Just before the new term is about to start, I finally found the time to make a round up post of some of my culinary endeavours in August. Part one is about Ameland, a little island in the North Sea to which I go on holiday each year.
Every visit to the island means a visit to the baker’s for a selection of traditional island bakery products. But we also tried something new this year.
This summer, I got inspired by this Oranjekoek project - to which Ramona kindly introduced me. I had never tasted the Frisian delicacy of Oranjekoek, so this was the right time to taste the koeken of Ameland’s two foremost bakeries. They looked really different from those which they created for the photo project!
First we tried this one, which was not in the shop display yet and thus hastily decorated by the shopkeeper. Despite its lopsided whipped cream, it tasted amazing. I liked the fact that the fondant was still oozing, it went well with the drier texture of the cake.
This one had a really nice decoration though I preferred the other cake’s whipped cream to the buttercream. The taste of this cake came closer to gevulde speculaas; nevertheless, it tasted good!
Puff Pastry Fun
I bought the Dutch version of Delicious. magazine, which featured a really inviting recipe for a beetroot tarte tatin. I was struggling in the small cottage kitchen (I had already broken a frying pan whilst trying to bake two pancakes at the same time). I had limited means to create the pie - luckily my mother’s love of wine means I always have an empty bottle at hand to use as a rolling pin. The oven wasn’t helping either; it took forever to get the pastry cooked, but in the end it was there, and the caramelised beetroots and goat’s cheese were a perfect combination!
The next day I used up the leftover puff pastry to make these little tomato tarts and creamy cheese turnovers! They were scrumptious.
Even when I’m on holiday I can always find a reason to fire up the oven.
This is my take on one of most omnipresent snack foods from the Netherlands: the glacékoek, more commonly known as roze koek (pink cake). Notorious for their artificially coloured pink glaze, these cakes are sold individually in vending machines and are stocked by every shop imaginable. There are big and small varieties with confetti, a jam layer, and even though the pink fondant is what makes them distinct from your regular cake, they change colour whenever there is a national celebration going on (orange), at Easter (yellow), or even to celebrate the new Pope (blue).
What better way to use up unwanted foods than using them for scientific pudding experimenting. As they say, the proof…
Throwing away food I simply cannot do, regardless when it was free and something I wouldn’t have bought normally. Food is food and it is a shame to waste anything that has been grown, harvested, produced, transported, using lots of fuel, energy and care. So what to do with tin of peaches and a packet of amaretti biscuits? Why, chuck them into a cake batter and make a sponge pudding, of course! For this recipe I reduced the amount of sugar you’d normally expect in a pudding by replacing it with honey. For a lighter texture I used yogurt as opposed to more butter. Perfect for a summer’s day.
For yesterday’s dinner I made a salad with cooked spelt grains, cucumber, celery, julienned apple and shrimps and a wild garlic dressing.
Now that I’ve turned to eating more plant-based food I find I do not take animal products for granted anymore. Therefore, I take extra care when I prepare a fish or meat dish, making sure everything tastes as special as they deserve to be. I bought a packet of North Sea shrimps and went for a special dressing made from the wild garlic that I discovered was growing in our garden. To complete my dressing I also took some chives and parsley. Much tastier than a shop-bought dressing and, as it happens, a lot cheaper!
The idea for this cake was a bit tongue in cheek. As of yesterday, The Netherlands has a new king: Willem-Alexander. I felt like making something cheesy like a Koninginnerol (no actual cheese involved) but then I came across the Pavé du Roy, which translates as “The King’s Cobblestones”. The chocolate mousse originally meant to resemble the cobblestones but of course mine decided to collapse so it ended up looking rather more like the king’s asphalt. I didn’t really care because the cake was absolutely delicious. With the little pieces of mixed fruit I meant to symbolise the crown jewels.