Mustard at its best! Indeed!

Does anyone of you loves Mustard? Well I don’t. I remember finding it disgusting when someone put this brownish almost green paste on their sausages. And when they offer them to me, I would always reject. Because, in my opinion, Mustard just taste weird. I don’t like mustard on anything I eat as a condiment.

I would never have think differently about Mustard if I’ve never been living in the Netherlands. Once when we were having lunch with Nelly & Jan, everyone ordered Mustard Soup but I went for the Mushroom soup. Well, just to be safe, since Mustard doesn’t sound or taste good to me. Okay, I can be boring with food like that. Anyway, in another occasion, when Jos had Mustard Soup & I had Mushroom soup yet again, I decided to take the challenge and sip a spoonful of that yucky green-paste condiment that I dislike. And to my surprise, it was nothing but YUM! I love it so so much that everywhere I go from now, I would be looking out for Mustard Soup (In Dutch: Mosterd Soep)

Today, I was bored. As usual. I decide maybe I should check out the recipe for Mustard Soup, maybe I can surprise Jos when he comes home to a home-cook mustard soup? Maybe, maybe… only maybe. Anyway, I type Mustard Soup Recipe on Google and I must say there are just so many recipes online and they all varies. Some are much more complicated while others are easy and straight forward.

Anyway, I decide I am going to try this one :

Mosterdsoep

3 tablespoons butter
6 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups (1 liter) stock (chicken or vegetable)
2 tablespoons of mustard (zaanse mosterd)
1/2 cup Cream
1 Leek

Optional: Bacon & white wine & chervil

Simply because this have less than 10 items to purchase and the process seems really easy. For the record, I am a super lousy cook. If you like the same recipe.. Here is the link.

The good news is… I realise we have Zaanse Mosterd in the cupboard!!! I wouldn’t even take a second look on this bottle. Looks muddy and strange. It must have lying there for months? Look!!

It must be a sign right? That I have to try making mustard soup all on my own!! But wait…

The bad news is….. I think this bottle of Mustard is expired… look:

Do you also think it’s expired? I think it must have been lying there for years!?

So, I have expired mustard in my cupboard, that means I have to go buy a new bottle. But I want the same mustard from Zaanse since it is suppose to be popularly good.

I have heard a lot about how tasty the Italian Cuisine, French Cuisine even Thai Cuisine or Chinese Cuisine are, but Dutch Cuisine…. not so much. It is kind of sad because I think there are some really nice dishes that these dutchies make. Once I was really addicted to their Pea Soup. It was so good until we start making Pea Soup ourselves. Not that the result was bad, it was still tasty. But the ingredient used to make pea soup is super rich with so much bacon. I feel sick eating so much bacon. because I don’t like to imagine the amount of oily fats I’ve intake in one bowl of soup. As such, from then on… I moved on from Pea Soup (In Dutch : Erwtensoep). But still, everyone should try the Pea Soup, one of the best from the Dutchie Land.

So much for soup today, I shall run to AH now and see if they sell the same Mustard I’m looking for. And if I do find them,, I might make some soup tonight, only maybe… 🙂

Ciao!

Berenboot is Beary Nice

Hello World! I’ve been lagging on blogging, I know. But I only realize it when my all-time loyal stalker aka my boyfriend  nagged at me for not blogging. “Shame on you, Jess” exact word he used. If you are also a blogger, you will understand, blogging uses much brain juice and because I’ve used up all my brain juice on my new job by the time I’m home, my brain have already been sponge dried so where do I get more of those juice? Right? Agree… thanks! 🙂

Anyway, I decide I should blog about a Bear we both adopted for a good cause, his name was Kika, but being his adopted parent, we can change his name of course. But he do not have a name yet because, well he is only adopted last night, so give us some time, we will come out with something nice.

The Adopted Bear - Kika

The story of how Kika was being adopted went like this……

Long long Not so long long time ago, in a far far not so far away land, a dragon and his piggy decided to visit a Bear Restaurant for some Bear Meat in a small town – Dordrecht. The name of this restaurant is Berenboot. Beren in Dutch means Bears and Boot means Boat, so it really means BearsBoat. Piggy being Dutch Language illiterate, she enter the restaurant without having an idea what it means or what to expect and Dragon didn’t care to translate.

Upon entering the restaurant, Piggy instantly felt the warmth (of course due to the cold wind outside, anywhere else would be warm) and coziness of the restaurant. The tiredness of a hard day work was instantly forgotten. She was beaming with smiles.

A Beary Nice Restaurant.. have you already spot the many bears hanging around?

A very friendly Bear-waiter waiter ushered them to a very nice cozy, 2 seater corner. Alittle cramp but meant to be – “Cozy” so they lived with it. The moment they took their seats, Piggy was instantly checking out the many bears surrounding her. She started putting them in her strange gadget called – a Camera…

Very Beary Bears... you have to agree, they are too cute.

There is even one that was punished and was hung on the wall!

Bear nesting?

Look at the one on the left... he is leaning so close squashing the little one for a nice photo shoot.

And after all the “going gaga” over the bears, Dragon & Piggy checked out the menu to decide what they should have for dinner. The set dinner menu comes with a starter, a main dish and dessert all for EUR19.50. As piggy was really hungry, she decided to have the set menu, she chose to have Hot Wings as starter (because she loves chicken), Baked Fish as main dish and the Chocolate Trio for dessert. For Dragon, he chose to have the Unlimited Servings of Spare Ribs for EUR13.50 because that is the most popular dish in the restaurant.

The Dinner Set Menu

Dragon's Meal - The Juicy Spare Ribs

Piggy's Meal - Baked Fish

Sorry, no pictures of the Hot Wings because they were both famished by the time the hot wings came and it looks insanely delicious. Was all gone by the time Piggy took out the photo taking gadget.

And here comes piggy’s dessert….

The bear-shaped sauce plate

Ooops, sorry that isn’t the dessert.. but isn’t it cute? Everything has to do with Bear here. You will agree when you see the dessert.

This is the dessert. Insanely tasty Brownies with whipped cream...

If you didn't spot the Bear Shaped Chocolate that came with it... here it is.

The restaurant even has suger, wet-tissues and cookies packed with it’s beary signature! Now watch…

Suiker = Sugar

Cookies! Well, eaten before the camera came into actions... by Dragon of course

Wet Tissues

The overall experience was a very good one. Piggy didn’t like the baked fish very much though, so she had to share some of Dragon’s meal, the Spare Ribs also because it’s too good not to eat them. Because of it’s unlimited servings,  they both had enough to eat.
At the end of the dinner while waiting to pay. Dragon was speaking with the Bear Waiter for abit in Dutch of which Piggy didn’t understand. Next Piggy received Kika Bear from Dragon. While Piggy thought it was a free gift for eating this much, it was really a gesture from the Dragon and also to support the Children Cancer Foundation. 🙂
Berenboots is located all over Netherlands. If you like to also have a beary good time in a Beary Restaurant, maybe for a good cause to also adopt a bear, visit http://www.beren.nl. Veel Plezier!
Kisses with Lots of Love from
Jess the Piggy

Stamp the Pot with all your might!

I’ve only landed in the lowlands for exactly a week now but there is so many things happening. I’m little overwhelmed but am handling it quite well. A lot of tears because I’m missing home very much. I’m really glad I had Jos who has been so patient with me. Living with my emotional mood swing everyday must be a horrible experience for him.

Anyway, back to the many happenings. Being a Singaporean, the food I ate or love to eat are very different from what the dutch dishes are. I like western food, steak, pasta, hamburger etc but no, don’t like them on a daily basis. So getting use to eating what the dutch would eat naturally become a challenge for me.

I remember Jos made me a Winter dish in November last year, he proudly calls it “boerenkool met worst”. I love this dish very much even though I’m not a big fan for Carbohydrates. So being back in the Netherlands, all I can remember was to eat the same dish since I remember enjoying them enough to remember the name of the dish.

A Stamper

This time, I made it together with Jos although not “met worst” which means “with Sausage” but it’s still good.

I realise, the process of making this dish is simple and fast, all you need is a Stamper, put all ingredients together and mash it with all your might! Thereafter, flavored it with salt and pepper.

I wonder if this stamper is created because of the dutch habit to smashed their food with ease… because I’ve never come across a stamper in our Asian kitchen. On the flip side, this stamper does make it a lot easier to mash the ingredient up but it didn’t say you should be gentle with it. Jos had to repeatly remind me to press the stamper to the bottom of the pot!

Well, the first thing we did was to put bacon to cook in a saucepan until crispy as seen below. While cooking the bacon, we can start boiling potatoes (skin shaved) and 2 eggs (in dutch : Eieren) in a big pot. While cooking and boiling, we chopped up the endive. And then, we make a cup of coffee and return to the couch and relax while waiting.

Randomly, we checked on the bacon, making sure it does not burnt and the potatoes to check it’s softness.

After all that, the hard work begins. Drained the potatoes, remove the eggs and peel the shell. Put the endive and the crispy bacon into the same pot we use to boil the potatoes and begin smashing with all my might.

Anyway, let me now allow the picture to speak it’s thousand word on how this dish is being cooked. 🙂

First thing First - Cook the Bacon with a pan.

Boiling the main ingredients - Potatoes and Eggs

Next you chopped up the Endive!

After everything is cooked.. the bacon, potatoes & eggs (remove shell please..) put them altogether in the same pot.

Stamper is ready to mash them up.

Without the Human... it is not possible of course. 🙂

Finally, the result after much hard work with the Stamper 🙂

This may not be very professionally presented but the taste of it might be nicer than you thought. I had TWO servings of this! So it must be good. If you care for a fuss free and quick fix to your dinner, I believe this could be it and it don’t have to be winter to enjoy a meal like this.

Hare for Christmas… Shall we?

No, I’m not talking about a Christmas Gift, I’m really talking about having a hare feast on Christmas Day! Yes, Bunny, Rabbits, they are all from the Hare family!

I received a tweet today from a blogger I followed. She asked what would I be cooking for Christmas and also revealed some tips on cooking for a Christmas Dinner in the Netherlands. I cannot help but had to rub my eyes and read them three times when I came across the sentence: “Hare Pepper Spiced Stew”. I know, I’m a city girl. And the meat I eat aren’t pet, they are regular meat like chicken, duck, cow, goat and fish. Ok Fish can be kept as a pet but I only eat fish that are meant to be eaten. Not Gold-Fish.

I cannot get over the fact that the Dutchies has Hare as their Christmas delights. I’ve heard of people in China eating Dogs & Cats, Monkeys & Rabbits. Well, people in China eats everything…. including worms! Of which I cannot understand but it’s been popularly known, so nothing new. But Dutchies eats Hare just freaks me. And yes it is something new! To me at least…

Hare, Rabbit, Bunny, whatever you call them, they are commonly know as Rabbits of which I’ve learn that they are also commonly kept as pets in the Netherlands and now, I’m told, they aren’t just pet, they can be eaten too!

How can the cutest animals on earth be turn from this:

Cute! But wait... you will be eaten!

To This:

Hollandse Hazenpeper met Kruidkoek

Yes, we all know. No one is going to serve up with Mini Lop or Netherland Dwarfs. For cooking, I suppose they uses something from the wild, like this one:

Wild Hare... still cute.

While I was flying back to the Netherlands last month, I bought a little toy for Madelief from KLM inflight shop, and this little toy happen to be a popular bunny widely sold in the Netherlands – MIFFY!

Miffy

So, can you imagine a conversation between a mother and daughter that goes like this:

Daughter : Mummy! Mummy! What are we having for dinner tonight?

Mummy : We will have Hare Stew Sweetheart!

Daughter: What is contain in Hare Stew?

Mummy: Hare of course

Daughter : What is a hare?

Mummy: Just like Rabbits

Daughter: Like Miffy?

So can you imagine telling your daughter who is so in love with Miffy this: ” oh sweetie, we are having Miffy for dinner tonight! Sounded very wrong. :S

I know I am freaking out over something already common. Maybe one day I will get use to the idea of being in a country that eat Rabbits. Maybe it’s time bunny stop being cute and that is when it will be a popular delight worldwide.

Food Festivals, Carnivals and The Netherlands

Do not be deceived by my size, I am a big eater and a lover of food. All kinds, any kinds! Therefore, I believe I will survive anywhere since I am not choosy with food. Having said that, it also means I must be feed with a variety of food where ever I may be in order to feel satisfied and happy. So it is very important I know where to find food when I get to Holland.

Having lived in Holland for a few months, I’ve found out that Holland seems to always have festivals and carnivals of sorts almost every other months. And such festivals and carnivals are none other but having food, drinks and entertainment such as live performances etc. It will be held either in a big park, a big field or any open space they can find. Sometimes by closing up the roads to cater to the event.

The only one I’ve been to so far was in Rotterdam. It was during summer time this year called Zomercarnaval. Even that, we didn’t really plan to visit. It was purely by chance that we happened to be shopping in Rotterdam town and walked pass a street full of food stall, loud music and live performance. Until someone passed us a flyer that says : Zomercarnaval (Brazilian Theme), we realise there was a carnival happening till wee hours that night.

Zomercarnaval in Rotterdam

What really amaze me was the amount of festival and carnival these Dutchie have. They truly love them and surely knows how to enjoy life. After I came back to Singapore. Jos had also told me on one occasion, he went to an Indonesian Food Festival in Dordrecht with his mum. I was so jealous! Indonesian Food is like my all time favorite. But yes, he went and had alot of Satays and indonesian cuisine. And another one he went sometime in June at Wantijpark, Dordrecht that is also about food, drinks and entertainment. So yes, I missed out on all of that. Sad, if you asked me.

Today, I chance upon Singapore Food Festival in Netherlands that is happening sometime on the 21 and 22nd of October in Rotterdam! Was happy for a minute but I am gonna have to miss that too because I’ll be in Sri Lanka with Jos. So… that sucks!

Singapore Food Festival in Netherlands

It is really amazing to see that Holland even has Singapore food festival. I mean, Singapore is a really small city and totally multi-cultural. Most of the local delights we have are also serve in Malaysia, Taiwan or even Hong Kong. Of course, we do have a handful of our own signature dish which are namely Chili Crab (my all time favorite!) and Hainanese Chicken Rice (Also my all-time favorite!).

We have food of all kinds from all over the world except Dutch of course. I’ve not come across a Dutch restaurant in Singapore. So, for Holland to cater a Singapore Food Festival is really nice. I am quite sure there is a small Singaporean community living in the Netherlands and that already feels good.

With all these festivals and carnival in place, who will ever feel bored living in the Netherlands? There are always festivals and carnivals to go to at most time of the year. All you need to do is to keep abreast of the upcoming events and trend at your fingertips! And yes, I am so going to keep track of the next Singapore Food Fare in the Netherlands.

Hagelslag – The Typical Dutch Breakfast

While I was having my Fried Carrot Cake for breakfast this morning, I’d thought about what I had when I was in Holland. And yes, most morning I had Hagelslag. And what is Hagelslag for the non-dutch? Well, it is non other but a spread on your toast. Commonly, we spread peanut butter, Jam, butter, cheese etc but Dutch would add in some flavors and spread Hagelslag.

Hagelslag are really sprinkles that comes in many flavors to top on sandwiches for breakfast. Although I’ve hardly seen Jos eating those on his sandwich for breakfast but generally yes it is still typical dutch breakfast because I see them everywhere. They are served in any hotel breakfast buffet, they are also widely sold in any supermarket in Holland.

I read on wikipedia that sprinklers served on sandwich are also commonly serve in Indonesia then I start wondering why hasn’t it been introduced to the other part of Asia? Strange but to us, sprinkler are only commonly seen on cakes, or donuts. Well, on second thought, we can really say its really a quick fix if you want a bake sprinkler donut and can’t have them, you put sprinkler on your bread! Now, this sounds right.

I had Hagelslag for breakfast for a good 5 days and I got kinda sick of it. I have this posted on my facebook and then, I had friends commenting that I must be bored stiff to have sprinkles on my bread. What comforts me was, the next thing, I found Jos bringing me instant cup noodles from the supermarket.

My breakfast for a good 5 days

As a matter of fact, having Hagelslag for me is a quick fix especially when one is really hungry anything like this would taste good. One fine day, I finally understand, maybe it isn’t really something most adult dutch has for breakfast, it is mostly consume by children! I found Madelief having them even for dinner while camping in France. So, my conclusion to Hagelslag is:  it is kept handy for any quick fix for meals.

Madelief and Hagelslag - She sure enjoys them!

There are many flavors of Hagelslag, if chocolate isn’t your thing, get the fruity ones and if you don’t like fruity ones, then I suspect you don’t like sprinkler! To be honest, they are really quite nice and a great improviser to quick taste of sprinkler without feeling guilty of eating “sugar” on its own.

The Many Flavors of Hagelslag by De Ruijter.

Being a Singaporean, breakfast are quite sumptuous if you asked me. Forgive me for comparing Dutch and Singapore all the time, this is because the two are just so different. Having to adapt to a totally new lifestyle and many many new experience sometime puzzle me.  I am enjoying every bit of the difference.

Many asked if I would miss the food in Singapore. I am sure I would, very much. The oil, the spice, the variety, they are awesome but that does not mean I wouldn’t miss food from Holland when I am back in Singapore. I love Dutch’s poffertjes, their Pannekoeken and their Bittleballens (Oh they are delicious!) of which I will blog about in my other post. 

So ending my post with a picture of the kind of breakfast I had this morning, Singaporean fried carrot cake! Did you see the vast difference of the two? 

Fried Carrot Cake