Categories for Food

DIY: Fermenting your own sauerkraut

Today i started making sauerkraut. I have read about this process, fermenting, for years. Last year on the Rotterdamse Oogst Markt i talked with the girls from Ferme Kolen. I bought some kimchi then.

Fermentation is used in many different foods and drinks. Beer, wine and cider converse sugar into ethanol. Bread uses the yeast to produce CO2. Sauerkraut, sausages, kimchi, yogurt, miso, soya all use fermentation to alter the taste and make the end product more usable.

The pot will need to stand in room temperature for around two to three weeks. A white mould can appear on the surface, i do need to remove that as fast as possible.

I used the following recipe.

  • 1 kilo white cabbage
  • 5 gr mustard seeds
  • 4 gr juniper
  • 3 gr caraway
  • ± 22,5 gr salt
  • a few peppercorns

Sauerkraut is the easiest fermented product to make. I used some spices to add a bit of flavour, but you can make it with only the white cabbage and salt. I will see how this will evolve and report back here.

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Starting out with white cabbage, salt, juniper, mustard seeds and caraway. I did add some black peppercorns at the end.
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Slicing the cabbage as thinly as possible. Next time i use my mandolin and grate them really fine.
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Adding the salt, 22,5 grams for 1 kilo of cabbage. After a couple of minutes of crunching and munching and stamping with clean bare hands the cabbage gets moistened. Here you see the spices put on top of the cabbage after the first kneading. After this the spices gets kneaded in the cabbage for a few more minutes.
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The pot i wanted to put the cabbage into broke. I had this other pot, not ideal, i hope it will work fine. On top i put a big leaf from the outside of the cabbage. The core of the cabbage is used as a weight with which to crunch all the cabbage down. I did add some salted water to get the cabbage completely covered with it.
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I use a dish cloth to close up the pot.
Published on March 30, 2016 at 6:00 by

Soda bread

I do enjoy baking my own bread. Sofar i used the recipe for the rye spelt bread i posted here in January this year. Only when i had a cold for a week or two, i bought bread in the shop. Today i made another bread, for the first time: soda bread.

I have read about soda bread before. I know it is quick to make. You do not need to knead the bread and let it rise for an hour or more. It is a chemical process, with baking soda and a sour milk.

So today i checked my stocks and went to the shop: i needed buttermilk and more wholemeal flour. I had decided to use the recipe in the Guardian on the How to cook the perfect soda bread page.

The one thing i changed is the treacle. I don’t have it. I’m not even sure we have that ingredient here in the Netherlands.

OK, i just looked it up. It is most likely the same as keukenstroop. Which we do have. I’m not a big fan myself, or better said, i never bought the stuff. Anyway, i used two tablespoons of honey. Works just as well.

Ingredients

  • 450g coarse wholemeal flour
  • 50g rolled oats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 450ml buttermilk (or sour milk, or milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter, to finish

I did buy the buttermilk from the Weerribben. This is made in the old fashioned way. Originally buttermilk is the liquid which is left behind after churning butter or cream. In our present day supermarkets it is more common to have buttermilk that is soured with different cultures. I’m not a big milk fan, i never drink it. I did taste the buttermilk though and i did enjoy the taste. I’m not going to drink it that much, but still 🙂

Making the bread is really easy. You do need to heat up the oven to 200C first. Once the oven is warmed up, put all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the middle. Stir the honey and buttermilk together than pour this into the well. Stir this very quickly together with a fork, later on with your hands. Shape the dough into a round, cut a deep cross into it. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour. After it is baked, brush with melted butter.

You can not keep this bread very long. This is the one issue which has prevented me from making it. I ate it with the leek potato i made earlier this week. Tomorrow i will get more, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not sure it will be good to eat on Friday. We will see.

Published on March 17, 2016 at 6:00 by

A work day

Today i did some work. I had some css work this morning and a design job in the afternoon. I tried to keep it simple. Often that is the best way to handle it.

I did go to the supermarket this afternoon. I bought two more leeks. I wanted to make a leek and potato soup. Very simple recipe. Fry some leek, i used two. Add a sliced clove of garlic. Add a liter of hot water, two cubes of broth. Two handfuls of potatoes, sliced in half a centimeter width. Let it simmer for around twenty five minutes. Added a bit of cream. Yummy.

Tomorrow i’m gonna visit my mum. Not sure i will walk from the train station, depends on the weather.

I hope you will have a nice day. Enjoy it!

*kiss*

Published on March 15, 2016 at 6:00 by

Homemade Chicken Soup

I have actually turned a bit sick for real. My throat hurts. I’m dizzy. My temperature is up a bit, 37,5 around 5pm this Sunday – its bound to get higher during the evening. I’m really tired.

Yesterday evening, Saturday, i watched Twilight with pleasure. I have seen it before, but did enjoy it again. One thing though, i would be so turned of by the cold feeling! I can not imagine falling in love with an actual cold dead person. Brrrr. Even if he looks as dreamy as Robert Pattinson. And that glittering chest does nothing for me either.

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Anyway, on to the food of the day, homemade chicken soup. It is the second time i’m making this. Saturday i bought all i needed on the market. When i got home i put on 2 liters of water, added the chicken, added the outer leaves of the fennel, half a large carrot, the green bits and outer leaves of two leeks, finely sliced pieces of the stem of broccoli, the outer three stems of celery, two leaves of a herbal plant whose name i can’t remember, and i’m simply too tired to really go search for it. I let it cook on a low temperature for around three hours yesterday. Let it cool and stay outside the fridge for the whole night.

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Today i got out the chicken, got all the meat of it and put the meat back in the soup. I also took out all the vegetables and threw them away.

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The bones i gave to my cat. He was curling around my legs the whole time i was cleaning up the chicken. 🙂

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I had fennel, leeks, celery, carrots, french beans, onion, garlic, small tomatoes i got in London. I also added a hot pepper, slices of ginger, the whole bunch of tarragon, a bit of rosemary. I had tasted the soup before i added a bit of salt, around two teaspoons.

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I added all the veggies to the soup, sliced quite fine. I added around two three tablespoons of olive oil, a bit of fine spaghetti i have lying around still. Half an hour later, done!

Espcially with the cold i’m having, the pepper and the ginger do add a bit of needed zing.

Lovely!

Published on February 15, 2016 at 6:00 by

Steak and chips

Today i made steak and chips with mayonaise. The entrecote i bought at the butcher Mellegers. It was expensive, but for this time i did buy it.

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The mayonaise i made with a new recipe. It is made with a immersion blender. You need the following:

  • an egg, the yolk and the white
  • one teaspoon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons of vinegar, i used a white wine
  • 250 ml sunflower oil
  • salt and pepper

Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Put the egg, mustard, vinegar and oil in a high narrow mixing bowl. Add the salt and pepper. Put the blender in at the bottom, turn it on and move it slowly upwards. After around 20 seconds you are done.

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For the chips i bought special chip potatoes in the Marqt. I did ask what sort of potato it was, but nobody knew. The special vegetable man wasn’t there. Next time i’m there i will ask him. I’m curious.

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Cut the potatoes in 1 cm square pieces. First i thought about frying them. Since i don’t have a fryer, or a thermometer who goes up to around 200ºC, i decided for a oven chip. The chips were cooked in boiling water for around 4 minutes. The oven was preheating to 240ºC. The chips were coated with a mixture of sunflower and olive oil. The recipe said fry them for around 20 minutes, but it took me 30 minutes for them to get brown at the edges.

I didn’t eat all of them. A couple are saved for tomorrow where they will warm up in the oven.

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The entrecote was prepare really simple. In a small frying-pan heat up butter and a bit of oil. Put in the meat, at room temperature, and bake for 2-3 minutes each side. Get out of the pan and leave for around 5 minutes to rest. Eat up!

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No other vegetables. I did eat the meat before the potatoes were ready. It was finger licking good!

Published on January 27, 2016 at 6:00 by

Erwtensoep, or Split Pea Soup

Yesterday i was a bit thrown off my regular day rhythm. The news of David Bowie’s death on 10 January did make me sad. I did read facebook posts a lot more than i usually do. I also watched a late night documentary David Bowie: Five Years, read online articles and obituaries. It was hard to stay away from. I didn’t know the man. I only bought a greatest hits album and Earthling in the 90s. I liked that one. Still do. But i did like him. He actually was in my daydreams. He was the man i talked with about my byciclerepairman.

Today i was in better form. I did went out to the market and bought some remaining vegetables to make a split pea soup. Or rather, a Dutch erwtensoep! Haven’t made this many times, i do usually by a tin, i admit.

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Ingredients

  • green split peas, i used 250 grams, half the packet i bought
  • 1 large onion, cut in small pieces
  • 1 winter carrot, cut in small pieces
  • a few bits of celery, cut
  • bacon, in small slices
  • garlic, around 4-5 cloves, sliced in small pieces
  • 2 broth cubes, i used vegetable, you can use beef, or chicken if you want to
  • potatoes, also cut
  • half a celeriac, cut in small pieces,
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • a bush of celery, the spice
  • a Dutch smoked sausage, this is a hard one to get if you don’t live in the Netherlands, i guess any type of smoked sausage will do, cooked and sliced in small slices

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Start with the onion sweating them in a bit of vegetable oil. I went through my herb and spices drawer and added some caraway and coriander seed. After a few minutes i added the carrot, garlic and celery. One and a half liters of water added to this, the two broth cubes and the split peas. Let this simmer for 45 minutes.

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After 45 minutes add the potatoes, leeks, celeriac and celery. Let the soup simmer on for around 30 minutes.
Prepare the sausage as needed, either warm it up in hot, not yet boiling water or cook it till it is done when it is a raw sausage. This will take around 15 minutes. Slice the sausage in small pieces and add these to the soup.

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The soup is done once the peas are cooked through.

Serve the soup in a large bowl with either bread with butter or with smoked bacon, katenspek.

I honestly enjoyed this soup. It was a lot fresher than the ones bought in tins. I could have used more split peas, as most photos online are usually of a very thick soup. But i don’t mind that really. There are so many vegetables in this soup that it is a very rewarding meal. Enjoy!

Published on January 13, 2016 at 6:00 by

Bread

Today i baked my first bread ever!

I haven’t eaten it yet. It is still cooling down. I will take a slice this evening. Curious!

It does feel heavy. But when i knock on the bottom with my finger, i hear a good hollow tick.

I did use a recipe from Nigel Slater which was published in the Guardian. I did divide it by two, since i only wanted to make one loaf. I also left out the parmesan. I didn’t have any. The honey and the walnuts i did add. I had plenty of those in my house.

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Ingredients

  • 200 g spelt flour
  • 200g rye flour
  • 50 g wheat flour
  • 5 g yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 300 ml warm water
  • 1,5 tbsp honey
  • 50 g walnuts

It wasn’t very difficult. But i do know, since it is my first, that many things could have gone wrong. I might have kneeded it not long enough. Or too long! I might have baked it too long. A bit.. like 5 minutes. But still, it was a good thing for me to do. I still have enough flour to make 4 other loaves. I will buy some more seeds, i like that. And yeah, i might give the parmesan a try.

I did do some research beforehand. Especially about sourdough. But most recipes for that said it would take a couple of days to make. So i’m starting with yeast, simple dried yeast. I will make a sourdough starter one day. Curious!

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Add all the three flours into a large bowl together with the dried yeast and the salt and stir. Warm the water with the honey slightly, mix with the flours. Once everything is mixed, put the sticky dough on a floured surface. Knead the dough by hand, pulling and stretching the dough, for a good five minutes.
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Lightly oil the bowl, put the dough back into it. Cover with a tea cloth or clingfilm and set aside for an hour.
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Remove the dough from the bowl, knead again for around two minutes, this time adding the nuts. Shape the dough into a nice oval long shape and leaf for half an hour. Set the oven to 220ªC 15 minutes before. Bake for 30 minutes, until crisp.
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This bread should keep for a couple of days, wrapped in foil or film.
Published on January 7, 2016 at 6:00 by

Vanilla Ice Cream and Salty Caramel Sauce

Today i made Vanilla Ice Cream. I searched for a good recipe. I do not have an ice cream machine, so that is something to keep in mind. On the BBC website i found a good recipe, vanilla ice cream with only double cream, yolks, sugar and vanilla as ingredients. Great!

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Ingredients

  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 500ml cream
  • 70g sugar
  • 3 egg yolks

Method

  1. slice the vanilla pods lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds, keep the seeds apart
  2. add the pods to the cream, heat it up till it boils, add the sugar and stir it until the sugar is dissolved
  3. whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl, slowly add the cream mixture
  4. add the vanilla seeds, keep on whisking till it cools down, pour into a freezer-proof container and freeze for 2-3 hours
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The cream with the pods slowly shimmering.
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The hand mixer i took with me when i left home thirty years ago! I did a search for the brand, Ruton, but i found nothing. Nothing. This hand mixer could be from the 60s. I don't have a stand mixer, but this way works pretty good, with the lettuce sieve on its head on a towel, and the mixer standing on the sieve.

Keep the egg whites apart. I might make a meringue later in the week.

For a Salted Caramel Sauce i used Nigella’s recipe. I did look for golden syrup in the supermarket today. I had seen it before, but it was sold out. I decided i was going to use honey.

Ingredients

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g golden syrup – honey in this case
  • 125ml cream
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, any type you want

Method

  1. melt butter, sugars and syrup or honey, let it simmer for a couple of minutes while swirling the mixture
  2. add the cream and the salt, taste to see if you have enough salt – please cool the mixture by blowing on it, it can be quite hot!
  3. put the sauce in a glass pot to save, keep it outside the fridge until it is completely cooled
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This pan i got for my birthday around.. hmm.. counting.. 27 years ago? I did get it from friends from art school. I was really happy with this present.

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When i made my Vanilla Ice Cream and Salty Caramel Sauce, the ice cream wasn’t completely set yet. I wasn’t going to wait! So i twirled the mixture a bit. The sides were frozen, the bottom was too. The middle was still a bit fluid. When it was all mixed i scooped out a bulb of ice cream and added the salted caramel sauce. Yummy!

Published on December 23, 2015 at 6:00 by

Mayonnaise

The past months i’ve been making salads for bread. So far i have made egg salads, tuna salads and celeriac apple salads. I did buy mayonnaise in the supermarket. Last week i started to look into the recipe for a homemade mayonnaise. Terribly easy! And i knew that, i have made it before. Pfff.

The ingredients

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar, apple vinegar is good, so is white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 ml of vegetable oil, sunflower oil in this case
  • lemon, juiced (optional)

Place the egg yolk, the mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar in a bowl. Whisk them, either by hand or with a hand mixer. Start adding the vegetable oil very slowly, only drops and keep on whisking. After a while you can pour in the oil in a slow stream. You end up with a thick mayonnaise, you can save in the fridge for around 5 days.

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Egg salad
Extremely simple. Cook three eggs. Put them in cold water and heat up. Once they are cooking, turn down the fire and let them stand for five minutes. With a timer! When done, peel the eggs and squash them with a fork. Add around two tablespoons of mayonnaise, a bit of extra salt. Today i added some chives to the mix.

Another idea is to add some baked bacon to this salad. Or onion. Or cheese.

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Celeriac and apple salad
Great salad. Best tool to have for this is a mandolin. For apples Granny Smith’s are the best, fresh green apples. Use a medium width slicer for the mandolin and set the distance to around 1 – 2 millimeters.

Slice the apple on the mandolin. Slice around a quarter of the celeriac. Add around two to three tablespoons of mayo, depending on taste. For the salad on the picture i added some chopped walnuts and raisins, making it more like a waldorf salad.

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Tuna salad
Very simple. Open a tin of tuna and squash it with a fork. Use three to four small gherkins and slice them in small squares, around 5 millimeters large. Add two to three tablespoons of mayonnaise and mix. Done.

Crab salad
I will make this salad next week, for around Christmas. I saw a box filled with crab meet in the Marqt, the shop where i buy bread, butter and eggs. The easiest recipe for this is the crab meat mixed with the mayo, with some chopped chives.

A search gave me more ideas. Avocado, onion, bell peppers, scallions, parsley, cucumber, garlic, celery, these can all be added to this salad. I’ll go with the simple one first.

More salads…?
There are so many more salads you can make. Chicken, spicy chicken, ham and leek, salmon, cucumber. Depends on what you like yourself, what is in season, what is the cheapest to buy.

Enjoy!

Published on December 16, 2015 at 6:00 by

Miso soup

I’ve known miso for around twenty years. I got it in the health food store, which has a good japanese section. It is a thick paste, available from yellowish through mid reddish brown to deep dark brown, generally made from fermenting soybeans – sometimes other grains are added, like rice and barley. It has different tastes, from an earthy sweetness for the light ones to a deep saltiness for the darker ones. Miso can be used for marinades, sauces and soups. I use it for soup most of the time.

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A true miso soup has dashi as a broth. I do sometimes use a vegetable or chicken stock cube as a starting point. You may even use water.

The dashi is made in around 5 minutes. You do need kombu, a sort of seaweed and bonito flakes, shavings of a type of tuna. You start with putting the kombu into cold water and heating it up until it boiles. After a couple of minutes you can take out the kombu and leave it for another time. I will most likely use for around four times. Then you add a tablespoon of the bonito flakes and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. After that you drain the broth. The dashi is ready.

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The filling can be basically anything you have in the house. For this evening i chose the following:

  • 2-3 cm of fresh ginger, grated
  • two cloves of garlic, chopped
  • a bit of freshly sliced red pepper
  • 4 cm of large carrot, in 1 mm thick slices
  • the remaining bits of bok choy
  • tofu, sliced in medium blocks
  • some noodles

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The miso i mixed with a couple of tablespoons of the broth. It’s best not to cook the miso. It seems natural miso has many microorganisms which can be killed by overcooking.

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When the carrot is cooked through, add the broth with all the veggies, tofu and noodles to the miso.

A half slice of nori i found in the cupboard was cut up in small pieces and thrown on top. A spring onion sliced was added as well. I finished with spreading some chili sauce on top.

This recipe is for an evening meal. There are many other options. A good place to start reading for more information about miso soup is the following article: Understand the Flavor Framework of Miso Soup.

Enjoy!

Published on November 30, 2015 at 6:00 by