Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust (Gluten Free)

 

I’m so happy that spaghetti squash is finally becoming popular here and I can now buy it at supermarkets. Before I could only find it at the farmer’s market. But these are only on Saturdays, which sucked if I didn’t have time to go or plan ahead. I wanted to make a slightly lighter pizza so I used spaghetti squash as a base for the crust. It’s basically a vegetable fritter. I used egg white, Parmesan and a bit of buckwheat flour to bind it together. So it is gluten free.

This recipe makes 3 individual pizza crusts.

Ingredients:

1 medium spaghetti squash

2 egg whites

¾ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 ½ teaspoon of onion powder

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

40grs grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons Buckwheat flour

Extras:

Olive oil

 

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the squash in half. Spoon out the seeds and the stringy bits of flesh. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on each piece of squash. Place the squash with the cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. Keep the oven on. Remove it from the oven and using a fork, scrape off the flesh. Transfer it to a large bowl. Set it aside to cool down.

Once the squash has cooled down, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Place a non-stick pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, brush it with a bit of olive oil. Add 1/3 of the squash. Press it down with a spoon and shape it into a circle. It is important that you don’t make the pizza crusts too big or too thin as they will be more difficult to flip and most likely to break. So keep that in mind.

Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until it gets slightly brown. The easiest way to flip each fritter is to flip the pan into a plate. Do it carefully so that it doesn’t break. It is also important that you don’t add too much olive oil into the pan before cooking the squash. You don’t want hot oil to drip onto you while flipping the fritter. Repeat for the rest.

Once your spaghetti squash pizza crusts are all done, top them with your favorite pizza toppings. Line an oven sheet with parchment paper and bake for about 10 minutes. For these I used tomato sauce, mozzarella and shredded Gouda. After the pizza was baked, I added some prosciutto, arugula and chili flakes. Enjoy!

Side note: If you want to use mozzarella, avoid using too much and make sure to pat dry each piece with paper towels. The moisture in the mozzarella can make the pizza very watery.

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Fried Chicken with Jalapeño Cornmeal Biscuits & Cucumber Salsa

It’s Monday and I am already thinking about the weekend. And these are perfect for brunch. I wanted to make something similar to a chicken tostada but instead of a tortilla, use a biscuit. These biscuits have more of a bite because of the cornmeal. And I flavored them with sautéed onions and jalapeños. For some freshness, I made a cucumber salsa to go on top. Tip: Make a bit of time the time before and marinate the chicken overnight. I like to marinate the chicken in 1/2 a litter of buttermilk with a pinch of garlic powder, onion powder and salt. It’s worth it, as it make the chicken more tender and juicy.

This recipe makes about 10 servings.

Ingredients:

For the Jalapeño Cornmeal Biscuits:

2 medium jalapeños, finely chopped (use the seeds if you like it spicy)

1 large white onion, finely chopped

½ a teaspoon of garlic powder

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 ¾ cups of self-rising flour

¾ cups of yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of baking soda

1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar

6 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into pieces

1 cup of cold buttermilk

For the cucumber salsa:

½ cucumber, finely chopped (without the seeds)

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons of chopped coriander

1 small red chili, chopped (or more to taste)

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt to taste

For the chicken:

500grs of chicken breast, chopped into medium chunks

1 cup of flour

2 teaspoons of salt

2 teaspoons of onion powder

1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder

1 ½  teaspoons of chipotle powder

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups of panko

For the frying:

About 1 litter of vegetable oil

 

Start by making the corn biscuits. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

If you like it spicy, use the seeds of one jalapeño. If you are used to more heat, use the seeds of both jalapeños.

Place the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, jalapeño and garlic powder. Cook for about 5 minutes, while stirring so that it doesn’t burn. You want the onions to become translucent. Transfer it to a place and allow it to cool down.

Once it has cooled down, start making the biscuit batter. Place all of the ingredients for the biscuits in the food processor and pulse until everything is mixed.

Place the dough on a floured working area. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough too. With your hands, shape the dough into a rectangle. Then fold that rectangle into thirds, as if you were folding a letter. It’s very sticky so don’t worry about it, just sprinkle a bit more flour. Then flatten it again with your hands and fold it into thirds again. You want to repeat this until you have folded the dough into thirds for a total of 3 times.

Then dust the dough with some extra flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is a bit thicker than 1 cm. Cut the dough using a circular mold cutter. Since the dough is quite soft, I like to cut each circle with the mold, jiggle it a bit so that I can lift up the mold with the dough still in side, and then carefully drop the dough into the prepared baking sheet by softly jiggling the cutter.  I used a 7 cm cutter and the dough was enough for 11 biscuits, using the scraps to make more.

Place the biscuits on the prepared baking tray and bake until golden. This will take about 12 to 15 minutes. The time will depend on the size of your biscuits, so make sure to check from time to time so that they don’t burn.

To make the cucumber salsa, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Set it aside.

To make the fried chicken, chop the chicken into chunks (I cut them into the size of a small chicken wing). Try to chop them in similar size so that they fry evenly.

Prepare the coating. In one bowl; mix the flour with the salt, onion powder, garlic powder and chipotle powder. In another bowl, beat the two eggs. Place the panko in a third bowl. Line a large cutting board with parchment paper.

Coat each chicken piece in the flour mixture, then in the beaten eggs and finally in the panko. Place the chicken on the prepared cutting board.

Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan or medium saucepan over medium heat. Have a large plate ready lined with paper towels.

Once the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium-low. Fry the chicken in batches for about 4-5 minutes. I like to do it on medium-low heat because if it gets too hot, the chicken crust will burn and the inside of the chicken will still be raw.

Place the fried chicken on the plate with paper towels. Repeat until all of the chicken is fried.

To serve, just place one or two pieces of fried chicken on each biscuit and top with the cucumber salsa. Enjoy!

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Annecy

About a week ago we went to Annecy (France). The closest Airport was in Geneva, so that’s where we flew to. After arriving in Geneva, we rented a car and drove to Annecy. The drive was about 30 minutes long and the scenery was beautiful. Renting a car was the right decision for us, as it kept us flexible and it allowed us to explore more of the surrounding areas. We were very lucky with the weather; the whole weekend was sunny.

Annecy is called the Venice of the Alps for a reason. The canals running through the city have crystal clear water. And with swans floating around, it looked like a fairy tale town. We arrived Friday morning at our hotel. We stayed at the Atipik Hotel Alexandra. It has a great location, right next to the old town. The staff was very friendly, the rooms were clean and the breakfast was good.

We walked a bit through the old part of the city, grabbed a sandwich with raclette and went to explore the lake. You can rent a bike (either normal or electric) and bike along the lake which takes about 2 hours. We were so tired because we got up at 3:30am to catch our flight that we decided to do it by car. Our first stop was the Chateau de Duingt. The castle is privately owned so you can’t go inside but we took out the drone and got an aerial view of it.

Then we drove to Chateau de Menthon – Saint Bernard. They say that Disney was inspired by this castle. Unfortunately for us, it was closed when we arrived.

We really enjoyed driving around the lake and getting lost in the roads around it. We ended up in Col de la Forclaz. On one side you could view the lake and on the other the mountains. It was so beautiful, especially this time of the year because of all the fall colors.

For dinner we went to L’Etage. Pieter ordered a raclette. I had some escargot and seared tuna. We didn’t do any fancy dining this time. But if you are looking for a more upscale dining experience, I would recommend Clos des Sens. I lived in Lyon for a few months while I was taking a cooking course at the Paul Bocuse Institute. During my time there, I went to Annecy with some friends to have lunch there and I loved it. This restaurant has 2 Michelin stars.

The next day there was a festival in town called Le Retour des Alpages. A tradition where they celebrate bringing the cattle back to the farms after grazing in the mountains during the summer months. They were stands everywhere with food and local products.

We got some pastries at Philippe Rigollot. The pastry chef is a MOF (best craftsman of France in English). If you are not familiar with it, it is a very prestigious award in France. It was hard to choose as they all looked so delicious.

We had some ice cream at Glacier des Alpes. We had to wait in line for it but it was worth it. And the lady working there was so nice, she gave me an extra scoop for free.

We snacked so much throughout the day that we were not hungry for dinner. At one of the festival stands, we had tartiflette for the first time. It is a local dish made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, bacon and onions. Needless to say we devoured the whole thing. We also bought a few baguettes at one of the stands and even though they were good. The best ones we had were from a bakery called Boulangerie Artisanale Marmillon, located in the old center.

On our last day, we gathered some food at the farmer’s market and drove to the lake to have a picnic for lunch. A great way to say goodbye to this wonderful region.

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Buttermilk Squash Spiced Waffles

I had some Crown Prince squash leftover from dinner so I decided to put it to good use for breakfast. And to make it easy on myself, I made the waffles the night before. Once they were cold, I wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap and froze them. The morning you want to eat them, just preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Once the oven is hot, place the waffles directly on the oven rack and bake them for about 8 minutes till warm and crispy. No fuzz breakfast!

This recipe makes about 6 waffles

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup of self-rising flour

1 1/4 cup of buttermilk

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 egg

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1/2 a cup of squash puree (or pumpkin)

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder

Extras:

Creme fraiche

Pomegranate seeds

Maple syrup

 

To make the squash puree, just chop it into big slices (Remove the seeds but you don’t need to peel it). Place the slices on a plate and cover it with plastic wrap. Microwave it for about 8 minutes or till the squash is tender. Be careful not to burn yourself with the steam that comes out when you remove the plastic wrap. Or just let it cool down a bit before you remove the plastic wrap. Scoop out the flesh of the squash and mash it with a fork.

To make the waffle batter, just blend all of the ingredients together.

Preheat your waffle iron. Brush it with a bit of vegetable oil or spray it with non-sticking cooking spray.

Pour some of the waffle batter into the preheated waffle iron and cook till golden-brown. I like to serve them with a dollop of crème fraiche, pomegranate seeds and some maple syrup.

If you freeze them, just warm them up  in a 180C/350F preheated oven for about 8 minutes. Place them directly on the rack so that they become crispy again.

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Coconut Macaroon Crust Brownies with Caramel & Sea Salt (Dairy free)

I can never say no to brownies. A friend of mine can’t have any dairy and she told me she never has brownies anymore because of that. And that got me thinking to make a dairy free version. These brownies are super decadent. I love the coconut and chocolate combo. And you can never go wrong with salted caramel.

This recipe is for a 22cm square baking dish.

Ingredients:

For the coconut crust:

1 egg white

2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut

½ cup of coconut condensed milk

Pinch of salt

For the brownie:

130grs of dark chocolate, chopped (I used 70% dark chocolate)

¼ cup of vegetable oil

½ cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Pinch of salt

For the vegan caramel:

½ cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of water

¼ cup of coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

½ tablespoon of margarine

Extra:

Sea salt for sprinkling on top

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line your baking dish with parchment paper.

Start by making the coconut macaroon crust. Place egg white, condensed milk, shredded coconut and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Then press it into the bottom of your prepared baking mold. Try to make the crust as even as possible. I used the back of a spoon to press it into the mold.

Bake it for about 13 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Be careful that the edges don’t burn. Remove it from the oven and set it aside.

To make the brownie batter: place the chopped chocolate and vegetable oil in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave it for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until it is completely melted. Then allow it to cool down for a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the vanilla, eggs and egg yolk. Then slowly whisk in the melted chocolate (make sure it’s not very hot, otherwise it will curdle the eggs). Then add the flour and salt. Whisk until everything is combined. Carefully pour the brownie batter over the cookie crust. Bake it for 25 minutes. Then set it aside to cool down in the mold.

To make the vegan caramel: place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook without stirring until the sugar has turned amber in color, swirling the pan from time to time. Then slowly add the coconut milk and vanilla. Mix it well with a wooden spoon. Then add the margarine. Stir until well combined, and then transfer it to a bowl.

Drizzle some of the caramel over the brownies and then sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. If the caramel has cooled down and gotten hard, just microwave it for a few seconds to loosen it up again. Enjoy!

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Caramelized Kimchi & Sriracha Stir-fry Ramen with Char Siu Aubergine

The other day I was so busy with meetings that I didn’t have time to have lunch. So I quickly stopped by my Asian store on my way home to grab an instant ramen soup. They sold some with with kimchi so I thought of making something similar but in stir-fry form. I love Chinese BBQ pork but I wanted to make a vegetarian version of it, so I made it with aubergine instead. I caramelized the kimchi for extra depth of flavor and added some sriracha for some heat.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the aubergines:

2 medium aubergines, chopped into small cubes

1/4 cup of char siu sauce (Chinese bbq sauce)

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the ramen:

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

½ a red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup of kimchi, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of finely chopped ginger

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of hoisin

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

1 tablespoon of sriracha (or more to taste)

Extras:

300grs of ramen noodles

2 eggs

Sesame seeds

Chopped chives

 

For the Char siu aubergine: Mix the chopped aubergine with the char siu sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, Chinese five spice powder and vinegar. Place it on a large pan (preferably non-stick pan) over medium heat. Cook for about 14 minutes. Stirring from time to time. You want it to caramelize, so flatten it with a spatula to get them in a single layer. This way they will get nicely browned. Set it aside.

For the 7 minute eggs: Place the eggs in a saucepan over medium heat and add boiling water. Boil them for 7 minutes. Remove the shells and slice them in half.

For the ramen: Place the sesame oil, onion, kimchi and ginger in a large pan over medium-low heat. Let it caramelize for about 6 minutes, stir constantly so it doesn’t burn. Then add the garlic cloves and stir-fry for another minute. Remove it from the heat.

Boil the ramen noodles as instructed on the package. Drain them.

Once the noodles are cooked; add the hoisin, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sriracha to the pan with the kimchi. Mix well over medium heat. Then add the noodles and mix until they are coated in the sauce.

Serve the ramen with the char siu aubergine and soft boiled egg. Sprinkle some chives and sesame seeds.

I also served them with some pickled daikon that I made the night before (I juts pickled it in white vinegar with salt, sugar and chopped chili).

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Potato Cakes Stuffed with Lentil Coconut Curry (served with mango chutney)

These potato cakes are very easy to make. You can even make them with leftover mashed potatoes. For the filling I used beluga lentils since they hold their shape but you can use other kinds instead. I flavored them with curry spices and coconut milk. And because curry goes so well with mango chutney, I also made some to accompany these potato cakes. You can also make them smaller as an appetizer. They are great for a dinner party since they can be made in advance.

This recipe makes about 14 potato cakes.

Ingredients:

For the lentil coconut curry:

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

2 teaspoons of hot curry powder

½ teaspoon of ground coriander seeds

1 cup of tomato puree

400ml of coconut milk

750ml of vegetable stock

Pinch of salt

1 cup of beluga lentils

For the potato dough:

1 1/2 kilos of potatoes (the mashing kind)

Salt to taste

1 egg white

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

For the coating:

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 ½ cups of panko

3 eggs, beaten

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 cup of vegetable oil for pan-frying

For the Mango chutney:

250gr of diced mango (I used frozen mango, but you can also use fresh mango)

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

¼ cup white vinegar

¼ cup of sugar

½ cups of water

Pinch of salt

 

To make the curried lentils: Place the coconut oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Once the coconut oil has melted; add the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder and ground coriander seeds. Cook while stirring for about 2 minutes. Then add the lentils. Give it a good stir and then add the tomato puree, coconut milk, vegetable stock and a pinch of salt. Let it cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes till it becomes a creamy stew. Don’t forget to stir every couple of minutes so that it doesn’t burn in the bottom. Taste for salt and set it aside to cool down.

To make the mango chutney: Place all of the ingredients in a pot over medium-low heat. Let it cook for about 18 minutes, stirring from time to time until it has a chutney consistency. Midway through the cooking time, I like to mash the mango using a potato masher or a fork. Then transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down.

To make the potato cakes: Boil the potatoes till they are tender. Check with a knife. Then carefully peel them while they are still hot and mash them. Add salt to taste. Let it cool down a bit until you can handle touching the mash. Add the egg white and flour. Knead the dough with your hands making sure there are no lumps.

Take about 1/2 cup of the potato dough and flatten it with your hands, add about 1 tablespoon of the curried lentils in the middle and then shape it into a patty. Make sure the filling is not sticking out. Repeat for all.

Once all the potato cakes are done, have the coating ready. For the coating; mix the salt, onion and garlic powder with the panko. Coat each potato cake in the flour, then egg and finally in the seasoned panko. Set them aside.

Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the potato cakes in batches. Be careful when flipping them so they don’t break. Since they are already cooked, you just have to pan-fry them till they are evenly golden. This goes fast so keep an eye on them. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Serve them warm with the mango chutney.

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Apple Butter Galette

The time of the year when I start to crave pies has come. My apartment has been smelling of apples and cinnamon since yesterday night, when I made the apple butter. The smell was killing me because I just wanted to eat it and not wait to make this recipe. If you have never made apple butter before, don’t get discourage about the time it takes to make it. Yes, it needs to bake for 3 hours (and be stirred every 30 minutes) but it takes minimal effort. I made it while watching TV in the evening and just set my alarm. I made the pie crust with gin but you can use vodka if you like. The alcohol will evaporate so don’t worry. If you don’t want to use liquor, you can always switch it for cold water. The liquor makes the dough a bit more flaky. Pieter is working from home today so we already finished one of the small galettes for lunch. I gave one to our sweet neighbors who always give us produce from their dad’s farm. Happy world animal day! Mandu and Nip are getting extra treats and cuddles today.

This recipe is for 3 galettes. I made one big one and two small ones.

Ingredients:

For the apple butter:

2 1/2 kilos of apple, I used royal gala (peeled, cored and chopped into chunks)

1 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons of vanilla essence

1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon of cardamom powder

Juice of half a lime

For the pie crust:

340gr of cold unsalted butter, chopped into pieces

3 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cardamom powder

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

8 tablespoons of cold gin (or vodka)

Extras:

7 apples for the topping

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons of melted butter

3 tablespoons of granulated sugar

½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder

1/3 cup of fig jam (optional)

100grs of pistachios, chopped

Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

 

To make the apple butter:

This apple butter is not overly sweet. If you want it a bit sweeter, use 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar instead of 1 cup. Since the pie already has a sugary crust, I prefer the apple butter to be a bit more tart to balance it out. Preheat your oven to 120C/250F. Place the apples, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and salt in an oven proof pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let it cook for about 20 minutes, until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat. Add the lime juice, cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom. Then blend the apples until smooth, I used an immersion blender.

Bake uncovered for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

Once the apple butter is done, allow it to cool down completely before transferring it to an airtight container. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To make the pie crust: You can make it in the food processor, by hand or in the stand mixer.  I used my stand mixer fitted with the flat beater. Place the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the cold butter pieces, mix it with a spatula. Then mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Then add the cold gin and mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until you have an even dough.

You have enough dough to make 2 large galettes. I decided to make 1 large one and two smaller ones. So I divided the dough into 3 parts (I also separated a small piece of dough to make cut outs to decorate the galette). Pat each piece down with your hands, forming a circle. Cover each piece in plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge for 1 hour.

After the hour has passed, remove one piece of dough from the fridge and preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Mix 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and set it aside.

Dust your working area with flour and roll out the piece of dough, trying to form a circle. Don’t worry about giving it a perfect shape since it is supposed to be rustic. Place the dough in a piece of parchment paper and place it in the fridge. Roll out the other pieces of dough and keep them in the fridge. If you saved a small piece to decorate, then roll it and cut it into the shapes that you want.

Peel, core and slice the 7 remaining apples. Take one of the rolled out pieces of dough from the fridge.

Spread some of the apple butter in the dough, leaving a border of about 5 centimeters. Then arrange about 1/3 of the sliced apples on top of the apple butter. Fold the rim of the dough up and over the edge of the filling, overlapping the dough as you go. Press firmly. If you have cut out pieces of dough for decoration, place them on the dough now. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Brush the sliced apples with the melted butter. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar over the apples and the crust. Bake it for 50 minutes or till golden. I finished assembling the other galettes and kept them in the fridge till my oven was free again.

Once the galettes are baked. Make the glazing. This is optional, I wanted the apple to shine a bit. Place the fig jam and 3 tablespoons of water in a small pan over medium heat. Stir for about 2 minutes until it is sort of a glaze. Brush the apples with a bit of the diluted fig jam. Sprinkle some chopped pistachio nuts. I like to serve it with some vanilla ice cream.

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.

 

 

Wijmpje Beukers

Last week, we went to have dinner at Wijmpje Beukers. A foodie friend of mine had been talking so much about this place, that I decided to give it a try. Nestled in the middle of De Pijp, this cozy restaurant changes its menu weekly (They always offer two vegetarian/vegan options). Their menu has Asian/European influences, and they make everything themselves using local and seasonal produce.

I got a chance to meet the owners Maarten and Jordy, since they work at the restaurant. They are such nice guys, and you can really tell that hospitality runs in their veins. They immediately make you feel welcome. Since it was such a nice day, we sat in the terrace.

We started the evening with a crab, pickled watermelon and crayfish dish with sesame and wasabi. And the smoked duck breast with hoisin and figs. Both were really good. For the main course, we had the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with hasselback potato, stroganoff and mashed potatoes. This was a dish from Jordy’s childhood. The pork was juicy and the whole dish just screamed comfort food. We also had the hake with sweet potato puree, carrots, harissa and puffed quinoa. The fish was perfectly cooked and the whole combination of flavors was delightful.

We were there very early and by the time we left, the place was already quite busy and it was a Wednesday. Definitely a place to add to your list if you haven’t already been there. The food is great and so it’s the ambiance. And the menu is very well priced.

Wijmpje Beukers

Karel du Jardinstraat 47
1073TB Amsterdam

Tamarind Roasted Aubergine

I love how versatile aubergines are, and how they don’t have to be just a side dish. In this recipe, they are the stars. I like to eat these over a bed of rice and snow peas sauteed in sesame oil. They add some crunch and I love their flavor too. Since the past year, I’ve been kind of obsessed with tamarind. And it goes so well with the aubergine. It adds a bit of sourness which is then balanced out with the brown sugar and honey.

This recipe is for 4 small aubergines.

Ingredients:

4 small aubergines

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon of finely chopped red chili, you can add more if you like it spicy

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 tablespoons of tamarind paste

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of honey

3 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

Pinch of salt

Pinch of black pepper

Extras:

Chopped chives

Fried onions (store-bought)

Chili flakes

 

Preheat your oven to 200C/390F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Slice each aubergine in half, lengthwise. Then grab a sharp paring knife and make long cuts down the length of the aubergine without slicing through the skin. Repeat with perpendicular cuts to form cubes. It’s the same way that you would slice a mango. If you need visuals on how to do it, check out these instructions with pictures from the kitchn. Do this for all the aubergines.

To make the sauce, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Then place the aubergines in the prepared baking dish, skin side down. Brush generously with the sauce. Make sure it gets in between the cuts. Roast them for 40 minutes.

You will probably have a little bit of sauce left. Once the 40 minutes are done, I like to brush them with the little bit of sauce that was left over. Then broil it in the oven for 5 minutes, so that the top caramelizes a bit.

Remove the aubergines from the oven. Serve them with a sprinkle of fried onions, chopped chives and chili flakes. I like to eat them with some rice and sautéed vegetables.

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