Apple strudel

It is winter, so we find ourselves eating loads of apples. Here is another favourite way to encase apples: the mighty strudel.

This is the original recipe I followed: Apple strudel from BBC food. Instead of the nutmeg suggested in the recipe, I used the more traditional cinnamon; instead of the orange, lemon.

Ingredients

680g eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
½ lemon, juice and zest only
100g caster sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
55g sultanas
6-8 sheets ready-made filo pastry
55g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
2 tsp powdered sugar

Procedure

1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C.

2. Place the apple, lemon juice and zest, sugar, cinnamon and sultanas into a large bowl and mix well.

3. Brush each sheet of filo pastry with melted butter, then place the sheets of pastry on top of each other and onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper.

4. Sprinkle the top sheet of filo with some dried breadcrumbs, then spoon the apple mixture down the middle of the filo sheet.

5. Carefully roll the pastry up around the filling like a cigar, using the greaseproof paper to help.

6. Place the filo roll onto a greased baking tray, brush with any remaining melted butter and cook for 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned and the filling is hot.

7. When cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Apple tart

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Please note the little touches of card symbols for the boyfriend

I love this cake. I love apples. And I love this recipe. I said it before, and I will say it again. This is THE book on pastry: Pastry: Savoury and Sweet.

Follow the recipe, and the results will follow.

Ingredients

300 g pâte brisée (the recipe here makes about 450 g)
six dessert apples, about 850 g (ideally Cox’s)
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
60 g butter
80 g caster sugar

Procedure

1. Roll out the pastry to a round, 3 mm thick, and use it to line a 24 cm loose bottomed tart tin. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 min.

2. Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Peel, core, and halve the apples. Cut into 2 mm thick slices. Put a third of the apples (the outer smaller slices) into a saucepan. Add 50 mL water, the vanilla pod, and the butter to the apples in the pan and cook gently until tender. Take off the heat, remove the vanilla pod, and, using a whisk, work to a compote consistency.

3. For the glaze, in a small pan, dissolve the sugar in 40 mL water. Bring to a boil and bubble for 4-5 min to make a syrup. This (vegan!) baking site suggests this should be at a temperature between 107 and 110˚C. Leave to cool.

4. Prick the base of the pastry case. Pour in the cold apple compote and spread with a spoon. Arrange a border of overlapping apple slices around the tart, then arrange another circle inside, with the slices facing the other way. Fill the centre with a little rosette. Bake for about 35 min.

5. Leave the tart to cool for at least 20 min before removing from the tin. Brush the top with the glaze, place the tart on a wire rack and leave until just cooled. Enjoy!

An Arabic-inspired dinner spread

I love having small bits and pieces on the table, and then everyone creates their own customised spread. Indeed, I think that is the main appeal of the vegetarian restaurant chain Tibits. Of course, with the institution of meze, Arabic cuisine is especially adapted to such spreads.

For this particular dinner, I went for only three dishes, as there were only to of us eating, but this can very easily be presented as a feast for ten: multiply the amounts of the recipes I made by three, add hummus, couscous, tabouleh, and some seasonal salad, pita (or some other) bread, and you have yourself a very nice dinner party. To wrap up the theme, serve baklava as dessert and accompany it with coffee or tea.

I remember making two dishes from the wonderful Persiana cookbook, but for the life of me I cannot remember where the aubergine and pepper dish came from…

Yoghurt, cucumber, and mint maast o khiar

Ingredients

large cucumber, coarsely grated
2 tsp dried mint
generous handful of golden raisins
500ml (18fl oz) Greek yogurt
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve (optional)
olive oil
chopped walnuts
finely chopped fresh mint leaves
dried edible rose petals

Procedure

Carefully squeeze out and discard the excess water from the grated cucumber – you can do this by hand or in a sieve. Put the drained cucumber pulp into a mixing bowl.

Add the dried mint and golden raisins to the bowl, followed by the yogurt, and mix well. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. To serve, drizzle with a little olive oil and scatter with chopped walnuts, finely chopped mint leaves and dried rose petals, if desired.

Spiced beef and potato cakes (Kotlet)

Ingredients

115 g breadcrumbs
500 g minced beef
400 g potato, cooked and mashed
1 onion, finely minced
20 g coriander, chopped
2 eggs
2 tsp garlic granules
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil

Procedure

1. Put the breadcrumbs on to a flat plate, ready to coat the patties.

2. Put the remaining ingredients, except for the oil, in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

3. Make patties from the mixture the size of a golf ball and coat in breadcrumbs.

4. Fry in the oiled frying pan, about 6-8 min on each side.

Toasty olive oil granola

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This recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s new book Simply Nigella. I found mixed reviews for the book—and the accompanying show—online, but I love it. Or rather, I love to hate it. The recipes sound very simple and tasty, Nigella looks rather incompetent with the kitchen utensils and is very verbose… Still, I am quite sure this is not the last recipe from this book to be  featured on this blog.

I have done the nutrition analysis on this recipe in the MyFitnessPal app, and assuming this amount gives 15 portions, each portion will be about 60 g and will have about 310 kcal. Add to this some yogurt, and it makes a very nice breakfast.

Ingredients

300g rolled oats (not instant), preferably organic
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
100g natural skin-on almonds
75g sunflower seeds
75g pumpkin seeds
50g brown flaxseeds
50g flaked almonds
25g sesame seeds
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
125ml maple syrup

1 × large baking sheet approx. 46 × 34 × 1.5cm

Procedure

1. Preheat the oven to 150 ° C/ gas mark 2 and line your baking sheet with baking parchment.
2. Tip the oats into a large bowl, add the spices and salt and mix well.
3. Now add all the nuts and seeds, and mix well again.
4. In a measuring jug, combine the oil and maple syrup, then pour the mixture into the oats, nuts and seeds and, with either a fork, or hands encased in disposable vinyl gloves, mix to combine. Tip onto the prepared baking sheet, and move it around so that it covers the tray evenly.
5. Put in the oven to toast gently for 30 minutes and then, with spoons or spatulas, turn it to help toast the underside as well. Put back in the oven for another 30 minutes, and then sit the tray on a wire rack until the granola’s cold.

Aloo Matar and “Ghugni”

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Aloo matar

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“Ghugni,” under quotation marks as I replaced vatana with chickpeas

The trouble with Indian food is that it is not particularly exciting to take pictures of, but the flavours surely compensate for that. One day in the future, not only will you be able to see these photos, but you will also be able to smell the food on this blog, so there will be no need for such disclaimers. For now, all I can do is very strongly suggest the recipes below.

I must say, I think I am getting the hang of the Indian cuisine. I had the wonderful opportunity to taste some authentic Indian home-cooked food at a friend’s place on the same day I prepared these recipes. Of course, mine was not as good, but this was the first time I had a feeling my concoctions were close to the original.

The recipes below are from the cookbook How to cook Indian, by Sanjeev Kapoor. I tweaked some things, but I will give the original recipes here, as, when you cook, it is better to modify the original.

Aloo Matar

(Potatoes and green peas in an onion-tomato gravy)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium red onions, chopped
1½ teaspoons fresh ginger paste (see recipe below)
1½ teaspoons fresh garlic paste (see recipe below)
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red chile powder
4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes
1 cup (235 grams) fresh tomato purée
1¼ cups (190 grams) green peas
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Procedure

1. Place a medium nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the bay leaf and cumin. When the seeds begin to change color, add the onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Add the ginger paste and garlic paste, and sauté for 30 seconds.
2. Add the turmeric, coriander, and chile powder, and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in the potatoes and 3 cups (600 ml) water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are half cooked.
3. Stir in the tomato purée, cover, and cook for 8 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
4. Add the peas, garam masala, and salt, and stir. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
5. Garnish with the cilantro and serve hot.

Ghugni

(Spiced yellow peas)

Ingredients

1 cup (220 grams) yellow vatana (whole dried peas)
1 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh coconut
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 large red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger paste (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon fresh garlic paste (see recipe below)
4 or 5 green chiles, stemmed and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, puréed
1 tablespoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground roasted cumin
½ teaspoon red chile powder
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 medium red onion, diced
4 teaspoons tamarind pulp
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Procedure

1. Put the vatana in a large bowl, wash in plenty of water 2 or 3 times, and drain. Add 3 cups (600 ml) water and soak overnight. Drain in a colander.
2. Place a nonstick saucepan over high heat and add 6 cups (1.2 liters) water. When it comes to a boil, add the vatana and salt. When the mixture comes to a boil again, lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 1½ hours or until very soft.
3. Place a medium nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the coconut and sauté until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the same heated pan. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, onion, ginger paste, garlic paste, and chiles, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned.
5. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until the oil comes to the top.
6. Add the coriander, ground cumin, chile powder, and turmeric, and stir well. Add the cooked peas along with the cooking liquid and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until the liquid thickens.
7. Add the garam masala and stir well.
8. Ladle into individual serving bowls and top with the onion, tamarind pulp, coconut, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Fresh ginger paste

Ingredients

7-inch (18-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

Procedure

1. Put the ginger in a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons water and process to a smooth paste.
2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Fresh garlic paste

Ingredients

25 cloves garlic, peeled

Procedure

1. Put the garlic in a food processor. Add ½ cup (100 ml) water and process to a smooth paste.
2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.