Archive for Other

Raspberry Bread Pudding

Bread pudding contains breakfast-y ingredients like bread, fruit, eggs and milk. So if you don’t go overboard with cream, butter and other things like that, and don’t make it too sweet, it is perfectly acceptable to eat bread pudding for breakfast. Although it would be delicious as dessert too. The original recipe suggested to use cinnamon swirl whole grain bread, but since you can’t buy that over here I chose a slightly more indulgent bread: brioche. But I’ll try it with normal whole wheat bread in the future, I expect that would be nice too. As variation you could use other kinds of fruit. You can remove the crusts from the bread, but I don’t think it is necessary/worth the work and waste.
The result is like bread-pudding, soft and slightly wet, not too sweet, with a nice tartness from the raspberries, and a crispy, slightly caramelized top.

Raspberry Bread Pudding

Raspberry Bread Pudding (serves 2)
Adapted from Naturally Ella

4 slices bread
3/4 cup raspberries
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp maple syrup (or use honey instead)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar

Overnight or at least one hour before wanting to bake, cut bread slices in half on the diagonal and place in a baking pan that is roughly 15×20 cm. Squash raspberries in between the slices.
Whisk together eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the bread and push bread into the mixture so that all the bread is covered with the mixture. Cover and let sit until ready to bake, place in the fridge if leaving overnight.
Preheat the oven to 190C and sprinkle the bread pudding with the sugar. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden and puffy. Leave to settle for a few minutes, then serve.

Buckwheat galettes with ham, egg and cheese

If you’ve been to Brittany (France), you’ve probably eaten them; these are also called “galette bretonne complète” sometimes. They make them a bit different over there, but since I need to do with the standard kitchen equipment, this is the way to go. Traditionally the buckwheat flour is used because it was the only grain that would grow on the poor grounds in Brittany. Nowadays it’s mainly about the flavour, it gives the galettes a savouriness that wheat flour doesn’t give it. And topping something with ham, cheese and eggs is always a good plan.

Buckwheat Galette with Ham, Egg and Cheese

Buckwheat galettes with ham, egg and cheese (makes 8)
Adapted from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey

75 g buckwheat flour
25 g flour
large pinch of salt
120 ml milk
~120 ml water
2 eggs
25 g butter, melted

8 eggs
200 g cooked ham, sliced
200 g gruyere (or gouda), coarsely grated

Mix the buckwheat flour and plain flour with the salt and make a well in the middle. Add the milk and whisk into a smooth batter. Add the eggs and butter, and mix. Don’t overbeat, this will make the pancakes tough. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes.
Shortly before baking, thin the batter with water until it has the consistency of cream. The exact amount will depend on your flour and eggs.
Pour a thin layer of batter in a heated large frying pan and swirl so that the mixture lightly coats the base. Cook over a fairly high heat for about 2 minutes until lightly browned. Flip the galette over and break one of the eggs in the centre. Break the yolk with the back of a spoon, and spread over the surface of the galette, leaving the edge free. Sprinkle with 1/8 of the ham and 1/8 of the cheese. Fold two opposite sides of the galette towards the centre, then the other two sides, forming a square and leaving the middle open. Flip over and cook briefly to heat the ham through and melt the cheese. Repeat for the remaining galettes. Serve straight away.

New smoothie flavours

I still love smoothies as a snack. My local supermarket had some smoothie recipes that you could try, and they really gave me some new ideas. It’s not that these ideas are very revolutionary, I just got stuck in my routine of making the same smoothie each time, this made me mix up some other versions. A new thing for me was the addition of oats, I expected not to like it but actually I did. It makes the smoothie more filling, and makes them thicker as well, which is a good thing when you use quite a lot of liquid and no frozen fruit. You do need to blend a bit longer to make sure the oats are ground down completely, otherwise the texture gets a bit weird.
Another thing I recently tasted was carrot-apple-ginger juice. I don’t have a juicer, so I cannot really make it at home, but if you have one, give it a try. It is a really energizing mixture.

Banana and Oats (2 glasses)
150 ml yoghurt
150 ml orange juice
1 large banana
4 tbsp oats

Banana and Kiwi (2 glasses)
150 ml yoghurt
150 ml orange juice
1 large banana
1 kiwi

Strawberry and Cherry (2 glasses)
125 g strawberries (frozen)
50 g cherries (frozen)
1 small banana
75 ml yoghurt
100 ml orange juice
4 tbsp oats

Mango, Pineapple and Coconut (2 glasses)
100 g mango
100 g pineapple
150 g coconut yoghurt

To make smoothies, throw everything in a blender and blend well. You can also use an immersion blender. Add some more liquid when the smoothies are very thick, add some extra frozen fruit or oats when they are very liquid. The exact amounts for the perfect consistency depend on what you like, and how much liquid the yoghurt/fruits you use contain.

Honey Caramels

Kind of confusing: the sticky, chewy, melty confection I know as toffee, is actually caramel. Toffee, on the contrary, is hard and crunchy. These caramels are lovely soft and sticky and have loads of flavour. You will taste the honey very well, so choose one you like. Using another honey is a really nice way to make different variations on this caramel.
I did have some trouble while making them. I cooked them to the temperature for chewy caramels, which they were at first when set. I did not wrap them immediately (as you can see on the picture), and when I wanted to, they all were stuck together and molten into puddles. I think my thermometer is a bit off, and it was also quite humid. They still tasted great, so it wasn’t a big problem. But I advice you to individually wrap them immediately after cutting.
You can buy coffee extract online, but I’ve always made it myself. I make a double strength cup of coffee, then gently boil it down until very reduced. Take care not to burn it, this will make it bitter and yucky! I’ve also seen recipes on the internet which soak coffee in wodka to make extract, but I haven’t tried that myself.

Honey Toffee

Vanilla Honey Caramels
From “Advanced Bread and Pastry – Michel Suas”

125 g cream
60 g honey
260 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
15 g butter

Coffee Honey Caramels
From “Advanced Bread and Pastry – Michel Suas”

110 g cream
105 g honey
225 g sugar
8 g coffee extract
15 g butter

Bring all the ingredients, except the butter, to a boil in a pan.
Stir constantly and cook to the desired temperature.
After reaching the desired temperature, stir in the butter.
After the bubbles have subsided, pour into a silicone (cake) mold, to a thickness of 1 cm.
When it is set, cut to the desired size, and wrap (I used baking paper) to prevent them from sticking to each other.

A final temperature of 121C will give you soft, 124C chewy and 130C hard caramels. The resulting texture of the caramels will be determined by the maximum temperature reached in cooking. Humidity will also have an effect. When working in a humid environment, add a few degrees to the chosen temperature.

Fast ceasar salad dressing

I love a good ceasar salad, but the normal dressing recipes all make loads and loads of dressing, forcing you to drown your salad in dressing (not very tasty), or to eat ceasar salad the whole week (a bit boring). But since the basis of the dressing is basically a mayonnaise (egg yolk + a bit of mustard + a bit of lemon juice + olive/vegetable oil) I figured that I could make a smaller amount of dressing by using ready made mayonnaise (which I always have in my fridge) as a basis, and add some chopped anchovies, a tiny bit of garlic, some extra salt, pepper, lemon juice and mustard (the shop-bought mustards usually are a bit bland), and a generous amount of finely grated parmesan. Toss the dressing with crisp romaine lettuce, and add extras Make some croutons by frying bits of bread in olive oil or bacon fat (if you’re adding bacon as well), fry some bacon and/or chicken breast, cook some eggs, make some parmesan shavings (using a vegetable peeler), add some extra anchovy fillets. The dressed romaine lettuce on its own is already delicious, so when you lack time you can eat it like that, but one or more of the extras make the salad extra tasty!


As most Dutch people, I lunch with a sandwich. Usually it is wholegrain bread, one slice with something savoury (usually cheese), and one slice with something sweet (usually apple butter or jam). Occasionally a slice of raisin bread with butter. But sometimes you want something different. Something where the standard “broodje gezond” (“healthy bun”: ham, cheese, boiled egg, lettuce, cucumber, tomato) or BLTE (bacon, lettuce, tomato, egg) or chicken sandwich (smoked or poached chicken, halvanaise, tomato) are not different enough. Luckily I stumbled upon a different recipe: toasted whole grain bread smeared with houmous, with slices of tomato and boiled egg on top, sprinkled with a little salt. A combination of which you wouldn’t expect it would work (at least, I didn’t), but it is delicious. Houmous sometimes gives me a bit of a “dry” mouth-feeling, the tomato prevents that, and also refreshes your palate. And the boiled egg adds a delicious creaminess to the whole thing. It fills you up well, and it can be made fast. So this has become my to-go sandwich for when I want something different.

Houmous Egg Tomato Sandwich

Muesli and fruit breakfast

A delicious and healthy breakfast!

Although I love (fat-free) Greek yoghurt, I don’t really like it in this recipe, because it doesn’t mix very well with the other ingredients because it is quite thick. Therefore I use a more liquid, not too acidic yoghurt as alternative. I find the standard muesli you can buy in the supermarket a bit boring (and it tends to be a bit stale as well), so I either buy a premium brand (like dorset or eat natural), or I buy something from the whole foods shop, that has a more in it than only oats and raisins. Use broken linseed and not whole linseed, because it has a hard shell that you cannot digest, so you don’t absorb any nutrients from a whole linseed, it just passes through you whole. You can either crack them yourself, or buy them already broken (but keep in mind they tend to turn rancid quite fast). And you can use any bran you like, I use wheat bran, but oat bran is also very nice if you can find it.

Muesli and Fruit Breakfast

Muesli and fruit breakfast (serves 2)

1 apple
1 kiwi
1 small orange (or a mandarin or minneola)
2 slices of pineapple (preferably fresh or from a can on juice, not on syrup)

300 ml mild yoghurt
90 g muesli
2 tbsp broken linseed
2 tbsp bran

Core the apple and slice in small cubes. Peel and core the kiwi, slice in small cubes. Peel the orange, slice in small cubes. Slice the pineapple slices in small cubes. Mix all the fruit together and divide over two bowls. Divide the yoghurt between the two bowls, then sprinkle over the muesli, linseed and bran. Eat immediately.

Broad bean purée

This purée is very versatile. It is delicious as a side-dish with all kinds of meats, it is delicious as a dip for bread sticks, it is delicious as a spread on bruscetta and it works also great as a pasta sauce (thin it with some water in that case). Double-podding all the broad beans is a bit of a job, but the end-result makes it certainly worth it. And I kind of like the repetition of podding beans, it is quite a meditative activity. So why not make a big batch even when you will not eat it at once? It keeps for 4 days in the fridge, so it is a great stand-by for an easy dinner, or a delicious snack.
On the photo you can see I served the purée with a beefburger and fried polenta squares. You make this squares by cooking your polenta according to the instructions on the package. Season with salt, pepper, a knob of butter, some cream or mascarpone and parmesan. Pour into a greased baking dish (so that it forms a thin and even layer) and leave to cool. It should be completely cool, so I like to place the baking dish in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Cut into squares and fry in a hot pan in some olive oil until golden and crisp on the outside, and warm in the middle.

Broad Bean Puree

Broad bean purée (serves 4-6)
Adapted from “Annabel Langbein – The Free Range Cook”

1 kg podded fresh or frozen broad beans (or 5 kg fresh broad beans in their pods, podded)
3 cloves garlic, chopped very finely
4 tbsp extra vergine olive oil
50 g grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp water
Optional: squeeze of lemon

If broad beans are fresh, boil them for 2 minutes then drain. If using frozen broad beans, pour over boiling water and leave until cool enough to handle. Slip off greyish outer skins by grasping each bean by its grooved end and squeezing gently. Discard skins.
Put the beans, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and purée. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if necessary. The purée can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days.
To serve, add the water and warm on low heat while stirring regularly. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like. Serve.

Note: to make this dish truly vegetarian, use a vegetarian alternative for Parmesan cheese.

Coconut-pineapple baked oatmeal

I made baked oatmeal in a few different flavours before, and I keep loving the concept. You can make it in advance, it has whole grains and fruit, and it makes a tasty, filling breakfast. Therefore I decided to make a new flavour variation, perfect for summer (or when you want to be reminded of summer): coconut and pineapple.
This variation is quite firm, I guess you could even eat it as a bar instead of from a bowl. I find that the pineapple makes the whole thing sweet enough (and lovely pineapple-y), I like my breakfast not too sweet. If you like sweet, add some sugar. Or drizzle with honey when serving. I like to eat it with some yoghurt, but I think it would be delicious with a splash of coconut milk too, to even further enhance the coconut flavour.

Coconut Pinapple Baked Oatmeal

Coconut-pineapple-vanilla baked oatmeal (6 portions)

1/2 cup grated coconut
2 1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup puréed pineapple (I puréed the pineapple from a 425 g can of pineapple on juice, and used the juice for another purposes)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can)

Preheat the oven to 175C.
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in the other, then combine. Mix well, pour into a 20×20 cm baking dish and cover with aluminium foil. Place in the oven, bake for 20 minutes, then remove the aluminium foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
Cover well with aluminium foil or cling film and store for a maximum of 5 days in the fridge.

Apricot-vanilla jam

A delicious jam, fragrant with vanilla and with big chunks of apricot. Delicious on a bit of brioche. Made with dried apricots, so no need for finding tasty apricots (very difficult here in the Netherlands).

Apricot-vanilla jam (4 jars)
Adapted from “Handboek Inmaken – Catherine Atkinson & Maggie Mayhew”

675 g dried apricots
900 ml apple juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
675 g jam sugar

Place the apricots in a bowl, pour over the apple juice, cover, and leave to well for a night.
Pour the apricots and apple juice into a jam pan (or use a large cooking pan). Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer 15-20 minutes until the apricots have softened.
Add the sugar, bring to the boil and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or for the amount of time prescribed by the package of your jam sugar.
Pour into warm, sterilized jars and close. Place upside down for 15 minutes to ensure an equal distribution of fruit. Keep in a dark, cool place. Can be kept for at least 6 months.