Saturday, 17 February 2018

Slow Cook Tarka Dahl



The ease of the slow cooker





Well i must say that this one surprised me....Last week i bought my Slow Cooker as you can read here >>> Slow Cooker, what’s all about?

I never make Dahl (Dal) and thought by having my slow cooker now, that i would give it another try. Cause i don’t like to wait and stir while cooking, it tires me so much to wait. So my second recipe i mad with this cooker was this Dal with red Lentils.

I found a recipe in a book and adjusted it to my taste. I also read a lot about slow cooking and know that you better bake your onions and spices like in the indian kitchen, cause that gives the ultimate indian flavour in these dishes.
It’s not really an extra effort, you can make this all in 1 separate pan and then transfer it all to your slow cooker. While cooking, you can do many other things or just reading an exciting book :)

This Dal serves 4

INGREDIENTS (Part 1) :

3 tbsp sunflower oil
250 gr Red Lentils
1 Onion finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (curcuma)
1 tsp Black Cumin 
2 cm Fresh root ginger peeled and finely shopped
200 gr canned chopped tomatoes
600 ml vegetable stock (boiled)
Salt and Pepper
2 hands full of fresh Spinach


INGREDIENTS (Part 2, for the Tarka) : 

1 Tbsp of Sunflower oil
2 tsp of black cumin seeds
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (curcuma)
2 garlic cloves finely chopped


RECIPE : 

Rinse the Lentils with cold water till the water is clean and let drain well.

Add 2 tbsp of sunflower oil in a little pan with the chopped onion, cook till it turns golden, then add the spices >> 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp black cumin seeds and fresh ginger. Let turn golden to light brown. Add 1 more tbsp of sunflower oil to make it more glazy.

Now transfer the lentils to the slow cooker and add the spiced onion mixture from the pan, stir to combine well. Add a little salt and pepper, 200 gr of chopped tomatoes can and the 600 ml vegetable stock. Stir to combine. Turn on the slow cooker with lid on and let cook on HIGH heat for approximately 2 1/2 hours.

While it’s cooking, now make the Tarka spices >>

In the same pan you used before add the sunflower oil and 2 tsp of Black cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric and the 2 fine chopped garlic cloves. After some minutes on medium heat, you will smell the spices and how good that smmmmmmells.....mmmmm.
Turn off the heat when ready and transfer to a little bowl, to add later.
You can clean your pan and your kitchen in the meanwhile....that’s fun isn’t it?

Do not lift the lid or you will lose the damp that you need to cook the lentils. Slow cooking is all about adding it to the pot and don’t look at it for some hours :)

10 minutes before the end of cooking time, add the Tarka spices that you set aside earlier and stir to combine, let cook for the remaining 10 minutes. After 2 1/2 hours the lentils are already soft and tender, so no need to worry about lifting up the lid. then add the 2 hands full of fresh spinach and let cook a bit on LOW heat for about 5 minutes. Stir to combine 2 times or so. 

Spoon into bowls and serve this dish with Basmati rice and Naan or Chapati.


In Pictures 
















Tarka spices


Tarka spices














Monday, 12 February 2018

Slow Cooker, what’s all about?



The Hype





These days it’s all about Slow Cooking, but what does it really mean?
Slow cookers are cheap to buy, economical to use and they're great for making the most of budget ingredients. They offer a healthier, low-fat method of cooking and require the minimum amount of effort. You can buy one as from 20 euro. Depending on brand and functions you want. Slow cookers with timers are more expensive.


Cooking with a slow cooker is most similar to cooking with a Dutch oven on a stovetop. On a stovetop, a pot is heated from the bottom and the heat rises up the sides of the pot to heat the food within. Similarly, a slow cooker creates heat toward the base, which transfers up the sides of the vessel to heat the food within. In addition, setting the temperature for both cooking methods is very similar. Instead of cooking something at a specific temperature on the stovetop, you set the temperature to low or high. Your slow cooker works in the same manner.



When you set the temperature to low on your slow cooker, your heating element will put out less heat. When you set the temperature to high, the heating element will put out more heat. Cooking something on low takes more time than cooking something on high. Because the temperature settings work most like stovetop cooking, it is hard to give an actual temperature for the various heat levels.


Slow cookers are designed to do their own thing. 
It all comes down to the design. Essentially, slow cookers are just electric pots with stoneware inserts. Unlike a conventional oven or stovetop burner, slow cookers can consistently cook food at low or high temperatures for as many as 12 hours. These nifty contraptions, designed to operate completely on their own, work by trapping heat and cooking food for a long period of time. For this reason, it's important to avoid removing the lid of your slow cooker. Every time it's removed, heat escapes, and that will only increase the overall cooking time needed.

One of the greatest attributes of the slow cooker is the incredible flavoring that it can produce. Simmering a mixture of ingredients in their own juices for several hours produces that rich, deep flavor that baking, grilling or frying simply aren't capable of. Cooking on a low, steady heat brings out the most savory of flavors and gives slow-cooked meals that extra zest. I have induction an i must admit that it gives not the best result when it comes to slow cooking. Cause of the pulses it gives every couple of seconds  i do not have a constant temperature which makes it not ideal for stews.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Xylitol, the Deadly Sweetener!



We are told that Xylitol (E967) is healthy, it’s NOT!





If reading food labels is part of your shopping experience, you’ve probably seen the ingredient “xylitol” coming up and more and more the past couple years. Reported by most manufactures as being “all natural,” few suspect it’s anything but healthy. Unfortunately, natural doesn’t always mean “non-toxic”.

As you can read in my previous post >> some E numbers in food could be really dangerous for your body and still we are not aware of that, cause we are told it’s good for the body. But it’s just good business. Making money and profit is all that counts these days and it’s time we start being aware of that or we might not get that old anymore.

Lately all i hear about it cancer and diseases.......it’s really something to think i about and i did. I banned all processed food from my diet and started eating with awareness.
Since i do that, i feel much fitter, more awake, and have less body problems.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

What’s in your FOOD?!



What is really in your food?





I would love to talk about what’s really in your food, cause not many people read the labels or think about the additives the food industry uses. Cause yes your product has an expire date which can last for months or years. What do they use to keep the food eatable that long? And i noticed that pies from bakery in large stores like Lidl, Carrefour, Delhaize, Aldi etc contain a lot of additives as well which are not good for your body.

My eyes went open when i saw a book coming online about food E-numbers. Yes, you know them. They are all over the packaging in small letters or sometimes they are mentioned with other names, so you don’t see it good with your eyes. I had so many problems lately with my skin, even without eating sugar. So it made me think what could cause that......it seems that sugar alternatives or not always a healthy option. 
Tagatesse (Tagatose) for example is completely chemical and does not do good for your body. It is NOT a natural sweetener!
But it’s not meant to be spoken about that, cause it sells so good and the food industry might loose money when this gets worldwide known.

Adding additives do not have to be bad, but i noticed when reading my labels lately with my little pocket book full of explanation about the E-numbers that many additives are poisons. Real poison! It scared me and now i take more time to go to the store to get my milk, butter and regular things that i don’t make myself.

Like yesterday i went looking for Granola, cause i don’t have time to make some this week. And read the labels......something looked suspicious and i looked it up in my book.
Do you know that Kellogs EXTRA Crunchy Muesli with fruit added "Sulphur dioxide" (Nr E220), which causes Asthma, Broncho spasm, Hypotension, Bronchitis and destroys vitamins A and B1 in food, animal mutagen! Do you know they sometimes add petroleum and or paraffin to your food?? This is simply horrible.

CONTINUE READING >>

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Speedy Pasta and Pastabike review





The Handy Pasta Kitchen tool!


  

There are many forms of pasta out there and everytime i see one, i simply want to make it.
I’m sure you have the same feeling if you are a pasta lover.
Though it can be quite expensive to buy all these shapes separately and store them as well.
So, i came across these pasta bikes and i simply love them.

I have both : 

Pastabike from Marcato Pasta 



Why did i buy 2 pastabikes, well for some shapes of pasta you need 2 distances and instead of moving my wheels all the time, i have 2 pasta wheels laying round for quick working like with making farfalle.

You can make all kinds of shapes with these wheels and with the speedy pasta wheel, there are some images printed on back of the box on how to place the wheels for the shape you want to make. I find this very handy when i don’t have much time trying to figure out how far the wheels need to be placed.
Be aware that only the speedy pasta wheel has these images. Not the Pastabike from Marcato which i feel sad about. It’s so handy to have this example.






This is the Marcato Pastabike




This the Speedy Pasta 



Difference between Pasta Wheels : 

* Marcato pastabike has 9 curved (zigzag) wheels, no flat ones at all.
* Speedy pasta has 8 flat wheels and 6 curved (zigzag) ones + example printing on the back of the box.

Both are very good quality and sturdy. 
You can find the Speedy Pasta Cutter bike wheel HERE
You can find the Pastabike from Marcato HERE

The fact that Marcato Pastabike has no flat wheels, i find a disadvantage. It would have given more possibilities, but i like to use it when i make only curved pasta shapes, cause you will have more curved (zigzag) wheels for making something like mafaldine.
This is far more handier than buying different attachments and so much fun to keep you busy in the kitchen when it rains outside :)

I hope this helps.



Saturday, 1 October 2016

Dal Baati stuffed pastries



Perfect for having friends coming over!




I made this on the first day of summer, so you can believe i actually celebrated midsummer by making this dish. Now October has started.......It’s perfect for special occasions :)
If you have time or you have some help in the kitchen and have some friends or family coming over, then this is the perfect dish, you can even ask them to help a bit. 
Cause making this from scratch will take you some time. Making the dough, filling, dal >> and do not forget to let soak the lentils over night or for at least an hour.

So, you need to make a good time schedule for this one. Though i realize this will be too much work for many of you, i still wanted to share this recipe by Vegan Richa. She is a wonderful cook and the recipes are vegan and very good. She even released her first book which you can buy HERE.


You can find this recipe at her Blog >> CLICK HERE


Dal Baati is actually a lentil soup and is a popular dish in Rajasthan and pradesh.
It’s nice and spicy, i made some Raita with it to take a away the spiciness at times. Also some chapatis for dipping into the dal and steamed basmati rice makes this complete.



We were ready to start the evening and i find this very cosy.......










BewarenBewaren

Friday, 16 September 2016

Linguine with Honey and Pesto



Some mixing you don’t expect, but it’s actually good!
"20 minute meal”





We all know the normally pesto with basil, but i came across a recipe of adding honey to it and in combination with light cream and chili, this was quite tasty.
The taste, consistency, the flavor and the sweetness the honey gives from flowers makes this a worthy Spring dish. The most suitable honey for this is a subtle one like thymian or rosemary and even some flower honeys like apple blossom or normal mountain honey.

When you use a too strong sent honey, your dish will become that taste too. So be careful with that.
I cook with fresh made pasta, see my previous posting >> HERE.
i’m still in love with my Marcato Pasta machine after 2 years of usage <3
For the pesto is use my mini bowl who fits on the blender of Magimix.


INGREDIENTS

200 gr of Linguine (fresh or dried)
1 bunch of basil (everything, so also the stems)
1 little red dried chili pepper
3 cloves of garlic (pressed)
3 Tbsp of pine nuts
3 tbsp of grated parmesan
juice of 1 whole lemon
125 ml good extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp of honey
3 dl light cream or sour cream (light)
125 ml of vegetable stock
1 big handful of Rocket (Rucola)
Some shaved parmesan cheese
Dried red pepper balls
Salt and pepper

Continue reading >>>

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Granny’s Vintage Cherry Pie



The combination of Cream Cheese crust with the sweetness
of the cherries is simply Yum!





Summer is halfway!
Oh how i love cherries! I can not get enough of them, so i decided to make a second cherry Pie this summer. And that all from scratch. This time i made a crust of Cream Cheese from THIS BOOK.
It had more flavor than the other one i made recently. Though i find them both delicious.

The difference of the 2 pies i made are in the crust >> The other one had more a more crumble crust and this one is more fuller and cheese cookie like taste.
Up to your taste you can make it with this cream cheese crust or from THIS CHERRY PIE i made.

Take some time to make the crust before, it needs chilling in the fridge. You can do that easily in the morning and in the afternoon you make the filling and bake the pie. Perfect to do so with a rainy day. Don’t make this pie when it’s hot outside, since the dough will become very sticky and hard to handle. I must say that this cream cheese pastry is the best one for me to work with so far. No cracks, no difficulties with rolling out. Just simple and smooth.

TIP : I use vegetable shortening to have it more crunchy and it leaves less water with baking.

Let’s get started!

Monday, 11 July 2016

Healthy Chocolate Ice cream with food processor



Nobody put’s this Baby in a Corner!
Tovolo and KitchenAid, a team made in heaven.





Oh how i love my Food Processor of KitchenAid! I bought it at Fonq.nl earlier this year and it’s a charm to work with and so easy in use + it’s super quite. Can you believe i make Ice cream with it? 
Yesterday i made a healthy mixture of avocado, banana and dates and mixed it all together.

I just saw a promotion at Fonq.nl where i bought mine.....if you like white CLICK HERE.
Quick delivery and good service!

How long did it take for making this ice cream? 5 minutes? Hell yes! :)

Normally i make this in my kitchen, but i decided to make some good photos of my machine, cause nobody put’s this baby in a corner!

I also want to say that i found the perfect ice cream tubs for re-use. They are easy, sturdy and have the perfect size for a one person ice cream quantity + i like the colors of the lids a lot.......you can have your own color at a party!
The big tube contains 1 quart of ice cream (around 1 liter) and the small ones are about 250 ml.
You can buy them HERE for EU citizens or find them on amazon.

I wish i made some more ice cream, so i could have filled the whole liter tube and all the small ones. Now i could fill the 4 small ones and half of the big one. 
And do you love chocolate chunks as well in your ice cream? I DO :)


INGREDIENTS :

1 cup dates (pitted)
2 ripe avocado (without pit of course)
1 to 2 bananas (according to taste)
5 tbsp of RAW Cacao powder
1 cup of coconut cream 
1 tbsp of cognac brandy
1 big squeeze of Coconut blossom nectar to sweeten up
About 4 tbsp of cacao nibs or chocolate drops
According to taste again :)

TIP : I you don’t like the banana taste, you can thicken this up by using mango or silken tofu in the same amount.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Sweet sugar free Cherry Pie



If there is anything i wanted to make since last cherry season,
than it’s this cherry pie!





Happy 4th of July!!!!

Time to celebrate with a sweet pie and be grateful for independence day. And with this i don’t mean the new independence day in the UK. I regret they are not part of the European Union anymore.
But who knows, they might come back to us again, when they see this cherry pie :)

I admit, last year i tried to make a cherry pie, but it failed. It was completely watery and i tried to figure out what i did wrong. However this time i knew exactly what to do cause i got some instructions from stone manor in Everberg.
I used Cornflour for binding and this time i mixed it with a liquid and warmed up the cherries in the pan. All the water got absorbed and my swimming pool cherries were dry this time! yay!

This is really not hard to make when you have enough time. Just give yourself a free afternoon for making this pie, it will be so worth it.




MAGICAL INGREDIENTS needed for the Flaky Crust :

Since you need a double batch of pie dough, follow the amounts below.

3 cups of all purpose flour (340 gr)
1/4 tsp of salt
220 gr vegetable shortening mixed with ice cold butter (i think i used 120 butter and 100 shortening)
* the more shortening, the more flaky your crust will be
So you can make this completely with shortening only, then use 190 gr.
7 to 8 tbsp of ice cold water


RECIPE :

Combine the flour and salt in a food processor with the dough knife and pulse a couple of times to combine..
Then add the shortening and butter in small pieces. Pulse a couple of times again. Until you get a crumble actually, then you know your butter is small enough to work further on.
Now add a little water at a time through the feed tube, while the machine is running on setting 1. The dough will become more heavier and give your machine time to put it all together. If necessary add more water, but be careful and be patience. After a minute or so, your dough will be ready. if it’s still too sticky, add a bit more flour. that’s the advantage of using a food processor, you can add ingredients any time. It may not stick and should be in 1 piece now. Your machine did it’s work well.
my hands stayed clean :)

Now, divide the dough in 2 and make flat disks. wrap in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. So you have 2 disks in 2 wraps. Let cool for at least 1 hour.

Continue Reading >>

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Curry Prawn (Scampi)



Simple dish with a lot of taste and Omega 3!





If you think it is difficult, then it is not. It’s ready quickly, tastes delicious and you can serve it easily to guests who love a bit spicy. The fact that you don’t have to stand in the kitchen all evening long is also an advantage. You actually can spend time with your guests :-)

It’s just a little bit expensive cause of the scampi (prawn), but for the rest you don’t need much.


INGREDIENTS (serving 2)


2 tbsp of sunflower oil
400 gr of prawn (scampi)
1 Onion finely sliced
400 gr can chopped tomatoes 
2 tbsp of Madras Curry paste
1 tsp of turmeric
1 glove of garlic
1/2 tsp of black cumin seeds
Large bunch of Coriander chopped

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Indian Veggie stew with Raita and Chapatis



I really like those one pot stews as there is nothing easier to make!




Who says veggie can not be tasty? Then you are wrong :)
I came across this recipe of bbcgoodfood.com. They have it from Good Food Magazine 2011...so i got it now. I just added cauliflower and therefore used a little less potatoes.
I also cook with Coconut oil, added less water and used 2 chillies instead of 3 :D

There is something about coconut milk you should now >> it takes the spiciness away, so in fact you can add more chillies than you are used to, if you like spicy. I wish i added all 3 like in the original recipe :)

This is the perfect dish for when you are drooling over the flavors of India + making chapati is so much fun now with my new Kitchenaid mixer :-)

I made a short movie of this recipe, so you can see me in action. Though i’m planning to make better movies, it’s my first one and doing things with 1 hand is really not easy hehe.
I also uploaded the movie to my youtube, cause i noticed Blogger does not show it large.




INGREDIENTS For the veggie pot

2 Tbsp of Coconut oil
1 Tbsp of brown mustard seeds
3 dried chillies chopped (don’t mind if it’s 3, you will not notice much)
About 15 Curry leaves (i got some dried)
2 Onions sliced
2 tsp of ground coriander
2 tsp of Garam Masala
2 tsp of Turmeric
500 gr fresh tomatoes cut in pieces
700 gr of potatoes, peeled and cut in about 2 cm pieces
TIP : The smaller you cut them, the sooner they will be ready.
About 2 cups of small cauliflower pieces
400 gr (1 can) of Coconut milk
100 ml of water
Maizena powder for binding


RECIPE for the veggie pot

Chop and slice all your ingredients beforehand, so you can just add one after another when cooking.
It’s the easiest and most fun way to cook :)

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot (i use a sort of Le creuset casserole). Add the brown mustard seeds, chillies and curry leaves. As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop, add the onions and fry until softened and starting to brown.

Now add the tomatoes and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir to coat. Also add the cauliflower and add the spices >> 2 tsp of ground coriander, 2 tsp of garam masala and 2 tsp of turmeric. Keep stirring gently till everything is covered. 

Time to add the coconut milk and 100 ml of water. Bring to boil and simmer for about 40 minutes. depending on how large you cut your potatoes. It’s all depending on the potatoes.
Stirring occasionally, until all veggies are tender.

Season extra if necessary with pepper and salt. I also added some maizena for binding the sauce more. Not too much.....just till it’s more acceptable to be a sauce and not watery.

In the meanwhile i made my chapatis too and baked them one by one in a pan covered with a lid.
To make them fluffy and crispy it’s important to bake them with a lid on the pan. Just about 30 seconds each side. make sure you bake them at middle heat, so they don’t get burned!
At a specialized exotic store or indian store, you can find chapati flour, so you just have to add water, oil, salt and some stevia. Cause i don’t use sugar in any of my food.
Additional Chapatis and or Raita
You can make your own Raita very easily >> only 7 minutes work :)


INGREDIENTS for the Raita

200 gr of Low fat yoghurt
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cucumber (grated) or deseeded and fine chopped
1 handful of fresh coriander chopped
You can also add coriander powder or fresh mint
Pepper and Salt

* Just make the Raita in order of list above and set aside in fridge till use.










Sunday, 12 June 2016

Kitchenaid Stand Mixer



Baking is just the beginning




I can not be grateful enough for finally having my Kitchenaid Stand mixer in RED.
For years my eye always got pulled to those mixers, but everyone knows they are not cheap....but as i say, you buy something for life :)
Sometimes things are worth the investment and this is one of them......

With 10 speeds the legendary stand mixer can handle anything and till June 19, 2016 you can even have a free ice cream maker with it. That promises a wonderful summer!
The mixer i bought from Kookpunt.nl and they have some good prices and good combo deals as you can also buy a glass bowl together with your machine with -25 % discount + they offer free delivery within 1 day. The glass bowl i find very interesting to see how cream is whipping up or for egg whites etc and it’s something different to look at, i think it makes it more classy.


                             


These days you can choose from up to 28 colors! So that was really hard as i normally wanted another color to match my red machines, but i stayed true to my kitchen colors and bought a red one. But i tell you, when you have to decide on which color, it can make you crazy :D

De first Kitchenaid mixer appeared in 1919 in the USA. Since then they are constantly developing and being fine-tuned. They got better, faster and got more possibilities. That makes this stand mixer the most wanted robot these days that can do anything you want, an assistant next to you in the kitchen.. The look hasn’t changed in 90 years which i find remarkable and it means it stays true to itself. Thanks to it’s unique Retro design and features it’s the perfect help to your needs and skills. Which i’m planning to test out of course!And as the name says “Kitchen Aid”, it’s a real Aid in the kitchen. 



If you are interested in their accessories, you have to buy them separately and that can make a big cost. Think for yourself whether you need these accessories or not. I’m satisfied with what i got now and have all i need, cause i also have their Food Processor for making my pie crusts as you can see on the picture below.

So here it is >> my new pride.....I will incorporate this mixer in my recipe pictures or all the tools i use ‘when i have space between all the dishes around’ hehe.




Looking forward for making my first ice cream too, i just have to wait a bit to receive the bowl as i just registered the mixer at the website and it can take up to 8 weeks to receive it. well let’s hope it does not take that long. Will keep you informed :D





Happy Cook here.
Have a great sunday all!





Sunday, 5 June 2016

Chervil Pesto



That i didn’t think about that sooner!




I’m sometimes very chaotic and that’s something not normal for a perfectionist :)
When i think of having everything for my pesto, then i don’t have basilicum. So i thought what to do now and searched my fridge for a replacement and found chervil. Still fresh and ready to use.

Personally i don’t like chervil soup as it tastes rather ......well yes pretty tasteless hehe.
The thing i knew is that i have to use more pepper and add a little bit more cheese for more taste in it. The perfect tool for making my pesto i find is the Mini Bowl by Magimix. it has the right size for this tasty pesto.

With these ingredients you get around 200 gr of pesto. If you have some left over, just put it in the fridge for upto 5 days or so, use it in another dish for extra taste of simply make another pesto pasta.




INGREDIENTS :
 
2 hands full of chervil
3 tbsp of pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic (pressed)
140 gr of pecorino Romano cheese 
You can also use the traditional Parmesan
70 ml of extra virgin olive oil
Pepper and Salt






PREPARATION : 

First start with putting the chervil in the mini bowl, you can press it a bit. End with your fluids, as when you turn over the bowl, the fluids have to been at the bottom for mixing.
So add your dry ingredients first and the olive oil with salt and pepper at the end.

Shut the lid well and mix till nicely smooth. it can happen that you have to stop and stir in the bowl. Then try again and everything will mix well.
Don’t be afraid to use speed 4 on your machine. Add more oil if you need to. 
You’ll see, it will taste so much better than from stores.

I was surprised by the taste of chervil. It’s softer, however nicely cheesy and smooth.
Combine your pasta with the pesto >> if necessary add some of the water of the pasta pot. Not too much, just a tablespoon of 2. It’s more easily to combine the pesto this way. It’s good for all kinds of pesto. 

What have i learned?
Well, that you can make pesto with anything. Try it out, see for yourselfs and be amazed!

You will start like to use your blender :)







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