Pantry cooking: Oliebollen

In this festive month, we always eat special dishes which we don’t eat the rest of the year. On New Years Eve we eat a lot of ‘oliebollen’. Normally they are made from white flour, but I like to make them from home ground wheat that I shift and use in this recipe:

400 grams of sifted home ground wheat
1 teaspoon of salt
350-400 ml of milk
1/2 tablespoon of dried yeast
1 egg or 2 small ones
150 grams raisins and sultanas
1 grated peel of a lemon
1 big apple in small pieces
oil to fry
powdered sugar

sieving the home ground wheat flour

Mix the flour and the salt in a big bowl. Make a little hole in the flour. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 a cup of milk and pour this in the hole in the flour. Pour some more milk until you can stir with a little flour untill you have a batter like substance. Leave it like this until it developes bubbles. Then pour in the rest of the milk and the egg (or eggs) and stir this to a smooth batter. Stir with a wooden spoon a couple of minutes extra. After this you put in the raisins and sultanas. Cover the bowl with a moistened tea towel and let the batter rise until it is risen twice in size.

Mix the apple in the batter and stir it all well.

Take 2 tablespoons and scoop out one tablespoon of batter. Make a nice ball and drop it carefully in the hot oil ( I use organic sunflower oil). Turn the oliebol around after a couple of minutes so that both sides are nicely brown. This will take about 5 minutes. Take this first oliebol out and cut it open so you can check if the inside is well cooked. If it is not cooked, the oil is too hot. When the oliebollen bake to slow, the outside is not crunchy and they will be greasy on the inside. Finding the right temperature is important.

frying the oliebollen in sunflower oil

Put the oliebollen on  some paper towels so the excess fat can drip off. Put them on a big bowl and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Oliebollen are best when they are warm.

Happy New Year!

Apples, apples, apples…

A lot of apples. Where I live there are a lot of apple orchards. I am given permission to get fallen fruits and after the last harvest, pick the apples which are still on the branches. It means a lot of free fruits most of it has to be preserved fast. I dehydrate a lot of apples: slices and chunks (for apple pie), make all kind of fruit leathers. I make apple sauce (more a compote like sauce we like the chunks) which I mix also with other fruits like strawberries (pink apple sauce) and pear/apple sauce. I make a lot of juice as well, but tell in another post about the juices!

Gooseberries Gooseberries Gooseberries

This year I have been very lucky: someone gave me 40 kilo (about 88 lbs) of fresh gooseberries! They were very ripe and I had to preserve them right away. I have cleaned them and put most of them in small plastic bags in the freezer for later preservation.

40 kilo's / 88 lbs of gooseberries

The gooseberries I have used in: canned gooseberry pie filling, gooseberry marmalade,  gooseberry chutney and lots of mixed juices in the steam juicer: appel gooseberry juice.
I also made some gooseberry syrup, to dilute with water and have a sparkling drink.

Of course I couldn’t resist in  making a fresh gooseberry pie:

Easy Sourdough Starter from scratch

I want to make Sourdough breads again. I need to make a starter. This is my easy, difficult to fail method.
It is important to only use flour and buttermilk from organic origin. chloride tap water must be boiled for 5 minutes. I use filtered water from my Berkefeld and leave it out for 24 hours. Chemical additives to the water specific for your area can and will slow down or stop the growth of the bacteria which are needed for the fermentation of the dough. Herbs, honey and milk sour products are good for the cultivation of the fermentation. Start one day (or evening) with the sourdough starter:

1/2 teaspoon raw honey
250 ml bread drink * or buttermilk
100 grams of freshly grinded rye flour
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (crunched)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (crunched)

Dissolve the honey in the bread drink or buttermilk en mix this with the flour and herbs until a thick but still fluid batter. Put it in a glass jar (700 ml) and close the jar.

Put the jar with a warm place of 20-30 Celsius, like a warm room or near the ventilation system on the back of the fridge. It is ok if the temperature is not meet: it only will take longer for the sourdough to be ready to use.

Every day you have to stir the batter every morning and evening. When little bubbles develop you can start to feed the sourdough with 2 full tablespoons of rye flour. Mix this thoroughly, close the jar again and put the sourdough in its warm spot again.

Repeat this 2 times every 12 hours, in total you will ‘feed’ the sourdough 3 times. Perhaps you have to mix in some extra non chloride water to keep the sourdough thick but not too thick. When the sourdough after the 3rd feeding is starting to develop bubbles again, your starter is ready to use.

How you can keep your starter I will tell in a later post when I give you my recipe for sourdough bread.

* to read more about the bread drink: http://www.kanneusa.com/

Pantry Cooking: Gingerbread Cookies

It is almost Christmas and there are some recipes I make only in the December month, like the pepernoten, kruidnoten and marzipan, all from scratch and mostly from ingredients from the pantry. After Christmas  there will be oliebollen but only to be baked on the last day of the year. The recipe will follow, I make mine from seived whole wheat flour, grinded at home, which gives a different flavour then from regular flour which is uses normally.

But now it is time for Gingerbread cookies, here is my recipe:

250 gram Butter
200 ml home made grape syrup (you can substitute with regular dark pancake syrup)
400 grams sugar
4 big heaps of my own cookie spice mix (but you can substitute with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cardemom, 1 teaspoon gingerpowder, 1 teaspoon nutmeg) I add an extra 2 teaspoon of cardemom to my own spice mix but we like cardemom….
200 dl water
1 teaspoon baking powder
600 grams flour

Melt the butter and syrup in a pan. Put in de sugar and the spice mix in a bowl and pour the melted syrup/butter mix over the sugar/spice mix. Stir until the sugar is completely disolved. Pour in the water and mix very well. Knead in the bakign powder and flour.

Put the mixture in a plastic bowl and put it in the fridge for at least 24 hours. I like to make my mixture 2-4 days in advance: the flavours can mix in so well.

When you are ready to use the mixture, take the dough out of the fridge and knead until you can easily handle the dough. Don’t add too much extra flour otherwise the cookies will be too dry.

Roll out the dough until 3 mm thickness. Now you can make your gingerbread house or other cookie shapes.

Put the shaped cookies on a baking sheet with baking paper and bake the cookies 4-6 minutes in a preheated oven of 175 degrees Celsius.

Leave the cookies on a baking tray to cool off.