Dutch Rucola Stamppot and Meatballs

6/12/2019

You probably don't hear much about Dutch food. The Dutch are known for their painters (Rembrandt, van Gogh, Vermeer), tulips and our windmills, but not so much for out cuisine. While Dutch food can be very delicious. We Dutch people either mash our food, boil our food, or deep-fry our food. Our cuisine is simple, hearty, and rustic, which describes most of my favourite dishes. 
A very popular dish that we eat is  stamppot. On a cold, gray winter day, Dutch stamppot with gravy and a meatball is a bowl of comfort and delight. For those who don't know, stamppot is where we combine mashed potatoes with mashed vegetables. My personal favourite is an apple and sauerkraut stamppot, but batavian endive is really good as well. Unfortunately, Batavian endive is something very dutch and is hard to find in England, but an alternative is curly leaf cabbage. 

Today I will show you a different kind of stamppot, using rucola salad. I came with this idea when I forgot to buy the curly leave cabbage, but I had rucola at home. Best idea ever. The rucola gives a lot of flavour, since it's a bit peppery, while curly leave cabbage barely has any flavour.
This recipe is super easy and fail-proof. You only use three different spices, nutmeg, pepper and salt, and you will need some bacon, milk and butter that will make this stamppot traditional and yummy.

A stamppot is either served with a traditional smoked sausage, or a classic dutch meatball. This blogpost will teach you the classic meatball, the way my grandma used to do it. This meatball can be used for multiple Dutch dishes and is oh so delicious. I guarantee you that Swedish meatballs are nothing compared to a juicy, Dutch meatball. 

Dutch Rucola Stamppot and Meatballs


Grandma's Dutch meatballs
- 500gr minced beef
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- 1 (red) Onion, diced
- Fresh parsley, chopped up
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1tbs kicap
- 1tbs tomatopuree
- 2 tbs of Butter

Stamppot
- 1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used oat milk, but whole milk is traditional)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- Salt
- 2 tbs butter
- 250gr diced bacon
- 1 (red) onion, diced
- 140gr rucola 

Method

Meatballs
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium to high heat, add the butter and let it brown. Meanwhile, add all the ingredients apart from butter into a big bowl (minced beef, egg, salt and pepper, onion, parsley, breadcrumbs, kicap and tomatopurree). Knead everything together, divide the mixture into 5 parts and make a total of 5 balls.
  2. When the skillet is hot and the butter browned, you can add the meatballs into the pan. Cook the meatballs until they are nicely browned around. When completely browned, add a cup of hot water and cover the skillet. Let the meatballs steam for 20-25 minutes.         

Rucola Stamppot                                                
  1. Put the potatoes and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large pot. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tinder, 10-15 minutes. Scoop out a cup of potato cooking-water and set aside. Drain potatoes and return them to the pot. Add butter, milk, salt to taste, pepper and nutmeg. Mash potatoes with a potato-masher. For creamier potatoes add the potato cooking water, a little at a time, stirring, until you get the desired texture.
  2. In a medium skillet, add the bacon and onion. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until fat dissolves a bit and bacon starts to get golden. Set aside when the bacon is the desired colour. 
  3. Add the bacon and onion mixture to the mashed potatoes and add the rucola. Mash until thoroughly combined. Divide the rocula-potato mash between 2 or 3 bowls. Serve with the meatball and maybe a little bit of extra gravy. Enjoy!

Second year recap

6/05/2019

I am so, so nervous, but also very excited. This coming Sunday, my placement year will be starting. I have been looking forward to this moment ever since I started university and I feel like someone needs to pinch me, because I still cannot realise that I am finally going away.

This Sunday, I will be moving to the other side of the world, Shanghai, where I will be following a Chinese summer school course for one month. In Shanghai, I will be intensively studying the Chinese language, plus a lot of Chinese culture, with things like calligraphy, Kung Fu, Chinese literature and a lot about economics and maritime business. At the end of this course, we will be having an official graduation ceremony at the university. 
Most weekends, we will have time off. Some friends and I have plans to visit Beijing, where we want to explore the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Of course, we will also be visiting Shanghai City and its temples. Maybe even the Yellow Mountains.

I am specifically excited about all the street food and the food that we will be getting at the university. We will be eating in the university’s canteen 3 times a day and no one speaks English, and there are no English signs!  Whenever we want food, we have to walk up to one of the windows and point at what we want, hoping it’s something that we like. It could be anything, sweet, spicy, sour? This is going to be one big experience for sure! I am planning on taking loads of photos and blogging about this experience, so keep your eyes open for a new blogpost.

Graduation of my friend Kayleen - Group photo of everyone who went to the South-West Business competition
A team photo of my horse riding team
The month May has been very intense, with a deadline every week and exams at the end of this month. I was also in the process of moving out and finalising bits for my placement. I had to get an apartment in Hong Kong (where I will be working from July onwards), go to London to get a visa for Shanghai, pack and move out of my current apartment, AND I also had to study besides that. 

Luckily, I can now happily say that I have finished my second year of university. I honesty could not be happier with how the year went. Being a president of the International Business society was an absolute honour with loads of learning points for me, and so was being the treasurer and BUCS captain of the horse-riding club. 
December was a very busy (but exciting) month for me, where I had loads of events to organise. For the International business society, I organised a dinner and a south-west business competition. In the same month I got accepted into the Shanghai Summer School. Two months later, in February, I got an offer for a six-month work placement in Hong Kong, starting this July. 
In March, the student recruitment team contacted me and asked me if I would like to take over the university Instagram with a day in the life and a Q&A. Everyone loved this take over, and they asked me to do another one this week again. They also asked me to be the face of the clearings campaign, I cannot share the photos just yet, but when the campaign launches, I will let you know. 

My old flatmates from my first year - Alfred the seagull, has been visiting me every single day since January 14th
Moana - Aya - Emma - Jacob - Chloe
The main reason why this school year was so amazing, is because I met the most amazing friends. During the summer, I have been dreaming of getting new friends in Plymouth. I have had friends, but I still felt really lonely. In December, Moana reached out to me over Instagram. She told me that she would study at my university for a few months. We decided to meet up and ever since, she has been one of my better friends. We went to Bristol together to explore, went on loads of lunch dates and took a lot of photos together. Honestly so happy that I have met her.
I also made loads of other friends, or got closer to older friends. My social life was peaking this year and I am forever grateful. 

So far, university has been a really good experience for me. I am curious of what the the future will be holding, where I will be in a years time, or maybe even in a month. I will definitely keep you updated. Only 3 more days until Shanghai. 

Changes to Chynna's Kitchen

6/04/2019

This coming Sunday, I will be moving away to Shanghai for a month of advanced learning of the Chinese culture, language and business practises. After this I will be moving to Hong Kong for six months, and Australia or Miami for another six. Due to me moving away for this long, I came to the realisation that maintaining a food blog is not going to work for me anymore. 
This is mainly due to me being a perfectionist that wants to create quality content. I will not have my photography props with me to the other side of the world, and this makes producing content for my blog hard for me. Not only that, I will also be in uncertain times, not knowing what to expect, since I will have a whole lifestyle change. 

I still absolutely love blogging and I have loads of exciting times ahead that I want to share with you. I decided that from now on, Chynna's Kitchen will be more than just a recipe based blog. I want to put in some lifestyle and travel influences. I want to share stories about my year abroad, about how it is to live in a whole different country, how I experience a whole different culture. 
I want to share the best places to go in Shanghai and Hong Kong, I want to share all the best street-food with you and explore the cities and tell you about my new home. 
I want to share more personal posts, like how I cleared my acne and hyperpigmentation on my skin, and I don't want to be restricted to one subject (recipes), since this is no longer maintainable. 

Whenever I can, I will still try to upload recipes, because I still love cooking and experimenting. The list of recipes that I want to share with you is enormous, I don't even think I can make all of it in one year (especially since I will be eating loads of Dim Sum). But, the way I will share this recipes won't be the same as I share them now (nicely styled, professional props etc), but a little bit more casual and homely feeling. Plus, they won't be as often as I did now.

I have been wanting to share more lifestyle related content on my blog, however, something in me stopped me since I thought that that would not belong on a food blog. However, this is my little space on the internet and I hope you still will follow me around in this experience, and who knows, maybe when I am back in England I will go back to just recipe sharing. But for now, I want to document my whole life. 

Mango & Pistachio Chocolate bark + Day in Bristol

4/18/2019


So lately I started to realise that I am very proud when I say that I study in England, but somehow, I barely have seen anything from England, apart from the city where I study and London. I did not come all this way to see barely anything, I must and will explore more. So I went to Bristol, a vibrant and energetic city, with a new friend who is studying here for only a few months. 


Before I went to Bristol, I already knew a few spots where I wanted to go. I wanted to get lunch at the Florist, a gorgeous little restaurant at Park Street. The Florist is famous for their interior and special cocktails. We did not had any cocktails (since it only just turned noon), but we did had an incredible lunch. They don't have typical lunch food (like sandwiches), it is more like dinner food. Which was fine, but not what we expected.
I went with a raw Pad Thai salad and grilled seabass, Moana went for the gnocchi. Both dishes looked stunning and the Pad Thai salad was so good, I can't say anything bad about it.

After lunch, we got advised by one of the members of staff to go to Cabot Tower and the Suspension Bridge, which we did go to. To reach the top of the Cabot tower, you had to climb these really narrow stairs and it felt like there was no end to it. But once you reached the top, you had an amazing view over the whole of Bristol city. 
We walked to the Suspension Bridge, which was quite a walk, not going to lie. We walked passed the Clifton Village district, which had a famous bakery in it. ANNA Cake Couture, they are famous for their wedding cakes and special flavours in macaroons. If you ever come in Bristol, please grab yourself a box of ANNA macaroons, they are the absolute best. I can honestly say that I never had better macaroons than this one (even when I was in Paris). I choose flavours like ginger and white chocolate, Rose and raspberry, and earl grey and lavender.  Which were all great. 

We ended the day with a stroll trough the St. Nicholas Market, which is so pretty and they sell loads of street food. From vegan cakes to falafel wraps. The smells were incredible, unfortunately we just had our lunch. After we had big shopping session at the Cabot Circus Shopping mall and dinner at the Italian place Zizzi. 

Mango & Pistachio Chocolate Bark

When I was still in high school, I had a friend who sometimes made me a "chocolate pizza", basically a huge chocolate bar with loads of toppings on it, like M&Ms, oreo, cookie crumble, peanuts etc. I was absolutely obsessed with it, but haven't had it in years. Last weekend, I decided to give it my own twist, and came up with a mango and pistachio chocolate "pizza", or chocolate bark. It is so good that it is addictive. Plus, it brings all my childhood memories back.

The dried mango works so, so well on chocolate. It makes it a bit chewy and so sweet, it is perfect in combination with dark chocolate. The pistachio nuts make it a bit more crunchy, gives it a little bit of a bite and texture. The coconut flakes are just a nice extra and the salt tickles another taste spectrum, so it is not sweet on sweet on sweet.

Ingredients
- 1/2 cup pistachio nuts
- 1/2 cup dried mango, chopped
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes
- 7 ounces good quality dark chocolate
- 3,5 ounces good quality white chocolate
- Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper
  2. Melt the dark chocolate until smooth and spread it in an even layer over the baking tray. Melt the white chocolate in the same way and pour this over the dark chocolate, run a knife trough it to make a desired marble effect.
  3. Scatter the chopped mango, coconut flakes and pistachio nuts over the chocolate, pressing them in a little to make it "stick". Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt over the top as well.
  4. Put the whole tray in the fridge for at least 1 hour. When completely harden you can break them up in uneven, big chunks and store them in a container in the fridge. 

What would you love to have on your chocolate pizza?

Family recipe: Masala Chicken

3/28/2019

The recipe that I am sharing with you today, lies very close to my heart, since it is a family recipe of Masala chicken that has been made for generations. This is not your typical chicken masala, it is different from the Indian curries that we know, but it is honestly so much better. The chicken almost falls off the bone, the sauce is packed with flavour, and the best thing is that it is made within 20 minutes. It's been in my family for generations for a reason.

Also, please tell me that you have seen Peaky Blinders, I am obsessed! Tommy Shelby is officially my new man crush.  I know that I am a little bit late to the party, but I recently got introduced and could not stop watching it ever since. Only six episodes in and I already completely understand why this man got the Peaky Blinders cast tattooed on his entire back. The cinematography is mind-blowing and there are so many diverse characters in this show. 
Peaky Blinders gives you a great sense of what Birmingham (UK) is like after the first world war. We follow a family that is known as the Peaky Blinders, who are all about power and money. A police man out of town is looking to stop this family, but that does not seem easy. 

The last time that I was this obsessed with a tv-series, was when I started watching Outlander, which is about Claire, a married nurse from 1945, who is swept back in time to Scotland in 1743. She is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a young Scottish warrior (hello, man crush #2), their relationships makes Claire choose between two vastly different men in two different lives.
I was so obsessed with Outlander, that I actually went to Scotland for a few days, to attend a fan club weekend and travel all their film-sets. It was an amazing experience, since I got to meet the cast and walk around in the most beautiful handmade, 17th century inspired dress. 

Also, I have finished the series Dirty John a couple weeks ago. If you liked You, then you should definitely give Dirty John a go. Based on a true story and that makes it far more mind blowing and well, kinda scary. My mom recommended it to me one evening, and two days later I was done with the whole show already. The storyline was so unpredictable and it kept me hooked. Connie Britton was fantastic as Deb and the storytelling was phenomenal. Each episode was a rollercoaster and I was definitely shocked at the end. Highly recommend if you're looking for a new series to binge watch.

Something I have been making a lot recently is a recipe that has been in my family for decades. It is a special version of masala chicken, that my grandma used to make me whenever I came over to her place and my mom made it almost on a weekly basis.

Since I live on my own, I had to give it a go and make it myself. It took me a lot of practise and experimenting, but I finally got the hang of it and almost made it taste like I was home again. This recipe only takes 20 minutes maximum for me to make, and since I cook it in big batches, I will have enough chicken for the whole week. Which makes this a very cheap recipe as well.

I gave this recipe my own personal twist by adding Garam Masala powder, coriander on top and loads of ginger. The ginger combines the flavours in this dish, because, let me tell you, it is PACKED with so much flavour. I usually serve it with plain, white rice and some sautéed vegetables on the side.  

Family recipe: Masala Chicken


Ingredients
- 1kg chicken drumsticks
- 1 1/2 tbs tomato puree
- 1 1/2 tbs Kicap Manis
- 1tbs curry powder
- 1tbs garam masala powder
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 inch ginger, minced
- beef stock cube
- 1tbs coconut oil (or any other oil)
- Black pepper and salt
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water

For assembling 
- Coriander
- Sesame seeds
- Rice

Method
  1. In a large wok, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and cook until the onion to get golden and soften. Add the beef stock cube and break it up. Stir until the onion is coated.
  2. Add the tomato puree, Kicap Manis, curry and garam masala powder, some pepper and salt. Stir until it is all combined and leave it for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water and stir until all incorporated.
  3. Add the chicken in the pan, cover the wok and let it steam for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn the chicken around and reduce the heat to medium.
  4. Leave the chicken on for about 15 minutes. If needed, you can add some more boiling water. Serve warm, with rice. 

Do you have a typical family recipe?
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