Monday, October 22, 2012

Italian courgette soup

So simple I wonder why I haven't made this before. I was inspired when I tasted Ingrid's Courgette soep met pit last week. I added some Italian flavours. One courgette for each half litre of stock.

Cut one courgette, basil leaves and garlic, according to taste, coarsely.

Fry the courgette, basil and garlic in olive oil for 10 minutes until slightly brown.

Add half a litre of chicken stock or vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes.

Keep 1/4 apart (for some bite) and blend to the other 3/4 to a smooth mixture.

Return the 1/4 to the soup; add cream (crème fraîche) and grated parmesan or pecorino according to taste.

Serve with more grated cheese, croutons (fried in olive oil with garlic) and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Saturday, October 13, 2012



Stamppot - traditional Dutch winter fare

Not much to add. Instead of boerenkool (English: kale or borecole) you can use other green winter vegetables.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Seng Dubu (두부)

Tofu (dubu, 두부) dish in Korean restaurant Damso in Amstelveen. Address: Dorpsstraat 88  1182 JG Amstelveen, Netherlands. The name is seng dubu. I'm not sure, but it seems 'seng' just means 'fresh'.

Use firm tofu, not silken tofu. Serve the tofu warm, heat in liquid or microwave.

Spicy dressing made of: spring onion, sesame seeds, a little sesame oil, plenty Korean soy sauce: gook-kanjang (국간장), black pepper, Korean chilli flakes and fresh chilli. Cut, mix and drizzle over warm tofu.

Interesting side dish: Brussels sprout Korean style. Quite unique!

Korean BBQ: bulgogi (불고기). The lettuce was the wrong shape (eikenbladsla, shaped like the leaf of a northern red oak), so it was very difficult to make a nice wrap.

Patbingsu (팥빙수): summer dessert: shaved ice, milk and sweet azuki beans. Mix well before eating.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pork Kimchi Stew (돼지고기 김치찌개)

2 Generous Cups Well Fermented Kimchi (1 lb), 
2 Cups Water, ½ Pack Tofu, ¼ Cup Kimchi Broth, 
½ Cup Green Onions, 1 Tbsp Hot Pepper Powder, 
⅛ Cup Red Hot Pepper (Optional),
½ Tbsp Sesame Oil, ½ Tbsp Cooking Oil, 
1 tsp Minced Garlic, ¼ tsp Salt
Pork Ingredients
1 Cup Pork (½ lb), 1 tsp Minced Garlic, 
1 tsp Cooking Wine (Optional), 2 Pinches Salt, 
2 Pinches Black Pepper

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rhubarb Crumble

A rhubarb crumble consists of two parts: the filling and the crumble.

Below quantities are for 4 people. I used half for the crumble as shown in the photographs and the other half the next day.

The crumble is easy. Combine 200 grams of flower, 120 grams of butter, 120 grams of sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix until the crumble resembles sand.

For the filling I used 400 gram rhubarb (in season till late summer) cut in one centimetre chunks. Mix with sugar (I used 100 gram sugar but only added the sugar which stuck to the rhubarb (approx. half was left). Rhubarb has a tart taste but if you use too much sugar the dish becomes too sweet. Add a couple of spoons of flower, vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom. Mix well.

Spoon into a buttered baking dish.

Spread crumble over the dish.

Bake in the oven for one hour at 180 degrees Celsius. Check after 45 minutes in case the oven is too hot. The rhubarb crumble is best served with vanilla ice.

Made in my old gas oven without a grill.

Chicken & Chicory in Marsala Sauce

Heat a frying pan with olive oil.

Season chicken breast with skin on with salt and black pepper. It's pretty hard to find chicken breast with skin. I went for plain chicken breast and gasped when two breasts cost 11 euro's at the farmers market. Luckily, they were very tasty indeed.

Fry chicken (skin down) and chicory in hot oil until brown. This should be done on high fire.

Turn chicken and chicory, add crushed garlic and sprig of thyme, a generous splash of marsala and 150 ml chicken stock.

Add butter and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with bread.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Choucroute alsacienne

750 grams sauerkraut
Cured pork; Dutch: zuurkoolvlees. (the traditional recipe 'choucroute garnie' has five or more different kinds of meat).
Glass of white wine (I used a Rieflé Pinot Blanc form the Alsace. Not too dry, a little fruity, which goes nice with the pork and balances out the sour taste of the sauerkraut and apple. If possible use a Riesling)
Juniper berries
Bay leaf
Caraway seeds (optional: they're not used in the Alsace, but I like them)
Black pepper.

Fry the onions and garlic in goose fat (the proper way), butter or olive oil. Whatever you have. I used olive oil. Throw everything in the pot, cover and cook for 3 hours on a very slow fire. The longer the better... time is the secret to a successful choucroute d'alsace. You can cook this dish late in the evening and eat the next day. Add a little water if it gets too dry. It should be rather juicy

Serve with bread and mustard. And/or a few potatoes. I prefer bread. It's a perfect lunch as well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Boil spaghetti.

Heat a quality olive oil on a low fire. Add crushed garlic and dried red chilli. Simmer until the garlic turns light brown. Remove chilli and pour the oil over the drained pasta.

Season with parsley. No cheese, no black pepper.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Portuguese tomato rice

Fry onion and garlic in olive oil and butter until soft. Add peeled tomato (cut in small pieces) and simmer for 15 minutes. Add rice and fry for a couple of minutes. Add water or (better) chicken or beef stock. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook until the rice is done.

Portuguese tomato rice and pastéis de bacalhau:

Pastéis de bacalhau

Oh dear, Portuguese salted cod fishcakes (pastéis de bacalhau) are just too addictive. They are called Bolinhos de bacalhau in Northern Portugal and Brazil. Try this recipe at your own peril. They are very easy to make.

But you will need salted cod or similar fish.

Salted cod:

Or black Pollock (called 'saithe' in Britain; (zwarte) koolvis in Dutch); cheaper than cod):

Soak the salted cod for 24 hours and change the water a couple of times to get rid of most of the salt.

Boil for 15 minutes. Take off the skin and remove fish bones. To soften the cod you can boil the cod in milk for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Shred the cod in small pieces by hand. This is somewhat time consuming but necessary.

The other ingredients are: potatoes, onion, garlic, egg, some black pepper and fresh coriander leaf and/or parsley.

For one package of salted cod (see photo) you need about 4 potatoes. Boil and mash.

Cut the onion, garlic and coriander (and/or parsley) in small pieces.

Mix everything together adding two eggs. Add some milk if the mixture is too dry. Eggs will prevent the cakes from falling apart when you fry them.

Use two spoons to make bite sized fish cakes.

Keep them in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before frying. This, again, will prevent the cakes from falling apart.

Fry the cakes in hot oil (a couple of minutes will do).

Serve with Portuguese tomato rice or eat the pastéis de bacalhau as a snack.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Zuppa 'e suffritto from Napoli

I wish I had the exact recipe for this. My Italian neighbour invited me for dinner. He made a 'soffritto' and pasta. I quizzed him for the exact recipe but it was impossible to learn how the soffritto was made. His Dutch is quite poor. An Italian soffritto is not to be confused with the Spanish 'sofrito'.

For a start, there were no onions involved. What I could understand was that the soffritto was made from tomatoes, but not just any kind of tomatoes. You can't make this soffritto from an ordinary can of tomatoes or even ordinary fresh tomatoes. It was unclear what kind of tomatoes he was referring to exactly. Strangely, the soffritto recipes I can find online contain no tomatoes but a mixture of celery, carrot and onion. These soffritto's are Tuscan recipes. My neighbour hails from Napoli. I guess in Napoli a soffritto is somewhat different from Tuscany. Basically you fry tomatoes in olive oil and spice the mixture with bay leaf and (a few) dried chilli peppers. His 'soffritto' contained no onions. And by the look of it also no celery or carrot.

Once the soffritto is ready you add and simmer bite sized pieces of pig's lung, liver and heart until completely soft. You'll end up with a very powerful and incredibly tasty sauce for pasta, spaghetti in this case. I asked him where he bought pig's lung, liver and heart in Amsterdam. He didn't. A friend brought the organ meat straight from Italy. In contrast with The Netherlands, iItaly the consumption of entrails and internal organs is widespread. It also seemed that the soffritto was also brought from Italy, but that bit got lost in translation as well.

So, do I have enough information to recreate this dish? I'm not sure. The secret ingredient seems to be right kind of tomatoes. And it seems it will be impossible to find those tomatoes in The Netherlands, but I have to say that my neighbour is passionate about his tomatoes. Even canned he prefers them straight from Italy because they will be more 'fresh'. In October his Italian friend will bring some more soffritto from Italy. I'm invited for another meal.

And I have to say.. this pasta, soffritto and pig's lung, liver and heart was just very very tasty! It's a shame Italian restaurants in The Netherlands will never serve this pasta sauce. Why? In The Netherlands the aversion against entrails and internal organs is widespread.

Update: I discovered there is a 'soffritto' from Napoli: "Zuppa 'e suffritto". From Wikipedia: "Il soffritto 'u suffrittu è tutt'altra cosa. Trattasi di uno stracotto di interiora di vitello, di capretto o di agnello, più raramente di maiale, cucinato con conserva di pomodoro, cipolla, sedano, olio d'oliva ed abbondante peperoncino rosso. Simile al murseddu catanzarese. A Napoli la stessa ricetta nella variante di maiale è ben conosciuta e apprezzata nella cucina popolare con il nome di "Zuppa 'e suffritto". Utilizzata da sola, sul pane o sulla pasta. Viene venduta anche già pronta in macelleria."

A recipe for Zuppa 'e suffritto

(Cut & pasted from the internets)

Obtain at least 1.5 kg of pork offal: lung, spleen, heart, trachea (=lung pipe), red wine, oil, grease, tomato paste, bay leaves, chili, rosemary, salt.

Chop the innards after being thoroughly washed. Then fry with olive oil and lard and agiungete (=add) red wine, a couple of bay leaves, rosemary, salt and much pepper. Cook slowly for a couple of hours, adding a bit 'of water*. Serve with croutons or noodles.

*) the tomato paste seems to be missing. I guess you add the tomato paste after frying the innards.

And a better photo of the left over sauce the next day:

Monday, July 9, 2012


Ćwikła is a Polish salad or relish made with cooked grated beets and grated horseradish.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Forelle Blau

Forelle Blau, or "blue trout" gets its name from the trout's blueish hue when you douse the fish in hot vinegar.

It's very simple. First prepare a stock from onion, black pepper, salt, bay leaf, juniper berry and assorted green "soup" vegetables (I just had onion).

Boil the stock for 30 minutes.

In the meantime heat 250 ml of vinegar. Just plain vinegar or white wine vinegar.

When the vinegar boils, pour it over the trout. The trout can be washed, but the slimy outside layer should be still intact. It's the slime which turns blue. Lightly salt the trout on the inside.

Then slide the trout and vinegar in the stock and let it simmer for 15 minutes on a very low fire.

Serve with potatoes, green vegetables and Meerrettich Sahne (horseradish cream).

Meerrettich Sahne

Horseradish cream; it's a cold sauce, perfect for trout.

Grate some fresh horseradish root. You need about 4 tablespoons.

Mix the grated horseradish with 150 ml soured cream or crème fraîche. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, black pepper and salt. Mix well and keep in the fridge for one hour before serving.


Tafelspitz is the German word for a certain cut of beef, from a young ox. It's located at the hip of the ox. It's also know as Schwanzstück (technically Tafelspitz is only a small part of the Schwanzstück) or tri-tip (in the United States), although when I read the tri-tip Wikipedia entry this seems a different part of beef: Bottom Sirloin. It's all very confusing.

Tafelspitz cut:

Tafelspitz is also the word of a typical Austrian dish. Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, was a great lover of Tafelspitz.

I went to my local butcher not knowing the Dutch name for Tafelspitz. I asked for a cut of the hip of an ox, and told him I wanted to simmer the meat in stock. There was some confusion on part of the butcher; he didn't seem to know what I wanted. Then he told me to get entrecôte. I don't buy meat often enough to know which cut an entrecôte is, so I bought it believing my butcher knew best and went home. Then I discovered entrecôte is a cut from the rib, not the hip or tail.

It still don't know the Dutch word for Tafelspitz. Take a pick! It seems the Dutch never boil beef but always fry it.

Wrong meat?

I went ahead and simmered my expensive piece of entrecôte in 2 liters of water, onion, leek, salt, black pepper, bay leaf and cloves.

First boil the water, turn down the heat, then add the meat. Simmer for 90 minutes on low heat. The water shouldn't boil.

Serve with potatoes, boiled vegetables and Töginger Meerrettichsauce.