Tag Archive for Winter

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.

Chicken and Barley Soup

A deliciously soothing and warming soup. It does take a while to prepare, but it keeps well, so make a large pot and freeze portions for later. And of course, there are few things that smell better than a pot of chicken stock bubbling away on the stove, or onions that are gently caramelizing.

Chicken and Barley Soup

Chicken and Barley Soup (serves 4 + leftovers)
Adapted from “Leon – Ingredients & Recipes”

2 chicken legs
2 carrots
2 small onions, peeled
2 sticks of celery
1 leek, washed
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 bay leaves
a few whole peppercorns
a few pieces of mace
a few sprigs of thyme
a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley, with stalks
150 g pearl barley
250 g button mushrooms
salt and pepper
Optional: butter and/or olive oil (use if your chicken did not release enough fat)
Optional: crusty bread to serve the soup with

Chop 1 carrot, 1 onion, the celery and the green part of the leek coarsely. Smash 3 of the garlic cloves. Crush the peppercorns coarsely. Cut the stalks from the parsley, set the leaves aside for later. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms, set the tops aside for later. Throw in a stock pot, together with the bay leaves, mace and thyme. Heat a frying pan and place the chicken legs in it. Fry, turning regularly, until the skin is crisp and brown all around. Reserve the pan and the fat that came out of the chicken skin for later. Place the chicken legs on top of the vegetables in the stock pot, add 1.5 liter water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about an hour.
Meanwhile, dice the second carrot and the second onion. Thinly slice the white part of the leek. Finely mince the 3 garlic cloves that were left. Pour half of the chicken fat into a (sauce)pan (large enough to accommodate the stock later on) and heat. Add the onion and a generous sprinkle of salt, fry until soft and translucent. Then add the carrot, leek and garlic. Sauté on low heat until very soft and golden. This will take about 30 minutes.
Take the chicken from the stock and set aside to cool. Pour the stock through a strainer into the pan with the caramelized vegetables, discard the vegetables from the stock. Add the pearl barley and leave to simmer for another hour.
Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms thinly and chop the parsley leaves finely. Heat the pan you used for the chicken with the reserved fat in it and fry the mushrooms until they are golden. Pick the meat of the chicken bones and chop it into pieces (discard the skin if you prefer). Check if your barley is tender, if not cook for a bit longer, if it is, add the mushrooms, parsley and chicken to the soup. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to adjust it. If the soup is a bit thick (can happen especially with the leftovers) you can add some extra water. Serve hot.

Warm apples with vanilla sauce, ice cream and chantilly cream

As with a lot of dishes, I got the idea for it when I saw something like it on the menu somewhere, and thought it was a great idea to try and make at home. Warm and sticky apples, a lovely rich vanilla sauce, contrasting cold vanilla or cinnamon ice-cream, finished with a generous dot of chantilly cream: a big bowl of comfort, indulgence and deliciousness. I cheated by buying a good ice-cream (my ice cream machine and I still don’t get along very well), but if you want to make it yourself, this is the thing to start with because it takes the longest. Next, make the vanilla sauce. You could either make a custard, or a pastry cream with a bit more milk to make it thinner. The custard will be thinner/runnier than the pastry cream, it is up to you which you prefer. Then, prepare your apples. Choose a variety of apple that will holds its shape when heated, I’ve done it successfully with jonagold, elstar, pink lady, royal gala, braeburn, jazz and granny smith, so basically it will work with most apples. This is a great way to use up apples that are a bit over their prime. Peel and core, then slice them either in wedges or in cubes. Heat a frying pan, throw in the apples, and fry until the apples have a nice golden colour. Stir regularly, because they tend to catch and burn quite quickly. Turn the heat down to soften the apples a bit further, and add a knob of butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar to make them nice and sticky. Keep cooking until the apples are tender and the sugar has dissolved. Meanwhile, make the chantilly cream by whipping cream with some sugar (1-2 tbsp for 250 ml) and vanilla extract (1/2 tsp for 250 ml) or seeds from a vanilla bean (1/2 bean per 250 ml). Serve by scooping the apples into bowls, and topping them with a pouring of vanilla sauce, a scoop of ice-cream and a dollop of chantilly cream. Enjoy!

Celeriac-bean mash

Celeriac is often combined with potato to make a mash. In my opinion, the trouble with that is that it gets a weird texture, and the flavour is not that good as well. I prefer my celeriac raw, or in soup. But then I found an alternative recipe for celeriac mash in the allerhande magazine, with a solution I never thought of for the mash texture: it uses beans. They also add a nice, earthy flavour to the mash and make it more filling.
Using beans instead of potato also makes it possible to stick a blender in it to make a smooth purée (doing that with potato will give you glue). If you like a coarser mash, just use a potato masher instead.
Because it contains both a vegetable and a pulse, it makes a nice 2-in-1 side-dish. It is delicious with all kinds of roast meats, or with a topping of sautéed mushrooms as a vegetarian/vegan alternative (see note for an Italian variation/vegan version of this mash).

Celeriac-bean mash (serves 4)
1 kg celeriac
2 cans of cannellini beans (400 g can, 185 g without the liquid; you can use other white beans)
25 g butter
100 ml milk (more or less)
salt and pepper
20 g flat-leave parsley, chopped

Peel the celeriac, then rinse to make sure that no dirt is left. Cut into chunks, place in a pan with a little water and cook until done (about 15 minutes).
Add the beans and the butter, mash, and add milk until you reached your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, and mix through the parsley.

Note: to make this dish vegan, don’t use butter and milk, but use a nice glug of olive oil instead. And use rosemary or sage instead of the parsley to give it an Italian touch, which combines well with the olive oil.

Dutch food: advocaat star cake

This cake breathes Christmas for me, because it’s luxurious, boozy, and star-shaped. You can serve it as an indulgent treat with coffee, but it is chique enough to serve as dessert. It does take some time to make, but it has to refrigerate overnight to firm up, so you have to make it in advance anyway. One downside: it contains alcohol, so it is not suitable for kids and pregnant women. It also contains raw eggs, so it is not suitable for the elderly and immunocompromised either.

Advocaat is a typical Dutch “drink”. It is made with egg yolks, sugar and brandy, and is often served in a small glass with a rosette of whipped cream, and a spoon to eat it (it’s quite thick). It is quite sweet and creamy (similar to custard), and has a slight kick from the booze (14-20% alcohol). Thinner advocaat (pourable/drinkable) is made with the whole egg and goes abroad. For some reason, they don’t like the thick stuff in other countries. This thinner version is similar to eggnog.

For my advocaat, I used a whole egg, because I had no use for the leftover egg white. And indeed, my advocaat was less viscous than the advocaat I know. Officially, you use brandy to make advocaat, but it works fine with whisky, rum, cognac and wodka too. I used whisky, because I didn’t want to buy a bottle of something especially for this recipe, and it turned out delicious, although it did taste a bit more alcoholic than the advocaat you buy in the supermarket. The shelf life is a bit of a mystery, some people say you can keep it for a few days in the fridge, others say you can keep it for weeks. To be safe, I would stick with the first. The recipe below will make way more than you need, either make it all and serve the remainder at cocktail hour, or make less. I made a batch with 1 egg (I weighed the egg and adjusted the other ingredients to that) and that was enough for the half sized cake I made. Make with 2 eggs to have enough for the full sized cake.

Advocaat Star Cake

Advocaat (lots)
Slightly adapted from Eerst Koken

250 g egg yolks or whole eggs
250 g sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
300 ml booze (brandy, whisky, rum, cognac, wodka)

Mix egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a heat-proof bowl. Place on top of a pan with simmering water. Add the booze and keep whisking until the mixture thickens. Directly take it from the heat and keep whisking until it has cooled slightly. Leave to cool completely before storing in the fridge in a clean container, or using it for the cake.

Advocaat star cake (for 8-12 people)
Adapted from “Blueband Kookboek Gebak”

4 eggs, split
90 g sugar, divided (35 g + 55 g)
pinch of salt
2 sachets vanilla sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
60 g flour
40 g corn starch
10 g slivered almonds
butter or oil to grease the tin

Preheat the oven to 165C. Cover the bottom of a 24 cm round springform with baking paper, then grease the bottom and sides.
Mix the egg yolks with 35 g sugar in a large(!) bowl until pale and creamy, until it pours from the whisks in a ribbon (use an electric mixer for this, it will take a while).
Whisk the egg whites stiff with a pinch of salt. Gradually add 55 g sugar and the vanilla sugar while whisking and keep whisking until the sugar has dissolved.
Scoop the egg whites on top of the yolks, together with the lemon zest. Sift the flour and cornstarch on top and fold everything carefully together. Carefully pour it into the prepared baking tin. Level the top and sprinkle over the almonds.
Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, leave to cool in the form for 15 minutes, then carefully take out and leave to cool completely on a cake rack.

8 sheets gelatin
2 eggs, split
100 g sugar
200 ml milk
250 ml whipping cream
300 ml advocaat
icing sugar

Soak the gelatin in cold water.
Mix the egg yolks, sugar and milk in a heat proof bowl. Place on top of a pan with simmering water. Keep mixing until the mixture thickens, then directly take it from the heat and keep whisking until it has cooled slightly. Add the gelatin sheets (squeezed, to get rid of extra water) one by one while mixing. Leave this custard to cool until it starts to get stiff.
Whisk the eggwhites until stiff. Whisk the cream until stiff. Add both to the custard, together with the advocaat, and fold together. Leave to set until it just holds its shape, but is liquid enough to transfer to the cake.
Slice the cake horizontally in half. Take the top half and slice it into 8 points, but stop 2 cm from the edge, to hold them together.
Pour or scoop the advocaat mixture on the bottom half of the cake, keeping the edge free. Place the top half on top. Carefully press the edges, so that the top opens up and forms a star. Dust the cake with icing sugar. Place in the fridge overnight (or at least 4 hours) to set.

Note: To make a smaller sized cake, suitable for 6-8 persons, half the recipe and use an 18 cm round baking tin.

Baked onion

How often do you think about onions as a vegetable dish? Well, I never though of that, until I found this recipe from Sophie Dahl. And why not? Onions are tasty and cheap, so why should they always be added as an extra flavour layer to a dish, and never shine for themselves? And shine they do in this dish. I’ve used yellow onions, but it would also be very tasty with white onions or garlic. And I expect a similar preparation with leeks would work very well too.
The original recipe suggested to cook the onions 20 minutes in boiling water, but I found that this made them loose their flavour and turn quite mealy. It works better to sweat/stew them.

Baked Onion

Baked onions (serves 2-4)
Adapted from “Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights – Sophie Dahl”

4 onions, peeled
salt
generous knob of butter

140 ml light cream (20% fat)
50 g parmezan

Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions, a sprinkling of salt, a splash of water, and cover the pan with a lid. Cook on low heat until the onions are soft.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Cut the onions in half and place in a baking dish. Pour over the cream and sprinkle over the parmezan. Cook 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven.

Note: to make this dish truly vegetarian, use a vegetarian substitute for parmezan.

Carrot and orange salad

A small and fun side salad, fresh and slightly sweet. You can add bits of orange or grapefruit if you like. I like to make this in autumn and winter, when carrots are abundant but other salad vegetables are not. The salad on my photo has a bit of a strange colour, because I used white, yellow, orange and purple carrots from my garden. When you use “normal” orange carrots, the salad will be orange too. I like to grate the carrot finely, but you can also slice the carrot into julienne or grate it coarsely, if you prefer.

Carrot and Orange Salad

Carrot and orange salad (serves 2)
Inspired on a recipe of the Voedingscentrum that I read somewhere

30 g raisins
150 g carrot
30 ml orange juice

Wash the raisins and soak them 10 minutes in warm water. Wash (or peel, when you use thicker/older carrots) and grate the carrots. Drain the raisins and mix with the carrot and orange juice.

Dutch food: poffert

Poffert is a traditional regional dish from the province of Groningen (where I come from), although a similar dish can be found in other parts of the Netherlands. It is a cross between a steamed pudding, bread and bundt cake/gugelhopf and is very filling, especially because it was served with a generous pat of butter and lots of brown sugar or stroop. That was why it usually was eaten as a main, and in winter. It was often cooked when the whole family needed to work on the land, and there was no time to cook. The batter was made, placed it in the pan and a few hours later there was food, while she could do other things. By richer people it sometimes was eaten as dessert or snack, and nowadays it is more of a special treat. But you know that a dish is popular when there is a a small village (about 15 houses, 3 farms and a small shipyard) named after it: de Poffert is located between Hoogkerk and Enumatil. The village was named after the tavern called de Poffert, that was there because de Poffert used to be an important quay for tug-boats, especially during the sugar beat campaign in fall (there was, and is, a sugar refinery in Hoogkerk). The captains used to eat loads of things made with flour, hence the name of the tavern.

Real poffert is cooked au bain marie in a special ‘pofferttrommel'(literally poffert bin), a bundt shaped pan with a lid. Some people line the tin with slices of bacon before filling it with batter, to prevent sticking. Nowadays people often cook the poffert in an oven instead of au bain marie (in my opinion you make something else than poffert in that case), and use other kinds of dried fruit as well, or even make a savoury variant with bacon and smoked sausage. It is not necessary to have the special ‘pofferttrommel’ to make poffert, you can also use a heat-proof bowl or a bundt pan that you cover with aluminium foil or baking paper secured with a bit of kitchen rope. There are even people that use a small pan that fits inside the larger pan.

Poffert is normally eaten with (molten) butter and brown sugar or stroop, but you could also use apple butter instead of the stroop. Some people serve theirs with cinnamon and brown sugar, but I think poffert does need the moisture from butter or something else. Not traditional, but delicious options are a splash of cream, vanilla sauce or toffee sauce.

Poffert

Poffert (for a bowl or tin that can hold 2 liter, serves 4 generously)

250 g flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
scoop of sugar
100 g raisins
200 ml lukewarm milk
1 egg
accompaniments of choice

Mix all the ingredients to form a nice batter. Pour it into your pofferttrommel or the tin/bowl you are going to use. Place into the large pan with warm water. Place the lid on top and leave to rise for an hour. Then turn on the heat and cook the poffert in about an our. Control with a sateh stick if the poffert is ready, the stick should come out clean. Serve warm with your accompaniments of choice.

Note: you can also make poffert with self-raising flour (quite a luxurious variant) instead of yeast, and sometimes half wheat and half buckwheat flour was used.

Dutch food: endive gratin

First a little clarification about endive (also called Belgian or French endive), since it is called very different in different parts of the world. In the Netherlands endive is called witlof, while we use the word endive (andijvie) for what they in some part of the world call escarole, but escarole is sometimes called endive too in some other parts of the world. The endive I mean now are the small heads of cream-colored, slightly bitter leaves. It is grown completely underground or indoors in the absence of sunlight in order to prevent the leaves from turning green and opening up; after harvesting it has to be kept dark as well to prevent it from turning green and very unpalatable bitter. The harder inner part of the stem at the bottom of the head should be cut out before cooking, because it is very hard and unpalatable bitter.

Endive was developed in Belgium, but nowadays is grown on large scale in the Netherlands too. It stands on place 3 in the list of most eaten veggies in the Netherlands, so it is very popular. The favourite things to do with it are making a salad and making endive gratin: heads of endive rolled in ham and cheese placed in a baking tray and covered with mashed potatoes. Some people make this gratin without the potato purée, and don’t use the cheese in the rolls but make a cheese sauce with it to pour over the endive-ham rolls, sprinkle everything with cheese and then grill it, but the variation with potato is how I ate it when I grew up, so I stick to that. Originally, you cook the endive, but that makes it quite mushy and watery, therefore I grill it. It keeps its texture better, and because of caramelisation the endive gets less bitter as well.

Endive Gratin

Endive gratin (serves 4)

4 large heads of endive (or 8 small ones)
8 slices of ham
8 slices of cheese
1 kg potatoes suitable for mash (I like to use slightly floury potatoes)
100 ml milk
knob of butter
salt and pepper
optional: some dried breadcrumbs

Remove the ugly outer leaves of the endive and the stem, slice the head in half and remove the core. Place the slices of cheese on the slices of ham and lay them out on your workspace.
Peel the potatoes and cook them in salted water. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan. Place the halved heads of endive in it and fry until slightly caramelized, then turn them over and do the same on the other side. Preheat the oven/grill.
Mash the potatoes and make a nice purée with the milk, butter, salt and pepper.
Place a halved head of endive on each slice of ham/cheese (or 2 halves, if you used small heads), then roll. Place all the rolls in a baking tray, then scoop the purée on top. I like to make a nice ridge pattern with a fork and sprinkle some dried breadcrumbs over it to make the top extra crispy. Place under the grill for a crispy layer on top, or cook for a bit longer in the oven if you like your endive a bit more cooked.

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.