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Chufi

Dutch Cooking (2005-2006)

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chufi, in that butter-braised-beef, i got to the point where it said STOP. DON'T ADD ANYTHING ELSE, and i thought, no salt/pepper?

so, did i miss something or is there really no salt or pepper in that dish?

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Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) is celebrated on December 5th. It is traditionally a children's feast, for young children who still 'believe' that this man in a red cloak, with a long white beard, sitting on a white horse, with his bishop's mitre and surrounded by his (very politically incorrect) black little helpers called Zwarte Pieten (black Peter), is a real person who lives in Spain all year and who comes to The Netherlands every winter to reward the children who have been good with presents, and to punish those who have been bad by putting them in an bag and taking them home to Spain.

Spain? How random.

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gallery_21505_1968_19120.jpg

First get your beef. This is about 1 pound of what's sold over here as 'lean stewing beef'. Cut the beef in pieces (or not, whatever you prefer) and season with salt and pepper.

chufi, in that butter-braised-beef, i got to the point where it said STOP. DON'T ADD ANYTHING ELSE, and i thought, no salt/pepper?

so, did i miss something or is there really no salt or pepper in that dish?

you missed it! :smile:

even the Dutch with their love of bland food would not go so far as to eat their meat without salt & pepper :biggrin:

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Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) is celebrated on December 5th. It is traditionally a children's feast, for young children who still 'believe' that this man in a red cloak, with a long white beard, sitting on a white horse, with his bishop's mitre and surrounded by his (very politically incorrect) black little helpers called Zwarte Pieten (black Peter), is a real person who lives in Spain all year and who comes to The Netherlands every winter to reward the children who have been good with presents, and to punish those who have been bad by putting them in an bag and taking them home to Spain.

Spain? How random.

Especially since the 'real' bishop St Nicolas was a bishop in Myra, Turkey, in the 4th century.

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My list of Dutch foods to make is getting really REALLY long!

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so, did i miss something or is there really no salt or pepper in that dish?

you missed it! :smile:

even the Dutch with their love of bland food would not go so far as to eat their meat without salt & pepper :biggrin:

i knew i must have been crazy. i even read the post a couple more times to make sure i didn't miss it, and somehow missed it those times too... whoa.

i may make this this weekend.

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[...]For speculaas, you need the special spice blend. You can buy it readymade over here but you can grind your own.

The spices that need to be in this mix are:

cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, aniseed, coriander, cardamom, in a ratio: cinnamon 3 : cloves 2: nutmeg 2: ginger  1/2: aniseed  1/2: coriander  1/2: cardamom  1/2. You can add some white pepper if you like it really spicy.[...]

This is beautiful, and also a partial answer to the question of what the Dutch do with all those spices their ancestors were so eager to get their hands on in the East Indies (now Indonesia).

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Kapucijners, or capucijner peas, are a kind of pulse that I think, is unique to the Netherlands. Freshly picked and cooked they look like this:

gallery_21505_1968_35995.jpg

They are a bit larger than green peas, and greyer in color. Their texture is a bit more mealy and their taste earthy and delicious.

In their dried (and reconstituted and cooked) form, they have always been a great winter staple. They have a lovely flavor, unlike any dried pulse I know, I would describe it as something between a chickpea and a kidneybean.

They are the main ingredient for what's known as the "kapiteinsmaal", the Captain's Dinner.

Apparently this was what the captains of the big merchant ships, sailing to the east for spices, had for dinner (probably while all the poor sailors were eating nothing but dry biscuits). Every item of this dinner travels well and is almost unperishable: dried beans, onions, smoked and dried meats, and pickles. All together it makes a very satisfying winter dinner!

The beans, cooked and mixed with fried smoked bacon

gallery_21505_1968_6045.jpg

all the side dishes:

gallery_21505_1968_6410.jpg

fried onionrings, piccalilly, mustard, pickles and sambal (the last item not being traditional, but we like something spicy with this)

all together on the plate:

gallery_21505_1968_72980.jpg

washed down with one of my favorite strong Dutch beers (11.6 %..):

gallery_21505_1968_8695.jpg

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I just wanted to say that I am enjoying this thread so much. What a great insight into Dutch cooking.

And I know this is a little off topic, but...the St. Nicholas tradition is the premise of one of my favorite David Sedaris stories titled "6 to 8 Black Men". It is a humorous take on the tradition and I laugh every time I think of it, much less hear it. So, thanks for the laugh and the great cooking!

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Klary, the beans look awesome. I love beans. I'll have to check as see if we can get them in Canada....

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Klary, the beans look awesome.  I love beans.  I'll have to check as see if we can get them in Canada....

They are also known as capucijner blue pod or Dutch grey pea.

I think they are not the same as marrowfat peas (very confusing, researching hundreds of different types of beans and peas :wacko: )

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Klary, the beans look awesome.  I love beans.  I'll have to check as see if we can get them in Canada....

They are also known as capucijner blue pod or Dutch grey pea.

I think they are not the same as marrowfat peas (very confusing, researching hundreds of different types of beans and peas :wacko: )

Thanks, Klary. I WILL be writing that down before I go hunting... :smile:

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They are also known as capucijner blue pod or Dutch grey pea.

I think they are not the same as marrowfat peas (very confusing, researching hundreds of different types of beans and peas  :wacko: )

I have a strong suspicion I won't be able to find these, so what do you think the closest more widely available equivalent is? By the way, I love this thread, keep up the great work! :biggrin:

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I have a strong suspicion I won't be able to find these, so what do you think the closest more widely available equivalent is? By the way, I love this thread, keep up the great work! :biggrin:

Thanks lexy!

I would use a bean with a good, mellow flavor. I'm no expert on the beans available in the US, but I think red or pinto bean, or black-eyed pea would work.

Basically, all you're eating is beans, bacon and pickles, so the beans do have to be tasty :smile:

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So, I've told you something about Sinterklaas upthread. saturday November 12 was the day that he actually arrived in the Netherlands, on a steamer all the way from Spain.

This is such a big event that it's covered live on national television.

Here are some shots I took of the tv, to give you a idea what this very important man looks like (and I've warned you before that this is not a PC holiday ).

gallery_21505_1968_9713.jpg

gallery_21505_1968_58713.jpg

From the day he arrives in the country, you are allowed to 'place your shoe'. Children put their shoe by the fireplace (or in modern home, next to the central heating :smile: ). You put some kind of treat for the horse in your shoe - a carrot, or an apple.

No children in the house here but for the education of the EGulleters, we decided to place our shoe anyway (me, my husband and my 16 year old stepdaughter, who is with us for the weekend) [note: that spiky heel is NOT mine :shock: ]

gallery_21505_1968_35368.jpg

you go to bed and the next morning the magic has happened:

the horse's treats have disappeared and there are presents in your shoe!

gallery_21505_1968_26542.jpg

here's what we got:

our inititials in chocolate, my name in chocolate, marzipan moneybag, marzipan dog.

It's all about the candy..

gallery_21505_1968_34823.jpg

The whole letter thing apparently stems from the fact that the bishop St Nicolaas loved to teach little children how to read. You can buy letters in many forms. Chocolate is a favorite, but another really good one is a large letter made from puff pastry, filled with almond paste. Mmmmm...

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Sid, I think what you are referring to is boerenkoolstamppot Boerenkool is the dutch word for kale, and translted back to English, boerenkool would mean 'farmer's cabbage'.  :smile:

Did it look like this (without the sausage?)

boerenkool.jpg

:wub:boerenkoolstamppot :wub:

That's it. I know it's not a classic Thanksgiving dish in North America but, it is so good and it really fits the theme of the holiday. I didn't think I could wait for the holiday to have some so, I picked up the potatoes and other goodies from the store yesterday. The cooler weather reminds me of great times in the Netherlands and makes me want this dish even more.

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washed down with one of my favorite strong Dutch beers (11.6 %..):

gallery_21505_1968_8695.jpg

Dutch beer is so good. I am spoiled whenever I go to Europe because I can get good beer anywhere :wub: Even out of vending machines in the hotel! :shock::shock::shock: That would never happen in the USA with our weird liquor laws.

Dommelsch Was one of my favorites in Enschede. They had great marketing too, I particularly liked their television commercials.

I tried to special order some from the local liquor distributor but, they were unable to find it. I even emailed the brewery directly and got someone fluent in English to respond to my query but, unfortunately they do not have any distribution in the USA. :sad: They suggested I try some Grolsch which is good beer too but, I haven't seen HET KANON ever. That gives me something to look forward to though next time I go to Europe.

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Speculaas is the Dutch pastry associated with winter (in summer you can buy them, but I don't think many people eat them) and especially with the Dutch celebration of Sinterklaas.

Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) is celebrated on December 5th. It is traditionally a children's feast, for young children who still 'believe' that this man in a red cloak, with a long white beard, sitting on a white horse, with his bishop's mitre and surrounded by his (very politically incorrect) black little helpers called Zwarte Pieten (black Peter), is a real person who lives in Spain all year and who comes to The Netherlands every winter to reward the children who have been good with presents, and to punish those who have been bad by putting them in an bag and taking them home to Spain.

But adults love this celebration as much as children. This a day when you give each other presents anonymously, often these presents are wrapped up in something completely different (for instance, a book can be buried in a bowl of dirt or hidden in a doll's house).

Sweets are a large part of this celebration. Marsepein (marzipan) is formed and coloured into every imaginable shape (one of the most popular is bright pink pigs).

Everybody gets his or hers initials in large chocolate letters. Pepernoten are everywhere in large bowls to munch on. And speculaas, in different shapes - as thin cookies, as large crunchy chunks, or filled with almond paste.

The smell of speculaas pastry is everywhere these days, when you pass a bakery this wonderful spicy scent comes wafting out into the streets. Today I made it myself.

With posts like this one, my mother isn't going to be too happy with me flying back to the Netherlands for the holidays. Your post brings back vivid memories of the holiday and makes me miss the Netherlands.

I remember at first being a little perplexed with the theme of the holiday but, I got it after a few days and a little conversation with a few people while waiting for or riding on a local train.

It may not be PC (politically correct) but, everyone really seemed to enjoy the holiday. Those Zwarte Pieten characters seemed to really enjoy the "show". At the city center they put on a good show running around the streets and scaling a local store to "fly away". Local culture is wonderful thing!

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Because I was in the Sinterklaas mood anyway, I decided to bake some more speculaas.

I used a slightly different dough, consisting of:

200 grams flour

150 grams butter

125 grams dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons spicemix.

Several of my recipes said that the dough for speculaas has to rest overnight in the fridge to allow the flavours of the spices to develop. So I made the dough last night and proceeded this morning. I don't know if it was the long resting in the fridge or the high ratio of butter in this dough, but it was very sticky and hard to work with.

Besides the gevulde speculaas I showed upthread, with the almondpaste filling, speculaas comes in several other forms: in huge irregular chunks, as thin crisp cookies, and shaped as large figures (windmills, or the bishop Sinterklaas). The figures asre known as 'poppen', dolls. They are made with a wooden mould, by pressing the dough into the (floured) mould. This was a real pain to do and after making a couple I rolled out the rest of the dough to make ordinary cookies:

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the cookies were brushed with an egg glaze and sprinkled with flaked almonds.

gallery_21505_1968_71455.jpg

gallery_21505_1968_40877.jpg

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Klary,

This is one of my favorite threads of all-time.

If you're taking requests: here's another one that dates back to our cycling vacation of summer 2004: Zeeuwse babbelaars. I'd post a pic from our vacation, but ImageGullet's not cooperating at the moment.

MelissaH

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Klary,

This is one of my favorite threads of all-time.

If you're taking requests: here's another one that dates back to our cycling vacation of summer 2004: Zeeuwse babbelaars. I'd post a pic from our vacation, but ImageGullet's not cooperating at the moment.

MelissaH

Melissa, thank you!

Ofcourse I take requests.. I will try to find a recipe for the babbelaars! More butter and sugar, I'm afraid..

Please post pics from your stay in the Netherlands, I know you were in Zeeland, and that's a province that I'm not that familiar with. There's a trick here in this post in the Techforum on how to work around the ImageGullet problems, I have been using that technique for the past days to post my pics, works fine!

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Ah, thanks for pointing me to the workaround, Klary.

I actually had a whole Web site of our vacation. I'm still working on getting that posted after losing access to the server it was on. Once I get it functioning again, I'll post a link here because it's fairly heavy on the food content. (I hope you don't mind that it includes some time in Belgium as well.) In the meantime, here's a picture of a group dedicated to preserving traditional Zeeuwse dress, dancing, and cooking in the process of making babbelaars.

To make the candy, sugar, water, white vinegar, and butter (don't know the proportions) were boiled together to about the soft crack (I think) stage. Then the candy was scraped out onto an oiled slab of marble, allowed to cool momentarily, and then pulled by hand. The woman on the right of the picture was in charge of the cooking, and the man was teaching the girl how to pull the candy. The girl was wearing a pair of yellow rubber gloves like you'd see on someone washing dishes: a handicap to help the rookie, who hadn't yet developed her asbestos fingers! When the candy had been pulled enough (whatever that meant), the puller rolled it into a rope about as thick as a Twizzler, and used the back of a butter knife to mark it into pieces. When the candy had cooled and hardened, a quick tap with the flat of the knife broke the pieces apart from one another. We got to taste a piece each, and I remember it as being quite yummy, not too far from a Werther's hard candy.

gallery_23869_1329_32807.jpg

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Hi Klary,

thank you for all the wonderful dishes ! Good to read that you take requests, I am born and bred in Leiden and still live in the Netherlands but your old style high quality cooking makes me long for the meals my Mom cooked when I was a toddler (around the '50ies).

Things I remember to be our staple food: Dried fish (stokvis/baccalou?) with boiled potatoes and small boiled onions. The only thing added was a bit of left-over gravy (Dutch gravy: just the fat left over from cooking meat). The fish was full of taste but had a distinct smell. Used to be poor man's food but is very expensive nowadays. Horsemeat! Leiden had a couple of butchers selling nothing but horsemeat and horsemeat sausage. Cheap and nourishing but the taste of a good horsemeat sausage is awesome imho.

And of course Leiden means hutspot, every 3rd of October we celebrate Leidens liberation from the Spaniards and the traditional meal is hutspot: potatoes, carrots, unions and meat (klapstuk). That's later in the day, in the morning herrings and white bread are given away free, just as in 1574.

Your recipe for the draadjesvlees was spot on, the best way to cook it was on a petroleum burner (peterolie stel), it the slowness that makes it melt in your mouth. Draadjesvlees and home made twice-fried fries with yoghurt, jam and beschuit for desert hmm..

Looking forward to new goodies Klary, I can just about boil an egg but I love to eat good honest food !

cheers, Leo.

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I actually had a whole Web site of our vacation. I'm still working on getting that posted after losing access to the server it was on. Once I get it functioning again, I'll post a link here because it's fairly heavy on the food content. (I hope you don't mind that it includes some time in Belgium as well.)

I would love to see the pictures Melissa!

As for the babbelaars, I did find some recipes, but it might be a while before I tackle this.. for some reason making candy scares me :smile:

If you like, I could PM you the recipe, maybe you are braver than me..

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