My Favourite Easter Recipes

Easter is almost upon us! Just one working week left, and then it’s time to celebrate and mostly eat lots of stuff. For once in my life, I am actually not in Holland during the holidays. No no, the time has come for me to finally pack my bags and travel to Rome for a week! And I am just so EXCITED.

Also, the A-Z Challenge is starting this Wednesday! Bit nervous, but I can’t wait for you guys to read my posts, to read the posts of other bloggers and just basically have a great time this April!

Anyways, Easter. Let me help you with some of the preperations. Meaning, here are my suggestions for what you should serve your friends and family during the holidays!

Spiced Carrot Muffins

Spiced Carrot Muffins

Homemade Spelt Bread Rolls

spelt bread rolls

 Poached eggs with Salmon and Asparagus

poached eggs with salmon and asparagus

DUTCH ONTBIJTKOEK

Ontbijtkoek (1)

Eggs Benedict

2014-06-22 11.22.32Have a great Easter weekend!!

No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake

You people. You have no idea how happy you make me and how I blessed I feel. All your sweet comments and likes on my blog have made me feel on top of the world. And now there are more than 200 awesome folks following Basil and Oil!

To show you how much I care, I’ve made an Oreo Cheesecake. It’s a cheesecake filled with Oreos. Drooling yet? I am. Honestly, this might just be the best thing I have ever prepared. It has an incredibly crunchy bottom. The cream cheese filled with Oreos tastes likes velvet. And I mean, there’s Oreos, so what’s not to love?oreo cheesecakeOh, how I remember the first time I had these beautiful chocolatey cookies. I was with my parents on a river boat in Memphis, back in 2009, where we were served something with cream and a bottom of a crumbly brown substance. Turns out, those were Oreos. It was amazing. Therefore, these cookies have a special place in my heart, as they always remind me of that hot Summer night (I can feel a Grease song coming up) watching the sun sink in the Mississippi. oreo cheesecakeWhat I found quite interesting, is that this cheesecake tastes even more divine a day or two after you’ve made it! It seems like the flavours have truly settled and like each other so much that they’ve decided to enhance their tastiness. Which I am definitely not unhappy about. Also, you just need a refrigerator and no oven, win win!oreo cheesecake

No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 100 grams (3 and 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 375 grams (13.4 oz) Oreos
  • 4 gelatine sheets
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 400 grams (14.2 oz)cream cheese
  • 225 grams (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 300 grams (10.7 oz) yogurt

Used kitchen appliances

  • 2 small pans
  • Brownie tin, or a round springform of 22 cm diameter
  • Ziplock bag
  • Rolling pin (or something else that’s heavy)
  • Bowl
  • Food processor, or electric whisk
  • Baking foil

Preparation

  1. Line the tin with baking foil. Place 250 grams (8.9 oz) of the Oreos in the ziplock bag. Smash the bag with the rolling pin until all the cookies are crushed finely.
  2. In a small pan, heat the butter on a low heat. Once completely melted, add the crushed Oreo’s and stir until combined. Transfer to the tin and firmly press the mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan. Flatten it with the back of a spoon.
  3. Soak the gelatine sheets in the lemon juice for 5 minutes. Squeeze the juice out of the gelatine, and add them to a small pan along with 5 tablespoons of water. Stir on a low heat, until the gelatine has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  4. In the meantime, whisk the cream cheese and sugar together. Once cooled, add the gelatine and mix. Pour in the yogurt, and mix until combined. Roughly chop the remaining Oreos, and add to the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Transfer the batter to the tin and pour over the cookie bottom. Let it set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

You can store this in the fridge covered for about 3 days.

A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

As you may or may not have read in my previous post, I am participating in quite an exciting blogging challenge in April; the A to Z Challenge! I’ve briefly mentioned what it was about, but seeing that April is drawing closer with each passing minute, it was about time for a more detailed explanation.a to z challenge

So the A to Z challenge lasts for the whole month of April with posts coming online every day except for Sunday.The goal is to post something everyday, which relates to the letter of the alphabet, of course beginning with A and working our way down to the letter Z. As it will be a bit more easy and also a lot more fun, there is a global theme which I am focusing on.

Now… for the great topic reveal…. drum roll, please…

Italian Cuisine

I KNOW RIGHT?! I have always loved Italy, its language, its people, its music, its food! And with my trip to Rome getting closer and closer, it seemed like the perfect theme for the A to Z ChallengeThis April will be so much fun. I will be posting about certain regions in Italy, Italian ingredients, the history of Italian cuisine, providing you with classic and undiscovered recipes and more!rome italy

I hope you guys are just excited as I am for this, and if you’re not then I would like to apologize beforehand for the spam in your mailbox although my posts are going to be pretty interesting, if I may say so myself.

Do you want to get an idea of what to expect? Head on over to my Italian Cuisine page. Take a look at this Risotto or Bruschetta recipe! More in the mood for dessert? Check out my tiramisu!

Homemade Spelt Bread Rolls

Warning: this post contains some real talk, but is followed by the most amazing bread roll recipe! (And yes, you can skip to that immediately if you want, I won’t judge, there’s a lot to read, I understand) 

For the last couple of years, I have been having some issues with my stomach. It was always aching, I was always bloated, and it made me feel like shit. When I ate yogurt or drank chocolate milk, I would be nauseous for the rest of the day, and the aches would worsen. After several visits to the doctor, and several litres of blood taken from me, nothing was found. They gave me some fibers and some scary chemical stuff, which, besides being utterly gross, did not help. Though, I must be honest here, I am not fond of doctors and all that sort of stuff, so I wasn’t really very eager to pursue any further examinations and such. 

spelt bread rolls

However, the great and almighty internet has all the answers, or at least the beginnings of some. Though, I would definitely not recommend looking up symptoms, because there is a likely chance that your cold may turn out to be a side effect of something horribly frightening. Anyways, I did type in my symptoms and found loads of helpful stuff, and natural too! My self-diagnosis: Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Yeah, I know, not great talk on a food blog. This means that there are certain ingredients that my body does not like very much.

spelt bread rollsKnowing this has made me so much more aware of what I put in my mouth and what the consequences of those choices would be. For instance, you’ll probably will not see me eating ice cream or yogurt anytime soon (except for when I’m in Rome in 3 weeks, I will gladly have a stomachache to taste that deliciousness). Anyways, I cannot handle any dairy products at all, except for in low quantities, such as butter on my bread. I have replaced my cow yogurt for soy yogurt. Also, gluten don’t work for me that well so I have switched from wheat bread to spelt bread.

spelt bread rolls

The reason for this talking about myself is to provide you with a delicious and easy recipe for Homemade Spelt Bread Rolls! There’s nothing more satisfying than eating your own bread that you put so much love into. Spelt is great for not only people with IBS, but basically for everyone as it contains many more fibers than traditional wheat. Fibers are essential in a IBS diet, and these come from a natural source too! 

spelt bread rolls

All these changes to my diet have not only made me feel a lot better overall, but have  strongly diminished my stomachaches and bloating. So, if you recognize yourself in my previous pains, you might have IBS along with several million other people. Go to your doctor, and tell them that you might just have this (I did so too!). If you have any tips on what to eat or not eat with IBS, please let me know! Or if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask me! 

I served my Spelt Bread Rolls with some Hummus and the wonderful Turkish Imam Bayildi. However, it would also be stunning with the Cold Cucumber Soup

Spelt Bread Rolls

  • Servings: 6 rolls
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp dark brown caster sugar
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) lukewarm water
  • 450 grams (1lb) spelt flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • Regular flour for dusting
  • Olive oil for greasing

Used kitchen appliances

  • Oven
  • Baking sheet
  • Small bowl
  • 2 Mixing bowls
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tea towel
  • Wire rack

Preperation

  1. Grease one mixing bowl with oil, as well as the baking sheet.
  2. In the small bowl, add the yeast and sugar. Pour over half of the lukewarm water and leave to rest for about 15 minutes until the yeast mixture becomes frothy.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture, and gradually add the other half of the water. Mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together.
  4. Dust your working space with a bit of flour. Transfer the dough to the working space and lightly knead for about 15 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a dry tea towel. Leave to rest in a warm place for 1.5 hours or until doubled in size.

  6. Knock back the dough by placing it on the dusted working space and slamming your fist into the dough. Knead it for another couple of minutes.
  7. Divide into 6 equal pieces and form them into rolls. Place on the oiled baking sheet, cover with the tea towel and leave to rest for another 30 minutes in a warm place.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200C or 400F.

  9. Brush the rolls with a little bit of water and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
  10. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the rolls sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

You can store these in an airtight container for a maximum of 2 days.

Sweet Sunday – Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes 

I know, I know. Another chocolate recipe. You’re probably getting sick of it, aren’t you? Well tough, because this one is way too good to resist. Anything with chocolate is too good to resist. Besides, Saint Patrick’s Day is upon us once again, and this is the perfect recipe to share with your fellow party people!



Also, these Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes are a unbelievable dream. They are moist on the inside, crunchy on the top, and have a wonderful velvety frosting. Your first bite tastes as if you’re simply eating a piece of chocolate. And then it hits you. The subtle, dark, bitter taste of the Guinness.



It’s not only perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day, but every other day of the year as well! Serve the cupcakes with tea, or with Guinness because you deserve it. Next year, I hope I can join you all in the celebration of this great day! Any tips on where it’s best to go for a good time?



I honestly said all I could say, you just need to taste the cupcakes for yourself! So, please be safe Tuesday, have loads and loads of fun, and don’t forget to make these yummy cupcakes! 

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter at room temperature
  • 125 grams (1 cup) light brown caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125 grams (1cup) self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
  • 220 cl Guinness beer
  • Chream cheese frosting:
  •  250 grams (2 cups) cream cheese
  •  2 tbsp icing sugar

Used kitchen appliances

  • Oven
  • Cupcake tin
  • 12 cupcake liners
  • Food processor or electric whisk
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sieve

Preperation

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line the cupcake tin with the liners.
  2. In the food processor, whisk together the butter and sugar until soft. Add the eggs one by one, whisking between each addition. Finally, mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. Sieve the flour, baking soda, and cocoa over the mixing bowl. Gradually add to the butter mixture, while whisking. 
  4. Once combined, add the Guinness and mix.
  5. Scoop the batter in the cupcake liners and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack after baking and let cool completely.
  6. To make the cream cheese frosting, mix together the cheese and icing sugar until combined. Place on top of the cooled cupcakes. Sieve over some cocoa powder for decoration.

Quinoa Salad Bowl with Chickpeas and Pomegranate Seeds

It was just another one of those weeks when I was home alone, my parents being on a holiday to Dubai and Oman (as you do, not jealous at all). Unlike other times when I had to make dinner and eat it all by myself – I elaborated on this in my Tuna Salad post- I decided to make a promise to myself and actually prepare something. You know, boil some stuff, slice some veggies and all that.

Sure enough, this might not be the best example of my promise, it was something a bit more elaborate than just tossing ingredients together in one big bowl. The end goal was the same, but I still needed to boil the chickpeas. Which yes, is really hard to do as you know. And I had to prepare the quinoa.

I adore quinoa. The easiness of the preparation, the simplicity of the flavours, the crunchy texture. It’s so versatile. What’s even better, it comes in different colours! So you can spice up your quinoa game by surprising friends and family with black quinoa! With red quinoa! With white quinoa! Or make it one big quinoa party and choose them all! That’s what I did.

Anyways, I used to suck at making quinoa because I just couldn’t get them right, they were almost always undercooked. But the key step is to taste them after the designated cooking time. Are they still to crunchy? Add a bit more water and leave to boil for just a bit longer. If you like the texture, drain the water and let the quinoa sit in the covered pan for a couple of minutes so the grains keep steaming until utmost deliciousness.

quinoa salad bowl

A Quinoa Landscape

 

Then, I added parsley because why would I not. Feta cheese gives a depth to the dish, while the pomegranate seeds add even more texture and a wonderful fresh fruity flavour.

It’s a Quinoa Salad Bowl filled with healthy goodness.

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Pomegranate Seeds

  • Servings: 2 persons
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 125 grams quinoa
  • 200 grams chickpeas (I use tinned)
  • Half a cucumber
  • 15 grams fresh parsley
  • shallot
  • garlic clove
  • 50 grams feta cheese
  • 50 grams pomegranate seeds
  • (Extra Vergine) olive oil

Used kitchen appliances

  • 2 Small pans
  • Salad bowls

Preperation

  1. Prepare the quinoa according to the package.
  2. Warm up the chickpeas in their own juice.
  3. Finely chop the shallot and garlic. Dice the cucumber. Chop the parsley.
  4. Drain the chickpeas and any leftover liquid from the quinoa.
  5. Place all ingredients in the salad bowl. Crumble  the feta cheese and sprinkle it over the salad together with the pomegranate seeds. Add a good slug of olive oil. Season to taste.

Penne N’ Cheese with Brussels Sprouts

I’m going to be honest here. I’ve never actually had the famous American Mac N’ Cheese. Which isn’t really a weird thing since I’m Dutch and there’s lots of people here that have never had it nor heard of it. 

But as someone who has been quite obsessed with the US and its traditional cooking for years, it’s something that I should have tried. At least that’s what I think. Or do any American readers have a different opinion on this?
Anyways, the dish just didn’t appeal to me. I’ve seen photos. There’s cheese and there’s a lot of it. A bit too much and a bit too yellowy for my taste. 



Thus, being the innovative recipemaker that I desire to be, I have created my own little version of the classic! Mine uses a lot less cream and cheese (I cannot handle too much dairy), and also incorporates some vegetables! Great ones might I add, Brussels sprouts are one of my favourite veggies. Also, I used whole wheat penne which ofcourse changes the texture of the dish quite a bit.

Basically I just used the foundations of the traditional recipe and adapted it to my own preferences. 



Might I say, I really like my preferences. The Pecorino adds the perfect hearty and salty flavour which goes so well with the softness of the penne and the bitterness of the sprouts. You could easily switch this dish up by adding pine nuts or bacon for example!

This will most definitely be one of my recurring dinners! 

Penne N' Cheese with Brussels Sprouts

  • Servings: 4 individual portions
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 100 grams (1 cup) penne
  • 100 grams (1 cup) brussel sprouts
  • 1 tbsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 75 ml cream (1/3 cup) I used rice-based cream
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) Pecorino cheese

Used kitchen appliances

  • Oven
  • Large pan
  • 4 small ramekins

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C or 392F. Half the sprouts.
  2. Fill the large pan with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and sprouts. Leave to boil on a medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the pasta and sprouts. Transfer back to the pan, and add the thyme leaves and cream. Season to taste.
  4. Transfer the pasta to the ramekins. Grate over the Pecorino cheese.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Asking for Help – Social Media and Hotels

Ah, it’s Monday again. A new working day is starting. This also means that I need to work on my bachelor thesis again. I kind of slipped it in a post every now and then, especially when I hadn’t been as active as I wanted to be.mondayThe deadline for my thesis is coming closer and closer, and I am getting more stressed and anxious. It’ll be alright in the end, when I have finally handed it in. Firstly however, I am in desperate need of your help.

For my research, I have created a survey which aims to identify the impact of social media on the decision for a potential guest to book a certain hotel. As you lovely readers are all social media savvy, I am humbly asking you to fill out my survey if you have the time.

It is focused on 4- and 5-star hotel guests, so if you have ever stayed in either one of both of those, then I would definitely want to know about your experiences!

If you want to help me in my research, just click right here for the survey. I will be forever in your debt.

Thank you so much!!!!

Sweet Sunday – Maple Syrup Chocolate Cake

Sweet Sunday is here! It’s been two quiet weeks, I’ve been spending this week sick in bed and haven’t cooked or baked anything. Yeah, it’s been quite boring. However, I did watch the whole first season of How To Get Away With Murder in 1.5 days, so I’ve got that going for me. Seriously though, if you haven’t watched it, do it now, it’s sooo good and nervewrecking.

Anyways, back to business. I’ve mentioned that I was working on a somewhat healthy recipe in my previous post. You see, a friend of mine is studying Nutrition & Dietetics, which I am highly interested in as well. So I called in her knowledge to help me convert a normal Chocolate Cake recipe into a more healthy one. (She also makes incredibly awesome bracelets and rings. All handmade! Check her page here!)



During our talks, I have learned so much! For instance, did you know that honey and agave syrup are not per definition better or healthier than sugar? Your body absorbs the sugars in the honey and sugar the exact same way as it does the regular sugar. So, it’s not better per se to substitute sugar with honey. However, the whole process of your blood absorbing the honey or syrup is more gradual than with regular sugar. This means that you will be less inclined to eat more when choosing honey or syrup.



My first test cake was made by substituting the butter with chia seeds and the sugar with banana. Although I am still completely in awe of the way chia absorbs water and what those little seeds can do, this was not a great recipe. It taste like cocoa powder and like cocoa powder only.

Next try, chia seeds and apple butter. This was actually not too bad. I’ll definitely share this recipe with you too in the future! 

The winner was this one though: made with sunflower oil and maple syrup. Yeah, I know, the maple syrup still has sugar in it and all that. But the big difference is that these are natural sugars, which your body can process without any problems. There are no funny additions, it’s just syrup. Sunflower oil is great for you as it has fatty acids (good for your heart), Vitamin E (great for your skin), and rich in atioxidants. A lot better than butter.



As you can see on the photos, this cake is moist, wonderfully risen and has a subtlety and aroma of the maple syrup. Although it’s a chocolate cake, and rich in flavour, it is not a heavy cake. The Greek yogurt that is also incorporated in the batter for extra moisture, is combined with maple syrup to top the cake off. Pomegranate seeds provide some crunch and colour.



In short, a perfect cake for when you need something sweet, something chocolatey, and something comforting.

Enjoy your day!

Maple Syrup Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 156 ml (5.4 oz) sunflower oil
  • 131 ml (4.6 oz) maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 125 grams (1 and 1/8 cup) self raising flour
  • 50 grams (4/8 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • Optional: greek yogurt and maple syrup, pomegranate seeds

Used kitchen appliances

  • Oven
  • Cake tin of 17 cm diameter
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C or 356F. Grease the tin with a bit of sunflower oil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the sunflower oil and maple syrup until combined. Add one egg at a time, whisking after each addition.
  3. In another bowl, sieve the flour, cocoa, and baking powder, and combine.
  4. Add the flour to the oil mixture, and stir until combined. Add the two tablespoons of yogurt and combine.
  5. Transfer to the tin form and bake for 20-25 minutes in the middle of the oven. Check to see if it’s ready if a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Optional: combine greek yogurt with a splash of maple syrup, spread over the cake and top off with the pomegranate seeds.

5-Minute Homemade Hummus

Where do I begin to explain my love for hummus? It’s creamy, it’s nutty, it’s spicy, it’s starchy. What is not to love?

To make this wonderful chickpea dip even better, is that you can easily make it yourself! Just grab a food processor, mix all the ingredients, and you’ll be ready to eat in just 5 minutes!

My favourite thing about hummus, is that it incorporates cumin, which is a typical Middle-Eastern spice and my all-time favourite. Whenever I smell it, I imagine standing in the middle of an Arabic souq, my senses going crazy due to all the beautiful colours I see, the various spices I smell, and the murmur of the many people I hear.easy and quick homemade hummusFun fact: The first recorded recipe for hummus has been found in an Egyptian cookbook from the 13th century!

Another ingredient which is particular for Middle-Eastern cuisine, but not yet so familiar in Western kitchens, is tahini. This is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. The word tahini is derived from the verb to grind. It’s a versatile paste, most often used in other recipes. However you could actually serve tahini as a spread or dip as well!easy and quick homemade hummusAs you might know, hummus is actually quite a healthy dish as well! Due to the chickpeas, the dip has a good amount of protein and fiber. The sesame seeds (which is the main ingredient of tahini) contain something called a methionine, which is an animo acid that us humans cannot produce ourselves, thus we have to get it via our food. Also, the sesame seeds actually complement the protein intake of the chickpeas.

easy and quick homemade hummusServe the hummus with grilled pita bread, as an accompaniment to falafel or as a dip with veggies. Or why not alongside the delicious Imam Bayildi, or the Bulgursalad


5-Minute Homemade Hummus

  • Servings: 1 bowl
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 400 grams of canned chickpeas
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 8 garlic cloves (more or less to your liking)
  • 160 ml lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper

Used kitchen appliances

  • Food processor with the blade attachment

Preparation

  1. Place all ingredients in the food processor. Mix until combined.
  2. Season to taste. Add some more lemon juice if the mixture is too thick.
  3. Serve with some extra cayenne pepper and fresh parsley (if you’d like)