Leche frita, literally meaning fried milk, is a thick vanilla custard coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, and sometimes coated with cinnamon sugar. The crispy outside contrasts lovely with the oozy soft inside, it is as much about the texture as about the flavour. It is rather indulgent, so I only make it as a special treat. It is a dessert, but you could also serve it as a snack with coffee, or something like that. As with all deep-fried things, serve them straight away after frying.
Leche Frita (serves 6)
Adapted from “Rick Stein’s Spain”
500 ml full fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla pod)
4 egg yolks
100 g sugar
30 g flour
40 g cornflour
oil for deep-frying
flour, egg and breadcrumbs for crumbing
Optional: cinnamon sugar to serve
Grease a shallow 19 cm square baking tin with a little oil (or use a silicon form instead).
Mix sugar, flour and cornflour in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks and a splash of milk, and mix it to a smooth paste. Bring the rest of the milk to the boil. Pour slowly onto the egg mixture, while whisking. Pour back into the pan, on medium heat, and cook for about 5 minutes while stirring continuous, until you have a very thick custard. Pour the mixture in the prepared tin, press a sheet of clingfilm on the surface, and cool for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
Turn the set custard out on a board and cut into small triangles (or another shape that you fancy). Put flour, egg and breadcrumbs in 3 separate shallow dishes. Dip a triangle in flour, then in the egg, and then in the breadcrumbs. Lower in the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Leave to drain on some kitchen paper, then serve (dusted with cinnamon sugar if you like).
I secretly like those tubs in the supermarket with olives, some herbs and garlic, some feta and a drizzle of oil. Unfortunately, those olives are of varying quality, and the oil they use is never very nice. So one day I decided to make something similar myself. I bought some nice olives and good feta cheese, took the bottle of special and extra tasty extra virgin olive oil out of the cupboard, foraged some thyme from my garden and finished it with some thinly sliced raw garlic, a sprinkle of red chilli flakes and a little salt. I mixed everything together and left it for a few hours before serving. Delicious!
Tortilla wraps with cream cheese and smoked salmon are a classic. I decided to make a variation on this, it is nice to do something different sometimes.
These wraps are very nice for lunch.
Omelet Wrap (1 wrap)
splash of milk
salt and pepper
few leafs of lettuce
1-2 tbsp light cream cheese
some chopped up parsley and chives
smoked fish (I like mackerel or trout for this recipe)
Mix the eggs with a splash of milk and some salt and pepper. Bake into a thin omelet.
Mix the cream cheese with some salt and pepper, and the chopped herbs.
Place the lettuce on the omelet, spread with the cream cheese, then sprinkle over the smoked fish. Roll up as a wrap.
At the end of the growing season, tomato plants almost always have lots of green tomatoes on them, that will not ripen any more. You can lay them in your window sill and hope that they will ripen there, but unless they already have some colour, that doesn’t work very well. Luckily you can make really tasty (sweet, sour, sharp, spicy) chutney with green tomatoes!
Mild green tomato chutney (~ 4 jars)
Adapted from “Buiten Wonen – Felix Thijssen”
1 kg green/unripe tomatoes
500 g tart cooking apples
200 g raisins
250 g onions
250 g sugar
1 tbsp sambal oelek (or fresh chilli)
1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp dried ginger powder
1 tsp salt
400 ml apple cider vinegar
Cut the tomatoes in pieces. Core and peel the apples, cut in pieces. Chop the onions.
Put everything together in a large pan (preferably thick-bottomed), bring to the boil and leave simmering, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced and jam-y. When the chutney appears thick enough, make a channel with a wooden spoon across its surface. If it leaves a channel imprinted for a few seconds without being filled by spare vinegar, it is ready. This can take quite a while.
Pour hot into clean, sterilized jars. Close the lids, leave to cool and stick a label on them.
Leave to mature for at least 2 weeks, but 3 months is best to let them mellow, they tend to be to vinegary and harsh otherwise. Can be kept for at least a year in a cool, dark place. Store opened jars in the fridge and use within 4 weeks.
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 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.
I really loved the idea of these, but they were a bit disappointing. Still tasty, but a bit boring. I expect they will be a lot more interesting when you fry them in a large knob of butter.
Oatmeal Drop Scones (makes about 25)
From Vegetarian Living
150 g fine oatmeal
400 ml buttermilk
75 g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp runny honey
pinch of salt
up to 50 ml milk
Mix the oatmeal with the buttermilk and leave to soak for a few hours or overnight.
Add the flour and baking soda and mix well. Add the honey, salt and egg and mix. Add enough milk to make a nice batter (consistency of double cream).
Heat a frying pan, drop dollops of the batter in it, and leave to spread out by itself. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat, then turn over and cook for another minute. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve immediately with butter, jam, honey, maple syrup or golden syrup
Dulce de leche is like caramel on steroids. It is sweet, but has a fantastic complex flavour. Dulce de leche literally means sweet milk, and that is what it is. You can make it completely from scratch, with milk and sugar. But that is not the method most people use, although it is said that it is the tastiest way. The more standard method uses a can of sweetened condensed milk, which is submerged in a pan of boiling water and left for a few hours (2-4 hours, depending on how dark you want it). This is not entirely without risk, as the water boils of the can can get exposed, which will overheat it and lead to an explosion (so keep an eye on the water level when you use this method), and sometimes explode anyway. A little safer is the use of a slowcooker. Remove the label before you submerge, it will disintegrate in the water. Take the pan with the can from the heat after the cooking time and leave to cool completely. Do not try to open immediately, due to the pressure in the still hot can the hot caramel will splatter out all over you.
Alternatively, you can pour the condensed milk out of the can into a baking dish, cover with aluminium foil and place au bain marie in a preheated oven at 225C for 75-90 minutes until golden. It can be kept for a long time in the fridge, but I’m sure it will not last that long, since it is delicious.
You can eat it as it is with a spoon, use it as a sauce, use it as a dip for cookies and fruit, spread it on bread/waffles/pancakes, use it to sandwich cookies or cakes, make mousse/panna cotta with it, the possibilities are endless.
When I found a can of sweetened condensed coconut milk in the supermarket, I decided to do an experiment and give it the dulce de leche treatment. It was not very successful, it did caramelize slightly but stayed very runny (left), while the “normal” variant got lovely golden and thick (right). I guess it has to do with the milk proteins in milk which cause a maillaird reaction, and barely any protein in coconut milk, but that is pure speculation from my side.
Did you know you can use thinly sliced raw kohlrabi instead of cucumber on your sandwich? It gives a lovely fresh flavour, is juicy, but not as wet/leaky as cucumber usually is.
Kohlrabi Sandwich (makes 4)
Adapted from Allerhande
4 multigrain rolls
4 slices of cooked ham
100 g cream cheese with herbs
1 kohlrabi, peeled, in thin slices
Spread some cream cheese, place a slice of ham and put a few slices of kohlrabi on each roll.
I discovered the delight of cucumber juice when I drained cucumber for tzatziki. It has a lovely mellow cucumber flavour and is insanely refreshing. And then I saw this recipe. Combining cucumber juice with lemon juice and sugar seemed a bit weird, but I wanted to give it a try and was glad I did: it is delicious! Cucumbery, tart, sweet and incredibly refreshing, so perfect for hot weather.
You can play around a bit with how much water and sugar you add. I like to use less water, so I can finish the lemonade with a generous glug of sparkly water.
I also adapted the process a bit. The original recipe asks you to blend the cucumber to a very fine pulp. This gives you a lot of juice, but also forced you to throw away the pulp. I chose to grate the cucumber, which still gave me enough juice, but also cucumber gratings that I could use for tzatziki. If you leave the skin on your lemonade will be quite green, if you peel the cucumber first, it will get more pale green.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup cucumber juice (from about 450 g cucumber, peeled or unpeeled)
1 cup lemon juice (from about 7-8 lemons)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cold water
Grate the cucumber. Transfer the gratings to a sieve over a bowl and leave to drain. Use a spoon to press out as much of the juice as you can. Use the solids for tzatziki.
Pour into a bottle and add the lemon juice, sugar and water. Give it a shake, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool. A few more shakes should dissolve the sugar completely.
Serve with or without ice/sparkly water. And if you feel fancy, garnish with a thin slice of cucumber, a lemon peel curl or a few borage flowers.
I always wondered what was inside those truffles. Not the ganache ones, I already had a recipe for those. But the ones with the creamy, white filling. And now I know!
They are wonderfully creamy, luxurious and smooth. And not difficult to make, only the dipping-in-chocolate step is a bit tricky. I successfully tempered the chocolate, I’m very proud of that because it was the first time trying, but when I dipped the truffles, they melted a bit while the chocolate already got hard, which made them a bit rough-looking. So after a while I gave up and dusted the rest with some cocoa, a perfectly fine solution. Both versions were very delicious.
They are nicest when you eat them immediately, but you can store them in the fridge for one day. I haven’t tried, but expect they can be frozen quite well.
Chocolate Cream Truffles (depending on size – about 32)
200 ml cream
100 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g butter, room temperature
about 300 g chocolate
Mix cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a small pan and place on low heat, to dissolve the sugar. Do not let the mixture boil! Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Use an electrical mixer to cream the butter. Slowly pour the cream-mixture onto the butter, while mixing. If it looks curdled, just keep mixing, it will come together.
Scoop into a piping bag. Pipe small mounts on trays lined with baking paper. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to harden.
Melt the chocolate (temper if you want). Drop the truffles in and fish out with a spatula/fork, or stick a cocktail stick in the truffles and swirl them through the chocolate. Place back on the tray, dust with cocoa and leave to harden.