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Shhh! This is still a secret! We’re having a summer picknick today. My friend is getting married and we are surprising her in about 10 minutes from now for an awesome bachelorette party. I’m looking forward to it sooooo much! :)

Hopefully she will have no idea that we have lured her into town under false pretences. We’re going to ‘see a movie’ today. Yeah right! In fact we have prepared an awesome picknick for her, then we have organised a burlesque dancing workshop where we will bring out our feminine side. You have to say goodbye to the single life in style right?

Then later this afternoon we have prepared and awesome photo quiz that will bring back some good memories. It will not be too embarrassing for anyone haha. Finally there will be dinner and drinks, so we’ll have a good time, for sure.

I will not bother you with any embarrassing  photo’s today. Let me just share some recipe’s with you for an awesome summer picknick. If you ask me there are a few things that any picknick basket should include: sandwiches, sweet and savoury snacks, fruit and drinks. It all depends on how many people you are right? But we will be 16 so for today I will go for a BIG summer picknick :).

Sandwiches

Sandwiches are for the organised picknickers if you ask me. I usually run outside whenever the sun starts shining, meaning that there is not always time to prepare super-de luxe-sandwiches. But I have to admit: sandwiches look so awesome on a summer picknick.

All you need is some slices of bread, lettuce and perhaps some cucumber and some delicious toppings. You need a team or two to make sandwiches for 16 people but if it’s just you and your hub you may want to give these a go. Here are some suggestions:

White bread sandwiches with cream cheese, lettuce and cucumber
Whole grain sandwiches with tuna salad, lettuce and cucumber
Whole grain or White bread sandwiches with egg salad and lettuce
White bread sandwiches with sliced spicy meatballs, tomato and pickles
Pita bread with Turkish Köfte, lettuce and tzatziki

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Pita bread can be a great alternative for your picknick. Don’t forget the napkins though!

Sweet Snacks

If you have people with a sweet tooth joining your summer picknick be sure to have some sweet snacks with you as well. Any dairy products are tricky because you may be out in the hot sun all day. Because of the risk that these foods may go bad I tend to avoid smoothy and a desert type snacks. Cookies and other bakes without topping that can melt are perfectly fine though.

Off course if you do have enough (electrical) coolers: go ahead! I choose to save that space for drinks though :)

So back to cookies and other bakes that you may consider for your summer picknick. How about these?

English scones with Blueberry Jam
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes (leave the topping off)
Tropical Coconut Lime Macarons
Choco-Coco-Cake (use paper cupcake cases instead)

White Chocolate Macadamia cookies are my absolute favourite!

White Chocolate Macadamia cookies are my absolute favourite!

Savoury Snacks

Savoury snacks are a great replacement of sandwiches if you don’t feel like putting in all the work on forehand and also want to avoid things to get messy on site. The idea is easy and consists of 3 elements:

  1. Different types of bread, baguettes, breadsticks, crackers or chips or nacho’s
  2. Veggie snacks like cucumber, carrots, celery stalks, broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper and much more
  3. And as many different dips as you like

The concept is easy because you only have the prepare the dips. The rest can be bought in a super market, including the read cleaned – and sometimes even cut – vegetable dippers. Just make sure you wash the vegetables before you go and take a sharp knife and a cutting board for the veggies you want to cut on site. I always want to enjoy every ray of sunlight I can so I only prepare the dips and the rest I will figure out once I am out and about with friends. It’s much more cosy.

As for the dips: Have a look at the following recipe’s for inspiration.

Houmous with Roasted Bell Pepper
Guacamole
Spicy Salsa Dip
Pumpkin Houmous Dip
Italian Pesto Houmous

This Italian Pesto Houmous was a nice surprise for me. It tasts great with veggy dip and bread.

This Italian Pesto Houmous was a nice surprise for me. It tasts great with veggy dip and bread.

Fruit

If you ask me fruit tastes a thousand times better in summer. So do bring some if you have space left.

The easiest thing on a hot day is just to eat the fruit with the skin on, or make sure you bring the right knives with you to cut and peel the fruit outside. Ah, and don’t forget the napkins or hand sanitizer. :)

If you want to do something more special, you can consider making fruit skewers or a bowl of fruit salad with mint and prosecco dressing.

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Drinks

The one thing you cannot do without on a hot day is water. Or something that looks like water, like wine and beer haha! I usually prioritise them in that order. Water you need the rest you could do without right? And also: I don’t mind it so much if my water is a bit warm, the others are best cool.

Just see how much space you have, and determine what you want to bring, what you want to carry, and what you want to buy. Sometimes spending a few bucks is just way easier and you are sure your drinks are cold. Then again, there may not be a place to buy drinks at that private beach you are going to…

The practical stuff:

So what to bring? And how much? I did not put in any quantities for a reason. I guess it depends on where you are going, how long you are staying, what the weather is like and who you are going with. How much you want to prepare at home and how much you want to carry. Ha! You can see that there are many dependencies.

So let me give you some rules of thumb:

On an average day an average person needs to drink 1,5-2 liters of water
For a summer picknick lunch for one person I would recommend 4 slices of bread (with topping), one piece of fruit and one sweet snack for the afternoon plus perhaps 2 hands of chips/nachos/veggies. Then you already have plenty. Some people will eat a little more, some will eat a little less. Does this help?

Don’t forget to bring: plates, cutlery, cutting board, Sharp knife, napkins, picknick blanket, glases or cups, corkscrew, sunglasses, sunscreen, handsanitizer, water, spoons for the dips, your picknick basket, a coolbox and a garbage bag.

Enjoy your summer day!

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This weekend my Danish friend Susanne is in Amsterdam to visit me! Wuhu! It will be no surprise that I wanted to post a Scandinavian dish today, honour of her and the lovely country of Denmark where I lived so many years. Since spring is here (I’m ignoring the occasional showers), and summer is coming I decided to go for the Scandinavian Koldskål Buttermilk Desert.

When you travel you learn most about yourself and your own country, culture and habits. During my time in Denmark the Scandinavian Koldskål Buttermilk Desert is one of the dishes that made me think about what dairy products are available in my own country.

As a milk producing and exporting country, the Dutch supermarkets tend to have a wide range of fresh dairy products. At least, when you compare it to non-milk producing countries like Spain or Italy. In these countries you can buy dairy products that can be kept for over 4 weeks. Coming from the Netherlands: the more south I travel the longer dairy products can be kept, and the less fluid the dairy becomes. 😉 I would even doubt if you can still call them dairy products, but ah well… I guess that is how I see it with my Dutch-cultural glasses on.

When I moved North, to Denmark, I found even more dairy products than I was used to and that were different on a different scale: sourness. I was used to having 3 variances of dairy: Milk, yoghurt and buttermilk. Oh and then there is the greek yoghurt, so 4. From least sour/most fluid to most sour/least fluid that would be:

Milk – Buttermilk – Yoghurt – Greek yoghurt.

In Denmark I found that there are many more variances! Check this out:

Milk – A23 – Tykmaelk – Buttermilk – Ymer – Yoghurt – Greek yoghurt

Crazy huh? Imagine me buying A23, thinking it is milk, just a different brand of milk. You should have seen my face when I started drinking it. It’s ok really, it tastes pretty good, but if you expect the flavour of milk it is definitely disappointing. A23 is more sour than milk.

Todays recipe is called Koldskål, which means cold dish in Danish. It is a really refreshing mix of dairy products lemon and vanilla that especially popular in summer with fruit or cookies in it. Koldskål is normally made with two types of dairy: buttermilk and ymer. And since ymer is not sold in the Netherlands (or many other places in the world) I have tried to imitate it with products that are available… in the Netherlands: butter milk and greek yoghurt.

This is what you need for the koldskål (serves 4):

  • 500 ml. butter milk
  • 400 ml. greek yoghurt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2,5 tbsp. vanilla sugar

For the kammerjunkere:

  • 2 eggs
  • 150 gr. sugar
  • 50 gr. butter
  • 300 gr. flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

This is how:

Mix the ingredients of the koldskål into a consistent mass.

Melt the butter and let it cool down a little. Mix the eggs and sugar and add the melted butter. Then mix the flour baking powder and salt and add it to the dough. Knead the dough lightly and let it rest in the refridgerator (covered) for one hour. Split the dough in 3 equal parts and roll them into a 3 cm thick roll.

Put the rolls on a baking tray that is covered with baking paper. Bake them for 25 minutes at 175 degrees Celcius.

Take the rolls out of the oven and let them cool down on a roster for about 2 minutes. Then cut the dough into 0.5 cm thick slices and put the slices back on the baking tray. Bake the cookies again for 15 minutes at 175 degrees Celcius.

Let the kammerjunkere cool down completely before serving them with the koldskål.

Serve the Koldskål with kammerjunkere and/or fresh fruits.

 

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I got this pear rocket salad idea at an American party, you know, the type where everybody brings something. A good way to get some culinary inspiration. I never got a hold of the recipe but that doesn’t matter, I gave it my own spin at home and added some Danish Blue to balance the sweetness of the pear and figue vinagre. Hope you like this combo!

Here’s what you need (serves 4):

  • 125 gr. rocket salad (rucola)
  • 2 Conference pears
  • 100 gr. Danish Blue cheese
  • 100 gr. Wallnuts
  • Figue vinagre
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper and salt

Here’s how:

Put the rocket salad in a big bowl and sprinkle the vinagre and olive oil on top. Add a little pepper and salt. Mix the salad gently so the dressing is spread evenly over the rocket. Place the rocket nicely in a deep plate. I used figue flavoured vinagre, because it is a little sweet and gives a nice balance to the salad in combination with the bitterness of the rocket salad, and the blue cheese. You could also use other types of sweet vinagres.

Then cut the top and bottom off the pears. Cut the pear lengthwise in 4 quarters and remove the core. Then cut the quarters in slices. I left the peel on.

Place the pear slices on top of the rocket salad and on top of that the Danish Blue and wallnuts. Dress with a little additional vinagre.

Loving it!

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I really don’t need a special reason to drink bubbles. Any day is a champagne day right? But for New Year’s Eve there is no chance you can get me to your party if you can’t guarantee a nice bottle of bubbles :)

But it gets better: Besides bubbles in your glass, try bubbles on your plate! This Bubbly Fruit Salad is a nice one to end your New Year’s Dinner or start your New Year’s Brunch.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2/6 Berries: (like: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
  • 2/6 Melon diced (like: watermelon, galia melon, honey melon)
  • 1/6 Diced stone fruits (like: peaches, nectarines and plums)
  • 1/6 Champagne
  • 1/4 of 1/6 sugar
  • freshly chopped mint

 All you need to do is this:

Chop the fruit and put it in a bowl.

Then take a separate bowl and whisk the sugar, chopped mint and champagne together. Pour the dressing over the fruit and gently stir the fruit to cover every piece of fruit with the champagne dressing.

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IMG_5426It’s smoothy time! Here are three versions that are both refreshing and nutritionous. A great start of your day.

The Classic Smoothy: Pink Berry

for 4 glasses

  • 500 ml low fat yoghurt
  • 125 gr berries (frozen)
  • 1 apple
  • 200 ml milk
  • blue berries as decoration

As a decoration I used:

  • strawberry sauce
  • Fresh Blueberry (sinking!)

 

Elderflower Mint Smoothy

Scandinavian Smoothie: Elderflower & Mint

I’m a big fan of elderflower juice. I started drinking it while I was living in Scandinavia, where it is more common than in the Netherlands (which explains the name of this smoothy). If you have a hard time finding elderflower juice, syrup or concentrate: try your local IKEA store.

for 2 glasses

  • 4 tablespoons Elderflower concentrate
  • 4 tablespoons fresh Mint leaves
  • 2 Apple
  • 200 ml Yoghurt
  • 100 ml Milk

As a decoration I used:

  • Mint leaves

 

 

Start Your Day In A Good Way Smoothy

Start Your Day In A Good Way Smoothy

How to better start your day with then with an easy all-in-one breakfast? Carbon hydrates, vitamins, proteins… everything you need for an early morning gym-work-out.

for 2 glasses

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Kiwi
  • 4 tablespoons Granola or muesli
  • 200 ml low-fat Yoghurt
  • 100 ml low-fat Milk
  • Mint

As a decoration I used:

  • Mint leaves

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When in high school me and my friends loved to watch horror movies. Scream, Nightmare on Elmstreet, The Mist, you name it, I saw it. Especially on marathon movie nights we would need a break once in a while to bring our heart rates down and get pumped up for the next movie. This Halloween ice cream Man with the Axe is a great way to stay in the halloween mood while getting your stress levels down.

This desert can be tweaked to be more kid-friendly :)
Actually you can go as crazy as you like in decorating… both in the kid-friendly and non-kid-friendly way. Be creative and make your own masterpiece!

For two persons (just multiply for the number of guests you have) you need:

  • vanilla ice cream (or basically any flavour you like, as long as it goes with the decoration)
  • 1 wallnut
  • strawberry sauce

For the decoration I used:

  • baking pearls
  • marzipan in different colours

This is how to do it:

First things first: you kinda need to have a plan for what you want to do with your decorations before you start scooping the icecream. The annoying thing with ice cream is that it tends to melt so you basically want to have every ready so you only have to put it on the ice cream and that’s it. You knew that right? Good!

So for my version I cracked the walnuts and cleaned the nuts to select the nice looking halves. See how they look like tiny brains?

Then I opened up the decoration packages and put the contents I need into small bowles. Don’t want to waste time on opening and selecting those out while having the icecream melting on the plate. (It already does that fast enough when you want to put the decorations on as you can see on the picture… )

Put two scoops of ice on a plate. This is the head and body of your soon to be murdered man.

First give the man a face, arms, legs and whatever else to give him an identity.

Then, murder him! Stick a dessert spoon, the axe, into his head. Pour a little strawberry blood over his head and add the walnut brain on top of the head.

Gruesome but delicious!

I’m curious to see what you came up with!

Plum pie

The other week my boyfriends mom gave me a big bag of plums. She got it from her neighbour and there were just too many to eat as a healthy snack. So I proposed to make an unhealthy snack out of it, a plum crumble pie :)

It would have never popped up into my mind to make a plum pie if it was not for this occasion, but I will definetely make one again one day. Or perhaps use the recipe in combination with another fruit…

This recipe takes a little bit of time, but I promis you: It is well worth it.

For the dough you need:

  • 250 gr. all purpose flour
  • 20 gr. fresh yeast
  • 50 gr sugar
  • 4 tablespoons half warm milk
  • 1 bag vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 75 gr soft butter
  • rasped peel of one lemon

For the filling: 

  • 1 kg. ripe plums
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 gr. sugar
  • 1,25 dl cream
  • cinnamon

For the top:

  • 75 gr. flour
  • 40 gr. sugar
  • cinnamon
  • rasped peel of one lemon
  • 50 gr. cold butter

 

Let’s start with the dough:

Add the flour, yeast and one table spoon of sugar into a mixing bowl and mix well. Then add the milk and knead it well to make a dough ball. Put the bowl into a warm spot for 15-20 minutes untill the outside of the doughball becomes a bit dry breaks open here and there. Then add the other ingredientes: the rest of the sugar, vanilla sugar, 2 eggs, butter and lemon rasp. Use a hand mixer with dough hooks to mix the ingredients, first on a low speed and then on the highest speed. Put the dough on a warm spot and practice your patience while waiting for the dough mass to double in size. Then knead again.

The filling: 

Wash and dry the plums, cut them in half and remove the pit.

Butter the sides and bottom of your cake pan (size approx. 28 cm.). Put the dough in and create an edge of around 3 cm. Take a fork and make lots of tiny holes in the bottom of the pie. This will prevent the dough from rising too much. Stick the plums into the dough in an overlapping manner, like the rooftiles on your house, and then let it rest for 15 minutes.

Put the cake pan into the oven on 200 degrees Celcius and bake the pie for about 15 minutes.

While you wait, mix two eggs with the sugar and cream for the filling and add some cinnamon to your liking. After 15 minutes of baking, take the pie out of the oven and pour the mixture onto the pie. Then put the cake pan back into the oven and bake untill the egg and cream mixture has solidified.

The topping:

Finally we make the cooky dough for the topping. Simply add all ingredients into a bowl and knead them into a dough. When the filling of the pie is done, take the pie out of the oven and cruble the cooky dough over the pie. Then put the cake back into the oven and bake for another 15 minutes untill the cooky dough is nice and golden brown.

Finish the pie with whipped cream or eat it with creme fraîche on the side (my personal favourite).