Tag Archives: pepper

Yellow Corn Soup

Corn Soup (9632)

J and I just returned from Ghent (or Gent), a delightful medieval town approximately 50 minutes from Brussels. Last Friday I spent a good number of hours doing some exploring while J was at the university attending a seminar and giving a lecture at the end of the evening. So I was pretty much left alone for a whole day. The tram journey into the town centre was so much fun, although I was practically stuck to my map counting the stops. Everything was in Dutch. But hey, I was up for a little adventure. The weather was so rotten however, that my plans for major exploring/walking/taking-plenty-of-photos went down the drain. All was not lost though; I found a charming salad bar and sandwich shop (tucked away in between the touristy restaurants and shops) which I almost missed. LKKR is a small family business run by Dahlia and her husband, both lovely and friendly. This is the place where to have a healthy, delicious, homemade lunch, plus coffee, of course. You could also have a cookie if you wish like I did on that rainy morning.  I liked the place so much that I just had to take J for lunch there on Saturday. I felt so in-the-know! It was so cold that he ordered a soup. I had a chicken curry sandwich. Just what I needed. If you’re in Ghent, do yourself a favour and go. Prices are reasonable and if there’s no seating inside, you can take a table outside, people-watch while wrapped around a cozy pink blanket you will find on your chair. Nice. The frites, mussels, fish stews and waffles can all wait until you arrive in Brussels. Even nicer.

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Patate Arraganate or Arrangiate

Patate-Arrangiate-(6436)

One evening I just wanted a simple side, prepared without too much faff for a weeknight supper. I must have had some leftover roast from the weekend before; can’t recall much because it has been a while. Proof? Look at the date. Yikes. J was still the one taking the photos for C&T. What I do remember though was that I had around an hour to spare for the prep and the cooking, and in a panic I just couldn’t think properly. Luckily in the nick of time I assembled an adaptation of an easy recipe by Gennaro Contaldo. I read it a few days before in Two Greedy Italians but with no time to find it from the book I tried to make a rough version of it. I have checked his recipe since then and he obviously gives measurement for every ingredient.

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Beef and Anchovy Stew

Beef and Anchovy Stew (8239)

Shall I state the obvious? I think I will. If you don’t like beef and/or anchovies just don’t bother. Mmm…don’t like the sound of that so let me rephrase. If you like beef but you or anyone you’re feeding is not so keen on anchovies, to put it mildly, try this recipe. Adding them does make a difference. You will not be able to taste them, but they give a depth of flavour that you won’t get with anything else.

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French Onion Soup

French-Onion-Soup-(6463)

There are many variations on this recipe out there, and I wonder why I haven’t written anything about it myself as yet. I have had this photo on file for ages! This is one of J’s favourite things to cook and eat, and I’ve grown to love it too. It’s easy to make and that bit of bread and cheese on top makes it so comforting. It will be piping hot by the time you serve it, but I think that’s one of the best things about it. There is a place for cold soup in the kitchen – not this time.

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Burgers

Soft-Baps-(5258)In Surrey you mean…? Err…nope! It’s so dreary today I could cry! I really don’t know if there will be a summer here, but till it arrives (perhaps *if* is a better term) here’s a recipe which reminds me of the warmer months. Grilling (with a good extractor in the kitchen: very important) cheers me up. I don’t know why but it makes me feel better. Most probably because it’s quick and really easy if you can deal with some splatter. If that bothers you, you can get one of those grilling contraptions. But you don’t really need one. The less gadgets, the better.

Burgers-(5432)One of my favourite things, especially when I’m really hungry is a good burger. I like to make the mixture before, place the patties on a tray, cover with cling film, put them in the fridge to cool before any cooking is done. I found that this one of the best ways to keep them intact while on the grill. I add chilli in mine. If you don’t like chilli or are allergic to it just season with a little salt and pepper; you will definitely need some seasoning in this. You can play around as much as you like with a recipe like this, depending on what you love best. As far as the breadcrumbs go, I always keep some handy in the freezer. I hate waste so whenever I have some two/three-day-old bread I whizz it up in a food processor. I either divide the quantity into containers or freezer bags*. Very very simple. This recipe will give you approximately 5 burgers (150g each). But sometimes I make smaller portions which will or course give you more. (For a niftier version, you can make sliders – a trendy name for little hamburgers.) You need:

  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons breadcrumbs*
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (optional but I love it)
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder (for a spicier version try 1 teaspoon chilli flakes)
  • ¼ teaspoon mixed spice
  • salt and pepper for extra seasoning (especially if you omit the chilli)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • flour, to bind

Throw in all the ingredients, except the flour into a large bowl and mix. The easiest is to use clean hands.

Form the mixture into 5 to 6 patties, about 125g-150g each. (You will eventually eyeball it with practice, but I used to weigh them and still do sometimes.) Bind them on a large tray using some flour, and remove any excess by tapping them lightly between the palms of your hands.

Cover the patties with cling film and place the tray in the fridge to cool. You will find this useful while cooking on the grill. I’ve learned this the hard way!

When you’re ready to party, make sure that the grill is nice and hot and cook the burgers for about 6 minutes on each side. Serve on baps with tomatoes, lettuce, any relish you prefer and/or a thick slab of cheese!

A classic. Enjoy…outside…

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