Monday, 30 September 2013

{Day 30/365} Magazines and tea

Today has been a very busy day, so to relax I will do nothing else but drinking tea and reading magazines. 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

{Day 29/365} Pears

I might have mentioned before that my mum has a great garden with several trees in it. Earlier, I robbed her form the majority of the apples from those trees, and now it was about time that I went outside with my gorgeous colander (which once belonged to my grandma) to pick some pears. Here's the result: 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

{Day 28/365} Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread

Today, me and the mr. went to the local market to get some vegetables for the weekend. I got a lot of tomatoes (we're talking kilos) for tomato soup (recipe will be up in the next two weeks), which I wanted to make because I needed something to go with the garlic parmesan pull-apart bread. Ha. Here's the recipe (from the lovely blog Pastry Affair):

For one loaf you will need:
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 330 mL barely warm water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 420 gr all purpose (or bread) flour
- 60 gr butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 25 gr freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or more!)

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast and water. Let sit 5 minutes until yeast is foamy.
2. Mix in the olive oil, salt, and flour. If you have a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, or until elastic. If you are doing this by hand, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is elastic, 7-10 minutes. 
3. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough is doubled in size.
4. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, parsley flakes, and minced garlic. Set aside. 
5. Punch down the dough. Tear off small pieces of dough (roughly the size of the bowl of a medium spoon), coat in the butter mixture, and place in the bottom of a bundt pan. Repeat this process until you have one layer of dough balls. 
6. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese. Continue layering the dough balls and cheese until you have 3 layers. 
7. Cover the pan with a clean towel and allow to sit until dough has doubled in size, 20-30 minutes. 
8. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius.
9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Serve hot with a side of marinara or tomato sauce.

Friday, 27 September 2013

{Day 27/365} Foggy mornings

This morning I had to catch an early bus to go to work and from my kitchen I could see a great (foggy) sunrise. The sunrise from the bus (highway) was even more beautiful, with the fog clearly visible around this little lake:

Thursday, 26 September 2013

{Day 26/365} A new -vintage- love

On an online flea market I have found this gorgeous enamel tea pot. I love it. Definitely the delight of the day!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

{Day 25/365} Pumpkins

Today, after my exam, I was on my way to see my sister in law, and I stumbled across a lovely biological farmers market. It was a teeny tiny market (run by internationals, to my surprise), but they had lots of vegetables which would make a perfect dinner. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to buy anything, but next time I see them I will definitely buy one of these amazing pumpkins, to make - at least! - one of the amazing pumpkin recipes I found online. For example this recipe for an amazing version of pumpkin bread. But I was also thinking about pumpkin soup, for example this recipe

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

{Day 24/365} Salted Caramel Bundt Cake

Today is - unfortunately, again - all about studying, since I have the midterm exam tomorrow. During my midday break, I have made a salted caramel bunt cake, the recipe of which I found at a wonderful food blog called Baking in Pyjamas. I had some caramel syrup left from last week's apple galette (see last Wednesday's post for the recipe), so the timing couldn't have been better. 

For one bundt you will need: 

- 145 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
- 240 grams self raising flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of (maldon) salt
- 240 grams caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 180 mL salted caramel syrup (recipe)
- 250 mL milk

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease the bundt tin and set to one side.
2. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and the salt. Set aside.
3. In a seperate bowl, mix the butter and sugar and mix until it is a smooth, fluffy, creamy mixture.
4. Crack the eggs one at a time into the same bowl as the butter/sugar mixture and mix them until well incorporated. Do the same with the vanilla extract.
5. With the mixer in low-speed, steadily pour in the salted caramel syrup and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
6. With the mixer in medium speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture mixing until just incorporated, then add 1/2 the milk mixing until just incorporated and continue to do this until everything has been thoroughly incorporated. 
7. Scrape the batter into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for about 45-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Laura from Baking in Pyjamas indicated that she used the recipe from Cake Simple by Christie Matheson.

Monday, 23 September 2013

{Day 23/365} Drawing

Next Wednesday I have a midterm exam, so I have to study a LOT. But during the study breaks I try to do something relaxing, and today I tried to draw. To be honest, I really can't draw. But I want to learn how to, so for a while I stared at a digital copy of an amazing tutorial guide for beginners. You can find some nice pages form (and a link to) the book on my special drawing board on Pinterest

Sunday, 22 September 2013

{Day 22/365} A walk on the beach

While I was writing about the first signs of autumn, yesterday.. Today it felt like spring or summer again. The weather today has been perfect for a walk on the beach with the mr. and so we did. During the walk I have been playing with reflections and the beach was just too perfect to skip the photography part.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

{Day 21/365} Autumn, baby!

Today I was trying to study, but unfortunately I wasn't very successful. To clear my mind, I went outside for a walk and I saw these real signs of autumn. I love the colors!

Friday, 20 September 2013

{Day 20/365} Dinner date

I've had way too many delights today. First of all, the mr came to pick me up from the harbour with a different kind of boat than the normal ferry. Usually it takes about two hours to get to the island where he lives (Terschelling, The Netherlands), but this time it took only 30 minutes:

Next, I saw some gorgeous cloudy skies, which I enjoyed enormously:

Once on the island, he took me out to dinner and I loved the decoration at the place (the dinner was amazing too!):

The restaurant is called "De Zee", or "The Sea" in English, so they had all kinds of sea-related decoration items:

I would literally use this in my future home if I could. I loved it. Perfect day. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

{Day 19/365} The mere thought..

Today I was sorting my iPhone pictures and I found this shot. It was taken during a bikeride with my boyfriend, on the island where he lives. It was the perfect way to close an amazing night out. The mere thought of this home away from home makes me smile.

PS the island is called Terschelling. It is situated north of The Netherlands. A must-visited when you're in Europe, if you ask me. 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

{Day 18/365} Apple galette with caramel

Last week I collected the last bunch of apples from my mum's apple tree, and I just had to do something with them. So I searched for a recipe with apple (so many!) and I found a rather simple recipe for a galette with apple and caramel on a blog called Life's a Feast. Yum! The light (or: the lack of light) was the cause of the worse quality of the picture. Tomorrow I'll come with a better one. But for now:
For this apple galette you will need: 

For the Sweet Almond Pastry Crust:
150 gr cups flour
50 gr cup sugar
50 gr finely ground almonds
50 gr unsalted (vegetable) butter, cool
3-5 tbs cold water

For the Apple Galette Filling:
3-4 apples, peeled, cored and cubed
1-2 tbs flour
2-3 tbs sugar
Scant ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Dash ground nutmeg

Cream for brushing the pastry; sugar for dusting crust.

For the Salted Butter Caramel Sauce (Caramel au Beurre Salé):
1 cup (200 g) granulated white sugar
3 ½ Tbs (50 g) salted butter
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream

Prepare the Pastry Crust:

1. Place the flour, sugar and ground almonds in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. 
2. Add the butter in cubes; toss to coat the cubes. Using only your thumbs and fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the consistency of damp sand and all of the butter has been incorporated. 
3. Using a fork, vigorously stir in 3 tablespoons of the cold water; adding the remaining water a tablespoon at a time until all of the dry ingredients are damp and pull together into a ball. 
4. Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead briefly and gently, adding a bit of flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. 
5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill while preparing the filling.
6. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.

Prepare the Apple Filling:

7. Peel and core the apples and cut into cubes. Place the apple cubes in a bowl and toss with the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  

Prepare the Galette:
8. Remove the Sweet Pastry Crust from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. 
9. Place the ball of dough on a floured work surface and gently roll out into a 12-inch diameter circle. Carefully roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Pile the prepared apple cubes in the center of the pastry circle and spread out to distribute evenly, leaving about 2 - 3 inches of dough free all around the outside edge of the circle, enough to lift up as a border to hold the apples in place.
10. Begin lifting the edge of the circle of dough up and place against the apples. Lifting the dough up about 3 inches at a time and moving around the galette, the dough “flaps” will overlap. 
11. Brush the folds of dough where they overlap with a little of the cream and “glue” down, pressing in place gently. Continue all around the galette. Brush the crust all over with cream and dust with sugar.  
12. Bake the galette in the preheated oven for about an hour or until the crust is a nice golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool before slicing and serving.

Prepare the caramel:
13. Melt the sugar in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until completely melted and caramel in color. 
14. Lower the heat to low and whisk in the butter in about 3 or 4 additions. 
15. Continuing to whisk, add the heavy cream in a slow stream; the caramel may foam up, but keep whisking, as it will calm down once all the cream is added and will turn to… a smooth caramel. Once it is smooth and creamy, remove from the heat and allow to cool at least to tepid before serving.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

{Day 17/365} Cutest house on the block

This morning, on my way from the university to the city centre, I spotted this amazing red house. Definitely the cutest one on the block. A little bit of the countryside, in the city. I love it. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

{Day 16/365} Lasagne from scratch

I love making a natural, clean dinner, and tonight I've made lasagne from scratch. I have used a recipe from the food blog What Katie Ate, which you have to check out as soon as possible if you do not know it. It is amazing. This lasagne contains so many ingredients that I love; zucchini, red wine, old Italian cheese, basil, and so on. Try it, and enjoy!

For 4-6 servings you will need: 

Tomato meat filling:
  • Light olive oil for cooking
  • 2 zucchini, cut lengthways into very thin strips
  • 1-2 plump garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small brown onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 sticks celery, finely diced (I did not use this)
  • 4-6 slices round thinly cut pancetta, cut into small pieces
  • 500 gr ground beef
  • 80 ml cup milk
  • 600 gr chopped tomatoes (form tin)
  • 50 gr cup tomato paste
  • 1.5 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
  • Good pinch chilli flakes
  • 5 large basil leaves, roughly torn
  • Small handful fresh oregano leaves (I used dried oregano)
  • 250 mL red wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Béchamel sauce:
75 gr butter
  • 50 gr plain (or pasta 00) flour
  • 500-600 mL milk
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 80-90 gr Parmesan cheese, grated (I used Pecorino, delicious)

Fresh pasta (I used dried pasta):
  • 6 free-range medium-sized eggs
  • 600g pasta 00 flour
  • Splash olive oil

  • 1. Spray a non-stick griddle pan or frying pan and a little olive oil, chargrill the zucchini until browned on both sides, remove strips and rest on paper towel then gather up all strips and chop finely. Set aside.
  • 2. Add 1 teaspoon or two of olive oil into a large non-stick pot and warm over medium heat, add the pancetta then fry for a further 4-5 minutes until browned, remove from the pot and allow to drain of excess oil on paper towel.
  • 3. Pour a further tablespoon of olive into the same pot, add the chopped onion and minced garlic, cook, stirring often for 4-5 minutes until onion is softened –  taking care not to let the garlic burn – toss in the celery and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes or until slightly softened.
  • 4. Add the ground beef to the pot along with the milk and fry over medium-heat for 10-12 minutes or until browned through. Add in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic, chilli flakes, cooked pancetta, herbs and red wine, stir then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer sauce over low-medium heat for 1 hour, stirring often.
  • 5. To make the béchamel sauce, add the butter to a pan and melt over low-medium heat, add the flour and beat together with a wooden spoon to form a thick paste (it will clump together ~ this is fine), cook stirring often for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the milk 100ml at a time whisking constantly and firmly as you go until you achieve a smooth, lump-free sauce. Add the nutmeg and cheese and stir to combine. You can beat in a little extra milk if you like to keep the sauce smooth and velvety. Cover pot and remove from heat. Set aside until required.
  • 5. Preheat oven to 180˚C.
  • 6. To make the fresh pasta, sift flour into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre into which you add 5 full eggs, 1 egg yolk and the splash of olive oil. Using clean hands, combine the flour and eggs, incorporating the flour into the eggs and oil. Do this until you have a dough. Turn out onto a clean and floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes until you achieve a silky dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Note: you can make the pasta in a food processor if you prefer.
  • 7. Using a pasta maker, roll out the pasta dough in batches starting from the thickest setting and finishing on the second thinnest. Be careful not to make the pasta too thin. If you are using a Kitchen Aid roller attachment, setting 5 will produce the best reults for flat sheets, if you’re using a handroller, the 2nd last setting will normally be fine. Lie sheets in a floured surface and cut into lengths suitable to fit your baking dish. Note: the dish I used to make this lasagne measured: 26cm x 38cm x 6cm*. Allow sheets to dry for 20 minutes.
  • 8. Half-fill 2 large pots with water, set one beside your cook top and the other on top of your cooker, the latter into which you add a good pinch of salt and a small glug of olive oil. Bring to the boil over high heat. Add the pasta sheets in batches, cook for 3-4 minutes then plunge each sheet into the cold water in the second pot. Allow sheets to rest in-between clean tea-towels as you cook the remainder of the pasta.
  • 9. To assemble the lasagne, spoon some of the tomato meat sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and spread out, scatter a little of the zucchini on top then add some of the béchamel and carefully spread out evenly, top with sheets of the par-cooked pasta, then repeat with process layering meat sauce/zucchini/béchamel/pasta until you fill the dish. Top the last layer of pasta with the remaining béchamel sauce and cover the liberally with grated parmesan cheese.
  • 10. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Serve hot with a green salad.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

{Day 15/365} Washi tape journal

This month I am participating in a journal swap on Swap-bot, and tonight (after studying today) I prepared my outgoing journal. As you can see, I used a lot of washi tape, which I usually get from a lovely Danish store called Søstrene Grene. Follow them on Pinterest for a lot of DIY inspiration. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

{Day 14/365} Vintage books

Recently I developed an interest in gardens, plants, herbs, flowers, etc. Not because I've got this amazing garden, unfortunately I just have a small balcony. It's just that I have the hope that one day, I will have a beautiful house, with an amazing garden. For now, I just extend my collection of these vintage books and enjoy the gorgeous drawings in the books. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

{Day 13/365} Mum's birthday

Today it's my mum's birthday today and we're celebrating it with the family. Congratulations mum!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

{Day 12/365} A late start of the day

I like to start my day off right (and slow!), and having my first class at 11 o'clock instead of 9 is just perfect if you ask me. This morning: freshly squeezed orange juice, and soy yoghurt with homemade chocolate granola (recipe) and banana.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

{Day 11/365) Houseboats

Groningen's city centre is surrounded by canals, which are basically the lots for some amazing houseboats. Sometimes I take a better look at them, and I had to giggle when I saw this one, which has a serious relax situation going on outside.

Houseboats are pretty common in the Netherlands, they have been part of the Dutch townscape for centuries (17th century), and in Groningen we even had an election of the prettiest houseboat. You can check the contestants out on this website. I have the idea that houseboats have been gaining popularity lately, seen the fact that even students like to rent rooms in this extraordinary type of accommodation.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

{Day 10/365} Fresh mint tea

Oh, I love it so! And it's healthy too; they say you stay alert because of its cool and fresh flavor. I certainly hope that works for me too, seen the fact that I'm doing nothing but reading articles on international labour law today. Other health benefits of fresh mint tea are said to be the following: soothes an upset stomach, it helps you fight off a cold, and it may even relieve a bad breath (source). 

Monday, 9 September 2013

{Day 9/365} Apple-fig tarts

This weekend I bought a fig (yes, just one) at the local market. I bought only one because I never had figs and I wanted to know what it tastes like. To no one's surprise, I decided to bake and use that one fig. I did my research well and I found that the taste of figs combines well with, apples, honey, almonds and vanilla, for example. So there's my exact list of ingredients for the filling of the tarts I made. The recipe can be found below.

For six tarts you will need: 

- 180 grams flour
- 45 grams sugar
- 90 grams cold (vegetable) butter
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- pinch of salt

- 3 figs
- 2 apples
- 45 grams of almonds
- 1 vanilla pod
- 4 tbsp honey

1. Preheat oven (175 degrees Celcius)
2. Mix flour, butter, sugar, two thirds of the beaten egg and a pinch of salt and knead with hands until an even dough forms. Wrap in plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes in the fridge. 
3. Roast almonds in preheated oven for about 5 minutes. Take out and let them cool down. Now, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius. 
4. Mix apples (diced), seeds of vanilla pod, chopped almonds (chopped) and 3 tbsp of honey.
5. After a 30 minute rest, take out crust dough. Fill the 6 tins with crust dough. 
6. Spread the apple mixture evenly over the dough. 
7. Arrange two quarters of a fig on each tart and drizzle a little honey over each tart.
8. Bake for about 30 minutes on 200 degrees Celcius.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

{Day 8/365} Symphoricarpos albus

For me, this weekend is all about reading articles and other study-related things. To make everything a bit more pleasant for myself, I went outside for a short walk around the block, after finishing a presentation. It had just rained for a couple of hours, so everything looked like this snowberry plant (symphoricarpos albus) I saw during my walk. I think it looks amazing.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

{Day 7/365} Home made chocolate granola

Today I complete my first week of project 365, hooray! It was a great first week. My delight of today is most definitely the taste of the homemade chocolate granola I made yesterday. A couple of days ago I found this recipe on Aleksandra's lovely blog Eat Me!, which is certainly worth a visit.

For a big jar of granola you will need:

- 300 gr rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
- a handful dried cranberries
- a handful chopped walnuts (I used hazelnuts instead)
- a handful of almond flakes
- 2 tablespoons honey (or the sweatener of your choice)

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celcius
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss well. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread evenly the mixture on it. I used a baking tray because of the size of my oven, that works too.
3. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Pop in every five to ten minutes to toss the granola and watch not to burn it. 

That's all there is! It's one of the simplest recipes I have ever seen, and one of the most delicious, too. Try this, and you know why home made goods easily beat supermarket bought goods. Enjoy this breakfast with (soy) milk or yoghurt, and fresh fruit.

Friday, 6 September 2013

{Day 6/365} Banana-avocado bread

Last week I was stuck with two very ripe bananas and avocados and I found a delicious recipe for banana-avocado bread on a food blog called A Little Yum, via May Richer Fuller Be. I adjusted the recipe just a little bit, and I'd cut out the majority of the sugar next time. 

For approximately 15 slices you will need:
- 150 gr sugar
- 60 gr softened vegetable butter
- Half an avocado (I used the entire avocado)
- 240 gr flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 very ripe bananas (I used two)
- 3 tablespoons milk

1. Cream together sugar, butter and avocado.
2. Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt until well mixed.
4. Fold together the butter and flour mixture until well incorporated.
5. Mash the bananas. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk.
6. Bake at about 175 degrees Celcius for one hour or until the top springs back when you press it.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

{Day 5/365} Marigold

The day before yesterday a package from Maine, USA arrived. It was a blind surprise swap, and the biggest surprise were the dried marigold flowers/seeds from my partner's own garden. Recently, I started collecting flower seeds for a future garden, so I was beyond happy with the marigold seeds. Can't wait until the day I have my dream house with enormous dream garden full of lovely flowers. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

{Day 4/365} A good morning

This morning's sunrise was a beauty and I enjoyed taking a moment to see the sunlight hit the clouds and watch the sky change from minute to minute.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

{Day 3/365} A healthy breakfast to go

Lately I have been exploring new kinds of breakfasts with oats. I have loved my standard (hot) oats breakfast since forever, but now I'm experimenting with the cold, overnight version. You can add literally everything to your taste, such as goji berries, chia seeds, raisins, and of course fresh fruits (which I like to add in the morning). I added everything I mentioned here to the jar on the picture below, and the taste was heavenly. The recipe for this amazing breakfast is as follows:

for 1 serving you will need:
- 1 tbs rolled oats
- 1 tbs (soy) yoghurt
- 1 tbs goji berries
- 1 tbs raisins
- 4 tbs (soy) milk or water

Mix all above mentioned ingredients in a jar and let it refrigerate overnight. In the morning you can add whatever you like, for example banana, strawberries, blue berries, black currant, red currant, kiwi, rhubarb, etc. You can add whatever you like, really. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

{Day 2/365} Aglais urticae

Exactly one week ago I went to see my mum and she has this amazing garden. Seen the fact that I only have a small balcony, I enjoyed every moment I spent in her garden. The many butterflies (this one's called small tortoiseshell) I saw in her garden made me think about their life cycle and development in general.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

{Day 1/365} Red Cabbage

Today is the day that I'm officially starting my own project 365. For the next 365 days, I will take (at least) one picture a day of something that makes me smile. 

Lately, I have gotten more conscious about what I eat, so I'm on a quest to use more fresh and home made products. Today I'll be cooking with red cabbage, which I bought yesterday at the local market.  Doesn't it look amazing? I'm really curious what it will taste like, seen the fact that I only know the taste of red cabbage that comes in a jar.