Malaga, Spain

Vacations are always fantastic and mine was no exception. I took a 2 week break with a good friend to the south of Spain. The first week we spent sightseeing and culture sniffing in Malaga. The second week we spent Glamping in Alhaurín el Grande at the lovely Casa de Leila, more on this later.

We had beautiful weather and plenty of sights to see, Malaga has a rich history. The city facade shows the Roman and Moorish influences and history, To name a few of the sights: the Picasso museum including a visit to the house Picasso was born in. We hiked up the hill to Alczaba and the Castillo de Gilbrafaro which was so worth it not just because of the cultural significance but also for the beautiful view of Malaga and sparkling blue sea. We also spent a day or two just relaxing and hanging out on the beach.  In general I drink only one beer year and the hot sunny beach of Malaga was where I choose to do this.

More importantly we also ate so much wonderful food. Sea food grilled right on the beach, glasses of Cava and of course many many pinchos and tapas.

Malaga foodbog

Malaga also has a wonderful indoor fresh food market. These kind of markets are actually my favorite places to visit while on vacation. I always get to see so many unknown (to me) products. Mostly it is the bustle of a market and ogling the interesting products.

 

market

 

That was week one of the vacation and it was delicious!

Cinema Culinair

I had a really fun food experience not too long ago, cinema culinair. Hosted at Bird in Rotterdam, a Jazz podium and restaurant. The idea is to watch a movie and and eat/drink the same food at the same time as it is shown on screen. They started out as a neighborhood get together, now Bird (tries to) plan this once a month.

I was really curious how this whole thing would work, the food, the timing with the movie. Would we be getting/drinking everything shown in the movie or would they make a choice. How accurate will the food be in comparison to the film?

I got tickets to watch the movie Sideways, set in Napa Valley, California. The original event description did give a few hints at the menu (roughly 4 courses) and 4 half glasses of wine during the film.

We started out with wedding cake, although not quite the same cake since we ended up with a lemon merengue pie and in the film was lemon cake, but the second chocolate cake was then the ‘ same’ as the movie. The second dish was a greasy spoon breakfast, scrambled eggs with french toast and bacon. There after came a pork medallion with potatoes in a wasabi dressing, a soup with cheddar cheese. The next dish was a spareribs with corn bread and red cabbage and finally a very very sad hamburger patty and onion ring.

The breakfast and pork medallions were really very tasty. These were also the more happy moments in the film as well. What I found to be notable was the hamburger patty and inion ring. In that moment of the film it was quite heartbreaking and the food actually reflected this. An overdone hamburger patty with a few cold onion rings and a swig of wine from a paper cup. I am hoping that the ‘bad’ last meal was intentional since it fit very well with the emotion of the film at that moment.

The timing wasn’t perfect but considering they have 40 people to serve just at the right moment must be a challenge. I would almost prefer that they served a few minutes too early so that everyone could eat with in time with the film.

I suppose you could call this the ultimate dinner and a movie combo.

Jasmine Tea Granita

 

IMG_2969

I tested another recipe from the food 52 community contests, an iced tea granita. This was such a simple and delightful summer snack (I am not really sure what to call this since it is more like a frozen drink than a snack) . The original recipe asked for steeped and cooled tea combined with lemon juice and sugar. I usually don’t prefer lemon in my tea but this was not bad. The recipe is really very versatile so I decided to make another couple of batches playing around with the tea flavor. One of my favorites was with jasmine tea (picture). I did omit the lemon juice when making my jasmine tea granita. The recipe gives lot of room to play with the tea flavor.

The jasmine tea granita recipe is only slightly adjusted from the Food52 site.

250 mil steeped jasmine tea

43 grams of sugar

Heat both in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved then let cool until the mixture can be transferred to a dish for freezing. Freeze for 3 hours giving a quick stir to break up the already formed ice crystals, freeze again for another 3 hours or longer. When serving scrape at the frozen mixture and spoon into a glass.

La Chapelle flyer

I mentioned in my post of Antwerpen Proeft that I got my hands on a flyer from La Chapelle. Who knew that a chance to win a table for two at the opening of La Chapelle would get me so excited that I would have multiple dishes for the winning ticket (I can only hope it is a winning ticket).

IMG_2974

(please don’t notice the finger prints, I should have wiped it off a bit more)

In the past few weeks I have baked, roasted, poached and boiled to get to my final entry picture. And here it is…

lachapelle2Roasted baby artichokes, slow roasted pork belly with asparagus and a raspberry tart.

I had a really difficult time deciding on the dish(es) to make. I also made a green tea poached salmon (sadly the pictures for these are really not presentable) and a beet ravioli filled with goats cheese and  sage.

IMG_2881

IMG_2928

While I love the ravioli I just did not like the way the end picture presented next to the raspberry tart and decided I needed a different dish as my main course. Honestly it was not so horrible to have to make another favorite like pork belly.

It goes with out saying that a table at the opening would be awesome, but win or loose I have eaten my way through many of my favorite dishes which is always a win for me.

Lowlands 2012

I  love living in the Netherlands. I could do with a little less rain on occasion but really if you want the green landscape and beautiful flowers you gotta have the rain. What I especially love about the Netherlands is that there is so much to do. I have already mentioned some of the culinary events that take place around the country and hopefully I will be able to share more of these in the future but the cultural and musical events are endless. One of my favorites is Lowlands.  A Camping Flight to Lowlands is a 3 day music festival hosting bands from all genres, stand-up comedy, street theatre, dance performances, and cinema. The festival has about 55,000 visitors.

Lowlands 2012 was hot! (awesome but also hot in temperature). We had the hottest weekend since 1994, between 35 and 40 degrees celsius without a cooling breeze. I used more than a bottle of sunscreen (SPF 70, yes it exists, in fact SPF 110 exists) in those 3 days. While I would have preferred 10 degrees cooler it was a fantastic weekend. Food and music…what more can you ask for (like a proper bed and shower in a hotel room maybe?) How about we settle for a wine bar?! (Once the sun went down I  frequently stopped by here on the way to the next band)

IMG_2119

IMG_2118

I was not particularly focused on getting pictures of food during this weekend but I can certainly tell you about how good the food was for a music festival. Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen had a booth, there was a delicious stall with stone oven baked pizzas, Surnames food, fair trade food booth, pancakes, coffee houses and many many more.

Last but not least a fondue stand.

IMG_2423

They served a creamy leek and dutch cheese fondue. Delicious.

IMG_2415

While enjoying the lovely food I was also able to see several of my favorite bands like The XX, Mark Lanegan Band, Triggerfinger, Hot Chip  and if those names don’t ring any bells how about Foo Fighters closing off the festival. I can’t wait for next year, I was lucky enough to get tickets! They sold out within half an hour of going on sale .

Tomatoes

These beautiful heirloom tomatoes were needed for a recipe that I am testing for someones new cookbook. I am excited to have the opportunity again to help test. Since I can’t share the recipe with you I thought I would show you the gorgeous tomatoes I used.

IMG_0026

 

Antwerpen Proeft 2013: culinary outdoor festival

Let the food festival season begin! It might have already begun but I have visited my first of the season two weekends ago, Antwerpen Proeft! And what a way to start.

A total of 27 restaurants, many with only one or two dishes featured. It was delicious. Making a selection of what to eat was the hard part. Eating what comes below was easy.

‘Painted’ pigs cheeks with quinoa, cucumber, avocado and dashi from Helsen

20130524-142353.jpg

I directly translated the gelakte vakenswang because I thought it was funny to have painted pigs cheeks, I suppose that glazed pigs cheeks would be more appropriate of a translation. It was a very asian inspired dish with a strong presence of soy and salt. I was not expecting this but was really did enjoy it.

 

Fresh cheese, salty salade of asparagus and glasswort, young sea lavender, dried red beef, young herbs and flowers from La Chapelle co-owned by Sergio Herman and Nick Bril

20130516-075504.jpg

From the description of the dish is a little hard to imagine the final outcome but this dish I was not going to pass up. Sergio Herman is a Dutch chef that has been awarded 3 michelin stars for his restaurant Oud Sluis. His most recent project is in collaboration with Nick Bril (head chef of Oud Sluis) is the opening of thier Antwerpse restaurant La Chapelle. You guessed it, the restaurant building is an old chapel.

The dish at Antwerpen Proeft did not disappoint. I don’t even have the words to describe the flavor, the complexity, the subtly of one aspect only to have the most intense flavor of another element. It not only looked beautiful but it tasted so so good.

20130516-075757.jpg

Also exciting is that I managed to score myself one of the limited flyers being handed out. Talking a picture of my favorite homemade dish with the flyer will enter me in to win a table for two at the opening of La Chapelle. Now the tough part is figuring out what to make. I’m thinking something with raspberries.

Croquette of braised oxtail on a salad of mustard leaf, marinated asparagus and puffed quinoa with a dressing from mustard seed and pea mayonnaise from ‘T Leeuwekopke.

20130524-142505.jpg

20130524-142521.jpg

As you can see this looked wonderful and a neat idea to give the braised meat a bit of a crunch by creating a crust. I did not find the crust to really add a whole lot to the overall dish. I think it also made the meat a bit dry still I can’t complain about this one. What is not to love about braised meat.

 

Fries of sole with truffle mayonnaise from Haute Cookure

20130524-142635.jpg

This sounded nicer than it turned out. Really all it was was fried fish fingers and the flavor of the fried fish overpowered the truffle mayo. Eh I cant say that it was bad to eat but after having a few of the other beautiful dishes above it just couldn’t compare. Also this is the point in the festival where we had a bit of wind and rain luckily for us it only lasted for the fish fingers and we could happily go further with only the threat of more rain to come for the rest of the afternoon.

 

Slow cooked Berkshire pork belly with a croquette of pigs head, marinated carrots and a cream of baby carrots and a sorbet of pickles from 12, Place du Marche

20130524-142728.jpg

This was quite the interesting description and I do love pork belly so this had to be on my list to try. To my disappointment this was probably my least favorite dish of the afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, the pork belly was delicious the rest was difficult to wrap my head around. The carrots were a bit bland, the pigs head croquette filling was a bit runny, and the picked sorbet was made into the shape of a pigs head, which was a bit disturbing and the pickles were not really necessary for the flavor of the pork belly.

Pickled Scottish salmon with asparagus, mustard ice cream, a blini of sweet potato, soya gel, and a poached quail egg from Mijn Keuken

20130524-142816.jpg

It was a piece of art. Not only did it look gorgeous on the plate but the flavors beautifully balanced and the little surprises of each ingredient. I fell in love with the blini and mustard ice cream and the soy gel and and the salmon and well just about everything on this plate.

 

 

Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar

I recently joined the Food52 food community. A great food site offering recipes, recipe contests and forums. The recipe contests also include recipe testing from the members. Last week I tested two from vinegar contest. I wanted to have a testing theme so I chose two recipes that included strawberries and balsamic vinegar.

Strawberry Balsamic Curd

 

20130510-204047.jpg
This has a lovely tang of to compliment the sweet strawberries. You can put it on anything or eat it by the spoonful.

 

Strawberry Balsamic Shrub Syrup

 

20130510-204317.jpg
When making this recipe I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel about the cup of balsamic vinegar going into the syrup. It turned out quite nice. First a sweet strawberry flavor finished by the acidity of the balsamic vinegar was very refreshing.

I am not sure if I could spend the whole afternoon drinking this but I think it is a nice idea for an afternoon picnic.

Queensday

Orange. This is all you really need to know about Queensday. The Dutch national holiday celebrating the queen and royal family is all about the orange. This year, the queen announced that she will be handing the crown to her son. From now on we will have Kingsday. The inauguration of the king made this Queensday extra special, so special that grocery stores and brands created products just for this momentous occasion.

Anyone want to make a pot kings soup? A box of only orange ingredients like carrots, orange paprika and an orange , including a recipe to make this orange soup.

Kings soup

How about a kings burger? hamburger with an orange crust

Kings burger

One of my favorites was the kings cream puffs covered in orange with eyes and a crown on top.

Kings cream puff

Even my beloved Delicious magazine was in full orange. Ok, I bought orange flowers too.

orange flowers