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

Strawberry Tart with Frangipane Filling


Strawberry Tart with Frangipane Filling


By Karen Vivers

The Cooking Coach July/Aug 2015

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.

Strawberry Tart with Frangipane Filling

If there is something the British and the Dutch have in common it’s their love of, no their obsession with strawberries.

Even although we can get them all year round nowadays, there is something about this time of year that seems to set off that sixth sense, we all know that it’s strawberry season.  Maybe it’s the increase in temperature, the longer days, or for some it may even be the approach of Wimbledon that gets our strawberry senses tingling.

StrawberriesColanderI say that the British and the Dutch have their love of strawberries in common, but the way both cultures eat them can be different.  The British approach is very definitely from a dessert perspective, whereas the Dutch have broadened the use somewhat.  You may have seen them mash up strawberries with a little sugar and then spread them on ‘beschuit’.  Beschuit is probably best described in English as a light cracker.  It is actually a sort of bread which has been twice baked.  The beschuit has economical origins.  It can be baked at a very low temperature, so, when bakers had made their bread, they would turn off the ovens and bake the beschuit in the residual heat.  Following on from the beschuit theme, the Dutch also eat sliced strawberries on bread, sometimes with a little butter.  My preference lies very much in using strawberries in desserts and cakes, but most of all in fruit tarts.  This combination with frangipane is my summer favourite.

Preparation: 50 minutes

Baking: 45 minutes

Decorating and Finishing: 10 minutes

Serves: 8 to 10 portions

Use a flan tin with a removable base, measuring 29cm / 11 in. in diameter


For the Pastry

200gr / 7 oz.  plain flour

75gr / 2.5 oz.  unsalted butter, softened and cubed

50gr / 1.7 oz. icing sugar

1 x egg, beaten loosely with a fork


125gr / 4.5 oz. unsalted butter, softened and cubed

125gr / 4.5 oz. sugar

125gr / 4.5 oz. ground, bleached almonds

2 x eggs, beaten loosely with a fork

For the Strawberry Decoration

500gr / 1.1lb. fresh strawberries.  Try to get even sizes and equal coloured fruit – but don’t be too prejudice.

To Glaze and Finish

3 x tbsp strawberry (or apricot) jam

A splash of tap water



  1. Pastry first. Place the flour, butter and icing sugar in a large bowl and rub together through your fingers until the mix becomes like breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the egg and bring together. I do this at first with a wooden spoon and then move on to using my hands. Work it until it becomes a ball, then remove from your bowl  and knead it, just two or three times on a cool surface.  By this I mean just 2 or 3 kneading movements, that’s all.   This dough is quite sticky and can be a little difficult.  If it is just too sticky to get into a ball, add a small amount of flour, just a tiny sprinkling, you don’t want to dilute the sweetness too much.  Also, the addition of more flour gives a tougher dough if you over do it.
  3. Wrap your ball of sweet dough in cling film and chill in the freezer whilst you make the frangipane. Don’t forget about it though, you just want to cool it, not let it freeze.  If you make the pastry in advance and have more time – chill in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  4. Set the oven to pre-heat at 170°C / 340°F. Make sure your baking tray is in the oven.  The reason for this is to heat up the tray on which the tart will cook so that the bottom of the tart comes immediately into contact with a hot surface and aids an even bake.StrawberryColander2
  5. Then the frangipane. Cream together the butter and sugar in a food processor or with an electric mixer, this will take a few minutes.  Of course you can do this by hand, if you feel the need for exercise.
  6. Then mix in the eggs, and add the almonds, stir everything through until even.
  7. Take your pastry from the fridge and on a cool, lightly floured surface, roll out, turning it is you do to keep it in a round shape. Roll until  it is about 2mm / 0.08in to 3mm / 0.10 in. thick.
  8. Lay the pastry dough over your flan tin and push gently, but firmly into the corners and the sides. To pick it up, you can wrap it over your rolling pin, or carefully lift by putting your hands, splayed underneath.  However you chose to do it, a swift movement is best.  Trim any excess pastry that is hanging over the top of your tin.  The pastry will shrink back a little while cooking, so make sure you leave a little lip.
  9. With a fork, prick lightly all over the entire base of your pastry dough. Spoon the frangipane mix into the pastry case and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
  10. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. I check after 40.  The tart is ready when it is an even golden brown colour.
  11. Let the tart cool and then remove it from the flan case. I often leave it sitting on the metal bottom and only remove the side.  This makes it easier to transport to your serving dish.
  12. In a saucepan, heat the jam and water, stir with a metal spoon until it has warmed through and mixed together.
  13. Place your strawberries in circles starting at the outer edge of the tart and working your way to the centre. Brush over the jam glaze allowing any extra to drizzle into any little gaps between the fruit.


Tips and Variations

  • This tart is best eaten on the day it is made.
  • Serve with a bit of crème fraiche or mascarpone with a dash of Marsala wine on the side for some extra indulgence.
  • If you have some pastry left over, you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days, or you could make a couple of extra small tarts. I tend to put it in the freezer and keep it for emergency repair work!
  • Try with raspberries, really yummy or a mix of berries works really well too.
  • If you make the pastry the day before, I tend not to leave the dough in a ball shape, but flatten the ball out – this makes it easier to roll.

Karen's Healthy Cooking Book
Buy it online


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



Naked in the bath


By Dave Thomas


Naked in the bath

At least I might have been a few decades back when this round little building was the local bathhouse before it became a thriving independent theatre.

Wandering in through the front door the atmosphere was like a village hall in the pre-internet age. A foldable table at the entrance where the owner’s daughter collected tickets and then round to the right an elliptical bar where the showers used to be. I swear no two chairs in the bar are the same.

It reminded me of a student bar we visited during our honeymoon in Prague and, appropriately enough, one of the barmen was a Czech! The bar lazily opens up into the theatre area: an intimate space in the former waiting room that happily seats about 60 people. There is no stage but an open area at the front where the play unfolds.


Photos by John Richardson

Just before the play started a bard-like voice called us to take our seats. We overcame our British reserve and plumped down on the front row. As the stage is not elevated the action was literally at our feet (I joke not one of the props was just two of my feet – size 13- away).

We were treated to an evening of comedy by the Rotterdam English Speaking Theatre, who did a one-night-in-Amsterdam performance of  The Scottish Play. The story is about a theatre company who have performed every Shakespeare play accept Macbeth because the artistic director refuses to put on a play so cursed. Against his wishes the company nevertheless decides to perform it and fate ensues.

Thanks to our front row seats I was completely immersed in the story. My favourite characters were the three witches. Thanks to an act of revenge they were played by the production director’s ex wives: the bitch who taunted him with access to their child, the psychotherapist who dotingly regarded him more as her patient, and the nymph who fell for the nobody American reality star who’d been cast as Macbeth.

The best part? When the psychotherapist ex-wife walked in and tried to do a therapy session on her former husband. She firmly bound him to his chair (I briefly thought we were in for a lesson in Shades of Grey), berated him like a small child, and rewarded his every utterance with a snide remark and a coloured post-it she slapped on him with such vehemence that I started to inch away.


Photos by John Richardson

Afterwards in the bar I briefly chatted and laughed with the psychotherapist and was relieved to discover that her haggered ex-husband on stage is actually a relaxed Brit who’s moving back to Blighty soon.

The action over we chatted with the theatre’s owner Mike Manicardi. A thoroughbred thespian since his youth, he has been the owner and artistic director of the Badhuistheater for the past 30 years. He is a typical cultural entrepreneur with a finger in many pies because the show must go on. Besides hosting a variety of plays the theatre is home to poetry and jazz events, business meetings, and a variety of local clubs. It’s a rich and eclectic blend of grassroots community and international buzz with lashings of fun.

Talking of which, if you enjoyed Britsoc’s Shakestravaganza back in April then you might like to try As you Like It, an evening of Shakespeare karaoke at the Badhuistheater on 20 August.

Shakespeare KARAOKE
20% discount for Britsoc Members


Useful links


Rotterdam English Speaking Theatre 



Shakespeare Karaoke (As You Like It)

Shakespeare Karaoke (As You Like It)

20 AUG 20:15: Mikes BADHUIS Theatre, Amsterdam

Compered by Wil Sutton / Actor / Comic from the Comedy Cafe.

Lots of hilarity. Great night out. Something for everyone. Male and female parts! Mike’s BADHUIS Theatre  20 AUG 20:15

22620_as-you-like-it-1 smallIt’s a popular night out. The audience sits at beer tables in the round.

Compare Wil Sutton makes a comic introduction about the play, characters and scenes and everyone reads from the beamer.

Lots of hilarity, as everyone takes part.

Male and female parts!

Very varied Beer menu, and food is available if people mail us beforehand.

ADt olivier S2

It’s become a cult thing

As You Like It is a pastoral EARLY comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600. As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court, accompanied by her cousin Celia to find safety and love in the Forest of Arden. ( Close to shakies birthplace. His Mother was called Arden )

Typical , joyful and full of life in a forest !

Fleay's_Etching_of_the_Forest_of_ArdenWe encounter a variety of memorable characters, notably the melancholy traveller Jaques who speaks many of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches ( such as “All the world’s a stage” and “A fool! A fool! I met a fool in the forest“).


Jaques provides a sharp contrast to the other characters in the play, always observing and disputing the hardships of life in the country.

Shakespeare KARAOKE
20% discount for Britsoc Members


Badhuis theatre logoContact:

Michael Manicardi

Tel: 06 11173324



Tea Break

Tea Break is the British Consular Newsletter | June 2015 edition

Tea Break provides regular news crumbs, tips and snippets from the British Consulate-General Amsterdam.

It’s distributed amongst the consular staff and British expats in the Netherlands.

Tea Break Newsletter
Download the British Consul Newsletter here

Content for Tea Break is  collected by John Cameron-Webb (and his staff), British Consul for the Netherlands.

The newsletter is produced every quarter by John Richardson, owner of the English language writing service John the Copywriter.

John also writes, edits and designs newsletters for CADS and The British Society of Amsterdam.



83-year-old man dances man at Dutch electronic dance festival

This 83-year-old man dances like he isn’t a day older than 30 in footage from an electronic dance festival in Holland.

A video has emerged of an 83-year-old man dancing energetically to music at an electronic dance festival in the Netherlands.

In the footage, captured by a bystander at Edit Festival in Haarlem, Johan de Vries can be seen dancing in front of crowds of young revellers.

Known locally as the ‘Grandfather of House’, Johan has been showcasing his dance skills at festivals for several years and, according to local news reports, used to be a ballroom dancer.

“No wonder Holland is the number one country when it comes to electronic dance-music,” the filmer later wrote online.

“Dance is in the genes of the Dutch. At Edit Festival in Haarlem, where international DJ’s like Sasha, Danny Howels and the guys from Slam performed, this 83-year old man knew the moves.

“Oh Yeah! Upon asking what he thought of the festival he said: ‘It’s still early. I am waiting for the DJ’s who play harder music”.


By Leon Siciliano, video source Newsflare


Expat Poetry |Ebbing



Tuesday afternoon

in this sleepy outpost of Scunny

village shop closed      and both pubs too



only the church provides refuge

paint peeling, Mothers’ Union banner fading

altar vestments unchanged in thirty years



Grandma’s house is so toshed up

we scarcely recognise it

barking garden dog prevents a peak inside



so we walk along the ebbing river

and leave

through poppy-strewn fields


© Dave Thomas 2015


Benjamin Arthur | The British Photographer in Amsterdam – Britsoc Sponsor

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.


Chairman’s Message | June 2015


By Ian Cherington


Dear members,

Regretfully it seems that we will not be holding our popular “Mass Blind Date” event this year, as we have no volunteers stepping up to organise it.

I sincerely hope that this will change and that we can maintain the level of dedication to our Society.

Our events cannot happen without the efforts of our members and we are very grateful for all the time and energy spent by our teams.

We have been in close contact with the organisers of the recent Rugby 7’s tournament, held in Amsterdam over 3 days, where we featured the event here in the Britsoc Magazine and had a special offer for tickets for our members. I was happy to see some of you who took advantage of the deal and enjoyed the  sunshine, great sport, and maybe a beer or two. Hopefully you recognised my voice, enjoying my role as stadium announcer – a fun way to spend 3 days! My proudest moment was managing to get all 2000+ spectators to clap the intro to “We will rock you”.

If I can manage just a fraction of the participation from our members, our events and purpose as British Society will be assured. Let’s work together on this.

I wish you all a great spring/summer and hope to see you at our outdoor activities such as tennis, golf, squash and sailing.

As always, check the Britsoc Events Calendar for details.


Best regards,

Ian Cherington


Back to MagazineSwim back to ‘ Fish and Chips for the Soul’ magazine


Expat Poetry | Feral Nuns


By John Richardson, copywriter

Feral Nuns





unvirgin Mary and her 20 dogs of war

running towards me

convent hens out for a bit of prenuptial yoke

piercing blackened eyes with unreligious intent


a black boy collapses to his knees

“Save me sister” he cries

“Fuck off you cunt” howls the pregnant sister

wedding veil on top go her habit

fag in mouth

fags in all their mouths






their unrestrained joy leaves a boiling wake

it tosses me like an ungovernable emotion on to the wall

it’s depth crushes my lizard loins






they pass

I never recover


© John Richardson 2015

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Expat Poetry | Hardknott pass


Hardknott pass

Audis, Minis, battered Fords,

snake toward me

as their male occupants

invariably succumb to my allure


gears grind

frustration bites

adrenlin flows full  throttle

and  expletives  hit  the  dust

as brash egos in steel stallions

stare failure in the eye


let them revel in their achievement

on soft summer days

as when winter comes   and I

glisten in my prime

none dare caress me


© Dave Thomas 2015


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