Spaghetti Carbonara

An old classic that needed a picture update. I had a very old picture here from before the time I had photography backgrounds so it was time for an update. This is a no fuss recipe that is ready in 15 minutes. It is made with a few basic ingredients and it is full of flavor. Traditionally it is made with guanciale or pancetta and Pecorino cheese but I like to substitute them for bacon strips for its crispiness and Parmesan because well, I really like Parmesan.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

250g fresh spaghetti

3 egg yolks

1 egg

150g bacon strips

40gr of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Cook the bacon in a non-stick pan over medium heat until it becomes crispy. Remove from the heat and reserve the drippings. Chop the bacon strips and set it aside. I like to save a bit to sprinkle on top just before serving, this way it still has some crunch.

Cook the pasta al dente as instructed on the package. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.

In a large bowl, add the egg yolks and egg, and whisk until combined. Slowly whisk in about 1/4 of a cup of the reserved cooking water and about 1 teaspoon of the bacon drippings. This prevents the eggs from curdling. Add the spaghetti and bacon. Toss to coat. Gradually add the Parmesan, stirring and tossing to melt it. Toss until the sauce thickens, adding a few more tablespoons of the pasta water if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta into two bowls and garnish with extra Parmesan and the bacon (if you reserved some for crunch). Enjoy!

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Clam Chowder Spaghetti

I love clams and I should definitely eat them more often. They are so easy and quick to cook. To keep the cooking time short for this recipe, I used fresh pasta and dried spices. So no cutting onions and garlic. You can skip on the bacon if you are vegetarian and use a bit of smoked paprika for extra flavor. Perfect comfort food for a lazy day.

Ingredients:

500grs of scrubbed cockles, clams or vongole

250grs of fresh spaghetti or the pasta of your choice

150gr of chopped bacon

200grs of crème fraiche

200ml of cream

3/4 teaspoon of onion powder

3/4 teaspoon of garlic

3/4 teaspoon of celery salt

Pinch of cayenne

Kernels of 2 corns on the cob

100grs of baby spinach

5 tablespoons of chopped chives

 

Rinse the clams under cold water for a couple of minutes. Discard of any that are open and don’t close when you tap them.

Place the chopped bacon in a large pan over medium heat. Stir from time to time until it is fully cooked. Then add the crème fraiche, cream and spices

Mix well until the crème fraiche has dissolved into a sauce.

In the meanwhile, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

Add the corn and clams to the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid until the clams open. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Discard of any that didn’t open. Then add the spinach, cover it with a lid for 1 extra minute so that it wilts faster. Mix well and then add the cooked pasta.

Mix well so that the pasta is covered in the sauce. Taste for salt. Serve straight away and enjoy!

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Baked Sweet Potato with Almond, Parmesan and Sage Crumble (gluten free)

This is an old recipe that was in need of an update. I love sage butter, especially mixed with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. So I thought of making a savory crumble to top some baked sweet potatoes. I used almond meal instead of normal flour and it was delicious. It’s super easy to make. You can have it as a side for thanksgiving or friends-giving. This recipe makes enough crumble for 5 sweet potatoes but you can always double it.

Ingredients:

5 medium sweet potatoes, roasted

1 cup of almond meal

60gr of grated Parmesan cheese

13 fresh sage leaves, chopped

4 tablespoons of butter, cold

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Cayenne to taste

Extra:

A few sage leaves

Vegetable oil for frying the leaves

 

First bake the sweet potatoes in the oven at 180C/350F until tender, about 1 hour.

Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise but not all the way to the bottom. Try to make a pocket for the crumble.

To make the crumble, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, using your fingers or a fork. You want the texture to resemble breadcrumbs.

Spoon the crumble on top of the sweet potato and broil until it becomes golden. To serve, you can sprinkle some thinly sliced sage or a few fried sage leaves. To fry the leaves, just heat about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a small pan. Once it is hot, fry the sage leaves for about 3-5 seconds. Then transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels. Enjoy!

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Restaurant Anna

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This hidden gem located in the Red Light district is run by chef Andrès Delpeut. He just renewed the menu and I was very excited to try it out. We were hungry after a very busy day so we went for the 8 course menu. We skipped the wines since we were also very tired.

Our amuse bouche was a mousse of white asparagus, a potato chip and mackerel rillette.

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Our first course was a tuna tartare stuffed in a cylinder of sesame seeds, wasabi cream cheese and soy dressing (first picture). This was one of my favorites of the evening. I love tuna tartare and this one was delightful. The crunchy and slightly sweet tuile of sesame seeds complemented the tuna very well.

Then we had the soft shell crab with sweet & sour radish and papaya.

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It was followed by the red mullet with trofie pasta in basil pesto, foam of bisque, saffron mayo and a sauce of razor clams. Seafood goodness!

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Afterwards, we had the truffle risotto with mushroom foam and a poached egg. Creamy and delicious!

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Next came the lamb chop with lamb wonton, asparagus and lamb broth. The lamb was very tender and juicy with crispy skin and the lamb wonton was very rich.

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It was followed by the duck liver. It was served with rhubarb compote, radish and an apple chip. This was another favorite of mine. The sweetness of the apple chip and slightly tang of the rhubarb compote was paired perfectly with the tender duck liver.

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Then we had the pre-dessert. Strawberries Romanoff with vodka mousse and a raspberry crackle. It was so good. The crackle reminded me of a candy from my childhood.

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The first dessert was a Vlaflip, a take on a very Dutch dessert. It had yogurt, pastry cream, red fruit, caramelized apple and vanilla ice cream.

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Our last course was the apple tarte tatin with caramel sauce, almond tuile and Tahiti vanilla ice cream. It was a great way to end the evening.

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Each dish was very well crafted and needless to say, we left every plate pretty clean. We went on a Thursday night and by the time we left, the restaurant was very busy so I advise you to make a reservation. I also saw a very large table, so they do take groups.

Restaurant Anna is open for dinner from Monday through Saturday from 6pm till 12am (the kitchen is open till 10:30pm). The prices are very reasonable. A 4 course menu will set you back 47.50 euros. A 5 course menu costs 55 euros and an 8 course menu costs 65 euros.

Restaurant Anna

Warmoesstraat 111, Amsterdam

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Oven-Baked Chicken Wings with Cherry BBQ Sauce

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I’ve partnered with Hero Fruit to create this chicken recipe. I used their cherry jam to make this BBQ sauce. A very easy recipe that requires minimal effort, so perfect for a weeknight dinner. For the Dutch version of this recipe, you can check out www.herojamstudio.nl.

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This recipe serves 2 to 3 people.

Ingredients:

1 kilo of chicken wings

1 cup of ketchup

½ cup of Hero Original cherry jam

5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon of salt

A pinch of black pepper

½ a teaspoon of cayenne (optional)

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 tablespoon of chopped chives (optional)

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Recipe instructions:

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

First, make the cherry BBQ sauce. Place the ketchup, cherry jam, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder in the blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the cherry BBQ sauce into a large bowl and add the chicken wings. Mix it well so all the wings are evenly coated in the sauce.

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Place a sheet of parchment paper in the oven dish, you can skip this but it makes cleaning it afterwards easier.

Spread the wings in a single layer on the oven dish. Reserve the leftover BBQ sauce for later.

Bake them for 1 hour. After 30 minutes, take them out of the oven, brush them with the remaining BBQ sauce and then finish baking for the remaining half an hour.

Once the wings are baked, pour the remaining juices from the wings into a pan. Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes until it becomes a thick sauce.

Serve the wings; brush them with the sauce that you reduced in a pan. Sprinkle some chopped chives and enjoy!

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Restaurant Moon

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If you live in Amsterdam, you’ve probably already heard about the A’dam Toren. It is the big tower next to the EYE film institute in Amsterdam Noord.

Restaurant Moon is located on the 19th floor and has a 360° panorama view of Amsterdam. Chefs Jamie Van Heije and Tommy den Hartog have created a modern menu that will surely make your taste buds happy. I was one of the lucky ones to be invited to taste their menu before it opened to the public.

I arrived a bit early and got a table with my friend Noor from Amsterspots.nl. Our first course was The Moon. Steak tartare with red beet, kaffir and a very subtle foie.

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Our second course was a scallop ceviche with radish, green apple ice cream and wasabi. A beautiful and well balanced dish.

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Then the eel came. Served over a thin layer of vichyssoise, crunchy brioche, avocado and green herbs.

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The main course was beef tenderloin with peas and a bitterbal made with rendang. I love trying different versions of the traditional bitterballen and this one was delightful.

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Our last course was the guardian angel. Blancmange (a milk pudding) served with yuzu, calamansi and caramel. A refreshing and light dessert.

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Overall it was a great experience. It is not every day that you get to enjoy a well thought out menu with a fantastic view of Amsterdam. It is perfect to impress a date, or to just enjoy something different. For dinner, you can choose a set menu of 3 courses (€40), 5 courses (€60) or 8 courses (€80). For lunch, you can choose à a la carte.

Restaurant Moon

A’dam Toren – 19th Floor

Overhoeksplein 3, Amsterdam

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Soya Mince & Lentil Chili Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Avocado Sour Cream

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The other day while browsing through a supermarket, I found a package of frozen soya mince. I have always been very curious about it and this is the first time I saw it at a store here. When I was in University, I remember there was a healthy food shop next to it that would sell lasagna with soya mince and it was so good. If you didn’t go early, you would miss it since it would always sell out. That was pretty much my whole experience with soya mince. So now that I saw it here, I had to test it out. And I am quite happy with the results. So for this taco Tuesday, I made a chili with the soya mince and lentils; and served them on tortillas along with some pico de gallo and avocado sour cream.

This recipe makes 12 small tacos.

Ingredients:

For the chili:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

½ a red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

200grs of frozen soya mince, thawed

1/3 cup of black lentils

1 sweet paprika, finely chopped

Pinch of cumin powder

1 teaspoon of paprika powder

Cayenne to taste

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of onion powder

Pinch of celery salt

250grs of tomato puree

1 litter of vegetable stock

Salt to taste

For the pico de gallo:

1 ½ red onions, finely chopped

4 tomatoes, cored and finely chopped (no seeds)

1 bunch of coriander, chopped

Chopped chili to taste

Juice of 1 ½ limes

1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil

Salt to taste

For the avocado sour cream:

1 avocado

125grs of sour cream

Juice of ½ a lime

Salt to taste

Extras:

12 small tortillas

 

To make the chili, place the olive oil and onion in a large pan over medium heat. Cook until the onions become translucent. Then add the garlic, soya mince, lentils and spices. Cook for about 1 minute while stirring. Then add the honey, tomato puree and vegetable stock. Stir so everything is mixed. Let it cook for about 20 minutes till most of the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils are cooked through. Taste for salt.

To make the pico de gallo just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

For the avocado sour cream, blend all of the ingredients until smooth.

Warm up the tortillas in a pan. Serve with the chili, pico de gallo and avocado sour cream.

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Cucumber “Noodle” & Radish Salad with Miso Salmon

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I love to making oven-roasted miso salmon. This miso sauce adds so much flavor and I love to pair it with a cucumber and radish salad. This time I made the cucumber into noodles by using my mandoline with the julienne attachment. A very easy and flavorsome meal.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

320 grs of Salmon, pin bones removed and sliced into 2 fillets

2 tablespoons of red miso paste

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

¼ cup of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 teaspoons of white sesame seeds

For the cucumber noodles:

3 cucumbers, washed

10 radishes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds

For the sesame dressing:

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, just add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger)

Juice of 1 lime

 

To prepare the cucumber and radish salad. You can use a mandoline or a spiralizer. I used my mandoline with the julienne attachment. I sliced the cucumber into noddles, but I stopped when I got to the seed part (discard the core). For the radishes, I just thinly sliced them.

Place the cucumber noodles in a large sieve with a bowl underneath to catch all of the water. Let it stand like these to loose the moisture until ready to serve.

To make the vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, seal it and shake it. Set aside.

To prepare the salmon, whisk the vinegar, miso, brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger in a bowl until combined.

Put the salmon on a plate and add the miso sauce. Make sure to coat the salmon pieces well in the marinade. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Remove the salmon from the fridge and place it on an oven dish lined with parchment paper. Pour some of the sauce on top and cook for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, turn on the broiler on for about 2 minutes. Check constantly so it doesn’t burn. It should be a bit browned.

Remove the salmon from the oven.

Press on the cucumber noodles to try to get most of the moisture out. Then place the cucumber noodles in a bowl, add the radishes, black sesame seeds and the sesame dressing. Mix well.

Divide the salad among 2 bowls and add the roasted salmon. Sprinkle some white sesame seeds over the salmon. Enjoy!

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Terpentijn

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Located at the Rokin, this French-Asian inspired restaurant is open for lunch, street food and drinks. I had been there once before for drinks and assumed that the first floor was the whole restaurant. When we arrived this time, we realized that there is a second floor where you can have dinner. It is a cozy restaurant with many plants, funky art and books decorating its walls.

We started the evening with the lady boy oysters which were one oyster with lychee, mirin & pink ginger, and another one with soy, sesame & spring onion. And for drinks, we asked for one of their signature homemade ice teas with elderflower & mint, and their Blue Goose cocktail with vodka, lavender & lemon. Both drinks were refreshing without being overly sweet or too strong. The oysters were delicious and the one with pink ginger was really the eye catcher.

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For the first course, we got the fish in a cookie and the surf & turf. The fish cookie were very crunchy fish cakes served with a crème de foie gras. Yum!

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The surf & turf was a beef tartare with deep fried baby squid, smoked sriracha mayo and a quail egg. So good! And the sriracha lime mayo was an excellent touch!

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For the main course, we ordered the pork belly roast and the king boletus. I love pork belly and this one was cooked perfectly. It had a nice caramelization and it was juicy inside. It came with a silky pumpkin cream. The king boletus was a vegetarian dish with mushrooms, tofu beignets, parsnip, Romanesco, black garlic and ginger foam. It was a wonderful blend of flavors and textures.

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Unable to decide on the desserts, we ordered three. I know piggy us! We got a raspberry mousse which was the special of the week.

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We also got the go bananas and roasted pineapple. A slice of banana cake with banana ice cream, chocolate truffle and cacao beans.

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And the roasted pineapple came with vanilla ice cream, sticky rice and salted caramel.

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We left the plates pretty clean.

If you like Asian-French fusion, this is worth checking out. We left with very happy bellies!

 

Terpentijn

Rokin 103, Amsterdam

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Sweet Potato Falafel Salad

FullSizeRenderOn Sunday we visited the Japanese cherry blossom park at the Amsterdamse bos. It’s one of those things I look forward to every spring. The weather was just perfect that day! Sunny and warm. People brought their picnics and were chilling on the grass. It’s a beautiful place around this time of the year and very close to Amsterdam.

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I had been craving falafel and I made this one by adding mashed roasted sweet potato to the chickpea mixture. It adds a slight sweetness to it. I served them over a very simple salad with baby Swiss chard, Kalamata olives, cucumber and feta. It’s healthy, easy to make and filling.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the sweet potato falafel:

1 cup of dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight

1 bunch of parsley

1 cup of mashed roasted sweet potato

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of celery salt

Juice of ½ a lime

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of salt

For the salad:

1 cucumber, core removed and thinly sliced

100grs of crumbled feta

100gr of Kalamata olives, sliced

100grs of baby Swiss chard or any leafy greens of your choice

Garden cress (optional)

For the dressing:

1/3 cup of olive oil

¼ cup of white vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of mustard

Salt

Extra:

Olive oil for pan-frying the falafel

 

To make the sweet potato falafel, soak the dried chickpeas in enough water overnight. For the sweet potato, you can roast it the night before, mash it and keep it in the fridge. Roast 1 medium sweet potato at 180C/350F for 1 hour.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and place all of the ingredients for the falafel in the food processor. Pulse until everything is well combined and there are not big chunks, but not too fine that it becomes a puree. You want it to still have some texture.

Then grab some of the mixture and form it into a ball using the palm of your hands. I grabbed about 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture. It makes about 25 small balls.

Once all the falafels are assembled, pour about 1/3 of a cup of olive oil into a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the falafel in batches until lightly browned. This will take about 5 minutes per batch. Just be careful not to press on them too much while turning them so that they don’t break apart.

To make the dressing just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, close it and shake it until it emulsifies.

In a large bowl, mix the sliced cucumber, crumbled feta, Kalamata olives, baby Swiss chard and garden cress. Add the dressing and toss to coat.

Divide the salad among 3 plates and then add the falafel. Enjoy!

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