gamiila: (fork)
It's autumn again and although I love this all year round, for most folks this is *the* time of the year for braised beef.

Ingredients (to serve 4):

800 grs of brisket
8 shallots
16 cloves of garlic
500 grs white mushrooms
some rosemary
some thyme
some basil
1 teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg
4 bay leaves
12 cloves
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of red mild paprika powder
1 ltr of chicken stock
1 small tin of tomato paste
75 grs butter
20cl hazelnut oil
2 tablespoons of HP Guinness sauce (or regular HP sauce if not available)
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
a pint of Guinness beer or if not available, another dark beer.

Cut the beef in 4 portions, and rub the beef with the ground pepper and nutmeg
Cut the shallots in halves, cut the mushrooms in halves, cut 4 of the garlic cloves in slices and chop up the rosemary, thyme and basil; keep the other garlic unpeeled
Heat up the chicken stock
Melt and clarify the butter on low heat a large cast-iron casserole
Add the hazelnut oil and turn up the heat

Carefully sauté the 4 pieces for about 2 minutes on each side, to a rich dark brown
Now add the sliced garlic, and the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes
Add the mushrooms and the unpeeled garlic and sauté for 2 minutes
Then add the chicken stock and make sure it mixes well with all the cooking oil
Add the herbs, the tomato paste, the ground paprika, the cloves, the bay leaves, the Guinness sauce and the Worcestershire sauce, mix everything well and add a quarter of the pint of Guinness

Don't add any salt, as there is salt in the chicken stock and the sauces! (You can always add salt on your plate, but you can't get it out once it's in the casserole)

Bring to the boil then simmer and put on a very low fire for at least 4 hours.

Palm Sunday

Apr. 1st, 2012 04:12 pm
gamiila: (treading water)
Liturgical colour: red.

For Palm Sunday (and the beginning of Holy Week), Mass began with a procession and the blessing of palm fronds and crosses outside; and ended with a rousing chorus of 'Happy Birthday' for our parish priest, who will be 52 tomorrow. The church was filled to the rafters for the occasion, but I've noticed in the last few weeks that even on ordinary Sundays, attendance here is high - such a difference to how things were in my old parish. After Mass, I participated in a sponsored walk across The Hague to the ICC, to raise money for providing a proper healthcare in Kenyan refugee camps as part of our Lenten campaign. At the ICC, we were given a short but very interesting presentation about the Court and the cases that are brought before it. There are 4 crimes within the Court's jurisdiction, namely: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes committed after July 1st, 2002 and, under certain circumstances, the crime of aggression. The ICC differs from the ICJ in that here cases are brought against individuals, rather than against nations. There are currently 7 investigations and 8 preliminary examinations underway; all in all, 15 cases have been brought before the Court since it was established in 2002, of which 6 are currently at the trial stage.

I got chatting to one of my fellow parishioners, and she turned out to be working in HR. She's asked me to mail her my cv, which I will do...but without expecting too much at this stage.

But now: a recipe, courtesy of one of my French Facebook friends, one that I will certainly try next time I have a dinner party - although it's actually a traditional dish for Easter (apparently).

épaule d'agneau boulangère )


Dec. 30th, 2011 05:53 pm
gamiila: (fork)

Spekkoek is a traditional Dutch-Indonesian spice cake that Mum used to make around New Year’s every year. They call it lapis legit in Indonesia these days. It’s a unique cake in many ways. The most unique is that it is not baked; it is broiled aka grilled, thin layer by layer, alternating a dark spice layer and a white cake layer. The older generation would compete and try to see who could get the most layers. Over the last couple of years, Mum’s ceased making it, and since I’m usually on my own, I never can be arsed; but this morning Mum showed up on my doorstep bearing this cake (shop-bought, but very tasty…though her own is still unsurpassed).

Here’s the recipe:

1 pound (8 ounces) of unsalted butter
10 large eggs separated
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons ground anise
10 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Set out eggs and butter so they can come to room temperature. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and lightly mix. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until dry and stiff. Then mix into batter, folding in a little bit at a time. Add flour in a few small batches. Mix on low until incorporated.

Divide batter into two bowls, reserving just a little bit extra in the “white” batter bowl. In the other bowl, add the spices (it helps to add all the spices in a smaller bowl and give it a quick whisk before pouring into batter).

Grease and flour a 9” or 10” springform pan. You can cut out wax or parchment paper and insert on the bottom of the pan if desired.

Start with the white batter. With the back of a spoon or spatula, cover the bottom of the pan with the white batter. Push the batter all the way to the sides of the pan as it will slightly shrink up once it’s grilled. Grill it from the centre rack of your oven. The first layer will take longer to grill than succeeding layers. Bake each layer until lightly browned with small bubbled up holes, almost like a crepe or pancake, about 2 minutes. Alternate layers, white, black, white, black, until all the cake batter is gone. Make sure your first and last layers are both white layers.

When finished, let the cake cool, remove from pan then dust lightly with powdered sugar if desired. It can keep in a cake tin or wrapped in aluminium foil for a few days. Cut the cake in 1/4’s and serve in very thin slices.

Selamat makan!
gamiila: (fork)
Friday is my day off (I would have preferred Wednesday, but my weekly reporting to the European overall management is due in at 11am on Thursday), and today, I made pizza! Which is something I'd only ever done once before, more than 20 years ago - but for some reason, today I felt like making my own, from scratch. First I made the dough, then I made a quick and easy topping of passato di pomodoro, garlic and pecorino cheese, and then I heaped handfuls of parmigiano, onion rings, capers, tuna flakes and olives onto my base, drizzled it with olive oil and put it in the oven for 20 minutes. Nothing fancy but, even if I do say so myself, it's yummy! It's also very big and I will probably have to eat it for the next 3 days. I don't know why I've always gone for the easier option of just buying them ready-made, 'cause really, it didn't take me that long to make.

Yesterday was iWalk Day at work, which is an annual worldwide event in which Apple employees are strongly encouraged to go outside and walk a distance of at least 3 kms (or run 5) during office hours. So we trooped to the nearby park, walked for an hour clocking up 4,2 kms, which apparently made us burn up 214 calories, and upon returning to the office found we'd each earned ourselves a bottle of water and a wheat bar containing 280 calories.
gamiila: (always ends in tears)
I will be starting on my new job and career in marketing in about 10 hours from now. This means I will probably get little or no sleep at all, and will be completely useless in the morning. I hope (and fully expect) my new boss will cut me some slack and let me ease into it over the next few days -- after all, he hired me knowing full-well I have no previous experience in this field. But we'll see what happens.

Meanwhile, I want to draw your attention to my friend and former colleague Coco's website, The Dutch Table. She moved to Idaho some years ago, and has since embarked on a mission to acquaint the world with the delights of Dutch traditional foods and cuisine. Have a look, see what you think, and maybe try one or two of her recipes!
gamiila: (fork)
The thing with problems is, that they have a way of either resolving themselves, or getting resolved. Either way, they cease being a problem, and then the particulars become hazy, and get forgotten. I don't believe the problems I've had in the past have been all that special or interesting, and I can't predict what problems I'll face in the future, so there's no point in writing about any of them for the sake of a meme.

the rest of the days )

I went to see The King's Speech today, and enjoyed it very much. Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter all did a brilliant job bringing their characters to life, and I was pleased to see Anthony Andrews, who I actually hadn't seen in anything since the early 80s and Brideshead Revisited, in the role of PM Baldwin. Much older now, and no longer a pretty boy, but still very recognisable.

Ended up having dinner at my favourite Greek restaurant, which had undergone a complete refurb since I last visited the place, and tucked into a hearty meal of garides saganaki for starters and lamb shank stifado, washed down with a nice retsina. Am consequently rather full at the moment.
gamiila: (happy New Year)

Oliebollen is a Dutch pastry similar to a doughnut. It typically is a deep fried pastry filled with raisins and dusted with powdered sugar. Oliebollen are a traditional treat on New Year's Eve.


* 1 (0.6 ounce) cake compressed fresh yeast
* 1 cup lukewarm milk
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1 egg
* 3/4 cup dried currants
* 3/4 cup raisins
* 1 Granny Smith apple - peeled, cored and finely chopped
* 1 quart vegetable oil for deep-frying
* 1 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting


1. Break up the compressed yeast, and stir into the warm milk. Let stand for a few minutes to dissolve. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir the yeast mixture and egg into the flour and mix into a smooth batter. Stir in the currants, raisins and apple. Cover the bowl, and leave the batter in a warm place to rise until double in size. This will take about 1 hour.
2. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer, or heavy deep pan to 190 degrees Centigrade\375 degrees Fahrenheit. Use 2 metal spoons to shape scoops of dough into balls, and drop them carefully into the hot oil.
3. Fry the balls until golden brown, about 8 minutes. The doughnuts should be soft and not greasy. If the oil is not hot enough, the outside will be tough and the insides greasy. Drain finished doughnuts on paper towels and dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve them piled on a dish with more confectioners' sugar dusted over them. Eat them hot if possible.
gamiila: (Default)
I'd promised my sister I'd help her and the kids move house, so I presented myself bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at their address early this morning. More help arrived in the form of Mick's goth friends, all wearing those impossibly impractical platformed boots and with no conversation other than about purple nail varnish and the latest vampire horror films -- but nice boys, all three of them.

The plan was that the husband of a friend of my sister's would ferry her stuff over in 'the van' - but when he arrived, it turned out that there had been a slight miscommunication between them: he thought she'd have organised a van, and she thought he would bring in the end, they had to go looking for one. Unfortunately, despite going round several hire companies, there were none to be had at such short notice, and the move had to be postponed till after Christmas. They're now going to move in to their new place on Thursday.

As I hadn't seen the new-build they're moving into yet, and as they were eager to show it off, we took a trip down there anyway. They're moving into the country, onto a new estate outside one of the villages near The Hague,

and this is what it looks like: )

Their old place though is a shambles. Everything's bagged and boxed up, all the beds and cupboards have been disassembled, the cooker has been disconnected...What could I do but invite them over to mine for Christmas?

So now I'm going to have to think about, plan and execute a fabulous vegetarian Christmas dinner when I would have been perfectly happy with a glass of wine and a piece of venison or pheasant breast (I hadn't decided yet), and watching the Doctor Who Christmas special on my own.

I'm thinking Portobello mushrooms stuffed with goat's cheese for starters, but I'm stumped for a main course -- I'm such a bloody carnivore that I can't think of anything festive yet meat-free at the moment. Help me out, please, vegetarian flist of mine! Share with me your ideas for a quick, easy and delicious vegetarian feast!
gamiila: (Default)
Tonight, I feasted on my simple seafood pasta again. In my student days, it was one of my favourite dishes to cook up for my friends, as the ingredients don't cost much and it seems to cater to everyone's taste; luckily I still remembered how to prepare it:

Simple Seafood Pasta )

I don't suppose LJ will be very busy in the coming days, as everyone will be focusing on their Christmas celebrations, reconnecting with friends and family, and thinking it rude to sneak away and come online. So before that happens, let me just take this opportunity to thank everyone who has sent me a Christmas card, and everyone who's been here for me this past year; everyone I've interacted with through LJ, and everyone I've had the good fortune to meet and spend time with in real life, and wish you all the very best of Christmasses ever.
gamiila: (Default)
Last night, I had dinner at my friend Allan's; he'd made us a lovely curry goat and rice. In fact, it was so delicious I wheedled the recipe out of him:

Yield: 4 to 5 servings
Preparation & Cooking Time: 1 to 1,5 hours (not including marinating)


3 pounds goat, cut into cubes
1 lime
1 large onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thyme leaves
1/4 tsp finely chopped Scotch bonnet pepper
2 tbls vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
5 green onions, chopped
2 tsp curry powder
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes

Squeeze the lime juice over the goat; let it sit for a couple of minutes. Place the goat in a bowl and add the onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, thyme, and Scotch bonnet pepper. Rub the spices into the goat. Marinate, covered and refrigerated, for 1 to 2 hours.

Heat the oil and sugar (medium heat), stirring until the sugar is brown. Add the goat with marinade, green onions, and curry; stir thoroughly. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the goat slowly in its own juices, stirring occasionally, until the goat is nearly tender, about 30 minutes. If the meat is tough, pour some water down the sides of the pot, not directly onto the goat (or you will toughen the meat).

Add the potatoes and 1/4 cup of water; stir thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked but not too soft. Crush some of the potatoes to thicken the sauce, if desired. If there is not enough sauce, add a little more water and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve with rice & beans.
gamiila: (Default)
Yesterday, [ profile] ezagaaikwe and I exchanged the recipe for her favourite Asian dish, rendang padang. In relation to which, I must mention one more helpful hint: apparently, the English translation for kemiri-nuts is 'candlenuts' -- a nut that's indigenous to Borneo and Indonesia, and is likely to be found in Asian supermarkets that specialise in SE Asian products. So, Ezagaaikwe: if your local Vietnamese doesn't stock it, use (ground and roasted) almonds as a replacement.

There is another rendang that I like even better: rendang daging. When cooked properly, the meat just melts on your tongue!

To make enough to serve 4, you need:

- 1 lb topside beef, cubed
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup santen (thick coconut milk)
- 1 slice asam gelugur (tamarind paste)
- 2 daun djeruk (lime leaves, finely chopped)
- 1 turmeric leaf, finely chopped
- 2 tbs kerisik, i.e. roasted and ground shredded coconut
- 2 tbs kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- salt to taste.

To make the bumbu:

- 2 shallots
- 2 cm (3/4 inch) galangal (aka China or India root; in the UK, Marks & Spencer usually stock it)
- 3 stalks lemon grass
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cm (3/4 inch) ginger
- 6-10 dried chillies, soaked in hot water

1) Chop the bumbu ingredients then puree in a blender until fine.
2) Heat the oil in a wadjan or a wok on a medium setting until hot, then turn down to low and add the bumbu, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom and cook for 5 minutes. If it starts to burn, add a tablespoon of water.
3) Add the beef, coconut milk, kecap manis and asam gelugur or tamarind juice.
4) Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until the meat is almost cooked.
5) Add the lime and turmeric leaves,kerisik, and salt.
6) Lower the heat and simmer until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up.

Approx. cooking time: 1 hour, maybe a bit longer. Enjoy!


gamiila: (Default)

December 2012

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