Blogging marathon # 44 – Next halt – Holland/ The Netherlands
The first time I had to travel abroad I knew nothing about the host country I was heading to. For me Holland, The Netherlands or the dutch land was just the destination I was meant to go for the first time breaking away from the cocoon of protected environment.
It was indeed a culture shock in the beginning as a 20 year old, landing to do an assignment a midst people I knew nothing about. Everything amused me, the beauty, the landscapes the people and yes the food.
My roommate packed me lunch for the first day and warned me that I better keep some chocolate bars for the mid day snacks or better carry the snacks your mom packed. She said you will be surprised to see that most dutch folks only fill themselves up during the day with “whatever” and have real supper or meal only at six pm in the evening with their families.
During lunch, my dutch colleague poured me and my other colleague what appeared as milk in a large glass. It was buttermilk and to date the best I have had. Light and refreshing and most tasty.
Milk flows by gallons…atleast back then…we had taps to refill buttermilk through out the day. The meal that most people ate was errr… a bit unappetising to think of…bread spread with chocolate paste, topped with boiled eggs and banana slices…for me it felt like everything that was edible and available could go inside the two slices of bread.
Eventually I warmed up to the chocolate spread on bread (this was pre nutella advent in India a little over a decade).
I went many times after that to the country this time equipped with food items and made a million meals for my dutch friends.
In exchange I always got goodies , The Mercy chocolates, Dutch Drops (liquorice but salty and tart , at times bitter too) and the yummy icecream by gallons. The windmills and picturesque landscapes sets apart the image the country holds for the famous Amsterdam life that most of us know about.
While planning for the blogging marathon, since I am doing full meals, I felt it was not the true thing to do. The reason is , even though wiki says their meals consists of this and that, the fact is dutch folks have no real cuisine. They have mastered the art of cooking and more importantly growing potatoes. So all dishes around Europe like jacket potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato balls etc are part of their food. But their daily meal really consists of bread topped with butter and chocolates, chocolate sprinkles, with boiled eggs, mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables and fried bacon as well as icecreams. They can eat icecream any time of the day …even you wont mind considering it is very tasty.
The evening meals is around Four pm or Six PM. The dutch men (non amsterdam men), would come back home by then, to a house that has always a piece of steak sitting in the oven or griddle served with mashed potatoes, bread etc
Having said that they do make some popular dishes like the Herring fish which is many times consumed whole with head and tail, cakes which are more like sweet pizzas but yummy and the Poffertjes (pronounced as pofferthyes). They called me pradanja until I told wrote my name as pradnja to get the right sound. Lil trivia if your name is Vijay ..be prepared to be called as Fiyaj or Fiyay)
Coming to today’s breakfast, I served Poffertjes to reminisce the time spent there…it requires a special pan but most Indians do have the paniyaram griddle
1 cup All purpose flour
2 tbsp butter
1 tspn active yeast
2 tspn sugar
1 cup warm milk (i used half milk half water)
salt to taste
Butter or Oil to cook
1) In a bowl mix all the ingredients except the cooking oil. Set it aside for 20 min
2) Heat the pan on stove. Pour 3 to 4 drops of oil in each depression of the pan.
3) When it hot, carefully laddle in spoonfuls of the batter. Use lesser batter than the paniyarams as you need them to be flatter not fuller.
4) Flip over the other side when it becomes golden. When cooked remove and repeat for others
5) Brush hot butter on top and sprinkle with icing sugar.
Serve delicious dutch pancakes