Angelica’s places to eat in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a great city for food and foodies.
You might think that the Dutch don’t have great food and a food tradition like France or Italy, they have come a long way baby.
The fact that the globe has shrunk through easy travel and internet, opened up the whole world for everybody and especially the Dutch. The Dutch can have about 2 months off work and they do travel! But back to food.
The Dutch bitterballen and frikadel aside, there is a growing number of Michelin starred restaurants in the Netherlands, a little over 100 of which two with 3* and 18 with 2* in 2013, up from 15 2* in 2012.
Aside of the Michelin starred restaurants there are a ton of great places to have lunch or dinner.
My newest discovery, though they celebrated their 10th anniversary, is Restaurant Blue Pepper, an Indonesian restaurant, exquisite for Rijsttafel.
Rijsttafel at Restaurant Blue Pepper, AmsterdamTo quote from their website: “Blue Pepper serves authentic Indonesian cuisine with a distinct West Javanese accent and a contemporary touch.”
The flavors are so pure and distinctly layered, a very fresh feeling in your mouth, if you could say that of food that has a lot of spices and herbs, without overpowering the different nuances. Blue Pepper’s rijsttafel consist of 16 dishes, on the picture is the 3rd course!, finishing with a delicious trio of sweets. Price: 70 euro without drinks.

A more modestly priced dinner I had on a beautiful summer evening strolling through and over Amsterdam’s canal streets, with the canals overflowing with happy people, because the sun is out and staying, thank you very much.Amsterdam on a summer day

At Leliegracht 34/corner Keizersgracht there is da Portare Via, a pizza take out. Nothing fancy but delicious pizza baked in a wood fueled oven right in front of you. You can take it out or have your pizza sitting outside, watching the locals enjoying their summer.

da Portare Via da Portare Via bakingEat your pizza sitting outside addresses for da Portare Via

Or you can do as the students do and buy your fresh fruits and veggies on one of the many farmers markets in Amsterdam.

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And because it’s summertime in Amsterdam and there is actually a real summer feeling, you just grab a chair and your goodies from the farmers market and you enjoy the sun and lunch al fresco with friends.

What is your way to celebrate summer in your city?

I will be changing the name of the blog to Angelica’s Delights. That covers all the delightful activities that I want to tell you about, of course starting with food, but also travel, gardens, culture and the good life, the delightful life. So from the next post, watch out for Angelica’s Delights.

Please let me know what you think, see you around.

Chili con Carne

Chili con Carne
The other day I made a Chili con Carne and when I sat down to eat, my plate looked so appetizing that I had to take a photo and share it on Facebook.
I got a lot of positive feedback on the picture and someone asked me for the recipe.
Here it goes, my Chili con Carne.

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
250 g minced meat
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 Madame Jeanette (hot!) pepper, finely chopped
1 16 oz/454 g can of barbecue beans (discard the liquid)
1 8 oz/227 g can of tomato sauce
1 Madame Jeanette pepper, whole
salt, freshly ground pepper, paprika powder to taste
optional, 6-8 white mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons spring onions, green and white, chopped
olive oil

Preheat your skillet and heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Add the onion and garlic and 1 finely chopped Madame Jeanette pepper and immediately season them with some salt and freshly ground pepper.
Sauté them for about 5 minutes.
Season the minced meat with salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika powder.
Add the minced meat and brown the minced meat with the onion and garlic. If necessary, add some more olive oil.
Brown the meat for about 5 minutes.
Add the diced bell pepper.
Add the beans and the tomato sauce and bring to a soft boil.
Add the whole Madame Jeanette pepper for aroma. Be careful not to break it.
This time I had mushrooms, which I decided to add to increase the volume of food.
Usually I don’t add them, they were a good addition though.
Sauté the mushrooms in a smaller skillet in some olive oil until golden.
Add them to sauce.
Let the Chili con Carne simmer another 5 minutes for all the flavors to blend.
Taste and adjust if necessary. Before serving discard the whole Madame Jeanette pepper.
Finish by sprinkling the spring onion on the Chili.

I ate the Chili con Carne with a small tomato and avocado salad.

2-3 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 avocado, large diced
very thinly sliced onion rings
3 teaspoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients just before serving.

And I added some grilled salad buns topped with garlic butter.

Garlic Butter

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
about 100 g butter at room temperature
Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tablespoon finely chopped spring onions

Mix all ingredients well.

Heat a grill or broiler.
Cut the salad buns in half.
Spread some garlic butter on each half and broil for a few minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy your meal.

There are lots of recipes for Chili con Carne. I think I make a different version every time, depending what I have in the fridge.
Tell me your version. What special ingredient do you add to make it so truly yours?

My Christmas Brunch 2012

I’m having my brothers and sisters over for Boxing Day actually and I’d like to share my menu with you.
Just in cases you need some last minute inspiration.
We are having Brunch, that is easy, it’s during daytime so you don’t go to bed with a full tummy and you can go easy with the alcohol, although a glass or two of Champagne will always go down well.
I start with my Puff pastry sticks with sesame seeds and this time I’ll cut out stars and sprinkle them with sesame seeds, poppy seeds and pine nuts, making three kinds of savory cookies.
One of my favorite dishes for Brunch that I have been making since 2002 is this Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Crisped Ham. I found the recipe in Bon Appetite or Gourmet magazine, cannot remember which one, and this recipe still rocks.
Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Ham Crisps.
baked eggs with crisped ham from Epicurious.com

You can prep it ahead of time and start baking just before your guests arrive.
Looks awesome and tastes delicious. Yummi.
I will also have a whole glazed ham and serve it with piccalilli, Curaçao style. In Curaçao we love to eat piccalilli with our Christmas ham from the oven.
I have two pages full of recipes here for you from Martha Stewart Living. You pick your ham.
My 6 nieces will also be my guests and I will be making one of these cute appetizing looking dishes for them. Get some inspiration from this picture that I found on Facebook. No recipes, have a look at the pictures and let it be an inspiration. It is mostly bread with eggs, cucumber, tomato and some greens. Make it with your small guests and have some fun in the kitchen.

appetizing plates
Brunch at Christmas time or any other time is a great way to entertain.
I’ll serve smoked salmon with bagel and cream cheese. Easy and delicious.
Here is a recipe for the smoked salmon served as an appetizer.
Norwegian-smoked-salmon-canapes-with-cream-cheese-reduced
Next dish is a small open sandwich I make with sun dried tomato spread topped with rucola and Serrano ham.  You make the spread by mixing one 8 oz/224 g package of cream cheese with roughly 3 oz/84 g of sun dried tomatoes in a food processor until you have a smooth spread, mix 3-5 minutes. You don’t have to add anything else to it. You get the sweetness of the sun dried tomato, the peppery taste of rucola and the saltiness of Serrano ham, I think a great combination.
Serrano Ham with rucola and sun dried tomato spread
The spread keeps for 3 days in the refrigerator and can be used as a filling for choux puffs or as a dip with crudités.
To finish we’ll have a fruit salad of mango, watermelon, kiwi and black grapes, Christine’s Lemon Wrath Cookies on the side and some ice cream.
I hope my menu gives you ideas and inspiration for your entertaining menu. Enjoy.
I wish you happy Holidays and a happy and healthy 2013.
Let me know what you are making for the Holidays.

6 things to see or do in Punda, Curaçao

If you are a day or two in Curaçao you might want to do these things to get a feeling of the Capital of Curaçao, Willemstad. Willemstad is divided by the Anna Bay in two halves, Punda and Otrobanda.
The two halves are connected by the Queen Emma pontoon bridge, the swinging old Lady.
the pontoon bridge
Crossing the bridge from Otrobanda (“the other side”) towards Punda (from the word “punt” or point) you see to your left our iconic Handelskade and to your right the Governor’s Palace.
gouverneur's paleis
1. Our first stop is at the Palace of the Governor, where you can enter the courtyard of Fort Amsterdam and visit the Fortkerk, a protestant church established in 1769. The Fortkerk has a museum you can visit.
In the Fortkerk there are regularly concerts, check local listings for that.
Coming back out of the courtyard you turn right and walk towards the Penha building, another icon of Punda.
SONY DSC.
You can stroll through the streets of Punda or head straight to our second stop. With the Penha building in front of you, go to your right towards the first square, da Costa Gomez square and turn onto the square to your left. At the end of the square turn right and you have the big yellow synagogue at the end of the street at your left.

2. The Mikvé Israel-Emanuel synagogue in Hanchi Snoa. Here you can visit the museum and admire the beautiful interior of the synagogue in a cool and serene environment.
Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue in Curaçao.
Yes, that is sand on the floor.

3. Out the door to your left and immediately left again walk two blocks up to the water of Waaigat, where you have to your left the Floating Market and to your right the New Market, a round building, and more to the right, about 100 yards/90 meters, the Old Market. The Old Market is our stop # 3.
I want to suggest you have your lunch right here at the Old Market and to stay ahead of the crowds be there at 11.45. Great photo op!
Order your lunch or let the girls advice you. A safe and delicious bet is fish…if you’re courageous you can try one of my favorites, Giambo, an okra soup filled with fish, shellfish and pig’s tale…and super slimy. Totally Fear Factor-like but than delicious at least. I like to eat at Zus, at the far end of the Old Market.

Zus at the Old Market

Share a Pumpkin Pancake as dessert. Angelica’s Kitchen’s version of the pancakes you can find here.
SONY DSC
4. When you’re done at the Old Market head straight back towards the Anna Bay and walk past the Floating Market, our colourful version of fresh fruits and vegetables and spices, brought in from Venezuela. Great photo op.
maritiem museum
5. At the end of the Floating Market, with the Anna Bay in front of you, turn to the right and cross the water towards the Maritime Museum..
If you are staying on the island, you can take a harbor tour on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s. Check with the Museum for more details.

handelskade6. To finish your tour of Punda you can relax at one of the cafe’s on the Handelskade and be in awe when the ships go in or out of the harbor. The pontoon bridge opens and closes so often, you are bound to witness a ship, small or tall, go in or out.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of Punda.
And remember to relax and don’t worry, be happy, you’re in Curaçao.
If you have been to Curaçao before, please share your moments with us and please share this blog with your friends. Like us on Facebook at Angelica’s Kitchen.

7 or more things to do in Curaçao

If you are so lucky to visit my island Curaçao, here are my favorite places to visit for good food and music.
1. Monday’s at Cafe Restaurant de Heeren it is Salads at half price, for lunch or dinner. I love their Thai Beef salad. Comes in small or regular portion.
2. Tuesday’s it is at O’mundo, where you can start the evening with a nice dinner and stay for Juni Juliet, a great entertainer and singer.
3. Wednesday’s is for me sushi day at Craving Sushi, I go here for lunch. In the evening you can grab a movie, 2 for 1, at the Cinemas in the Renaissance Mall.
4. Thursday evening from 8-10 pm you can enjoy live Jazz at Blues at Avila Hotel with great musicians like Hershel Rosario and David Ronchi Matthews , who both played at Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival. CNSJ is held at the end of August. Must see.
Before Jazz you can have dinner in the area of Penstraat where the Avila Hotel is, where you have a choice of good restaurants like Fishalicious, Pane e Vino, Seasons Restaurant, Batavia Club 1920 and Rozenendaels, where the tenderloin is always good.
5. On Friday you can hop from Happy Hour to Happy Hour, starting as early as 4.00 pm or stay in one area, for instance Pietermaai, and enjoy Happy Hour at Miles Jazz Cafe, from 5.30-6.30 and continue down the street to have dinner at Mundo Bizzaro, where they also have a Happy Hour from 5.30-6.30.
6. Saturday is for me the day I play golf. You can enjoy a round of golf at Old Quarry Golf Course at the Hyatt or at Blue Bay Curaçao. I play at Curacao Golf & Squash Club on Saturday afternoon, the course is then only open for competition.
7. On Sunday I’m winding down and chill out at home. You on the other hand could go for a trip to Klein Curaçao with Miss Ann Boat trips. In the evening I go dance salsa at Hemingway.
And then we start over again. Next time I can tell you about other wonderful places and things to do on Curaçao. You can check out activities at K-Pasa or Go Weekly.

These are a few of my favorite things, I hope you have a chance to enjoy them when you visit Curaçao or that you have enjoyed it now with this virtual visit to Curaçao.
Tell me your favorite things to do if you already have visited Curaçao. I’d love to here from you.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Curaçao Liqueur Sauce

I would like to give you a recipe of the pumpkin pancakes we made at Angelica’s Kitchen. Pumpkin pancakes are a staple in Curaçao and we jazzed it up with a Curaçao Liqueur Sauce with fresh orange juice and ice cream.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Curaçao Liqueur Sauce – serves 8

800 g pumpkin
1 stick of cinnamon
2 cups of water
a dash of salt

for the pancakes
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup of raisins

for the sauce
juice of 2 oranges
2 tablespoons of Curaçao Liqueur*
*(NOT the blue one, use the clear or rum raison)

Peel and seed the pumpkin. Dice it coarsely. In a pan add the water and cook the diced pumpkin with the cinnamon stick and salt until tender.Take the cooked pumpkin out of the water when done.

In a food processor add the cooked pumpkin, milk, sugar and vanilla extract and mix to a fine consistency. Add the egg and mix.
Combine the baking powder and flour and add to the pumpkin and mix until well combined.
If necessary add some more flour for a medium thick mixture.
Pour the mixture in a bowl and mix the raisins in with a wooden spoon.
Your pancake batter is ready to use.

Heat a skillet or a frying pan and spray with cooking spray.
Take per pancake 2 tablespoons of batter and poor it on the hot skillet.
Form with the spoon a round pancake and fry it about 3 minutes on each side till golden brown.

Mix the juice of the oranges with the Curaçao Liqueur.

Serve 2 pancakes per person, lukewarm or at room temperature, and pour a spoonful of the orange-Curaçao Liqueur sauce over the pumpkin pancakes.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Good food, good wine, good company

Last September 2012, Thérèse Boer of De Librije was in Curaçao, where she hosted a wine tasting held at Angelica’s Kitchen for a group of 40 guests. The wine tasting was organized by Dorine van den Elzen, who regularly gives workshops in Curaçao about wine and food pairing.
De Librije is a famous Dutch restaurant with 3 Michelin stars and is run by Jonnie Boer as the 3* chef and his wife Thérèse Boer as the host and wine master. It was interesting to learn how temperature, glass size and airing of the wine can influence the flavor of the wine. The same red wine served just 2-3 degrees warmer has such a different aroma and flavor. In Curaçao we often drink white wine straight from the fridge, which is at about 8 °C, a lot cooler than in Europe. When in Holland/outside the Caribbean I will have it at the normal temperature of 12-14 °C.
This October I had a chance to visit de Librije for the first time – I hope to go more often. I went with two dear friends and I have to say we had a ball. The food, the wine, the company was excellent. On the above photo you can see one of the amuses we had, a steak tartare on top of chives mayonnaise, a delicate balance of flavors and textures. This time I didn’t take a lot of pictures to show you, I was to busy enjoying the food and the wine, you’ll have to believe me that it is totally worth every euro for the 8 course menu + wine pairing that I had. Next time I’m in Holland I’ll do a workshop at de Librije’s atelier and stay at their hotel.
When you are on vacation, do you take cooking classes or go to Michelin star restaurants? Share your experience. And please let me know what you think of the post. 
 

Puff pastry sticks with sesame seeds

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These puff pastry sticks with sesame seeds are my favorite snack/hors d’oeuvre that I make at almost every party or gathering that I have. My friends see it coming…, and they still love them.

Puff Pastry Straws with Sesame seeds

Makes about 30

5 sheets puff pastry, frozen

Sesame seeds

Aromat seasoning*

Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F.

Grease a baking sheet and set it aside.

Start with 2 sheets of puff pastry on a cutting board.

Keep the rest almost frozen, puff pastry is best managed when kept very cold.

Leave the puff pastry on the cellophane for easy processing.

Shake some Aromat seasoning on each sheet of puff pastry.

Cut with the blunt side of a knife 6-7 1 cm strips out of 1 sheet of pastry.

Take the strips from the cellophane and lay them on the greased

baking sheets, ½ cm apart.

Continue with all the sheets of pastry in the same manner.

Sprinkle sesame seeds on each strip and press it lightly in the

pastry with your finger.

Place the baking sheet in the hot oven and bake the straws in about 10 minutes.

Watch the oven, the straws burn easily.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

*Aromat all purpose seasoning is available online at Amazon.com. For most Europeans it is a staple in the kitchen, in the USA it is still not available in the supermarkets!

I hope you enjoy making and eating this snack. It is a lot of fun to make it with kids.

Let me know what you think about it.

The Beginning

The beginning is the most difficult part of a project or in this case this blog post. But I’ll start anyway. I am Angelique Schoop of Angelica’s Kitchen in Curaçao, and that is in the south of the Caribbean. I love good food and I am totally mad about pastry, especially French pastry. I have a Cooking school in Curaçao and with this blog I want to share with you my experiences in and out of the kitchen, in and outside of Curaçao and the Caribbean. I’ll start with a picture of our Key Lime Pie, with tangy lime filling and a creamy sweet Italian meringue topping.

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Update December 2012
Since September 2012 Angelica’s Kitchen closed it’s physical doors.
This was a difficult emotional decision, but I am glad I did it anyway.
I’m turning Angelica’s Kitchen into a blog, where I’ll share with you the food and good things of my beautiful island Curaçao and also of my travels around the Caribbean and the world.
I hope you enjoy reading my blog. Please share with your friends.