Pure and simple
One day a year the Netherlands turn into an Orange on steroids, we call it Queensday. That is until today we called it that: this will be the last Queensday for at least a few decades with a new king taking the throne.
Queensday is not so much a celebration of the queen as an excuse for a great party: when I was a kid it was all about selling old junk on your doorstep. Then it became about joining the thousands of people on the streets of Amsterdam drinking way too many luke warm cans of beer. Nowadays the perfect Queensday is sitting at a friend’s window looking out on the mayhem, enjoying a lovely glass of wine.
The food that I associate with Queensday has also changed over the years: First I remember eating half of the cake I was trying to sell by slice. Then there were years of greasy shawarmas, French fries and burgers. And now I am nibbling on a few delicacies that have nothing more in common with Queensday than that they are ….orange.
These salmon bites take no effort to put together and make a great appetizer for any celebration.
Small tip: as only part of the salmon filet is thick enough to cut it into beautiful even cubes, have another recipe handy for the remaining salmon. Have some Salmon Burgers for lunch, for example.
a piece of thick sashimi quality salmon
Fish roe ( I used orange for the occasion, but black roe gives a very sticking effect as well)
- Cut the salmon into even cubes.
- Place salmon onto serving dishes.
- Top each piece with a dollop of roe.
- Cut the green parts of the spring onion into oval slices.
- Top each cube with a few onion slices.
Tips & Variations
You could prepare the fish in a soy sauce marinade for an Asian twist
Tea and soy infused eggs
Although the snow outside makes it look more like Christmas, it is Easter again. To go with the non-traditional weather we are making some unconventional Easter eggs: Marbled Chinese Tea Eggs. They take little effort and look absolutely stunning. You can use regular eggs or try quail eggs for an even cuter result.
These eggs are super tasty and not only for Easter. They make a great snack or little side dish for a dim sum style dinner; or add them to a salads and stir fries.
6 regular eggs (or 18 quail eggs)
6 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tbsp dark sweet soya sauce
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 pieces of whole star anise
8 black peppercorns, left whole
1 long cinnamon stick
1 tea bag or 2 tbsp loose black tea leaves
- Place the eggs in a large saucepan or pot, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. (Place quail eggs in boiling water for 4 minutes)
- Use a slotted spoon to place the eggs in an ice bath for a few minutes. Leaving the hot water in the pot.
- Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, tap and roll them to break the shells all over.
- Add the soy sauces, salt, sugar, star anise, cinnamon, pepper corns to the hot water.
- Hang the tea bag into the water (or sprinkle in the tea leaves.)
- Return the cracked eggs to the pot.
- Cover and bring to the boil. Cook at a low simmer for 2 hours. Ensure that the eggs are covered in liquid, adding water if necessary.
- Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate the eggs in the liquid over night.
Tips & Variations
Consider some of the following
- Chinese five spice powder
- mandarin rind or juice
Other Easter egg recipes
Make the ordinary extraordinary
The other day I came home from my grocery shopping trip with some lovely cheeses and sausage only to discover that I had forgotten the crackers. Then it suddenly hit me: throwing together a batch of crackers actually takes less time (and effort) than going back out to the supermarket.
As with all pure and simple foods the key is to use good ingredients. So do not skimp on the quality of your flour or oil. Then the humble cracker, that usually is only there to carry something delicious to your mouth, suddenly becomes a treat in itself.
Cracking good: easy, tasty and without all those funky preservatives the standard store-bought kind has.
(found on the blog ‘Choosy Beggars‘)
125g (1cup) all purpose flour
125g (1 cup) whole wheat flour
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp fine salt
120ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
120ml (1/2 cup) warm water
Coarse salt for sprinkling
- Heat oven to 190C 375F.
- Combine both types of flour, rosemary and salt in a bowl.
- Make a well in the center and add oil and water.
- Working from the center combine the dough. It will seem sticky at first, but should turn into a supple dough. Knead for 3 min.
- Allow to rest 5 min.
- Cut out two sheets of parchment the size of your baking trays.
- Divide the dough into two pieces and roll them out on the two sheets of paper. (A few drops of water under the paper will help it stick to the counter.) Roll the dough out as thin as you can.
- Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into little squares (about 4×4 cm).
- Slide the paper onto two separate baking sheets.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Bake 12-14 min until they are a rich golden.
These muffins make a fabulously healthy snack
It was on a cold and dismal day that I came across this recipe. I wanted to curl up on the couch with a good book, a hot cup of tea and something sweet. Books and tea I have plenty, but sweets I really never have in the house. So I started looking for a little treat that was both healthy and could be made without having to head into the cold outdoors for ingredients.
This muffin was a fabulous find: the recipe could not be simpler. It is incredibly tasty and ever so good for you. Did you know that oats have been found to improve the immune system and lower bad cholesterol amongst other things.
Make plenty ( I would double the portion) and keep the rest in the fridge for a quick breakfast on-the-go.
(found on the blog ‘my baking heart’)
Makes about 6 muffins
90g (1 cup) oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 ripe banana
1 small egg
60ml (1/3 cup) rice milk (alternatively almond or soy)
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
20ml (1/9 cup) agave nectar
50g (1/4 cup) blueberries (no need to defrost if frozen)
- Preheat oven to 175C (350 degrees).
- In a bowl combine oats, baking powder, oats.
- In a second bowl mash the banana with a fork.
- Whisk in the egg.
- Add almond milk, vanilla and agave.
- Add the oats to the banana and mix until just combined.
- Carefully fold in the blueberries.
- Scoop into a 6 whole silicon muffin tray (alternatively place cupcake liners in a regular muffin tin).
- Bake about 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and set.
This tuna olive tapenade is full of powerful flavours that pack a punch
You know you are a lucky person when you can look up from your plate and see a table surrounded with the smiling faces of friends. The air is full with the sound of buzzing conversation, bubbling laughter and clinking forks. The table is full of tasty bites and scrumptious nibbles. Life is good!
This tapenade is a great little make-ahead dish for a fuss free dinner party. It tastes salty, rich and earthy. Originally tapenade is made with just olives and capers. This version includes tuna. Quite moreish!
Thanks againTC and VV for giving me….and my tapenade… a place at your table.
(from ‘Aller Lekkerste Zomer’)
150g good quality pitted black olives
3 anchovies filets
1 can of good quality tuna in olive oil (about 200g)
a pinch of dried thyme
1/2 tsp lemon juice
about 2 tbsp olive oil
- Rinse the capers. Add to a food processor together with all the ingredients except the olive oil.
- Blend until the dip has reached the desired consistency. Add extra olive oil if necessary. ( I like my tapenade rather smooth.)
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour or preferably over-night. Can be stored in the fridge for about four days.
Tips & Variations
Consider some of the following
- leave out the tuna and anchovies for a more traditional tapenade
- replace anchovies with anchovy paste
- add a clove of garlic
- add lemon zest
- replace thyme with oregano
- add chopped parsley
- raw vegetables as a dip
- cream cheese or rye bread
- crostini and baked ricotta