My Little Chequered Kitchen

A passion for the quick and easy …

Summer Fruit Dessert Cake – Annabel Langbein


Last week I was in Lisbon, Portugal for a week’s break.  It was my first time in Portugal, and so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.  The first few days left me the impression of a country heavily affected by the crisis – at least I assume that was the reason for the lack of maintenance on all the houses and buildings not to mention the roads.  I guess you get spoiled living in the Netherlands where everything is kept neat and tidy – not a brick out-of-place or a tree left untrimmed anywhere here in Holland!  


Being a fairly structured kind of gal, this neat and tidiness really appeals to me and so at first I struggled to see beyond the chaos of Lisbon’s quaint and otherwise picturesque streets.  But after a few days, this bustling little city of crazy taxi drivers and steep narrow cobbled streets started to really show it’s appeal.  The people are very friendly and proud of their country, and if you look beyond the fading paint and crumbling facades, you start to realise and experience Lisbon’s bubbling and vivid culture.  It drew me in and by the time I left Lisbon, I was promising to return again.


If you are ever in Lisbon, then there is a restaurant that I highly recommend you visit.  I ate at a few different joints during the week (restaurant surfing being my idea of a great vacation – I’ll visit a restaurant over a museum any day!).  And although none were bad, I’ll forever have wonderful memories of Petiscaris Ideal (Rua da Esperanca 100, Lisbon, Portugal) in the thriving Baixa district.  This restaurant represents everything I personally believe a restaurant should encompass:  An informal and energetic atmosphere where the food and the company you are sharing are just as important as each other.  


The cuisine concept is much like Spanish tapas, where the food is continuously brought out while you share each dish with the rest of your group.  This is my heaven as it takes the pressure away from choosing off the menu and gives you the opportunity to try several dishes.  And the food was divine – earthy, satisfying, plain good food. We also dined at a Michelin star restaurant while we were in Lisbon but I would choose Petiscaris Ideal over the Michelin star restaurant any day, hands down.  It’s not that the Michelin star restaurant was bad, but for me eating out is about the whole experience – enjoying great company and having fun – not worrying about proper etiquette or picking at minuscule portions of expensive cuts of meat or deciphering obscure ingredients.  But hey that’s just me.   


But enough of that, this recipe post has absolutely nothing to do with Lisbon or Portugal, but everything to do with good satisfying home cooking.  And this I think is the perfect autumn dessert – summer fruit in a warm pudding.  Just the thought is making my mouth water … perhaps I’ll whip up another one tonight with the plums sitting in the fridge …


And I have to apologise because this is yet another Annabel Langbein recipe.  I haven’t had much luck lately with some of the other recipes I’ve tried from other cookbook authors, whereas I almost never have trouble with anything from Annabel.  No wonder I’m such a fan of hers!


What I like about this dessert cake is that it rises up enough for it to be light and fluffy at the same time as being melt in the mouth and slightly gooey – it’s certainly not dry which no dessert cake should ever be. You can use whatever summer stone fruits you wish for this one – here I’ve used peaches.  But I’ve also made it with plums from my boss’ garden and you could easily use nectarines, apricots, or even cherries if you can still find some.   

Summer Fruit Dessert Cake
Serves 10
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 6-8 peaches (or 12 plums/apricots)
  2. 300g butter
  3. 1 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 3 eggs
  5. finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1 cup yoghurt or buttermilk
  8. 3 1/2 cups self raising flour
  9. icing sugar to dust
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  2. Grease a large springform cake tin or roasting dish and line with baking paper.
  3. Halve the peaches or whatever summer stoned fruit you are using and discard the stones.
  4. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Next, gently add one egg at a time, beating in between.
  6. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and combine.
  7. Slowly pour in the yoghurt or buttermilk while still beating.
  8. Finally add the flour and stir until just combined - do not overmix at this stage, or else the cake won't be light and fluffy.
  9. Poor the batter in to the cake tin or roasting dish and spread it out evenly using a spatula.
  10. Arrange the fruit halves evenly on top, cut-side up - don't press the fruit into the batter as the fruit will naturally sink while in the oven.
  11. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden - you can test if it's cooked by inserting a skewer in the centre. If it comes out reasonably dry then you know the cake is cooked.
  12. Let the cake cool in the tine for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a board or serving platter.
  13. Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve while still warm - you could also serve it with custard or runny cream on the side. But the cake is also moist and delicious enough to serve alone!
Adapted from The Free Range Cook (Vanilla Plum Cake)
My Little Chequered Kitchen


Sicilian Mussels with Citrus Tomatoes & Chili

Mussels 1

What has happened to my spare time?  With all the best intentions in the world, I just haven’t been able to sit down at the computer and write my weekly blog posts.  A mixture of I suppose a busy social life (September is after all the most popular month for being born) and surviving a stressful three-month period at work which I hope is almost ending and which might mean I get some “me” time back and can start religiously blogging again!  

Mussels 2

In the meantime, it’s been mussel season here in Holland with cafes and restaurants overflowing with Zeeuwse mussels (Zeeland is the province in Holland where most of the Dutch mussels come from, and everything that comes from Zeeland is “Zeeuws” therefore they are Zeeuwse mussels :)  ).  Zeeuwse mussels are a lot smaller than the green-lipped mussels from New Zealand, and I’m afraid it’s been too long since I had a NZ mussel so I can’t really compare the taste!  But they are nevertheless delicious and this recipe from Annabel Langbein’s “Savour Italy” cookbook is my favourite mussel recipe to date – they are to die for!  




Sicilian mussels with citrus tomatoes & chilli
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
  1. 30-40 live mussels
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. 1 onion
  4. 4 cloves garlic
  5. 2 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
  6. 2 tins of tomatoes (chopped or whole)
  7. 1 lemon
  8. 1 chilli
  9. 1 teaspoon honey
  10. 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  11. 1/4 cup dry white wine
  12. 3/4 cup dry white wine
  13. 1 cup fresh orange juice
  14. freshly ground black pepper
  15. fresh coriander
  1. Scrub your mussels clean and remove the beards (in Holland this is normally already done for you). Discard any dead mussels - if the shells are closed then they should be alive. If any are open, you can check if they are alive by tapping the shell which should cause them to shut. If they remain open, then you know it's no longer alive.
  2. Throw the tinned tomatoes into a food processor (or you could use a stick blender) and process until pureed. Set aside.
  3. Juice your lemon and set aside.
  4. Finely chop the chilli and set aside (discard the seeds)
  5. Heat oil in a large heavy pot (a Dutch oven or a special mussel pot is ideal).
  6. Finely chop your onion, garlic, and rosemary.
  7. Throw the onion into the pot and cook for a few minutes until they are soft.
  8. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, making sure that the garlic doesn't burn.
  9. Add the mussels, rosemary, honey, vinegar, and white wine.
  10. Cover and cook until the mussels open, removing them from the pot as they do and setting them aside.
  11. Once all the mussels are cooked and set aside, add the 3/4 cup of white wine, the pureed tomatoes, orange juice, lemon juice, and chilli to the pot. Cover and boil for five minutes.
  12. Return mussels to the pot, season with the freshly ground pepper and cover simmering for another minute.
  13. Serve the mussels in deep bowls with the sauce poured over the top and lashings of fresh coriander.
Adapted from Savour Italy - A discovery of taste
My Little Chequered Kitchen


Summer Custard Fruit Tarts …

 Summer Custart Tarts

My Little Chequered Kitchen is back!  After taking a holiday break to try to enjoy some of the summer sun here in the Netherlands, it’s now back to business and back to blogging.  I took a bit of a break from the kitchen over the holidays.  I was determined to catch as many rays as possible!  But I did treat myself to a whole bunch of cookbooks … long story, but I had to cheer myself up after having to work through my holidays.  You should have seen Meneer Prins’ face when the boxes arrived from Amazon.  :).  I was like a little kid in a candy store when they arrived.  I was that excited.  And of course I now have tons of inspiration for the coming months (and lots of cookbook reviews to write)!!!


As mentioned, I haven’t been doing much cooking at all lately.  I think it’s a warm weather thing. When it’s 26 degrees inside, the last thing you feel like doing is popping on the oven or slaving over the kitchen stove.  But I’m afraid even preparing simple salads becomes a bit of a chore for me in the summertime, because I just want to be out there enjoying the sun!  And unfortunately we don’t have a BBQ yet (I’m promised one for next summer!) and so I’ve spent as little time as possible in the kitchen. But I’ve definitely missed it, and looking forward to getting back into cooking! 


I did, however, prepare these delicious and super-duper quick and easy custard tarts a few weeks ago, which we ate as a dessert out on the balcony.  What a simple dessert that is just perfect for hot summer days when you want to spend as little time as possible inside and as much as possible outside while still enjoying scrumptious food!  This one is a definite keeper in my repertoire of “can’t be arsed recipes”.   



Summer Custard Tarts
Yields 8
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  1. 8x sweet pastry shells
  2. 1 cup custard
  3. 1/2 cup mascarpone
  4. 1x tin of fruit of your choice (or in Holland, grab a tin of vlaai fruit filling)
  1. Add the mascarpone to a medium sized bowl (you can use a stand mixer if you want).
  2. Spoon about a tablespoon of the custard into the mascarpone and mix well. This will help to soften the mascarpone.
  3. Stir in the remaining custard and mix well until smooth.
  4. Spoon into the sweet pastry shells.
  5. Top with a spoonful of tinned fruit.
Adapted from Annabel Langbein "Great Food for Busy Lives"
Adapted from Annabel Langbein "Great Food for Busy Lives"
My Little Chequered Kitchen













Roasted Beetroot, Pear & Goat’s Cheese Salad with Basil Pesto Dressing …

Roasted Beetroot, Pear & Goat's Cheese Salad

I am crazy about warm salads, or any salad in general that has interesting ingredients.  I eat salads most days for lunch.  Our work restaurant makes a different salad every day, often with such delicious ingredients such as duck, lamb, lentils, goat’s cheese, feta, watermelon, or mango.  I love that they are able to constantly invent new and delicious salad combinations and so it’s impossible to get bored eating salad everyday for lunch! 


This recipe is my salad of the moment.  The roasted beetroot and roasted pears are simply to die for, while the contrast of the crunchy and sweet roasted red onions with the soft and creamy goat’s cheese is exquisite.  And then to top it all off, the amazing aroma and intense flavour from the fresh basil pesto dressing brings it all together into an incredibly delicious salad.  Nothing boring going on here!

This salad is a good enough meal to serve by itself.  But if I’m serving it for dinner for my hubby, then I like to whip up some of my potato nests to serve next to the salad (recipe coming soon!).  



Roasted Beetroot, Pear & Goat's Cheese Salad with Basil Pesto Dressing ...
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. for the salad ...
  2. 2 large beetroots
  3. 2 medium red onions
  4. 2 large pears
  5. olive oil
  6. brown sugar
  7. balsamic vinegar
  8. freshly ground salt & pepper
  9. 2-3 handfuls of salad leaves
  10. 1/2 cup croutons
  11. 150g goat's cheese (preferably chevre, but you can also use feta)
  12. 1/2 cup walnuts
  13. for the pesto ...
  14. 2 cups of basil leaves
  15. 2 large cloves of garlic
  16. 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  17. 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  18. freshly ground salt & pepper
  19. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  20. for the pesto dressing ...
  21. 1 tablespoon pesto
  22. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  23. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  2. Peel the red onions and pears. Cut into quarters and then half the quarters before placing together into a small bowl.
  3. Peel the beetroots. Cut into quarters and then half the quarters before placing them into a separate small bowl (you want to keep the beetroots separate from the pears and onions, otherwise you'll get the red dye everywhere).
  4. Give both bowls a good slosh of olive oil, a tablespoon or so of brown sugar, another tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar, and a generous smattering of freshly ground salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  5. Line an oven tray with baking paper and pour the beetroots, pears and onions onto the tray including the liquids. Spread out evenly on the tray.
  6. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the salad by throwing the salad leaves, croutons, and crumbled goat's cheese into a large bowl.
  8. After the beetroots, pears and onions have baked for 15 minutes, pull out the tray and turn each piece over to ensure even browning. Place the tray back into the oven for another 15 minutes or until they have finished roasting and are caramelized and golden.
  9. Meanwhile, you can prepare the pesto by chucking all of the pesto ingredients into a (mini) food processor and blitzing until it forms a paste.
  10. To make the pesto dressing, take 1 tablespoon of the pesto and mix in a small bowl with the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
  11. When the beetroots, pears and onions are ready, pull them out of the oven and let them cool slightly.
  12. Meanwhile, lightly toast the walnuts in a small frying pan (no oil needed).
  13. Combine all salad ingredients into the large bowl, including a good drizzle of the pesto dressing and toss well before serving.
  1. TIP: The leftover pesto can be stored in the fridge for a day or so or in the freezer if you want to keep it for a longer period.
Adapted from The Best of Annabel Lanbein - Great Food for Busy Lives
Adapted from The Best of Annabel Lanbein - Great Food for Busy Lives
My Little Chequered Kitchen

M&M Cookies …

M&M Cookies 7

In my mind, it’s almost impossible to make cookies without the help of small children.  I just simply don’t have the patience to roll out all of those balls of cookie dough by myself!

M&M Cookies 1

Baking is of course a wonderful way of spending quality time with your kids, as well as teaching them the pleasures of preparing food for other people.  

M&M Cookies 2

… And I don’t think you’ll have much trouble asking for help to make these fun and delicious M&M cookies.  :)

M&M Cookies 3

These cookies are extremely simple to make.  I use an electric stand mixer (Kitchen Aid) but you can also easily cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer or egg beater.   

M&M Cookies 4

 You can use either the plain or the peanut M&Ms for these cookies.  I’ve used plain for mine in these photos.

M&M Cookies 5

Don’t forget to put your baking to good use by wrapping it up and giving it away as gifts … 

M&M Cookies 6

 A little cellophane, some curled ribbon and voila!  An inexpensive yet personal gift ideal to give to friends and family as birthday presents or simply to say “thank you” or “I love you”.

M&M Cookies 8


M&M Cookies
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  1. 175g butter
  2. 1 cup castor sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 2 egg yolks
  5. 2 cups plain flour
  6. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  7. pinch of salt
  8. 160g M&Ms
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together by placing both into the bowl of an electric mixer and beating until pale and creamy (you can use a hand mixer if you don't have a stand mixer).
  4. Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks and beat well.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together.
  6. Add most of the M&Ms to the bowl, leaving a few over for decoration. Gently incorporate them into the mixture.
  7. Roll the mixture into even balls and place onto the baking trays, leaving plenty of room in between them as they will spread while baking.
  8. Flatten each ball slightly, and decorate with the remaining M&Ms.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes or until very lightly golden.
  10. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
My Little Chequered Kitchen


Gourmet Vegetarian Burgers …


I am by no means a vegetarian.  In fact, when I was little I used to tell my Mum that when I grew up I would be a meatatarian.  I’m not sure if that’s even a word but it pretty much sums up my passion for meat.  DSC_4705

But as an adult, I’ve come to realize that I am just as crazy about vegetables.  I would struggle to name one that I dislike.  I used to be able to say that I didn’t like fennel, but even that has changed since taking part in a team building event at a cooking school in Amsterdam where we made a fennel risotto that was incredibly delicious. 


And although I am and always will be a meat advocate, I also think that it’s healthy to cook a vegetarian meal a couple of times per week. I figure that my weekly meat intake is already impressive enough, whereas you can never eat enough vegetables.  


A couple of good friends of mine have also recently “crossed over to the dark side” (they’ve become vegetarians) and so I’m always on the lookout for great vegetarian meals that I can whip up whenever they come around for dinner.  These vegetarian patties are packed with a power punch of flavour and incredibly moreish.  


These burgers use English Cheddar cheese, which is available these days at most Dutch supermarkets.  But if you can’t find it, just substitute it with some aged or tasty cheese.    



Gourmet Vegetarian Burgers ...
Yields 8
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  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 2 medium-sized onions
  3. 125g mushrooms
  4. 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  5. sea salt
  6. 50g Parmesan cheese
  7. 50g Cheddar cheese (or other tasty cheese)
  8. 150g canned borlotti beans
  9. 100g fresh breadcrumbs
  10. freshly ground pepper
  11. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  12. 2 tablespoons red wine
  13. 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  14. 1 large egg
  15. 1 tablespoon cornflour
  16. 2 tomatoes
  17. 1 red onion
  18. 8 hamburger buns
  19. rocket leaves
  20. mayonnaise
  21. sweet thai chilli sauce
  1. Finely dice the onions and mushrooms.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
  3. Add the onions, mushrooms, thyme and a sprinkling of sea salt to the pan and fry until softened and golden.
  4. Using the grater disc blade on your food processor, grate the Parmesan and the cheddar cheeses.
  5. Drain the borlotti beans and add them to the cheese in the food processor bowl along with the breadcrumbs, some freshly ground pepper, and finally the cooked onions and mushrooms which by now should have cooled down enough.
  6. Switch to the regular blade and pulse until mixed - but don't overdo this! You don't want a strange looking paste. But you do want everything to combine.
  7. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl and add the soy sauce, wine, mustard, egg and cornflour. Mix with a spoon until all combined.
  8. Using wet hands, shape the mixture into 8 balls, then flatten into roughly 2cm thick patties.
  9. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and place the patties on the tray. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge until firm.
  10. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  11. Remove the clingfilm and brush the tops of the patties with a little olive oil.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
  13. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your hamburgers by slicing the tomatos and onions.
  14. Once the patties are ready, pull them out of the oven and set aside.
  15. Cut the hamburger buns in half and place them on another oven tray or on the oven shelf and bake for 2 minutes until warm.
  16. Finally, assemble your hamburgers with the patties, tomatoes, onion, mayonnaise and chilli sauce.
  17. Eet Smakelijk!!
Adapted from Cheese - From Fondue to Cheesecake
My Little Chequered Kitchen

Old-Fashioned Raspberry Cordial …


Last weekend I had the honour of attending a Hen’s Party here in the Netherlands for a friend of mine who is getting married in a couple of weeks.  One of the activities included a boat trip around the canals and waterways around Zwolle, while indulging on a delicious “High Tea” which we were all asked to contribute to.  


(Must get the recipe for the delicious caramel walnut brownies!!!!)


I decided to mix it up a bit and instead of baking something like I usually would, I made home-made raspberry cordial and took a bottle of soda water to dilute it with (and yes that’s me with a cardigan and scarf, even though it’s summer here in Holland!!).   


The best thing about making home-made cordial is that the fruits of your labour stick around for a while; the cordial keeps for months in the fridge.   The worst thing about making home-made cordial is that you begin to really understand just how much sugar is added to fruit drinks.  But do keep in mind that cordial is a concentrate, and this recipe makes an intensely flavoured syrup.  You only need to add a little bit to the glass and top up with water or soda water (avoid lemonade as that only adds to the sugar content!).  And of course home-made cordial contains no artificial colours or preservatives and is therefore so much better than anything you can buy in the supermarket.  But still, I don’t think I can go so far as to say that it’s healthy … 


Making home-made cordial is actually extremely simple.  The only complicated bit is finding some muslin cloth or something similar in order to strain out the raspberry seeds.  I was luckily able to improvise with some tulle lying around the house which worked perfectly.


Another idea is to make raspberry ice blocks by mixing 1 cup of the raspberry cordial with 1/4 cup of water and pouring into ice block moulds and freezing.  And don’t forget that a bottle of cordial makes an original and creative gift idea!  Just lay your hands on some cheap little glass bottles with a tight fitting lid, tie a ribbon around them and voila.  A wonderful present to say you care!



Old-Fashioned Raspberry Cordial
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
  1. 6 cups sugar
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 1 cup of lemon juice
  4. 1 tablespoon citric acid
  5. 4 cups raspberries
  1. Begin by thoroughly washing and sterilizing your glass bottles with tight-fitted lids. I do this by squirting some detergent into the bottles and adding a little amount of very hot water from the tap. Shake the bottles well and then rinse them out thoroughly with the water running as hot as possible in order to get rid of any trace of the detergent. Next pop them into the oven on the coolest setting to allow them to dry while you prepare the cordial.
  2. To make the cordial, place the sugar and water into a large pot and bring to a gentle simmer while constantly stirring.
  3. Once simmering, add the lemon juice and the citric acid and stir until dissolved.
  4. Add the raspberries and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and leave to cool before straining batches of the cordial through a muslin covered sieve in order to remove the pulp and the seeds.
  6. Pour the cordial into the sterilized bottles and seal. Your cordial should last for months in the fridge.
  7. To serve, dilute the cordial to taste with either water or soda water (don't use lemonade as the syrup is sweet enough and doesn't need the extra sweetness from the lemonade!).
Adapted from Annabel Langbein
Adapted from Annabel Langbein
My Little Chequered Kitchen

Dutch Speculoos Pie with Orange Liqueur Cream …

DSC_4772In my opinion, I’ve assimilated pretty well into Dutch culture.  Unlike a lot of expatriates who come to live in Holland, I actually speak the language (albeit rather badly), I only hang out with Dutchies, I’m not ashamed to admit that I listen to Guus Meeuwis and Jan Smit (Dutch singers) … yes I’m genuinely in love with my adopted country and its people.  


But there has been one aspect of Dutch culture that has failed to win me over, and that’s their cuisine. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike it.  In fact I always over-indulge when I visit my mother-in-law who is a fantastic cook.  But, Dutch food just doesn’t inspire me in the same way that Italian, Asian, or even Greek, Spanish or French food does.   


That’s why for June’s FoodBlogSwap, I decided to bite the bullet and tackle something that is typically Dutch.  So, when I saw that I had been given the Dutch food blog  “Judith’s Cakes” to cook from, I jumped at the chance to make this Speculoos Pie (or as the Dutch call it, “Speculaastaart”).  


Choosing from Judith and Jaap’s blog was the biggest challenge I’ve had to face so far in the Dutch FoodBlogSwap event.  There were just so many delicious sweet treats to choose from!  But this pie really struck me as being completely different to anything I had tried to make before, and so my curiosity was piqued.


According to Wikipedia, speculoos (Dutch: speculaas, or in New Zealand we often call them “Dutch Windmill Biscuits”) is a type of spiced shortcrust biscuit, traditionally eaten during the feast of St Nicholas (Sinterklaas) in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Northern France and around Christmas in Germany. Speculoos biscuits are thin, very crunchy, slightly browned and, most significantly, have some image or figure (often from the traditional stories about St. Nicholas) stamped on the front side before baking. 


The most striking thing about speculoos biscuits however is the flavour, which is a combination of spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper (therefore similar to English mixed spice).   


This pie is therefore a tribute to the flavour and texture of speculoos biscuits.  The recipe itself, as far as I’m aware, is not especially typically Dutch, but the combination of flavours and ingredients certainly are.  The spices together with the almond paste and dried fruits will conjure up vivid memories of Sinterklaas and Christmas for any Dutch person.  And of course that really means that I should have made this in November or December.  Meh!  


Judith and Jaap from Judith’s Cakes used small round balls of the dough to form the design on the top of their pie.  I think it looks absolutely fantastic, but as I lack the assistance of small children in my home, I just didn’t have the patience to stand there and roll all of those tiny little balls!  


I therefore decided to get a bit creative and ended up cutting out strips of the dough and platting them over the pie, finishing off with with little stars to fill up all of the gaps. And of course, if you were to make this at Christmastime, then this pattern would be absolutely perfect. But you should feel free to use your own imagination and create your own unique design to top it off.  


So, do I regret choosing something “typically Dutch” to cook from Judith and Jaap’s food blog? Absolutely not!  This pie was delicious!  It’s definitely going to remain a part of my repertoire and I hope some day to have the opportunity to make it around Christmastime in New Zealand for my family and to showcase to them that Dutch cuisine is actually all that after all!  


… oh and by the way, don’t skip the orange liqueur cream as garnish to this dessert.  It’s absolutely divine!!




Dutch Speculoos Pie with Orange Liqueur Cream ...
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  1. For the pastry ...
  2. 300 gram white flour
  3. 100 gram brown sugar
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 200 gram cold butter
  6. 2 tablespoons mixed spice or "speculaaskruiden"
  7. For the filling ...
  8. 75 gram dried apricots
  9. 75 gram raisins
  10. 100 ml + 1 tablespoon freshly pressed orange juice
  11. 2 large apples
  12. 300 gram almond paste (marzipan is also fine)
  13. For the orange liqueur cream ...
  14. 1 cup of cream
  15. 2 tablespoons castor sugar
  16. 1 tablespoon orange liqueur or orange essence
  1. To make the pastry, first thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together in the bowl of an electric stand mixer (or a large bowl if you want to knead the dough by hand).
  2. Cut butter into little blocks and add to the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  3. Using the dough hook on your electric stand mixer, knead the dough until it comes together. If the dough won't come together and is too crumbly, then add a teaspoon of cold water and continue kneading. Keep adding teaspoons of cold water until the dough forms a ball around the dough hook.
  4. Take about two thirds of the dough and form it into a flat round disc. Then roll it out onto a well-floured bench until it forms a large enough circle to line your loose-bottomed pie tin.
  5. Spray the pie tin with baking spray before gently lying the rolled out dough on top and pushing it into the tin. Take your time with this, as you want the dough to evenly line the tin and you want it pressed in well.
  6. Put the tin into the fridge to allow it to firm up while you prepare the filling.
  7. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  8. Cut the dried apricots into small pieces and mix together with the raisins.
  9. Put the dried fruits and the orange juice into a small pot and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the fruit softens and have absorbed most of the juice.
  10. Meanwhile, peel the skins off the apples and cut the flesh into little pieces and add to the apricots and rasins.
  11. Next take the almond paste (or marzipan) and use your fingers to crumble it into flakes into the pot with the fruit.
  12. Add about another tablespoon of orange juice to the fruit and loosely mix everything together.
  13. Add the fruit mixture and spread it evenly into the pastry case.
  14. Next, take the rest of the dough and roll it out into a large rectangle. Cut the dough into strips and plait the strips over the fruit mixture leaving small gaps in between each strip. Use any remaining dough cut-offs to roll out and make stars with a little star-shaped pastry cutter. Use the stars to fill up all the gaps on the pie.
  15. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the pastry is nice and golden.
  16. Once cooked, let the pie cool in the tin before taking it out and serving.
  17. To make the whipped cream, simply beat the cream and sugar together until it forms soft peaks.
  18. Add the orange liqueur or essence and beat for another few seconds until combined and the cream still forms soft peaks.
  19. Serve a slice of the Speculoos Pie with a dash of the whipped cream on the side.
Adapted from Judith's Cakes (original source: "Taart, zoet en hartig"
My Little Chequered Kitchen

Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey

Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey

Rating:  Highly Recommended!

This is the newest cookbook in my collection, and I was inspired to order it after researching Babi Kecap (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Sweet Soy Sauce) recipes online and discovering that Rick Stein had a version in this book.  But apart from that, I realised that despite my passion for Asian food, I didn’t actually have a recipe book dedicated to the subject (apart from various old Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks handed down to me by Mum).  


For those of you who don’t know him, Rick Stein is a British chef from Cornwall in the UK who owns four restaurants, a deli, a patisserie, and a seafood cookery school.  However, he is perhaps most famous for his BBC television series in which he is normally found travelling around the globe or around his home country the UK, in the search for authentic dishes which he in turn adapts into his own recipes.  Mild mannered and yet incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about food, I’ve always enjoyed Rick’s television series which are both educational and inspiring.


In this cookbook, Rick travels through Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Bali, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and presents us with his own interpretation of the highlights of the local dishes.  In his blurb, he explains that he could have called the book “My Southeast Asian Odyssey” but for the fact that he wanted to include the Indian subcontinent as well.  He goes on to explain that he chose to go to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka rather than India mostly due to the fact that India and also therefore China, deserve a book all of its own.  Hopefully this hints of future plans to publish more cookbooks specifically about these two countries in the future!


The recipes are split into the country categories above, and as well as the introduction – which is obviously written by Rick himself because you can almost literally hear him speak as you read it – each chapter begins with stories and anecdotes from his time spent in that particular country.  Even more wonderful is that every recipe begins with a short blurb explaining it’s origin or story as well as tips and tricks.  I simply love this, as I enjoy hearing the voice of the author throughout a cookbook.  


Most recipes are illustrated by a full page photo, but not all.  I suppose this was a concession needed to be made, as the book is fairly chunky as it is.  But there are enough photos to satisfy even myself, who is normally never inspired to cook anything that I first cannot see.


What I particularly love about this cookbook is the section at the back, which includes a list of basic recipes required when cooking Asian foods.  These are categorized further into Stocks, Spices Pastes and Blends, Side Salads, and Breads and Rice.  Following this is an incredibly helpful list with explanations and photos of key ingredients used in the recipes and in most Asian cuisines.  I rather suspect that this all reflects the attitude of the author when it comes to cooking Asian foods – cooking from scratch is best!  And in fact perhaps this is what I love most about this cookbook – it’s air of authenticity.  It’s not a book about using westernized Asian ingredients or pre-packaged products to try and recreate the exotic flavours of the east.  It’s about sourcing rare and authentic ingredients, and creating the complex flavours yourself from scratch, and magically building your own authentic Asian dishes.  


For this reason, this is by no means a cookbook for busy weeknights, or for those wanting quick and easy meal solutions that will get them in and out of the kitchen in as little time as possible.  This is a cookbook for lovers of Asian food and the process of cooking exotic foods that takes a little time and energy to source the ingredients, as well as a little patience in the kitchen to prepare the basic elements from scratch, as well as to allow the flavours to infuse and marinate in their own time.  


I spent a whole afternoon pouring through the recipes and stories in this colorful and inspiring cookbook.  It’s re-ignited my passion for Asian cuisine (not that it needed much re-ignition!) and inspired me to collect more of Rick Stein’s cookbooks to add to my collection.  Watch out for more reviews!

Click here to order Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey

Recipes inspired from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey that I have blogged about:

Babi Ketcap (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Sweet Soy Sauce)
Asian Chicken Stock (Asian Poached Chicken)


Asian Chicken Stock (or Asian Poached Chicken) …


This recipe is really two in one, because it makes an ideal stock to use in any Asian inspired dish that uses chicken or pork, while also producing delicious poached chicken breasts infused with Asian flavours, ideal for use in salads, sandwhiches or wraps.  

The recipe makes about 1 1/2 – 2 litres of stock, and so I like to freeze the stock in 500ml portions to use later.  You can use this stock in my version of Indonesian Braised Pork with Sweet Soy Sauce (Babi Kecap).  

Asian Chicken Stock (or Asian Poached Chicken)
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
  1. 6 chicken breasts
  2. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  3. 1 stalk of lemon grass, bruised (I use a rolling pin)
  4. 4 cloves of crushed garlic
  5. knob of roughly chopped or grated ginger (75g)
  6. 3 whole star anise
  7. 1 teaspoons black peppercorns
  1. Place all the ingredients into a large pot and cover with 3 litres of water. Bring to a simmer and then cover and simmer for 1 minute before removing from the heat and leaving to cool for about 1 1/2 hours without removing the lid.
  1. Freeze any stock that you won't be immediately using in 500ml amounts for later use. The chicken breasts will be infused with the Asian flavours and is delicious as a meal by itself or added to sandwiches or wraps.
My Little Chequered Kitchen

Indonesian Braised Pork with Sweet Soy Sauce (Babi Kecap) …

Babi Ketcap Quality I recently bought some Kecap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) from the supermarket, mistakenly thinking it was regular soy sauce.  After a little internet investigation, I learned that Kecap Manis is a soy sauce unique to Indonesia and is made thick, sweet and syrupy by the addition of an almost fudge-like palm sugar.  


So I was left wondering what I could do with it, until I stumbled upon Kayotic Kitchen’s recipe for Babi Kecap, a classic Indonesian dish which Rick Stein calls a “celebration of Kecap Manis”.  One thing led to another, meaning that I tried it, and Meneer Prins fell in love.  


Indonesian food plays a significant part in Dutch cuisine due to the fact that Indonesia used to be called the Dutch East Indies, and was therefore a colony of the Dutch empire.  In fact in my experience here in Holland, most Chinese takeaways offer more Indonesian dishes than Chinese.  Since living in the Netherlands, I have learned to love the cuisine but hadn’t yet ventured into actually making an Indonesian dish.  Babi Kecap therefore has the honour of being my first foray into cooking Indonesian food.   


My recipe for Babi Kecap is an amalgamation of various recipes I’ve since experimented with, including Kay’s delicious recipe in “Kayotic Kitchen” and Rick Stein’s version from his cookbook “Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey”.  If you’ve already made your Asian Chicken Stock (see my recipe here) or if you choose to use regular chicken stock, then my version is very easy and fairly quick to make (less than an hour in total).  


I love serving Babi Kecap with rice, and garnishing the dish with spring onions and mild chillies.  But the real pièce de résistance are the crispy fried onions which you can either make yourself by simply frying finely chopped shallots or onions in oil, or by buying them pre-made in the supermarket or Asian foodstore.  


Indonesian Braised Pork with Sweet Soy Sauce (Babi Kecap)
Serves 4
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  1. 1 large onion
  2. 4 cloves of garlic
  3. knob of fresh ginger (roughly 25g)
  4. 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  5. 1 kilo of pork meat cut into small pieces
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1/2 cup kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
  9. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  10. 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  11. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  12. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  13. 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  14. 3 large red chillies
  15. 1 red bird's eye chilli
  16. 500ml Asian Chicken Stock (or regular chicken stock)
  17. spring onions, mild red chilli, and crispy fried onions to garnish
  1. Finely chop the onion, garlic and ginger.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium heat.
  3. Add the pork pieces and gently brown. When ready, remove the pork pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Add the finely chopped onion to the pot and fry until golden. Add more oil if necessary.
  5. Add the garlic, ginger, salt, cumin, and ground coriander and cook for a further minute while stirring.
  6. Add the kecap manis, soy sauce, tamarind paste, ground pepper, chillies, and stock to the pot and simmer with the lid on and over a low heat for 30 minutes.
  7. Check to make sure the sauce is thickening nicely. If the ratio of sauce to meat looks good, then cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Otherwise, leave the lid off to allow the sauce to reduce for 15 minutes.
  8. Serve with rice and garnish with chopped mild red chillies, spring onion, and crispy fried onions.
My Little Chequered Kitchen

Caramel Oat Slice …

Oaty Caramel SliceI’ve been busy baking lately … baking a lot.  My good friend Alice is travelling in September to Uganda and will be living there for six months while working for a charity called Edukans which focuses on improving the education standards for children in Uganda.  I’m so proud of her that I wanted to help support her.  So we came up with the idea of letting people order some home-baked goodies and it’s been a great success!   

Oaty Caramel Slice - 1

One of the treats available to order is this Caramel Oat Slice, adapted from Jo Seagar’s version in her book “It’s Easier Than You Think!”.  It’s been so popular that this weekend I have to bake a whole lot of them to fulfill 19 orders just for this slice alone!  

Oaty Caramel Slice - 3

But I understand why it’s been so popular.  It’s ooey, gooey, sticky, and sweet and yet the oats give it an air of wholesomeness – which of course is absolute rubbish because it’s a massive calorie bomb! But hey, a little in moderation right?

Oaty Caramel Slice - 5

I don’t know if Jo Seagar’s recipe was supposed to come out the way it does for me or not, but I found that the caramel topping tends to soak into the base while cooking in the oven, resulting in a soft gooey slice without any layers.  Still delicious, but I prefer a little more definition between the base and the caramel filling.  Therefore I cook my base a little bit first before adding the caramel on top and popping it into the oven again to cook properly.  I also found that Jo Seagar’s recipe contained too much base to the caramel filling so I’ve adjusted the ratios to suit my taste.

Oaty Caramel Slice - 8

Want to know more about my friend Alice’s journey to Uganda?  Keep reading, as her story (in Dutch and English) features below the recipe card.  Otherwise you can visit her website for more information, including how you can help support her:

Oaty Caramel Slice - 6

Caramel Oat Slice
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  1. for the base ...
  2. 200g butter
  3. 2 cups flour
  4. 3 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 2/3 cup desiccated coconut
  6. 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
  7. 2 cups rolled oats
  8. 2 small eggs
  9. for the caramel filling ...
  10. 200g butter
  11. 2 x 400g cans sweetened condensed millk
  12. 4 tablespoons golden syrup
  13. 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  14. white and dark chocolate to decorate
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line a large slice or sponge roll tin with baking paper - don't be stingy here. Make sure it's well lined and that you have enough hanging over the edge to lift the slice out when it's ready. Finish with baking spray.
  3. To make the base, melt the butter over a low heat on the stove top or in the microwave.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the eggs and the melted butter and mix well, using your hands if necessary.
  6. Press the base mixture firmly into the tin, keeping one handful of the mixture aside for later.
  7. Put in the oven for 8 minutes to cook the base slightly. This will help to keep the caramel on top instead of soaking into the base later on.
  8. Meanwhile, start making the caramel filling by adding the butter, condensed milk, and golden syrup into a pot and warming on top of the stove until the butter is completely melted and all ingredients are fully mixed and incorporated.
  9. Once the butter has melted, take the caramel mixture off the stove and stir in the vanilla extract.
  10. When the base is ready, pull the tin out of the oven and pour the caramel mixture over the top of the base.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining base mixture on top of the caramel.
  12. Pop the tin back into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the caramel is beautifully golden brown.
  13. Once cooked, let the slice cool in the tin.
  14. Once the slice is cool enough (you could put it in the fridge and let it cool completely overnight), melt the white and dark chocolate and use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate on top of the slice. You can use your own artistic creativity here, but I like to drizzle it diagonally across the slice in the same direction. But don't get too caught up in being perfect with this. It's actually far more delicious if you allow the chocolate to fall off the spoon in large clumps! The more chocolate the better I say.
  15. Pop the slice back into the fridge to allow the chocolate to set before cutting into slices and serving.
  1. Golden Syrup is available in Holland at Jumbo supermarkets and can be found in the honey, peanut butter, or jam sections.
Adapted from Jo Seagar's "It's Easier Than You Think!"
My Little Chequered Kitchen


Aankomend september hoop ik af te reizen naar Oeganda voor 6 maanden. Via Edukans ga ik werken voor de organisatie CRO. Deze organisatie helpt straatkinderen weer aan een thuis. De kinderen volgen een eenjarig programma bij de organisatie en vervolgens helpt de organisatie hen te reïntegreren in de samenleving en in het onderwijs. Voor meer informatie over CRO klik hier.

In Oeganda is het onderwijs, naar onze wersterse maatstaven, nog erg ouderwets. In een klas zitten zo’n 50 leerlingen. De ‘beste’ leerlingen vooraan, de ‘slechtsten’ achteraan. Doordat de ex-straatkinderen een gedeelte van het schooltraject hebben gemist zitten zij dus helaas achteraan. Ik hoop deze kinderen en de leerkrachten te coachen en te begeleiden in het rehabilitatieproces. We denken na over vragen als ‘hoe kunnen we het onderwijs beter vorm geven’ , ‘hoe betrekken we alle kinderen bij het onderwijs’, enz. Samen met de plaatselijke leerkrachten, hun kennis, mijn kennis, willen we tot beter onderwijs komen. Ik weet het niet beter, maar omdat ik in een andere cultuur ben opgeleid, kijk ik wel anders tegen de dingen aan.  

Mijn wederhelft, Aad, zal zijn IT-vaardigheden kunnen inzetten door een digitale leeromgeving voor de leerlingen te creëren, waarin de leerlingen hun eigen traject kunnen volgen. In- en uitloggen en de volgende keer verdergaan op hetzelfde punt. Jammer genoeg bestaat dit nog nauwelijks binnen het Oegandese onderwijs, terwijl ICT zo’n goede ondersteuning bij het leren kan zijn.

Helaas is het vaak zo, dat als de medewerker weer naar huis gaat, de dingen weer op de oude manier verder gaan. Het programma waar ik aan deel neem heet Werelddocent XL. Het is een doorlopend programma, dat vanuit Edukans georganiseerd en ondersteund wordt. Ik volg mijn voorganger op en wanneer ik daar weer wegga, zal degene na mij kunnen starten waar ik ben gebleven. Zo willen we een blijvend positief effect hebben op het onderwijs. 

Veel dromen in het onderwijs kunnen niet waargemaakt worden, omdat de financiële middelen niet toereikend zijn. Als je het project wilt steunen kan dat via de knop donaties.

Wil je ons persoonlijk steunen, dan kan je een bedrag overmaken naar 3256.48.840 t.n.v. A.M.  Wildeboer-Gombert. Bedankt!

* English translation:

Upcoming September I hope to travel to Uganda for 6 months. I’ll work through Edukans at an organization called CRO. This organization helps street children to get a home again. The children take part in a one year during program at the organization. After that program CRO helps them with their rehabilitation process in the community and education. For further information about CRO click here.

In Uganda the education is, seen through our western eyes, very outdated. In a class there are about 50 students. The best students are in the front, the ‘worst’ in the back of the classroom. Because the ex-street children missed a part of the education, unfortunately they sit at the back. I hope to coach these children and teachers and attend them in the rehabilitation process. We will think about questions as ‘how can we create better education’, ‘how can we involve every children in the education’, etc. Together with the local teachers, their knowledge, my knowledge, we will hopefully come to a better educational process. It’s not that I know more or better, but I followed my education in another culture, so I see things through other eyes.

My better half, Aad, will be using his IT-knowledge to create a digital education environment for the students. In which they can follow their own route. It will be possible to log in and log out and start the next time at the same point again. Unfortunately IT isn’t a usual tool in the education of Uganda, whilst it is such a good support for studying.

It’s a shame that when the volunteers go back home, things will turn back as before. The program I will participate in is called ‘Werelddocent (world teacher) XL’ It’s a continuous program, organized by and supported by Edukans. I will succeed my predecessor and when I leave, the person after me will start at the point where I stopped. Thus we try to have a permanent positive effect on the education in Uganda.

Lots of dreams in education can’t be accomplished, because of the lack of financial needs. If you want to support the project, you can click on the button ‘donaties’.

If you want to support us personally, you can donate an amount on 3256.48.840 or to IBAN: NL81RABO0325648840  (A.M. Wildeboer-Gombert). Thanks a lot!

Poached Chicken & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Wraps …


You may have noticed that over the last week I’ve been posting various basic recipe ideas with the promise of bringing them all together in one blog post about my Poached Chicken & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Wraps.  So here it is! 


Of course, if time is of the issue, then you might want to buy your tortillas instead of making them. Otherwise click here for the recipe to make your own fresh flour tortillas.  But like I always say, when you make all of the elements of a dish from scratch and them bring them all together to create a delicious meal like this one, the level of satisfaction you gain is enormous!  


I recommend that you begin by poaching your chicken before cooking your tortillas (click here for my Herb-infused Poached Chicken recipe).  The Roasted Red Pepper Hummus can be whipped up in a matter of seconds (click here for my Roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe).   


If you want to make these wraps as healthy as possible, then use a low-fat creme fraiche and either a low fat grated cheese or omit the cheese completely.   


And don’t forget to keep the chicken stock once you’ve finished poaching your chicken!  You can freeze it in a large plastic resealable bag if you don’t have a container large enough to put in the freezer.  Otherwise it will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.


Poached Chicken & Roasted Red Hummus Wraps
Serves 2
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  1. 3 fresh tortillas
  2. 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
  3. 6 tablespoons roasted red pepper hummus
  4. 2-3 herb-infused poached chicken breasts
  5. 1 carrot cut into small matchsticks
  6. 1 celery stalk cut into small matchsticks
  7. handful of tasty grated cheese
  8. freshly ground salt & pepper to taste
  1. Smear the creme fraiche down the centre of the tortillas.
  2. Spoon the roasted red pepper hummus on top of the creme frache.
  3. Shred the herb-infused poached chicken and place on top of the creme fraiche.
  4. Lay the carrot and celery matchsticks lengthwise on top of the chicken.
  5. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the carrots and celery.
  6. Add freshly ground salt & pepper to taste.
  7. Roll the wraps gently and as tightly as possible before cutting in half and serving. If they don't stay together then you can tie them with a piece of string or use a tapas stick or toothpick to hold them together.
My Little Chequered Kitchen

Hawaiian Pizza Bread with Crème Fraîche …


It’s that time again, the Dutch Foodblog Swap!  And this time I had the honour of choosing a recipe from Sabine Koning’s blog “Oh My Foodness“.  


Sabine’s blog has so many recipes to choose from, that it was a mission and a half to choose just one! But after spending an afternoon perusing, I stumbled upon her “Snackbrood” (Snackbread or Pizzabread) recipe.  

DSC_4355I’ve been buying a lot of pizza bread lately while out and about running various errands.  The bakery near our house makes a delicious version which is irresistible and I’ve been wanting to copy it for a while now.  But what really intrigued me about Sabine’s recipe was that it used crème fraîche instead of a tomato base.  And I just looooove crème fraîche and had never thought to use it for a base like this.  (NB:  In New Zealand just substitute sour cream for crème fraîche if you can’t find it in the supermarket).


For the bread base, I recommend that you use a strong white flour or bread flour rather than plain flour as it contains more gluten and  produces a better bread.  I always use strong white flour whenever I’m adding yeast to a recipe.  You can buy bread flours from the supermarket here in Holland but they all seem to contain additives which I prefer to avoid.    


I usually order Allinson’s Strong Bread Flour which contains no additives, and is available from  I order in large batches to make the delivery costs a little more economical. But if anyone knows how I can more easily buy it or order Strong Bread Flour (without additives) in the Netherlands then do leave me a comment below and let me know where you source yours from!


In true food blogger fashion, I couldn’t help putting my own twist on Sabine’s recipe.  When I was chopping up the onion and ham, I couldn’t help but reach for a small tin of pineapple chunks to turn it into a Hawaiian topping.  Delish!


I also like to add honey to my bread dough in place of sugar – in fact I like to try and use honey instead of sugar whenever possible.  


Meneer Prins has been rather quiet lately on the food front.  I think he’s probably becoming a little spoiled with the continued variety of food on offer.  But he did rave about this recipe and without any prodding from me (yes you guessed it, after every new recipe I’m always badgering him with his feedback … “and?  and?  Is it a keeper??”).  Looks like I’m going to have to make this one more often. Thanks Sabine!!  


Hawaiian Pizza Bread with Crème Fraîche
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  1. for the bread dough ...
  2. 225ml luke warm water
  3. 1 packet of yeast (7g)
  4. 1 teaspoon honey
  5. 350g strong white bread flour
  6. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. for the topping ...
  9. 100g crème fraîche
  10. couple of handfuls of grated tasty cheese
  11. 1 small onion
  12. 5 slices of good quality ham
  13. 1 small tin of pineapple pieces
  14. sea salt
  15. freshly ground pepper
  16. dried garlic powder
  17. dried or fresh parsley
  1. Add the luke warm water to a large mixing bowl and stir in the honey until dissolved.
  2. Whisk in the yeast until fully incorporated and then leave to stand for 10 minutes or until the yeast is frothy.
  3. In the meantime, chop up your onion and snip the ham slices into pieces.
  4. Add the flour, salt and olive oil to the yeast mixture and mix until well combined.
  5. Knead the dough on a well floured bench or board for roughly 10 minutes, or add it to your stand mixer using the dough hook.
  6. Once kneaded, form the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with cling foil and let the dough rise for an hour.
  7. Once risen, knead the dough for another 5 minutes by hand or in your stand mixer.
  8. In the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  9. Roll the dough out onto a floured bench or bowl into a rectangular shape. You can use a rolling pin for this, but I prefer to pummel and stretch it out with my hands. Don't make it too thin otherwise it will be more like a pizza base rather than a bread.
  10. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the dough on top.
  11. Smear the crème fraîche all over the dough base, and then sprinkle the onion, ham, and pineapple pieces evenly over the top.
  12. Finally, generously sprinkle the garlic powder and parsley over the top and finish with a good sprinkle of sea salt (the finished pizza bread will be quite bland if you don't add enough salt at this point).
  13. Bake the pizza bread in the oven for 20 minutes and serve warm, although the cold leftovers the next day are also delicious!!!
Adapted from Oh My Foodness "Snackbrood"
My Little Chequered Kitchen


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus …

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

We’ve recently welcomed a new addition to our family.  He’s a black and white ball of fluff, snuggles, and mischievousness whom we’ve named Boy (from the New Zealand movie “Boy”) and I absolutely adore him.  He’s hard work though, and I’m terrible at being tough.  And so even though I end up shrieking in pain every time he digs his claws into my jeans to climb his way up to my shoulder, I still just can’t muster up the courage to discipline him and make him stop – I mean how cute is it that such an adorable little life form wants to be  as close to me as possible and be involved in whatever it is that I’m doing?

Chick Peas

But it has meant that my normal routine of cooking has been disrupted somewhat, because if I spend too much time in the kitchen and not enough time giving Boy some attention, then the yucca plant ends up suffering.  And when I do give in and play with him, he ends up sleeping on my lap and that’s just so cute that I can’t possibly pick him up and put him down on the cushion and carry on with my kitchen antics.


So this weekend I wanted to throw together a lunch in literally minutes, and remembered my roasted red pepper hummus recipe.  You just throw all the ingredients into a food processor (ok so it’s best if you rinse the chickpeas first and of course you could always roast your own red peppers – I use the ones out of a jar when in a hurry …), blitz and eat.  Then just chop up some vege sticks (I seem to always reach for the carrots and celery but let your imagination run wild here) and if you can be bothered, slice up a couple of pita breads and bake in the oven for only a minute or two to warm them.  Or do the same with some tortillas to make tortilla chips.  You could even make them from scratch – I just so happen to have a recipe :)

Sundried Tomatoes

This is also a great snack to have on hand for when friends come around in the evening.  Try chopping up some coloured peppers as well as some baby lettuce leaves that can act as cups.  Scoop up some hummus with a vege stick and wrap the lettuce leaf around it and voilà!  A delicious and fun snack for the evening.  

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (1)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 1 can chickpeas
  2. 2 roasted red peppers (out of a jar is fine!)
  3. 2 sundried tomatoes
  4. 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  5. 1 clove garlic
  6. juice of one lemon
  7. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  8. pinch of cayenne pepper
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  10. freshly ground salt & pepper
  1. Drain the can of chick peas and rinse thoroughly under cold water.
  2. Add the chickpeas along with all the other ingredients into a small processor and blitz until creamy and smooth.
  3. Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks, baked pita bread pieces, or baked tortilla chips.
My Little Chequered Kitchen

p.s.  So I made a promise to myself when I started writing this blog that I would only ever include photos that relate specifically to the recipe.  But I just have to share with you all a photo of my darling Boy.  I figured I can get away with it if I post the photo right at the end of the post.  :)