Tag // street food

A Dutch Classic: Endive with Mashed Potatoes

endive mashed potatoes recipe

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When I first told Nick I wanted to shoot this dish for the blog he straight up laughed in my face. ‘You don’t even like it’. He was right. But I had a plan. ‘What if we make a better, tastier version’. Nick, who is always up for a challenge, looked at me and said ‘Challenge accepted’.

It took us a whole day in the kitchen, but I think we did it.

As soon as it gets cold, Dutch people huddle together and cook winter classics such as Boerenkool stamppot (kale with mashed potatoes, bacon and smoked sausage), Hutspot (Carrots and onions with mashed potatoes, bacon and smoked sausage), Zuurkool stamppot (sauerkraut with mashed potatoes and you guessed it: bacon and smoked sausage) and of course Andijvie stamppot (endive with mashed potatoes, bacon and sausage). As you can tell, the Dutch kitchen is quite boring and I’ve never really liked it. But there is something about local cuisine. It should be preserved as it is part of our heritage.

We proudly present: Endive with mashed potatoes, the tasty version.

An original Nick & Angie recipe

serves 4


For the hotchpot
400 grams of Endive, cut in small strips
1.5 kg of potatoes
a gulp of milk
a large piece of butter
fresh nutmeg
olive oil
red wine vinegar

For the leak
4 leaks
4 tablespoons of mustard
a large piece of butter

For the caramelised onions
10 medium-sized onions
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

For the poached egg
4 eggs
regular white vinegar

The cooking of the food

We’re going to start with the caramelised onions since they take the longest. Cut the onions in rings or half rings. Put a heavy pan (I used a big, cast iron pot) on the lowest heat on one of your medium-sized burners. Melt the butter, but don’t let it brown. Put in the onions. Stir regularly. Caramelising onions can take up to an hour. If they’re nice and brown, deglaze them with a few lugs of balsamic vinegar. You can alternatively use red wine vinegar.

Put the oven on 180°C. While the oven is heating up, peel your potatoes. Cut them in pieces of equal size. Put on some water and as soon as it’s boiling, throw in the potatoes. Parboil for about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain them in a colander and leave them for about 3 minutes.

Cover a baking tray with baking paper and toss the potatoes on the tray. Spread them out evenly. Pick your weapon of choice and crush the potatoes. Don’t completely mash them, you want them to break into pieces, not purée. Mix about 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a handful of roughly torn sage in a bowl, toss it, and spread it over the potatoes. Put some pieces of garlic between the potatoes. No need to peel the garlic. Slice some butter into small cubes and put it on the potatoes. Place the tray in the oven for about 40-45 minutes.

In the meanwhile, fill up your kitchen sink with ice-cold water. Cut your endive in small strips and put it in your sink. Let the endive sit in your sink for 15 minutes to half an hour, giving the sand and dirt time to sink to the bottom. Take it out without disturbing the dirt, put it in a colander and put it aside to drain.

Don’t forget to stir your onions. If they aren’t getting any darker, you can put the heat a bit higher.

Take your leaks, wash them and cut them into fairly big pieces. One leak should become 4 or 5 pieces. Put a skillet on medium heat and heat up some butter until browned. Put in your leaks. Place some cubes of butter and all the mustard on top of the leaks and cover the skillet. Let it stew for about 10 minutes. No need to turn or stir, just leave them be.

When the potatoes are finished, put them in a big pot. Get out your masher or ricer and mash them. Add milk and butter until it becomes a smoothish mixture. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Don’t forget to taste! Mashed potatoes usually need a lot more salt than you think. Now add in the endive bit by bit and mix up. Make sure to keep a good potato:endive ratio. Too much endive and it becomes a weirdly starchy salad, too much potato and it’s too soggy.

Fill half of a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Break an egg in a little bowl, making sure the yolk stays intact. Add about 2 – 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the boiling water. Make sure the water boils lightly and stir it to form a little whirlpool. Carefully pour the egg into the water while it still swirls slowly. Let it softly simmer for about 3 minutes and take it out with a skimmer. Let the excess water leak off on a piece of paper towel. Serve while still hot.

Put the hotchpot on a plate, put a poached egg on top and add caramelised onions and leaks. Enjoy a Dutch classic!

The Best Place to Eat in China: Xi’an Muslim Quarter

xian muslim quarter

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I should make a statement here about how much I love food, but it seems a bit inane since everybody loves food. I’ve never met anyone that said to me: ‘You know what Nick, I really hate food, I hate eating, I’d rather sew my mouth shut and never eat again’. So I’m not going to tell you how much I like food, and I’m not going to tell you that if you love food as much as me, you should go to Xi’an.

The Muslim Quarter

Most people go to Xi’an as a transport hub to visit the Terracotta Army, but Xi’an has so much to offer.

The Muslim Quarter is home to the majority of Chinese Muslims living in China today. It’s full of tiny alleyways, mosques, markets and street vendors. There are so many impressive sights, sounds, smells and flavors in the Muslim Quarter, we spent days and days there to take it all in, but the food was the thing that made us come back every day.

The markets of the Muslim Quarter

The main market most tourists stumble over when they first enter the Muslim Quarter behind Xi’an’s Drum Tower. You can buy everything the Muslim Quarter has to offer right there on the first street, but what would be the fun in that. We love to explore and that’s what we did.

The main market is huge, spanning over dozens of streets. The food you can have there is so amazing, we’re still dreaming about it. One of our favorites was fried tortilla-like pancakes, stuffed with veggies, meat or mushroom. So good, I can’t even describe it to you. I can show you some pictures though.

We arrived in Xi’an during Golden Week, which we have talked about in length before. Traveling during Golden Week is hellish, and it was very busy in Xi’an that week. I’m not sure if that was necessarily a bad thing though. It did help the vendors get rid of their wares, and thus made sure you always got fresh food. It never had a chance to lay there for more than a few minutes, which made all the great food even better.

One of the things that still visits our sweetest dreams is an amazing kind of candy/pastry they sold. I contacted an expat blogger from Xi’an to find out what it’s called and loosely translated the Chinese call it ‘Walnut Flaky Food’ (核桃酥) or ‘Peanut Flaky Food’ (花生酥). It was amazing. I was speechless for over a minute the first time I tried it, and I’ve eaten a lot of the stuff after that first time. I never grew tired of it. It’s best described as a kind of puff pastry, but instead of dough, built up out of layers of crispy caramelized sugar, laced with nuts. We tried to send a box home for my dad’s birthday, as I was sure he’d love it as much as I did, but sadly the Chinese Post wouldn’t let us send food. I have grand plans involving containers full of the stuff shipped home.

We were also amazed by the amount of dried fruit, walnuts, dates, jujubes and other stuff. It all looked and tasted amazing. The beautiful look of all the dried fruits added so much to the experience. The sheer amount of quail eggs being sold is incredible. Those things are a luxury item in the Netherlands, so it was very surprising to see them in such abundance at a Chinese street market. They sold the quail eggs fried, five on a stick, with a peanut sauce. Delicious!

Have you visited Xi’an? How did you like the food?


Amazing food at the Muslim quarter in Xian

The amazing food at the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an is unlike any other. The Street food in Xi’an is the best food we’ve had so far! One of Xi’an’s nicest neighborhoods is the Muslim Quarter. The food in this part of town is a surprising mix of Chinese and Arabic influences. The melting pot of cultures and the rich history of the Muslim Quarter create an extraordinary atmosphere.

Xi’an is one of the oldest cities in China, it has been the capital at some point and it was the eastern starting point of the Silk Road. It was absolutely our favorite place in Xi’an. We have explored all of its streets and we became regulars at some stalls. Will we find something like this again? We wonder and hope.