Thursday, 30 November 2017

Eating out on Curacao, Part 2

I went out for dinner.
When you are on the island of Curacao, the first thing that pops in your head is the blue liqueur.
I wanted to start my evening with a Blue Lagoon.

The bar ran out on this stuff! Can you imagine?
I had a green Lagoon instead. The liqueur comes in various colours, like the famous blue, but in green, red and yellow too.

Blue Lagoon is a mix of Blue Curacao, Vodka and Sprite.

The green version was a bit too sweet for my taste, but when all the ice cubes in the drink melted, it was ok.

As a starter I ate the soup of the day. Soup eating in sweltering 29 C is a great idea. I should have better started with a bowl of salad.
The soup was named Pumpkin soup with a variety of green herbs.
The soup that came just had a light orange colour and a very light pumpkin taste and was a bit watery for my taste. The greens sat on top, finely shredded. I identified chives and parsley and some unkown greens.
These were the ones who gave the soup a very special flavour. First I could not pinpoint it. An aniseseed like flavour, a bit lit chervil but more like licorice.
The soup should have been a bit thicker and the herbs a bit better balanced.

My entree was a grilled Hamburger with french fries, a little side salad and Dutch Mayonaise.

Very good beef, grilled outside to perfection and nearly rare on the inside.
It tasted very good, even if rare beef is regularly not my favourite.

For dessert I had some watermelon with yogurt, but  not in the restaurant, but in my apartment.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Eating out on Curacao, Part 1

I started the day with a plate of Grandma´s Pancake with ham here in the Restaurant on the Premises.
A good dollop of pancake syrup made it even better. Most of the vacationers here eat the plate with eggs and bread, but I was looking for something different. A plate of scrambled eggs can easily be made in the apartment kitchen.

The pancake is thin and has a good colour and the ham slices are not too salty. I had that pancake on the first morning after my arrival with smoked bacon, that was a bit to intense for my taste.

I went to Punda in Willemstad in the morning, eager to try some of the food there. I did not check the harbour information before I left and I was confronted with 3 cruise ships and their amount of guests that were swarming through the old town. That is no fun. On  Friday there is only one ship in the harbour, so I will try again.
I prepared a short lunch at home, a good plate of seasoned rice, bell pepper and the rest of my raw Fillet Americana. It became a good ground beef in the sauce.

60 g seasoned fine mince beef or Filet Americana
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/2 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 cup rice with beef stock
chili flakes
salt and pepper

Later I went out to test the local ice cream. We have an Italian ice cream parlour near by down at the beach. It does not only serve ice cream, but sandwiches and pasta too. But the main part is for the ice cream.
I had an Cup Hawaii.

Prepared with lots of fresh cut pineapple, syrup and ice cream. Very fruity and tasty.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Preparing meals with just one working hot plate

This apartment kitchen has just 2 electric hobs. The bigger one is just getting warm and does not bring anything up to boiling temperature. I am cooking with the small one, so far I did not stay hungry.
It needs some planning ahead and juggling of pot and pan.
Best way to start the sauce first, keep it warm on the other plate and cook the pasta.

The first dish on Sunday was a basic spaghetti with tomato sauce, red onions and a bit of cooked specialty from the deli section of the supermarket: Filet Americana

This is finely minced raw beef with a good amount of paprika and chili powder which is eaten on bread in the Netherlands. You will find it there at any butcher shop and in the big supermarkets.

It is not the only spread that is eaten there. Pinda´s Kip (cooked chicken -Kip-  minced with salted peanuts -pinda-) and some fish spreads.

When you heat the Filet Americana in the sauce, it clumbs to small pieces and tastes like a fine beef hash. A good dose of  grated Gouda cheese finished the pasta dish.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Grocery Shopping in a local Supermarket in Jan Thiel ,Curacao

I live in an one bedroom apartment in a lush holiday resort with lots of bungalows and small apartment houses. The kitchen is compact and I have to learn to manage the guessable ceramic hob, which has no longer any markings around the 2 knobs.
To get some food and beverages it is not very far to walk to the local supermarket at Papagayo Beach Hotel. But carrying heavy bottles is no fun and I use my rental car.

The new shopping bag was very handy

The market caters to many foreign tourists, there are so many apartments all over the area. The meat, fish and fruit sections are rather small and when you check the labels of origin of the products, you will see that the island is mostly barren. I only food I found are local milk and eggs.
Most of the fruits and veg are from Brazil and Venezuela. All chicken meat I saw is from Brazil.

The offerings are meager in many places, but there is enough beer and wine and other spirits to make most peoples holidays the best. I do not belong to that group.

Lots of dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and butter are imported either directly from the Netherlands and sometimes from then US. That makes them very expensive.

The bottled water comes from Spa in Belgium.
I am going to prepare some fresh salad with some hamburger patty as lunch today. I bought all the trimmings this morning.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

First Breakfast on Curacao

The best way to escape cold and snowy November weather is to go on a long flight. It took me to the Carribbean and the island of Curacao. It belongs to the Netherlands Antillen islands.

I reached the Jan Thiel Beach around 7:30 PM local time, my inner and wrist watch said 0:30 AM.
After unpacking and getting comfortable the next step was to go to bed. With still 28 C outside a big difference to the day before.

I was wide awake short after 4 AM. At 5:30 I needed something to eat. My BFF had packed me a linen bag with bread in a tin, liverwurst in a tin and homemade jam, a good way to start the day. The restaurant opens for breakfast at 8.

The big thin pancake with added smoked bacon started my vacation hunt for food.
A delicious syrup drizzle on top.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Miso and Honey Aubergine

What to do with some single aubergine - eggplant- sitting in the kitchen for more then a week. Filling it with some minced meat and preparing it Oriental style was the commentary from one of my coworkers, but when she heard it was only one, she told me not to bother. Too much work, her recipe would only work on 5 -8 eggplants in one go.

I wanted some vegetarian dish served with rice. I went into the Japanese corner and checked for recommandations.
Miso and aubergine is a thing in the moment.
You find it made by many chefs and health nerds. I opted for a version that was easy to prepare and had no need to go out shopping for special ingredients.
Miso is something that I have stocked in my fridge every time of the year. All the other ingredients are from the cupboard.

1 eggplant
2 tbsp miso paste
4 tbsp hot water
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 clove of garlic
1 small knob og ginger
Salt and pepper
25 g cashews
1 cup rice

Grate garlic and ginger.
Dissolve miso in hot water, add soy sauce, seasame oil, garlic and ginger.
Cut the eggplant in half and criss and cross cut the insides and pour a good amount of marinade over.

Set into s bowl and pour the rest over. Let it rest for 30 min.
Use baking paper and wrap each half into one sheet and close it. Set it into the oven at 200 C for 20 min, open it, put more marinate on top and sprinkle the cashews over both halves.
Bake for 20 min more with the paper open.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Tomato and prawn risotto

A rice dish with different kinds of tomatoes. Fresh ones, oven roasted ones and some dried from a jar in oil. A good base for a risotto. Some green asparagus as a bit of veg makes it even more tasty.

Start about 2 hours before cooking and heat up your oven to 100 C and half the cherry tomatoes. Put them face up in the oven and dry them for 2 hours.

Cut the up. Get the dried tomatoes out of the oil and pat them dry.
Spring onions and garlic as a base and a very good veg stock are needed for a good quality risotto.

Recipe for 2:
1 cup carneroli rice
150 ml white wine
500 ml veg stock
3 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
8 cherry tomatoes
4 sun dried tomatoes1
150 g green asparagus
10 cooked prawns
2 raw king prawns per person
salt and pepper
40 g butter
1 tsp oil

chop onions and garlic and saute that in 15 g butter until soft, add the rice and coat it all over with butter. Pour in the wine and let it reduce. Add the sun dried tomatoes and a 1/3 of the stock. Then add the oven roasted tomatoes which are cut in halves. Add more stock.

Clean the asparagus and cut into bite size pieces. Add to the rice for the last 5 minutes, after 3 min add the chopped cooked prawns.

In a bit of oil on high heat fry off the raw prawns with their shell. You can season them with some strong Caribic seasoning before you put them in the pan. Just keep them there for max 3 min.

Finish the risotto with some more butter and taste for seasoning.
Place the prawns on top and garnish with some chives.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

A Mezédes feast at a Greek Taverne in town

A girls night out with great food!

I am on an adventure to check out the Restaurants in my neighborhood. This is one of them.
We went to a Greek Tavern called ELA! The word means come or come in English.

They serve not the usual Greek platters of food which are starting with all kinds of Greek Gods or Goddesses names, but they serve small plates with seasonal food. It is similar to Spanish Tapas.
The best way to eat here is to come with friends and sit around a small table and share the dishes.
The three of us did just that.

The table was tiny and the waiter had to play Tetris to get 4 or 5 dishes on the table in one serving.
Each of us ordered their 4 favourite ones to try and so 12 dishes came to us.
After that, we wanted to finish the evening with some sweets, but there were non on the menu. The chef came and recommended 2 desserts to share with 3 spoons - what a great idea. We were so into these desserts that I even forgot to take a picture.

We all love Tsaziki and that was no.1 on our list. Then Tamaras- white fish roe cream and Fakes salata - a lentil salad with thyme. Aubergine salad was next.
Great tasting black olives.
Have you heard of Kolokithokeftedes?  Grated Courgette with Carrots bind with some cheese into balls served with some mint dip. Delicious.

More hot dishes followed.  Hart Greek cheese coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried with lemon juice.
Meatballs with tomatoes and cheese out of the oven and Suflaki.
A prawn and cheese dish came last. It was too salty for my taste. We ate all of the dishes with fresh baked olive bread.

After 12 shared dishes we were full.
Two lovely sweet treats helped us to finish our evening. Walnuts  almonds and rusk crushed and drenched with honey and baked in the oven topped with vanilla custard with cinnamon. Finger licking good. The other was a small tower with creme patisserie between two layers of cake and topped with chocolate ganache and a cherry.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Carrot Ginger Fond with Brook Trout

The fish should be the star of the show - but the Fond is!
And the Lemon Baharat Potatoes are going so well with the brook trout too. All in one - a great dish.

On TV I saw someone at the "Perfect Dinner" or "Come dine with me" in other countries, prepare a carrot fond and served it with the entree. I wasn`t really following but just saw the final photo of the dish. The fond was the winner in my opinion.
In a newspaper clipping I found a recipe with the brook trout served on some carrot ginger fond. A recipe from Austrian chef Elisabeth Grabmer.
I took both takes as an inspiration on the fond/jus and come up with my own version. It is no so complicated as it sounds. The jus not only goes with fish, but you can serve any white meat with it too.

recipe for the Carrot Ginger Fond:
500 ml carrot juice mixed with a little apple juice
half of an orange - juiced
half of a lemon - juiced
30 g fresh ginger
1 shallot
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tbsp Noilly Prat
salt and pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp anise seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp veg stock powder
1 tsp potato starch in 2 tbsp water

1 brook trout fillet
2 tbsp oil
2 knobs of butter
salt and pepper
lemon juice

Peel and chop shallot and ginger, in rapeseed oil saute both until the shallot is tender, add the seeds and give them 2 minutes, add Noilly Prat, the orange and lemon juice and last the carrot apple mix.
Add seasonings and cook without a lid for 20 - 30 min to reduce to 1/3 of the liquid.
Dissolve the starch in water and gradually add to thicken the sauce. Then drain it through a fine sieve and reheat and serve.

Prepare the brook trout.
Season it on both sides and in some oil on medium to high heat brown the skin side. When you see the white come up around the fish, drain the oil from the pan.
Add the butter and turn the fish over and just finish it. A little lemon juice ups the flavour.
Put on top the  jus, skin side up.

Serve with some asparagus and Lemon Baharat Potatoes.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Lemon Baharat Potatoes

Greeting from the Orient.

My BFF was on tour here in Germany and on her trip she went o a big Turkish/Arabic Supermarket. She knows that I love to check out things that are unknown to me and she went to the spice board in the supermarket. The word "Oliven" on a jar caught her eye. It was a spice blend with the name Zeytin Baharat. It ingredients of garlic, marjoram, basil, oregano,mint and sumac sounded good. She bought it for me.
I googled the spice blend and found a potato side dish that sounded delicious. Since I was looking for a side to my fish dish, that gave me the reason to try it .

Great spice blend! I can recommend the way to prepare tasty potatoes in a pan.

Recipe for 2:
450 g potatoes
1 small red onion
1 tsp dried parsley or chives
1 lemon zest and juice
1 1/2 tsp Zeytin Baharat
60 ml rapeseed oil
salt and pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes in 2 cm cubes.
Zest and juice the lemon
add them to a bowl with parsley and 1 tsp of Baharat.
Mariante the potatoes for 30 min.

Add rapeseed oil and salt and pepper.
Bake in a wide pan for 10 min,
Add the sliced onion
Bake for 10 more minutes.

Add a bit more Baharat if you like.

Pudding Rice with Mango

A super ripe mango is a wonderful fruit, but a mess to eat. I wanted to use it before it went off.
I started to cut it open and had the juices run over my fingers. I dropped as much ripe flesh into a bowl and looked at it. Not so nice, no other fruit to make a smoothie, no yogurt in the fridge to mix it with.

On a cold day a bowl of pudding rice sounded great to me. When I make these kinds of sweet rice I usually use risotto rice like carneroli or aborio rice. But I had none at home. Some forgotten pudding rice sat in one of my many metal cans. O K , why not. I like my rice rich and creamy, so an egg and some lemon or lime juice is a must to finish it.

recipe for 2:
175 g pudding rice
20 g butter
1 pinch of salt 
800 ml whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
1 lemon.
1 ripe mango

Wash the rice and in some butter give it a good coating in a pot. After 2 min add the salt and the milk and bring to a boil, add vanilla sugar and brown sugar and cook for 20 - 25 min until the rice is soft .
Separate the eggs and beat the egg white stiff with a little salt.
Press the juice from the lemon.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Pasta with smoked Salmon and Physalis

When I checked my fridge I had one slice of smoked salmon left.  Eating it just as it is was one choice, but not enough to feel satisfied. Pasta for dinner sounded great and the salmon would be the final touch on my dish.

A bit of tomato would look nice on the plate too, but my tomato season has ended and since then I have not bought any from a shop.
What now. Some orange coloured physalis caught my eye. The look like cherry tomatoes. That inspired me to chuck a few halved ones into the pasta.
The sweet and fruity taste goes remarkable well with the smoked salmon.

120 g pasta
1 slice smoked salmon, use more when you have some
3 tbsp double cream
1 1/2 tbsp parmesan
3 physalis
Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta al dente and drain it.
Heat up the cream, season and add 1 tbsp parmesan.
Mix the pasta in.
Top with smoked salmon and halved physalis and a big more cheese

Swede and Carrot Curry

Swede is a typical winter root vegetable
 It is not very popular especially with old people.

It was their main staple after WWII. I bought one on the weekly market. A bit of curry was a way to prepare it without any meat.
Some dried whole spices and some fresh aromatics help the veggies along.
You can go one pot with meat and bacon or just prepare it vegetarian.

500 g swede
2 large carrots
400 g mushrooms
3 shallots
3 cloves of garlic
2 spring onion
1 knob of ginger
1 veg stock cube
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chili flakes
200 ml coconut milk
50 g dessicated coconut
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp curcuma
2 tbsp veg oil
Salt and pepper
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp parsley

Chop everything.
Heat up the oil and get the dried spices in to pop.
Add onions, garlic and ginger and tomato paste.
The coconut milk follows next.
Then get all veggies in. Fill up with 500 ml stock and season.
Cook until veggies are tender.
Add sugar and lemon juice and dessicated coconuts.
Garnish with parsley.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Plantaine & Buckwheat Pancakes GF

When I buy a plantaine it usually ends fried. I have one since last week sitting around and on my way home I knew I had to prepare it. It was still on the green side, so lots of starch and no sweetness.

When I stood in the kitchen, I was no longer looking forward to fry some food.
The next move was a trip through Google until I found a way to prepare the plantaine without frying it.
The answer to my cooking problem were some pancakes. The recipe sounded fairly simple, just peel the plantaine, crack eggs and put both with a little salt into a blender. Make a fine batter.

I looked at the batter and it looked rather thin. To stabilize it a little I went for buckwheat, because I wanted to stay gluten free on this dish.

Bake them in rapeseed oil on medium heat for 3 minutes on each side.

It was just two pancakes, a little blue cheese and some dressed salad and voila, the dinner today was ready.

recipe for 2 pancakes:
1 green  plantaine
1 tbsp buckwheat flour
2 eggs
1 pinch of salt
rapeseed oil
blue cheese
lettuce with some dressing