Vegan ‘hutspot’ and a celebration

In October 1574, after a siege that had lasted for months and left many people starving, a young boy climbed upon the citywalls of Leiden. He saw how  the Spanish soldiers  had left their campements, fearing the rising water. They left, leaving everything behind. This boy, Cornelis Joppensz, ventured outside the city walls to explore the deserted army camps. He found a pot, filled with a mixture of carrots and onions, and brought it home. Ever since that day, people in Leiden eat ‘hutspot’ on the 3rd of October.  And so did we….

3 oktober 2015 leiden After an eventful day on the fairground, I cooked a large pot of hutspot to end our 3 Oktober celebration in style.

Hutspot is usually eaten together with meat, but I went for a vegan variety!

For a hungry family of four you will need:

1 kg potatoes, 750 gr carrots, 2 medium parsnips, 3 medium onions, vegetable stock, olive oil, ground black pepper.

optional: vegan ‘meatballs’.

hutspot 2Clean the potatoes, carrots and parsnip, chop in roughly equal cubes, cover with water and cook for about 15-20 minutes (check in between: you want to mash your veggies, not make porridge).

Chop the onions and glaze them in some olive oil, and powdered vegetable stock and pepper to taste.

Drain potatoes,carrot and parsnip,  add onions and mash. You can make it as smooth or as lumpy as you like. Add some more oil and vegetable stock or pepper according to taste.

Et voila, you’re done!

Just fry some vegan meatballs or even falafel (did that last year..) to go with your hutspot and you’ve got yourself the vegan version of  Leidens ‘signature dish’.

Eet smakelijk!

Vegan bananabread

I think it’s two years ago since I first participated in the Vegan Challenge. During the Vegan Challenge, hundreds of people  sign up to eat vegan for an entire month, to share experiences and to receive tasty recipes in their inbox. The next edition starts on October 1st, over 1700 people have signed up,  and I’m in!

Ever since that first Vegan Challenge, I’ve started eating vegan more and more. I remember feeling like a failure when, during that first challenge, I somewhat gave up after a week or two. Nevertheless, that challenge taught me a couple of succes recipes that I still use. And over time, I tried again and again to eat 100% vegan. That, however is something I haven’t achieved as yet.

I do believe a plantbased diet is better for the environment, and for a lot of animals, and I feel healthier and ‘cleaner’ when eating vegan. Participating in this next edition of the Vegan Challenge I hope will help me focus more, and be inspired to cook, bake and eat vegan more and more…..

To get in the mood, I explored the Vegan Challenge website, looking for new recipes. I came across a recipe for vegan banana bread (hurray! all other recipes I found contained eggs or dairy), and this was a real must try since I had a couple of brown spotty bananas waiting on the kitchen table.

The orginal recipe can be found here, but I made some adjustments because:

A. it was Sunday evening when I baked this, and I had to work with what was available (use what you have etc…..)

B. I am trying to cut down on my sugar consumption so I wasn’t comfortable with adding 150 grams of sugar

C. I had only 2 bananas instead of the required 3, so I adjusted the quantities of the other ingredients a bit.

vegan banana bread

First, I pre-heated the oven at 180 degrees Celsius, Then, I mixed the following dry ingredients in a bowl:

250 grams of whole wheat spelt flour, 50 grams of coconut blossomsugar, 50 grams of oatmeal, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 75 grams of chopped apricots, 75 grams of mixed nuts (walnut and pecan), 2 table spoons of cinnamon (because I looooove cinnamon, and because an extra touch of cinnamon can compensate for the lack of sugar, I hoped).

Then, in the blender I mixed:

100 ml of water, 100 ml of sunflower oil, 2 ripe bananas and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.

I added the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stirred a bit. Then I filled a small baking tray with this batter. I added  some raw cocoa nibs to the rest of the batter and filled 6 cupcake molds with this. I put it all in the oven and removed the cupcakes after 25 minutes. I baked the larger cake for 40 minutes, let it cool down a bit, put the kids to bed and made myself a cup of tea…..oh boy.

vegan bananabread2

From now on, I know what to do with overripe bananas!

Home made Granola

For the first time ( but very, very probably not the last!) I made my own granola.

School started again this week.  And on Sunday I tried to prepare  myself for our hurried morning routines and quick, quick breakfasts. Let’s make things a bit easier by at least having a tasty (but quick… ) breakfast to look forward to.

So, on Sunday evening I decided to make a nice, big jar of granola. A treat, on those busy mornings! I choose to use only ingredients I already had in my kitchen. I guess the good thing about granola is you can toss in whatever you like and it still tastes good…most of the time….

granola 1

I used:

  • 300 gr. oatmeal
  • 250 gr. mixed nuts ( hazelnut, pecan and walnut), chopped
  • a handfull of flaxseed
  • 3 spoons of coconut oil
  • 4 spoons of coconutblossom sugar
  • 4 spoons of agave syrup
  • 2 spoons of crunchy peanut butter
  • a handfull of dried cranberries, chopped
  • 2 spoons of cocoa nibs
  • 3 spoons of grated coconut

granola 2

And then:

Mix the oatmeal, nuts and flaxseed in a bowl.

In a large pan, mix the coconut oil, sugar, syrup and peanutbutter and stir on low heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the oatmeal mixture and stirr well.

Spread out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes at 120 degrees Celsius. Stirr every 10-15 minutes.

granola 3

Take the tray out of the oven and add cranberries, coconut and cocoa nibs. Mix well.

Allow to cool down and store in an airtight container.

This should be enough for the first few breakfasts of the new schoolyear!

granola 4

This was an experiment that turned out surprisingly tasty. Have you ever made your own granola, and what’s your favorite recipe? Please share!

Chocolate covered dates

This sunday the kids did nothing but R.E.L.A.X. And they deserved it, I should say. After dancing three performances in a row yesterday, a sold-out theatre for each show, they were quite entitled to a day of watching series, playing with their mother’s make up, braiding each other’s hair and some crafting.

I’m not so good at relaxing though, so I filled my day with chores in and around the house, a good run, and some kitchen stuff.

Recently I was introduced to the oh so tasty phenomenon of chocolate covered dates. Have you had them yet? when I stumbled upon a huge packet of dates at the supermarket ( Ramadan, thank you!), I decided that today would be a great day to try and make some myself.

chocolate dates 1

For 16 chocolate covered dates, I used:

16 dates (really?…yes, and seedless, you might want to mind your teeth when making these)

90 grams of pure chocolate, melted

a bit of ground coconut

a bowl, a plate, a spoon and two forks.

And this is how you make them:

Melt your chocolate, au bain marie or in the microwave (in which case; check every 30 seconds or so, and stirr. You want your chocolate melted, not burned!)

Place a bit of coconut on a plate, and spread around.

Add your dates to the melted chocolate, stirr, and take ‘m out with your spoon, allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl, and carefully place them onto the ground coconut on your plate. Gently swirl the plate or use some extra ground coconut to cover the top of the dates. If you like roling your dates around the plate, forks are very useful.


You can ofcourse skip the coconut part and just cover the dates in chocolate only.

Place your plate in the fridge, eat the remainder of chocolate from the bowl, wash up, make some tea. Take your plate from the fridge, eat and enjoy.


Princess juice

These past few weeks, I was just too busy to blog. Even now I am fighting sleep, but I feel that if I don’t try to get back into a blogging routine, I might just not start blogging again anytime soon.

It’s not that there’s nothing to write about, it’s just that the everyday offline life is taking up all my time and energy right now.

It’s June again, and that is always just about the busiest month of the school year. One more month before our summer holidays begin, but so much left to do; at school, at home, at work….

beet and apple juice this green adventure

I try to take care of us all by making sure we go to bed on time, and have an unlimited supply of fruits and vegetables (vitamins!)

I even brushed the dust off my juicer and have started juicing again ( it’s been a while…)

My favorite juices are made with red beets, apples, carrots and pears ( and the occasional piece of cucumber). The beautiful pink colour is very attractive to the girls.

I call these beautiful red drinks ‘princess juice’ and and enjoy watching the kids drink in all those lovely vitamins and all…..

beet and apple juice

Yes, these will keep us going until our vacation finally begins

During which we will embark on a whole new exciting green adventure….. I should share some of it with you soon!

Noodles in a jar

Are you also fond of noodles? Easy to take along to work, hot and spicy, warm and tasty… it’s a perfect snack or office lunch.

Those packages of noodles are also packed in multiple plastic sachets, and are filled with E-numbers you don’t want to know you’re eating….

I found a healthy, greener…and tastier!…. alternative: noodles in a jar!


All you need is a  500 ml glass jar, a family size package of noodles, spices and vegetable stock, and fresh vegetables.

Before you leave for work, fill your jar with fresh vegetables that don’t require long cooking ( sprouts, frozen peas, leek, paprika, carrots, use your imagination…and whatever is available in your kitchen).

Add a big teaspoon of organic vegetable stock, and spices to taste. I usually add a spoon of curry powder and some extra black pepper.

Then, fill your jar to the top with noodles. You may need to break them a bit to fit in.

If you’re in a hurry in the morning, you can also prepare this the night before and keep it in the fridge.

At work all you’ll need is a bowl, a spoon, and some boiling water. Pour the contents of your jar in a bowl, add hot water until your noodles all well covered. Cover and wait for a minute or so, stirr, then eat.



The day after & an easy peasy cranberry-coconut-lemon cake

I promised you the recipe of my pre-Mother’s day easy peasy me-time cake.

So, here it is.

You will need:

– 2 cups of flour, one cup of sugar and a sachet of baking powder ( 16gr).

– 400 ml of coconut milk

– a handful of dried cranberries

– the juice of one lemon

– powdered sugar.

– mixing bowl, wooden spoon, baking tray, a bit of oil to brush on your tray.

Oil your baking tray  ( I used one 20 x 30 cm tray, and a tiny round one to make a cute little extra cake). Heat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Mix you flour, sugar and baking powder. Stir in coconut milk slowly. Your batter should not be too liquid. Nice and firm will do. Add the cranberries en stir briefly to mix them with the batter.


Put into your baking tray(s) and bake for 45 minutes below the centre of the oven.

Allow to cool down a bit before removing the cake from the tray. Meanwhile sqeeze your lemon and stir in enough powdered sugar to make some nice icing.

Carefully pour the icing onto the cake and allow to set. Once the cake has cooled down and the icing is firm…..enjoy!

Bon apetit!


PS: guess what happened yesterday? I got spoiled rotten by those sweeties of mine! Cake, coffee, candy, drawings, letters, and afternoon at the beach in.the.sun. And only some mild tantrum-y stuff by the end of the day. But then it it was almost bedtime, and we’d had such a great time together…I just didn’t mind anymore…..

Hurray for unexpected perfect days.


Chocolate mousse cake

I never experimented with silken tofu before, but now that I’ve found this recipe by Bake = Love, I think I’m lost forever…


This Oreo chocolate mousse cake is easy to make. My six year old helped with every step. Done in no-time, few ingredients, and nothing too complicated. But tasty…oh so tasty….that’s how I like my cakes!

You can find the recipe on Bake = Love and I seriously suggest you give it a try. Oh my!


Nooit eerder heb ik iets met zijden tofu gemaakt, maar sinds ik dit recept ontdekt heb, ben ik verloren. deze Oreo chocolade mousse taart gaan we hier nog heel vaak maken denk ik!

Niks niet ingewikkeld, mijn meisje van zes kon heerlijk meehelpen, maar een paar ingrediënten, snel klaar en oh zo heerlijk. van dat soort taartjes houdt ik wel!

Het recept, dat vind je hier. Als ik jou was? Dan wist ik het wel. Hup, lekker uitproberen!


Cakes for kingsday – koningsdag cakejes

Today is Kingsday, that one day a year when all of The Netherlands turns orange, and when kids and adults alike venture outside to sell whatever they can sell, and to look for good bargains.

Before setting out for a morning at our local Kingsday-market, we baked a bunch of orange cakes to sell ( they’re sold out by now!)


I made them the easy way:

Take a package of regular cakemix, which includes flour, sugar and baking powder. Add a can of coconut milk and stirr. Put into a muffin tray lined with pretty papers. I baked 29 little cakes with one package.


Bake for 20-25 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, make your icing by mixing the juice of one mandarin with enough powdered sugar to make it nice and thick but still liquid. Add a drop of foodcolouring for a more dramatic orange effect.

Allow your cakes to cool down before covering them with your orange icing.

Now you can either eat them, or sell them.



Vandaag zaten wij op de Koningsdagkleedjesmarkt bij ons in de wijk, en we namen oranje cakejes mee.

we bakten ze op de makkelijke manier:

Meng een pak cakemix (meel, suiker en bakpoeder) met een blik kokosmelk en verdeel het mengsel over ca. 29 muffinvormpjes. Doe ze niet te vol.

Bak de cakejes 20-25 minuten op 160 graden Celsius.

Ondertussen kun je het glazuur maken. Meng daarvoor het sap van 1 mandarijntje met genoeg poedersuiker om er een lekker dik glazuur van te maken. Voor wat extra kleur kun je een druppel levensmiddelenkleurstof toevoegen.

Als de cakejes afgekoeld zijn kun je ze versieren met het glazuur.

Tja, en dan kun je kiezen…ze verkopen of ze lekker zelf opsmikkelen!

Avocado cookies ?!?!

When I first started making these cookies my kids were very suspicious; ‘Is there avocado in here? You know we don’t like avocado!’ Turns out they do like these cookies…. Very much, as a matter of fact….

The original recipe I found at two peas and their pod. The first time I followed their recipe step-by-step and ever since I’ve improvised a bit, depending on what I had at hand in my kitchen.

Today,  I mixed together 1 ripe avocado, 100 ml almond milk, 5 tablespoons of agavesyrup,  and 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in my blender. I love the creamy green result, it looks just magical.  

how to make avocado cookies

After  pouring the green mixture into a bowl ( and then again into another one because I made more than I thought I had) I stirred in 150 gr  flour, 16 gr of baking powder, 5 tablespoons of cocoa powder, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

I also chopped up some   leftover Easter eggs (pure chocolate)  and stirred them in.

On a baking tray I made 20 cookies; a spoonful of batter each, leave a little space in between, and add some nuts on top if you like. Then bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Let them cool down, then eat and enjoy!

avocado cookies 1

Today’s cookies turned out to be not so sweet. For sweeter cookies use more syrup, or add sugar. Just taste the batter and adjust according to taste. There’s little that can go wrong here  so just experiment a bit.




Bon apetit!