Friday, July 30, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Don't you like blueberries?? Well I do, and it's the season (here in my little country) so you got to enjoy them while it lasts! I've read that these treats of nature are very healthy and are also called "superfood": a food that can increase the body's natural ability to heal! So that's very good news, and therefore I'm giving you this recipe. Ah, who am I kidding, it's just a good excuse to have another muffin!!

It's a recipe coming from my baking "bible" Baking From My Home To Yours written by Dorie Greenspan. Oh I've made so many recipes from that book and it's super, really! Muffins, cookies, pies and more tempting recipes you can ever imagine! Buy it!

what are the ingredients:
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour (sometimes I take 1 cup flour and 1 cup corn flour! yummy...)
2,5 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
and yes, here they are:
1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Pour the orange juice in a measuring bowl and pour in enough buttermilk to make 1 cup. Wisk in the eggs, honey and melted butter.

Take a large bowl and rub the sugar an orange zest together, with your fingertips.

Whisk in flour, baking power, baking soda and salt. Add the orange juice and buttermilk and whisk gently but quickly, just to blend. Add the blueberries and stir a few times.

Divide the lumpy batter among the muffin pans or molds.

Bake them for about 20-25 minutes, these took me 22 minutes, the last time 25 minutes. Keep checking!
Let them cool for 5 minutes and remove them from the pans of molds.
As you can see, they didn't rise very much this time, but they we're still fabulous!

Want one?? You better hurry then!! Or make them yourself, there's no excuse why you shouldn't! Doctor's order!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Surf and Turf Extra

Years ago I had a recipe almost like this, and I loved it! Some weeks ago I came across that same old recipe and was so happy, so I made it the same day. Guess wasn't as good anymore as I thought. In fact, it was one big disappointment.
But, but, but, a miracle happend, yeah well almost....
In a magazine I found a recipe that had the puree as described below plus the beef, and then I knew, this has to be IT!
And there it was, a mixture of two recipes and a little extra. The extra is, yes of course, the tequila.

I used a red chili pepper, including the seeds, so it has a kick, but you can discard the seeds if it's too much for your taste.

1 red chili pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
olive oil
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime
about 7 oz raw large shrimps, peeled and cleaned
2 beef tenderloins
4 oz feta, cut in cubes

Use a mortar and pestle to make a puree of the chili and bell pepper, add some olive oil, the cilantro and the juice of half a lime. As you can see I didn't pureed it all, I like some chunks of the bell pepper in it.

The tenderloins got a rub with the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Cajun Foreplay Spice Rub (yes I used it again, and I love it!!) and some olive oil. I grilled the meat on the stove, in a cast iron grillpan, but you can do this, of course, also on the grill. Grill them for 5 minutes, then wrap them in aluminium foil and let them rest while you prepare the rest.

In the meantime heat a wok and start heating the pepper puree. Keep the heat high and keep stirring! Add the shrimps, and keep stirring! Add a splash (don't be shy...) of tequila and the feta cheese.
This all should take no longer than 5 minutes.

Unwrap the meat (yeah, really, makes dinner taste much better...) and slice the meat. Serve it with the shrimps and some bread.

I can't describe how it tastes, but trust me, you're gonna luvvv this dish!!!

Last but certainly not the least, uncork a bottle of Shiraz Rosé to complete your meal!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lasagne alla Bolognese

Andiamo! Today it´s time for a great italian dish, Lasagne (plural for lasagna) alle Bolognese! Too bad I don´t make it too often, actually I can´t even remember the last time I made it, so then you know it´s really time! There are many recipes for lasagne, but I like the combination of Bolognese and Napoletana, which has a bit more heat and cheese, and you can never have enough cheese!

What you need to make this great dish:
olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
half a pound of minced meat 
half a cup dry white wine
1 large bottle of passata (tomatosauce)
lasagne sheets
bechamel sauce, recipe below
2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1 ball of mozzarella cheese (preferably made of water buffalo milk), sliced

Heat some olive oil in a large pan, and cook carrots and onion for 5 minutes, medium heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook this 2 minutes. Add the minced meat and cook 10 minutes.

Then you can add the wine, and let this cook for 5 minutes on high heat. Add the tomatosauce and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low, and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

In the meantime you can prepare the bechamelsauce: melt 3 tablespoons of  butter and stir in 1/4 cup of flour, add 2 cups of milk and keep stirring until it comes to a boil. Add some salt, one bay leaf and some nutmeg. Let this simmer for 20 minutes. 
Preheat the oven to 375F.

Now it´s time to put it all together. In a large ovendish you make layers: sauce, sheets, sauce, bechamel, parmesan cheese, sauce, sheets, etc. Always end with a thick layer of bechamel sauce. On top of this comes the mozzarella and some more parmesan cheese.
Put the dish in the oven, and after 30 minutes it´s ready!!

I served some fresh fava beans (it´s the season!) with it, mixed with slices of italian prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil and savory.

And what´s a great meal without wine.....choose an italian red wine like a Sangiovese or a Montepulciano.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nectarine Chutney

I was planning to grill some chicken breasts but wanted to try a new recipe. Wandered through some of my cookbooks, I found something special: peach-pecan chutney! And since it´s summer that means an overload on peaches and nectarines! At the moment I only had nectarines, so I decided to use those. Next time I´ll use white peaches, those are really delicious!

For the chicken, I wanted to try something that would give the chicken a little more action (at least that´s what was mentioned on the jar), so I marinated the chicken breasts a few hours in olive oil and 2 tablespoons of Cajun Foreplay rub from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. 

In the meantime, it was time to make the chutney. I found this recipe in the book `Sauces, Rubs and Marinades` written by Steven Raichlen. Then I found out I didn´t had all the ingredients, so I had to twist it a little.

The ingredients:
5 ripe nectarines
1 cinnamon stick
half a teaspoon of ground allspice
4 cloves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 dried red pepper (I used a dried and smoked one), finely chopped
fresh ginger, a slice, about half an inch, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup vinegar or cider vinegar  (I used rice vinegar)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (not packed)

First you have to transfer the nectarines to a pan of boiling water, for about half a minute. That makes it easier to remove the skins. Then cut them into pieces.
Now all the ingredients go in a pan and you bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat and let it boil softly for 10 minutes. After that it´s time to taste the chutney (be careful! HOT!) and maybe you have to add extra sugar of vinegar to get the right taste, the chutney should have a sweet-sour taste.

Transfer to a bowl and let it cool to room temperature.

To give the chicken breasts an extra smokey flavour, I decided to add some peach wood chunks, from Baxters Original. I grilled them indirect until the internal temp was 170F / 73C.  Also had some some potatoes and zucchini with italian herbs on the grill. 

When everything is ready, serve it with the Nectarine Chutney, and it could look like this:

And it was yummylicious!!!  I will make this definitely more often. The chicken was really tasty and juicy, the chutney delicious, the side dishes matched perfect. What more can you ask for....
Oh some wine maybe? I would say a dry and mild white wine will certainly match great!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Salad

This recipe is a real killer salad! Matches with a lot of food, I´ve tried grilled chicken and fried fish so far. Two totally different tastes, and both were great! The idea for this salad came from a recipe for a salsa, that I´ve read in the Bon Appetit Magazine. As with all salads, don´t prepare it too long in advance, mix it all together 5 minutes before dinner is served, and you´ll not only have a great tasting salad, but also a good looking one!

What do you need for this:
3 nectarines
4 or 5 of the best tomatoes you can get
a big slice of Greek feta
1 tablespoon of dried chili flakes
1 scallion, only the green part
1 avocado
olive oil
salt - pepper
cider vinegar

Cut the nectarines, tomatoes, feta and avocado into cubes, not too small. Finely mince the scallion. Mix this and sprinkle with the chili flakes. 

Make a dressing of 4 parts olive oil and 1 part vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix the arugula with the nectarines, tomatoes, feta, avocado and scallion, and pour the dressing over the salad.

You want to know what wine paires well with this salad? Try a Shiraz Rosé, I´ve had one from South Africa and it was fabulous!!


Friday, July 16, 2010


Just want to say Thank You to my friends for all the lovely support of last week !!

I´ll be back soon with new recipes!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Greek Potatoes, from Cyndi Allison

If you are looking for a new recipe for potatoes (grill or oven) you really have to try this recipe. I´ve made it yesterday, and if I had the chance today, I would make it again!
A friend of mine, Cyndi Allison, had posted this recipe on her fantastic blog and I knew my barbecue would be happy with those mediterranean delicacies (and yes, me too!).

Instead of the Garlic Gold Olive Oil (it´s not available here) Cyndi described, I used olive oil and fresh garlic. Almost a whole bulb. And no, that´s not a typo.
Seasoned it with black pepper, dried parsley and some Lawry´s Seasoned Salt, added water and lemon juice.

As soon as the aluminium pan was on the grill and I had closed the lid, the party began! For one hour I enjoyed a very promising smell coming out of the vents!

As you can see, I also made planked salmon, some zucchini, and served it with a green salad.

Note: next time Í need to adjust the amount of water. I used half a cup but that was a bit too much for the amount of potatoes I had. Therefore they didn´t get a nice brown color, but the taste was fabulous!!

To make this dinner complete, there was a bottle of Chardonnay. This one was from South Africa. It was good, but a Chardonnay from Chile would have been perfect.

Thank you Cyndi!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nasi Goreng, or, Indonesian Fried Rice

As promised, today I’ll give you the recipe for Indonesian fried rice: Nasi Goreng. Leftover Nasi you can keep in the freezer.

4 cups cooked or steamed rice (the rice has to be cold when you start making the Nasi)
2 thin slices of bacon, finely chopped
2 thin slices of bacon
One half boneless chicken breast, cut into pieces

Peanut oil
2 cups cabbage, shredded coarsely
1 leek, sliced
2 cups bean sprouts
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
½ teaspoon cumin, ground
½ teaspoon turmeric, ground
½ teaspoon coriander, ground
(Instead of these spices you can also use a package spice mix for Nasi Goreng)
1 tablespoon sambal or red chilies
3 tablespoon sweet soy sauce

For the marinade:
Corn flour
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce

For the omelet:
2 eggs
some black pepper
¼ teaspoon sweet soy sauce

The marinade:
Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes in a mixture of sweet soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of water and some corn flour.

Start with the omelet. Pour some oil in a frying pan and cook until done, let it cool on a plate and cut the omelet into small slices, set aside.

Pour some oil in the wok, and fry the 2 slices of bacon until almost crisp. Remove them, this is just to give the oil an extra bacon taste. Fry the chicken and the chopped bacon for a few minutes.

Add the vegetables and fry for a few minutes.

Now you can add the spices (or mix) and sambal/chilies and sweet soy sauce. Fry this on a high heat for 1 minute.

Add the rice, a little at a time, until well mixed and heated through. Now’s the time you can taste it and maybe add some more sambal, soy or other spices. The last thing you add are the omelet slices.

Serve the Nasi Goreng for example with satay and peanut sauce, a fried egg and shrimp crackers. The vegetables is bok choy, with a sauce of dark soy sauce, some water and sesame oil.

And if you can find this when you’re visiting an Asian market, buy it:

It’s a mixture of peanuts, coconut, potato pieces and dried onions. It's very tasty on the Nasi Goreng, but it’s optional!