Filed under 1. Antipasti (appetizers)

Croquetas de Jamón (Iberico Ham Croquettes)

Croquetas de Jamón (Iberico Ham Croquettes)

Spain is very proud of its jamón iberico, and rightly so. The cured ham is made from a special breed of pig (known simply as iberico in Spain, but abroad often called pata negra because of the black hooves) and the best quality is fed with acorns (bellota). Jamón iberico isn’t cheap,  so when you … Continue reading

Sea Bass Ceviche with Avocado

Sea Bass Ceviche with Avocado

It is always a treat when friends cooks for me. This simple but tasty dish is based on an appetizer that our friends Merel and Barthold served at a dinner party at their house. As usual with simple recipes, it all comes down to the best quality ingredients and good technique. Ceviche is a latin … Continue reading

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

“Bravo” is a Spanish word that can mean brave (as in courageous), but also wild, rough, or spirited, as in the name of the rough coastline near Barcelona (Costa Brava). And so Patatas Bravas could literally be translated as potatoes with spirit. This tapas dish of spicy potatoes is very popular, and there are many versions. The … Continue reading

Smoked Sardines (Sardinas Ahumadas)

Smoked Sardines (Sardinas Ahumadas)

In Spain we visited the city of Logroño, which is in the Rioja wine region but also famous for its tapas scene. One of my favorite tapas I tried there was smoked sardines (served on toast with roasted bell pepper). It turns out that it is pretty simple and quick to smoke sardines at home, and … Continue reading

Croquetas de Setas (Mushroom Croquettes)

Croquetas de Setas (Mushroom Croquettes)

During our trip to Spain last fall we gorged ourselves on researched many different types of tapas. One very popular kind of tapas that you see everywhere is croquettes with various fillings. They are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside and a great way to finish leftovers: simply mix with some béchamel … Continue reading

Roasted Artichokes (Carciofi al Forno)

Roasted Artichokes (Carciofi al Forno)

I don’t prepare artichokes very often, because they are usually too expensive for what will be left after you clean them. This is what I commented when Jo of Frascati Cooking That’s Amore recently blogged about a recipe from Lombardia for oven-roasted artichokes with parmigiano, breadcrumbs, and mint. Lo and behold, just a few days … Continue reading

Leek and Squash Tart

Leek and Squash Tart

When Paola presented this savory tart on her blog she suggested to make this quickly before Spring arrives, as this leek and squash tart is more suitable for Winter. I was intrigued by the combination of leeks and squash, as well as poppyseed, and so I followed her advice and prepared it right away. It … Continue reading

Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup (Albóndigas de Camarón)

Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup (Albóndigas de Camarón)

Following other blogs is a great way to discover new recipes. I saw a Mexican shrimp meatball soup on my blogging buddy’s Kathryn’s blog, Anotherfoodieblogger. Regular albóndigas from Spain are meatballs cooked in tomato sauce, but these shrimp balls are cooked in something that is more like a tomato soup. You should buy shrimp with heads and shells for … Continue reading

Celeriac Three Ways with Smoked Eel Ravioli

Celeriac Three Ways with Smoked Eel Ravioli

Celeriac and smoked eel work very well together, and I’ve posted recipes using them before. This time, I added hazelnuts to the mix and created a restaurant style appetizer. The celeriac is prepared in three ways: as a very smooth creamy puree, smoked cubes, and as a crispy chip. The smoked eel is used to … Continue reading

Crispy Egg with Smoked Eel (Failed Experiment)

Crispy Egg with Smoked Eel (Failed Experiment)

After the positive reactions to the report of my failure trying to make oyster sauce from fresh oysters, here is another experiment that didn’t turn out so well. The photo above is the “crispy egg” we got served for breakfast at Librije last December. It was amazing: a light and very crispy crust with a … Continue reading

Pimientos de Padrón

Pimientos de Padrón

Pimientos de Padrón are green chilli peppers from Spain that are usually mild, but sometimes one of them can be very hot. They are very tasty, a bit like green bell pepper but better. To prepare them, you only need neutral oil with a high smoke point such as grapeseed oil. Then serve them with … Continue reading

Caramelized Fennel and Gorgonzola Tartlets

Caramelized Fennel and Gorgonzola Tartlets

Sandra always publishes tasty recipes on her blog Please Pass The Recipe. Recently, her blue cheese tart with caramelized fennel caught my attention. I had never thought of combining caramelized fennel with blue cheese, but I love both of them and immediately understood the combination would be a winner. For a dinner party I made … Continue reading

Crispy Chili Balls (Chili Bitterballen)

Crispy Chili Balls (Chili Bitterballen)

Some Dutch words are difficult to translate. Two important ones are gezellig and borrel. “Gezellig” means having a good time together with other people. It can be used as an adjective, as in “gezellige avond” (avond = evening), or as an adverb: “het is erg gezellig” (it is very gezellig). A “borrel” is getting together to have … Continue reading

Shrimp, Pumpkin, and Almonds

Shrimp, Pumpkin, and Almonds

I always like it when I get requests for a dinner party, because it makes it easier to choose what to make. In this case, the request was something with shrimp and garlic. Because of the season I looked for autumn flavors that would work well with shrimp and garlic. As shrimp are earthy and … Continue reading

Bacon-Wrapped Scallop with Pumpkin

Bacon-Wrapped Scallop with Pumpkin

This a great appetizer for a dinner party, because it is delicious, looks great, and is quite easy to prepare. Only a few ingredients are needed to make a fantastic dish. Scallops and bacon are friends, so bacon-wrapped scallops are a classic. The trick is to cook them such that the bacon is slightly crispy … Continue reading

Hummus

Hummus

Hummus, also spelled as houmous, is a middle eastern dip made from cooked chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Chickpeas are high in protein and hummus is great when used as a dip for raw vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, or celery. Hummus is easy to make … Continue reading

Roasted Beets, Mackerel, Balsamic

Roasted Beets, Mackerel, Balsamic

The best dishes are those that use only a few ingredients. In this case: beets, mackerel, and balsamic vinegar (plus salt, pepper, and olive oil). It is a versatile dish: you could serve it lukewarm or at room temperature as a salad for lunch, or in a smaller portion as an appetizer, or as a … Continue reading

Vichyssoise (Cold Potato & Leek Soup)

Vichyssoise (Cold Potato & Leek Soup)

Stéphane of MyFrenchHeaven.com wrote so enthusiastically about Vichyssoise, which is a cold potato and leek soup, that I wanted to give it a try. I prepared it according to his recipe, and the result was a very elegant refreshing soup. The best recipes are usually the simple ones with only a few ingredients, and this … Continue reading

Fish and Parsnip Balls with Tarragon

Fish and Parsnip Balls with Tarragon

I had some left-over remoulade sauce in my fridge, along with some parsnips that needed to be used. And so I decided to buy some fish fillet and make these fish and parsnip balls. The reasoning behind it was that there is tarragon in the remoulade sauce (as well as the similar chervil) and that … Continue reading

White Asparagus and Goat Cheese Soup

White Asparagus and Goat Cheese Soup

This elegant and delicious appetizer is ridiculously simple. It requires only two ingredients (if you don’t count water, salt and pepper,  and the parsley that I used for garnish) and not much skill to prepare. Due to some relatively warm weather we’ve had in January (now it is cold), asparagus are very early this year. I hadn’t … Continue reading

Cold Smoked Halibut

Cold Smoked Halibut

Cold smoking is a technique that preserves food (and gives it a wonderful smoky flavor and aroma) just by smoke, without heat. To get a really nice smoky aroma, it is best to cold smoke for 24 hours. This means that it is best to do this in winter, when the outside temperature (where I … Continue reading

Whiskey Cold Smoked Salmon with Salsify

Whiskey Cold Smoked Salmon with Salsify

If you haven’t decided yet what your appetizer will be for Christmas dinner, this just may be it. You still have time to cure and smoke the salmon. Or you could cheat and buy the smoked salmon, but make sure it is artisan quality. This dish started when Conor gave me a bottle of Irish … Continue reading

Vitello Tonnato Extremely Sous-Vide

Vitello Tonnato Extremely Sous-Vide

Vitello tonnato is one of my favorite dishes. The combination of slices of tender veal with a tuna sauce is surprisingly delicious. I’ve posted a sous-vide version of Vitello Tonnato before, but in that version only the veal was cooked sous-vide. This can be taken a step further, by cooking the tuna and the eggs … Continue reading

Shrimp with Almonds and Onions

Shrimp with Almonds and Onions

Shrimp with almonds and onions is a simple but very tasty appetizer that was inspired by something we tried in Croatia. It reminded me a bit of a preparation from Venice called ‘in Saor‘, but this is even more simple. The combination of the sweet earthy shrimp with the sweet onions and earthy almonds works … Continue reading

Thai Shrimp Cake (Tod Mun Goong)

Thai Shrimp Cake (Tod Mun Goong)

Miranti’s blog The High Heel Gourmet is an excellent source for learning how to prepare authentic Thai food. Every recipe I’ve tried from her has been a success, and without ever having set foot in Thailand I somehow feel comfortable about the authenticity of the Thai dishes that I prepare guided by Miranti. There is … Continue reading

Grilled Marinated Jumbo Shrimp

Grilled Marinated Jumbo Shrimp

On the Italian foodie blogs I follow, everyone is turning over to cold food because of the hot weather. When we have hot weather here we still eat hot food — we just prepare it outside on the grill (which we call barbecue). This is to celebrate having hot weather, which doesn’t happen too often. … Continue reading