dinsdag 24 december 2013

A very merry christmas, here's a christmas gift for you!

Merry Tuesday!

Oh no :( I started writing this post on my iPad and accidentally deleted everything half way through...

Still, I wanted to wish you a very merry christmas now, since tomorrow you'll all be having a wonderful day with your families!

Traditions vary from country to country and from family to family. In my family we really enjoy our breakfasts, we set up our christmas tree right after Sinterklaas has left the country on the 6th of December, we like to go to the church at christmas eve to listen to the beautiful music and we love to bake. A lot. Our kitchen was filled with the best smells today, my mom made a berry cheesecake and a zucchini layer cake with cream-cheese frosting (i helped here and there), and I made mince pies.

Now mince pies are not really a Dutch tradition, I guess it is British. But as you know I am a bit of a youtube addict and I have been watching Sorted Food, Zoella, Tanya Burr and many more give these treats a try so I wanted to follow in their footsteps. As our shops don't sell the filling pre made I had to make everything from scratch. To be honest, the first batch was not great. But that was to be expected  because I'd never tried one. The second batch however was absolutely lovely!

So here my christmas gift to you: 

My mince pies

my mince pie recipe.

500g of dried fruits (apricots, prunes, raisins, cranberries, anything you like!)
75 g dark brown sugar
60 ml red port
Juice and zest of one orange
Juice and zest of half a lemon
1/2 tsp of ground cloves
1 tsp of cinamon
60 ml of brandy
1 tsp of vanilla
2 tbs of honey

350 g of flour
225 g of cold and diced butter
100 g of sugar
1 egg
The zest of one orange
 A pinch of cinnamon

Mini-quiche or muffin tins

Now for the filling, I chopped up all of my dried fruit first while I heated up the port with the sugar and the spices, then I put all of the fruit in the warm mixture and I added the juice of both the orange and the lemon plus the zest. Then I let that simmer away for about 30 minutes, it has to start looking a bit jammy (if not, don't worry, there is always the blender!). At this point I added the brandy, the vanilla and the honey and I gave it a nice stir, the I let it cool. You really want a soft and mushy texture with not too many large pieces.

Pre-heat the oven at 220C.

For the pastry it is most important to have things COLD (oh baby it's cooooold outside!). Put the diced butter in the flour and use your fingertips to combine both and create a sandy texture. Then I turned the mixture from the bowl onto a flowered surface, I added the zest, sugar, cinnamon, and the egg and a mixed everything together. Try to do this as quick as you can and try not to overmix the mixture. When it has formed a ball, split it into two smaller balls, cover them in clingfilm and pop them in the freezer for 20 minutes. 

Roll out one of the dough-balls and cut circles that will fit your muffin tins. When you have finished doing that, pop the whole tin in the freezer! It will help make the dough nice and crispy. After 10 minutes take them out and fill them with the jammy mixture. Before you do, make sure you taste it to see whether you like it. You might want to add a bit more lemon juice to cut through the sweetness of the dried fruit, or add a bit more brandy to get everyone a bit more cozy and cheery ;). Then from the rest of that dough-ball cut smaller circles to cover the top and use a little star-shape to cut out a little whole in the lid. (From half of the dough I got 12 pie-cases plus lids and I kept the other half in the freezer for later use.) Cover the pies, use a fork to stick the bottom and the top together on the edges, brush the top with some egg or some milk and sprinkle over some sugar. Put them in a pre-heated oven at 220C for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle them with some icing sugar and ta-daaaaa!!! Some really tasty treats for you to enjoy while watching a christmassy movie!

Please let me know if you gave them a try, and if you have had real mince pies before, let me know if my recipe lives up to the original! 

Have a very merry christmas, I hope you're all surrounded by lots of friends and family members and that you don't have to worry about a single thing.

Lots of love,

Me and Joost

vrijdag 20 december 2013

Locked up!

There I was, locked up in a small room in a building full of other people... Nowhere to go, only one thing to do. We all knew this day was going to come, but who could have guessed it would still come as such a surprise?

I had exam week.

I had a retake of an exam last week which was very difficult and stressful for me, last friday I had to hand in a group paper, monday I had a take home exam and them I still had to write a second opinion, do an interview and analyse a whole argument, I thought it would never end. It was tiramisu for every meal over and over again.

Pffffsh i wish i had tiramisu, no deserts for me this week. I did have some really tasty things to eat this week though! The boyfriend has a thing for 'deals' and ordered something like a birchbox for food. I've always wanted to try a birchbox but they're soooo expensive and I'm not sure whether they deliver in the Netherlands, has anyone ever tried getting a birchbox delivered to the Netherlands? Well, the food one is called 'foodwelove', he ordered it from a Dutch site called www.foodwelove.nl. He got a whole box full of exclusive food items; some awesome christmas pancetta, a variation of dried porcini, some great olive oil and a lot more! We made an awesome risotto with pancetta and mushrooms on top, it was delicious!

Mushroom risotto with pancetta bits
 It looks a bit random on my plate but the flavor combinations where aweeeeesome! Trust me!

Then yesterday when I suddenly managed to finish a ton of assignments the food-extravaganza began haha. A pre-christmas dinner yesterday, which to be honest was at a pretty cheap restaurant and I had a stomach ache the rest of the evening. But today I had the beeeeest yoghurt ever, and later an oliebol <3. Thats like a donut in a ball shape, we typically eat it at new years eve and its soooo good!

Yummy yoghurt with berries and almonds
Big bite from my 'Oliebol' :D

And thats it for this week to be honest, I have one assignment left to finish, I'm on my way to my parents place and I'm worn out! It's time to be set free, time for christmas!

Hope you're doing well and that you survived your exam-week if you had one! Let me know what your favorite celebratory food is!

XOXO Floor

donderdag 12 december 2013

What I did this evening.

So imagine your favorite food is tiramisu.

You could eat it whenever you want to, but usually you only have it as a desert, and not even every day (because come on, no one could remain looking great if they ate tiramisu every day...)

Then one day someone comes along and they tell you that from now on the only thing you can do all day, every day is eating tiramisu.

You would enjoy it for approximately... 3 days maybe? And then you start longing for some fruit, maybe just any type of dinner.

My tiramisu in this example is writing. I like to write, but I like to do other things as well. But then came my master-degree and it told me 'you have to write all day, every day from now on'. *le sigh*.

What I'm trying to say is: I'm sorry. I've had lots of things to talk about, but there were other things that I had to be writing about. Every time I thought I wanted to write a blogpost the little angel on my shoulder told me 'if you're planning to write anyway, why not work on an assignment?'. So that is what I did for two weeks long.

Now my to-do list is coming to an end, very slowly, but still, the end is in sight. I've got one more paper and one more take home exam to go and then my Christmas holiday can start!

The last couple of days however I've realized that I really should be doing things that I enjoy to do as well, that is why I baked some cupcakes yesterday (only five and I'm limiting myself to one a day... I still want to fit in that christmas dress), and look at what naughty me did tonight:

My first home-made bread
Doesn't it look pretty? The kitchen smelled so wonderful when I was proofing the dough, and even better when I was baking it. The only reason I was baking it was because I only had one slice of bread left over for lunch tomorrow and I need to focus on (guess what) writing tomorrow so I don't have time to go to the supermarket. 

I used the simplest recipe ever! It's from the Jamie Oliver website.... again...:

Recipe for the easiest home-made bread

250g flour
7g of dried yeast
207 ml of tepid water
2/3 tbs of suger
1/3 tbs of salt (preferably sea-salt)

I mixed all of the dry ingredients in a bowl with half of the tepid water, when it starts to come together and you feel it getting dry you add the other half of the water. When all of the ingredients stick together you put everything on a clean surface and you start kneading. You do that for about 5 minutes or until you have a nice and flexible dough. 

You then put the dough in a clean bowl, you cover it with cling-film and you put it in a warm place to proof for 30 minutes. After that is done you punch back the air in the bread for a couple of seconds and then you can shape and flavor the dough in any way you want. I just wanted a simple bread so I didn't add anything, but you could add raisins or cut down olives by kneading it into the dough. After you've add all of the extras and you've shaped it you put it on a flat surface with some flour, you cover it with cling-film again and you let it proof for another 30 to 60 minutes. 

Now you have to be extra careful not to knock all of the air out, put some egg mixed with milk over the top (carefully!) to give it a nice brown shiny top and put it on a preheated oven of 180 degrees Celsius for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Tada! Your own home made bread!

You really should give it a try, it's so satisfying to knead the dough and it's not difficult at all! Hmmm yum I can't wait to eat it tomorrow! 

So I hope you've been well, I'll try to write a bit more fun stuff from now on, maybe it'll give me some inspiration for writing the more serious stuff :). 

Thank you for reading and let me know what your favorite food is and for how many days in row that could be the only thing you'd eat! 

lots of love,