These apricot and almond tarts are another in my puff pastry series, which came about mostly because I bought 7 packages of puff pastry for a party and didn’t use any of them. So over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking of different ways to use puff pastry. I’ve also made ham and cheese turnovers, Quick & Easy Petit Pain au Chocolat with Almonds, and a cheat version of sfogliatelle. So a few weeks ago when we were invited to a birthday party for one of Bogdan’s coworkers (who also happens to be into food) I decided to put…

I’m having a moment with vermicelli bowls. Ever since we first made this Vietnamese Restaurant Style Lemongrass Grilled Pork I’ve been living the vermicelli bowl life. It’s a really perfect combination for summer. For one, it’s so little prep time. The pork takes all of 5 minutes of hands on prep time. If you put it to marinate a day before, then it’s really only about 10 minutes of cook time on the grill…

This soft and flavourful homemade garlic butter naan with fresh herbs and chilies is simple to make and the perfect accompaniment for saucy curries, hummus snacking, and even just to munch on by itself. I recently made it to go with my Eggplant & Red Pepper Shakshuka but it would also be perfect with this Easy Weeknight Coconut Curried Cod Stew. Making naan by hand is simple, relatively fast, and doesn’t take any special dough…

I made this really simple eggplant shakshuka last weekend. The poaching sauce is onion, garlic, crushed tomato, diced red pepper, cubed eggplant, fresh herbs and dried spices. I cracked a few eggs into the poaching liquid and while they were cooking I threw together a quick minted zucchini slaw for a fresh element. The homemade garlic butter naan is optional but the recipe is very simple, minimal kneading, and the taste is so much better than store-bought. Here’s the recipe for Homemade Garlic Butter Naan with Fresh Herbs & Chili. Although I made this for weekend brunch, it’s simple enough…

When Bogdan and I were dating and shuttling around between St. Catharines, Windsor, and the GTA, one of our favourite things to do was to go for Vietnamese. I think we went for Vietnamese more often than any other food.  Of course we both love pho, and since it was always Bogdan’s go-to it gave me the freedom to try new and exciting dishes …knowing that he would always share his pho with me 😜…

A few weeks ago Bogdan and I hosted a BBQ for colleagues and I decided we needed 7 packages of puff pastry – just in case. Not only did we not get through all 7 packages that night, we didn’t even use one. So I’ve been put in the very difficult position of finding tasty and non-repetitive ways to use them all. The first package went towards a cheater version of Italian sfogliatelle I found…

Last Tuesday I got in from work and didn’t want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen but also wanted something really flavourful and satisfying. I had a few cod loins in the fridge that I was intending on frying (major craving for fried fish later satisfied) but that seemed like way too much hands-on effort for a Tuesday. So I scoped out the fridge and consulted the internet, happily discovering I had everything I needed to make a fairly quick and easy curried cod stew with tons of veggies and a rich coconut milk sauce to soak…

Earlier today Bogdan and I found ourselves at the Cafe Par Hasard in Hoofddoorppleinbuurt (wow what a long name) by total happenstance. We were in the area viewing an apartment with our new real estate agent. A luminous turn of the century two bedroom with fresh oak floors, a bright white kitchen, original stained glass pocket doors, and the showstopper – a hydrangea lined garden with expansive views of sky and the bell tower of…

My coworker Robyn, an Oxford transplant who’s been living in Amsterdam for about 4 years, lives in Amsterdam Oost and is a champion bruncher. How else would I start my Saturday? I’m lost without brunch” Robyn (in Oxford accent) Over work lunch this week we decided we needed to join forces in our love of brunch – a sort of brunch club. For our first foray into brunch clubbing we chose The Cottage, one of…

Do you ever just crave a really perfect version of a really specific food? Sometimes all I want is a perfect pizza margherita with that beautifully balanced chewy and crisp crust like they have at Da Michele in Naples. Or an absolutely perfect totally scratch made pączki Polish donut. Just one….but it has to be perfect. Sometimes I get these cravings and they last for weeks. Those perfect foods keep popping into my head until I’m literally compelled to the kitchen as if by some otherworldly force and I get to work with rote like single-minded focus. Must.make.food. Sometimes by…

I’ve been making breakfast hash for a long time. It’s one of the regular dishes in my weekend breakfast rotation. Over the years I’ve made it in a ton of different ways. The basic elements are eggs and a starchy cubed vegetables. Eggs are an essential element of my breakfast hash. I used to crack the eggs in and then bake the whole thing but I noticed that made it harder for the eggs to…

These Singapore style hacker stall curried egg noodles taste amazing and are ready faster than takeout. With just a few ingredients and a hot wok you get a magical combination of Asian flavours in a rich curry base with fresh specks of basil and green onion. I made these on a lazy weekend but they’d make a super easy weeknight meal too. All that you need is some garlic and ginger, ground beef, a red…

I first started making Dutch baby pancakes when we lived in Royal Oak, Michigan. I can’t remember where I first heard about them (it was probably Pinterest) but I was immediately intrigued when I saw the beautiful fluffy and dramatic way they puff up when cooking. They’re a super easy weekend treat made with 5 ingredients you can whip up in the blender and have on the table with  5-10 minutes of hands-on prep time. Since they’re so easy and versatile, I’ve since added Dutch babies to my regular rotation of dishes I make for brunch. They’re basically foolproof, super…

Passion fruit curd is a rich and tangy fruit custard that’s a perfect accompaniment to crepes and pancakes (or a Dutch baby), cupcakes, cakes, as a filing for macarons, or spread on a lovely piece of toast at breakfast. Once you’ve extracted the juice from the fruit the rest of the process is so simple it made me wonder why I hadn’t done it sooner. It was so easy that now I want to make…

Friends, I’m going to share a super easy and flexible weeknight recipe for beef stroganoff not only because it’s creamy, carby, hearty and delicious goodness in 30 minutes or less, but also because it’s so representative of the beauty of improvisation in the kitchen. When I got home from work today I had no idea what to do for dinner. I played around with the idea of a riff on Thai beef but I wasn’t…

Last Friday night Bogdan’s work hosted a cultural diversity potluck. All the Romanians in the office got together the night before to cook. Together we made a big bowl of salata beouf, a chopped salad of boiled potatoes, carrots, celery root, chicken, pickles and homemade mayo that’s often made for big family gatherings and holidays. I happened to have Friday off so I decided to also make this savoury feta cheese pie with dill because it’s a crowd pleaser. Growing up I spent every summer with my grandparents in Romania and whenever I arrived my grandmother always welcomed me with…

Earlier this week I wrote about my disastrous lunchtime grocery shopping trip last Wednesday. One of the ill-begotten goods I picked up on my ill-fated trip was a bag of pre-cut pumpkin. It sat in the fridge until Sunday when I knew I had to use it or lose it. My first thought was to use it in the stuffed peppers I planned on making, but I thought those little pumpkin cubes deserved more. They…

I want to start by saying that this meal was wholly improvised and I’m quite proud not only of the result – a comforting and healthy homeland staple reminiscent of my childhood – but also because of what it represents – the spirit of using pantry and fridge odds and ends that may have otherwise ended up in the bin. This dish is called mancare de mazare in Romanian, which literally means food of peas.…

On Wednesday last week I didn’t have lunch so I walked over to the Albert Heijn by my office to grab a salad. I decided for some reason that it would be a good idea to get three bags of groceries and haul it all home on my hour long bike-ride. Don’t know if I’ll be repeating lunchtime grocery shopping anytime soon. But anyway on this ill-fated grocery trip I did manage to find a whole bag of small multicolored peppers perfect for stuffing for only €2.99 / $3.30. And as a bonus, ground beef was also on sale. I…

Summary: De Japanner in Amsterdam West serves up really well-made Japanese snack food ranging from the classic to the innovative. Although it’s a little pricey, the uber cool vibes, well appointed bar, and expertly executed dishes make it worth at least one visit. This past Friday after work Bogdan and I met up in Vondelpark and decided it was about time we check out De Japanner West. It’s on a corner of the Bilderdijkstraat across…

This past Sunday Bogdan and I had an altercation with an older Dutch man that ended in him telling us to “go back to your fucking country.” We’ve been living in the Netherlands since October 2017 – just over a year and a half. In that time we’ve experienced xenophobia only one other time. The first time happened last summer. It was pretty tame. It happened at an open air theater in Vondelpark. We were…

This past Friday after a tiring week I made a beeline to happy hour at my new favourite spot De Vondeltuin in Vondelpark. Too many double wines and a clumsy bike ride later we found ourselves at yet another garden themed bar (one decidedly less garden-like) – De Biertuin on the Prinsengracht. I didn’t get home until way past my bedtime. The start of bad decisions… I woke up early on Saturday morning. Too early. I can’t remember the last time I had such a late night. And boy, am I paying for it. As anyone who’s ever had a…

Last weekend Bogdan and I attended our second American Thanksgiving in Amsterdam. Last year we were invited for a very intimate Thanksgiving dinner by our dear friends M and N in Almere – a smaller city about 40 minutes from Amsterdam by train. This year we were invited to our friend C’s place in the red light district for a Friendsgiving potluck. Working in events, C knows how to plan a potluck and already had…

Ultimately when it comes to the Pasta Factory it depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re in the area, craving Italian-American style food and just want to have a quick bite then by all means. But if you want something special, true Italian or even Italian-American made with a lot of heart – you should keep looking. I stopped into the Pasta Factory at Muntplein for a work lunch yesterday. It’s right in the…

When family came to visit last month my partner Bogdan spent a lot of time putting together a list of Amsterdam points of interest: good restaurants, shops, local attractions etc. He came across newly opened Vatten Ramen when looking for good ramen places in Amsterdam and added it to the list. One evening after drinks at de Kroon in Rembrandtplein, we were close enough to walk over for dinner. Five of us ordered the signature dish vatten ramen. We all opted for the addition of a marinated egg and shared the karaage aka. deep fried chicken and the takoyaki -…

It’s obvious that this family-run eatery is the work of people with a deep love and respect for food. The quintessentially Dutch fried kibbeling is prepared according to an old family recipe. Besides fried fish you’ll also find king crab legs, fresh tuna, mussels, oysters and clams – all prepared while you wait with friendly service and reasonable prices. This is a must-eat if you’re visiting the Netherlands (or live here) and want to sample…

I was totally blown away friends. Pilsvogel doesn’t just deliver good food and good service in a picturesque (prime people watching) spot, it goes above and beyond. From the excellent presentation to the totally delicious food, the whole experience exceeded my expectations…including most notably the bathroom. On Sunday afternoon we headed out in search of kimchi and candles. I had wanted to check on Tjin’s Toko for a while. It’s a well known spot for…

Amsterdam’s only Basque tapas eatery sets a tone of approachable sophistication in everything from the service to the decor and of course the food. The signature pinxtos are inventive without being pretentious. While the selections can be pricey, you get much more than just food – you get a well-thought out and immersive experience from the moment you walk in the door. If you want a little taste of Northern Spain in the heart of the Jordaan, this is the place to get it. My friend C has been working in events in Amsterdam for 4 years. She always knows…

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