Spaghetti with Mussels in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

It’s mussel season over here in the Netherlands and I couldn’t resist getting some. I love their taste and the fact that they are cooked in no time. Add some pasta and this becomes a very filling meal. I used anchovies for the sauce and for me, that made it salty enough. So I didn’t add any extra salt, but you can always add salt later if you wish.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

2 kilos of mussels, scrubbed and beards removed

250grs of spaghetti

Chopped parsley for serving

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small red onion, finely chopped

20grs of anchovy filets, finely chopped (use the oil too)

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of freshly chopped red chili (you can add more or less, depending on your taste)

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 cup of white wine

500ml of tomato puree

1 cup of vegetable stock

 

Rinse and scrub the mussels under cold water, pulling off any beards. Discard of any mussels that are broken or that don’t clamp shut when tapped.

In a large pan with a lid, place the olive oil plus the anchovy oil over medium-low heat. Once it’s hot, add the red onion, anchovy, oregano and chili. Let it cook for about 4 to 5 minutes till the onion becomes translucent. Don’t forget to stir.

Then add the garlic and stir. Add the white wine and let it reduce to half. Then add the tomato puree and the vegetable stock. Let it reduce until you have a creamy sauce. About 12 minutes.

Then add the mussels, give it a good stir and cover with the lid. Let it cook over medium heat until the mussels open. This will only take a couple of minutes, so keep an eye on them.

One the mussels are cooked, remove them from the sauce and set them aside (discard of any that haven’t opened). Let the sauce reduce again over medium heat.

In the meanwhile cook the pasta as instructed on the package. By the time the pasta is cooked, the sauce should have reduced enough. Add the drained cooked pasta and toss to coat. Taste for salt. I didn’t add any because the anchovy made it salty enough for me.

Serve the pasta with the mussels. Sprinkle some chopped parsley. I also served them with roasted cherry tomatoes. To roast them, just place a few vines of cherry tomatoes in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil, salt, onion and garlic powder. Roast for 20 minutes at 180C/350F. Enjoy!

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Kale, Mango & Spinach Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing

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This is a super easy and healthy salad with Asian flavors. If you want to make the avocado rose and you don’t know how to do it, you can check out my video here. Today I am taking over the Instagram account of Broste Copenhagen, an interior brand. They have beautiful products and I have been using them for a while now. All the tableware above is from them. If you would like to follow along, you can check out their Instagram page.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

1 large mango, julienned

1 avocado, thinly sliced

200grs of baby spinach

100grs of baby kale

1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons of minced ginger

2 teaspoons of red miso paste

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 small bird’s eye chili, finely chopped

Juice of 2 limes

2 teaspoons of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of chopped chives

 

Start by making the dressing. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until everything is combined. I didn’t add any salt because the miso paste is already quite salty.

Place the baby kale, baby spinach and mango in a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix well.

Divide the salad among 2 plates, sprinkle the black sesame seeds and then add the avocado. If you want, also add some edible flowers. Enjoy!

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Salted Chocolate Ganache Tart with Coconut Macaroon Crust

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I made this tart a couple of weeks ago for a friend of mine that came over. It is very easy to assemble. It has a chewy coconut macaroon crust, a rich chocolate ganache filling and a sprinkle of sea salt adds the final touch. For the crust, I used coconut condensed milk for extra coconut flavor. If you can’t find it, just use regular condensed milk.

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This recipe is for a 35x11cm tart mold, preferably with a detachable bottom.

Ingredients:

For the coconut macaroon crust:

1 egg white

2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut

½ cup of coconut condensed milk (you can also use regular condensed milk)

Pinch of salt

For the filling:

320ml of whipping cream

225grs of dark chocolate, chopped

30grs of salted butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Extras:

Sea salt for sprinkling over the tart

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and grease your mold with a bit of vegetable oil.

Start by making the crust. Place egg white, condensed milk, shredded coconut and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Then press it into the bottom of your prepared baking mold. Try to make the crust as even as possible. I used the back of a spoon to press it into the mold.

Bake it for about 13 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Be careful that the edges don’t burn. Allow it to cool down completely.

Once the crust is cold, start to make the ganache filing. Place the cream and vanilla essence in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the cream starts to simmer, turn off the heat. Add the chopped chocolate and butter to the cream. Stir until everything has melted. Then pass it through a sieve to make sure there are no lumps.

Carefully pour the ganache over the crust. Place it in the fridge to set for at least four hours or better overnight.

Sprinkle some sea salt before serving. Enjoy!

Keep it stored in the fridge.

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Ficelle with Brie, Figs and blackberries

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This is more an idea than an actual recipe but it is great when you don´t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. It is perfect for a picnic or to serve at a dinner party. This is one of those things that I could eat at any time of the day. If you have never had ficelle before, it’s type of French bread. It is smaller than a baguette. If you can’t find it, just use one baguette instead.

Ingredients:

2 ficelles, sliced in half lengthwise (Similar to baguette, but smaller)

200gr of brie, sliced into pieces

4 figs, thinly sliced

1 cup of blackberries

¼ cup of pomegranate seeds

150grs of arugula

2 tablespoons of olive oil

About 3 tablespoons of balsamic reduction

Salt

 

If you have never made balsamic reduction, is it very easy to make. Get a small bottle of balsamic vinegar (about 250ml). Since you are going to reduce it, just get the cheap kind. Pour the balsamic in a saucepan over medium heat and let it reduce to about 1/3 of the original volume. Then pour it in a glass container and allow it to cool down. As it cools down, it will harden a bit. This is something I always have in the house since I love drizzling it over salads.

Mix the arugula with a pinch of salt and the olive oil. Spread it over the sliced ficelles. Top with the figs, blackberries, brie and pomegranate seeds. Finally drizzle some of the balsamic reduction and enjoy!

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Thai-Inspired Steak Salad

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On the weekends, I prefer to keep my meals simple and not time-consuming. It’s not always the case but I try. And a steak is always welcome, it cooks quiet quickly and both my husband and I go gaga for it. It’s not something we could eat everyday but when we do, it is really a treat. And lately our favorite way to eat it is in a salad. This time I made a Thai-style dressing. And I added Thai basil, coriander and mint to the salad. So you have all these mini explosions of flavors in every bite. I used a mandoline to slice the carrots and cucumber into thin ribbons, but you can just shred the carrots and thinly slice the cucumber with a knife.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the steak:

500gr of Flank steak

Vegetable oil for brushing the steak

Salt

Pepper

For the salad:

½ cucumber, sliced into thin ribbons using a mandoline

½ red onion, thinly sliced

1 medium yellow carrot, sliced into thin ribbons using a mandoline

1 medium purple carrot, sliced into thin ribbons using a mandoline

10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on their size

4 tablespoons of chopped coriander

8 Thai basil leaved, finely chopped

8 mint leaves, finely chopped

About 100grs of a lettuce mix of your choice (I used lamb’s lettuce, baby spinach, baby Swiss chard and baby red tatsoi)

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 big lime

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 small bird’s eye chili, finely chopped

¼ cup of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of minced ginger

1 small clove of garlic, minced

Optional:

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

½ red chili, thinly sliced

 

To make the dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Cover it and shake it. Set it aside until ready to use.

Prepare all your veggies.

To cook the meat, heat up a large pan over medium heat. Brush the steak with some vegetable oil. Add salt and pepper on both sides.

Once the pan is hot, place the meat and cook it to your liking. For medium rare, it takes about 5 minutes per side but it will also depend on the thickness of the steak. My steak was a bit thick in the middle so it took about 1 extra minute.

Let the steak rest for 5 minutes and then thinly slice it.

Once the steak is done and sliced, place all the vegetables and lettuce in a large bowl. Give the dressing another shake and add it to the salad. Mix it well so everything is well coated, I just used my hands.

Serve the salad and then add the steak slices. Sprinkle some of the sliced spring onion and chili over the steak. Finally pour the remaining dressing from the bowl on top of the steak. Enjoy!

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Kimchi Fried Rice

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I made this for lunch a few days ago to make use of the kimchi I had in the fridge. I got many comments asking me to post the recipe, so here it is. It is very simple and you can add pretty much anything that you have in the fridge, which is what I did.

This recipe serves 1 but you can easily double it.

Ingredients:

2 cups of cooked rice

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1/3 cup of kimchi, chopped

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 teaspoon of Korean chili paste (optional)

A handful of bean sprouts

1/3 of a cup of shredded kale

A handful of edamame, I get it frozen so I just place it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

2 radishes, thinly sliced

1 fried egg

Other nice extra:

A handful of Broccolini sauteed in sesame oil

 

Mix the ginger syrup, sesame oil, oyster sauce, Korean chili paste and soy sauce in a bowl.

Place the vegetable oil in a pan or wok, over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the rice and kimchi. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Then add the sauce, bean sprouts and kale, stir-fry it for about 3 minutes.  Then add the edamame and mix well.

Serve it with a fried egg, radishes and some black sesame seeds.

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Blood Orange, Chocolate & Chili Upside-Down Cake

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I love the gorgeous tint that blood oranges have and I was looking forward to making a recipe with them. I find the combination of orange and chocolate delicious, and to give it a little kick I added one chili. This is not meant to be spicy; you just feel a little tingling on the tongue at the end.  And I felt it more the day after. After that I don’t know because we finished it on the second day. It is a very simple, soft and no-fuzz cake.

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This cake is for a 21cm cake mold.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 ¼ teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of cocoa powder

¾ cup of vegetable oil

1 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

2 egg yolks

1 egg

1 ½ cup of sugar

Zest of 1 orange

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped (I used a 5 cm long chili)

For the orange part:

1 or 2 blood oranges, sliced into about 1/2 cm slices

½ cup of sugar

3 tablespoons of butter

¼ cup of orange juice

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line the bottom of the cake mold with parchment paper.

Once the oven is hot, start to prepare the cake batter. Sift the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

Chop the chili with the orange zest, until it is very fine. Then place the zest and chili in a large bowl along with the sugar. Whisk it on low speed for 30 seconds to allow the oils to come out. Then add the egg and egg yolks, and whisk until it is all incorporated. Add the vegetable oil, milk and vinegar. Finally add the dry ingredients and whisk until it is well combined.

To make the orange part, place the butter, sugar and orange juice in a large pan over medium heat. Let it cook for about 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves, swirling the pan around. Carefully pour it into the prepared cake mold and arrange the orange slices on top of the caramel. Press a bit so that the orange slices stick to it.

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Then carefully pour over the cake batter.

Bake it for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Let it cool for 5 minutes in the mold and then carefully run a knife through the edges of the cake and turn it upside down on a serving platter.

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Sesame & Peanut Ramen with Ketjap Marinated Chicken

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If you have never heard of Ketjap, it is a sweet Indonesian soy sauce. It is very popular here and you can find it at any supermarket. For this recipe you need to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes in the fridge but the rest is done very quickly. The chicken caramelizes very nicely in the pan and it is still juicy inside. I love the creamy sesame and peanut sauce, and it makes a filling dish.

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

700gr of boneless and skinless chicken thighs

1/3 cup of Ketjap manis

1 ½ tablespoons of ginger syrup

2 tablespoon of white vinegar

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ a teaspoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of chili oil

A good pinch of salt

Pepper

For the sesame and peanut sauce:

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

1/3 cup of smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of chili oil

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup

1 tablespoon of water

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

2 spring onions, thinly chopped

1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds

3 tablespoons of freshly chopped coriander

Extras:

300gr of ramen noodles, or the noodles of your choice

A handful of chopped toasted peanuts (optional)

 

Place the chicken along with the rest of the ingredients for the marinade in a medium bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To make the sesame and peanut sauce, just whisk all the ingredients together in large bowl. Set it aside.

Once the 30 minutes for the chicken are up, heat up a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken in batches, be careful because it will splatter. Let it cook for about 3 minutes per side until they are cooked through and caramelized.  Repeat for the rest of the chicken. Finally slice the chicken and taste for salt.

Cook the noodles as instructed in the package. Then drain them and toss them in the sesame and peanut sauce.

Divide the noodles among 3 bowls, add the sliced chicken and if you want top it with tasted peanuts. I only realized I forgot to add the peanuts after I had taken all the pictures so I added them later. Enjoy!

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Elderflower Frosting & Sugared Cranberries

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This carrot cake is always a winner when I have friends over or when I take it to house parties. It’s moist and so easy to make. This time I added some elderflower cordial to the frosting to add a floral tone. I love elderflower cordial and we always have a bottle in the house, even though we mostly use it for gin & tonics. If you like elderflower, you may also like this Strawberry Elderflower Lattice Pie.

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This recipe is for a small 19cm round cake mold. But you can easily double the recipe to make a larger cake.

Ingredients:

For the sugared cranberries:

2 cups of sugar

2 cups water

2 cups of fresh cranberries, washed and picked through

¾ cups of sugar

For the carrot cake:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of shredded carrot

3/4 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped

Zest of 1 mandarin

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

For the cream cheese and elderflower frosting:

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cream cheese at room temperature

3 tablespoons of butter, softened

3 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

2 cups of icing sugar

Extra:

Fresh mint leaves for decoration (optional)

 

 

Start by making the sugared cranberries the night before. Place 2 cups of water plus 2 cups of sugar in a medium saucepan and let it simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir from time to time. Once the simple syrup is done, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool for 20 minutes. You want to let it cool before you add the cranberries otherwise they may pop.

Once the syrup has cooled down, add the cranberries and stir to coat them. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, drain the cranberries. You can save the simple syrup for another recipe or for a cocktail. Place the ¾ cup of sugar on a shallow plate and start rolling the cranberries in it until they are evenly coated. Then place them on a baking sheet and let them dry for at least 1 hour.

To make the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of a 19cm round cake mold with parchment paper. Grease and flour the edges of the mold.

Beat the sugar with the eggs. Then add the vegetable oil, shredded carrot, the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Finally add the mandarin zest and the nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared cake mold.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Allow the cake to cool down completely before you start making the frosting.

To make the frosting, whisk the softened butter with the cream cheese until well combined. Then add the elderflower cordial and whisk. Then gradually add the icing sugar. Whisk until you have a smooth frosting.

Carefully remove the cake from the mold and plate it. Then frost it with the help of a spatula. I only added it to the top and swirled it around a bit with a spoon. Place some of the sugared cranberries in the middle of the cake. If you want you can add a few mint leaves for extra color. Keep the cake in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Tagliatelle Alla Puttanesca

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It’s been such a long time since I’ve made this pasta. This is my mom’s favorite. She would make it often at home and order it when we would go out for Italian food. This is my version of it. It’s quick to make and it is full of flavor. And since this weather has me craving even more carbs, I made a caramelized balsamic onion focaccia to serve it with (and to munch on, till it was dinner time).

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

300gr of dried tagliatelle or the pasta of your choice

1 small tin of anchovies (30grs), chopped very finely. Reserve the oil.

2 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch of onion powder

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 bird’s eye chili, finely chopped

5 tomatoes, chopped

100gr of Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

2 tablespoons of dried oregano

1 tablespoon of dried basil

Pepper

4 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Grated Parmesan or Grana Padano for serving

 

In large pan over medium heat, add the anchovy oil and olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the anchovies, chilies and garlic. Cook for 1 minute.

Then add the tomatoes, Kalamata, oregano, basil, onion powder and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time until it becomes a sauce. I didn’t add any salt as the anchovies and Kalamata were salty enough for me.

While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

Once the sauce is done, add the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning. Then add the drained pasta and toss to coat it.

Serve with some grated Parmesan or Grana Padano. Enjoy.

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