Hangover cure

IMG_20151212_092045[1]Well not really, and not really a recipe, but it certainly helps you feel more human.  It’s another Dutch speciality, uitsmijter, which literally means “thrower-out”, or bouncer.  It’s traditionally served at the very end of a party as an untypically Dutch way of being polite and telling people to go home.

You will need:

  • Some nice sliced bread – typically white sliced but I like Vogel‘s sunflower & barley bread
  • Eggs – usually 2 per person, but depends on the size of your bread
  • A slice of ham
  • A slice of Gouda cheese (any hard cheese will do, including Cheddar or Edam, but young Gouda is the more authentic choice)
  • A bit of butter
  • A dessertspoonful of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan

Heat up the frying pan with the oil in it.  Lay the bread on a plate – you can butter it but it’s not usual to do this in Holland, that would be a bit too profligate…  Put the ham on the bread first, then the slice of cheese. It has to be this way round so that the hot egg can melt the cheese a bit.  Crack the eggs into the frying pan and let them cook until they go brown and frilly round the edge.  You can baste the yolks with the oil to get them to set slightly.  When they are done to your satisfaction, lift them out of the pan with a fish slice and drain them on some kitchen paper before placing on the cheese/ham/bread you’ve already prepared.  This is best accompanied by a large mug of koffie verkeerd and two paracetamol.

Gevulde speculaas – Dutch almond slice

Nuts to Lent! I’m giving up giving up things.  Even people who profess not to like marzipan (me included) seem to like this.

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons speculaaskruiden
  • A pinch of salt
  • 150 g cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 300g marzipan (make sure it’s cold so it can be grated)
  • 50g slivered, flaked or whole almonds for decoration

Sieve the flour, sugar, spices and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Rub the cold butter into the flour mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Try not to get it too warm or the butter will melt and the texture will not be quite as good. Add the milk. Knead the dough into a smooth ball, again trying not to handle it too much or get it too warm. Wrap the dough in cling film or a plastic bag, and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour (or even overnight).

Whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon water in a separate bowl. Grate the marzipan over another bowl and pour in half of the egg. Mash the egg with a fork through the marzipan.
Preheat the oven to 175 ˚ C. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle the counter and rolling pin with a little flour. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough to a piece of about 15 x 30 cm. Lay one piece on the baking sheet, then spread the marzipan mixture evenly over it, leaving a border of dough around the edge. Place the second sheet of dough on top and press the edges together to seal in the marzipan mixture.
Brush the top of the dough with the rest of the egg. Press the flaked or whole almonds into the dough as decoration. Put in the heated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. When baked, leave the cake to cool on the baking sheet before cutting.

Rather than use a baking sheet you could also use a round or square cake tin, which avoids having to roll out equal sized pieces as you can just press the dough into the bottom of the tin.

NOTE: speculaaskruiden is a spice mix, over which people will argue incessantly. It’s like asking what to put in a Christmas pudding – everyone has a different opinion.  However,  this page offers a good compromise that most people will agree with most of the time:

About Dutch Food – speculaaskruiden

 

Erwtensoep – Dutch pea soup

A real ribsticker. It took Chris a while to crack this one, but he’s got the recipe pretty much perfect and it’s so much better than the stuff in the Unox tins we used to bring back from NL!

  • 500g split peas
  • 500g of bacon spare ribs, or two small ham hocks
  • 100g streaky unsmoked bacon
  • 1 horseshoe-shaped smoked sausage (rookworst) – Mattessons brand is the best known in the UK
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 celeriac
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 small head celery
  • 2 litres water

Rinse the split peas in a sieve.  They don’t need soaking.  Put the 2 litres of water, the peas, the ribs or hamhocks and the bacon into a big pan and bring gently to the boil. Skim off the floating scum, pour off the water, rinse again and put the peas and meat back onto the heat with 2 litres of clean water. Let them simmer gently while you get on with preparing the vegetables. Peel and dice the celeriac and potatotes and the carrot, and peel and chop the onion finely. Add all the vegetables except the celery to the pan and let it all simmer very gently for about 2 hours.

Take the meat out of the pan, remove the rind and bones, and cut the meat into small pieces. Return it to the pan with the finely chopped celery, and the chopped smoked sausage.  Add salt and pepper to taste before serving (it probably won’t need any salt).

This freezes very well, but make sure that you reheat it GENTLY or you’ll get exploding pea soup splashes all over your kitchen.

Eet smakelijk!

Appelgebak (Dutch apple cake)

We lived in Amsterdam for 8 years, and discovered this gorgeous creation at the Marktcafe Noordermarkt, where they churn out hundreds a day.  It’s taken Chris a while to get the recipe absolutely spot-on, but this is about as close as you can get. Nice sharp eating apples like Braeburn are best, as they keep their shape and are tart enough to counteract all the brown sugar. The texture of the pastry is almost like cake.

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 180g butter
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • ¾ of a beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon semolina or polenta
  • 1 kg tart eating apples
  • 75g sultanas
  • 75g demerara sugar
  • 4tsp cinnamon

Soften the  butter, add flour, egg, the 150g brown sugar and vanilla.  Mix until it comes together in a ball.  Line a 20 cm (8inch) springform baking tin with the pastry (you can either roll it out or just squidge it into the base).  Save some to cut into strips to put on the top. Scatter the semolina or polenta over the pastry bottom (this helps to absorb some of the juices from the apple and prevents a soggy bottom). Peel, core and chop the apples roughly (big chunks are best), mix with the sultanas, demerara sugar and cinnamon, and pile into the case.  Arrange strips of pastry over the top in a lattice and brush with the remaining ¼ beaten egg.  Bake at 190°C for about an hour.  Leave to cool in the tin for a while, for the pastry to set and crisp up a bit. Take it out of the tin (you can do this while it’s still warm) and scoff with a squirt of whipped cream and a cup of strong coffee.  Imagine you are at the Noordermarkt in Amsterdam.  Eet smakelijk!