Archive for Honest Cooking

Honest Cooking: Dutch Curried Chicken Sandwich Salad

Deliciously spicy and creamy chicken salad is the perfect addition to a good loaf of bread, crackers, or toast.


We eat a lot of bread in the Netherlands, so logically we have a wide variety of things we like to put on our bread. Salads are one of those things. You buy it in a tub in the supermarket, it consists of ingredients (often a protein and some vegetables) mixed with a mayonnaise based sauce, and you dollop it on top of your bread for lunch (or on small crackers/toasts as party food). You have traditional flavours like tuna, salmon, crab, celeriac, egg, meat and curried chicken, but also more adventurous/modern varieties like old cheese, cream cheese-piemento, egg-bacon, chicken-melon, chicken-satay, and chicken-pesto. Of course it is fast to buy them, but if you have a bit more time you can easily make them yourself. On the photo I piled the curried chicken salad on top of a simple slice of whole-grain bread, but for some variation you can use all kinds of sliced bread, artisan bread, bread rolls and crackers, basically any vehicle for salad you can think of. Other great additions are lettuce, cucumber, tomato or shredded vegetable salad.

The recipe below is really the most basic recipe for curried chicken salad. You can replace half of the mayonnaise with yoghurt, cream cheese, quark, sour cream or crème fraîche for a different flavour, or replace it with low-fat mayonnaise or yogonaise. Excellent additions to the salad are pineapple, apple, mandarin, raisins, almonds, spring onion, celeriac, gherkins, parsley and mustard (but maybe not all of them together).

Dutch Curried Chicken Sandwich Salad (serves 1-2)

1 chicken breast
1-2 tsp curry powder
4 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper
bread of choice

Poach or grill the chicken breast and leave to cool.
Mix curry powder (to taste) with mayonnaise and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice or shred the chicken.
Mix the chicken with the sauce.
Dollop onto your bread and serve immediately (otherwise the bread will go soggy).

Notes: You can keep the salad for 1 day, covered and in the fridge. Variations are mentioned in the article.

Honest Cooking: Dutch New Year’s Rolls

Just in time!


These crisp, sweet and buttery waffles are eaten on New Year’s Day, plain or filled with whipped cream.

There are two versions of this cookie, a flat one and a rolled up one. The flat one is made with a dough and symbolizes the old year, which is already unfolded (called “kniepertje” in Dutch). The rolled up one is made with a batter and symbolizes the new year, which still holds its secrets. The recipe below is for the rolled up variety, I will post one for kniepertjes prior to another New Year’s Eve in the future.

Baking kniepertjes and rolls is a century old tradition in some parts of the Netherlands. This is a real team effort, the whole family comes together to make lots and lots of waffles (the abundance is important!) from a bucket of batter and a mount of dough balls with the help of a waffle iron, and rolling them up around the handles of wooden spoons or leaving them flat. Nowadays there are still lots of people that eat lots of these rolls around the passing of the years, but usually they don’t make them at home. Mounts and mounts of boxes with these rolls are stacked in the supermarkets, usually they appear 1-3 weeks before Christmas and are virtually sold out on New Year’s Eve. So the tradition of eating these cookies is very much alive, while the baking isn’t. This is a pity, because it is a fun thing to do with the family.

You do need some equipment. In the past, people used a waffle iron that was placed in the fire on the stovetop, but nowadays an electric waffle iron is mostly used (sometimes called ice-cone maker or oublie maker). Without some kind of apparatus to make thin waffles, it is impossible to make this recipe. You can try to bake them on a baking tray in the oven, but it is not the same. Another thing that really is necessary are asbestos hands. Immediately after taking the waffle from the iron, you have to wrap it around the handle of a wooden spoon or a rolling pin to achieve the rolled up shape, while the cookie is still very hot, otherwise it will break while trying. If you’re hands are not like asbestos, this is a very painful procedure…

Some people like their kniepertjes and New Year’s rolls plain, just like they were eaten in the past. But most people eat them with lots of whipped cream. I prefer to whip cream myself, put it in a piping bag and fill the rolls with that, but most people choose a ready to use store-bought can of whipping cream. It is advised to give people a plate or a napkin or something like that when you serve the cream-filled rolls, because they tend to explode when you bite into them, leaving whipped cream and bits of cookie all over your shirt… If there are people out there that know how to eat a cream-filled New Year’s roll elegantly, please tell me how!

Dutch New Year’s Rolls (makes 28-40)

75 g butter
125 g sugar
150 ml water
250 g flour
grated peel of ½ lemon, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 eggs
neutral oil
sweetened whipped cream, to serve

Put butter, sugar and water in a pan and place on a low heat.
Leave until the butter is molten and the sugar has dissolved.
Put flour in a large, heat-proof bowl.
Add the hot butter-sugar-water mixture, the lemon or vanilla and the salt; mix well.
Add the eggs and mix to a smooth batter.
Leave to rest 30 minutes.
Preheat the waffle iron and brush with a little oil.
Scoop 1 tbsp of batter in the iron and close it.
Cook until pale golden, how long this takes really depends on your iron.
Take from the iron and roll directly (or leave flat if you prefer that).
Repeat until you’ve used all the batter.
Let the waffles/rolls cool completely before storing them in an airtight container (they keep about 2 weeks).
Fill with whipped cream just before serving.

Notes: How much you can make depends on the size you make them. To make rolls, wrap small waffles around the handle of a wooden spoon, wrap large waffles around a rolling pin. Make lots, because the tradition dictates that you serve them generously to everyone (at least a few per person). And keep in mind that you always need more whipped cream than you think.

Honest Cooking: Taaitaai

The post about this sinterklaas cookie is a little late (Sinterklaas was last week) because Honest Cooking took 3 weeks before publishing it… so see it as a very early post for next year! Also, these cookies are very delicious, so you can also eat them when its not Sinterklaas.


These chewy cookies taste similar to speculaas, and are traditionally eaten for the Dutch winter holiday of Sinterklaas.

The 5th of december is Sinterklaas , so it is time to bake some delicious Sinterklaas treats. The recipe I share with you is for taaitaai. It tastes very similar to speculaas, but is very chewy instead of crisp, and has anise added to it. The chewiness also explains the name, “taai” means chewy in Dutch.

These treats are only available for the holiday of Sinterklaas, and they are often baked in Sinterklaas shapes like Sinterklaas himself, his Pieten, but because of the chewy dough they are not always recognisable. When making taaitaai yourself it is easiest to cut the dough in squares or rectangles and not try to make figurines. You can also cut the dough in small squares, this makes old-fashioned pepernoten. The recipe is not difficult, but it does take some time because of the resting.

Taaitaai – Dutch Holiday Cookies

350 g rye flour
175 g flour
175 ml water
175 g honey
100 g treacle/molasses
1 tsp ground anise
50 ml buttermilk
75 g honey
15 g speculaas spices
pinch of ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda

Mix rye flour and flour in a heat proof bowl.
Bring the water to the boil and add the first measuring of honey, the treacle and the ground anise, bring back to the boil.
Add the boiling mixture to the flours and mix well until a firm dough forms.
Cover and leave to rest in a cool place for 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray.
Add the buttermilk, second measuring of honey, speculaas spices, ginger and baking soda, mix until a smooth dough forms.
Roll the dough to a thickness of 1 cm on a surface dusted with flour.
Cut in squares or rectangles.
Place on the prepared baking tray and brush with milk.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Leave to cool on a rack.

Honest Cooking: Speculaas

Wintery spiced cookies!


Wintery Dutch spiced cookies, perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, or on a cold winter evening with hot chocolate.

Traditionally these spiced biscuits were only available around sinterklaas, the warming spices make these cookies perfect for winter and cold weather. Speculaas comes in different forms: shaped cookies, thick chunks and dolls. The shaped cookies are quite small, flat and are available the whole year. They are made by pressing the dough in special wooden moulds (available in different shapes) dusted with flour, scraping the excess off and tapping the cookie out onto a baking sheet. The thick chunks and dolls are only available around sinterklaas. The chunks are made by baking large sheets of speculaas dough and breaking them up into chunks. And the dolls are made the same way as the small cookies, but the moulds are larger, so the cookie is taller and thicker. They come in several sizes, from quite small to very large… I’ve seen dolls that were almost 1 meter tall!

I chose to give you a recipe for speculaas chunks, because this is my favourite form of speculaas, but it is also the easiest way when you don’t have a special wooden moulds (in the Netherlands they are available from cooking shops and online). If you do want to use a mould, reduce the baking temperature to 150C and bake the cookies 20 minutes. Optionally you can decorate the chunks with shaved, halved or whole almonds before baking.


175 g butter
250 g brown sugar
350 g flour
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
15 gram speculaas spices

Cream butter and sugar.
Add the rest of the ingredients and knead to a smooth dough. Make sure you don’t overwork it, when it is mixed it is ready.
Flatten into a disk, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Grease a 20×20 cm square baking tin and preheat the oven to 160C.
Flatten the dough further until it is the size of the baking tin, place in the tin and bake for 45-60 minutes.
Leave to cool completely before taking out of the tin.
Before serving, break the speculaas into chunks.

Notes: If you don’t have speculaas spices you can use mixed spice (UK) or apple/pumkin pie spice (USA) or even something like chai or gluhwein spices. Alternatively you can make speculaas spices yourself by mixing ground spices yourself: 40 g cinnamon, 10 g nutmeg, 5 g coriander, 5 g cloves, 5 g ginger and 5 g cardamom.

Honest Cooking: Vla – Dutch Custard

A delicious, indulgent, smooth and rich dessert: recipes for two variants, vanilla and chocolate.

A delicious, indulgent, smooth and rich dessert.

Vla is another one of those typical Dutch products. It is a dessert made with milk, cornstarch (or other thickeners), eggs (not always used nowadays), sugar and flavourings, that is served cold or at room temperature. It has the consistency and viscosity of yoghurt and is sold in square cartons. There are many different flavours available: vanilla, chocolate, caramel, raspberry, etc. There is even the flavour ‘blank’, which has a neutral colour and taste. Often producers experiment with unusual flavours and variations. Some vla flavours are only available certain times of the year, for example orange with Queen’s day and big football matches, or winter vla with spices and stewed pears. A more luxurious vla is made with cream and is usually only available in the two classic flavours vanilla and chocolate. Vanilla and chocolate vla are also available together in one carton: if you don’t shake the carton too much they will stay separate when you pour them out, so one half of your bowl is filled with vanilla vla and the other with chocolate vla; this is called dubbelvla (double vla) and is sometimes available in other flavours too. There are also vla flavours with add-ins, for example vanilla with bits or balls of chocolate. Vanilla vla is often served together with plain yoghurt and fruit syrup (something red like strawberry, raspberry or grenadine) to make a vlaflip, while chocolate vla is often served with a dollop of whipped cream. Vla is considered quite a simple and everyday dessert, some people really eat it every day after dinner, others only at the weekends or not at all, but it is not considered to be a special dessert to serve with special occasions.

The vla you buy in the shop usually doesn’t contain any eggs and uses thickeners instead of the traditional corn starch to get the right viscosity, but I prefer the mouth feel and taste of a vla made with egg yolks, corn starch and no artificial flavourings, so I usually make my own. Luckily, this is very easy!

onal corn starch to get the right viscosity, but I prefer the mouth feel and taste of a vla made with egg yolks, corn starch and no artificial flavourings, so I usually make my own. Luckily, this is very easy!

Vanilla and chocolate vla (each recipe serves 2)

280 g milk
15 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
20 g corn starch
50 g sugar
2 egg yolks
40 g butter

25 g sugar
15 g cornstarch
10 g cocoa powder
250 g milk
1 egg yolk
45 g chocolate, chopped fine (I use semi-sweet)
10 g butter

Mix milk, first measuring of sugar and vanilla extract in a pan (I like to use non-stick), and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, whisk corn starch and second measuring of sugar together.
Add the egg yolks, whisk until mixed well with the starch and sugar.
When the milk has come to the boil, add a little to the egg mixture and mix immediately; then add the rest of the milk while whisking.
Pour the milk-egg mixture back in the pan and place on medium-low heat, while stirring constantly.
When it has thickened and boiled for about 20 seconds, the vanilla vla is ready; pour it into a bowl immediately.
Add the butter and keep whisking until it is incorporated.
Leave to cool and serve cold or at room temperature.

Bring milk to the boil in a pan (I like to use non-stick).
Meanwhile, whisk corn starch, sugar and cocoa powder together.
Add the egg yolk, whisk until mixed well with the starch, cocoa and sugar.
When the milk has come to the boil, add a little to the egg mixture and mix immediately; then add the rest of the milk while whisking.
Pour the milk-egg mixture back in the pan and place on medium-low heat, while stirring constantly.
When it has thickened and boiled for about 20 seconds, the vla is ready; pour it into a bowl immediately.
Add the butter and chocolate and keep whisking until it is incorporated.
Leave to cool and serve cold or at room temperature.

Notes: To make caramel vla: make caramel, then gradually mix trough the milk. The rest of the recipe is the same as the vanilla vla recipe. To make fruit vla: either replace part of the milk with fruit juice/puree and then go on with the vanilla vla recipe, or add a fruit reduction at the end (if you would add a puree the vla would become watery). For extra richness you can replace part of the milk with cream.

Honest Cooking: Pudding Streusel Pie

A specialty from the south of the Netherlands: a sweet yeasted pie base filled with lovely smooth and creamy custard, topped with crunchy streusel.

Pudding Streusel Vlaai
A specialty from the south of the Netherlands: A sweet yeasted pie base filled with lovely smooth and creamy custard topped with crunchy streusel.

This pudding streusel pie is a variety of ‘vlaai’, a specialty of the Dutch province of Limburg. Vlaai goes a long time back: Germanic people baked their bread on a hot stone and poured honey or fruit juice on top to make it more tasty, this was called ‘vlade’. Later on in German history vlaai was baked in monasteries as sacrificial bread. Probably it were merchants that traded both in Limburg and at the other side of the border in Germany that took vlaai from Germany to Limburg, where they started to bake vlaai for special occasions: birthdays, weddings and the twice a year fair (these were combined with a procession and a mass).

For a real vlaai you have to start with the tin. Officially a vlaai should be baked in a smooth, shallow pie tin with a diameter of 28-30 cm. Since I used a scalloped pie tin, my pie officially cannot be named vlaai. However, I think it is useless to buy yet another baking tin, because the scalloped pie tin works fine, the vlaai will not taste any different.
Then the base. There are many recipes out there that use a simple sweet crust, but for a real vlaai you use a sweet yeasted dough base, otherwise it is just a pie and not a vlaai. I guess people use a sweet crust because they are afraid a yeast crust is very difficult to make, but actually I find that it is easier than a sweet crust.

Then the filling Traditionally you can fill a vlaai with rice pudding and leave the top open, fill it with fruit (apricots, plums, cherries) and top with a lattice, or fill with pudding or apples and top with streusel. Nowadays most bakeries have other flavours as well, and there even are bakeries that specialize in vlaai and fill them with about anything you can think of. A ‘Limburgse vlaai’ is always baked completely with filling and topping, a vlaai base baked first and then filled with a mousse or something like that is just called a vlaai.
I like the traditional flavours, so I chose to make a streusel pudding vlaai (in Dutch ‘kruimelvlaai’ or ‘puddingkruimelvlaai’). The combination of the soft, slightly chewy vlaai base, a lovely creamy and smooth pudding filling and crunchy streusel on top is just delicious. Unfortunately, the ones you buy in the shops often have a rubbery pudding filling and soggy crumbs on top. Freshly baked, the crumbs of this vlaai are nice and crisp (bake it a maximum of 1 day in advance). If you look at the picture, my pudding seems very stiff, which makes it easy to cut (no oozing and sticking), but tastes like a very soft pudding that melts in the mouth. So give this delicious pastry a try, or choose on of the other fillings/toppings (see notes of the recipe below).

Generally a vlaai is cut into 12 portions, since it is a large pie you might divide it into 16 portions. Lots of people from Limburg consider this a frugal habit and cut a vlaai in 6-8 portions. On special occasions (birthdays, weddings, parties etc.) they buy or bake different flavours of vlaai and sometimes they eat 2, 3 or even 4 portions per person (I would like this habit in my part of the country!). You can serve a vlaai portion on a plate with a fork, but since a piece is quite sturdy and easy to pick up, it is often eaten without.

Pudding Streusel Pie (serves 6-16)

50 gram butter
250 gram flour
10 gram dry yeast
35 gram sugar
1 bag vanilla sugar (8 gram), or 1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
150 ml milk, tepid

1 liter milk
80 gram cornstarch (maïzena)
3 eggs
150 gram sugar
2 bags vanilla sugar (16 gram), or 2 tsp vanilla extract

100 gram butter
175 gram flour
75 sugar
1 bag vanilla sugar (8 gram), or 1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Start with making the filling (it needs to be completely cold when you put it in the base).
Pour the milk in a saucepan big enough to hold all the filling ingredients.
Add the vanilla sugar to the milk and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, mix the cornflour and sugar in a bowl large enough to hold all the filling ingredients.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Pour ⅓ of the boiling milk on top of the egg mixture while stirring constantly, then pour the milk-egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining milk, again while mixing constantly.
Warm on medium heat while stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened and has come to the boil.
Pour the pudding out into a bowl, place a layer of cling film directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming, leave to cool for 1 hour at room temperature and then until completely cold in the fridge.
Next, make the pie base.
Melt the butter so that it is just getting fluid (it should not be to hot).
Mix flour, yeast, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt together and form a well in the middle.
Pour the tepid milk and the just molten butter in the well.
Mix everything together with a fork, then use your hands to knead it in a smooth dough (it will take 2-3 minutes).
Put in a bowl, cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to rise on a warm spot for 1 hour.
Roll the dough into a circle of 32 cm diameter (easiest by placing it in between two layers of baking paper).
Grease a 28 cm vlaai tin and line it with the rolled out dough.
Place the tin lined with the base on a warm spot while making the streusel topping.
Rub butter and flour together until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
Add sugar, vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt, mix well and rub everything together until crumbs form.
Pour the cold pudding in the vlaai base, smoothen it and sprinkle the streusel on top.
Place in a preheated oven at 200C and bake 45 minutes; cover the top with aluminum foil if it gets to dark.
Let cool for 5 minutes, then take the vlaai from the tin and leave to cool further on a rack.

For a vlaai with a lattice top: make 1.5 times the dough recipe.
For an apricot vlaai: soak 200 gram dried apricots in cold water for 8 hours. Cook the apricots 15 minutes with 75 ml of the soaking water, 35 gram sugar and 1 tsp grated lemon zest. Leave to cool and drain. Spread over the vlaai base and sprinkle with 15 gram sugar. Cover with a lattice and bake 30 minutes at 225C.
For a rice vlaai: bring 750 ml milk to the boil with the zest of half a lemon and a pinch of salt. Add 150 gram pudding rice, stir well and cook for 45 minutes on very low heat, stirring regularly. Remove the lemon zest, add 75 gram sugar and 25 gram butter. Mix in a bowl an egg yolk with a few spoons of the hot rice pudding, then stir it through the rest of the rice pudding. Whip 1 egg white till stiff peaks and fold through the rice pudding. Spoon the rice pudding in the vlaai base and smooth it. Bake at 200 C for 45 minutes; when the top gets to dark, cover it with some aluminum foil. If you want to you can garnish the vlaai with whipped cream and chocolate curls.
For a cherry or plum vlaai: spread 350 gram cherries or plums (stones removed!) over de vlaai base. Sprinkle with 50 gram sugar. Cover with a lattice and bake 30 minutes at 225C.
For an apple vlaai: spread 350 gram apple cubes over the vlaai base. Sprinkle with 50 gram sugar and some cinnamon. Some people also add some raisins, or use a very thick/dry apple compote. Top with streusel and bake 45 minutes at 200C, covering the top with aluminum foil if it gets too dark.

Honest Cooking: Dutch Spiced Breakfast Bread

A recipe for delicious Dutch spiced breakfast bread, or as we know it in the Netherlands: ‘ontbijtkoek’.

The perfect way to start your morning is with a sweet, moist and spicy breakfast cake served with butter and coffee.

Ontbijtkoek (literally breakfast cake) is a Dutch quick bread made with rye flour, spices and lots of sugar/honey/molasses. It is eaten as breakfast, but more often as a snack. Some people spread some butter on top, but it is eaten plain as well. You can buy large and small breads, presliced or whole, and also small and large portion packages that are easy to take with you.

Ontbijtkoek is one of those things that are very popular in the Netherlands, but usually not made at home. Actually the home made variant does taste quite different than the store bought one… This version has a crisp outside, while the shop bought varieties have a soft outside, this is a lot spicier and has a more moist crumb. This version is the similiar to the traditional and old school ontbijtkoek.

Ontbijtkoek has been promoted in the Netherlands as a healthy snack due to its low levels of fat. But as you can see from the recipe it is not healthy at all since it contains lots of sugar… It might be best to keep it as an occasional snack, instead of eating it every day (like the promotion says).

Dutch Spiced Breakfast Quick Bread (serves 12-16)

120 g rye flour
120 g all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp cardamon
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp coriander
¼ tsp clove
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp black pepper
⅛ tsp aniseed
100 g brown sugar
170 g honey
75 g dark molasses/treacle
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 ml warm milk

Preheat the oven to 150C.
Line a loaf tin.
Mix rye flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, salt and ground spices in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, honey, molasses, vanilla extract and warm milk, until everything is mixed well.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until it is a smooth batter.
Pour in the prepared loaf tin and place in the preheated oven.
Bake for 80 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cover the top with aluminum foil when it gets too dark.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then take it out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Alternatively leave to cool completely in the tin, or wrapped in foil, to get a soft instead of a crispy outside.

Honest Cooking: Huzarensalade

I posted this recipe already on Honest Cooking a month ago, but for some unknown reason, I forgot to link it here. Luckily, this salad is delicious all year round!

Check out my story on huzarensalade.

This delicious delicate salad is perfect as a summer meal, but also works great as a buffet dish.

I mentioned huzarensalade before, as being an accompaniment to the Dutch 12 o’clock lunch dish. It is also eaten as a side-dish with barbecues, you can sometimes order it at a snackbar, and it is commonly served as a buffet dish and pretty garnished at Christmas or New Year’s Eve (and sometimes at other parties with a buffet as well). It is similar to the salads that are commonly called Olivier salad and Russian salad in other countries, but not completely. Huzaren salad is named after the salad the Huzaren (Hussars) made. Hussars were Hungarian light cavalry, who went on exploratory missions behind enemy lines. Of course, they should not be noticed by the enemy, so making fire was no option. Therefore they took precooked food that they mixed on the spot to make a cold salad: huzaren salad.

The huzaren salad you can buy in the supermarket is quite yucky, mushy and flavourless, and making it yourself is very simple. What does belong in a huzarensalade and what doesn’t is a point of controversy. Wikipedia states: “a huzarensalade should contain cubes of potato, cooked beef or veal, apple, gherkin, onion; should be dressed with vinaigrette; should be served with garnished, mayonnaise and toast; a huzaren salad should not contain peas, paprika, ham, corned beef or egg; replacing the beef by fish/seafood and adding egg it becomes a Russian salad”. But no one really eats it like that in the Netherlands, this version they do.

I like to use slightly floury potatoes because they give a nicer texture to the salad, but it makes it also a very delicate salad which is difficult to mix without stirring everything mushy. If you fear that will happen (which is especially a risk when making a large portion), you can use waxy potatoes instead. You can use a lot of different meats: you can keep it traditional by using cooked beef or veal, but leftovers (also chicken or pork) work great too, and if you’re lazy you can buy sliced, cooked meat. Slicing everything precisely and mixing delicately will make this a posh salad.
Garnishing the dish can also be done in many different ways: often the salad is placed on a bed of lettuce leaves, shaped in the form of an oval, then the top is covered with mayonnaise and the edges are decorated with tomato, cucumber, cooked eggs, gherkins, pickled onions, dots of ketchup, curly parsley, slices/rolls of cooked meat (sometimes filled with for example egg, gherkin, (herbed) cream cheese, asparagus, etc), deviled eggs, filled cherry tomatoes, cooked white asparagus, etc; some people also garnish with fish, fruit, nuts, cheese or other salads (for example carrot salad or celery remoulade). As you can see, you are only limited by your imagination for the garnishes.

It is delicious served as a main dish garnished with lots of vegetables or served with a salad/crudités. I don’t really like to serve bread with a huzaren salad when I serve it as a main dish, but if you do like it, the recipe will serve more people.

Dutch salad olivier (huzarensalade) (serves 4)

1 kg potatoes
6 large gherkins
½ cup carrot
2 large shallots
200 gram cooked beef or veal
½ cup peas (frozen)
8 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper
2 tbsp gherkin juice (coming from the gherkin jar)
200 gram cooked beef or veal
Garnishes of preference

Peel the potatoes. Quarter large ones, leave small ones whole.
Place in a pan, cover with water, season with some salt.
Bring to the boil and cook until tender (check by pricking a potato with a pointy knife: if there is resistance, the potatoes are not cooked; if it slides in they are cooked). Leave to cool to a temperature you can handle them.
Meanwhile, finely dice the gherkins, shallots (both 0,25 cm cubes), carrots and cooked meat (both 0,5 cm cubes).
Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the carrot cubes, cook for 30 seconds, then add the frozen(!) peas and cook another 15 seconds. Drain immediately and place in a bowl.
Make the sauce by combining the mayonnaise and gherkin juice. Season strongly with salt and pepper, as all the ingredients in the salad will have only a thin coating of this dressing.
Now the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in cubes of 1 cm.
Mix the potatoes, gherkins, carrots, shallots, peas, meat and sauce carefully. Because the potatoes are still a little warm, they will soak up some of the sauce and will give the salad a lukewarm serving temperature. Some people like the salad fridge-cold, but this will go at the cost of taste.
Present and garnish in the way you like.

Notes: The proportions in the recipe are partly based on preferences. If you don’t like gherkins, use less. If you rather have some more vegetables, do so. Etc.

Honest Cooking: Kibbeling

You can find the recipe for this delicious Dutch snack (deep-fried battered fish pieces) over here!

Learn to make your own version of this typical Dutch street food at home for deep fried fish that you can control.

Kibbeling is typical Dutch street food, you can get it at almost all markets (at fish stalls) and in fish shops. It consists of bits of fish dunked in batter that are deep fried and served with a dipping sauce. Most of the shops also sell other deep fried battered sea food like whole fish fillets (lekkerbek), mussels, large shrimps and squid rings.

Originally kibbeling was made from cod cheeks, hence the name: ‘kabeljauwwang’ became ‘kibbeling’ over the years. Nowadays even cod fillet is too expensive, so other white fish like pollock, hake, whiting, haddock or even fresh water fishes like tilapia and pangasius are used. Also the bits and pieces that are left over after portioning fish fillets are used for kibbeling. Of course this has consequences for the taste of the kibbeling. Most of the time fish stalls and shop don’t disclose what kind of fish they use, and sometimes they use different fish for different bashes, so ordering a portion of kibbeling can be a bit of a gamble. The solution: either go to a reputable shop or make it yourself.

Common sauces that are served with kibbeling are:
– garlic (similar to aioli)
– remoulade (mayonnaise with mustard, lemon juice, herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon), capers and gherkins, sometimes also anchovies, garlic and boiled egg)
– ravigote (mayonnaise with parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives, capers and onion)
– whiskey or cocktail (basically a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup, sometimes with a drop of whiskey)
Most stands don’t make their own sauces, so especially the remoulade and ravigotte don’t contain the ingredients as recognizable as they would be in a homemade sauce.

Although in the Netherlands kibbeling is mostly eaten as a snack, it is also delicious for dinner together with a sauce of choice, French fries and a salad.

Kibbeling (serves 4)

600 gram fish, in 5 cm chuncks
150 gram flour
200 ml milk
50 ml water or beer
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
oil to deep fry in
fish spice mix
sauce of choice

Mix the flour with the milk, water (or beer), eggs, salt and pepper.
Preheat the deep fryer to 170-180C.
Add the fish to the batter, stir around gently.
Carefully slide the fish pieces one by one into the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan, this will drop the temperature of the oil too much, causing the batter to be soggy instead of crisp.
When golden brown, scoop them out with a slotted spoon (don’t use a frying basked, the nuggets tend to get stuck to it) and place in a bowl with some paper kitchen towel to get rid of the excess fat.
Bake the rest of the fish the same way (the batch size depends on the size of your deep fryer). Scoop the small bits of batter that came loose from the fish out of the oil in between the batches, otherwise they will burn and stick to the new batch, which is not very tasty.
Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with fish spice mix, and serve hot with a dipping sauce.

Notes: You can buy a fish spice mix, but you can also make your own: there are lots of recipes available online (search for fish spice/herb mix/blend/seasoning). The oil you used will smell fishy and will contain a lot of small bits of batter, and is therefore not suitable for reusing.

Honest Cooking: Strawberry chocolate cake

A perfect cake to show of delicious and seasonal strawberries!

Strawberry Cake
A perfect cake to show off these Dutch ‘summer kings’.

In the Netherlands, strawberries are also called ‘summer kings’, because of their deliciousness, because they grow outdoors only in the summer and because of their royal appearance (they have a green crown). The season lasts from June to the beginning of September, although you can get strawberries from greenhouses and other countries the whole year round… but that’s not the real thing.

These beauties are delicious on their own, on bread or rusks (a typical Dutch way of eating strawberries) or with slightly sweetened whipped cream. But if you want to do something different with them, this cake is a winner! The combination strawberry and chocolate is delicious, it’s a crowdpleaser and it is one of those cakes that seem quite difficult to make but isn’t at all (the separate processes are all very easy and can be spread out over the day).

Strawberry Chocolate Cake (serves 10-12)

Chocolate cake
1¾ cup flour
1½ cup sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tbsp lemon juice/vinegar and 1 cup milk)
½ neutral tasting oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate chantilly cream
1 cup heavy cream
60 gram dark chocolate
1 packet of klopfix (whipped cream stabilizer)
1 tbsp sugar

1 jar of strawberry jam (or make your own)
500 gram fresh, ripe strawberries

Chocolate cake
Start by making your 24 cm springform leak-proof: place the bottom on your counter, place a square of baking paper on top, then set the springform sides on top and close it.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl (or jug).
Combine the both and whisk.
Pour the batter in the tin and bake 40-50 min in the preheated oven.
Leave to cool a bit, take out of the tin and then let cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate chantilly cream
Mix the cream and chocolate.
Microwave the mixture for about 30 seconds on high and stir, then use as many intervals of 15 seconds in the microwave as you need to melt the chocolate completely (stir between each).
If the mixture is not completely smooth you can use a stick blender to re-establish the emulsion.
Refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours.
When ready to garnish the cake, pour in a large, cold bowl, add the sugar and start whipping with a hand mixer. Gradually add in the klopfix.
Whip to soft or stiff peaks, as you prefer, but take care not to overwhip (this is easier with chocolate chantilly than with the ‘normal’ chantilly).

Assembling the cake
Slice the chocolate cake in half, spread the bottom half with the jam, then place the upper half on top. When your cake is slightly domed you can fix it by turning the upper half upside down, if it is very domed you need to take a bit off the top to flatten it.
Spread the chantilly cream on top of the cake and garnish with the halved strawberries (cover the top completely.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes (to make sure the whipped cream sets), then serve.
Due to the fresh strawberries you cannot garnish the cake more than 2 hours in advance (they will weep and the whole thing will collapse).