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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kruidnoten are a traditional spiced, bite-sized cookie that is eaten around ‘Sinterklaas’ in the Netherlands. Sinterklaas is based on Saint Nicholas, who was the patron saint of children. Sinterklaas is the feast that celebrates Saint Nicholas’ name day on the 6th of December. It is often celebrated by giving presents and sweet treats to children on the 5th of December, Saint Nicholas Eve.
Bulgur Wheat is made from different types of whole wheat grain, mostly durum. It’s first precooked, dried and then cracked. The wheat is naturally high in fibre and has a somewhat nutty flavor. It’s perfect in warm dishes, but also in warm or cold salads.
When I started on this dish, I actually had couscous on my mind. As I went to get the couscous from the pantry, I saw that I still had a box of bulgur. And I thought: hey, that would be great in this dish as well. And boy, did that work out well. The combination of the more substantial texture of the wheat, the softness of the roasted pumpkin, together with the oily smoked mackerel and the salty feta cheese… this was heaven on a plate.
Spaghetti squash is still fairly unknown around here. But since one of the largest grocery stores in the Netherlands has started selling it and explained in monthly magazine what it is, the word is getting out and recipes are popping up everywhere. I’m really glad about it, as I don’t have to drive through half the country anymore to get a spaghetti squash.
It’s a fun and versatile vegetable and perfect if you want to cut down on your carb intake. It is a delicious sub for spaghetti (obviously), but you can use it in other dishes as well, where you would normally use pasta, rice or potatoes. I posted this Spaghetti Squash Casserole last year, which is actually based on a pie recipe (like a Shepherd’s pie).
Did I mention yet it’s pumpkin season? Now you don’t need a reminder, do you? I just love, love, love pumpkin recipes. And since it’s October and we now can officially enjoy anything pumpkin, I’ll throw in another delicious recipe: pumpkin pancakes! Because we also love pancakes. For breakfast, lunch or dinner.
These pumpkin pancakes are very easy to make, especially if you have pumpkin puree ready to use. You can use canned pumpkin, but fresh homemade pumpkin puree, without any additives, is so much better. These pancakes are so light and fluffy. And, they are also gluten and dairy free.
Banana recipe #… I know, another banana recipe. And guess what, I still have a bunch of recipes I want to share with you. So stay tuned if you like banana bread and similar recipes. This recipe is really different from all the other recipes. Why? Because it’s made with ground hazelnuts.
Gluten & sugar free
As I’ve used ground hazelnuts instead of flour, it’s gluten free and fairly low-carb. Fairly low-carb as it doesn’t have any flour, but probably still too carby for those on a strict low-carb diet, due to the banana. But low-carb or not, this cake is definitely worth a try. It tastes amazing and is super light and fluffy (due to beaten egg whites added to the batter). And, I did not use any added sugar or sweetener. The bananas and the ground hazelnuts are sweet enough together.
It’s summer and that means BBQ-time! Well, at least if the weather is playing along. Our summers around here are often wet and temperatures are not always what they are supposed to be during summer time. Which means that we have to seize every opportunity we can to enjoy warm and sunny days and eat outside.
I can enjoy any meal outside, if the temps are right. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. The best meals outside of course are barbecued ones. I love the smell and the food tastes so much better when grilled on the barbie. During our last heat wave, we enjoyed many moments outside. And we fired up the BBQ.
Apricots – the season for this summer stone fruit is in full swing. They are juicy and full of flavor. Funny enough though, I don’t like them fresh that much. While I prefer most fruits and vegetables fresh over the canned ones, I do like canned apricots better. And I like them dried. Both not the best options when it comes to sugar, of course. The canned apricots are happily soaking in sugar syrup and the dried ones are (just like any dried fruit) little sugar bombs. So I try to avoid both (not always succeeding).
Today, I’m sharing this fantastic recipe: spinach and cheese stuffed portobello mushrooms. But before I go into that, let me share something else first. Last week, I had the honor of being a guest blogger on LaFamiliaB. On LaFamiliaB, Rachel blogs and vlogs about everything that is going in her and her family’s life. Fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle… basically anything that happens in their daily lives. Rachel’s beautiful teenage daughters are also starting to show interest in blogging and vlogging and you may occasionally find them taking over.
Have you ever had polenta before? Polenta is not an ingredient, as some people might think. It actually is a dish made from cooking coarsely-ground yellow cornmeal into a kind of mash. It can be eaten like porridge or mashed potato. I won’t go into the details of the classic dish right now, that will be for some other time.
If you let the polenta cool though, the consistency changes and the ‘porridge’ or ‘mash’ firms up so that you can ultimately cut it into pieces, like squares or wedges. When cut into pieces, you can perfectly grill them on the BBQ, roast them in the oven or fry in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Add a few spices and you have a prefect side dish for your grilled chicken or steak. Now I’ve made these patties or cakes on several occasions, but a few weeks ago I saw this recipe for polenta ‘fries’ on Boter, Kaas & Eieren Blog, a fun food blog with great recipes. I really thought this was a fun idea. Why I have never thought about ‘fries’ myself before, is beyond me. And since the boys are crazy about fries, I set to work (almost) immediately. I have made a different version, but you can find the original recipe here (a must-try!).
‘In the morning’ – that is this week’s Crea-Cross Challenge and if you ask a food blogger what he/she associates with ‘in the morning’, it most likely is breakfast. Okay, and probably coffee. Coffee is always on my mind, but in this case, breakfast popped into my mind straight away. There are so many great breakfast recipes. I thought long and hard about what I would share. Pancakes, bread, scones, breakfast muffins… I settled for: GRANOLA!
Crunchy Banana Oatmeal Cookies!
Love banana oatmeal cookies? I do. I’ve made loads of banana oatmeal cookies, but more of the breakfast cookie type: thick, chewy cookies, that are rather soft. Not crunchy at all. That’s of course perfectly alright. I love those breakfast cookies to grab and run out of the house in the morning, when you don’t have time to sit down for breakfast. Or take them with me as a snack while traveling.
Pancakes are always a hit. Whether I make them for breakfast, lunch or dinner (we looove pancakes for dinner, especially if I make a few with bacon as well), they always go down well. A kid’s favorite, but I think grown ups are just as happy as the kids when pancakes are being served. Our all time favorite probably are the buttermilk spelt pancakes. We make these a lot.
But sometimes, you need something different. Or you want to balance a bit by cutting down on carbs. Or you have friends over, who can’t have gluten. Then these banana pancakes come in handy. I had tried banana pancakes before and really liked them. But somehow, I hadn’t made them since that first try. Why not? Just hadn’t thought about them, really. Now lately, the internet is bursting with recipes for banana pancakes. And for me, the internet works very well as a reminder. Now I was being reminded that I had to make these pancakes again. And: this is just another delicious way to use up an (over)ripe banana. These pancakes are super simply, super tasty, grain and gluten free.
Greek Yogurt Mousse
This is one of the kid’s favorites when it comes to dessert. This Greek Yogurt Mousse is light and fluffy and comes together in just minutes. I often use raspberries in this mousse, but you can easily swap for other fruits. Strawberries, cherries, pineapple, blueberries, banana or no fruit at all, like plain vanilla.
Now with Valentine’s day just around the corner, I decided to do something special. Not that we really celebrate Valentine’s day. The day is surrounded by marketing, flowers are more expensive than usual and why should we celebrate love just this one day a year? But I somehow do like all those heart shaped foods and sweet colored decorations. So I decided to serve this mousse in pink, edible, heart shaped dessert cups ?
After splurging on these extremely delicious, fudgy, decadent brownies, I needed to counter balance a little bit. No, really. I ate way too much of them. Just could not contain myself. I lose all self control around these brownies. Well, any brownies. No, anything chocolate. I can’t contain myself around anything chocolate.
Okay, losing track again. Back to counter balancing. Which is really, really, REALLY necessary. Cookies and carrot sticks. It’s all about balance. Right? Right. Ok, now I’m babbling.
Hamburger Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole is an easy and delicious dish. Ok, it’s not the prettiest dish. But it does deliver on taste! The boys loved it (very important) and they keep requesting that I make it.
Ready in no time
As it’s super simple and ready in no time, it’s the perfect dish for busy week nights. Or weekends, when you don’t feel like slaving in the kitchen for too long. And as an added bonus, it’s low carb and gluten free. You really won’t miss the carbs, I promise, but please feel free to add a cup of cooked rice or cooked pasta into the mix, if you want to.
To me, cooking with dried legumes was always kind of a daunting idea. I love to cook, no doubt about that. And I don’t mind spending a lot of time in the kitchen. As a matter of fact, I LOVE spending a lot of time in the kitchen. But… with our busy lives, dishes should preferably be easy and fast to prepare and cook. No time (or better: patience) to soak some dried beans for hours, before cooking them… for hours. Until I realized that lentils are a different matter. Especially red lentils.
When I first saw this recipe for low carb caramelized apples, I was intrigued right away. Although I’m not a die-hard low-carber, I like to experiment with low-carb recipes. Lisa over at Low Carb Yum is really a master when it comes to low-carb recipes. Her recipe is for Low Carb Zucchini Cinnamon Apples just kept sitting at the back of my mind and I had to try it.
I was a bit skeptical though. Zucchini being used as surrogate for apples? Couldn’t really get my head around it. I slightly adapted the recipe and made it single serve. You, know, give it a try first.
This Cabbage à la Carbonara is a great low-carb alternative to one of the most classical dishes from the Italian cuisine. It’s an easy, no fuss dish with just a few ingredients. It’s rich, tasty and very comforting.
Cheese and eggs
I see a lot of carbonara recipes where cream is used, but that is not how traditional carbonara is made. Though I do use cream in my cooking, also for a quick carbonara-like dish, I made this cabbage à la carbonara the traditional way. As far as traditional goes without using pasta.
Practically carb-free and high in protein, these ‘cloud bread’ buns are soft and pillowy, just like little clouds!
Cloud bread. I’ve been holding it off for quite a while, but I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Just google ‘cloud bread’ and you’ll get over 24 million hits! If it’s shared so many times, there must be something good about it right? I mean, something else than just being virtually carb-free and a good source of protein. And… it’s super easy.
If you’re trying to cut down your carb intake, you most likely start with omitting pasta and rice from your evening meals. You might be familiar with substituting rice with cauliflower, like I did in this very simple coconut rice or curried rice. It’s prefect for Asian dishes. But have you tried risotto yet?
Risotto was one of those dishes, I had not tried yet. I love a good creamy risotto. And although we’re not strictly on a low carb diet, we try to eat less of those little buggers. Mind you, carbohydrates aren’t bad, it’s just that we eat way too much carbohydrates for our bodies to burn up (and all the excess is stored as fat). Unless you’re an athlete burning thousands of calories a day. Which I am obviously not. So, I have to watch how much I consume.
Soft, tender banana muffins made in the blender. Tasty can’t get any easier!
I make a lot of banana bread. I bake one almost every week. We don’t like to eat ripe banana’s, and even though I keep my banana’s in the fridge to prevent them getting ripe within two days, I still have loads of banana’s that are too ripe for our taste. So I make banana bread a lot. If I still have banana’s left, I cut them uo and freeze them to use in milk shakes, smoothies and instant ice cream.
Low carb & gluten free Spinach Patties, delicious as appetizer or as a side dish!
This was on my to-do list for quite a while. I wanted to create a spinach patty that’s low carb. But it got so low on my list of things I want to try/doctor up, that I completely forgot about it. Until I saw a picture of spinach balls a couple of days ago. Usually, these patties/balls/tots are made with flour and/or bread crumbs. And I figured that I could easily swap these for another low carb option.
Celeriac is a great winter vegetable. Around here, it’s readily available during winter months and it’s fairly cheap. It’s great as addition to or a sub for mashed potatoes and it makes a great comforting soup. Or cut into cubes and roasted in the oven, it makes another great side. It really is a versatile root. And as I’m kind of into spiralizing these days, I thought I’d put my spiralizer to work and make celeriac noodles.
Ever heard of blondies? It’s like the blonde sister of a brownie. Sweet, fudgy, totally not good for you. A treat I tremendously enjoy. But just once in a while. And as it’s really one of my favourite treats, I decided to make a somewhat healthier version.
Not only did I swap a few ingredients for a little bit healthier options (let’s be real though, it’s still cake with sugar), I only made it small. No overeating. Unless you eat the whole thing in one go. If you think this is too small, simply double the recipe.
This truly is the BEST healthy banana bread out there! Gluten free, no oil/butter, no (refined) sugar!
Gosh, I have tried so many banana bread recipes, I can’t even count them. Some were too dry, most of them were too ‘banana’, too dense/moist/mushy, overly sweet, wouldn’t rise… There is one banana bread though, that is the BEST banana bread, if you don’t mind using sugar, regular flour etc, and it’s this banana bread by Nikki from Chef In Training. This is serious business, if it comes to banana breads. I will gladly make this one again. And again. And again.
Healthy + Chocolate + Cake? Count me in!!!
New take on chocolate cake
I was actually going to post my very BEST healthy banana bread recipe first, but since I’ve posted a picture of this deliciously decadent chocolate cake, that is actually relatively healthy, on Instagram, I keep getting requests to please please please share the recipe.
So here we go. I was actually so extremely pleased with my new recipe for a healthy banana bread (that really can only be described as THE BEST healthy banana bread out there, but now you’ll have to wait for it), that I thought I’d try something similar with a chocolate cake.
Like so many recipes, this Cheesy Chicken Casserole happened sort of by accident. I usually buy food for a whole week, without actually planning exact dishes. By the end of the week, we sometimes end up with foods that need to be used before they get bad. This time, it was chicken breasts, a head of cauliflower and a bag of green beans.
I had never before thought of throwing cauliflower and green beans together. Until now. And you know what? It’s was a winning combination. The boys totally loved. Well, the melty cheesiness might have something to do with that, but who cares. This Cheesy Chicken Casserole with cauliflower and green beans is here to stay.