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Apple & Pear Crumble


apple pear crumble

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As some of you might know, Nick did one year of bakery and pastry school where he learned a lot about kneading dough, making pies and baking bread. I love this about him. He gets in the kitchen, grabs a bag of flour and some butter and he creates something yummy. This sunday, after a lot of begging from me to please start baking again, he made this heavenly piece of pie.

In the next few weeks we’ll be sharing more of Nick’s own recipes. They’re awesome. He is awesome. I love a man that can bake. And cook. And cuddle. God I love a good cuddle.

Apple & Pear Crumble

Ingredients
Pie Crust
100 grams of sugar
200 grams of butter
300 grams of flour
8 grams of baking powder
1 egg
pinch of salt
some lemon zest (optional)

Filling
4 apples (crisp and a little sour), peeled and in cubes
4 pears (the green ones), peeled and in cubes
handful of raisins
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
4 cloves
marrow of 1 vanilla pod
pinch of salt
30 grams of butter

Crumble
100 grams of flour
50 grams of butter
50 grams of sugar
pinch of salt

Preparation
Pre-heat your oven at about 170°C.

Pie Crust
Soften the butter with your hands, until it’s room temperature. You shouldn’t be feeling any cold pieces in the butter any more. Mix in and knead through the sugar, followed by the egg. Mix the salt and the baking powder with the flour. Get your hands dirty and knead the flour through the butter until you’ve got a nice and smooth dough. Add a little flour if it’s too sticky or add a little water if it’s too dry. Wrap it in some plastic foil and put it in the fridge.

Filling
Put on a pan and melt the butter until it stops bubbling and sizzling. Throw in the apples and pears, followed by all the spices and the raisins. Bake for about 4-5 minutes on medium-high heat. It shouldn’t get too mushy, but the apples and pears should get a little softer. Take the pan off the heat and set aside.

Crumble
Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl. Make sure your butter is cold. Cut it into small pieces in the bowl. Get your hands in there and try to make the pieces of butter as small as you can and mix them well until you get a crumble. Don’t make it into a ball, you want to keep the little crumbles.

Assembly
Butter up your favorite cake pan. Its shape or whether it’s metal or whatever doesn’t really matter. Take your pie crust dough out of the fridge, and knead it through a little. You don’t want to get it warm. Roll it out until approx. 3-5 mm thick, and cover your cake pan with it. To do this, lightly flour your rolling-pin, roll the dough loosely around your pin, and unroll over your cake pan. Cut away the overhanging edges. You can stick this together to cover up some pieces of your cake pan you might have missed. Or put it in your fridge and secretly take little bites out of it when nobody is looking. You can keep this dough for up to a week in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.

Put the filling in there.

Cover the filling with the crumble.

Put it in the oven until the pie crust is nice and golden. The crumble is going to stay a little lighter.

Store on your kitchen counter (it gets sloppy in the fridge). It tastes best if you leave it for a day. But I know you’re not going to be able to stop yourself.

Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls


Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Fresh Vietnamese Spring RollsFresh Vietnamese Spring RollsFresh Vietnamese Spring RollsFresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Have you ever been to Vietnam? If you have, you’ve probably tried these spring rolls and have fallen in love. If you haven’t: you will fall in love. Also, Vietnam is great and you should try to visit sometime. For realsies.

Fresh Vietnamese Spring rolls

Serves 4

adapted from DesignSponge

Ingredients for the spring rolls:

Rice paper (make sure they are suited for fresh spring rolls, there are lots of different kinds!)
500 grams of shrimps
1 cucumber, cut into thin strips
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
4 carrots, cut into thin strips
1 crop of green lettuce, cut into thin strips
1 bunch of cilantro (we love cilantro, so we usually end up with 3 bunches)
1 bunch of mint
Rice vermicelli noodles

For the Peanut Sauce:

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tea-spoon of olive oil (or sesame oil if you’ve got it.)
10 table spoons of peanut butter
3 teaspoons of hoisin sauce
4 table spoons of water (we usually end up adding more, as this sauce thickens quickly)

Extra:

Sweet and sour sauce

Start by cutting all the vegetables in thin strips. When you’re done, put them aside and start setting the table.

Cook the noodles as per instructions on the package. Allow to dry at room temperature.

Time to make the peanut sauce. This sauce is meant as a dipping sauce but I put it inside of my spring rolls. I like it better that way.

Put the olive oil (or optionally sesame oil) in a small saucepan and set it on medium-low heat. Add garlic and sauté for about 20 seconds. Do not let the garlic burn. Add peanut butter and hoisin sauce and continue to stir. When the sauce begins thickening, add water. Adjust to taste and continue to add water if it becomes too thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

You can now put everything on the table. Do not forget a flat bowl or pan filled with hot water. You need this to soften the rice paper.

To assemble rolls, dip single sheets of rice paper into hot water for a few seconds. Allow excess water to drain and quickly place on a plate. Add a layer of peanut sauce, some sweet and sour sauce and stack on the shrimps, softened noodles, lettuce, cucumbers, red peppers, carrot, cilantro and mint. Carefully roll closed and slice in half. SUPER YUMMY.

If you’re like me and love cilantro, buy some more cilantro and pile up!

Now That We’re Home


massaman curry

Now that we’re home, we miss Asian food. Sure, there’s a lot of Asian restaurants here, but it’s just not the same. Nick is an amazing chef and he took it upon himself to cook something we ate and miss at least once a week. So far we had a very delicious Banh-Mi and this week we made this great Thai massaman curry. It was almost as good as the ones we had in Thailand (but it’s just not the same).

Don’t be put off by the ingredient list, it’s very easy to make and most of the spices are good to have anyway. And chances are, you’ve already got a great deal of them laying around.

And yeah, I would love to show you a picture of what it looks like when it’s done, but we were too damn hungry.

Massaman curry

adapted from Thaifood.about.com

serves 4

500 gram of chicken, cut into bite size pieces
3 potatoes, cut in chunks
1 can/ 400 ml coconut milk
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 tomato, cut in cubes
1 onion, minced
1 piece of ginger of about 5 cm, grated
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red chili, thinly sliced
200 ml chicken stock
1 stalk lemongrass, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tea spoon of turmeric
1 tea spoon of ground coriander
1 tea spoon of whole cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cardamon
1 tablespoon of tamarind
3/4 teaspoon shrimp paste
2 table spoons of fish sauce
1 table spoon of brown sugar
a handful of cashewnuts

Enough rice for 4 people

Get a stewing pan, a big one. Heat it over medium heat and drizzle in some oil. Add the onion, ginger and chili. Stir for 1 minute. Add the garlic. Stir for another minute. It should start to smell really great. The smell of fried onion and garlic is one of my favorite smells in the world.

Now add the chicken stock and the minced lemongrass. Stir. Add bay leaves. Stir. Red pepper. Stir. Turmeric. Stir. Ground coriander.Stir. Cumin seed. Stir. White pepper. Stir. Cardemon. Stir. Tamarind. Stir. Shrimp paste. Stir. Fishsauce. Stir. Sugar and chopped cashews. Bring this to a light boil.

Add the chicken and coat it with the mixture. Add the coconut milk and the potatoes. Stir everything and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to get a good simmer.

Let this simmer 3o-40 minutes. We let it simmer for 1,5 hours because we were walking the dog and sort of forgot about it. I like to believe this made it even better. Stir occasionally. When you’re almost ready to eat, put a pan of water on the stove for rice. When you put the rice in the pan of water, it’s time to add the tomato to the curry.

When your rice is ready, your curry is ready. Taste it. Does it need more salt? Add some fish sauce. Not spicy enough? Add some chili. Too spicy? Add some coconut milk. Is it too sour? Add some sugar. Is it too salty or sweet? Add some tamarind or lime juice.

Put the rice on a plate, scoop over the curry and top with a few cashews and coriander. We love loads of coriander.

By the way, did anyone else expect to get a loooooot of coriander in their food in Thailand, and found it wasn’t that much?