Food Truck Festival Trek – The Hague

As you may or may not have read on my Twitter account (you can follow here if you want) I went to visit Food Truck Festival Trek in The Hague last weekend. As the name already suggests, this is a festival with food trucks. How clear can it be, right?

Anyways, this was the first time that the festival was organized in The Hague. Its previous editions took place in Utrecht, and were highly successful. Unfortunately, I was not able to go last time, but since it was in my hometown I had absolutely no excuse not to go. Nor did I want to have one, because food.

For the readers who are (understandably) not familiar with the Dutch language, the name of the festival is very clever. The word “trek” has two different meanings in Dutch:

  1. To travel, or wander around
  2. To be hungry

With this festival being about foodtrucks, the organization could not have chosen a better name. Honestly, I just adore these kind of word plays, they’re the best.

The festival is completely free, apart from the food and drinks that you buy of course. It took place in the Westerbroekpark, which is an amazing park located in the most beautiful and green part of The Hague.

Westerbroekpark in The HagueBut! The food, that’s even more important. I went together with my friend, so we shared everything that we bought so we could try as much as our wallet would allow. First off, we needed beer. Just your regular festival beer, but with less water added, and cheaper. Only 2,50 euros. Great start.

Beer at Foodtruck Festival TrekWe decided to walk around at first, so we could see which food trucks were there and what we wanted to try. My eye immediately fell on this beauty.

Brandt & Levie Foodtruck

Brandt & Levie at Foodtruck Festival TrekA hotdog food truck. But this was not just a regular hotdog making facility, this was Brandt & Levie. An honest and traditional sausage brand that is quite famous in the Dutch culinary world. I was so incredibly happy to see this food truck, as I have been wanting to try their products for years. And my gosh, it was even better than I thought.Hotdog by Brandt & LevieSo here you see a sesame bun, ketchup, mustard, and fried onions. Inside the bun there’s a sausage, and underneath that there’s sauerkraut. I mean, does it get any better really? The flavour and texture of this hotdog was so real and pure compared to the hotdogs you buy in the supermarket. Oh, I’m going to stop writing now, the thought of this dish alone is already making my mouth water.

Next up, we saw this amazing chips food truck which served handmade chips, with the skin on and a big dollop of fresh mayonnaise. Yum.

Handmade fries by FritezThe food truck of Fritez, as the company is called, was great as well. I like the colours, and the chalkboard on the side, which makes the handmade theme even more apparent.Fritez at Foodtruck Festival TrekThe atmosphere on the festival grounds was so inviting and relaxed. Lots of different kinds of people were just enjoying the sun, the food, and the company. Also, there was this gentleman:

Foodtruck Festival Trek in The HagueLook at him just casually playing his vinyls, singing along to the music, while sitting on his tractor. What a guy.

By this point I was already getting full, which annoyed me as I wanted so much more. But I still had room left for nachos with salsa of course. The salsa was so flavourful and spicy. I’m going to try to make one myself, if it works out I’ll post a recipe!

Nachos with salsaFinally, we spotted a food truck called Wheely Good, where they served wraps. Specifically, wraps with falafel. I love falafel so much, but this one was not so tasty as I would have liked. They were properly cooked, and not oily which is the worst. But they lacked in salt and seasoning overall. A real pity as the ingredients were all great.Falafel wrap by Wheely GoodOverall, I must say that Food Truck Festival Trek was an absolute success and I will definitely come to the next one! If you happen to be in The Hague or Utrecht at the time, you should go too!

My friend and I finished this great evening at home with a bottle of the most delicious and soft Kosovar red wine ever. So amazingly good.Kosovan red wine

 

 

Sweet Sunday – Yogurt à la Vince

About two years ago my parents and I went to the United States. During our three-week roadtrip we visited the eastcoast, places such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and so on. This is still one of the best holidays I’ve ever had. To end the intense travelling, packing and unpacking, and driving, the last three days were spend in Cape May, New Jersey. A beautiful coastal town, with a boardwalk, lovely beach, great restaurants, and amazing people.

In these three days, we stayed at a B&B called The Mooring. It’s owner, Vince, might very well be the most passionate and hospitable person I’ve ever had the fortune of meeting. To this day, my parents and I still reminisce about the great time we had in his B&B. What made our stay even better was the delicious breakfast we had every morning. From Bananas Foster to scrambled eggs, there was something for everyone. Each dish was just as great as the other.

The Mooring B&BThough the best one was the Greek Yogurt served with honey, fruit, and candied pecans. The last ingredient is something that you’re not necessarily used to or familiar with if you’re not actually from the USA. Pecans are quite rarely used in cooking in The Netherlands, and I’ve seldom seen them on a menu anywhere outside the States.

However, I’ve been wanting to recreate this recipe for a long time, and finally got to doing so. Thus, I dedicated this recipe to Vince, by naming it Yogurt à la Vince!

I absolutely adore this recipe for breakfast, dessert, or whenever I feel like it. It’s filling yet not too much, it’s sweet yet not too sweet, it’s healthy yet not too healthy. Perfect balance.

To make the candied nuts, you’ll need to make a syrup which may sound a bit tricky and difficult. Don’t get frightened by this, because it’s insanely easy. Besides that, it’s beautiful to watch the process of making syrup. Just keep an eye on the pan, so you can prevent it from burning. The syrup needs to be as thick as the bottom picture, this will take about 15 minutes.

Candied NutsAdd the nuts, and make sure that they are all coated with the liquid.

photo 1 (2)Spread them out over  a baking tray and leave to cool slightly so they harden.

photo 2 (2)Serve with the Greek yogurt, fruit, and honey.

photo 2 (1)Let me know what you think!

photo 1 (1)


Yogurt à la Vince

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 250 grams (1 and 1/4 cup) of brown caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150 grams (2 cups) of nuts (pecan, almond, walnut, etc.)
  • 200 grams (1 cup) of raspberries
  • 500 grams (2 cups) of Greek yogurt
  • Honey
  • Optional: oats

Used kitchen appliances

  • Medium saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Baking sheet
  • Baking foil

Preparation

  1. Line the baking sheet with baking foil. In the saucepan combine the sugar and cinnamon, proceed to add the water. Bring it to the boil, and let boil for about 15 minutes. The syrup needs to be thicken.
  2. Add the nuts and vanilla extract, stir with the wooden spoon until combined. Let boil for another 8-10 minutes, to let the syrup thicken even more.
  3. Spread the nuts out over the baking sheet, and leave to cool until the syrup has hardened.
  4. In a bowl, layer the Greek yogurt and raspberries. Place the candied nuts on top, pour over some honey. Additionally, you could add some oats.

The Corfu Diaries – Part IV

After our trip to Albania (which you can read about in part III), my siblings and I only had two days left in the beautiful country of Greece.

The second to last day were spent by the house. Swimming in the pool, finishing our books, relaxing on the balconies. Staying outside till late at night, just talking about anything and everything. Or playing a game called 30 Seconds, which is awesome and made us all very competitive. Basically enjoying the finer things in life.

2014-08-07 12.01.37

The last day held one more sightseeing excursion for us; The Achilleion. This is a palace that has been built by the order of Empress Sissi of Austria in 1890. The palace is built on the slopes of the mountain, and includes a garden with phenomenal views over Corfu. It also houses several statues and paintings of the Greek hero Achilles, hence the name and theme of the palace.

2014-08-08 (2)

If you plan on visiting, keep in mind that there is limited car parking space available, so if you could go any different way, I’d strongly recommend that. Also, I’ve seen the weirdest tourist ever inside the palace. They literally saw the place as some kind of fashion shoot, taking pictures kissing the century old statues, mirrors and what not. Odd.

Fun fact: James Bond-lovers, I call on you. The casino scene in the film For Your Eyes Only has been filmed in the Achilleion!

To close our holidays off in style, we visited the touristic beach town called Benitses once again. This was where we also went to the beach, and took a swim in the Ionian Sea, which was quite refreshing. Yet again however, I am a cry baby when it comes to water, especially when there’s plants on the bottom of the sea that stroke my leg everytime I try to swim. I did swim though, so go me! Mainly because I absolutely adore the salty beach hair I get afterwards…

Corfu SunAnyways, food! Our last meal! Sort of. Greek Salads and Grilled Fishes and Squids were ordered once again, because why change a good choice? However, my sister decided to change something which I think you can get in any Greek restaurant all over the world: Mixed Grill. I believe that this version included Chicken Souvlaki, Bifteki, Lamb cutlets, and Loukaniko, which is a special Greek sausage. As the name suggests, all meats were grilled, and served simply with onion, cucumber, tomato, and lemon.

2014-08-08 14.49.18I decided to also go for a globally known Greek dish, but one that I have actually never tasted in Greece: Pita Gyros. I can safely say that this is the best one that I have ever had in my entire life. The pita was soft and chewy, and the meat. Oh my gosh, the meat. So succulent. It melted in my mouth. Combined with tzatziki, this was so incredibly good. Yum.

2014-08-08 14.49.24Also, I am not sure if this is a Corfu thing, but I have not seen it anywhere else in Greece yet, but in every restaurant I’ve been they serve complimentary bread. The bread has been infused with olive oil and parsley, and grilled. It’s so tasty, and very easy to make back home!

Garlic BreadSo yeah, that’s it for the food element of the trip. But there is something that I need to discuss with you guys. Something that has been on my mind ever since I started writing The Corfu Diaries. Something which I’ve been hinting about in all these posts. Something that is so good that I’ve called (and still do) it the Nectar of the Gods.

It’s time to talk about the deliciousness that is Retsina.

Retsina.

Oh, how I wish I was drinking this right now. Sure, it will never taste the same as it does in Greece. But still.

RetsinaLet me point out why Retsina is so amazing:

  • It’s wine.
  • Therefore, it contains alcohol.

No, I’m just kidding. Although, these points do help, it’s actually the original and surprising flavour of the wine that makes it so unique and exqquisite. This flavour comes from the pine resin that is being added to the must during the fermentation of the grapes. Wow, that was one heck of a professional sentence. I’ll break it down.

In ancient times, wine went bad quicker than in the present. To prevent this from happening, the clever Greeks decided to seal the amphorae with pine resin. Meaning that air did not get to the wine, which gave the wines a longer lifecycle (humans not so much, I reckon). Along with the sealing, the pine resin also influenced the flavour of the liquid.

Even though the Romans introduced wine barrels, people were smart enough to keep using the pine resin to flavour the must.

RetsinaI mean, the fact alone that Retsina has been around for more than 2000 years kind of already tells you that it is something quite magnificent. Additionally, you can buy bottles of 2 liters in the supermarket in Greece, so yeah.

Try it if you’re ever anywhere in Greece, or when you find it somewhere in your own country, and let me know what you think! I may have raised your expectations too much, but it’s literally my favourite wine.


There you have it, guys. An elaborate journal of my holidays in Corfu. I hope I made you excited or at least curious about this wonderful place.

Visit the island, there will be no regrets.

I miss it.

I love Greece.

Sweet Sunday – Classic Tiramisu

For a recipe that is so globally known to be an Italian staple dish, Tiramisu is actually a relatively new creation. It has been invented in the 1960’s, although there is still debate on the location and the creator. Nevertheless, it has quickly become a classic dessert in Italy. Classic Tiramisu

Originally, Tiramisu did not include Marsala or egg whites. But as it so happens with recipes, people tweak it to their own preferences which leads to many variations. For example, you could replace the Marsala with rum or Port, or just leave it out completely.

image

Anyways, I have always dearly loved the classic recipe, as I find it to be completely in balance. The creaminess of the mascarpone, the bitterness of the coffee, and the sweetness of the Marsala all come together as one. Although it looks absolutely stunning, it is actually so easy to make. You could even make it in the morning, so all the flavours will be even more intense.

Just keep in mind that the recipe does include raw eggs, so I would not keep it longer than 24 hours.

Let me know what you think:)

Enjoy your Sunday!

Classic Tiramisu


Classic Tiramisu

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp of white caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp of Marsala
  • 250 grams (1 cup) of mascarpone
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) espresso
  • 30 ladyfingers
  • 1 tbsp of cocoa powder

Used kitchen appliances

  • 2 mixing bowls
  • (Electric) whisk
  • Dish

Preparation

  1. Seperate the egg yolks from the whites. Add the sugar to the yolks, and whisk until combined. Pour in the Marsala, gradually add the mascarpone. Keep whisking until the mixture is formed into a smooth paste.
  2. Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.
  3. Gently add the whites to the mascarpone mixture. Stir with a whisk until combined.
  4. Soak the ladyfingers in the espresso, and place one layer of the cookies on the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of the mascarpone mixture. Repeat this once. End with the mascarpone.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to set.
  6. To serve, sieve the cocoa powder over the tiramisu.

The Corfu Diaries – Part III

Probably one of the most special trips during this holiday was our day-visit to Albania. Not only was it remarkable to go to a country that no one I know has ever visited, but to experience a culture that is so similar yet so different to my own, even if it was for just a day, was downright incredible.

We woke up early in the morning, while the sun was still rising above the mountains which made for an utterly beautiful panorama.

2014-08-06 06.56.35After a 30-minute drive via small and narrow roads, we safely arrived at the harbour of Corfu-Town. This was where the fun started. Honestly, I believe that it took us an hour to walk to the ticket office, find the right ferry, and actually board. Not having had that much sleep, and even less breakfast, this was not a particulary great way to start the day. Luckily, I had my headphones with me and could snooze a bit during the 30-minute boat ride. I’m not a big fan of boats, especially not ones that look like they might disintegrate at any given time.

We survived though (ofcourse we did, I am such a dramaqueen when it comes to big waters, ugh) and arrived in the coastal town called Sarandë. Many Albanians and Greeks come here to spent their summer, which can be seen by the many hotels and beach clubs. Albania has it’s own language and currency, although you can actually pay with Euros in the more touristic places.

At the harbour we were met by a lovely Albanian woman who would be our guide for the day. My father had arranged for a private mini-van (yes, we are spoiled), so we could ask the guide anything we’d like and move at our own pace. The guide was great, and so passionate about her country and culture. She had so much to tell us, that I don’t even know what to mention here.

Our first stop was an old church surrounded by hills. A couple of cows and donkeys grazing the fields, and farmers working their land. A small churchyard accompanied the church, whose interior is currently being restored. The small hill that it stood on offered us an overview of the countryside.

2014-08-06 11.11.33The next stop was an old Roman settlement called Butrint, which is absolutely stunning. There are still a lot of frescos in the old buildings, however they are covered as the water levels rise and fall, which damages the frescos permanently. They are only shown to the public about once a year. To be quite honest, I am not that interested in the actual ruins and settlements, that’s more of interest to my parents and brother. However, I was so enchanted by the pure beauty of the Albanian environment.

2014-08-06 13.35.32-1I’m such a sucker for nature. How the green and blue clash so perfectly with each other. Or what about pathways shielded by trees? I love it.

2014-08-06 13.39.57Butrint is actually an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and encircled by a natural park park in which many rare flora and fauna can be found. It’s like an oasis of silence compared to the busy touristic town of Sarandë. If you ever do happen to be in the south of Albania, please go there! It would be so worth it.

2014-08-06 13.59.42So around this time we still had not eaten anything and were up for about 7-8 hours. We were getting grumpier and grumpier, and then there we were. On a hill, eating lunch at an old castle. With views on Sarandë. So pretty.

2014-08-06 14.49.31Unfortunately, as I was absolutely starving, I downed my beer and literally attacked my food. Thus, disabling myself to take any photos. Stupid. I do remember that I had Bifteki though. This is basically a large ground beef pancake filled with feta cheese. It’s sort of like cordon bleu, except with beef instead of chicken. Although, it was really delicious, the amount of meat was enormous.

Late in the afternoon, we traveled back on a rough sea which made several people on the boat nauseous, my siblings very sleepy, and myself very scared. Yet we left with new knowledge and good memories.


Aaaand this post is getting way too long again. I did not know I had that much to say about one day. Anyways, I guess this is enough for now. The next part will also be the final one, in which I will finally talk about the nectar of the gods which is called Retsina. Be prepared.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Sunday – Chocolate Chip Cookies

WARNING: These Chocolate Chip Cookies might cause you to eat the whole batch in one go.

This week’s Sweet Sunday recipe is quick and easy. But it is also incredibly delicious. So you might want to run a few extra miles today. Or not. Because it’s Sunday and you can totally handle eating all these cookies and still look fabulous. Go you.

photo 1Anyways. This particular recipe incorporate oats, just to provide for a teensy bit of healthiness. The texture is somewhat similar to marshmallows, with them being gooey and soft on the inside, yet crispy on the outside. I am so in love.

photo 2I really don’t want to talk about it any more, because words simply cannot describe how good these cookies are. Try them for yourself and let me know what you think! I’m going to try another one now…


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields 16-20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 115 grams (1/2 cup) soft butter
  • 110 grams (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 85 grams (1 cup) oats
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 136 grams (1 cup) flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 225 grams (1 and 1/2 cup) chocolate chips

Used kitchen appliances

  • Oven
  • Baking tray
  • Baking foil
  • (Electric) Whisk
  • Wire rack

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F. Line a baking tray with foil.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg. Proceed to add the oats, milk and vanilla extract.
  3. Sieve the flour and baking soda over the mixture and stir until combined. Finally add the chocolate chips.
  4. On the baking tray, make heaps of the dough, as big or as small as you’d like. Keep enough space in between the cookies as they do spread out during baking.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

The Corfu Diaries – Part II

The next entry in my travel journal about Corfu. If you haven’t read the first part yet, find it here.

This part will be quite a bit shorter than the first one as we did not do that much. The next two days of the holidays were basically spent sleeping, reading, sunbathing, and swimming. Besides that, we also enjoyed drinking Retsina on the balcony of our house whilst enjoying the immensely beautiful view.

2014-08-02 19.12.08I mean, come on. This is just heaven. Can I go back? Please?

What I love the most about holidays is that I can finally read books again. Like actually read them in a day or two, and be so invested in it that I forget the world around me. This time I read the autobiography of Joe Jackson and the biography of Mick Jagger. Both are really interesting, I totally recommend them!

Anyways, back to the actual purpose of  this diary. FOOD!

On Monday, we drove to the capital of Corfu, which in Greek is called Kerkyra. The city used to be in the hands of the Venetians, of whom you can still see some remnants around the city. The Old Town, as the most touristic part is called, is actually an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s filled with small back alleys, beautiful building which now house museums, and large gardens.

But it also has tons of restaurants. We happened to find a gorgeous one overlooking the sea.

2014-08-04 13.12.16Yeah, not bad right. So what did we eat?

I chose Grilled Swordfish, because honestly, what’s better. This one was beautifully grilled with lots of olive oil and lemon juice, just as I like it. Simple, yet the flavours are so incredibly rich.

2014-08-04 13.27.54My brother chose Grilled Calamari. The name of the dish is quite misleading, as it was actually an octopus and not a squid. Well, actually it was an octopus leg. And I know that it does not look very appealing with all the suction cups. But seriously, try it if you have the chance. Octopus is surprisingly tasty and meaty. Yum.

2014-08-04 13.27.58Another whole grilled fish chosen by my dad ofcourse. This time it was Grilled Dorade. Such a beautiful fish, it’s somewhat rounder at the belly than other fishes, which also yields more meat. Soft and flaky, perfectly grilled.

2014-08-04 13.28.01My sister chose a classic Greek dish which we all probably know. Grilled chicken souvlaki. Nothing else to say about this than absolutely delicious.

Concluding, you could say that the people of Corfu love to grill their meats and fishes, which I think is a great thing to do. Basic preparations which use the best available products result in the richest and tasiest dishes there are. I love it.

That’s it for Part II:) Shorter than the previous one, right! Go me!

What to expect for the next part: even more food and Retsina, and a trip to Albania!

Sweet Sunday – Profiteroles

Profiteroles, or as we call them in Dutch “soesjes”, could easily be my favorite food in the world. What’s not to love about this dish when it involves pastry, whipped cream, and melted chocolate? Just by writing this, my mouth starts to water.

To my pleasant surprise, it is incredibly easy to make! I’ve tried to make it before with my sister, bu that didn’t turn out so great as we did not fully understand the baking method.

The first step is to make a converted roux. For those not familiar with a roux, it is basically the binding factor in sauces. It is made by melting butter, after which you gradually add an equal amount of flour whilst stirring. Once it has combined, and the starchy flavour of the flower has disappeared, you can add liquid. However, to make the choux pastry necessary for the profiteroles, the butter is being melted in the liquid. When the mixture starts boiling, lower the heat, and add the flour all at once while stirring strongly. As soon as the pastry forms a ball and lets loose of the pan, the converted roux is done!

This is actually the part where my sister and I gave up, just because we were so confused on what was happening and thought that we did something terribly wrong. Turns out, we were doing fine.

Anyways, now that I have made this misconception, you won’t have to.

photoLet the roux cool slightly in a mixing bowl before finishing the pastry. You do so by adding beaten eggs one by one. To me, this did not look very appealing, and again I thought I was doing something wrong. But keep on mixing in the egg until it’s completely incorporated in the roux.

photo 1 (4)Because in the end, the choux pastry will look silky and smooth.

photo 2 (4)The making of the profiteroles was not uneventful. First blunder took place while beating the eggs into the mixture. My whisk broke. I still had to beat 3 more eggs though, so it was kind of hard work. Don’t forget to check your kitchen equipment before making this! ;)

photo 3 (4)Another vital tip: make sure you have everything ready before baking. There’s probably loads of you who do this everytime you cook or bake something, but for the ones who are as disorganized in the kitchen as I am, I strongly advise you to do it this time. For instance, while I was ready to start filling the pastry shells with the cream, I found out that I did not have a piping bag. Panic ensued. However, I am a star in improvising now. See?

photo 4 (4)I used a ziplock bag, put the pastry in the bag, and cut a hole in the tip. There you are, a DIY piping bag. No nozzle or anything required. Works great. You need to make about 25 rounds of about 5 cm in diameter. Make sure there’s enough space in between as they enlarge while in the oven.

After the short baking time in the oven, the cream puffs should be slightly golden and slightly hollow on the inside.

photo 1 (5)For me, the easiest way to fill the puffs with the cream, was to make a slight incision in the bottom of the puffs. It should be big enough to either fit the nozzle of the piping bag, or the tip of the ziplock bag.

The chocolate sauce is basically just chocolate melted au-bain-marie. I also added a bit of milk, you could also add some cream if you prefer that. Just keep in mind that the puffs are already quite creamy. Adding cream or milk makes the sauce glisten a bit more, and adds to the volume of the sauce.

I served the profiteroles by using the method called croquembouche. This is a classic serving technique, which basically means that the cream puffs are carefully placed to create a tower. Traditionally, they are glued together by caramel strands. However, when making the amount of this recipe, it’s not necessary to do so. Just pile them up, pour over the chocolate sauce, and enjoy this heavenly dish.

photo 2 (6)You could decide to leave the chocolate sauce for what it is, and just serve the profiteroles as they are. They are perfect no matter what.

photo 2 (7)Let me know what you think :)!

photo 4 (5)


Profiteroles

Gives 25 cream puffs

Ingredients

  • 250 ml (about 1 cup) water
  • 75 grams (1/3 cup) of unsalted butter
  • 2,5 grams (about 1 tsp) of salt
  • 12,5 grams (about 1 tbsp) of caster sugar
  • 125 grams (1 cup) of plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 500 ml (2 cups)of cream
  • 4 tbsps of sugar
  • 100 grams (2/3 cup) of pure chocolate
  • Optional: milk or cream

Used kitchen appliances

  • Oven
  • Baking tray
  • Baking foil
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • 2 piping bags with a straight nozzle/ziplock bags
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Saucepan

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C or 425F. Line the baking tray with baking foil. In the saucepan, add the water, butter, salt, and sugar. Let the butter melt, and the mixture come to a boil. In the meantime, sift the flour.
  2. Once the water is boiling, reduce to a low heat. While stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once, and keep stirring. When the flour has formed a ball with the water and butter, and comes loose off the pan, it’s finished. Take the pan off the heat, and transfer the dough to the large mixing bowl. Let it cool slightly.
  3. Once chilled, add the beaten eggs on by one. Do not add another before the egg has been fully incorporated in the dough. The end result should be shiny and smooth.
  4. Transfer the dough to the piping bag. Pipe rounds the size of a walnut. Make sure there’s enough space in between each round, as they tend to enlarge while in the oven. If necessary, you could use an additional baking tray.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to chill for a little while.
  6. Make a small incision on the bottom of the puffs. Add the cream and sugar to the mixing bowl, and whisk until stiff. Place in a piping bag and put the nozzle in the bottom of the cream puffs. Pipe until the puffs are filled.
  7. Let the chocolate melt au-bain-marie (simmering water in a saucepan, mixing bowl with chocolate on top of the pan, but not touching the water). Add cream or milk if desired.
  8. Serve the profiteroles in a tower, and pour over the chocolate sauce.

The Corfu Diaries – Part I

After months of anticipation, Saturday the 2nd of August finally arrived. The day that I would travel to Corfu together with my brother and sister to meet my parents. My parents had already been travelling through Greece a week beforehand, but we would all come together for 1 week to fully relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of our rented villa. Well… peaceful? We would soon find out that this was not necessarily so, as the sounds of chirping crickets and barking dogs echoes loudly across the hills of Corfu.

Anyways, our flight was scheduled to depart at 4.30 AM. My brother and I already had our first setback when the trains were suddenly not running anymore. Oh, how I love public transport. Fortunately, we were able to take the car, and, together with our sister, could enjoy some deliciously sinful Burger King before going to the gate. Midnight cravings, you beast.

Early on Saturday morning we landed in Kerkyra, which is the capital of the island of Corfu. As we were not sure what we could do in this city, and still had to wait for almost 3,5 hours until our parents would arrive, we thought it best to travel to the village of Stavros, where the villa was supposedly located. During the 30-minute drive through the steep hills, I think I’ve died about 20 times due to the nonchalant driving skills of the taxi driver. Safe and sound (hallelujah!) we were dropped off next to the only restaurant in the area.

View on Corfu

View on Corfu

Fortunately, as always when going abroad, there was a very kind Dutch man who served us some drinks and basically kept us company throughout the suprisingly relaxing wait in the sun. The Greek owner of the restaurant was a remarkable man, who has lived in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands for years, and even worked as a cook for Manchester United. According to him, he was good friends with Sir Alex Ferguson, as could be seen by the photograph hanging in the restaurant. He also served us our first food that we consumed in Greece! We got a toastie/tostie/grilled sandwich with cheese, ham, tomato, and a fried egg. Honestly, I have not tasted it, as I was still shook up by the Burger King of the night before… But, my brother and sister did eat it, and loved it. I find the addition of a fried egg the invention of the year. Never have I thought of pimping the regular toastie by adding a fried egg, yet it seems so perfectly logic. I am going to make this soon, and will let you know how it turned out!

By the way, during our three-hour stay at this restaurant we had consumed a total of 6 cokes, and 2 toasties. The cost? 12 euros. This is equivalent to 16 dollars or 9.7 pounds. In The Netherlands, it would be hard to even have 1 toastie and 1 drink for that price.

Toastie with fried egg

Toastie with fried egg

After we finally reunited with our parents, it was around lunchtime which meant it was time to find a new restaurant. Preferably along the Ionian Sea. So we drove to Benitses, which is a small beach town on the foot of the mountain that our villa was located on. It was quite easy to find a nice spot in the shadow of the trees whilst enjoying a fine glass of Retsina or a big glass of Mythos. More about these drinks in a later post ;)

As lunch, I chose the Tuna Salad, as this is my go-to dish when I am indecisive, and I always have to try to see if it tops the Tuna Salad that I once had in a tiny patio restaurant in Samos. This one did not live up to my expectations unfortunately. As you can see, there is a huge load of whiskey sauce covering the actual salad. I am not a big fan of whiskey sauce as it is, but seeing the delicious tuna drowning in it made me dislike it even more. Pity.

photo 2 (1)

Tuna salad.

The classic Greek salad that probably everyone in the world is familiar with. Basic ingredients including feta, black olives, red onion, cucumber, green bell pepper, and tomato turn this simple salad into a dish with complex flavours. The cooks also sprinkled over some ground paprika.

photo 4

Greek salad

But the fish. Oh my gosh, you guys, the fish. If you ever find yourself on a Greek island, please please please order fish. First of all, you’re on an island, so fish is a logical option. But secondly, it is so amazingly delicious. These sardines were probably the best thing that I have eaten throughout the holidays. The meat was so soft, it melted in your mouth. I think that they were fried along with onion, garlic, and lemon juice. So if I am able to get my hands on sardines, I am sure going to try to recreate this dish!

photo 3 (2)

Sardines

My father always chooses the fish option, no matter where he goes, so he particularly enjoyed being on an island. He chose the red mullets, which where fried as a whole, probably also simply with garlic, onion, and olive oil. Aren’t they beautiful? You can even see their little teeth. It’s good to know that your food is actually fresh, and that you are actually able to see what it is. It does enhance the experience.

photo 5

Red mullet

This post is already way too long, so I’ll stop here and put the other days in a new post. I am so sorry if I am boring you with this elaborate description of my holidays, I am just so excited about it and wanted to share it with you guys :)

Sweet Sunday – Hazelnut Biscotti

Yes, yes, yes! Sweet Sunday is finally back! Oh, how I have been slacking on this day…

But I return with this gorgeous recipe for Hazelnut Biscotti. A classic Italian cookie. This particular recipe incorporates marsala in the dough, so if you do not like that, or need something children proof, just substitute it with vanilla extract. As far as the hazelnuts go, if you leave them out, the cookie will be just as delicious. Or you could replace them with almonds, if you prefer those. The possibilities are endless.

photo 1So I roughly chopped the hazelnuts, this gives the biscotti some extra crunch, and you get a good taste of the hazelnut. You could always chop them finer than this, but the taste might get a bit lost.

photo 2The final dough should look like the photo below. It is quite a wet dough, yet it’s still very firm. You could always add more flour if you suspect that the dough is too wet.

photo 1 (1)The dough has to be kneaded shortly to ensure that it sticks together. Then, it has to be divided and formed into two seperate logs.

photo 2 (1)After the first 20 minutes in the oven, the logs will have a golden crust but they will still be slightly soft in the middle. That’s why the logs have to be sliced, to create the actual form of the biscotti. By placing them on their side, you’ll bake the cookie all around.

photo 3 (1)

photo 4 (1)The several baking stages will result in dried cookies that have an intense flavour and an enormous crunch.

photo 3Easy to make on a Sunday afternoon, right?

photo 4Let me know what you think :)


Hazelnut Biscotti

Yields about 35 cookies

Ingredients

  • 50 grams (2 oz) of butter
  • 100 grams (3 and 1/2 oz) of skinned hazelnuts
  • 225 grams (8 oz) of self-raising flour
  • 100 grams (3 and 1/2 oz) of caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp marsala

Used kitchen appliances

  • Sauce pan
  • Oven
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 medium mixing bowl
  • Baking tray
  • Baking foil

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or . Place a sheet of baking foil on the baking tray.
  2. Melt the butter in the saucepan on a low heat.
  3. Roughly chop the hazelnuts.
  4. Pour the flour in the large mixing bowl through a sieve. Add the chopped hazelnuts and the caster sugar. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
  5. In the medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the marsala and melted  butter.
  6. Slowly pour the egg mixture in the middle of the flour, and mix by using a fork.
  7. Proceed to form a coherent dough by using your hands. If the dough is too wet, add some regular flour.
  8. On a floured surface, divide the dough into two. Roll each part out until it’s about 20 cm (7.9 inches) long and 5 cm (2 inches) wide.
  9. Place the two dough logs on the baking tray, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  10. After 20 minutes, remove the logs from the oven. Let them cool for a bit, then slice the logs in slices of about 2 cm (0.8 inches). This is the actual shape that the biscotti will take on. Lay the biscotti on the unbaked side.
  11. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
  12. Flip the biscotti over, and bake for the final 5 minutes.