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Saturday, January 15, 2022

Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip

Growing up in Luxembourg, where you have access to real good bread and international foods my love for dips and spreads has grown enormously over the years. I love them with freshly chopped veg, crunchy pizza bread or spread on toast.  Or shall I say especially on toast. The doughy flavours form the bread combined with the charged flavour of a good dip are just a perfect combination. 

It all started when I discovered hummus in Lebanon. I remember my friendly telling his mom that I haven't eaten anything but hummus 'the whole day'. Ive already mentioned this in my hummus post, I know, but this anecdote is just so on point. I love discovering new foods. I've definitely eaten my way through Lebanese cuisine, but when it comes down to it hummus is all I need and actually want. It's so pure.

I think we can all agree that I cannot eat hummus all day every day. That is correct, and if you've been following me for a while, and see the bits and bobs I post on Instagram, you know well that my meals are very diverse and mostly well-balanced. Every now and then, when I don't have plans or duties on Saturday mornings I'll just brunch at home with fresh fruit, granola and various dips and bread. It's a rollercoaster of flavours and textures yet they all have something in common:  they're delicious. But what makes a genuinely good dip? They're always creamy even when sometimes slightly chunky. But in a good way. They contain at least one grain, vegetables a little bit of acidity and good quality olive oil. As Thomas Hümbs from Das grosse Backen would say: es hat die Säure, es hat den Crunch. (literally: it contains the acidity and the crunch it needs) 

For one portion you'll need: 
3 red bell pepper
3 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp 
130g walnuts
2 small garlic cloves
juice from one lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 200° 

Cut the bell peppers in half, remove stems, seeds and membranes. Place the peppers on a parchment paper lined baking tray with the cut side down. Rub with 1 tsp of olive oil, then roast for 40 minutes until the skins are very dark and blistered. 

Now transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Wait ten minutes, remove the wrap and let cool a few more minutes before removing the skin. 

Reduce the heat to 160°. Spread the walnuts on another parchment paper lined baking tray and toast for 7 minutes max, as the nuts should not burn. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor blitz the garlic until finely chopped. Add peppers, walnuts, olive oil, spices and lemon juice and blitz until your preferred consistency. Season with salt to taste. Garnish with a few walnut chunks and parsley.

Enjoy!!!




Sunday, January 2, 2022

Hasselback Winter Salad

 

Winter is here and after all the festive indulgence my body was definitely asking for nutritious food again. You probably know that feeling when you're looking at your pantry and every cell of your body screams: enough! I admit, after all the baking it was time that I come up with some savoury and most and for all healthy dishes again. Even though most of you enjoyed the festive baking and seasonal desserts quite a lot, at some point it's also time to adjust the lever. 

The best thing about winter salads is that they're often a combination of fresh and crunchy vegetables and lukewarm grains and carbs. During the cold season it's often difficult to add some color (except the obvious green) to healthy dishes but here we are. Add on: beans are a great source of protein as well. Rounding the whole thing up with my favourite herb adds a little extra flavour to it.


For two bowls you'll need:
2 large potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 rosemary sprigs
65g quinoa
65g rice
1/2 tsp curcuma
2 handful chopped spinach
1/2 cucumber
120g red beans
65g peas
100g feta
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tsp buddha bowl spice (or a mixture of ground ginger, cumin, coriander, pepper, cayenne pepper)
sea salt


For the dressing:
4 tbsp olive oil
juice of one lemon
1tbsp apple cider vinegar 

*****

Preheat the oven to 180°

Place the potatoes on a chopping board and slice through the potato. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Put the potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Add the rosemary in between the slices, then season with sea salt. Bake for around 45-50 minutes.

Now cook the quinoa and rice in two different pots. 

Rinse the cucumber and cut into small cubes. Rinse the spinach, then finely chop. Put both greens into a large bowl. add the beens, crumbled feta and peas. Mix then add the quinoa. In a separate bowl add the curcuma to the rice, mix well, then add to the salad. 

For the dressing, first chop the rosemary. In a small bowl whip together all the liquids then add the chopped rosemary. Pour over the salad and mix until it's well coated. 

Dress each bowl with a few tablespoons of salad, then place the hasselback potatoes on top.

Enjoy!!! 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Spitzbuben


So I guess it's ON. The real deal of Christmas baking has started. 

I don't know why but this year the Christmas vibes hit me fairly early. At the office we have also started decorating and it's been looking A LOT like Christmas for a month now. Being in the mood this early means that the craving for festive treats has started earlier as well. 

When it comes to Christmas baking, I am always reminiscing. With my grandpa we used to bake loads and loads of Spritzgebäck. With my parents we'd often go to Austria or the south of Germany during this period of the year. A place where you'd always get a box full of different cookies and biscuits in whatever hotel we stayed. The variety of textures, shapes, spices and flavours definitely makes this the most wonderful time of the year! 

So here we are with an all time fave and a real classic in German Christmas baking: SPITZBUBEN.

For 40 filled cookies you'll need: 

480g flour
200g butter
100g sugar
8g vanilla sugar
3 egg yolks
50 grated almonds
jam of your choice (originally red currant jelly)
icing sugar for the final touch


Cut the butter into small cubes. Put the flour on your kitchen worktop or in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla sugar and the grated almonds, then kneed firmly into a smooth dough. 

Flatten the dough into two discs. Wrap them separately in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°

Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator and let sit several minutes. Remove the cling film and roll the dough to a 3-4 mm thickness. Use your favourite cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place them to a parchment paper lined baking tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Here again, watch the cookies, as all ovens work differently. Cookies should be golden and not too dark. Repeat the same process with the second disk. This time, when you've cut out the cookies, use a smaller cookie cutter and cut the renters out. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Let all cookies cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. 

To finalise the cookie sandwich, dust cutout cookies with icing sugar. Spread 1 tsp of jam over the whole cookies, then place the cutout cookies on top. 

Leave the cookies out to dry overnight. The cookies will keep in a tin for about 2 weeks. 

Bon appétit!

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Gingerbread Loaf

 


Some might say it's too early to talk about Christmas baking, but with the first advent Sunday just around the corner, I thought this gingerbread loaf would make a perfect start. 

When I was still living with my parents, my mom would always buy a gingerbread loaf around St Nicholas day. With Christmas treats popping up in the grocery shops earlier every year, thought I'd give this traditional Belgian recipe a try this year. I did some decent research, talked to friends and acquaintances but no one seemed to own a recipe. So I dogged a little deeper and combined three recipes, which turns out to be THE RECIPE for an on point gingerbread loaf. I love when recipe development becomes a kind of math equation and turns out just as it should.

Traditionally this type of gingerbread comes with a bit of butter on it, but I love to enjoy it with apricot jam. The honey and spices make a perfect base for the fruity topping and round it all up. However, every now and then I do also love the traditional way of eating it.


For one loaf you'll need:
330g flour
200g water
350g honey
90g brown sugar
15g gingerbread spice
15g baking powder
100g almond slivers

****
Preheat the oven to 160°

In a large bowl whisk together the water, honey, gingerbread spice and sugar. Gradually add the flour and baking powder until you get an even dough. Carefully fold in the almonds, then pour the dough into a greased loaf tin. Bake for around 50 - 60 minutes (check after 50 minutes, and when the toothpick comes out clean, the loaf is ready)

Let cool for a few minutes, then take the loaf out of the baking tin.

Enjoy!!! 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Easter Eggnog Cocktail


This year I got a little creative for my Easter recipes.  Whereas the Internet is full of cakes, and meats, I thought it would be nice - especially if we're spoilt with a sunny Easter Sunday - to have a fizzy cocktail that the very few guests we can invite, could enjoy.

I've had a similar drink on my travels. Last month, when scrolling through my travel pictures the idea came to me, that I could twist the drink I had with local eggnog. What once was considered as grandma's Easter spirit, is now a key ingredient to this delicious cocktail. Best thing? It's shaken up in 30 seconds. 

With my fellow food bloggers, we've teamed up to create en entire Easter menu. Scroll further down to find all the delicious recipes. 


For two glasses you'll need:
10 cl eggnog 
10 cl champagne
5 cl gin
6 cl lemon juice


Shake eggnog, gin and lemon juice until well combined. Slowly stir in the champagne until you get an even mixture. Pour into two cocktail glasses. Accoring to taste, add some ice cubes. 

For the entire menu you'll have:
Eggnog Cocktail
Wild Garlic Soup with fried Egg by Kleines Kuliversum

Enjoy!!!









Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Peanut Brownies



Is there a better way to start February than with fudgy gooey peanut brownies?! Trust me, the melting flavours of bittersweet chocolate and salty peanuts is a match made in heaven. Typing these words I'm thrilled and still struck with disbelief all at once. I've had peanut allergies for more than a decade, and only two years ago my doctor confirmed that they're gone. Maybe even for good. 

As you can imagine, having suffered from this nut allergy made me really precocious. People don't always take you seriously when you tell them you can't eat a certain group of foods. But there it was: the day I left the doctor's and could have run to the supermarket to enjoy my first pack of m&ms or a snickers. But that didn't quite happen. At first I didn't dare to include peanuts into my diet. Over the months I've tried a bite here and there, but mid last year, I had a stack of pancakes with peanut butter and berries. And it was sooooo delicious. 

So... here we are. Inmidst of a pandemic celebrating the disparition of most of food allergies. 


For 12 brownies you need:
250g butter
200g flour
280g good quality chocolate
4 eggs
250g sugar
65g cacao powder
200g salted peanuts

*****

Preheat the oven to 150°

Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and sugar up for 5 minutes until well combined. Pour in the melted chocolate-butter mixture and mix again. Add the flour and cacao, then finally the peanuts. 

Pour the batter into a buttered brownie tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. 

Enjoy!!!!

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