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Everything posted by amapola

  1. I think the dish closest to what we in Holland call ragout might be blanquette, the most well know variety being blanquette de veau (veal). This is a white roux-based sauce enriched with cream and eggs, served over or mixed with veal and button mushrooms or small onions. Your gorgeous photo's make me crave some right now by the way. I love the contrast between the crunch of the pastry and the velvetty ragout
  2. Yes, absolutely! I am loving every post in your blog and I admire your stamia to keep on blogging with such a hectic week going on.
  3. Hi Peter, great blog so far, I'm eagerly anticipating the rest of this week. Dulse is (or was) traditionally eaten a lot in Ireland (long ago I worked there as a nanny for about a year or so...). Older people chewed the dried stuff, much like you would tobacco. For eating, you can do various things with it, like adding it to stews and soups- rinsed thoroughly and chopped finely. An Irish classic is champ, a dish actually quite similar to the dutch stamppot. For the dulse version, you soak the dulse in cold water for about 4 hours, rinse it, barely cover in milk and simmer until tender (2-3 hours). Drain and reserve the milk. Then boil about 5 times as much potatoes (eg 100 grams dulse to 500 grams potatoes), drain well and mash with the warm milk and salt and lots of black pepper. Finally, beat in the dulse bit by bit. The end result should be a creamy mash. Serve on individual plates and top with a good knob of butter that will melt into the champ
  4. Klary, thank you so much for your wonderful blog and your stamina! I hope you will feel good again soon. Though I must say, if you wouldn't have said anything, I wouldn't have noticed you're not feeling well, your meals looked inspired and mouthwatering as ever and your photo's are so gorgeous... If I wasn't already living in Amsterdam, I would envy you after this great blog.
  5. Thanks for all your cheers and praises! Today I got a slice of the now matured cake and it was indeed much, much better. Moist, quite so. The layers had now all sort of congealed together, and this time I REALLY got the point of a thick layer of randomly slapped-on frosting- yummm. That'll teach me to plan ahead a bit the next time. My next project will be a dobos torte. Other friends of ours just celebrated their first daughters first birthday and they spent the whole night making two cakes that didn't turn out to their satisfaction- he ran out in the morning to one of the most expensive patisseries in town while she went and hid the home baked products in the basement. (I got to taste a bite after a lot of pleading and I can understand why they didn't want to serve them to the guests but it was not nearly as bad as they made it come across...) Well. We got to talk about cakes a bit and at one point he started musing about what he really thought sounded scrumptious: 'one of those Hungarian things, with all those layers and chocolate cream in between'. That must be a dobos torte, I think. And it so happens he also had his birthday not too long ago AND they're on vacation right now AND we have the keys to their apartment so we plan to sneak in the evening before they return and leave a dobos torte in the fridge. Again something I have never made and again to be done under time pressure- I'm working tomorrow and the cake has to be finished Friday evening. There goes my planning ahead resolution... If I succeed I will report on it in the dobos torte topic I spotted.
  6. Thanks so much for all your quick responses and wonderful suggestions! I am going to make a couple of those cakes on other occasions (although the red velvet one scared me a bit, not the recipe but the actual cake itself...). The three tings that stuck with me after reading all of your tips were Moist, Layers & Frosting. So here is what I did. I decided to stay away from chocolate for a change, it always seems to be the first and natural choice of cake with me and I wanted something different this time. K8, your suggestion immediately appealed to me; raspberries are among my favourite summer fruits and the yellow cake seemed pretty straightforward (in fact, it's quite similar to the very first cake recipe I was taught as a little girl, except that this one has sour cream in it). So I baked the cake, cut it in three layers and splashed those with a mixture of equal parts syrup from the lemon peels and limoncello. I cooked a raspberry puree (without apple and I didn't sieve out the seeds because I was pressed for time) and layered the cake with it. Then I wanted to try my hand at Swiss meringue lemon butter cream, something I had never made before. Typical, trying to do something like that when in fact I don't even have the time to sieve my fruit puree... I got off to a good start though; heating up egg whites with sugar didn't prove difficult or scary at al and whipping them also was a cinch. And then the classic under-pressure-worst-nightmare came true: my electric hand mixer isn't very good so I was struggling to keep it working the meringue and then- I don't know exactly how- the beater managed to slip out of the bowl, taking half of its contents with it and transferring them to my kitchen, all over the just-washed dishes, worktop, wall... I took three deep breaths, scraped the remaining egg whites in the bowl together and just, well, got on with it because time was running out. To make things even more frustrating, when I was about halfway adding the butter, the mixture started to curdle and clump and go all horrible. I had read somewhere that there's no need for panic when that happens, 'just keep on whisking and things will come together into a beautifully smooth substance'. Uh- no. The more I whisked, the less the cream stayed together. Finally, after a few of the longest moments I have ever spent in the kitchen, I took a spoon and started to gently stir rather than vigorously whisk. To my great relief, that helped. I managed in the end to get the creamy smoothness back and I even got a good slug of lemon juice in ok. There wasn't any time left for careful decorating so I just slapped on the frosting and randomly dropped some lemon peels on top. Then I packed the whole thing in the big plastic tub that I normally use for kneading dough and tied it to the back of my bicycle to transport it through half of the city, in the rain (this IS Amsterdam, after all). Top shot of the just-finished cake: My friend absolute loved it. He was so touched that I had gone through the trouble of making it; he had never had someone make him a cake like that from scratch. He was especially thrilled by the crunch the raspberry seeds added and he couldn't believe I had candied the lemon peel myself because it 'tasted so expensive'. (uhm... maybe expensive stuff just tastes a bit less artificial than cheap crap...? I tried to explain...) And this morning he phoned to tell me that he had had breakfast with the leftovers and they tasted even better now that the cake had been refrigerated- he just got swept of his feet by the moist cake and the now chilled frosting Layers! I thoroughly enjoyed trying something new and completely different than what I am accustomed to and on the whole, I was quite satisfied with the way the cake came out. The flavour was superb, the combo of the almost overly sweet frosting and cake work really well with the tangy raspberries and lemon. I totally agree that the extra effort for the filling is worth it more than all the way, without that it would have been a rather bland and simply sweet cake. I hope to improve on the looks though, the next time I make something with a frosting like this (speaking of frosting, d'you see that thick layer on the top? Is it supposed to be that way or did I overdo it a bit...?). At least now I'm not scared of Swiss meringue anymore, it has already ruined my kitchen once so it can't get much worse. (btw these are the first pics I managed to post, yet another thing that is easier than I thought...) (especially with no beaters around that can mess me up)
  7. Oh! That dinner makes my mouth water... Quesedilla's with duck confit... Ginger creme brulee... *sigh* I'm sorry to hear that you are coming on with someting nasty, probably the change of weather has something to do with that. I hoop it doesn't get worse, a diet of rhubarb and herbal tea should help
  8. Tomorrow a dear friend of us is having his birthday and we feel he deserves some special attention. So we want to show up at his doorstep with a good bottle of champagne, a friend he has not seen for years and, you guessed it, a home-baked birthday cake. I do not have a lot of time to shop for ingredients and bake the cake but I want it to be something a bit out of the ordinary. Since he is originally from the US, I was thinking it could be nice to make something typically American. I am well stocked up on basic cake ingredients and I also have a huge batch of candied lemon peel I made just a couple of days ago. Do you have any suggestions on what might be appropriate and doable? Thanks!
  9. I have frozen asparagus several times, with great results. I freeze them peeled because I have found that the best thing is to put them straight from the freezer into the pan, if you first defrost them they go all limp and soggy. An asparagus risotto sounds delicious! Also, frozen asparagus are really good stir-fried, for example on a bed of cruncy salad leaves, with a good tangy vinaigrette and lots of cracked black pepper. On which market did you find the lady with that beautiful display of asparagus? I am not so fortunate as to get premium quality deliveries so I'm always on the lookout for a good source nearby...
  10. Chufi, I'm really looking forward to your blog! I wasn't around eGullet yet when you did your first two but I read them both and enjoyed them very much. It's wonderful when someone takes you along on a trip into an unknown world but it's also very special when you get to see your own familiar surroundings through the eyes of someone else. And now I wil cook some rhubarb compote in honour of you
  11. That must be Amsterdam! The Museumplein, facing the Concertgebouw and with the Rijksmuseum right behind the photographer. ...Klary perhaps...?
  12. Ah! So true! At the closing hour of your blog I just HAD to jump in. Thanks for sharing this week of food and life and gorgegousnes with us. And YAY for losing so much weight! To the above observation, I can only say that I was born and raised a vegetarian, never had a single bite of meat and had been heavily overweight for at least my entire adult life. Up until about two and a half years ago, that is. Around that time I suddenly started feeling SUCH a strong craving for MEATMEATMEAT that I could't just ignore it. So I stopped being a vegetarian. I am now a carnivore to the bone- I like my meat and I like it red- and I lost over 40 kilo's in the course of a year, without any diet or effort whatsoever. So my new 'rule' for healthy living and eating is that if you totally honestly listen to what your body asks of you, there is no going wrong... Anyway. Thanks again, and I wish you strength and health and lots more less of you
  13. I'm afraid I can't shed much light on this topic but I did find a discussion on the matter of spekkoek being Indisch rather than Indonesian on this wikipedia discussion page (in dutch, unfortunately...). Just do a page-search for spekkoek and you'll find quite a lenghty talk about what various peoples 'kokkies' have to say about it (or scroll down to just over halfway). From this and what few other things I have come accross, it would appear that the spekkoek you refer to here is indeed Indisch. But then as you said, to what dutch pastry is it connected...?
  14. Chufi, your vla has a beautiful texture, from the look of it! But I do agree that the colour is a bit light, though I cant think why- maybe a bit more coffee would have helped both colour and flavour... I'll try to make some later this week and post recipe + pictures (if I can work out how to do the latter ) Pan, personally I don't think the origin of (hopjes)vla lies in Spain. From what I have read, vla has been around in the Netherlands in more or less the form we know today (served as a cold desert) since the early 18th century, when it was made from milk, eggs and sugar and with cocoa powder for flavouring or served with fruits. It became hugely popular in the 20th century, peaking around the 1950s. Vla was then always cooked at home, as a special treat after Sunday dinner for example. It was also around that time that a lot of cookery books started including various methods ('rich' versions made with eggs, 'plain' versions that simply used cornstarch as a thickening agent- to humour the frugal dutch housewife) and some variety in flavours. The coffee- caramel combination was already a popular flavour because of the dutch sweet called hopje, invented at the end of the 18th century. It is supposedly named after baron Hendrik Hop (hopje is the 'small version' of hop), who liked coffee so much that he asked someone to invent a coffee-flavoured sweet. It has never been out of production since 1792 and the flavour made its way into puddings and vla as well.
  15. Well, now you have some work to do... especially as I didn't take any photos (would an empty bowl do? ). I think next time I might halve the recipe (still with a whole yolk) as it makes quite a lot. BTW, I used 35g cocoa and 125g sugar. ← I usually make my vla with one yolk to about 400 mills of milk and 25 grams of cocoa powder (I think, from the top of my head...) As a kid, my favourite was 'hopjesvla', which is basically a caramel-coffee flavoured vla. It is both bitter and sweet at the same time and just as easy to make, once you've mastered the vla-basics. Just start by caramelising some sugar in a heavy-based sauce pan, pour your cold milk on it (careful because it splatters!) and continue as for any other vla. When all is done finish with some strong, cold coffee to taste and let cool. (if anyone is interrested in exact method and quantities, let me know and I will look them up.)
  16. Hi LittleMaiko, I'm sure you'll be able to find some great recipes here. The one I have to offer is for a chocolate-walnut cake (mentioned up-thread). It's fairly easy to make, with only five ingredients, and tastes like- uhm- rich chocolate heaven Pm me if you would like the recipe...
  17. Thanks so much for taking us along this week, it almost feels like a very sad farewell, to see your blog ending. One last question (you have been SO great and faithful in answering all questions!)- the minced garlic you use has such a yellow colour, almost more like minced ginger. The minced garlic I see in the shops here is much whiter, is there a difference between asian garlic and the stuff I know? Thanks again- for everything. And maybe I'll try one of those aloe vera drinks one day, I always frown with disgust when I see them on sale, but if you say they're nice, who am I to argue
  18. These look so good! What's inside them, especially the big whitish cube in the centre?
  19. What do the yolks look like? Is it one of those eggs, sunny side up on your sons plate? When I grew up, we had a couple of tiny chickens walking freely around our gardens. Their eggs were incredibly small and the tastiest I ever had. Rich, creamy, intense. I have never tasted anything like it since.
  20. What a great opening to a week of blogging. Your writing is so inviting and your photo's are disclosing an unknown world to me. I am looking forward to following your blog this week, learning lots about your food and culture- and keep on throwing in those pics of your adorable offspring
  21. Beets. ← ...no dill here, just beets and risotto. I haven't tried it but I like the look of it. I'm not too sure about using dill in my risotto, to be honest. Salmon & dill do make a very tasty trio with zucchini though. Which, when put toghether, might be good with a (lemon-) risotto after all. Hm. Now I've confused myself.
  22. From an old and kind of peculiar dutch cookbook I have a simple yet very tasty recipe for flourles chocolate-walnut cake (or 'gateau', as they call it). It consists of two layers of the same creamy batter, the first one is baked and the second one added after that and then chilled. This creates a very rich taste and a little textural surprise.
  23. Assuming you have fresh lemons in the house, you can use grated rind in a ratio 1:2. So for each tsp of extract, use 2 tsp rind instead. I made some lemon biscuits yesterday using this ratio and it worked fine. Also, if you need the extra liquid, you could of course use some fresh juice in addition to the grated rind.
  24. amapola


    I agree that putting the cheese in a vacuum bag and then in the fridge is the best way to keep it fresh for a long period of time. I never keep it like that (it gets eaten before it goes off) but whenever we bring cheese to our relatives in Israel (a 5 hour flight plus a long car drive away), we always ask the salesman at the market to seal it for us and it makes it through the journey perfectly. For storing gouda type cheeses for a shorter period of time, I always stick with the wrapping that that same market man puts it in (or, most cheese sellers in Amsterdam for that matter). It is a two-layer wrapping, the outer layer is a cross between greaseproof and newspaper and the inner layer is usually a 'rough' type plastic. I don't really know how to describe it better but it does it's job perfectly. I think it is important to leave your cheese a little air space so it doesn't get swetty and wet on the outside, but at the same time, make sure youre cheese is entirely covered in whatever wrapper you are using, so it doesn't dry out at the exposed surfaces, especially in the fridge. Maybe loosely wrapping it in clingfilm could be a good option for your cheese. [eta:] I found some information on a dutch site on cheese (my translation)
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