Tag Archive for Snack

Feta dip

A smooth, creamy and bold-flavoured dip that is very easy to make and keeps for days. It is perfect to use as a dip, either to take with you for snacking, or on parties. Eat it with all kinds of vegetables or bread and personalize it by adding flavourings (like herbs and spices) you like.

This dip also works great as a salad dressing (I used it for greek-ish chopped vegetables). I find that the downside of putting cubes of feta in a salad is that in some bites you have too much feta and in other bites you don’t have enough… I never seem to get them distributed evenly throughout the salad. Using the feta as a dressing is a great solution for that.

I do have a bit of a quirk, I like to use the Danish white salad cheese instead of real feta, because real feta tastes like sheep, and I don’t like the flavour of sheep in cheese (on the other hand, I do like goat’s cheese). Just use the one you like. I used low fat cream cheese without a problem.

Feta dip
Adapted from the Kitchn

100 gram feta, room temperature
50 g cream cheese, room temperature
a splash of milk
salt and pepper
Optional flavourings: zest and juice of a lemon, 2 tbsp chopped chives or flat leave parsley
Optional garnishes: olive oil, sumac, cayenne

Blitz the feta in a small food processor until it is in small pieces. Add the cream cheese and blend for about 5 minutes, adding the milk to make it a smooth mixture. Alternatively, mash the feta with a fork in a bowl, then add the cream cheese and mix very well with the fork (this will give you a slightly coarser result).
Taste the mixture and add salt (probably not needed) and pepper to taste. Mix in the flavourings you are using, then scoop the mixture in a serving bowl (or put it in an airtight container and keep in the fridge). Garnish and serve.

Two appetizers

I love tuna salad, because it is very versatile. You can scoop it on top of all kinds of (toasted) bread or crackers, pile it on vegetables like tomato and cucumber or serve it over lettuce as a salad. It works as a lunch, a snack or even as part of diner. And it’s healthy… at least the tuna. Most people don’t eat enough fish and this is an easy way to add some more, and tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids as well. Make sure you buy MSC certified sustainable tuna, because cans of tuna that don’t have the MSC stamp usually contain tuna from places where this fish is almost extinct… when the tuna is gone, it is gone, and we can’t eat tuna any more. There are all kind of other certifications (usually invented by the companies themselves), but MSC (for wild fish and seafood) and ASC (for farmed fish and seafood) are the only ones that really mean something.
I’ve been on the hunt for a good tuna salad for a long time. Buying a tub of tuna salad of course is the easiest way, but not the tastiest. Usually it has only a little bit of fish in it, and it is quite runny. So I started to experiment making my own. I always use cans of tuna on water, not on oil, because the salad would get to greasy with the latter variant. I started with only using mayonnaise, but that lacked some freshness. Adding lemon juice helped, as did adding yoghurt. But finally I found that using 1 can of tuna, 1 tbsp yogonaise and 1 tbsp (light) cream cheese worked the best. It is fresh and creamy, and very thick (so that it doesn’t fall of your sandwich). And because both the yogonaise and the light cream cheese are lower in fat than their regular variants, you keep the fat/calorie count in check as well. I season my salad with salt and pepper, and sometimes a pinch of garlic powder and a drop of worcestershire sauce.
You could add some finely chopped (spring) onion, gherkins, celery, cucumber, mustard, (dried) fruit or curry powder to the recipe (these are some of the things I found when I was looking for recipes), but that really doesn’t work for me. You can substitute the tuna with a can of salmon, steamed mackerel or even cooked chicken. And tuna salad is also very delicious to fill eggs with, just make the basic recipe, add the cooked egg yolks and pipe the mixture in the cooked egg-white halves.

And then the other appetizer. I love endive (white heads with a light green top, not the lettuce-like green stuff… there is some name confusion sometimes) and I usually eat it as a salad or a gratin, but some variation now and then is nice as well. Endive works really well with creamy, sharp cheeses, sweet things and nuts. So for very a very nice appetizer, separate the heads of endive in separate leaves/spears and fill them with fresh goat’s cheese, a drizzle of honey and some toasted walnuts; or blue cheese (I like St. Augur) and walnuts. Delicious!

Breakfast bars

I don’t find these bars filling enough for breakfast, but they are great as a delicious snack. They are not too sweet and have lots of flavour, and with all the grains and seeds they are healthy too. As a variation you could use other dried fruits, nuts or seeds, and I think that adding a little spice (vanilla, cinnamon, chai) would be delicious as well. They stay fresh for about 5 days in an airtight container, and they freeze well too.

Breakfast Bars

Breakfast bars (12 bars)
Slightly adapted from ‘Glutenvrij koken – Lyndel Costain en Joanna Farrow’

100 g soft butter
25 g raw cane sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
125 g millet flakes
50 g quinoa
50 g dried cranberry’s
75 g raisins
25 g sunflower seeds
25 g sesame seeds
25 g linseed
40 g dessicated coconut (unsweetened)
2 eggs

Line a 20×20 cm baking tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Scoop in the baking tin, level out and press down well with a spoon. Place in the preheated oven and bake in about 35 minutes golden brown.
Leave to cool completely in the tin. Then take out and cut into 12 bars, using a sharp knife. Store airtight.

Whole grain apricot muffins

Without reading the recipe (or someone telling you), you would never know that these muffins are made with whole grain flour and extra bran as well. Most of the time, recipes use a mixture of white and whole grain flour, because baked goods made with only whole grain flour tend to be very dry and tough. But not this recipe, the muffins are lovely tender, moist, not too sweet and they have a lovely crispy top. Just from the oven they are delicious, but they stay that way for 3-4 days, so you don’t have to eat them all at once. And with all the fibre in them, they fill you up as well.

Apricot Muffin

Whole grain apricot muffins (12 muffins)
From “Gezond eten voor je darmen – Sophie Braimbridge”

75 ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
150 g sugar
150 g low-fat yoghurt
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of baking soda
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon and ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g whole grain flour
50 g bran
75 g dried apricots, chopped

Preheat the oven to 190C. Put paper muffin cup liners in a muffin tray.
Mix oil, eggs, sugar, yoghurt, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla with a whisk. Add the flour and bran, fold through with a spatula. Add the apricots and fold through as well. As with all muffins, mix the batter as little as possible to achieve the best results.
Divide the batter over the cups in the muffin tray. Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until they are golden and a sateh stick comes out clean. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tray, then take out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Petit choux aux fromage

This dish was inspired by one of the recent episodes of Masterchef: the Professional on BBC. In this show, professional chefs battle to win the title of Professional Masterchef 2013. One of the first tests the chefs have to do (after an invention test and a technical challenge) is cooking a classic recipe from the hand of Michel Roux (a great chef and one of the presenters of the show). Usually the recipe is not very detailed and the chefs have to use their own knowledge and instincts to come to a good result, but for the viewers at home there usually is a recipe available on the BBC website. These choux were part of one of the classic recipes, but unfortunately the recipe is not available (or not yet) online… so I had to improvise myself, with great results. These choux are delicious, little, savoury, flavoursome bites, perfect as snack or appetizer. You can sprinkle some cheese on top of the choux before baking, but I always find it very messy and not adding much to the choux. You can also add some herbs or spices if you like.

Petit choux au fromage

55 g butter
125 ml water
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
70 g flour
2 eggs

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
250 ml milk (can be a bit less or more, depending on the desired consistency)
100 g cheese, grated (I used gouda, but something like parmesan, cheddar or emmentaler would work well too)
100 g jamon serrano, very finely chopped (you need to be able to pipe the mix into the choux, so the bits need to be small enough to not clog the piping tip)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 220C. Combine the butter, water, salt and sugar in a sauce pan (I like to use an anti-stick one). Bring to the boil. Take off the heat, add the flour and stir well. Place back on low heat and keep stirring for 3 minutes. Take off the heat, pour over into a bowl and add the eggs one by one, stirring well until incorporated in between. Scoop into a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe small blobs (about 1/2 tbsp) of batter on a lined baking sheet. Use a wet finger to press down any pointy bits, otherwise they will burn. Place in the preheated oven, bake for 10 minutes at 220C, then turn down to 190C and bake for another 15 minutes (because these are very small you don’t need to prick a hole in the bottom and dry them out on a very low temperature to prevent collapsing). Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the cheese filling. Melt the butter in a sauce pan (I like to use an anti-stick one). Add the flour and stir until a paste forms and cook, while stirring, on low heat for about 1 minute to cook the flour. Gradually add the milk, bit by bit, while stirring, to get a smooth sauce. It should be quite thin, because the cheese will make it thicker and when it cools it will be thicker as well. Add the cheese and stir until incorporated and melted. Immediately take off the heat, and add the jamon serrano. Taste, and add some salt and/or pepper if necessary.
To finish, scoop the cheese sauce into a piping bag fitted with a small, round tip and pipe the sauce into the choux (use the piping bag/tip to make a small hole in the bottom of the choux). Serve immediately. You can make the choux and the sauce in advance and do the piping just before serving.

Toffee Popcorn

Popcorn is an easy, tasty and light snack. It is especially fast pre-made or with those microwave packages. Unfortunately, those are usually much too salty or too sweet and they make big portions as well. What most people don’t realize is that popping popcorn yourself is very easy and fast as well. It used to be quite tricky to get hold of corn for popping in the Netherlands, but nowadays some (organic) supermarkets stock it. The rest of the ingredients are pantry staples and you don’t need any fancy equipment as well. And the most important thing: making it yourself is a lot tastier!

Toffee Popcorn

Toffee popcorn (1-2 servings)
40 g dried corn for making popcorn
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
pinch of salt

Melt the butter on medium heat in a non-stick pan. When just melted, add the corn and place a lid on top (should be fitting well!). Turn the heat down to low. It will take about 1-2 minutes for the corn to start popping. While the corn is popping, leave the lid on the pan to prevent popcorn flying all over the place. Shake the pan occasionally. When there is a pause of 5 seconds between pops, the corn is finished (not all the kernels will be popped, but otherwise you burn the popcorn that is popped). Sprinkle with some salt and shake around with the lid on the pan. Pour out the popcorn in your serving container. Sprinkle the sugar into the pan and place on high heat until molten. Turn of the heat, add the popcorn back in and shake around with the lid on the pan to distribute the sugar. This gives a light coating of caramel, if you like it sweeter, start with more sugar. Pour back into the serving container and eat immediately, while it is still warm and crisp.

Alternatives: add some spice (chilli, cinnamon, or mixes like speculaas, pumpkin or chai) to make spiced sweet popcorn; omit the sugar to make salty popcorn.

Baba Ganoush

I never liked aubergine much. It is kinda squishy and spongy and doesn’t have much flavour. But when I recently had a very delicious aubergine curry, I was curious to see if there are other ways to make aubergine delicious. So when I found a recipe for baba ganoush, a sweet, smokey Mediterranian/Arabic/Middle-Eastern aubergine dip, I knew I had to try. Traditionally the dip is flavoured with tahini, garlic, salt and lemon, but ground cumin, chilli powder, parsley, mint and black pepper are often used as well.

I used an ingredient that is not very traditional: pimenton de la vera picante. Normal pimenton (Spanish paprika powder) is made by drying paprika with the sun and hot air, but the pimenton from the la vera region is smoked, which (obviously) gives it a delicious smoky flavour. A pinch of the spicy (picante) variety gives the baba ganoush a lovely extra smokiness and a mellow heat. This stuff overpowers easily (both the hotness and the smokiness), so make sure you use only a tiny bit!

This dip is delicious served with all sorts of flatbread, but also with vegetables, for example cucumber and carrot. It is also very tasty as a spread on a sandwich or wrap with grilled vegetables.

Baba Ganoush
3 aubergines
3 garlic cloves, crushed with a teaspoon of salt
1 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of pimenton de la vera picante
Optional: lemon juice
Garnish: chopped flat leaf parsley, olive oil, pomegranate seeds, pimenton

Prick the aubergines with a fork. Grill the aubergines until the skin is charred and blacked and the flesh feels soft when you press it. Turn a few times to make sure that all sides get blacked. If you have a smoke alarm in your kitchen it might be best to take the batteries out while you are grilling the aubergine, otherwise it will probably go off.
When cool enough to handle, cut the aubergines in half and scoop out the flesh. Mash with a fork (or leave it chuncky if you prefer). Add the crushed garlic, tahini, olive oil and pimenton, stir well to get an emulsified smooth puree. Taste and add some extra salt, pimenton and/or lemon juice. Place in a serving dish and finish with one or more of the garnishes, or store tightly covered up to two days in the fridge and garnish when serving; make sure you take it from the fridge in time to serve the dip at room temperature, cold it is quite icky.

Smoothies

I love making my own smoothies as an afternoon and/or pre-workout snack. They are easy to make, healthy, filling and you can make up endless variations and mix and match with the ingredients you have available. And of course they are delicious!

Because I often use frozen fruit, you need a sturdy blender or immersion blender, otherwise the smoothies will not get thick and creamy. The frozen fruit also is an economic way to eat fruit, for example berries, fresh they are terribly expensive but frozen they are quite affordable. And overripe banana’s work perfectly well in a smoothie (when you have too many of the overripe banana’s you can easily freeze them; just peel, cut (or break) into chunks and freeze).

Milk and banana are the base ingredients of my smoothies. I generally use semi-skim cow milk, but you can also use other milks like soy and almond, according to your preference; yoghurt also works very well. The banana is a base ingredient to make them deliciously thick, creamy and smooth. Using frozen fruit also makes the smoothie thick, creamy and smooth; if banana is the only fruit in the smoothie I freeze it, but when I also use frozen fruits I don’t bother with freezing the banana. I never add sugar, honey or other sweeteners because the fruit is sweet enough on its own.

Berry Smoothie

The two favorites I have right now are banana-berry (in lots of variations) and banana-chocolate.

Banana-berry smoothie
1 banana
150 ml milk
a handful of frozen berries (I like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries, or a mixture of berries)
optional: linseed (to bulk it up and add valuable healthy fats), vanilla or cinnamon (to amp up the flavour)

Blend everything together. Serve immediately, in a large glass with a straw.

Banana-chocolate smoothie
1 banana
150 ml milk
1 tbsp almond-hazelnut butter (can be any nut butter you like)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
optional: dessicated coconut, or coconut flour, or bran (to add fibers)

Blend everything together. Serve immediately, in a large glass with a straw.

Variations
– banana-vanilla: frozen banana, milk and vanilla extract (or use a vanilla flavoured milk; cinnamon, ginger or cardamom are also delicious spices to add
– banana-mango: banana, milk and frozen mango (also nice with a grating of lime zest)
– banana-tropical: frozen banana, coconut milk and a can of pinapple or tropical fruit mix (use fruit on juice, not fruit in syrup which contains lots of extra sugar)
– banana-coffee: frozen banana and coffee flavoured soy milk, optional add some nut butter
– citrus-berry: yoghurt, orange (or grapefruit) and frozenberries (because the yoghurt is thick you can add a liquidy fruit like orange without thinning the smoothie too much)
– pear-oat: milk, frozen peeled pear, oats and cinnamon
– winter: milk, frozen peeled apple, soaked prunes (dried plums) and pumpkin/speculaas spice-mix
– ….: any combination of milk, fruit, flavourings and add-ons

I know that there are a lot of people out there who like to add vegetables (spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, avocado, etc) to their smoothies, stating that you really cannot taste it. Well, I can, and I don’t like it. For recipes search on pinterest or google for (green) smoothie, and you will find tons of them. Another popular thing is to add powerfood like chia seeds to your smoothies. I don’t, because they are poorly available and very expensive over here. Also, I’m not so sure that they actually are as beneficiary as claimed.

Baked apples

Baked apples are perfect for weekdays, when you fancy something sweet as a snack or a dessert but don’t want to splurge on a rich dessert. Also a great way to vary how you eat an apple… plain can get a bit boring.

Baked apples
Preheat the oven to 180C. Don’t remove the peel from the apple. For this recipe you need to de-core an apple. The easiest way is to use an apple corer, otherwise you can cut the apple in halve, use a melon ball scooper to remove the middle of the core and a small knife to remove the rest (make a v-shaped wedge). Or, if you don’t own an apple corer and a melon ball scooper, like me, you can use a knife to remove the middle bit of the core as well by cutting out sort of a pyramid. But be careful to not slip with the knife and cut yourself.
In the case of using an apple corer, cut the apple in half. Otherwise you already have two apple halves. Place these in a small ovenproof dish, cut side up. Sprinkle with a little sugar (brown or raw is the tastiest) and a little cinnamon. Some vanilla would also be very nice. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until soft. Eat hot or on room temperature.

Muesli-nut bread with dried fruits and ricotta

This dish is a perfect pre-workout meal, but also works great as a breakfast or a snack. It is really fast to throw together and is very tasty and satisfying to eat. Just take a slice of muesli-nut bread, toast it if you like, spread it with about a tablespoon of ricotta (or Greek yoghurt), drizzle a little bit of honey over it, sprinkle some dried cranberries (or other dried berries) on top and layer with one dried date, one dried prune and one dried apricot (I like the variation, but you can also use one of the three). I only use a few pieces of dried fruit because they are very rich in sugar. Together it contains enough carbs, fibers and protein to fuel your body for quite some time!

Muesli-nut bread with ricotta and dried fruit