extra treat you should not eat very single day. But it contains much healthier ingredients. Or should I say: I’ve omitted or replaced some of the unhealthy ingredients. It makes them a healthy breakfast option and they are an ideal grab&go meal (take them with you to eat on the road or at work).

Granola

To make them all breakfast-worthy, I added granola to the mix. This granola is homemade and unsweetened and is more of a topping for your yogurt or smoothie bowl. Hence also perfect to use as an extra crunch in these brownies.

Several tries

It took me several tries to get the results I wanted. A deliciously moist brownie turning into a vegan and gluten free treat wasn’t quite as obvious. Sure, I got a few very tasty brownies, but one was too dry, another didn’t quite hold its stuff together (as in: totally crumbled between your fingers). Or they were too sweet or not sweet enough. Finally though, I made a brownie that I’m confident to actually call a brownie.

Ingredients

For the granola:

200 g oats (certified gluten free if necessary)

75 g roughly chopped unsalted cashews

50 g roughly chopped hazelnuts

50 g roughly chopped almonds

50 g quinoa pops

For the brownies:

100 g dark chocolate

15 g coconut oil (ca. 1 tbsp)

40 g arrowroot

4 tbsp cold water

200 g almond meal

½ tsp salt

75 g coconut blossom sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

150 g unsweetened apple sauce

50 g granola

Instructions

For the granola:

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients for the granola and spread evenly on the baking sheet.

Ingrediënten voor de granola

Roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so everything browns evenly.

Use the desired quantity for the brownies and keep the rest in a jar or airtight container for later use (great on yoghurt, smoothie bowl or fresh fruit).

For the brownies:

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a brownie or other baking tin with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate together with the coconut oil.

Mix the arrowroot with the water until no lumps remain.

In a bowl, mix the almond meal, salt and sugar.

Ingrediënten voor de brownies mengen

Add the chocolate, arrowroot mixture, apple sauce and vanilla to the dry mixture and mix well, using a spatula.

Then fold in the granola.

Beslag voor de brownies mengen

Press batter in the prepared baking tin and smooth out the top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Bakken van de brownies

Let cool completely before cutting into pieces.

Vegan Breakfast Brownies

Enjoy!

Vegan Breakfast Brownies

Mains, All Recipes, BBQ

Korean Chicken Skewers with spicy BBQ-sauce

Koreaanse Kipspiezen met pikante BBQ-saus

Seen the weather forecast for this weekend? It’s going to be sunny! Actually, more than sunny, we’re getting tropical temperatures. Not to everyone’s liking, I’m sure. But I think we can all agree on one thing: it will be perfect weather for a BBQ. Which means that our favourite is on rotation again: Korean Chicken Skewers.

Marinating

Get an early start with marinating the meat. At least a couple of hours before cooking, though the meat will be at its best if you let it marinate overnight. It will become extremely tender. Instead of marinating in a bowl, I use a zip lock bag and press as much of the air our as possible, which definitely helps the process of marinating (the meat will soak up the flavours even more).

Tender meat

Not only the time the meat has to marinate will influence the tenderness, but also which cut you use. It’s perfectly fine to use chicken breast or chicken tenders, but they can dry out pretty fast during cooking. The best cut definitely is the chicken thigh fillet. Might be a bit more expensive sometimes, but definitely worth it.

Sauce

The marinate is what makes the chicken skewers taste incredible. What makes it even better? Making a BBQ-sauce out of the marinade. Brush the skewers with the sauce during grilling and serve the rest as dip. For the chicken AND for dipping drowning your bread in it.

Ingredients

500 g chicken thigh fillet (or chicken breast/tenders)

For the marinade:

1 red onion

50 g light brown sugar

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

50 ml soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 à 2 tbsp Sriracha sauce (or more if you like it hot)

For the BBQ-sauce:

The chicken marinade (after marinating)

1 tbsp light brown sugar

20 g tomato puree

2 tbsp soy sauce

25 ml water

Optional: extra Sriracha sauce to taste

Instructions:

Cut the chicken into strips or cubes and put in a zip lock bag.

Put all ingredients for the marinade into a food processor or blender.

Blend a couple of seconds, until there are no more large chunks.

Pour the marinade over the chicken.

Press as much air out as possible and close the bag.

Massage the chicken a bit and put the bag in the refrigerator.

Marinade maken en de kip marineren

Let marinate for a couple of hours, preferably even overnight.

Take the chicken out of the marinade and put on skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, let them soak in water a bit before using them. They might otherwise burn during grilling.

Pour the remaining marinade into a sauce pan and add the other ingredients for the sauce.

Mix well and bring slowly to a boil.

Let simmer for a couple of minutes.

Taste whether the sauce is sweet and/or spicy enough. Add more sugar or Sriracha to taste.

Koreaanse BBQ-saus maken

Is the sauce too think, add a bit more water. Too thin? Add a bit of corn starch.

Brush the chicken skewers during grilling with a bit of BBQ-sauce.

Serve the rest of the sauce with the skewers.

Gegrilde Koreaanse Kipspiezen

Enjoy!
Korean Chicken Skewers with spicy BBQ-sauce

Dairy Free, Gluten-Free, Miscellanious, Sides, All Recipes, Vegan, Snacks

Vegan Cheese with Bear’s Garlic

Vegan Cheese with Bear's Garlicmet daslook

Cheese – that’s this month’s theme at the FOODBLOG EVENT organized by Foodbloggers BENELUX. And that theme can be interpreted in the broadest sense of the word. So, anything goes. I’ve thought long and hard about what I could make with cheese. Should I make something sweet of rather go for savoury? What kind of course will it be? Should I cook or bake? What kind of cheese should I use? There are so many ways to go with cheese!

Make it yourself

It’s been on my to-do list for quite a while: making cheese. And when I thought about that, I also thought about the fact that I wanted to try vegan cheese as well. Not because I want to become vegan, but I have a curious nature and I simply wanted to know what vegan cheese tastes like. Is it good? Does it in any way resemble cheese?

Vegan cheese

I had read a few things about making vegan cheese. What’s it based on, what makes it ‘cheesy’? In most cases, cashews are used as basic ingredient and nutritional yeast is used to give it a hearty flavour. Furthermore, a bit of lemon juice and you’re on the right track of making vegan cheese. But I wanted to add a bit more zest to it.

Bear’s garlic

You may not have heard of Bear’s garlic before, as it’s mostly known in Europe, where it grows in the wild in spring. In the US, it’s more known by the name of wild garlic or ramson and it can easily be grown at home. I came across fresh Bear’s garlic at a supermarket in Germany, when we recently went for a short visit to the farm in the Eifel.

To me, its taste is like a cross between garlic and spring onion. It has a much milder taste than garlic and can be used in various dishes. You can use it raw in salads or make a pesto with it. But you can also use it in warm dishes or use it in marinades. Or cheese for that matter.

Verse daslook

Vegan cheese with Bear’s garlic

The idea of vegan cheese with Bear’s garlic was born. And I have to say: I’m thrilled with the result. Does it taste like real cheese? Honestly, I don’t think so. But I do think it’s a very tasty spread that can be used instead of cream cheese. Delicious on bread, but also very tasty as a dip. Idea’s for using this ‘cheese’ in various dishes are bubbling up (thinking of stuffed mini peppers, zoodles…. yum yum).

Other additions

It could be a challenge to get your hands on Bear’s garlic. In that case, you could very well use a bit of garlic and fresh herbs, such as chives and parsley. Which is a perfect combination as well for a very tasty ‘cream cheese’ with herbs.

Ingredients

200 g raw cashews

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp water

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

12 leaves of Bear’s garlic

Salt to taste

Instructions

Let the cashews soak overnight.

Drain the cashews and put them in a blender or food processor, together with the lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Blend until it reaches a very smooth consistency.

Ingrediënten voor de vegan kaas met daslook

That can take up to 5 minutes or more. Scrape the sides as needed.

Add, once you’ve reached the desired consistency, the Bear’s garlic and salt to taste. Pulse a couple of times until it’s mixed in well.

Start with just a little bit of salt and add more if needed.

Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Vegan kaas met daslook

Refrigerated, the ‘cheese’ will keep well for about a week.

Delicious on a cracker, slathered on some fresh bread or as a dip for flatbread or tortilla chips.

Vegan kaas met daslook op een cracker

Enjoy!

Vegan Cheese with Bear's garlic

Appetizers, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Miscellanious, Sides, All Recipes, Vegan, Snacks

Roasted Carrot Hummus

Geroosterde Wortel Hummus

Roasted Carrot Hummus

It’s almost April and King’s Day is approaching fast. Many schools in the Netherlands have held the King’s Plays last Friday and everything turned orange. We are not such King’s Day fanatics, partly because we are living in Belgium since a couple of years and the kids attend school here. The 27th of April is just a normal day for us.

That doesn’t mean we’re not participating in all that orange madness, though. I am again participating in the Foodblog Event organised by Foodbloggers BENELUX and the theme this time (obviously) is: King’s Day. The colour orange is quite essential then. And I came with a recipe I had never made before: Roasted Carrot Hummus.

Bright orange

Thinking about orange food, pumpkin soup and carrot mash came to mind. Most people will associate these dishes with autumn or winter. What about something with oranges, a beautiful dessert or a refreshing summer drink. At the organic supermarket, I had bought a bunch of beautiful orange carrots and wanted to use these for the challenge. And the wonderful temperatures of the last couple of days made me think of summer and… BBQ. A salad or a dip. So, dip it is: a creamy hummus with roasted carrots.

Falvours of the Middel East

Instead of cooking the carrots, I roasted them in the oven. Roasting gives the vegetables a much richer taste and makes them slightly sweet. Hummus is an essential part of the Middle Eastern cuisine and I figured that regional spices would fit this dip perfectly.

Za’atar

I wanted to use Za’atar in my hummus. There are spice mixes available at most supermarkets, but most of them aren’t quite authentic. Or so I learned the hard way. Without even checking the label, I bought the first jar I came across. At home, I started searching for the origins of Za’atar and was actually amazed by what I found. Za’atar actually is a herb, but is mostly sold in a mix. That mix is called Za’atar as well.

Thing is though, the mixes found at the supermarkets don’t contain what gives the mix its name: Za’atar. How strange is that? Slight consolation: the real za’atar very much resembles a cross between thyme and oregano. So, lacking the real thing, you can always go for a combination of those two.

Anything goes

As far as this hummus is concerned: anything goes. Use whatever spices or herbs you like. I very much liked this Za’atar mix. Omitting it, will be just as good. The roasted carrots are what makes this hummus taste great. Just adding salt and pepper will be fine. But adding spices and herbs gives it a totally different dimension.

Ingredients

2 (organic) carrots

Freshly ground salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1 can of chick peas (400g, net weight: 240 g)

1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp Za’atar

75 ml water

1 tbsp ginger syrup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

Salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel the carrots and cut into small slices.

Put the carrots in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of freshly ground sea salt and pepper. Shake to cover all pieces.

Spread on the baking sheet and roast for about 20-30 minutes, until the carrot pieces are soft.

Geroosterde Wortel Hummus - voorbereiding

Let cool.

Drain the chick peas. You can keep the liquid for other purposes, such as vegan mayo.

Put the chick peas, carrots, lemon juice, ginger syrup, garlic, olive oil and Za’atar in a blender or food processor and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. If it’s too dry, just add a little bit of water (1 tablespoon at a time).

Geroosterde Wortel Hummus - bereiding

Then add salt and pepper to taste.

This hummus is delicious as a dip with your BBQ, on pita bread, in a wrap (like on this chili tortilla with fresh green leaves and vegan ‘chicken’ shawarma) or as a dip for fresh bread or vegetables.

Geroosterde Wortel Hummus

Geroosterde Wortel Hummus met brood

Enjoy!

Roasted Carrot Hummus

Bread, All Recipes, BBQ

Artisan Bread – the ‘no knead’ method

Artisanaal Brood - de 'no knead' methode

Artisan bread

Spring has finally arrived. More than that, we’ve reached summery this week! If you’re walking outside around dinner time, you can’t escape the smell of BBQ’s all around the area. We’re not huge BBQ-fans, but we love to eat outside. And with these warm temps, we like to move into the garden. We might fire up the BBQ this weekend, or we might settle for a quick and light meal. What I love in both cases?  Freshly baked bread on the side.

Easy to make at home

You can make sure to buy a fresh loaf at the bakery or the supermarket. Perfectly fine. Because baking brad at home is a tedious job. Right? Nope, it doesn’t have to be. With this recipe for artisan bread, anyone can bake fresh bread at home.

The ‘no knead’ method

You’ve probably heard of it before, no-knead bread. As in: bread you don’t have to knead. We’re making this bread already for a couple of years and I have tried several variations. Using another type of flour or adding extra ingredients. The bread is very popular all over the world. Once you’ve tried it yourself, you’ll understand why. Making your own artisan bread at home has never been this easy.

Time

How can this ever work? By giving the dough enough time. The dough has to rise at least 8 hours. Preferably longer, up to 24 hours. So, it’s not a recipe you can make just before use. I prepare the dough just before going to sleep. That way it has enough time to rise. The next day, I can bake it any time I want to. It sounds so easy, right? Well, it is.

Ingredients

375 – 525 g (spelt)flour (see instructions)

1 tsp dry yeast

2 tsp salt

375 ml lukewarm water

Instructions

First, mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. I’ve put a very wide margin for the flour in the recipe, as the exact amount of flour very much depends on the type of flour and even the brand you’re using. I’ve noticed that spelt flour is much heavier than regular flour. For a bread with regular AP flour, I used about 375 – 425 g of flour. With my last spelt bread, I used 525 g flour.

Start with the smallest amount of flour and add more as needed. The dough doesn’t have to reach a ‘dry’ state, where your hands don’t stick anymore. Sticky is fine, as you are not going to knead it.

Add the water and mix everything with a wooden spoon. Add more flour if it’s too wet.

Artisanaal Brood - de 'no knead' methode

Cover the bowl with cling film and put in a place where the dough can rest (I usually put it on the cupboard in the living room, out of reach of children and pets).

Let rise for at least 8 hours. Preferably longer, so it’s best to start it just before you go to sleep at night.

Put a piece of parchment paper on your workspace and dust it generously with flour. The dough is very sticky and thin and without the flour, it will stick to the paper.

‘Pour’ the dough on the dusted parchment paper (I use a dough scraper to get it out of the bowl). Try to shape it in a round form. Again, I use the dough scraper and kind of fold the edges.

Artisanaal Brood - de 'no knead' methode

Let the dough rest like that for about an hour.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 220°C.

Place, halfway the rising time, a cast iron pan/casserole in the oven. The pan needs to be really hot.

On the dough, you will see air bubbles have formed. That’s a good thing!

And now a dangerous job: take the pan out of the oven (don’t forget your oven mitts!), carefully lift the parchment paper with the dough and place it in the hot pan.

Artisanaal Brood - de 'no knead' methode

Put the lid on the pan, put the pan back in the oven and let it bake (lid closed) for 30 minutes.

Take the lid off the pan (again, don’t forget your oven mitts, because: HOT!) and let bake for another 15 minutes or until the top has reached a nice golden colour.

Artisanaal Brood - de 'no knead' methode

Carefully take the bread out of the oven and let cool. Though hot bread, fresh from the oven… so good.

Artisanaal Brood - de 'no knead' methode

And your freshly baked, homemade bread is ready. This recipe can be made with different types of flour, even gluten free mixes (be sure to check whether these mixes are suitable for bread baking). You cabn also use whole wheat flour, but you’ll get a much denser bread (less air bubbles are formed in the dough). Well, in other words: start experimenting.

Artisanaal Brood - de 'no knead' methode

Enjoy!

Artisan Bread - the 'no knead' method

Mains, Sides, All Recipes, BBQ

Fennel Salad with Apple & Smoked Chicken Breast

Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

Fennel salad

It was during our holiday at the farm last year, when I first made this salad. We had a BBQ with all the other guests at the farm and everybody had to bring something. I addition to the couscous salad with roasted vegetables, I made this deliciously fresh and crisp fennel salad.

Crisp and sweet

The fennel itself has a sweet, aniseed flavour. The crisp, tangy flavour of the apple and the smoky saltiness of the chicken match perfectly. You can make this of course completely vegetarian/vegan by omitting the chicken. This salad actually doesn’t really need it. Just the fennel with apple is such a great combination.

Ingredients

1 fennel bulb

1 green apple (Granny Smith)

1 smoked chicken breast (single)

1 shallot

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

3 tbsp vinegar

6 tbsp oil

A few drops liquid sweetener (optional)

Instructions

Cut the shallot in very fine strips. You could use a mandolin for that.

Then cut the apple au julienne. No need to peel it.

Appel voor Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

First cut the green from the fennel and chop it up a bit. Set aside.

Cut the fennel bulb in half and remove the tough heart.

Thinly slice up the fennel. You can again use the mandolin to do that.

Venkelgroen voor Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

Venkel voor Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

Gesneden venkel voor Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

Make the dressing by mixing vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and a little bit of liquid sweetener. The sweetener is optional, but it lifts this dressing to the next level.

Mix the shallot and the fennel greens into the dressing.

Add the apple and the fennel and mix well. Let sit for about an hour.

Dressing voor Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

Just before serving, cut the smoked chicken breast into small pieces or slices and mix through the salad.

Gerookte kipfilet voor Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

This salad is delicious as a side to a BBQ, but it can also serve as a main along with some fresh bread.

Venkelsalade met Appel & Gerookte Kipfilet

Enjoy!
Fennel Salad with Apple & Smoked Chicken Breast

Mains, All Recipes, Slow Cooker

Mongolian Beef in the Slow Cooker

Mongolian Beef uit de Slowcooker

Mongolian Beef in the Slowcooker

Have you ever heard of Mongolian Beef? If you’re living in the US, you most likely have. Here in Europe, the dish is fairly unknown. And I thought it was time to get it introduced here as well. This simple dish is so flavour, I just love it.

Stew

Mongolian Beef is a very tasty stew. Perfect to prepare in the slow cooker. If you don’t have a slow cooker, that’s not a problem, as it can be prepared in a regular pan on the stove or in the oven. This dish is so delicious. With just a few ingredients and a little bit of patience, you’ll get a wonderful stew that everyone will love.

Ingredients

750 g stew beef (f.e. chuck)

2 à 3 tbsp corn starch

1 large onion

150 ml soy sauce

150 ml water

150 g dark brown sugar

2 cloves of garlic (crushed or finely chopped)

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

Instructions

Cut the meat into thin strips.

Put the strips into a zip lock bag and add the corn starch.

Seal the bag and shake until all the meat is covered with corn starch.

Cut the beef into thin strips and add the corn starch

Peel and slice the onion.

Mix soy sauce, water, sugar, garlic and ginger.

Pour the sauce in the slow cooker.

Add the meat and onion and stir.

Mix the saus, put everything in the slow cooker and stir.

Let cook on low for 5 hours.

Serve over white rice and pickled vegetables.

Mongoian Beef in the Slow Cooker

Eet smakelijk!

Do you like Asian stews? Try this Indonesian dish: Babi Merah – Pork in Spicy Coconut Sauce!
Mongoilan Beef in the Slow Cooker

Mains, All Recipes

Quiche with Smoked Salmon & Broccoli

Quiche met Gerookte Zalm & Broccoli

When we are having a party at our house, we often serve a buffet. Easy dishes that can be prepared beforehand and everybody at the party can take what they want. One dish, that is often in the rotation, is quiche.

Quiche

A quiche can be easily prepared and the possibilities for the filling are endless. Meat, fish, veggies… there’s something for everyone. I often make several kinds, just to be sure that everyone can pick what they like best. This time, I also made a quiche with smoked salmon and broccoli. An absolute winner.

Salmon and broccoli

Broccoli pairs perfectly well with smoked salmon, just like other types of green vegetables, such as spinach, green beans and green asparagus. S, I went for the broccoli this time, but you easily swap this for other vegetables if you like.

Ingredients

200 g smoked salmon

1 broccoli (ca. 500 g)

1 sheet of puff pastry

3 eggs

250 ml cream

100 g grated cheese of your choice

Salt/pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C. The puff pastry that I use already comes with a baking sheet. If you one without it, make sure to grease or line the quiche/pie dish.

Take the puff pastry out of the refrigerator and let come to room temperature for about 10 minutes (if you try to roll it out straight form the refrigerator, the dough might crack and tear).

Cut the florets from the stalk. You don’t need the stalk now, but don’t just throw it out yet. It’s perfect for soup or you can use it for a stir fry. It’s perfectly edible!

Steam or cook the broccoli florets until they are al dente. Drain well.

Place the puff pastry in the quiche/pie dish and lightly press the sides.

Divide the broccoli evenly over the bottom.

Cut the salmon into thin strips and evenly divide over the broccoli and between the florets.

Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.

Beat the eggs with the cream. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. But be careful with the salt. The smoked salmon is already salty and depending on the type of cheese you use, it could get too salty.

Pour the egg-cream-mixture over the cheese and place the quiche in the middle of the preheated oven.

Voorbereiden van de quiche met gerookte zalm en broccoli.

Bake ca. 25 – 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Quiche met gerookte zalm en broccoli

Serve with a fresh side salad or as part of a buffet. I like the quiche best when it’s hot, but it can be eaten cold as well. You could bake the quiche right before serving, but you can also bake it a day before and heat it up in the oven just before you are ready to serve.

Quiche met gerookte zalm en broccoli

Enjoy!

PS: have you tried my Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon yet?
Quiche with Smoked Salmon & Broccoli

 

 

Cakes, Bars & more, All Recipes, Bananabread & Co

Triple Chocolate Banana Bread

Triple Chocolate Banana Bread

Triple Chocolate Banana Bread – the ultimate banana bread for a chocoholic. Which means, this is the prefect banana bread for me. When you browse through my recipes, you will see I have a ‘slight’ favor for banana bread. I’ve tried numerous variations. One of my all time favourites has been the Banana Hazelnut Snack Cake, quite amazing taste due to the ground hazelnuts that I used instead of flour. The runner up, following very close, is my Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread. But this Triple Chocolate Banana Bread beats them all.

Triple Chocolate

So, what makes this a Triple Chocolate? Well, there a generous piece of good dark chocolate, cocoa powder for an even deeper chocolate flavour and on top of it all: dark chocolate chips throughout the bread. Addictive, is all I can say. Make this bread at your own risk. If you have some (over)ripe banana’s lying on your kitchen counter and you have no idea what to do with them? Make this utterly delicious and very easy to prepare banana bread.

Ingredients

2 medium (over)ripe bananas (the darker the skin, the sweeter, the better)

2 eggs

250 ml buttermilk (no buttermilk at hand? Add a bit of vinegar to regular milk (ca. 1 tbsp per 500 ml) and let sit for about 10 minutes)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp honey (depending on the ripeness, hence sweetness, of the bananas, you can add more honey if you like)

50 ml vegetable oil

100 g dark chocolate (min 70%)

250 g flour

25 g cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

100 g chocolate chips (chopping up a piece of dark chocolate works fine as well)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C hot air) and grease a cake tin or line with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate.

Mash up the banana.

Mix the banana with the milk, eggs, oil, vanilla and honey.

Pour a little bit of the mixture into the melted chocolate and stir.

Add the chocolate to the mixture and mix well.

Natte ingrediënten voorbereiden voor het Triple Chocolate Bananenbrood

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder.

Add the wet mixture and mix with a spatula.

Fold in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the cake tin.

Bake, in the middle of the oven, for ca. 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Beslag van het Triple Chocolate Bananenbrood bereiden en afbakken

The result: a soft and moist banana bread with a deep chocolate flavour and a hint of banana. Delicious.

Smeuïge en sappig Triple Chocolate Bananenbrood

Enjoy!
Triple Chocolate Banana Bread

Bread, All Recipes

Spinach Bread Sticks

Spinazie Broodstengels

Spinach Bread Sticks

After the success of the Pink Pizza, I really wanted to experiment further with adding vegetables to pizza or bread dough. And with Easter just a few weeks away, I figured I could make something that’s green. Spinach is a perfect colouring agent and adds a subtle taste. So, I came up with these Spinach Bread Sticks. Green and delicious. Speaking about green, this recipe would also be very fitting for St. Patrick’s Day, don’t you think?

Perfect addition

These Spinach Bread Sticks are perfect for Easter Brunch, but will be just as good for breakfast or as a side for dinner or a soup. I personally think these can be eaten all year round, but the bright green colour makes them perfect for Easter or St. Patrick’s Day.

Cheesy

For this first try, I added a mild cheese (grated Emmenthal), mainly due to the fact that our oldest son doesn’t like a strong cheese taste. Though I think that the spinach can perfectly be accompanied by a somewhat stronger cheese, like mature cheddar of goat’s cheese. Thinking of that, I think adding Feta cheese will be a great variation as well. What I’m trying to day: choose whatever you like, experiment the hell out of it. Not a cheese lover at all? These Spinach Bread Sticks taste great even without the cheese.

Ingredients

200 g fresh spinach

1 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of sea salt

50 ml water

7 g dry yeast

1 tbsp sugar

350 ml warm water

700 g flour + extra flour for dusting

1 tsp salt

200 g + 150 g grated Emmenthal

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 egg

Instructions

Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan or wok and stir fry the spinach with a pinch of sea salt until the spinach has wilted down.

Let the spinach cool completely.

Puree the spinach with 50 ml water in a blender or food processor.

Spinazie roerbakken en pureren

Mix 350 ml warm water (think of the temperature of bath water) with the yeast and the sugar.

Let sit for ca. 10 minutes until the mixture is all bubbly.

Put the yeast mixture, spinach, salt, flour and 200 g cheese in a large mixing bowl and knead until a dough has formed. If the dough is too sticky/too wet, slowly add more flour.

Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it a couple of times on a lightly floured surface.

Gist laten wellen en deeg kneden

Grease a bowl with a tablespoon of vegetable oil, put the dough in the bowl and turn the dough so it gets covered in oil as well.

Put in a warm place for at least 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 16 equally sized pieces.

Shape each piece into a log and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for another 15 minutes.

Lightly beat the egg and coat the bread sticks with the egg wash.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Gerezen deeg, verdeeld in stukken, kaas erover

Bake ca. 20 minutes in the middle of the oven.

The bread sticks taste great just as they are, for example with a soup. But with some butter and a slice of cheese, oh my…

Spinazie Broodstengel van binnen

Spinazie Broodstengel belegd met kaas

Enjoy!

Spinach Bread Sticks

Bread, Breakfast, All Recipes

Quick Bagels with 2-ingredient Bread Dough

Quick bagels with 2-ingredient bread dough

It’s freezing and the weather forecast predicts even more severe cold weather coming up next week. All I want to do, is hide in my house, rolled in a thick blanket and hibernate. But… I’ll have to get outside and get food. Well, I also will have to get to work and get the kids to school. But I still can dream about hibernating. And the food part really isn’t that difficult. Just stock up enough and we’d be able to survive for a while. Especially stocking up on Greek yogurt and self-raising flour. Why? To make these super quick bagels of course!

2 ingredient dough

A dough made out of two ingredients? Yep. Just google it. You’ll get uncountable hits. You can make bread, biscuits/rolls, pizza and quite a few more with just two ingredients: Greek yogurt and self-raising flour. Put these two together and let your creativity go wild. I had made 2-ingredient pizza dough before and fresh rolls on a Sunday morning. It takes just minutes to put together, bake for 20-30 minutes and you’re ready to dish up. Lifer saver, if you don’t want to go outside.

Quick Bagels

These quick bagels are a just a very simple variation on the theme. I added a seed mix on top (saw this idea on Taste.co), but you can leave them plain or add different toppings (cheese is a good one, too). In literally half an hour, we had fresh bagels on the table. So, yeah, if we would go in hiding and sit out the freezing cold, I would be able to survive on yogurt and flour.

Ingredients

275 g self-raising flour (plus extra for dusting)

250 g Greek yogurt

½ tsp salt

1 egg

Seed mix (or toppings of your choice)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, yogurt and salt in a bowl. You can start to mix with a wooden spoon. When it gets harder to ‘stir’, get you hands dirty and kneed until a dough forms.

Stirring the dough

Kneeding the dough

Kneed until a dough forms

Lightly flour your work surface and take the dough out of the bowl.

Put dough on a lightly floured surface

If needed, kneed a couple of times, then flatten the dough and form a disc.

Cut the dough in four equal pieces.

Form a disc and cut dough in 4 equal parts

Roll each piece into a log and shape that log into a bagel.

Shape each piece into a log

Shape each log into a bagel

Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Transfer bagels to prepared baking sheet

Beat the egg and brush the top of the bagels with the egg wash.

Brush each bagel with egg wash

Generously sprinkle with the seed mix or topping of your choice.

Sprinkle seed mix generously on top

Bake ca. 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Baked bagels

Best eaten when freshly baked or even straight from the oven when still hot, then they are at their best.

Baked bagel up close

Bagels ready to eat

Enjoy!

PS: this makes 4 bagels, but the recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled.

PPS: another quick bread option is this Greek Yogurt Soda Bread.
Quick Bagels with 2-ingredient bread dough

Appetizers, Mains, All Recipes

Spiced Lamb Turnovers

Spiced Lamb Turnovers

The kids always ask what we’re having for dinner. My most used answer is: I don’t know yet. Not to tease them or anything (which they believe I’m doing), I often really don’t know yet. Most of the times, I have a general idea, as I know what’s in the fridge and what needs to be used before a certain date. But I usually decide during the process of making dinner, what I’m going to do with the ingredients. Now I had ground lamb in the fridge and I was thinking about making some kind of pasta sauce. But last minute, I decided to make these spiced lamb turnovers instead. Which solved a second problem: having to use up a store-bought pie crust.

Spice it up

When using ground lamb, I always think of middle eastern flavours, warming spices. Kebobs could have been another way of using the ground lamb, but I had set my mind on these turnovers. You could use store bought spice mixes, but it’s very easy to make your own. Plus, in the store-bought mixes, there usually is a lot of salt and sugar, which is something you really don’t need.

Make your own blend

I simply put all my spices in form t of me and simply picked a few of which I thought they would be nice together. Luckily for you, I wrote down exactly how much of each spice I used. Having said that, you can add whatever spices you like in it. There are no set rules. Our youngest doesn’t like hot foods, otherwise I might have added chili powder or other hot spices to give it a kick. I simply put hot sauces on the table and everyone can make it as hot as they like.

Ingredients

500 g ground lamb

2 bell peppers

1 large onion

2 sheets puff pastry

1 tbsp butter or oil for frying

1 can tomato puree (140 g )

1 egg

1 tbsp milk

Spice mix:

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp ground cloves

2 tsp paprika

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

Mixed spices

Instructions

Finely dice the onion and the bell peppers.

Finely cut onion and bell peppers

Heat oil or butter in a frying pan or wok and sauté the onion until translucent.

Sauteeing onions

Add the ground lamb and fry until browned.

Then add the spice mix and stir well.

Adding spices to ground lamb

Add the bell peppers and fry until they start to soften.

Adding peppers to lamb

Now add the tomato puree, stir well and fry another two minutes.

Adding tomato puree to lamb

Taste the mixture and add salt/pepper to taste.

Let the mixture cool down a bit. Preferably, the mixture is cooled completely before filling the pastry, but as usual, I started too late and did not have enough patience to let it cool. Which didn’t help the process of closing the pastries. Story of my life.

Prepared filling for lamb turnovers

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out the puff pastry and cut each sheet into 6 equal pieces.

Cut puff pastry into 6 equal pieces

Divide the lamb mixture among the 12 pieces of puff pastry.

Divide filling over puff pastry

Wet the sides, take one corner and flip it over the filling.

Close the sides pressing down with a fork to seal the edges. Or, if you’re as lazy as I was to get one, press the sides closed with your fingers. Not very neat, but it does the job just as well.

Carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Prepared turnovers reday for baking

Beat the egg with the milk and brush the pastries with the egg wash.

Bake ca. 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Baked spiced lamb turnovers

Serve hot. A fresh salad goes very well with these turnovers.

Turnovers cut open to reveal filling

Enjoy!
Spiced Lamb Turnovers

Mains, All Recipes

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

I still had a bowl of sauerkraut that I had to use up. A simple case of having sauerkraut ready to use on hot dogs at a party and totally forgetting to put it on the table (sigh). The first thing that came up, was a colcannon type of dish (quite popular around here), but the boys don’t like it very much that way. And just at the right moment (there are no such things as coincidences), I saw this picture floating by on Instagram: a savoury sauerkraut pie by Uit Pauline’s Keuken. This picture was enough inspiration to get me cooking. And the result is this quiche with sauerkraut and bacon.

Sauerkraut and bacon

Sauerkraut and bacon is a perfect combination, if you ask me. The sour taste of the cabbage and the saltiness and even greasiness of the bacon pieces are really a good match. Together with loads of cheese and a creamy egg mixture on a bed of pie crust, so good. Sounds easy and it actually is. And this dish is testimony to the fact that something easy can be utterly delicious.

Ingredients

1 roll of pie crust dough

500 g sauerkraut

250 g bacon

3 eggs

250 ml (heavy) cream

200 g grated cheese

Salt/pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Get the dough out of the refrigerator and leave on the counter for 10 minutes before rolling it out (otherwise it might easily break).

Rinse the sauerkraut shortly with cold water and drain thoroughly.

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Cut the bacon in small pieces/strips and fry until crispy (I don’t use any extra fat to do this, as the bacon releases more than enough fat).

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Transfer dough into a quiche dish (a round baking dish of pie dish will work fine as well).

Divide the sauerkraut evenly over the dough and sprinkle generously with freshly ground pepper.

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Then divide the bacon and cheese on top.

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Best the cream with the eggs and a pinch of salt (not too much, as the cheese and bacon are salty enough).

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Pour the egg-cream-mixture evenly over the filling.

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Bake ca. 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Serve immediately. A fresh side salad will pair perfectly with this hearty dish.

Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Enjoy!
Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon
Quiche with Sauerkraut & Bacon

Breakfast, Desserts, All Recipes

Red Velvet Waffles

Red Velvet Waffles

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Although we’re not celebrating Valentines Day, I do like to make romantic treats or make something special for my loved ones. But that is not fixed on that one day per year. And these heart shaped red velvet waffles are perfect any day.

Red Velvet

Red Velvet always makes me happy. Cake, waffles or cookies… I love the red colour. And as it is the colour of love, it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day. What better way to start that day with delicious waffles? And have them as a snack during the day. Plus dessert. With vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

Ingredients

75 g unsalted butter

400 ml buttermilk

300 g spelt flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp cocoa powder

50 g sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

Red food colouring

Instructions

Melt the butter and let cool a bit.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder in a large bowl.

Red Velvet Waffles

Red Velvet Waffles

Beat eggs with vanilla extract and butter.

Add food colouring (I use ½ tsp Wilton colouring paste).

Red Velvet Waffles

Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and mix well.

Red Velvet Waffles

Red Velvet Waffles

Heat up your waffle iron and bake the waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions.

These taste great with just some icing sugar on top, but would also be wonderful with cheese cream icing, ice cream and/or whipped cream.

Red Velvet Waffles

I don’t use a lot of sugar in my waffles, as I don’t like them too sweet, but please free to add more sugar to your taste.

Enjoy!

If you like waffles, you might like these Banana Waffles.
Red Velvet Waffles

Mains, All Recipes

Pink Pizza

Pink Pizza

Pink Pizza, what is that?! Our oldest son all of a sudden got infected by the ‘I want to cook something myself’ virus. For years, I’ve had this children’s cookbook in the cupboard, waiting for that moment when the kids would be old enough, and willing, to start cooking themselves. I guess this was the moment to get it out. Alright, pick something… I said.

Pink Pizza

Totally engrossed, he searched through the recipes. And then: yes, got it, I want to make this. This… is pink pizza. That was not entirely what I had expected, to be honest. The smoked salmon might have had something to do with this particular choice (he just loooooves smoked salmon).

Not available

In the recipe, they use a boxed mix for ciabatta bread (store brand). And a jar of sliced beetroot in its juice. I hardly ever use ready-made mixes, but as this was my son’s project and he wanted to do as much by himself as possible, I wanted to follow the recipe to the letter and get everything on that ingredient list. Unfortunately, the cookbook’s already a few years old and a few of those specific ingredients were not available anymore (not by that particular store brand). Rethink and adapt.

I want to make this

He wanted to make this recipe so bad. Alright sweetie, we’ll make something up then. I’ve got a great pizza recipe, but I’ve never added (pureed) veggies to the dough. Which meant that we had to experiment a bit with the ratios. It did turn out surprisingly well. For the jar of sliced beetroot, I used whole cooked beets.

Delicious pizza

The end result was an utterly delicious pizza. The pureed beets not only gave the pizza a wonderful pinkish colour, it added a subtle beet root flavour to the dough. As an added bonus, you’ll get an extra fix of veggies with your pizza. Everyone loved it! This pink pizza has to go on the rotation. And no, this pink pizza is not only for girls (the guys in this house will happily vouch for that) ;-).

Ingredients

300 g cooked beetroot (ca. 250 ml pureed)

7 g yeast (1 pouch)

250 ml warm water (not too hot)

700 g spelt flour (500 + 200)

1 tbsp salt

200 g cream cheese

200 g smoked salmon

1 bag of arugula (75 g)

1 shallot, thinly sliced

Instructions

Pour the warm water in a bowl and add the yeast (make sure the water is not too hot). Let proof for 5 minutes.

Puree the beets in a food processor or blender.

Pink Pizza

Pink Pizza

Pink Pizza

Mix the cream cheese with 1 or 2 tablespoons of beet puree and put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Put the yeast mixture, beet puree and 500 g of the flour in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and mix well.

Pink Pizza

Add the rest of the flour and the salt and knead until you get an elastic dough. If it’s still too sticky, add a little bit more flour.

Pink Pizza

Pink Pizza

Cover the bowl with cling film and put in a warm place.

Let rise for 20-30 minutes.

By the way, cooking also means cleaning the dishes (while waiting for the dough to rise) ;).

Pink Pizza

Dust the worktop with flour, divide the dough in two and roll into a circle. I made two round pizza’s, but you could also make a sheet pizza. When making two pizza’s the crust will be fairly thick, more like a deep pan pizza. If you’d rather have a thin crust pizza, divide the dough into four and thinly roll it out.

Pink Pizza

Pink Pizza

Pink Pizza

Bake the crusts without any toppings, for about 15 to 20 minutes. The crust might get all puffed up. Pierce it with a knife or a fork to let the air out (be careful, the steam will be hot!).

Take the crust out of the oven and spread the beet-cheese mixture on top.

Pink Pizza

Shred the salmon with your hands and divide over the two crusts.

Scatter the arugula and sliced shallot on top.

Pink Pizza

Pink Pizza

Enjoy!

Love pizza? Give this Spelt Pizza with Chicken Mince, Veggies and Feta a try!
Pink Pizza

Gluten-Free, Mains, All Recipes

Curly Kale Colcannon with Bacon

Boerenkoolstamp met Spekjes

Colcannon is a typical Irish dish made with mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale. I knew the cabbage variety, but never knew it’s also known to be made with curly kale. We have a similar dish in the Netherlands and the question now arises… who was first? To be honest, I don’t care.

Winter dish

Irish or Dutch, it really doesn’t matter. Colcannon is a delicious, hearty dish mainly eaten during the cold winter months (although I’ll happily eat this all year round). In the Netherlands, it’s often eaten with smoked sausage. But it’s also good with meatballs and gravy or a beef stew.

Preparation is also slightly different. While in the Irish recipes, the kale is just slightly cooked, separate from the potatoes, we cook the kale together with the potatoes. It gets much softer that way and the taste of the whole dish gets more profound. I added a little twist by adding crispy bacon bits and cream cheese.

Ingredients

300 g finely cut curly kale

1,5 kg potatoes (peeled ca. 1 kg)

250 g bacon

200 g cream cheese

100 g butter

salt/pepper/nutmeg to taste

Instructions

Peel the potatoes and cut into roughly same-sized pieces (so they cook evenly).

I use pre-cut kale, but if you’re using whole leaves, make sure to remove the hard stems and cut the kale into thin strips.

Put potatoes in a large cooking pot and top with the kale.

Add a generous amount of salt and completely cover in water.

Curly Kale Colcannon with Bacon

Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are done.

While the potatoes and kale are cooking, cut the bacon into thin strips and fry until crispy. I don’t use any added fat, as there will be more than enough fat coming out of the bacon. Leave bacon and bacon fat in the pan until ready to use.

Boerenkoolstamp met Spekjes

Drain the potatoes and kale well and put them back into the pan.

Add butter, cream cheese and season with salt, pepper and nut meg. Start with just a little bit of seasoning, you can add more later to taste.

Boerenkoolstamp met Spekjes

Mash it all up and then fold in the bacon pieces and the bacon fat.

Season to taste.

Boerekoolstamp met Spekjes

Enjoy!
Curly Kale Colcannon with Bacon

All articles, Reviews, Tips

Review: the Dodow

The Dodow - falling asleep faster

Through Sampleo.com, I received the Dodow for testing. A small device that’s supposed to help you to fall asleep faster. When I saw the call for testers, I applied right away. Because falling asleep is one of my battles I fight almost every day. I was over the moon when I got confirmation that I was one of the lucky ones.

Wrong address?

Getting the Dodow almost turned into a battle as well though. From the company selling the Dodow, I received an email with the tracking code, which was perfect. The first few days, the shipment was still in pre-alert status and not traceable. No worries yet, though, that does happen a lot.

After a few days, I checked again and the package had been transferred to DPD. The delivery would take place on Wednesday. Two days later, still no package, and I traced it again online. What does it say? Wrong address?? That’s impossible.

French setup

What was the problem? The Dodow is sold by a French company. In France, addresses first state the number and then the street name, which is different from our addresses. So, instead of using this ‘foreign’ (read: Dutch) setup for the address (as it was given), they used the French setup for the address on the package.

Thinking that DPD (European carrier) would be able to interpret “1, street name” correctly and turn it into “street name 1”, proved to be too difficult. The package ended up at the depot, with the remark ‘wrong address, missing number’ (even though the number was there, just in front of the street name instead of behind it).

Good thing now was, that we could arrange an exact appointment for the delivery. Which was for Wednesday of the following week. A week delayed. Oh well, I finally got my Dodow!

Unpacking

I was so happy when I got it. Of course, I unpacked it immediately and prepared it for the first test night. The Dodow comes in a small box, with easy to read instructions (in several languages) and a few tips to get the most out of the Dodow. Very nice: batteries are included. Ready to start in no time.

The Dodow - falling asleep faster

The Dodow - falling asleep faster

The Dodow - falling asleep faster

First night

I have to admit that I was pretty sceptical. How can a simple small light help you to fall asleep, while all other methods failed? But I wanted to give it a fair try. First of all, you can set the intensity of the light. I’ve selected the least intense setting and that was still bright enough.

It was quite the search to find the perfect spot to place for Dodow. Due to the deep head board of our bed, the nightstand was too far back for the light. Putting it next to me on the floor wasn’t an option either, as it cast shadows on the ceiling, leaving just half of the circle.

Eventually, I put it on the head board and to prevent that I would have to bend my neck backwards to see it, I put something under it to give it a tilt. Now, I could lie relaxed in bed and watch the circle.

How does it work

You turn the Dodow on by simple tapping on it. Once for 8 minutes, twice for 20 minutes. I chose 20 minutes to start with, as 8 minutes seemed way too short for me. Especially if you consider that I’m used to tossing and turning for at least 30 to 60 minutes before falling asleep. I could not imagine falling asleep in 8.

The Dodow - falling asleep faster

A blue circle is cast on the ceiling, which is getting larger and brighter, then fades to almost nothing. Now you need to try to follow the rhythm of the light with your breathing. Breath in while the circle gets larger and brighter, exhale when the circle fades. Put your hands on your stomach and concentrate on your breathing.

The Dodow - falling asleep faster

The Dodow - falling asleep faster

That took some practising at first. Apparently, I was breathing way too fast, so I had to hold my breath a couple of times to adjust my breathing to follow the rhythm of the light. But I did get used to it quite fast. By focussing on the light and your breathing, you start to calm down. To me, it feels like a kind of a mix of meditation and hypnosis.

Pleasantly surprised

Like I said, I was pretty sceptical. But I have to admit that I am pleasantly surprised. After just a few minutes, my eyes started to droop and I could not keep them open. After that, it must have taken just a few more minutes and I was asleep. I did not notice when the Dodow shut down.

Further testing

I’ve tested the device for just a small period of time and in that time, it has helped me to fall asleep faster. But it was also a time with less working days, the holidays, Christmas break of the boys and I got the flu on top of it all. So, I will be testing for a while longer, now that that our lives are getting back to normal again. What I have experienced so far, is very positive.

We may also try to use the Dodow for out 9-year-old son. A real night owl, who is usually far too awake when it’s time to go to bed. He also has trouble falling asleep at night. This might just be the solution to his problem as well.

Recommend

Will I recommend the Dodow to others? Based on my own (short) experience, I definitely will. But like with so many things, this might not work for everybody in the same way. Never know till you try. It’s not very cheap, but if it works, it’s worth the investment for sure.

Thank you for reading!

I received the Dodow for testing. Everything I have stated above is based
on my own opinion and personal experience.
The Dodow - falling asleep faster

Appetizers, Gluten-Free, Low Carb, All Recipes, Snacks

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

Cauliflower Breadsticks

It’s holiday season and there is wonderful food wherever you go. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed Christmas dinners, loads and loads of cookies, lovely drinks and so much more. No need to feel guilty about, though. As long as we balance all that holiday food with a few healthier options, we’re just fine. And these cheesy cauliflower breadsticks fit that bill.

Cauliflower

Riced cauliflower is the base for these breadsticks. Whether you’re trying to eat less carbs or have food allergies that don’t allow you to eat bread, these breadsticks will definitely brighten your day. They’ve even converted the die-hard bread eaters in this house (including me). To give them just a bit more texture, I’ve added chickpea flour. But if that’s too much carbs for you, you can omit it.

Cheese

The best part of these breadsticks: cheese. There’s cheese ‘in’ the breadsticks and on top. Cheesy, yummy goodness. Instead of the Emmenthal and Mozzarella, you can easily swap these for your preferred cheeses.

Ingredients

1/2 head of cauliflower (about 500-550 g net weight)

4 eggs

2 tbsp dried or fresh chives

150 g grated Emmenthal cheese

100 g chickpea flour

pinch of salt and pepper

100 g grated Mozzarella

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

‘Rice’ the cauliflower using a food processor or grater and put in a microwave-safe bowl.

Cover with cling film and steam ca. 10 minutes at half power (600W).

Let cool a few minutes.

Put the steamed cauliflower in a large bowl, add eggs, Emmenthal cheese, chives, chickpea flour and salt/pepper.

Cauliflower Breadsticks

Mix well.

Cauliflower Breadsticks

Spread mixture on the prepared baking sheet and smooth it out.

Cauliflower Breadsticks

Bake ca. 20-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Cauliflower Breadsticks

Sprinkle Mozzarella on top and bake another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top has formed a nice crust.

Cauliflower Breadsticks

Cut in strips, serve warm or cold, with or without a dipping sauce.

Cauliflower Breadsticks

Enjoy!

Would you rather have a recipe for real bread? Try these Soft Pretzel Bites.
Cauliflower Breadsticks

Cookies, All Recipes

Cookie Butter Cookies

Cookie Butter Cookies

We make these cookie butter cookies often to add to our Christmas cookie platter. But honestly, these cookies are good all year round. They are so delicious. They have a chewy bite and a lovely cookie butter flavour, not overpowering at all.

What is this?

Whoever tries this cookies for the first time, is wondering what it is they are tasting. There’s something very familiar about it. ‘That does taste familiar, but what is it?’ Once you tell them that there’s cookie butter in there, most react like: ‘oh, of course, that’s what I’m tasting.

Cookie butter cookies

By now, family and friends are quite familiar with these cookies and they are well loved by everyone. I think the first time I made them and added them to the Christmas cookies, was two years ago. Last year, I didn’t and I was asked frequently where those delicious were. So, I’ve been good this year and made them once again. I have this feeling that it will be highly appreciated among the cookie fans. And I thought it was about time to share the recipe with you. Now you can make them whenever you want ;).

Ingredients

250 g unsalted butter (room temperature)

200 g cookie butter

250 g light brown sugar

250 g white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp corn starch

600 g all-purpose flour

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C convection oven) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat butter, cookie butter and sugars until light and creamy. I use my stand mixer but you can use a handheld mixer as well.

Cookie Butter Cookies

Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, corn starch and salt.

While beating, slowly add flour mixture and mix until the dough is smooth.

Cookie Butter Cookies

Use two spoons or a cookie scoop to portion dough and drop on the prepared baking sheet. Leave enough space between the cookies, as they will spread a little during baking.

Cookie Butter Cookies

Cookie Butter Cookies

Baking time depends on the size of the cookies. I needed 15 minutes for the large cookies and 10 for the smaller ones. They are done when the edges slightly start to brown at the bottom.

Take the cookies out of the oven and leave on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes. Straight from the oven, they are still very soft.

Cookie Butter Cookies

Then carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookie Butter Cookies

They will keep well in an airtight container for several weeks.

Enjoy!

PS: this recipe rendered 40 large and 70 small cookies. You can easily half or double the recipe.

PPS: need more cookie recipes? Check out my Top 5 Christmas Cookies!
Cookie Butter Cookies

Cookies, All Recipes

Top 5 Christmas Cookies

Top 5 Christmas Cookies

There are so many delicious Christmas cookies and every year, we try a few new ones. Or we adapt old recipes and give them a new twist. But there are 5 Christmas cookies, that we make (almost) every year. These are the ones, that I had as a child, when my grandma would bake all Christmas cookies. And making them now brings back so many loving memories. There is no Christmas without at least a few of these cookies.

#1 Butterplätzchen

Butterplätzchen might be the most classic of all Christmas cookies. These cut-out cookies have a delicious buttery flavour, a hint of lemon and a soft bite. A must on every Christmas cookie platter.

Butterplätzchen

#2 Vanilla Cookies

These Vanilla Cookies are actually just a shape variation on the very traditional Vanillekipferl, another famous Christmas cookie that finds it’s origins in Germany, Austria and the Bohemian region. I used to make the crescent shaped, as they originally should be, but I got lazy and made myself a very convenient short-cut. But the taste is still the same. This Christmas cookie is a steady component of our Christmas cookie platter.

Vanilla Cookies

#3 Snowball Truffles

Okay, technically, these aren’t cookies, but these chocolate coconut balls are the most requested ‘Christmas cookies’ every single year. There is just no Christmas without them. They are easy to make, are totally not healthy (it’s basically fats and sugar, but who cares) and so darn delicious.

Snowball Truffles

#4 Vanilla Pudding Cookies

These cookies are not only super cute, they are also super delicious and super easy to make. They are little soft vanilla pillows and quite addictive.

Vanilla Pudding Cookies

#5 Zimtsterne

The last but certainly not the least are these cinnamon stars, called Zimtsterne. They are soft and chewy, with a crispy meringue topping and a lovely cinnamon flavour. Again a very traditional Christmas cookie.

Zimtsterne

This is my personal Top 5. Every single one of these cookies has a long tradition, with loving memories that throw me back to times long past. Do you have a recipe that brings back memories an that you will make over and over again?

Enjoy!
Top 5 Christmas Cookies

Cookies, Gluten-Free, All Recipes

Zimtsterne

Zimtsterne

Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars) are very traditional German Christmas cookies. They are a must on every Christmas cookie platter. You can get them at any grocery store in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but the cookie is also making its way farther across the borders. Some of the international stores of Lidl and Aldi already sell them.

Easy homemade

Zimtsterne are a macaroon-like cookie made with ground almonds and topped with a thin layer of meringue. They are slightly crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and spiced with cinnamon. It is a very delicious little cookie. If you can’t get them where you live, they can easily be made at home.

Ingredients

For the cookies:

300 g powdered sugar

500 g ground almonds

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp orange extract

3 egg whites

For the glaze:

1 egg white

Pinch of salt

125 g powdered sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 150°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl and add the ground almonds and cinnamon.

Mix well.

Add the orange extract and egg whites and kneed until you get a smooth dough. This does require a bit of elbow grease.

Zimtsterne

Zimtsterne

It’s quite a sticky dough. You can best roll it out between two sheets of cling film or parchment paper. I use parchment paper and to prevent the bottom sheet to skid across the surface, I splash a bit of water on the counter. The parchment paper will stay in play nicely that way.

Zimtsterne

Zimtsterne

Don’t roll out the dough too thin. The perfect thickness would be about somewhere between 0,75 and 1 cm.

Zimtsterne

Cut out cookies with a star shaped cookie cutter.

Prepare the glaze: beat the egg white with a pinch of salt until it’s stiff.

Add the powdered sugar and mix well.

Zimtsterne

Top each cookie with the glaze. You can use a brush to apply the glaze or simply dip the top in it.

Zimtsterne

Put the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake 12 minutes.

Zimtsterne

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes.

Zimtsterne

Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Zimtsterne

The Zimtsterne keep well for several weeks in an airtight container.

Enjoy!
Zimtsterne

Gluten-Free, Sides, All Recipes

Pumpkin Quinoa Salad with Spinach and Feta

Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

I had made this Pumpkin Quinoa Salad for Noah’s birthday party with the family, back in October. That weekend, we (again) had the most beautiful weather and were sitting outside all afternoon. I always make food, that can easily be prepared or made beforehand and that will feed a crowd. The kids had hotdogs (always a winner) and for the adults, I had made a large Shepherd’s Pie and this lovely, seasonal salad.

Rave reviews

The salad got rave reviews from everyone. There’s sweet roasted pumpkin, flavorful quinoa (cooked in chicken or vegetable stock), spinach leaves and salty feta, all mixed with a simple dressing. When we planned a get together with the family for Sinterklaas, where everyone would bring food, this salad was requested. And once again, everyone loved it. So it was about time that I sat down and write the recipe to share with you all.

Simple and delicious

It really is a very simple recipe. Roasting the pumpkin takes up most of the time, the rest is just assembling. Now for the quinoa, I always use chicken or vegetable stock to cook it in. I also do that when I prepare couscous and sometimes when I cook rice. As the quinoa, just as couscous and rice, absorb a lot of liquid, it absorbs the taste of the stock as well. What you get, is very flavorful quinoa that doesn’t need any other spices to be tasty. It’s tasty all in itself.

Ingredients

500 g pumpkin (about half a butternut pumpkin)

1 tbsp olive oil

salt/pepper

150 g uncooked quinoa

2 shallots

200 g fresh spinach

200 g feta cheese

4 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp vinegar

1/2 tsp liquid sweetener*

1/8 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp salt

Optional: 50 g chopped walnuts

*Can be swapped for 1 tsp sugar.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Cut the pumpkin in equal parts.

Put the pumpkin in a bowl and add salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss to coat.

Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

Spread out pumpkin on the prepared baking tray and roast ca. 30-40 minutes.

Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

Take out and let cool.

Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

Prepare the quinoa according to instructions on the packaging. Instead of water, I use chicken or vegetable stock for flavor.

Drain the quinoa and set aside to cool.

For the dressing, mix together oil, vinegar, liquid sweetener, salt and pepper. If you’d like, you could also add some fresh or dried herbs, such as parsley, basil or chives.

Thinly slice the shallots and add to the dressing.

To assemble, put the quinoa and spinach in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.

Add the roasted pumpkin and half of the feta cheese and gently fold it in.

Crumble the rest of the feta on top.

Optional: sprinkle chopped walnuts on top.

Pumpkin Quinoa Slad

This salad is a perfect side (f.e. with a stew) or simply eat it as a meal with fresh bread.

Enjoy!
Pumpkin Quinoa Salad with Spinach & Feta

Personal, All articles

Swimming test: frustrations on the sidelines

Zwemdiploma A

Last week, our oldest son was up for his swimming test. He was quite excited and had been looking forward to it. We left early to be there on time. The place was already crowded! Was there already a swimming test in progress? No, there were still a few recreational swimmers in the pool.

Fairly small facility

The Wedert, a public swimming pool where the tests are held, is a fairly small facility with a small foyer and a small cafeteria. From the cafeteria and a window in the foyer, you can look inside the pool area. We thought we got there early, but the cafeteria was already packed with people, both sitting and standing, so I went back downstairs with our youngest. Daddy was already gone to the changing rooms with our oldest. In the foyer, there were already many people standing in front of the window. Though still just a few little swimmers had arrived.

Who were these people?

Then who were all these people? These were not just the parents and a few siblings. My husband had already warned me and I did not believe him. But he was right: these were not just parents and siblings. No, these were grandparents, even uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews as well.

Pardon my French

WTF? I know, I’m sorry, but there were quite a few swear words going through my mind (just though my mind, not out of my mouth). Because this was insane. I totally understand if a grandparent wants to see his or her grandchild take the test. I really do, I’m not that kind of selfish mother who would want that moment all for herself. On the contrary. But coming to the swimming pool with whole (extended) families to watch one child swim for his or her certificate? I mean, for real??

Get it off my chest

I do need to get this off my chest. Am I really the only one thinking this is strange? Coming there with every single family member? If I look at all those people, I probably am. So, the only option was to get behind the rest, standing on tiptoes and trying to look past 3 or 4 rows of people. If I stretch out my arms, maybe I can manage to get a few pictures. Our youngest couldn’t see anything at all and went to sit in a corner, to play a game.

And while I’m standing there in the 4th of 5th row (behind me, more people had gathered), I’m suddenly pushed aside by an older woman. ‘Would you move please, I want to see my granddaughter!’ Oh, and what do you think why I am standing here?! Totally flabbergasted, I’m watching her making her way to the window.

Diploma-zwemmen

Waving

Looking past the people, I see our little guy searching for us. He can’t see us. I notice that he’s getting anxious. Are mommy and daddy watching? Trying to get his attention by frantically waving above all those heads. Standing on my toes. Stretching as far as I can. Yes, there it is, eye contact! We’re both waving now and visibly relieved, he turns and listens to the instructions of his teacher.

In the pocket

He swam well and got his certificate with ease. Proud as hell, he walks into the changing rooms. All we need to do now,  is wait for the actual certificate. After maybe 15 minutes, one of the teachers comes into the foyer, holding all the certificates. It was so crowded, that they had to find a spot to hand them out to all the little swimmers. Next challenge was to get all the children there. Well, finally Sam gets called and he is so proud.

Getting outside

After Sam had received his certificate, we tried to fight our way to the door. We got there eventually, but it was so crowded that the doors would not open anymore. The entrance has two sets of sliding doors and for safety reasons, one will only open once the other one is closed.

The foyer was so crowded, that people were almost pressed against the doors. Even between those sliding doors, the space was crowded. Which meant that the sensors on the doors flipped and eventually, none of the doors opened anymore. At all. At some point, a few dads got tired of waiting and forced open the doors. All right, pulling the boys on the jackets, squeezing outside. Oh boy, finally.

Surprise

What an afternoon. Such frustration. Luckily, the boys hadn’t noticed any of it. We got what we came for: the swimming certificate. And we did have a surprise up our sleeves for the boys: to celebrate, we went to Sam’s favourite Sushi restaurant! And frustrated or not, going there is always a treat 😉

Thank you for reading!

You might also be interested to read Expo Dino World: top or flop?

Bread, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free, All Recipes, Bananabread & Co

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Notenbroodje

This nut bread was actually an experiment that turned out extremely well. As I was sorting through my baking ingredients, I found several open bags of nuts, all just scraps. Didn’t want to throw them out though. I could have just put them in a bowl and snack my way through it, but I figured that I could use them in a recipe.

Lonely ripe banana

There was also this lonely, overripe banana lying in the fridge. Yes, you read that right, in the fridge. I always keep banana’s in the fridge. Although there are tips on how to keep bananas from getting brown and turn from green to overripe overnight, like wrapping cling film around the crown, none ever works very well. It prolongs the suffering maybe for just one day. Keeping them in the fridge does not prevent them from getting brown, but it does slow down the ripening process significantly.

Brown skin, but tasty banana

Even though the banana will turn brown, inside it keeps fresh a lot longer. Obviously it does ripen, but it really takes a lot longer. Check out the pictures below. The skin is all turned brown. Yet upon opening it, you can see it has ripened, but hardly any mushy dark spots.

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Perfect little nut bread

So I had all those nuts and an overripe banana. It doesn’t happen a lot, but I didn’t want to make a banana bread. Not the soft and sweet kind anyway. And then this thought hit me: I could try to make a nut bread. But the more bread type of bread. Okay, that does sound strange. But I’m sure you get the picture. I didn’t want a ‘cake’ type of bread. First thing to get on the right track: leaving out eggs. Then I simply started by mashing up the banana and adding stuff that popped in my mind. And there it was: the perfect little nut bread. Even though it’s made with banana, you don’t taste it at all. This will please banana bread haters, even my husband liked this bread.

Ingredients

100 g mixed nuts*

1 ripe banana (medium)

30 g corn flour

20 g oats**

1 tbsp hazelnut oil***

1 tsp (gf) baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

25 g sunflower seeds

1 tbsp chia seeds

Optional: 1 tbsp psyllium husk****

*I used pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds.

**Use certified gluten free if necessary.

***Any other oil works fine as well.

****Psyllium husk is optional, but it does give the bread a more bread like texture and keeps everything together.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 160°C and grease/line a mini loaf pan.

Put the nuts in a blender of food processor and just pulse a couple of times. You could also roughly chop the nuts with a knife.

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Mash the banana.

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Add all ingredients and knead it into a dough.

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Put the dough into the loaf pan and bake ca. 40 minutes.

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

That’s all there is to it. I absolutely loved it! This nut bread is great with anything. Sweet spreads, jam, peanut butter, cheese, ham, sausage etc.

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Enjoy!
Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Personal, All articles

Snack Tag: what are your snacking habits?

Snack Tag

Merel, owner of Lotus Writings, came up with the Snack Tag a while ago. A tag in which you spill the beans about your most loved snacks and all other guilty pleasures (snack related that is). Alright, this sounds like this could be the unhealthiest list ever. Because snacking is unhealthy. Right? Well, it doesn’t have to be.

Snack Tag Q&A

But don’t worry, I’m not going to play the health guru now. On the contrary. I’m going to answer every question in all honesty. There’s no denying that there are quite a lot of healthy snacks and sometimes, I do like them better than the unhealthy kind. And, there really are people who actually hate a BigMac or French fries smothered with toppings (well, I’m certainly not one of them). Anyway, I totally liked this tag (as I love to snack, obviously) and decided to fill it out too. So here it is.

What’s your favourite fast food restaurant?

I’ve always loved McDonald’s, but since we’ve moved to Belgium, I have a new favourite, called Quick. I think the burgers are really tastier, but I’m especially fan of their salads. The McDonald’s salads are usually just iceberg lettuce with two cherry tomatoes, not much else. Salads at Quick have so much more ingredients. Absolutely delicious.

Sweet or salty popcorn?

Absolutely salty popcorn. Even as a kid, I liked salty popcorn better. I don’t hate the sweet variety, but I always rather go for the heartier snack types. The same goes for popcorn. Salty popcorn even classifies as a healthy snack. No added sugars, hardly any fat. But that’s a side issue 😉

What’s your favourite ice cream?

Real Italian ice cream, preferably hazelnut or lemon. But there are so many new flavours nowadays, that I often end up trying new ones. Just recently, I’ve tried ‘heavenly mud’ (reminded me of chocolate mousse) and ‘fleur de sel’ (caramel sea salt). Talking about guilty pleasures…

Snack Tag - Ice Cream

Describe the best cake or pie you’ve ever eaten

That must have been about 10 years ago at a bistro. On the menu, under desserts, they had Voodoo Pie, a killer chocolate cake. And indeed, it was killing. In the best way imaginable though, as in ‘that was so good but now I can’t move anymore’ kind of way. The smoothest chocolate cake with chocolate ganache AND chocolate glaze. A tiny piece with huge effect. My ultimate brownie has a similar effect, just so you know 😉 

Delivery to your door or making snacks at home?

There is not much food delivery service where we live. And we’re quite close to a pizzeria and a fast food place, we could easily get it ourselves. We mostly make our own snacks. A nice dip or a simple cheese platter are our go-to snacks.

Cheese platter or bowl of M&M’s?

Even though I loooove chocolate, I often prefer something hearty, so I’d say the cheese platter. Yummy cheese, glass of wine…

Snack Tag - Cheese Platter

What is your favourite snack during the day?

That depends. Actually, I don’t often eat chocolate or cookies as snack during the day. I’d rather take that with a cup of coffee or after dinner. As a daytime snack, I like fruits or veggies (such as small cucumber, cherry tomatoes of mini bell peppers) a lot. But I also might take a piece of salami or cheese.

Snack Tag - Veggies

Warm or cold apple pie?

Both, really. But if I have to choose a favourite, warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream…

What do you order when at a sidewalk café?

For a meal or with a drink? As a meal, I like a salad or oven baked nachos smothered in cheese. As a snack with a drink, definitely cheese, salami and typically Dutch ‘bitterballen’ (a deep-fried snack, that consists of sort of a thick gravy with slow cooked beef, with a panko crust).

Which deep-fried snack will you order with your French fries? read more

Cakes, Bars & more, All Recipes

Sinterklaas Muffins

Sinterklaas Muffins

Sinterklaas (or Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children) brings gifts to all good children on the eve before his name day, which is celebrated on the 6th of December. So on the 5th of December, late in the evening and during the night, he and his helpers will climb across the rooftops, to deliver presents all in secret, for children to find them early in the morning.

Exiting time

The weeks leading up to Sinterklaas are very exciting for all children. And for the parents and other family members, who will do everything they can, to keep this tradition very much alive and make sure the children believe in Sinterklaas for as long as possible. Wish lists are written, homes are decorated, songs will be sung and… loads of sweet treats will be eaten. There are many sweets, cookies, pies and more, that will typically be eaten this time of year, such as chocolate letters, speculaas (spiced crunchy cookie, kind of like ginger snaps) and Kruidnoten (spiced, bite-sized cookies).

Muffins

With Christmas also approaching, this time of year is not the most healthy one. That’s why we try to sneak in a few healthier recipes, like my healthier version of the traditional Kruidnoten. But it doesn’t always have to be healthy. As long as we try to balance the hell out of it (some days are better than others), we can have a not so healthy treat and enjoy it. Like these utterly delicious Sinterklaas muffins we made. Super fluffy and tasty with cinnamon and ginger. With all the sugar. Alright, lightened up a bit with Greek yogurt and vegetable oil. Balance, right…

Ingredients

2 eggs

125 g white sugar

125 g light brown sugar

120 ml vegetable oil

250 g Greek yogurt

250 g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

75 g mini spiced cookies or chopped up ginger cookies

Extra cookies for topping

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a muffin tin or line with paper or silicone cups.

Beat the eggs with the sugars and oil until creamy.

Add the yogurt and mix well.

Sinterklaas Muffins

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger.

Sinterklaas Muffins

Sinterklaas Muffins

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and whisk until just combined.

Sinterklaas Muffins

Fold in the cookies.

Sinterklaas Muffins

Pour batter into prepared muffin tin/cups. I use an ice cream scoop for portioning.

Sinterklaas Muffins

Sprinkle a few cookies/pieces on top.

Sinterklaas Muffins

Bake ca. 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Sinterklaas Muffins

Sinterklaas Muffins

Let cool and enjoy!
Sinterklaas Muffins

All articles, Reviews, Tips

Photo on Canvas – the perfect gift idea

Photo on Canvas

After more than 5 years in this house, we still have no photos on the walls. I think it’s a combination of laziness and not knowing what we want. We do have a few picture frames standing here and there and we’ve recently hung up a few paintings. But we still miss a nice picture on the wall. We’ve talked about a photo on canvas, but we had not yet decided which photo.

Providers

During our summer holidays, we took a really cute picture of the boys and I wanted to do something with it. Once you know, which picture you want to use, you have to go find a provider. There are loads of providers out there. Almost everywhere, where you can print your digital photos, you can order wall decorations. How can you possibly decide which provider to use?

Test

And then, just at the right time, I receive an email from Fotofabriek.nl, asking whether I would be interested to test a photo on canvas for them. Well, I did not have to think twice to answer that question! I could choose between a canvas of 20×30 or 30×20 cm and as I already had decided which picture I wanted to use, the whole process was done in a flash.

Products

If you are a first-time visitor, you have to create an account to be able to upload and edit pictures. Then you can choose from a variety of products, like photo books, planners, calendars and more. Under wall decoration, you also find quite a variety of different products and I obviously chose photo on canvas. After choosing the size, you can start designing.

Design

You can choose to print one photo, but you can also choose to make a collage of 2, 3 or 4 photos. Choose the layout, to determine whether the sides are printed or not. If you don’t want to use a frame afterwards, you probably want the sides printed. Once you’ve uploaded your photo(s), you can see in the preview whether the sides are printed or not.

After uploading, you can still change the layout and the number of pictures. In addition, you can also add text or clip-art. I left the picture just as it was, but I did choose unprinted sides as the faces would not have fit as well as I wanted. Once you’re done, you can click the order button.

Extra’s

When you hit the order button, you will first get an overview of your project and you can choose to have a digital preview sent to your inbox (so you can see how the picture looks on your wall). Before you actually placed the order, you can choose to have it printed in standard quality or premium (at a surcharge). If you order the photo as a present, you can have it gift wrapped. In case of a present, you can have it sent to a different address (by adding extra delivery addresses in your account). As a last step, you go through the payment process.

Fast service

I placed my order on Wednesday evening and I received a notification the next morning, that my order was in production. By the end of the day, I already received confirmation that the order had been shipped and just moments later I got an email with a link to the tracking site. On Friday morning, I checked the status of the shipment. Now it is a trans-border shipment, as I live in Belgium and it’s shipped from the Netherlands. That does sometimes cause a delay in delivery. However, the shipment was due to be delivered on that same day. At exactly 11.30h, the carrier rang the bell. That’s less than 48 hours after I had placed my order. Of course, I don’t know how long other products might take, such as whole photo book, but this was just superb. Super-fast service.

Ideal as a present

I wasn’t in a hurry and I would not have thought of it as strange if it had taken a couple of days. If something has to be made to order, it is rather normal if it takes one or two days extra. But if you are looking for a last-minute present, this is just perfect. Especially now, with the upcoming holidays. So, if you are looking for a nice, personal present for Christmas, a birthday or any other occasion, you should definitely check out Fotofabriek.nl.

The result

The result is just beautiful. The picture I used wasn’t of the best quality, but I did choose it nonetheless as I like it so very much. Even though the digital picture lacked quality, the print on canvas turned out really well.  As mentioned before, I did choose unprinted sides in the layout, as the faces would not have fit the frame very well (the picture has been cropped).

Photo on Canvas

It doesn’t bother me at all and I can still choose to put a frame around it. But if you absolutely don’t want to use a frame, be sure to use the correct layout, with the sides printed. I did notice though, that the sides were not evenly printed. My first thought was that they had not put the canvas on correctly. But then I looked at the photo again and saw that the faces were nicely centered.

The canvas is decently wrapped for shipment. The corners are protected by foam, which also prevents the packaging from touching the canvas. All in all, I am very satisfied with the result and the whole process of ordering.

Photo on Canvas

Photo on Canvas

Have you ever had a picture printed on canvas or ordered any other photo products online?

Thank you for reading!

This post is in collaboration with Fotofabriek.nl. Everything I have stated above is based on my own opinion and personal experience.

Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Sides, All Recipes

Roasted Fennel

Geroosterde Venkel

Have you ever tried fennel before? It is a wonderful vegetable, with a very distinct flavor that reminds you of anise. Some even associate the flavor with licorice. Fennel can be eaten raw in a salad or fried, grilled or roasted. It pairs great with all kinds of food: meat, fish, fruits and vegetables.

Roasted

I love fennel that has been soaking in a nice vinaigrette for a couple of hours, almost liked pickled fennel. It’s also great sauteed, but my absolute favorite way to eat it, is roasted. Its easy, it’s fast and delicious. Prep time is maybe 5 minutes and you need just a couple of ingredients. Roast it to your preference and you’re ready to dish up.

Ingredients

2 – 3 fennel bulbs

50 g freshly grated Parmesan

1 tbsp olive oil

salt/pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Remove the fennel fronds but don’t throw them away.

Roasted Fennel

Cut the bulb in half and remove the hard part.

Roasted Fennel

Then cut in thin strips. I just used a knife, but you can also use a grater or food processor.

Roasted Fennel

I use freshly grated Parmesan in this recipe, but you could also use store bought grated Parmesan (but it’s dryer and doesn’t melt as well as freshly grated cheese).

Roasted Fennel

Mix fennel, cheese and olive oil in a bowl and add some salt and pepper.

Roasted Fennel

Roasted Fennel

Transfer to an oven dish.

Roasted Fennel

Bake ca. 30 – 45 minutes, the exact time depends on how soft or how crunchy you like your fennel.

Roasted Fennel

Serve with some of the fennel fronds sprinkled on top.

Enjoy!

PS: the fennel fronds are also great in salads. Or make a dip with Greek yogurt, finely chopped fennel fronds, crushed garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Roasted Fennel