Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lentil stew with smoked bacon

Boil lentils (I used French Du Puy lentils) together with a slab of smoked bacon and onion until the lentils are soft.

Use some of the cooking water to make a roux. Add salt, black pepper and nutmeg to season the roux.

Dice the cooked smoked bacon and pour the roux, together with the diced bacon, back into the pot. Mix well.

This is a great dish to remember because you can use it as a base for German Linseneintopf. You can add carrots, potatos, peas or different kinds of meat.

Talking about German cousine, I should try this one: Labskaus.

500 g Kartoffeln
1/8 L Milch
1/8 L Brühe
1 Zwiebeln
10 g Butter
300 g Corned Beef
50 g Rote Beete
2 EL Rote Beete Saft
9 Rollmöpse
3 Gewürzgurken
10 g Margarine (or: Butter)
3 Eier
Pfeffer aus der Mühle
1/4 TL Meersalz

Die Kartoffeln schälen, kleinschneiden und in wenig Salzwasser garkochen. Die Zwiebel in feine Würfel schneiden, in Butter glasig dünsten und beiseite stellen. Die Milch und die Fleischbrühe erwärmen. Wenn die Kartoffeln gar sind, das Kochwasser abgießen und die Milch zufügen. Mit einem Kartoffelstampfer die Kartoffeln zerdrücken. Mit soviel Fleischbrühe auffüllen, bis ein nicht zu steifes Puree entsteht. Dann die Zwiebeln unterheben. Das Corned Beef in Würfel schneiden und unter die Kartoffeln heben. Die Rote Beete feinhacken und ebenfalls dazugeben. Zwei EL Rote Beete Saft unter die Kartoffelmasse rühren. Mit Pfeffer und Salz würzen. In einer beschichteten Pfanne die Margarine auslassen und drei Spiegeleier braten. Nach Geschmack würzen. Das Labskaus auf möglichst vorgewärmten Tellern verteilen und je ein Spiegelei darüber geben. Die Rollmöpse, Gewürzgurken und die restliche Rote Beete dazureichen.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Texels lamb & salty sea vegetables

Zacht gegaard Texels lamsfilet met zeekool en kokkels, geserveerd met een frisse salade van zilte groenten met krokant gebakken lever, zwezerik en gerookte lamstong, afgemaakt met een vinaigrette van lamsorenmosterd. Recipe (in Dutch)

The lamb's tongue reminds me of dish I used to eat in Tanzania a lot: ulimi ya (za?) ng'ombe, cow's tongue. I'm not sure how it was made but it was served on a plate, sliced into small dice sized cubes with a heap of salt on the side and a small bowl with (presumably) the tongue's stock. It was the perfect late night snack with a big glass of ice cold beer. Dip the cubes in salt, sip the stock and drink the beer... I'll have to recreate this dish one day. Probably as simple as to boil the tongue in water for a couple of hours with bay leaf and some black pepper corns.

Thai red curry (shopping list)

From Rick Stein's Seafood:

5 big red chillies
1 thumb-size piece ginger
2 stalks lemongrass (outer leaves removed)
6 cloves garlic
3 shallots, sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp blachan (Thai shrimp paste)
2 tsp paprika (powder)
1/2 tsp kurkuma
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. sunflower oil

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Red table wines & Pinot Blanc

Domaine Deshenrys. Vin de Pays D'oc 2003. Merlot. Languedoc-roussillon. Bouchard & Fils. [used in Red Cabbage stew: one red cabbage (shredded), 200 ml. red wine, one large apple, one large onion, 100 gram butter, one tbs red wine vinegar, bay leaf, salt, pepper, nutmeg. Simmer for 3 hours. Add sugar to taste. From: La Vraie Cuisine Francaise by Robert J. Courtine. Dutch translation: De Echte Franse Keuken (Bruna & Zoon, 1963)] I don't know, the red cabbage remained quite sour and bitter despite the long cooking time. It took 3 full tablespoons of sugar to make it edible. Not really my favorite, maybe my cabbage wasn't too tasty to begin with (bought in supermarket).

Finished the remainder of the wine with blue Stilton cheese from Nottinghamshire. This Stilton is soft like butter, which means it has aged a further 5 weeks (or more?) after the usual 9 weeks it takes to make blue Stilton. Amazing cheese! Omelette with Stilton is brilliant. Beat the eggs, pour in a pan and add plenty of cubed Stilton. Fry with the lid closed.

Domaine Siméoni. Vin de Pays de l'Hérault. Mas Siméoni 2006. Organic wine. [okay but not great, won't buy again.]

White wine. Domaine Rieflé. Pinot Blanc 2007. Bonheur Convival. Vin D'Alsace. [will keep for choucroute garnie Darn, already opened it. It's a lovely wine, quite fruity and will be excellent with choucroute but also on it's own. Drink at slightly warmer temperatures: 10 degrees. Also excellent for asparagus]

Chicken with prunes

1 sliced onion
sliced fresh ginger
cinnamon stick
2 grated onions
dried prunes

From: Claudia Roden’s A New Book of Middle Eastern Food. The recipe is quite ancient and was mentioned in the thirteenth century manuscript Kitab al Wusla il al Habib containing 74 chicken recipes.

Boil the chicken in plenty of water with sliced onion, salt, saffron, ginger and cinnamon. Simmer without a lid. After half an hour add the grated onions and cook until the chicken is tender. In the last half hour add the prunes and cook until the sauce is reduced.

I tried this with several chickens. I bought one in the supermarket (Albert Heijn) and was left with a sauce extremely rich in fat. The next day when the sauce was cold it had the consistency of jelly. Then I tried this recipe with a Dutch free range chicken (Polderhoen, origin: Flevopolder. Butcher: Reijn-Uljee). What a difference! The sauce was more tasty stock than fat. Modern supermarket chickens are very fatty because during their short lifespan they hardly move about. The food they’re eating is largely transformed into fat instead of lean protein.

In the Channel 4 program Dispatches: Supermarket Secrets you can see how one chicken can contain up to a pint (500 ml) of pure fat of the unhealthy kind (Omega-6 fatty acid). Skip to 34:34 in Part 1 of Supermarket Secrets.

You can recognize an obese fatty chicken: when the thighbone is soft, the chicken has not been walking much of her life. If you see brown spots ('hock burn', or ammonia burns) on the lower legs, the chicken has been laying down on a dirty floor for quite some time. Of course the price is also a give away. A proper free range chicken costs around 16 euro. A supermarket chicken can be as cheap as 3 euro.

Watch Dispatches: Supermarket Secrets Part 1 and Part 2.