Tag Archive for Summer

Cucumber Lemonade

I discovered the delight of cucumber juice when I drained cucumber for tzatziki. It has a lovely mellow cucumber flavour and is insanely refreshing. And then I saw this recipe. Combining cucumber juice with lemon juice and sugar seemed a bit weird, but I wanted to give it a try and was glad I did: it is delicious! Cucumbery, tart, sweet and incredibly refreshing, so perfect for hot weather.
You can play around a bit with how much water and sugar you add. I like to use less water, so I can finish the lemonade with a generous glug of sparkly water.
I also adapted the process a bit. The original recipe asks you to blend the cucumber to a very fine pulp. This gives you a lot of juice, but also forced you to throw away the pulp. I chose to grate the cucumber, which still gave me enough juice, but also cucumber gratings that I could use for tzatziki. If you leave the skin on your lemonade will be quite green, if you peel the cucumber first, it will get more pale green.

CucumberLemonade2

Cucumber lemonade
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup cucumber juice (from about 450 g cucumber, peeled or unpeeled)
1 cup lemon juice (from about 7-8 lemons)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cold water

Grate the cucumber. Transfer the gratings to a sieve over a bowl and leave to drain. Use a spoon to press out as much of the juice as you can. Use the solids for tzatziki.
Pour into a bottle and add the lemon juice, sugar and water. Give it a shake, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool. A few more shakes should dissolve the sugar completely.
Serve with or without ice/sparkly water. And if you feel fancy, garnish with a thin slice of cucumber, a lemon peel curl or a few borage flowers.

Vanilla ice-cream with toffee swirl

It was much too hot to bake something, so I made ice-cream. It is a really nice and easy ice-cream, but in my ice-cream maker it did form some crystals. I think this would be less in a custard-based ice-cream, which would probably taste creamier as well. But I’ll have to test that.

The toffee sauce is really a sauce, it is nicely pourable and not too sticky. It is also quite fast and easy to make. You could also serve it as a sauce with the ice-cream instead of swirling it in, or serve it with something else.

Toffee Swirl Ice-cream

Vanilla ice-cream with toffee swirl (600 ml)
From “500 ijsrecepten – Alex Barker”

75 g sugar
475 ml cold milk (preferably full fat)
2 tsp vanilla extract
240 ml cold cream, whipped
toffee sauce

Heat half of the milk with the sugar on low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rest of the milk and the vanilla extract and leave to cool.
Fold the whipped cream in and pour into an ice-cream maker. Follow the manual of your ice-cream maker on how to churn the ice-cream, but it will probably take 30-40 minutes to freeze. After churning, add some toffee sauce and stir a little to form swirls. Place 15 minutes in the freezer to harden, then serve with some extra toffee sauce.
The ice-cream can be kept (well covered) in the freezer for 3 months, but it will gradually will crystallize more, fresh it is tastiest. Take the ice-cream out of the freezer 15 minutes before serving to get it to soften a bit.

Toffee sauce (400 ml)
From “500 ijsrecepten – Alex Barker”

115 g butter
115 g brown sugar
120 ml golden syrup
120 ml cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup together in a saucepan on low heat. Turn up the heat and cook 3-4 minutes. Take from the heat and stir in the cream and vanilla extract. Leave to cool completely. Can be kept in the fridge for 8 days.

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.

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.

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.

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

Jerk chicken

I’ve had lots of fun growing my own chillies, but didn’t have any suitable recipes to use them. All my spicy recipes use lomboks or rawits, the “standard” chillies of Asia and India. The chillies I’d grown were from a plant that I got as a present, and they looked like madame Jeannette/Adjuma chillies (which corresponds with how I got the plant). But these taste completely different than the “standard” chillies, and this flavour doesn’t work at all in Asian dishes. Luckily I found this recipe, in which the use of this chilli is slightly more authentic, and in which it’s fruity flavour will come out perfectly. You can use other chillies (scotch bonnet is authentic, habanero would work well) for this recipe, but they need to be very, very hot to compensate the sweetness and spices from the other ingredients of the marinade.
Jerk is a traditional Jamaican spice mixture that is used for dry rubs and marinades, and a method of cooking. Both the spice mix and the cooking method in this recipe are not like the traditional recipes, but the result is very delicious. I’ve never had real jerk chicken, so I don’t know how it tastes in comparison. I’ve served the chicken with plain white rice to mop up the sauce and cool the palate, and a refreshing cucumber salad. You really do need something refreshing and cooling because of the spiciness, so a pineapple salsa or something like that would also be nice.

Jerk chicken
From Yvette van Boven – Volkskrant magazine

3 tbsp white wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp brown rum
2 chillies, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp ginger
2 tl brown sugar
1 chicken, cut in pieces (or use chicken thighs, or hake/lamb/pork)

Put all in the ingredients except the chicken in a kitchen machine or blender, and purée. Put in a (food safe) plastic bag together with the chicken. Close the bag, mix everything well and put in the fridge overnight. Preheat the oven to 180C. Take the chicken from the marinade and place on a baking sheet. Roast 50 minutes, turning the chicken pieces every now and again. Pour the marinade in a small pan, cook down slightly, add some ketchup and soy sauce, and serve with the chicken.

Note: if possible, cook on the bbq.

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.

Coconut-pineapple baked oatmeal

I made baked oatmeal in a few different flavours before, and I keep loving the concept. You can make it in advance, it has whole grains and fruit, and it makes a tasty, filling breakfast. Therefore I decided to make a new flavour variation, perfect for summer (or when you want to be reminded of summer): coconut and pineapple.
This variation is quite firm, I guess you could even eat it as a bar instead of from a bowl. I find that the pineapple makes the whole thing sweet enough (and lovely pineapple-y), I like my breakfast not too sweet. If you like sweet, add some sugar. Or drizzle with honey when serving. I like to eat it with some yoghurt, but I think it would be delicious with a splash of coconut milk too, to even further enhance the coconut flavour.

Coconut Pinapple Baked Oatmeal

Coconut-pineapple-vanilla baked oatmeal (6 portions)

1/2 cup grated coconut
2 1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup puréed pineapple (I puréed the pineapple from a 425 g can of pineapple on juice, and used the juice for another purposes)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can)

Preheat the oven to 175C.
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in the other, then combine. Mix well, pour into a 20×20 cm baking dish and cover with aluminium foil. Place in the oven, bake for 20 minutes, then remove the aluminium foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
Cover well with aluminium foil or cling film and store for a maximum of 5 days in the fridge.

Mango ice-cream

For once, Jamie Oliver is good for something (again). I loved him when he first started to do tv series, with dinner parties in his apartment, all kind of quirky and fun things. But things got out of hand, and although I admire some of the things he does (helping disadvantaged youth, promoting healthy school meals, cooking fast, cheap and healthy meals), it seems that Jamie nowadays is more a brand, created to make as much money as possible through all kinds of different channels (worldwide tv, his own magazines as well as guest articles in lots of other magazines, a pre-made food range, kitchenware, etc; some of them quite contradictory with each other and the other things he does), than the fun, quirky chef with original ideas that he was.
24Kitchen, a Dutch food channel, shows some of the tv series of Jamie Oliver, so sometimes when I’m zapping (channel surfing) I see a bit of his series. In this particular bit of episode I saw, he used frozen fruit and yoghurt to make ice-cream. I’ve seen this method before, for example on Saturday Kitchen (a BBC tv series), and in lots of magazines, but I never came around to making it. But this time I had a tiny bit of yoghurt left that needed using up, so this was the perfect moment for trying out this method of making ice-cream. I used 250 gram frozen mango and 50 ml yoghurt, but you can add a bit more yoghurt if you like. When you add too much the ice-cream will become too runny (which is also nice, then you can call it a smoothie). Alternatively you could make this with frozen banana, and maybe also with other fruit, but it should have enough flavour, because things tend to get a bit bland when they are frozen. The preparation is easy, just throw the frozen mango and a splosh of yoghurt in a food processor (if your food processor is small, do it in batches) and blitz until smooth and ice-creamy. You may need to scrape down the bowl once or twice and blitz again to make sure everything is processed. Serve immediately (you cannot store it).
I knew it was easy, but I was still surprised how easy, and how well it worked even in my small, not so powerful food processor. The flavour was lovely clean and mango-y, and if I hadn’t known the ingredients, I would have thought it was an Italian gelato (but it is much healthier than that). Just keep some frozen fruit in the freezer and yoghurt in the fridge (two things I usually do anyway) and voilà: instant dessert!