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: