Tuna Salad for One

Whenever my parents are having dinner somewhere else, I start to panic. Because what do I eat when they’re gone and I’m home alone. Most of the times this results in me eating a sandwich or crackers.

For someone with her own food blog, this might seem a bit strange. But too be honest, the biggest part of my love for cooking is because it allows me to make other people happy! Sometimes not so much, when I have made the biscotti or chocolate peanut nuts, cause some people just can’t resist them (yes, I’m talking about you, mum).

Anyways, I love to see people enjoying my food, and trying something new that sprung from my own creative spirit (haha). So, when that element disappears, what’s left for me?

Besides the occasional sandwich, I actually do have a go-to recipe that I absolutely adore. This is the one that I make when I’m not lazy enough to cook- well, more slice- my food.
A brilliant Tuna Salad.Tuna Salad for One

Healthy ingredients tossed together that are sure to keep your stomache satisfied for the rest of the night!

Also, it allows you to use some of that creative spirit in yourself! Add your preferred kind of beans. Choose shallots or scallions instead of red onions. Mix in some rocket lettuce. Use any leftover veggies.Tuna Salad for oneMake it your own.


Tuna Salad for One

Feeds one lonely person

Ingredients (use as many as you’d like :) )

  • Cannellini beans
  • Tuna
  • Cucumber
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pickles

Used kitchen appliances

  • Small pan
  • Salad bowl

Preparation

  1. Heat the beans in a small pan.
  2. Drain the tuna(or savethe oil from the can, and put it in the salad bowl).
  3. Dice the cucumbers. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Slice the pickles and sundried tomatoes.
  4. Toss all ingredients in a bowl. Season with oil, salt and pepper

Sweet Sunday – Chocolate Peanut Rocks

Happy Sweet Sunday!

It’s time for another delicious sweet dish. Today’s recipe is for Chocolate Peanut Rocks, which is an incredibly easy recipe, that takes almost no time to make. Perfect for lazy days where you just feel like enjoying something sweet and chocolatey.Chocolate Peanut Rocks

I’ve learned this recipe from a friend at primary school. It was actually one of the first things I learned to make. As the recipe is so simple, it is hard to forget about it. chocolate peanut rocks

Fun thing about this deliciousness is that you can basically tweak it to your own liking or to whatever you’re in the mood for. You could choose a different type of chocolate, or use hazelnuts instead of peanuts. Like that, you’ll have a completely different chocolate rock!

Chocolate Peanut Rocks


Chocolate Peanut Rocks

Gives 15 rocks

Ingredients

  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) pure chocolate
  • 25 grams (o.8 oz) butter
  • 50 grams (1.76 oz) peanuts

Used kitchen tools

  • 1 small pan
  • 1 small bowl (that can fit on top of the pan for the au-bain-marie method)
  • tin foil

Preparation

  1. Fill the small pan with just enought water, so the bowl can be placed on top without touching the water. Put it on a medium heat. Do not let it boil.
  2. Put the chocolate and butter in the bowl, and let it melt together. Stir once in a while.
  3. Place a sheet of tin foil on your working space. Make small mounts out of the peanuts, so you’ll end up with 15 of those.
  4. With a spoon, carefully pour the chocolate over the peanuts to coat them.

You can store them in an airthight container for about 3 days.

Saint Nicholas’ Eve

Yesterday my family and I celebrated Sinterklaas. A day later than the actual holiday, which I’ve told you a little about in the last Sweet Sunday post along with a recipe for the traditional cookies we eat around this time: kruidnoten.

On Pakjesavond, or Saint Nicholas’ Eve, our family has the tradition (like most other Dutch families I guess) to prepare a lot of food. And I mean a lot. In my home, we always make a walking dinner or buffet.  Honestly, the dishes we serve have been the same for more than 10 years. strange thing is, some of these dishes we only eat on this holiday. Even though we love them all, it has just become a family tradition to not serve them any other day of the year.

buffet dinnerWhat we always serve is a quiche, most of the time a quiche lorraine. You could make them yourself by using the recipe in the Smoked Salmon Quiche post! To me, a quiche is always a clever dish to make, as you can serve it either cold or warm, and heat up any leftovers the next day!

My absolute favorite dish ever is my mum’s celery salad with cashewnuts. It is literally the simplest ever to make, but soooo good. Recipe will be on the bottom of this post!

Another staple dish, well more staple ingredient, are chicken wings for my lovely brother who basically lives on chicken.

By the way, the big S you see in the middle of the the photo above is a really large sausage roll. Insert heart eyes emoji.

Sinterklaas 2014 (6)There’s also lots of baguettes, with pate, or smoked mackerel and salmon, or tomato tapenade. Basically some good stuff.pigs in a blanketAnd there are some piggies as well! The wonderful pigs in a blanket! Who doesn’t love these?

With all that deliciousness your (first) plate will look a bit like this:

buffetTo say that this is all there is, would be a total lie. Because what’s a children’s holiday without chocolates and marzipan? You will end an evening like this with a belly full of hearty food and sweets, I assure you.

Anyways, at the end of the day, this holiday is all about the presents which, like the food, were aplenty. pakjesavond presents

The wrapping paper and boxes serve a great second purpose as a bed for my little kitty :)sinterklaas pakjesavondSo there you have it, that’s what Pakjesavond with my family looks like! If you want to know more about this Dutch holiday, don’t hesitate to ask me!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

PS: I got new headphones, and the Greatest Hits album of Foo Fighters amongst others. I’m so happy.


Celery and Cashew Salad

Serves 6 when used as a buffet dish

Ingredients (note: these are estimates, prepare yours how you’d prefer)

  • 1 large celery which has about 8 stalks
  • 150 grams of salted cashewnuts
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 5 tbsp yogurt
  • Salt and pepper

Preperation

  1. Clean the celery stalks, and cut off the tops and ends. Cut the stalks in slices of about 1 cm. Add to a bowl.
  2. Add the cashewnuts, mayonnaise, and yogurt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Top 11 Dream Kitchens

So I’ve got this board on Pinterest, right. It has about 215 pins of kitchens. Just kitchens. There is not a place in the world where I can be happier than in my kitchen. Well, except for maybe my bed.

Girls are supposed to have their dreams of the future filled with what their wedding should look like, or their dress, or their hair or whatever. Honestly, I believe this is one of those clichés that are actually not meant to be a cliché, cause there’s no truth to it. Anyways, as long as I can remember I have been dreaming about my future kitchen. Literally, the only thing in future that I know what it should look like is my kitchen.

It will be a ridiculously big kitchen. The walls are to be decorated with red and white square tiles. The sink needs to be like those you see in farm houses, deep and wide. I want a massive refrigerator with two doors, and the ability to make ice cubes. Along with that, I want a huge freezer. I want a kitchen island. I want racks to hang all my pots and pans. I want shelves for my vast collection of cookbooks. I could go on and on.

A girl can dream, right?

Now I know that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. Pinterest is filled with dreamers, who like me are quite unable to choose just one kitchen design.

Thus, here is my top 11 of dreamy kitchens to help you along the way (in no particular order, cause I am too indecisive):

1. Wine refrigerator

I mean, seriously, a wine refrigerator?! That is just the ultimate kitchen goal, isn’t it? Especially one as large as this one. Besides that, I love the rustic oven, and all the pots and pans, which make it look like an organized mess. I can totally relate to that.

2. White and mint 

I love this kitchen because of the beautiful pastel colours which pop up in the accessories. It just calms me. Combined with the higher cabinets which are quite open, it’s an organized yet cozy kitchen.

3. Black and wood

I would describe this as a rustic, industrial kitchen. The combination of darker wood and black is something that you do not see that often in kitchens, but it totally works. Also, the open storage shelves are great so you’ll never forget what you have and where it is!

4. Kitchen island

Original source: http://www.popsugar.com

Original source: http://www.popsugar.com

I’m an absolute sucker for kitchen islands. It just seems to be so incredibly useful and handy when cooking. Especially this one, since it’s on wheels! Also, there’s lots of storage space underneath the island. The hanging pangs complete the whole picture.

5. Diner style

To me, as someone who has not been in that many diners in her life, I kind of feel like this would be a kitchen that could be in a diner. Lots of storage, great decoration in the form of plates and boards. Also love the industrial lamps, and a table in the kitchen!

6. Oven

Honestly, give me this oven. I want it so bad. The colour is perfect. Also, how great or those black and white tiles on the floor!

7. Rug

Probably not the most hygienic thing to place in your kitchen, but it does make it incredibly cozy. Kind of boho, right? And that marble slab by the stove is amazing, just like the oven itself, and the sink.

8. Rustic farmhouse

As you might have noticed, I indeed really do love these ovens. Does anyone have any idea what these type of ovens are called? I need this in my life. The cute checkered curtains finish the whole rustic farmhouse feel. Also, kitchen island suitable for the smaller kitchens!

9. Beach house

One word. Chalkboard. Is there anything more clever than a chalkboard in the kitchen? Write down ideas for recipes, ingredients that you need to buy, or just random things. Love it.

10. Refrigerator

Retro style refrigerator which has about the same price as three regular ones. But who cares, it’s a sight to see. The most famous brand is Smeg, who makes all kinds of retro-style kitchen appliances. The pastel colours are great in every kitchen. I want it.

11. Vintage

This kitchen looks like it’s seen some rough times. But no, it is just vintage. And isn’t it a beauty? The bright turquoise colour is balanced by the whites and yellows of the shelves and accessories. And as a bonus, it offers plenty of workspace (and an island!).

Disclaimer: all photos belong to the owners, all photo credit goes to the original source.

Sweet Sunday – Kruidnoten

Sweet Sunday is holiday themed this time!

Next week, on the 5th of December, the Dutch celebrate a holiday called Sinterklaas. Some of you may be familiar with it, as it has been on the news quite a bit lately…

Anyways, let’s not dive into that right now. Sinterklaas is basically the Dutch version of Santa Claus, as you might’ve guessed by the strong resemblance in the names. He was actually one of the inspirations for Santa!

So just like at Christmas with Santa, we get an awful lot of presents on Pakjesavond, as we call December 5. Ofcourse, this is already pretty awesome, as you just give each other gifts for no reason whatsoever. But, what makes the whole evening (and the months leading up to it) is the food.

kruidnoten

Traditionally, speculaas is eaten during this holiday. It is made with flour, brown sugar, and mixed spice, and does not rise as much as other cookies. The small version of speculaas is something called kruidnoten. These are small, round cookies that have about the same ingredients as speculaas, but somehow taste quite different – better if I may say so. The taste kind of resembles gingerbread, although the ginger flavour is less strong, and no honey is used.

As you might be able to see in the photo, the dough is quite sticky, and not so much fluffy. It is wise to dust your working space, to avoid it sticking to the surface.

Kruidnoten doughHonestly, it does not take that much time to make kruidnoten. The only step that is quite labour intensive is to roll all the small pieces of dough into balls. So, if you happen to have children, I definitely suggest to have them help ;) Besides, the work is so worth it though, cause you’ve got about 100 of these delicious cookies, YUM.IMG_5019In line with some of the previous Sweet Sunday recipes, like the ontbijtkoek, I wanted to share another true Dutch recipe with you for kruidnoten!

kruidnoten

Let me know what you think! 


Kruidnoten

Gives ca 100 kruidnoten

10 min preparation + 15 min baking + 30 min waiting

Ingredients

  • 200 grams of self raising flour
  • 100 grams of dark brown caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 100 grams of cold butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • Extra flour for dusting

Used kitchen appliances

  • Mixing bowl
  • Oven

Preparation

  1. Sieve the flour, sugar, mixed spice, and salt over the mixing bowl.
  2. Dice the butter, and add it along with the milk to the bowl.
  3. Rub everything together using your fingers. Form a ball from the dough, wrap it in cling foil, and store in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 175C or 350F. Line a baking tray with foil.
  5. Divide the dough in 5 pieces. Roll each piece out to long sausage-shaped pieces of about 1 cm thick. Cut in smaller pieces of about 2 cm, and roll into a ball.
  6. Place the balls on the baking tray, and lightly flatten with your thumb.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until cooked through.
  8. Take out of the oven and let the kruidnoten cool down. Store in an airtight container.

Sunday Update

Happy Sunday!

I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend (or workdays) just as much as I am!

Unfortunately, my ideas for a new Sweet Sunday recipe kind of fell through. Boohoo.

However, there’s already lots of delicious recipes on the blog! Why not try to make the Red Berry Pavlova to get in the swing of Christmas? photo 1 (1)

Or you could make the Spiced Carrot Muffins for a more fall kind of feeling!

Spiced Carrot Muffins

Also I’ve got a deadline for my thesis next weekend, so I am not sure if I’m going to be able to make a Sweet Sunday post then… I’ll try my best!

I’ll keep you posted! Have a nice day, you guys :)!

Start the Day with a Smile & Finish with a Champagne

Plannings and promises. They can be difficult to keep at times. Oh, I’ll do this and that and I want to do this then but after that I definitely need to do that. And then real life kicks in.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

So have I. I’m probably the best person to talk to when it concerns procrastinating and laziness. That would certainly be apliccable to my person. That can be quite frustrating if on the other hand you’ve got some perfectionistic traits in you. Hard times. Anyone who can relate to this? Would absolutely make me feel a bit better.

Let me tell you what this thing called real life does. You think you’ll have plenty of time, and plenty of motivation to go with that, but no. I have just started my graduation placement, I need to do research on “stuff” (yeah, I’m thoroughly enjoying this part), I need to socialize with colleagues, friends, and family, and I need to sleep. That’s real life.

Basically, I’ve been giving you excuses for not posting any recipes, or anything for that matter, on my blog. I’ve not only been neglecting all you sweet, lovely, followers, but also myself. Argh.

Luckily, as I’m writing this I feel so happy and content again. Who knew I missed writing so much? Besides that, I’ve actually got tons and tons of ideas for some amazing posts that I want to share with you guys!

I’m getting right in the Christmas mood, while listening to the wonderful voice of Elvis Presley. However, there is a traditional Dutch holiday coming up, for which I am surely going to post some recipes! And, for the US-residents among us, Thanksgiving! I’ve always wanted to experience a true American Thanksgiving. One day.

Anyways, there’s more than enough to do, to write, to create, to dream about, to post, and to eat! So, expect a new Sweet Sunday recipe this week, and expect even more in the upcoming weeks! I’m terribly sorry about this long post about myself. I do like to talk about myself from time to time. My sincere apologies.

Lovely people, enjoy the rest of your Tuesday, or the rest of your Wednesday, wherever you are in the world!

Most of all, be sure to follow this great motto! True words of wisdom, I say!

Sweet Sunday – Dutch Cake

I think, along with a lot of other Dutch bakers, that there has always been some confusion when it comes to the definition of cakes. See, in Holland a cake is basically what a pound cake is in the UK or the USA. However, the term “cake” in these countries is far more general, as it encompasses many types of cakes.

IMG_0916The batter to me is absolutely stunning. I used dried vanilla beans for this recipe, the brown speckles of vanilla perfectly contrast with the yellow colour of the batter. Beautiful.

IMG_0910This recipe comes from the same cookbook that I got the Ontbijtkoek recipe from. Slowly but steadily, this book is becoming my food bible, as it holds so much information about regular day-to-day recipes and preparations that originate from decades ago, which I love.IMG_0917In Holland, this cake used to be eaten at almost every social gathering. Probably because it’s easy to make and very comforting to eat. It’s even better served with a dollop of whipped cream…

Anyways, let’s crack on with it so you can enjoy this deliciousness in about an hour! Have a nice Sunday!


Dutch Cake

Gives 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 200 grams of soft butter
  • 200 grams of white caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 grams of plain flour
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Used kitchen appliances

  • Oven
  • (Electric) whisk
  • Mixing bowl
  • Cake loaf tin

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 360F. Grease the cake tin with butter.
  2. Beat the butter until it’s creamy. Continue whisking, and gradually add the sugar in batches. Proceed to add the eggs one by one. Whisk until the batter is fluffy.
  3. Halve the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds. Add this to the batter.
  4. Sieve the flour over the batter. Stir it through, but try to not let the air out of the batter too much, otherwise the cake will become dense.
  5. Transfer the batter to the cake tin. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

Sweet Sunday – Dutch Pancakes

Oh hi there! Sorry for vanishing for more than a week! I had no creativity or motivation to do anything for my blog last week. Well, that and I was just lazy. Shame on me… But anyways, I’m back now! And I’ve got loads of ideas for the upcoming Sweet Sundays, so we’re good to go for a while :)

As you might have read in one of the previous Sweet Sunday posts, in particular this one where I elaborate on the Dutch cake called Ontbijtkoek, I want to introduce the non-Dutchies to the sweet baked goods that The Netherlands has to offer. Also, I want to kind of show the Dutch readers that what we buy in the supermarket is actually incredibly easy to make by yourself!

Dutch Pancakes

To continue this trend, let’s talk about pancakes. There are many countries that have pancakes in their cuisine with each one adding their own style. For instance, in comparison to American Pancakes, the Dutch ones are a lot thinner, but also a lot wider. They have less density than American ones, and are actually mostly eaten for dinner. I have honestly never eaten Dutch Pancakes for breakfast, it just doesn’t work in my mind.

As humans, I think that we all love pancakes, no matter which country they originate from. They are sweet, doughy, buttery, and just all-round delicious. Am I right, or am I right?IMG_0905Besides that, the recipe is so simple, you can literally eat pancakes in 15 minutes. A quick and easy dinner or breakfast! In The Netherlands, we serve them with powdered sugar, and syrup. You can have apple pancakes by adding chunks of apple to the batter, or place cheese on the pancake while baking. There are so many possibilities, it is impossible to get bored of this recipe.

IMG_0906Also, I feel that this recipe will explain to Dutchies that you do not need to have that prepared box of pancake mix to make pancakes. Everyone has got flour, egg, and milk in their kitchen. So no need for those boxes anymore, guys :)

Have a nice Sunday!


Dutch Pancakes

Gives 6-8 pancakes

Ingredients

  • 250 grams of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 500 ml milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter
  • Optional: bacon, raisins, cheese, apple, etc
  • To serve: powdered sugar, and syrup

Used kitchen appliances

  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Ladle
  • Frying pan

Preparation

  1. Add the flour, egg, milk, and salt to the bowl. Whisk until mixed and all lumps are gone.
  2. Heat some butter in the frying pan on medium heat.
  3. Use the ladle to pour in the right amount of batter in the pan.
  4. Bake for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden.
  5. Optional: place bacon in the pan before adding the batter. Or add raisins to the batter to make raisin pancakes.
  6. Keep the pancakes warm by placing them between two plates.
  7. Serve with syrup and powdered sugar.

Smoked Salmon Quiche

I looooooove quiches.

To me, they are the quickest, easiest, dinner to put together. Just toss in any vegetable, meat, fish, you have, and you’ll end up with a delicious hearty pie.

Smoked Salmon QuicheOnce you’ve mastered the basic recipe, set your mind free and be inspired by whatever ingredient you have in your fridge or cupboard.

The best thing is that you can actually make this far ahead of time. Make it in the morning, or the evening beforehand (it can be stored for at least 2 days in the fridge). It actually tastes better, and adds to the texture if you make it a few hours before eating. Just warm it up in the oven and you’re good to go!

I swear to you, you will not regret learning about this recipe.

The Smoked Salmon Quiche is definitely one of my all time favourites. It has smoky, creamy, doughy flavours yet the texture is surprising as you bite through the crispy peas and soft onions. I often serve it as dinner with a green, herby salad on the side, or maybe with soup as a starter.

Oh my, I wish I was eating this right now.

smoked salmon quicheLet me know about your own quiche creations! What do you like in your quiche?

 


Basic Quiche recipe

Makes 1 quiche

Ingredients

  • 270 grams (9.5 oz) of hearty pastry dough (I always use frozen storebought pastry, as it is just so much easier for a weekday dinner)
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 ml (1 cup) of cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter for greasing

Used kitchen appliances

  • Oven
  • Quiche form
  • Bowl

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C or 400F. Let the pastry defrost. Grease the quiche form with butter.
  2. In a bowl, crack the eggs and add the milk. Season with salt and pepper, and beat together.
  3. Line the form with the pastry. Pour in the egg mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes in the oven.

Any quiche recipe needs that easy preparation. Once you have the form lined with pastry, you can place anything you want in there. For example: bacon and cheese and make a traditional Quiche Lorraine. After adding the egg mixture you can top the quiche with anything you want, such as crumbled goat cheese, or pine nuts.

The possibilities are endless.

To make the Smoked Salmon Quiche, you’ll need:

  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) of smoked salmon
  • 400 grams (14 oz) of (frozen) peas
  • 1 onion

The preparation is the exact same as the basic recipe, you just add some extra ingredients before adding the egg mixture.

Preparation

  1. When using frozen peas, defrost them by placing them in a colander and letting cold water run over them. This will take the worst frost out of them and prevents your quiche from getting watery.
  2. Slice the onion in thin slices. Place the salmon on the base of the quiche. Add the peas. Pour over the egg mixture. Place the onion slices on top.