Archive for Dutch food

Dutch New Year’s Rolls: Kniepertjes

You can read a bit more about these delicious cookies in a post I wrote earlier. I tried a new recipe, which is definitely much tastier than the other one, so this one will be my go-to recipe from now on.


Kniepertjes (makes 16-32, depending on size)
From “De Banketbakker – Cees Holtkamp”

170 g flour
170 g caster sugar
85 g butter, molten
170 g water
10 g vanilla sugar
1 egg
pinch of salt

Make a smooth batter with all the ingredients. Leave to rest for at least an hour.
Heat your flat waffle iron, and lightly grease if necessary. Pour some batter on the iron, depending on the size of the iron this needs to be a teaspoon, up to 3 tablespoons for a large iron. Cook until lightly golden. Immediately roll the waffle, small ones can be rolled around a wooden spoon, larger ones around a rolling pin or broomstick. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
Leave to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Serve filled with whipped cream, but only pipe the whipped cream in just before serving to prevent sogginess.

Belgian Endive with Bechamel Sauce

A proper Dutch winter meal. For an extra crisp top, you could sprinkle some grated cheese on it before placing it under the grill.


Belgian endive with bechamel sauce (serves 2)

500 g small potatoes
5 heads of endive
100 g cooked ham
20 g butter
20 g flour
250 ml milk
salt, pepper, mace

Cook the potatoes.
Prepare the endive, cut in half and remove the bitter and hard heart. Cook, steam or grill until done.
Make a bechamel. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour, cook on low heat while stirring for about 1 minute. Gradually add the milk while whisking to prevent lumps. Cook for a few minutes while stirring. Season with salt, pepper and some mace.
Arrange the endive, potatoes and tuffs of ham in a baking dish. Pour over the bechamel. Place under a hot grill until it turns nicely golden (my grill wasn’t really cooperating, so the dish on the photo was rather pale, but still very delicious).

Dutch Food: Old Dutch Candy


What you see:
– peppermints from the famous Dutch brand “Wilhelmina”, named after then princess (1892) and later queen Wilhelmina from the Netherlands
– Koetjesreep (literally little cow bar), a candybar made with less than 35% cocoa, so it can’t be called chocolate
– mini candy stick (sweet-sour)
– Stroopsoldaatje (literally syrup soldier), candy made from caramel and a little butter poured into baking paper cones (you can do this yourself). They can be quite dangerous, because you can stab yourself quite nasty with the point (that gets sharper when you suck on it).
– Salmiak powder (also known as black/white powder): liqorice in powder form.
– Bakkes vol (literally mouth full), vanilla toffee
– A jar with assorted candy: pear drups (sweet hard candy in drop/pear shape), raspberries (small raspberry boiled sweets), napoleons (lemon boiled sweets with sour liquid middle), butter balls (hard outside, powdery buttery inside), mint pillows, cinnamon pillows, Haagse hopjes (coffee candy), haverstro (really don’t know why they are called “oatstraw”, but they are made from liqorice and sugar), hot lightning (quite pungent aniseed flavoured hard candy), babbelaars (butter candy) and tumtum (small, soft and chewy, fruity).

Dutch Food: Groninger Dried Sausage

Dried sausage (droge worst) is a firm, strong-flavoured sausage made from pork and air-dried. Which spices are used depends on where the sausage is made. Traditionally, mainly the northern provinces of the Netherlands (Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe) made these sausages, because the conditions were best for drying the sausages. Drying the meat was a good way of preservation.
I like Groninger dried sausage the best. It is the firmest (the dryer the better!) and has a lovely spicy clove flavour. Not everyone can make good sausages, it takes time to find a place where they sell real good sausage. Don’t buy the supermarket ones, they are of poor quality. And never trust someone outside of Groningen to make Groninger dried sausage, it’s just not the same. I have good memories of dried sausage, we used to get thumb-sized pieces to chew on when we were children, which we loved (both the chewing and the flavour). It is more elegant to serve the sausage in thin slices because it can be tough, but sometimes, when nobody is looking, I serve myself a large piece to chew on, for the nostalgia of good memories.
Dried sausage is mainly eaten as appetizer/snack with a drink, but you can use it in dishes. Because of the fat content slices crisp really well if you fry them, but they will loose flavour this way. Slices (crisped or “raw”) are very nice on another local speciality: mustard soup. But they are also nice through all kinds of salads. Think of it as an alternative for bacon.
Don’t store the sausage in the fridge. They will get sticky and icky quite fast, the environment in a fridge is too moist. Better is to hang them on a cool, airy place. Or put them in the freezer, where they will keep almost indefinitely.


Dutch food: Sheet Cookie Bar

Another Dutch baked goodie. It is similar to boterkoek, but the preparation is a bit different.

Sheet Cookie Bar

Sheet Cookie Bar
250 g butter
grated zest of 1 lemon
150 g sugar
pinch of salt
250 g flour
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 200C. Prepare a 20x20cm baking tin (line with baking paper or grease).
Cream butter, lemon zest, sugar and salt together until almost white and very fluffy. Whisk the egg, add half to the buttercream and mix well. Add the flour and knead until smooth. Put in the prepared baking tin and flatten. Brush with the remaining egg. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then take out, cut in pieces and leave to cool completely.

Dutch Food: fried fish with potatoes and vegetables

Potatoes with meat and vegetables is a typical traditional Dutch dish (nowadays it is often regarded as a bit old-fashioned). I always find the same dish with fish a bit more luxurious, so it is nice to serve cooked baby potatoes dressed with butter, salt and chopped parsley instead of the normal cooked potatoes smashed with jus (‘prakje’). Also, from fish you get no gravy, so you need something else to flavour and moisten your potatoes. To complete it, I like to add a splash of cream to my vegetables. I will not give a recipe here, everyone can cook potatoes and vegetables (and otherwise a basic cookbook or google will help greatly) and the best way to cook the fish is entirely dependent on the kind of fish you choose (be sure to choose something with the MSC or ASC label!). Use as much butter, cream and seasoning as you like.
I used cod (that is why it flakes a bit), baby potatoes with skin and a vegetable mix with cauliflower (which crumbled terribly), broccoli and carrot. But potatoes without skin are equally nice, and as vegetables pea&carrot or carrot&mangetout would be very nice as well.

fried fish with potatoes and vegetables

Dutch Food: Cheese Rolls

Sausage rolls are a bit difficult to eat when you are a vegetarian. Luckily, the Dutch have found a solution for that, one that suits many non-vegetarians as well: cheese rolls, crispy puff pastry filled with a savoury, creamy, cheesy filling. You can buy these cheese rolls hot at some bakeries, on (train) stations and at food courts in department stores; sausage rolls, and sometimes ham-cheese rolls, are sold there as well. People usually eat them as snack or lunch. Beware: because they are made with puff pastry and loads of cheese, so they are quite fat. I prefer to eat them warm and fresh from the oven, but they are still nice at room temperature a while after baking. But don’t keep them for too long, or they will get too soggy.

Cheese Rolls

Cheese rolls (8 rolls)
25 g butter
1/4-1/2 tsp curry powder
25 g flour
200 ml milk
100 g grated cheese (medium aged Gouda)
8 squares all butter puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
25 g grated cheese (aged Gouda or parmesan)

Melt the butter in a pan, add the curry powder and fry until fragrant. Add the flour, fry for a minute. Gradually add the milk, while stirring continuously. Keep stirring until a thick sauce has formed, and leave to bubble for a few minutes. Take from the heat and stir through the sauce. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Half the puff pastry squares. Slice half of them, but keep the edges together, to form a raster. Scoop the cheese mixture on the other half of them, keep 1 cm around the edge free. Brush the edges with water and place the ones you sliced on top of them. This explanation is a bit cryptic, but I guess it is manageable together with the photo of the finished thing. Seal the edges well. Brush the tops with water and sprinkle the old cheese over.
Transfer to the baking tray and bake about 20 minutes, until golden and puffed.

Note: to make this recipe truly vegetarian, choose cheeses that are suitable for vegetarians.

Dutch Food: Coconut Macaroons

Easy cookies with only a few ingredients. They are lovely coconutty, very sweet, slightly airy, and chewy.
Traditionally these are baked on edible paper, but I’ve also tried it without, because edible paper is not widely available. Baking them on baking paper worked fine, but you did need to be careful to peel them off. In a normal sized oven you can bake them in 2 batches (leaving the batter for the second batch in the bowl on the counter), or use 2 baking sheets and bake them at the same time. Because of our small oven, I had to bake them in 3 batches, which wasn’t ideal. The batter for the 3rd batch started to split because it was left standing for too long, it came together quite well after a bit more stirring, but the cookies baked less well than the other 2 batches, so I would advice to make a smaller amount of batter if you have a small oven.

Because I already was working with coconut, I decided to try and make coconut butter. You make it by grounding up coconut in a processor for about 5 minutes, or until lovely smooth and creamy. It sounded delicious, but it was really disappointing. You need an enormous amount of coconut for only a little butter, and it didn’t even taste nice. It was very greasy and chalky, a bit like I was eating santen (creamed coconut), not pleasant at all. I also tried making coconut whipped cream, which wasn’t a success either. I just couldn’t get it to fluff up. So from now on I’ll stick to making coconut cookies and using coconut milk.

Coconut Macaroon

Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from “Blueband Kookboek Gebak”

125 g dessicated shredded coconut (unsweetened)
2 egg whites
125 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
Edible paper

Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a baking tray with edible paper.
Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, keep mixing until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice, whip until well mixed. Add the coconut and fold through.
Use 2 teaspoons to make walnut-sized dollops on the edible paper. Space them about 5 cm apart. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes, till light brown and cooked.
Leave to cool, then break the edible paper around the macaroons. Store in an airtight container.

Variation: use ground almonds instead of coconut

Dutch Food: rice porridge with brown sugar and butter

Rice porridge, or rice goo (rijstebrij) as it is sometimes called, is a traditional Dutch dessert. Rice slowly cooked in milk with some vanilla, sprinkled with brown sugar and topped with a pat of butter. Sometimes a sprinkle of cinnamon, or a handful of raisins is added. Another possibility is to serve it with a berry (or other fruit) sauce. Creamy, warm and soothing, but definitely not light. That it was filling was perfect in the old days, when people did hard physical labour, and weren’t eating much fat and sugar in the rest of the day. Nowadays, it usually is a bit too heavy. Therefore I like to serve it after a light soup on cold days (together making a good-sized meal), or I make the amount below for double the amount of people, making the portion size smaller.
Swapping some milk for cream, and adding egg yolks at the end are generally not things done in the Netherlands as far as I know, but I have seen it in foreign recipes. It makes a richer pudding, but also makes it more heavy, so I would definitely downsize the portions.
I use special dessert rice for this dish, which cooks a lot faster than standard rice, but I know that this isn’t available abroad. Back in the old days, this special rice wasn’t available either, so you can make this dish perfectly fine with standard white rice. Alternatively you could use risotto rice or sushi rice, but I’m not quite sure what the right proportions are and how long to cook it. Even with the instructions below, it can happen that your rice stays quite wet even though it is already cooked, or gets quite dry but isn’t cooked yet, because every rice is different. Luckily, soupy rice porridge is still delicious, and when it gets dry, you can add a bit more milk.
As a variation, you can pour the rice porridge in ramekins or glasses, smooth the top and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to cool down and firm up. These rice puddings are delicious served with a fruit compote.

Rice Porridge with Brown Sugar and Butter

Rice porridge (serves 4)
1 litre milk
200 g dessert rice
2 tsp vanilla extract
brown sugar and butter to serve

Mix the milk, rice and vanilla in a pan with a thick bottom. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 12 minutes, or until the rice is soft and most of the milk is absorbed. Stir regularly to prevent catching. Serve sprinkled with the sugar and a pat of butter on top.

To make this dish with “normal” white rice, use 150 g per 1 litre milk and cook for 1 hour on very low heat.

Dutch food: filled oliebollen

You can make oliebollen, the traditional Dutch snack for new years eve, plain or with raisins/currants/apple as filling, but you can also bake plain oliebollen and fill them after baking. Slice them open and pipe pastry cream in them to make a Berliner bol (not to be confused with the German Berliner), finish with a swirl of whipped cream if you like. All kinds of fruit fillings, for example cherry, pineapple, banana, boerenjongens (brandy-soaked raisins) and strawberry can be found as well, and sometimes pastry cream and/or whipped cream are added as well. But actually, I don’t really like this filled oliebollen at all. When you buy them at the oliebollen stands they are usually prepared way in advanced, which makes them soggy and less tasty. At home, it is difficult to cater to everyone’s preferences, and because they need to be freshly made, you spend more time in the kitchen than with your guest. And last but not least: they are impossible to eat. When you take a bit, all the filling squirts out, and there is nothing to do about that. Clumsy as I am, the filling then always lands on a place highly unsuitable, then you have to clean it, etc. Not much fun in that. So give it a try if you’re curious, they still sell all these variations at the oliebollen stands, so there must be people who like them, and maybe you’re one of those. But I’ll stick to my home-made, freshly baked, plain and raisin-apple oliebollen for new years eve!

Berliner bollen