Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Who does not love mashed potatoes?

A good quality potato which is important for a good mash. Use some that are the best for mash or dumplings. Whole milk , cream and butter are key ingredients. Do not skimp on them.

Adding sauteed onions and garlic in dark sweet and vinegar sauce are  a good choice.

I served it with fried eggs and some romana salad in cream dressing.

750 g potatoes
100 ml whole mlik
50 ml double cream
30 g butter
2 spring onions
1 white onion
2 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
2 eggs
Balsamic vinegar

Monday, December 11, 2017

I made a low fuss version of Haianese Chicken Rice

I love the Singaporean dish of Haianese Chicken Rice, but that takes a lot of effort to make the chicken perfectly right and prepare the tasty rice.

I used up some of my chicken breast I had left over from the weekend and used the stock I prepared with the carcass. The stock was already good on its own, but I reduced it about 30 % to intensify the taste. I used the same method to make the rice more tasty by sauteing fresh ginger and garlic in duck fat and adding the rice to it. After a couple of minutes the reduced stock went in and the rice started to cook. After a couple of minutes I reduced the heat to very low and let the rice absorb all the stock.

The chicken breast was very tender and was just reheated in some more stock.

The dish was served with a salad of carrot noodles with lemon juice, lemon olive oil, lemon pepper and black Hawaiian salt.

A bit of sweet chili sauce finished the whole meal.

If you do not have time for the signature dish of Singapore, prepare something like this and you will enjoy a good lunch.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Citrussy Chicken

I am back home from the Caribbean and was looking for some meat. I ate a lot of vegetarian food during my holidays because the meat came most of the time from Brazil and organic or free range was not get.

The food on the island of Curacao is based on imports from the Netherlands, the USA, Brazil and Venezuela. You only see small farms when driving around the island,  but not a lot grows there.

I bought a free range chicken today and planned to use it in different ways.

To give the chicken in the oven a nice flavour, I used a whole lemon. First some zest mixed with the butter, then the whole lemon in the back cavity of the chicken, pierced with toothpicks to secure it.

Rub the chicken outside with the lemon butter, salt and pepper. Add a good tablespoon of Zaatar and a tsp of additional Sumac.
Give it a bit of sweetness with dark coconut flower syrup.

1,6 kg free range chicken
50 g butter
1 lemon
1 tbsp Zaatar
1 tsp Sumac
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven 170 C fan or 190 C
Zest the lemon and mix it with the butter. Rub the chicken with it. Salt and pepper inside and outside.
Stick the lemon in and secure it with toothpicks.
Cover with Zaatar and Sumac.
Drizzle the syrup over on both sides.

Bake for 75 min.
Serve it with oven roasted sweet potato wedges.

Use the carcass as base for a chicken stock later.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bitterballen and Spring Rolls

I went down to the restaurant at the apartment complex for a sundowner and stayed for a plate of fried goods.

These starters are small dark brown small balls of all the stuff that is secret in a kitchen mixed with potato mash.
To make it even more guessable it is heavy coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried.
You eat this very hot with lots of good mustard.

I have eaten them when I spent time in Noord Holland.
They are actually beer food and often served in pubs.
The other bit on the plate were just spring rolls served with sweet chili sauce.

They went very well with my pinia colada.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Spinach with Sweet corn and peanuts

That sounds like an unlikely combination. But no, together with rice cooked in stock, bay leaf and herbes de Provence it tasted really good.

I checked the local tourist supermarket for fresh veggies, but the offer is small and quite pricy. I found a package of Dutch baby spinach and decided to have a vegetarian lunch.  Nothing of the meat that was offered spoke to me. I had shopped a small can of sweet corn earlier last week in a Mini Market somewhere in the east of the island and opted for putting it into the spinach and not mix it with the cooking rice.

When I had everything in the pan and the rice was done, I checked the seasoning and had to adjust it a bit, a bag with some leftover Teriyaki peanuts caught my eye.
Some crunch in a dish is always good, so a handfull went into the spinach too.

200 g baby spinach
1/4 red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small can of sweet corn
1 handfull toasted flavooured peanuts
chili, salt, pepper, celery seed
1 cube veg stock
1/2 cup of rice
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp herbes de Provence

Okras or Yamas with pasta

I was on my last tour today and had to gas up my rental car to give it back tomorrow morning. Since you have to pay first at the cashir and then pump the gas, I filled the car up too much.  I decided against going strait back to the apartment and instead drove down to Punda instead.

I had a meager breakfast this morning and a nice coffie shop was my stop there.
A slice of Zebra cake and a good cappucchino later, I went back towards the Jan Thiel beach.

For todays lunch I wanted some veggies to go with my spaghetti and I went into the Lunapark Maximarket on my way back.
Most of the veggies were boring and a minute later I found one sole package of yamas or okras as I know them. They looked quite fresh and they went into my shopping basket.

I cut off the head and the tip and they went into boiling salted water for 5 minutes to give up some of their slime.

Then I made a tomato sauce with white wine and beef stock and onion and garlic and enough chili powder for a good kick. When the sauce had reduced enough, I cut up the okras into 1/2 inch pieces and dropped them in the tomato sauce to cook out some more of the slime and get softer.

A bunch of fresh coiander and the fresh cooked pasta went in and made a fine dish.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dutch Breakfast in Otrabanda, Willemstad

I went down to the Renaissance Mall and Rif Fort to stroll around.

3 big cruise ships were anchored in the harbour and people swarmed the area. I was downtown at 9:20 AM, so the shops were just opening and the masses have not arrived.
Inside the very holiday festive mall are restaurants and cafés, and lots of souvenir and t-shirt shops.

I took a table at Douwe Egberts Breakfast & Lunch and ordered the Dutch breakfast special and a cappucchino.
It came with orange juice, hard boiled egg, ham, cheese, jam and chocolate spread and some garnish. A couple of slices of baguette to eat with it.

Breakfast was good and with 25 Naf  (Antillen Guilders), about $12 at a reasonable price.

While I waited for my food to arrive, the masses started to swarm the mall and in a short time all tables were occupied. But the main fare was cappucchino. They all eat well on the cruise ships.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Lunch at Kokos Beach

Today is Sunday and I was a bit lazy to cook lunch. I drove around the eastern part of the island in the morning, bought a couple of light things to give to my friends at a local superstore. I did not find anything at all that was made on the island of Curacao. They import at least 80 % of all their goods from other countries. More than half of it comes directly from the Netherlands. It does not make sense to give this as gifts to my friends, I opted for some stuff from Venezuela.

When I came back it was time to look for lunch. I went to the KOKOS Beach near by. You can rent day beds there and get your drinks or ice cream served there.
They have a very small lunch menu.

I went for chicken with rice noodles and peanuts. It came in a high paper container with chop sticks.

Crushed peanuts mixed with breadcrumbs and some dried chili flakes on top.
Chicken in small pieces, fried and coated in the crushed mix.
Some green and red peppers, whole peanuts, red onion and white onion half rings, spring onion, celery stick and some kind of cubed root vegetable- may be manioc, potatoes will work too.
The rice noodles were cut into 1 inch pieces, cooked and then stir fried.
The sauce was the typical Indonesian Ketjap manis.

I will definitely make that at home, with a good amount of more chicken.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Bay Leaf and Ham Spaghetti

When you have a limited choice of herbs to cook, think outside the box and try something new.

I often use bay leaves in all kinds of stocks, soups and slow cooked meats and bolognese sauces.

I haven´t used it in a light spaghetti sauce yet. I had some ham cubes in the fridge, a bit of cream cheese and some basil leaves. That should go well with a plate full of spaghetti.

The bay leaf was just an idea that popped into my head when I checked the dried spices I brought over with me. It worked perfectly well.

100 g spaghetti
1 chicken stock cube
1/4 red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 bay leaf
50 g cubed ham
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tsbsp butter
2 tbsp white wine
salt and pepper
1 tbsp basil leaves

Cook the spaghetti in chicken stock, drain and keep some of the stock.
Peel and chop onion and garlic and saute in butter until tender, add the bay leaf during that.
Add the ham cubes and cook for two more minutes.
Add wine and 2 tbsp of chicken stock and bring to a boil again.
Season and add the cream cheese and let it melt into the sauce.
Put the spaghetti in and finish  with basil.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Giant Avocados are sold here

I was at Punda´s Floating Market to check out what was offered there.
6 boats were mooring at the quay and they all sold fish.

They had most of their fish cut into wedges and stored on wooden boards, showing it to the buyers that way. With some cardboard or a bit of a swish they tried to get the big black flies away.
Just one boat had its fish on ice.

The sun was shining on the fish and outside temperature was 31 C. I did not buy any fish and did not go into a Restaurant to eat some fish - no thank you.

The market goes on with a lot of fruit and veggies sold at many stores erected on the side walk.
These do better in hot climate and I stopped at one stall who sold huge green things. I had seen them the day before in a grocery shop off the tourist routes and had no idea what they were.

The market stall owner saw me checking the green things and came over to talk to me. He told me that these huge green veggies are avocados. They grow them this big in Venezuela.
In Germany you will get the dark brown Hass avocados, which are on the small side and in season the shiny green ones from Spain. But they are just a little bigger than the Hass ones.

The one I bough on the market had about 1 kilo.

This morning I ate half of it for breakfast. The flesh has a bit firmer texture even when the avocado is ripe. The pith in the middle is huge. I stored the other half in the fridge to eat tomorrow.

Friday, December 1, 2017

I visited an Eco Farm and bought unkown fruit

In the far east of the island of Curacao I trundled with my car on the way to one of the many beaches when I saw a wooden sign, nailed to a tree.
Mimi' s Eco Farm. I took a turn and drove up a gravel stretch of road and found myself in the middle of nowhere.
After I went through a wooden gate, I was greeted by some geese. The sign on top of the fence said:
Security Team, we bite  :D!

Some blue basins and containers came next a woman watering them. Then I met the owner and asked if they sold some fruit or veggies. A tiny chicken was running over my feet and I asked for eggs, which are rare in many supermarkets here.

I was not lucky to get some eggs. 42 hens were murdered last week by local half wild dogs.

The only thing she sold was some fruit, she called them "Golden Apples".
I have never seen these before.

In Spanish they are called Manzanas d´Oro. There origin is here in the Caribbean.
When they are unripe, they can be used for salads. When they are turning dark gold, they are ripe, but they have a lot of blemishes, that takes away the luster of the gold.

On the roadside on the way back I picked some yellow passion fruits up at a fruit stand. They looked a bit rough, but were filled with lots of gooey liquid and seeds.

At home I peeled the one that was a bit softer then the others. You have to cut around a middle kernel, you can´t cut through it.
The ripe part tasted a bit like pear mixed with pineapple, the unripe part less like fruit but more like Philadelphia cheese.

I stored the others in the fridge, they should be ripe in a couple of days.

I mixed one of the passion fruit seeds with banana yogurt and enjoyed my treat.

Thursday, November 30, 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, November 29, 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, November 28, 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, November 27, 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, November 26, 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, November 23, 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.