COOKING WITH LUCAS & GIL – RECIPES
Ingredients (2-3 servings)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Vegetables: 1 large chopped onion, 1 green bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, and 4 minced garlic cloves. These three ingredients (plus spices) creates a sofrito to start the chunky sauce.
- Spices: Paprika powder, cumin seeds & harissa paste– a trio of warm North African flavors. If you like extra spicy shakshuka (some call it eggs in purgatory), add extra cayenne pepper. Freshly ground (black) pepper and salt.
If you’re a freak of nature who actually enjoys coriander, you can add it, but you should be ashamed of yourself.
- Tomatoes (and alternatives): In this recipe, I use 2 cans of 4 peeled tomatoes and about ½ cup of tomato sauce (passata), this combination gives me the texture and flavor I’m looking for. You can also use fresh tomatoes, but they need to be extra ripe in order to give the flavor and texture that’s needed.
- Eggs: 3 large eggs (raw)
- Garnish: This is totally optional, but for me a handful of fresh chopped parsley and mint just before serving adds freshness and a pop of color.
How to make Shakshuka
Time needed: 40 minutes.
Step-by-step guide for making traditional shakshuka
- Cook onions, bell peppers, and garlic
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large heavy skillet or pan. Add chopped onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Add paprika powder, cumin, cayenne pepper (if using) and a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook this sofrito mixture for at least 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender
- Add tomatoes to make shakshuka sauce
To make the shakshuka sauce, add the canned tomatoes or the fresh diced tomatoes and ½ cup of tomato sauce. Add the harissa paste (a good squeeze, unless you don’t want it too spicy) and the leftover spices (if any remain). Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes, then uncover and cook a few minutes until the tomato mixture (or shakshuka sauce) has thickened.
- Add eggs
Now, using the back of a wooden spoon make some indentations or “wells” in the chunky shashuka sauce. Make sure that you space out those wells as they will each house an egg. Crack your eggs and add them each in the wells or indentations you created.
- Cook eggs
Now, over low or medium-low heat, cover the skillet and allow the eggs to cook briefly until the whites are settled (shakshuka eggs are supposed to be runny, but if you like your eggs hard, you can let them cook a bit longer).
- Garnish and serve
If you like spicy shakshuka, add a pinch crushed pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. And to finish add a handful chopped parsley and fresh mint, if you like.
SOS BLOCKTAIL 1: THE CLASSIC GIL
This mocktail is surprisingly easy to make, but tastes surprisingly fancy and spohisticated. This is my all-time favorite drink and is perfect for whipping up at the last moment when having a friend over or after a hard workday.
- lemon soda (basic white lemonade)
- Passion fruit syrup (from Tesseire for example)
- Fresh mint leaves Take a tall glass and add the fresh mint leaves.
Use a spoon or something to bruise the leaves so they give off more flavour. Pour in about a centimeter of the passion fruit syrup (or more or less, depending on your taste). Fill the glass up with the lemon soda. And that’s the Classic Gil mocktail.
SOS BLOCKTAIL 2: GIL’S PASSION
This mocktail is really fancy and is guaranteed to impress both visually and taste-wise. It’s fruity and sweet, so best paired with a dessert or served at the start of an evening. It’s also perfect for a romantic evening with your (soon to be) loved one. It is however more complex than the Classic Gil.
- Ice cubes
- Grenadine syrup
- Passion fruit syrup
- Pineapple juice
- Orange juice
- a cocktail shaker
Take to small plates and pour a little of one of the two syrups on it (you can choose which one, but grenadine is most common). Pour a little sugar on the other plate. Take the glass you are going to use for the mockail and dip the rim carefully in the syrup. Turn the glass slowly to get the entire rim. You don’t want to have too much or to broad of a syrup-rim, so tread carefully here. Then dip the rim of the glass in the sugar so it sticks to the rim due to the syrup. Make sure you do this for the entire rim. You should now have a nice sugary rim for your glass. Take away any imperfections with a paper towel and put the glass in the refrigirator to cool (put a plate under the glass in the offchance that a bit of sugar should fall off).
Pour about 1/8th (of the desired amount of mocktail) of passion fruit syrup in your mixing cup. Add 1/3th of pineapple juice and the add orange juice until you reach the desired amount of mocktail you want to create. Pour this mixture into the cocktail shaker and add ice cubes. Shake well until the mixture is ice cold.
Pour the shaken mixture carefully into your prepared glass (mind the sugar-rim). And put the glass in front of you. Take the bottle of grenadine syrup en in one fluent motion pour a bit of grenadine straight into the middle of the glass. The grenadine should then form a nice little red layer on the bottom of the glass, giving the mocktail a classy gradient look. (When drinking the mocktail though, you might want to stir with your straw to mix the grenadine with the rest of the drink for a more homogeneous staste, that’s up to you).
And that’s the Gil’s Passion mocktail
This dessert is the cream of the crop and a very fancy, though actually quite easy, dessert. The creation of the burnt caramel layer on top makes for quite a show and is sure to wow any guests you have over (or just plain fun for yourself). You will however need to have the right equipment (which to this date I do not regret buying/asking for my birthday)
Ingredients (per person):
- 6,5 centilitres of cream
- 6,5 centilitres of milk (skimmed, semi-skimmed or non-skimmed, as per taste)
- 25 grams of plain sugar
- 3 egg-yolks (the egg-whites are to be used in the chocolate mousse)
- 1 vanilla-stick (is expensive, but can be substituted with other flavour components, like passion fruit syrup from last week or lemon zeste or cinnamon or banana or vanilla aroma, your own creativity is your limit here)
- extra sugar to put on top
- Creme-brûlée equipment (burner, butane, fireproof cups)
First off, add the cream and milk to a pan or pot. If you are using real vanilla, slice open the stick and scrape the insides off with a sharp knife and add them to the milk-cream-mixture. Then throw in the rest of the stick as well( we’ll remove this later, but it is going to give that extra bit of taste to the mixture). If you’re using a susbstitute flavour component, add this instead of the vanilla to the mixture. Just make sure that you can easily remove the big or chunky parts later on, because the mixture has to remain smooth. Put the pan on the stove and heat the mixture. KEEP STIRRING, because milk can go from just fine to overcooking in a snap (and explode), so be very careful. When you see bubbles arising and vapour forming from the mixture, it is done and you cant take it off the stove to cool down.
Next, seperate the eggyolks from the egg-whites. Keep the egg-whites apart, because you can use them for chocolate mousse, for egg-white omelets or for merengue; we’re not going to use them for the creme brulee however. Add the sugar to the egg-yolks and use a whisk to mix. Don’t mix to long or to too hard (like in other recipes), just a bit of stirring is fine. When the milk-cream-mixture is cooled off, take out any parts that don’t need to be in your creme (like the vanilla stick or zeste). Pour the milk-cream mixture carefully into the bowl with the sugar-yolk mixture, WHILE STIRRING. Stirrling while pouring carefully will make sure the mixture stays nice and smooth. If the cream-milk mixture isn’t cooled down enough, you might end up baking the eggyoks instead, and you don’t want that. Put the creme in the fridge (it’s best to let it rest for a night, but a couple of hours will do). Take the creme out of the fridge and pour into the fire-proof cups and bake them in an oven on 90°C for two hours. When they are done, let them cool down (not in the fridge). The cremes should look like a soft, yet sturdy pudding and should not be liquid, but should still wobble a bit if you shake the cup lightly.
(WARNING: do not try this without supervision of someone who knows how to use a cooking torch, because you can seriously injure yourself or others or set fire to your place). Put the cups on a non-flammable surface (like a good coocking counter or something made out a stone) and pour a little sugar on top of the creme. Make sure to devide it evenly over the creme. Don’t use too much sugar, it has to form a thin veil. You can always add a little more later if you notice you have too little. Add the butane to the reservoir of the torch and aim the torch at the creme. Open the gas reservoir and ignite the torch with the ignite button. The focus the flame at about 2 cm away on the sugar on top of the creme UNTIL IT STARTS TO BUBBLE. Then move to the next spot (you can see the spot where you were before settle into a nice caramel crust without tuning too black). If you stay too long, you will burn the sugar, if you leave before the bubbles, your sugar won’t caramel as nicely). Continue until the entire crême is finished like this (you will probably have to refill the gas a couple of times. Alwas make sure that you completely close the gas flow and that the flame is completely gone before refilling). I’ts best to caramelize the creme right before serving, because it will melt the creme right underneath the caramel layer and reheat hte creme a bit. This will give it the perfect consistency for eating. Use a spoon to tap on the caramel layer for that unique creme brulee first touch feeling.
And that’s how you make a beautiful and spectacular crême brulée.
This is probably the easiest recipe for a dessert that I know, and when done correctly it tastes amazing. Low effort, high reward, if only that were true for your exams! Note: This chocolate mousse is without egg-yolks. You don’t need them for a good chocolate mousse and the absence of yolks makes this extra fluffy!
Ingredients (per person):
- 125 milliliters of cream
- 1 egg-white
- 30 grams of sugar
- 60 grams of chocolate (best to use dark or milk, white is more difficult)
First off, seperate your egg-white from your egg-yolks. Put aside the egg-yolks, we’re not going to use them for this recipe (but you can use them for a nice crême brulée or add it to most asian dishes for extra flavour. Or, you know, for those doing some insane morning routine that involves eating raw eggs, here you go. though you probably won’t be making chocolate mousse). Take the egg-whites and use the mixture to create a nice thick foam. This foam has to be very firm, so keep mixing long enough. You can do this with a whisk by hand, but it’s going to be quite an ordeal.
Then, pour the cream into a bowl and use the mixer the create a firm foam, (proper whipped cream). You will need to spend several minutes doing this with a mixer, this is a process that takes quite some time, depending on the amount of cream. DON’T DO THIS BY HAND, because it will take HOURS and even then it might not be fluffy enough (Learn form my freshman-mistakes).
The hardest part (this is the part where you can mess things up): Then melt the cocolate au bain-marie. This means that you get a pot of water cooking on the stove and put a nicely fitting glass pot into the bigger pot with water. (Try to fit the pot in before putting the bigger pot on the stove and make sure to measure the amount of water needed accordingly. make sure the two pots fit nicely, to avoid getting water into your chocolate mixture. Au bain marie is a very safe (in the sense of ‘low risk of buring the chocolate’, still be careful not to burn your hands on the water or the pots) way to melt chocolate. Ok, you can also try melting the chocolate in a micro-wave oven, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, this is a recipe for disaster (again, learn from my freshman-mistakes), because chocolate burns in an instant and does it in a very sneaky way too. So if you’re going to attempt to do this, this is EXACTLY how to do this: Take a GLASS bowl and break the chocolate in little pieces (like you did with the au-bain-marie). Put the bowl in the microwave for 30 SECONDS (no more!). Take it out and stir the chocolate. Repeat this step until the chocolate has melted. Take no more than 30 seconds intervals, because the chocolate will melt on the inside first, so it needs to be stirred every time to check if it has melted or not.
Immediately after melting, pour in the sugar and stir firmly. Then, while the chocolate is still hot, pour the chocolate into the whipped cream and whist carefully while doing so. It needs to be becaome a homogeneous chocolaty mixture, but be careful not to lose the fluffyness. Add the egg-whit-foam and carefully whisk until homogeneous.
Pour this into cups and put them into the fridge so the chocolate mousse can stiffen up nicely.
And that’s how you make a really easy, fluffy and tasty chocolate mousse.