The last couple of days were the start of my pre-Easter mini-break. And wowee, even though I absolutely adore the ability to sleep in and have some free time on my hands… It’s a bit of a pity that I’ve gotten a cold. I’m down on the couch with a cat and the first season of Dexter I borrowed from my brother. But last night was lovely, being back at my parent’s this week, my mom and me were home alone and tried out a recipe from Jamie’s 15-minute meals!

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Finally, I decided to make my favourite pastry ever: macarons. And since I found my macaron cookbook last weekend today was the day. And dayum, it was fun! But so hard to make, my first batch didn’t work out very pretty… but oh-so very delicious.

So I got a bit excited and took some pictures during the process, so I’m sharing the recipe I used with you guys. Don’t expect Ladurée-quality the first time… mine looked weird and didn’t even have the “pied” (something I learned today, this is the little “ruffle” on the side of the shell). But don’t let that keep you from trying, they’re worth an afternoon in the kitchen anyway!

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I don’t have posted any recipes for a long, long while. I don’t think I have blogged about any non-cake-related or non-fattening recipes ever. So brace yourself, this one is featuring soba-noodles.

Soba are buckwheat noodles from Japan. This is very healthy, as it contains all eight essential amino acids… I’ll refer you to Wikipedia for more about soba.. Oh, and next to it’s healthiness, the most important: I find it so damn tasty(!!!). Since I got the recipe from 101 Cookbooks: ‘Black Otsu‘. (I highly recommend you guys visiting that website, it is full of nice food-y stuff) This time we used normal sesame instead of black sesame seeds, which is just as good. And then there is a less spicy and more ‘original’ sauce called Kaeshi you can try that once too. It’s nice, I got the recipe from JustHungry: Kaeshi. So you can check that one out there.

Anyhow, it’s really easy and quickly done! Make sure you get the soba-noodles right (easy-peasy!), and you can add or remove other ingredients to your own taste. So below is the recipe to my own taste/preferences.

The whole recipe serves 4. And it’s not that time consuming, you’re done within half an hour.

340 g soba noodles
340 g extra-firm tofu
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon pine nuts
60 g black sesame seeds

For 101 Cookbooks’ dressing (the spicier one) use:
1 1/2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons mirin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fine-grain sea salt

Big quotation marks: “Toast the pine nuts in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan regularly. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast for a minute or so. It’s hard to tell when they are toasted; look closely and use your nose. Remove from the heat as soon as you smell a hint of toasted sesame; if you let them go much beyond that, you’ll start smelling burned sesame – not good. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the mixture; the texture should be like black sand. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Stir in the sugar, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, add the soba, and cook according to the package instructions until tender. Drain, reserving some of the noodle cooking water, and rinse under cold running water.

While the noodles are cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut into matchstick shapes. Season the tofu with a pinch of salt, toss with a small amount of oil, and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, tossing every couple minutes, until the pieces are browned on all sides.

Reserve a heaping tablespoon of the sesame paste, then thin the rest with 1/3 cup / 80 ml of the hot noodle water. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, half of the green onions, and the black sesame paste. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve topped with a tiny dollop of the reserved sesame paste and the remaining green onions.” (Heidi Swanson, 101 Cookbooks)

Happy cooking!