Roasted Grape & Brie Crostini, with Honey Roasted Walnuts and Pumpkin Seeds

This is such an easy recipe for entertaining. You can make the roasted nuts in advance and just store them in an airtight container once they are completely cold. I also bought the baguette the night before and froze it. There is one really good French artisanal bakery here (it is called Le Fournil de Sebastien). Even though it is not very far from my home, it is out of my usual route and very often I just don’t have the time to go there. So now I just stock up when I am less busy, and keep it the freezer. I just sprinkle some water over the baguette. Then I bake it for about 15 minutes at 180C/350F and voilà, perfect baguette as it was just freshly made. For this recipe, I like the grapes to still keep their shape. So when you bite into them, they just burst open in your mouth. I roasted them in a bit of balsamic vinegar and port to add a bit more of a complex flavor to them. So good!

This recipe is for two medium baguettes.

Ingredients:
For the honey roasted walnuts & pumpkin seeds:
100grs of walnuts
60grs of pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of honey
Pinch of salt
For the roasted grapes:
500grs of red seedless grapes
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of port
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Sprinkle of salt
Extras:
2 baguettes, sliced
400grs of Brie
Fresh thyme leaves to decorate

Start by making the nuts. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the vegetable oil, a pinch of salt and honey in a bowl, mix well with a fork. Then add the walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Mix well until they are evenly coated.

Spread them in a single layer and bake them for about 15-18 minutes, stirring half way through. Check that they don’t burn. Once the nuts are done, set them aside to cool down.

Raise the oven temperature to 220C/420F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the grapes from the vine. Add the olive oil, port, balsamic vinegar, thyme and sprinkle of salt. Add the grapes and toss to coat them. Spread the grapes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Don’t forget to also pour the sauce.

Roast the grapes for 20-25 minutes until they begin to burst. You want them to still keep their shape.

To serve, place a slice of brie over each slice of bread. Top with some roasted grapes and a bit of the juice. Then add some of the honey roasted nuts and a few thyme leaves. Enjoy!

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Treating the Winter Blues with an Energy Lamp

I’ve never been a huge fan of winter. I’m just not a cold weather person. But it wasn’t till I moved to the Netherlands that winter actually took a toll on me. Right now the sun rises at 8:33am and the sunset is at 4:28pm. That’s not many hours of daylight in a day and it can have a big impact on some people, including myself. It is only while living here that I learned of SAD (a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder).

They say that the lack of sunlight upsets your biological clock (sleep patterns) and causes hormone problems which affect your mood. Some of the symptoms include feeling lethargic, getting easily irritated, wanting to sleep more, and craving carbs.

I feel it the most on the days in which I work behind my laptop. On some occasions, at around 4pm, I just can’t keep my eyes open anymore. Once it is dark, I don’t want to go out anymore. When I have something to do in the evening, I really have to push myself out of the door.

I’ve been very curious to try light therapy for a while, and to see if it actually makes a difference. These kinds of lamps simulate the exposure to sunlight. This past week Pieter and I tested the Medisana LT 480 Daylight lamp. We always have breakfast and dinner together, and nowadays it is dark at that time. So we just sit in front of the light while we eat. And we really feel a difference. Now, we don’t feel hyper as if we had taken an energy drink but we do feel more awake. In the morning, it helps me get the day started and in the evening, it helps me to stay awake till we go to bed. I am the kind of person that can very easily fall asleep on the couch, or anywhere for that matter. So I am really happy with this lamp. It makes these dark days more manageable.

For more foodie inspiration, travel & lifestyle; you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and Youtube channel.

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Prinz Wolf

Today we had lunch at Prinz Wolf, the newly opened restaurant from Chef Michael Wolf (Wolf Atelier). This new tartaria as the name implies, specializes in tartare. They currently offer 6 different kinds, and yes there are vegetarian options too. They also offer some small bites/sides and oysters served with mignonette.

We went for the salmon tartare with mango, chili and avocado; and the tuna with daikon, jalapeño and coriander. Both were delicious and well balanced. From the sides, we had the ceviche with Argentinian prawns which was really nice in flavor. But it reminded me more of a crudo than a ceviche, since ceviche tends to have more sour notes.

We also had the glazed pork belly with pearl couscous and pumpkin puree. I’m a sucker for pork belly and Ï loved the crunchy onions coating it. The prices are very reasonable. Especially considering the prime location that it has, as it is located right by the Prinsengracht.

Prinz Wolf Tartaria

Prinsengracht 411

 

For more foodie inspiration, travel & lifestyle; you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and Youtube channel.

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Quinoa, Broccoli & Chicken Enchiladas with Cheddar Beer Sauce

Inspired by the classic broccoli cheese soup, I made this enchilada recipe. It is stuffed with quinoa, broccoli and chicken. If you are vegetarian (or want to skip on the chicken), substitute it for 2 extra cups of finely chopped broccoli. For the sauce, I made a simple roux, then added grated Cheddar and some pale beer. I also added some sour cream to make it silkier. This is a very filling dish, perfect for this time of the year. I should have bought some Coronas and pretend it is Friday already.

This recipe makes 8 enchiladas.

Ingredients:

For the Filling:
1 cup of white quinoa (I prefer this type for this recipe, as it is fluffier and absorbs the sauce better)
225grs of chicken breast
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of celery salt
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of chipotle powder
12 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup tomato puree
2 cups of finely chopped broccoli
Salt
1 cup shredded Gouda

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of pale beer, I used Heineken
300grs of Cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
125ml of sour cream
Salt to taste

For the tortillas:
8 large tortillas
1 cup of tomato puree
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of celery salt

Toppings:
125ml of sour cream
Chili Flakes
Garden cress (optional) or Fresh coriander leaves
Lime wedges
1 avocado, thinly sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped (I used red, yellow and orange)

 

First cook the quinoa. Rinse it under cold water and then boil it for 12 minutes. Drain it and set it aside.

While the quinoa is cooking, boil the chicken breast in another pot for about 10 minutes. I sliced it in half so that it cooks through quicker. Once the chicken is cooked, shred it with two forks. Set it aside.

In a large pan, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add the red onion. Cook while stirring for about 3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Then add the garlic, spices and cherry tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes while stirring.

Then add the tomato puree, shredded chicken, broccoli and quinoa. Don’t worry about the raw broccoli, it will finish cooking in the oven. Add a pinch of salt, the cooked quinoa and the shredded Gouda. Mix well and set it aside.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Start making the Cheddar beer sauce. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour. Stir for 2-3 minutes until it thickens and becomes a golden color. Then slowly add the beer while stirring. Stir for 3 minutes.

Then slowly add the grated cheddar while whisking. Keep whisking for about 6 minutes until it thickens.
Turn off the heat and add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, sour cream and salt to taste. Whisk until everything is well combined. Then set it aside.

Pour about ½ a cup of the cheddar beer sauce in your oven dish.

To assemble the enchilada, first place 1 cup of tomato puree in a small bowl. Add the onion powder, garlic powder and celery salt. Mix well. Place one tortilla on a cutting board. Brush both sides of the tortilla with the tomato sauce. Then stuff it with the quinoa filling and roll it tight. Place it in the prepared baking dish. Repeat for the rest.

Pour the remaining Cheddar beer sauce over the stuffed tortillas. Bake it for 20 minutes. Then broil it for about 5 minutes, keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.

To serve, spread some of the sour cream in the middle of the enchilada. Add the chopped cherry tomatoes in the middle, sprinkle some garden cress and chili flakes. Finally add the sliced avocado. Serve right away with lime wedges.

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Mama Kelly Amsterdam

Mama Kelly finally opened its doors in Amsterdam. If you have never heard of this restaurant, it is known for its Surf & Turf (Chicken and Lobster) in The Hague. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw the restaurant already. They went very bold in terms of interior, as the whole restaurant is pink. I was not sure what to expect as I’ve never been to the one in The Hague, but the dishes were quite good. We had a tasting on the opening night. My favorite starters were the Lobster soup, Chestnut and Pumpkin soup, and the Burrata with avocado cream. Their famous rotisserie chicken with lime and parsley, and the lobster with butter were also nice. They also have a BBQ chicken which looked very good, unfortunately we didn’t try that one. And for dessert, the Blondie was a winner at our table. We asked for a second one to share. For now they only serve dinner, but starting from the end of November they will start serving lunch.

Mama Kelly Amsterdam

Olympisch Stadion 35
1076 DE  AMSTERDAM
020 – 225 26 84

For more foodie inspiration, travel & lifestyle; you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and Youtube channel.

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