Tag Archive for Easy

Omelet Wrap

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.

OmeletWrap2

Omelet Wrap (1 wrap)

2 eggs
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.

Salade de carottes râpées

One of the two classic French legumes cru (the other is Céleri Rémoulade). In France, you can buy this everywhere ready-made, in supermarkets, at charcuteries, etc. And of course people make it at home, freshly made it tastes better anyway. It is really important to cut the carrots to the right size. I’ve found cutting them by hand into julienne makes them too coarse, grating them makes them too wet and my mandoline doesn’t make quite the right julienne either. But the smallest cutter of my spiralizer does! If you have a kitchen machine, the large grating disk might work too. Or use a French mouli-julienne. Of course the right size is up to personal taste.

Salade de Carottes Rapees

Salade de carottes râpées (serves 2-3 persons)
Adapted from David Lebovitz

200-300 g carrot
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sugar
teeny-tiny clove of garlic, mashed finely
salt and pepper
Optional: some chopped flat-leave parsley

Process the carrots by method of your liking. Mix all the other ingredients to form a nice dressing. Taste to check for seasoning. Mix the dressing with the carrots and serve. If preparing in advance, keep the dressing and carrots separate and mix just before serving.

Lemon yoghurt cake

This cake is extremely fast and simple to make, deliciously moist, tender and lemony, and a bit different than the standard (easy and fast) pound cake. It can be frozen very well (both whole and sliced), and I’ve even defrosted slices in the microwave (low wattage) successfully, while I normally let baked goods defrost at room temperature to prevent them getting dry. Or, keep it in the fridge and eat within a week. As a bonus, it is quite a light cake, while it doesn’t compromise on flavour.
If you want, you can ice the cake with an icing made with icing sugar and lemon juice, but I don’t think it is necessary. Also, freezing the cake with this icing will probably not work very well.

Lemon Yoghurt Cake

Lemon yoghurt cake (1 cake)
From “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”

300 g sugar
50 g butter, soft
3 eggs, separated
225 g Greek yoghurt
grated zest of 1 lemon
175 g self-raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 20 cm round cake tin.
Beat together sugar, butter and egg yolks. Add the yoghurt and lemon, and beat until smooth. Gently fold in the flour.
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin.
Bake in the preheated oven for 60-75 minutes, or until the cake is golden, feels firm to the touch, and a toothpick comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Soy and Honey Chicken with Coconut Rice

Very simple, but utterly delicious. What else would you expect when it is a recipe from Monica Galetti (sous chef at Le Gavroche, the 2-stars restaurant of Michel Roux Jr, and a judge in Masterchef: the Professionals)?

Soy and Honey Chicken

Soy and Honey Chicken with Coconut Rice (serves 2)
Slightly adapted from Food&Drink

4 tsp clear honey
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sambal badjak
4 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 300 gram)

75 g brown rice
1 stock cube (I used vegetable)
1/2 tsp coconut oil

drizzle of sesame oil
drizzle of rapeseed oil
2 heads of bok choi, halved

Mix together the honey, soy sauce and sambal badjak in a heavy based pan (cold!). Add the chicken thighs and mix until completely coated in the marinade. Place the pan onto a medium heat and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the honey and soy coating has thickened to a glossy glaze.
Meanwhile, add the rice, 150 ml water and the stock cube to a separate pan and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the rice, covered, until tender (about 30 minutes).
For the bok choi, heat a drizzle of rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bok choi and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted. Drizzle with a little sesame oil.
When the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork, then stir through the coconut oil.

Dutch Food: rice porridge with brown sugar and butter

Rice porridge, or rice goo (rijstebrij) as it is sometimes called, is a traditional Dutch dessert. Rice slowly cooked in milk with some vanilla, sprinkled with brown sugar and topped with a pat of butter. Sometimes a sprinkle of cinnamon, or a handful of raisins is added. Another possibility is to serve it with a berry (or other fruit) sauce. Creamy, warm and soothing, but definitely not light. That it was filling was perfect in the old days, when people did hard physical labour, and weren’t eating much fat and sugar in the rest of the day. Nowadays, it usually is a bit too heavy. Therefore I like to serve it after a light soup on cold days (together making a good-sized meal), or I make the amount below for double the amount of people, making the portion size smaller.
Swapping some milk for cream, and adding egg yolks at the end are generally not things done in the Netherlands as far as I know, but I have seen it in foreign recipes. It makes a richer pudding, but also makes it more heavy, so I would definitely downsize the portions.
I use special dessert rice for this dish, which cooks a lot faster than standard rice, but I know that this isn’t available abroad. Back in the old days, this special rice wasn’t available either, so you can make this dish perfectly fine with standard white rice. Alternatively you could use risotto rice or sushi rice, but I’m not quite sure what the right proportions are and how long to cook it. Even with the instructions below, it can happen that your rice stays quite wet even though it is already cooked, or gets quite dry but isn’t cooked yet, because every rice is different. Luckily, soupy rice porridge is still delicious, and when it gets dry, you can add a bit more milk.
As a variation, you can pour the rice porridge in ramekins or glasses, smooth the top and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to cool down and firm up. These rice puddings are delicious served with a fruit compote.

Rice Porridge with Brown Sugar and Butter

Rice porridge (serves 4)
1 litre milk
200 g dessert rice
2 tsp vanilla extract
brown sugar and butter to serve

Mix the milk, rice and vanilla in a pan with a thick bottom. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 12 minutes, or until the rice is soft and most of the milk is absorbed. Stir regularly to prevent catching. Serve sprinkled with the sugar and a pat of butter on top.

To make this dish with “normal” white rice, use 150 g per 1 litre milk and cook for 1 hour on very low heat.

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.

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Ooey, gooey, sticky, yummy stuffing all caramelized and baked into fluffy and tender dough, and possibly drizzled with a sugar glaze or a cream cheese frosting, what is not to love? Well… normally it does take quite some time to make them, you have to make the dough, proof it, roll it out, fill it, slice it, place it into a baking tray, proof again, and bake it. Not something I want to do on a lazy morning. Even the recipes that have you start the day before, usually involve quite some work and/or time the next morning. Making them the day before is not a solution either, because I like my cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven. The solution: crescent rolls (croissant dough in a can). As croissants they are terribly yucky, but they work great as a dough base for cinnamon rolls. As a variation you could fill and top them like pecan sticky buns.

Easy Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon rolls (makes 4)
1 can of crescent rolls (250 g, for 6 normal sized croissants)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
Optional: a glaze or frosting

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cream butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon together.
Open the can, roll out the dough and close the seems by pressing them. Spread the butter-sugar-cinnamon mixture on the dough, but leave one end free. Start at the opposite end and roll up the dough, press the end so the roll closes (this is why you had to leave the end free). Slice into 4 rolls, place on a lined baking tray, and bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes (hot caramel is very hot), then serve (optional: drizzle with glaze or frosting).

Salatteller

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.

Salatteller

Spaghetti with herbed cream cheese, spinach and bacon

A very simple, but satisfying pasta dish. Make this when you are in a hurry and need something comforting to eat. Also a classic for students on tight budgets. It is usually made with freezer spinach, but I like to use fresh spinach because freezer spinach is horribly overcooked and mushy. You could use chicken instead of bacon to make the dish a bit lighter.

Spaghetti with herbed cream cheese, spinach and bacon (serves 2)

200 g spaghetti
salt
150 g bacon, cut into lardons
150 g herbed cream cheese (like boursin or philadelphia)
300 g spinach, washed

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add salt liberally. Add the spaghetti and bring the water back to the boil. Stir after 1-2 minutes to make sure the spaghetti isn’t sticking. Cook until your preferred done-ness (the times on the package are an indication, but tend to be a bit on the long side).
Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a dry pan on medium heat until it releases its fat, and the bits are golden and slightly crisp. Discard (some of) the bacon fat if you want (keep it to fry an egg or some bread in). Add the cheese and let it melt on low heat. It might curdle a bit. Then add the spinach (in portions if necessary), place a lid on the pan and cook until just wilted. Add the spinach and mix well. Serve immediately.

Single serve microwave chocolate chip cookie

I’m not really trustworthy around chocolate chip cookies. I am a healthy eater and usually have enough self-control to not over-eat, but chocolate chip cookies are the exception to the rule. I just cannot stop after one cookie. The solution: I don’t buy the cookies, so I cannot eat them. But, some days you just need something soothing and comforting and chocolaty…. Buying cookies then ensures you eat them all. Baking something (kinda) healthy isn’t a solution either, because you want it now, and not after the time it makes to mix up a batter and bake it. The solution: make a single serve microwave chocolate chip cookie. It is fast to make, indulgent, oozing with chocolate, deliciously chewy, and will calm down your cravings.

Single serve microwave chocolate chip cookie (1 cookie)
From Yummy magazine

1,5 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
2 tsp milk
a few drops of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp chocolate chips (plain, milk or white)

Mix sugar and brown sugar. Add milk, vanilla and salt, mix again. Add flour, mix until just incorporated. Then fold in the chocolate chips. Form into a cookie on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on medium for 1 minute, then check for doneness. Continue cooking in 10 second intervals until desired consistency is achieved. The exact time you need to cook the cookie for is highly dependant on your microwave, it took mine almost 2 minutes before I had a nice, chewy cookie. The cookie will continue to cook a little further when you take it from the microwave. It will also be very, very hot, so leave to cool for a bit before eating.