Brains for cooking – Cooking for your brains

Short Hiatus – Cookingbrains will be back soon.

I have been posting on Cookingbrains every weekend since August 2012. (Almost) every sunday, no break, no exception. In total this has resulted in 74 (including this 75) posts. These 75 posts have reached 14800 views in this time. Most of the people coming here, seemingly obsessed with Naan (This post has received 2700 and some views, meaning that it has been read more than 5 times as often as the second most popular post: My deconstructed tomato lasagna. I’m incredibly grateful for all of you coming back here every week. Even for all of you who come much less frequently ;-).
I can’t believe that it has been 512 days since I started blogging on here. 512 days well spent, I think. But also 512 exhausting days. I feel like a short break was in order. I’ll take a tiny leave from all of this – a few couple of weeks, I assume. But I will be back soon, latest at the start of March, with all kinds of new tricks and fun things. Until then, take care and share some food with your loved ones.

Fancy Fish: My grilled sole with confit tomatoes and a basil sauce.

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Flavours as crisp and clear as the air that fills these days. Intense colours, foreshadowing the nearing spring. And a lightness that I have been craving for all throughout winter. My grilled sole with confit tomatoes, served with a basil sauce, is a light dish. Grilling the tender and succulent fish, cooking the soft and silky confit tomatoes and grinding up the aromatic basil sauce won’t take you longer than 15 minutes. So if you suddenly feel like having a posh meal – then treat yourself to this most simple dish.
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My favourite inauthentic pasta: My pasta with the easiest tomato sauce.

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The freshness of a nearing spring fills my heart with joy. The air is clear and crisp. The sun is shining optimistically and it won’t be long until the first specks of green will appear in parks and gardens. On days like this, I like my food to mirror the simplicity of the nearing season. Few and subtle flavour, light and almost airy – this is how food should be. No fuzz and no work.
My pasta with the easiest tomato sauce will lift your spirits, I promise you that. Done in half an hour, requiring no work and using only three ingredients – food really doesn’t come any easier than this.

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Godly Greens: My carrot noodles with cottage cheese.

After hours upon hours of feasting. Of roasts and stews, cakes and cookies, of chocolate and sweets, our bodies can take a break. Something light and uplifting, refreshing and nourishing. My carrot noodles with cottage cheese are exactly what a spring lunch should look like. Vegetable pasta, some cottage cheese, that’s all I want to start a year of good resolutions with.

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Fancy Fish: My mussels in tomato sauce.


There is little more fitting to a dark winter night than a meal shared with family or friends. A big bowl in the centre of an even bigger table from which everyone takes as much as they like. Splashes of tomato sauce covering plates, table and diners. Happy chatting and deep glasses of wine. Sharing a meal is one of the simplest ways to connect with other people. No fancy plates or clever sauces needed. With my mussels in tomato sauce all you have to provide is a lot of napkins. Your guests will eat the mussels straight from the shell, which is half the fun. The slurping and sucking drops of tomato sauce out of the shells is the other half. However elaborate you think making mussels could be, forget about it. All you need is three ingredients, a large pot and 20 minutes of time. Cooking for other people has never been easier.

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Posh Potatoes: My baked potatoes with chived crème fraîche.

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There is a constant storm brewing outside my parent’s home. With grey skies hanging even deeper than usual and a nagging cold wind, trying to sneak into your bones, whenever you set a foot outdoors. This is the perfect weather to stay in. To drink hot apple juice with a shot of amaretto. And to take an unwilling dog out for a walk. I can’t think of anything better to come home to, than an oven full with steaming hot potatoes. My baked potatoes with chived crème fraîche is a dish worth taking into your repertoire. Especially, since it requires no work at all. All you have to do is pop some potatoes into a hot oven and let them do their thing for a bit more than an hour. No one can say that cooking wasn’t easy.

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Busy Bites: My lentil and pumpkin couscous-mash.

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There is something about spices like cumin and cardamom, sweet paprika and pepper, that warm my heart. A warmth and depth, that seems so suitable for dark and cold days like this. Christmas is a busy time, between lectures and Christmas parties, people need to be met, presents to be bought. In all this rushing around a plate of food that almost tells you to sit back and relax, to take some time to actually enjoy the season, seems like a welcome break. My lentil and pumpkin couscous mash is one of these dishes. Based on a thick, rich and aromatic lentil and pumpkin soup, this is comfort food in all its glory. Done in a few minutes, and served with a big helping of yoghurt sauce, this is food that feeds mind and body. Take a break, you deserve it.

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Busy Bites: My egg pancakes with fried mushrooms and cottage cheese.

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Sometimes all you want is a quick snack. Something light and rewarding. Nothing too fancy. Nothing too heavy. A few simple tastes. Juicy and refreshing. And above all: quick. Snack food doesn’t need to be heavy, or complicated or boring. With a few spare minutes. Two pans and a quick hand you can easily make snack-time worth every bite. Aromatic mushrooms, with subtle notes of garlic, the tang of lemon, combined with silky and milky cottage cheese, served on an extremely thin omelette. What better could a snack look like?

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Nifty Noodles: My creamy green pesto with tagliatelle.

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When the days are cold and dark like today, nothing beats coming home to a bowl of steaming pasta, immersed in a creamy sauce. Take off your shoes, throw your coat on the floor and let go. However stressful your day. When comfort is over due, I rely on a trusty old friend to nourish my heart and mind. Pesto. The green sauce of crushed basil, mashed pine nuts and soft cheese, enriched with a good olive oil and the lightness of lemon juice, has its special kind of magic. While I like my pesto vibrant and strong on a hot summer’s day, my winter pesto takes on more subtle notes. Creamy and soft, mild and rich, my creamy green pesto with tagliatelle is done in a spell. Take the extra minute or two, to make this most comforting of all sauces. You are finally home.
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Godly Greens: My braised celeriac.

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An incredibly tender texture, complex flavours, a good brown on the outside and a brilliant gravy to serve with it all. Sunday roasts make for happy hearts and full stomachs. Especially if no-one has to die for them. Beautifully seared on the outside and creamy on the inside, my braised celeriac makes for a good alternative to any roast. Served with a beautiful rich sauce, I’ll have this brown beauty instead of a roast any day.

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