A starter and a main course – inspiration for an alternative New Year’s feast?

Lately I have been a bit lazy recipe-wise and have been focusing on articles. Therefore I decided to get back in the kitchen and create some new recipes for you (and me!). Both are super delicious although I will only share one recipe with you. The second one is a bit funky but I promise that thefirst one can be made in anybody’s kitchen. Anyways. Check ’em out and do comment!

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STARTER: Beluga lentil and sweet potato croquetas. Spicy carrot puree with argan oil, mint, chili and cumin. White port wine, balsamic vinegar and apple vinegar reduction with raisins. Toasted fennel seeds.
This recipe is fairly easy and the combination of flavours is sublime. The carrot puree consists of classic Moroccan flavours and packs a little spicy punch while the Christmassy (almost glühwein-ish) vinegar reduction contributes with a tangy and delicate sweetness that really supports the crispy, yet fluffy, croquetas. Yum! The fennel seeds do a wonderful job bringing all the flavours together.

So… Here we go!
Croquetas
80 g. / 2.8 oz. Beluga lentils
150 g / 5.2 oz. peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
4 eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt
7 tablespoons bread crumbs  + extra for coating
Wheat flour
Vegetable oil
Wash the lentils and add to a pot. Add enough water to cover, and cover with lid. Bring to a simmer and cook until soft. Meanwhile add the chopped sweet potatoes to another pot, cover with water, and lid and cook until soft. Once the sweet potatoes are done leave to cool for 10-15 minutes. This ensures that most of the moist will vaporize. Blend the sweet potatoes and add the lentils to the puree. Taste with salt and pepper, and make sure that it is extra salty as you still have to add eggs and breadcrumbs. Add the 7 tablespoons of breadcrumbs and the two eggs and mix it well. Transfer to a bowl, cover with lid and refrigerate for minimum two hours. Get three small bowls. In the first you add flour, in the second you add the two remaining eggs (beaten!) and in the last you add breadcrumbs. Using your hands make small round balls, transfer them to the flour bowl, then to the beaten eggs and finally cover with breadcrumbs. Transfer the croquetas to a clean plate and deep fry in vegetable oil for a few minutes until crispy and golden brown.
Carrot puree
250 g. peeled and chopped carrots
1½ tablespoon cumin seeds / ground cumin
1 tablespoon argan oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Chilli powder (as much as you like)
1 teaspoon turmeric
salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mint leaves
Add the carrots to a pot, cover with water and simmer until soft. If using cumin seeds add to a pan and toast on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or until aromatic. Grind the seeds by using pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. Add all the ingredients except the mint leaves to a bowl and blend until smooth. Save the mint leaves for decorating.
Vinegar reduction and toasted fennel seeds:
½ dl / 0.2 cups white port wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon apple vinegar
4 tablespoons cane sugar
4 tablespoons raisins.
4 tablespoons fennel seeds
Add all the ingredients except fennel seeds to a pot and cook uncovered until reduced to a think, dark dense syrup/glaze. Toast the fennel seeds on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or until aromatic.
Plate all the elements and enjoy!

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Main course: Smoked paprika chicken. Sweet beetroot chips. Whiskey barrel smoked celery puree with pecorino. Winter salad with apples, red onions, kale, radishes, sunflower seeds and pomegranate. Pearled Spelt.
OK. So when I made this i didn’t measure any of the ingredients as I was just freestyling (which is what I do best!). Anyways, since i smoked the celery puree using whiskey barrel oak wood and a hand held food smoker (which you probably don’t have?) I don’t think it makes much sense explaining how, what, why and when. If you are interested in the recipe please contact me or comment and I shall provide you with a list of ingredients and a link to a website, so you can buy your very own handheld food smoker!

Vegetarian yumminess!

ImageSpicy beluga lentils with blanched carrots. Twisted carrot fries. Watermelon, feta and pine nuts with rosemary infused olive oil.

I was born a vegetarian. The first many years of my life I ate only vegetarian and while my friends had steaks and chicken fillets for dinner my parents served beans and lentils. As I grew older I started eating meat and by the time I started enjoying cooking, meat had become a part of my diet. Lately I have had many discussions with people trying to tell me that they do not feel full if they do not incorporate meat in every meal – which I frankly find pretty sad. Denmark has for years had one of the world’s highest consumptions of meat, which is not something to be proud of as a nation. Although we have many beautiful initiatives working with more sustainable ways of eating we still have to realize that meat does NOT have to be present every time we need a snack, lunch or dinner. Vegetarian (and vegan) food can be extremely delicious and this dish will make your taste buds go nuts. The watermelon and feta cube combination is so extremely delicious and is a wonderful contrast to the spicy lentils.

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300 g / 10.5 oz beluga lentils

250 g / 8.8 oz carrots (cut into small cubes)

2 long carrots

1 dl / 0.4 cup olive oil

A handful of fresh rosemary

150 g. / 5.3 oz watermelon

100 g / 3.5 oz puck feta

2 tablespoons of pine nuts

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon chili powder

5 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Canola oil for frying

Add the rosemary and olive oil to a pot and heat on low flame for a few minutes until warm. Remove from stove and leave for at least one hour (leave it for 24 hours for strong rosemary flavor). Transfer lentils to a pot and cover with water by 2 cm/1 inch. Cover with a lid and boil for approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile blanch the carrot cubes in water mixed with one tablespoon lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Blanch for 1-2 minutes (depending on the size of the cubes) and transfer to a bowl of very cold water (throwing a few ice cubes in there is a good idea). Strain the lentils to remove any excess water and leave to cool. In another pan add enough oil for shallow frying and heat on low frame. The oil should not be warmer than 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit). Using a potato peeler peel the carrots lengthwise. Transfer one carrot peel at the time to the warm oil and fry for approximately 2 minutes. Remove from the oil, pat dry with paper towel and twist the carrot peel around a sharpening steel and hold it for 5-10 seconds while cooling down. Cut watermelon and feta cheese into cubes and arrange on a plate. Place the pine nuts on top of the cubes. Mix the cold lentils and blanched carrots with a few tablespoons of the rosemary infused oil, coriander, cumin, chili, the remaining lemon juice and taste with salt and pepper. Arrange on the plate and drizzle everything with a tablespoon of the rosemary infused oil. Sprinkle the carrot fries with salt and pepper and add to the plate just before serving.

Beluga scones with herbs and pecorino

Scones

Baking with lentils is awesome. Baking scones with beluga lentils is even more awesome. These scones are dense, heavy and packed with good flavor. I came up with this recipe as I though it would be interesting to make black (or very dark) scones. I was not sure whether I should boil the lentils first or grind them to a flour, as boiling them would make them loose some of their color and make the scones lighter in color. I figured that if I boiled the lentils in very little water and used the reserve water to intensify the color of the scones, I would still preserve the beautiful color. They are darker inside than outside.

These scones are really delicious! Make sure that you have a food processor that does not give up on you. The dough is like glue and therefore you need a powerful kitchen tool to make the dough.

Beluga scones with herbs and pecorino

2 dl beluga lentils

3 tablespoons fresh thyme

3 tablespoons fresh tarragon

60 g. pecorino

35 g. butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons cane sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 dl. All-purpose flour

2 eggs

Salt to taste

Boil beluga lentils in salted water (enough water to cover the lentils by 2 cm/1 inch) for 15 minutes. Drain and reserve the rest of the water. In a food processor combine lentils, flour, butter, 3 dl of the reserved water, thyme, tarragon, pecorino, olive oil, baking powder and sugar and blend until smooth. Taste with salt and add the two eggs.

Using two spoons make 9-10 equally sized scones on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes.

Enjoy!