Tag: recipe testing

Mediterranean-Style Green Beans

green beansI have been very busy recipe testing these last few weeks for a new project (more on that later!). Some recipes work brilliantly on the first try, while others fail miserably (at least in my opinion — I can be rather hard on myself). On Friday, I tried a recipe for porc en croûte, and I was everything but thrilled with the final result. So on Sunday it was back to the drawing table, and luckily, this one was a success. I will make it again at least a few times before it is ever published though. In my opinion, there is nothing more frustrating than kitchen failures which result from poorly written recipes that are not thoroughly tested. It is one of my culinary pet peeves and something I do not want to do to anyone who cooks one of my recipes!
Sometimes, while I am working on one particular recipe, inspiration hits me to make something else. Like a side dish or a dessert, for example. It’s a good thing that I always have pen and paper on hand so that I can scribble away as I cook. As my successful porc en croûte happily baked away yesterday, I came up with the following recipe. I am not particularly fond of green beans and find them rather insipid. Not at all the case if you make them in the following manner. I would also not hesitate to pair this dish with a roast chicken.

PS: I am currently looking for recipe testers to help me out with my new project. Should this be of interest, please get in touch.

Here’s the recipe…

Mediterranean-Style Green Beans
Serves 3-4

  • 400g green beans
  • 1 tbsp good quality butter
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsps toasted pine nuts
  • 10 semi-sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly-grated pepper

Boil the green beans in salted water for approximately 4-6 minutes. You want the beans to remain crisp. In the meantime, melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently sauté the onions. Drain the beans and allow them to steam briefly. Add in the garlic, pine nuts and sundried tomatoes and cook while stirring for another minute or so. You want these flavors to remain present and vibrant in the dish. Add in your green beans and toss them through the mixture, seasoning them to taste with salt and pepper.

End-of-the-week Ramblings


It suddenly dawned on me yesterday. Next weekend is Thanksgiving, the week after that Sinterklaas. Almost time to buy a Christmas tree and decorate the house…
Seriously. The days are whizzing by too quickly. It’s not a cliché, it’s the truth. And with that truth, I’m starting to go into slight panic mode because I haven’t ordered a turkey, done any Sinterklaas shopping or planned any holiday menus.
So today is Friday again. The day after Beaujolais Nouveau 2014, to be precise. I purchased a bottle yesterday, like I do every year, and kept my fingers crossed. Last year was horrible. One bottle went down the drain after the first sip and another one, a present, ended up as cooking wine. This year our first bottle (because yes, I probably will be buying another one) was a Joseph Drouhin. I was quite pleased. The wine was balanced, with mild tannins and aromas of ripe strawberries. We enjoyed it with duck rillettes spread on slices of  thick sourdough.
I guess Beaujolais Nouveau time will always be synonymous with the start of the holiday season for me. Hence, the realization that I better start getting my act together. But when will I get around to doing that? This week has been packed, and the work load is pretty hefty for the one ahead, too. I am currently working on four culinary productions, all of them due in two weeks. That’s 24 recipes to be written, tested and adjusted. Not complaining at all though. It’s what I love doing, but what that basically means is that I’ll be working evenings and the whole weekend. In fact, this weekend I will not get around to doing my usual restaurant review because I will be spending the two days testing in the kitchen. And because I will be celebrating Thanksgiving the Saturday after that (I live in the Netherlands, remember?), I won’t have a review for you again until Sunday, December 7th.
One of the things I’ll be squeezing in next week is a press event for the HEMA, a popular Dutch chain store with branches in seven other European countries. They will be showcasing their holiday collection and I cannot wait to see it and tell you all about it. I just couldn’t pass up that invitation.
And with that, I better get started. Can you believe I haven’t even had coffee?? A day of writing English pie recipes awaits! PS: If you’re in Holland, grab a copy of Vriendin this week. Included are six of my delicious (and easy) Mexican recipes. The huevos rancheros is highly recommended for Sunday brunch! Extra tips and background information to go with the recipes can be found here.
Have a fab weekend!


End-of-the-week Ramblings

food writer

Friday again, and what a full week this has been! With work for DUTCH (the print deadline is quickly approaching!), social engagements and recipe writing for Vriendin, I have not had a chance to catch my breath. Only a good thing, though. I don’t know if I would be sane with empty time slots in my agenda.
One of the things I did this week was attend a press dinner showcasing Lidl’s ‘Delicieux’ collection for the upcoming holidays. If you haven’t read about that yet, check out the two previous blogs. During the event I tried a wide variety of excellent products, but the one that caused the biggest impression on me was a wine — the 2008 Saint-Estèphe from Château Andron Blanquet, a Cru Bourgeois and part of Château Cos Labory. The wines consist of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. With strong tannins balanced by ripe, dark fruits and spicy notes, it is a wine that pairs well with rich meat dishes. A beef wellington for example, but also a good steak — exactly how I will be serving it soon, because it absolutely swept me off my feet. I will be stocking up on this one for sure.
Speaking of wines, tomorrow I will be attending a wine tasting fair in Utrecht featuring organic wines from France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria and Spain. Sixteen wine growers will be present to explain their vision on organic wine production, something I am still reading up on and very eager to learn about.
That evening I will be dining at a French restaurant in Amsterdam, A La Ferme. The restaurant is taking part in the ‘Franse DinerDagen’, or ‘French Dinner Days’ and serving a four-course menu (incl. coffee and a digestief) for only €34.50 per person. During ten days, from the 14th to the 23rd of November, fifty top French restaurants across the country, selected by IENS and En Route Magazine, will be offering the same deal.
My review on Sunday will therefore not be about a lunch date, but about a dinner date. Expect some of those here and there as well, too.
But first, on to the order of the day. After writing my editor’s letter for DUTCH, I will start editing and testing the recipes for a production on winter warmers for Vriendin. I’m really looking forward to testing these recipes — especially the ‘easy and quick’ cassoulet! My own recipe starts a day in advance and calls for duck, lamb and Toulouse sausages. This one, however, had to be written accessibly, so that everyone can make it with products found at any supermarket. A challenge for me, which I gladly accepted.
Have a great weekend and hope you’ll come by Sunday to read about my experience at A la Ferme!