Bertrand's Muse

The Imaginarium of Elizabeth Verwey

Mahjong, my favourite game.

Thai Fish Cakes with Lemon Grass, Lime and Coriander

Fish cakes are often one of my favourite things to order in Thai restaurants. I found the recipe for these at http://www.cookitsimply.com/recipe-0010-081y66.html 

You can eat these as a starter, but served with rice they will also make a nice, light main course. The combination of lime, lemon grass and coriander makes for a deliciously clean and zesty taste.

Ingredients:

450 g (1 lb) white fish fillet (cod, haddock, panga, tilapia, all good)
3 spring onions, sliced
3 lemon grass stalks, finely chopped
30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh coriander
30 ml (2 tbsp) Thai red curry paste
1 fresh green chilli, seeded and chopped
10 ml (2 tsp) grated lime rind
15 ml (1 tbsp) lime juice
30 ml (2 tbsp) groundnut or sunflower oil
salt
crisp lettuce leaves, shredded
spring onions, (fresh red chilli slices), coriander sprigs and lime “wedges, to serve
How to:
1. Cut the fish into chunks, then place them in a blender or food processor.

2. Add the spring onions, lemon grass, coriander, curry paste, chilli, lime rind and juice to the fish. Season with salt. Process until finely minced.

3. using lightly floured hands, divide the mixture into 16 pieces and shape each one into a small cake about 4 cm (l 1/2 in) across. Place the fish cakes on a plate, cover with clear film and chill for about 2 hours until firm.

4. Heat a frying pan until hot. Add the oil. Fry the fish cakes for 6 - 8 minutes, turning them over carefully until evenly browned.
Serve on a bed of crisp lettuce leaves with shredded spring onions, red chilli slices, fresh coriander sprigs and lime wedges.

Goat’s Cheese and Potato Quiche with Homemade Pickled Red Onions

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This quiche is delicious and really easy to make!

Ingredients:

Frozen short crust pasty (Hartige taartdeeg)

3 eggs

200 ml creme fraiche

soft goat’s cheese

1-2 potatoes

1 green bell pepper

salt

black pepper

thyme

2 cloves of garlic

sunflower/olive oil

How to:

1. Defrost the pastry. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease  a round cake tin and cover it with pastry dough.

2. Peel the potato(es), and slice them thinly. Gently sautée the slices in a  generous layer of oil, season with some salt and pepper, until they begin to soften. Add some thyme and two cloves of garlic. Fry for another minute then place in the cake tin.

3. Dice the bell pepper and add.

4. Crumble the soft goat’s cheese over it.

5. Beat 3 eggs in with the creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the potatoes, cheese and pepper.

6.  Add some extra thyme, then bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes (depending on your oven).

Serve with the pickled red onions and enjoy! Tip: don’t worry about eating everything all at once. You can easily save this quiche for later, as it also tastes delicious when it’s cold!

Homemade fruit jellies. Just fruit juice and gelatine.

Homemade fruit jellies. Just fruit juice and gelatine.

Stuffed Courgette with Grilled Halloumi Cheese

The credit for this recipe goes to my good friend Anne Reus. When she served me this she’d used marrow instead of ordinary courgette, but since that’s not always available you can use the latter just as easily.

Ingredients (for 2):

half a cup of rice

250 g minced beef

3 cloves of garlic

1 large courgette

handful of fresh mint leaves

halloumi cheese

black pepper

salt

oil

stock cubes

How to:

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Boil the rice (in stock), then drain. Gently fry the garlic, then fry the minced beef. Drain any excess fluid. Add the rice and chopped mint. Halve the courgettes and scoop out the insides and add them to the rice-beef mixture. Season with black pepper and some extra salt if needed. Put the courgette boats in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes (or until slightly softened). Take out, put the stuffing in, and put a slice of halloumi on top. Then put under the grill for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and brown. Finish off with some extra mint.

Tricolore Fusili with Pancetta, Capers, Anchovy and Red Wine Tomato Sauce

I got the ingredients for this recipe from a book called  ”The Vintage Tea Party Year” by Angel Adoree, which by the way is an amazing book. However, as it’s a cookbook for tea parties, and we want dinner instead of light bites I adjusted the amounts (read: used more of everything).

Ingredients:

1 packet of pancetta

Tricolore fusili pasta

capers

1 small bottle of red wine

6 tomatoes

Fresh Parsley

1 tin of anchovy

2 red onions or 4 shallots

oil

How to:

Chop and fry the pancetta. Chop the onion, add and fry with some extra oil until soft. Add chopped parsley, chopped anchovies, chopped tomatoes and two small handfuls of capers. Pour the red wine all over, lower the heat slightly and simmer vigorously for about 10 minutes. Boil the fusili and drain. When the sauce is done, stir through the pasta and serve straight away. Enjoy!

Homemade Hamburgers Deluxe with Sweet Potato Chips

If you’re going to eat a burger, you might as well do it properly.

Ingredients:

For the burger

good quality minced beef (if you can’t find this, you made as well buy pre-made burgers, because cheap minced beef is full of added water which leaks out during frying leaving you with a small shriveled burger)

Maggi liquid seasoning

Ground Paprika

Burger buns, 

For the toppings

sliced bacon

avocado slices

tomato slices

pickled gherkins

iceberg lettuce

red onions

balsamic vinegar

salt

sugar

For the chips

Sweet potato

oil

salt

pepper

How to

Make red pickled onions by peeling and slicing a few red onions and covering them with boiling water. Leave to stand until the water has cooled off, then drain. Mix 6 tbsp of balsamic vinegar in a pan with 2 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of salt. Heat briefly, then pour over the onions and leave to soak. Peel the sweet potato and slice it into chips (thick or thin). Boil them briefly, then heat oil in a pan and fry them until they turn nice and golden brown. Drain and mix with sea salt and crackled black pepper.

Mix the minced beef with Maggi and paprika, roll it into balls and flatten those into hamburgers. Fry or grill until they are done. Fry the bacon slices and slice the hamburger buns in two and put them under a hot grill for a few minutes. Prepare all your toppings. Assemble your burger, serve with the sweet potato chips and maybe some ketchup and/or mayonnaise. Enjoy!

Creme Brulee

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Ingredients:

5 egg yolks

250 ml milk

250 single cream

one vanilla stick

50 g sugar

some sugar for the crispy top

How to:

Mix the cream and milk in a pan and gently simmer for 5 minutes with the vanilla stick (scoop out the marrow first and stir it through the cream). Separate the eggs and whisk the sugar through the yolks. Mix the hot cream with the egg mixture and whisk thoroughly until the mixture is a bit thicker. Fill 4 ramekins and put them in the oven for 45- 60 min at 125 degrees celcius. When they are solid, leave them to cool at room temperature, then put in the fridge for a while. Before eating sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top and put under the grill, or use a blow torch, until the sugar melts and a crispy brown layer has formed. Enjoy!

Oyster Sauce Pork Stir- Fry with Cabbage and Green Beans

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Ingredients (2-3):

Pork steaks

Chinese cabbage

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1 clove of garlic 

1 Red Chilli

1 tbsp White wine vinegar

Sugar

100g green beans

(optional: salted cashews and fresh coriander)

rice

How to:

Boil the green beans for about 5 minutes. Slice the pork steaks very thinly. Make a marinade with oyster sauce, vinegar, sugar, finely chopped chilli and crushed garlic. Put the pork in the marinade. Now fry them with plenty of oil on a high heat for 30 sec on each side (a.k.a. in and out), and place them on a plate. Now fry the cabbage and the green beans with what’s left of the marinade. Add some extra oyster sauce. When the vegetables are done, you can add the pork slices again and warm it through for a minute before serving with steamed/boiled white rice. You can finish it off with coriander and cashews, but to be honest, it tastes just as good without! Enjoy!!

Chinese Dumpling Soup with Cabbage and Shii-Take Mushrooms

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One of the best things to buy in an Asian supermarket is a bag of deep frozen vegetable dumplings. They are delicious, cheap and very versatile. You can fry them, or eat them as part of a well-stocked soup like I did here!

Ingredients (for 2-3):

Vegetable dumplings

Shii take

Chinese cabbage

(optional: spring onions)

+/- 1,5 l of chicken stock with chunks of chicken

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

a pinch of five spice powder

black pepper

Slice the shii-takes and chop the cabbage. You can choose how much cabbage and mushrooms you want to put in your soup. Keep in mind that the cabbage will shrink considerably when cooked. Heat the stock and add the oyster sauce and the soy sauce. Add the shii-take mushrooms and the cabbage. Boil for a few minutes until the mushrooms are soft and the cabbage is but still a bit crisp. Grind a large amount of black pepper into the soup. Add the dumplings and boil for another 2 minutes. Add a bit of five spice powder (not too much, you only need a little bit to give it that characteristic Chinese flavour). Enjoy!