Today, we remember those who fought and died during World War II (‘Dodenherdenking’) and tomorrow, we will celebrate Liberation Day (‘Bevrijdingsdag’). We believe this is the perfect moment to prepare hashure, a Kosovar dessert for peace.
It’s traditionally eaten on the tenth day of the first month of the Islamic calendar (Ashura), when the martyrdom of Imam Hussein is commemorated. The dessert should not contain any animal products, because this day is meant to protest all forms of bloodshed. Perhaps it would be lovely if this dessert was on the menu a little more often ...
500 g wheat
100 g raisins
100 g almonds
100 g coarsely chopped walnuts
500 g sugar
juice of ½ a lemon
1.5 l water
• Soak the wheat overnight in plenty of water. Drain.
• Bring 500 ml water plus the sugar and lemon juice to the boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and remove from the heat.
• Bring the wheat to the boil in 1 l water, reduce the heat and simmer for an hour until done, stirring regularly.
• When the wheat is done, pour off any remaining cooking liquid (it's okay if there is a little bit left over). Then stir in the syrup and the other ingredients.
• Distribute the thick mass across 8 bowls and dust with a little cinnamon. Allow to cool until it is lukewarm so it gets even thicker.
You can vary this basic recipe as follows: replace the sugar syrup with honey, make it with apple pieces, chickpeas, dried apricots, dried figs, hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds or quince pieces. Replacing the water with almond milk is also delicious. If you make the hashure less sweet with a few of the above-mentioned ingredients then you have an excellent breakfast. Enjoy!
Five Spice Powder
1 tablespoon whole star anise
1 teaspoon Sichuan Pepper
2 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
10 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick.
1. Place a dry pan over medium high heat, place spices in pan and warm them till you smell them. Especially the fennel seeds will start to darken?
2. Take the pan off the heat and let the spices cool.
3. Place in spice (or coffee bean!) grinder and grind. Put in a jar and enjoy!
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Although the nights and wind can still be freezing cold here at home, the birds are undoubtedly in a spring mood. They leave the winter bird feeders for what they are and are preoccupied with mating, searching their own fresh food again and let us eagerly look forward to a new season. And if I think of spring… why not make these tasty spring rolls? Fresh, healthy, a great snack that won’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare! You cán add pieces of grilled tofu or shrimps, if you like.
• Spring roll rice paper wrappers
• 1/2 cup bean sprouts
• 1/3 green cabbage, chopped
• 5 spring onions, chopped
• 1 cup thin rice noodles, pre-cooked
• 1/4 cup fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, mint, or a mix)
• 1/4 cup carrots, julienned
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1/2 thespian fresh ginger, grated (
Mix all ingredients except wrappers in large bowl. Submerge spring roll wrappers a few seconds in lukewarm water making them pliable. Place about 2 tablespoons of mix on the rice paper and roll them. Serve with dipping sauce of your choice.
SIMPLE DELICATE BISCUITS (gurabija)
These biscuits are delicious and easy to make! You probably have the basic ingredients in the cupboard and they are so quick to make that you won't be stuck for something to serve with a cup of tea when you get unexpected visitors. Or make it a little more festive with a little plum or other fruit compote on the side. You can spruce up this basic recipe by adding things such as grated lemon zest or a little vanilla sugar. If you use a heart-shaped biscuit cutter, add a dusting of icing sugar and serve with a deep-red compote it turns into a real 'love' treat.
350 g butter at room temperature
150 g icing sugar (+ extra for dusting)
550 g flour
1 egg white
walnuts or hazelnuts for decoration
optional: grated zest of 1 lemon
optional: a little vanilla sugar
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas mark 5.
Grease a baking sheet and dust with a little flour (or line it with parchment paper).
Mix butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg white and mix well (mixer or food processor).
Now keep kneading small amounts of flour into the mixture until you have a light, smooth dough. It should not feel too greasy. If it does, add a little extra flour. Knead until it becomes a smooth ball of dough.
Make small balls the size of a large walnut.
Flatten them to form round biscuits. To decorate you can push a piece of walnut or hazelnut into the centre of the biscuit.
Bake for about 10 minutes in the middle of the oven. In some countries people prefer these biscuits to have a very light colour, and elsewhere people think biscuits that are golden brown taste and look better. It's up to you! If you choose the latter, bake the gurabija a little longer, but make sure they don't burn!
Serve with a little compote on the side.
SPICY SPINACH SOUP (palak ka shorba)
This green soup can also be made with other green leafy vegetables; it is very nice with chard, for example. Fresh spinach is the best, but frozen spinach can work just fine too. According to the Hindu health theory Ayurveda, spinach soup should be eaten when one comes down with fever or with poor digestion, but also after recovering from surgery or with anemia: this is because spinach is rich in iron. This soup is also great to use when on a diet to lose weight. Are there any more advantages? It’s simply yummy! If you have the time, also make the croutons of made from potato with cumin, but if not, bread croutons or even ready-made croutons will do just fine.
1 kilo of fresh spinach (± 600 grams frozen)
1 peeled potato in cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 teaspoons of ground coriander
1 litre vegetable stock
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
For the croutons:
3 tablespoons of ghee or vegetable oil
250 grams of potatoes into small cubes
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
salt to taste
Remove the hard stalks from fresh spinach or defrost the frozen spinach. Put the potatoes, onion, garlic, coriander in the broth and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes so that the ingredients are cooked and the flavours can incorporate well. Add the spinach; the heat will shrink it rapidly. Remove the pan from the heat and mash the ingredients to a puree with a hand blender or with a regular blender. Put the pan back on the heat and let the soup gently heat up again, add the salt and the ground pepper. Meanwhile, heat the ghee or oil in a wok or non-stick pan on a medium high heat, fry the potato croutons to golden brown and sprinkle the cumin on top. Stir fry for a minute. Garnish the hot soup with the croutons.
Cassave breakfast in Vietnam
Cassava (khoai mì in Vietnamese), also known as yuca, or tapioca, is a tuberous root and rich in carbohydrates. Underneath the brown skin you’ll see a pale white interior, which can be cooked. Cassava turns slightly yellow and translucent when cooked and exists in two varieties, sweet and bitter (the bitter variety contains significant amounts of poisonous Prussic acid). Your local supermarket will probably have the sweet version. In any case: don’t eat this root raw.
Cut off the tapered ends to reveal where the cordon begins, then divide the root into manageable lengths, approximately 12 cm.
Stand the segments up on their flat ends and cut away the brown peel of the cassava.
Now halve lengthwise and continue cutting lengthwise into wedges, making sure to cut through the core.
Remove the woody flesh and discard. Now that the cordon is removed, it's safe to cook the cassava like any other vegetable. After approximately 20 minutes it will be soft.
Serve with some salt to dip (or if you like it sweet: sugar).
Dum Aloo is a dish that originates in Kashmir, but is now popular all over India. I used an electric fryer to deepfry the potatoes, but in India a karahi filled with ghee or oil is often used to fry them golden brown. The recipe below is from the book Street Food India (vegetarian).
1 kilo potatoes (smaller ones are better)
1 cup of water
ghee or oil
1 chopped onion
1 can tomato paste
150 ml curd
1 green pepper (seeds removed and sliced)
1 tsp garam masala powder
4 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
4 green cardamoms
1 black cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
For the paste:
For the paste:
1 large onion chopped
1 garlic bulb (12 cloves)
2 tbsp ginger
10 black peppercorns
1 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 dry red chilies
1 tsp turmeric powder
Peel and wash potatoes, prick all over with a fork and soak them in salted water for minimal two hours
Dry the potatoes and heat the ghee or oil in a karahi (see above) or use electric fryer .
Deep fry the potatoes until golden brown, drain them using for instance absorbent kitchen paper .
Heat a little ghee in a frying pan and fry onions with all the spices until golden.
Grind the paste ingredients to a fairly smooth paste, using a blender.
Mix this paste with the fried onions, stir well. Add some water to avoid burning.
Cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree, curd and salt.
Add potatoes and a cup hot water and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes. The gravy has to remain relatively thick. Add water if necessary. Leave on a very small flame, stir regularly. Potatoes have to be cooked, but not too soft.
Sprinkle the dum aloo with pepper and garam masala and cook for few minutes. Serve hot!
Red jasmine rice (Vietnam)
4 cups cooked Jasmine rice
2 table spoons oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 chopped onion
1.5 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
Heat the oil over a high heat and stir fry the garlic for 30 seconds.
Add the cooked jasmine rice and toss for another minute.
Add tomato paste and fish sauce and toss until the rice is warmed through.
Mix with pices of omelet.
Romanian pumpkin soup
Serves four persons.
1 kg pumpkin into cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
400 ml coconut milk
250 ml vegetable stock
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon curcuma
chopped fresh coriander and roasted pumpkin seeds to garnish
Cut the pumpkin into cubes, clean the garlic and onion and dice them.
Boil water, add the pumpkin and slow down the heat. Leave the pumpkin till it tenders.
Set apart a quarter of the pumpkin and blend the rest (food processor machine)
Heat the oil and stir-fry garlic, onion, chili, curcuma, pepper & salt.
Add spices to the mashed pumpkin and add the non-pureed portion as well.
Slowly add the coconut milk.
Simmer for 15 minutes on a low flame and add the lemon juice.
Put some chopped coriander and roasted pumpkin seeds to garnish and bon appetit!