Local Heart, Global Soul

July 7, 2011

When Puff the Magic Pastry wasn’t Quite what was Wanted..

Filed under: FOOD,Kids and Family,The Hague,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s post I mentioned Kiwi Daughter’s efforts in going solo and making her first ever  family dinner.

It wasn’t however just the pasta she made, there was a dessert on the menu too. Again, from one of her recipe cards the recipe was simple in the extreme:  line a shallow dish with short-crust pastry,  spoon in 6 Tablespoons of  confiture  (jam/jelly) and bake in the oven.

I looked at the recipe card and thought to myself that a sweet crust, kind of shortbread would probably go better than shortcrust (which I personally associate more with savoury dishes) but I had had physiotherapy earlier in the afternoon and didn’t feel up to making my own,  either sweet or short, so I thought it might be ok to go against my instincts and just follow the recipe.

Since I of course could not just pop out to the supermarket, Himself was dispatched to our local supermarket with the most specific  instructions I could manage. (Last time we wanted Puff pastry he returned with Filo by mistake. It’s not that he’s not willing, but to him, it’s just that he said they all looked alike to him so did it matter?  and so when he returned triumphantly with a package that wasn’tFilo pastry, I was already really delighted.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sadly it seems that he couldn’t find anything that was labeled Shortcrust pastry so bought Puff pastry home instead so that he didn’t have to face Kiwi Daughter empty-handed and in the hope that they would be somewhat  interchangeable.

I  had my doubts, but Kiwi Daughter was all fired up with enthusiasm so I thought ” what the heck” and she set about following the recipe.

We thawed out the pastry,  Kiwi Daughter had her first ever full solo pastry rolling  experience  (she’s kind of done it before but usually would ask me to take over once the pastry started to get even remotely thin so that she didn’t make a mess of it.)

This time it was all hers, and she made a pretty good job for a  first effort too.

Like most pastry novices she heaped a small lorry load of extra flour in an attempt to make her rolling-pin stick less and she handled the dough like it was bread to be kneaded and not pastry that better prefers the hands-off approach,  but I know for a fact that we allstart making pastry with the same mistakes so was delighted that she managed to line the dish without too many patches needed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Knowing that I didn’t want our puff pastry to puff,  I set to work docking the pastry (pricking at all over with a fork) so that the steam could escape.

Then the recipe clearly said to use 6 Tablespoons of confiture (jam/jelly) but for a pie this size, I thought this  didn’t look like nearly enough so I got Kiwi Daughter to add  more (easily doubled it).

During the baking process we started to have confiture everywhere, spilling over, and once cooked and cooked the layer was far thicker than it really needed to be resulting in an overly sweet taste.

The end result wasn’t at all pretty like the picture on the card, but doused with enough whipped cream to dampen the sweetness, it was certainly edible.

In fact we all dispatched the evidence with rude and hearty haste.

Kiwi Daughter today not only learned to roll pastry. but also a valuable lesson on the hit and miss affair of not following the recipe.

The pastry worked, kind of… a sweet shortbread style crust would definitely have been better, and my suggestion to use more confiture was definitely not a good call. You can have too much of a good thing it seems.

That said, Kiwi Daughter was delighted with her efforts and we have already decided that one of her next lessons should be in making a sweet crust from scratch so that we can re-do this recipe more in the style to which it would be more accustomed.

Bravo for giving it a go my sweet… I’m proud of you!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 6, 2011

Proudly Going Solo with Tagliatelle Carbonara…

Filed under: FOOD,Kids and Family,LIFE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Kiwi Daughter decided that she wanted to make dinner for  the whole family a few weeks ago. She had been helping  out making various meals before but that usually meant doing the nice bits like cutting the shapes out with the biscuit (cookie) cutters and rarely being involved in the actual mixing, rolling out,  cooking or washing up phases of the process.

This time she aims to do not only the meal but also a dessert as well, and has spied some recipe cards from a set that she picked up at a book fair several years ago but at the time  never got further than one of the sweets (candy) recipes in the set.

Here is the result: Kiwi Daughter’s very first solo recipe …under the watchful eye and  little help on the stove by her new sous chef   (a.k.a. Himself).  The recipe is for Tagiatelle Carbonara  and  makes enough for 4 servings.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

1 teaspoon olive oil
150g (5oz) streaky bacon
2 cloves of garlic
1  1/2 tablespoons olive oil
50g parmesan cheese (grated)
3 eggs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons cream
pinch fresh ground pepper
350g  (12 oz) dried tagliatelle pasta
water (to boil pasta)


Add 1  1/2 tablespoons of olive oil to a fry pan and fry off the bacon and garlic so that they are cooked but not too crunchy. Drain off the excess fat and add the chopped parsley.

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, cream,  half of the cheese and the pepper.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook tagliatelle pasta until “al dente”  per the directions on the packet.Once cooked, drain off the water.

Combine the egg mixture with the hot pasta and the heat of the pasta will cook the eggs. Mix well until the eggs are cooked (only takes a minute or so) and then add the bacon mixture.

Serve immediately with the remaining parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

YUM!  We are having this again soon! it’s delicious and not only is Kiwi Daughter justifiably proud of her effort, but I am pleased to see that my picky eater has grown up enough to include the parsley and garlic without screwing her face up at the thought and then moaning at length at their inclusion. (the bacon does tend to end up on the bottom of everything though, so sorry the photo isn’t better)

Even Little Mr (still fussy) was enticed enough by the appearance of bacon (and hunger of waiting longer than normal dinner time) to not moan too long  about the parsley.

Well done my Daughter!  I am very proud of you! … not only was your first solo effort a success, but you also have been inspired to do this more regularly. As a Foodie Mama, you  made my day.

December 30, 2010

Kid Cooking made Easy… “Pigs in Blankets”

Filed under: FOOD — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kiwi Daughter: currently aged nine years of age, often expresses interest in cooking.

I’d like to think that it’s all due to the Maternal Influence in this household… that she has seen my passion for food, my deep love of cooking, of entertaining and feeding people.

Sadly more critical inspection reveals that the most likely cause of her motivation consists of her attempting over indulgence of her rampant sweet tooth, since about 95% of her chosen recipes involve chocolate or icing as an ingredient… or even more preferably, if she can manage it…. both.

Because of this I have been trying hard to show her that cooking savory items can also be satisfying and since she has recently discovered that she likes puff pastry, she asked if she could make something for lunch that included pastry.

I am not able to stand on two feet at the moment and the combination of crutches, an oven, a nine year old helper and a minuscule galley kitchen meant that I needed to think of something easy, whereby Himself could take care of the oven and assist in the easiest preparation possible.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Thus the brainwave… smoked sasuages wrapped in pastry, a.k.a. “pigs in blankets”.

Dutch pastry of the commercial variety comes in small frozen packages of ten little square sheets, approximately 10 cm square (about 4 inches square).

Here in The Netherlands we do have soft sasuages in cans, called ” knackworstjes“. They come in regular length and in mini form and I think that the mini sized ones translate to the little sasuages that are called “cocktail franks” in North America.
Our version of these have soft side and no real skins and would quickly go mushy in the oven, so I used a different sort of knackworst that has a firmer skin and just sliced them into thirds to make them the right length.

All Kiwi Daughter needed next were a few sheets of pre-prepared puff pastry.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Several sheets Puff pastry
Milk (optional)
Mustard (optional)
Ketchup (optional)

Preheat your oven to 225 C (440 F)
Take a thawed sheet of ready rolled puff pastry and roll up your Frankfurter pieces.
Use a small dab of water to seal the join of the pastry, and place the pieces join side down onto a baking tray.
Brush with milk ( if you want a more golden coloured pastry).
Bake for about 12- 15 minutes or until the pastry, puffs up, is cooked and golden in colour.
Serve with mustard or ketchup if you wish.

Et Viola!, Himself was the Master Controller of the Oven and hot trays, Kiwi Daughter did the cutting of the sasuages and the rolling up of the pastry, she achieved a simple tasty lunch with minimum effort and adult input and she’s pleased as punch with the results.

hmmm… I foresee a looming addition to puff pastry, so dear Daughter, no you can’t have these every day this week, there are other savoury school-holiday lunch recipes at our disposal too… we will cover many of them in due course.

Meantime, my Compliments to my budding chef and her sous-chef helper: Himself… by the time my foot is mended I might have a fight on my hands to wrestle back my kitchen LOL!

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