Month: May 2022

151. The Netherlands (Overijssel): White Asparagus with Ham, Eggs, and Buttersauce

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Overijssel is also sometimes called The Garden of The Netherlands because of all the beautiful nature that can be found there. Every region has its typical landscapes: In De Kop van Overijssel you can find a lot of lakes, Salland has hills and meadows and in Twente, you can find plenty of beautiful woods. Until the fifteenth century Overijssel was still called Oversticht. “Het Sticht” is the old name for the city of Utrecht. Which exercised power over a large area until the thirteenth century. Later the province was named Overijssel, by the people who spoke about the area on the other side of the river the IJssel.

Salland

Things you didn’t know about Overijssel:

  • In Raalte, the best white asparagus is harvested. They are used in the best kitchens in spring all over the country. Most asparagus farmers only sell asparagus straight from their farms. In the Netherlands, asparagus is called White Gold.
  • The Dutch “mountains” are located in Salland. For example The Friezenberg, Holterberg, Haarlerberg, Luttenberg, Hellendoornseberg and Lemelerberg.
  • The 46th best restaurant in the world is located in Zwolle! It’s called De Librije, and guess what they also work with the asparagus from Raalte. The chef is called Jonnie Boer and his wife Thérèse runs the front of the house.

My parents go mad over asparagus each year since it’s a product you can only eat in spring for a few months. They make a point of eating them as much as possible during the season. In all variations! with smoked salmon, with hollandaise sauce, in a salad, grilled on the BBQ, Italian style with tomatoes, basil and olives in the oven. While I am writing this, my mom called and asked me why I chose the traditional way. She expected me to experiment more, which I do a lot as chef at the restaurant. But to me some classics are not to be messed with, some of them are classics for a reason because they best complement the dish!

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150. The Netherlands (Drenthe): Veentrapperschotel

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Drenthe is a province in the East of the Netherlands right next to the border with Germany. Drenthe has been inhabited by people ever since the neolithic period. The evidence of the presence of this early community that inhabited this land are the Hunnebedden. Hunnebedden are dolmens that were used as tombs for important members of the tribe. The giant boulders were pushed from Scandinavia to the north of the Netherlands during the second last ice age. Try that for a workout! We still have 54 hunnenbedden in the Netherlands, 52 of which are placed in Drenthe.

Things you didn’t know about Drenthe:

  • Drenthe is the province with the least amount of inhabitants of the Netherlands. All inhabitants live in tiny villages since big cities are nowhere to be found in the province
  • The TT in Assen is the biggest event of the year, it’s a motorrace
  • The worldfamous painter Vincent van Gogh lived in Drenthe for a while in a little village called New Amsterdam. It is rumoured that Van Gogh paid the rent with paintings, but that the landlord could not appreciate them and therefore used them as firewood

The landscape of Drenthe is made of among other things extensive peat areas. In the past, this peat was used for all kinds of purposes and had to be removed from the ground. A backbreaking job that required a lot of strength and a hearty meal.

Veentrappersschotel
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149. The Netherlands, Groningen: Hete Bliksem

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Groningen is the name of province as well as the main city. I love Groningen! I have been there but just to party in my college days, which is not strange because 25% of the population of the city of Groningen are collegestudents. Groningen has a lot to offer, from the hustle and bustle of the city to the calm wide open spaces in the countryside. Speaking of the countryside, the are artificial hills called “Wierden” all over the place. They were build thousands of years ago to protect the people from the water. There it is again Water! So important in our tiny country. We have been fighting the oceans for thousands of years. On those Wierden we built villages between 500 B.C. and 1000 A.C, the church was always built at the highest point. Because of the embankment of the Wadden Coastline, the Wierden lost their usefullness.

Things you didn’t know about Groningen:

  • The bars and clubs don’t have a closing time.
  • Groningen is a bike lovers dream! We bike a lot here in the Netherlands. Did you know that Groningen is the only city in the Netherlands that has intersections where all bicycles get a green light at the same time?
  • Aletta Jacobs is a name that all inhabitants of Groningen are familiar with. She was the first female student enrolled in a University in the Netherlands (in 1871). She was also a prolific activist who completed her medical degree at the university.
  • Once a year poets from all over the country gather in the Prinsentuin to perform
  • The local dialect still spoken in the countryside in Groningen is very similar to the German language.

The translation for hete bliksem is hot lightning, it was named to commemorate the burning down of the Groningens hightest building the Martini tower. It got struck down by lightning, they rebuilt it, and then it got struck down by lightning again! They seem to have gotten it right the third time around. Because now it stand tall and proud, towering over de beautiful city of Groningen.

I have a thing for casseroles, I love them doesn’t matter if you five me a lasagne or a shepperds pie. Hete bliksem is something special my mom used to make when I was little. I know some people are against sweet and savoury combinations, I ain’t a pineapple on a pizza girl myself! But to me hete bliksem is different! The caramelized apples go sooo well with the minced beef with warm spices…

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