Albert Heijn

First Bitterballen of 2015

Yup… it’s been a while… but yesterday we ate BITTERBALLEN. Not just any bitterballen… oven cooked bitterballen!

Huh? I know, me too! I didn’t even know they existed until a couple of weeks ago when we spotted them in Albert Heijn. We just got a new oven, you see. (How I have lived without one for 8 MONTHS is beyond me… but I did!)

So, we were perusing the pizza aisle in AH (The Dutchie’s favourite food groups are chicken and pizza!!!) and when we spotted them, of course, we HAD to try them for ourselves!

OVEN bitterballen... what the heck!?

OVEN bitterballen… what the heck!?

I get the fact that they’ve already been deep-fried. I’m not trying to be healthy or something… bitterballen are a treat and that’s the way they’re staying! The reason that oven bitterballen excite me is because we don’t own a deep fryer. I just won’t allow one in the house! (Otherwise we’d both be the size of a house!!! His 3rd favourite food group is vlammetjes!)

So, let’s give these bad boys a whirl!

IMG_2941

My precious little balls of heaven.

It says to cook them at 220-250° for 8-12 minutes. Which we did, but they still weren’t flaming hot in the centre and the outside wasn’t crispy enough, so we ramped it up to 250° for another few minutes and that did the trick! We could hear the sizzle!

And… the final result!

De-lish!!

Dee-lish!!

They tasted fab! Just like you’d get from any kroeg (pub), but in the comfort of your own home. I’m going to give them a well-deserved 7/10. The coating wasn’t quite as crunchy / crispy as you’d get from only deep-frying and the filling was good, but not spectacular.

However you just can’t beat that feeling of going into a pub and being served bitterballen alongside your borrel. It’s much more gezellig!  I would buy them again – but only for a party or something – what else would Bitterballenbruid serve!?! 😉

Would you try oven bitterballen? Or have you already? If so, what did you think?

Hayley x

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Being Dutch – Part 5: The Albert Heijn Bonuskaart

I must be officially 1% Dutch now. I have my Albert Heijn bonuskaart and I asked for it in Dutch and everything! Ik ben apetrots op mezelf! (Lit: I am monkey proud on myself! Nice Dutchism there… What it really means: I’m very proud of myself!)

Albert Heijn Bonuskaart

Albert Heijn Bonuskaart

I have a little head start because I’ve been learning Dutch on and off for a couple of years whilst living in the UK. I understand A LOT and I can speak the basics (all self-taught)… but now I’m going to be living here I need to step it up a gear. That’s #1 on my “when I live here list”: to sign up for classes as soon as I’m an official resident!

Anyway… I digress… The AH bonuskaart is a must-have in you live in NL (and you shop at AH! It’s kind of hard not to… they’re everywhere!) Without it you can’t get the special offers and deals in store, so naturally, everyone has one. So for me, that’s one very small thing ticked off a very, very long to-do list…

Hayley x

Being Dutch – Part 2: Gourmetten

At Christmas time in the Netherlands gourmetten is a popular and traditional way to eat. It involves putting a hot plate / grill in the middle of the table and then cooking mini pieces of meat, seafood and vegetables yourself. There are many styles of gourmet sets from a standard flat-bed hot plate (below) to full-on Raclette party grills which have individual pans for each person to grill things on the underside –  in addition to the shared plate at the top.

Gourmetten

Gourmetten

Popular ingredients to “gourmet” are:

Rundvlees / biefstuk – Beef (steak)
Kip – Chicken
Hamburgers – they must be mini ones!
Speklapjes – bacon, normally wrapped around a wooden stick
Worstjes – mini sausages
Zalmfilet – Salmon fillet
Garnalen – King prawns
Plus groenten (vegetables – stir fried types are normally used) and brood (bread) with knofloofkboter (garlic butter – mmmmm!)

Playing with fire!

Playing with fire!

Often, dessert is also cooked on the bakplaat (hot plate) …after it’s been cleaned, of course. The dish of choice is normally pannenkoekjes (pancakes) which are served with a variety of fillings / flavours including ice-cream, fruit, advocaat (traditional Dutch alcoholic beverage made from eggs, sugar and brandy) etc. Booze is optional and a slightly terrifying experience, as you can see!! 😉

My Dutch family enjoy to dine this way A LOT, not just at Christmas. It’s very sociable, fun and everyone can eat what they want… and cook it the way they like it. Supermarkets such as Albert Heijn even sell special pre-packed gourmetten sets with a selection of mini meat cuts. Of course you do get charged a bit extra for the privilege… but the convenience is worth those few extra euros in my opinion!

So, that’s gourmetten – or as the Dutch would say “gezellig tafelen voor iedereen” (cozy dining for everyone!)

Hayley x