Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash

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This is a vegetarian take on the traditional Shepherd’s pie. Still hearty and comforting, but a bit lighter. The addition of smoked paprika and port to the lentils gives it another depth of flavor. The cauliflower mash is soft, creamy and cheesy.

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

For the lentil stew:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 bell peppers, finely chopped

1 leek, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 ½ cups of beluga lentils

1 shot of port

1 cup of tomato puree

1 liter of vegetable stock

¾ teaspoon of smoked paprika

1 tablespoon of sumac

11/2 teaspoon of celery salt

Salt to taste

For the cauliflower mash:

1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into chunks

½ cup of cream

½ teaspoon of onion powder

1 cup of shredded Gouda cheese

Salt to taste

Extra:

40grs of grated Parmesan

Chives for decoration (optional)

 

Start by making the lentil stew. Place the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and leek. Cook while stirring for about 6 minutes. Then add the garlic, bell peppers and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes while stirring. Add the smoked paprika, sumac, celery salt and some salt.

Then add the lentils, port and tomato puree. Stir for about one minute and then add the stock. Let it cook for about 40 minutes, stirring from time to time. It’s done when the lentils are cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. Adjust the salt and spices to your liking.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Boil the cauliflower until tender, about 8 minutes. Then drain it.

Blend (or use a food processor) the cauliflower with the cream, onion powder and salt. Once you have a creamy mash, add the shredded Gouda and mix until it is well combined. Taste for salt.

Place the lentil stew in an oven-proof dish and spread the cauliflower mash evenly over it. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.

Place it in the oven for about 40 minutes until the top is golden. Sprinkle with some chives and enjoy!

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Spinach & Zucchini Quesadillas with Pomegranate & Feta Salsa

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I love a laid back dinner at home, even better when it doesn’t involve cutlery. I stuffed these quesadillas with Gouda, spinach and zucchini. And because you can never have too much cheese, I made a feta salsa to go along with it.

This recipe makes 4 quesadillas.

Ingredients:

8 large tortillas

For the filling:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

200grs of fresh spinach

2 zucchinis, chopped into small pieces without the seeds

150grs of sour cream

180grs of shredded Gouda

A pinch of garlic powder

A pinch of onion powder

Salt

Pepper

Lemon pepper

For the pomegranate & Feta salsa:

100grs of crumbled feta

½ cups of pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons of lime juice

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the salsa; just mix the crumbled feta with the pomegranate, olive oil, lime juice, coriander, salt and pepper. Set it aside.

Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the zucchini, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and lemon pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes while stirring. Then add the spinach and cook it until it becomes wilted. Add a bit more salt and pepper. Transfer it to a bowl.

To assemble each quesadilla, place one tortilla on a large plate. Spread a thin layer of sour cream over it. Then spread ¼ of the zucchini/spinach mixture. Finally sprinkle some of the shredded Gouda and cover it with another tortilla.

Heat up a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, carefully slide the quesadilla from the plate to the pan. Let it cook until it gets crispy on the bottom. Then carefully place the plate over the pan and flip the pan so that the quesadilla is on the plate again, and then carefully slide it into the pan to cook the other side. Repeat for the rest.

Slide the quesadillas into equal pieces and serve with the pomegranate & feta salsa. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

Beer Cheese Fondue

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I have not been shy about my love for cheese. If you look at my Instagram account, you can see that I cannot go too long without it.  But it is only since I moved to the Netherlands, that I started to make cheese fondue. Not being a cold weather person, cheese fondue is something I do look forward to in the winter. I finally got a Fondue set which means I can finally serve it properly. This Fondue Set Pro is by the Dutch brand Boska. It specializes in everything to serve cheese. I’ve been using their cheese boards since last year and I really love their products. They are aesthetically pleasing and functional. And of course, not just for cheese. This fondue set comes with a 1 litter pot made out of cast iron and a stove with a burner which helps keep the cheese warm. It is very easy to clean. As it is cast iron, I just used very hot water to rinse it off. The cheese just came off without any effort. You can make enough cheese fondue in this pan for 6 people as an appetizer. But if you are having it as dinner like we did, it serves about 4 people.  You can see the fondue set pro by clicking here.

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Back to the cheese fondue, I went for a more German approach here by adding beer. Since we are in the Netherlands I also used a young Gouda, which adds more flavor since Emmental is pretty bland. Once ingredient that you might find uncommon here is the use of lemon juice, I read here that it helps with the stability of the cheese, and it actually goes well with the cheese.

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With the dippers, you can be creative. This time I served it with a baguette, homemade soft pretzels, endive leaves (which I really enjoyed), sautéed asparagus and Brussels sprouts, Thinly sliced black radishes and pear. But you can also add some meat like sliced sausages if you like.

This recipe serves 4 as a main course.

Ingredients:

For the fondue:

350grs of Emmental, grated

170grs of Gruyere, grated

250grs of Young Gouda, grated

330mil of Pilsner beer, plus a bit more to loosen up the fondue if needed (I used Flensburger beer)

1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch

Juice of ½ a lemon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of white pepper

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon of mustard (optional)

1 clove of garlic, cut in half

For the dippers:

A baguette, sliced into cubes

Soft pretzels, you can find the recipe by clicking here.

Sautéed asparagus

Endive leaves

Sautéed Brussels sprouts

Pear, sliced

Black radish, thinly sliced

 

 

Before you start making the fondue, start prepping all your dippers.

To make the fondue, shred the cheeses and mix them with the cornstarch.

Rub the garlic clove all over the inside of a medium saucepan. Then add the beer and let it come to a simmer over medium heat. Then add 1 handful of the grated cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese has completely melted. Then add another handful of cheese and continue stirring. Repeat until you are done with the grated cheese. Then add the lemon juice and spices to taste.

I really enjoyed this cheese fondue with mustard. Since I only had whole grain mustard and for the pictures I wanted the cheese to be completely smooth, I only added it after taking the pictures.

If the cheese gets too thick, you can always add a bit more beer at a time to loosen it up a bit.

Transfer the fondue to a preheated fondue pan and enjoy.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

BBQ Pulled Pork, Avocado, Gouda & Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwich on a Soft Pretzel Bun

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I was craving pulled pork lately so I went to my butcher to get a nice piece of pork shoulder to make it. It is so easy to make. It does require time for the meat to get tender but you can just set your timer. I cooked the pork a day in advance and just kept it in the fridge. This is the sandwich I made for breakfast on Saturday. The pretzel buns I did make on the same day as they are best when they are fresh out of the oven. This made a very indulgent Saturday morning.

A quick tip: If you add pork bones to the Dutch oven where you are cooking the meat, you end up with a good stock to later use for ramen. I didn’t add it to the recipe, but it is what I did to not waste the stock I was left with after cooking the meat.

This recipe makes 8 medium sandwiches.

Ingredients:              

For the pork:

800gr of boneless pork shoulder

About 3 litters of beef stock

3/4 cup of Smoked BBQ sauce

For the soft pretzel bun:

For the dough:

1 cup of warm water

1 package of dry yeast (7gr)

2 tablespoons of butter, melted

3 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

For the water bath:

10 cups of boiling water

2/3 cup of baking soda (here in the Netherlands, you can find it in a toko/asian store)

Extras for the buns:

Egg wash

Coarse sea salt

Vegetable oil

Toppings for the sandwich:

2 avocados, sliced

8 fried eggs

8 slices of Gouda cheese

 

To cook the pork:

Slice off any big parts of fat from the outside of the piece of pork. Then chop it into large chunks (about the size of half a cup). Place the pork in a Dutch oven. Add enough stock to submerge all the pieces of pork. Let it come to a simmer over medium heat. Cover it with a lid and let it cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Check every half hour and add more stock if necessary. You know it’s done when the meat just falls apart.

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred it using two forks. You can save the stock and use it for something else. Set the shredded pork aside.

To make the soft pretzel buns:

Place the warm water and the yeast in the bowl of the stand mixer. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Then add the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Knead the dough with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Do it on low speed for about 5 minutes, until it stops sticking to the edges and it forms a ball. You can also knead it by hand.

Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with some vegetable oil. Place the dough back in the greased bowl and cover with plastic film. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 230C/450F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment with vegetable oil.

Start making the water bath. Mix the boiling water with the baking soda in a large pot.  Make sure it is not completely filled to the top because the baking soda bubbles a bit. Leave the heat on medium, while you work on the dough.

Place the dough in your working area, it is not necessary to use extra flour. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Make each piece into a ball.

Place the balls in the water bath for 30 seconds. I did 4 at a time.  Then remove them from the water using a slotted spoon and place each ball in the prepared baking tray.

Once they are all done, cut a cross in the middle of each bun, brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle some coarse salt on top of each one. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Once the buns are done, mix the shredded pork with the BBQ sauce. Warm it up in a pan.

Slice each bun into halves. Add a slice of Gouda, and then some of the BBQ pulled pork. Top it with avocado slices and a fried egg. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Dutch Baby Pancake with Gouda, Crispy Bacon & a Fried Egg

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Dutch baby pancakes are usually sweet, served with powdered sugar and fruit. I wanted to make a savory version of it.  I sprinkled shredded Gouda to the batter before it went into the oven and then topped it with some bacon and a fried egg. You can play around with the toppings as you like. It is super easy to make. The edges of the pancake are crispy and in the center it is still soft. This savory version is not only nice for breakfast but it also works great for lunch.

This recipe is for 1 pancake.

Ingredients:

For the batter:

2 eggs

½ cup of milk

¾ cup of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of butter

Pinch of salt

Toppings:

5 tablespoons of shredded Gouda cheese

2 or 3 slices of crispy bacon, chopped

1 fried egg or more if you like

Chives, chopped

 

Preheat the oven to 230C/446F with a cast iron skillet inside.

Place the eggs, milk, flour and salt in the blender and blend until smooth. Leave the batter in the blender.

Take the hot skillet out of the oven and add the butter. Place it back in the oven until the butter melts, this will only take about 1 minute. Take the skillet out of the oven again. Swirl the butter so it coats all the edges of the skillet. Once the skillet is completely coated in butter, pour the remaining melted butter into the blender with the rest of the pancake batter. Blend until everything is combined.

Add the pancake batter into the hot skillet and sprinkle the shredded Gouda over it.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the pancake turns golden and the edges have puffed up.

Serve with a fried egg, crispy bacon and chives.