210 ml milk
35 g unsalted butter
350 g high gluten flour ( Note by Hannah: bread flour is the highest gluten flour I can find on my grocery shelves in the US. )
4 g salt
- 7 g instant yeast
400 g dark brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
One of my absolute favorite things to eat is a homemade flour tortilla. I make these for my self a couple times a week. Obviously only using a fraction of the recipe below since I don’t need to make that many tortillas for one person. A tortilla is versatile enough that you can eat them with just about anything or just on its own (midnight snack of left over tortillas if there are any left overs).
While Hannah was visiting she confessed that while she had rolled plenty of tortillas in her life she has never actually made the tortilla dough from scratch! Well, it was time to fix that.
Here is a recipe that was passed down from my grandmother. My grandmother was a hispanic woman that had 12 children. She was always in the kitchen cooking and making sure everyone was well fed. My aunts are also master tortilla makers and they actually make their tortillas round. Mine are decidedly not round, but it doest help to use a tapered rolling pin.
- 4 Cups all purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp table salt
- 3 Tbsp oil (technically vegetable oil but I often grab a mild olive oil)
- 1 1/3 Cups cold water
Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl or on the counter top. Once it comes together in a ball, if mixing in a bowl transfer to the counter top, continue kneading the dough ball a good 5 minutes, making the dough smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a very damp cloth and let rest for 1 hour or longer. (If you are feeling particularly impatient or don’t have an hour to wait, use lukewarm water and cut the resting time in half).
Heat a (flat) cast iron griddle (called a comal) on medium high heat. Once warm, lower the heat to medium. The trick will be finding the temperature where the tortillas cook quickly enough that they don’t become crackers but not so fast that they burn before they are cooked.
Depending on the size of your skillet form roughly 15 – 20 balls. Now start rolling!
Once you have a rolled out tortilla place this on the warmed comal, flipping once so not to burn them.
Once cooked, place the tortilla in a fresh kitchen cloth to keep warm and chewy. Serve with pretty much anything that you want, smeared with avocado and a bit of salt; filled with steak, chicken and veggies for a fajita; with a full New Mexican feast of enchiladas, beans and rice; smeared with butter and your favorite jam. So many possibilities!
The end of my South Africa tour, I spent three nights in wine country! Beautiful rolling hills with vineyards, delicious wine and food to taste.
Part of our South Africa tour was a drive from port Elizabeth to Cape Town, stopping in a few of the seaside towns on the way.
Food festival season is in full swing and, once again, a good friend arranged tickets to the Taste of Amsterdam. At one of the booths you could win tomatoes by taking a picture for promotion on social media. so…
We have tomatoes!
As you can guess we had a theme for dinner.
Tomato and beet salad – inspired by Martha Steward’s recipe but after cooking the beets in the oven I quickly threw them into a pan with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sage. Letting them cool down before plating them with sliced tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and basil.
Mini tomato tarts – Using a lactose-free crust of oil, flour, rosemary and almond milk I slow roasted the tomatoes in the oven for an hour.
Lamb chops with tomato sauce – toss tomatoes, garlic, anchovies and rosemary in a pan to make a simple sauce on grilled lamb chops.
Bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwiches – no explanation needed since the name says it all!
Gazpacho – onion, bell pepper and tomatoes are roasted in the oven before pureeing with cucumber, garlic, chili pepper, parsley, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Don’t forget to sieve the puree before serving.
I have always wanted to go on vacation with my mother to Greece. As a young woman she visited the beautiful islands and has always spoke fondly of her getaway. But, while looking into vacation options, we decided Greece would have to wait until my sister could join us. For one thing our window for a week away was the wrong time of year, a bit too cool to have relaxed evenings on a terrace and, while you can find a flight to Athens, it is still a 4 – 8 hour boat trip thereafter to any of the more picturesque islands, it just wasn’t in the cards this time around. So that trip will still happen and with a bit of luck and planning maybe we can have my sister and her boys join.
With Greece out of the running for a place to visit I searched my own list of places I want to visit. The criteria, not too warm or too cold, not too far of a flight considering we are only going for maximum a week, somewhere beautiful and ‘authentic’ meaning I was not interested in staying for a week at an all inclusive resort where you don’t leave the actual hotel premises. While these can be very relaxing, we were looking for a bit more of an experience than just excellent weather and a beach to hang out on. After a bit of googling we quickly decided on Madeira. Already on my list but within a few minutes even after other suggestions it was decided! The flower island, the always spring time island.
I had heard of Madeira wine before, what I thought then was mostly used for cooking. It is a fortified wine on the sweet spectrum of wines although there is quite a variation in sweetness depending on the grape variety and aging duration. I had also heard of Madeira from a song called ” Have Some Madeira, M’dear” the first time hearing this song was a Dutch cover but a bit of an internet search it turns out it was originally in English by Flanders and Swann and has more famously been covered by the Limeliters. Click here to see a hilarious and rather inappropriate video which makes me laugh any time I watch it. Yes, I think I listened to it 50 times before going to the island of Madeira.
On to the trip! Madeira is known for its beautiful flowers and is now known to me for the many, many elderly folk. I personally brought the average age down by a few decades anywhere we went. Which was surprising considering all of the hills to walk up and down. Their main export, aside from Madeira, is bananas. The island is filled with banana and other tropical fruit plantations. Since it is a volcanic island the soil is very fertile and they use terraces to grow pretty much everything. Passionfruit are very well known but in Madeira (honestly I am sure it is not only Madeiran but since I have not seen these fruits anywhere else I can think for now that they are Madeiran) they have banana passionfruit, tomato passionfruit, orange passionfruit and the list goes on. Walking through the tourist market hall you can sample and buy these expensive and odd fruits.
Bananas and passion fruits are combined with many or the local specialities like scabbard fish and banana. Other favorites on the island are meat skewers stews. My favorite meal of the trip was quite a walk uphill from our apartment to a restaurant known for their Madieran (less tourist) food. Stews with beans and rice!
The most notable part of the food experience was the famed Poncha, the local cocktail. Made with sugar cane rum, lemon juice and honey is the classic. Use passion fruit juice or mint or just granulated sugar instead of honey to change it up a bit.
Let’s kick off this new collaboration with a Holiday Meal! I, well I can’t just say I any more now that my awesome sister is with me on this blog, but I guess in this case I can say that we don’t really celebrate easter for the traditional religious aspects of the holiday. Instead it is always a great excuse to prepare a special meal to enjoy with family or friends, which is a fantastic thing to do no matter the season. Here are what our easters looked like:
- Deviled eggs as a canapè
- Spinach, pine nut, feta and dill hummus
- Pea and ricotta dip
- Beet, goats cheese and fig salad
- Low and slow braised lamb and beef ‘stew’
- Spring greens with black ink pasta (Acini de Pepe pasta)
- Ricotta cheesecake with Madeira syrup, blueberries and figs
- Deviled Eggs to start
- Honey & Thyme Gazed Ham
- “Scalloped” Potatoes (this recipe was gluten and dairy free and was surprisingly satisfying)
- Roasted Asparagus
- Dinner Rolls
- Creamcheese Pound Cake with Berries and cream.
Hannah’s menu is a bit more in line with the traditional American easter dinner, but we covered both ham and lamb, spring veggies and the obligatory deviled eggs!
I was recently taken on a surprise weekend away. I didn’t know much ahead of time, in fact the surprise was kept until the gate, the only information I had was that it is about a 2 hour flight and fairly mild summer weather. I boarded the train to North Holland, the super fast intercity that stops in both Schiphol and Amsterdam. Getting out at Schiphol, my travel companion stopped to look at the train times but proceeded to the KLM check-in only to stop half way and pull out an empty duffle bag, meant for me to place my bag in so that it could be checked. We were already checked in for the flight and he already had my boarding pass on his phone, which I could not see. We passed ticket control and up to the KLM lounge for a little over an hour wait. Two glasses of Prosecco later we head for the gate and walk by it twice since boarding hadn’t begun. Finally the suspense was lifted !!!! We are going to Bilboa! As it turns out we take a short hour bus ride from Bilbao to Haro, a tiny town in the heart of Spain’s Rioja wine country. For the next day and a half I spent my time hopping from one wine tasting to the other and spending a bit more money on some wines to take home and share.
The town of Haro is a little town that centers around wine. The wineries and bodegas are mostly concentrated in a single neighborhood close to what used to be a train station, a location quite important for the wine trade at the turn of the century. The train station is no longer used but it is still central to many of the vineyards’ histories. The main grapes grown in this region for red wines are Tempranillo and Grenache.
The wine tour we took was at R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia, the oldest in Haro. They use traditional methods of wine making and aging, allowing the cave to naturally regulate the temperature. We toured caves covered in mold and spiderwebs. They also have an in-house barrel maker which I understand is quite rare as most vineyards order their oak barrels already made.
Haro only wakes up around 10 am with a long siesta from 2 until 6 pm and will have a lovely sound of chatter and wineglass clinking until about 1am. The main streets are filled with bars and restaurants. A glass of crianza wine cost around 1,60€ and a pintxo’s about the same. We filled our day time with wine tastings and the evenings with bar and restaurant hopping.
Two of my favorite dishes were a crispy parcel filled with morcilla (blood pudding) typically made using pork blood and rice.
I don’t really know the name of the pintxo below but it came down to a soft bread like pastry filled with meaty goodness and spicy sweet chili sauce.