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Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Filet Américain… that’s the Belgian variation and translation (Flemish, Brussels’ natives and Walloons use the same french lingo in this case) to refer to what Frenchies and you  might actually be calling ‘steak tartare’. But it’s different!

Belgian ‘delicatessen/butcher shops’ and ‘traiteur shops’ sell premium ground meat as ” filet américain nature”, meaning no additions (???- Hmm) as well as “filet américain préparé”, meaning with added different herbs and other seasonings. In the end every one has his/her own recipe. However what makes it different from steak tartare is that the meat is minced with a mechanical grinder. Personally (according to my added 5 local ¢) it does not enhance the meat’s flavour, if I’m allowed to write so!  On the contrary.

Not so for the real and only freshly made steak tartare!

steak tartare my way

steak tartare my way

What transforms  filet américain into a real steak tartare is both the seasoning, and more importantly: the freshly knife-chopped meat just before mixing all ingredients before serving. Indeed, the finished product you buy from the chops usually (read: always) has some preserving“E+ a nbr” chemicals added to keep the meat nicely red for a few days. Home made steak tartare, freshly chopped from premium steak needs to be served asap after finishing the dish. Quality will remain for only a few hours when kept in the fridge!

steak tartare

steak tartare

filet mignon or filet pur
egg yolk
mustard, Dijon mustard recommended
onions or spring onions, finely chopped
capers, drained
tabasco sauce
Worcestershire sauce
a minimal amount of freshly hand-made mayonnaise;
parsley finely chopped
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper

I serve this dish with toasted bread slices, tomato & garlic lettuce salad and a Belgian beer: triple Westmalle trappist.

a picture says it better than words

a picture says it better than words

Toasts can be replaced with Belgian french fries or pan baked potatoes.

baked potatoes

baked potatoes


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Food Atelier

The kitchen equipment in western cuisines is sometimes very abundant. Also sometimes silly.

I remember buying tools that afterwards are kept in the closet unused. One of my worst buys was a fruit press that I used only once. Why? Well, because of the time it took to clean the press after using it!  Not really a good investment.

On the other hand, some other kitchen ware and tools are almost a must for cooking. Ever heard about something called “Un saucier” or Sauce-maker? I do recommend this little pearl if you are a lover of tricky-to-make sauces, like “Hollandaise, Bèarnaise, Choron, Ravigote, etc.”

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Another little gadget I like very much is a so called grill pan, made of cast Iron and a great tool to grill fish, steak and even veggies like peppers (paprika) and such.

grill pan

Anyway, yesterday for diner we had some grilled steak (and Belgian fries, of course) with a home made bèarnaise sauce.

For the sauce: a half glass of white vinegar, a half glass of dry white wine, pepper and salt, fresh chopped tarragon, shallots, chervil, parsley. Put it all in the saucemaker at heating level 5 (hottest) Turn on the sauce maker and allow it to reduce till only 2 spoons of liquid remain.                                        Sieve and allow to cool down.

IMG_1166

Afterwards, add 3 egg yolks and the sieved reduced liquid to the saucemaker. Turn on at heating level 2 and start adding cubes of clarified butter. The sauce will thicken and after about 15 minutes turn the heating level down to 1. Add some freshly chopped tarragon leaves. Réserver.

IMG_1173

Heat up the grill pan and start grilling the (slightly oiled) steaks.

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Finish the fries and serve:

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Bon appétit!

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witloof

Here is another recipe from Flanders’ traditional cuisine – (serves 4)

  • 8 endives aka witloof or chicon.
  • 8 slices of cooked white ham
  •  milk
  •  flour
  •  butter
  •  a mix of grated gruyere cheese and grated  parmegiano (parmesan) cheese.
  • Salt, pepper and nutmeg

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  • Clean endives and remove outer leaves, cut and hollow out the root base to remove bitterness
  • Steam endives till almost soft.
  • Collect the cooking juice.
  • Cover and braise for 3 minutes in a pan with butter.
  • Combine evenly until endives are slightly caramelized.
  • Endives should drain off a maximum amount of water for the next cooking step.
  • Make a clear roux:
  • Melt butter in a pot
  • Add flour as soon as butter has melted but do not allow it to brown.
  • Return to heat and gradually add milk while stirring well
  • Add juice from cooking endives
  • Continue to stir
  • Reduce heat
  • Salt, pepper and grate a generous amount of nutmeg
  • Add most of the grated cheese and let it melt in the sauce while continuing to stir
  • Reduce to obtain a creamy, thick sauce
  • Remove rind from ham slices
  • Roll each endive in a slice of ham and place them in a baking dish
  • Pour white sauce over all roulades
  • Add the rest of the grated gruyere to the dish after 10 minutes of cooking time and let it brown and cook the dish in a pre-heated oven or salamander
  • Serve hot accompanied with homemade mashed potatoes that are also cooked under the salamander till the top layer is crispy brown.

 

Next time I’m cooking the dish, I will take some pics of the process and update this post.

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A real classic in the traditional  Belgian Cuisine.

I want to share one of the best classic recipes from the Flemish Belgian cuisine. A shame that here in Asia it’s almost impossible to get fresh North Sea grey shrimps, so this recipe is only meant to make you hungry.

Otherwise just buy some airline tickets to Belgium and savour this fine food in one of the many restaurants in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges or at the coast.

But do pay attention: you might become addicted to that dish as much as I’m addicted to Hokkien mee or Char Koay Teow when in Penang!

And now the recipe:

for about 10 croquettes: 1/2 kg fresh unpeeled grey shrimps, 50 g of flour, 1/2 liter milk, 50 g of butter, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 lemon, 50 g shredded Emmenthaler cheese, pepper and salt.

Before the final frying you will need extra flour, a few drops of vegetable oil, breadcrumbs.

When serving add deep fried parsley and a lemon wedge to the plate.

——————————————————

First start with the hardest part of the job: Peel the shrimps and keep both the heads and shells/carcasses apart.

 

Grijze Garnalen

Heat up the milk with the shrimp heads and shells. When it reaches its boiling point, turn off the fire and let the shrimps’ taste impregnate the milk during half an hour. Sieve the milk and keep aside. (Réserver).

Make a white roux with butter and flour + pepper and salt. Make sure that it doesn’t get burned sticky on the bottom of the pan! So: keep stirring.  

Mix the milk with the roux to obtain some kind of non liquid dough. Keep stirring. Remove the pot from the fire after 5 minutes and add the juice of half a lemon, the egg yolk, the shrimps, the cheese, pepper and salt. Mix that dough.

Butter a metallic plate and transfer the dough on it. Spread the dough on the plate till a thickness of about 2 cm. Cover with a plastic foil and put in the fridge for the night.

Next day you either cut rectangular croquettes or roll traditional cylindrical croquettes. Use a shaker,  a whisk or two forks to beat the egg whites. Beat till foamy but still liquid.  Next pull the croquettes through some flour, then through the egg whites and finally through a plate of breadcrumbs.

Deep fry till golden, frying temp. at 180 degrees Celsius. It will only take a few minutes. When ready put the croquettes on some kitchen tissue to allow absorbing most of the oil.

Deep fry the parsley for about 10 seconds . Dress the croquettes, parsley and a wedge of lemon on a warm plate . Before eating sprinkle  lemon juice over the croquettes. 

Grey Shrimp Croquette filled with "Crevettes de Zeebrugge"

Grey Shrimp Croquette filled with "Crevettes de Zeebrugge"

A chilled dry white wine is recommended to keep this dish company. Think Chablis, Sancerre or a light Muscadet sur Lie.

Bon appétit!

 

 

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mosselen

What makes a country, the size of Maryland, famous?

The bickering between Flemings and Walloons?  Its 6 (yes six) governments?  Being the Capital of Europe? Its chocolate and beer?              For me, it’s their fast food stalls serving fritten (fries) with different sauces and/or beef stew, chicken stew, satay skewers…

However the national dish in Flanders is not one to be found in that “fritkot” (fries-barrack) but in restaurants or at home: Mussels & fries.

The mussels come from Holland’s Yerseke and the Easter-Scheldt. There is a rumour that the Dutchies sell up to 70% of their annual mussel harvest to Belgium.

The cooking is very simple. No need for specials> Just wash the mussels 2 or 3 times in fresh water, then transfer them to a big pot. 

Chop lots of onions, lots of celeri and parsley; add white pepper. Put the pot on a high fire and pour some dry white wine in the casserole. Once the mussels open they’re ready to be eaten. Serve in deep soup plates and don’t forget to drink the bouillon as well.

As for the fries: deep fry them the Belgian way: first 3 or 4 minutes at 150 Celsius. Afterwards let them rest for 1/2 hour and finish frying them at 180 degrees Celsius till crisp.

Hint for the fries: use potatoes that are very low on sugar. “Bintjes” are the best but unfortunately not on offer all over the world. BTW, if no good potatoes available just serve the mussels with buttered bread. In fact, I personally prefer it that way.

Bon appetit!

mussels

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