Dutch food

English Food vs Dutch Food… Fight!

It’s almost a year and a half since I moved to the Netherlands… and honestly, Holland is starting to feel more like home than England does. Isn’t that vierd?

THINGS (BRITISH) EXPATS DON’T MISS

Wet/cold weather 55%

Politicians 39%

Traffic 37%

Miserable people 34%

Commuting 26%

Sarcasm 13%

Annoying family members 10%

Neighbours 8%

Ex-partners 8%

The Pound 6%

 

THINGS (BRITISH) EXPATS MISS

Fish and chips 55%

Pub grub 54%

Traditional pubs 47%

Countryside 35%

The high street 31%

Sunday roasts 30%

TV 24%

Parks 16%

Football 12%

The changing seasons 11%

 

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know the biggest thing I miss is the English pub culture and good old pub grub, so I’m totally in agreement with this survey!

(Sources: BritishCornerShop.co.uk – and The Mirror.)

I like food. So yes, this post is about food (with a few drinks thrown in). But the question is: which is better?

 

BREAKFAST

1. Bacon vs spek

Thick, luscious rounds of smoked bacon served with crusty bread, lettuce and tomato. Or wafer thin slices of spek? My vote: Team UK.

2. Marmite on toast vs hagelslag

Love it or hate it… marmite is extremely popular in the UK. As is hagelslag in Holland. But which is best? My vote: Team UK.

Proper English tea and toast... with marmite!

3. Full English breakfast vs uitsmijter

Bacon, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, hash browns, beans, black pudding… I’m salivating just typing this! Or fried egg, ham and cheese? Also delicious, but very simple. My vote: Team UK.

 

LUNCH

4. Sandwich and crisps or boterham?

English people pretty much can’t eat a sandwich without a packet of crisps on the side. It’s like an unwritten law or something. What do Dutchies often eat for lunch? A slice of white bread with cheese and a glass of milk. My vote: Team UK.

5. Beans on toast vs … ?

Is there a vs for this one? (Hagelslag?!! Hee hee.) Dutchies think beans on toast is just weird, but we were brought up with it. It’s cheap, easy food when the cupboards are (almost) bare and most definitely in every student’s culinary repertoire 😉  My vote: Team UK.

 

(SUNDAY) DINNER

6. Roast Dinner vs Stamppot

Meat and all the trimmings vs a U shaped boiled smoked sausage and mashed veg and potatoes. I love both, but if I can only pick one it has to be the roast.  My vote: Team UK.

© robbie jim / Creative Commons / Attribution 2.0 Generic

© robbie jim / Creative Commons / Attribution 2.0 Generic

 

AT THE PUB

7. Chips drowned in vinegar or mayonnaise? 

This doesn’t need an explanation. The Dutch won me over with mayo. My vote: Team NL.

8. English pub vs Dutch brown cafe

Both are fantastic for different reasons, but I’ve got to go English pub. My vote: Team UK.

9. Ordering a round in a pub

Ordering a round in Holland: “Zeven biertjes en een witte wijn” (Seven beers and a white wine).

Ordering a round in England: “One Calsberg, one Fosters, one Stella, one Kronenberg, one Bulmers, one Aspalls, one Pinot Grigio and a gin and tonic, please.” Fuck me, we’re fussy. My vote: Team NL.

10. Bar snacks – pork scratchings vs bitterballen 

No contest. My vote: Team NL.

Bitterballen at Elements Beach

11. Pint of beer vs thimble of beer

The bigger the better, surely? My vote: Team UK.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

12. Nesquick vs Chocomel

Powder you mix with milk or prepackaged chocolate loveliness. My vote: Team NL.

13. Liquorice allsorts vs Drop

Both disgusting, at least liquorice allsorts have some coconut around them that I can eat. My vote: Team UK.

 

Unsurprisingly,  I scored 9 in favour of the UK and 4 to NL. But I’m getting there…

What’s your score?

Hayley x

A quickie in Haarlem

Get your mind out of the gutter!! 😉

After the epic trip to Hoorn… the day after, Haarlem with the husband was on the menu. Unfortunately, timing wasn’t our strong suit that day and we didn’t end up arriving in Haarlem until nearly 4pm (!) by which time the sun was already beginning its descent, meaning that the light was running out for decent photos and it was also bitterly cold! Brrrr!

So it made the trip short and sweet. On the plus side, we now HAVE to go back again another time! (With much better planning de volgende keer!)

First we arrived at Grote Markt (literally: Big Market) and immediately spotted Viqh (a wine bar) – which Marit Smits had recommended on my Facebook page… so it would be rude not to go and have a cheeky glass of prosecco! It’s a very cute little bar with lots of little nooks and crannies. The tables are wedged in everywhere, so be prepared to get cosy with your neighbours!

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After cheeky bubbles, we explored market square which was bustling with traders and shoppers… it was Saturday afternoon after all! Unfortunately this is the only photo I have where the sky doesn’t look bleak and empty. This is St. Bavo Church or Grote Kerk – I’ll let you work that one out for yourself 😉

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Next on the agenda was Jamón Jamón (on Inge Mastwijk’s recommendation) for a quick bite to eat.

They’re renowned locally for their sandwiches, so The Dutchie went for a beef sarnie and I opted for a couple of tapas dishes. The spicy chicken was wonderful! A word of warning though… despite being a delicatessen and selling wine, they don’t have a license to sell alcohol with your meal… so this is a place for coffee and a snack rather than a borrel and snack!  Extremely cute place though… there will be fights for that one table in the summer! (Ha ha, just noticed – hello from the window reflection!)

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On the same street (Schaghelstraat) is this little beauty. An art shop with one of the coolest shop fronts I’ve seen outside of Brighton!

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Then it was onto Jopenkerk, recommended by both Inge and Marit (thanks, ladies!)

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Previously, the building (an old church) was known as Jacobuskerk, but in 2010 it reopened its doors as a brewery, cafe and restaurant. According to their website, in 2013, Jopenkerk won the title Mooiste Bar van Nederland  (Best Looking Bar in the Netherlands) and I can totally understand that. It’s goddamn beautiful. It was also goddamn busy… note to self: come on a day other than Saturday!

In addition to the wide range of beer, they had BEER bitterballen!

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Honestly? I couldn’t taste the beer… but that could have been because I was drinking beer, who knows! These get a 7/10 with minus points for the (random) shape, (lack of) mustard and slightly lazy presentation.

Beer and bitterballen – check! Next…

Museums were off the cards because it was already too late in the day, so we took a walk to check out Cathedral of Saint Bavo (thanks Christina Ames for the tip). She sure is a beaut (the cathedral I mean, but I’m sure Christina is too!) and next time I’d love to do the tour!

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That’s it unfortunately, all we saw of Haarlem! But enough of a taster to want to return!

This weekend I’m off to explore Gouda with my friend and goddaughter, so as always… insider tips are welcomed / appreciated / encouraged! 😀

What are you doing this sunny weekend?

Veel plezier!

Hayley x

22 Dutch Foods You Must Try

Get your taste buds ready to sample some traditional Dutch food! In order to experience the Netherlands in an authentic way, you just HAVE to try traditional Dutch cuisines and specialties. So, here are the Top 22 Dutch foods you must try:

1. Haring (Hollandse Nieuwe) 

Ok, so herring isn’t that weird. But the Dutch like to eat it raw. To eat it the traditional way: tip your head back, grab the fish by the tail and bite upwards! Completely unglamorous, but fun! If this doesn’t appeal, it can be eaten in a bun, with or without optional extras: finely chopped onion and/or sliced gherkins. Eaten this way, it’s called a broodje haring.

Herring is available all year round, but if caught between May and July, it is referred to as Hollandse Nieuwe. The herring season starts every year with the traditional auction of the first tub of Nieuwe Haring. After that, herring may be sold everywhere and ‘herring feasts’ are organised in many towns and cities.

© Alix Guillard / Creative Commons / CC BY 2.0

© Alix Guillard / Creative Commons / CC BY 2.0

2. Stroopwafels

Stroop = syrup/treacle and I’ll let you guess what wafel is 😉 This is Holland’s most famous pastry dish – quite rightly! A stroopwafel is made of two thin layers of baked dough/batter/waffley stuff with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. LEKKER! 

Stroopwafels

3. Drop

Dutch people love liquorice. So much so, they eat on average 2kg per person, per year! That’s (unsurprisingly) more than any other country in the world.

A word of warning: they also think it’s a funny game to try and feed it to unsuspecting foreigners! Kijk uit! (Watch out!)

Liquorice choices

© Autopilot / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

4. Friet / Frieten / Patat / Patatje 

Chips. These are all names for the same thing, depending on where in the Netherlands you live. There are also disagreements about what they’re called with different combinations of toppings, but it goes a little something like this:

  • Friet of patat met mayo: chips with mayonnaise
  • Patat met satésaus: chips with peanut sauce
  • Patatje oorlog: chips with a combination of peanut saté sauce, mayo and onions
  • Patat speciaal: chips with curry ketchup, mayonnaise and onion
  • I’ve given up caring… just give me some chips.

5. Frikandel

My nemesis. They do however belong on this list, because they are VERY popular in the Netherlands… and you should try everything once!

A frikandel is a long, thin, skinless, dark-coloured meat sausage. Usually eaten warm. They are often served with curry ketchup or mayonnaise, though some eat it with tomato ketchup, mustard or even apple sauce (!)

6. Oliebollen

(Literally: oil spheres) I got in a lot of trouble on a previous post for saying that they’re “basically doughnuts”! Dutch people are clearly very passionate about oliebollen and will defend them to within an inch of their life. So ok, I will amend my statement: they are similar to doughnuts…

The history of the origin of doughnuts is disputed, but one theory (the preferred theory for Dutch people) is that Dutch immigrants introduced them to the States, so if it’s true then it’s actually their fault that Americans have such high cholesterol. 😉

The dough is made from flour, eggs, yeast, salt, milk, baking powder and usually sultanas or raisins. They’re then sprinkled with icing sugar. Oliebollen are traditionally eaten at New Year but there are oliebollen stands around for the whole festive period (so basically the whole of December).

Oliebollen

© Takeaway / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

7. Kibbeling

Deep fried pieces of fish, I guess it’s Holland’s answer to fish and chips (if ordered with een portie patat). Originally cod cheeks were used – but due to high prices of cod, today you might be served off-cuts of cod or possibly even hake, pollock or whiting.

8. Poffertjes

These sweet little treats are popular in winter and you will often see dedicated Poffertje stalls and stands. Poffertjes are small, fluffy pancakes, served with powdered sugar and butter (yup, you read that right – butter!) and sometimes syrup.

9. Stamppot

Meaning “mash pot”. Stamppot consists of (lumpy) mashed potato with vegetables of your choice thrown in. Popular vegetable choices include sauerkraut, spinach, swede, carrot, onion and kale (with kale it is known as boerenkool). Stamppot is often served with rookworst (smoked sausage) and/or bacon lardons.

If you’re lucky, you’ll also get gravy: make a small hole in mash and fill it with gravy, known in Dutch as a kuiltje jus (little gravy pit).

Stamppot

10. Erwtensoep (of Snert)

Pea soup. Typically made from dried peas, such as the split pea. A bit like English pea soup… but better!

11. Speculaas

Spiced shortcrust biscuit, served around Sinterklaas time. Dutch people go wild for it. You can also get spreadable versions, with a peanut butter kind of consistency. Niet mijn ding. (Not my thing) but each to their own and all that.

12. Hagelslag

… or sprinkles as we call them in England. Not that weird, on top of your ice cream, but the Dutch eat this on bread, with butter, for breakfast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you really want to fit in, give it a go!

Hagelslag

13. Filet Americain

This has a bit of a Marmite reputation: you either love it or hate it (probably more do to with the associated health risks than the taste!) Personally, I bloody love the stuff!

It’s like a steak tartare, but in spread form. A sandwich spread, if you will. Normally served raw on bread with onion, and if you’re feeling a bit fancy – add mayonnaise and a hard boiled egg.

14. Appeltaart

Apple pie is an English thing, dating back hundreds of years but it’s also popular with the Dutch, Swedes and of course the Americans. Dutch appeltaart (apple tart) is hugely popular and a different variation of what you’ve had a home, so worth giving a go!

15. Vlammetjes

One of The Dutchie’s absolute favourites – he missed these loads when we lived in England. Vlammetjes translates as ‘little flames’.  Spicy ground beef enveloped in a little parcel and deep-fried, normally served with sweet chilli sauce. (The things sandwiched between the bitterballen!)

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16. Ossenworst

Originally made of ox meat, hence the name, this raw beef sausage originated in Amsterdam and is often served with Amsterdamse uitjes (Amsterdam onions) which are onions pickled with turmeric or saffron to give them the yellow colouring.

17. Pannenkoeken

Dutch pancakes are much larger and thinner than American or Scotch pancakes. They can come sweet or savoury and are offered with a gazillion topping options.

Pannenkoeken are so popular here that there are tons of dedicated pancake restaurants throughout the Netherlands. The only choice you need to make is what to put on it!

18. Kapsalon 

Try this after the pub, when you’ve had a belly full of beer.

Kapsalon: chips, kebab meat or shawarma with cheese – normally Gouda. It is often served with a dressed salad, garlic sauce and a hot sauce or sambal. In my opinion… the yummiest kebab possible. Kapsalon also means hairdresser or hairdressing salon, after the creator – a hairdresser from Rotterdam!

19. Kroketten

Similar to bitterballen but cylindrical in shape. (Bitterballen are better.) They come in a variety of fillings: beef, pork, satay sauce (peanut sauce), vegetable, potato, shrimp/prawn… make sure you know what you’re getting as they all look the same! Sold almost anywhere, in supermarkets, restaurants, snack bars and even in McDonald’s.

20. Kaas

The Dutch are famous for their cheese. Obviously – it’s amazing! The best known is Gouda, followed by Edam and Leerdammer (the trademarked name, thought it is often just called Maasdam).

You’ll struggle not to try cheese in the Netherlands… it’s everywhere! The best places to sample different cheeses are specialist cheese shops, or alternatively, most pubs will have cheese on their bar snack menu. Go for the oude kaas (literally: old cheese).

© kaasmisdrijf / Creative Commons / CC-BY-2.5

© kaasmisdrijf / Creative Commons / CC-BY-2.5

21. Smeerkaas sambal

I can’t let the occasion pass without mentioning my personal favourite spreadable substance… ok I lied, that’s Marmite. My second favourite then. Spread cheese with sambal (a hot sauce made from chilli peppers). It’s amaaaaaaazing.

22. Bitterballen

And last but certainly not least… I can’t miss off my precious deep-fried balls of heaven!

THE best borrelhapje (bar snack) imaginable.

(New here? Want to know what bitterballen are?)

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What’s YOUR favourite Dutch food? Anything missing from this list?

Hayley x

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!

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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

Being Dutch – Part 9: Soepie!

Another cute thing I noticed about Dutch people recently: they love soup. Erwtensoep (pea soup with smoked sausage) is a firm favourite and one of their most “traditional” (winter) dishes. And when do you serve soup? In England you eat a bowl at home on a cold winter’s night, as a quick dinner if you’re short on time (shove it in the microwave) and if you’re feeling ill… Heinz chicken soup is a must.

When do Dutch people serve soup? At parties! I kid you not. As if Dutch birthday parties weren’t weird enough already (start and finish times, cake on ARRIVAL, compulsory circular seating plan) then they go and serve soup!

Where’s the cheese and pineapple… the sausage rolls… the cucumber sandwiches? (Ok, English people are strange too…) But you’ve got to admit that our “finger food” is better suited to parties. Bite-sized pieces, nothing wet, nothing spillable, nothing requiring cutlery. How do you eat SOUP whilst holding a drink and a conversation at the same time??

Ok, ok, they don’t just eat it at parties. They also eat it at home. (But the party thing is still weird.)

According to The Dutch Table: “A traditional meal will start with a soup, continue with a main course and finish with a sweet dessert such as yoghurt, pudding or vla.”

They love soup so much that they affectionately call it “soepie!”

I asked the Dutchie why it wasn’t just “soepje” (Dutch people love making things small by adding -je, -pje or -tje onto the end of words) and apparently soepje is perfectly correct… But there was a 90’s advert by Unox in which the catchphrase is “soepie!”

I had to find it of course… so here is is!!

This makes me smile. A lot.

Hayley x