Oven roasted sweet potato

Changes

This is one of those periods in life with a lot of changes. New job, new house, new city, new country, new people…

End of September I returned to Europe from Canada. After visiting some friends and spending two great months with my parents I went to Berlin for a job interview. It ended up being a bit crazy, since a last-minute trip was not easy to arrange from my parents´ small village in Spain. So it turned into a four night trip for an interview of 1.5 hours; including a night in a bus, some hours of sleep on a bench in a bus station, and a day in Valencia. But it turned out to be worth it, because just before the end of 2017, after another relaxing month with my parents, I flew to Berlin with my backpack and a work contract.

Fortunately, my new employer was nice enough to provide me with accommodation for January. This meant I didn´t have to spend New Years in the cold. Instead, the first night of the year was the first night in the apartment I would have for a month. Not too inclined to go into the city alone – I know from experience it gets pretty crazy over New Years – I watched fireworks from the balcony with a bottle of sekt (a German sparkling wine), curious to see what the new year would bring. For a start, 2018 brought a month focused on apartment searching. On the first viewing I went to, a public viewing, there were definitely over 80 people visiting the apartment. This, and many people telling me how difficult it is to find a place in Berlin, did definitely worry me. But as often happens, staying positive and being persistent fortunately paid off. After countless messages to real estate agents to avoid public viewings and ten flat-visits I got the phone call I was hoping for: just before the first month had passed I had found a very nice apartment for myself and in a good location.

Of course, moving into an unfurnished apartment with only your backpack with clothes, a little coffee maker and some cutlery and plastic plates requires a bit of creativity in the beginning. On the Friday that I moved in I bought a lot of furniture. But I still needed to sleep on the floor the first night, as the furniture couldn´t be delivered the same day. And also, I had all my kitchen equipment still stored in Barcelona. Knowing this would be transported to me at some point in the near future, I did not want to purchase new pots and pans. Fortunately my new apartment was already equipped with an oven. And besides home-made pizza, this recipe was one of my favourite dishes to make in those weeks without much to cook with.

Oven roasted sweet potato

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It´s a really simple dish that does not take much work. It mainly takes some time to properly cook the sweet potatoes until they are soft and delicious. Whether you take mozzarella or feta cheese depends on whether you like the extreme melting qualities of mozzarella or an extra kick of savouriness from the feta cheese. And finally, you can leave the bacon off easily. But it is of course a popular saying that bacon makes everything better (except when you´re vegetarian!)

Ingredients (for two)

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 200 grams of mixed mushrooms
  • Handful of cashew nuts or mixed nuts
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Mozzarella or feta cheese – around 100 grams
  • 4 thin slices of bacon (optional)
  • Small bunch of parsley or another fresh herb
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper – a teaspoon, but it depends on how much you like spicy

Switch your oven on and turn it up to 220°C. Wash the sweet potatoes and wrap each of them separately in aluminium foil. Place them in the oven and let them roast for at least 50 minutes.

After this time, carefully unwrap one of them and check with a knife if it is soft all the way through. If there is still some resistance, leave them in for a bit longer. When they are completely cooked through, open the aluminium foil packages but leave the potatoes on the foil. Cut the potatoes through in the length and open them up like a book. Sprinkle some salt, cayenne pepper and a bit of olive oil and rub this all over the inside where you made the cut. Use a brush or a spoon if it´s too hot.

Thinly slice the mushrooms and place in the middle of the potato. Add a bit of extra salt and if you want some more cayenne pepper. Switch your oven to the grill mode and place the potatoes with the mushrooms under the grill for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop up the nuts. Mince the garlic and mix it through the nuts. When you want to use the bacon, tear it up in pieces. Take the potatoes out of the oven again and add the garlic and nut mixture and the bacon. Place them again under the grill, in the middle of the oven, for around 10 minutes. Then turn the oven off, tear up the cheese and sprinkle it over the potatoes. Place in the oven for a few extra minutes so that the residual heat can melt the cheese. Chop the parsley.

Finally, add a bit of extra olive oil and sprinkle the parsley over the top.

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Beetroot risotto with goat cheese

Into the wilderness

Waking up on the backseat of my rental car, I felt pretty cold. Even thermo clothes and my sleeping bag couldn´t hide this. But when I sat up straight the view from the windows was quite spectacular. The night before I had parked on top of a large hill with a view all over Dawson City and the surrounding mountains, in the Yukon Territory in the north of Canada. Now, in the morning, the valley was filled with clouds, like soft peaks of meringue. The tops of the mountains peaked out of this white layer, and were coloured in different shades of orange and pink due to the sunrise.

Regardless of the cold I was excited for the day to come, since my plan was to drive to the Tombstone Territorial Park. Until a few days earlier I had never heard of this place. But some people I met in the hostel in Whitehorse, Yukon´s capital, had been super enthusiastic about this park. So I had to visit it during my road trip. Unfortunately this did mean I had to leave my pretty spot on top of the hill, and go down into the clouds. They didn´t seem so soft and meringue-like anymore while being surrounded by them; just cold, wet, and miserable. But, hoping it would turn out to be only morning fog, I drove towards the start of the Dempster Highway, east of Dawson. This highway is a gravel-surfaced road that goes 737.5 km up north, crossing the arctic circle. The Tombstone park starts at a bit over 50 km up on this highway. I was a little bit nervous, since the road is infamous for getting flat tires and unfortunately I have no clue on how to change a car tire. But I carefully started driving up, avoiding potholes and a beaver that was sitting in the middle of the road. Soon enough the clouds luckily started to give way to the sunshine, and I could see the mountains of Tombstone Territorial Park. There aren´t many official trails in the park, it is mainly a place to go on back-country hikes. I decided to start by hiking the first short trail I passed along the highway. After this I did another trail and a bit of the back-country as well. And it was truly one of the most amazing experiences I´ve had. There aren´t that many trees on the sides of those mountains, the vegetation consists mainly of lower bushes and mosses. Since it was the middle of autumn, these shrubs had turned into incredible shades of red and yellow. Above those colours there was the white of the snow on the high peaks. Both in the sunshine of the late morning and with the threatening clouds of the afternoon, the landscape was one of the most spectacular I have ever seen. Especially since it was such a surprise, as I didn´t know beforehand what to expect from this place. The feeling of really being in the wilderness, due to the lack of people and official trails, only added to how special this experience was.

And maybe I am crazy, or maybe the evenings of eating cold soup in the car had their impact, but those golden and red mountains with white, snowy peaks reminded me somehow of one of the dishes I like to make: this red beetroot risotto topped with white goat cheese. Unfortunately, that evening, parked in the wilderness of the Tombstone Territorial Park, there was no risotto on the menu. Just chicken soup with wild rice. And the night was even colder than the previous one, but filled with the memory of all this beauty I couldn´t care less. Oh, and fortunately I didn´t end up with a flat tire, only with an extra chip off my windshield, that anyway already had cracks when I got the car.

Beetroot risotto with goat cheese

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Ingredients (for 4 as a main course)

  • Risotto rice, for example arborio rice – 300 grams
  • Vegetable stock – 1.5 liters
  • Red wine – 1 glass
  • Small red onion
  • 5 raw beetroots
  • Rosemary – 1 sprig
  • Balsamic vinegar – 2 tablespoons
  • Parmesan cheese – around 40 grams
  • Goat cheese – a soft and crumbly one, 120 to 150 grams
  • Butter – around 30 grams
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

First of all, preheat the oven to 200°C. Take any leaves of the beetroots and wrap four out of the five raw beetroots in aluminium foil. Place them in the oven and let them roast in there for around 50 minutes. After this time, check with a knife if they are soft all the way through. This is my preferred way of cooking beetroots, since it really brings out their sweet and earthy flavour. Once the beetroots are cooked, peel them and cut them into small cubes.

Peel the fifth beetroot, the one you did not put in the oven. Slice this one in very thin sticks. Place them in a bowl and add the balsamic vinegar and a good pinch of salt. This raw beetroot will add a bit of crunch to the dish.

After this preparation, chop the onion and the rosemary finely. Grate the Parmesan cheese and put it aside. Pour the stock in a small pot and keep it over a low fire, so that it stays warm. Heat a knob of butter in a large pot over a low to medium fire. Add the chopped onion, the rosemary, a pinch of salt, and some black pepper. Cook the onion until it is translucent and soft. Only then add the rice to the pot and give it a good stir, so that it is covered in the butter. Once the rice looks slightly translucent, after a minute or so, add the red wine. When the wine has evaporated, start adding the stock bit by bit, a ladle at the time, while stirring regularly. Keep it over a low fire, so that the rice bubbles but doesn´t boil. It should take around 20 minutes before the risotto is cooked properly. When you are around 10 minutes into the cooking time of the risotto, add the cubes of cooked beetroot. After the 20 minutes, the rice should be soft but still hold its shape. There should still be enough liquid to keep the risotto moist and oozy. Once its cooked properly, add the rest of the butter and the Parmesan cheese to the pot and stir through. Check if you need to add any seasoning, this will depend on the stock you use. Turn the fire off, cover the risotto and let it rest for around 5 minutes.

And then, it is time to serve. Divide the risotto over four plates. Sprinkle the rice with the strips of raw beetroot, and crumble the goat cheese over the top. Enjoy!

Grape and walnut bread

Between the grapes

I was breathing heavily and feeling sweaty when I finally made it up to the top of the hill. It was a warm day, and even though the cover of smoke from the bush fires dampened the hardness of the rays of the sun, it also made it difficult to breathe. It made me wonder for a moment why I had decided to cycle through the steep hills of Kelowna.

But after yet another hill I found the winery I was heading to. And fortunately the efforts were worth it. The location of the estate was well chosen, on top of a hill with a view over the vineyards and the Okanagan lake. I have to admit that unfortunately it was almost impossible to see the lake, since the thick smoke covered everything. But from what I could see it seemed like a beautiful location. And the wine tasting certainly was amazing. Here in Canada I have usually been drinking beer. It tends to be the cheaper option, and in fact Canadians are extremely enthusiastic about local breweries and craft beers. So I have tried many interesting and good beers, including with hibiscus and coffee flavours. But to be honest, my favourite drink will always be a good glass of wine. And to my surprise, the wine I tasted in Kelowna was the first really good Canadian wine I tried. Telling this to a lady who worked in one of the wineries I visited, she just laughed and told me they drink the majority of the wine they produce in that area themselves. So apparently that´s why I hadn´t had any good Canadian wine so far.

After having visited four estates and done tastings in three of them, I felt like I started to get a good impression of this wine region. Clearly a lot has changed since the wine production in the Okanagan valley started with the production of sacramental wines in the mid-19th century. The most interesting thing I tried was a red icewine, powerful and not too sweet, which is apparently mainly produced in Canada. But I´ve had both good red and good white ones. It didn´t make cycling back to the hostel particularly easier, but at least I could cycle back with a happy and fulfilled feeling. But maybe next time a ¨gravity assisted¨ wine tour, where you only have to cycle downhill?

It is not only the wine itself that I like in wine regions though. I always think vineyards are absolutely beautiful. And fortunately I could still see the vineyards well, despite the smoke that was hiding the view on the lake. The vineyards and their grapes, not yet mature but some already getting colour, made me decide to bake this bread with fresh grapes. It is a good snack with a glass of wine. The best is to enjoy it while still warm. Preferably with some butter, good olive oil, or a nice cheese.

Grape and walnut bread

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Ingredients (for 1 small bread)

  • Flour – 250 grams
  • Dried yeast – 1 sachet, around 2 teaspoons
  • Lukewarm water – approximately 150-200 ml
  • Walnuts – shelled, 50 grams
  • Seedless red grapes – small bunch
  • Rosemary – small bunch
  • Anise seeds – 1 heaped teaspoon
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon
  • Olive oil

First of all, take the rosemary needles off their sprigs and chop them into small pieces. Chop the shelled walnuts as well.

Combine the flour with a good teaspoon of salt, the rosemary, and the walnuts in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and place the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar in the well. Add a little bit of lukewarm water, and leave this for a few minutes until the yeast starts to react and makes the water foamy. Start adding the water bit by bit while kneading the dough. Continue adding water and kneading until you have an elastic, soft dough. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it on a clean, flat surface for a few minutes, until everything is fully combined. The exact amount of water will depend on factors like the flour you use and the humidity of your kitchen, so it can differ. When the dough is too sticky, you can always add a bit of extra flour. Once the dough has been kneaded well, grease a bowl with a bit of olive oil and place the dough in the bowl, covered by a damp cloth or some plastic wrap. Leave the dough in a warm place to rise for about an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, slice the grapes in half and combine them with the anise seeds.

When the dough has rested, take it out off the bowl and place on a clean surface. Knead the dough again, and then carefully fold the grapes through. You can basically stretch out the dough, place some of the grapes on one side and fold the other side over. Repeat this until you have as many grapes as you like in the dough. Knead carefully until the grapes are scattered throughout the dough. Grease a baking tray with a bit more olive oil. Shape the dough into a round bread shape, and place on the baking tray. Leave this to rise for another half an hour.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 220°C. Bake the bread for around 25 minutes, until golden brown. Take the bread out of the oven and let it cool down slightly.

 

Spicy bacon and tomato pasta

Traveling and Toronto

After two years of working in a full time job and living in an – in my opinion very nice – apartment, I felt the time had come to quit all of it and go traveling again. So, having canceled all the contracts and stored some boxes in a storage space in Barcelona, it is just me and my backpack here in Canada. It is the most amazing feeling to have this sense of freedom, to be able to go where you want to go, be inspired by new places, and meet new people every day. Of course, there are also things to get used to again; on the one hand you´re constantly surrounded by people in the hostels, but on the other hand solo travel has its lonely and stressful moments as well. And, there is no private kitchen to cook your meals. One day you might be in a hostel with awesome equipment and free herbs and spices, and the next day you can find yourself in a place with just one pan and a stove that doesn´t quite heat up. So not surprisingly, I always see a lot of people falling back to one-minute noodles and soup from a can. And there´s nothing wrong with that, once in a while. But since it is important to me to eat fresh and, more or less, healthy food, I did decide to start adding some hostel-proof recipes here. Because after all, going out for dinner every evening can be quite expensive, especially in a country like Canada (and let´s not even start about the price of a glass of wine).

So regarding my trip, after I left Barcelona I first flew to London and staid there for the night. Just in a hotel at the airport. With meat-pie, chips, and peas for dinner. Accompanied by a very popular – and in my opinion very stupid – reality show. After this evening of high-class culture I continued to Toronto the next morning. And honestly, after the flight it was nice to be in the hostel, quite a cozy place with a decent kitchen and a supermarket nearby. All I wanted at that moment was a big plate of pasta and a good sleep after. The first part worked out well. But when I was just in bed, I was woken up by the fire alarm. The dorm was on the 9th floor, and my roommates and I were wondering for a moment what was going on. Then we went down all the stairs and saw four large firefighter cars outside, and several firefighters with full equipment and big axes going into the hostel. Welcome to Canada! Fortunately, nothing was really wrong. I still don´t know why the alarm went off, but after half an hour of standing outside in the snow in my flipflops we could go back up again.


The days that followed I had plenty of time to discover the city. Toronto is actually nicer than I expected it to be. It is in a way very American, with a large business district and a lot of high-rise. Even though this makes for an impressive skyline when you go to Toronto Island, that is just in front of the city on lake Ontario, it is not my preferred style for a city. But then there are the areas like Chinatown and Korea town, where you can find amazing food. And Queen street west, where the houses are smaller and older and have some quirky boutiques and cafes. And of course the St Lawrence market, the pride of food-lovers from the city. It is a large market building with a combination of fresh food and restaurants, where I did have some good lunches. And like this I found some more nice areas in the city, and started to like Toronto.

Spicy bacon and tomato pasta

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This is one of the dishes I make very often in hostels. The first reason is simple, I love pasta and this is a warming and hearty dish. Also, you don´t need many ingredients or tools. And finally, you can also make this when there is no olive oil, or other cooking oil, available and you don´t feel like buying oil for just one evening.

Ingredients (for two)

  • 6 thick rashes of bacon
  • A small onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A small dried chilli
  • 6 large tomatoes
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of oregano (if available, or otherwise other herbs)
  • Salt
  • 200 to 300 grams of spaghetti

First of all, chop the bacon and the onion in small pieces. Mince the garlic, and also chop to tomatoes. Regarding the tomatoes, you can leave the skin on but it´s good to make sure the pieces are small so that you won´t notice this in the sauce.

Place a frying pan over medium fire and add the bacon. Let this heat up until the fat comes out of the bacon and it starts frying. Add the onion as well as a pinch of salt. If there is a lot of fat in the bacon, scoop the surplus of fat out of the pan. When the onion is soft and the bacon starts turning golden brown, add the garlic and crumble the dried chilli in. Fry this until you start to smell the garlic. Then add the tomatoes and oregano to the pan. If you happen to have some wine, you can add a bit as well. Leave the sauce on a low fire, and if possible cover the pan while the sauce is simmering away.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. When it boils, cook the spaghetti until it´s al dente. Taste the sauce that has been simmering all this time. Try if you need some extra salt, this really depends on the bacon that you used. When the spaghetti is ready, drain it and mix it through the sauce.

Enjoy, and hopefully you´ll have a good glass of wine and some nice people to talk to.

Sweet potato pancakes

Autumn comfort

It´s this time of year again that the clock has been turned back an hour, that it is dark when I am going home from work and that it starts being cold in my apartment without heating. But these are also the days that it is still surprisingly warm in the sun, that the trees look beautiful with their coloured leaves, and that lovely comfort foods like pumpkin, mushrooms, chestnuts, and sweet potatoes are fully available again. On the markets the stalls with mushrooms that come straight from the forest show off the diversity of nature. And in the streets of Barcelona little wooden stands pop up where people sell both roasted chestnuts and roasted sweet potatoes that you can smell from a distance.

The sweet potato is in Catalunya not just sold on the streets. It is also a traditional part of the meal on All Saints´ Day. This festival is called “la Castanyada” here, after the chestnuts. On this day families typically eat roasted sweet potatoes and chestnuts, in combination with sweet wine. Whereas the chestnuts have been available in Europe since ancient times, this is not the case for sweet potatoes. The first Europeans to try sweet potatoes were most likely the members of Christopher Columbus´ journey in 1492. Because like the “normal” potatoes, sweet potatoes are native to the Americas. There they have been cultivated for centuries, since long before Christ. Sweet potatoes are supposedly even one of the oldest vegetables known to human beings, based on the evidence from pottery. The discoverers took the sweet potatoes, just like other crops as potatoes and corn, back to Europe. The sweet potato was first introduced in Spain, and from there in Italy and the rest of Europe. Nowadays there are still a lot of them being grown in the south of Spain, which is a suitable place since the crops cannot tolerate frost. Surprisingly, regardless of their name, the sweet potato is actually not closely related to the normal potato. It is a root vegetable that is considered to be very healthy, being rich in fibers and other nutrients. And that is of course always a good thing!

For me, the first time I prepared sweet potatoes was in the USA. Since we decided to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I did some research on the side dishes that usually go with the stuffed turkey. And sweet potatoes turned out to be one of the quintessential side dishes on “Turkey Day”. Although I really liked them then, I forgot about the sweet potato until I moved to Brussels, where they were sold a lot in my supermarket. So this is where I really came to enjoy them and started cooking a lot with them. Brussels is also the place where I created this recipe, since I was looking for ways of using the sweet potato other than just fried or mashed.

Those sweet potato pancakes are a great side dish. You can combine them for example with a range of mushrooms for a vegetarian lunch or dinner. Or use them as a side dish with any type of meat.

Sweet potato pancakes

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Ingredients (for 6 pancakes)

  • Sweet potatoes – 500 grams
  • 1 red onion
  • Pine nuts – a handful (optional)
  • Flour – 4 tablespoons
  • Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
  • 1 egg
  • Thyme – a bunch of fresh leaves or 2 heaped teaspoons of dried thyme
  • Honey – 2 tablespoons
  • Butter
  • Salt and black pepper

Start by finely chopping the red onion. Place a small pot with a good knob of butter over a low fire. Add the onion and the thyme and season with salt and black pepper. Fry the onion for around 10 minutes, until transparent and soft. Add the honey and put the fire as low as possible, so that the mixture is just bubbling. Leave the onion to caramelize for another 10 minutes approximately. Then taste for seasoning. Just be careful not to burn your mouth, since caramelized sugars become very hot.

At the same time, peel the sweet potatoes and chop in rough pieces. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Boil the potatoes for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, until soft.
When you are using the pine nuts, fry them in a dry frying pan until they are golden brown. Be careful here, since it goes quite fast and it´s easy to burn them.

Once the potatoes are boiled and a bit cooled down, mash them with a fork or, even better, a proper mashing device. Stir the caramelized onions and the pine nuts through the potato mash. Then taste to see if you need any additional salt, pepper, or honey. When the flavour is to your liking, add the egg and the baking powder to the mixture and stir well using a fork. After this, start adding the flour by the spoonful. The mixture should become a sticky batter that is easy to shape using two spoons.

Heat a frying pan, or pancake pan if you happen to have one, on a medium fire. Add a small knob of butter. Now use two spoons to add the batter to the pan and form disks in the size of American pancakes. Fry the pancakes for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown on both sides. If you feel the sides of the pancakes, they shouldn´t feel sticky anymore. Repeat this until you have used all the batter.
Enjoy!

Stuffed poblano peppers with walnut sauce and pomegranate

Of second hand books and a vibrant culture

Not long ago I walked into a second hand bookstore, one of my favourite bookstores in Barcelona. I like how there is such a random mixture of books to be found in second hand bookstores. Now this particular time, my eye fell on a Mexican roman about love and food, apparently a bestseller from the 80s.

So I took it home and started reading. It quickly brought me back to the time I was in Mexico, quite some years ago already. I went with my parents and we traveled around the peninsula Yucatán. At that point in time, none of us spoke Spanish and for me it was the first time I was in a country with such a different culture, with jungle, with roadblocks where military stopped your car, etc. Of course we visited the ancient cities of the Mayas. There are the famous ones like Palenque and Chichén Itzá. Those were massive cities, and the pyramids are proudly standing so that it becomes easy to imagine the wealth and power those cities must have had. At the same time there are smaller historical cities, hidden in the jungle with the walls of the buildings still overgrown by plants. In those places there are almost no tourists, which makes it a completely different experience.

Magnificent and fascinating as the ancient culture is, the modern culture of the country is just as exciting. We visited beautiful and colourful cities, but also places where people lived in little huts made from timber with corrugated roofs (some with a television or radio). Places that seemed rich and places where children stopped your car on the road to try sell some fruits. But, even though I realize life is clearly not perfect there, everywhere we were the culture seemed lively and full of colours. And the food made a great impression on me. Eating in Mexican restaurants in Europe can be disappointing; even though some places are good, sometimes it seems like ready made mixtures are used and some tortillas taste like cardboard. But the food in Mexico was the opposite: fresh, diverse, and exciting. For breakfast we often had a range of tropical fruits and dishes like huevos rancheros, basically a dish of eggs in tomato sauce served with tortillas. And we tried plenty of other dishes, from meat dishes inland to fresh seafood in a place at the beach, where the cook came to show us the fish they caught that morning. Almost everything was served with delicious corn tortillas and refried beans. All in all, a proper discovery for me and miles away from the boxes with “Mexican” food you buy in the supermarket.


In this Mexican book I bought food also plays a very important role. The story is divided in months, and each chapter starts with a list of ingredients of a dish that features in that month. The recipes are loosely described during the story, leaving room for interpretation. So I decided to take the dish that sounded best to me and that had a positive influence within the story as well. Some research showed that this is a popular dish in Mexico, traditionally made in the city Puebla to celebrate independence day. Clearly, I have never tried the original dish so I don´t know how it compares, but this recipe is inspired by the interpretation of the dish as described in the book.

Stuffed poblano peppers with walnut sauce and pomegranate

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Ingredients (for 2 people, 8 pieces)

  • 8 poblano peppers or those pointed capsicums / bell peppers
  • 1 pomegranate
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • Beef mince – 300 grams
  • 1 apple
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • Raisins – a handful
  • 1 red chilli
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Cumin – 2 heaped teaspoons
  • Oregano – 2 heaped teaspoons
  • Ground cloves – 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • Walnuts – 70 grams
  • Queso fresco, can be cottage cheese – 100 grams
  • Cream – 100 ml
  • Milk – approximately 50 ml
  • Olive oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt and black pepper

First of all, the poblano peppers or capsicums have to be roasted so that the skin can be removed. Preheat your oven to 220°C. Place the peppers on an oven tray that is coated with olive oil or baking paper. Roast the peppers for as long as it takes to have their skins blistered and blackened. Turn them around once in while. When the skin is properly black and shows large blisters, take the peppers out and place them in a bowl covered with plastic. Let them cool down until you can handle them and peel off the skin.

For the sauce, start by toasting the walnuts. Set a few aside for decoration and blend the rest until they are a fine crumb. Add the cinnamon, the queso fresco and the cream to the blender as well and process until you have a smooth mixture. Then add milk, until the mixture is liquid but still sticks to a spoon. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and set aside.

With the sauce done and the peppers roasting, it is time to make the stuffing. Finely chop the onion, the garlic, and the chilli. Zest the lemon. Put the raisins in a bit of water to soak. Slice the tomatoes in half and use a coarse grater to grate the inside of the tomato, so that you only have the skin left, which you can discard. In a frying pan, heat some olive oil and add the onion and a pinch of sugar. Fry the onion on a low fire until it´s translucent. Add the chilli, garlic, cumin, cloves, and oregano. When this mixture becomes fragrant, add the meat and a good pinch of salt. Continue frying over a medium fire until the meat is browned. Drain the raisins. As a next step, add those raisins, the grated tomato, and lemon zest. Leave the mixture on a low fire for around 15 minutes. Check the seasoning and add some lemon juice to taste.

For the last touches, chop the apple very finely. Take the seeds out of the pomegranate and make sure all the pieces of membrane are taken out. Chop the coriander.

Mix the finely chopped apple through the meat mixture. Take the peeled peppers and slice them open lengthwise on one side. Take the seeds out. Carefully fill the peppers with the meat mixture. When all peppers are filled, place them on a serving plate. Serve with the sauce, the pomegranate, the walnuts you kept, and the coriander: the colours of the Mexican flag.

Noodle soup with pork meatballs

Singapore´s hot and exciting streets

After a year of living in Australia it was time to go back to Europe. However, being on a tight budget and not feeling completely ready to return just yet I decided to make a stop-over in Singapore for a week. Crazy enough, this would save me money. But more importantly, it would be a great opportunity to visit some university friends and to finally get a first taste of Asia. I had the feeling it would be a perfect introduction to this varied continent where I had never been before. And to say I wasn´t disappointed is a large understatement.

Arriving late in the evening, sweaty from the flight and the hot and sticky weather, I already got excited to what would come next by the first glance at a temple decorated with massive statues of tigers in the street of my hostel. Over the next days I set out to discover as much of this city-state as possible. Diversity certainly is the first thing that comes to my mind when summarizing this place. First of all in the difference between modern and traditional. There are clean modern buildings with interesting architecture. When those are lit up in the evening it looks like a modern fairy tale. But there are also the areas that seem a bit more messy, that are full of life, colours, temples, and tradition. Then there is diversity in the different areas of the city. Going from Chinatown to Little India one seems to visit separate worlds. Not only the buildings look different, but also the people, the things that are sold in the stores, the atmosphere, and of course the food.


Probably not surprisingly, the food was one of my favourite things in Singapore. Everywhere in the city there are hawker markets, places with little stalls that sell cooked food. In the middle there are tables where young and old sit around enjoying the noodles, the chicken, the indian curries, the shaved ice, and everything else. On some of those markets I didn´t see other western people, which amazed me in a city that is so frequently visited by tourists. I started appreciating Asian food during the year in Australia, but visiting Singapore made me really enthusiastic about all those different flavours with which I am not that familiar. Clearly I tried many dishes while being there, and fortunately I also had my friends who could show me some of the highlights. They told me that some food stalls are famous for a specific dish, so that people from all over town come to eat it there. Hence the long queues for some places…


The recipe here is inspired by the food I had in a hawker center close to the botanical gardens. Clearly, I am not a specialist in the Asian or Singaporean cuisine, even though I have recently been trying to learn more about it. But it´s a tasty dish that does bring me back to the hot and exciting streets of Singapore.

Noodle soup with pork meatballs

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If you want to, you can prepare the broth in the morning or a day before you want to eat the dish.

Ingredients (for 2)

For the broth

  • Pork bones – around 500 grams
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 leek
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Ginger – a large piece
  • 3 sticks of lemongrass
  • 3 star anise
  • Cardamom – 1 teaspoon
  • Cloves – 1 teaspoon
  • Fish sauce – 4 tablespoons
  • Vegetable oil – like sunflower oil or peanut oil

For the noodles and other bits and pieces

  • Flour – 200 grams, plus a bit extra for rolling out the dough
  • 3 eggs
  • Pork mince – 300 grams
  • Bok Choy (or spinach) – 250 grams
  • Shimeji mushrooms – or another type of mushrooms, 150 grams
  • 3 spring onions
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Hot chilli sauce
  • Corn flour (optional)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper

To start with the broth, heat up a grill pan and coat it with a little bit of vegetable oil. Meanwhile, clean the carrots and the leek. Slice those vegetables lengthwise in halves and chop in pieces of around 2 centimeters long. Peel the garlic cloves. You don´t need to peel the ginger, but also slice it lengthwise and chop in 2 centimeter pieces. Cut the lemongrass to the same length and bash it with the back of your knife so that the fragrance comes out.

Once the grill pan is hot, add the pork bones, carrots, leek, garlic, and ginger. Grill this on the hot pan for around 20 minutes, or until all ingredients are charred on all sides. Take a large pot, add a splash of oil and place over medium heat. Add the lemongrass, the star anise, cardamom, and cloves. Fry this for around 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Next, add the pork bones and the other ingredients you have charred. Deglaze the pan with the fish sauce and add enough water to cover all ingredients, around 1 liter. Bring this to a boil and turn the heat down. Leave it to simmer for 45 minutes till an hour while stirring now and then.

After this time, check the flavour of your broth and pour it through a fine sieve. There will usually be some grease floating on top, so make sure to remove this. When you prepare the broth in advance, it will be really easy to remove the fat once the broth has been in the fridge: it will have settled on top so you can easily scoop it out.

Now it is time for making the noodle dough, which is quite similar to Italian pasta, but uses water in addition to eggs. Place the flour on your working surface and create a well in the middle. Add some salt, a splash of vegetable oil, and one egg. Start mixing this. When the egg has been mixed into the flour, begin adding water while continuing to knead the dough. You will need about 75 ml of water. Continue adding water and kneading until you have a soft, elastic dough that doesn´t stick anymore. Wrap this in some plastic foil and place in the fridge to rest.

For the pork meatballs, mix the minced pork meat with 2 table spoons of soy sauce, 2 table spoons of sesame oil and a bit of pepper. Optionally, you can add a tablespoon of cornflour to make the mixture stick together better and, if the mixture is too dry, a splash of water. Mix the ingredients well and form small balls out of the mixture.

Wash the bok choy and cut the leaves lengthwise in half. Clean the mushrooms as well. When you use shimeji mushrooms you can leave them whole, if you have bigger ones you might want to halve them. Finely chop the spring onion and set aside.

Next, take the noodle dough out of the fridge. Divide it into three pieces and roll out thinly. Then fold the longest side of the dough and cut it across from how you folded it into small strips. Unfold the dough so that you are left with long noodles, like tagliatelle.

Finally it is time for the last, most fun part: cooking everything and bringing it all together. Heat up the broth again. Once it simmers, add the meatballs, the mushrooms, and the noodles. Boil the noodles for around 4 minutes. Take them out and divide over two bowls. Then add the bok choy to the broth. Let this simmer for around 3 minutes until they are not raw anymore but still crunchy. Take the mushrooms and the bok choy out of the broth and add to your bowls as well. Now, carefully break and egg into a cup and tip into the broth. Stir around it to create a little whirlpool, so that the white folds around the yolk. Do the same with the other egg. Poach them for around 3 minutes, until still runny. Take the eggs and the meatballs out of the broth and carefully place them in your bowls. Now, taste the broth to see if any adjustment to the flavour is needed. When you are satisfied, strain the broth and carefully divide over the bowls. Serve with the spring onions and hot chilli sauce. Enjoy!

 

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Sophie at Cooking Trips.our-growing-edge-badge.jpg

Lemon ravioli with spicy prawns

Camping cooking

It is summer again! Here in Barcelona it is the season of street parties, beach, and general happiness. Even though I still have to work the normal rhythm, when I come out of work and can go for some drinks in the sun it feels like holidays.

But the real holidays for me are the ones I grew up with. We used to pack the tent, hop in the car, and drive off. This could be to any country, we didn´t make any bookings but just went to places we were interested in and found a campsite. After a few nights we moved on to the next place. It´s a real feeling of freedom. For the cooking this meant we had a simple gas burner and some pots and pans. Nothing fancy, but those are still the basic tools for any great meal. So making delicious food was never an issue. We didn´t have any electricity, so of course also no fridge. That is in a way an advantage as well, as it forces you to buy fresh ingredients. And that makes for a good opportunity to go and visit local markets, which is one of my favourite things to do when I am in a different country. On the markets you can find out what produce are typical from the country and what the locals buy. There are different smells, colours, and types of food in each place. From beautiful vegetables and cherries on a small market in Aix-en-Provence, France, to fish stands where they showcase the massive swords of the delicious swordfish they sell in Catania, Italy. And of course everything in between.


One of my favourite things on the markets in the south of Europe used to be, and still is, the fish: so much more choice than on the market in the village in the Netherlands where we used to live. It looks impressive and sometimes almost surreal, all those different sea creatures. I personally really love the prawns. The whole ones that you have to peel yourself. On the campsite, but also at home, it is a great combination to eat those prawns simply fried with garlic and chilli, paired with a lemon pasta. Lemon spaghetti is a pasta dish with a cold sauce based on lemon juice and zest, cream and parmesan cheese. The lemon pasta is great for cooking on a campsite, both because of its simplicity and its summery feel. In the end, there are not many flavours that scream “summer” more than lemon does.

For this recipe I have taken this concept of the prawns and lemon spaghetti as a basis, but slightly changed the flavours and textures. Of course, I will also continue cooking the simpler version of the pasta especially on the campsite or on busy days, since it is amazing as well.

Lemon ravioli with spicy prawns

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Ingredients (dinner for two)

  • 200 grams of flour – plus a bit extra for dusting
  • 3 eggs
  • Around half a kilo of prawns – raw and unpeeled, if you like you can get some more
  • Ricotta – 200 grams, without the excess liquid
  • 3 lemons – washed carefully
  • Garlic – 3 cloves
  • Basil – large bunch
  • Hot sauce, like tabasco
  • Olive oil – around 40 ml plus some extra
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Sugar
  • Butter – just a good knob

The first step is to make the pasta dough, so that this can rest for a while. Make a little mountain of the flour on a clean working surface and create a well in the middle. Add a pinch of salt, a dash of olive oil, and two eggs. Mix this with your hands and kneed until you have an elastic dough that does not stick to your hands anymore. In case it is too wet, add a bit of extra flour. If it seems to dry, just add some olive oil. After a few times of practicing making pasta will become really easy and quick. Wrap the dough in some glad wrap and leave it in the fridge to rest.

Now it is time to do the step that is probably most time consuming: peeling the prawns. Take the heads and the shell around their body off and put the heads aside. Leave the tip of the tail on. Also remove the veins, by making a small incision in the back of the prawns and pulling them out. When all the prawns are peeled and deveined, heat the 40 ml of olive oil in a small pot on a medium fire. Add the prawn heads to the oil, and fry them until they are pink. Turn down the fire to low and leave for around 5 minutes. Then you can turn the fire off and leave the oil to infuse with the prawn flavours.

The next thing to do is making the ravioli filling. Mince one of the garlic cloves, a small one, until it is really fine. Grate the zest of two of the lemons, and juice both of them as well. Finely chop half of your basil. Mix the chopped basil, the garlic, and the lemon zest with the ricotta. Add lemon juice to your liking, around the amount of juice of one lemon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place this mixture in the fridge until needed. Keep the rest of the lemon juice for the sauce.

After you have finished the filling, finely chop the other two cloves of garlic which you will need for the prawns. Take the remaining lemon and chop the top and bottom off. Slice lengthwise in four. Then cut out the membrane in the middle, at the same time removing the seeds. Chop all quarters in thin triangles, of around 5 mm thick.

Now a very important step, because it is time to make the ravioli. While you are doing this, place a large pot of salted water on the fire to bring it to a boil. Beat the third egg and place on your working surface. Take the pasta dough out of the fridge and divide in three or four pieces. Roll the pasta out until you have very thin sheets, either using a pasta machine or by hand. The sheets need to be thin enough that when you lay them on a surface and blow along the sides, the pasta comes up and moves in waves. Cut squares out of the pasta that are a little bit bigger than the size you want your raviolis to be. Place a teaspoon of the lemon and ricotta filling on half of the squares. Brush the sides of each of the squares with filling with the beaten egg and place another square of pasta on top. Carefully close the ravioli with the sides of your thumbs, working away from the filling to press out all the air. Cut the sides with a ravioli cutter. If you do not have one, just cut the excess pasta off and use a fork to make a nice pattern on the sides.

By now, your water should have come to a boil. Place the triangles of lemon you cut before in the water, and blanch them for 3 minutes. Then take them out and dry them well with kitchen paper. You can turn the fire under the water down to a low heat. Meanwhile, strain the olive oil which you have been infusing with the prawn heads and set aside. Heat up a frying pan on medium heat and add a knob of butter. Add the dried lemon triangles and a pinch of salt and sugar each. Fry them on a low heat on both sides until they are brown, for around five minutes. Take them out of a the pan and wipe the pan with some kitchen paper.

Now it is time for some multitasking. Place another frying pan with some olive oil over medium heat and add the chopped garlic. When the garlic starts to fry, add the prawns. Once the prawns turn pink on one side, turn them around and add a pinch of salt and hot sauce to taste. The amount of hot sauce depends on how spicy you like it. Fry the prawns until pink on both sides, around 4 minutes. In the frying pan in which you fried the lemon, add another knob of butter and the prawn oil. Heat this until the butter has melted and starts to colour. Then add a good splash of water from the pot in which you boiled the lemon triangles. Let this boil, while stirring, for around 3 minutes until the oil and water emulsify into a sauce. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Lower the fire under the sauce so that it cools down a bit. Meanwhile, bring the water in the pot up to a boil again and add the ravioli. Boil them for 4 minutes or until al dente. When the ravioli are cooked, add them to the pan with sauce and coat them in the sauce.

Finally, it is dinner time! Serve the ravioli with the spicy prawns (spoon the hot sauce and garlic from the pan over the prawns), the fried lemon wedges, and some extra basil.

 

Steak with tapenade and courgette

Rosemary from an artist

After more than a year of living in Spain it was time to visit the northern neighbour again: La douce France. So I left for a trip to the Provence, the area in the southeast of France. Conveniently enough it is only a train ride away (or almost 10 hours by bus when the trains are on strike).

The Provence is famous for quite some reasons: from the Marseille soap via lavender and herbs de Provence to bouillabaisse and Pastis. Bouillabaisse being a fish stew and Pastis an anise-flavoured drink that is perfect as aperitif, they both come from Marseille. So of course, while in Marseille we had to try those local specialties to get better acknowledged with the area. We tried both close to the old harbour, where the beautiful French architecture now mixes with modern yachts and tourists.

But there is more to discover in the area than great food and drinks. The nature is beautiful; rolling hills covered with vineyards, cherry trees, lavender fields and pretty villages. It certainly is understandable that so many painters came to live here. We rented a car for a day to see more of the area than just the cities. The lavender fields weren´t flowering yet, but instead the landscape was covered with red poppies. Taking the small roads we discovered some of the villages. I love those places where it seems like the time has stopped, where there are almost no tourists and there is just one restaurant where people are relaxedly enjoying their lunch with a glass of regional wine.

Another day we went up to a hill close to Aix-en-Provence. From there you could see one of the mountains that Cézanne has painted many times. Although nowadays there are houses around the place where he used to paint, it is quiet and you can still just enjoy the feeling of the warm sun and hear the sound of the crickets and the birds, imagining the artist is still there painting the view. We had a small picnic with slices of pizza with anchovy that you can buy everywhere at the bakeries, as common and as delicious as the croissants. Since there was a lot of rosemary growing at that place, we picked some for dinner. Afterwards we passed by the market, full of bright and beautiful vegetables, cheese, honey, and other produce.

This recipe here is a simple recipe, trying to put those memories together on a plate. A tapenade with the rosemary from Cézanne´s place and the anchovy from the pizza. The courgette and black olives from the market. Overall a simple dish, like we cooked in the small apartment on two hotplates. And it goes well with rosé, the wine we drunk every sunny afternoon on a typical French square in Aix-en-Provence.

Steak with tapenade and courgette

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Ingredients (dinner for two)

  • 2 steaks – size according to your liking
  • 2 small courgettes or 1 big one, use a yellow one if you can find it
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 6 large cloves of garlic
  • Black olives – around 20, of a good quality
  • Capers – a small tablespoon
  • Anchovy fillets – around 4
  • Lemon
  • Oregano – around 2 heaped teaspoons
  • Rosemary – a good bunch
  • Thyme – around 2 heaped teaspoons
  • Dried red chilli
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Salt
  • Baguette

Turn the oven up to 150°C. Slice the tomatoes in half and take out the seeds. Finely chop half of the rosemary. Place the tomato halves on some aluminium foil on a baking tray. Sprinkle with the chopped rosemary, the oregano, thyme and some salt. Drizzle some olive oil over the top. Place two of the cloves of garlic, unpeeled, on the tray as well. Place in the middle of the oven and let the tomatoes roast for around an hour. Switch the oven off and let the tomatoes cool down in the oven.
Meanwhile, marinate the steaks. Take the needles of the rest of the rosemary. Peel 3 of the cloves of garlic and quickly crush with the flat side of your knife. Mix half of the rosemary needles with some crushed dried red chillis. The amount of chilli depends. I use around four chillis, but it depends on how spicy your chillies are and how hot you like your food. Add a good dash of olive oil. Dry the steaks and place them in this marinate, leave them at room temperature.

Now you probably have some time to drink a glass of wine before the tomatoes are roasted. Once this is done, take the stones out of your olives. Rinse the capers and take the skin off the roasted tomatoes. You will just have the part of the tomato flesh that is just under the skin left, infused with the herbs and olive oil. Add the olives, capers, tomatoes and anchovy to a blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and add as well, together with a few drops of lemon juice. Blend this all until the olives are roughly chopped. Then taste and season with salt, olive oil, and lemon juice to taste.

Next, finely slice the courgettes and chop the last clove of garlic. Add a few drops of olive oil to a frying pan and place over medium fire. When the pan is warm, add a little bit of salt. Then place the slices of courgette in one layer in the pan. Fry them around 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Set the fried courgette aside. Repeat this until you have fried all the slices. When you turn the last batch around, add the garlic and the rosemary you have left over. Leave in the pan until the courgette is golden brown, and the garlic and rosemary crisp. Drizzle some olive oil over the fried slices of courgette.

Finally, fry your steaks. You can do this in the same pan that should still be hot, no need to add extra olive oil since the steaks have marinated in the olive oil already. The time they need varies according to the thickness of the meat and how you like the cooking done. As a reference, a steak of 2 centimeters thick needs around 2 minutes on each side for medium rare. Add the garlic and the rosemary from the marinate as well and don´t forget to season with a good pinch of salt. After cooking, leave the steaks to rest for at least 5 minutes. Leave the garlic and rosemary in the pan so the garlic becomes soft and the rosemary crispy.

Serve the steaks with the courgette, the tapenade, and the bread. Don´t forget a glass of wine with it, and enjoy!

 

Seabream with spring vegetables and ginger

Of stereotypes and flowers

When I am traveling and I tell people I am from Holland, I usually get the same response. It tends to be something in the line of: “Oh, so you´re from Amsterdam. Do you smoke a lot of marihuana?” I have to admit it is an understandable reaction in a way, but it always makes me happy when I find someone who knows a bit more about the country. Or when someone at least also starts talking about other famous aspects of Holland like wooden shoes, windmills, and cheese. But the marihuana aside, recently I saw many photos on social media from friends who visited Holland for another famous plant: the tulip.

Although those flowers are not originally Dutch, they were probably brought over from Turkey, they have been cultivated in Holland since the 16th century. The tulip bulbs eventually got an important place in the country´s economy. Their importance was such that they even let to the first proper economic bubble in history, named tulip mania: The flowers became extremely popular during the Dutch Golden Age as a luxury product. Because of their popularity the contracts for tulip bulbs were traded on the stock markets against exorbitant prices. In the year 1637 those prices collapsed, leading to the first market crash ever.

Even though the flowers are now not of such importance anymore, they are still a large export product and a lovely tourist attraction as well. In spring Holland is full of fields that are covered in flowers of all colours. Whereas most tourists visit the tulip fields close to Amsterdam, with my family I used to go to the fields close to my parents´ place. As far as you can see there are tulip fields in many bright colours and with different shapes of flowers. You can just drive around there through the fields and stop wherever you want to take pictures or go for a short hike between the flowers. Even when you have seen it many times, it is still an amazing sight. It does really look like a painter came by to brighten up the surroundings.


Looking at my pictures of the tulip fields inspired me to use some of the vegetables I see in the store every day to resemble the brightness and diversity of those fields. So I tried to bring the colours and live of the flowers to the plate, like on a beautiful spring day in Holland.

White fish with spring vegetables and fried ginger

This dish has two types of purées, a parsnip and a beetroot one. The contrast of the white and the red of the purées reminds me of the different colours of the tulips. The peas and turnips are in season in spring and add some crunch and the feeling of spring time.

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Ingredients (for two as a main course)

  • 2 white fish – I used seabream, they should be whole but gutted and scaled
  • 4 small beetroots
  • 4 parsnips
  • 2 turnips
  • Fresh peas – around 450 grams with their pods, or 200 grams shelled
  • Fresh coriander – a small bunch
  • 2 lemons
  • Garlic – 3 cloves
  • Ginger – a piece of around 3 centimeters long
  • Cumin – 1 heaped teaspoon
  • 1 green chilli
  • Double cream – just a dash
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil or another neutral oil
  • Salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Wrap the beetroots each separately in aluminium foil. Also wrap the parsnips in aluminium foil, together with two unpeeled cloves of garlic. Place them all in the oven and leave the packages in for around 50 minutes. Check now and then whether the vegetables have become soft and roasted through.

Now it is time to prepare all the other ingredients. First of all, shell the peas. Slice the third clove of garlic very thinly. Take the seeds out of the chilli and cut it as well. Finely chop half of the coriander. Peel both turnips and slice them in thin strips. Do the same with half of the ginger. Grate the other half of the ginger on a fine grater.

Bring a small pot with salted water to a boil and blanch the peas for around 5 minutes, until they start to become tender.

In a small pan, roast the cumin for a few minutes until it is fragrant and set it aside. Add some olive oil to the same pan and add the sliced garlic, chilli, and grated ginger. When this mixture starts to smell nicely, add the peas. Fry for a few minutes until the peas are tender but still have some bite. Add salt to taste. Let this cool down and mix in the pieces of turnip and the chopped coriander. Dress with some olive oil and lemon juice.

The next step is to prepare the fish. Pat them really dry with a piece of kitchen paper, both from the outside and from the inside. Season with salt and pepper, also both the inside and the outside. Rub a bit of olive oil all over the fish. Cut some slices of lemon and stuff the inside of both fish with the lemon and the left over coriander.

By now the vegetables in the oven should be roasted. Start by making the parsnip puree. The beetroot will colour everything red, so it is better to do this after. Peel the parsnips and the garlic and blend them together into a smooth purée. Transfer the purée into a fine sieve and use a spoon to push the mixture through the sieve. This will remove all lumps and provide you with a very smooth and soft texture. Add a little bit of cream to the parsnips and season with salt and pepper to taste. The oven should still be warm from roasting the vegetables, so place the purée in the oven to keep it warm. Clean your blender and add the peeled beetroots and the cumin. Blend this mixture as well and push it through the sieve again. Similar to the parsnip purée, add salt, pepper, and cream to taste. Keep the beetroot purée warm in the oven as well.

Finally, it is time to roast the fish and deep fry the ginger. Place a grill pan without any oil over high heat. Simultaneously, add a layer of the sunflower oil of around 2 centimeters deep to a small pot and heat this up as well. When the grill pan is screaming hot, carefully add the fish to the pan. Leave the fish on there for around 4 minutes, the exact time depends on the type and the size of the fish, without touching it. Then, try to carefully turn it around. If the skin still sticks to the pan, leave it for a bit longer. Once the skin does not stick to the pan anymore, turn the fish around. Give it another 4 minutes on the other side. Meanwhile, when the oil in the pot is hot, add the strips of ginger you have cut before. Fry the ginger until it starts to turn golden brown, around 5 minutes. Carefully take it out of the oil and place on paper towel to drain. Sprinkle some salt over the ginger.

When both the fish and the ginger are done, it is time to serve. Add both purées and the peas to the plate. You can serve the fish whole, but also just serve the fillets. If you want to serve the fillets, carefully take the skin off the fish. Using two spoons, you can easily slide the fillets of the bone. Lastly, add the fried ginger to the plate and serve with some wedges of lemon.