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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Last week I celebrated my birthday. Which happens to take place on 9/11, so for the last 10 years it has been a day of people telling me what a sad day it is to have my birthday. Of course, seeing the images again and again on tv, especially the many eye-witness reports, makes me silent and wonder how the people in those planes and buildings must have worried about what kind of nightmare they ended up in. It makes you realize every normal life day should be a day for celebration. And so we did.

Since my fellow party people had not yet tried my limoncello brewage, I decided that a limoncello sorbet was indispensable in my menu for the evening. Lemon became my inspiration for the entire menu and so every course ended up with a touch of sourness. I had planned for a lobster salad as starter, but as I had slightly underestimated the body size of my frozen lobster, ‘starter’ was at the last minute degraded to ‘appetizer’ and the salad became a burger. The entire table seemed to love it though, so again I guess this proves that sometimes little kitchen accidents end up being the best inspiration.

Lobster burgers (4 persons): 1 deep-frozen lobster of approx. 350g  (of course you can use fresh lobster, if you, unlike me so far, have the guts to cook it alive), 8 slices of white toast bread, watercress, 1 avocado, 1 lemon, slices of cucumber, olive oil, tartare sauce and freshly milled pepper for finishing.

Thaw the frozen lobster. The best way to do this is in the fridge (takes about 12 hours) or at room temperature (4-5 hours). Whatever you do, do not boil it because this will make the lobster meat leathery. Remove lobster meat from claws, body and legs (if these contain any meat). Marinate the lobster meat with olive oil, some of the freshly milled pepper and juice of lemon and leave in the fridge for a few hours. The head, body shell and emptied claws are perfect for making lobster butter. Just melt some cooking butter with the remainings of the lobster and some carrots, leek, 3 spoons of concentrated tomato and garlic. Leave to simmer for 1 hour, sift and leave in the fridge for stiffening. 

Cut circles from the white bread and toast crunchy. If you made lobster butter, smudge some on the inside of the toasts. Create a burger with a layer of toast, watercress, avocado slices and again toast. Add slices of cucumber, the rest of the freshly milled pepper and some tartare sauce for finishing.

 

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Having prepared about five different zucchini recipes over the past two weeks and with a number of massive ones still left in my veggie stock, I went recipe hunting. When a few searches repeatedly led me to a combination of chocolate and zucchini in a cake, I had to look up the Dutch translation of zucchini to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding this. Chocolate and courgette, are you serious? 

When I found the recipe on a Dutch language blog by Caroline Brouwer, I concluded there was nothing wrong with my basic English and gave it a try. The result was – as promised by the recipe – a pleasant surprise. If I hadn’t baked the cake myself, I would have never believed there was courgette in there, since you cannot see nor taste it.

You might wonder what is the added value then? Well, next to an overload of vitamins A, B, C and tons of anti-oxidants, you get a delicious ultra-moist cake without using any butter. Time to treat yourself on the biggest piece of chocolate cake you can possibly eat.

Chocolate-zucchini cake: 350 gr self-raising flower, 50 gr cocoa powder, 1 tsp speculoos spices, 175 ml olive oil extra vierge, 375 sugar, 3 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 500 ml grated zucchini, 140 roasted hazelnuts (roughly crushed)

Topping: 200 gr dark chocolate, 100 ml whipped cream.

Pre-heat your oven to 175°C. Mix the flower, cocoa, spices and a tsp of salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, sugar eggs, vanilla and grated zucchini. Then mix both bowls and add the hazelnuts. Grease a baking tray (about 24 cm) with butter, then fill with batter. Put into oven and leave for about 50-60 minutes, depending on the size of your baking tray.

Melt the dark chocolate and whip under the cream. Carefully cover the top of your cake with the chocolate-cream mix, then place into frigde and leave to stiffen the chocolate cover.

Original recipe from “Good Food” July 2010