Over the recent break Max and I went on a short break to Amsterdam, giving us a break from the English storms. (Actually, we nearly didn’t make it as a result – we found ourselves in Peterborough with no way of getting any further down the country and a plane to catch the next morning. All I can say is thank goodness that Max’s mum is amazing and drove out to pick us up!)
But anyway, we made it and after breakfast at the airport (which incidently, you can get a much better breakfast at Luton Airport than Schiphol Airport – who’d have thought?) we landed in Amsterdam. Now we had a lovely couple of days of which I could fill lots of posts with, however I’m going to focus on one of the main planned elements – the food. We always get very excited about planning the differnet meals we are going to eat, researching local delicacies, traditional foods and more often than not, the best place to eat them on a budget.
For the main meals we went straight for the local cuisines – traditional dutch and Indonesian (one of the largest minorities in the country). One the first night we went out on the trail of a restaurant thrown up by the guidebooks and the internet, Des Blauwe Hollander. This small restaurant was centred in a side street full of eateries, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that unlike so many of the other nearby restaurants, this one did not have members of staff outside trying to drag in hapless customers (this always has two effects on me – either they are too highbrow or just not very good.). Added to the mix were a pleasant interior and helpful staff and we were on a winner.
We chose two dishes; Max had stamppot, a traditional hearty dish similar to bubble and squeak. Mashed potato is combined with kale and bacon and served with a large smoked sausage and gravy. Sounds bland perhaps, but the result was well-flavoured and very tasty. You cannot accuse the Dutch of stinginess with regards to portion size – these were enormous! (the couple at the table next to us barely made an inroad into it!)
My meal consisted of meatballs wrapped in bacon, served with boiled potatoes, gravy and red cabbage flavoured with apple and orange. Now initially I was almost slightly disappointed – whilst tasty, well-flavoured and well cooked, the results almost seemed a little tame. However then I put all the components on the fork and ate them together – the spark was lit! Whilst separately quite simple ingredients, together they became a brilliant combination, moist, full of flavour but without any of the components being overshadowed. Quite brilliant.
Now we had to try the desserts, obviously. However, this was in itself so wonderful they deserve a whole post of discussion, as a few sentences just will not do them justice. I leave you then with a menu item that made us smile, and want to ask what on earth was in ‘Heavenly Coffee…’