The Delightful Dutch Dish

How one can cook oneself back into local reality

Local salad June 20, 2010

Filed under: cooking,salad,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 17:49

Right now I’m eating a lovely salad that is by far the most local salad I’ve eaten in a loooooooooong while. Well, last Friday was more local. I’ve been visiting my parents this weekend (a Dutch custom, I think, visiting one’s parents as often as one can, until you produce grandchildren). And my parents have a vegetable garden. Which is way out! I’ve reported about the local produce coming from it. The few radishes, the turnip greens etc. So far we’ve only been able to have accents from the garden in our meals. Well, since the last time I visited, which was two weeks ago, things have been going up, up, up. And when I arrived Friday, my mother had made this huge bowl of salad. It didn’t look anything out of the ordinary, but she was beaming with pride: “It’s all from the garden!” she said. Well, not all of it was from the garden, we don’t have cucumbers and tomatoes, but other than that (and a few spices) it was all from the garden. Home grown salad, at your service!

When I was about to leave, my mother said that I could have some veggies from the garden. So we picked two cute and tiny red beets, a small onion and a lot of greens (rucola, turnip greens, mustard greens, chives, parsley, lettuce, radishes and celery). Only small amounts of all these things, but combined it was enough for a bowl of salad. All I had to add was a few drops of olive oil, a little salt and pepper, different seeds (pumpkin, sunflower & pine), a little cheese and balsamic vinegar. And I have a lovely salad. Despite the large amount of Brassicacae things in there, it’s not too spicy. It’s just lovely. I saved the red beets for tomorrow, I just used the leaves for the salad.

It’s very local, since it was grown in my parents’ garden. The only thing is that I took it with me back home. Which is about 50km. The good news is, I used public transport. So I’m considering this super local!

 

I’ve been neglecting this May 25, 2010

Filed under: cooking,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 19:00

I don’t really know why. Because I have broken many rules, probably. I’ve been devouring truck loads of fish. Salmon, tuna, crab, herring, and I intend to eat every single fish they sell at my latest discovery: the fish shop. They sell great stuff. They smoke their own salmon. And that salmon does me in every single time I smell it. They place it on the counter top so that you simply have to smell it. And trust me, you cannot smell that salmon without eating it. The thing with fish shops is that you have to buy something before you can eat it. So anyway, fish. I’ve decided that I can’t live without it. The only downside to the whole fishy ordeal is, that fish, my dear scalloped sea creatures of heaven, they just aren’t local. They aren’t eco-friendly. They aren’t organic. They’re dooming our planet. And so am I, with every single bit of fish that enters my system. The only solution to that is: I have to stay in denial. So, goodbye!

The good news is that I’ve found a way to compensate. I haven’t really given it much thought, until last night, when I realised that the vegetables I’ve eaten in the past days, were all more local than local. Not all vegetables, but lots of them. The thing is this: I’ve been staying in a house with a vegetable garden. It’s not fully functional, we’ve only just planted asparagus. That will yield real live asparagus in another three years. Yup, three whole years. We’ve also planted artichokes. That will hopefully bloom this summer. And since you eat the flowers, that should be yum! Hopefully they’ll live through the winter, and than we’ll have some more artichokes next year. I’m making sure I’ll be sleeping next to the artichoke plants, so that I will get my share.

Nevermind the produce that will take anywhere between a few months and a few years, lets talk about the vegetables that I have already eaten. It started out with a little bit of chives, a few leaves of parsley, a tiny bit of marjoram, in other words: just a few fresh local spices. On saturday I made a lovely salad and decided I would want to include a little bit of ‘couleur locale’. So I took the scissors and walked into the garden. I cut off some chives, a bit of parsley, a little marjoram and I went crazy and decided that the real early radishes and rucola would be good enough for this salad too! I harvested them, washed them, put them in the salad. And it was great!

Sunday I was getting rid of some weeds when I discovered another batch of radishes. And they were big! They cried for help and I couldn’t help it, but I pulled the big ones out. Everyone had some lovely radishes on a cheese sandwich. If that had been all, life would have been great already. It’s such a joy to harvest something that has been homegrown, you wouldn’t believe it. But for dinner, I went out and took almost all the rucola home. I was making a delicious pesto with ramsons and rucola (with scallion instead of ramsons) to go with salmon. It was a homerun. I just wish I could come up with such a great pesto recipe. But then again, I’m not Italian, and I’m not really a cook. Anyway, it was a great day!

On Monday I made turnip green stamppot. You know the drill, I love it, so everyone has to love it. It was quite great and amazing. Though I had the wrong potatoes for it, and not cream cheese but just cheese. But I won’t complain, it was a great win, for everyone.

The great thing is that you can eat something within minutes after harvesting. All you know when you buy something in a supermarket is that it isn’t seconds after harvesting. It’s at least hours. When you walk out in the garden, pull out a radish, walk back inside to wash it, and then eat it, you can count the seconds. If you run you’ll make it quicker. If you don’t care about a little sand you can pull out & eat. There is no supermarket in the world that can beat you, even if you take a while to get to the sink to wash up your harvest. Ok, the crops don’t look stellar. Maybe a snail has had a bite, or a hare (we share our cabbage with a hare, he likes the stuff, man!), so it might be a little damaged. But the taste! Oh, but the taste! You’ve never tasted anything like it in your life. Never mind the size, the unevenness, the color, or the tiny bite another critter has had before you. It’s all in the taste.

I will share the pesto recipe with you soon, I think. I’m not sure it has copyright on it, and of course it is in Dutch. But it is worth breaking the law for. It’s great with different types of fish too! I might have to warn you: it has a decent amount of chives, scallion and garlic in it. Your loved ones might not like you for it. Unless you force feed it to them. It’s worth it!

 

Artichokes April 24, 2010

Filed under: book,cooking,main course,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 21:49
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This week, my bike and myself went all the way to the asparagus place I would like to refer to as asparagus heaven. From afar I could see the white asparagus sign wasn’t up yet and I wondered: are there no asparagus to be had? And yes, there were no asparagus to be had. I was so disappointed I cried a little. I was wearing sunglasses so no one could see. You know, it hurt! I called my mum (or she called me, I don’t recall) and I told her there were still no asparagus at asparagus heaven. And she said that she hadn’t found any asparagus for sale near there, either. So we both cried a little. You know, she’d been driving around for ages, looking at suspicious looking humps where -for sure- asparagus were grown. But no one sold them. She asked at the supermarket for Dutch asparagus, and they didn’t have them. The supermarket guy told her that Dutch asparagus were awfully late this year. I also checked my supermarket. They have asparagus from Peru. But since that probably means they’re days old, instead of hours, I refuse to buy them. Otherwise I’d totally buy a bunch and cook them. I’m so asparagus-deprived that the whole Peru-thing seems like a tiny thing that can easily be overlooked. I’m easily persuaded, I know. Anyway, no Dutch asparagus. Anywhere.

Artichoke top cut off

The beauty of a thistle flower

So when I found myself in a greengrocer’s today and they had artichokes at €1.50 a piece (holy crap, that’s expensive) I didn’t check where they were from, I just bought one. Just one. Not five, which -on hindsight- would’ve been better. When I got home I realised that I actually had no idea how to prepare artichokes. I looked in my newest cookbook and they just had a recipe for artichoke hearts. Which actually means canned artichokes. You know, no matter how much I love my new cookbook, how on earth am I supposed to can my fresh artichoke? I don’t know these things! So I checked my ’50’s Dutch cookbook (revised version from the 2000’s). It had very little to say about artichokes. Seriously? Is this another joke? Doesn’t anyone eat these things anymore? Are they not cool enough for the general population? Are my fellow 20-something’s this deprived of all life that they don’t even buy fresh artichokes anymore? What kind of life am I living anyway? Should I abandon my €1.50 artichoke and see if McDonalds is willing to make me some french fries? Can I get American sauce with that? That’s what it’s called, I have no idea if it’s anything American, but whatever. I opened the kitchen cabinet that contains all my cookbooks. And I thought to myself: yes, this would be a perfect time for that! ‘That’ being my mum’s copy of ‘The Joy of Cooking‘ by Irma and Marion Rombauer. They’re American, you know. ‘That’ also referring to my mum’s advise when she gave me her copy ‘on loan’ (which is permanent, sorry mum, I’ll read the recipe’s to you when you need anything, but I can’t give it back, not anymore!). Her advice was this: ‘If you ever have anything that you’re not exactly sure about how to prepare, this book will provide the answer in a heartbeat.’ I listened intently while turning the ancient pages (this copy being printed in 1974, probably a wedding gift). ‘Remember that time I found a dead rabbit?’ (my mum saw it being hit by a car) Oh yes mum, I do! ‘Well, this book provided all the information on skinning and preparing rabbit!’ I remember that too! Dad with my siblings bent over the rabbit, cutting her (she had a uterus with babies inside) open, telling them what they were looking at. It was very much The Anatomy Lesson of dr. Nicolaes Tulp. My dad being that Tulp-guy, me being Rembrandt, because the picture is still very vivid and detailed when I think about it. Anyway, I took my mum’s copy home, and leafed through it some more, and I thought about making some of the recipes one day. Honestly, I wanted to be Julie & Julia. Unfortunately my name is nothing like Irma or Marion, and besides, they were together already. And besides that, I’m a horrible cook.

My copy of The Joy.

So I grabbed the book off the shelve and I looked for ‘artichoke’ in the index. And boy oh boy, did these ladies do artichokes! My other cookbooks didn’t have that many references to ‘artichoke’, but this one did. Page 256 is the first hit, and I stayed there. I cooked the artichokes just like that. Exactly like that. (I’m not sure if I would be violating copyright if I would list the recipe here, so I’m not going to, I will just tell you how good it is) And since I was quite bored, and the cooking of artichokes apparently takes 45 minutes, I started tweeting about it, also here, here, and here. I would never have thought of cooking the artichokes with other vegetables. I just wouldn’t. I’m probably too stupid. I was worried there was no salt in the recipe (I mean, every recipe has salt. I left some out, once, and it just totally ruined it. ‘It’ was bread. I threw it out. Saltless bread is inedible.) But I stuck to it. I persevered. Who am I to judge my new BFF’s Irma and Marion? (they’re long dead, but still, man, they live with me now, they’re my soulmates! Plus, they know how to cook, man.) I did not add salt.

The cut off artichoke stem.

In The Joy they advise you to serve the artichokes with Béchamel sauce. I know how to make Béchamel. My mother taught me when I was 8. It’s easy. Fry onions and garlic, add flour, add water or milk, season with whatever you can find (I usually empty my entire stash of herbs), and that’s it. Oh no no! Not Irma and Marion! They put flour in butter, then add milk, than add onions and garlic and only then do they season the sauce. They don’t tell you how to season it, exactly, but after tasting the superb sauce I had just created (see, they need to be my BFF’s, they could tell me 50 years before I was born how to make Béchamel sauce, I mean, they’re saints!), I knew it was so nearly perfect that my overly enthusiastic seasoning would kill it stone dead. And I didn’t want that. I wanted the sauce to live. And talk to the artichokes. And make a beautiful artichoke sauce. And make me happy. So I could die in peace someday, because I had, once in my life, made the perfect Béchamel. It was tough, you know, but I added salt. Lots. I added pepper. A little. And I added chives. (See, I have this chives plant in a pot, and it’s dying, so I think that by cutting it, it might stand a chance. And otherwise it will be dead anyway.) And a little marjoram. And that was it.

The Béchamel, prior to seasoning.

And then the whole thing was done. I ate the artichoke with an abundance of Béchamel, because I love a lot of sauce. On anything really. And it was great! Everything was great about it. So I do think that I can die in peace now. Even though I’m not sure the Béchamel was perfect, it was better than anything I’d ever hoped to achieve. And that is kind of perfect, right?

In the end, buying Irma and Marion Rombauer’s The Joy Of Cooking would be a fine investment, even today. I would like to get my hands on Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ too, then my life will be complete and I can do whatever I want. That would be great, wouldn’t it?

BTW: this is my first post with photo’s, I should do that more often, I like it! If only uploading pictures to my computer were more easy…

 

Chicory and shrimp! April 16, 2010

Filed under: salad,side dish,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 09:24
Tags: , ,

I don’t really know how I feel about my endeavour, right now. Because I don’t particularly care for two of the ingredients: chicory and baby shrimp. Well, it’s not actually baby shrimp, it’s crangon crangon. But they’re the smallest shrimp I’ve ever seen or eaten. In Dutch we call them ‘Hollandse Garnalen’, which translates into Dutch Shrimp. That probably is because 80% of those shrimp are caught by Dutch (and German) vessels. But I don’t really like these grey shrimp. They’re tasting too fishy to me. I don’t particularly like it.

The thing is, the name implies that they’re local. And to some extent, that’s true. They’re caught in the North Sea, and the Dutch coastline borders only the North Sea. So in everyone’s mind, some fisherman walks out into the sea, catches himself a bunch of these shrimp, peels them, and then eats them. How local do you want your shrimp? It doesn’t get more local than that. Well, to some amateur fishermen this could be true. I’ve seen these shrimp on the beaches, not many, but they’re there. So they definitely live in the North Sea, and even make it to our Dutch coast. But the shrimp you buy in the supermarket aren’t local. They just aren’t. I know this because there was a Dutch TV-programme about it a while back. They traced the route these supposedly Dutch shrimp travel before they end up on your plate. What it boils down to is that they’re being caught off the coast of Denmark. Ok, so that’s a little north of the Netherlands, Denmark and the Netherlands share a group of islands (the Wadden Islands), so you could argue that it’s just around the corner. On board of the vessel that catches these shrimp, they’re boiled, then they’re sold in Yerseke, which is in the most southern part of the country. It could be IJmuiden too, at least some place with a fish auction. If you’re a supermarket, you buy your fish at one of these commercial auctions. We’re talking big fishy business. Then these little grey shrimp are shipped to Marocco. See, that’s how local these Dutch shrimp are. Maroccans peel the shrimp for a few cents where Dutch employees would cost ten to a hundred times more. So yes, economically shipping the shrimp to Marocco is a good decision. In terms of local produce it’s ridiculous. After the Peeling of the Shrimp (that would be a great title for a thriller, wouldn’t it?), they’re being shipped to Germany, where they’re being packaged. I think that after or before that they’re once again sold in Yerseke, or IJmuiden, or whatever, but I’m not sure about that. When they’re packaged they’re finally moving to the supermarkets, through a busy distribution system that will take the shrimps on a sight-seeing tour of the country.

You see, besides that I don’t much care about the taste of these shrimp, I have a little ‘local-produce’ concern about them. According to my supermarket, the shrimp I’ve just bought are caught in the North Sea and the Wadden (which actually means they could be from anywhere between Scandinavia and Spain, and they probably are). But they’re ‘green’ because no other fish are harmed in the process. But they are, because the Dutch trawlers use nets that drag over the bottom of the sea, and they catch other fish that are not so ‘green’. Anyway, I have enough reason not to buy them, but I did anyway. Because the recipe demanded it.

I must say, that after I was done with my salad and I ate it, I didn’t feel so bad about the shrimp and chicory. They were doing quite nicely in there. I liked the overall taste, and the way my extensive use of mayonnaise covered some of it up. And the excessive use of chives did do something good, too. Ok, I didn’t love it. And I’m not sure if I will make it again. But it was better than I expected. I’ll give these well-traveled shrimp some credit. And the not-so bitter chicory, of course!

Ingredients

2 chicory

100 gr Dutch shrimp (I suppose you could use any type of small shrimp, really)

3 table spoons mayonnaise

freshly cut chives

2 tea spoons soy sauce (Japanese)

1 tea spoon lemon juice

1 apple (Granny Smith)

2 table spoons freshly cut chives

freshly ground chili pepper (Ok, I don’t have that, I used chili pepper powder instead)

Cut the chicory in small bits. Mix the mayonnaise and soy sauce in a bowl, add chili pepper and lemon juice. Cut the apple into small dice, I left the skin on for extra colourful effect. Mix apple, shrimp, chicory and chives in the mayonnaise-mix. Enjoy!

How Local?

shrimp: see above, pretty damn non-local

chicory: Dutch

chives: cut off in my own kitchen, but I bought the plant at the supermarket first

mayonnaise: made it myself

the spices & lemon juice were pretty non-local too.

 

Brassicaceae April 12, 2010

Filed under: vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 18:34
Tags:

Recently I discovered something. I love most vegetables from the Brassicaceae-family. I have a preference towards them even. As well as aliaceae (onions, garlic, leek, I mean, what would life be without them?), but I already knew that. I just didn’t know that so many of the things I love are related to each other in the Brassicaceae-family.

First of all: garden cress. My life is depending on it! I use garden cress in a lot of things. For instance my kick ass sandwiches. They need cress. Lots of cress!

Another thing: rucola (rocket).  It’s another family member. It has a bit of a peppery taste. Which, apparently, is characteristic. I like rucola. I like the word. ‘Rucola’. I can say that in the mirror time and again, until I almost feel Italian. Because I think it is Italian. And I love Italy. I’ve never been there, but I should move there, and never leave again. I could have pommodori and rucola. I could have pesto and avocado (ok, thats Peruvian, but I’d plant a avocado tree there, and I’ll kick it if it doesn’t grow enough avocados). I could have mozzarella and olive oil. And I wouldn’t feel like a sinner every time I have these things. It would be perfectly OK and normal. Because they’re Italian. I would eat pasta, and only pasta. I’d never have to bother with any depressing potato-dishes anymore. I’d drink wine like it’s water. I’d run around in a t-shirt and skirt, I’d wear flip-flops year round. And life would be great.

Um, sorry, I wasn’t talking about Italy, was I? Oh yes, I remember. Brassicaceae!

Did you know another family member is mustard? Yup. I like mustard. I think mustard is awesome. I remember that we went on a holiday to France (don’t worry, I won’t get sidetracked here, I hate France. Even if they have tomatoes, rucola, mozzarella, and the Provence. France sucks). It was in the Provence. I fell in love with the lavender fields. It’s the only good thing from France, you know, lavender fields. Lavender honey. Lavender oil. But anyway, we also went to a market in a small Provençal village. Which was awesome. My mum bought us French comics. The sun was shining. There were grapes. And then we went to a lavender field and we bought some of the most awesome honey I’ve ever tasted. In another village we bought a few jars of special mustard. And I remember one specifically. It was the most awesome mustard ever made. It was ‘moutarde au miel’, there’s no way to say that in another language, it just doesn’t have the same ring to it. But ok, since you probably don’t know that ‘miel’ is honey, I’ll translate; it was mustard with honey, honey mustard. And boy! Friggin’ awesome! As was the mustard with the cool herbs, but I don’t remember that one as well as the ‘moutarde au miel’, because in my teeny tiny child’s mind, that was (and is) the most awesome mustard. Ever.

See, no sidetrack, it was all about mustard! But, I found out yesterday that there is another cool family member of Brassicaceae: radish. Right now, I think I should start a religion. I will devote all my life to eating Brassicaceae and worshipping the divinity of it. But I’m not exactly religious, so it would be hypocrite to worship a vegetable, and then eat it, wouldn’t it? So I won’t. I just tell you that I think Brassicaceae deserve their own house of worship: a restaurant!

And another family member is: raapsteeltjes (turnip greens, I’ve loved ’em before)! I love those! I think Spring could not be celebrated right without a raapsteel-stamppot (oh, it’s the potatoes again!). Life wouldn’t be the same without them, that’s all I’m saying.

But let’s not forget about horseradish. I love that stuff! Besides Italian food I have a weak spot for Japanese. And the Japanese cuisine in itself can be considered religion. But especially sushi and sashimi are true religions. They worship wasabi. And wasabi is made of horseradish. Wasabi is wonderful. Too much and you’ll die, or at least most of your taste buds will. Not enough, and you don’t feel half-alive. But just enough, oh la la! It will make you feel alive and awake. And then you still have a bit of tuna or salmon to enjoy while feeling properly alive. Yeah, wasabi’s the stuff I’d be surving in my house of worship!

And the most beautiful yellow flower (well, almost) is also a member of the extensive Brassicaceae-family: rapeseed (canola). I loved the fields of flowering rapeseed (which would’ve been both in France and the Netherlands, but they’re to be found in Germany as well).

The only part of the family I don’t really care for is the cabbage. I consider them the in-laws. They’re a sorry bunch trying to hitch a ride with their cool cousins. But that won’t fly. I think cabbage is worse than potatoes. I might kind of like broccoli, probably because it sounds kind of Italian, but the rest of them I really don’t care for. I think they’re depressing winter foods that should be banned. I’d prefer to eat leek and pumpkins all winter. Or just hibernate and don’t eat at all. But thank god I’ve got my peppered tasty friends left!

 

No Asparagus April 10, 2010

Filed under: cooking,main course,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 18:32
Tags: ,

It’s so sad! Yesterday I was right in the mood for asparagus. It was spring, someone was bold enough to mow their lawn, teenage boys were jumping in the river from the bridge (and they froze their testicles off permanently, but they’ll only find that out in 10 years time when they’re trying to conceive a child), and I was on my bike. So I took a little tour to the local asparagus dealer, where you can fetch a shot. From afar I could see the white asparagus sign wasn’t up yet. And I had been looking forward to it, so I was really sad. I had to stand there and weep for at least 15 minutes. I had been looking forward to getting myself some asparagus heads. I know they look like penises and it’s probably a bad thing for a nice girl like me to go wild for asparagus heads, but I do. I have been going without them for over 9 months. Yes, that too is quite inappropriate. But hey, they’re asparagus. I can’t help it that they look like penises! It’s their fault! (I was going to make a witty comment about the taste, but I’ve decided against it, I have, really, I’ll keep silent forever)

Anyway, my asparagus dealer didn’t have any asparagus yet. I was eager to ring the doorbell anyway and say: Hey, it’s April, gimme my shot! It’s about bloody time! But I didn’t.

And today I read in the paper that asparagus season is unusually late. Because of a harsh winter, etc. The first asparagus have been harvested in Brabant (one of the Southern provinces) today. So I’m sure next week is better timing for my dealer to be able to provide my shot. I’ll make sure to try again! Another thing that caught my eye is that asparagus aren’t really popular in the Netherlands. The only group of people eating them are pensioners. Young single adults are especially NOT eating asparagus. Hmm. But I am! I’m young, I’m adult, I’m not a pensioner. I guess I’m kind of the exception to the rule. But I’ll keep the faith, I’ll be a pensioner some time, and by then I’ll be fitting the bill to eat asparagus. Right now I’ll just have to accept the fact that I’m a bit of a black sheep. And that the asparagus have taken until bloody April to show themselves. If there is a god of asparagus to hold responsible, I definitely will! Bastard!

 

Carrot soup April 2, 2010

Filed under: soup,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 17:18
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When I took a closer look at my new cookbook, I noticed that they had a recipe for carrot soup. Which amused me. I don’t think I ever had carrot soup. I’ve had carrots in various different ways, but I don’t remember soup being one of them. If you don’t count pumpkin soup that needs a bit of carrot to add something extra to the flavour. So, I thought it would be nice to make carrot soup. And I would let my family enjoy my new cookbook to. So I took buses and a train and travelled for 2 hours to meet them. Of course I made sure I had the recipe. I wasn’t going to carry around the entire cookbook for one lousy recipe.

The next day I went to the shops to look for one of the ingredients. It was called ‘sereh’, or ‘citroengras’ in Dutch, but I think you’ll find it more helpful to know that it’s called cymbopogon, or lemon grass. Really, cymbopogon. That must be one of the greatest names for a herb/vegetable/thingy, ever! I don’t even know how to pronounce that! Anyway, I asked in two supermarkets that I payed a visit. They stared at me blankly. ‘Lemon grass?’ they’d say (lemon grass being the literal translation of citroengras), and I’d confirm, ‘Yup, lemon grass’. One girl asked her boss, the other didn’t even bother, in the end both supermarkets didn’t have it. Which must ultimately be because they weren’t Albert Heijns. I’m sure that the Albert Heijn would’ve had lemon grass. If only because they sell a stupid cookbook that demands you cook something with lemon grass in it. Because they didn’t even know what lemon grass was, I had to think of something else. Can you just leave out lemon grass? I asked myself. Is it a key ingredient? And I pondered about the thing while I ransacked the sweets rack in the supermarket. It must be. You wouldn’t want lemon grass in your carrot soup if it wasn’t a key ingredient, right? But there was no lemon grass to be had. And since I myself didn’t really have a clear idea of what this mystic lemon grass was (or tasted like) I assumed it was something ‘lemony’. And I thought of all the lemony things that were to be had. First of all, lemons. Should I add some lemon juice to my soup? Or some lemon zest? I mean, anything with lemon zest is great. In the end I settled for lemon balm. Which had just come up after a long winter. I ended up picking some young fresh lemon balm leaves, cut them up and put them in my soup. I have no idea if it completely ruined it or not. I’ll have to make the soup sometime again, this time only with lemon grass, and hopefully I will remember what my first attempt tasted like.

I liked it. The carrot soup was soft, easy on the taste buds, not too spicy. But it might have been a little boring, even. And that’s not really good. So maybe it will be incredibly exciting with lemon grass in it? In general it wasn’t really something I’d make anytime soon. Because it wasn’t exactly knocking my taste buds’ socks off. And anything that does that is a must repeat for me. I love knocking my taste buds into outer space with something good. I love the extra terrestrial experience and sensation that evokes.

Ingredients:

400 gr carrot, diced (the big ones, winterpeen)

lemon grass

garden cress

100 ml sour cream

1 shallot, cut up

1 clove of garlic, cut up

500 ml chicken broth

Fry shallots and garlic for 3 minutes in oil. Add carrot and fry for another minute. Don’t turn the heat too high, or the carrots will burn. Cut up the lemon grass in length. Pour the broth over the shallots etc, add the lemon grass. Bring to a boil and boil for about 20 minutes). Remove lemon grass and use a stick blender to mash the soup. Remember: once blended the soup will be thicker and you don’t want your pot to explode on your new clothes, unless they’re orange and it won’t show, so turn down the heat and make sure the soup isn’t actively boiling. Use half of the sour cream and stir it through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put a spoon of sour cream in the plates, add the soup, and add some freshly cut off garden cress. Serve with a baguette and butter.

How Local?

Well, everything was extremely local, especially since I didn’t use lemon grass, which is probably from God knows where. Everything was Dutch, but from the supermarket. Except the lemon balm, which was about 50 yards from the kitchen window.