30th August 2016
My husband and I are headed to Japan this October so we’re currently in the midst of researching where to go and what to do – but most importantly what to eat!
One of our destinations is Osaka, Japan’s second largest city located in the Kansai region (also home to Kyoto). Known as the “nation’s kitchen” there is so much food to discover and taste! Koen and I were even more excited to visit once we learned of the saying “Kyotoites are financially ruined by overspending on clothing, Osakans are ruined by spending on food.” This is our kind of city.
Osaka is known for a lot of different dishes, but one of its most famous is okonomiyaki. It’s mostly described as a savory pancake and is so delicious! Of course I can only vouch for the okonomiyaki I’ve made at home, but it’s definitely worth trying if you want to venture further into Japanese cuisine! This recipe is a favorite of mine from Food 52.
The sauces: okonomiyaki sauce, Kewpie mayonnaise, and sriracha (extra hot!)
Okonomiyaki, makes 12 pancakes (perfect for dinner for 2 (4 pancakes each), and lunch the next day (2 pancakes each))
Traditionally it’s with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise, and a spicy sauce if you like it hot. I’m lucky to have a great Asian supermarket closeby, but if you can’t find the sauces, you can make your own!
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sriracha, more or less to taste
- Whisk together the ingredients and your sauce is ready!
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
- 3/4 cup (roughly) chopped shrimp
- Oil for frying
- 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt. Gradually add the flour until incorporated. Fold in cabbage, scallions, and shrimp.
- Warm a couple glugs of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until glistening. Ladle the batter into the skillet as you would for regular pancakes, about the size of saucer. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Keep pancakes covered in a warm oven as you make the rest. Scatter sesame seeds on top of pancakes and serve with lots of sauce!
28th August 2016
I love the My New Roots cookbook! I received it for Sinterklaas from my sister-in-law and love making all of the delicious nutritious plant-based recipes.
Every week I receive a bag of fresh vegetables from local farms, and this week included zucchini and green onions – so what better than a grilled salad with this hot weather? And I do mean hot! It’s been around 90 degrees all week!
I made this salad for a fresh lunch for Koen and me – so delicioso!
Grilled Zucchini and Spring Onions with Baby Spinach and Almonds, serves 2
- 1-2 zucchini, depending on how hungry you are
- Butter, coconut oil, or ghee
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium spring onions
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 fresh chile ( I didn’t have any on hand, so I used a few drops of hot sauce)
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- Grated zest of 1 1/2 lemons
- Few handfuls baby spinach
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted (I used almonds because it’s all I had on hand)
- Heat a grill pan
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin ribbons. Lightly rub melted oil on the slices and season lightly with salt and pepper. Slice the green onions in the same manner.
- When the grill pan is hot, lay the zucchini and green onions on the pan and cook uncovered until you have some char marks on the underside, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip them over and cook until tender and marked, another 2 minutes. Remove the vegetabels from the grill pan and place them on a plate.
- Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, chile, maple syrup, and grated zest of 1 lemon in a small bowl. Put the spinach in a serving bowl, and pour this dressing over it; toss to combine.
- Roughly chop the nuts. Arrange the grilled veggies on top of the spinach. Sprinkle with the nuts and the remaining lemon zest, and serve.
17th April 2016
I’m not a huge baker, but when I do decide to make a dessert I try to make it at least a little bit healthy.
Green Kitchen Stories is my favorite site to use when baking and their Lemon Tart does not disappoint!
The ingredients are staples that I always have in my kitchen, so this tart is perfect to satiate my sweet tooth when the mood strikes!
Pie Crust (gluten free)
- 200 g mixed nuts (I used almonds and cashews)
- 10 fresh dates
- 100 g cold butter
- 2/5 cup (55 g) quinoa flour (can also use almond or buckwheat)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
Custard Filling (sugar free)
- 75 g butter
- 1 1/3 cup milk (can also use soy or almond)
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 small lemons (juice and zest)
- 6 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp corn starch
- Making the crust: Mix nuts and dates in a blender for about a minute (it’s ok if the nuts aren’t completely grinded) and pour the mixture in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl together with the rest of the ingredients. Use your hands to work the pastry. Coat the bottom of a 9” tart pan with some butter, and distribute the pastry evenly on the bottom and the sides. Prick the pan with fork and put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes while you make the custard.
- Making the custard: Heat butter, soy milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan on medium heat. Add lemon juice, zest and agave syrup. Bring to a boil while stirring, then lower the temperature and let it simmer for about five minutes. Remove the vanilla pod, set aside and let it cool. Whisk egg yolks, egg and corn starch with a manual whisk in a large mixing bowl for a couple of minutes, then add the lemon mixture while whisking.
- Pour the custard into the tart pan and bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes. The tart crust can easily get burnt so keep an eye on the oven. Let it cool before serving.
15th March 2016
I love sweet potatoes and am always trying to find new ways to eat them. This recipe is inspired by Sarah Britton’s My New Roots cookbook. In her book she has a recipe for sweet potato and mushroom tacos with a red cabbage slaw. For my tacos I substituted the mushrooms for avocados and baked my sweet potatoes rather than broiling them on the stovetop.
These tacos are perfect for either lunch and dinner!
Sweet Potato Tacos
- 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, sliced
- Tablespoon of smoked parika
- Teaspoon of cumin
- Teaspoon of thyme
- Dried chili pepper to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 small wraps
- 1 avocado, cubed
- Red cabbage slaw (see recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F.
- In a lasagne dish, combine the sweet potatoes, garlic, shallots, spices and olive oil. Mix well, ensuring everything is covered in olive oil. Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes, so that the sweet potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.
- Build your tacos! I like to first toast my wraps, then add the sweet potatoes, avocado, and red cabbage slaw and enjoy!
Red Cabbage Slaw
- 1/2 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
- Handful of cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients together and let set for at least 10 minutes to allow flavors to marinate.
2nd February 2016
Jalapeño slices are one of my favorite pickles. I love them on burgers and nachos or stuffed inside burritos. They’re so delightfuly spicy and sour! Jalapeños are a mild pepper, so compared to my other Pickled Peppers, these can be enjoyed by everyone!
I’ve tried different recipes, and I love this one from The Yummy Life. The mixture of spices is perfect and the peppers aren’t too sweet. I like to wait a month before opening my sealed jar so the flavors can fully develop. Once opened, don’t forget to put them in the refrigerator (otherwise if the jar is sealed, it can stay in your pantry for up to a year).
Pickled Jalapeño Slices, makes 1 jar
- 250g / 1/2 pound jalapeños
- 3/4 cup vinegar (white distilled, apple cider, or a combination of the two)
- 3/4 cups water
- 1/2 tablespoon honey, maple syrup, or other natural sweetner
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper corns
- 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 whole garlic clove, peeled
- Thinly slice jalapenos in 1/8″ rounds, discarding stem ends.
- Sterilize your pint jar & lid according to standard canning procedures. Keep jars warm until it’s time to fill them.
- Combine vinegar, water, & sweetner in a pot; heat until just before it starts to boil.
- Add salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, & garlic to each jar.
- Add jalapeno slices to the jar, pressing down and packing them in compactly until the jar is filled. For a more attractive appearance, use a chopstick or your finger to position some slices vertically along the sides of the jar.
- Pour hot vinegar mixture into the jar, leaving 1/2″ head space. Insert chopstick down side of jar and press in toward center to release any bubbles. Clean jar rims with wet paper towel. Add jar lids and rings, making them “finger tight.”
- Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the jar with 1″ of water. Bring water to boil.
- Place warm, filled jars inside pot, return water to a boil, and process 12 minutes.
- Turn off heat and leave jars in water for 5 minutes.
- Remove jars and cool, undisturbed for at least 12 hours.
- Store in cool, dark place. May be eaten within a few days, but best if allowed to cure for 4-6 weeks.
- If any jars don’t seal, cool and move to refrigerator where they will be good for several months.
19th January 2016
Whenever I’ve had spaghetti for dinner, I always have leftover marinara sauce. I love using it for dipping the following day. My husband is a great baker, so often he’ll make some garlic bread sticks or sour dough pretzels. But this time I was off from work, so I wanted to make our dipping snack!
I decided on Sprouted Kitchen’s Roasted Parmesan Parsnips – yum! The sweet taste of parsnips, umami taste of parmesan, and fresh rosemary! Baked in the oven, the only fat used in this recipe is the parmesan cheese – so enjoy these guilt-free fries!
Roasted Parmesan Parsnips, serves about 4 as a side
8 parsnips, cleaned and peeled
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
Fresh ground pepper
- And of course a marinara or tomato sauce for dipping!
Preheat the oven to 425 F / 215 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the parsnips into wedges or halves depending on the thickness. Since they taper so much, you can use the ends whole then cut the fat top into fourths. Try to get them as evenly sized as possible.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy with 2 tsp dried oregano.
Working with about half of the parsnips at a time, toss in the egg white and then gently roll in the parmesan cheese. Place each parsnip on the baking sheet, with space in between. Sprinkle the fresh rosemary and generous amounts of fresh pepper and salt. You may even want to give one more sprinkling of parmesan, you want them pretty well doused.
Bake the wedges about 20-25 minutes until crispy and cooked through. Rotate and test them after 15 minutes baking as the size of parsnips will vary. Serve with tomato sauce and enjoy!
10th January 2016
In Belgium parsnips are categorized as a forgotten vegetable. Why would anyone want to forget about parnsips! Parsnips are somewhere inbetween a carrot and potato – so delicious!
I first started eating parsnips as fries baked in the oven with a bit of oil, salt, and pepper and slowly been experimenting with other ways to eat them, like in soups and quiches.
Naturally Ella has such a delicious recipe on her site for a parsnip and thyme galette. This was my first galette aka a free form pie. Rather than using a pie dish, the dough is rolled out, the filling (savory or sweet) is poured into the center, and then the edges are folded up to keep everything inside.
This parsnip and thyme gallette is a great, light weeknight dinner or Sunday brunch!
Parsnip and Thyme Galette, serves 2 for dinner or 4 for lunch
- Pie dough (pre-made or your favorite recipe)
- 2 parsnips
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup (120g) ricotta
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg and 2 tablespoons heavy cream for the egg wash
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C, or gas mark 5) and cover a baking tray with parchment paper. Roll out dough into a circle form (abotu 10in/25cm) and transfer to the baking tray.
- To make the filling: Toss the shaved parsnip with the melted butter and thyme and set aside. In a bowl, whip together the ricotta, honey, black pepper, and sea salt. Spread the ricotta over the crust, leaving an edge of roughly 1½ inches (3.8 cm). Layer on the parsnips, and fold the edges of the crust over the outer edges of the layered ricotta and vegetables, pleating the crust as you go in order to make an even circle.
- Whisk together the heavy cream and egg, then brush the crust with the egg wash. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is set and bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
1st December 2015
When I was in the supermarket a couple of months ago, I spotted colorful pearl onions and couldn’t resist buying them.
My husband and I love to have pickled onions in the house – they’re a perfect accent flavor! You can eat them whole alongside fried fish, sliced in a taco or a sandwich, or just as a snack.
I’ve already shared my recipe for pickled red onions. Now it’s time for pearl onions!
Pickling onions is very easy. You just have to be a bit patient, but after 3 weeks they’re ready to eat!
Pickled Pearl Onions
- 500g pearl onions
- 2 cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 half inch strips of lemon peel
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the onions over high heat for 4 minutes. Drain and let cool. When the onions are cool enough to handle, slip off their skins. The peels will come off very easily.
- Add the 2 cloves, 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds and 2 strips of lemon zest to each jar. Then pack the onions into the jar.
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the brine over the onions to cover. Let cool, then seal the jars and refrigerate the onions for at least 3 weeks.
18th November 2015
Fall is all about root vegetables for me. Right now in the super markets here there is a wide array of beets: red, golden, and candy cane. I bought an assortment to experiment with at home. My husband made beet chips with the golden ones, we tried out marshmallows with the candy cane, so that left only the red.
Food 52 has a recipe for a Rustic Beet Tart, which served as inspiration for my beet pizza. Rather than a pizza with a tomato sauce, this version has a layer of goat cheese custard that pairs perfectly with the oven baked beets. You need a little bit of time for this recipe, but all of the ingredients are inexpensive and it’s quite easy to make!
Beet Pizza, makes 1 pizza
- 3 small (2 to 3 inch/ 5 to 7 cm diameter) beets
- Pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup / 60 mL whole milk
- 3-5 oz / 85 to 41 grams of goat cheese
- Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
- Peel the beets then place each beet on a small square of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in the foil. Bake at 400 F / 200 C degrees anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your beets. They’re done when they are knife tender and can be pierced with the tip of a paring knife with ease.
- Once the beets are knife tender, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.
- While the beets cool, roll out the pizza dough into a nice circle. Transfer the pizza dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Roll in the edges of the pastry about an inch along the edge so that you have a delicious pastry wall. You want to make sure that the custard doesn’t leak out when poured into the “shell”.
- Combine the egg and the goat cheese with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Slowly add the milk or cream, stiring until you have a thick but pourable consistency. It should be no thinner than pancake batter.
- Slice the beets into rounds. You should get 5 or 6 rounds from each beet.
- Pour the custard into the pastry shell, then lay the beets on top, being careful not to overflow.
- Bake at 400 F / 200 C until the pizza is golden, the custard is set, and the top is just a little brown. Slice and enjoy!
17th November 2015
I’ve mentioned it before, but I love pickling! It’s a great way to use up your leftover vegetables and the pickling process adds another dimension to the taste and texture.
This recipe for Japanese Pickled Cucumbers is what’s referred to as a “refrigerator pickle”. Refrigerator pickles are ready to eat in only a matter of days and the vegetables tend to stay crunchier. These cucumber slices will be ready in 3-4 days and stay good for up to a month.
And what can you do with these pickles? They’re a perfect compliment to sushi and rice or on sandwiches!
Japanese Pickled Cucumbers
- 1 English cucumber
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Wash the cucumbers and slice in thin coins. Place in a bowl and sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of salt on them, and set aside for five minutes. Rinse off the salt and drain the cucumbers.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Place in a lidded container and let sit in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, then they’re ready to eat!