Bar Brasserie OCCO (Dylan hotel)

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Occo is the new all-day brasserie of the Dylan hotel. It is open daily from 9am to 1 am. It used to be the lounge area of Vinkeles, the one Michelin star restaurant of the hotel. About a week ago, I met fellow food blogger and friend Teri from No Crumbs Left at this hotel. She was staying at the Dylan while visiting Amsterdam and we met her there for drinks and bites. We had delicious gyoza and bitterballen so I was excited to come back and try the lunch menu.

The new brasserie has a very chic feel. The bar is made out of marble and above it sits an 8 meter long copper lamp. If you sit by the window, you can overlook their terrace. When weather allows, you can also eat outside.

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The bar specializes on handcrafted cocktails and doesn’t stop at alcoholic beverages. They offer a Vir “Gin”,  a virgin gin & tonic. It’s made with a non-alcoholic gin that they created by mixing different spices and it is served with Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic. We ordered one VirGin and one My First Date which is made with date syrup, pomegranate and a pear-thyme-rosemary mix. They were both delightful with different layers of flavors and quite unique. My hubby described them as a mature juice for adults (or kids for that matter since they are alcohol-free). They also offer a Fermented Mary (with vodka) which I was curious to try but we ended up being too full with food so maybe next time.

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Now off to the dishes, we started with a small Caesar salad with roasted shrimps and oysters with red wine vinegar & shallots.

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For the main course, he went for the rigatoni with mozzarella, tomato, green asparagus and Parmesan.

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I went for the Peking duck noodle soup. His pasta was delicious and very suited for spring. My noodle soup was divine. The broth was flavorful and the Peking duck was tender. The portions were quite filling so we didn’t have space for dessert this time.

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Bar Brasserie OCCO at the Dylan hotel

Keizersgracht 384, Amsterdam

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SNCKBR – Healthy Snack Bar

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SNCKBR is a new healthy and cozy hotspot in De Pijp. Traditional Snackbars here are known for serving a lot of fried items like croquettes and fries. Something I don’t mind at all, but it limits how often I visit them. SNCKBR on the other hand, offers a very extensive menu with healthier alternatives. And it’s open from breakfast till late at night and yes, you can go have drinks there too. They make everything with sustainable ingredients. You can still get your guilty pleasures but in a healthier way, think spelt bread instead of white, baked instead of fried. With people being more aware of what they put into their bodies, this place makes complete sense.

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I went to their opening for breakfast. I really liked their chia pudding with avocado & chocolate mousse and their spirulina granola. I also tried some of their fruit/vegetables juices and I loved the one with beets. I love to eat beets but in juice, I always find them too strong and this one had a really nice balance and was not too sweet.

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I came back the next day late in the afternoon with my husband. We shared the poached egg with hollandaise and marinated salmon; and their Frikandelicious. Their healthier version of the typical Frikandel (which is usually fried and made with mystery meat), this one is 100% organic and low in fat. It’s baked and made with chicken, sweet potato, oatmeal and homemade skinny mayo and ketchup.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

SNCKBR

Van Woustraat 34-36, Amsterdam

 

Companion Workshop – Mr Porter Amsterdam

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Yesterday afternoon I got to try some Bacardi cocktails by Anya Montague at Mr Porter in the W hotel in Amsterdam. Anya is the assistant bar manager there and she is competing at the Bacardy Legacy bartending competition. At only 23 years of age, she has already lived in 8 different countries where she has worked as a bar consultant. A very opposite direction than she had planned, since she was studying to be a primary school teacher. If you don’t find her at the bar, she will most likely be in the kitchen experimenting with syrups and infusions for her next creations.

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She made us lemon daiquiris as she introduced herself. A fresh, not overly sweet drink, made with fresh ingredients. Then she made us the Hemingway daiquiri. A drink sweetened with maraschino liqueur which contrasts nicely against the tart grapefruit juice.  Finally, she introduced us to her signature cocktail, the companion. Following the story of Hemingway; this drink is inspired by Hemingway’s wives, his companions over the years.

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The companion is made with Bacardi Carta Blanca, vermouth, pear puree, lime juice, honey and black pepper. An inviting and very accessible cocktail, which you can order at the Bar of Mr Porter (Tip: it has a nice view of the city). And no event is complete without a goodie bag. Anya was kind enough to make us all a little kit to make two companions at home. I made the one in the first picture and I’m excited to make the last one for my hubby. Those white chocolate you see in the picture are the companion cocktail in chocolate form. A delicious treat, part of a collaboration Anya had with Solid Cocktails.

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You can follow Anya’s journey through her Instagram account the @travellingbartenders and her Facebook page Companion – Bacardi Legacy.

Mr Porter Amsterdam

Spuistraat 175, Amsterdam

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Peanut Butter Brownie Bars With A Rice Krispie Crust

Peanut Butter Brownie Bars With A Rice Krispie Crust

Peanut butter brownies

I love peanut butter, but here in the Netherlands there is a lack of peanut butter candy, cookies and desserts. You can find Reese’s peanut butter cups, but you have to go to an actual candy store to buy them.  But besides that, you can only find peanut butter jars.  So if you want any PB dessert, you pretty much have to make it yourself.

I bought a box of Rice Krispies and I was meaning to make it into a dessert.  So today I used it and decided to make it into the crust for these brownie bars.  I made the peanut butter frosting with some melted white chocolate and then swirled it with dark chocolate.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

3 cups of Rice Krispies cereal

2 tablespoons of icing sugar

3 tablespoons of melted butter

1 vanilla bean pod or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the brownie:

57gr butter

115gr of dark chocolate, chopped

½ cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

For the frosting:

1 cup of smooth peanut butter

100gr of white chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons of butter

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the swirl:

100gr of dark chocolate, chopped and melted

 

To make the crust, put the rice Krispies and icing sugar in the food processor and pulse until you get very fine crumbs. Mix the vanilla with the melted butter in a small bowl and then add the cereal crumbs. Mix well.

Line a small square baking dish (22cm) with parchment paper. Pour the cereal mixture into the baking dish and press to create a crust.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

To make the brownie, put the chocolate and butter in a small bowl and melt it in the microwave. I do it for 30 seconds intervals at a time, stirring every time until it has all melted.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla. Then add the chocolate and mix. Finally add the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix until it is all combined.

Pour the brownie mixture carefully on top of the crust. You want to do it slowly and carefully otherwise it will mix with the cereal and it won’t be a crust any more.

Bake for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once the brownie has cooled down, start making the frosting. Place the peanut butter, white chocolate, butter and vanilla in a bowl.  Melt it all together over a water bath. Once everything has melted and it is very smooth, pour it over the brownie.

To make the swirl, just melt the dark chocolate in the microwave or over a water bath.  Then pour lines of the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer and using a toothpick make swirls.

Put the baking dish in the freezer for 20 minutes to set.

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Once the 20 minutes have passed, soak a knife in hot water for a few seconds before cutting it into bars. Keep in an airtight container.