A few years ago we kept seeing ads for a new restaurant in our neighborhood which we wanted to check out but just couldn’t find. We even walked around the neighborhood with Google maps for assistance but the restaurant stayed elusive.
And suddenly one day we spotted this hidden gem and have been frequenting Kantien ever since.On their website they proudly claim that they love everything that has to do with the Netherlands! The lunch menu, therefore, is also very Dutch – a selection of sandwiches and my choice for lunch every. single. time. – the twaalf uurtje (see picture) I must add that the gluten-free variant kicks the regular twaalf uurtje’s ass (not something I get to say very often). The composition of the twaalf uurtje varies very often and some are better than the others; wish they were more consistent.
It’s a kid-friendly place with plenty of room inside and outside and a couple of arcade machines to boot. The staff is very friendly and they work with locally sourced produce. Their dishes are clearly inspired by a love for vegetables and even in items featuring meat it’s very often the vegetables that steal the show.
The dinner menu keeps changing and though we’ve had a few dishes that were meh there have been enough extraordinary ones to make us want to go to Kantien over and over again.
A couple of days ago I attempted to make pineapple tarts for our cooking club meet-up. This wasn’t part of my original plan because I’d never made pineapple tarts before, let alone gluten-free ones. My original plan was to make Fuchsia Dunlop’s Yangzhou fried rice which seemed quite easy (read lazy).Then I asked myself the question – what would Ratna make? The answer I got was – definitely not just fried rice. So I decided to give pineapple tarts a shot. The tarts were easy to make albeit labour-intensive and it was fun to try something new.However, when I bit into the tart I was extremely disappointed. Even though it was tasty I wasn’t expecting the tart to be as crumbly as it was. After spending some time fuming and fretting over what I thought was an epic failure I googled ‘why are my pineapple tarts so crumbly?’ and it turns out that’s how they are supposed to be. Even my friends, who are pineapple tart connoisseurs, confirmed that the tarts are supposed to be crumbly and quickly gobbled up a few. So I guess things were not as bad as I made them out to be. All’s well that ends well. Happy Chinese New Year – hope the year ahead is full of happy surprises.
The two other soup recipes I tried from Simple were amazing so I had high expectations of this pumpkin soup. The soup has flavourful ingredients like saffron, orange zest, coriander leaves but the end result tastes ordinary – almost like the flavors cancel each other out. But, this is an Ottolenghi recipe, so I’m inclined to blame the pumpkin for the disappointing result. I will try this recipe again just to make sure I wasn’t wrong to blame the pumpkin. The crunchy, sweet, spicy and salty toasted pumpkin seed topping though is awesome! #ottolenghi #ottolenghisimple #icookedottolenghi #soup #pumpkinsoup #glutenfree #vegetarian
Over a year ago when Dogma Hotdogs , Utrecht’s very own hotdog bar, opened its doors I remember writing to them to check if they had glutenfree hotdogs on the menu. Imagine my excitement when they said yes and I made up my mind to go there as soon as possible.
One year and zero hotdogs later Rohan and I found ourselves at Dogma. The decor is pleasant with a touch of spookiness which I liked. The restaurant is located on Voorstraat and if you manage to snag a table by the window you can watch other people going about their daily business and do more important stuff while you munch on a hot dog and sip wine.The restaurant is run by really friendly people passionate about… Hotdogs!
The hotdog itself was nice and they are quite creative when it comes to the toppings. But at the end of the day a hot dog for me is nothing but a glorified sandwich so I won’t be rushing to get another hotdog anytime soon.What I really loved though was the service. Since the ‘low-gluten’ bun was smaller than the regular bun I got an extra portion of the toppings on the side. This is a far cry from restaurants whose idea of a glutenfree dish is to remove the items containing gluten from the regular variant of the dish and replace it with nothing. Like the time I was served glutenfree peking duck which was just slices of duck meat without the sauce!!!
So, if you’re in Utrecht and in the mood for a hotdog you know where to go. If you have 1:50 minutes to spare (I know you do)check out the video above that Rohan made of our visit to Dogma.
Tonight I made the aubergine with anchovy and oregano and it turned out to be the first recipe from Simple that failed to impress. Considering that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every other dish I cooked from Simple so far, I even went through the recipe again to check whether I’d missed a crucial step / ingredient which caused the end result to be so ordinary.It isn’t a bad dish and was ok paired with a couple of sausages. But it’s definitely not something I will be repeating in a hurry.
On our last trip to Singapore I went on a hunt for the best laksa in town. While Katong laksa came up top, there was another place that piqued my curiosity. It had good laksa, of course, but the fruit juice mee siam was the other interesting item on the menu which I absolutely had to try.
My mom, Oggie and I found ourselves walking in the direction of Chinatown yet again. This time though we were looking for a hawker stall in the Hong Lim Food Centre by the name Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa.
Considering this stall finds a mention in the Michelin guide I naively imagined there being signs guiding visitors to the stall. But there was no such thing. The people I asked for directions to get to the stall hadn’t even heard of it. An older gentleman, in an attempt to help out an obvious tourist, told me that I’ll find some of the best Laksa in building – no need to go anywhere else. I did manage to find the stall though. I would have probably found it sooner had I cared to read the address carefully!
The stall is operated by Daniel and Susan Choo, a charming couple who take great pride in their food. I ordered large portions of Laksa and the fruit juice mee siam which cost 10 SGD in total. While they prepared my order we chatted about their trip to Amsterdam many years ago and how much they had enjoyed the boat rides in the canals.What sets Daniel Choo’s laksa apart is the broth. He manages to keep it light without compromising on the flavor. The coconutty broth together with the rice noodles, chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu puffs and cockles make the laksa a wholesome meal.
The star of this story is the fruit juice mee siam – a dish that comprises thin rice noodles, bean sprouts, omelette, chicken, hard-boiled eggs all swimming in a fragrant, sweet and sour broth. Though the broth traditionally contains tamarind water Mr. Choo uses a secret blend of fruit juices which results in a sweet and sour broth packed with flavour and lingering floral notes which I bet comes from the addition of lychee juice.We ate our packed lunch in the Hong Lim Park across from the market and it’s definitely one of the most memorable meals I had in Singapore!