Category Archives: starter


rtichoke_Chicory saladNot one that you will spot on your plate everyday, or listed on a menu. A first recollection as a child: “is it a cactus?” A giant green sunflower?” Will I find a frog in the heart?”

Mediterranean kids did not ask such questions, they where familiar with artichoke. It is in the warmer countries where they grow but it where in fact the Dutch who introduced it to England. To get to the heart you nibble the fleshy leaves first, they are taster of what to expect from the hidden gem inside. Not to mention it looks great on a plate.


1 yellow carrot
2 artichoke
2 red chicory
1 Lemon
handful golden raisons
150 g cottage cheese
300 g couscous
table spoon honey
mixed nuts
olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 200 c

2. Mix couscous with chilli flakes, olive oil, juice of half a lemon and cover with boiling water so there is about 1 cm above the line, let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.

3. Swell the raisins, shave the carrot and roughly chop the nuts and add to the couscous.

4. Cut the chicory at the roots, gently wash the separate leaves and dry them. Fill the leaves with a spoon full of the couscous mixture and place in a lightly buttered oven dish. Finish each leaf with a teaspoon of cottage cheese, a drop of honey and pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is slightly golden.

5. To prepare the artichoke, cut of the tips of the leaves. Add a slice of lemon to the boiling water and steam the artichoke for 25 to 35 minutes or until the outer leaves can be easily pulled off.

6. Drizzle some olive oil over the artichoke, add a pinch of salt and fresh black pepper and serve like a flower with the baked chicory. A simple green, tomato salad goes nicely on the side.

Loaf_artichoke salad_done                       Loaf_artichoke salad_done2


Sweet Potato CroqsIt is a habit to revamp a traditional recipe by substituting the main ingredient with a surprising alternative. Potato old fashioned side snack that you will find in the old-school buffet dinners. Next to the almost grey looking Brussels sprouts and ever overcooked carrots. Brrr, they gave me the shivers. 

Nevertheless, I had decided to make a new style of croquette.
Earlier in the week I had made mash and veggie fries, if you mix mash and fries you sort of end up with a croquette. So.. idea born.
The orange coloured flesh of the sweet potato needed a strong sidekick so I mixed in purslane which is as green as grass. Purslane is considered a weed but contains a lot of omega 3  so say hello to that!


2 or 3 sweet potatoes
50 g crumbled goat cheese
2 eggs
handful purslane or baby spinach leaves
50 g plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves
100 g Japanese panko breadcrumbs
1 litre vegetable oil, for deep-frying
paprika  powder
coarse sea salt
ground pepper


1. Peel the potatoes and boil in a pan for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and allow to cool slightly. Mash the potatoes in a bowl until smooth, use a little (soya)milk if necessary. Mix in the goat cheese, grated garlic, roughly torn purslane and season with paprika power, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to one creamy substance.

2. Roll the potato mixture into small ball sized balls and dip each croquette into the flour, dusting off any excess, then dip in the beaten eggs and finish in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with each croquette until you have used up all of the potato mixture. Place onto a tray and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up before cooking.

4. Pour the vegetable oil in a heavy-based pan until half full and heat until a cube of bread dropped in sizzles and turns golden-brown in 30 seconds. Deep-fry the croquettes, in batches, for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.

5. Serve with a yoghurt mayonnaise and/or homemade tapenade. my cousin did, dip the croquettes in your soup! There are no rules, simply enjoy.

Sweet Potato Croqs_done2  Sweet Potato Croqs_done


Kohlrabi fries_home[highlight]INGREDIENTS[/highlight]


1  or 2 kohlrabi’s
sunflower oil
10 shishito peppers
ground pepper


small bunch of wasabina
1 pot of crème fraiche
1 lime
2 garlic cloves, grated


1. Start with the dipsauce so the flavours can be enhanced:

2. Finely chop the wasbina  and grate the garlic. Mix  them with the crème fraiche,  a squeeze of lime juice and a good pinch of black pepper. Stir and set aside in the fridge.

3. Peel the kohlrabi and slice in chunky batons, then steam for a minute or 5.

4 .Pre heat a grill pan and add a glug of sunflower oil. Grill the batons until brown and crispy on the edges, pile on a plate and sprinkle with salt.

5. Continue to grill the shishito peppers and add to your snackplate with the dipsauce and extra slices of lime. Tuck in!

09.kohlrabi fries wasabina_reg noise

09.kohlrabi fries wasabina_done

Aubergine and quinoa roll ups

11_aubergine roll ups_main

That’s the difficulty when a veg has different names in different countries. An aubergine is also called a zucchini, which means courgette in French. A recipe that meant to start with a purple egg shape thing ended up with his green alter ego. I gave up, until I moved back to the Netherlands where things are called what they are. I learned that aubergine is an incredible versatile ingredient that lends itself in many varied ways. Rolled up for example, with little kumquats on the side, nice!


1 Aubergine
10 oyster mushrooms
3 kumquats
200 g Quinoa
handful yellow raisins
handful hazelnuts
flat leaf parsley
100 g goat cheese, mixed with 30 g parmesan
handful purple sprouts
olive oil
Salt &  ground Pepper
herbal stock cube

[highlight] INSTRUCTIONS[/highlight]

1. Prepare a veggie broth and bring to boil, reduce to simmer and add the quinoa. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

 2. Slice the aubergine with a cheese slicer in thin  strips, leave out the two end pieces with their skin on.  Sprinkle the strips with a little salt and heat up a grill pan. Once the pan is hot grill the slices on both sides for about 2 minutes or when brown (not black) stripes appear. Put aside and start the stuffing.

3. Heat up a pan, cut the remaining aubergine ends to small pieces and tear the mushrooms. Add some oil to the pan and start with the aubergine. After 3 minutes add the mushrooms and stir for another 2 minutes. Then add the cream cheese and parmesan cheese. Stir to one mixture and season with salt & pepper. Fill the grilled aubergine slices by adding some of the stuffing to the thicker end (about a dessert spoon), and roll it up.

4. Once cooked transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and squeeze in some cumquat juice, then add chopped hazelnuts, raisins, parsley and finish with a good pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.

5. Serve with the rolled up aubergine and garnish with purple sprouts and kumquat. No need to peel, you can eat the skin of kumquats.

Rolled up Aubergine_result_doneRolled up Aubergine_done2Rolled up Aubergine_done3


Japanese Rolls



6cm rice paper wrappers
small bunch of shunguki
handful of seaweed
5 to 8 shiitake mushrooms
handful of beansprouts
400 g cooked & peeled prawns
10 shishito peppers
light soy sauce
teaspoon honey
rice vinegar
Sesame seeds
sesame oil

[highlight] INSTRUCTIONS[/highlight]

1. Chop the shiitake mushrooms and stir fry in a hot wok for 10 minutes in a splash of sesame oil and a gulp of light soy sauce.

 2. Wash the seaweed, chop finely and add in the wok with shiitake, continue to stir fry for 1 minute.

3. Take the wok from the heat and stir in the washed and chopped shunguki, chopped shrimps and beansprouts.

4. Grill the shishito peppers in a hot grill pan in some sesame oil.

5. Soak a rice paper in warm water for 30 to 40 seconds until pliable, remove and add another to soak. Place a generous spoonful of the mixture in the centre of the paper and roll up to form a cigar, tucking in the ends as you roll. Place with the seam-side down on a plate and repeat until all the papers and filling are used up.Cover with a damp tea towel if not serving immediately.

 6. For the dressing dissolve honey, rice vinegar, light soy sauce and water in a small saucepan.

 7 .Serve the wraps with the peppers and sauce on the side.

Japanese Rolls_done


Mushroom pie

Mushroom pie_home


Mushrooms are cool. Not always easy to work with, they are delicate and fragile. But once you gently prepare them for their tasty finale your efforts will be rewarded. They fit in well with the autumn because of their brown and earthy shades but for me mushrooms can hang out in the kitchen any time. Savoury pies and cakes and muffins and everything else are sort of my thing and I altered this recipe with what I had available.


300 g mixed mushrooms
6 sheets puff pastry
25 g soft butter
25 g cheese
flat leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves
1 egg
5 to 6 walnuts
coarse sea salt
ground pepper
baking paper

1. Preheat the oven to oven 200 c

2. Gently tear the mushrooms in evenly pieces. Take out the pastry to defrost but dont let it go soft and warm.

3. Melt butter in a hot pan, cook the mushrooms on high temp for 5 minutes so all the liquid evaporates. in the last minute add walnuts, and if you wish prunes, to the mixture.

4. In the meantime, cut the sheets in circles and carve them to create a ridge, about 1 cm from the edge. use a spoon and make sure you dont cut through the pastry.

5. Take the pan of the heat and mix in the cheese, garlic and parsley. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.

6. Place a spoonful of the mushroom mix in the centre, inside the ridge. Stroke the corner with egg yolk and place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Make sure you have one for each guest as I am telling you…they will love you.

Mushroom Pies_done Mushroom Pies_done2

Avocado soup

avocado soupA soup that you whip up in 15 minutes and knocks you down. Forget your main after this delicate smoothy. Obviously you can customise the recipe: make it spicier,  add some chicken. I choose to use nuts and serve it with crunchy cheese slices which is a great combination.


2 ripe avocados
125 ml creme fraiche
800 ml (vegetable)stock
fresh lemon
fresh coriander
salted almonds
old cheese
coarse sea salt
ground pepper



1. Preheat the oven to 100 c. Grate the cheese and place them like rectangles on baking paper. Bake in the oven until the slices are melted and golden brown. Leave to cool before you take them off the paper.

2. Roughly chop the coriander. Cut the avocado’s in half and scoop out the flesh. Mix with the coriander, creme fraiche, a spoon of lemon juice and a little stock. Blend until you get a smooth sauce. Pour the sauce with the remaining stock in a sauce pan and gently stir. Be careful not to boil the soup or it will turn bitter. Season tot taste with salt and pepper.

 3. Heat up the serving bowls and pour in the soup. Garnish with chopped almonds and serve with a cheese biscuit. So simple but so tasty.


Avocado Soup_done   Avocado Soup_done2    Avocado Soup_done3