woensdag 25 november 2009


The signs were there, already for a while.
It's hard to find a good breakfastcereal. That is, if you're looking for one that is kind of healthy. There are numerous cereals and granola's out there, organic and natural and good for you, according to the package. And then you read the label and you'll find that most of them contain lots and lots of suger, lots of salt, more than one additive and not a lot of the good stuff. I did find one or two that ware decent, didn't taste like cardboard and was ok on the sugarlevels. (hey, don't get me wrong, I love sugary things, but as a treat, not necessarily for breakfast!)But we got a little bored with them.
Then there was this recipe on one of the blogs I read. It was inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe from the book 'Feast',(happily sitting on my shelf, that book) and, another sign, featured on her tv show that aired the very same day David blogged about it.
Who am I to ignore signs, so after a trip to the organic supermarket to find the ingredients, I made my first batch. And we are hooked. I made a few adjustments to suit our own taste, as this recipe is very versatile. (do you see the trend here? I like easy recipes that work. And where it doesn't matter if the measurements are not too precise. And where it's easy to substitute things. Say: almonds for pecans. Or cinnamon for pumpkinpie-spices. Or rice syrup for maple. Of double it, or halve it, just whatever suits you.)
After making it 4 times now I found that a very neutral oil works best for me (sunflower, or in my case, ricebran, but you can use whatever you have on hands except perhaps a very strong tasting olive oil), but I've used pistachio and pecan oil as well. Since the flavor doesn't really come through I now switched to much less expensive ricebran oil that's in the cupboard anyway.
I use less nuts than David mentions - just because I like to taste the grains as well. I use a mix of three grains - just because those were the three I could find. Just rolled oats (not the instant or ' quick' ones) works fine, or any mix of wheat, oats, rye, rice, and barley. I use maple syrup as well as honey, but only honey would be fine. Or agave, golden or rice syrup. Instead of applesauce any fruitpuree (unsweetened) will do. (jars of babyfood are great and have the right size).
I've read comments from people leaving out the sugar (but I think my concoction has the right amount of sweetness), and questions about more, or less nuts, adding dried fruits ( after baking and cooling!!) or coconut. In my opinion it's a very forgiving recipe and as soon as you master the basics (which is very easy) feel free to experiment and find your own personal favourite!

What's very cool: I got to use a trick I read about a long time ago, and it actually works!: if and when measuring (in cups) or weighing on a scale sticky liquids like honey or maple syrup - and if there's oil in the recipe as well: measure the oil first or put the oil in the cup you use for weighing. Then add the honey and/or syrup.
Now, because of the oil, if you pour it out of the cup it doesn't stick!

Granola (adapted from David Lebovitz/Nigella Lawson)

Please note: this recipe is for half the amount David makes - just because my oven is small! It will make around 700 gr, I can fill a one-kilo jar with it and it lasts the 2 of us about a week)

250 gr multi-grain flakes or rolled oats (I use about 100 gr oats, and 75 gr each of wheat and rye)
100 gr almonds, coarsely chopped
60 gr sunflower seeds
40 gr pumpkin seeds
40 gr untoasted sesame seeds
50 gr soft (light) brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
a good pinch or grind of sea salt

100 gr unsweetened applesauce (or another unsweetened fruit puree)
50 gr maple syrup
50 gr honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 300F (150C).

- In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (grains, nuts, seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt).

- In a small saucepan, slightly warm the applesauce with the maplesyrup, honey, and oil. (warming it makes it easier to mix through the dry ingredients)

- Stir the 'wet' mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed, and spread on a baking sheet (the one that comes with the oven and has sides works very well)

- Bake the granola for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until the granola is golden brown. Don't forget the stirring as the sides will brown quicker than the middle. Enjoy the smell throughout your house...

- Remove from the oven, give it a last stir. It will crisp up as it cools.

- After cooling completely (add dried fruits or raisins if desired) store in a ziplock bag or an airtight container and enjoy...

**update after making lots and lots of granola: I completely skip the step of warming the wet ingredients. I just put them all on top of the dry ones and stir until well mixed. Then it goes into the oven. Mesurements can be taken very loosely according to taste and whatever grains, seeds and nuts are around. I have one in the oven now containing lots of the usual grains, flaxseed, poppyseed and some cardamom powder for extra flavor**

maandag 16 november 2009


Can't help it.
But this 1 kilo bar of chocolate is making me extremely happy....

donderdag 12 november 2009


I've been eying this recipe for a while, and yesterday I made it. A bit sceptical, I must admit. I do roast veggies in the oven, but mostly rootvegetables. I couldn't imagine broccoli'working' like this. But it does. Oh boy, it does...


....is what was left of it - finished before I could even take a picture. It was THAT good.

For precise measurements, please follow the recipe in the link. This is one of those recepies that, in my opinion, doesn't really require precise measurements.(that is, if you know your way around the kitchen a little. if not - do follow the recipe!)

Roasted broccoli and shrimp

- Preheat the oven at 180/200 centigrades.
- get your broccoli, enough for your crowd. Clean, cut in florets, coat with some olive or vegetable oil, add the spices (salt, pepper, and in my case: ground cumin and cayenne) to taste (I didn't have the corianderseeds or dry chili's).
- Spread in a single layer on a cookiesheet or large bakingtray and roast for about ten minutes.
- In the mean time take your (uncooked) shrimp (I used frozen, defrosted under cold running water, shelled and deveined is easiest)(as much again as you wish or need for the amount of people you're serving),coat with olive oil, add salt, pepper, some lemonzest.
- Add the shrimp to the bakingsheet with the broccoli in the hot oven after the first ten minutes, give it a stir or a shake.
- Roast for another ten minutes, take out of the oven and add the juice of half a lemon. Don't forget this - it makes the dish.

Serve with rice if you like - we did. We scooped out all the 'dressing' fom the baking tray.
And sat happily with our bowl of goodies on the couch. Confirming to eachother with each bite how GOOOOOOOD this was.
And so easy. And hardly any dishes to wash!!

zondag 8 november 2009

Holiday read.

Two weeks ago in Vietnam, where Jaap was working, I finally got to read this book: ' Night Train to Lisbon' by Pascal Mercier. It has been on my bookshelf for a while. I bought it shortly after reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon's 'The Shadow of the Wind', because someone said: If you enjoyed the Shadow of the Wind, you will enjoy this book as well.

And I did. A lot.
It is so nice to get sucked into a story that takes your mind off of everything else and you just want to keep on reading. It takes you into another world.

I'm not going to write a review of the book. One, because I'm not good at bookreviews. Hated it in hightschool already. Love the reading, don't like to write about it. Two, because other people already did, for example, here.

But it doesn't happen a lot that a story sticks to your mind for a while, because its so different, different from the things I usually read. It triggers thinking beyond what's written, it creates an atmosphere that sticks - you can't help but like Mundus, the main character, and sympathise with the feelings he encounters when he, a very 'plain' man, finds himself, almost beyond and in spite of himself, doing things he never expected.

I enjoyed it. And can recommend it. Not for a 'ten minutes a day'-read, but for a relaxing weekend or holiday. Take your time. Make tea, get the biscuits, sit down. And enjoy.

P.S. My enjoying the book, in this case, had nothing to do with the swimmingpool-where-they-spontaniously-serve-icecreams-environment. Though I did enjoy that as well. Thoroughly.