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Gouda Cheese – the yellow motor?

Categories: Amsterdam, Art and Culture, Food and drink, Museums, To do in Amsterdam
Comments Off on Gouda Cheese – the yellow motor?

By Sue Godsave

The Dutch are big cheese eaters – eating cheese on bread for breakfast and lunch, cheese cubes as a snack with a drink at the end of the afternoon, and grated cheese over the macaroni for dinner – all adding up to an average of around 20 kg per person per year.

The Dutch cheese eaten the most, both in the Netherlands and abroad, is Gouda cheese, or ’Goudse kaas’, so-named because cheese produced in Holland had to be traded in the city of Gouda.  Gouda-type cheese has been made and traded since the middle ages, and is reputedly one of the oldest cheeses still being made today. Traditional cheese markets are also still being held, but these days mainly as a colourful tourist attraction, acted out on different mornings of the week in Gouda and several other Dutch towns during the summer months.

Gouda cheese changes as it matures to give a range of textures and flavours, but in general it can be characterised as relatively sweet. During production, the curds are washed with warm water after the milk has separated into curds and whey. This causes some of the milk sugar, lactose, to be washed away, and reduces the formation of lactic acid in the cheese, so Gouda cheese tastes less sour than cheddar, for example.  The washed curds are shaped in moulds, and the resulting ‘wheel-shaped’ cheeses are soaked in brine for several days before they are allowed to mature. This process extracts some of the water from the cheese, aids ‘skin’ formation and acts as a preservative, as well as giving extra flavour.  Nowadays, Gouda cheese is made in the traditional Dutch way all around the world, in countries including the USA, China, New Zealand and South Africa. However, only cheese made in the Netherlands can be labelled ‘Gouda Holland’, and for a cheese to be called ‘Noord-Hollandse Goudse’ all stages of the production process have to be carried out in the province of North Holland.

There are six categories of Gouda cheese depending on the length of the maturation period:

‘jonge kaas’, matured for only 4 weeks, and a soft, very mild and creamy ‘young’ cheese;

‘jong belegen’, matured for 8-10 weeks, and still fairly soft, but with a stronger flavour;

‘belegen’, matured for 16-18  weeks, a ‘mature’ cheese with a firmer texture;

‘extra belegen’, matured for 7-8 months;

‘oude kaas’, ‘old cheese’, matured for 10-12 months, and a tasty, hard cheese that may contain crystals, principally of calcium lactate;

‘overjarige’, ‘over-aged’, matured for at least 12 months.

The majority of Dutch cheese is factory-made these days, but some Gouda-type cheese is still made on farms. Unlike the factory-made cheese, this ‘boerenkaas’ is made from unpasteurised fresh milk. Different batches of farmers’ cheese may vary, depending on the farm and the conditions at the time, but farmers’ cheese generally has extra flavour.  Seeds or spices are also sometimes added to factory-made and farmers’ Gouda cheese – Gouda with cumin seeds is particularly good, and you can also find it with cloves or mustard seeds.

You need about ten litres of milk to make a kilogram of Gouda cheese and the finished product is high in protein, fat, and calcium, as well as being an important source of vitamins B12 and K. It is about 40% water, and contains almost no carbohydrate. The fat in Gouda cheese contributes significantly to its flavour and good melting qualities. Normally, between 48 and 52% of the dry weight of factory-made Gouda is fat, and it is labelled ‘48+’ to show this. The dry weight percentage is used because it doesn’t change during maturation, while the water content decreases. In a young 48+ cheese, about 29% of the total weight is fat.

Around two thirds of the fat in Gouda cheese is saturated, and concerns about eating too much saturated fat have led to the development of lower fat cheeses, labelled e.g. 20+ or 30+, the plus again indicating the fat content in the dry weight. There is also graskaas, made from the milk of cows which have eaten the new spring grass in the meadows. This cheese may contain a higher proportion of unsaturated fats, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may even help to protect against heart disease.

Every Dutch supermarket has a big selection of Gouda cheese but for something special you should try a specialist market stall or shop, where you may be able to taste the cheese before you buy. In Amsterdam, there are helpful staff and samples of many different Dutch cheeses in the combined Cheese Museum and shop on the Prinsengracht, where the photo at the top was taken. There are even shops where you can buy Gouda cheese that is coloured blue, green and red (though I prefer it yellow).

In the Netherlands, milk has been described as the ‘white motor’, and more than 12 billion kilograms are produced here each year. More than half of this is turned into cheese, both for home consumption and export. Dutch Gouda cheese comes in a range of consistencies and flavours, and if you’re new to the Netherlands, you might be surprised at how good it can be.

On the 10th December this year the most glamorous and glittering event of the Netherlands Christmas social calendar will be once again held in the St Olaf Chapel in The NH Barbizon Hotel opposite Central station.

This year’s theme will be Glitz and Glam. Chris Naylor, Head Chef at Restaurant Vermeer in the NH Barbizon Palace in Amsterdam, will be sprinkling his Michelin star magic over the three course menu he has developed for the charity ball.

At the welcome reception you will be able to get a glimpse of the terrific prizesfor the Charity raffle and Silent auction. The fabulous meal will be accompanied by wine and an evening of entertainment to dance the night away. A late night breakfast will also be served to those who are still going strong after midnight.

Last remaining tickets available here:

Click Here for Tickets

The entertainment for the night is also just announced:

This year we have The Bowkers to entertain us, a fantastic singing sensation over from the UK. Justine, Max and Lukas together with their father Jason love to perform many genres of music and they will transport you back to the golden era of swing with their classic vocals and harmonies, slick fashion and quick wit.

For those of you who love to let your hair down and dance the night away they will deliver Soul, Motown and pop classics all night long.

image2

The Menu has just been announced:

British Society Ball Christmas dinner menu

Amuse

Liquid tortilla with onion and mushroom

Menu

Tuna tartar with black miso dressing and lemon granola

***

Duck breast with roasted cauliflower, lentils and a mild curry sauce

***

Pecan tart with mascarpone ice cream and red fruit sauce

British Society Christmas dinner Vegetarian menu

Amuse

Liquid tortilla with onion and mushroom

Menu

BBQ beetroot with black miso dressing and lemon granola

***

Salt crusted celeriac with roasted cauliflower, lentils and a mild curry sauce

***

Pecan tart with mascarpone ice cream and red fruit sauce

Ball Charity

Our Charity this year is Voedselbank (Food Bank) which helps out 1,500 families in Amsterdam.  Some details are available here:

Click here for Charity Details

GENEROUS SPONSORS NEEDED!

We are hoping to find generous sponsors this year who can provide a prize for our raffle or silent auction which we can turn into cash for our chosen charity which this year is the Food Bank in Amsterdam. They provide basic nutrition for around 1,500 families in Amsterdam who cannot afford to feed their families.

It also provides you or your business with a great opportunity to advertise to the British and Expat community in and around Amsterdam. The offer of a generous prize means we will splash you all over our website and facebook feeds plus you will be featured in a special spread in our monthly Zine magazine.  This means you reach around 3,000 Britons and Expats.

We are asking for your help to make this excellent event a fantastic success.  All offers of help from any organisation through sponsorship and other ideas for the ball’s Charity Raffle or Silent Auction are very welcome…please email us …

chair@britsoc.nl or ball@britsoc.nl

Many thanks in advance, and we look forward to seeing you at the  Ball on the 10th December at the NH Barbizon Hotel.

90 years of Marilyn Monroe Exhibition

Categories: Amsterdam, Art and Culture, To do in Amsterdam
Comments Off on 90 years of Marilyn Monroe Exhibition

by Carol Moore

Having just been to see the exhibition at the Nieuwe Kerk of celebrating what would have been Marilyn Monroe’s 90th birthday, I thought it a rather poignant topic in which to highlight the life and challenges that being a female in society brings.

Marilyn, whose real name of Norma Jean Baker began life in a rather squalid, turbulent way. Born in 1926, she was given away by her natural mother to foster parents and subsequently appeared to have had the burden of growing up too fast thrust upon her. She even married her next door neighbour so as not to have to return to the orphanage again. What a young person goes through and experiences as such an early age most definitely shapes them for their later years and who they will become. But it isn’t always doom and gloom that must repeat itself, as often, this kick-starts a desire to win, in whatever shape or form, but almost certainly, a catalyst to prove others wrong.

Marilyn was determined to fulfill her lifelong ambition of becoming a successful actress from an early age and became fascinated by Hollywood, glamour and the influence and adulation she saw they received. Perhaps as a contrast to her own lack of attention from an adolescent, she soon realised that she would show the world she meant business. In an age back then where women were not equal to men, she marilyn-2was famously quoted as saying “I have too many fantasies to be a housewife.” Something which back then would have caused great controversy but also as we see now, as others have done too, provide huge inspiration to many females. She also decided to work out, lifting weights, which was abhorrently unheard of, in order to perfect and maintain her wonderful physique. I often wonder if she had been an icon in our modern times, if so many of my friends and acquaintances might not have suffered the negative body image that is placed upon us when seeing the emaciated look of the so called international catwalk models, whose body shape almost most of us will never match.

She threw caution to the wind and became a movie star, albeit a not very successful one initially, but like so many things that we try and fail with, she continued with a strong will and conviction, which eventually paid off. She was reported as quoting “If I had observed all the rules, I’d never have gotten anywhere.” We must take note from this and realise that we make our own destiny in life and if we just keep trying and ignore the haters, it will eventually pay off.

Having married and divorced at an early age, she later went on to marry Joe De Maggio, a famous US sports star, however this wasn’t to last as he all too soon he became very controlling, jealous and resentful of her popularity and success. “I don’t mind living in a man’s world, as long as I can be a woman in it” became a key statement for her as she edged towards equaling the male Hollywood stars of that time. How often do we see even now, the challenges of being a female in the workplace balanced with having children, perhaps taking a career break to raise them and returning to the same position as your male counterpart? It seems that although she was living in times gone by, the same challenges are still very much alive.

marilyn-3What we, as women (and every gender in fact) must take from this, is that “Fear is stupid. So are Regrets.” The fear of not having dared try something has hit me many a time and have missed out on trying or doing something, which looking back, would have been just fine! Personally speaking, it took me 6 years to pluck up the courage to go to the cinema alone. My fear was that “people would stare,” or that others would think I was a loner. Having done this for the past 6 years now, my only regret was not having done this earlier!

If we try and follow her motto of “I live to succeed, not to please you or anyone else” we won’t go far wrong. And I personally have taken many key learnings from this wonderfully stylish, powerful, yet gentle woman.

Highly recommend anyone looking to spend an hour strolling around the exhibition to go for it and who knows, you might take your own life lessons from it. Closes February 2017. 

On the 10th December this year the most glamorous and glittering event of the Netherlands Christmas social calendar will be once again held in the St Olaf Chapel in The NH Barbizon Hotel opposite Central station.

This year’s theme will be Glitz and Glam. Chris Naylor, Head Chef at Restaurant Vermeer in the NH Barbizon Palace in Amsterdam, will be sprinkling his Michelin star magic over the three course menu he has developed for the charity ball.

At the welcome reception you will be able to get a glimpse of the terrific prizesfor the Charity raffle and Silent auction. The fabulous meal will be accompanied by wine and an evening of entertainment to dance the night away. A late night breakfast will also be served to those who are still going strong after midnight.

Over 60% of tickets are already sold.  Don’t be dissapointment and book now.

Click Here for Tickets

The Menu has just been announced:

British Society Ball Christmas dinner menu

Amuse

Liquid tortilla with onion and mushroom

Menu

Tuna tartar with black miso dressing and lemon granola

***

Duck breast with roasted cauliflower, lentils and a mild curry sauce

***

Pecan tart with mascarpone ice cream and red fruit sauce

British Society Christmas dinner Vegetarian menu

Amuse

Liquid tortilla with onion and mushroom

Menu

BBQ beetroot with black miso dressing and lemon granola

***

Salt crusted celeriac with roasted cauliflower, lentils and a mild curry sauce

***

Pecan tart with mascarpone ice cream and red fruit sauce

Ball Charity

Our Charity this year is Voedselbank (Food Bank) which helps out 1,500 families in Amsterdam.  Some details are available here:

Click here for Charity Details

GENEROUS SPONSORS NEEDED!

We are hoping to find generous sponsors this year who can provide a prize for our raffle or silent auction which we can turn into cash for our chosen charity which this year is the Food Bank in Amsterdam. They provide basic nutrition for around 1,500 families in Amsterdam who cannot afford to feed their families.

It also provides you or your business with a great opportunity to advertise to the British and Expat community in and around Amsterdam. The offer of a generous prize means we will splash you all over our website and facebook feeds plus you will be featured in a special spread in our monthly Zine magazine.  This means you reach around 3,000 Britons and Expats.

We are asking for your help to make this excellent event a fantastic success.  All offers of help from any organisation through sponsorship and other ideas for the ball’s Charity Raffle or Silent Auction are very welcome…please email us …

chair@britsoc.nl or ball@britsoc.nl

Many thanks in advance, and we look forward to seeing you at the  Ball on the 10th December at the NH Barbizon Hotel.

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to our sizzling September edition of the Zine.  Now the heat is slowly subsiding we can look forward to our exetensive programme of Autumn and Winter events.

We recently held our AGM on 1st September which is a bit earlier than normal.  There are few changes to the society to which were agreed at the meeting.  I would like to thank our outgoing Treasurer, William Tweddle thanks for his many years of service and would like to welcome on board Rupert Apthorp as our new treasurer.

There are a a number of other things we have agreed in the meeting such as our commitment to free membership for the coming year.  We have also created some new committee positions.

Since the relationship with English speaking schools is very important to us, we have created school liasion positions on our committee so they can have their say in what would interest their families and staff for social events and get togethers. It is a pleasure to welcome Paul Morgan the new Principal of the British School of Amsterdam on our committee and we hope to feature an interview him soon.  We are still looking for liasions for the other English Langauge schools in Amsterdam and surroundings.  If you are representative of the school be it teacher or parent and would like to join our board and give the British Society some direction then we would be happy to welcome you.  We meet around 4 times per year to discuss the Society.

We have also created the position of Events Coordinator.  This is a new position and at the moment remains unfilled.  If you are a dynamic person with some free time on your hands and would like to organise social events with the financial backing of our organisation then this is the job for you.  Please feel free to contact me at chair@britsoc.nl.

Our Autumn/Winter season is the busiest we have.  Please keep your eyes peeled for the following:

Expactica Fair – 2nd October, Beurs van Berlage

We need a bit of help on the stand so if you dont mind standing around for a couple of hours I can promise a couple of free drinks are in it for you.  Please contact me a chair@britsoc.nl

Expatica Ad

Booming Business 3 – 12th October, Boom Chicago (TBC)

Bonfire Night 2016 – 6th November

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Glitz & Glamour Charity Ball – 10th December

BRT_5136

The las 2 events are our to premier events and sell out extremely quickly please do not be dissapointed.  Tickets go on sale very shortly.

For our smaller events please see our Meetup site:

We have our sports clubs, comedy nights, curry nights and many other events which we get exclusive discounts and special offers for our members.

British Society of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, NL
976 Britsoc Friends

The British Society organises events with a British flavour. A very social club, we’re open to people of every nationality who are looking to meet new friends, play sports and…

Next Meetup

Extra Players for Britsoc Tuesday Evening Squash

Tuesday, Nov 6, 2018, 7:00 PM
1 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Nick Nugent

chair@britsoc.nl

Our premier family event returns again this year on Sunday 6th November to the Watersports centrum Sloterpas.  This year promises to be more spectacular than ever!  We have engaged a new firework provider who is promising our most spectacular display yet.  Attached to the page is a movie of some of their previous displays.  You can see some of their recent work below.

All the usual stuff will be available mulled wine, burgers and hot dogs.

The Guy competition will be bigger this year with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Tickets will go on sale shortly in the Britsoc shop.  Last year we sold out in about 1 week.  Please don’t be dissappointed and get your tickets as soon as you can.  We have a strict limitation on tickets with our license so in the good dutch term OP=OP.

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Address:

Watersportcentrum Sloterplas

Christoffel Plantijngracht 4, 1065 DA Amsterdam

Tram 1 and 17, Bike and Car parking available.

Time:

Gates open 4pm Event finishes 8pm

Fireworks: as soon as it is dark enough

Adult tickets:  15 euros

Under 14: Free

Restaurant Review – Meneer de wit Heeft Honger

Categories: Amsterdam, Britsoc Chairman, Food and drink, Nick's Nosh, To do in Amsterdam
Comments Off on Restaurant Review – Meneer de wit Heeft Honger

 Meneer de wit Heeft Honger ****

Witte de Withstraat 10, 1057 XV Amsterdam Tel: +31 20 737 3184

http://meneerdewitheefthonger.nl/

Online reservation possible

I live in the West of Amsterdam on the border of De Baarsjes and Bos & Lommer. Although Bos & Lommer has some wonderful ethnic cuisine, in general we head into the Baarsjes for our local restaurant fix. There is normally a new place opening in our area every month and so we do not suffer from a lack of choice. We recently visited Huis van Lopez which was aiming for a Mexican style. However everything just tasted of lime juice and pretty much nothing else. This review is about a restaurant I do like.

It is now extremely rare that a restaurant makes it to my go-to list which currently consists of 42 places. This one does.

This is a very unassuming restaurant just off Kinkerstraat on the line of the 17 and 7 tram. I had walked past it before and I thought it smelled great. The owner/chef is a Moroccan guy and the menu is Arabic/Mediterranean inspired. It is a simple place with white walls, basic wooden furniture open kitchen and room for about 50 covers.

I had looked on2016-07-21-20-05-42line at the menu beforehand so I was pretty sure what I wanted. Unfortunately the grilled sardines where finished when we arrived and so we chose 3 starters and oven baked dorade to share. The starters we chose were Arabic staples – hummus, baked spicy aubergine and a maybe not so Arabic staple, mixed beet platter. The first 2 were my choice and I thought they sang with flavour. Beets I don’t particularly care for, but they were nice enough. These were served with some slices of regular baguette-style bread. I could have just stopped there as it was filling enough and very tasty.

 

 

The dorade came out on a silver platter with wedges of lemon and covered in spices. The top of it was crispy roasted skin and underneath was slightly stewed. It was cooked to perfection. We shared a bit of the top and bottom with a generous squeeze of lemon juice. We had nothing to accompany it, but if you would like something, then a simple green salad would be all you would need.

The service was effective and unobtrusive. Simple. We had a bottle of white wine, no idea what it was, but it was good enough. The bill was well under 100 euros for 2 people.

It is simple, tasty, good value. You don’t need to know much more than this. Just go – you will be happy you have been there.

On the 10th December this year the most glamorous and glittering event of the Netherlands Christmas social calendar will be once again held in the St Olaf Chapel in The NH Barbizon Hotel opposite Central station.

This year’s theme will be Glitz and Glam and tickets will go on sale shortly. Chris Naylor, Head Chef at Restaurant Vermeer in the NH Barbizon Palace in Amsterdam, will be sprinkling his Michelin star magic over the three course menu he has developed for the charity ball.

At the welcome reception you will be able to get a glimpse of the terrific prizes\for the Charity raffle and Silent auction. The fabulous meal will be accompanied by wine and an evening of entertainment to dance the night away. A late night breakfast will also be served to those who are still going strong after midnight.

We will be open for ticket sales later in September but you may have to be quick as last year we were sold out in 3 weeks!

GENEROUS SPONSORS NEEDED!

We are hoping to find generous sponsors this year who can provide a prize for our raffle or silent auction which we can turn into cash for our chosen charity which this year is the Food Bank in Amsterdam. They provide basic nutrition for around 1,500 families in Amsterdam who cannot afford to feed their families.

It also provides you or your business with a great opportunity to advertise to the British and Expat community in and around Amsterdam. The offer of a generous prize means we will splash you all over our website and facebook feeds plus you will be featured in a special spread in our monthly Zine magazine.  This means you reach around 3,000 Britons and Expats.

We are asking for your help to make this excellent event a fantastic success.  All offers of help from any organisation through sponsorship and other ideas for the ball’s Charity Raffle or Silent Auction are very welcome…please email us …

chair@britsoc.nl or ball@britsoc.nl

Many thanks in advance, and we look forward to seeing you at the Glitz and Glam Charity Ball on the 10th December at the NH Barbizon Hotel.

Restaurant Review – Bak

Categories: Britsoc Chairman, Food and drink, Nick's Nosh, To do in Amsterdam
Comments Off on Restaurant Review – Bak

Bak **

Van Diemenstraat 408, 1013 CR Amsterdam

Tel: 020 737 2553

http://www.bakrestaurant.nl/nl

Online reservation possible

This restaurant had gained almost mythical status in my head as a bastion of really good food, not due to the fact that I had been there, but because people with opinions I respect had been there and told me that it was not just good… it was really good.  Apart from very few exceptions in Amsterdam, these unicorns do not exist, or maybe they do but then a poacher comes along and murders it for its horn.  I had a recent experience at Dragon-I, formerly my favourite Pan-Asian restaurant, which left me with the feeling it had been mortally wounded.  I need to go back for another QC visit soon but I am not hopeful.

There had been murmurings that all was not right in the BAK camp a few months ago, but I had been trying to get into this place, admittedly on the spur of the moment most times, for about 1 year.  I thought it was time to actually book this place in advance.  My sister was in town for a visit and I had given her the choice of around 8 new restaurants which I wanted to try.  BAK was the choice.

It is located in the old warehouses along Van Diemenstraat on the third floor.  If you manage to get one of the very few window seats, then you have an excellent view looking out past Silodam over to NSDM werf and beyond up the IJ.  However we were not so lucky and probably you would have to request one of those tables or be someone with a bit of clout to get one.  The inside has a simple, elegant, industrial feel about it.  It is light and airy with the high ceilings and white walls.  We were happy it looked very promising.

One odd thing however, which did get my hackles up before we started, is that we had a very bizarre experience with the confirmation of the booking.  You may have encountered this practice with other posh restaurants, which have a habit of calling you on the day, just to make sure that you are really coming.  They often have a clause that if they cannot reach you after X attempts or Y hours, they reserve the right to give your table away.  At around 13:30 I had a call from them (I had BAK’s number in my phone from previous failed attempts) and I said hello for about 30 secs but no-one responded.  A minute later, the same thing.  Knowing the policy and since I could not hear anything, I dropped them an email about 10 minutes later to confirm I was coming and that they might have an issue with their phone.  The response I got was that they had heard me.  Why not send me an email then?  This made me suspicious that they were trying to free up some capacity, maybe for a regular guest.  This is conjecture of course, but if you did not have their number in your phone and lost your table, then that would be unfortunate.  I use this as a cautionary tale for you all out there.

As we sat and looked at the menu – which consisted of about 25 ingredients – no cooking technique listed or sauces mentioned, we wondered what we were in for.  You have the choice of 6 courses as standard or add in 2 additional courses.  The additions were:

Langoustine

Cassoulet, bone marrow

Messeklever

Mediar, watercress

In the end we added the Langoustine only, but did select the matching wine choices, while also selecting a glass of Champagne as an aperitif.

The meal got off to a bang with the 2 amuses. The first was a tapioca crisp made with squid ink and seaweed mayo.  This wa2016-08-12-19-35-19s very flavoursome with just the right balance of salty and fishiness.  The second amuse was a yellow beetroot wedge served on a berry compote and with citrus foam.  Personally I am not that fond of beetroot but was prepared to go for it, but I thought the citrus really clashed with the earthy beet.  I guess this signalled what was about to happen.

Our Menu started in earnest with the matched wines.  So first of all the wine was delivered.  They pride themselves on mostly local and organic produce, which means the wines are organic.  I like a good organic wine.  We got a La Sorga from Languedoc in France.  The sommelier pointed out that this was made by oxidative technique.  What this meant was that the glass we were presented with looked cloudy, the colour of scrumpy and had many of those characteristics on the nose.  My guests thought it was wrong in more ways than one.  This was not a wine to be had without food.

So the food.  What was delivered was as pretty as a picture.  Hopefully our Editor includes my amateur shot of it, as it was beautiful.  Just a shame we had to enjoy it with what I can only describe as a funky wine.  The plate consisted of courgette 3 ways, raw, pickled and blanched ribbons.  Edible flowers , citrus mayo and a lemon verbena sauce completed the dish.  It was fresh and tasty, apart from when you tried to match with the wine which, I’m sorry, just did not work except maybe a little with the pickle.  I did however get a bit bored with this dish after about 4 – 5 forkfuls of it.  The lemon verbena sauce needed some more prominence.  It was only ok in the end.

The next course was described as:

Eggplant

Miso, Bottarga2016-08-12-20-21-36

This consisted of 2 wafer thin roasted crisps of aubergine, creating a sandwich of which the filling consisted of an aubergine ragout with miso.  The sauce was a cream sauce with bottarga, which is a cured fish roe.  OK.  I like a challenge to my palette.  The previous wine I just about accepted.  My guests did not.  This was an extremely challenging dish.  If you go out on Friday night for a nice feed I am not really expecting to be confronted with PhD level flavour combination viva.  There is no doubt that this had flavour, but the word funky comes to mind again.  The fishy burnt aubergine combination was funky.  It was served with a Beaujolais wine which was all red fruits and perfume.  Not really a nice combination with the burnt, miso, fishy thing we were confronted with.

So now you may imagine we are starting to get a bit twitchy about everything as there has been a series of very odd things.  Maybe one sign of the confusion which was on the plate was the cutlery.  Every knife, fork and spoon which was delivered was different.  Most were quite functional until I was delivered a really small thin fork with tines very close together which could not spear anything.  Our attention was also drawn to the music which was mostly in the background then one song in 5, something like Rocket man, would blare out and distract.  The third point was the chairs.  I was sort of ok in mine but my guests were really starting to complain.  They are not the most comfortable at all.

2016-08-12-20-31-482016-08-12-20-31-412016-08-12-20-31-37

Vegetables and Herbs

Was the title of the next course an2016-08-12-20-41-13d it lived up to its name.  It was quite pretty with a range of vegetables treated in various different ways and arranged like art on the plate.  It looked very healthy and we all looked forward to eating it.  We were warned to use the almost glowing, translucent gel on the side of the plate sparingly with all the components.  It turned out to be a lemon sauce. There were some nice things on the plate.  Local tomatoes which actually tasted of something.  A pumpkin puree which was flavoursome, a carrot cooked with garlic truffle and assorted herbs.  Nice things.  Nothing worked together.  It was a collection of vegetables cooked in different ways which did not really go together.  I love peas.  Correction. I love cooked peas.

 

The bullets which I tried to spear using my useless narrow tined fork were impossible.  The glowing nuclear lemon sauce coated the tongue which left you unable to taste anything for about 3-4 minutes.  The wine chosen to battle with our palette was a Zanotto Prosecco – yes  this lightly perfumed Prosecco was pointless and could not compete with the sauce.  I would also class the lemon sauce as funky.

The next course was the extra one of the Langoustine.  Funky!!  Beans (the cassoulet) undercooked for me, very savoury, bacon flavoured sauce from the marrowbone and a delicate langoustine and some well cooked broad beans.  The langoustine was lost in the melée of beans and marrowbone.  After the langoustine was gone, the beans were boring.  This was matched with a strange red, Pinot Grigio I think, which arrived about 2 minutes after the course arrived.

By this point we had realised that the dessert was semolina, which was not a favourite of any of us, so we asked to switch.  The only option was the cheese – Messeklaver.  We accepted.2016-08-12-21-31-36

Main was wild boar, with a some pieces of beetroot, a red wine reduction and a hollandaise sauce with elderflower.  This was well cooked. My guests really liked this.  The piece of meat I had, had sinew running through the middle, which spoiled my enjoyment.  The wine served was a Spanish Ribero del Duero, which is a very powerful Rioja-style oaked wine.  A ex-colleague of  mine once told me that game meats like this are often paired with big heavy, tannic wines and it just does not work.  I am in total agreement with this point of view.  Actually things like this and venison deserve a more subtle wine, Pinot Noir or even Beaujolais.  This was a good course for all except for me.  Another miss.

 

Next came the funky tomato pre-dessert.  If you are going to serve a pre-dessert which is savoury it needs to be nice.  I have a few examples of this over the years. One example, which I would rather forget, was a goats’ cheese mousse, which was shocking.  This was not in that league, but we ended up eating it with scrunched up faces as we did not really know how to process this dish in our brains.

Finally the cheese. A generous chunk of cow cheese with something like a melba toast.  It was half decent cheese with very average toast.

Bill Please.

This cost all in all 324 euros for 3 people.  I did not feel we had 324 euros-worth of food.  The service was exceptional by Amsterdam standards.  We had arrived at 7:30 and we were paying the bill by 10:30.  I was not really expecting to endure such a test of my taste buds, I really just wanted to enjoy a nice dinner.  All the food and wine combinations were funky.  In my opinion, get back to basics.  The ingredients are there. They know how to cook and present food, just stop with all the experimental stuff, you are not good enough.  If my sister was doing this review they would have got 1 star.  I thought the service was so outstanding that it deserves a point and they get 1 for the food.  Never meet your heroes, you will be disappointed.

Nick Nugent

nicksnosh@hotmail.com

Poetry Critique Group – Amsterdam

Categories: Amsterdam, Expat Poetry, Poetry, To do in Amsterdam
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Our Friends at the language poetry critique group are looking for new members.

We are an English language poetry critique group based in Amsterdam. We meet twice monthly on a Thursday evening from 6.30 till around 8.30. No experience is necessary, but you would need to write poetry in English and give and receive critique in a supportive environment. We are a friendly open group and welcome anyone who is interested. Membership is free, but there may be a small charge for the venue.

The next meeting is on 8th October.

For further details contact Robin Winkel at robinwinckel@kpnplanet.nl