Kale chips

Kale is supposed to be one of the healthiest vegetables there is. Loads and loads of iron. It's also a very tasty vegetable. Thing is, as nice blanched kale is , when I eat it I suffer big time ( wind ).
I also like to grow it in the garden, there are not many winter vegetables you can grow and kale is also one of the prettiest .
So what to do with my kale I was wondering.

In alice fowlers "abundance", which is one of the newest additions to my cookbook library and one you will certainly here more of during this summer, I found the perfect solution: Kale chips. Easy to make, delicious and even the boy likes them. Oh and no problem for the digestion.

Shred the washed and dried kale into bits. Marinate in the oil and vinegar mixture for 30 minutes.
Lay out on a greasing paper and bake for 30-40 minutes in the approximately 100° oven.
Check regularly, depending on you oven you might have to adjust time or temperature.

Perfect snack to accompany a glass of beer.

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Cucumber Cazpacio

We have 3 different types of cucumbers in the garden this year. Nostrano, cute small green ones and our all time favorite round pick-nique cucumbers.
Nothing better to come home after a day in the garden and make a lovely cazpacio with the days harvest.

You'll need:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 Tbs mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion finly chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 dl vegetable stock
  • salt pepper
  • fresh dill
  • if you have boretsch to decorate

Peel and cut one of the cucumbers in small chunks. In a mortar grind the mustard seeds. Mix the cucumbers, onions, lemon juice, vegetable stock and spices.
Cut the second cucumber ( without peeling ) in small dices. Add to the soup. Add some of the dill, roughly copped. Let it site in the fridge for 2 hours.

Before serving, decorate with boretsch flowers and more dill.

Serve with xxx

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A perfect Picnic and a lovely vegetable salad

I have been asked what to take for the perfect picnic by a Swiss newspaper this week. I don't do proper picnic that often, but when we eat in the garden that is sort of a picnic. In the the beginning we had pretty elaborate picnics where we brought along lots of crazy things that we had prepared in advance. Nowadays we usually try to keep it more simple.

So what is essential for a good picnic?

For me it's all about sitting in the green, chatting, enjoying the summer heat, maybe have a fire going or some lanterns on.
I do want our picnics to look good. I hate all the plastic garbage that you end up with when you just go to the supermarket and buy a few ready made things.
I suggest taking along nice reusable plastic plates like these or even better enamel dishes like these or what we do: keep buying nice old dishes from the secondhand shop .

Then you obviously need a blanket to site on. A summer version could look like this and a spring and autumn one like this.

So what to eat? Most important is a good cheese and if you eat meat maybe a really nice sausage. I usually buy a few different cheeses, sheep, goat and cow. Aged and young ones. Also very popular with us is fig mustard. But I still have to find a good recipe to make the mustard myself.
With this you definitely need some good crisps. My favorites are Tyrells. And a nice bread.
Now that you have the basics you can add a few extras. We usually do some vegetable salads - straight from the garden cooked on the gas cooker, but you can prepare them at home and take them along in big jars.

You can use whatever vegetables you like but our favorite is with sugar peas, peas, broad beans and baby carrots.

Blanch the vegetables - not too long, you still want them to be crisp. In a blender blend a good dollop of extra virgin olive oil and a handful of tarragon ( or dill or flat leave parsley or … ) and some malden salt.
Mix vegetables and herb oil and season with pepper and more salt if needed. Fill into a big glass jar and take along.
Another one I often take along is this potato and trout salad or this

If you make a fire you obviously have to grill some sausages, feta and haloumi cheese.

Don't forget the red wine and some glasses and off you go.

For dessert we often grill some pear & black chocolate breads. Just wrap some chunks of pear o apple and some black chocolate into pizza dough and but them on the grill. Make sure they don't burn. Grill them on the side of the fire or when it's about to go out.

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A pan of summer vegetables

Inspired once again by Nigel Slater, I brought home plenty of baby vegetables from the allotment.
The pinched out carrots, the first tiny summer squash and the last asparagus of the season, some peas and some cherry tomatoes.

The secret to this recipe is that you use a flavored oil. For this just quickly blitz a mild summer herb like tarragon or dill and the oil in a food processor.
Then saute the vegetables in this oil.

Best eaten in the garden or on the balcony on a hot summer evening - served with some good cheese, bread and a glass of red wine.

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Hot rocket with baked eggs

My new favorite comes from ottolenghi. It's dead simple and extremely delicious.

You'll need:

  • 300 gr rocket
  • a little olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • Greek yoghurt
  • salt and pepper
  • 50 gr butter
  • 1/2 garlic glove
  • 6 sage leaves
  • chili flakes

Fry the rocket for 3 minutes in a ovenproof pan. Season with salt and pepper. Make 2 nests in the rocket an carefully put 2 eggs in the hollows.
Put the pan in the oven and bake for 10 - 15 minutes - 150° until the eggs whites turn white.

Mix the greek yoghurt with some crushed garlic and a pinch of salt.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add a pinch of salt and the chili flakes and fry until the butter starts to turn golden.
Add the sage and cook a bit longer. Don't let the butter turn to brown then turn off the heat.

Take the rocket out of the oven. Add a dollop of the yoghurt and drizzle over the butter. Eat immediately.

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Potatoes fennel casserole

Please excuse this crapy picture but this dish took us by surprise. It was one of these sunday evening fridge leftover dishes that turned out to be a star.
Very unexpected flavors for a casserole but totally delicious.

You'll need:

  • some baby patatoes
  • some fennel
  • 3 gloves of garlic, halved
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • smoked sea salt if you have
  • pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 1 tbs dried dill (or ~3 stems freshly chopped if available)
  • 1 tbs caraway
  • plenty of grated cheddar

Mix everything together, sprinkle the cheddar on top and bake covered in the oven for ~40 min. ( 230° )

Related Entries:
Fish pie "Killeel"
Lukewarm potato salad
Fish pie "irish craving"
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Back in the kitchen - Little tarts of celery stalks

Being back in the kitchen feels so good! Not that I missed the daily "what are we going to eat tonight, hurrying to the supermarket after a full day at the office, being once again to late to pick up the kid " kitchen but the " weekends lets cook something nice and drink a lot of red wine" kind of kitchen.

Kevin was in control of the kitchen last night, his cooking is always based on improvisation, starting with an idea or an ingredient. Things often change along the process.

What we had yesterday was this little tower made of 5 layers.
The whole did not really work together but the single layers were great. We will have to develop further.
The different layers :

Layer 1: Chopped radish.  That was a bit to strong in the flavor compared with the rest.
Layer 2: A mousse of sardines. Debone the grilled sardines. Quickly cook them in the frying pan with some almond slivers. Add dill and some noilly prat. Blend, season with salt and pepper.
Layer 3: Onion Chutney: In a heavy pan: Slowly cook a grated apple, 2 minced garlic, 2 cloves, a good bit of grated ginger, 2 shallots, 1.5 dl port wine, some chili, salt and pepper till it's a smooth purée.
Layer 4: Aubergine purée. Bake the aubergines for 30 min in the oven ( prick little holes into the skin ). Scrap out the flesh. Add minced garlic and shallots and some fresh chili. Fry for 3 minutes. Blend add chopped fresh mint.
Season with salt and pepper.
Layer 5. Avocado mash.

The next version will probably be just the fish , the aubergine and maybe some shiitake.

One thing turned out perfectly and will probably be seen rather often in our kitchen:

Celery stalk cakes:

You'll need:

  • Several celery stalks chopped finely
  • 2 handfuls of rucola chopped
  • 1 chopped Shallot
  • 1 dl white wine
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cress

Fry the shallots with some olive oil, add the chopped celery and rucola, fry very shortly,
quench with a little white wine .
Blend , then add the eggs. Mix . Fill into small forms like the ones on the picture. Bake in the oven ( 220° ) till they start to get slightly brown.

Decorate with the cress.

Related Entries:
Orecciete with sardines and wild fennel
Sardines with wild fennel
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Grilled Mackerel and caramelized beetroot

This is a new favorite in our home. Mackerel is one of the few fish not endangered by overfishing - theres so many of them -  but it's also a very tasty fish with a delicious taste. It goes perfect with the caramelized beetroot. We usually serve it with potato salad but you could also eat it accompanied with bread.

- 4- 5 Medium sized beetroot
- Olive oil
- 25 gr butter
- 1 tsb  chopped Thyme
- 3 Rosemary stalks
- 20gr brown sugar
- 150 ml balsamic vinegar
- 20 ml fresh lemon juice

Rub the beetroot with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap into aluminum foil and bake 1,5 hours in the oven ( 180° ).
Take them out and let them cool a bit, peel and cut into slices.
Heat the butter with and the olive oil add the beetroot the thyme, the rosemary . Slowly cook over medium heat for 10 - 20 minutes till the beetroots are caramelized. When the beetroot starts to get soft add the vinegar and the lemon juice and cook till the juice turns thick like a sirup and the vegetables are tender.

- 8 Mackerel filets
- 1 tsb fresh Thyme
- olive oil
- 2 gloves of garlic
- zest of one lemon and a good squeeze lemon juice

Make a marinade of chopped garlic, thyme, olive oil and lemon
filet the fish, cut the skin several times. Marinate on the skin side.

Put the fish on a baking tray skin side up and bake in the oven ( on grill very close to the grill ) for 3 to 4 minutes.

The recipe comes from my favorite fish cook book - Tom Aikens Fish

Related Entries:
Red Autumn Salad
"Rillete de maqueraux" or the perfect hangover relief
Beetroot marinated salmon with 2 kinds of beetroot
Yesterdays Dinner: Beetroot soup and Flammkuchen
Mixed green salad leaves with luke warm beetroot and roquefort
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Lukewarm potato salad

This a new favorite of mine, lukewarm potato salad with cucumbers and mustard dressing.

Cook the potatoes till soft, meanwhile make a dressing of olive oil, white vine vinegar , plenty of dijon mustard and some crushed juniper berries.
Cut the cucumber into chunks ( without the seeds ) sprinkle with some sea salt and let sit in a colander in the sink for 10 minutes.
When the potatoes are done, drain and add to the sauce. Ad the cucumbers and a good handful of dill, serve lukewarm.

Related Entries:
Potatoes fennel casserole
Fish pie "irish craving"
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Baked pumpkin with rosemary, chili, breadcrumbs and orange zest

This lovely dish is from Nigel Slaters Tender Voulume I .
The mashy pumpkin goes very nicely with the crisp bread crumbs. The rosemary, orange zest, garlic and chili work beautifully with the pumpkin.

Related Entries:
Filled pumpkin
Pumpkin salad
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