Your Favourites in 2022

We have been baking our own bread for several years, based on the method of no-knead bread (see Jim Lahey’s book My Bread for more detail) and using the ingredients of the French Talmière. The technique is a bit challenging, so we were very pleased to test the simplified method described by Le Creuset. You were also pleased to learn about this easier method for No-Knead Bread, because it’s our number one post this year!

Kimizu is the classic, golden sauce from Japan, made from Egg Yolks, Rice Vinegar, Water and Mirin. The recipes for Kimizu and Kimizu with Tarragon continue to be very popular. Although this is a classic sauce, we use a microwave to prepare it. A great tool to be in control of temperature and consistency.

If you’ve been following this blog for a few months, perhaps years, then you’ll know we love mushrooms. We are especially interested in the seasonal ones, such as Morels, St. George’s mushroom, and Caesar’s Mushroom. We combine these with Japanese Udon, creating a very tasty starter, full of flavours and texture. Also one of our personal favourites.
Another favorite is the Bay Bolete. Actually a fairly common mushroom, as tasty as Cèpes, but much more affordable.
During the season we saw lots of interests in Bay Boletes and Caeser’s Mushroom, so next season we will publish new recipes with these two delicious mushrooms.

The classic Cèpes à la Bordelaise was also amongst your favourites. You can also use more available mushrooms for this great combination. Always a pleasure to serve, with eggs, with meat, with more present fish.

Ajerkoniak was a dish we looked into when we were exploring dishes/drinks based on egg yolks, such as caudle, eggnog and advocaat. Perhaps not our personal favourite, but why nog give it a try?

We wish you a happy and inspiring 2023!

Your Favourites in 2022 ©cadwu
Your Favourites in 2022 ©cadwu

Crostini

You don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen when serving drinks and you want to enjoy a warm appetizer (snack, finger food, quick nibble)? What to do? Of course: serve crostini! You can prepare them in advance and the only thing you need to do is put them under the grill for 3-5 minutes. A nice crunchy appetizer with a rich taste and intense aroma.

We use taleggio, a semi-soft cheese from Italy with a mild taste. It melts easily, so you need to keep an eye on your oven! If you can’t get hold of taleggio, then use mozzarella instead and add a bit more flavour to the mushroom topping.

What You Need

  • For the Mushroom Topping
    • Button Mushrooms and Shiitake
    • Garlic Cloves
    • Olive Oil
    • Thyme and Rosemary
    • Black Pepper
    • (Excellent) Olive Oil
  • For the Crostini
    • Old, stale Bread (Baguette preferred)
    • Garlic (optional)
    • Excellent Olive Oil
  • Taleggio

What You Do

One day before serving the crostini: clean and chop the mushrooms. Finely chop the rosemary, the thyme and the garlic. Fry the mushroom in olive oil in a heavy iron skillet. Reduce heat, add herbs and garlic. Continue on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mix to a plate and let cool. Transfer to a kitchen aid and on low speed add some olive oil. Taste and add some black pepper. You’re looking for a coarsely chopped mixture, one that you can easily distribute over the crostini. Store in the refrigerator.

Also one day before serving the crostini: slice the bread and toast it. Halve a garlic clove, very gently rub the top of the toasted bread with the garlic and then brush with olive oil. An alternative is to preheat your oven to 180 °C or 350 °F, brush both sides with olive oil and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Perhaps you need to turn the slices over once. Store in a plastic container.

A few hours before serving the crostini: slice the taleggio (with crust!), top the bread with the mushroom mixture and then with a slice of cheese.

Set your oven to grill, transfer the crostini to the top of your oven, wait for a few minutes and serve immediately.

Crostini with Mushrooms and Taleggio ©cadwu
Crostini with Mushrooms and Taleggio ©cadwu

Potato and Truffle Purée

The combination of potatoes and truffle is an interesting one. Because one is the opposite of the other in terms of price and availability? Because both grow underground?

Dutch chef John Halvemaan (also winner of the prestigious Johannes van Dam prize) created a no doubt delicious combination, using butter, veal stock, parsley and cooked bacon. Also very tasty: a recipe for a gratin with crème fraîche and eggs and a recipe by chef Claude Deligne (Le Taillevent in Paris) with foie gras. All far too complex for us, so we prepared a very rich and tasty potato purée with lots of truffle.

If you look for recipes with potatoes and truffle, you will find suggestions using truffle oil. It’s not the real thing, however, if you find quality truffle oil and use only a little bit, your purée will be yummy. The sad news is that some (most?) truffle oil comes with 2,4-dithiapentane, a synthetically produced, aromatic molecule. Producers add this because it gives the impression that the oil contains truffle. Unfortunately, the flavours of 2,4-dithiapentane are not even close to the aromas and taste of a real truffle.

In this case you have to spend some money on both the truffle and the potatoes.

We combined our purée with an excellent rib eye and served it with its own jus and the purée.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed a glass of Camino de Caza Almansa Garnacha Tintorera-Monastrell 2020. An organic red wine produced by Bodegas Piqueras and made grapes from the Almansa region in Spain. It’s a full-bodied wine with soft tannins and a hint of vanilla and chocolate. In general, you’re looking for a smooth wine with notes of red fruit and oak, medium acidity and with a long, dry finish. One that goes very well with for instance red meat and game (hare, deer).

What You Need

  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Egg Yolk
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Winter Truffle

What You Do

Make your favourite purée! Cook the potatoes until ready (meaning: until the blade of a knife inserted in the potato goes easily through it). Drain. Mash with a fork, add cold butter, combine, add warm milk and/or cream and use a spatula to get the right consistency. You could add a beaten egg yolk (also because eggs and truffle work together wonderfully). Add salt to taste. Perhaps some white pepper. Grate the truffle and add half of it to the purée. The taste of a winter truffle benefits from the warmth of the purée. Just before serving add the remaining truffle.

Potato and Truffle Purée ©cadwu
Potato and Truffle Purée ©cadwu

Saffron Milk Cap with Squid and Tomatoes

It’s nearly the end of the season for this delicious mushroom. And what better idea than to close the season with a new recipe! Normally we would combine Saffron Milk Cap with Chorizo and roasted Bell Pepper. Thinking more about Spain and its markets (the one in Valencia is our all-time favourite) we came up with the idea of combining the mushroom with fish? Or gambas? Or perhaps squid?

Wine Pairing

We opened a bottle of Domaine Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet 2021. Picpoul de Pinet (Son terroir c’est la mer) is a white wine from the South of France between Narbonne and Montpellier. The terroir (think calcareous soil) is influenced by the sea, which is reflected in the mineral taste of the wine. The story is that Picpoul could be read as pique poul which translates into something like ‘stings the lip’; a nice reflection of the high acidity of the grapes. This acidity guarantees a refreshing white wine, which is exceptional given the warm climate. The wine is bright yellow with a very subtle touch of green. It’s aromatic, floral and fruity. The taste has notes of citrus and apple.
In general we suggest drinking a refreshing, unoaked white wine that goes well with seafood.

What You Need

  • For the Squid
    • 150 grams of Squid
    • 4 Tomatoes
    • One Garlic Clove
    • Red Wine
    • Thyme
    • Olive Oil
  • 150 grams of Saffron Milk Cap
  • Parsley and or Celery Leaves
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

The day before serving: clean the squid. Slice (not too thin). Peel, seed and dice the tomatoes, use a strainer to get as much tomato juice as possible. Chop the garlic finely. Heat a skillet, add olive oil and add the sliced squid. Fry for a few minutes, add the garlic and the tomatoes. Reduce the heat. After a few minutes add the tomato juice, half a glass of red wine and thyme. Leave to simmer for 2 hours or until the squid is ready both in flavours and texture. Cool and transfer to the refrigerator.

The next day clean the mushroom and slice (not too thin). Chop the parsley and or celery leaves. Heat a skillet, add olive oil and add the sliced mushroom. Fry for one minute, then reduce heat. Add the squid mixture and cook for a few minutes. Taste and add cayenne pepper. You’re looking for a fairly sharp, spicy taste. Add half of the chopped parsley/celery. After a few minutes serve the mixture and garnish with parsley/celery. The idea is to have a mixture (not a sauce) of squid and mushrooms, coated with tomatoes. 

Saffron Milk Cap with Red Bell Pepper and Chorizo

This mushroom is absolutely delicious, which is reflected in its Latin name Lactarius deliciosus. When you cut a thin slice of the stem, you will see the intense, orange colored milk of the mushroom.
The mushroom may be a bit green, which is the result of bruising, so nothing to worry about. Cleaning it may require rinsing with cold water because leaves and mud may be stuck to the cap.

It is a popular mushroom in Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Scotland, Poland, Russia and many other countries. In Spain they are combined with garlic and parsley, in Turkey with spinach to make börek or used in a rich tomato stew and in Poland and Russia they are salted with herbs such as dill and caraway.

Many recipes suggest blanching the mushrooms for 2, 3 or even 10 minutes, but that’s not necessary. Much better idea is to use them in stew like recipes, allowing for the flavours to integrate. Talking about flavours, Saffron Milk Cap is a touch nutty, sweet and mild.

The season is relatively short, from August until October, November. Which in a way makes the joy of buying and preparing these delicious mushrooms even greater!

Wine Pairing

We very much enjoyed a glass of Portuguese Segredos de São Miguel, a full bodied, warm red wine, made from grapes such as Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira. You will taste lots of fruit and a touch of toast.

In general you’re looking for a full bodied wine, with some acidity and smooth tannins. A glass of Malbec will also be a good choice.

What You Need

  • 150 grams of Saffron Milk Caps
  • Roasted Red Bell Pepper
  • 50 grams of Sliced Chorizo
  • Parsley
  • One Garlic Glove
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Clean the mushroom and slice (not too thin). Chop the garlic. Peel the skin of the roasted bell pepper and slice. Warm a skillet, add olive oil and gently add the sliced Spanish chorizo (yes, we know, it seems a bit odd. You would expect us to use fresh chorizo, which is great when you want to create something like a sauce or ragu, but we like the idea of being able to taste all three main elements, on their own and in combination). Add the garlic. After a minute or so add the mushrooms and the bell pepper. Fry gently. After 5 or 10 minutes add some chopped parsley. Leave on low heat. Add some more parsley. Just before serving add the remaining parsley and some black pepper.

PS

Roasting a red bell pepper before using it, is such a good idea. Simply slice the bell pepper in 4, put on the highest rack in the oven and grill for 10 minutes or until truly burned. Remove from the oven, put in a container, close it and wait for an hour or so. Remove the skin of the bell pepper and it’s ready to use. Roasted bell peppers are sweet and intense, with only a touch of smokiness.

Mushroom Fricassee

A few weeks ago, we wrote about History on Our Plate (2019) written by food historian and award-winning author Peter G. Rose. She writes about America’s Dutch past and the influence of the Dutch settlers on today’s American food. She explains how the founders of New Netherland (1609 – 1664, currently the states of New York, Delaware, Connecticut and New Jersey) brought Dutch recipes, tools, herbs and fruit to the US. Most recipes are based on publications like Een Notabel Boecxken van Cokeryen (a Notable Little Book of Cookery, 1514) and the 13thcentury publication Le Viandier de Taillevent. Peter Rose includes both the original and a modern version, allowing you to recreate food from the 17th century. 

Two Recipes

We were intrigued by a recipe for Mushroom Quiche without a Crust that made us think of a savoury clafoutis. We were also intrigued by another mushroom recipe, called Mushroom Fricassee, partly because of the unusual combination of eggs, mushrooms, onion, marjoram, thyme, orange juice, sherry, nutmeg and (optional) beef juice. The recipe is included in a manuscript written by Anne Stevenson Van Cortlandt (1774- 1821). She was married to Pierre Van Cortlandt, a well-known influential family with Dutch origins. Anne Stevenson was born in Albany, a city linked to Dutch settlers until the British took over in 1664.
We tried this imaginative combination of ingredients and prepared an omelette. The result was tasty and beautifully balanced, with a nice twist thanks to the herbs, sherry and orange juice. Peter Rose suggests preparing it like scrambled eggs, which is probably a better idea. Turning the mixture into an omelette was a bit of a challenge.
You’ll find a detailed recipe in History on Our Plate.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Mushroom Fricassee with a glass of Conde Valdemar Tempranillo Blanco Rioja DOCa 2020, produced by Bodegas Valdemar. Its colour is slightly yellow with greenish tones. The wine has notes of tropical fruit (pineapple) and its taste is fresh and pleasantly persistent. A beautiful, unoaked white Rioja made with 100% tempranillo blanco grapes.
In general, you’re looking for a lean, dry, slightly fruity white wine with notes of lemon, melon and/or pineapple, preferably with a long finish.

Buy The Book

History on Our Plate is available via the well-known channels and your local bookstore for approximately 15 euro or 10 US$.

Mushroom Season

Hurray! The mushroom season has started! Last Saturday we bought delicious cèpes and chanterelles. Such a treat. It does of course mean that summer is over, which makes us a bit sad, but it also means the joy of eating wonderful dishes such as Cèpes à la Bordelaise or Salad with Mushrooms and smoked Duck (see below). Last year we prepared a Pâté with bay boletes, which was both beautiful and delicious. Will we be able to buy them this year? Or perhaps the intriguing Japanese Matsutake? It’s been some time since we last saw them on the market, and we would really love to make Matsutake with Spinach and Ginger again. How about Caesar’s mushroom with Udon?

Books

If you’re looking for useful mushroom recipes, then we suggest Antonio Carluccio’s The Quiet Hunt or Mushroom by Johnny Acton and Nick Sadler. Or look at our list of mushroom recipes.

Wine Pairing

Combining wine and salad is never obvious. In the case of a salad with mushrooms and duck we need to consider umami (mushrooms, duck), a touch of sweetness (smoked or cured meat) and the acidity of the dressing. We choose Domaine de Rimauresq Côtes de Provence Cru Classé rosé. A classic wine from the French Provence with grapes such as grenache noirmourvèdreugni blanc and rolle. The wine comes with delicate fruity, fresh flavours and aromas. It is very well balanced, dry and mouth filling and it combines beautifully with all aspects of the salad.
In general you’re looking for a white or rosé wine that has complexity and length, without being overpowering.

What You Need

  • 150 grams of Mushrooms (Cèpes preferred but also great with Oyster Mushrooms or a mix of Champignon de Paris, Shiitake and others)
  • Mesclun
  • Dried or Smoked Breast of Duck
  • Olive Oil
  • Vinegar (Red Wine, Jerez or Raspberry)

What You Do

Clean and slice the mushrooms. Heat a heavy iron skillet and fry the mushrooms in olive oil. Make a dressing of oil and vinegar. Toss the mesclun and the dressing. Transfer the salad to a plate, add mushrooms and finish with 3 or 5 slices of duck.

Pasta with Mushrooms

Most historical recipes are about meat, fish and poultry, using a range of herbs and spices. Vegetables were not considered to be a healthy (slimy and wet) or were seen as food for the poor. Afterall, the recipes were to be used by cooks and chefs for the upper class and the gentry. Eating meat, drinking wine and using spices also illustrated wealth.

Today’s food culture is very different: meat is seen by many as the most important aspect of a meal, we tend to eat far too much of it and we’re not willing to pay a decent price for it. Go to your local supermarket, visit your local snack restaurant and feel sorry for the animals. From happy pig in the mud to intensive farming where the animals are kept in gestation crates.
On the other hand, hurray, we see more and more vegetarian alternatives, with lentils, beans, vegetables etcetera inspired by, for instance, traditional vegetarian cuisine from India.

We were pleasantly surprised when Manon Henzen and Jeroen Savelkouls published their Historisch Kookboek Vega, discussing historical vegetarian cuisine. The book includes 14 recipes, for instance dishes like Surprise Honey Cake and Chick Pea Soup. Plus one for Pasta with Mushrooms. Sounds very much 21st century but is actually based on a Venetian recipe from the 14th century. It’s a nice combination of homemade pasta (a bit chewy perhaps), mushrooms and spices. We tweaked it a bit. The original recipe is included in the book which is available via the webshop for €12,50 (Dutch only). On the website you will also find a range of videos, helping you to cook historical vegetarian food.

Wine Pairing

You can be flexible in this case. We enjoyed a glass of Côtes de Provence rosé with our pasta, but a glass of not too complex, red or white wine will also be fine.

What You Need

  • Dough
    • 125 grams of All Purpose Flour
    • 2 Eggs
    • 50 grams of Parmesan Cheese
  • Spices
    • Black Pepper
    • 3 Cardamom Seed Pods
    • Cinnamon Powder
    • Laos Powder
    • Nutmeg
  • Shallot
  • 150 grams of Mixed Mushrooms
  • 4 Sage Leaves
  • Parsley
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • White Wine
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Crush and combine the spices. Add 2 teaspoons of the mixture and the grated Parmesan cheese to the flour and mix. Whisk two eggs and add these to the mixture. A bit of kneading is required to make the dough. Set aside for an hour or so.
Knead the dough a bit more, flour your hands and make finger-long, thin pasta.
Chop the shallot, glaze in a large heavy iron pan, add the sliced mushrooms and fry these gently for a few minutes. Now add half of the deveined sage leaves and roughly chopped parsley plus some white wine. You could add a splash of white wine vinegar. Cook the pasta in a pan with boiling water for 10 minutes or until done. It behaves very similar to gnocchi. Five minutes before serving add the remaining sage and parsley. Drain the pasta, add to the pan and combine. Serve with some extra Parmesan cheese.

Pasta with Mushrooms ©cadwu
Pasta with Mushrooms ©cadwu

Mushroom Caponata

There must be hundreds of recipes for Caponata. The dish originates from Sicily and should contain (at least, we think so) eggplant (aubergine), celery and vinegar. Sugar is often added to enhance the sweetness and intensity. Nowadays it’s often a combination with tomatoes, shallot, capers, olives and perhaps raisins, pine nuts, oregano and basil.
The flavour of caponata should be slightly bitter (the eggplant) with a touch of sweetness (sugar, onion), acidity and saltiness (celery). The texture should be moist, but not sauce-like.
We love to enhance the flavours by adding mushrooms. And since we’re not keen on using sugar, we make sure the onions bring sufficient sweetness.

Enjoy your caponata as an appetizer, for instance with some crusted bread or bruschetta. A nice glass of white wine or rosé will be perfect with it. It’s also great as a side dish, with fish or even merguez.

Whatever the combination, caponata must be made one day ahead.

What You Need

  • 1 Aubergine
  • 200 grams of Mushrooms (preferably a mix with Shiitake)
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 cm Red Chilli Pepper
  • Parsley
  • Celery
  • 2 tablespoons of White Wine Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Fine Salt

What You Do

Wash the eggplant and slice. We slice the eggplant lengthwise in 8 and then we slice these strips. Salt them generously, transfer to a sieve and allow to drain for one or two hours. The more liquid they lose, the better! Rinse the eggplant with cold water and dry them with a kitchen cloth. Fry the aubergine in a heavy iron skillet until nicely golden brown. Set aside. Slice the red onion, clean and chop the mushrooms. Chop the garlic and the chilli pepper finely. Add some olive oil to the pan and fry the onion. Remove and set aside. Now fry the mushrooms. After 5 minutes or so add the garlic and the chilli pepper. After a few minutes add the mushrooms and the eggplant to the pan. Add chopped parsley and celery. Mix well. Add two spoons of white wine vinegar and leave on low heat for 10 minutes. Add black pepper to taste. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Keep in the refrigerator for the next day.

Pasta with Mushrooms and Bell Pepper

Udon is such a wonderful noodle. What better comfort food than a warm soup made with dashi, vegetables, tofu, udon and thinly sliced spring onions? Perhaps some tempura on top of the soup? Or would you prefer a very simple dish, called Mori Udon? The cold udon is served with a sauce of mirin, dashi and soy sauce on the side.
Udon is also a great alternative to Italian pasta, for instance with Caesar’s Mushrooms.

In this recipe we combine udon with roasted bell pepper and Trompettes de la Mort. We’re not sure why, but this combination works really well. Is it because of the smokey aroma of the roasted bell pepper mixed with the aromas of the mushroom? The crispy pancetta in combination with the soft textures of the other ingredients, including the udon? The overall richness and umami thanks to the Trompettes de la Mort?

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our pasta with a glass of Bianco di Custoza, made by Monte del Frà from Italy. It is a well-balanced, dry white wine, with a fruity nose. Its colour is straw yellow, with pale green highlights. A glass of Soave, made from the Garganega grape, will also be an excellent choice. In general you’re looking for a fresh, aromatic dry white wine. 

What You Need

  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Bunch of Udon
  • 100 grams of Trompettes de la Mort
  • 1 Glove of cooked Garlic
  • 4 slices of Pancetta
  • Black pepper
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Clean the bell pepper and cut in 4. Transfer to the oven and grill or roast for 10 minutes or until well charred. When still hot, put the bell pepper in a plastic container and close it. After one hour it’s easy to remove the skin of the bell pepper. Slice lengthwise to make nice strips. Set aside.
Slice the mushrooms in two and clean them with a soft brush. Check carefully for grit and other things you don’t like to eat.
Fill a large pan with water (no salt!) and bring to a boil. Add the udon and cook it according to the instruction. When nearly done, add some cooking liquid to a cup and set aside. Drain the udon.
In parallel heat a large heavy iron skillet, add olive oil and fry the mushrooms. Once they become a bit dryer, add the sliced bell pepper. Add the cooked garlic, crush it with a fork and mix. Now add the udon and continue mixing. Add cooking liquid until the pasta is sufficiently moist.
Also in parallel: grill the strips of pancetta (perhaps 5 minutes).
Add some black pepper to the pasta and serve with the grilled pancetta.

Pasta with Mushrooms and Bell Pepper ©cadwu
Pasta with Mushrooms and Bell Pepper ©cadwu