Month: May 2021

Belgian stew cooked in beer

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Ingredients: 500 g stewed meat (pork or beef), 2 large onions, 33 cl dark abbey beer or trappist 25 cl kriek Belgian beer1 cut white bread, 2 tbsp dark mustard thyme and bay leaf butter flour,pepper and sea salt

For the chicory salad: 3 stumps chicory,1 raddichio, 1 tbsp vinegar, 3 tbsp oil, pepper and sea salt, 3 tbsp dried cranberries, 4 tbsp chopped walnuts

Methods: Fry the chopped onions in a cooking pot. Next to this, heat butter in a saucepan and wait for the foam to disappear. Meanwhile, season the meat with pepper and sea salt.

Fry the finelly cut meat in portions in the butter until they crust nicely. Merge the fried meat in the saucepan with the onions. Sprinkle some flour over the last portion add the slice of bread to dish and let it bake for a while. This will help to bind the sauce later. If necessary, add some water to the meat.

Turn the heat as low as possible (be careful because the Kriek beer contains sugar so the meat can be burnt). Add bay leaf and thyme and flavor with two tablespoons of mustard. Simmer it very quietly for about 2 hours. Let the stew cool down a bit before serving, then the meat will be much juicier.

Meanwhile prepare the salad: cut the chicory and raddichio into fine strips. Mix them in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the vinegar and oil together. Finish the salad with the cranberries and chopped walnuts.

Potato quishe

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Ingredients: 2 big potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes, 300 g fresh spinach, 1 onion, 75 g grated cheese, 4 eggs, 250 ml cream, 1 tbsp of oregano, olive oil, pepper and salt, 150 g feta

Directions: Preheat oven for 200°C.

Smear the potatoes with the oil. Grease a round dish with olive oil and arrange sliced potatoes in their ..sidesaardappel_quiche

Put into the oven for 15 minutes.

Fry the onion in some oil. Add spinach and let it simmer.

Beat the eggs in a bowl with the cream, add spinach and grated cheese and flavor with oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Take the potato out from the oven pour over the egg and spinach mixture. Crumble the feta over the top and bake it for 35 minutes in the oven.

Italian bigné for Father’s day and for Pentecote

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Citrus bergamia, the bergamot orange, is a fragrant citrus fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow or green color similar to a lime, depending on ripeness. Genetic research into the ancestral origins of extant citrus cultivars found bergamot orange to be a probable hybrid of lemon and bitter orange.

The word bergamot is etymologically derived from the Italian word bergamotto, ultimately of Turkish origin: bey armudu or bey armut (“lord’s pear” or “lord pear”). Citrus bergamia is a small tree that blossoms during the winter. The juice tastes less sour than lemon, but more bitter than grapefruit. Be aware of that the bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs known as bergamot, wild bergamot, bergamot mint, or bergamint –and Eau de Cologne mint (the taxonomy of which is disputed). Those latters are all in the mint family, and are named for their similar aroma.


The bergamot is a citrus fruit native to southern Italy. Production is mostly limited to the Ionian sea coastal areas of the province of Reggio di Calabria in Italy, to such an extent that it is a symbol of the entire city. Most of the bergamot comes from a short stretch of land there, where the temperature is favourable. The fruit is also produced in Argentina, Brazil, Algeria, the Ivory Coast, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, and South-East Asia.

Citrus bergamot is commercially grown in southern Calabria (province of Reggio), southern Italy. It is also grown in southern France and the Ivory Coast for the essential oil and in Antalya in southern Turkey for its marmalade. The fruit is not generally grown for juice consumption. However, in Mauritius where it is grown on a small-scale basis, it is largely consumed as juice by the locals. Usualy extracts have been used as an aromatic ingredient in food, tea, snus, perfumes, and cosmetics (but bergamot may cause skin irritation). Use on the skin can increase photosensitivity, resulting in greater damage from sun exposure. One hundred bergamot oranges yield about three ounces (85g) of bergamot oil.

Adulteration with cheaper products such as oil of rosewood and bergamot mint has been a problem for consumers. To protect the reputation of their produce, the Italian government introduced tight controls, including testing and certificates of purity. The Experimental Station for Essential Oil and Citrus By-Products) located in Reggio di Calabria, was the quality control body for the essential oil Bergamotto di Reggio Calabria DOP during World War II, Italy was unable to export to countries such as the Allied powers. Rival products from Brazil and Mexico came on to the market as a substitute, but these were produced from other citrus fruits such as sweet lime.

An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Gray and Lady Grey teas, as well as confectionery (including Turkish delights). Bergamot is one of the most common “casings” (flavorings) added to Swedish snus, a form of smokeless tobacco product.

Fragrance Bergamot oil is one of the most commonly used ingredients in perfumery. It is prized for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas that complement each other. Bergamot is a major component of the original Eau de Cologne composed by Jean-Marie Farina at the beginning of the 18th century in Germany. The first use of bergamot oil as a fragrance ingredient was recorded in 1714, and can be found in the Farina Archive in Cologne. However, much “Bergamot oil” is today derived instead from eau de Cologne mint also known as bergamot mint, which is a variety of water mint and is unrelated to citrus.


In several patch tests studies, application of some sources of bergamot oil directly to the skin of guinea pig was shown to have a concentration-dependent phototoxic effect of increasing redness after exposure to ultraviolet light (due to the chemical bergapten and possibly also citropten, bergamottin, geranial, and neral). This is a property shared by many other citrus fruits and other members of Rutacea including Rue). Bergapten has also been implicated as a potassium channel blocker; in one case study, a patient who consumed four litres of Earl Gray tea per day (which contains bergamot essential oil as a flavouring) suffered muscle cramps.

Italian bigné for father’s day with bergamot oil

I have an Italian friend, Luca who is fond of bergamot! He has told me several times that his “Mama” prepares the best Bigné with it. But what is bigné? -I asked him on the other day. And he was laughing meanwhile told the next:

“In my village the well known and beloved dolce (dessert) is the Bignè di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s beignet/Father’s Day Cream Puffs) they are deep-fried choux pastry puffs and filled with pastry cream and dusted with powdered sugar. There are many version of this delicacy. My mom’s recipe is for the Roman version of Bignè di San Giuseppe, it’s heaven on Earth,-exagerates Luca just thinking of it and licks his lips meanwhile continues the story of the Bigné. “The cream filled puffs are surprisingly light and fluffy and on the top of that they are easy to make.

“To find the appropriate word to describe this sweet “extravaganza” that used to reign in Luca’s family for Father’s Day (celebrated on March 19th in Italy) is difficult, while they have become a mixture of three region’s: his mother Franca, is from Palermo, Sicily, and his father, Salvatore is from Naples. After living Sicily for Tuscany, Luca’s parents moved to Pontremoli, because of his father’s job. So in this recipe THREE different traditional treats appear to celebrate Father’s day. They had: Zeppole di San Giuseppe from Naples, Sfinci from Palermo and Bignè di San Giuseppe from Rome. To make it clear you need some more elaborate explanation:

“The Sicilian Sfinci are deep-fried too but covered (yep, on top not filled) with the cannoli filling (ricotta with sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate chips) on top and then sprinkled with pistachios. Candied cherry and orange complete this pure joy.

The Neapolitan Zeppole are baked or fried, topped with cream pastry and crowned by an amarena flavored cherry.

And my mom’s version is the Roman variety in which the method for make Bignè is the same as pate à choux or éclairs. It’s pretty precise, so “Cara Silvestra”(that’s me) you need a scale. 

Ingredients for 50 Pastry Puffs: 500 g water, 125 g butter, 7 g salt, 300 g all-purpose flour, SIFTED a couple of times (don’t skip this step), 500 g eggs (usually 500g are from 10 eggs but check by weight them, they need to be the same weight of water) at room temperature, Vegetable oil for frying

For the Pastry Cream: 460 g whole milk, 6 egg yolks 120 g sugar 60 g corn starch, bergamot orange juice and rind or Lemon rind and Vanilla extract, icing sugar to dust for final decoration


Starting with the pastry puffs Note: you can make one day ahead the choux pastry dough and keep it in the fridge.

In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon until the butter has melted completely. Reduce heat to low and add flour. Stir the ingredients vigorously until a ball-shaped dough forms and a white film forms on the bottom of the saucepan (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and let it rest a few minutes so it’s not too hot for the eggs. Add just one egg at a time and incorporate well each before adding the next one. Do this until you have a thick cream. It’s possible that you won’t need all the eggs.

In a deep saucepan heat the oil to 370 degrees (If you don’t have a frying thermometer place a toothpick into the oil if it starts bubbling all around the temperature is good). Use two tablespoons to scoop out the dough and drop it carefully and gently into the hot oil, by using one spoon to push the dough off of the other. Do this for about 4 bignè at a time, do not crowd them in the pot. Cook until golden and puffy, turning with a slotted spoon to fry evenly on all sides. (If they brown too quickly it means the oil is too hot). The bignè require long frying, like 7/8 minutes as after 3 minutes you will notice they will pop and almost double in size and they have to keep frying to be fully cooked. When done place on a paper towel and let them cool.

Now make the pastry cream: This recipe is particularly made for the bignè because it’s very thick and it’s perfect to fill the puffs. I like to use the Montersino method (he is a famous Italian Pastry Maestro) to make this pastry cream because it’s quick and super easy. My mother has made it many times without failing so I really recommend it. Basically, you wait for the liquids to slightly boil, add the eggs beaten with the starch, and wait few seconds without touching it until it makes a big bubble. After that, all you need is just to whisk a for a little and it’s ready. More specifically: In a medium saucepan heat the milk with vanilla extract/bergamot or lemon rind. Meanwhile, beat very well the eggs with sugar, add cornstarch and mix gently with a spatula. When the milk starts bubbling on the sides of the pan it’s time to pour the mounted eggs and wait, without stirring. As soon as the milk goes over the eggs making a small volcano it’s time to quickly whisk the pastry cream for a few seconds and it’s ready! Remove the lemon rind (I love to eat it when it’s cool) if you used it, and cover with cling film touching the pastry cream to avoid the creation of any film on top. When the cream has cooled, it’s time to fill the bignè. Using a skewer or a piping nozzle make a hole in your pastry bun and fill with pastry cream using a piping bag. Pipe more on top and dust with powdered sugar. 

Red Groat with vanilla sauce in Hamburg’s style

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Rødgrød (in Danish), Rote Grütze (in German or Rode Grütt) meaning is “red groat”, and it is a sweet fruit dish from Denmark and Northern Germany. The name of the dish in Danish features many of the elements that make Danish pronunciation difficult for non-native speakers, so, literally “red porridge with cream”, is a commonly used shibboleth since the early 1900s. Rødgrød or Rote Grütze was traditionally made of groat or grit, as revealed by the second component of the name in Danish, German, or Low German.

Semolina and sago are used in some family recipes; potato starch is today the standard choice to achieve a creamy to pudding-like starch gelatinization The essential ingredients that justify the adjective are red summer berries such as redcurrant, blackcurrant, raspberries, strawberries blackberries, bilberries, and stoned black cherries. The essential flavour can be achieved with redcurrant alone; a small amount of blackcurrant will add variety; sugar is used to intensify the flavour. The amounts of starch, sago, semolina differ with the solidity desired; 20 to 60 grams on a kilogram or liter of the recipe are usual; sago, groat or grit have to soak before they can be used

The preparation is basically that of a pudding: The fruits are cooked briefly with sugar The mass should cool down for a moment so that the starch—dissolved in fruit juice or water—can be stirred into it without clumping. A second cooking process of one to two minutes is needed to start the gelatinization; remaining streaks of white starch have to clear up in this process.

Rote Grütze is served hot or cold as a dessert with milk, a mixture of milk and vanilla sugar, vanilla sauce, (whipped)  cream, vanilla ice cream or custard to balance the refreshing taste of the fruit acids.

There are several modern variants of rodgrod sold basically in German supermarkets: grüne Grütze, the green variant, is made from goosberries and rhubarb in combination with kiwifruits and apples. In Denmark, a similar dish is known as stikkelsbærgrød (gooseberry jelly). To make blaue Grütze, the blue variant, blackberries, bilberries, blackcurrant and grapes are usually used. Gelbe Grütze consists of peaches, yellow gooseberries, bananas, gold kiwifruit, or other yellow fruits.

In Poland, parts of Russia, the Baltic States, Finland and Ukraine, kissel is known as a dessert similar to the Danish rodgrod.

In the US Virgin Islands—formerly the Danish West Indies before the US purchased the islands in 1917—it is known as “red grout” and is made with tapioca, guava, and sugar, served with a custard sauce.

The German Grote Grütze in Hamburg style″is made with vanilla sauce

Ardeens roast with mustard sauce and old Geuze beer, croquettes and a salad of apple and cucumber

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Preparing an Ardeens’ (it is a mountain in Belgium) roast is ideal if you get large groups. This dish is combined with mustard (also with the seeds) and with the Oude Geuze beer for a rich dish. The salad of apple and cucumber provides the fresh touch. Ingredients: 1000 gr Ardeens roast (pork chop), 800 g croquettes, 4 shalots, 2 cloves garlic,  thym twigs, 2 parsley, 1 bay leaf, 4 tbsp of mustard, 2 dl oude Geuze beer, 1 tbsp honey, 400 ml veggie bouillon, 2 tbsp butter, salt and őepper to taste For the salad: 2 cucumbers, 1 jonagold apple,  juice of 1 lemon, 1bunch cress For the vinaigrette: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 el apple vinegar, pepper and salt Directions: Peel the shallot and garlic, chop them finely. Put a large pan on the heat with butter and let it get hot. Season the meat with salt and pepper and fry it in the sizzling butter all around until it reaches a golden brown colour. Lower the heat and add the finely chopped shallot and garlic to pork. Bake them until glassy. Extinguish with the beer and pour in the poultryor vegetable stock until the meat is covered with it. Add the parsley, sprigs of thyme and bay leaf. Cook the meat under a lid for about half an hour Turn the meat once and cook meat under the lid for another half an hour. Remove the meat from the pan, wrap in a sheet of aluminum foil and leave to rest for about 20 minutes. Strain the sauce and put it back on the heat. Spoon in the mustard and honey and let it simmer for a while. Make the salad: Cut the cucumbers into long thin slices, possibly with a mandolin or peeler. Wash the apple, cut into thin slices and drizzle with lemon and apple juice. Compose a salad of the apple, cress and cucumber. Make the dressing: mix the vinaigrette and the olive oil, and the apple cider vinegar then stir well, flavour with pepper & salt. Drizzle the salad with this dressing. Bake in the oven or fry the croquettes until crispy at 180°C (see croquette packaging) Serve pork with the croquettes and with the salad!

Volcano asparagus from Rome

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Volcano asparagus, in Italian is puntarelle or cicoria di catalogna or cicoria asparago is a variant of chicory (chicoria intybus). The heads are characterized by an elongated shape (about 40–50 cm), light green stems and dandeliom shaped leaves. ‘Puntarelle’ shoots have a pleasantly bitter taste.


‘Puntarelle’ are picked when they are young and tender and may be eaten raw or cooked. Often used as a traditional ingredient in the Roman salad called by the same name, they are prepared with the leaves stripped and the shoots soaked in cold water until they curl. The salad is served with a prepared dressing of anchovy, garlic, vinegar, and salt, pounded and emulsified with olive oil.

When do you happen to choose the warm version of puntarelle here are the directions: fry them in some olive oil add two garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste.

Roll the salted and peppered cod fish in some flour and fry in an other pan. Serve fish with the puntarelle.

To make salad: Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice.

Cut the leaves from the puntarelle and begin to slice off the tender stalks from the puntarelle.

Cut into matchsticks either with a knife or using a puntarelle cutter. Discard the hard woody part of the puntarelle. Add the puntarelle to the ice water to leech the bitterness out. Add the puntarelle to the ice water and soak until it curls up, about 1 hour.

When the puntarelle are ready, strain in a colander, and spin them dry in a salad spinner or dry with tea towels.