Archive for Main dish

Sun-dried tomato, feta and tuna picnic loaf

Delicious ingredients stuffed into a bread, what’s not to love? Also see the Mediterranean and tuna versions I made before.


Sun-dried tomato, feta and tuna picnic loaf (serves 2-4)
1 boule
1 clove of garlic
100 g sun-dried tomatoes
a few sprigs of oregano
1 jar roasted paprika
1 can tuna
100 g feta

Slice the top from the boule. Hollow out. Keep the breadcrumbs for another dish. Rub the inside of the loaf with the garlic (cut in half).
Coarsely chop the tomatoes together with the oregano.
Line the loaf with the paprika, spread 1/2 of the tomatoes on top, and then the tuna. Cover with a paprika, then a layer of the tomatoes again, then crumble the feta on top. End with another paprika to cover everything.
Ideally, wrap tightly in cling film and let infuse for an hour or so, but you can eat the loaf immediately if you want.

Brown Rice Bowl

Rice bowls are trendy. Or maybe something else is trendy now, I try to follow the new developments in foodie world, but every once in a while you miss something. It is really simple, you take a bowl of rice, arrange things you like on top, mix everything together and eat. The toppings can be anything, but are usually high on vegetables, since this is a healthy trend. And because of that health, I started with a bowl of brown rice. I topped it with edamame, pickled cucumber, bean sprouts sautéed with some sesame oil and soy sauce, strips of omelet, nori flakes and a sauce made from sambal badjak, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Other vegetables you see often are carrots, spring onions, sautéed spinach and sautéed paksoi. Some form of egg is classic as protein, it can also be fried or even raw (it cooks when it comes into contact with the hot bowl/hot other ingredients), but something like roast pork is also possible. And sesame seeds are often used together with the nori flakes. But I’ve seen non-Asian rice bowl variants as well, for example with beans, spicy minced meat, avocado and corn for a Mexican-style bowl. The possibilities are endless.

Brown Rice Bowl

Chicken stew

Usually, we eat our kohlrabi raw, as a remoulade-style salad. But we had 4 kohlrabi plants in our garden, planted at the same time, so also full grown at the same time. Luckily, you can harverst kohlrabi over quite a broad period of time, so we could eat one a week, but still, we wanted to do something else than the usual. So I invented a stew-like thing with chicken, leeks, mushrooms, kohlrabi and a cream sauce. It turned out very tasty. Serve with rice.


Chicken stew (serves 2-3)

1 tbsp butter
300 g chicken breast or thigh, skinless and boneless, cubed
1 leek, washed and in rings
250 g musrooms, quartered
1 kohlrabi, peeled and cubed
few sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
200 ml bouillon
100 ml cream
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Add the chicken, fry until lightly coloured. Add the leeks and mushrooms, fry for a few minutes. Add kohlrabi, thyme, bay and bouillon. Cover the pan, bring to the boil and cook until the kohlrabi is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Take lid from the pan, add cream and season to taste with pepper. Mix in the parsley, then serve.

Thai Noodle Salad

Not very thai, but it works.

Thai Noodle Salad

Thai Noodle Salad (serves 2)

1/2 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sambal
1 tsp soy sauce

1 chicken breast, poached and shredded
2 medium carrots, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
125 g Chinese egg noodles, prepared according to packet instructions
30 g cashew nuts, coarsely chopped

Mix the ingredients for the dressing. Taste it, then add stuff to make it balanced. These amounts didn’t work for me, but I added stuff to taste, so I don’t know how much I used of everything in the end. But be careful with the sesame oil, you’ll probably won’t need more of that, it’s quite pungent.
Mix the chicken with the dressing. Then add carrots, cucumber and noodles. Mix. Serve, sprinkled with the cashew nuts.

Italian Soup

Weird but true: parmesan rinds give a wonderful flavour to soup. You can hoard parmesan rinds the whole year (store them in a resealable bag in the freezer) and finally make something like this. But if you can’t wait this long, don’t have a freezer, or will certainly forget those rinds in your freezer, you can easily add them to a “normal” recipe to perk it up.
I’m not sure how Italian this recipe really is, but it is inspired on loads of Italian recipes I’ve seen, and it gives me an Italian vibe. Because of the beans and barley it is a meal in itself, and I would describe the flavour as robust and savoury. The amounts of the ingredients are not that important, so I don’t give measurements in the recipe. Just do what you think is right, that is what I did too, and that is why I’ve got no clue how much I used from everything.

Italian Soup

Italian Soup

olive oil
pancetta, cubed/sliced
onion, cubed
carrot, cubed
celery, cubed
garlic, sliced
a few parmesan rinds
stock cubes
some sprigs of thyme
a few bay leafs

pearl barley (small handful per person)
can of cannellini beans (a small one is enough for 2 people)
chopped flat-leaf parsley
shavings of parmesan

Heat a large pan with a glug of olive oil. Add the pancetta, sweat for a bit. Then add the onion, cook until translucent. Add carrot and celery, cook until slightly soft and possibly a bit caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes longer, taking care not to burn it.
Add water, the parmesan rinds, stock cubes, thyme and bay, and leave to simmer for at least half an hour.
Add the pearl barley and cook until soft. Add the cannellini beans and warm trough. Serve, garnished with the parsley and parmesan shavings.

Spaghetti all’amatriciana

I’m a bit on a pasta-spree, so here is another delicious and simple pasta recipe.

Spaghetti All'Amatriciana

Spaghetti all’amatriciana (serves 2)
From koken

2 tbsp olive oil
75 g pancetta, diced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 – 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 can peeled tomatoes
200 g spaghetti
some flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan on medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and fry until it releases its fat and turns golden. Add the garlic and chilli flakes, fry all stirring for another minute. Turn up the heat, add the tomatoes and mash them with a fork. Leave to bubble for a bit, then turn down the heat. Leave to bubble gently while cooking the pasta.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, or by your own preferred method.
Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well. Add the parsley and cook for another 20 seconds. Check for seasoning. Serve with the parmesan and a grater on the table.

Pasta Caprese

Another salad turned into a pasta meal. I used casarecce as pasta (a kind of stretched out wokkel), but you can choose a different shape if you can’t find these.

Pasta Caprese

Pasta Caprese (serves 2)

200 g pasta
olive oil
25 g pine nuts
some basil leafs
250 g cherry tomatoes
1 ball buffalo mozzarella
75 g rucola

Cook the pasta in a large pan of generously salted boiling water until cooked to your liking.
Roast the pine nuts. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Slice (or tear) the buffalo mozzarella in cubes.
Mix the pasta with some olive oil. Add the rucola and cherry tomatoes and divide over plates. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, torn up basil leafs and mozzarella. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil if you like.

Note: to make this dish truly vegetarian, make sure you choose a mozzarella that is suitable for vegetarians.

Spaghetti with blue cheese, spinach and walnuts

Blue cheese, spinach and walnuts are a great combo. They are often served as a salad, but I decided to mix them wit spaghetti for a lovely, complete meal.

Spaghetti with blue cheese, spinach and walnuts (serves 2)

200 g spaghetti
100 g roquefort
300 g spinach, washed
50 g walnuts
olive oil

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of generously salted boiling water until it is cooked to your liking.
Crumble the roquefort. Roast the walnuts, and crumble.
Heat a large pan, add the spinach and let it wilt. If necessary, do this in portions. I like it best when the spinach is just wilted, some people prefer to cook it a bit longer.
Mix the cooked spaghetti with a splash of olive oil. Then mix the spaghetti with the other ingredients. Keep some roquefort and walnuts to sprinkle on top for a nice presentation.

Note: roquefort is usually not vegetarian, so to make this dish truly vegetarian, substitute it for a blue cheese that is suitable for vegetarians.

Tortilla Towers

Delicious chicken, spicy & fresh salsa, creamy guacamole and lots of trimmings all stacked together on tortilla’s. You can stack them in the kitchen and serve them individually on plated, but I prefer to place all the components separately on the table and let everyone make their own tower.

Tortilla towers (lots)
Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s Bread

For the spicy shredded chicken
2 tsp celery salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 limes, zest and juice
6 chicken thighs, skin removed

Mix everything together and leave to marinade for an hour. Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the chicken in a roasting dish and cook for 35 minutes in the oven, or until cooked. Set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred.

Roasted tomato salsa
6 tomatoes, halved
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 red or green chillies
1 dried chipotle chilli
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 limes, juice only
salt and pepper

Preheat the grill to high. Place the tomatoes, red onion wedges, chillies and garlic onto a baking tray. Lightly brush with oil. Place under the hot grill and cook until the tomato skins are blackened, approximately 10 minutes. Place all the charred ingredients into a food processor with the chipotle chilli and lime juice. Pulse until a chunky consistency is achieved, or blend longer for a smooth salsa. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3 ripe avocado’s
125 ml soured cream
lime juice
salt and pepper
chilli powder

Cut the avocado’s in half, remove the stone, scoop the flesh from the skin. Place in a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the soured cream, and lime juice, salt, pepper and chilli powder to taste. Mix well. You can make it chunky or smooth, whatever you like.

Remaining ingredients
Corn tortilla’s (grilled)
Optional/to taste: soured cream, cheese (gouda or feta), sliced spring onions, coarsely chopped coriander

Pork Rogan Josh

Curry’s are generally not made with pork, normally lamb is used for rogan josh. But lamb is very expensive over here, and I’m not a big fan of the older lamb that is often sold, I find the flavour of the fat too overpowering. I’ve made several delicious stews with pork, so I though, why not try a curry? It worked very well, so I will definitely make this again and will keep using stewing pork instead of beef and lamb.
For me, this is the prototype curry, this is the flavour I think of when I think of curry. When you use all the chilli prescribed by the recipe it will be incredibly hot, I only used 1 dried chilli and didn’t add any chilli powder, and it already scorched my oesophagus. I believe the kashmiri chilli you officially are supposed to use is a bit more mellow than the dried chillies I have, but still, I would advice to take care with adding the chilli and not add the whole lot the first time you make this recipe. When I make it the next time I will use even less chilli than I did last time, I like my curries spicy, but not inedible hot. And using dried chillies can be a bit like a Russian roulette, you never know how spicy one will be.
I like to serve this with rice and a cooling cucumber salad or raita.

Pork rogan josh (serves 4-6)
Adapted from “Rick Stein’s India”

40 g ghee
5 cm piece of cinnamon stick
3 dried kashmiri chillies, torn into pieces
6 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised
4 cloves
1 large onion, chopped
15 g garlic, finely crushed
15 g ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp ground mace
1 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp tomato purée (1 small can)
750 g stewing pork
1 tsp salt
300 ml water
125 g yoghurt
50 ml cream
1 tsp garam masala

Put the ghee in a large, sturdy casserole over medium heat. When hot, add the whole spices and fry for 1 minute, then add the onion and fry for 10 minutes until softened and golden. Stir in the garlic and ginger, fry for 1 minute, then add the ground spices and fry for 30 seconds.
Stir in the tomato purée, then add the pork and salt and make sure it is well coated in the other ingredients. Pour in the water, bring to a simmer, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the pork is tender. Stir in the yoghurt, cream and second helping of garam masala. Serve.