Thursday, February 23, 2012

Farmers Omelette

It seems most countries have their very own national fried egg dish - Spanish tortilla, Italian fritata, English scrambled eggs, Mexican huevos rancheros, even the Japanese put a somewhat sweet egg-roll on suhsi. The Dutch have their own: the boerenomelet - a 'farmers omelet' . It basically is a standard omelet folded over a bacon, onion and mixed vegetable stir-fry avant-la-lettre. It's hard to really mess up, but a few hints can make it pretty impressive.



First of all, good products. Fresh, organic eggs, bacon and veggies. Cheese if you want, but then go for the real deal: Farmhouse Gouda. You will need some slices of excellent bread as well. Then there's the filling. Don't over-fry the bacon, it should still be a little soft. The onions and other vegetables will re-soften them a little too. The filling should contain at least bacon (or maybe ham), onion and carrots. You can then add peas, mushrooms, leek, even cooked potato or butter beans.Make sure you have the filling cooked and keep it warm before you make the omelet itself. For a six egg omelet you need about 150g of bacon, 1 diced onion, 1 diced carrot and about 150-200 grams of the other (diced) vegetables.

Finally, the omelet itself. This too isn't that complicated, but do it wrong and it won't be half as nice. Heat up a frying pan, for a six egg (2 person) omelet a 24cm version will do. Add a splash of vegetable oil and then a little butter. When the fat is hot (but not burning), add a little salt to the whisked eggs and pour the mixture into the pan. Now comes the important part: using a wooden spatula, gently stir the mixture towards the center of the pan, scraping along the bottom. Make sure the liquid mixture fills up all open spots. Keep gently stirring until at least half of the egg has solidified in rough patches. Then shake the pan to evenly distribute the remaining liquid egg, lower the heat and allow the egg to almost cook trough. All this will ensure a fluffy and interesting texture.

Chef Jaques Pepin demonstrates how to make both the "Country omelet" we use here and a classic French version in this video:


When only the top part is still a bit liquid and shiny, pour the bacon/vegetable mix on one half and carefully fold over the other half of the omelet. Congratulations, you're done!

Serve with ketchup (yes, yes, we use ketchup too) and a nice slice of bread.

This dish can be paired with almost any beer, as long as it isn't sour or to sweet. I personally had it with a Stades Leicht Light beer, which i find pretty good.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Making pizza in a Ferrari

(A G3 Ferrari pizza oven of course, what else did you expect?)


This oven had been reviewed by a Dutch food journalist often praising foody goodies, sometimes wrongly so but in many occasions he spots a true gem. I had modest expectations for this oven, but still I could not resist when it showed up in this web shop for € 109,-. The completely incomprehensible DHL status page seems to suggest this machine has arrived from Germany, but still it got in here in just a few days. One hour after delivery the only "status changed" e-mail fell into my Inbox; 'Delivered'. Thanks a lot, DHL.


Friday evening we unpacked the machine, read the dough recipe and got to work. The recipe works fine, and the machine is both simple and quick. There is a somewhat Chinese lack of attention to detail in the machine (the air holes are punched in at an angle that probably wasn't in the "Italian Design"). I removed some Chinese pizza stone dust with a wet cloth and heated up the machine.

It supposedly only consumes a modest 1200W and heats up in about 12-15 minutes. Making sure the heating elements were back on by turning it higher to max, I let the pizza slide from the brilliant double pizza 'paddles' onto the hot stone. In 5-7 minutes all pizza's turned cooked on top and crisped on the bottom. Not quite a real wood-oven finish, but much closer then I ever got with my normal oven. The burned residue that you get on the stone after a while actually adds to the flavor.

Some tips for great pizza's;
  • Make the crust as thin as you can
  • Do not overfill. One or two ladles-full of tomato sauce suffice, thinly spread out on the dough, leaving a centimeter of crust. Then your toppings, but once again, not to much. 
  • Do not put too much salt into the dough or the sauce - especially when using capers, bacon, (blue) cheese, anchovies and olives there's plenty of saltiness going on. 
  • Make some chili oil by infusing dried chili peppers or flakes, oregano, thyme and pepper corns in olive oil for a few weeks (do not add garlic, as this may cause botulism).
  • Make a simple pizza sauce by blitzing a can of tomatoes with a little salt, crushed garlic and oregano
The dough recipe in the Ferrari instruction guide was excellent. Here's our adaptation:
  • Combine 300 grams of pizza flour ("tipo 00") with 2 grams of salt
  • Combine 10 grams of dried yeast with a teaspoon of sugar and 200ml of lukewarm water
  • Wait for a couple of minutes for the yeast to start, then mix everything together. Add some water or flour if needed.
  • Knead the dough for a good 15 minutes until you have a clean surface, clean hands and a nice elastic dough.
  • Transfer the dough into a bowl and cover with clingfilm.
  •  Preheat your regular oven to 35 degrees Celcius, place the dough inside and put a mug of boiling water in the oven. Close the door and wait until the dough has doubled in size.
  • No oven? Then cover with a wet cloth and put in as warm a place as you have. You may have to wait a little longer (2 hours instead of 1)
  • Knead the dough for a few minutes and cut into 4. Shape each piece into a ball, place on an oven tray, cover with clingfilm an put it back in the oven. Once again, allow it to rise until doubled in size. This only takes a minute or 10. 
  • Put a liberal amount of flour on your worktop. Take out a dough ball and form it into a 25-28cm pizza by gently pulling and kneading it into shape (or do the Italian baker helicopter moves at your own risk). Watch out for holes in the middle of the dough, as you do not want stuffing or sauce to leak onto the pizza stone. 
  • Transfer the dough onto a well-floured pizza board and add your sauce and toppings (remember- not too much!)
  • Slide the pizza onto the oven and wait for it to finish.
Here's some of results:

Close the lid and wait for 5-7 minutes...

Alsatian "Flaemmekuche"ready for the oven



Flaemmekuche - Parma ham & roquette base
Anchovies & Pesto - Blue cheese & Mushrooms




Tomato & onion cooked, Parma ham & roquette added after

Flämmeküche: sour creme, Emmenthaler cheese, bacon & onion

Tomato, onion, blue cheese & mushrooms

Tomato, cheese, anchovies, capers (roquette added later)