Author Archives: Kristof Lodewijks

Visit our Nano-Imprint Lithography booth at Future Summits!

Imec’s flagship event on nanoelectronics advances & deeptech solutions

Next month me and my colleagues will present a demo of some of the latest activities in imec’s nano-imprint lithography (NIL) program at imec’s largest conference Future Summits. Drop by and discover what NIL could mean for your future chips! You’ll find us at booth 1 in the exhibition area.

Burnout blues blog section

A new blog section was added to the website, called burnout blues. In this blog I plan to share some experiences and thoughts and things I’ve learned from going through a burnout. The first post takes you along on some of the walks I had during the first year, on which I took many pictures that I really like. I hope you like them too, and that future posts in this blog might prove useful for people facing similar problems.

Check out the Walking treasures!

Walking treasures

Pictures from
a year of walking


walk on…
walk on…
with hope…
in your heart….
And you’ll never
walk alone!

Welcome to the first post in the new blog category burnout blues. In case you didn’t know, I got struck by burnout in late 2020, so this is what the name refers to. I plan to write more blog posts about the things I’ve learnt from going through that whole burnout experience, but as time allows and as I feel ready to share certain things. I used the time to try and find inner rest, and walking has been a vital part of that. Between November 2020 and November 2021 I walked well over 3000 km, or around 10 km a day. On these walks I often came across beautiful scenes, and many of those I’ve captured with my mobile. Today I want to share with you the 10 most beautiful ones in my humble opinion. I’ll say a word or two about each picture, but I really just tried to capture the moment. These moments made me realise that it is important to enjoy the beauty that’s all around us. We often travel around the world to see beautiful places, but we often fail to see the beauty that’s just around the corner. I’m also guilty of that by the way, so I wouldn’t blame anyone.

I’ve also made walking an essential part of my life, as it often helped me to get rid of headaches, to clear my head, to have me-time. To just work-out in an enjoyable manner. Nowadays I always walk to work, which gives me a daily 10 km work-out.

This one seems like a suitable starting point. It was on a wintery day in Heverlee forest. A light fog makes this walking trail look endless, a bit like the start of the burnout feels too…

The abbey of Vlierbeek at sundown, on a cloudy spring day. It has something very dramatic to it, doesn’t it?

This one was taken in Lommel Kattenbos, around easter. The soil was still frozen while the sun peaks through the pine trees. I really like the light effects in this one!

While we’re in Kattenbos, why not see the Leysens mill at sundown as well?

And then there’s the beautiful Sahara in Lommel. This was shortly before sundown on a late November day. The windless day makes the lake a perfect mirror for the watchtower on the other side. Simply an amazing view!

Talking about views, the view from the watchtower at about 30 meters height is also worth the climb! Here the view is to the West, where wind mills from the nearby industrial zone form the skyline…

Another one with a view from the Vlooyberg tower. Took me about 22 km of walking to make it there, just in time to capture sundown over Leuven.

That was another long walk of about 33 km from Leuven to Hoegaarden, just for a few bottles of Alpaïde brown. A local treasure that is much less known than the wheat beer that shares it’s name with the City. The one and a half hour long bus ride seemed to take forever after two of these cold boys…

This is the library of the ancient Turkish city of Ephesus. I just noticed I could capture the sun peaking through the small window at the top, so that’s what I did. Really worth a visit if you’re ever near Izmir! I was there as the witness of my mate Sarp at his wedding.

This is already the last picture of the series. I wouldn’t say this is my favourite. I also wouldn’t say which one of the other ones I like most. I like the positive vision, something I really needed to embrace, and that is captured in this black and white picture. Somehow the intense light from the nearby house also adds dramatic effect.

More stories, experiences and learnings will be shared in due time. Positivity is key, and looking for it can bring you to exciting places. This is just a small selection of things that made my day in darker times, some I thought were worth sharing.

New paper published in ACS Photonics

The paper “Highly Selective Color Filters Based on Hybrid Plasmonic-Dielectric Nanostructures” by Anabel De Proft just got published in ACS Photonics. In this work that’s part of her Ph.D. research we demonstrate hybrid plasmonic-dielectric color filters that can be applied for multispectral imaging applications. The filters show narrow linewidths down to 25 nm FWHM with transmission intensities over 50% that nearly cover the full visible spectrum. These filters are among the most efficient plasmonic color filters reported to date, a surprising result considering that in top-view there’s a 100% metal coverage. And we all love metal, don’t we?!

This excellent filter performance relies on a complex interplay of multiple plasmonic and dielectric resonances that result in narrow but pronounced transmission peaks in combination with strong out-of-band suppression. The samples were all fabricated with a fully CMOS compatible flow on top of quartz substrates in our 200 mm pilot line, allowing to also implement them through post-processing on standard CMOS imagers. While these filters do not match the performance of dielectric hyperspectral filters in terms of linewidth, the reduction in the number of required process steps makes them excellent candidates for multispectral imaging applications.

As a daily supervisor of this research work, I congratulate Anabel on these nice results and I want to express my sincere gratitude to all co-authors for their valuable contributions!

On a side-note, the header of this website shows the colourful samples from this paper!

The full story can be found here!

Slow-cooked Pork Loin Curry with coconut and lime

A slow cooked and slow burning
sour curry with tender pork loin
marinated in lime, coconut,
chili peppers and red wine vinegar

Introduction

It’s a bit surprising that it took me so long before I posted a curry recipe here, as I cook one at least once a week! Today I went for a simple recipe that is remarkably full of flavours and really quick to put together. It is a slow-cooked curry though, so actual cooking time for me is typically two to three hours. At the end I’ll give some extra suggestions and remarks on my tricks for getting great spicy, slow burning and slow-cooked curries! The main advantage with curries is that it’s super easy to modify them to your own taste. If you’d want a much sweeter version of this recipe, why not added fresh mango, pineapple or kiwi to the mix? I can guarantee you this works out great too, but maybe I’ll post a recipe along these lines in future.

Ingredients

The list of ingredients described below is for 4 to 5 servings of this curry. I would recommend one 125g bag of rice per person to go along with this.

  • 500g Pork loin
  • 20g Coriander
  • 4 Limes
  • 3 Onions
  • 50 ml Peanut oil
  • 50 ml Red wine vinegar
  • 500 ml Coconut milk
  • 800g vegetables of choice (Mix I used has leek, cabbage, green bell peppers, red onion and fresh chili slices)
  • 5 Table spoons of curry powder
  • 3 Table spoons of cumin
  • 3 Table spoons of kurkuma
  • 3 Table spoons of tandoori
  • Salt to taste
  • Chili peppers to taste. I used my spicy mix of dried flakes from last summer, about 6 fresh Spanish peppers and the few extra slices from the vegetable mix

Preparation

We start by marinating the meat, which is half of the work to be done. Chop up the pork in small cubes. Add the oil, the juice of the limes, the red wine vinegar and half of the coconut milk to the meat. Slice up the onion, the coriander and fresh peppers and add them to the mix. Also add the curry powder, cumin, kurkuma, tandoori, salt and chili peppers to the mix. Mix everything and leave it to rest in the fridge for a minimum of half an hour. The marinade will infuse all flavours into the meat, which makes a big difference!

Next we start by cooking the marinated meat on high fire, until it has a nice brown color. Next we add the vegetable mix and lower the fire. We keep on stirring and add the other half of the coconut milk. If you want a more liquid curry, you can add extra water at this stage. Leave everything to simmer for another half hour at least. I went for about two hours on this one, and the longer the cooking time, the more it evolves to a slow burning dish.

Serving tips

  • The final result can be seen on the right. A spicy slow-burning curry with sour flavours.
  • Served with rice, but works just as well with couscous, pasta, noodles or potato based side dishes.
  • Works great with a sour beer, such as my favourite Lambic beer, oud geuze boon. And yes, I drink this one straight from the bottle, as that’s how I like it most!
  • The lime and the red wine vinegar add acidity to the marinade, which will take the edge of spiciness of the chili peppers, along with the coconut milk.
  • A curry like this would work with many different vegetable mixes, add whatever you like most!
  • Sweet fruits would also work great in a recipe like this, if you’d prefer it less sour. Also spices such as cinnamon or saffron would also give it a sweet twist!

Chef’s Spicy Pita with Belgian Fries and Mayonaise

A spicy pork Pita in smoked sauce,
topping a pile of Belgian Fries
“special” style with Mayonaise, Ketchup
and crisp sumak onion

Introduction

We all know those lazy Sundays we sometimes have, a late night on Saturday and you wake up realising it will be a quiet day. Toss some Motörhead vinyl on that turntable and check the freezer for something quick to eat. Hey, I’ve got pork pita meat in here! Oh, and I have potatoes and a fryer, I like it when a plan comes together. I also came to realise that I’ve posted quite some recipes the past few months, but mostly focussed on the meat and much less on side dishes. It’s about time to turn that around and talk more about a side-dish than about the spicy pita that accompanies it! Belgian fries! Now what’s Belgian about them? And why do us Belgian hate it so much that at least half of the world talks about French fries? Maybe it’s not really because we’re that much chauvinistic, at least I’m by far not, and I think most of Belgians aren’t. It’s simply because there’s no better fries than Belgian fries. Now I don’t want to start any fights about it, if you don’t agree then that’s just your opinion 🙂 That being said, fries are often called French fries because it refers to the French cut, which is much finer than the Belgian one. Your typical Mc Donald’s type of cut with fries of about 8 mm width are French fries. Belgian fries are typically around 10-12 mm width and are prepared differently. In most places, “French” (but also larger cut) fries are just fried once at about 180 degrees. If frying sufficiently long, they will come out quite crisp, but often also quite hard in the center. Belgian fries or the Belgian style of frying is different as we work in two rounds. One at moderate temperature of about 140-150 degrees for a few minutes. It is later followed by a second round at about 180-190 degrees for another few minutes. The first one makes the inside of the fries soft, nearly mashed potato like, while the second one will quickly form a nice and brown crispy outside, while maintaining the soft inner texture. It’s no rocket science, it’s nothing fancy, it just needs to be done the right way and anyone can do it. Believe you me, if you tried, you will probably stick with this routine forever! Below I will share all (or most) of my secrets for preparing the perfect Belgian fries, I’ll refer to this post often in future I believe. I’m also planning to start posting some more Belgian classics with fries, like my Guinness and Whiskey beef stew with Fries that’s to come on here soon…

Ingredients

Now I said it was a bit of improvisation with what I had in the house, so I’ll give more suggestions for additions in the serving tips below. Nevertheless this one is great to try and super simple, so I hope you like it as much as I do. The ingredients listed here are for one portion, on a hungry day 😉

  • 200-250 g of pork pita
  • 3 Table spoons of nut oil
  • 3 Table spoons of red wine vinegar
  • 2 Onions
  • Half a coffee spoon of cumin, some oregano, smoked bell pepper powder
  • Chili to taste. I added 4 fresh Spanish peppers, a bit of chipotle and some flakes of Moruga Scorpion, Carolina Reaper and Habanero.
  • A (few) spoon(s) of Smoky Hot Italian Fire sauce
  • 2 to 3 large potatoes
  • Fryer with oil
  • A dash of sumac
  • Mayonaise and ketchup

Preparation

First we marinate our pita meat in a mixture of the oil, red wine vinegar in which we add all the peppers, cumin and one onion sliced coarsely. We leave it to marinate for about an hour (or even longer if you start early). Once this is done the meat can be left in a closed container in the fridge, while we peel the potatoes and start hand cutting our Belgian fries. We wash them but also make sure to dry them first before frying, we don’t want water in the oil as it makes it splash!

Now we get to the first round of frying. Pre-heat the fryer to 140-150 degrees and add your portion of fries to it. For coarser cut it can be wise to pre-bake at slightly higher temperatures, as the fries will instantly cool down the temperature a lot when they go in. Typically pre-baking should only take 3 to 4 minutes. I never use a kitchen timer for fries though, as there’s a much better method to follow. At first, you make sure to regularly shake the basket around a bit. After about 2 to 3 minutes, lift the basket from the oil occasionally and listen closely if you hear a sizzling sound. Once that’s there they are done and can be put in a bowl with kitchen tissue to cool down.

Now it’s time to start cooking the pita, while the fries take a rest. I can’t stress how important it is to leave them to cool down before starting the second round of frying!

Add the meat into the frying pan on high fire and keep on stirring while it cooks! Once the meat has a nice and brown color, we add some Smoky hot Italian fire sauce (about 3 spoons or so) and let that blend into the mixture. Turn down the heat and let this simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes. Conveniently enough the time we need to finish our Belgian Fries!

So this already brings us to the final stage of this crash coarse in Belgian fries making! The fries have now cooled down, so we pre-heat the frying oil to 180-190 degrees. Again, for larger sized fries you probably want to go a bit higher and take 190, real Belgian fries should need 180, if they can do with less than you’ve made the mistake of cutting French fries :-D. Once the oil has reached temperature the fries go in and we shake them up a bit on a regular basis. After about 3 minutes, lift the basket every once in a while to listen if the fries are sizzling, then give them a short while more until they seem to whistle to you. Check if the color has a nice brown crisp look and lift them out! Leave the oil to drip for maybe a minute or so and then transfer the fries into a bowl with (fresh) kitchen paper to soak up any redundant grease. Add salt (to your liking, and also ground black pepper in my case) to the fries and shake them up once. Everything is ready for serving!

Did you know?

  • It is important to bake your fries in reasonable small portions? Overloading your fryer will make the fries stick together, they’ll end up being greasier and less crisp. If the volume is too large, the initial cold shock at the start cools down the oil too much to get the fries ready in a reasonably quick frying round. This holds for first and second round of coarse! Less is more!
  • The ear can be your kitchen timer when making fries. After the first round you should hear your fries sizzling when they come out of the oil. After the second one they should be just beyond sizzling and sound as if they’re whistling to you. They should have the perfect tan by that time too!
  • Fries need a proper rest in between the first and second round. They should cool down to room temperature before starting the second round. If you want to speed up the process, spread them on a larger tray and put that in the fridge or freezer for a short while. It just speeds up the process and doesn’t influence the flavour. Of coarse do not let them freeze, then it took you too long and it kind of defeats the purpose of being quicker.

Serving tips

  • This one would also work out great with other types of meat, like chicken for example. I bought the meat pre-seasoned from the supermarket, but you can just as well buy a spice mix to make your own and top it up with the ingredients described above!
  • The mayonaise is mandatory when having fries in Belgium. It’s not that we hate ketchup, it’s just the Belgian thing to do. The fries here are served as a variation on what we call “Friet special” in Belgium. This means the fries are topped with mayonaise, ketchup and onions.
  • I added a dash of sumac to the fresh onion slices I put on top, as I felt it fits this dish perfectly.
  • Mushrooms and slices of bell pepper would work really nice in the pita mixture!
  • The beer is not mandatory, but hey, it’s weekend! Fries and a pint(je) straight from the bottle, it’s how it’s done!
  • Bacon strips could be added to the meat mix for a lovely extra. I had over 300 g of pork meat already, so I didn’t need to add more. Also it is quite hard to find halal bacon these days.
  • Have a fresh brew coffee right after fries! It’s a fantastic combination and it always makes me feel like it aids in digestion. We all tend to overeat on fries don’t we. That’s why! And because it is what my grandfather taught me to do. I think of him every time I have a coffee after a dish with fries. It is something mandatory for me!

Penne with veal in a creamy pepper sauce

A quick and easy mouthwatering pasta!

Introduction

This recipe is one of these dishes that I make on a very regular basis. It’s a very simple recipe that only takes half an hour to prepare from scratch! On top of that, there’s a few shortcuts one could take, as the vegetable mix used is also available from many supermarkets and it can also be prepared using ready-made sauces (or powder mixes). Obviously the version from scratch always has my preference, but when you need a quick dinner or lunch, the lazy version does just fine!

Ingredients

Below you can find the ingredients for 3 to 4 portions of this dish. As mentioned above, you can also go for a quicker version of this one, that one is briefly addressed in the serving tips below.

  • 500g Veal
  • 250g Mushrooms
  • 300g Leek
  • 3-5 Onions (depending on size)
  • 20g Parsley
  • 500g Penne
  • 250ml Cream
  • 250ml Water
  • Flour
  • Chili peppers to taste. I used dried flakes of Carolina Reaper, Moruga Scorpion and Habanero, along with some fresh jalapeños.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Slice up the veal into strips and season it with salt, pepper and chili peppers to taste. Fry the meat in a bit of butter or oil until it has nice color. Add all vegetables to the mix and stir-fry them until they are done but still crispy. Add half of the water and cream and leave it to boil on a low fire for about 10 minutes. Mix up some flour with the rest of the water and add this to the pot to bind the sauce. Leave it to simmer until the desired texture is obtained. While preparing the sauce you can already boil the pasta to be able to serve it as soon as the sauce is done.

Serving tips

  • Try this one with any other meat to your liking.
  • If you’re short of time, try the quick version of this pasta by using ready made pepper sauce (fluid/powder). Be careful to still season the meat at the start, as otherwise it will be hard to give it the right flavour by just adding the sauce. Apart from that, the only change in the recipe is to add the sauce at the point where the cream is added in the recipe as described here.
  • For an extra fresh touch, a bit of lemon or lime juice works great in this dish. I also tend to serve with some fresh parsley on top, as this has the same effect.
  • Some bacon strips also work great in this recipe, just fry them up along with the meat!

Spicy stuffed bell peppers in red wine sauce

The perfect mariage of
bell peppers and chili peppers
with an Italian twist…

Introduction

Stuffed bell peppers are quite popular in many different cuisines. Sometimes they’re done with vegetables and rice, sometimes with just meat and often a mixture of those. Here I went for a mixture of veal and pork minced meat infused with sun dried tomatoes, basil, chili peppers and onion. Those same ingredients that were blended in the meat also form the basis for the complimentary sweet red wine sauce.

Ingredients

The ingredients listed below make 3 to 4 portions of this dish. The recipe only covers the stuffed peppers and the sauce, as it could be combined with many side dishes of choice. I went for mashed potatoes and a green salad, but there are plenty of other options that would work out great.

  • 500g of minced meat
  • 3/4 Bell peppers
  • 500g of mushrooms
  • 1 Small onion
  • 2 Large red onions
  • 20 grams of fresh basil
  • 1 egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 100g of sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 Glass of sweet red wine
  • 1 Jar of tomato concentrate
  • Chili peppers to taste. I went for 5 jalapeños and chipotle
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

As the stuffed bell peppers are cooked in the oven, we start with preparing them and focus on the sauce afterwards, as there’s plenty of time for it while waiting for the bell peppers to be ready.

First we chop up the small onion, half of the basil, half of the sun dried tomatoes and two of the chilli peppers. Make sure to chop everything very fine such that it nicely blends in with the meat. Add everything into a bowl along with the meat, the egg and some bread crumbs and mix everything together until it has the required consistency. For each serving, half of a bell pepper is stuffed with the meat mixture. At this stage I prefer to already color the top side of the meat a bit in a frying pan with butter or oil, but this step can be skipped. After about 5 minutes, I transfer the peppers into an oven tray and cover it up with aluminum foil. They are then cooked further in the oven for about 1 hour at 180 degrees. The aluminum foil ensures that the meat won’t dry out during the cooking.

For the sauce we can just use the same pot as we did for colouring the stuffed peppers. At first we add the coarsely chopped mushrooms and season them with a bit of salt and black pepper and chipotle. After that, we add the remainder of the bell peppers, chili peppers, sun dried tomatoes, basil and the two red onions, which are all cut a bit coarser. After a few minutes we add the tomato concentrate along with the red wine. Depending on the way you will serve you can add some water to the mix to achieve the desired consistency. Let it simmer for about half an hour on low fire. Once the bell peppers are done, you’re ready to serve with the sides of your choice!

Serving tips

  • Works great with rice, couscous or potato based sides!
  • If you prefer to work without the wine, adding a bit of ketchup to the sauce also works great for getting a sweet touch. This applies to any tomato sauce and I often use it in things like spaghetti bolognese for example.
  • The same recipe would be great with any other type of minced meat. Chicken mince works great, and the same would apply to beef for example.
  • The mixture of ingredients infused into the meat can easily be tailored to taste. Experiment and find out your personal favourite!
  • I picked red bell peppers for this recipe, as they are the sweetest ones of them all. It would work just as well with yellow or green ones of course!
  • I went for brown mushrooms today, as these contain less water than their white friends. As such it is easier to fry them instead of just boiling them as white ones would instantly release all water they contain.

Mexican Style Spicy Burgers

A spicy burger with a Mexican twist
The flavours infused into the meat
and topped of with smokey spiced sauce!

Introduction

I’ve always liked burgers, and I’ve made so many different ones over the years, so it seemed only right to also share a burger recipe here. Mind you, we’re not talking the shoe sole type of burger you might find in certain chains, no we’re talking the real deal. I can’t say it’s the best burger in town, but I can say it’s the best I’ve had in town. I don’t think you’d be surprised if I tell you I’ve tried a lot of burger places. Many of them also claim to serve “gourmet” burgers, but what always disappoints me is that the gourmet part is only in the toppings. The meat usually comes plain, boring, sometimes even dry. The burgers I’m making today are in fact very simple, and easy to adjust to your personal taste.

So what makes these burgers any different from many others, and why? The main point is that a lot of the flavours get infused into the meat, along with the proper ingredient mix to make sure the burgers end up being juicy, even when grilled until well done. A burger can’t come without the basics, such as bacon and cheese. Now the bacon is important here. First of all because bacon is important. Second of all because it makes any dish better. But most importantly because we’ll use it to wrap the burger. This will help to keep the burger moist on the inside and also helps to keep it nicely together. On top of that, the thin bacon slices won’t start to shrink as soon as they hit the grill.

Burgers tend to come with some sides like Belgian Fries and coleslaw, which were included in today’s dish, but I won’t include them in the recipe. All other secrets for my favourite burger can be found below.

Ingredients

Today I made 3 burgers, each about 200g. Adjust the quantities should you intend to go for different numbers or sizes.

  • 550g ground steak
  • 20g fresh coriander
  • Half an onion
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 coffee spoon of Cumin, Chipotle, Smoked bell pepper, Cajun
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh chili peppers (here I went for jalapeños)
  • 1 Egg (optional)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 6 slices of breakfast bacon

Since it’s ridiculous to hold on to half an onion, the other half is used as pickled onions that go onto the burger as a topping. This is just done in some red wine vinegar, so it can be done in advance. For completeness, the rest of the ingredients for the burger are listed below, but these can of course be tailored to your liking!

Preparation

For the burgers, we chop up half an onion, the koriander and the chili peppers. We mix it with the juice of 2 limes and all the spices. This we all add to the minced meat. Typically the mixture will be quite moist at this stage, so we add breadcrumbs until it has the desired texture. Should the meat be fairly dry, you could also add an egg to the mix, but in this recipe that one is actually replaced by the lime juice.

Then we shape our burgers and wrap them each in two slices of bacon. This will help keeping your burger nice and juicy during grilling and beyond!

This is already the most important work done! Now it just comes down to grilling to perfection and serving. For sure the best ones will come from wood or charcoal grill, but also just an electrical grill will do the trick. I served on simple buns with some rucola and slices of tomato. Next I added the burger and two slices of cheese, which I topped with the pickled onions and my Smokey Hot Italian Fire sauce.

Serving tips

Although burgers are quite self-explanatory, some recommendation from my side.

  • Always grill your burgers. Preferentially on an actual fire grill, but other grills will also do.
  • Burgers go with bacon and cheese. Anything served without is just a sandwich.
  • Do not go too thin with these burgers. With a thickness of about 2 cm as shown over here, it’s perfectly possible to grill them well done and keep them moist. The thinner the burgers are, the easier it will be to cook them dry.
  • Experiment with spices, I’m sure I’ll post other mixes in the future, but you’ll find your own as well if you play around a little!

Farfalle with chicken in a creamy, smoked spicy port sauce

A nearly vegetarian, 
spicy, creamy and smokey port sauce,
as versatile as it is tastes!

Introduction

I’ve made chicken in port sauce like a 100 times by now I guess. I don’t know what it is exactly, but these two just really work well together. Today I’m adding a spicy twist (not surprised are you?) to it and finishing it of with fresh basil and a smokey, creamy twist. To make sure we’re not left with any confused vegetarians here, I’ll get to the tagline above first. Out of all the meat one could pick, for this recipe I went with chicken, the most vegetable like meat of them all. Skip this one in the recipe and I’m quite sure it will still work out great! I also wanted to have smokey touches to this one, so I added chipotle, smoked bell pepper and some bacon to the mix.

Ingredients

Today I’m serving this one with pasta, you could also decide to go for a more stew-like version and serve it with rice or fries. The ingredients here are for a staggering amount of about 3.5 litre of pasta sauce. Adjust to your needs if trying this recipe out.

This recipe can be split into two major portions, being the chicken going out for a swim until it turns into a drunk duck, and the chef feeding it some more port for the desired finishing touch.

  • 800 g of Chicken filet cubes
  • 50 ml of Port wine
  • 30 ml of Peanut oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Chopped up basil
  • 1 Tablespoon of each: Tandoori, Cajun, Chipotle, Cumin, Smoked bell pepper
  • Chili peppers to taste: here about 3 fresh jalapeños

The marinade is obviously just the beginning of this recipe, and it will all be used after a while to make a splendid sauce. For that one, we need the following ingredients:

  • Chicken and marinade made before
  • 3 Onions
  • 3 Cloves of garlic
  • 500 g of Mushrooms
  • 3 Red Bell peppers
  • 1 Eggplant
  • Jar of tomato concentrate
  • Jar of tomato cubes
  • 50 ml of Port wine
  • 250 ml of cream
  • 30 ml of Smokey hot Italian fire or other peppers/sauces to your liking
  • A dash of Ketchup for a sweeter flavour

Preparation

Preparation wise this one is in fact surprisingly easy. For the chicken marinade, I just put all ingredients in a bowl and stir it into a smooth mixture. I add the chicken into a tray and make sure it is all nicely covered with marinade before putting it into the fridge for a couple of hours.

When all the preparations have been done for the sauce, it’s an easy thing to bring everything together. First we poor the marinade over into a large pot on high fire. As soon as the marinade is hot, we add the chicken to give it some colour. Subsequently, we add the vegetables one by one. Start off with the onion and garlic and let them simmer along until glazed. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper and eggplant and keep on stirring, while reducing the heat to a moderate level. Add the tomato concentrate, tomato cubes and the hot sauce to the mix, along with the port wine. Let everything simmer at low fire for at least half an hour. Add the cream before serving and let it boil in briefly. A bit of ketchup can give an extra sweet touch to this one if this is what you like. I’m sure I do!

Serving tips

Today I served this one with farfalle pasta, topped with some grated mozarella cheese and crispy bacon.

This sauce is quite versatile though, it can be prepared just as well to go as a stew with rice, potatoes or fries. Or why not use it for lasagne?

  • Try this recipe with different sides, you’ll be pleasantly amazed how well it goes down in different ways.
  • Try the marinade above for barbecue chicken, believe you me you’ll love it!
  • Try the same marinade, or even full recipe with red beers such as Rodenbach or a Cherry beer and it’ll just work out as a charm. The same holds for a nice and sweet red wine by the way!
  • This is one of these dishes for me in which the holy trinity of making food better do their magic again. There’s
    1) Bacon
    2) Cheese
    3) Ketchup
    which always work together, and always make a dish better. There, I’ve said it! Thought I was gonna say chili peppers right? I’m sorry, that’s kind of a given, no need to emphasise it here!