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Plank roasted salmon with tagliatelle and wild garlic sauce

This time of year wild garlic is in season and it's best to make the most of it while you can as the season is short. The flavour of the garlic works really well with the smokiness of the plank roasted salmon.

Salmon 500g salmon
1 hickory plank (soaked in water for at least 2 hours)
Handful hickory chips
Salt and pepper

Set your BBQ for direct cooking at 150c with the normal griddle
Season the salmon and place on the plank
Place the plank on the griddle and throw in the hickory chips on the coals before closing the lid
Cook for 20 minutes until the salmon is medium rare
Place to one side until ready to mix through the sauce

Pasta dough 200g semolina or tipo '00' flour
2 eggs

In a food processor, whizz the flour and eggs together until they form a ball
Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour to rest
Using a pasta machine roll out flat and then using the tagliatelle setting, cut into strips
Allow to dry before cooking
Cook in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes before adding to the sauce

Sauce 1 shallot finely chopped
100ml white wine
100ml fish stock
20g fresh grated parmesan
50ml crème fraîche
5ml lemon juice
15 leaves wild garlic roughly chopped
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper

Fry off the shallot in oil on a low heat until soft and glossy
Add the wine and stock and turning up the heat reduce by half
Next add the parmesan and crème fraîche and stir through
Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper
Add the wild garlic just before serving with the pasta

To assemble the dish

Flake the salmon and add to the sauce
Add the cooked tagliatelle and stir to mix well

Urban Farmers - more local than you think

Many of you who are familiar with the blog know that my motto is eat local and seasonal. I also place a huge emphasis on knowing exactly where my food comes from, who produced it, how was it grown and did it have a good life? 

I was lucky to be invited by Makro to the launch of their collaboration with Urban Farmers in Den Haag. Many of you will be familiar with Makro as a wholesale/cash and carry but they are looking to change that image by working with smaller businesses and initiatives throughout the country. This way they can focus on quality and locality in the products that they sell.

I'm surprised that I hadn't heard about Urban Farmers in The Hague before, I live in Leiden which is only a mere 15 minutes by train and it's the kind of initiative that I'm very interested in. So, who Exactly are Urban Farmers? It is a concept new to the Netherlands, whereby food is grown in an urban setting using modern and sustainable techniques such as aquaponics. It is currently one of the largest urban rooftop farms in Europe. 

Much of the food that we see in supermarkets and even in the market has travelled hundreds, if not thousands of miles to the reach the shelves before we buy them. Most of it will have been pumped full of pesticides and preservatives for longer shelf life and a lot of it will not have, lets be honest, flavour. While Urban Farmers may not focus strictly on seasonal as it is grown in greenhouses, the major focus is on reducing the carbon footprint of your food while supplying sustainable tasty produce.

Urban farmers are based on Televisiestraat in Den Haag, a mere 5 minutes from Holland Spoor station in the old Phillips building. The gardens are based in green houses on the 6th floor and they have a small selection of crops such as tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, cucumbers, salads and micro cresses to name a few. 

They also have a fish farm where the fish are raised in small numbers in tanks and the water from the fish is used for the gardens on the roof. A nice symbiotic setting, there is no pesticide or herbicides used, even the packaging that your produce comes in is green too.

Urban Farmers are looking to expand their influence to a wider audience. They currently supply to some local restaurants and also work in combination with local caterers. They also cater to the public, every Friday from 16:00 to 19:00 there is a UF Dak Markt (roof market). You can also avail of tours of the farm and there's even a pick your own tour on Wednesdays; these need to be booked in advance.

As of September last year they started a Fresh Basket initiative whereby you can order online and they are then available at various pick up points in Den Haag. 

To find out more check out their site  www.urbanfarmers.nl
Urban Farmers
UF002 De Schilde
Televisiestraat 2
Den Haag 2525KD

Wild garlic and potato soup

Wild garlic season is just coming into it's own this time of year, a short season of only a couple of months from late March to June. 

Not a strong as garlic bulbs itself, it has a nice depth of flavour and the leaves can be cooked similarly to spinach. Bear in mind, like spinach, a large amount will result in very little yield when cooked. It works well in mayonnaise, as a substitute for basil in pesto and with scrambled eggs. A great pairing for lamb which is also in season. 
This soup is also a flavoursome way of using up the leaves.

250g wild garlic washed thoroughly
500ml chicken or veg stock
100ml milk
10g dillisk (optional)
4 small potatoes thinly sliced
1 onion finely chopped
50g creme fraiche
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Fry off the onion on a low heat until soft and glossy
Pour in the stock, add the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes
Add the wild garlic, dillisk and milk and stir through
Allow the soup to cool slightly before transferring to a blender to puree until smooth
Return the soup to the pan, add the creme fraiche and stir until incorporated
Season to taste

Tastes of home - Carrageen Pudding

Many of you may be unfamiliar with Carageen moss. Carrageen Moss or Irish moss is a seaweed which is dried and can be used as a setting agent. It was widely used in desserts many years ago in Ireland, but not so much now.

I like to use it instead of gelatine in making panna cotta style desserts (carrageen pudding) and it does impart an interesting flavour. Carrageen can also be used in the beer making process to clarify the beer when finishing the brewing process. 

70g dried carrageen moss
500ml double cream and 200ml milk
75g caster sugar
5ml vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod 

Soak the carrageen in water for 20 minutes.
Warm milk, cream and sugar and warm over a low heat for 15 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the carrageen and cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly
Add the vanilla extract or seeds from the pod
Strain the cream and milk into a jug
Pour into oiled ramekins and place in the fridge for several hours to set.
This can be served with fresh fruit or a fruit coulis. This time of year I like to serve it with compressed rhubarb.

Chicken, mushroom and bacon pie

As a blogger, you often look to social media to see what's trending foodwise. I made the mistake of mentioning that British pie week was trending to my other half and he demanded that seeing as he's British I should make him a pie. So I did, just to shut him up. It was also a good way of using up the leftover roast chicken and I do love chicken and mushroom pies.

I'll just wait for the next Irish pie week and then get him to cook one for me! 

This makes enough for 2 pies in 6 inch pie dishes which will serve 2 very hungry people as a main.

To make the pastry
200g plain white flour
115g butter
1 medium egg yolk
30ml iced water
pinch salt
Beaten egg yolk to glaze the pastry

Rub the butter and flour together until it resembles bread crumbs 
Add the egg yolk and water and bring the mixture together until it forms a stiff dough
(this can also be made in a food processor, simply whizz the flour and butter mix until it resembles bread crumbs, then add the egg yold and then some of the water until it comes together)
Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour to rest
Once the pastry has rested, roll out to 2mm thick 
See steps in pictures below
Next, get your pie dish and cut out the pastry using the pie dish, ensure you have excess pastry around the edges
Then take the cut out pastry and press into the pie dish, make sure there are no air bubbles Ensure to push the pastry into all the corners
You can trim any excess pastry from the edges of the pie dish using a knife if need be

Also cut out round shapes for the lids of the pies, place on a plate and cover with cling film and place back in the fridge until ready to fill and cover the pie

To make the filling
100g pancetta lardons
200g roast chicken leftovers or 1 cooked chicken breast roughly chopped 
10g porcini mushrooms hydrated in 200ml water for 30 mins
30g plain flour
30g butter
20ml cream
2 shallots finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a pan on a medium heat, fry off the lardons for 5 mins until they start to release fat
Retaining the fat in the pan, remove the lardons with a slotted spoon and place to one side
Lower the heat and fry the shallots off in the lardon fat until soft, turn off the heat
In a separate pan, melt the butter and add the flour, cook out for 2 minutes to form a roux
Strain the porcini and retain the water
Start to add the porcini water to the roux and whisk until you get a thick sauce
Add the cream and stir through
Add the shallots and lardons and stir to combine
season to taste
Allow to cool
Once the mixture has cooled add the chicken pieces 

To assemble the pies

Fill the chilled and lined pie dishes with the chicken and mushroom mix, but not too full
Coat the sides of the pastry with either water or egg wash and then place the lid on top.
Press the sides of the top to ensure it is all sealed, see pictures below

With a knife make a slit in the top to allow steam to escape.

Glaze with the beaten egg

Cook at 190c (fan), 200c (normal) for 30 - 40 mins, check after 30 mins to see if the internal temp is up to 84c, the pastry should be golden brown in colour

Scallops with pea and thyme purée and pancetta crisps

It's been a while since I've managed to get fresh scallops, they do have scallops at the fishmongers in the market but more often than not they're the pre frozen kind. I'm not a fan, so would rather hold out for fresh, in the shell and hand dived. So when I do manage to get them in the shell this is one of the dishes I like to make.

Serves 2

6 scallops
100g frozen peas
2 strips pancetta
5 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
10g crème fraiche
10g butter
Oil for frying
Juice of quarter lemon
Salt and pepper to season

To cook the peas 
Add the bay leaf to the cooking water and 2 of the thyme sprigs 
Bring to the boil and then cook on a medium heat for 3 minutes
Drain and then add back to the pan
Add the creme fraiche and mix through
With a handblender purée and pass through a sieve
Season with salt and pepper
Scallops and pancetta
Fry off the pancetta until crisp, place to one side and keep warm
Ensure the pan is very hot and add some oil and then the butter
Season the scallops before adding to the pan and cook for a minute each side (possibly 2 if the scallops are large) 
Season with the lemon juice before you remove from the pan

Chicory with orange and blue cheese salad

This is loosely based on a dish from one of my favourite restaurants; The Plough at Bolnhurst in the UK. Chicory is bang in season and at its best now. I'm not one for lots of salads but I like this dish for its simplicity and the flavours work together really well. At this time of year its always nice to have something with some colour to brighten up an otherwise dull winter day.

Serves 2

2 heads of chicory 
100g blue cheese crumbled; my preference would be Shropshire blue, but you can also use stilton
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
2 oranges segmented

20ml olive oil
10ml sherry vinegar
10ml orange juice (I tend to squeeze juice from what is left of the segmented oranges)
5ml English mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the dressing ingredients into a jar and shake till combined
Scatter the chicory leaves onto a plate, along with the onion, cheese and orange, mix well and then drizzle with the dressing.


Baked eggs with black pudding

I love black pudding, my natural preference will always be for Irish style, but boudin noir from France comes a close second. Many people find it off-putting as its made from blood, but its nothing more than a simple tasty sausage and not something to fear.
Black pudding is a feature of a traditional full Irish breakfast, but sometimes I like to do something a little different and add to it baked eggs.

2 eggs per person
100g black pudding
50g creme fraiche
Half a red onion roughly chopped
20ml cream
20g butter

Butter a cocotte dish or ramekin
Whisk the cream and crème fraîche together until smooth
Place on the bottom of the buttered dish
Add the onion
Crumble half the black pudding onto the cream mixture
Crack the eggs on top
Crumble the rest of the black pudding onto the eggs
Season with salt and pepper
Bake in a medium oven at 160c (fan), 170c (normal) for 20 minutes until the white has set and the yolk is still runny
If you want your yolk set a tad more, continue to cook for a few minutes longer

Restaurant Daalder - review

This isn't my first visit to Daalder, nor will it be my last. It's become one of my new favourite spots to eat in Amsterdam. Situated just off the tourist track in the Jordaan it is a cosy restaurant that gives nothing away. Simple, yet elegant design reminiscent of a Parisian bistro which adds to the ambience.

Daalder is no stranger to the scene in Amsterdam but late last year underwent a few personnel changes. One of those changes was the introduction of Dennis Huwaë as Head chef and co-owner. Some of you may know Dennis from his previous role as head chef of the two Michelin Starred &SamhoudPlaces. He certainly brings that star element to his cooking here at Daalder. He's also worked at establishments such as the Fat Duck in the UK.

The menus are simple, you have a choice of 4, 5 or 6 courses or the surprise chefs menu which is seven courses. There is also a flight of wines by the glass to accompany the menu should you so wish. The prices are also very reasonable for each menu. The wine list is extensive and has a good range to offer for all budgets, excellently pieced together by maitre sommelier Tim Grashuis. 

Chef Dennis likes to keep things fresh and seasonal and his motto is only the best ingredients will do. To ensure he gets the best, he travels to Rungis market in Paris once a week to source some of his ingredients. That isn't to say he eschews Dutch produce, he also sources here as well, but it does have to be the best to make it on his menu.

Last, but not least is the service, discreet, unobtrusive, all staff being very helpful and friendly and you can see the enthusiasm they have for the menu and the dishes being served. We opted for the seven course chefs menu which began with a selection of amuses and also opted for the accompanying flight of wines. 

The amuses were mini corn tacos which had a wonderfully light crisp shell and fresh flavours and a tomato and basil dish with parmesan foam.

The first course was albacore tuna with papaya and puffed rice, just the right combination of flavours and textures. Sour and sweet notes of the papaya accenting the tuna and the rice proving a crisp texture. The tuna was full of flavour.

Second course was called the perfect egg, but I like to call it the egg that gets better every time I eat it as it is lovely dish. The creaminess of the egg yolk  with lime leaf providing a fragrant back note, sweetness of the prawn and earthiness of the bisque all working together well to provide an unctuous dish.

The next course was a delightful scallop dish playing with flavours such as jasmine, hazelnut, cauliflower and tarragon, the pea shoots were delicate and didn't overpower. Hazelnuts and scallop always work well together in a dish.

We followed with delicate gnocchi in a rich and wonderful onion jus and a creamy foam. It was rich and powerfully flavoured, one of my favourites.

Next up was lamb with seaweed, black garlic, horseradish and beetroot. The lamb just melted in your mouth and had wonderful flavour. If that dish couldn't be topped next was goose liver, paired with smoked eel, cucumber and caviar. It was a lovely play on sweet notes of the liver with smoky and salty elements of the eel and caviar.

To finish we had a light and refreshing rice dessert with green tea and green curry. The curry element not something you'd associate with dessert but the flavours worked really well. The tea provided just enough earthy back note.

The wine parings with the meal were outstanding, really couldn't fault them at all. My favourites were the Jura and South African chenin blanc.

All in all, an enjoyable meal and I look forward to going back again. 


Lindengracht 90
1015KK Amsterdam


Many of us will reach for the jar of Hellmans when we need mayonnaise in a dish and I am also guilty of doing the same thing. 

There are times though, when I do like to make it from scratch and it makes such a big difference in flavour.

When I first made mayonnaise I learned to make it by hand, dropping the oil with a fork into the egg and whisking (yes, really!). I think it was a form of torture in my first term at Leiths school of food and wine. These days I will use a quick and dirty way of making it either with a staff blender or food processor.

1 whole egg (room temp) for staff blender method or if making by hand use 1 egg yolk
110ml neutral oil such as sunflower oil  (or sometimes I will use half sunflower and half olive oil or rapeseed oil)
5ml Dijon mustard
5ml white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
5ml lemon juice

To make by hand
Place the egg yolk, vinegar and Dijon into a bowl
You need to start whisking very quickly while you start to add the oil very slowly until the mixture starts to thicken
Season with salt and pepper and the lemon juice

To make with hand blender
Place all the ingredients as listed above (except the salt and pepper) in a tall jug or beaker and allow to stand for 20 minutes

Ensure the jug or beaker is just larger than the hand blender head
Place the blender right at the bottom of the mixture and start to blend, once the mixture starts to thicken, you can then start to move the hand blender to ensure it is well mixed
Season with salt and pepper

Food processor

Place the egg yolk, vinegar and Dijon into the smallest bowl your food processor has, start the machine and add the oil very slowly until it starts to thicken
Season with salt and pepper and the lemon juice

Flavour variations
1 clove garlic finely grated with 10g chopped fresh parsley
Sometimes I use the zest of lemon and 5ml more juice which pairs wonderfully with salmon
Tarragon goes well with chicken and trout, even with the addition of orange juice
I sometimes like to add a little wholegrain mustard to add a bit of kick 
You can also add sweet chilli sauce, lime or even kimchi (I like to chop it very finely before adding)

Chipotles in adobo paste are my favourite when making Mexican style dishes, just 1 heaped teaspoon makes all the difference
Truffle adds that little bit of luxury or you can use a few drops truffle oil

Crushed dried porcinis are really nice too

The sky's the limit once you've mastered the basics!

Simon Hopkinson's Sticky toffee pudding

I've regaled you with my recipes for a few years now. It's not all new recipes chez kitchen exile and there are some that you simply cannot fault or change which become a staple in your kitchen. 
This Sticky toffee pudding recipe is one of them. The recipe is as close to the traditional pudding as you'll ever get and I simply had to share this with you.

Simon Hopkinson is one of my favourite chefs and is a wonderful writer of cookbooks. I love his prose and approach to cooking and his books have been a key influence on this blog. I do make one diversion when making this recipe and steep the dates in tea (Irish, naturally or you can use Earl Grey) rather than hot water as it adds a little more depth of flavour. This recipe can be found in his book The Good Cook, which has some wonderful recipes in it. I certainly urge you to discover Mr Hopkinson and his books.

Sponge cake mixture
175g dates, chopped
5g bicarbonate of soda
50g salted butter
pinch salt
75g demerara sugar
75g molasses sugar
2 free-range eggs
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
butter, for greasing

Sticky toffee topping
250ml double cream
80g butter
80g molasses sugar

Extra sauce
300ml whipping cream
50g molasses sugar
50g salted butter

Preheat the oven to 170c (fan) 180c (normal)

To make the sponge mix
Pour 275ml boiling water into a large mixing bowl and add the dates (I like to add a tea bag and allow it to steep for 5 mins and then remove it)

Allow the dates to cool before adding to the rest of the ingredients
Pour the rest of the ingredients into a food processor and add the dates and water mix
Whizz untill you have a smoothish batter
Butter a baking dish and pour in the sponge batter
Bake for 30-40 mins until just firm to the touch or you can put a skewer in and it comes out clean

To make the sauces
Make both the topping and the extra sauce by heating the ingredients gently in separate pans, whisking until they boil
Take care as they come to the boil quickly, so best to keep an eye on them
Take off the heat and allow to cool

Pour the topping sauce over the cooked pudding once the pudding has cooled slightly

To serve, spoon the pudding into individual bowls and pour around the extra sauce