Macaron by RJA

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This pastry shop which specializes in macarons, eclairs, and classic French pastries just opened its doors on April 1st at the Cornelis Schuytstraat 50 in Amsterdam. Macaron by RJA was a big success in South Korea due to Ruben Jan Adriaan, a very well know pastry chef in Asia. After 11 years abroad, he decided to come back to his homeland and open here this French pastry shop. He has worked for Pierre Hermé in Paris. I mean enough said there, I couldn’t wait any longer and stopped by for a taste today.

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It is a lovely shop where you can also enjoy some coffee, tea and sodas. They are waiting for their alcohol license so they can offer a glass of bubbles, wine or high wine. And at the end of August, they are going to open a second shop at the Utrechtsestraat 18a.

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I went there with my husband and we were greeted by Marlijn. She was super friendly and very happy to explain the concept of the store. It was hard to choose as everything looked so beautiful. We tasted the canelés there and got the rest for takeaway.

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We got the Inca which is made with a banana compote, mango, passion fruit and a mousse made with 55% chocolate from Brazil. The Desire, made with milk chocolate mousse, vanilla, raspberry crème brûlée and cacao nibs. We also got a small box of macarons. We chose Pistachio/Rhubarb/Berry, Sakura/Strawberry, Yogurt/Grapefruit, Earl grey/Raspberry, Rose/Lychee/Raspberry and Olive oil. Seconds after I was done taking these shots, we dug in. And OMG were they delicious, a real treat for the taste buds as well as for the eyes. The Inca and Desire were both rich and decadent. And the macarons, a wonderful combination of flavors in each bite. And being only a 10 minute bike ride from my home, I am coming back for sure. You can see more of the shop through my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

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Macaron by RJA

Cornelis Schuytstraat 50, Amsterdam

Open every day from 8am till 8pm except for Tuesdays

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

 

Beef Empanadas & Cassava Balls Stuffed with Mozzarella

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The holidays are nostalgic and this year even more so for me, as we won’t be able to be in Peru for the holidays. But at least I can make some Peruvian food. Empanadas are usually dusted with powdered sugar, some people might find it weird but it actually works pretty well with the filling. The filling is slightly sweet because of the raisins and salty because of the Kalamata olives. We usually eat them with a squeeze of lime juice but I also like it with some salsa criolla.  For the empanada dough, I used a recipe from Epicurious. The cassava balls are usually eaten with a sauce made with Peruvian chilies. Since they are not always easy to find here, I thought of making it more accessible and just serve it with a sriracha-lime mayo. But you can serve it with any sauce that you like. I used mozzarella as the filling but you can also use any other kind of cheese that you may like.

This recipe makes about 17 small empanadas and about 25 cassava balls.

Ingredients for the empanadas:

For the dough:

2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon salt

113grs cold butter, chopped

1 egg

1/3 cup of ice water

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the empanada filling:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

260gr of beef steak, chopped into very small cubes (you can also use minced beef)

½ cup of tomato pure

6 quail eggs, boiled for 3 minutes and then chopped

50 grs of Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

A handful of raisins, chopped

Pinch of cumin

Pinch of oregano

Pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

3 tablespoons of chopped parsley

For the salsa criolla:

1 red onion, chopped

A handful of chopped parsley or coriander

Juice of half a lime

1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Chili to taste, chopped

Extras for the empanadas:

Egg wash

Powdered sugar for dusting

Lime wedges

 

To make the empanada dough:

Place the flour, salt and butter in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until the butter is mixed in and it resembles sand. Then add the egg, water and vinegar. Mix until you have an even dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 1 hour.

To make the empanada filling:

In a large pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the beef and garlic. Cook until the beef is seared and then add the tomato puree, Kalamata, raisins, sugar, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the water from the tomato puree has evaporated and has become more of a paste. Turn off the heat and add the chopped quail eggs and parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Allow it to cool down until ready to use.

Once the dough has chilled in the fridge for one hour, take it out and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll 1 piece out in your floured working area, don’t roll it out too thin though as the empanadas might break while baking. Using a 9cm round mold, cut as many circles as you can.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each circle and then close it into half a moon. Pinch the edges with your fingers to seal them. Then using a fork, finch the edges again. Repeat for all.

Brush each empanada with some egg wash. Bake them till golden, about 20 minutes.

To make the salsa criolla, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Dust the empanadas with some powdered sugar. Serve them with the salsa criolla and lime wedges.

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Ingredients for the cassava balls stuffed with mozzarella:

1 kilo of cassava

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of melted butter

30grs of grated Parmesan

Salt to taste

A good pinch of garlic powder

A good pinch of onion powder

4 tablespoons of flour

200grs of mozzarella, cut into small cubes or any other cheese that you may like

For the coating:

2 beaten eggs

1 ½ cups of panko, mixed with salt

1 ½ cups of flour, mixed with salt

For the sriracha-lime mayo:

1/3 of a cup of Sriracha

1/3 of a cup of Mayonnaise

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon of honey

Extras:

1 liter of vegetable oil for frying

 

To make the cassava balls:

To make the sriracha-lime mayo, just mix all of the ingredients in bowl. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Peel the cassava and chop it into large pieces. Place it in a large saucepan and add boiling water. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.

Once the cassava is cooked, remove the tough stem that it has in the middle. Mash it until smooth while it is still warm. Add the butter, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Mix well and taste to see if it has enough salt. Then add the egg yolks and flour, and mix it with your hands until you have a kind of dough.

Grab about 1 tablespoon of the cassava dough, make it into a ball and then flatten it with your hands. Place a piece of mozzarella in the middle and then make it into a ball again. Repeat for all.

Have the beaten eggs, flour and panko ready in separate bowls.

Coat each cassava ball in the flour, then in the beaten eggs and finally in the panko. Set it aside and repeat for the rest.

Place the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it is hot, start frying the casaba balls in batches until they are golden. Just make sure the oil is not too hot, otherwise they will turn golden too quick without the cheese melting in the inside. Place them on a tray lined with paper towels. You can place them in the oven at 120C/250F to keep them warm until all of them are fried.

Serve them with the sriracha-lime mayo or the sauce of your choice.

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

Purple Carrot & Golden Beet Tart with Tahini & Sumac

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I made this tart today for dinner and it hardly lasted till dinner. Since I cook everything early to be able to photograph it during daylight, it was hard to stop eating it. I love the sweetness of the carrots and beets combined with the citrusy sumac and creamy tahini. It’s a very easy tart to make for this holiday season.

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This recipe is enough for a 40x24cm tart.

Ingredients:

1 sheet of puff pastry (40x24cms)

4 medium purple carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise with a mandolin

1 very large golden beet, thinly sliced with a mandoline

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the tahini-sumac sauce:

¼ cup of tahini

1 tablespoon of sumac

Juice of ½ a lemon

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of onion powder

Chili flakes to taste

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

For the toppings:

80grs of feta, crumbled

¼ cup of chopped chives, dressed in a bit of olive oil, white vinegar, salt and pepper

¼ cup of toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds

Extra:

Egg wash

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Cook the thinly sliced carrots and beets in a large pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I cooked them separately for about 5 minutes until tender but still firm, stirring often.

To make the tahini-sumac sauce, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Place the puff pastry on an oven sheet lined with parchment paper. Fold the edges, making a 1cm border and pinch to seal them. Using a fork, pinch the dough all over, except for the borders.

Spread the tahini-sumac sauce evenly over the pastry. Arrange the cooked carrot and beet slices all over the pastry. Make sure to spread them evenly, so there is a good ratio of carrot/beet on each slice later on.

Brush the edges of the puff pastry with the egg wash. Bake it for 35 minutes, till golden.

To serve, spread the crumble feta all over. Do the same for the toasted pine nuts, pomegranate and the dressed chives. Enjoy!

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