Tag Archive for Spring

Broad beans in garlic cream sauce

Very French, very posh, very tasty.

Fresh broad beans are always the tastiest, but only available sparsely. Luckily, if you double-pod frozen broad beans, they are quite tasty too and will work very well in this dish. Just let them defrost, remove the skin, and skip the boiling step in the recipe below. Frozen broad beans are already blanched, so heating them trough in the sauce is enough.

Broad Beans in Garlic Cream Sauce

Broad beans in garlic cream sauce (serves 4)
From Rick Stein’s French Odyssey

600 g shelled broad beans
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
large pinch of sugar
85 ml cream
1 tsp thyme or summer savory, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Cook the broad beans in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes until tender. Drain and, if young, leave as they are, but if slightly older, remove their tough outer skin if you wish.
Soften the garlic with a pinch of salt in the olive oil in a wide, shallow pan. Add the white wine vinegar and sugar, and simmer until almost all the liquid has disappeared (this will smell strongly acidic).
Add the cream, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Add the cooked beans and simmer a few minutes longer until the sauce coats the beans.
Add the thyme (or summer savory) and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Variation: use green beans/haricot verts instead of the broad beans; I think it would be very nice with peas too.

Raspberry Mascarpone Cake

This cake is fresh and fruity, light and luxurious.

As this is a recipe from a German cookbook, it used some German ingredients. Klop-fix (or sahnesteif) is a powder that you mix with cream while whisking, to stabilize it. It prevents the whipped cream to collapse and weep, and it makes it more easy to pipe. I always use it when I make something with cream that will stand for a while. Although this recipe doesn’t contain whipped cream, but a quark-mascarpone mixture, I figured it could use some extra stabilization, so I added the klop-fix. Tortenguss is a powder that is mixed with water to make a jelly/glaze to pour over pie and tart (usually fruit tarts). It gives you a nice, decorative shiny layer on the fruit, but also binds the fruit together and sticks it to the base of the tart.

Raspberry Mascarpone Cake

Raspberry-Mascarpone Cake (serves 16)
Slightly adapted from “Das Grosse Backbuch – Kochen und Geniessen”

butter and flour for the tin
125 g butter, soft
125 g sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar
pinch of salt
3 eggs
150 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp milk

250 g full fat quark
250 g mascarpone
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar
1 sachet klop-fix

500 g raspberries

2 sachets red tortenguss
2 tbsp sugar

Grease a 26 cm springform and dust with flour. Preheat the oven to 175C.
Cream butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt. Add the eggs one by one, and mix until incorporated in between each addition. Mix flour and baking powder, and add together with the milk to the bowl. Mix until just incorporated. Pour into the prepared baking tin.
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then take out and leave to cool completely on a rack.
Add quark, mascarpone, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla sugar to a bowl. Add the klopfix while whisking. Make sure you only whisk until everything is combined, to keep it stable. Mix it to long, and it will not hold its shape in the cake.
Place the cake on a serving plate. Slide a cake-ring around (optionally lined with acetate or clingfilm). Pour the mascarpone mixture in and smooth it. Put the raspberries gently on top of the cream and even out.
Mix the tortenguss powder with the sugar in a pan. Add 500 ml cold water while whisking. Place on the heat and keep whisking, bring to the boil, then take off the heat. Leave to cool for 2 minutes, then pour on top of the raspberries.
Place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.

Mixed vegetable soup

As so often, I used a BBC programme as an inspiration for this recipe, this time it was Saturday Kitchen Best Bites. The vegetable soup they made reminded me of the vegetable velouté you can buy in cartons in the French supermarket, absolutely delicious, great to have something reasonably healthy that is ready-made and unfortunately not available in the Netherlands. So I decided to make my own, which is quite a bit more work than opening a carton, but definitely worth it. It is a lovely vibrant, fresh soup tasting of all the lush vegetables that are available in summer. Vegetable patch soup is maybe a good name for this recipe, because you can use up all kinds of vegetables, perfect for finishing the bits and pieces that you sometimes have growing around your vegetable patch. The recipe below shows the vegetables I used, but you could use all kinds of other vegetables as well. I think that for example cauliflower, broccoli, fennel and green beans would also be delicious.

Mixed Vegetable Soup

Mixed vegetable soup (serves 2)
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 small celeriac, in cubes
1 large carrot, in cubes
1/2 courgette, in cubes
500 ml water
2 vegetable stock cubes
a handful fresh peas
a few tbsp mascarpone
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a large pan (I like to use my Dutch oven for this). Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, celeriac, carrot and courgette and sauté until softened, but not coloured (5-8 minutes). Add the water and stock cubes, stir well and leave to simmer until the vegetables are soft. Optionally, fish out the garlic. Add the peas, cook for another 2 minutes, then blend the whole thing with a stick blender. Stir in the mascarpone (don’t let the soup boil after this!), parsley, chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Note: to make this recipe suitable for vegans, use olive oil instead of butter and a plant based cream instead of mascarpone.