Archive for Side-dish

Courgette and Feta Salad

I would never have though of making this combination of ingredients on my own. And that is what I love about the recipes by Tom Kerridge, usually they have something odd, something quirky, something that leaves you wondering if it would work. And when you make it, it is fantastic. I would love to be able to create recipes like he does, that go further than the standard combinations.
The salad consists of contrasting flavours. Soft, mellow grilled courgette; tangy, salty feta; crisp, bitter green paprika; fresh lettuce; but even though they are contrasting, they marry perfectly into a very tasty salad.
Tom Kerridge suggests to serve it as a side with slow-roast leg or shoulder of lamb, or on toast for a light lunch or supper. I like to serve it the Italian way as a separate salad course, because it is quite strong-flavoured it might otherwise overpower the other flavours of the dish. I also think it would be a great dish for a buffet, bbq or even a picnic (it is quite sturdy).

Feta and Courgette Salad

Courgette and Feta Salad (serves 4)
Adapted from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

2 Little Gem lettuces, leaves washed and separated
1 green paprika, finely diced
100 g feta, crumbled
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
4 courgettes, cut diagonally into 0.5 cm slices
sea salt
25 ml sherry vinegar

Heat a little olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Fry the courgette slices in batches until golden-brown on each side (about 1-2 minutes on each side). Sprinkle a little sea salt over each batch. Arrange together with the lettuce on a large serving platter (or individual plates). Sprinkle the paprika and feta over. Mix the olive oil and sherry vinegar, drizzle over the salad. Serve.

Quark-Cheese Muffuns

Usually muffins are sweet, but why not make them savoury? I adapted this recipe from a sweet one, because I had some leftover cheese and quark, and it worked perfectly. They are moist, fluffy and savoury. We ate them with our dinner, to mop up sauce. But they also work well as a lunch or picnic dish. They have enough flavour and are moist enough to eat them without accompaniments, but they don’t have such a strong flavour that they overwhelm everything you eat with them. I do think that they are nicest when they are freshly baked.

Quark-Cheese Muffins

Quark-cheese muffins (makes 12)
Adapted from “Das Grosse Backbuch – Kochen und Geniessen”

225 g low fat quark
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil (something neutral as sunflour or rapeseed)
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt
200 g grated cheese
250 g self-raising flour

Prepare a muffin tin by lining the holes with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 175C.
Mix quark, egg, milk, oil, sugar and salt. Add the cheese and mix. Add the flour and use a dough hook to mix well.
Divide the batter over the holes of the muffin tin. Place in the preheated oven and bake about 25 minutes, until golden and cooked. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then take from the tin. Serve warm or leave to cool further on a rack.

Baked ricotta

When you bake ricotta, the structure changes completely. Unbaked ricotta has a quite grainy texture, the baked ricotta becomes silky smooth, while still having that fresh, milky flavour. And where unbaked ricotta is scoopable/spreadable, baked ricotta is delicately firm. You can cut it, instead of scoop it, but only very carefully, or it will crumble. Because it is so delicate, it will taste very, very creamy.

I served my baked ricotta as part of a main dish, with pasta, tomato sauce and fried aubergine, as a variation on pasta alla norma. But you could also sprinkle it with fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice and more olive oil after baking, and serve it with bruscetta as a party snack or appetizer. Maybe add some chilli flakes, semi-dried tomatoes, olives, or roasted paprika. If you omit the salt and pepper, you could even make a dessert version, with honey, walnuts and figs.

I’ve tried this both with ricotta that I left to drain overnight, and ricotta that I didn’t drain. Although both end up nice, I prefer the drained version, because it browns better/faster, is less wet, and becomes even smoother than the undrained version. So if you have the time, drain your ricotta. Some recipes ask you to mix the ricotta with a few eggs and the seasoning, and to cook it in a ramekin, but I like my version better because of the shape. Also, the texture will be completely different, a lot more airy from the eggs. I prefer this silky smoothness.

Baked ricotta
1 tub of ricotta
olive oil
salt and pepper

Start the day before you want to serve the ricotta. Line a sieve with a cheesecloth (or clean tea-towel), rinsed well under cold water and squeezed to get rid of most of the water. It is also possible to use a carefully rinsed coffee filter. Place the sieve over a bowl. Open the tub of ricotta, inverse it on top of the cheesecloth and gently squeeze the tub to release the ricotta in one go. It is important to keep it whole. Gently place the container back over the ricotta (I found this the easiest way to cover up the cheese), and place the whole thing in the fridge. Leave overnight to drain.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Transfer the ricotta to a lightly oiled baking tray, the ricotta is vulnerable, so be careful! Use a pastry brush to very carefully dab oil all over the ricotta, again being very careful not to damage the shape. Place in the oven and bake 45-60 minutes, or until nicely golden. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Indonesian cabbage

A delicious and easy side-dish. Serve with rice to soak up the delicious sauce.

Indonesian Cabbage

Indonesian cabbage (serves 2-4)
Adapted from “Kook nu eens zelf Indisch en Chinees – Nique van der Werff-Wijsman”

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, puréed
1 tsp sambal oelek
1/4 tsp ginger, puréed
1 tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil
optional: 1/4 tsp trassi (fermented shrimp paste)
2 or 3 tomatoes, cubed
250 ml vegetable or chicken bouillon
300 g shredded cabbage (hispi (pointed), white, napa)
1 tbsp tamarind water
pinch of sugar (preferably palm sugar)
1 cm piece santen (creamed coconut)

Heat the oil in a medium sized pan. Add the onion, garlic, sambal and ginger, and add a pinch of salt. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions are soft. Add the trassi (makes it incredibly smelly, but when cooked long enough this smell will disappear) and tomato, and sauté a little longer. Add the stock, bring to the boil and add the cabbage. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender. For this dish you don’t want the cabbage to crisp, but don’t boil it to death either. Finish the sauce with the tamarind water and sugar, then dissolve the santen in it. Serve.

Note: to make this dish vegan, omit the trassi and use vegetable bouillon. Also make sure you are not using a sambal that contains trassi.

Celeriac-bean mash

Celeriac is often combined with potato to make a mash. In my opinion, the trouble with that is that it gets a weird texture, and the flavour is not that good as well. I prefer my celeriac raw, or in soup. But then I found an alternative recipe for celeriac mash in the allerhande magazine, with a solution I never thought of for the mash texture: it uses beans. They also add a nice, earthy flavour to the mash and make it more filling.
Using beans instead of potato also makes it possible to stick a blender in it to make a smooth purée (doing that with potato will give you glue). If you like a coarser mash, just use a potato masher instead.
Because it contains both a vegetable and a pulse, it makes a nice 2-in-1 side-dish. It is delicious with all kinds of roast meats, or with a topping of sautéed mushrooms as a vegetarian/vegan alternative (see note for an Italian variation/vegan version of this mash).

Celeriac-bean mash (serves 4)
1 kg celeriac
2 cans of cannellini beans (400 g can, 185 g without the liquid; you can use other white beans)
25 g butter
100 ml milk (more or less)
salt and pepper
20 g flat-leave parsley, chopped

Peel the celeriac, then rinse to make sure that no dirt is left. Cut into chunks, place in a pan with a little water and cook until done (about 15 minutes).
Add the beans and the butter, mash, and add milk until you reached your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, and mix through the parsley.

Note: to make this dish vegan, don’t use butter and milk, but use a nice glug of olive oil instead. And use rosemary or sage instead of the parsley to give it an Italian touch, which combines well with the olive oil.

Baked onion

How often do you think about onions as a vegetable dish? Well, I never though of that, until I found this recipe from Sophie Dahl. And why not? Onions are tasty and cheap, so why should they always be added as an extra flavour layer to a dish, and never shine for themselves? And shine they do in this dish. I’ve used yellow onions, but it would also be very tasty with white onions or garlic. And I expect a similar preparation with leeks would work very well too.
The original recipe suggested to cook the onions 20 minutes in boiling water, but I found that this made them loose their flavour and turn quite mealy. It works better to sweat/stew them.

Baked Onion

Baked onions (serves 2-4)
Adapted from “Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights – Sophie Dahl”

4 onions, peeled
generous knob of butter

140 ml light cream (20% fat)
50 g parmezan

Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions, a sprinkling of salt, a splash of water, and cover the pan with a lid. Cook on low heat until the onions are soft.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Cut the onions in half and place in a baking dish. Pour over the cream and sprinkle over the parmezan. Cook 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven.

Note: to make this dish truly vegetarian, use a vegetarian substitute for parmezan.


I’ve eaten this dish for the first time in Germany, hence the German name. It literally means salad plate, and I’m wondering why I’ve never thought of this myself, piling tasty stuff on dressed lettuce. It is very easy, there is almost no cooking involved (only the eggs), and just a little chopping, furthermore it is light but substantial enough, so it is perfect for those hot, lazy days in summer. You can make it extra easy by buying pre-chopped and pre-cooked things, and most of it can be prepped in advance, also in larger quantities, so it is a perfect buffet dish as well. And if you pack everything in separate containers, you can take it with you on a picnic as well.
Start with a lettuce and dressing you like, I used butterhead and a yoghurt dressing. Then add cooked green beans, slices of tomato, cooked corn, slices of cucumber, carrot julienne, kohlrabi julienne and/or strips of paprika. For protein (and extra jumminess) add cubes of cooked ham, cubes of cheese (I used Dutch medium aged Gouda), and quartered cooked eggs. To finish it, add a scoop of coleslaw or farmer salad. Place it all on a plate in a pretty way, and eat immediately.
A vegetarian version is also possible: omit the ham and make sure the dressing, coleslaw/farmer salad and cheese are suitable for vegetarians.


Carrot and orange salad

A small and fun side salad, fresh and slightly sweet. You can add bits of orange or grapefruit if you like. I like to make this in autumn and winter, when carrots are abundant but other salad vegetables are not. The salad on my photo has a bit of a strange colour, because I used white, yellow, orange and purple carrots from my garden. When you use “normal” orange carrots, the salad will be orange too. I like to grate the carrot finely, but you can also slice the carrot into julienne or grate it coarsely, if you prefer.

Carrot and Orange Salad

Carrot and orange salad (serves 2)
Inspired on a recipe of the Voedingscentrum that I read somewhere

30 g raisins
150 g carrot
30 ml orange juice

Wash the raisins and soak them 10 minutes in warm water. Wash (or peel, when you use thicker/older carrots) and grate the carrots. Drain the raisins and mix with the carrot and orange juice.

Roasted pumpkin, feta and hazelnut salad

Pumpkin is a real autumn vegetable. It is harvested in autumn, and it lends itself perfectly for all kinds of dishes that suit the weather. In the Netherlands there are two species commonly available: butternut squash and ‘pumpkin’ (smallish bright orange, I suspect it is Hokkaido pumpkin). I prefer to use butternut squash, because I find the hokkaido usually a bit to sweet and quite mealy, but in this recipe I did use a hokkaido because I got one as a present. You can make this recipe with any winter squash.
In the Netherlands the naming conventions for pumpkins and squashes are a bit different than in English, which can lead to confusion. In English you have summer squash (harvested immature, no seeds developed yet, tender skin; examples are courgette/zucchini and pattypan) and winter squash (harvested mature, contains seeds, tough skin; examples are butternut, acorn, spaghetti and the different kinds of pumpkins). In the Netherlands summer squash is not known as summer squash, but just as the species it is, for example courgette. All the winter squashes are generally named pumpkin, except for ‘sierkalebassen'(ornamental gourds), which are not suitable to eat.

This salad is perfect for autumn. It is a salad, which always gives me a bit of a summery feeling, but it has enough bulk and bold flavours to satisfy me even when the weather is getting colder. Roasting is my method of choice for preparing pumpkin, because it is easy and it gives you the nice, caramelized crust, while cooking/steaming tends to make pumpkin watery and mushy. Roasting also gives you a great chance to add extra flavour to the pumpkin, in this case garlic and rosemary oil. Pumpkin always needs some bold or pungent flavours to prevent it from tasting icky sweetish. The feta adds a salty touch, and a bit of sharpness (for some extra sharpness, add a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar). The hazelnuts complement the nutty flavour of roasted pumpkin, and give some crunch to a dish that would otherwise be quite mushy. Delicious! To make it from a side-dish into a main, add a cooked grain (bulghur would be very nice).

Roasted Pumpkin, Feta and Hazelnut Salad

Roasted pumpkin, feta and hazelnut salad (serves 2)

1 small pumpkin
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary
75 g hazelnuts
100 g feta

Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds (you can wash and roast them if you like). Divide into wedges and place in a baking tray. Preheat the oven to 200C.
Finely crush the garlic, rosemary and salt in a pestle and mortar. Add the olive oil and mix well. Use a brush to spread half of the oil over the pumpkin wedges. Place the baking tin in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes, or until nicely roasted. Brush with the remaining oil, then place back in the oven for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, roast the hazelnuts until golden, then crush them or chop them up. They have the best flavour when they are really roasted until golden, but they do tend to burn quite quickly as well, so keep an eye on them. Crumble the feta.
Place the pumpkin wedges on two plates, sprinkle over the hazelnuts and feta. Serve.

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.