Recipes

Perfect Autumn dish: Pumpkin Lentil Soup!

Hey all! Again, it has been a while! My last post is from August 31, which is quite some time ago, and much happened since then. I finished my studies (yes, I am a Master of Science now, that sounds awesome) and since then I have been on a short holiday and spent a lot of time finding a job. I did not succeed yet, but I am confident I will find one before the end of the year! Hopefully a bit sooner, but you can’t press your luck too much 😉 So, here we are, it’s autumn already! Here in the Netherlands, it has been raining for days now and the trees have started to change colour. Most people seem to dislike this season, because of the rain, dropping temperatures and shorter days, but to be honest, I don’t mind. Surely I do like long days with a lot of light and warmth, but the autumn is the time of candles, cosyness and above all: wonderful fruits and vegetables. Fresh apples, brussels sprouts, and my favourite: The Allmighty Pumpkin! Why I love it so much? You can use it in soup, pie, curry, desserts, roasted, mashed, cooked, baked, stewed, or use it as a Halloween decoration. Last week I bought my first pumpkin of the season and changed it into pumkin-lentil soup, a very warming dish due to the spices I like to use. Since it’s so simpe to make, I decided to share the recipe with you!

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You will need:

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  • a pumpkin. Size doesn’t matter in this case, unless it’s so big its contents won’t fit in the cooking pot
  • red lentils
  • some cloves of garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • an onion (yellow or red, it doesn’t matter)
  • curry powder

First, clean your pumpkin and cut it into pieces. This is quite a messy process, since the inside of most pumpkins consists of seeds and slimy, mushy fiber-like things. Remove those, you ain’t gonna need them. Cut the rest of the pumpkin into pieces. Most of the times, you don’t need to remove the skin of the pumpkin, but check it for small pieces of stone or sand and wash it thoroughly before you use it. Then, dice the onion and fry it in some oil. As soon as the onion becomes a bit transparent, add about 4-5 chopped cloves of garlic and some chopped ginger, depending on your taste. Let this brown for a few minutes, then add about 500 mL water with some salt, or use chicken or vegetable stock if you have some. Bring this to the boil and add about a handful of lentils, one dinner spoon of curry powder and the pumpkin pieces.

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Cover your cooking pot, turn the heat low and let this simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until both the lentils and the pumpkin pieces are soft. Turn off the fire, get your immersion blender and blend the pumpkin pieces until you have a thick, porridge-like soup. If its too thick, you can always add some water or stock.

And now it’s time to enjoy! I like this soup with some fresh baked whole grain bread, cream cheese with herbs and a few bits of cucumber and tomato. I hope you will try this dish too, and I hope you liked this post!

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Recipe: Gooseberry Mini-pie

Hello everybody! As promised, I would post the recipe for my favourite pie all times, which is gooseberry pie! There goes a little story with this, as how it became my favourite pie. As a child, I really loved sour things. My favourite sweets were the BonBon Napoleons, which I always got from my grandmother, and when I came to pastry, I always wanted to have a gooseberry pie on my birthday. In the Netherlands, all kinds of fruit like cherries, apricots, apples and gooseberries are used for `vlaai’, which is typical for the southern region of our country. Since we live quite close to this area, there was a vlaai shop at our train station which sold gooseberry vlaai. My dad used to go there on the morning of my birthday to buy me one, until I was about 10 years old. That year, the shop had vanished, and gooseberry vlaai was nowhere to be found! No other pie shop sold it, and that was the end of it. Luckily, my dear D&D and LARP friends managed to get me one for my birthday four years ago and again last year, which was so nice of them! Anyways, gooseberry vlaai will probably always be my favorite, because of good memories and a sour taste 😉

Last week I found gooseberries at my local grocerer, and I immediately wanted to try my own version of gooseberry vlaai. I decided to make small pies, because my microwave-oven combination has a bit of trouble with big pies and pastry, so I used a muffin tin. They turned out really cute and tasty, so I thought it would be a good idea to share the recipe with you!

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For five mini-pies you will need:

  • 100 g bread mix
  • 150 g gooseberries (either the red or the green ones)DSCN4193
  • 1 packet of pie jelly or gelatine
  • sugar
  • muffin tin
  • a bit of butter and flour
  • parchment paper
  • dried beans

STEP 1

Knead the bread mix with the right amount of water as indicated on the package. Form a ball of the dough and put it in a bowl covered with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes. In the mean time, grease the holes of the muffin tin with butter and dust them with a bit of flour so the dough won’t stick to the tin. Clean and halve the gooseberries and cook them with a few tablespoons of water until they start to fall apart. Add some sugar to taste, depending on how sweet or sour you want your filling to be. Stirr in the pie jelly or gelatine and let the fruit filling cool.

STEP 2

Preheat the over at 200 degrees C. Knead the dough one more time and roll it out until it’s about 3 mm thick. cut out five rounds which are a bit bigger than the holes of your muffin tin and cover the holes of the muffin tin with the dough. Make sure there are no holes in the dough and that the sides are high anough to contain the filling. put a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and fill the pie with dried beans (this is called ‘blind baking’). Bake the pie crusts for 15 minutes. From the rest of the dough, roll or cut long, thin strips.

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After the pre-baking, remove the parchment paper and beans from the pie crusts. make sure you remove all the beans, or someone will break a tooth, which is not good. Put about a tablespoon of filling in each pie crust. Take your thin strips of dough and put them over the filling cross-wise, partly covering up the filling. Brush some water over the dough strips and sprinkle some sugar on top. Bake the pies one more time for 10 minutes. Finished!

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Of course you can fill these pies with everything you want. All kinds of fruits will taste good as long as the filling is not too wet, and even savoury fillings are possible because the dough itself is not sweet. I hope you will enjoy this recipe and try it for yourself. Please let me know what filling you used and how they turned out, I would love to hear from you!

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