Welcome to Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was great and had a little of everything: some work, but also a good share of fun!
On Saturday we visited the recently opened food establishment in Amsterdam, East57. Have you read my review yet? I was quite impressed and will definitely be going back soon. Not only for lunch, but perhaps for an afternoon of wine and trendy bites followed by gourmet food shopping at their well-stocked delicatessen.
I am now officially in love with Brandt & Levie’s pepper and juniper berry pâté which I purchased there along with cheese, bread and a bar of the limited edition Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate bar with licorice flavor. Tried it yet? I absolutely hate licorice but after sampling a bite of this chocolate, I needed to buy it. The flavor is hardly overpowering, only enhancing the creamy milk chocolate with a mildly salty note.
That evening, as we were having dinner, I handed hubby an envelope (with a heart — how romantic am I?) with reservations for dinner for two at A La Ferme in a few weeks. The restaurant, located in ‘de Pijp’ in Amsterdam, serves traditional French dishes and features beauties such as Bresse chicken on their menu. Just looking at their offerings makes me smile! I made the reservations after hearing about the ‘Franse DinerDagen’, or ‘French Dinner Days’. During ten days, from the 14th to the 23rd of November, you can enjoy a four-course dinner (incl. coffee and a digestif) at fifty top French restaurants across the country that were selected by IENS and En Route Magazine. And at only €34.50 per person, not something you should pass up!
If I wasn’t eating or working these past two days, I was reading the latest issue of one of my favorite Dutch food magazines: Elle Eten. The issue features their ‘100 Favorites’, everything from products, to recipes, to restaurants, to food trends that all of us culi-nuts should not miss out on.
I was especially intrigued by their mention of James Osterer, the English artist who covered subjects (mainly himself) in layers of cream cheese, candy, chips and other foodstuffs before photographing them for his ‘Wotsit All About?‘ project. The works reminded me of the Italian Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Behind them is definitely some ‘food for thought’:
“The works become a catalogue of self- destructive behaviours, and are also managed in such a way that while transgressing themselves as odes to great works of historical art practice, they become re-packaged eye candy for uncomfortable consumption. They are bittersweet to the point of decay and emphasize much of our contemporary society’s needs for synthetic glucose praise, and, in doing so, proselytize the image as a new catalogue of self-harming sugar worship.” (jamesosterer.com)
In other news, this week I’ll be busy writing and testing over thirty recipes for another Christmas production for Vriendin. This one includes cocktails, too. I’ve got a ‘helluva’ job, I know! On Wednesday I’ll finally be meeting up with the fascinating Dutch food writer (and columnist for DUTCH), Gerrit Jan Groothedde. Gerrit Jan recently debuted with his book ‘Weg van de supermarkt’, a plea and guide for real food, which according to the author, cannot be found at our local supermarkets. I can’t wait to meet him in person! Later that evening I will also be having dinner at a newly opened resto in Almere, and reporting on it the next day for you, so stay tuned!
Make it a great week!!
One of the perks of my job is being invited to interesting events in the world of food. Restaurant openings, culinary demonstrations, wine tastings, book presentations, etc. Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the opening of Gastrobar Anton, a new hot spot in the ritzy Dutch city of Laren. It was quite a lively evening full of champagne, cocktails, great wine, a posh selection of bites and fabulous oysters! The gastrobar has a Scandinavian inspired interior with warm color accents, robust materials and different types of seating options.
I’m not going to give you a full review just yet as I’m planning on going back there for lunch, but suffice to say that I had a great time. One of their wines, by the way, just happens to be a favorite of mine — Le Petit Berticot Cabernet Sauvignon from none other than my beloved Duras! How awesome is that?! Highly recommended by yours truly.
After the event, my friend and I decided to try out another restaurant in Laren. We figured we were already there, so why not? Both of us love Spanish food and Bodega, also located on the Brink, seemed like a good choice. Their menu features a varied selection of tapas as well as ‘Paella Valencia’, which is what we both went for, agreeing that perhaps this would make up for our last paella experience — ahem, it took place at an awful restaurant in Barcelona’s La Rambla called ‘El Choquito‘. El Choquito does not have a website, in case you’re interested, just a restaurant full of rude, frustrated waiters, crap food and weak sangria. Luckily, our experience at Bodega was not as appalling (kudos for the friendly staff), though their paella left a lot to be desired. The seafood selection was mostly deep-fried and I barely detected three tiny little mussels hidden in the rice, which missed more saffron, in my opinion. Some lemon wedges could’ve also helped the dish a bit, too.
In other news, it’s almost weekend! In case you don’t have any cooking plans yet, allow me to suggest grabbing a copy of the latest Vriendin (#43) where you can check out six of my easy and seasonal mushroom recipes! My aromatic noodle soup with shiitake and prawns is especially recommended today — rain, rain, and only rain!
I’ll be headed to Amsterdam tomorrow to review a new restaurant that boasts a menu which made me go a little weak in the knees when I read it. You can catch the review here on Sunday.
Have a delicious weekend!
Welcome to a new week! As you may have read in my previous post, I visited restaurant Rembrandt in Amstelveen last Saturday and was quite positive about the experience. If it wasn’t forthe less-than-perfect location, I probably would have given it four stars. The food was absolutely delightful and the wine equally good.
I’ve decided to make the ‘Lunch Date Saturday’ a recurring feature on the blog. Therefore, I’ll be visiting interesting restaurants (if possible, new) for you every Saturday and reporting back here every Sunday. After many lunches out with my hubby at the weekend (something we both really look forward to!), I thought it would be nice to not only share photos through Instagram, but to also post full reviews here on my blog. Honest reviews. I am not being paid for this and even if I was, I have absolutely no interest in praising something I don’t really love. So don’t expect it to always be pretty!
With that, I’m happy to say that I have very high expectations for the resto I’ll be visiting this coming Saturday — also a newbie in the Dutch food scene and pretty damn cool from the buzz it’s creating!
Today’s post, however, isn’t about fancy restaurant food. It’s about an easy peasy dish that has saved me many a times from succumbing to take-out on days when I know my agenda is an absolute disaster. All it takes is a little bit of mixing and chopping in the morning and by dinnertime, presto! You’ve got yourself one heck of a good meal.
Enjoy and have an awesome week!
Raw Pasta Sauce for Busy Days
- 600g mixed sweet cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 1 bunch of basil, leaves torn
- 3 tbsps capers
- 3 tbsps good olive oil
- 2 tbsps balsamic syrup
- fleur de sel
- freshly-cracked pepper
- mozzarella, torn into small chunks
- 250 g spaghetti
Mix everything except the mozzarella and the pasta in a large pan, place the lid on and leave the sauce to marinate out of the fridge for the whole day. When dinnertime rolls around, cook your pasta al dente. Add the mozzarella to the raw sauce and toss with the pasta. Serve in bowls with a good grinding of pepper.
I’ve been having a rather slow morning today. A well-deserved one, though, which started with a bowl of oatmeal, beauty tutorials on YouTube (yes, I do like to watch those every once in a while) and a strong ristretto. The to-do list is pretty big right now, but I’m not feeling the least bit guilty about this little indulgence. In fact, I should make it a habit! I’m pretty precise when it comes to sticking to the agenda of the day, but really, I think this chick needs to loosen up!
So, what’s on my mind this Friday? A lot! From finishing an article on Dutch meat croquettes to happy anticipation for things like the mailman delivering a set of make-up brushes any minute now to a few very cool press events that I have coming up within the next weeks. I’ve been ignoring those more than I’d like due to a serious lack of time, but I’ve decided I simply need to make the time to show my face at these happenings a lot more often!
I’m still busy with the appetizer recipe production for Vriendin, and as soon as I hit ‘post’ for this blog, that’ll be the first thing on my agenda: writing the next eight recipes and trying them out tonight. By the way, those of you in the Netherlands, might want to check out this week’s issue (nr. 42) where you’ll find six of my quick and easy stew recipes, perfect for those days when you come home from work in need of serious comfort food that doesn’t require hours of cooking.
And speaking of recipes, a few weeks ago hubby surprised me with Yotam Ottolenghi’s new book, Plenty More. My goodness am I pleased with it! The book features colorful and flavorific vegetarian recipes with stunning ingredient combinations and gorgeous photography. This week we tried the root veg mash with shallots braised in red wine. All I can say (with my hand on my heart and as a serious Francophile!) is that it gave even the best boeuf bourguignon I’ve ever had a run for its money. Holy sweet lord!
It’s going to be a busy weekend again with shooting a new food video (cupcakes!) and checking out a new restaurant tomorrow (very excited about that as it combines an awesome menu with one of my other biggest passions). Curious? Stop by Sunday for the full review!
For now, I wish you all a happy weekend. Open a bottle of something wonderful tonight… just because!