Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fresh asparagus

Originally harvested as medicine, eaten by the ancient Egyptians, fresh asparagus are one of the best things nature has to offer. Asparagus (German: Spargel) are especially popular in Germany. The harvest time is from the second Thursday of April (or March depending on the region) until June 24 (Nativity of St. John the Baptist). Buy them as fresh as possible. The thicker ones are of better quality.

Today we crossed the border into Germany to buy them directly from the farmer: 500 gram each person. On the farm (in Herzebocholt, see placemark) we also bought new potatoes and cooked ham.

View Asparagus in a larger map

Peel the asparagus, remove 3 centimeter from the bottom and cook 25 minutes (shorter if they're really thin) in boiling water. Serve with cooked ham, hard boiled eggs and potatoes. If they're fresh you really don't need any sauce. In Germany they're usually served with Sauce Hollandaise. Just melt some butter instead.

We drank a Pinot Blanc Cave de Beblenheim 2007 Alsace. A little too sweet but doable. In Germany they recommend Weißburgunder, Silvaner, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc grape, depending on how the asparagus are served. Update: Weißer Burgunder is of course the German name for Pinot Blanc.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Iced Matcha made easy

Put three ice cubes in a chawan and wait until the cubes have almost melted. Add two chasaku matcha and whisk until the matcha is completely dissolved. By then the ice cubes are almost gone. Drink immediately.

Monday, April 27, 2009

야채전 (ya-chae-jeon)

Or: vegetable pancake. ('Jeon' (전) = pancake). This dish is also referred to as pa-jeon (파전), with 'pa' (파) meaning 'scallion'.

Batter: 1/2 cup flour, 2/3 cup water, 1 ts salt.

Vegetables: spring onion, Asian chives, green chili pepper and zucchini.

Make batter with flour and water and mix it with the the vegetables cut in small pieces. The vegetables should be about 4 cups.

Optional: shrimp or other seafood and one egg. With seafood the pancake is called hae-mul pa-jeon (해물파전).

Fry the pancake in a large pan over low heat. Place the chopped seafood on top (optional). When the pancake is almost cooked (aprox. 8 mins) spread one egg on top (optional). Turn the pancake over and fry until done.

Serve with dipping sauce made from 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp of ricevinegar. Use chopsticks to dip pancake in dipping sauce. Traditionally pa-jeon is eaten with makkoli (막걸리) but sake is also excellent.

The Cantonese name for Asian chive is Gao choy, the Thai name is Bai Gui Chai.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Soma no Tengu

Soma no Tengu, Usunigori 2008. Producer Uehara Shuzo, Takashima, Shiga, Japan. Very nice sake. Recommended.

Imported in The Netherlands by Yoigokochi Sake Importers

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rum, sugar & banana's


9 firm bananas

zest of 1½ limes and juice of 3

4 tbsp soft dark-brown muscovado sugar

75ml dark rum

To serve:

juice of ½ lime

2 tbsp rum

ice cream or whipped cream

Peel the bananas and halve lengthways. Sprinkle the lime zest, half the juice and half the sugar into a shallow baking-dish. Lay the bananas on top in a single layer. Pour on the rest of the lime juice and all of the rum, and add the remaining sugar. Put in an oven preheated to 220°C and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the bananas are soft. Stick the dish under a hot grill until bubbling – about three minutes. Drizzle on more lime juice and rum and serve immediately with ice cream.


Thursday, April 16, 2009



50 ml. white rum (or dark rum for a quite different drink)
1 or 2 teaspoon (powdered) raw sugar or sugar syrup.
juice from half a lime (or lime wedges)
4 mint leaves (maybe more?)
crushed ice
a splash of carbonated water (club soda)

Muddle sugar, lime juice and mint in glass. Fill glass with crushed ice and pour rum over it. Stir to mix ingredients. Top off with the club soda. Garnish with gently crushed mint sprig (for the smell).

On the rocks; poured over ice in highball glass.

The above doesn't really work. i just can't get this drink right that way. I will try this:

Squeeze lime juice in glass and add sugar. Dissolve the sugar by stirring. Get crushed ice ready. Break top of mint sprig for garnish. Snip of 10 - 12 mint leaves and use them to rub the rim of the glass for flavor. Tear them in half and put them in glass. Stir further, no muddling a this point! Add white rum and fill the glass with crushed ice. Add a little soda water and do a delicate stir. Add garnish mint. Drink without a straw.


Daiquiri is served 'straight up' without ice.

45 ml. white rum
20 ml. lime juice
5 ml. sugar syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water)

Mix in shaker filled with ice cubes. Strain into glass and serve.


Caipirinha (caipira = peasant).

Half a lime per glass
2 - 3 teaspoons raw sugar or sugar syrup. I bought a bottle of Monin Pure Sugar Cane Syrup. Update: I I make my own syrup by dissolving some sugar in water. One tablespoon seems to work.
50 ml. Cachaça 61 (best brand I could find outside Brazil)
Crushed ice

Cut lime in small chunks (remove end caps, quarter the lime and remove white inside; cut each wedge in 4 chunks). Place lime and sugar into old fashioned glass and muddle. Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the Cachaça. Mix with spoon or transfer to other glass.

Black straw: courtesy of Michiel Poodt.

On the rocks; poured over ice.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Iced Matcha

Repost from

Sen no Rikyu (1522 - 1591) who created the Japanese Tea Ceremony, unfortunately did not include a recipe for Iced Matcha in his teachings. It was invented later by an instructor of the traditional Tea Ceremony. But this instructor had to enjoy it by himself in secret because only hot Matcha was allowed in the formal Tea Ceremony. Fortunately today we do not need to be secretive about enjoying delicious Iced Matcha!

* Cool the Matcha bowl in the refrigerator in advance.
* Sift the matcha in order to prevent lumps, so the flavor and texture will be smooth and mellow.
* Pour 2 Chashaku of sifted Matcha into the Matcha bowl that has been cooled in advance.
* Pour 70ml of 0 Celsius temperature water into the Matcha bowl and whisk with the Chasen until the tea gets frothy. Matcha gets frothy when it is mixed with either cold 0 Celsius temperature or hot boiling water.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Winter cheese 'vacherine' and red wine

I bought some vacherine cheese and a bottle of red wine, which should go well with the cheese.

The wine (a Beaujolais): Morgon 2006. Le Clos de Lys. Domaine J. Chamonard, propriétaire-récoltant à Villié-Morgon (Rhône).

It's an excellent wine, about 16 euro's in The Netherlands. Probably 10 euro's in France. A very light-bodied wine. Highly recommended.

Made from Gamay grape (?), which has a thin skin and few tannins.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Ultimate Brownie

Tall like a cakey-brownie, but dense like a fudgy-brownie.

Cook Time: 40 minutes


* 200 gram 70% dark chocolate
* 125 gram butter
* 4 or 5 eggs
* 400 gram raw sugar
* vanilla [ First read this: ]
* 200 gram flour + baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 150 gram chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted


Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat; set aside. In a mixer, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla at high speed for 10 minutes. Blend in chocolate mixture, flour and salt until just mixed. Stir in the nuts. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. (Don't overbake.)