Our very first home-grown radish! It was delicious!
I took some pictures of our friends house for AirBnB. Click here to check it out, if you’re ever in Haarlem or Amsterdam I recommend staying here!
My favorite picture of us. I’m thinking of framing it.
One of our dreams is to one day publish our own cookbook. Slowly we’re collecting recipes. As part of our research we rarely eat the same meal twice and we try to cook something new at least 4 times a week. This week we made this roasted parsnip and apple soup. Surprisingly tasty.
Every sunday a bunch of food trucks gather near our house and cook up delicious things. This sunday was curry, ravioli and quesadilla’s
Nick and the ravioli.
What do you call a food truck that serves drinks? A drink truck? A beer truck?
Nick never fails to make me laugh, even when I’m in the middle of a big gulp of beer.
(these pictures are taken with my iPhone because I forgot my camera, hence the quality)
Are you an Easter fan? I never really was. I didn’t like chocolate, eggs or bunnies when I was younger, so there wasn’t a whole lot for me to like about it.
Nick and I normally don’t ‘do’ Easter. But this year we figured we might as well enjoy it. And we did. We had such an incredible day. I wish for many many more days like this Easter. We spent the day strolling around a design/art and a food market in Amsterdam, where we had delicious homemade hotdogs and drank locally brewed beers. I even got a sunburn. Can you believe it? It’s only freakin’ April and I got a sunburn!
Looking back, I can’t tell you exactly why we had such an amazing time. Was it all the beer we drank? Was it the sun? Or was it all the delicious food? (look at me eating those nacho’s). All I know is I wish it was Easter every month!
Usually, Nick does all of the baking. He’s really good at it and enjoys doing it. But there are days where I crave something sweet and Nick isn’t around to bake me something magical. On those days I get out my rolling-pin and try my hand on a recipe. This time I tried making Sticky Cinnamon Scones. The recipe I used didn’t have any measures for the filling, so this is roughly what I used. If it doesn’t work out the first time, experiment a little. Once you get it right, it’s really good.
Sticky Cinnamon Scones
350 grams of self-raising flour
100 grams of cold butter
150 ml of buttermilk
a bit of salt
1 egg, beaten
80 grams of melted butter
4 table spoons of brown sugar
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
a hand of raisins
a hand of any kind of nuts you have lying around. chopped roughly. I used walnuts and almonds.
Heat your oven to 180°C.
Melt the butter for the filling, and mix it with the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside
In a big bowl, mix the flour with the butter and salt until it looks like coarse sand. Now add the buttermilk bit by bit until you get a supple dough.
Roll the dough into a ball and flour your surface. Roll out the dough until it’s about half a centimeter thick, while trying to keep it square. The thinner your dough is, the better.
Brush the melted butter/sugar on the dough. Cover the dough with the nuts and raisins.
Now roll up your dough so that it resembles some sort of sausage.
Grease up a baking dish. Cut the dough sausage in six equal parts and snuggle them together on their sides in the baking tin. Brush with some beaten egg and bake your scones for about 25 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Serve the scones with cold butter, whipped cream or unsweetened crème fraîche. They are also very yummy when you eat them piping hot straight out of the oven (totally burned my mouth on one).
A dear friend gave us this cookbook Home Made Winter for Christmas and we love it. It’s not just a bunch of recipes, it’s a collection of things you need to know when making everything from scratch. We also own Home Made which tells you how to Home Make just about everything. It’s by a Dutch woman so it includes a lot of typical Dutch recipes. Such as this Ontbijtkoek-recipe.
Ontbijtkoek (click here for pronunciation) or pain d’epiche is literally translated breakfastcookie and it’s a lot like gingerbread. In Holland, people eat it for breakfast, lunch or as a snack. Because it’s kind of sticky, people eat it with butter.
We’d never made ontbijtkoek before, but we like how it turned out. Here’s our version of Ontbijtkoek. We altered the original recipe a bit. I like my ontbijtkoek spicy.
400 grams of self-raising flour
2 teaspoons of ginger powder
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of coriander powder
a pinch of allspice
a pinch of salt
200 ml of whole milk
100 grams of brown sugar (see note)
75 grams of honey
75 grams of maple syrup
Heat up your oven to 150°C. Butter up your baking tin.
Get out your mixing bowl and add all the ingredients. Mix it with a whisk until the batter is smooth. Pour it into your baking tin. When your oven is ready, put your Ontbijtkoek in the oven for about an hour.
When done, let it cool on a rack. Cooled down? Wrap it up to make sure it stays nice and sticky. As with most cakes, it’s better the day after baking so control yourself!
Note: This recipe calls for basterdsuiker. Basterdsuiker is a typical Dutch product. It is made by adding invert sugar and caramel to fine white refined sugar. This mixture helps to achieve certain textural structures and keeps baked goods moist. There are three varieties, white, brown and dark brown. Although there is some discussion about this, I’m of the opinion you can use muscovado sugar to replace it.
It took me quite a while to realize this is a hard dish to shoot. I made it, ate it and I loved it. I made it again, prepped everything, waited for the light to be just perfect in our kitchen (the roof of our kitchen is all windows, it’s a dream). Anyway, I waited for the light to be just right and took some test shots. Nothing yet. I took a couple of hundred pics. Nope. Still nothing. It was only when I started editing them that I realized this dish was missing some greens. I could have started over but there weren’t any greens in the recipe and this recipe is mucho tasty like this.
Our friend, who is the chef at Aangenaam, a local organic restaurant, started a new business venture not so long ago. It’s called Aangenaam Thuis (thuis means: at home). It’s for people who want to cook tasty and healthy but lack time or inspiration to go to the supermarket and put together a meal. They deliver a bag to your house, stuffed with practically everything you need to make two healthy meals for two people, including the recipes. All ingredients are fair trade, organic and some of them local. They offered us a bag to try! Here’s one of the recipes so you can try it at home:
250 grams of ground lamb meat
1 eggplant, cut into slices of a little less than a centimeter
500 grams of potatoes, each potato cut into eight pieces
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
juice and zest of an organic lemon
Preheat the oven at 200°C. Put the potatoes on a baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil, rosemary and coarse sea salt. Put it in the oven for 40 minutes or until nice and golden brown.
In the meanwhile, get out your grilling pan. Drizzle some olive oil on the eggplant slices and grill them evenly on both sides. Put the eggplant aside when you’re done grilling.
Put some olive oil in a medium-sized pan and fry your onions slightly. Add the garlic and cinnamon and sauté until the garlic starts to color.
Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, ground lamb and oregano. Sauté until the ground lamb is browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When your potatoes look like they only need 10 more minutes in the oven, get your eggplant ready! Lay them in an oven dish and fill them with the ground lamb meat. Roll them up and put them in the oven for about 8 minutes. Take out the eggplant rolls and potatoes and enjoy.
// Vegetable lentil soup – this is so good and filling and warm. Hands down the best lentil soup I have ever had.
// Spinach date and almond salad – a summertime favorite, but it’s good in fall as well. Shutterbean is one of my favorite resources for good recipes. We have tried a lot of her recipes and she has never let us down. All of her recipes are tasty.
// Coconut rice with peas and more – holy crap. I could eat this everyday. It’s comfort food at it’s best. It has loads of veggies, no crazy calories and the feeling of indulgence.
I don’t know about you but I get really angry when I’m hungry. Sometimes after a long day of work, I don’t want to think about what to make for dinner. I just want something to eat. For those days, I like to have a few recipes I can fall back on. The only condition is that they are tasty. I switch up recipes every other month or so, but some recipes stick. These are four of my current favorite fallback recipes. There is one more recipe that I really really love. It has the best pasta in the world, gnocchi. Full recipe including pictures coming soon!
What are some of your go-to recipes? Let me know and I’ll try them!
We first made this recipe a couple of weeks ago and even though it was tasty, it wasn’t as good as the Pho we had in Vietnam. So we made it again. And again. Until it was just right. It looks like a lot of work and it isn’t the easiest recipe in the world. You need to put aside some time to make this, but you won’t regret it.
I remember ordering Pho for the first time. It was in a small restaurant in Ho Chi Minh/Saigon. We went there early in the morning, as we heard they had good wifi. We really needed to finish a project for a client. All day long I had been eyeing the Pho on the menu. As you can imagine, I was super excited when dinner time came around. Pho taste unlike anything I have ever tasted before. It’s salty, fatty, full of spices, light, warm, refreshing, filling. I wanted to share this Pho recipe with you because it started my love for Pho and I hope it starts yours too. Next time I’m making this, I’ll try to control myself and make a picture before I eat it.
Ingredients For the broth
2.5 kilo of beef leg bones. We got them for free at our local butcher
5.5 liter of cold water
2 medium onions, cut in quarters
a 10 cm piece of ginger, cut in half lengthwise
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
6 star anise
6 whole cloves
1 black cardamom pod. You can buy this at most Asian stores but if you can’t find it, leave it out.
1,5 tablespoons of salt
1,5 tablespoons of sugar
60 ml of fish sauce
Soup ingredients 700 grams of pho noodles. You should be able to find these at your local Asian supermarket.
450 grams of beef sirloin (entrecôte)
1 onion, sliced in very thin slices (see-through thin)
a load of cilantro leaves
Garnishing Fresh mint and Thai Basil sprigs
a handful of bean-sprouts
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 limes, cut in quarters
Pre-heat your oven broiler on the highest setting and line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Take your quartered onions and halved ginger and place them on the baking sheet and put it in to the oven. Make sure to turn them occasionally so they become charred evenly on all sides.
While your onions and ginger are in the oven, boil the bones to remove impurities. Add the bones to a large stockpot and just about cover the bones with cold water. Bring to a boil on high heat and boil for 5 minutes. Skim off the scum and foam that rises.
Drain the bones into a colander and rinse them well with warm water. Scrub the pan with soap to remove any residue and fat. Place the bones back in the pan and add 5.5 liters of cold water. Bring to a slow boil.
Put a dry frying pan on low to medium heat and add cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cloves and the black cardamom pod. Leave it to roast for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the spices are starting to smell really good, place them in a cotton muslin bag/herb sachet/piece of cheesecloth and tie it up into a bundle with butchers twine.
Add the ginger, onions and the pouch of herbs to the boiling bones. Add the salt, sugar and fish sauce and let it simmer for about 3 hours. If any foam rises to the surface, scoop it off with a skimmer.
In the meanwhile, put your beef sirloin in the freezer for about 15 minutes. It will harden a little, making it easier to slice. Thinly slice the beef across the grain into thin slices and put them in the fridge.
Take the onion you sliced and place it in some water for about 20 minutes. This will tone done the raw flavor of the onion.
After 3 hours, get pliers to take out the bones, onions, ginger and herbs. Take your pan and strain your broth through a fine mesh strainer, optionally lined with a cheesecloth. Skim the fat from the top of the broth with a spoon. This is easier if you let the broth cool, as the fat will solidify. Nick is not too bothered with fat, so he just left it because it adds a lot of taste. Put the broth back on the stove and let it simmer on the lowest heat.
Get your pho noodles out and let them soak for as long as needed according the instructions on the packet.
Fill each bowl for about 1/3 with noodles. Add some slices of the raw sirloin. Top with hot broth and add some sliced onions and cilantro. (I like a lot of onions in my Pho).
Serve with well stocked plates of garnishing. Squeeze over the lime and enjoy this perfect soup.
If you’re really hungry, make these as a side dish
I have a confession to make. I don’t like chocolate. I just don’t like it. Never have. So for Nick to make me a chocolate cake that I like, that’s something unique. This cake won me over to the dark side (of chocolate). This cake is SO good.
Everyday, for the last two months, we’ve been cooking something we have never tried before. With this we’re trying to make an amazing collection of recipes. We’re going to perfect all of those recipes and share some of them with you. For all of the recipes we won’t be sharing you will have to come over for dinner.
This cake didn’t need a lot of tweaking. It’s perfect just the way it is. We just added a shot of espresso. Because espresso and chocolate go well together.
250 ml of Guinness
250 grams of unsalted butter
75 grams of cocoa powder
400 grams of white castor sugar
140 ml of sour cream
2 large eggs
1 vanilla pod
275 grams of plain flour
2,5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 shot of espresso
For the topping
300 grams of cream cheese
150 grams of powdered/icing sugar
125 ml of whipped cream
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350ºF. Get out your 23 cm/9 inch round baking tin and butter and line the baking tin. I never had Guinness so before I started baking I took my first sip. It’s actually quite nice!
Put on a large saucepan on medium heat. Take the rest of the Guinness and pour it into the pan. Spoon in the butter bit by bit. When it has melted, whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
Get a bowl and beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla. When smooth, pour it into the brown buttery, beery pan. At last, whisk in the flour and baking powder. Pour the cake batter into the baking tin and bake for 45-60 minutes, it took an hour here.
When it’s done, take it out of the oven but leave it in the tin. Place on a cooling rack and let cool completely. When the cake has cooled to room temperature, start with the icing.
Whip the cream cheese until smooth. Get out your sieve and sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them together until smooth again. Careful at the start, unless you like breathing sugar. Add the whipped cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. We did it by hand, but use a processor or mixer if you have one, it will make your life a lot easier. Now start icing! Put it in the fridge for an hour or two if you can control yourself.
Have you ever been to Vietnam? If you have, you’ve probably tried these spring rolls and have fallen in love. If you haven’t: you will fall in love. Also, Vietnam is great and you should try to visit sometime. For realsies.
Rice paper (make sure they are suited for fresh spring rolls, there are lots of different kinds!)
500 grams of shrimps
1 cucumber, cut into thin strips
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
4 carrots, cut into thin strips
1 crop of green lettuce, cut into thin strips
1 bunch of cilantro (we love cilantro, so we usually end up with 3 bunches)
1 bunch of mint
Rice vermicelli noodles
For the Peanut Sauce:
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tea-spoon of olive oil (or sesame oil if you’ve got it.)
10 table spoons of peanut butter
3 teaspoons of hoisin sauce
4 table spoons of water (we usually end up adding more, as this sauce thickens quickly)
Sweet and sour sauce
Start by cutting all the vegetables in thin strips. When you’re done, put them aside and start setting the table.
Cook the noodles as per instructions on the package. Allow to dry at room temperature.
Time to make the peanut sauce. This sauce is meant as a dipping sauce but I put it inside of my spring rolls. I like it better that way.
Put the olive oil (or optionally sesame oil) in a small saucepan and set it on medium-low heat. Add garlic and sauté for about 20 seconds. Do not let the garlic burn. Add peanut butter and hoisin sauce and continue to stir. When the sauce begins thickening, add water. Adjust to taste and continue to add water if it becomes too thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
You can now put everything on the table. Do not forget a flat bowl or pan filled with hot water. You need this to soften the rice paper.
To assemble rolls, dip single sheets of rice paper into hot water for a few seconds. Allow excess water to drain and quickly place on a plate. Add a layer of peanut sauce, some sweet and sour sauce and stack on the shrimps, softened noodles, lettuce, cucumbers, red peppers, carrot, cilantro and mint. Carefully roll closed and slice in half. SUPER YUMMY.
If you’re like me and love cilantro, buy some more cilantro and pile up!
This has to be the best place to eat in Chiang Mai. The owner is a Thai who worked and studied in Germany. His European influence is noticeable on the menu and in the decor. But don’t let it fool you. This guy loves Thailand. All of the products he uses for his dishes are local, and are the foundation for his ever-changing menu. He visits the local market every morning and based on what he finds there, he makes up a menu daily. My favorite tapas was the gnocchi, so simple yet so tasteful. He’s always up for a chat, so if you’ve got any questions about one of his dishes, his ingredients or his business’, ask away (provided he’s not swamped, leave him alone in that case).
Next door is Bar Fry, owned by the same guy. They sell high-end French fries. The fries are seriously delicious and come with a great variety of sauces. Being from Holland, we love fries and we hadn’t had decent fries for a long time and these were such a treat. You can order fries while eating at Jagajee.
“We are a simple, but true eatery, trying to tickle your taste buds with tapas from fresh seasonal and locally grown products with minimal seasoning to taste the nature of our tapas.” This is one of the writings on the wall of Jagajee (which means ‘tickling’ in Thai) and it pretty much sums up the food. Great, fresh products made into the best tapas you can find in Asia.
Jagajee Tapas Restaurant / Bar & Bar Fry
1/1 Nimmanhaemin Road Soi 15
(Jagajee is on the main road, near the corner of Soi 15)
Chiang Mai, Thailand.