Britsoc: The British Society of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Serving the British Expat community since 1920.

Britsoc Photo Lesson #14


Britsoc Photo Lesson #14

Long exposures create wonderful effects


By Benjamin Authur, Photographer

BritPhotShot of the Month

This classic view of the corner of Brouwergracht & Prinsengracht was taken on the morning the clocks changed. So I had an extra hour of daylight without people around and, bonus of bonuses, it was a stunning morning.

This photo was shot using two graduated filters and with a 30 second exposure. The longer exposure really helps add dynamic movement to the scene from both the clouds and the canal. Learning how to do this is one of the greatest joys one can have as a photographer. Tis not complicated but it does take practice. If you are interested in coming out with me for a lesson on how to do this I’d be delighted to show you how its done.

Technical details: Nikon D810. AF‐S Nikkor 17‐35 (2.8) @ f/20, ISO 31 @ 30s

Benjamin Arthur
The British Photographer in Amsterdam

Benjamin Arthur's email
Email Benjamin here with your questions, requests and ideas


Britsoc Photography Sponsor | Nov 2015

Benjamin Arthur

The British Photographer in Amsterdam



About Benjamin Arthur
I’m a leading independent freelance photographer, working with corporate & individual clients in the Netherlands, Czech Republic, UK and elsewhere. Capturing the spirit of you or your event is my first priority.

Passion, creativity and professionalism
The areas I focus on can be seen in my galleries and I love each individual commission with the challenges they bring and the fun we have together. Passion, creativity and professionalism are the three things above all that I bring to my work. I love it all … from the dreaming and planning through to the execution & delivery. My approach throughout is 1000% focused on you – placing you and your needs at the centre of everything.

Reportage photographer
Successful outcomes are the result of strong relationships. In terms of style, I describe myself as a reportage photographer. I like to work as far as possible with natural light and that applies as much to my portraiture work as it does weddings, events and parties.

I try to blend in rather than stand out
I quietly observe what’s going on around me. Then, when I need to step up for a large group photo, I’m lucky to have a strong voice that can marshal everyone into shot.

Well travelled
Based in the stunning city of Amsterdam, I also regularly work in Prague and will happily travel across continental Europe and the world on assignment. I’m blessed to be married to Leigh Ann who helps me in a thousand ways and is a true partner. When not behind my lens, you’ll find my nose in a book or a saucepan or, too rarely, tramping around England’s stunning landscapes.

I look forward to working with you
So, whatever your photographic needs please do contact me using the details below. I look forward to hearing what we can do together!

Contact Photographer Benjamin Arthur
I try to respond to all enquiries within 24 hours and, during the working week, am available for one on one appointments.


Trifle | Cooking Coach | Dec 2015


By Karen Vivers


It’s a far cry from the Bird’s trifle we always had in our house at Christmas and New Year.   You remember – custard from a packet, cream from a packet, fruit from a tin.  And probably, if I’m honest, if I could get that old ‘trifle in a packet’ I’d make it, but I’ve never come across the product in the Netherlands, so needs must and I taught myself to make trifle (almost) from scratch.

Preparation Time:  50 minutes plus time for the jelly to set.

Cooking Time: none

Ingredients for 6 to 8 Servings

Layer 1 : The Cake and Jelly Base

400gr / 14 oz. strawberries chopped roughly

3 or 4 x tbsp Marsala wine

2 x tsp icing sugar

500ml / 1 pt.  (roughly) of strawberry jelly

300gr / 10.5 oz. of a shop bought Swiss roll style cake cut into 1.5cm / 0.6 in. slices


Layer 2: Crème Patissiere 

6 x large egg yolks

120gr / 4 oz. caster sugar

60gr / 1.7 oz. plain flour

500ml /  1 pt. of whole milk

4 or 5 drops of  vanilla extract

A  little icing sugar


Layer 3: Cream and Decorations

300ml / 10 fl. oz. double cream for whipping

Optional – 1 x tbsp Marsala wine to mix into the cream

You can decorate as you wish, but some of my favourite decorations are chopped strawberries, pomegranate seeds or other berries.



The Cake and Jelly Base

  1. To start, the base.  Place the strawberries in a bowl with the icing sugar and 2 x tbsp of the Marsala wine, mix through and  set aside to macerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place your Swiss roll slices evenly and tightly into the bottom of your trifle serving bowl, drizzle over the other 1 or 2 tbsps of Marsala wine.
  3. Make the strawberry jelly as per the instructions on the packet.
  4. Cover the cake with the chopped strawberries, spreading them as evenly as you can.  Pour the jelly over carefully, not too quickly, allowing it to get down into all the nooks and crannies and soak into your cake.
  5. Place the base in the fridge to allow the jelly to set.  Normally this takes about 4 hours.  I very often make the base the day before I plan to serve the trifle.

The Crème Patissiere

  1. I tend to make crème patissiere rather than custard as it gives a thicker, stiffer finish.  Custard tends to stay a bit runny and the trifle collapses after the first spoonful is served.  To start the crème patissiere take an electric whisk and beat the egg yolks in a bowl with about a third of the sugar until the mix becomes pale yellow.
  2. Add the flour and whisk until everything is incorporated evenly, no lumps, and it has thickened a little.
  3. Heat the milk in a pan (not a non-stick pan) with the rest of the sugar and the vanilla.  Just as it comes to the boil, remove your pan from the heat and pour about two thirds of the hot milk into your bowl containing the egg and sugar mix.  Stir quickly with a metal hand whisk for a minute then add the rest of the milk and continue stirring quite firmly until everything is smooth and evenly incorporated.
  4. Put the pan back on a medium heat and pour your crème patissiere into the pan.  Stir continuously with your metal whisk.  As it thickens you may have to stir quite vigorously.  Let it bubble gently for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.
  5. Sprinkle over a very thin layer of icing sugar and allow your crème patissiere to cool.  You can do this on a cool work surface or the quickest way is to pour it into a wide chilled dish before sprinkling over your icing sugar and then place in the fridge.  The layer of icing sugar prevents the formation of a ‘skin’.  Alternatively you can place cling film on top of it.
  6. Once completely cool it will be quite thick. Spread it over your set jelly base.  Be a bit gentle as you do not want to break the top of your jelly.

Cream Topping and Decorations

  1. Whip your cream with the icing sugar until it becomes stiff and holds its shape.  You can fold through the Marsala at this stage should you wish to use it.
  2. Spread the cream over the crème patissiere layer.  I like to do this very roughly, not smooth, lots of peaks and bumps makes it look attractive.
  3. Sprinkle over your berries and decorations.

Tips and Variations

  • You can of course make your own jelly using gelatin sheets, and add fresh flavours.
  • I like to keep it simple by using shop bought Swiss Roll, but of course you can make your own cake.  Simple ones work best, Madeira cake is a good option or the Dutch style ‘Oma’ cake.
  • Once you have practiced this a few times you can play around with the fruit flavours to keep it seasonal.
  • Strawberries can be a bit expensive in the winter time, so why not go retro and use a can of tinned fruit?
  • If  the crème patissiere is cooled, but not as thick as you would like it, put it on your jelly base and then return it to the fridge for a couple of hours to set it stiffer.
  • You can normally get the jelly in British shops and the best place to get double cream is M&S.  The Dutch style single cream works too, but it won’t stay stiff and can give a watery result.  Alternatively, you can use some mascarpone cream cheese with a little icing sugar and Marsala.


Karen Vivers, originally from Scotland, has lived here in Amsterdam since 1997, and has set up the Cooking Coach to help inspire people to get back into the kitchen.  The basis of the cooking lessons are easy, tasty, healthy recipes.  Each course starts with a free introduction session, to make sure that you only cook what you like to eat.

As well as cooking lessons, Karen offers Culinary Tasting Tours in Amsterdam, is a passionate food blogger, writer, author of “Love Food, Live Healthy”  and works freelance as a Business Consultant, specialising in small and medium food businesses, helping them get started, grow and deal with commercial challenges.


Love Food, Live Healthy is ideal for those of us who really enjoy our food, but want to eat consciously without compromising on flavour. Packed with over 100 recipes, this book has lots of practical cooking and healthy eating tips. Designed for cooks of all skill levels, whether you love cooking or just love eating! 

The Cooking Coach 

Love Food, Live Healthy

Mobile : 06 1424 0009



Beth’s Book Blog Nov 2015

Beth in her bamboo garden

By Beth Johnson,  Boekhandel Van Rossum



City on Fire, Garth Risk Hallberg

Garth Risk Hallberg has produced the most hyped, latest attempt at the great New York City novel – and although I have yet to finish its 900 pages, the book offers the reader an ambitious and impressive picture of the bleak yet vibrant 1970s city. With Dickensian detail and terrific story lines for each of its many characters, we are reminded of the cycles of poverty contrasted with the fin-de-siecle glamour and glitz of the super wealthy of the Big Apple.  Reviewers have criticized the length of the book but if you are looking for a good holiday read by an author who is already being compared to Don de Lillo and Tom Wolfe (and I would add Ayn Rand), this is the book for you.  An author who is already making good on his $ 2 million advance.

Trigger Mortis, Anthony Horowitz

51mI9KcsUhL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Several authors have taken a stab at re-creating Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, but none is better suited for that job than Anthony Horowitz whose Alex Rider series for teens portrays the young Bond who is rocketed into work as a spy.  Trigger Mortis makes use of original Ian Fleming material from a never-produced TV series in a wild chase scene at the Nürburgring racetrack which rectifies the somewhat slow start to this adventure. A satisfying episode which feature the return of Pussy Galore, Miss Moneypenny and Bond’s old adversary Smersh, all known from early Fleming films.

Dictator, Robert Harris

The long-awaited third book in the Cicero trilogy is a resounding tribute to the ability of Robert Harris to bring the famous lawyer and orator of ancient 9780091752101Rome alive, based on meticulous research and a lively pen.  Although at the bookshop we shelve all of Harris’ books in the thriller section, his oeuvre is actually an animation or  reconstruction of history –  as in The Officer and the Spy where the banning of Dreyfuss to Devil’s Island is examined with an eye to determining who the real culprit may have been. If you haven’t read the Roman series, start with Pompeii, where Pliny the Elder recounts the build-up to the eruption of the great volcano Vesuvius – not a whodunit but a whenwillit as one reviewer calls this jewel of a recreation.

The three books on Marcus Tullius Cicero date from 2003 when Imperium was published to great acclaim. The first book recounts, through the eyes of Cicero’s slave and assistant Tiro, the rise of the young orator and lawyer to consul of Rome in the period 79 to 64 B.C. Published in 2009, Lustrum is a fast-paced depiction of the power struggles among the elite of Rome as Cicero manoeuvres between Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompey, the scheming Catalina and others to save his beloved Rome. The culminating book, Dictator, just out, starts soberly with Cicero’s banishment from Rome, his volatile return and ends with a rocketing climax as this honourable consul strives to salvage his republic from the threats of Marcus Antonius.  Read all three during your holidays!

Boekhandel van Rossum newsletter available next week
With extensive list of reading suggestions for the holiday period. If you do not receive our emails, please sign up to receive this helpful checklist. If you mail us an order, we will wrap and label each gift and have it ready for you in a box. This will give you a chance to visit the shop as well


The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness continues to prove himself a young adult author with a creative pen and a varied register. His Chaos Walking Trilogy won the Guardian Fiction Children’s Prize, de Da Costa Award and the Carnegie Medal. More Than This is apocalyptic science fiction at its darkest. His most recent book, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is peopled with radioactive deer, super teens in the margins fighting the mysterious Immortals, and ordinary, flawed teens struggling with OCD, anorexia, growing up in general but who have tremendous loyalty for each other. This is one of the funniest and most tender books Ness has written, with a message about getting on with life despite its adversities. For adults, I recommend his novel The Crane Wife.




Kingdom by the Sea, Mark Zegeling

The blue and white Delft houses and Dutch national monuments produced for KLM since the 1950s (one a year on the date that KLM was founded in 1919) Little_kingdom_by_the_sea_mark_zegeling-188x300have become a status symbol in the international travel world. Mark Zegeling brings us the stories behind these houses several versions of  The Kindgom by the Sea.  The first is a small format walking guide (€ 18,95) with a map of the famous houses of Amsterdam, Delft and Leiden with the locations of more than one hundred monuments which have been the inspiration for the KLM houses.  There is also a list of the 15 oldest cafes of Amsterdam, dating from 1550 to 1786) should you wish to undertake an historical pubcrawl!

A walking guide through history

” Little Kingdom by the Sea ‘ is an English guidebook with a handy size ( 14 x 10 cm). It covers over 500 years of Dutch cultural heritage, and the stories behind the facades of the KLM houses. These replicas of existing monuments are seen as an icon of the Netherlands. ” Little Kingdom by the Sea ” includes a map from Amsterdam, Delft and Leiden , with the locations of more than a hundred monuments, from which the Delft Blue houses are made . The book also includes an overview of the fifteen oldest cafés in Amsterdam ( from 1550 to 1786 ). Ideal for  making a historic pub crawl.


Cover porseleinTwo other versions have since been produced, a luxury coffee table book for € 69,95 with stories about the original owners of the houses such as Rembrandt, Anne Frank, the Dutch Marco Polo and other pioneers of Dutch history. A splendid limited edition of this book with a thin porcelain cover of infinite beauty (€ 240 with a certificate of authenticity)MarkPersfoto has recently been produced and can be seen at Boekhandel van Rossum along with a video of the production process.  Perfect for someone leaving  the Netherlands after many years – but I snapped one up for my Dutch husband and we are both delighted!




Beth Johnson is the owner of Boekhandel Van Rossum (Beethovenstraat 32 in Amsterdam). Beth writes about and sells a wide range of Dutch and English books for children, young adults and mature readers.

Beth would also be delighted to receive feedback about her book recommendations.
Send Beth a Feedback Email
Beth would love to hear feedback from you.



Dyslexic Support logo

Dyslexia Parent Support Group

Do you have a child who is, or may be, dyslexic?

Come and join our group.
 We will be discussing and sharing ideas on
 how to help a dyslexic child with their
 reading, spelling and homework,
 as well as all the other issues that affect their lives.

dyslex_logo-webThis group was established in 2003 with the principal aim of putting parents of dyslexic children in touch with one another. We meet monthly during term time either for an informal coffee morning or a chance to listen to a guest speaker. The meetings provide an ideal opportunity to exchange information, share ideas, and share your anxieties and successes with each other.

During the year we invite several guest speakers along, all of whom have a professional interest in dyslexia. (e.g. Educational Psychologist, Dyslexia Specialist, Speech Therapist)

The second aim was to be a central source of information about which resources are available for dyslexic children locally, such as tutors and where you can get your child assessed. As such, I am always happy to hear from qualified professionals who can offer support and services for dyslexic children.

The group is a friendly, internationally represented group of parents, with the majority of their children being educated in English. You are also very welcome to attend if you are still unsure if your child might be dyslexic.

Everyone is welcome to contact me either for information or to join the group and attend meetings. You can also join an email list so you are kept informed of any meeting/talk that is taking place. There is no charge although occasionally there is a fee to pay for a guest speaker.




Nomad Parents Website
Email Debra Lambert
For further information contact Debra Lambert with this email link



Gemma White | Independent Forever Business Owner

Gemma has kindly decided to sponsor the Great British Ball, so in return we have agreed to tell her story here:

John Richardson, Zine Editor in chief 


GemmaMy name is Gemma White, I come from Scotland and around two and a half years ago my family and I moved to the Netherlands to start a new short term adventure.  In June 2015 we were to pack our bags and return home but we found that we had grown very fond of Holland and so we bought a house and decided to stay.   With this decision around two months ago I started my own part time business as an Independent Forever Business Owner.

I initially started out my business as a way to integrate and meet new people as sometimes as an expat it is not always easy to do so.  However, as time has gone on I have realized the benefits that come with having your own business and the opportunities that Forever provides and so I begin to expand my business to make a better and brighter future for me and my family.  Let me now tell you more about Forever and their wonderful products

It was over thirty years ago when Founder, Rex Maughan, turned his dream into a reality. His vision was to make aloe vera accessible to as many people as possible, and to help anyone who wants a better future for themselves and their loved ones. He says, “My aim is to help people lead a healthier life and to make them feel better.” A balanced lifestyle combined with the purity of Forever’s aloe vera products will provide optimum health and vitality for that ultimate sense of wellbeing.

With a commitment to quality and purity, Forever starts with 100% inner leaf gel, adding a fine balance of high quality ingredients to produce outstanding, effective products. The Forever product range is a testament to nature’s capacity to help us look and feel our best.

Benefit from the most potent formulas and high quality ingredients available in Forever’s Life Balance range.  As an example Forever Aloe Vera Gel is a pure stabilised aloe vera gel which is as close to the natural plant juice as possible, containing over 200 different compounds. This rich source of nutrients provides the perfect supplement to a balanced diet. Drink to promote a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing.  We have slightly different variations of the gel that target different ailments.


Fitness and weight management are key aspects of modern-day life, as people become increasingly conscious about the importance of healthy living.

Energy, stamina and performance are important to every fitness enthusiast, and Forever understands this. As such, we provide a range of products which caters to individual needs to ensure they work with your body to promote good health. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is simple with Forever’s two-step weight management programme. The Forever F.I.T programme combines a nine-day cleansing plan (the Clean 9) followed by a long-term weight management plan (Forever F.I.T.1 and F.I.T.2). A fitter and healthier you, made easy with Forever.

Clean 9

Look better and feel great in just nine days with this expertly-devised cleansing plan. Designed to kick-start the F.I.T. programme, cleanse your body and adjust your mindset, C9 provides the perfect starting point for transforming your diet and fitness habits. Based around Forever’s bestselling Aloe Vera Gel drink, this nutritionally-balanced programme will allow you to see real results in just nine days.  I have recently completed  the C9 and feel great for it.  I have increased energy levels, better skin and hair and as an added bonus I lost 9lbs and 8 inches.


Purity for skin and body – Forever’s luxury beauty and wellness range contains only the finest natural ingredients to leave your skin looking and feeling radiant. Using the purest form of aloe vera, these products enhance natural beauty to leave you looking and feeling your best.

Gently complementing the skin on both face and body, Forever’s range of beauty and wellness products work in harmony to create a natural and glowing complexion. Try Forever’s products from the beauty and wellness range for the ultimate body, hair and skincare experience.  Below are a few of my personal favourites.

Aloe-Jojoba Shampoo – Get beautifully shiny and easy-to-manage hair with this aloe vera and jojoba oil-infused shampoo. The gentle pH-balanced formula is suitable for all hair types and can be used to help replenish your hair’s natural moisture.

Aloe-Jojoba Conditioning Rinse – Contains jojoba and vitamin B to help nourish, protect and strengthen the hair. This pH-balanced conditioner gives hair a silky, salon-look finish. Enriched with nourishing oils and vitamins, it provides a great result when used in conjunction with the Aloe-Jojoba Shampoo.

Aloe Hand & Face Soap – Rich and creamy moisturising liquid soap, perfect for the entire family. The mild and non-irritating formula creates a luxurious lather to cleanse the face, hands and body on a daily basis.  I use this in the shower, as a hand wash in all my bathrooms and also for the kids as it does not sting their eyes when washing their hair and makes lovely bubbles!

Forever Bright Toothgel – Created for the entire family – as well as your pets – this gentle, non-fluoride formula contains only the highest quality ingredients including aloe vera and bee propolis. Enjoy its natural mint flavour for a taste that will leave your mouth refreshed and your teeth clean. This toothgel is also suitable for vegetarians since it contains no animal by-products.  My husband loves this product and is always telling me how white his teeth are since he started using it.

Aloe Vera Gelly – Essentially identical to the aloe vera’s inner leaf, our 100% stabilised aloe vera gel lubricates sensitive tissue safely. This topical thick gel soothes sensitive skin and has a cooling effect.  I used this during the summer on my mosquito bites.  I have also used it most recently on my little girl’s head when she fell off the couch.

Aloe Moisturizing Lotion – A silky moisturising cream – containing nourishing aloe, jojoba oil, collagen and elastin – that leaves the skin feeling soft and supple. This lotion moisturises your face, hands and body whilst maintaining the skin’s natural pH balance. Its easy-to-absorb formula also makes a great base for makeup application. N.B. Suitable for people prone to dry skin conditions.

Aloe Propolis Crème – A rich, creamy blend of aloe vera, bee propolis and camomile to help maintain healthy, beautiful skin tone and texture, with moisturising and conditioning properties. The Aloe Propolis Creme makes an excellent everyday moisturiser and has a soothing effect on sensitive skin.  Contains lanolin.  I have extremely dry hands and really struggle to find a moisturizer that works but this cream really does the job.

Prouct-range-2I hope you have enjoyed reading about Forever and our products.  There are many more to choose from but not enough room to write about them all.  If you would like to know more please click on one of the icons below:




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Click to go to my webshop




Footprints in the snow

By Maggie Holman

The book is a Christmas story with a spooky moment at the end, for children aged 8-11. It tells the story of ten-year-old Jamie, a shy London boy who goes to stay with his grandfather in the Forest of Dean, where he discovers local people searching for an elusive panther and meets traveller children who talk to animals. Jamie thinks he knows the forest well, but he gets lost in the snow after he sets off alone.The question is, who will be able to find him?

When I first wrote the book, I asked a primary teacher colleague if she would read it and see if it worked for this age group. She loved the book, said the students would love it too and asked if she could read it to her class. The students stopped me around school to tell me how much they were enjoying the story, and they also sent me a collection of letters and pictures when their reading was finished. Because of this response at school, I decided to register as a small publisher and printed a first paperback run, all of which have sold.

Here are some examples of the reviews the book has received:

‘As I read aloud, every student was incredibly focussed and I swear you could hear a pin drop. This is an absolutely beautiful story and I feel lucky to have had the privilege to read it aloud to my class.’ (Lyndsay Gregory, primary school teacher)

‘I read the story and there are some really great elements; the characters are warm and engaging, the locations are great and the interaction between the travellers and non-travellers feels rounded and real.’ (David Collier, children’s television producer)

‘Being from the Forest of Dean myself, I really thought that you captured the magic of it. It was very uplifting, engaging and a pleasure to read.’ (Suzanne Phillips, the Winston’s Wish Charity)

And from children:

‘I loved your story so much. My favourite part of the story is when Caro talked to the stag. I just wish I could do that! It might even be one of my favourite books. It was just so exciting!’ (Lola)

‘Your story was really cool and fun to read. I thought the idea of the panther was awesome.’ (Elliot)

‘The more the teacher read, the more I couldn’t stop thinking of it.’ (Lucie)

‘Footprints in the Snow’ has a new ISBN and a professionally-designed cover from the Book Beaver design company. There is an organised launch of the book between now and Christmas, which includes a reading and Q&A in the AICS library, a Goodreads Giveaway starting on 17th November, a dedicated page on my website and promotion via my Facebook, Twitter and Amazon pages. Kindle version here.

The price of the book is 7.50.

The book is soon available at the new Scheltema store in Rokin and the van Rossum bookstore in Beethovenstraat.

Read the first chapter
Download and read the first chapter. It takes about half an hour


Iconic food for an iconic ball

By Kate Murphy

“Don’t throw the past away
You might need it some rainy day
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again”

Everything Old is New Again, by Peter Allen and Carole Bayer-Sager

Michelin stardust over the three course menu

ChrisNaylorBanner5On a recent rainy day, I met the man who has been charged with making culinary dreams come true again at next month’s Iconic Britain Ball. Chris Naylor, Head Chef at Restaurant Vermeer in the NH Barbizon Palace in Amsterdam, has strewn a little of his Michelin stardust over the three course menu he has developed for the British Society’s charity ball on December 12.

Making 1960s food new again


The 1960s: cool food; cool women

At first glance, the 1960s doesn’t exactly stand out as the most exciting basis for a memorable meal in 2015. To my mind, the most interesting aspect of the food from the decade of my birth was the Bunnykins plate that I ate it off. How, I wondered, did Chris find inspiration for making 1960s food new again?

“The biggest issue I have is overcoming people’s perceptions,” he explained, pausing to check that I had understood his subtle reference to my own closed-mindedness. “I have identified some really interesting dishes from the time, but I won’t just reproduce them. I’ve tried to make them more modern by adding some surprising ingredients and building up the flavours. We also use different techniques these days for preparing food, and that changes each dish too.”

“The 60s was a time of massive social change and experimentation, including with food. The middle class really developed very quickly during the decade, and people were open to new ideas. They were freer to travel and so were exposed to different ingredients. It was a pretty exciting time I think. The first supermarkets opened in the 1960s too, which gave people even more food choice.”


1625_chris_naylorNostalgia with creativity

Chris Naylor’s menu for the Iconic Britain Ball combines nostalgia with creativity in a way that will surprise you and make you smile. In a different decade we might have even called it a psychedelic experience.

The world on a plate

steamThe prosperity that Britain enjoyed in the decades after the Second World War encouraged us to experiment widely, and not only with hallucinogenic substances and free love. We started going out to restaurants where we learned how to pronounce and eat unfamiliar meals like chop suey and chicken tikka masala. We went on package holidays to Europe and brought wild and crazy kitchen ideas back to Britain – spaghetti bolognaise, cheese fondues, beef bourguignon, black forest gateaux. We began inviting friends into our homes for dinner parties. The more sophisticated among us provided bottled wine for our guests – chianti and Liebfraumilch were a testament to our elegance and worldliness. It was a time of optimism, freedom, fun and discovery.

The immigrants that set up corner stores and restaurants in Britain during this time increased our access to a new and exciting culinary world. One of the most notable and enduring of those restaurants is Le Gavroche in London, opened by Albert and Michel Roux in 1967 after they emigrated from France. It’s fair to say that the Roux brothers, having introduced haute cuisine to our nation, and having kept it there for five decades, are themselves British icons.

Full circle

Somewhat ironically, Chris Naylor did an internship with Albert Roux at Le Gavroche. So, the man who has been influencing Britain’s eating habits since 1967 trained the man who is overseeing our 1960s meal at the Iconic Britain Ball in 2015.

And just like that, everything old is new again.

Chris Naylor, making 1960s food new again.

Chris Naylor, making 1960s food new again.

Are you coming to the Iconic Britain Ball on Dec 12?
If you are joining us for Chris Naylor’s delicious reinterpretation of some iconic British fare, please make sure you have submitted your menu choice


Balti House |Nick’s Nosh| Guest Reviewer


By Andy Symmonds

Readers may have spotted the fact that the regular author of Nicks Nosh is currently distracted by the fact that he is the new Chair of the British Society. Rather than lose this regular slot in Zine editions, we are inviting guest contributors to submit their restaurant reviews for consideration. There is no fee for being published, just the joy of seeing yourself published in Zine.

Send your suggestions to Nick's Nosh
We cannot guarantee publication, but we will give all entries full consideration.


Our first guest review takes us to the increasingly fashionable Pijp area in pursuit of Indian food (a popular theme at the British Society – you may have noticed that the Curry Club is now dining on a regular basis), although the Balti House has been serving great food on the Albert Cuypstraat for many years. As a past advertiser and sponsor of BritSoc events we felt that it was time for a revisit to see if the standards were still at the same high level.


Andy clearly enjoying his Balti night out

We visited on a Saturday evening, and were relieved that we had booked as the restaurant was in full swing when we arrived. We had to wait a couple of minutes to be seated as the previous diners were very relaxed about their speed of payment, but we were able to get drinks by the bar before being seated, and (most welcome) papadums swiftly arrived with some sauces to keep us going once we were seated and preparing to read the menu.

To begin we combined three starters to make our own mixed starter, each of us choosing one element. The final combination was sheek kabab with hot wings and some onion bhaji’s (an old favourite for all of us). The mixture of flavours and textures worked well, the drinks flowed and we relaxed into a gezellig evening.

The other diners in the restaurant were the usual mix of British expatriates seeking a fix of Indian food with other expatriates and Dutch customers. Some guests clearly knew their way around the menu whilst others sought advice from the waiting staff. Everyone seemed happy with the outcome, and we joined the happy bunch when our main courses arrived.

menuThe three main dishes we chose were the lamb saag, chicken bhuna and lamb dansak. These dishes are all from the section titled medium curries, so they would have been ideal for Goldilocks as they were not to hot and not too cold in spice terms. At special request, the dansak was made with madras strength spice levels and this turned out to be my highlight of the evening. The dishes were all well prepared and the lamb in both dishes was succulent and very flavoured. The dansak won points for having lentils that were clearly lentils – so many restaurants serve dansak that is closer to soup in texture that I have almost given in trying to get a good one. Saag is another favourite of mine and the combination of the lamb with the spinach was very good. The bhuna was also consumed with gusto but this dish is a little creamy for my taste, although clearly my companions had no such concern as all three dishes were consumed to a point that left the bowls remarkably clean. The dishes came served with rice and vegetable curry and we all ordered naan breads to help mop up the sauces. Having had starters the side dishes were sensibly restricted to one mushroom bhaji, as there have been more adventurous occasions when we over ordered in the excitement of the moment and left mounds of food behind.

Feeling pleasantly stuffed, the lack of dessert options was almost a relief, even for sweeter toothed members of the party. The lassi was tempting but even that looked like a mission too far, so I rounded the meal off with a tasty bottle of Kingfisher in lieu of something sweeter. As I gently quaffed my beer some later arrivals were served and the smell of the sizzling Royal Tandoori Mixed Grill gently drifted over to our table – a scent so delicious that it was almost tempting to start again. Common sense prevailed but I know what will be high on my list the next time that I visit the Balti House. This was a great way to end a very good evening. The food, service and atmosphere (and company, natch) were all to a high standard yet the cost per person was most reasonable, if slightly inflated by the volume of soothing beers that were quaffed throughout the evening. Recommended!