Tag Archive for Nuts

Brussel Sprouts with Brie, Pear and Walnuts

I would say this is a perfect side-dish for the Christmas dinner. It is festive, luxurious and pairs well with all kinds of main dishes. I also like that it is a bit different than usual. Brie, pear and walnuts are a classic combination, and the addition of sprouts works very well.


Brussel Sprouts with Brie, Pear and Walnuts (serves 2, more if you have several vegetable side-dishes)
Adapted from Odin

400 g brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 small pear, thinly sliced
25 g walnuts, coarsely chopped
150 g brie or camembert (I used farmhouse brie)
1 tsp fresh thyme leafs
olive oil

Cook the sprouts until just soft, in about 5 to 10 minutes. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until soft and caramelized. Add the thyme, sprouts and apple, and warm through. Sprinkle over the walnuts and crumble over the cheese.

Gado gado

Gado gado is an Indonesian dish of vegetables with peanut sauce. It can be served as a main, but also as part of an Indonesian meal with several different dishes.


Peanut sauce
Slightly adapted from “Kook nu eens zelf Indisch en Chinees- Nique van der Werff-Wijsman”

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp sambal oelek or sambal badjak
1/4 tsp trasi
1/2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp peanut butter (all natural, no ingredients except peanut)
1 tbsp ketjap manis
1 tsp goela jawa (palm sugar)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
200 ml water
1/2 cm from a block of santen (creamed coconut)

Finally chop the onion and garlic. Use a mortar and pestle or blender to make into a purée, mix with the sambal, trasi and salt.
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the purée and sauté on medium heat until most of the moisture is evaporated, and the mixture doesn’t smell raw any more.
Add peanut butter, ketjap, goela jawa, tamarind paste and water. Mix well. Leave to bubble for a bit, until the sauce has the desired consistency. Add some more water if you think it’s too thick. Add the santen and mix. Taste and season with salt, goela jawa and tamarind paste if necessary. Serve.

Gado gado
200-300 g raw/cooked vegetables per person (can be cold or hot), for example cabbage, green beans, carrot, taugé, cucumber, cauliflower, potato
boiled eggs and/or fried tofu
peanut sauce
To serve (optional): rice, krupuk

Serve all the ingredients with the peanut sauce poured over.

To make this dish vegan, don’t use the trasi (which is fermented shrimp paste), and make sure your sambal doesn’t contain shrimp paste. Also, don’t serve the dish with eggs. Krupuk contains shrimp, use cassava chips as an alternative.

Walnut, raisin and cinnamon whole grain bread

Made with a basic unsweetened whole grain dough, these buns get their sweetness from the raisins. They make a nice breakfast smeared with some butter, but are also lovely as an accompaniment for cheese. The walnuts give them a nice bite.


Walnut, raisin and cinnamon whole grain bread (12 buns)
Adapted from “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”

225 g flour
225 g whole grain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
40 g butter, melted
250 ml warm water
7g sachet dry yeast
100 g chopped walnuts
100 g raisins

Measure the flours, salt, sugar, cinnamon, butter, water and yeast into a bowl and mix together by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, until combined to fairly sticky dough.
Knead for about 4-5 minutes on a lightly floured work surface or in the mixer, adding a little extra flour if needed.
Transfer to a large bowl, cover tightly with cling film (make sure no air can escape) and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Tip the dough on a lightly floured work surface and flatten the ball slightly. Add the chopped walnuts and raisins and knead into the dough, then shape into 12 equal sized balls. Space these equally in an oiled roasting tin. Cover with some oiled cling film (otherwise it will stick) and leave to rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C and bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped and are nicely browned.

Alternatively, shape the dough into a loaf and bake in a loaf tin.

Almond Cake

A light and fluffy cake with lovely almond flavour that stores well and is really versatile. It is lovely on its own, but also perfect as a base for layer cakes. It pairs well with chocolate, fruit and butter/whipped/pastry-cream, so it’s an allrounder – good to have in your repertoire.


Almond cake
Adapted from David Lebovitz

175 g sugar
150 g almond paste
25 g flour
150 g butter, cubed, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
70 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a spring form (23-25 cm) with some butter and dust with flour.
Grind sugar, almond paste and the first measuring of flour together in a food processor, until it resembles sand (this is to prevent lumps). If you don’t have a food processor, use your fingers to rub everything together until it is sandy.
Add the butter and vanilla extract and mix until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until is is incorporated before adding the next one.
Mix the second measure of flour, the baking powder and salt. Add it to the batter and fold trough until just incorporated.
Pour into the prepared form and bake for 45-60 minutes in the preheated oven.
Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edge, loosing the cake from the sides of the form. Let the cake cool completely in the form.
Once cool, remove the form.

Can be kept on room temperature (well wrapped) for 4 days, and can be frozen for 2 months.

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.

Tuktuk Salad

An Asian brown rice salad with loads of vegetables and a Thai inspired dressing.
The nuggets on the photo are vegetarian grilled bits from the supermarket, something I bought as an experiment, wanting to eat less meat. They tasted kind of like chicken nuggets, of which I am not a big fan. They were quite spongy, did not have much texture and were quite salty in flavour (probably to mask that the vega stuff they made the bits from does not have much taste). But I have to admit, they weren’t that bad either (especially for a meat substitute), so I might buy them again.

Tuktuk Salad

Tuktuk salad (serves 2)
Adapted from “Leon – Ingredients & Recipes”

75 g brown rice
1 vegetable stock cube
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup broad beans, double podded
100 g taugé (bean sprouts)
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cashew nuts

1 tsp sambal oelek (or 1/2 a finely chopped chilli)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
1.5 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp neutral tasting oil
1.5 tbsp soy sauce

Add rice, 150 ml water and the stock cube to a pan, and bring to the boil. Simmer until tender, about 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, blanch the vegetables. Bring a big pan of water to the boil, place the one of the vegetables in a sieve (metal/heat proof) and dunk into the boiling water. When blanched (about 30 seconds for defrosted peas/broad beans, 1-2 minutes for the bean sprouts), take them out and leave them to drain. Repeat with the other vegetables. Chop the bean sprouts coarsely (I didn’t do that, and found it annoying when eating).
If you want, roast the cashew nuts. I like to roast them, because it makes them a bit more crunchy and intensify the flavour, but cashews do burn incredibly fast, so you really have to keep an eye on them.
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing. Leave to infuse for a while, then taste. It can be necessary to add a bit more of one (or more) of the ingredients to balance the flavour and adjust it to what you like.
When the rice is ready, add the vegetables and dressing, and mix carefully. Scoop onto plates, and scatter with the cashew nuts.

Stuffed Vegetables

Rice with lots of different bits and pieces, savoury and sweet, loads of different flavours and textures, stuffed into delicious vegetables. You definitely don’t miss the meat in this dish! I like stuffed vegetables, it is a fun way of serving, a bit different than the average rice dish. But I always have one problem: the amount of filling never matches the volume I need to fill the vegetables that I want to fill. Usually I err on the side of caution and make more filling than I need, and serve the remainder on the side. Or store it for next days lunch.
I cooked a double batch of rice on a previous day, stored half and used it for this dish. Because brown rice takes 30-45 minutes, I wouldn’t cook it specially for this dish, so a bit of planning is advised. Alternatively you could use basmati, or another rice, that does cook quicker.

Stuffed Vegetables

Stuffed Vegetables (serves 2)
Slightly adapted from “Leon – Fast Vegetarian”

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sambal badjak
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tomato, cubed
1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup brown rice, cooked in bouillon
1/2 cup drained and rinsed canned chickpeas
1/4 cup cooked spinach, chopped
1/4 cup cubed feta (or crumbled goats cheese)
salt and pepper
optional: 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, mint, dill and/or coriander)

vegetables of choice (aubergine, pumpkin/squash, courgette, onions, paprika, tomato)

Precook the vegetables in the oven at 175-200C (time/temperature will depend on the kind of vegetable you use), then scoop out the flesh if necessary.
Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions and sauté until soft and golden. Add the garlic and sambal, and sauté for another few minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and tomato, and cook for 2 minutes. Add all the other ingredients, mix and season well with salt and pepper.
Stuff the vegetables with the filling and cook in the oven at 160C for 20 minutes.

Note: Omit the feta to make this dish vegan friendly. Or use a vegan cheese instead.

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.

Courgette Oatmeal Bars

And here is another recipe to use up courgettes. These bars are soft, sturdy and filling. I like it when things like this are not too sweet, but this recipe makes bars that are really just barely sweet. They were almost not sweet enough for my taste (although my husband adores them as they are), so when you like things to be sweeter, add more honey. They have quite an unique taste and texture, so it is quite hard to describe it accurately. Think more along the line of a sturdy baked oatmeal, than something like a cookie bar. They can be frozen very well, so you can make a batch and eat a square each day as a snack.

Courgette oatmeal bars (18 squares)
Slightly adapted from A Sweet Baker

2 cups grated courgette (about 1 large or 2 small courgettes)
2 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 medium banana)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat the oven to 175C and line a 23×33 cm baking dish with baking paper.
Mix courgette, eggs, coconut oil, milk, honey, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla well. Stir through the rolled oats, them fold in the raisins and walnuts.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and flatten with the back of a spoon until it is even.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from the baking dish (using the baking paper) and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for 2 days, or freeze them.