31 Dec 2008

A fresh start

I've always loved the idea of starting something new; a new job (I did that many times), a new house or even a new recipe. Making new plans. For me, it always goes together with a feeling of excitement, expectations. How will it be this time?

A new beginning, a fresh start. Doesn't that sound very nice and positive?

This state of mind doesn't leave much room to look back, to considerate. Maybe that's why I don't like the programs in which you look back on the last year. No,I rather look forward and make new plans. Plans for spending more time with my beloved ones and of course; baking more bread and posting more recipes on my weblog.

But first I want to wish all you bloggers and your beloved ones a very happy and healthy 2009!

And when you're wondering what the text on my plate is? It's my new motto!

30 Dec 2008

Stir fried beef with vegetables

Sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side of the hill. So, while living in the neighbourhood of the Hague, I'd chosen to shop in Amsterdam today. Shuffling in the freezing cold, surrounded by a mass of tourists, we discovered pratically the same shops in Amsterdam as in the Hague. Despite of that, I've had a lovely day with our youngest and found a nice book of breadbaking in an English bookstore.
After a whole day of shopping in Amsterdam there's not much time left for cooking. A perfect time for stirfrying some vegetables and beef. Instead of sugarsnaps or red pepper you can use broccoli.
Stirfried beef with vegetables
  • 3oo-400 grams steak
  • 300 grams sugar snaps
  • 1 sweet red pepper, small cubes
  • a few champignons (optional)
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • oil
  • 3 tbsp oystersauce
  • 1 tsp sugar

Cut the beef in thin slices and marinate it (30 minutes) in the sherry, soy sauce and cornflour. In the meanwhile, you've time to cook the rice and slice the vegetables. I just blanche the sugarsnaps to keep them green and crisp.

Heat the oil and stirfry the redd pepper and the champignons for a minute. Take them out of the wok and set them aside while you stirfry the beef in about 2 minutes. Now add the red pepper, champignons and the sugarsnaps. Stirfry them all very fast on high heat and when it's ready, add the oystersauce and the sugar. Accompanied with Basmati rice you've got a very nice and healthy meal.

28 Dec 2008


Do you recognize this: looking in your fridge after the holidays and discovering that there is still a lot of food left as if you're expecting to feed a whole army? Well, it happends to me each Christmas.

This time I'd planned to shop economical to prevent having left-overs after the holidays. That's why I seized the opportunity to use the mincemeat as a filling of the Yule Wreath and the cranberry sauce for the crumble coffee cake.

Among the left-overs this time, were a few leeks, carrots and celeriac. Thinking of those ingredients and the fact that it´s already freezing in Holland, I decided to make peasoup.

You must know, frost makes us Dutchies long for skating and especially for the well-known11 city ice-skating marathon.That´s 200 kilometer skating on ice from city to city. The last one was on 4 january 1997. I bet the're a few people praying for more frost at this very moment!

(copyright Geert de Jonge Media)

So, and now the peasoup. When you make it a day ahead, it gets just the right thickness. This amount is enough as a meal for 10 people. What's left can be frozen.


  • 2 x 500 grams split green peas (dried)

  • 900 grams uncooked ham or pork chops

  • 3 leeks, thin slices

  • 1 big carrot, small cubes

  • 1 celeriac, small cubes

  • 2 bay leafs

  • 2 smoked sausages

  • salt, freshly ground black pepper

  • selery leafs

  • broth cubes

Soak the split peas in 6 litre water in 8 - 12 hours. Refresh the water and cook the peas on low fire. Add the ham or porkchops and let it simmer for another hour. Add the leeks, carrot, celeriac and bay leafs. Let it simmer for another hour and leave it for a night.

The next morning, it must be a thick soup. Take the ham or the porkchops out of it and cut the meat in small cubes. Add the meat to the peasoup again and spice it with salt and pepper. Add a few broth cubes if you like. Also add the sausages and warm the soup very slowly. Before serving: add a few selery leafs.

25 Dec 2008

Merry Christmas

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas.

23 Dec 2008

Yule Wreath

To me, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Full of plans and ideas, I'm always lacking in time. Why are there just 24 hours in a day when I need more? Besides decorating the tree and the house, baking bread and doing the shoppings for the Christmasdiner, I want to sit on the couch with a book and a big mug with warm chocolate. There never seems enough time for doing all those things I long for these days.

Just at such a moment Lynn announced a new challenge of the Bread Baking Babes; the Yule Wreath. To me, a wreath sounds more like that mole on the witches nose but alah..............why not give it a try. Just a good moment to use the mincemeat I made last year.

I've to admit, the dough was very 'obedient' and the rising time wasn't to long for such a rich dough (1,5 hour). Rolling out the dough, I made a part of it to thin so there came some cracks in it. Nevertheless, it wasn't a very difficult challenge and I'm looking forward to make a savoury one with pesto, olives and cheese in it. Mouthwatering.

  • 475 grams all purpose flour
  • 1,5 tsp. instant yeast
  • 240 ml. milk; lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 60 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom


  • Mincemeat
In a large bowl; combine 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast, cardamon, butter, egg and the milk. Mix it till it's a smooth dough and add the rest of the flour.

Knead the dough in 5 minutes till a nice not-sticky dough. For this, I've used my kitchenaid and that worked out very well. Place the dough in a greased bowl and let it rise till it's doubled in size. That will take about 1 to 1,5 hour.

Take the dough out of the bowl and push the air out of it; flatten it and roll it into a rectangle of 15 x 9 inches. I've made mine to big and that's why the dough was to thin a several places!

Spread the filling over the dough to 1/4 inch at the edges. Roll up very tightly and pinch the edge into the roll to seal the dough. Stretch the roll to make it even. Seal the edges down and lay it into a circle on a greased cookie sheet. Pinch the edges together to close the circle.

Use the scissors or a knife to make every 1-inch a cut, 2/3 of the way through the ring. Turn each section on it's side so you can see the innerside. For this, I used my doughscraper. Cover it with greased plastic and let is rise again until doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of the room, this will take about 40 - 60 minutes.

Till the end of the risingtime you can preheat the oven to 350 dgr. F. (180 dgr. C.) and bake the Yule until golden brown in 25 - 30 minutes. Let it cool down on a wire rack and decorate it with icing if you like.

Thanks Lynn, had a lot of fun!!!!

20 Dec 2008

Eggnoodles with chickenbreast and cashews

From the very first moment I tasted chinese food, I loved it. Living in a place like Rotterdam it wasn't difficult to discover the restaurants where the Chinese themselves sat down to enjoy the (mostly) Cantonese kitchen. That's how we were introduced to oystersauce, watercress, sesame oil, black beansauce and hoisin sauce.

Now, 30 years later, these are common products in our supermarkets but at that time I had to search for it in Chinese toko's in Amsterdam. I can't remember where I've found the following recipe; it must have been a book and probably one of the Timelife series. It's been in my notebook for a long time and my children already loved it when they were young kids.


  • 400 gr. chickenbreast curved in small slices

  • white pepper, freshly ground

  • sunflower oil

  • 1/2 inch ginger root, in small slices

  • salt

  • 1 carrot in small slices

  • 1 red onion in slices

  • 300 br. broccoli in small parts

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • cashews, as much as you like

  • 1/2 cup chickenstock, warm

  • 2 tbsp. dark chinese soy sauce

  • 4 tbsp. dry sherry

  • 3/4 tbsp. cornflour

  • eggnoodles

  • sesame oil

Sprinkle the salt and white pepper over the chickenbreasts. Place the wok on the cooker and make sure it's warm before you put the sunflower oil in it. Wait till the oil is hot and stirfry the ginger root and chickenbreast in it, in about 3 minutes at high temperature. Take the chickenbreast out of the wok and keep it warm. In the meanwhile you can cook the water for the eggnoodles.

If necessary, add one tsp, sunflower oil in the wok and stirfry the carrot and broccoli in it. Add 3 tbsp. water and cover the wok for 4 minutes. After this, the water is evaporated. Now you can add the red onion and the cashews and stirfry again. Add the chickenbreast and stirfry again for one minute.

Move the vegetables and the chickenbreast out of the centre of the wok and add the chickenstock. In a small bowl; mix the soy sauce, the corn flour and the sherry. Pour the mixture in the centre of the wok and stir while it thickens. Stir the vegetables and chickenbreast through the sauce.

Add the eggnoodles to the boiling water and follow the instructions of the package about the cooking time. When they're done, drain them and add a tsp. of sesameoil. Put the eggnoodles in a deep dish and add the chickenbreast, vegetables and sauce.

14 Dec 2008


The Christmas tree stands in the room waiting for his (or her?) decoration. In the mean time we're waiting if our cat Puk is willing to stay off the tree. The smell of the tree and the cold outside brings me in the mood for Christmas. This is the time of the year I'm always looking forward to!

Besides the smell of the tree our house also smells after spicy cookies. To be more specific: lebkuchen. It takes some time to make the dough, but after that you must leave it one or up to 3 night in the fridge. And when you taste them.....................it's worth all the effort. When you use good quality product for these cookies you'll be rewarded by very spicy, soft and tender cookies.

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon mace

  • 1 3/4 ounces blanched whole almonds, toasted

  • 1 1/2 ounces blanced hazelnuts, toasted

  • 1/3 cup diced candied orange peel

  • 1/3 cup diced candied lemon peel

  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped

  • 3 ounces almond paste, broken into small pieces

  • 1/3 cup apricot jam

  • 3 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
For the glaze
  • white chocolate

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, mace and cloves in a bowl. Chop the alomonds and hazelnuts very finely in the food processor. Add peels and dates and and pulse until finely chopped. Add almond past and apricot jam and pulse again to combine. Add eggs and brown sugar and pulse to combine. Add the dry ingredients and pulse again. Cover the mixture and refridgerate it overnigt or up to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to 325 dgr. F. (180 dgr. C.). Make with a medium sized ice cream scoop little balls onto a nonstick bakingmat. Keep some spcae between the cookies. Bake until golden brown in aboute 14 minutes and rotate the bakingmat halfway through. Let them cool down.

Melt the chocolate au bain marie and dip the cookies in it. Let it cool down and store the cookies in an airtight container. If you can control yourself!

(by Martha Stewart's Cookies)

This is my submission for Eat Christmas Cookies 2 . Visit the round up page to look at the cookies as they are posted.

12 Dec 2008

Lemon semolina cake

Aah, the weekend. I do love the weekends. Everything you do is less hasty, more relaxed. More time for the family, more time for our pets and more time for reading and baking.

This weekend started with baking a cake without butter. Well, the cake doesn't contain butter but the lemon curd does. Looking at the picture you'll see that I'm not a very experienced baker because it looks a little bit messy. But this may not discourage you; it tastes light and fresh.

Lemon semolina cake

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 100 gr. caster sugar
  • grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 50 gr. fine semolina
  • 15 gr. ground almonds

  • 150 gr. whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp. lemon curd
  • 100 gr. fresh raspberries

Pre-heat the oven to 350 dgr. F. (180 dgr. F.). Grease and line a 20 cm. deep round cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Put the eggyolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk on full speed until pale and light in texture. Add lemon juice and continue whisking until the mixture is thick. Fold in the grated lemon rind, semolina and ground almonds.

Whisk the egg whites in a separate (and very clean) bowl until you can form soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the mixture very carefully. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. It should become well risen and pale golden brown. Give it a few minutes rest and remove the paper and the tin and let it completely cool down.

Cut the cake in half horizontally. Whisk the cream and fold in the lemon curd. Sandwich the cake together with the cream mixture and raspberries. Dust the top with icing sugar.

(Mary Berry's ultimate cakebook by Mary Berry)

10 Dec 2008

Sourdough with spelt bread

Recently I've discovered the taste of spelt: nutty. Because I'm always searching for new recipes for my sourdough bread this seemed to be a perfect opportunity for experimenting with another kind of flour.

The spelt flour was wonderful coarse and stone-ground. In our little town we've got a real mill which is still in use. Most of the flours I'm baking with, are ground by our own miller.

Sourdough with spelt bread
  • 100 gr. coarse spelt flour
  • 240 gr. bread flour
  • 200 gr. water lukewarm
  • 120 gr. ripe starter (100%)
  • 7,5 gr. salt
Mix the flours, water and starter in a bowl until just combined. Let it, covered, rest for 30 minutes (autolyse). After this, add the salt and continue mixing at medium speed for 3 - 4 minutes. At this time, the dough has reached a medium level of gluten development.

Turn the dough on a lightly floured counter and preshape into a light ball. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Shape it this time into a tight ball and put it (with the seam up) in a well-floured banneton. Cover it with oiled plastic and let it rise for 5 - 6 hours.

Turn the proofed loaf on a baking sheet and bake it in the oven at 450 dgr. F. (230 dgr. C.) in 27 - 30 minutes. Let it cool down completely.

This bread tastes wonderful even when you've no baking stone.

5 Dec 2008

December, the 5th

No recipe today. I'm helping the old man with packing presents. Today is one of the most exciting days for little children and living surrounded by young familys with little ones you can almost feel the excitement. Kids are dressed up with colourfull clothes and when you're lucky you meet Sinterklaas.

With older chidren and among adults it changes and it becomes one of the opportunities to tease one another with poems.

3 Dec 2008

Cranberry crumble coffee cake

Maybe the name suggests coffee to be one of the ingredients but the most important ingredient is the cranberry sauce. On this weblog you'll find the recipe for the sauce. Making it doesn't cost you a lot of time but it will give you so much more pleasure. I've found this recipe on the internet; what else?
Arden, this is one more recipe for your collection of cranberry recipes. Have a lot of fun and succes with your inspiring weblog!


* 1/4 cup chopped pecans

* 1 cup sugar

* 1/2 cup butter, softened

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 2 eggs

* 2 cups all-purpose flour

* 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1 cup sour cream

* 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce

Crumble topping

* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/4 cup sugar

* 1/4 cup chopped pecans

* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

* 2 tablespoons cold butter

Grease a 9 in. springform and sprinkle the pecans over it. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat for 1-2 minutes on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time; beating well after each addition.

Combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add them to the batter alternately with the sour cream and mix well. Spread three cups of the batter over the pecans. Spoon the cranberry sauce over the batter and top with the remaining batter.

Make a crumble dough by combining flour, sugar, pecans and cinnamon and butter. Sprinkle it over the batter. Bake at 350 dgr. F (180 dgr. C) for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool it in the springform on a wire rack for 15 minutes; remove the sides of the form. Serve warm or cold; just as you like it.

Cranberry Sauce

Years ago, with Christmas, I wanted to taste cranberries for the first time. So I made cranberry sauce and served it with meat. I can't remember the meat but I do remember the cranberry sauce as an unpleasant taste. Disappointed by that result, I wasn't very keen on trying it another time. How wrong and short minded!

Reading so many different weblogs and their recipes, I couldn't escape from the thought that a lot of you webloggers very much like cranberries and that there is a great variety of wonderful recipes.

A bit curious I decided to start with making cranberry sauce again. This time it tasted just as sour as I like and I was impressed by the warm ruby red color. Feeling more daring by this experience the next step was making this cranberry crumble coffeecake. The perfect opportunity for using my home made cranberry sauce.

Well, it worked out very well and the somewhat sour taste is just lovely in sweet cakes.

Cranberry sauce
3 cups cranberries
1 cup sugar
zest of one orange
1 cup water

Wash and rinse the cranberries. Put the water and the sugar in a pan and bring it to boiling point. Wait till the sugar dissolves and add the orange zest and cranberries. Bring it again to the boiling point and stir. When you hear little plops, the cranberries are opening and the pectine comes out. The pectine thickens the sauce and when you let is simmer for just 10 minutes, you get a nice red thick sauce. Put it in a bowl and let it cool completely at room temperature and chill it in the fridge.