The Netherlands are not known for great food. I feel I speak from knowledge here, having lived and worked there for a year. The country is terrific, the people are great, but much of the best food in the Netherlands is borrowed from other people’s cuisines.
The best restaurant meal I had was Rijstaffel (“rice table”) which is based on Nasi Padang from Indonesia.
Rijstaffel consists of lots and lots of side dishes such as satay, egg rolls, pork in sweet soy sauce, duck roasted in banana leaves, with various different kinds of rice.
Recognisable instantly to Brits as what you would find in a typical Chinese restaurant back home, but maybe a little spicier.
Eating in the pubs and bars is a little cheaper. This tends to be Belgian, French or German but there was this one indigenous Dutch dish…
This is where I discovered Varkenshaas. I spent a lot of time drinking here.
Note the name of the bar. Alannis? THAT’S ironic.
I only ordered Varkenshaas the first time because it came with “pfepfersaus” which I correctly identified as “pepper sauce” and thus reasoned that anything covered in pepper sauce would be fine.
I wasn’t prepared for how damn nice something so simple could taste.
I ate it pretty much every day for a week, with different sauces. In the end, the barmaid refused to serve it me and insisted I had a pizza instead.
It wasn’t the same. The next day, I went back to Varkenshaas.
Today I’m cooking Varkenshaas from a recipe, which I adjust a little bit.
Basically, I put some oil and butter in a baking tray, and jack the temperature up to nuclear.
The pork tenderloin goes for five minutes, turning so its brown on all sides. Then turn the heat down a little and cook it for fifteen minutes or so while doing the sauce.
Start the sauce off in a frying pan with the butter and juices from the pork, not forgetting to scrape the loverly meaty bits up.
More butter and minced shallots, white wine, chicken stock, mustard and basil and – out of necessity – no cream since Sal had a slight reaction to it yesterday.
Okay, maybe I forgot to buy any and only remembered after Sainsbury’s shut.
Accompaniments – mashed potato (with butter and pepper but no milk, obviously), petits pois and apple sauce (aka stewed apple – is there a difference?)
This was delicious and voted by my hard-to-please audience as the best meal so far of the Euros.
Unfortunately for the Dutch, their usually reliable football team dropped a massive bollock this time and lost all three group games, going home with their tails between their legs.
Not going to bother with the cream any more for this sauce, as its great the way it is. And I am very glad that I didn’t use coconut milk. It wouldn’t have “gone”.
Recipe courtesy of the excellent Beautiful Frugal Life blog. Will definitely check out other recipes from here. And so should you.
Next – the Germans. Schnitzel without cruelty. Can it be done? Watch this space.