Friday, December 28, 2012

Tea time

How have your holidays been? Mine were great. In the last few days of the year, I always look back at the past year. For the last few months I'm very busy with my cooking classes. I enjoy giving them and get a lot of energy from them.
I get inspired from the lessons and from my meadow and get a lot of creativity from it.
My concept is clear: cooking form scratch and the ingredients that I use, I want to make sure that they are as sustainable as possible. And the vegetables that are in season and growing in my meadow can be handpicked by my students.
And the recipes that we use do have to be appealing, seasonal ingredients and easy to make. And off course they have to taste great.
Off course when I have a course the recipes I've taken with me do have all the aspects I want. And luckily the people who take my cooking classes are very enthusiastic to.
For my meadow I'm still learning. I've got a lot of veggies and fruit last year, but also problems. Rabbits are very common in this region and they do like a lot of my greens to. In the permaculture course I'm following there are no eco-friendly solutions, except put a fence around my vegetable beds.
And a fence is not very practical with guests in my meadow.
I'm thinking of solutions for the upcoming year. I'm also making my plans for what to grow. I can't wait for spring (and yet winter has just begun).
I did cooking demonstrations to let people taste what the possibilities were at the classes or with the ingredients of my supplier. And I got media attention. An article in a newspaper. A lot of positive attention from that to.
A downside of all of this is that I don't blog as much as I did in the past. Simply because there is no time or the recipes I'm testcooking are for the classes and they don't get published on my blogs (yet).
That's something I want to do more in the next couple of months.
So my new years resolution will be:
Blog more: recipes and pictures of my meadow. Change the appearance of my posts a little bit: Just one finished photo instead of four because that takes a lot of extra work and sometimes great recipes don't make it to the blog, because I've only got the end result picture.
Do expand my concept for cooking classes: the concept is expanding further.
Lately making your own high tea is popular.
And have fun! Because I think that is the most important part of the success of the classes. When you have fun, you get energy, you get inspiration, you get creativity, you get better and have better recipes, give better classes and so furthermore.
So my motto for next year will be FUN.

Hope you did enjoy my looking back on last year and hope to see you in the new year. And for my one picture of today, I choose to take a photo of a part of the small bites we can make at our high tea (but as you know, recipes change with season!)

Have a great new year!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winterwonderland in Holland


Isn't it beautiful  that I can say, this is my workspot. Well, not at the moment, because with the snow I can't do much in it. But you can see that the cold glass is very well insulated, so I can harvest. And the chicken coop is really beautiful in the snow. It looks great.

In my kitchen I'm ready for my christmasworkshop at December 11th. The recipes are done, the photos are done (I like it to combine my recipes with nice pictures). I'm very glad with the menu. Elegant food for Christmas!

Probably you haven't noticed it (because it only was spread in a part of the Netherlands), but the Brabants Dagblad, a newspaper wrote an article on 4Pure. Very nice and I got a lot of positive response. The article (only in Dutch) can be found here:

Hereby the picture made by my husband that went with the article. Made only a few days earlier with a lot of sunshine in my meadow and not a blink of snow. Weather can change very fast.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Leftovers: Zucchini and aubergine

Saturday was the annually Round table 73 event: a running dinner. An activity with lots of fun, where you are assigned to an entree, maincourse or dessert. In the evening you call where you need to go to enjoy your entree and/or maincourse (no one knows). And when you have to make the entree or main course you hear the bell ringing and when you open the door you see who is going to visit you.
Very suprising and delicious.
This year we had the main course. I've made fresh pasta, with a saltimbocca and filled zucchini.
But every year I've got leftovers, this year wasn't different. In my case aubergine, tomato, zucchini, home made red pesto and basil.
And I don't want to throw anything away. So, tada, look on the pictures above, I've used evertything in these three recipes. The first one is a vegetarian oven dish with potatoe, aubergine, zucchini en red pesto. The second one marinated aubergine in a soja-sesame sauce. And the last picture is a zucchini-mustard soup.

Unique dishes, really nice. And when you wonder why the candle and flower are on every picture. I dressed my table quite nice with candles, flowers and wineglasses. I loved the result and you?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The daring cooks: brining and roasting


Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!

Yes, it worked. I couldn't get my layout quite working last week, but after some help and troubleshooting I'm finally ready to blog the daring cooks recipe (too late I know, but that was because of the problems).

I've never heard of brining before. So this was a great challenge to try something new. I choose to take a salmon, because we love the fish, but roasting a fish can be quite challenging.

And I'm glad I did. The seasoning was good, the roasting went terrific and everyone liked it.

For the recipe:
I found this recipe on ehow.com and was very fond of it.

- 200 grams brown sugar
- 265 grams seasalt;
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper;
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper;
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce;
- 120 mL water;

Heat 60 mL of the water. Dissolve the sugar and salt in it. Poor in the rest of the water, soy sauce and both peppers. Place the salmon fillets in the mixture, with the skin-side down, making sure everything is covered by the brine. Leave the salmon in the brine for about 24 hours. Place the salmon on a rack to dry and let the excess brine drip off.

Heat the grill pan. Coat the salmon with sunflower oil. Grill on both sites until the salmon is done.

For the end result:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Daring cooks: paella

Our Daring Cooks’ September 2012 hostess was Inma of la Galletika. Inma brought us a taste of Spain and challenged us to make our very own delicious Paella!

Lately I've given a lot of cooking classes. Also the meadow got a lot of productivity. And you can see that in the ratio I'm blogging. Lately none. Sorry. I would like to promise it is going to be better the next  couple of weeks, but that probably is a promise I can't keep. 

For this week I've planned two posts: this paella and a great recipe from Dorie Greenspan with pears.

Let's start with the paella. Inma challenged us to make a great paella. We've been on vacation to Spain this year and the memories of a great and beautiful paella come to mind. So a great paella recipe is a plus. I didn't use a paellera because I haven't got one, but the result in my own pan was great. Naturally the homegrown beans, peas and pepper also made a difference.
Surely a recipe when you want to get the vacation feeling back. 

For the recipe:

- 500 gram shrimp, cleaned and deveined;
- 250 gram pork lion, diced;
- 500 mL chicken stock;
- 500 mL fish stock;
- 500 gram chicken breast, diced;
- 500 gram pre-boiled long grain rice;
- 3 saffron threads;
- 4 garlic cloves;
- 2 sprigs of parsley;
- 170 gram crushed tomatoes;
- 125 gram greens beans;
- 125 gram peas;
- lemon;
- 1/2 red pepper, cut into stripes.

Dice two garlic cloves. Heat in the pan the olive oil, add the diced garlic cloves and remove. Add shrimp, sauté and when it turns pink remove it and set apart. Fry the chicken and the pork. Add pepper to the chicken and pork, sauté. Add salt to taste. Add crushed tomatoes and the chicken stock. Boil for 30 minutes. Add the fish stock and the green beans. Make the "la picada". In a grinder crush the two garlic cloves, parsley and saffron. Add a little bit of the paella's broth. Pour it into the paella. Spread the rice through the pan and add the peas. The paella must  continue boiling until the rice is dry. Add some lemon drops and the shrimp. Wait until the broth is consumed. Turn off the heat and cover with come clean cloth towels. Let rest for 15 minutes. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The daring cooks: cornmeal batter


Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!
The daring cooks challenge this month was to cook something with a cornmeal batter. And that is a challenge, because I don't like the most recipes with cornmeal. Except for bread, but that is a recipe for the daring bakers instead of the daring cooks. Rachel was so kind to give a few examples and so I got the recipe for fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

That's quite an American recipe. In America pancakes are eaten as breakfast, but that's not very usual in the Netherlands. We eat pannenkoeken, which looks like it, but it's still very different and we eat it as lunch. So I though it is a nice recipe for the challenge.
And I add maple syrup, which also is quite American.
The pancakes did taste very good, so I can see from this day that in my recipe box there is a great recipe with cornmeal (thankt to Rachel and a blog: www.fullcirclefoodie.com).

- 160 gram flower;
- 180 gram cornmeal;
- 4 eggs (L);
- 1 teaspoon bakingpowder;
- 1 teaspoon bakingsoda;
- 1 teaspoon salt;
- 600 mL buttermilk;
- 6 tablespoons (90 gram) unsalted butter, ongezouten, melted and cooled down.

Mix in a bowl the solid ingredients. In a second bowl whisk the eggs, buttermilk and butter. Poor this bowl to the first bowl and mix very well, so the clumbs are gone.
Heat a littlebit oil in a fryingpan and take 1 ice scoop of batter and poor it in the pan. My pan is large enough to make three pancakes at once. Wait for about 1.5 minutes and turn the pancakes around. Bake for another minute and the pancake is finished. You can keep them warm in a oven.

Serving tip: Poor a little maple syrup on top, for a nice lunch (I still can't quite see it as a breakfast recipe).

That could look like this:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

TwD: Blueberry Nectarine Pie

Yes, I'm late. But not on purpose, or that I was late with the baking. No, Aperture went down. That's the program I use to archive my photo's. And it didn't work anymore. But finally, about 25 minutes after the 31th of July, I'm back again.
With the results of the Blueberry nectarine pie. It was a fresh and delicious pie. The only thing I regret was that it was about a month to early. I had to buy all the ingredients instead of taking them out of my garden (I have looked at them on daily basis and know by know you can't watch them ripen).
That's all I'm going to blog today (it's already so late), see you next time.

If you want to see what the others made then you can look at:

For the recipe you can go to these two webpages of our hosts of this month:


For my end result:

Friday, July 27, 2012

French fridays with Dorie: Lemon Barley pilaf


Sometimes you don't blog for a couple of weeks and so twice a day. That is a possibility when the publication dates of the Daring kitchen and French Fridays with Dorie are on the same day. Today the recipe is Lemon Barley Pilaf. And this was a challenge. Barley is not very common in the Netherlands. In fact I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally I choose Bulgur instead of Barley, something I didn't try as well before this Friday.

And the recipe was very good. The weather was warm and that's a great addition to this summer recipe. It got lemon, pepper and fish in it.
I found it really great that every ingredient (except the Bulgur) was available in my own meadow. That feels great and tastes great either.

For warm days a great recipe to make (and I did like the Bulgur).

In the next couple of weeks I'm going to make extra recipes from French Fridays with Dorie. I missed quite a lot (and started to late) and the intention is to make the whole book, so that's what I'm trying to achieve. I will cook what's in season however, because that's my goal.

If you want to know what the other Doristas made of it, you can read it on:

And for the end result:

The daring bakers challenge: crackers


Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.
Crackers, the July challenge of the daring bakers. Something I didn't make before and I really wanted to try sometimes. But because of the vacation I didn't see / think about the challenge until two days ago. And yesterday I discovered I had to make two different crackers, one with a pasta machine. So I had (to) little time to choose the right recipes and to adjust taste. And that was a pity, but there is a start. But the flavor was not optimal.

That's something that I'm going to adjust in the near future. I shall put an * at the recipe on what I'm going to change when I make the recipe.

Cheddar herb crackers:
- 200 gram Cheddar, grated;
- 235 gram all purpose flour;
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano;
- 1/2 teaspoon salt;
- 1/2 teaspoon peper;
- 120 mL olive oil, extra vierge;
- 120 mL water.
* Topping: in the original recipe there was a mixture of 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of cayennepeper sprinkled on top. This was to much for our family. Without anything it wasn't right either. I will make this one again with sea salt on top.

Mediterranean herb whole-wheat crackers:
- 120 gram whole wheat;
- 125 gram all purpose flour;
- 2/3 teaspoon salt;
- 180 mL water (37 degrees Celsius);
- 55 mL olive oil, extra vierge;
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped;
- 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped;
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped.
* Topping: smear a bit of olive oil on top and sprinkle sea salt on it.

Cheddar herb crackers:
Mix all the ingredients until you got a dough. When the dough sticks to much, add a little bit of extra flour. When it is falling apart, poor some water on the dough and mix again. Wrap the dough in plastic foil and let it rest for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Roll the dough with a roller and cut the crackers with a cookie cutter. Lay baking paper on a baking plate and spread the crackers on them. Bake the crackers during 20 minutes.

Mediterranean herb whole-wheat crackers:
Mix all the ingredients until a dough is formed. Knead for at least another 5 minutes. When the dough is falling apart, poor a little extra water on it. When it sticks add a little extra flour. Put the dough in a bowl, cover it with a wet towel and let it rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Take your pasta machine and roll the dough. Cut the dough in triangles. Layer a baking plate with baking paper. Put the crackers on them. Bake during 20 minutes or until the cracker becomes golden brown.

The end result:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Home made Ice tea


We've got such a great weather in the Netherlands and are really enjoying it. But warm weather is thirsty weather. And I want to give my children something tasty and refreshing, without artificial color, fragrances and flavors. I can get them plain water. That's beverage number one around here, but sometimes you want something else. That's this ice tea.
Really refreshing with this warm weather and including vitamins.
A nice thing is that in the near future I can make my own ice tea, from the ingredients in my house. As you can see on the left picture I've got my own lemon- and orange tree. I'm looking for my tea bush and then I'm done.

The only disadvantage of this recipe is that you have to wait 2 hours before you can drink it, so it is really, really cold. But then you got a great beverage.
As for the tea, I used a white tea with Jasmin.

The recipe
- 1 liter tea;
- 2 oranges;
- 2 lemons;
- 1 cinnamon stick;
- 1 tablespoon of honey;
- mint (eg. you can take other green herbs like ginger mint or something like that);
- sugar at taste
- ice cubes

Get the juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange. Poor the orange juice and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a jug. Add the tea, cinnamon, honey and herbs. Taste and add sugar to taste (stir very well, the sugar tends to gather at the bottom of the jug). Add the ice cubes. Cut the other orange and lemon in small slices. Add them to the jug as well. Let it cool for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
For serving: Add some ice cubes in a glass and poor the juice on it.

As for the result (with straws as was very necessary for my eldest):

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Banana cupcakes


It's been a long time, but I'm back again. Vacation, a couple of birthdays, a lot of work on my own cooking classes. It all was very crazy. But it was great to. I love vacation (of course), but I also like to work in my own business. It gives me a lot of energy.

My son had his birthday and I made cupcakes. Banana cupcakes, strawberry and chocolate cupcakes. In the next couple of weeks I'm going to blog all the recipes, but I want to start with the banana cupcakes. They were delicious. People took two of them!!!
And I love to do cupcakes for a birthday party, because they don't take a lot of work.

So for the recipe. I adapted it from Martha Stewarts cupcakes (I didn't have the pecans in house).

- 3 cups cake flour;
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda;
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder;
- 3/4 teaspoon salt;
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon;
- 4 very ripe and large bananas, mashed;
- 3/4 cup (180 mL) buttermilk;
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract;
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature;
- 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar;
- 3 large eggs, room temperature.

Caramel butter cream (about 2 cups):
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons of sugar;
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) water;
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) heavy cream;
- 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature;
- 2 large egg whites;
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Grease muffin tins and line them with the paper cups. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt en cinnamon. In a second bowl whisk together the bananas, buttermilk and vanilla.

In a third bowl mix on medium speed the butter with the brown sugar until it's fluffy Add eggs, one at a time, beating until it's incorporated. Reduce to low speed. Add half of the flour, then the banana mixture and end with the rest of the flour. Beat just enough to incorporate it.
Divide the mixture in the cups.
Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, and remind to turn the cakes halfway of the time.
Let them cool down for 3 minutes and get them out of the tins. Let them cool down on a wire rack until they are completely cooled down, before putting the caramel butter cream on top.

Caramel butter cream
Combine 1/4 cup of sugar plus 1 tablespoon and the water in a heavy saucepan.
Heat over medium, until the sugar is dissolved and you have a clear syrup. Cook until it comes to a boil and let it boil until it has got a very dark amber color. Remove from heat, put gloves on and add the cream, while stirring with a wooden spoon. Let cool down (it will dissolve).

With a mixer, medium - high speed, beat the butter until fluffy. Combine in a second bowl 1/4 of the sugar with the egg whites. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water (au-bain-marie) and whisk constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Get it of the heat and mix further, starting on low speed gradually going to high speed, until peaks have formed. Change speed of the mixer to medium and add the beaten butter in 3 times. Mix well after each addition. Add the vanilla.

Set the mixer on low speed and very slowly add your caramel to the mixture.
Use the mixture on room temperature.

And for the end result:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ffwd: olive oil ice cream


Today is a very special day for me. For the first time I blog on my new and improved site (http://www.4pure.nl/page2/index.php?id=1813789023529597973). Not only that, I've started my own business in providing cooking evenings, combined with picking the vegetables, herbs and fruit fresh in my meadow. And it cost a lot of work to make the website and to get my meadow in the perfect state. But I'm almost there. And I'm excited. And I hope you enjoy the new layout.

As for today, it's friday and we are making with our group French Fridays with Dorie Olive oil ice cream. And I know, it sounds crazy. It sounds not like a great dessert. I like olive oil on my salad or to bake, but in my ice cream, I wasn't quite sure about that. But if you're going to join a group you make the recipe. And the result.... it's delicious. The olive oil gives a real nice touch to the ice cream. Never would have guest that upon tasting it. So thank you Dorie for sharing that great recipe.

If you want to know what the other cooks thought of this icecream, you can look at:

And here the final result, does look like it's summer isn't it:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My meadow: flower impression


As I said, I have taken my camera in my meadow and took some pictures. Aren't this beautiful flowers. On the left you see thyme, which smells delicious. In the middle there is a strawberry with a ladybug. More natural it won't get. And to the right there is the blossom of the runner been. Underneath I took a picture in my flower garden from a Euphorbia.
My flower garden is blooming right now, so it won't be a problem to get fresh flowers inside the house.
But they are great in my garden too.
Do you have a lot of flowers around your house?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Potatoes roasted in the oven


With 4 squared meters of thyme plants I got myself a new problem. Which one can I use for this recipe. I took the one with the strongest thyme smell. I thought that would be great odor in the house.
It really is. The dish did not only taste quite good, but smelled similar.

I took small potatoes (don't know how to pronounce this kind in English) and brushed them to clean them. My children love them when they are peeled, but the most vitamin are just underneath it, so I prefer to eat them unpeeled.
With this kind of potato you almost don't notice the skin because it is so thin.

The potatoes were eaten very well. I had to buy more because they go by the pound. But almost everyone was gone.
The only issue was that the potatoes weren't fully done when they got out of the oven, so we put them in a frying pan for a few minutes.
Usually I boil them 10 minutes before putting them in the oven, so I don't get that kind of issue.
Maybe I should try that the next time (or you should have a great idea for this one).

For the recipe:
- 2 pounds of small potatoes;
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced very thin;
- 3 shallots, quartered;
- 2 sprigs of thyme, cut in small pieces;
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil;
- salt;
- 3 tablespoons of water.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (or 390 degrees Fahrenheit). Brush the skin of the potato and rinse them carefully. Put them in an oven dish. Combine it with the garlic, shallots, thyme and olive oil and mix well. Add enough salt to get the right taste.
Poor the water in the dish and cover it with aluminum foil or a lid.
Place the dish in the oven, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and let them cook for another 10 minutes (to get a crunchy bite).