One of my favourite aspects about travelling is all the new food I get to try out. Revolutionary, I know. I´m sure many fellow bon vivants feel the same and as such I hope you´ll enjoy this new series on the blog #foodIlovedin . Through these series I´m hoping to document all the amazing food I eat in all the places I visit, and even dive a bit into the cultural and social aspect of food in said areas. We´re starting off with Amsterdam, and all the yummy food I ate there. As per usual, I went for local dishes and their stories, and kept my eyes wide open for the six days I spent in the city of over 160 canals, observing its restaurant and many brasseries (what´s with the million brasseries, Dutchies?!). Additionally to all my observations and recommendations, I´d suggest you check out Laura de Grave´s Amsterdam Cookbook – a fantastic collection of recipes as they are cooked in her favourite Amsterdam restaurants. From Pancakes from Gratine, to Oysters from Nam Kee and Advocaat from Kessens – you´ll find the most notorious dishes and where to have them as well as how to cook them yourself in her book.
I returned from Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago with the ardent conviction that I needed to once and for all learn to make a Dutch baby (the dish, not an actual tall, blonde baby). This is not because I had eaten Dutch baby pancakes in Amsterdam, but rather because I couldn´t find any there. Which comes at no surprise when you actually find out there´s nothing Dutch about Dutch baby pancakes – they´re actually American, and haven been derived from the German Pfannkuchen. The deceiving “Dutch” in their name is simply a corruption of the “Deutsch” word. Upon finding this out, I thought “you know what? if they´re not Dutch, nor entirely German, let´s bring them yet another twist and make them Mexican!”. So I adjusted the original recipe to make them less sweet and added a Mexican layer to them. They were absolutely delicious (I have made them twice so far) and so so easy to make I think I´ll be making these a Sunday regular!
As I am writing this article, I can´t quite believe tomorrow is the first of August. June and July seem to have flown by and I genuinely don´t know how. I´m behind on my reading, behind on my book club, all the while I am skeptically glancing at the book stack I plan on taking on holidays with me next week. July in particularly has been a month of little reading. The books I´ve managed to read, were all started (and two even finished) on planes and my biggest regret is that I still haven´t finished Killing Commendatore, the book for the book club that was scheduled for beginning of July, and for which I am still keeping people waiting. But while I fight with my guilty consciousness, let me tell how about the books that I did manage to read this month.
Confession time: this is probably the most impromptu #homemadeMonday and #guestchefseries I´ve ever done. I had to take a last minute trip to Romania and didn´t get to plan ahead, so today I found myself in Bucharest, at my friend Julie´s house, with a calendar full of meetings and no plan for what to share. And since I would have really felt like I was letting you down if I came up with nothing today, I convinced my friend Julie that the roasted chicken she was preparing for us for lunch is totally worth going up on the blog, especially as it has a special ingredient I would have never thought of adding to it! Keep reading to find out more.
My trip to Amsterdam is so fresh, that I haven´t even unpacked the cheese I brought back, but I really wanted to write about it asap, lest I forget all the powerful impression this wonderful city have left on me. Full disclaimer: this is my second time in Amsterdam, and I actually stayed for six days, but since I didn´t really take any time off, and worked for almost four of those days, I compressed an itinerary for three days, and adapted it to someone who´s never been there, touching upon all my favourite places. Now since I´m a huge foodie, I will reserve a whole other article to speak about all my favourite food places, but I´ll still mention them here in passing, so you know where to eat at least one fabulous meal a day. Let´s go? Or shall I say “Laten we gaan”?
For my first ten years of eating pizza, I always, always, always went for the prosciutto e funghi option. I guess that´s not so unusual for a kid, to find THE pizza and stick to it until adulthood. Maybe a bit more unusual (to not use the word sad), is that once I reached teenagehood, I found myself a new pizza I stuck with for about ten years, and that was Hawaii (outrageous, I know). And now, in adulthood, I´ve been stuck on Diavola. So essentially, it´s been three pizza flavours defining my life, and I rarely strayed from them. Recently, though, I found myself twice (and that is a lot!), choosing pizzas with figs in them, a combination I never thought would work. And boy, did I like it. I liked it so much that after doing some testing at home, I came up with an own prosciutto and fig pizza recipe, which I´m happily sharing with you this #homemadeMonday. I promise that even if it doesn´t sound like your cup of tea (or slice of pizza), you´ll be amazed by how good this combo tastes.
I´m typing this #homemadeMonday from the Hoxton´s lobby (take it as a great recommendation if you want to have a nice drink while you´re in Amsterdam). I´ve just head some poached eggs on an English muffin and half an avo toast, but my mouth is still watering at the thought of this week´s recipe – a couscous with fried apricots, halloumi, sundried tomatoes and mint. I just find the combination so utterly perfect, that I never want to try couscous any other way. Although, I will also continue making it in hubby´s favourite fashion – find the recipe here.
Pears are definitely not in my top five favourite fruit, but I find myself adding to dishes over and over again – like in this drunken pear risotto or in this perfect winter salad (shhhh, it´s perfect for summer too!). And then when Pinterest gave me the idea to wrap them in prosciutto, with a bit of creamy cheese and a mango chutney topping, I felt like I died and went straight to heaven. It´s a stretch to call this an actual recipe, considering there´s no cooking involved, but I thought I´d nonetheless put it on the blog for your next brunch session.
The month of June has been an abysmal failure if you judge it by the number of books I read, which is a big, fat null. Obviously, that number should not be something to guide yourself by, but I do feel guilty for not having a proper book club recap for you all so instead I compiled a list of five light-ish beach reads that could inspire you for your summer holiday. I won´t give away too much, but here are the books I would love re-reading on a sandy beach, with a margarita in my hand.
June marks the one year anniversary of the #guestchefseries and not that I´ve run out of friends, but this month I am actually repeating a guest chef. Meanting, you are now meeting my 97 year old Nonna again, this time for her delicious (and beautiful) ratatouille dish. We cooked it together a couple of weeks ago and then I reproduced it at home, in a prettier format, to share with you all as I think it´s the perfect dinner party recipe. And while it might look fancy it´s actually super easy to make! Keep reading…