Thursday, 31 May 2012

Italian cold runner bean salad, short and fast.

Here a faster update to the bean salad post.
This to make a wonderfull  tasting simple bean salad.


500 gram Runner beans
1 clove of garlic, a soft tasting sort, not Chinese if possible.
2 teaspoons Balsamic Modena, or Red wine vinigar( Lidl: Aceto Balsamico di Modena I.G.P. 2,5 €)
1 tablespoon of Extra Vierge olivie oil
1-2 chillies, sort depending on your tolerance for heat.
a slice of good butter
some salt.

Wash the beans in cold water, take off front and back end.
Slice your runner beans Julienne, in strips about 3 mm.
Put them in a pan with very little water, some salt, and some real butter.
Boil them to the point where they are almost your choice of bite.
Don't boil them until they are Army green, you want them to look vibrant and fresh.
12-14 minutes will do.

You will have about 10 minutes to cut and slice a clove of garlic, and your chilli.
With the chilli, it should be the surprise that with about every other bite you get something hot that fades away fast again.
So don't go overboard, and make very fine slices !
Take the seed lists out, and the seeds, for you don't want any super hot bits or hard seeds in this salad.
I put the seeds in a small cup of water, the ones that sink are the ones you can seed.
I am using spring garlic again, that is the one that hasn't formed a bulb yet, so you can eat all.
It is a bit softer than full grown garlic.
Don't crush or press your garlic through a whatsit garlic-press, it'll ruin the taste.
I have put some nice fine slices of chilli apart to sprinkle over the top.
Put the sliced garlic and chilli in  the salad bowl together with a spoon of olive oil, give it about 5 minutes before you add the Balsamic.
Keep from using too much balsamic, or the salad will taste cheap and unbalanced.

As soon as the runner beans are about done, drain and cool them fast with a rinse of cold water.
Drain the beans very well, and add them to the dressing, and mix it a bit with a spoon.
Give it all a rest in the fridge for 10 minutes, mix it a bit again.
There you go!

Serve and enjoy !

Yours truly

Bart J. Meijer

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Lidl alert, and good sauces? Dilita Peri-Peri Wild Herb sauce and more !

Taking up at my own advice, I went to an other Lidl shop today.
I had to walk my motorcycle, uhm. . .

Not the best of excuses? Ah, leave it.

I had the morning off, so I took my ex police bike BMW K75, and aerated my brain.
Lovely drive, with a bit of a promise for rain later on, I admired the clouds and enjoyed the drive.
Lovely, if you step off from a banger big beamer, getting all the looks from the housewives.
So I entered the Lidl in black motorcycle jacket using my helmet as a basket, I ran through the shop tio see if they had any sauce left.
Low and behold, 4 bottles of Dilita Peri-Peri Wild Herb sauce, I could withhold myself and bought only 2.,
Hunting the store for other goodies, I found some other nice stuff, and speeded home.
I stayed under the speed limit, I believe, and halfway got a surprise.
The promising rain turned into real rain, and got a good cold shower !

Couldn't spoil the mood though, so I stepped off laughing, and one off the neighbours wondered why I was laughing. I am just in a good mood, don't mind me!

Enough chit chat, I tasted the sauce.
Not half what I expected it to be, I mainly tasted Lemon, Garlic, green chillies, onion and parsley  Nothing wild about that, so where is are the wild herbs?
I really don't taste Peri-Peri again, I do taste the bitter of the green chillies and the cayenne.
Bought 2 bottles, and my good mood was gone.

Ok, for someone that isn't used too much to chillies, this might be the way to start.
Maybe I am getting used too much to eat heat?
It has its lemon, garlic, onion, parsley and chillies.
It is mild and could do wonders with mildly hot chicken or fish. So for a starter eating hot food, I would recommend it.
I am missing the wild herbs however.
Going through the stuff I bought, I got my good mood back again.
I bought a 250 Ml bottle of real Modena Balsamic vinegar, for only 2,50 Euro.
This is the stuff I use in the bean salad, has a good bite and a perfectly balanced taste for a vinegar!
Over 399 years of history in a bottle !
Get it A.S.A.P. !!!!

Good, I am done with Dilita, tasted 2 and liked 1.
Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer

Lidl alert, and good sauces !!! Dilita Peri-Peri Hot sauce !

I must admit I am a Lidl fan, silence, don’t rat me out, but I am.
Sometimes these chaps have great stuff for ridiculous prices, sometimes it is cr##.
Don’t try the Grillmeister stuff, my opinion that is, because this really is not even worth tasting.

This time however, they have lovely hot sauce made by Dilita in Birmingham, for only 1,25 Euro a bottle, and in the UK for only 99 pence.
Normally it is 3 to 3,5 Euro mind!
I got it 2 days ago, and today was BBQ day!
I couldn’t wait and tried a teaspoon full.
Not the best of ideas, I was burning up instantly, still tasting good flavour though.
The main flavour was lemon, and a lot of it, just about not overruling the rest of tastes of herbs and onion.

So after the heat was gone a bit, I tried it with some meat, some bread and some Peanutsauce (satay sauce)
The main taste is chilli and lemon, not hiding the onion and a touch of garlic.
If I compare it to regular Tabasco, I think I like this one better.
Compared to other sauces, I prefer this as due to using lemon, not a lot of vinegar is used making it somewhat smoother. Less harsh if you eat it like this.
I think it might be superb for chicken, maybe even better for marinating fish in it.
Not too long as the lemon and vinegar will “cook” your fish a bit.
As it is called Peri-Peri sauce, I would have expected the taste of fresh Peri-Peri or Piri Piri which I grow myself.
Now that is what I am missing out off.
It has a slight bitter, but that is rather logical after reading the ingredients on the label, it says that is has green pepper paste.
Now being unripe, the green chilli is much more bitter then the red or ripe one.
A ripe chilli most of the times has no bitter in it at all, anyways. . .
I doubt there would be more Peri-Peri in it then 1% an to me that is a bit of a bummer.
Then again, who would recognize that, as not a lot of people grow Peri-Peri.

Still, saying this, I love it.
All in all it has a nice bite to it, good amount of heat, and is not too much vinegar based.

I’d say, rush to the Lidl and see if they have got any left!
I am going again to see if they have the Dilita Peri-Peri with wild herbs !!

Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer

P.S. sorry for the scruffy layout, but it is after all a Lidl Alert !!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The art of tasting chillies

I used to be very careful tasting chillies, might have even tasted them mixed with tomato juice or something, but I seem to get used to them.
Not that it is a problem, but every so often I am afraid that i will burn my taste buds right off from my tongue.

Sometimes I do think it is safe to just bite a chunk off from a chilli.
I normally do that just before dinner, just to taste what to use this chilli for.
Sometimes I see my son looking around the corner, I think he sneaks up at me to see if I  burn up. Lovely kid, because if I do burn up he hauls out the peanut butter or some milk, to get rid of the burn.

If I don’t burn up, he asks for a bite to taste it as well and he does give a proper description most of the times, or starts to play he is burning up. Lovely !

My daughter however when she tastes she gives a spot on description and doesn’t even blink if it is hot. She is only 6 years old but she will be looking at me as if to say 'It is not that hot' and then turn red, so I never let her taste the really hot ones.

I am wandering off again, so sorry.

The Tasting:

The art of tasting chillies, well, it really isn’t an art form, most of it is plain logic.
The hot parts in the chilli are the seed lists, and the embryological cord to the seeds.
Man that sounds sophisticated. If you cut a chilli in half you will see the seeds attached to a rib, and that is the part you don’t want to touch. The lighter part where the colour seems to change, is the hottest part of the chilli so try to avoid that part when tasting a chilli.

The saftest way is to taste the part in the middle between the seed lists.
If you expect it to be too hot for you, slice a thin part from in between the seed lists.
Mumble a bit on it, chew it if it isn’t too hot, and give it some time to hit your taste buds.
If you do this, you will be safe from burning too much, and guaranteed to get the full taste.
You will find when tasting different varieties of chillies that apart form the different heat sensations and levels you will taste a lot of different tastes. Some will be just fruity or have a slight herbish taste; some will have a great array of tastes or even taste like citrus.
Some will just taste hot, I am sorry to say that, but it is like that.

I have tasted some weird and exotic sorts, that will blow your mind.
Yes really, even some of the superhots have great taste, where heat and taste will match.
So, if these are to hot, you just need a little to give your dish good taste, flavor and heat.
The rest of the chilli you can simply freeze, and cut a part off, and use frozen.
They even slice better when frozen, so make slices and pop in your new dish!

If you taste them, you might notice that some of the chillies have a distinct taste that belongs to a culture. Still it doesn’t hurt to use them in another style; I used Korean chillies in an Italian dish, tasting superb.

Handling the burn when it does get to hot:

If you do burn up even after taking this advice there are ways to get rid of the burning sensation:

Do not use water to get rid of the burn, it makes it worse!!
Use peanut butter, peanut oil, milk or yoghurt as a matter of fact any oil or fat will help, this is because the chemical that gives chillies thier heat (Capsaicin) disolves in fat but not in water.

So what ever your antidote of choice simply rinse your mouth a bit with it, and swallow a small amount. Bread helps as well, if it is not too hot. When I have made Chili con Carne that is a bit too hot, I serve it with bread at the side.

You can also mix your chilli in peanut butter to taste, if you think it’ll be too hot.
I sometimes blender a piece in tomato juice, and that is lovely too.

Talking about peanut butter, ha no.
Next time !!

Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer

Images created by and (c) Copyright 2012 Paul R Boon, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Recipe; Italian bean salad gone hot, and some more

I used to eat an Italian runner bean recipe from Modena a lot in summer.
Now after my stunning failure to make  roast beef the night before, I
had to present the family with some stunning food.
I just wasn’t sure what to make, as I didn’t want to make anything standard.
So, I figured to spice up an Italian bean salad, and just see if it
was good, and do some goodies next to it.
For the bean salad you need runner beans, but if not available you can
take green beans or haricot vert.
Cook them in broth, so how to go about that?
Chicken breast, presented with mushroom sauce?
Well I often get chicken breast too dry, so . . . . . Have to figure
something on that.
I might pack them with lard or bacon.
Pasta with it maybe, light and tasty to smooth the tongue after eating
something hot.

It all tasted very lovely, the wife and kids ate it like there’s was
no tomorrow.
So I guess it was good.

Here we go:

You need
3 chicken breasts
500 gram runner beans, green beans or Haricot Vert
400 gram pasta
200 gram white mushrooms
100 gram Tree onion or spring onion
100 gram saucisson sec, dried sausage or Metworst
Olive Oil Extra Vierge
Balsamic vinegar, if possible Aceto Balsamico di Modena I.G.P.
Garlic, super fresh, if possible Rosé de Lautrec
Fresh chillies, red for looks, one or two will do.
Chicken stock cubes.

Place the chicken breasts just under cold water in a pan. If it totals
1 Litre, add stock cubes accordingly for one Litre.
bring them to the boil very slowly, this will keep the breasts moist and tender.

Slice your runner beans Julienne, or your green beans in 3-4 pieces.
Wash them in cold water..
very young garlic Rosé de Lautrec

Slice your garlic very fine, don’t squash them, slice and cut to very
small snippets.
Slice 1 or 2 red chillies in ultra fine slices and put them together
with the garlic..

Slice your tree onion in about 5mm slices, use the green part as well.
StJansui, a local onion.Heirloom fresh from the garden.

Slice your saucisson sec in very fine slices, quartering it also.
Slice your table mushrooms.
At this time your chicken breasts will have had a simmer for about 15
minutes, drain half of the stock and add this to the beans.
Keep the chicken breasts warm or at a very low simmer.

Bring the beans to the boil in the stock, and then lower the heat.
simmer the beans to your taste 15-20mins max.
When at the point where you like them cool them down fast by rinsing
them with cold water.

Take one tablespoon of olive oil and put it in a salad bowl, add the
sliced garlic and the sliced chillies, and about 2 teaspoons of
Stir for a bit and then add the cold beans, mix it all gently and let
it sit for 10 minutes to mix again.

Put your pasta in water, and bring it to the boil.
Make a white standard sauce, about half a litre, with the flour and
the butter; add milk until it is nice and just about runny.
Take half, and put the saucisson sec in it and let it simmer until the
pasta is done.
This will thicken a bit, due to the saucisson sec giving off taste and
absorbing a bit of moisture.

Fry the white mushrooms at the same time, when done add the rest of
the white sauce.
This will make a nice show if you put some over the fried chicken breasts.

Take the chicken breasts out of the stock and neatly roll then in the
slices pork belly bacon.
Fry them with a little oil, to get the bacon to colour; this will take
about 5 minutes

Add the white sauce with saucisson sec to the pasta when it is ready
and drained. Scoop it over a bit and add the tree onion just before
you serve it.

Present it any way you like, and have a great dinner !!
Not really a nice presentation, but man was I hungry!

For vegetarians, the bean salad is originally without chilli, and 50/50 with pasta.
And it tastes superb like that, even though I still would add some chilli, but that's me.

Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Gordon Ramsay's favorite chilli

I contacted Mr Gordon Ramsay Twitter.

I have to say first, this is my favourite chef in the world for sure.
Not only his cooking style, but even more like his leadership style, and the fact he knows and tells he loves to learn other cultures !
A person that says he can still learn is not stuck to the idea that they know it all!
Even though he is a real master-chef in optima forma!

What I like about his leadership style, is that he does not talk around the bush.
No politics and meaning something with what you say, trying not to be to harsh.
I thought the Dutch were the most blunt people, as they say so.
Being direct, is what I call it, what use does it have to chatter about something, if you can say it in 1 line?
That is what I love about Gordon Ramsay!
I like it when he says to an other chef; "Have you tasted it?"
Often the answer is; No.
Well, that tells where the problem is.
Keep it short, be direct, so no-one has to guess what you are saying.

He is passionate about food, and discovering new things.

That said, he must be very very busy, so I did not expect an answer for sure, just hoped.. . . .

So, back to chillies, I am growing over 105 varieties, trying to find great ones to taste.
So I was wondering what he would like best and asked..
Doesn't hurt to ask I'd say.

Low and behold, got an answer in minutes!
Mr Gordon Ramsay's answer was the Little Elf chilli.
Hot darn, having 105 varieties of chillies, he names one I don't have.
So, asking around, someone's got seeds for me to try and grow.
There you have the hippy like share thing again amongst chilli lovers.
Sure I do the same to, but still it makes me feel good, if someone offers without expecting something back!
Thank you chilli lovers,
and thank you Mr. Gordon Ramsay, for taking your time!

In search for more taste,

Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer

Korean chillies, forgotten fruits? Part 2

A good friend of mine from Korea Mr. Gunsoo Lim and I am sending seeds up and down the world.
He is keen for superhot chillies, and I am looking for the ones that have a story to them or that have history.

It is not only that we send chilli seeds over the world; we also try to learn about each other’s culture through our food and recipe’s.
So I have gotten seeds from him from herbs, medicinal and for the kitchen, or a combination of the two.

That is where we differ in culture too, for me Endive is a green, good cooked and raw.
For my Korean friend, his food is both food and good for something, be it health or garden anything.
He got me Garland Chrysanthemum or Golden Daisy, as a green to eat raw, be it good for anything, I hate it.
The flower is superb looking, good and healthy an all, not food in my mind.
However, I got Korean Perilla from him as well, good for the soul and for the stomach.
The seeds are used for oil, and that oil looks a bit like sesame oil, that is why this herb is called sesame leaf.
The leaf however does not taste like sesame at all.
Now sesame leaf is an herb one shouldn’t miss out off, it is superb to drop in your stir fry at the last moment, and has a fantastic smell and taste to it.
Hard to describe, I would almost say it is peppermint, without the pepper. Sort of like the menthol is skipped in the herb, and the tastes behind that in peppermint has gotten stronger by 5.
It has a bit of sweetness about it, that you taste when it has just touched the pan for a bit, raw it is more strong of taste.
My friend showed me, they eat sesame leaf raw, folded as a parcel.
In this parcel, there is a clove of garlic, a piece of chilli, and a spoonful of soy pasted.
Have to try that this year, a bomb of taste for sure!

Man this is getting long, and I even haven’t started about the Korean chillies.

After months of searching, my friend Mr. Gunsoo Lim had found 2 rare Korean chillies and send me a note that he had something special, not saying what.
Another month later, he told me he had asked two farmers to send seed from special chillies, which are not even for sale in the market or at seed stores.
To me it sounded a bit strange, but later he told me, there were just a few farmers left that grow them, as they aren’t commercial enough these chillies.
Ha, now we’re talking aren’t we?
So he had these farmers send seeds from east to west in Korean, from a very isolated area, and that took its sweet time.

Waiting is half the fun, so I read up on where these chillies come from.

The soobicho pepper (Soobi cho) and the chilsoungcho (Chilsoung Cho) both come from a county in the Gyeongsang province.
They come from the Yeongyang County (Yeongyang-gun); This an inland county in the north-eastern area of North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea.

The soobicho pepper is cultivated since the 1960s, with a hot and sweet taste.
These chillies are susceptible to pests, so must be grown with great care.
They have a low yield, and are now only grown in low numbers and small areas.

The chilsoungcho chillies were popular in the 1980s, and lately are hard to find.
Its chillies have the form of a Crucian carp. The taste of this pepper is mild and sweet.
These are the 2 very rare chilli seeds that came to me now about 2 months ago, and almost proud to be here in Holland, they grow big and proud, and are the largest plants I have now.
Chillies from Yeongyang, where people sing about their chillies, not joking it is true !

An isolated area difficult to access, Yeongyang is sometimes called an "inland island". The county has the lowest population of all counties in North Gyeongsang Province, being mountainous with deep ravines, and only 10 percent of land is cultivable. The county is famous for its apples and chili peppers, and is home to the Yeongyang Chili Pepper Experimental Station. From 1984, the county has elected a "Miss Chili Pepper" to represent Yeongyang chili peppers.

The area is also known as a centre of literature, with the tradition of scholars reading and reciting poetry deep in the mountains. I love poetry!

Writing this down, I see myself discovering this regent, eating their apples, chillies and tasting their recipe’s.
After experiencing their great hospitality, and good food I will climb a mountain there.
I see myself reciting my poetry, in the woods on the mountains in Yeongyang!

To my wife;

Tell it to the mountains,
tell it the trees,
tell it to the birds in the trees,
and the playful young foxes on the ground,

but tell it no woman,
tell it to no man,
how much I love you.

For men can not believe,
that a man loves a woman,
like the way,
I love you!

Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer