Kimchi, Caramelized Onion & Potato Pancakes with Okonomiyaki Sauce

For me, kimchi makes everything better. Of course, you have to like kimchi. If you don’t, you can skip it. A potato and caramelized onion pancake is still delicious, but I am going for Asian vibes here. For the sauce, I just paired it with a very simple Okonomiyaki Sauce (you probably already have all of the ingredients in your pantry). For a cheap and easy meal, give this a try!

This recipe makes about 6 small pancakes

Ingredients:

For the pancakes:

1 kilo of potatoes (like russet), peeled and shredded

½ cup of kimchi, minced with a knife

2 ½ tablespoons of tapioca flour

1 egg

1 egg white

Pinch of salt

Pinch of black pepper

Pinch of garlic powder

1 red onion, finely sliced

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

For the Okonomiyaki Sauce:

½ cup of ketchup

3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ tablespoons of honey

Pinch of garlic powder

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

Extras:

Vegetable oil for frying the pancakes

Chopped chives for serving

 

Start by shredding the peeled potatoes. To save time and the possibility of hurting my fingers, I used my food processor for this. Once the potatoes are shredded, place them in a fine mesh sieve. And press them to get rid of all the liquid that you can.

In a medium pan, add the sliced onion over low heat. Let it cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring from time to time until it caramelizes.

Add the potato, onion, kimchi, tapioca flour, egg, egg white, salt, pepper and garlic powder to a medium bowl. Mix well using a fork.

To make the sauce, just mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve for serving.

Add about 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large pan over medium heat. I used a mold to try to get the pancakes more even in shape, but you don’t have to. I placed a circular mold in the hot pan. Then I added a few tablespoons of the potato mixture and pressed to shape it. Then I removed the mold. I cooked 3 at a time. Let the pancakes cook until golden on both sides. Time will depend on the size/thickness of course. Mine took about 4-5 min per side.

Serve warm with the okonomiyaki sauce and chopped chives. I added some edible flowers for a pop of color.

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Thai Spiced Nuts

Inspired by our lasted trip to Thailand, I created this spiced nuts recipe. When I travel, I always like to visit the local markets and supermarkets to see and try what they have to offer. I could spend hours browsing through each isle or stand. Pieter actually got tired of waiting for me on our last supermarket trip there while I was examining the information on the packaging of every snack I found interesting.

These nuts are sticky and they have a sort of umami taste. I just used the Thai basil for decoration but you can add it freshly chopped right before serving. And it’s done in 20 minutes with minimal amount of cooking. I was generous with the spice measurements. If you like it spicy, you can always add for chili powder or cayenne.

Ingredients:

150grs of unsalted cashew nuts

125grs of unsalted almonds

80grs of unsalted pumpkin seeds

For the Sauce:

Juice of 1 lime

1 ½ teaspoon of kaffir lime leaf powder

1 ½ teaspoon of cayenne or chili powder

1 teaspoon of lemon grass powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 ½ tablespoon of salt

½ teaspoon of ginger powder

¼ cup of sugar

¼ cup of water

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place all of the ingredients for the sauce in a medium saucepan. Whisk so all the spices get dissolve into the water. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Don’t forget to stir constantly so that it doesn’t burn. It’s ready when most of the water has evaporated and it has become a syrup.

Add the nuts and mix well to coat them. Spread them in a single layer over the prepared baking sheet.

Bake them for 15 minutes. Stirring half way though the cooking time.

Once they come out of the oven, allow them to cool. Then try to separate the nuts into smaller chunks.

If you want, add freshly chopped Thai basil right before serving. Enjoy!

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.

Kupu Kupu Phangan Beach Villas and Spa by L’Occitane

 

Coming back to our trip to Thailand, from Koh Samui we took the fast ferry to the island of Ko Pha Ngan. There we stayed at Kupu Kupu Phangan Beach Villas and Spa by L’Occitane. The resort is located on the west side of the island. It is about a 10 minute ride from Thong Sala, which is great because you can just rent a scooter and go visit the night market. The big street market is only open on Saturdays. But throughout the week, there is a smaller market which still has plenty of food stands to choose from.

We stayed at one of their Sea view pool villas. The picture below was the view from ours. The resort is small and cozy, so no need to walk a lot to use the facilities.

The beach is surrounded by a few rocks which are easier to climb on low tide (nice for pictures 😉 ).

The resort has one restaurant called the Plage. We had lunch at one of their tables in the pool. Their grilled watermelon salad was so delicious, not to mention also very pretty.
We also had a tuna & scallop tartare which was also very good. We also tried their Thai set dinner. It was already too dark to take proper pictures, but we really enjoyed their 3 course menu. And actually their deep fried pork with garlic and pepper was the best one we had during our trip. We liked it so much that we ordered the same dish at other places later on, and none were as good as the one we had here. We also had a couple’s massage at their Spa. Pieter actually fell asleep during it. So nice to just let go and relax completely. The whole staff was very friendly and attentive. We were very pleased with our stay!

For more foodie inspiration, 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.

 

InterContinental Samui Resort

Pieter and I went to Thailand last month and we stayed at the Intercontinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort in Koh Samui. This resort was included in the “1,000 Places to see before you die book”. So we knew we were in for a treat. The resort is situated among different levels of a cliff, so you can choose to move by golf car (you just have to make a call and they will pick you up) or you can be sporty and use the stairs. The stairs are nice because everything around you is green and they also have a hanging bridge.

We stayed at one of their Club beachfront Pool Villas which was incredible. Each villa has private garden and pool with sea view, as the name describes. The bathroom had a Jacuzzi and two showers (one outdoors).

The bed was very comfortable (100% Egyptian cotton sheets). Because of our jetlag, afternoon naps were mandatory. The WiFi was very good throughout the resort. I was quite surprised that I was able to do a Live Instagram story from the pier. I didn’t think I would have internet that far away but I did.

The resort is located on the west coast of the island and their Air Bar is a famous spot to view the sunset. We had some cocktails there, eagerly waiting for the sunset but unfortunately we were unlucky with the weather, as we got rain around that time on both days. But luckily the rain didn’t last very long.

The breakfast at Amber was great. It had a very large variety of dishes to choose from. From classic breakfast items, like pancakes, waffles and cereals.  To a noodle bar where you could choose your kind of noodle plus toppings. And they also served dumplings, curry, fresh fruit and juices. They had me at noodles and dumplings.

We also had dinner in the same restaurant because that night, they had World of Siam. A buffet-styled Thai dinner. We both loved it. We had the coconut soup. There was a make your own green papaya salad bar, so of course I had to make one. If you follow my Instagram stories, you probably saw that I was eating green papaya salad twice a day throughout our whole trip. They also served different kind of stir-fries, seafood and of course, a large selection of Thai desserts. I loved the fried banana and sticky rice with mango.

On our last day we got a couple’s massage at their Baan Thai Spa. Our masseuses were superb. They really went hard on us, on request. We were very hectic prior to this trip, so we were very happy to have someone work on all the stress accumulated in our shoulders.

One of the things that drew me to this hotel was their main infinity pool, located next to their bar.

Because from one side you overlook a coconut plantation and from the other, you overlook the sea. So beautiful and romantic! They also have another infinity pool next to the beach and 5 other ones along the cliff-side. The ones cliff-side have different colors (yellow, orange, blue, red and purple), which represent the different palette of colors of the sky during the day and night.

Overall we had a great experience. The service was outstanding and the location was dreamy.

For more foodie inspiration, 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.

 

 

My May Beauty Favorites

It’s time for another beauty favorites. First up is the Three Part Harmony soft cream by Origins. I discovered Origins last year and what I like about them is that they use a lot of natural ingredients. This lightweight cream helps produce natural collagen to help repair the skin. I’ve been using it morning and night for a couple of weeks already and my skin feels more toned and moisturized. I also love the slight citrus smell that it has.

I also tried Origins Flower Fusion Sheet Masks. It was my first time trying on a sheet mask and I liked the results. They left my skin feeling very soft. Pieter was just not a big fan of how I looked while wearing it 🙂 and my cats were also quite curious of how I looked.

I’ve added some new Smashbox items to my makeup routine. I tried the Photo Finish Primer Oil and loved it. I just apply two drops on my face and it is quickly absorbed. It leaves you with a dewy skin and of course it allows your makeup to stay put. It has lavender oil which makes it smell amazing. In combination with the primer oil, I’ve also been using Smashbox Studio Skin 15 hour wear hydrating foundation. It glides on easily and gives you a nice medium coverage, but you can always build it up a bit more. I liked that it didn’t clog my pores and it does last the whole day.

Another favorite is the Smashbox Full exposure Eye Shadow Palette. I tend to always go for neutral colors when it comes to eye shadows and that’s why I love this palette. I especially love the golden colors. They have high pigmentation so you don’t need a lot.

Last but not least is Glamglow’s ThirstyMud hydrating mask. It has a sort of caramel smell. I leave it on my face overnight and I wake up with ultra-soft and hydrated skin.

For more foodie inspiration, 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.

Food Photography Background Tutorial + First Vlog

A long time ago, I used to have a tutorial here on how to make a food photography background but I decided to erase it since the quality of the video wasn’t very good. I’ve been wanting to make a proper one since then. So I decided to include it on my first vlog. I thought of  showing you guys a bit more of my daily life, from events to restaurants, to some cooking and traveling. On this one we went zip lining in the Hague, tried some new restaurants and visited the blue forest in Belgium.

So if you would like to see/know anything in particular, do let me know.

For more foodie inspiration, 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.

Buffalo Chickpea Tacos with Avocado Sour Cream & Cucumber Noodles

Finally whipping up new recipes. Things have been so hectic lately. We are still working on our apartment and food styling projects have kept me super busy. The last two projects I did, were actually in France. We shot in Senlis (about an hour from Paris). The picture below is the garden of the small hotel where I stayed.

And we also shot in Arles in the south. Such a beautiful town. Loved all the colorful streets.

I never thought I would be traveling with luggage full of tableware. There is a first for everything :). They were cool projects but after arduous days of cooking a lot on set, I had no energy to cook anymore. So I took a little break from recipe testing. But now I am back with Taco Tuesday. Roasted chickpeas with buffalo sauce, cucumber noodles for some crunch and avocado sour cream. Super simple and minimal effort.

This recipe makes 12 small tacos.

Ingredients:

For the buffalo chickpeas:

300grs of canned chickpeas, drained

1 tablespoon of Maizena

150ml of buffalo sauce (I used Frank’s)

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

For the avocado sour cream:

1 avocado

Juice of 1 lime

125ml of sour cream

Salt to taste

A pinch of onion powder

Pinch of celery salt

Extras:

2 Cucumbers, spiralized or julienned

A handful of thinly sliced radishes

12 small tortillas

 

Start by preheating your oven to 180C/350F. Drain and pat dry your canned chickpeas with paper towels. Add the Maizena and mix well. Then add the buffalo sauce and maple syrup. Mix well until all the chickpeas are coated in the sauce. Place them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Baked them for 30 minutes. Stir half way through the cooking. Then turn the heat up to 230C/450F. Roast them for an extra 20 minutes. Stir after 10 minutes.

Using a spiralizer or a mandoline with a julienne attachment, slice the cucumbers. Then squeeze them to get rid of the excess water. Place them in a sift with a large bowl underneath until ready to serve

To make the avocado sour cream, just blend all of the ingredients until smooth.

Warm up the tortillas in a pan. Then stuff each with some of the cucumber, chickpeas, radishes and a drizzle of the avocado sour cream. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, 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.

My March Beauty Favorites

This is a new section where I will be sharing my current beauty/skincare favorites. I’ve been obsessed with makeup since I was a teenager. I love experimenting with it. When I still lived with my parents, I would do my mom’s makeup when she would go out. But it is only since last year that I actually have a skincare routine. I wish I would have started in my early 20s but better late than never.

First up is Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil. I’ve been following Negin Mirsalehi on Instagram for a few years now and I’ve always loved her hair. So when she created her own hair-care line I was very curious. Honey is known for having a lot of health benefits so why not try it in a hair product? What I usually do is apply the serum on my wet hair, let it air dry and then apply a little bit again after styling it. It leaves my hair soft without weighting it down. And after styling, it helps with flyaways. I just use a few drops which I warm up in between my hands. It doesn’t leave my hands (or hair) feeling greasy and it smells incredible!

Another one of my favorites happens to also have honey. Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream is made with red ginseng root and Manuka honey. This type of honey from New Zealand is known for having high antibacterial properties. This cream is very thick so a little bit goes a long way. It is absorbed quickly and it leaves my skin feeling very soft and moisturized.

A new favorite also from Kiehl’s is the Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil. This lavender scented oil does the trick for removing all my makeup. I have combination skin and this hasn’t made me break out.

Smashbox is one of my favorite makeup brands. I’ve been using their photo finish primer for years. Even when I used to work in a professional kitchen, it would keep my makeup put in all that heat. I use this Primer Water as a setting spray when I have long days and I don’t have time to retouch my makeup. It absorbs very quickly and also keeps my skin hydrated.

Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain by Benefit is an oldie but goodie. I used to use it a lot and I don’t even remember why I forgot to buy it again. I’ve started using it again and I love it. It has the right amount of color to brighten up my face, especially on days where I’m too lazy to put on lipstick.

Poutmud Fizzy Lip Exfoliating Treatment by GlamGlow is a lip scrub that fizzes once it gets in contact with water. It smells amazing and helps me keep my lips soft.

Ka-Brow from Benefit is a cream-gel for your eyebrows. I love it because I have very thin eyebrows. It’s great at filling them in and making them look thicker.

And last but not least is the Yves Saint Lauren Vernis À Lèvres Vinyl Cream. I have the 401 color which is a beautiful red. It is very easy to apply and has high pigmentation. It stays put without drying my lips and since this one is a cool red, it makes my teeth look whiter.

For more foodie inspiration, 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.

 

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Cake

This is an oldie, but it was in need of a picture update. I love banana cake. It is one of the easiest cakes to make. And so far this is my favorite version. You can make it in the traditional loaf pan, but this time I used a 22cm square baking dish and I only made half of the recipe. I wanted to decorate it with banana pieces cut into stars. I recommend that if you want to use the star bananas, to only do it if you are making half of the recipe or use a larger baking sheet to spread the batter more. As the stars are so small, they will probably end up sinking to the bottom if the cake is too high.

We are having some friends over for dinner tonight, so this will be our dessert. I’m also excited that at least one of our house projects is done. The background in this picture is the dinning table that Pieter and I made. We couldn’t find a table that we both loved, so we decided to make it ourselves. And I am so happy that we did because I love it and it is unique. We still need to make the bench with the same wood and then do some chair shopping for the remaining space.

Ingredients:

4 ripe bananas, mashed (it is important that they are ripe)

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

125gr butter, melted

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

2 teaspoons of baking powder

5 teaspoons of milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

½ cup of peanut butter

1/3 cup of cocoa powder

Extras:

Bananas for decoration (optional), I used a small star cookie cutter

 

Preheat the oven to 180/350F. Line an oven dish or loaf pan with parchment paper.

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl, except for the peanut butter and cocoa powder.

Place the peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. This will make it easier to mix.

Divide the mixture into 2 bowls. Mix the peanut butter with half of the batter, and the cacao powder with the other half. Spoon the batters into the prepared mold, alternating flavors. Once you’ve spooned all of the batter. Use a knife to swirl the batter around and create a marble effect.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you make half the recipe like I did, It will take about 25 minutes to cook depending on the shape of your baking mold. When it’s done it will be golden and just use the toothpick method to double check if it is cooked through.

Allow the cake to cool down before slicing it.

For more foodie inspiration, 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.

 

Chocolate Caramel & Puffed Quinoa Pecan Bars

If you follow my Instagram stories, you probably saw that I was making these bars yesterday. It’s been a while since I’ve made a new dessert bar, so it was due. These are decadent, not overly sweet and they have a hint of heat from the chipotle roasted pecans. And they are very easy to make, without any corn syrup or candy thermometer. I got some questions already of where I get chipotle powder in Amsterdam. I bought it at Tijn’s toko close to the Albert Cuyp market.

This recipe is for a 22cm baking square dish.

Ingredients:

For the roasted pecans:

180grs of pecans

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

2 tablespoon of maple syrup

3/4 teaspoon of chipotle powder (optional)

Pinch of salt

For the puffed quinoa crust:

2 cups of puffed quinoa

3 tablespoons of butter, melted

1 vanilla bean, or 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla essence

3 tablespoons of icing sugar

1 egg white, slightly beaten with a fork

For the chocolate caramel:

1 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of water

6 tablespoons of salted butter

1 1/2 cup of heavy cream

120gs of dark chocolate, chopped

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

 

Start by roasting the pecans.  Preheat your oven to 200C/400F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the pecans with the vegetable oil, maple syrup, chipotle powder and salt. Spread them in a single layer over your prepared baking sheet. Roast them for 15 minutes, stirring half way through.

To make the puffed quinoa crust, first melt the butter and preheat your oven to 180C/350F. If you are using a vanilla bean pod, add the vanilla beans to the melted butter and mix well so that it dissolves. Then add the vanilla butter to the puffed quinoa, icing sugar and egg white. Mix well. Line your baking mold with parchment paper, also cover the sides of the mold so that it is easier to remove the bars later on. Place the quinoa mixture into the prepared mold and use the back of a spoon to evenly distribute it and press to make it compact. Bake it for 15 minutes. Then remove it from the oven and allow it to cool down.

To make the chocolate caramel, place the cream in a bowl and microwave it for 45 seconds. Then add the chopped chocolate, vanilla essence and salt.  Microwave it for 30 second intervals till the chocolate has melted. Mix in between. Set it aside.

In a large medium saucepan, add the sugar and water. Let it melt over medium heat until it becomes amber in color. Swirl the pan around from time to time. Then lower the heat to low and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Stir with a heat-proof spatula until all the butter has melted. Then add the chocolate cream that you made before. Stir constantly over low heat for 10 minutes until it becomes a thick sauce, like fudge. Then turn off the heat and keep stirring for 2 minutes to allow it to cool down and become thicker.

Carefully pour the chocolate caramel evenly over the quinoa crust. Swirl it around so that it covers the edges. Carefully place the pecans on top in a single layer. Let it sit in the fridge to set for at least 5 hours.

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. I’d like to take it out before eating since I prefer them when they are at room temperature and the caramel is chewier.

For more foodie inspiration, 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.