Sunday, June 9, 2013

Home made vanilla ice cream

One week ago Boyfriend gave me such a beautiful present, my very own Kitchen Aid. I cried when I received the present from him and I still cannot believe it. But there it is...standing in my kitchen on his very own place.

So, I finally have the perfect assistant in the kitchen! And it came with an ice cream maker attachment. I have used it already three times (!!!) in one week and I have to say, it is wonderful. I made Pasta Brisee with the machine, vanilla ice cream and this lovely focaccia of this very lovely blog about Italian food. And all three turned out very good.

The most exciting experiment was, needless to say, the vanilla ice cream. As I have always wanted to make my own home-made ice cream. Maybe, if I would still have lived in Italy I would not have dared to make my own ice cream. But here in the Netherlands, with mediocre ice cream, it is certainly not a luxury. And it turns out that home-made ice cream tastes different different than the store-bought one. Or the vanilla ice cream at least...I think the home-made ice cream tastes more real, more pure and it was so creamy and the taste of real vanilla was heavenly!

Friday, December 21, 2012

I am back in the kitchen!

More than two months we have lived in total chaos. We renovated our kitchen. What a work that was! How tiring. Working almost full-time and then to come home to CHAOS! Can you imagine that we couldn’t cook, that we had to wash our plates and cups in the bathroom sink and that I have eaten a few times food out of a can….And that for two months? Oh, I said that already didn’t I?

Already-made-food bought in the supermarket, why would people even consider that? Except when you really have no choice. Why not make your own, healthy, delicious soup for example? It doesn't have to take up much time, if time is the issue. And the taste….why do some people just not care about the taste? Food is there to make us life more beautiful, not just to feed our body to keep it alive. Why feed it then with crappy food?  Food is not something unimportant. You eat 3 meals a day! I can’t understand the attitude of some people towards food. If you do not take pleasure in basic things like food, what is the point? Am I being too dramatic?

Last Friday the kitchen came and after one and a half day we were able, at last, to cook our first meal in our new kitchen*. What a joy! Even if it was just a simple meal: a pasta with broccoli, it was the most delicious dish we could wish for. We were so grateful. We are so grateful. Living in a house without a kitchen, is a house without a soul. So now I am back on my blog. Happy to be back. Oh, and I realized that last October it has been already two years that I started this blog! Two years. Unbelievable.

*I will post pictures of my kitchen soon but for now it isn’t completely ready.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Impression of the Netherlands

Sometimes I just talk too much. Many of those words are just empty, polite phrases. Is anyone really saying what they want to say? Sometimes I am just too naive. Will I ever learn? I don't know. Some lessons I never seem to learn. 

Anyway, I want to show you some humble but beautiful treasures I have discovered. And they were just in front of me! I'm glad I am at least mastering the art of looking. Really looking. 

I wish you all a happy new week! 

 A beautiful autumn day on the beach. The smell of the sea and of fried food. 

Poffertjes. A typical Dutch sweet delicacy. You can compare poffertjes to pancakes but they are thicker and therefore they have a more "doughy" taste. The classic poffertjes are served with butter and icing sugar but as you can see in the picture you can get them in all kind of varieties. If you ever visit the Netherlands you can't leave without having tasted poffertjes


Kruidnoten covered with dark, milk and white chocolate. Kruidnoten are, according to the description on Wikipedia: "(...) a cookie-like kind of confectionery, traditionally associated with the early December Sinterklaas  (on 5 December) holiday in the Netherlands." The taste is a bit similar to speculoos, if you've ever tasted that, although I might insult fans of kruidnoten

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dinner for one

When do you know you made the right choice? Only when you start believing it yourself? It's been pretty hard adjusting to The Netherlands again. Moving from Switzerland to this overcrowded country was a bit of a shock. There's always so many people, the streets are certainly not so clean as in Switzerland and people are just so loud on the street, in the office. And I have to get used to the bluntness of the Dutch, again. Here in The Netherlands you are always expected to have an opinion about everything. This is cleverly observed by the Chinese-Dutch writer Lulu Wang and since I read that I can not stop thinking about it. It's so true! "What do you think about.....?" Is probably the most-asked question during a workday here in The Netherlands. If you do not give a spontaneous speech about why you had a nice weekend and what was so nice about it, well, they will ask you about the details. I miss the politeness, the timidity, of the Swiss. And the food here...people do not seem to give a lot about food. They are perfectly happy eating a sandwich with cheese for lunch. And of course it's a whole-wheat flour sandwich. If you ever dare to bring white bread -the devil- to your work, well, you certainly get  loads of (unwanted) opinions.

So today I could not resist it anymore: I had to cook. I really had to. It was all I could think about. It is my only way to relax. For a while I was wondering if my love for cooking, my passion for food, had faded away. I did not feel the desire to cook. In the last month I just boiled some water for cous cous and I baked an egg, sunny-side up. Since one week it's all coming back again. The desire to cook, to create amazing food, to eat healthy and at the same time delicious.I am so happy that it is a steady love, that I do not get bored of cooking and I will not let it go easily. It is hard in life to find something that you like and that lasts, I am happy I found it.

So the first dish I cooked after more than one month absence is humble but surprisingly good. It is one of those dishes you create on the go. You know what I mean. Pouring some olive oil in the pan while thinking about what you could add to that oil. In the meanwhile looking in your cupboards and fridge to see what they can offer you. And you make the best of it. Often cooking for yourself makes you feel free and creative because there is no stress of failing involved. If it isn't as tasty as you had wished for, who cares? How liberating is that!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dear readers...

It's been a while since I wrote my last post. Believe it or not but I didn't read any foodblogs for over one month, I did not even open a cookbook (although I bought a few ;-)) and I almost did not cook. The reason? We moved back to The Netherlands and I have a new job. I am really struggling trying to find a balance between work and (my) food (passion). When I come home in the evening I am tired. I look around and see all those unpacked boxes and I get stressed out; the sad looking, empty, book shelves, the kitchen which seems to fall apart (but will soon be renovated) and the stuff that we brought back.... How did we ever ended up owning so much stuff?

 And although it feels like home, being back in The Netherlands, there is still much to get adjusted too. Although the weather has been gentle and warm. It certainly feels like summer. Even here.

I just wanted to let you know what I am going trough. I did not forget you and sorry if I am not reading and commenting on your blogs. I think that soon, in September, I will start cooking again, finding joy in spending time in the kitchen. For now, I am just running around, tired, trying to bring order in my unorganized life.

So, dear readers, I will not forget you and please check my blog again soon. I promise I will post something special. To make up for this absence.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fettuccine con le patate allo zafferano

Over the years I have collected many pasta recipes but this one is, according to me,  something really special. In all its simplicity. The flavors are just perfect, every ingredient enhances the other. Forget your prejudices about starch. Forget that potatoes and pasta should not be combined. In Italy people combine these two and I do not think that this leads to obesitas. Every time I tell a Dutch friend that I ate pasta with potatoes they gasp in horror. That's just not done! I read it in their eyes. Starch combined with starch? In Italy potatoes are considered as a vegetable (which they are) and therefore considered a perfect ingredient to combine with rice or potatoes. I dare you to try this and let me know what you think of it!

My whole life I have eaten pasta cooked in a sort of sauce made of potatoes. The Neapolitan way. Delicious as well. But this recipe is different. You cook the pasta separately and at the end you mix all the ingredients. This recipe was inspired by my father. He told me about his Sicilian friend who had explained to him how to make pasta with potatoes, the Sicilian way. My father makes it now, apparently, often at home and my mother and sister love it. I have based my recipe on his recipe but altered it a bit. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lukewarm green bean salad with crumbled feta and toasted almonds

That’s a long name for a simple salad. This salad is an ideal summer or autumn accompaniment for your main course (meat based or vegetarian). If you, like me, are experiencing a summer with moderate temperatures (read: walking around constantly accompanied by an umbrella wearing a light jacket, a scarf and gradually feeling your hands getting numb because of the cold air), well than this salad will be more than welcome: a lukewarm but at the same time refreshing salad. A salad that makes us , "summerless" people, feel connected with summer and makes us hopeful that it will get better weather, because "hope is the last to die". That is not to say that for you people who are suffering from extreme hot temperatures (it's difficult for me to not envy you ;-)) this salad is not an option. It certainly is, but I don’t know if you are willing to generate more heat in the kitchen by cooking the green beans.

This dish was actually created by accident. I was planning to make the green beans with the toasted almonds but without the feta cheese. The cheese was actually meant for the main course: the couscous stuffed bell peppers. But I forgot to put the cheese in the couscous mixture! What to do? I instantly decided to add this fresh cheese to the salad. The bell peppers and the salad were a success and my parents and my sister – who were my guinea pigs that evening – enjoyed both very much! But I noticed that the salad was everyone's favorite. That is why this salad ended up on my blog :D. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuna Burgers

I'm back in Switzerland. After spending in total 10 hours in 5 different train and eating food that tasted like cardboard I woke up this morning tired and hungry. Hungry for some delicious food. Of course my stomach won and the sleep was chased away. I ate wholewheat crackers with Philadelphia cream cheese and cherry jam. Yum, did you ever tried this combination? It's divine. I washed it away with a cold decaf caffé latte. That was my breakfast. Soon after I started to think about lunch. I wanted something tasty, fresh and healthy. I was really craving fish (like almost always when it's summer). And then I got a great idea, or at least it sounded great to me. To make a tuna burger. I had a look in the cookbook of the Swedish Leila Lindholm. I remembered I had seen a recipe about tuna burgers in her cookbook "Kochen mit Leila" (I'm sorry, I don't think this particular book has been translated into English and I have a German version hence the German title). My tuna burgers were inspired by her recipe but I altered it to my taste. Me and Boyfriend devoured our burgers!

Cover your bun with whatever  you like..... But about the mayonnaise 
there's no doubt:it's mandatory ;-)