Bertrand's Muse

The Imaginarium of Elizabeth Verwey

Steak and Ale Stew with Welsh Rarebit

Ingredients (for 2):

for the stew:

250 g good quality stewing beef

250 ml ale

1 celery stalk

1 onion

1 can of chopped tomatoes (juice drained)

1 carrot (or parsnip, or whatever you prefer)

salt

pepper

nutmeg

olive oil

some flour and/or sauce thickener

for the rarebit

80-100 ml ale

grated cheese

mustard

bread

How to:

1. Chop the vegetables and fry them in olive oil for 10 minutes

2. Add the beef, tomatoes, ale and a tbsp of flour. Add a bit of salt and pepper.

3. Bring to a gentle boil, then put the lid on and let it simmer over a low heat for 2,5 hours.

4. Take the lid off, and simmer for another half hour. This is the time to perfect the seasoning by adding more salt and pepper and some nutmeg. If the sauce is still very runny (which it probably will be) add some maizena starch or other sauce thickener to bind it.

5. In another pan, heat the remaining beer. Toast your bread. Add the grated cheese to the beer and stir in until your melted cheese mixture has a nice, thick consistency. Season with mustard, pour the melted cheese on your toast and serve with the stew and some pickled onions and gherkins. Enjoy!

Homemade sashimi feast

Homemade sashimi feast

Bouillabaisse

Here’s how to make this classic French seafood dish.

Ingredients (for 2):

-1 small onion

- 2 tomatoes

- 1 star anise

- 1/2 tsp  ground fennel seed

- grated peel of half an orange

- juice of half an orange

- 100 ml white wine

- 3 cloves of garlic

- 1 tbsp tomato puree

- 1 stalk of celery

- 1/2 (or 1 small) fennel bulb

- 2-3 bay leaves

- 500 ml fish stock (made with 1 fish stock cube)

- 1 small salmon fillet

- 1 small white fish fillet

- two small handfuls of cooked mussel meat

- two small handfuls of raw peeled gambas

- 1-2 spring onions

- 2 tbsp olive oil

- cayenne pepper

How to:

1. chop the onion finely. Slice the fennel and the celery. Dice the tomatoes. Grate the orange peel. Press the garlic cloves.

2. Heat the olive oil and add the onion, fennel, celery, tomatoes, tomato puree, fennel seeds, cayenne, star anise, bay leaves, garlic and orange peel. Heat till onion softens.

3. Add the white wine and simmer vigorously for at least 5 minutes.

4. squeeze the orange and add the juice and the stock. Now boil gently for about 10 minutes.

5. chop the fish in chunky pieces. Add the fish, prawns and mussels for the last 5 minutes until the gambas are turning pink. Slice the spring onions and sprinkle on top.

6. serve with bread and rouille/aioilli with added cayenne pepper, and enjoy!

Mushroom Meadow

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A delicious healthy salad with sauteed mushrooms.

Ingredients (for 2)

1 small box of mushrooms

3 tomatoes

1 avocado

3 spring onions

large handful of hazelnuts (finely chopped)

blue cheese (gorgonzola or castello)

alfalfa sprouts

1 clove of garlic

lettuce

olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt

pepper

sugar

rosemary

How to:

1. wash and shred the lettuce, slice the tomatoes, chop the avocado, spring onions, blue cheese and hazelnuts.

2. chop the mushrooms, and fry with some olive oil, salt, pepper and dried rosemary. Add a clove of garlic about a minute before you take the mushrooms out of the pan. Add to the rest of the salad.

3. make a vinaigrette with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a tiny bit of sugar. Add to the salad.

4. Finish off with alfalfa sprouts.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Spicy Harissa Oven Baked Chicken with Chickpea Salad

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This meal is low-fat, but full of flavour!

Ingredients (for 2)

For the chicken

- 2 chicken breast fillets

- 2 tbsp yoghurt

- 4 tsp harissa paste

- salt

- 1/2 (or 1 small) fresh red chili

For the chickpea salad

1 can of chickpeas

-  1 spring onion

-  a few sundried tomatoes

- 1 clove of garlic

-  some feta

-  fresh basil, parsley or coriander

How to:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix the yoghurt and harissa paste. Put the chicken fillets in an oven dish and baste in the mixture. Add some chopped chili and some salt and leave to marinate for about 10 minutes.

2. When the oven is ready, put the chicken in for about 20 minutes (not much longer or the chicken will get really dry.

3. drain the chickpeas, put them in a bowl, add chopped spring onion, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped feta cheese, chopped fresh herbs and 1 crushed clove of garlic, mix well.

4. Take out the chicken and serve with the salad and some freshly baked bread or some couscous. Enjoy!

Asian Steamed Fish With Stir Fried Veggies and Brown Rice

Ingredients (for 2):

For the fish

2 panga fillets or other white fish

soy sauce

half a fresh red chili

thai fish sauce

lime

sesame oil

sunflower oil

For the vegetable stir fry

green beans

bean sprouts

oyster sauce

soy sauce

1 clove of garlic

roasted sesame seeds

How to:

1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees. 

2. slice the chili in about eight thin slices, chop the rest up finely. Make a mixture with soy sauce, sesame oil and Thai fish sauce and some grated lime rind.

3. boil some brown rice

4. halve the fillets horizontally and grease up some baking paper (1 sheet per 2 fillet halves). Put the fillets on the paper baste in the soy sayce mixture put chilli and two slices of lime on top, and close up the paper parcels by neatly folding the edges. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

5. At the same time boil the green beans for about 10 minutes, then drain. Heat up a frying pan, add some oil and when it’s really hot add the beans and one packet of bean sprouts. Season with a tiny bit of soy sauce, some oyster sauce, a clove of garlic and toasted sesame seeds. Toss it around in the pan for a few minutes. Then serve.

6. Take out the fish and serve with the stir fried veggies and the rice. Pour some of the moisture from the fish over the rice to give it that spicy, limey flavour. Enjoy!

Absinthe Jelly

I have a new-found love of anything and everything jelly, and it all started with this absinthe jelly.

Ingredients (for a crazy party of about 20 people):

- 400 ml absinthe

- 400 ml water

- half a cup of sugar (or according to taste depending on the sweetness of the absinthe

- 10 sheets of gelatin

- green food colouring

How to: 

1. Heat the water and dissolve the sugar while stirring.

2. Soften the gelatin sheets in cold water for a minute or so. When they have gone soft, squeeze the water out of them and dissolve one by one in the warm syrup. Keep stirring.

3. Pour the syrup in a big mixing bowl. Add 400 ml of absinthe and stir well.

4. Add a few drops of food colouring

5. pour the mixture in your preferred jelly mould and preferably leave overnight.

6. To remove jelly from mould, dip the top of the mould in hot water for 30 seconds. Put a plate on it, turn around and gently let the jelly slide out of the mold and onto the plate.

Enjoy but beware! This jelly is very alcoholic although it feels a lot milder than normal shots or cocktails.

Fusilli Pasta with Broccoli, Tuna and Black Olives

If you’re in a hurry: this pasta is extremely easy to make, tastes great and is very healthy too!

Ingredients (for 2):

1 can of tuna

1 broccoli

fusilli pasta (or other pasta)

cream cheese with herbs (Boursin-style)

black pitted olives

Salt 

Pepper

How to:

1.Chop the broccoli and boil in salted water for a few minutes until slightly tender.

2. Boil pasta (use a stock cube to flavour the water)

3. drain pasta.

4. mix the broccoli and tuna through the pasta. Add a few tbsp of the cream cheese. Season with loads of black pepper and finally throw some black olives in the mix. Enjoy!