Sunday, May 25, 2014

Come with me: I've moved!

It's taken me a while to post this, but I've moved! I have a new fancy website over at A World In My Oven (click it!)! There I rant more about food traditions, countries and their festivities and of course, about recipes. Rather than the posting here and there I've been doing on this blog, I update it weekly and I'm trying very hard to keep it up.

Of course, I'm not letting go of this blog I've been working on for over 7 years now. It's one of the things in life I'm most proud of. So you might suddenly find some recipes that I really love, but will never make it on my website!

Anyway, if you're interested in more delicious recipes I've been conjuring, please check out my new website!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kwarkbollen - the dutch scones

After sharing a recipe of scones and telling you about a lovely dutch version, I couldn't let you wait on this better version of scones. But first: Let me teach you a lesson in dutch. No, honestly all I really want to do is find a good translation for kwarkbollen, but there doesn't seem to be any. 'Kwark' is spelled Quark in English -appearantly- and is something like cottage cheese. But it's really more like a thick yoghurt. 'Bollen' is just the Dutch word for buns or bread. So the recipe I'm sharing with you is for quark/cottage cheese/thick yogurt buns/bread. You see why I decided to go with the original name?

Having that said, I have to admit we're not making buns. We're making one massive 'bol'. Unless of course, you decide to make buns. The idea of kwarkbollen in a bite-sized version already makes me drool.

Kwarkbollen (Quark buns)
1 'bread' of 28 cm - inspired by Okoko

250 grams flour
3 tablespoons milk powder
3 teaspoons baking powder
250 grams quark or (Greek) yogurt
2 tablespoons oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons (vanilla) sugar
150 grams raisins

1. Sift the flour, milk and baking powder together into a large bowl.
2. In a smaller bowl, weigh the wet ingredients and the sugar. Mix them all together until smooth.
3. Make a well in the bowl with the flour and pour in your wet ingredients. Now mix those together - I like to use a fork and 'break down' the walls of flour at the sides as I go.
4. Lastly, add the raisins and roughly mix those in.
5. Line or grease a 28 cm (11 inch) cake tin. Spread the batter out thinly onto the cake tin. Don't worry about the 'bun' being very thin, it will double in size during baking. For small buns, line or grease a baking tray and drop little circles of dough onto it, leaving enough space for them to rise. Better yet, line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers and fill those for three quarters tops.
6.  Bake in a preheated oven of 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. Spread milk over the cake-bread in the last 4-5 minutes for a slightly darker and softer crust.

You can see from the recipe how confused I am about what to call my kwarkbollen. It's not a bun, it's definitely not bread, it doesn't really go for cake either. This means it is a dutch version of scones. Scones are also these -admittedly delicious- things that are neither cake nor bread nor buns but everything in between. They both go very nice with jam and cream and they both include raisins. I think the kwarkbollen are slightly sweeter, slightly more moist and have a softer texture, but overall I'd say kwarkbollen are just a dutch version of scones.Try it out and tell me if you disagree!

Also, let's face it: the Dutch do it Better. 

Buttermilk scones

There's nothing better than sitting inside in front of a warm oven baking away on these days when the sun finally decides to pop out and the weather is finally warm enough to go out without a coat. Well, you know what I mean. Outside, no matter how warm it is, is still a whole lot better when you have something deliciously home-made waiting for you to get hungry.

Scones are one of those things that are ALWAYS waiting for you to get even the slightest bit of a craving. They will stare at you until you eat them. Behold: a recipe for evil buttermilk scones!

Buttermilk scones
12 large/24 small scones

280 grams flour (2 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
125 grams butter, cold
175 ml buttermilk
150 grams raisins (optional)
Jam, cream & tea (optional)

1. Sift all the dry ingredients together.
2. Cube the butter and use a fork to 'press' it into the dry ingredients until you get a thick crumble.
3. Add the buttermilk and mix it in until you have a sticky dough. Stir in the raisins at this point to add a bit of sweetness to the scones.
4. Line an oven tray with a baking sheet and drop the batter into scones of the desired size, making sure to leave enough space for the scones to rise.
5. Bake the scones in a preheated over of 200 degrees Celsius or 390 degrees Fahrenheit for about 12-15 minutes.
6.  Enjoy the scones with jam and cream and a lovely cup of tea!

You know, sometimes I'm surprised by how fast things disappear after I've baked them. There are times when I swear I've made enough to last at least three days and it's all gone the very same day I make it. And then there are times in which I make something and no one actually touches it after the first slice. These scones fell in the first category. I always think of scones as a tad bit dry, but everyone just seemed to dump them in butter and jam and munch them away. Next time I need to make a secret stack for myself.

Look at what I found on my baking sheet! Isn't it lovely?
If you're not a fan of scones or buttermilk, I have an amazing solution for you: the dutch version of scones. They're called 'kwarkbollen' and they are absolutely amazing. If you totally love scones then that's all the more reason to try out this recipe as well. It's like a slightly sweeter and more moist version of scones.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Herb salt

I'll be honest with you: I barely ever cook. I enjoy baking sweet things a lot more. Yet I ALWAYS use salt when I cook. Now I know the importance of salt, I won't stop using it either. Still I can get bored of salt. Whether it's table salt or coarse sea salt: at some point it's all just salt, so I like to add flavored salts to my food occasionally. I bought my mom a big jar of Parmesan Cheese & Basil salt a while ago. I remember we had rosemary salt at some point and salt with peppers along with some other flavored salts I can't remember. In stores I'll get stuck at the shelf with flavored salts and consider buying them all, but doesn't everyone?

There's one thing better than buying all different kinds of flavor salts in cute jars and that is making it yourself! And the one thing that can top that is making your own herb salt, putting it into cute jars and giving it away to friends, so you can show off  be nice!

Herb salt
Makes 1/2 cup - adapted from Allrecipes

1/4 cup coarse salt
handful fresh parsley (10 grams)
1/4 cup fine salt
1. Take a food processor (or mini chopper) and dump the parsley with the coarse salt in there. Make sure the parsley is not wet, so if you want to wash the herbs make sure to dab them dry with tissues. Pulse the food processor several times until you have a finer green salt, which looks like the end result but a tiny bit darker.
2. Add the fine salt to the food processor and pulse another time or two until it's mixed with the rest.
3. Leave to dry on a plate for an hour or so. 
4. Put it in a cute small jar and use it over salads, sandwiches, pastas, chicken and anywhere else you'd use salt.

Of course don't forget to try out all the other herbs. Rosemary and salt is a wonderful combination. Basil would be perfect as well. You can add 2-4 spoons of grated Parmesan cheese for the Parmesan Cheese & Basil salt combination. Or add a spoonful of pepper for a bit of extra spice. Really all you have to do once you have the salt is go into a grocery store and let your imagination run wild while you stare at herbs.

Another thing I have to add: keep the expiry date in mind. Although salt is a well-known preservative and it will keep your fresh herbs fine for quite a while, you're still working with fresh herbs. My jars of herb salt haven't lived long enough to see their expiry date, but I can confidently tell you you can keep your herb salt for several weeks. Perhaps the herb will dry out in the jar and you'll be able to keep it for a year or more.

Enjoy your new salty addition to the kitchen! In case you're intrigued by the third bowl on the picture: right next to the sea salt and the herb salt there's a delicious spice rub I will be posting soon.