A year ago I had my first week of classes in Beijing. Everything was new and exciting, I got to go out and eat delicious Chinese food three times a day (or more), I was making new friends every single day, we were exploring Beijing by day and night and I could still wear my tiny little summer dresses cause the weather was great.
Compared to that, this week is pretty boring and the weather sucks big time. But one thing I do have now is a kitchen. Maybe I wasn’t missing it during the first couple of weeks in Beijing, but being able to experiment with new dishes, knowing exactly what is in my food and spending blissful hours in my crappy kitchen is a luxury I will be missing big time when I go back to China in November.
After I finished my morning swim an hour ago, there was loud thunder outside, rain was pouring down like crazy and the skies were dark as if it was night. I raced back on my bike to the dorms, but I still ended up soaking wet. Now I’m clean and dry again and I don’t think I will leave this room today unless I get hungry and dare to make the 20 second sprint to the canteen.
Even though it’s only 9 am and I just had my dumpling breakfast, I can’t stop thinking about these sausage rolls. They would be the perfect comfort food to make on a day like this. Curl up in front of the tv or in bed with a good book and eat one of these still hot from the oven.
Winter has arrived today and he will not be sitting around waiting till it gradually gets colder. To make sure everyone knows he’s back this year, he’s planning on making the temperatures drop to -20˚C this weekend, lucky us. Even though it’s tradition to eat dumplings (水饺) when winter arrives, I am craving a totally different dish.
These lamb meatballs with yoghurt, eggs and coriander are hearty, comforting, intensely packed with flavor and you should definitely eat them while sitting on the couch, covered with a warm blanket and watch the last episode of Gossip Girl. Too bad I don’t have a couch, I already watch the episode and I’m just not brave enough to make the trip to the supermarket in this cold. So what I will do is eat dumplings and tell you that you should really make these meatballs, eat them the way I suggested and admit that they were indeed as good as I told you.
For weeks in a row the weather wasn’t what it’s supposed to be in July and I didn’t have a summery feeling at all. We had a day out with our student house planned a week ago and we didn’t really expect the weather to be anything else but rain, but we still wanted to go kayaking in the canals of Leiden and end the day with a barbecue. Good thing we pushed through, cause it was the first sunny day in weeks. Of course I forgot to put on sunscreen and my face turned into the color of my pants.
We had the barbecue on our 6 m2 balcony, which some people would call a bit small to have 8 people sitting there, with a table in the middle and a barbecue out there as well – but it was really fun. Even the crappy barbecue – it was a disgrace to normal, working, barbecues – couldn’t spoil our moods and the guys in my house grilled the meat. I had made cumin lamb skewers and a big roasted eggplant salad. We also had (store-bought) chicken thigh skewers, sausages and a different kind of meat on a skewer. All the meat was accompanied with bread and these sauces and in case the weather wouldn’t cooperate I’d made a couple of pitchers of cava sangria to make sure we would still have a summery feeling.
A couple of weeks ago, the weather in the Netherlands was really nice. The sun was shining every single day and I could wear all the dresses that had been hiding in my closet since last summer. Because my boyfriends’ father celebrated his birthday, they decided to have a barbecue. Unfortunately, that day the weather was terrible: it was raining and apparently it was as cold as it was on Christmas Day. Since all the preparations had been made and the meat was already marinating in the fridge, they decided to go through with it and we would just have to eat inside. I’m glad we still had the barbecue, because the food was really amazing. No credits for me though, my boyfriends’ brother made most of the food, with a little help of my boyfriend. As a birthday gift to their father, they gave him a huge Iberico ham. It looked really cool and they enjoyed slicing meat of the big leg. We enjoyed some pieces of ham just on their own, but they also got wrapped around some asparagus on the barbecue. Even though the weather wasn’t cooperating, we could still enjoy all the amazing food.
I own tons of cookbooks and I adore all of them. In every cookbook I have marked the recipes I want to make. If I would try out a new recipe a day, it would still take me more than a year to go through all of these marked recipes. There are even cookbooks which are high on my to make-list, but I’ve never made a single recipe from them. That’s all because I have one favorite author and from her books I like to cook the best. This lady is called Yvette van Boven. She is a Dutch cookbook writer, food stylist, she did the whole styling of her own cookbooks, she’s a restaurant owner and moreover, she’s just very inspiring. I’ve never made so many recipes from one author as I’ve made from her books. My favorite book is Home Made, but I also love her book Home Made Winter. Her new book, Home Made Summer, will be published (in the Netherlands) next month. Luckily for you, all these books will be available in English. Home Made has already been translated, the other two will follow.
It’s from Home Made that I made this dish. It’s really easy to make, just throw all the ingredients in one pot and let it simmer till the meat is tender. It’s full of flavor and although it’s really easy to make, it looks like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen the whole evening. I know that it might look like a long list of ingredients, but half of them are herbs that you either have fresh or dried in your cupboard.
I’ve made two versions of these little meatballs: one rolled in sesame seeds and one without. Both were finished in a matter of moments. Although I liked both versions equally, I must say the ones with the sesame seeds definitely look more special. I served them with some home made aïoli.