Cornmeal fried okra & roasted tomato sauce

I found recipes for fried okra in several Cajun cookbooks. I love okra and I’m always looking for new recipes, so I gave this one a go. It’s quite rich so I’d just serve it as an appetizer, but it’s very nice! Cut your okra’s in half and dredge them through some beaten eggs and through the cornmeal, fry in hot oil until golden brown, and serve with the tomato sauce. Just cut a bunch of tomatoes in half and roast in a hot oven with a couple of cloves of garlic (skin on) for about 45 minutes. Puree the tomatoes with some of the garlic and some parsley, salt and pepper.

Black beans & dry rub ribs

I love making ribs, and this was the first time I made them with a dry rub, rather than a basting sauce. They came out perfectly! For the rub, I toasted some cumin and coriander seeds, and pounded them in a mortar and pestle with some dried red pepper flakes, black pepper corns, cayenne pepper, salt and a bit of sugar. Rub liberally and cook in an oven at about 170 degrees Celcius until done (about 45 minutes to an hour). Make a quick bbq sauce out of the juices from the ribs, some ketchup, a bit of good sherry vinegar (other vinegars or lemon juice might work too) and some of the rub. Adjust to taste and baste!

De Zee – restaurant review

I went on a short vacation to Terschelling, one of the Dutch islands. Not only is it beautiful, but they’ve got some great fish, too. Our favorite restaurant was ‘De Zee’ (the sea), we ate there three nights in a row and we would have done five if they hadn’t been closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The food was perfect, the people sweet and the place very cute. Here’s what we had.

Barely fried tuna in a herb crust – one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I know we’re not supposed to eat tuna anymore, but when it’s prepared like this I have great, great difficulty resisting. The crisp, flavorful crust and that perfect raw tuna inside, oh man… They claimed it was caught responsibly. The most surprising element were the fennel seeds, a very nice touch. Oh and the beans were perfect too.

Of course, when you go to the islands, you have the local specialty: lamb. The lamb and the beets were perfectly done, as were the rosemary potatoes.

The homemade ‘tiramisu’ packed on the summer pounds beautifully.

Scottish pig

In downtown Edinburgh there was a shop the likes of which I’d never seen before. Its tiny window displayed nothing but this single, crisp, roasted beauty of a beast that was slowly being carved up, back to front, for the customers. It was all they served. It was one of most beautiful and disturbing shops I’ve ever seen, absolutely mesmerizing.

Carne de sol

Carne de sol is one of my favorite Brazilian dishes. It’s made from salted, dried beef, cooked with onions and served here with rice, black beans and kale. I have no other words for it except ‘I want to go back, NOW’.

Quick spicy shrimp and noodle soup

An all pantry dinner: a quick stock made from dashi and some soy sauce, sesame oil, spicy sambal, crushed sesame and lime, some dried wakame seaweed, buckwheat noodles, cabbage and frozen shrimp. Very yummy!

Dining in Scotland

The Scottish can’t cook worth a damn, in my experience (and as you can probably tell from those beans) but this steak-and-ale pie was actually great. And what a lovely establishment it was…

Squid with persillade

This was probably the best squid I ever made. Chop your squid into pieces and add them to a mighty hot, oiled pan. Make sure the squid is dry before you toss it in, it will still release a lot of juice. Toss around until golden. You don’t want this process to take longer than a minute or two, or your squid will get tough, so your pan has te be really, really hot. You might have to drain some of the juice while you cook it. When almost done, toss in the persillade for a second and you’re done. Persillade is a bunch of superfinely minced garlic, lots and lots of parsley, and some lemon juice. You can add salt to taste. It’s great with prawns and other seafood as well. DELICIOUS! Eat with crusty white bread or rice.

That’s gross

Who comes up with this text? It’s disgusting!

Gartine – restaurant review

Gartine really doesn’t need another great review, it’s all they get, but I still know a lot of people who have never heard of the place, so I’m giving them one anyway. It’s a tiny French-style lunch room in the middle of downtown Amsterdam (next to Het Spui), and it’s probably my number one, favorite place to eat in this town. The owners are a couple that work the place themselves, and they’re closed two days a week to tend to their garden, where they collect most of the ingredients they work with, some of which are ancient and rare. Everything here is homemade, and everything is delicious. They also have a great selection of teas. Some of the wonderful things I’ve had here over time: grilled onion-Gruyere sandwich, banana-fig smoothie, French toast with pear jam, and an amazing high tea. A lot of their recipes have been written down and published in their cookbook. It’s a gorgeous book, I’ve made their lemon cupcakes from it and they were much, much appreciated. If you’re ever in Amsterdam, go! Just don’t try to get in without calling on afternoons or weekends, as they’re usually booked solid.

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