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Happy Easter / Prettige Paasdagen!

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Recipe here (I changed the spices somewhat, overdid the nutmeg – I think next time I’ll just go for speculaaskruiden with some extra cinnamon. I also substituted dried cranberries for raisins)

Odds and sods

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Pear pie with a Comté crust

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Also known as “that pear/cheese pie from Pushing Dasies”, following this recipe, pretty much to the letter.

The only major difference? I used some of the Comté my parents had brought back from France instead of Gruyère, but the two cheeses are closely related anyway. I also used Conférence pears instead of the ones in the recipe, and slightly less butter, I think: the recipe called for 20 tablespoons, but I find volume measurements very inconvenient for butter. Wolfram Alpha told me it was about 270 grams, so I ended up just using one packet (250 g). The Magimix was very helpful for making the dough, and my new pie tin worked perfectly. Still: it is probably the most complex pie I’ve ever made, so I’m not sure I’ll make it again soon. It has a very autumny flavor, so maybe I’ll make it once the days become shorter again.

For now: long live the first day of spring!

Dinner with friends

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Chapati

with hummus (even made the tahini ourselves):

then: rösti with grilled vegetable salad

For desert, we had milkshake, which unfortunately ended up partly on the floor, and due to the mess I forgot to take a picture.

The theme of the dinner? “Let’s inaugurate the Magimix!”

We bought this baby, and we used it to make the hummus, to grate the potatoes for the rösti, to slice the vegetables very thinly, and of course to make the milkshake. BF and his sister thought this was done by putting 1 liter of ice cream, 1 liter of milk and the frozen strawberries in the food processor and to turn it on. I talked them down to 1/2 a liter, but didn’t add that it would probably be wise to start with the ice-cream and strawberries and then add the milk gradually… hence the mess. Still, the hummus was delicious and really easy (we’ve made another batch since), the company was great, and I’m loving my new toy.

Bagels

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After yesterday’s fiasco, I decided to make something that I knew I could do. I edited my standard recipe slightly, making them with half-whole grain, half-all purpose flour (instead of all all-purpose). With sesame seeds!

My first attempt…

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…at no-knead bread

The crust turned out delicious, the insides weren’t quite done yet, unfortunately, and required some extra oven time at a lower temp. The end product was too dense, probably because it only rose for the minimum amount of time (14 hours) in a not optimally warm environment. Also: there was a bit of an odd taste because we baked it in my parents’ old romertopf. Still: worth perfecting.

ETA: the bread was a) quite tasty, and b) very, very dense, and not entirely risen. a) meant I ate quite a bit, b) meant that got me quite bloated and nauseous. Not quite worth the delicious and beautiful crust, I’m afraid.

Breakfast of champions

8 eggs, 300 g cheese, 2 big onions, 1 bell pepper, 5 cloves of garlic, and a lot of pepper make a nice breakfast (for 5 people).

Midweek dinner with friends

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Appetizer: goat-cheese/chives muffins

Goat Cheese and Chives Muffins

Main Course: mustard fish, Provencal veggies and rice, prepared in the wok

Desert: Cranberry Cinnamon Clafoutis with port, following this epicurious recipe

Lasagna Bolognese

A great way to improve your lasagna: make sure you bake the onions and minced meat a good while (ignore the hovering girlfriend) and leave the sauce in the fridge overnight (that is, make it the day before you make the lasagna).

Be warned though, eating all of it will result in a slight nausea (experimentally verified), this may be prevented by making less lasagna.

Pea Soup

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There’s not really such a thing as “Dutch cuisine”. There are, however, a few traditional dishes, and this is one of my favorites: pea soup (“erwtensoep” or, more colloquially, “snert”), which should ideally be so thick that a spoon should stay upright if you put it in. It’s not a complicated dish to make, and it’s not even that much work, but it does require a lot of time: it can be done in three hours, but it can easily take up to five. However, most of the work needs to be done in the first hour, or hour and a half: after that all you need to do is let it simmer, and stir occasionally.

Ingredients

  • 500 g of split peas (spliterwten)
  • Rookworst (smoked sausage)
  • A few pieces of pork, e.g.
    • 1 pork chop (karbonade)
    • 1 piece of ham (hamlapje)
    • 1 piece of uncooked Bacon (speklapje)
  • 1 big onion (or a few small ones)
  • 1 big potato (or a few small ones)
  • 1 big carrot – winterpeen (or a few small ones)
  • 1 leek (prei)
  • A few stalks of celery – bleekselderij(or just the green part, and a quarter of a celeriac, which I used in this case)
  • 2 bay leaves (laurierblad)

Yup, that’s a lot of meat. Note: I used a ready-packed set of veggies, for the first time, but I can’t recommend it: both the leek and the celeriac were quite dried out.

First step is to rinse the split peas, and then to put them in a big pot with the pork (everything except for the rookworst)

Add two liters of water (half a gallon), and put it on a medium fire.

After a while, it will get foamy. Remove the foam regularly with a slotted spoon. It’s also imported to stir from time to time, and to scrape the bottom when you do: the peas have a tendency to get stuck there and burn.

While it boils softly, cut all the veggies into small pieces.

Add the veggies and the bay leaves to the pot after half an hour/ fourty-five minutes (or whenever you’re done with cutting). Season with salt and pepper.

The soup should get greenish after about half an hour more, as the peas break.

When it looks like above, fish out the meat.

Cut it into small pieces:

and put it back into the pot.

When the soup starts to really come together (after about half an hour more or so), add the sliced rookworst.

Wait for another 15 minutes or so, and there you are: authentic traditional Dutch pea soup. You can serve it as is, but it gets better if you leave it in the fridge (or outside, if it’s pea-soup weather) for a night.

Mine looked like this the following morning:

Heat it up slowly and stirring regularly the following day: the thickness of the soup means it burns all too easily.