Hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt

I can safely say that the recipe for hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt must be the most popular recipe from Ottolenghi’s new cookbook ‘Simple‘. Everyone who makes it can’t stop raving about it and soon makes it again and again and again also because it’s super simple. Just like the cookbook promises.

The amazingness of this recipe lies in the contrast between the hot, juicy tomatoes and the fridge-cold yoghurt which definitely tickles the senses. Why? Because different temperatures, just like textures and flavours, build variety and depth into a dish. That is why Ottolenghi urges you to make sure the tomatoes are straight out of the oven and the yoghurt is straight out of the fridge. When I saw this recipe for the first time I had my doubts about this combination. That’s why I know you probably will too, but I can promise you it works like a charm and is utterly delicious.

Hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt

Contrast in temperature is not something new. I’m sure you know the sensation in your mouth when eating an ice-cream sundae with hot chocolate sauce. Or maybe when you drink a cup of hot cocoa topped with cold whipped cream. A more adventurous example is maybe baked Alaska. In this dish meringue acts as insulation which protects cold ice cream from the heat of the oven.

The craziest example I ever heard (but unfortunately have not experienced yet) is Heston Blumenthal’s ‘hot and iced tea’. In this crazy Alice-in-Wonderland drink, Heston serves a cup that contains hot tea in one half and ice tea in the other, divided vertically with no visible divider in the cup. When they assemble this drink they put a divider down the middle of a glass and fill one side with the hot tea and the other with cold. When you lift up the divider you have what looks like a glass filled with a single liquid. Only it isn’t a liquid, it’s two fluid gels that will keep separate long enough for you to feel the difference. Pure magic made possible with chemistry.

Lucky for us the hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt is not as complicated as Heston’s drink. On the contrary, this is as simple as ABC, as simple as Do Re Mi, as simple as 1 2 3. I could go on for a while but I think you get the picture. It’s simply combining the ingredients and putting them into a baking tray and then in the oven. After you take them out you add them to the yoghurt which is mixed with some salt and lemon zest.

Hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt

The only problem with these hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt is that my kids don’t like tomatoes. I can’t for the life of me get them to eat tomatoes other than in a tomato sauce. I know that it can take exposing your child to vegetables 10 times before they will learn to like them. But with tomatoes that number might as well be a million. I keep asking them to taste them and they keep shaking their head after trying.
They just can’t get used to these delicious juicy red orbs.

I don’t blame them as I wasn’t a fan either when I was younger. When you bite into a tomato your mouth is flooded with gooey, sorta-sweet liquid, squishy pulp and seeds. That doesn’t sound like a yummy experience, does it? But somehow I learned to love them. Maybe they will too. We will see………………or it will remain one of life’s little mysteries………….

Hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt

I hope you enjoy this hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt recipe as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!

Hot charred cherry tomatoes with cold yoghurt

Source: ‘Simple‘ – Yotam Ottolenghi 

Servings: 3
Ingredients
  • 500 g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp light brown sugar
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 8 g fresh oregano, 4 sprigs left whole, the rest picked and roughly chopped, to serve
  • 2 lemons – zest of one shaved off in wide strips, the other one grated
  • Flaked sea salt and black pepper
  • 350 g fridge-cold extra-thick Greek-style yoghurt (at least 5%)
  • 1 tsp urfa chilli flakes (or ½ tsp regular chilli flakes)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 200C.

       

  2. Put the tomatoes in a baking dish that’s just large enough to accommodate them all in one layer. Add the oil, cumin, sugar, garlic, thyme, oregano sprigs, lemon strips, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to blister and the liquid is bubbling, then turn the oven to the grill setting and grill for six to eight minutes, until the tomatoes start to blacken on top. Or use a blowtorch like I sometimes do. Because how often do you get the chance to use a blowtorch? If you don’t own one go and buy one because according to Julia Child every woman should have a blowtorch.

      

  3. While the tomatoes are roasting, mix the yoghurt with the grated lemon zest and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, then return to the fridge.

      

  4. Once the tomatoes are ready, spread out the chilled yoghurt on a platter or wide shallow bowl, and make a few dips in it here and there with the back of a spoon. Spoon the hot tomatoes on top, as well as the pan juices, lemon peel, garlic and herbs, and finish with the remaining oregano and chilli. Serve at once with some good crusty bread.

      

Prawn soup with Orzo

Don’t you just love making soup when it’s cold outside? Try this prawn soup with orzo next time you want to make a hot delicious soup to warm the soul after you come home freezing cold. I expected some serious cold in November here in the Netherlands but mother nature clearly had other plans. November was a nice and warm month with no cold, no snow and even more important: no ice.

I live in the Netherlands and us Dutch people are known for our love of ice skating. I actually know a lot of people who get really excited when the temperature drops below zero for more than a day. The mere prospect of maybe skating on natural ice can get the whole nation into a frenzy. There are a lot of Dutch people that are genuinely awesome at ice skating and we have a lot of ice skate champions here.

Having said that………………does anyone remember the famous scene in Bambi when he got onto the ice for the very first time? His legs all spread out under him and he can’t get up no matter how hard he tries? That’s more or less how I feel on the ice. To be honest it’s not that bad, but next to others on the ice here I feel like Bambi. That’s why I decided to get some ice skating lessons this year. I convinced my 8-year-old son to join me in the lessons and we both bought ice skates. We had our first lesson in November while it was still 15 degrees (Celsius) outside. That did not stop me from making a big pan of this prawn soup with orzo when we got home though. The prawns are my favourite part of this soup. Don’t you just love prawn?

Prawn soup with orzo

I remember never eating prawn growing up because of my mum’s dislike of seafood and fish in general. I still don’t understand how one cannot like all fish and all seafood. There are so many different fish and seafood that taste so different that I can’t understand how you can exclude such a big food group from your diet. Surely there must have been certain types of fish or seafood that my mum would have liked. Unfortunately, she was not prepared to try it. That’s why I did not eat a lot of prawns when I was young, but I certainly made up for that as an adult.

I’m a sucker for prawns and have them whenever I can. That’s why I love this prawn soup with orzo. An added bonus is that the kids call this “the best soup ever”. Also, this prawn soup with orzo is easy to make and the ingredients can be found in almost every supermarket. So there is no need for a trip to any speciality stores.

I tried this hearty comfort food soup with both fresh and frozen prawn and both worked just fine. Serve it with a crusty baguette and some garlic butter to coat the bread with. One last thing! Be sure to divide the prawn equally over the bowls, because they are the best part. Taking more prawn than you’re entitled to would be shellfish……………

Prawn soup with orzo

I hope you enjoy this prawn soup recipe as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!

5 from 1 vote
Prawn soup with Orzo
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Ingredients
  • 500 gr peeled prawns (frozen or fresh)
  • 3 small red onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
  • 3 bell peppers (preferably red or yellow)
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • 200 gr orzo pasta
  • 10 gr chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • chili flakes, to serve
Instructions
  1. In a large pan sauté the onion on medium heat in oil until they start to colour. I used a Dutch oven with a heat diffuser underneath. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute longer. Don’t let the garlic get too dark or it will become bitter. Then add the tomatoes, the bell pepper and cook and stir for 8 minutes.

      

  2. After 8 minutes you add the tomato paste. Fry this until it starts to caramelize. The caramelization is the secret to the umami taste you are looking for. If you don’t do this you will get sort of a sour raw tomato flavour. Fry it until it goes dark and starts to stick a little to the pan, but don’t let it burn.

      

  3. Then use the stock to deglaze the pan while you make sure you scrape up all the bits that got stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the frozen prawn and bring it all to a boil (if you are using fresh prawn then add them about two minutes before the orzo is cooked). Then add the orzo pasta, cover and simmer for 8 minutes or until the orzo is cooked. Check the instruction on the package of the orzo you’re using as this may vary.

      

  4. When the orzo is cooked take the soup off the heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. My kids prefer it without the lemon juice so I serve it on the side for us adults. Serve the soup immediately and sprinkle it with chilli flakes over it. Serve it with a crusty baguette and some garlic butter.

      

Green Gazpacho

It is unbelievably hot this summer in the Netherlands and I wouldn’t be surprised if these scorching temperatures reach record-breaking heights. However, considering the summer can be quite rubbish in The Netherlands I’m glad that it’s finally hot enough to complain about how hot it is :-). These kinds of temperatures certainly can take a toll on our bodies and when the mercury rises this high, there are few people who are willing to get in the kitchen and cook dinner over a hot stove. So we tend to go for dishes that don’t need cooking at all like fresh cold salads.

Green gazpacho - Ottolenghi

But………………If you read my blog post about ‘garlic soup with harissa’ you know that I’m a big soup fan. I’m that crazy girl that can eat hot soup even in summer for the reason that hot food actually cools me down on a warm day. This heat however, is even too much for me. This is no reason though to ditch soup as a whole. I just turn to cold soups instead and gazpacho is probably what first comes to mind when you think of chilled soup. There is nothing quite like a delicious gazpacho on a warm summer day.

So, what is this green gazpacho that looks too healthy to be any good? Are you sure this is gazpacho? Isn’t gazpacho supposed to be red? That’s the typical reaction I get from people to whom I served this dish. Why? Because the main ingredient in traditional gazpacho is tomatoes. One could think I made this gazpacho with green tomatoes, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Ottolenghi manages to make a gazpacho with zero tomatoes in it, but I can promise you that you won’t miss them eating this green gold. Its full of green veggies blended into a silky creamy chilled soup with Greek yoghurt, basil, walnuts and parsley.

Green gazpacho - Ottolenghi

This gazpacho is the perfect dish to take to a picnic or maybe to take to work and eat at your desk. Although, why would you eat at your desk if you can eat outside in the sun? I prefer going into the scorching heat to eat my gazpacho lunch to avoid frostbite from our office air conditioning. There is a chance that this portion of blended veggies is not hearty enough for you and that’s where the croutons come in. If you don’t like croutons (who doesn’t like croutons??) you can always serve the gazpacho with a large chunk of fresh bread or add garnishes like spring onions or walnuts or…..……….anything you fancy.

If you want a more posh way to serve it during a dinner party, pour it into cute tall shot glasses and serve it as a refreshing little appetizer. This flavourful soup requires no cooking and can easily be made the day before and stored in the fridge until ready to serve.

Green gazpacho - Ottolenghi

The temperature is 37C as I’m writing this blog post. I think I will go and sip some more gazpacho…………….try to stay cool in this weather and promise me you will try this soon.

I hope you enjoy this green gazpacho as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!

5 from 5 votes
Green Gazpacho
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Source: 'Plenty' - Yotam Ottolenghi 

Servings: 6 people
Ingredients
Soup:
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 small green bell peppers, deseeded
  • 1 cucumber (350g in total)
  • 3 slices stale bread (120g in total)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 150 g walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 200 g spinach
  • 45 g basil leaves (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
  • 10 g parsley
  • 4 tbs sherry vinegar
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 40 g Greek yoghurt
  • about 450ml water
  • 250 g ice cubes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • white pepper
Croutons:
  • 2 thick slices sourdough bread (150g in total)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
Instructions
  1. This recipe is so easy that it’s the croutons will take the most time, so start with the croutons.

  2. Preheat the oven to 190C. Cut the bread into 1cm cubes and toss them with the oil and a bit of salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the croutons turn golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down.

  3. Roughly chop up the celery, peppers, cucumbers, bread, chilli, and garlic. Place in a blender and add half the water, cover and puree until smooth. You should now have room to add the rest of the ingredients to your blender. Add the sugar, walnuts, spinach, basil, parsley, vinegar, oil, yoghurt, the other half of the water, half the ice cubes, the salt and some white pepper. Make sure it can fit in your blender, otherwise do this in batches. If you don’t have a standing blender you can always use an immersion blender.

  4. Blitz the soup until smooth. Add more water when needed to get your preferred consistency. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Put it in the fridge to chill it. I like to make it the day before so it’s really cold when we eat it.

  5. Just before serving the gazpacho you add the remaining ice and pulse a few times, just to crush it a little.

  6. Serve the gazpacho at once, with the croutons and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil. I like to add a few leaves of basil on top.

Recipe Notes

Over time I changed a few little things in this recipe. I use a normal (unpeeled) cucumber instead of mini cucumbers because the mini ones are not always easily available. I throw in the whole bread, including the crust. I only use 2 garlic cloves (instead of 4) because I don’t like a lot of raw garlic. I know I’m crazy like that. I use regular spinach instead of baby spinach and I use more basil than the original recipe calls for. Furthermore, I only add 50ml of olive oil instead of the 225ml to the gazpacho and use 2 (instead of 4) tbs of olive oil to coat the croutons. It’s a lot of small changes, but I adjusted the gazpacho to my taste.

Shallot tarte tatin

Oh là là ! Don’t you just love a good tarte tatin. The famous tarte tatin is definitely and indisputably one of France’s most beloved and cherished tarts. There are two things I always eat when visiting France: crêpes with sugar and lemon and tarte tatin. Especially the latter as it’s both one of my favourite desserts (with apples) and one of my favourite side dishes (with shallots).

Le Château de Varambon     Le Château de Varambon

We were in France 2 weeks ago where we spent a week in ‘Le Château de Varambon’. My husband booked the accommodation and I had no idea what it was until we pulled up onto a grand driveway to the château. It’s built on top of a hill at the edge of a small town called Varambon so the view from the château was spectacular. We were greeted very warmly by the count Henri de Boissieu and the countess Monique Gabrielle de Boissieu. They gave us a double room in the lefttower on the top floor. I could not believe my eyes as we walked through the château on our way to our bedrooms. It was like I was walking through a museum, but this time I was allowed to touch everything, to sit in every chair and even sleep in the beds. Henri and Monique Gabrielle told us that they had opened the château to the public in the summer of 2017. It was built by the ancestors of Henri and maintained its original charm over many generations. The bedrooms were incredible; they looked like we were transported in time to the era were Napoleon was still ruling over France. Don’t worry, the toilets and bathrooms were up to the standards of the 20th century 🙂 .

On the fifth day we were there, Henri and Monique Gabrielle invited us for dinner. We started in the library with drinks and hors d’oeuvres and Henri was telling us about the château and how his family had built it and lived there. I loved how he was telling us stories like we were old friends. It’s a rare thing meeting such kind and genuine people. After the drinks we moved to the dining room where Monique Gabrielle herself had cooked us a fabulous dinner. These people were absolutely wonderful, very welcoming and nothing was too much trouble when asked. We had a great time in the château and in France. We had never been to that region and we were pleasantly surprised by the people, the nature, well basically everything there. The only negative thing I can think of during that holiday was the fact that this was my first time I did not eat a tarte tatin during my stay in France 😉 . I’m sure if I had asked Monique Gabrielle to make me one she would have, but she had already been so nice to us that I just couldn’t.

Shallot Tarte Tatin

To satisfy my tarte tatin craving I started thinking about making one when I got home. While driving home I dreamed about a savoury version with shallots, a sprinkling of fresh thyme and salty feta to brighten everything up. Just thinking of it made my frown turn upside down, just like the tarte tatin. So that’s how I came to make and now share below recipe.

Shallot tarte tatin
It’s a very simple recipe, but guests will think you spent hours on this gorgeous tarte tatin. I won’t tell if you don’t! You can make it even easier by using shop bought puff pastry if you want. I served it with a rack of lamb with a coriander and honey marinade.

Shallot tarte tatin     Shallot Tarte Tatin

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!

I submitted this recipe to the May Foodblog Event of the Facebookgroup ‘Foodbloggers Benelux’. Check all the recipes for the event on the Pinterest Board of the group.

Shallot tarte tatin
Servings: 3 people
Ingredients
  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 160 g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm dice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 70 g ice-cold water
  • 400 g shallots
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 g butter
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 16 thyme sprigs
  • 100 g feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Make the pastry by sifting together the flour and salt into a large bowl. Take the butter from the fridge and cut it into small cubes. Add to the flour mix. Using your fingertips and thumbs, rub the butter into the flour until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Add the ice-cold water and stir into the pastry mix with a fork until it starts to resemble a soft dough. Tip on to a clean surface and bring the pastry together with your hands until you have a smooth ball. Wrap this in cling film and chill it in a fridge for at least 1 hour (I usually do this the night before).

  2. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan.

  3. Peel the shallots and slice them in half lengthwise. Heat the butter in a frying pan large enough to fit the shallots in an even layer. Add the shallots and cook over a medium/low heat until they start to brown and are cooked through (about 10 mintues). Add the balsamic and sugar and keep cooking, adding some water if you need to until the balsamic and sugar has become sticky and caramelised around them (about 1 or 2 minutes). Take off the heat, mix in leaves from 8 thyme sprigs and season.

  4. Cover the base of a 24cm ovenproof shallow pan, cake or tart tin without a loose base with baking paper (cut out a round shape). Tip in the shallots with all their sticky juices and turn them cutside down. Tear 4 thyme sprigs into pieces and scatter over the shallots. Crumble the feta over the shallots, leaving a little bit to decorate when it comes out of the oven.

  5. Dust a clean surface with flour and place the pastry from the fridge on to it. Roll out the chilled pastry until it’s big enough to cover a pan of 24cm. Be sure to add extra flour to the surface if it sticks. This pastry is incredibly forgiving and any cracks or tears can be easily repaired by using a piece of dough you tear of a spot where you don’t need it to fix the gap. Lift the pastry circle onto the shallots, then tuck the edges down the inside of the pan. Bake for 25-30 mins until pastry is golden.

  6. Leave tart for 5 mins to settle, then turn out of the tin. Sprinkle with the leftover feta and the 4 remaining sprigs of thyme and slice into wedges. Enjoy immediately.

Stuffed Moroccan bread

Being Moroccan, love for homemade bread is in my blood. It’s something I grew up with. I vividly remember the aroma that filled the house as my mum was baking bread. We used to eat bread with almost every meal when I was growing up so we baked it every other day. If you consider that the house smelled amazing when mum used to make her ‘plain’ bread you can only imagine what it was like when she made her famous stuffed bread for us. We called this bread ‘boegensoe’ which simply means ‘stuffed’ or ‘with something inside’.

My mum would make Moroccan harira soup and this stuffed bread to go with it and we would be in heaven. Slices of this golden loaf would disappear in a hurry and if you didn’t pay attention you would be too late to grab a piece. I have a lot of siblings so one had to be quick at the dinner table. Kind of like survival of the fittest, or better yet, fastest. Every Moroccan mum probably has her own stuffed bread recipe, so there is not ‘one recipe’ but my mum’s recipe is so good you’ll want to stuff your face with it.

When I make this recipe for my kids it brings back so many memories, I only need to take one bite and I’m there again! Funny enough this bread is as common for me as pizza is for most people and I did not consider it a special recipe until I shared a ‘how to’ on Instagram. It turned out to be my most liked post ever. Especially the video where I show how to close the dough after putting the filling on it. I had so many requests for sharing the recipe after posting it, that of course I had to share it on my blog as well.

The filling in this version is made with minced beef, leeks, bell peppers and lots of fresh herbs and spices. However, you can vary your choice of filling. You can use different meat (lamb, chicken, even fish is possible) and you can also use different vegetables. It’s a very forgiving recipe…..… you can include almost anything, the bread makes a great ‘carrier’ for all the flavours. The only thing you will need to keep in mind is that you should cut the filling as small as you can. This ensures that the filling cannot poke holes in your dough causing it to leak on your baking sheet. You should also make sure you use enough, but not too much filling. What I’m talking about here is ratios. You need to have the right ratio of filling for your stuffed bread.

My Mums stuffed Moroccan bread

If you have made bread before than making this bread is relatively easy…………………..Remember the theory of relativity? Take this recipe for example. The bread gets stuffed, you get stuffed, but you’re relatively better off.

If you haven’t made bread before than you will need some practice to get it right. Make sure you use strong bread flour to get the best results. My mum always made it with regular all-purpose flour from the supermarket, but then again I don’t have my mum’s magic hands. I rely on good flour and a lot of practice. You will see that the more you bake bread the better it will turn out.

My Mums stuffed Moroccan bread

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!

My Mums stuffed Moroccan bread      My Mums stuffed Moroccan bread

 

Moroccan Stuffed Bread
Servings: 8 people
Ingredients
Dough
  • 600 gr flour
  • 11 gr salt
  • 10 gr sugar
  • 5 gr commercial dried yeast
  • 400 gr of water (yes, in grams not ml)
Filling
  • 500 gr minced beef (or any other meat you fancy)
  • 1-2 leeks, about 400gr, chopped finely
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped finely
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground koriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp raz-el-hanout
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 10 grams of koriander
  • 10 grams of parsley
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Knead for 15 minutes in your stand mixer or knead the dough by hand until it’s nice and elastic. See how elastic mine was after proofing in my Instagram video. Let it proof for 45-60min until it doubles in size.

  2. Chop all the vegetables finely otherwise it will poke holes in the dough when you use it as a filling. Heat up some olive oil in a large casserole and fry the leeks over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the meat and break it up with a spatula, than add the bell peppers and spices. Cook until everything is soft and cooked through. Make sure the filling is not too wet, if so then cook a bit longer so the moisture evaporates. Taste and add salt or any of the other spices until it tastes good. Take it off the heat and mix in the parsley and coriander and let it cool before you used it in the dough.

  3. Divide the dough into 4 balls of approximately 250gr. Let it rest for 15 min. Press it down a little, enough to be able to add the filling. Put the filling on top and close the dough over the filling. See how I do that in above video in my blogpost. Close the dough firmly, let it rest for 20min to relax the gluten and then carefully flatten it into circles. Be careful not to tear it. Let the flattened disks proof for 30-45 min and bake in a hot oven 200C until golden brown.