Looking back on 10 weeks of Hello Fresh

Being able to cook without having to do the shopping, a dream for most people! Hello Fresh makes this possible for you without having a butler at home :-). What Hello Fresh does it basically make you a food package for a 3 or 5 days (per week) regular or vegetarian with all recipes and fresh ingredients (from local growers) included to make the predefined dishes. There are some ingredients you need at home like olive oil or salt and pepper, but besides that you’ll find everything in the box. They even give tips how/ what you can put in the freezer or on how to storage the food to keep the food fresh.

Hello Fresh

My wife and I already tried a similar concept like Hello Fresh about 2 years ago, but we stopped it as it didn’t fit our lifestyle at that moment. We were never home at night which resulted in food being thrown away.  We did like the concept and we do still use some of their recipes.  When our daughter was born (about 4 months ago) and we knew we would be home much more than before it seemed like a good idea to start again with a concept like Hello Fresh.

Why Hello Fresh and not one of the others? When a new baby is born, the parents get a few boxes filled with coupons, samples and other baby related things. One of those boxes offered a coupon for Hello Fresh… and that’s why we decided to try Hello Fresh. After ‘using’ Hello Fresh for about 10 weeks (as we do sometimes still go out and on holiday 🙂 ) we can say we are still happy with our decision. I know it might seem that I’m not into cooking or shopping for food anymore, but that’s not true. I do still enjoy going to open air markets or the supermarket and cook my recipes. I still do all of that in the weekends. Now I’m just able to spend a bit more time with my family and not having to ask my wife over and over again what she feels like eating tonight or tomorrow (it made her crazy sometimes 🙂 there you have reason n°2 😉 ).

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What I like about the recipes from Hello Fresh, is that they are simple and everybody should be able to make them. Another advantage is that no recipe takes more than 40 minutes to cook (most of them not even more than 30min). I must admit that you can sometimes tell the recipes are Dutch as some combinations seem rather strange like lasagne for example with a salad to go with it (as an Italian, that’s a big no no). What I then usually do is just leave the salad out and eat it during the weekend and buy a few extra ingredients. Or I also sometimes make recipes in a different way then described as I know it will just be better my way… (without adding extra ingredients that is). Nevertheless most recipes are very nice and we enjoy them. Another benefit is that their recipes are good for your health as they only provide the portions you are actually supposed to be eating a day. I must admit that when I see some of the portions in the box I think ‘that will never be enough’ and I’m wrong 98% of the time 🙂 Last but not least, another advantage of Hello Fresh is that you throw away less food. The recipes also contain a table with up to 6 people the amounts that should be used for the ingredients (including if they are ok to eat for people who have problems with Lactose or Gluten)

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Libanese wrap recipeLIbanese wrap recipe 2

Hello Fresh also uses forgotten vegetables, from time to time replace the usual potatoes and pasta with quinoa, couscous or any other thing you can replace it with. Basically you get to eat stuff you usually wouldn’t buy or eat, but are now ‘forced’ to eat and in the end love it and think why you never tried it before :-).

Hello fresh recipe 2 Hello fresh recipe 3 Hello fresh recipe 4 Hello fresh recipe Hello fresh recipe 5

I’m sure my wife and I will keep making use of the Hello Fresh services some more. BTW Hello is very spread out as it delivers in Australia, UK, USA, Austria, Germany and obviously Belgium and  The Netherlands.

 

How to make Cannelés de Bordeaux

Making desserts has never been my thing, also in cooking school (highschool) we learned how to make lots of nice desserts it didn’t crumble my cookie 😉 😉 😉 Nevertheless from time to time I like eating  like a nice ‘tarte tatin’ or ‘rice pie’… I don’t reallyt make them myself as you can buy them very well prepared in lots of bakeryshops. A dessert or better ‘ friandise‘ I was very keen on learning how to make as you don’t find easily (well prepared ones even more difficult) are ‘Cannelés de Bordeaux’. When a few weeks ago I got served some cannelés at restaurant Ardent and I just had to ask the chef how he made them as even though the recipe isn’t difficult there are always a few tips and tricks you can’t find in books… I even pushed my luck that far on asking him very very kindly if he could maybe show me :-). Lucky me Wouter van Steenwinkel is a very friendly guy who was more than willing to teach me all the tips and tricks to make my beloved ‘Cannelés de Bordeaux’ 🙂 (and to give me a few to eat at home that never got  home 🙂 🙂 )

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The recipe below is to make ca.75 cannelés. Before we start I must tell you that the batter must be made a day in advance before baking!! The good news is that the batter can be kept for almost 2 weeks in the fridge.  It is also advisable to prepare the cannelés in silicone baking tin (if you have stainless steel they’ll also work, but they don’t give an extra value to the result)

Ingredients:

  • 1l milk
  • 100g butter (cut in small dice)
  • 1 dried vanilla fruit (NO EXTRACT, THE ACTUAL FRUIT)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 eggyolks
  • 500g sugar
  • 200g flour
  • Brown rum
  • Salt
  • Beeswax (for cooking not for cleaning) or butter to grease the baking tin
  • A needle

Getting Started

The batter:

  • Put a the milk, butter and vanilla fruit (but open) to a boil on a medium heat

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  • Take a large bowl to make the batter.
  • Put all the eggs together with the sugar and start mixing them. Just mixing as there doesn’t need to be too much air in the eggs….

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  • Add the flour and a pinch of salt. Mix again until you don’t see the flour anymore.

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  • When the butter had been totally dissolved in the milk add the milk to the egg mix, just a little bit at a time en kip mixing with a whisk(so NOT all in one time )

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  • When you added all the milk add a bit of brown rum. How much is up to you (it speaks for itself that you shouldn’t be adding a whole bottle. Let’s say a shot glass will do 🙂 don’t act as if you don’t have a glass like that at home from a crazy tequila night ;-). Give a last whisk.

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  • Sieve the batter into a bucket or other recipient, something in which you can put the batter to put it in your fridge. Let it first cool down before putting in fridge.

Baking the cannelés:

  • Pre-heat your oven at 200°C (392°F)
  • Give you batter a quit little mix with a whisk or ladle.
  • Lightly grease the baking tine with either melted butter or beeswax

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  • Pour the batter into the forms, but not all the way to the top as the cannelés will grow. SO keep it a few millimeters from the top.

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  • Put in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes
  • Change the oven temperature into 180°C (356°F)
  • Open the oven and sting the cannelés with a needle on the sides so they collaps

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  • Close the oven and let them bake for another 30minutes
  • After 30 minutes turn the form over on top of a baking tray and put the cannelés for a few more minutes (2) in the oven

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  • Take them out of the oven to cool down

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Enjoy!!

A special thanks to Wouter van Steenwinkel from Restaurant Ardent for making this happen 🙂

That is what a brother is for…

I’m pretty sure I’ve already told you guys but in I haven’t… I have 1 older brother who besides being a great brother is also one of my best friends! When it comes to food my brother is as fanatic (if not more) about food than I am with the only difference that I’m open for all kinds of food and for him it has to be Italian food/wine :-). FYI, to my opinion he also is a better cook than me… (he cooks just like my beloved zia Livia – I’m pretty sure when he’ll read this he’ll have a giant smile for me saying this) Therefore I also from time to time ask him for some cooking tips. Earlier this week for example I was telling him I still had some ricotta and wasn’t sure what to make with it and that I didn’t feel like making the usual stuffed spinach and ricotta crespelle or cannelloni… So after him giving a few options that didn’t really float my boat (I’m not difficult in case you’re wondering) he advised me to go the “Giallo Zafferano” website. For me this website is definitely the discovery of the year!!

Giallo zafferano

You can just enter a main ingredient that you feel like cooking with for example(or my case I had left) and the website gives you an enormous list of recipes. Recipes that are easy to make for everybody (even for the non-Italian speakers), they are explained in an easy ways and are included with instructive pictures and sometimes even a video… For the Italian speakers, I think with some help of google translate you’ll be able to figure out all ingredients). Also once you opened a recipe they also give you a few alternative recipes or recipes that are alike…

Giallo zafferano (search)

In case you are wondering I made the Lasagna alla ricotta, I did add some cooked ham (also leftover) which wasn’t part of the original recipe…

Giallo zafferano recipe

Giallo zafferano recipe preperation

I hope you’ll find the website as useful as I did!!

Palet de dame nougatine cookie by Delacre

This cookie is again very easy to make!  Made with my some of my favorite ingredients sugar and butter 😉

If you don’t feel like cooking it yourself, only one solution, buying them at the Delacre boutique in Brussels

Ingredients

For the cookie:

Ingredients

  • 65g Butter (room temperature, butter has to be soft)
  • 65g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 75g flour
  • Pinch of salt

For the nougatine:

  • 300g Sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 100g pine nuts

TIP! Make sure all the measures are correct as with pastry cooking it just needs to be precise.

Getting started : Nougatine

BE CAREFUL when making the caramel, do not touch with your hands as it will leave some nasty burn marks!!

  • Put the 300g sugar and 50ml of water in a cooking pot on the heat just until the caramel gets the desired color (own choice).

Caramel 1

caramel 2

  • When it has the desired color put the pine nuts and stir.
  • Quickly dump the caramel on an oven tray with baking paper on it. Equalize it using a steel spatula

nougatine ready on baking tray

  • Let it cool down

Getting started with the cookies:

  • Mix the soft butter with the 65g of sugar either using a machine or using a dough scraper until no loose sugar is visible anymore

butter sugar

  • Add the egg and mix (it will stay a bit lumpy)
  • Add the flour and mix until you get a firm dough

dough ready

  • Put the dough in a piping bag.

Fill piping bag

  • Take a baking tray with baking paper on it and use the piping bag to make nice rounds (see picture below). You can choose the size you prefer, but I prefer making them smaller (this way I can eat more)

Use piping bag

make rounds

  • Break you nougatine in small pieces and put a small piece of it in the middle of every cookie.

smash caramel

Pieces of caramel

put nougatine on cookie

  • Bake in a preheated oven of 200°C (392°F) for about 6-8minutes (until they are blond/brownish)

Let cool down before you eat them.

Ultimate Delacre cacao cookie

As promissed  in my previous blogpost here you have the recipe of the delicious Unlimited Delacre cacao cookie. Hope you’ll enjoy them as much as my sweet fiancée did 😉

Best of all, they are very easy to make… just mix, put in the oven and let cool down.

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Ingredients : (for 10 cookies)

ingredients

45g Butter

30g Granulated sugar

1 egg

60 g Flour

30 g Cacao

40 g small chocolate chunks

+ Almond slices.

Before getting started

Your butter must be on room temperature, so leave it out of the fridge about an hour until it feels soft. For pastry it is also very important to use the correct measures as mentioned above.

Getting started :

  • Mix the sugar and soft botter until it becomes like a paste aka crèmer le beurre
  • Add the egg
  • Add (sieve) the flour and cacao (keep mixing)
  • Add the chocolate chunks until you get a ball of dough.
  • Puis, ajouter la farine et le cacao.
  • Enfin, ajouter les morceaux de chocolat.

mass

  • Preheat the oven at 170°C (338°F)
  • Roll little balls ah roll the in Almond slices

Almond slices

balls in mass

  • Put them on an oven tray (on baking paper)

on baking tray

  • Put in oven for 5 minutes and let the cool down before you eat them

Enjoy

Zia Livia’s homemade Gnocchi

I’m sure you have already heard me talking about my beloved zia Livia from Trieste? In case you didn’t she basically is a person that has a very central place in my heart. Next month she’ll become 80, but she has more energy than all of us together (REALLY) and when you see her you’d think she’s around 60 instead of 80. Anyhow for me she is the absolute best cook in the world as she first of all always makes all my favorite dishes and secondly because she makes everything fresh from scratch and gets her ingredients from farmers close to where she lives (so basically the best you’ve ever eaten).  Two weeks ago I was visiting her again and man did she spoil me again (food wise that is). Today I want to share with you one of her recipes or better her recipe for making Gnocchi di patate which she serves with a “sugo di carne”, but you guys can serve it with regular tomato sauce or bolognaise or whichever sauce you want.  Originally the Umbrian “patata rossa” is used to make gnocchi, but if you don’t find them it is important to use very floury potatoes.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

  • 1 kg potatoes (floury)
  • 250g flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • 30 g farm butter

Getting started:

  • Leave the potatoes unpeeled and cook them like you would normally cook them to make mashed potatoes. You can see when there are almost ready when the ‘skin’ starts to rip.
  • Peel the potatoes

Peel the potatoes

Puree the potatoes

  • Add a pinch of salt and butter to the potatoes and start kneading, add the egg once the potatoes are a bit cooler (not ice cold of course) and slowly add the flour. Keep kneading until you have a firm dough ball.

mix potato with salt_butter and egg

Add in flour

  • Cut off a piece and make a kind of “sausage” out of it (see pic below)

Cut a piece of the firm ball

Make a sausage

  • Cut the “sausage” in small equal  (keep doing this until dough is done)

Cut the suasage

Gnocchi

  • My aunt now finish them but rolling them over the backside of a cheese grater, but you can also use a for or just leave them like they are  (the difference would just be that the ‘incisions will be able to absorb a little bit more sauce)

pass over cheese grater

pass over cheese grater (2)

  • Boil salted water and put the ‘gnocchi in the water (one by one) once the water starts boiling.

Boil water and add gnocchi

  • When the ‘gnocchi’ start floating it means they are ready for serving.

When start floating they are ready

  • Drain them

but in bowl and add sauce

  • Put them in a bowl and add the sauce of your choice. Zia Livia adds her heavenly “sugo di carne”

Buon appetito

Buon appetito

Sogliola alla Fiorentina

For those who don’t speak Italian, Sole with spinach and a light ‘creamy’ sauce. This is a very easy recipe. I don’t prepare too much fish at home, not that I don’t like to eat it, but more because of the smell it leaves in my house 🙂 (I sound like my Italian aunt). Normally this dish is made with sole, but you can easily replace this fish by plaice or any other flatfish. I also didn’t use sole this time as it was a bit expensive when I wanted to buy it. I’ll be preparing/ serving it the easy way, but you can be as creative as you want when serving it. You could role the fish up with the spinach in between or just make the fish with the sauce and serve it with mashed potatoes with spinach, etc….

For 2 people you would need the following amount of ingredients (in case for more people, just multiply 🙂 ) When you buy the fish you can either by filets or an entire fish. In both case the fish as to be skinned. If you would use a whole sole for example you first bake it an afterwards remove the bones.

Ingredients

Ingredients:
• 2 Soles (or 8 filets, if you are a small eater you can always take less)
• 200g fresh spinach (young leaves)
• 30g Parmesan cheese (for making a nice crust under the grill)
• Flour (not much, just to put on the fish just before baking it)
• Salt, pepper & nutmeg
• 2 lumps of butter (for the spinach and to bake the fish)
• 250 ml cooking cream
• 1 glass of fish stock (this would be between 350and 400 ml)
• Glass of white wine

Get started:
• First of all we’ll start with talking the stalk of the spinach leaves.
• Melt some butter in a small pot (make sure you can fit all your spinach in the pot) and throw in the spinach. Just let it absorb the butter for max 10 minutes (stir from time to time). Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

put spinach in pot
spinach ready
• The following step would be the fish. Season them with salt and pepper. If you use fish filets you first flour them. Heat a pan with a lump of butter (or olive oil if you prefer it) and bake the filets max 2min on each side (they just need a little bit of color) In case you use a whole fish you do the same, but remove the bone from the fish.
• Put the fish aside and use the same pan (not cleaned) to make the sauce. You put the pan on the heat; deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the fish stock and cream. Let it cook for 5 minutes
• Take 2 baked filets. Put some spinach on one filet and lay another filet on top. Make “double” filets until all filets are used.
put spinach on one side
lay other piece on top
• Take a baking tray (butter it to make sure the fish won’t stick) and arrange the “double” filets in it. Pour the sauce over the fish. Put a bit of grated Parmesan cheese on top of the “double” filets and let it cook for 8 minutes in a preheated oven of 180°C (356°F) and 2 minutes under a grill to make a nice crust.
Enjoy 🙂 you could serve it with mashed potatoes. I added some mustard in my mash with gave it that little extra flavor.
Dish ready to eat