All posts filed under: Summer Recipes

Traditional Belgian Frietjes

I’m just a tad cynical when people, communities or countries claim to have “invented” a recipe. Quite honestly, individuals, communities, regions and countries – who before globalisation had limited or no contact with each other – all dabbled, experimented and fiddled with food. If they could grow the same kind of food and rear the same kind of animals many came up with some pretty similar ideas on how to improve texture, flavours and tastes. Which, brings me on to frietjes. Practically everyone I know in Belgium – particularly the children – are most indignant that a dish as delectable, loved and eaten all over the world as a chip is often referred to as a “French” not “Belgian” fry. For, – as anyone who has visited these parts knows – the Belgians claim to be the true inventor of the fry. In their cook book “Belgo” Denis Blaise and André Plisnier make a compelling case why there might just be some truth in this assertion. In reality the chances are that wherever a spud …

Once Through the Garden Summer Soup

Every global culture has some kind of a vegetable soup with a bit of meat thrown in for flavour. The differences between the soups depend on the kind of vegetables which grew locally. Minestrone in Italy is full of tomatoes, lentils and small petals of pasta with a few bits of bacon thrown in. The core ingredient in the Belgian “Hutsepot” is brussels sprouts and a bit of smoked sausage. “Eintopf” (literally translated “One Pot Soup”) is so common in Germany I can hardly believe I have never made this soup at home before. The smell, the taste and the look whisk me straight back to my childhood where we ate this soup at least once a week. It’s not exactly haut cuisine or joyful festive fodder – it’s just a plain, simple, vegetable soup. That all said it still tastes pretty good and my highly picky children ate at least three soup bowls. This simple summer soup used to to be known as“once through the garden” soup. My Grandmother would go into the garden with her …

Honey and tarragon pork tenderloin

This is such a simple recipe. It takes ten minutes max. to prepare the marinade yet the long soak really does impart the fresh flavour of tarragon teamed up with the sweetness of honey. You can make this marinade for just about any piece of pork – fillet, chops, cutlets, cheeks.  You can fry the tenderloin, the chops or the cutlets but I’m not so good with frying – probably because I don’t have a very subtle hob that is good at controlling temperature. Further the honey in the marinade means the outside will caramalise and potentially burn before the meat is cooked properly, which is why roasting is a better option. Be sure to take the meat out of the fridge at least one hour before preparing so that the final meat is tender. Ingredients Pork 1 red onion 1 tbs. honey 1 bunch of tarragon A good glug of white wine vinegar A good glug of olive oil Salt and pepper. Method Chop the tarragon finely, reserving some for decoration. Combine the salt, pepper, tarragon …

Sourdough Pizza

I’m told, on good authority, that sourdough pizzas are all the latest rage in London. This site may be all about traditional cooking but you could never accuse Master in the Kitchen of being dated – and so in the spirit of the times I’m sharing a brilliant sourdough recipe.  A wood fired oven would be nice – the heat is perfect and produces the nicest, crispiest pizzas. Like the vast majority of us, however, I must make do with a bog-standard electric oven. The good news is – these sourdough pizzas taste great even when baked at home in a standard oven. Conclusion: everyone can bake a first-rate sourdough pizza in their very kitchen. Have no fear. The recipe below makes enough for 4 large pizzas. If that’s too much cut the dough in four and freeze the ones you aren’t going to use. Or if you don’t have a freezer just reduce the ingredients by half. Ingredients For the dough 800 gr wheat flour 200 gr rye or whole wheat 1 cup of sourdough …

Green runner beans fried in garlic and olive oil

Green, purple and white runner beans are in season! Yay! There are hundreds of ways to serve runner beans. The worst way is to boil them to death and serve them unadorned. In the past couple of decades this has been one of the more fashionable ways to try and serve vegetables. Traditionally vegetables were always accompanied with a good dollop of butter or lard – or drizzled in natural olive oils. Ever since natural fats were falsely accused and falsely found guilty of causing our current obesity epidemic they have been banished from accompanying vegetables to the supper table. Yet, when vegetables are served plain with no natural fats to stimulate the taste buds who can blame the kids for refusing to eat their greens? Happily for us there are plenty of traditional ways to serve runner beans and for the best recipe we must once again turn to France to lead the way. Green runner beans are growing two a penny at the moment. So, if you find the market offering you haricot …

Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis

From Italy with love – a simple, though utterly delicious, fresh summer desert. If you are looking for an interesting way to incorporate live, natural beneficial organism into your diet choose yoghurt or buttermilk rather than milk. Both work equally well. Ingredients 500 ml of fresh milk, (OR 500 ml of yoghurt/buttermilk/kefir), 500 ml of cream, 180 gr of sugar OR honey, 3-4 sheets of gelatine. For the Raspberry Coulis see here. Method Submerge the gelatine in some water for 15-20 minutes. Whilst the gelatine is soaking warm the cream in a pan making sure it gets no hotter than 60 degrees centigrade. It should never get too hot that it could scald the hand. When the cream has reached the desired temperature squeeze the water out of the gelatine and add to the warm cream. Stir in until all the gelatine has melted. Remove the cream and melted gelatine from the heat and pour into a jug. Add the milk and the sugar (or the yoghurt and the honey) to the cream and stir with a wooden …

Fermented Mango Chutney

What distinguishes chutney’s from other forms of pickles is the unique combination of fruit with vegetables; the savoury mingling with the sweet. According to fermentation experts all chutneys would have originally been fermented though I’m not 100% sure about this assertion. I suspect many traditional chutney recipes would have been cooked and preserved with some form of rice vinegar. It is true that most modern recipes require the cook to simmer the ingredients on a medium heat until it has transformed the raw food into the common chutney texture we are all familiar with today. The tangy sourness deriving from the use of vinegar not lactic acid – two different things. The recipe listed below is a lacto-fermented chutney – neither raw nor cooked. The process of fermentation is just as transformative as is the process of cooking. Lacto-fermentation transforms the condiment from a state of rawness into a more effervescent, more nutritious, preserved form of food that compliments so many cooked dishes especially, though by no means exclusively, a hot curry. Rather than destroying the …