Tag Archive for Sauce

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).

Mild green tomato chutney

At the end of the growing season, tomato plants almost always have lots of green tomatoes on them, that will not ripen any more. You can lay them in your window sill and hope that they will ripen there, but unless they already have some colour, that doesn’t work very well. Luckily you can make really tasty (sweet, sour, sharp, spicy) chutney with green tomatoes!


Mild green tomato chutney (~ 4 jars)
Adapted from “Buiten Wonen – Felix Thijssen”

1 kg green/unripe tomatoes
500 g tart cooking apples
200 g raisins
250 g onions
250 g sugar
1 tbsp sambal oelek (or fresh chilli)
1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp dried ginger powder
1 tsp salt
400 ml apple cider vinegar

Cut the tomatoes in pieces. Core and peel the apples, cut in pieces. Chop the onions.
Put everything together in a large pan (preferably thick-bottomed), bring to the boil and leave simmering, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced and jam-y. When the chutney appears thick enough, make a channel with a wooden spoon across its surface. If it leaves a channel imprinted for a few seconds without being filled by spare vinegar, it is ready. This can take quite a while.
Pour hot into clean, sterilized jars. Close the lids, leave to cool and stick a label on them.
Leave to mature for at least 2 weeks, but 3 months is best to let them mellow, they tend to be to vinegary and harsh otherwise. Can be kept for at least a year in a cool, dark place. Store opened jars in the fridge and use within 4 weeks.

Vanilla ice-cream with toffee swirl

It was much too hot to bake something, so I made ice-cream. It is a really nice and easy ice-cream, but in my ice-cream maker it did form some crystals. I think this would be less in a custard-based ice-cream, which would probably taste creamier as well. But I’ll have to test that.

The toffee sauce is really a sauce, it is nicely pourable and not too sticky. It is also quite fast and easy to make. You could also serve it as a sauce with the ice-cream instead of swirling it in, or serve it with something else.

Toffee Swirl Ice-cream

Vanilla ice-cream with toffee swirl (600 ml)
From “500 ijsrecepten – Alex Barker”

75 g sugar
475 ml cold milk (preferably full fat)
2 tsp vanilla extract
240 ml cold cream, whipped
toffee sauce

Heat half of the milk with the sugar on low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rest of the milk and the vanilla extract and leave to cool.
Fold the whipped cream in and pour into an ice-cream maker. Follow the manual of your ice-cream maker on how to churn the ice-cream, but it will probably take 30-40 minutes to freeze. After churning, add some toffee sauce and stir a little to form swirls. Place 15 minutes in the freezer to harden, then serve with some extra toffee sauce.
The ice-cream can be kept (well covered) in the freezer for 3 months, but it will gradually will crystallize more, fresh it is tastiest. Take the ice-cream out of the freezer 15 minutes before serving to get it to soften a bit.

Toffee sauce (400 ml)
From “500 ijsrecepten – Alex Barker”

115 g butter
115 g brown sugar
120 ml golden syrup
120 ml cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup together in a saucepan on low heat. Turn up the heat and cook 3-4 minutes. Take from the heat and stir in the cream and vanilla extract. Leave to cool completely. Can be kept in the fridge for 8 days.

Broad bean purée

This purée is very versatile. It is delicious as a side-dish with all kinds of meats, it is delicious as a dip for bread sticks, it is delicious as a spread on bruscetta and it works also great as a pasta sauce (thin it with some water in that case). Double-podding all the broad beans is a bit of a job, but the end-result makes it certainly worth it. And I kind of like the repetition of podding beans, it is quite a meditative activity. So why not make a big batch even when you will not eat it at once? It keeps for 4 days in the fridge, so it is a great stand-by for an easy dinner, or a delicious snack.
On the photo you can see I served the purée with a beefburger and fried polenta squares. You make this squares by cooking your polenta according to the instructions on the package. Season with salt, pepper, a knob of butter, some cream or mascarpone and parmesan. Pour into a greased baking dish (so that it forms a thin and even layer) and leave to cool. It should be completely cool, so I like to place the baking dish in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Cut into squares and fry in a hot pan in some olive oil until golden and crisp on the outside, and warm in the middle.

Broad Bean Puree

Broad bean purée (serves 4-6)
Adapted from “Annabel Langbein – The Free Range Cook”

1 kg podded fresh or frozen broad beans (or 5 kg fresh broad beans in their pods, podded)
3 cloves garlic, chopped very finely
4 tbsp extra vergine olive oil
50 g grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp water
Optional: squeeze of lemon

If broad beans are fresh, boil them for 2 minutes then drain. If using frozen broad beans, pour over boiling water and leave until cool enough to handle. Slip off greyish outer skins by grasping each bean by its grooved end and squeezing gently. Discard skins.
Put the beans, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and purée. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if necessary. The purée can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days.
To serve, add the water and warm on low heat while stirring regularly. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like. Serve.

Note: to make this dish truly vegetarian, use a vegetarian alternative for Parmesan cheese.

Brussel sprouts with mustard sauce

I usually serve my brussel sprouts very simple, either simply boiled, or boiled and then grilled on very high heat, which makes them a bit sweeter. But sometimes you want something different, so I thought to share this recipe with you, since it is the beginning of the brussel sprout season. It is a very simple mustard sauce, the creaminess mellows the flavour of the sprouts and the heat/flavour of the mustard gives it something interesting. Keep in mind when making this sauce that mustards can be very differently, so add a little and taste, you can always add more but you cannot take out. This sauce would also be very delicious with other vegetables, for example savoy cabbage or green beans. Or use it as a sandwich spread and layer it with sliced cold meats.

The work in this recipe is in the cleaning of the brussel sprouts. You can buy cleaned sprouts, but usually those are very bitter and not tasty at all. This is caused by a degradation of components in the sprouts, very fresh sprouts taste very mild and sweet, and when they get older they get more bitter (less sweet) and more cabbagy. The cleaned sprouts are usually quite old, they keep longer because of special packaging tricks but the flavour will still change. So I think it is worth it to spend the extra time on cleaning fresh brussel sprouts. Another thing that is quite detrimental for the flavour of brussel sprouts is overcooking them. They will get horribly stinky and bitter. So make sure you cook your sprouts until just tender.

Brussel sprouts with mustard sauce (2-4 persons)
500 g brussel sprouts
3 tbsp cream cheese (normal or light)
1 tsp, or to taste coarse mustard
1 tsp, or to taste Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Clean the brussel sprouts: slice a bit from the bottom and remove the outer leaves. Drop in cold water and wash to remove any sand or other unwanted stuff. Drain, place in a pan and barely cover with water. Add some salt to the cooking water. Bring to the boil, when boiling turn down the heat. Cook until just tender (test with a fork). The sprouts will be bright green and will just start to smell slightly cabbagy.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining the cream cheese and mustards. Taste and season with salt, pepper or more mustard.
Combine the sauce with the brussel sprouts and serve immediately.

Roasted paprika pesto

Normally I’m not really into the making pesto from other things than the normal basil, pine nuts and parmezan cheese trend, but this recipe caught my eye. Other than being a sauce type of thing, it isn’t related to pesto, it seems more like a romesco sauce (a Catalonian-Spanish red pepper and almond sauce). So why it is called pesto instead of romesco I’m not sure, but in the end a dish should be tasty, whatever its name is. And this sauce certainly is tasty! It has the sweetness from the paprika, the richness from the almonds and because of the smoky pimenton and roasted peppers it has a lovely depth of flavour. It can be served as a sauce for seafood, chicken, meats and vegetables, but it is also delicious as a dip with bread and crudité. Because of this versatility, and that you can keep it for a week in a clean jar in the fridge, it is worth it to make the whole recipe and use it for several different dishes.

Roasted Paprika Pesto

Roasted paprika pesto (makes a large jar)
Adapted from “Annabel Langbein – The Free Range Cook”

6 red paprika’s
4 tbsp extra vierge olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp pimenton de la vera
4 tbsp roasted almonds (use more for a thicker and richer sauce, and roast them for extra flavour)
salt and pepper

Place the paprika’s on a baking tray and roast them 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven of 240C, or until their skins become blistery and black. Take them from the oven and put them in a closed plastic bag, leave to cool for 20 minutes (they will be easier to peel this way).
Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a small skillet and fry the garlic and the paprika powders for a few seconds. This makes the taste more pronounced. Pour in a kitchen machine or blender.
Remove the skin and seeds from the paprika’s, but keep the juices. Add the paprika and juices to the garlic-paprika powder mixture, and add the almonds. Season with salt and pepper and blend to a smooth purée. Serve cold or gently heat it in a small pan to serve warm.

Aioli and patatas bravas

I love garlic. I put it in most of my dishes, even when it shouldn’t be in there, and I always add more than prescribed in a recipe. I just love the flavour of it. I also like aioli, but the problem with making it yourself is the garlic. When you use raw garlic, the flavour tends to be a bit too pungent, also it makes your breath smell bad and you taste it for hours after eating it. But when you use roasted garlic, it tends to be too mellow, and roasting the garlic properly takes ages, a hot oven and loads of olive oil, which are three things you don’t want when you are making a light dip for some crudité on a hot summer day.
So when I got a tip from someone to dry-roast unpeeled cloves of garlic for a few minutes in a hot skillet, peel them after frying and smashing them with a bit of salt before adding it to a sauce, I was happy to give it a try. And I was happy that I did so, because I will not make my garlic sauces in any other way than this any more. It takes away the very harsh and pungent taste, but keeps the garlic flavour very well. And because the garlic becomes softer, it is easier to purée as well. I used it mixed with mayonnaise for an aioli, to serve with patatas bravas (Spanish spicy potatoes, although the way I make them is not very authentic), but there are loads of other possibilities. Mix it with yoghurt for a dip for crudité, with crème fraîche to accompany baked potato, with cream cheese for a sandwich/cracker spread, with butter and herbs for herb butter, etc.

Patatas bravas with aioli (serves 2)

500 g small potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp mayonnaise
2 fat cloves of garlic, unpeeled
pimentón de la vera (smoky Spanish paprika powder, dulce and/or piccante)

Preheat the oven to 210C.
Place the potatoes in a pan, and pour water on top until just covered. Season with salt. Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are just soft/barely cooked. Drain and leave to steam for a few minutes in the pan without the lid, to get rid of the water. Pour in an oven tray, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Meanwhile make the aioli. Place a skillet on high heat. Put the unpeeled garlic cloves in and roast for a few minutes (it is fine when the peel gets burned, this gives extra flavour). Leave to cool for a bit, then peel and mash with some salt. Add to the mayonnaise. Season with the pimentón to taste.
Serve the aioli either mixed with the potatoes, or as a dip.
Note: for “normal” aioli, omit the pimentón.

Dutch Food: Shrimp Cocktail

The Netherlands and the North Sea are famous for seafood specialities, namely mussels, shrimp and herring. Before I wrote about mussels and herring, and now I will write about the famous and delicious brown shrimp, caught in the North Sea. They are always small and brown in colour (hence the name). They are quite different from all the pink shrimp/prawns/scampi/etc;  they smell creamy and sweet, taste nutty and sweet, quite pronounced in comparison to pink shrimp, and they have a firm but tender texture.

Usually the shrimp are washed, boiled and cooled on board of the ship that caught them, so almost all shrimp you buy are cooked. Usually they are peeled as well, unfortunately this does takes some time, which isn’t beneficial for the taste of the shrimp. They also add preservatives that have an effect on the taste.  For the most delicious shrimp you get, you must purchase them directly from the ship or the fishing port, but finding a place that sells shrimp like this can be difficult. Brown shrimp are available through the whole year, but peak availability is in april/may and in autumn. Unfortunately, brown shrimp don’t have an MSC certificate yet, because some important information is not available (the effect of brown shrimp fishing on the ecosystem is being studied at the moment). They aren’t overfished, but there is a lot of by-catch. Fortunately, from a sustainability point of few it is considered acceptable to eat them once in a while. You can use them in hot or cold dishes, but when using in hot dishes, make sure to heat them only very shortly, otherwise they will get tough. The two best things you can make with them, in my opinion, are shrimp cocktail and shrimp croquettes. I’m a firm believer of not messing with the classics, that is why I give you a very classic recipe for shrimp cocktail. Delicious!

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail (serves 4)
Sweet Dutch prawns with a lovely, creamy sauce on a bed of lettuce.

200 g Dutch brown shrimp (peeled and cooked)
few leaves of lettuce (shredded or whole)
4 small lemon wedges (optional)
½ tbsp chopped parsley or a pinch of paprika powder

3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 drop tabasco
2 drops Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
4 tbsp sherry or whisky
salt and pepper

Place lettuce on 4 small plates.
Top lettuce with shrimps.
Make the sauce by combining all ingredients (fold whipped cream in to keep it airy) and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Dollop sauce on top of prawns.
Garnish with lemon and a sprinkling of parsley or paprika powder.

Focaccia and anchoiade

A Mediterranean inspired meal: vegetables with anchoiade and focaccia. Anchoiade is a sauce/dressing/dip made from anchovies, garlic, olive oil and a splash of vinegar. It is perfect as a dip or dressing for all kinds of vegetables. It worked great with the broccoli, cauliflower and haricot verts I served it with, but would also be delicious with asparagus, radishes, cucumber, fennel and potatoes.You could also serve it as part of an antipasto platter with other dips, vegetables, bread, crackers, cheese, sliced meat and other snacks.
As with all simple dishes, it is very important to use the best ingredients you can get. The sauce will taste of the anchovies and the olive oil, so the ones you use should be tasty, or you have a sauce that is not very nice.
The focaccia is simple to make, delicious and perfect to mop up any leftover sauce. As a bonus: rising and baking bread make your house smell delicious. The bread is also great for making sandwiches.

From Rick Stein’s French Odyssey

1 tin anchovy fillets in olive oil (50 gram)
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
150 ml olive oil (you can use less)
Optional: freshly ground black pepper

Place the anchovies with their oil and the garlic in a mortar and pound with the pestle. Add the vinegar and oil gradually until an emulsified sauce has formed. Alternatively, use a food processor to get a smoother finish. Serve immediately with your vegetables of choice and the focaccia.

Adapted from Marie Claire De Ultieme Keuken

225 g flour
225 g pasta flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 packet dried yeast (7 gram)
1 tsp sugar
250 ml lukewarm water
3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Mix flour, pasta flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle, pour in the water and olive oil. Use a fork or a wooden spoon to mix everything until a rough dough is formed. Tip it out onto a work bench and knead for about 10-15 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Form it into a ball, place in a greased bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for about 1 hour (or until the dough has doubled) on a warm spot.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Oil a baking tin. Knock back the risen dough and knead it a few times. Put it in the baking tin, press it until it covers the whole tin and use your fingers to make indentations in the dough. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for another 20 minutes on a warm spot.
After rising, place the tin in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the focaccia is golden and cooked (sounds hollow when you tap the bottom). Leave to cool on a rack and serve warm or completely cooled. Serve the same day, it doesn’t keep well.

Pork and pasta with gorgonzola sauce

I’m a big fan of cheeses. I like most of them, also the blue cheeses that most people find too strong or a bit icky because of the mould. This sauce is a perfect way to introduce those people to blue cheese, because it is a lot mellower than eating the cheese on its own. Do make sure you use a gorgonzola dulce and not a gorgonzola picante, because the dulce variety is quite mild for a blue cheese, while the picante is quite strong and would make the sauce quite strong too. As an Italian cheese, gorgonzola is perfect to use in a sauce for pasta. And gorgonzola and pork work very well together (and is a classic Italian combination as well).

Pasta and pork with gorgonzola sauce

Pork and pasta with gorgonzola sauce (serves 2)

150 g dried spaghetti
2 pork fillets (pork chops without the bone)
salt and pepper
1 glass white wine
100 ml cream
150 g gorgonzola, cubed

Cook the pasta according to the package.
Heat a frying pan on high heat. Add a drop of oil, spread it over the whole surface of the pan. Place the pork fillets in it. Turn every 15 seconds until the outside is golden and the inside is cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a plate and set aside.
Reduce the heat under the pan to medium. Add the white wine and let the alcohol boil of (about 30 seconds), while stirring to dissolve the jummy bits from baking the pork in the wine. Add the cream, bring to the boil again. Then add the gorgonzola cubes while stirring. Cook until the cheese is molten and it forms a sauce, then take it from the heat (by cooking it longer you risk splitting it).
Place a pile of spaghetti on a plate, place the pork on top and scoop the sauce over it. Serve immediately.