Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Coconut Frappuccino

This is a delicious summer drink. I know we're not quite there yet, but a sunny day in spring is good enough for me right now :-)

Coconut Frappuccino (2 servings)

1 double espresso (or 1 cup very strong coffee)
Whatever sweetener you prever: the equivalent of 3 tsp sugar (or to taste of course, I like mine quite sweet)
1 cup (200 ml) unsweetened coconut milk

Handfull of ice cubes

Put all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, with a couple of ice cubes and shake for half a minute. Pour over (crushed) ice in a glass and enjoy. The ice in the shaker instantly chills the drink (so you don't have to wait until your coffee has cooled down).

If you don't own a cocktail shaker, you can put the ingredients in a blender, but make sure that your blender is capable of crushing ice cubes. If it isn't, you have to chill the espresso or coffee before you mix it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Vegetables in coconut-rum sauce

After a long, dark and cold winter, I welcome spring this year more than ever. We're not quite there yet in this part of the world, but when I woke up this morning to a bright and sunny day, I suddenly felt all happy and summery. And I wanted dinner that matched that feeling.

This recipe fits that summery feeling very well. It's spicy and sweet, with the freshness of lime juice, the creaminess of the coconut and the kick of a drop of rum. Don't let the long list of ingredients fool you. It's easy to make, and it's a really sunny dish!

Vegetables in coconut-rum sauce (serves 2)

14 oz (400 gr) sweet potato, in cubes
10 oz (300 gr) carrots, sliced
3 oz (100 gr) green beans, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
3 oz (100 gr) peas
1 oz (30 gr) raisins
1 large banana
1 onion
1 small chili pepper, deseeded
2 inch (5 cm) piece of ginger root
3 cloves garlic
1 1/5 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cloves powder
1 tsp turmeric
6.5 oz (200 ml) coconut milk
3/4 cup (180 ml) water
2 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp rum (dark or light)

In a foodprocessor puree the ginger, garlic, chili pepper and onion. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or wok, and fry the onion puree for a minute on high heat. Add the vegetables and the water and mix well. Turn the heat to low-medium and add the salt and the spices. Finaly, add the coconut milk, lime juice, raisins and rum and mix well. Turn heat to low and let it simmer for about twenty minutes, or until the sweet potato and carrots are soft (but not mushy) and the sauce has thickened a little.

When the vegetables are almost cooked (after about fifteen minutes), heat a little oil in a skillet. Peel the banana, cut into slices and fry on high heat for a minute. Flip the slices and fry on medium heat for another minute or three, until the slices are caramelized and a little crispy on the outside.

Serve the vegetables topped with the fried banana slices. We ate this over some brown rice and with a simple green salad on the side.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Pebre", Chilean salsa with cilantro

One of my best friends is Chilean. I met her when I was fifteen and for over a year I spend a lot of time at her place. Of course because she was my friend, but the fact that her mum made great food was a huge bonus. The amount of beef empanadas we ate must have been huge. And with that stack of empanadas, were the bowls of pebre. How I loved that salsa! At my friends house, it was usually made with a mild variety of chili pepper, so it was never a problem to bury your food underneath a pile of the pebre. One time they had a barbecue and I was piling the pebre on top of a piece of baguette, as usual, when it turned out that not my friends mum, but a friend of hers had made the pebre. She hadn't used mild peppers, but brutally hot scotsch bonnets. My gluttony was severely punished, and it took me an hour to recover from the burning sensation in my mouth.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Asian inspired green bean salad with coconut

Because of all the hard work I had to put in to obtain fresh coconut meat, I didn't want to put it in a blender to make coconut milk. Maybe some other time, but not today. I wanted to fully enjoy the coconut flavor and I wanted it to be still recognizable in the dish as coconut, not as a flaky or milky substance, like I was used to.

Victory is mine!

Never in my adult life have I bought a whole coconut. I remember my mother occasionally bringing home a coconut and then my dad had to open it with al kinds of tools (or maybe it was just one tool, I can't remember clearly, but it definitely looked like a lot of work). I guess that intimidated me a little into thinking that opening coconuts was a lot of work. Or at least required a lot of muscle (I also believed my dad was very, very strong) or tools.

Last week my eye suddenly caught a coconut in the supermarket. Of course they sell them since forever, but my intimidated-by-whole coconuts-mind probably just never really registered them. I would just buy canned coconut milk or desiccated coconut, but never a whole coconut. But this time it was different. I decided there and then, in the supermarket, at the fruit and vegetable section, I was going to buy this coconut and I would conquer this ancient and childish fear of cracking that nut!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Amazing carrot and cabbage salad with apple

This is a ridiculously tasty salad! Nice and crunchy, with the freshness of the apple and sweetness of the raisins. Try this and you will not be disappointed (unless you really don't like cabbage, or carrots....or apple).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jerusalem artichoke soup

For a while now I've been intrigued by Jerusalem artichokes. I have seen them lying around, but never got around to buying them. Last week I decided that I no longer would want to be intimidated by these little roots, and decided to buy 2 pounds. And then, of course, I started wondering...how can I cook them to perfection.

So I went on the internet and started snooping around for recipes. I learned that Jerusalem artichokes' (according to Wikipedia, also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambur) best friends are thyme and smoke. I decided to transfer my artichokes into a creamy soup. So this recipe is the result of my first experiment with these tubers. It has a soft flavor, which is hard to describe. I loved it, the boyfriend was not so much in love (but he doesn't like tofu either, so who are you going to believe?). So if you can get a hold of these tubers, you might want to give this soup a chance.