A fragrant and refreshing cantaloupe and orange juice w/ lime and sea buckthorn + a give away

It's Friday evening and it feels like it has been the longest week. And that's not because it's midsummer. The windows are open, the air is warm and there is music playing somewhere in the distance. Yesterday we had severe thunderstorms and heavy showers. The sultry and dramatic weather was representative of my own life. On Monday, I was told that my freelance work at the public news agency is over. A big blow, though I quickly realized (with help from dear friends & family) that this is (literally) the push I need to pursue the creative path I've been ready to walk for a while now. Things never happen without a reason, of that I am sure. 

In a way, the thunderstorms therefore also felt like a rite of passage. When the sun came out after, I felt a sense of calm, satisfaction, and relieve. That same day Mirjan came over (my darling and talented cousin whom you might know from the blueberry hand pies and the fall picnic). Again, it was the timing that struck me. I've been experiencing a creative block lately. In my mind, my photography isn't progressing enough and my styling feels without personality at times, bla bla. Mirjan and I prepared a fresh and healthy cantaloupe-orange juice, made with my new slow juicer, the Versapers. The first shots I took were mediocre at best. I was about to give up when Mirjan pushed through (while it was 30C inside, crazy). We kept taking photos, changing the scene constantly and like that, it was there. I was in the flow. If you are a photographer or a creative human being, you know what I mean. It's the best feeling. A smile appeared on my face and I knew exactly what to do. 

I read a quote on Instagram today which said: "Don't worry about what's to come, just focus on what you have now." I absolutely love it. It compels me to see what is in front of me and to make the best of what is there, while relying on my capabilities. 

Whew... I think it's time for some less heavy material. I don't want to scare you away, you know. Let's talk a bit about the recipe and the slow juicer. So the Versapers is a Dutch brand that makes slow juicers. This machine presses the juice of fruits and vegetables very slowly, and separates the juice from the pulp. Because of the very little friction, there's almost no heat involved in the process, and you end up with a cold-pressed juice brimming with enzymes and vitamines. 

I decided to share a recipe for a simple juice with you. To illustrate that you don't need to complicate things when working with a superb slow juicer like the Versapers. This slow juicer is very easy to work with, which makes it even more fun. I am always so happy when I see the result pouring straight into my pitcher. So much better than store-bought drinks; you immediately see the result of your work (well, the cutting and peeling).

I also chose a simple recipe because I love the combination of cantaloupe and orange juice. Paired with a hint of lime and some sea buckthorn it results in a very refreshing drink. Sweet, slightly tangy and fragrant. If you want to make it even more exciting you could add some finely chopped red pepper!

Even though the Versapers is a "slow" juicer, most drinks are ready within about five minutes. What also love about this machine is the fact that you can easily make (flavored) plant-based milks by throwing in some soaked nuts and some water and even prepare soups with it. The Versapers is in my opinion a gem of a kitchen tool and a good investment. Because it's a Dutch brand, I have a nice surprise for my Dutch followers. You can now get a €50 discount on the Versapers 4G by using the code EVERGREEN at the checkout in their website. And there's a give away as well. Versapers published a cookbook called Slow! which features 175 (!) recipes for this amazing juicer. From drinks, to mylks, to soups, and sauces. You'll be amazed with the endless possibilities. To win the book, check my Instagram account for the details. 

Scroll down for the recipe. I am going to pour myself a glass of wine and watch the last episode of House of Cards Season 2.

x.   


Cantaloupe & orange juice w/ sea buckthorn and a hint of lime

(serves 4)

You need:

1 cantaloupe
3 oranges
A quarter of a lime
Two tbsp sea buckthorn

How to make it:

1. Slice the melon in rectangles (3 cm by 1 cm), peel the oranges and separate the parts and half the quarter of the lime so you have two equal wedges.

2. One by one add the fruit to the juicer. Do this slowly and alternate pieces. So a few pieces of orange, then some melon, a tablespoon of sea buckthorn, some melon etc.

3. Serve the juice over ice and enjoy right away. :)

This post is sponsored by Versapers but all my opinions are my own and I think Versapers rocks!

New York City | Travel Stories

 

Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!  
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!  
Gorgeous clouds of the sun-set! drench with your splendor me, or the men
          and women generations after me;  
Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers!  
Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta!—stand up, beautiful
          hills of Brooklyn!
Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions and answers!  
Suspend here and everywhere, eternal float of solution!  
Gaze, loving and thirsting eyes, in the house, or street, or public assembly!  
Sound out, voices of young men! loudly and musically call me by my
          nighest name!  
Live, old life! play the part that looks back on the actor or actress!
Play the old role, the role that is great or small, according as one makes it!   

- Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. Walt Whitman.

I initially wrote down a story about my days in New York, but I deleted it and decided to let my photos speak for themselves. 

Scroll down for a list of my favorite go-to's in NYC. 

New York City | Travel Stories

Brooklyn:

To eat:

Stonefruit Espresso + Kitchen
Dough
Primrose Cafe
Sweatshop
Mast Brothers Chocolate
OddFellows Ice Cream Co.
Cafe Colette
Bakeri
Wythe Hotel
Five Leaves
Littleneck Outpost

To shop:

Concrete + Water
Milk & Roses
Homecoming
Home of the Brave
Catbird

Manhattan:

To eat:

Happy Bones
Sel Rrose
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Tacombi
Cafe Henrie
Maman
Ost Cafe
Momofuku Milk Bar
The Butcher's Daughter
Gasoline Alley Coffee
Freemans

To shop:

McNally Jackson Store
Still House
Steven Alan

Virpi & Tuulia's Raspberry & White Chocolate (N)Ice Cream

This past week the weather here has been great. Summer has officially started. I haven't worn socks or trousers in days. It's all shorts, sandals, and dresses. The days are long and I don't need as much sleep as usual. It's my favorite time of year. I love it.

I do feel kind of lazy though. Nat King Cole was completely right when he sang, "roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Those days of soda, pretzels, and beer." Well I might replace them with smoothies, salads, and wine, but I do agree. I am not in the mood to do a lot of work or to cook big meals. Plus the house is a mess. A freaking mess. Don't tell anyone, but I am blaming Frank Underwood (I just started watching House of Cards...) 

But let's forget the mess for another second because we have to talk about ice cream. Kind ice cream a.k.a. N'ICE CREAM! Perfect for lazy days. Just throw some cold ingredients in a blender, blend (or freeze and stir it for a couple of hours) and there you have it: a perfect dessert. Or snack. Or breakfast. Or dinner? Mmmm. 

Anyway, a few weeks ago I got en email about Virpi Mikkonen and Tuulia Talvio's new book N'ice Cream. Both ladies are two of my favorite bloggers. They asked if I wanted to share a recipe from this wonderful work filled with 80 amazing recipes. Of course I said yes! The best thing, these ice creams are all without dairy, gluten, and refined sugar and you don't even need an special machine to make them. Nice, right (pun intended of course)?

Boy, was it hard to choose just one recipe to share. Virpi and Tuulia have done such a great job. In the book I found soft serves, recipes for popsicles, milkshakes, sorbets, even toppings and a recipe on how to make your own cones! After careful consideration I opted for the Raspberry-White Chocolate Ice Cream. Since I don't have a waffle maker, I used store-bought cones. The recipe for the ice cream was extremely easy, like most recipes in the book. And the flavors really surprised me. So fresh and so soft. This is the one book you will want this summer. Believe me. 


Raspberry-White chocolate Ice Cream

(serves 4)

You need:

¾ cup (180 ml) cashew nuts (soaked overnight or for at least 4 hours)
1 (14-ounce/400 ml) can full-fat coconut milk

½ cup (120 ml) grated raw cacao butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup or other sweetener
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) fresh or frozen raspberries

 

How to make it:

1. Drain and rinse the cashews and put them in a blender with the coconut milk, cacao butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend until creamy and

With an ice cream maker:

2. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Just before the ice cream is ready, add the raspberries. Serve immediately or transfer to a freezer-safe container, cover, and freeze until ready to serve. Let the ice cream thaw for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Without a nice cream maker:

2. Pour the ice cream mixture into a freezer-safe bowl, stir in the raspberries, and freeze for about 3 hours, mixing well every 30 minutes. Scoop into bowls, serve, and enjoy!

Reprinted by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Virpi Mikkonen and Tuulia Talvio, 2016.

Washington D.C. | Travel Stories

We held the hands of friends and lovers 
We did not turn our backs
We embraced
We embraced

- E. Ethelbert Miller

To some Washington D.C. stands for politics, the elite, for a government that gets nothing done. Others might remember it as the city that was once America's murder capital. To me it is home away from home.

In DC, going to the Mall has nothing to do with shopping. In DC, most tourists never set a foot outside Northwest, not counting Union Station. In DC, cherry blossoms alongside the Tidal Basin are what the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is to New York. In DC, there is so much marble, your eyes start to hurt. I can go on and on about this great love of mine. Sure, like no love, this city isn't perfect either. John F. Kennedy once said: "Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm", ironically implying that the capital is rude and inefficient. With the latter I might agree, but I beg to differ when it comes to the first. I have only found kindness and friends in this beltway bubble. 

Let's rewind a little. It is 2011. I am doing my Master's in Journalism after having completed a bachelor's degree in American Studies. It is time to think about an internship and I know exactly what I want: combine both my passion for the US with my love for journalism. So I apply for a position in Washington DC, with the US correspondents for the NOS (The Dutch Public Broadcaster). They hire me and a few months later, in January 2012, I pack my bags, say goodbye to Rob & my family and take off to the capital of The US of A. 

For four months I lived in a glorious city that was designed for the sole purpose of government, but in the process created monuments, parks, cultural institutions, and nowadays bears so much history. I lived in the International Student House (ISH) aka Little Hogwarts as we liked to call it. Together with some 90 other highly ambitious youngsters. We explored DC, shared moments that later became precious memories, and went on little trips outside the city in the weekends. Sometimes I think these short four months were the beginning of my adult life. In May, I moved back, finished my thesis (about the American media & Sarah Palin's political persona ;-)) and started my first job. 

Flash forward. 2016. After four years of dreaming about going back it was high time to just book that plane ticket already. Together with a longtime friend who did the same internship last year, I flew to DC. We visited our favorite neighborhoods (Dupont, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, and Logan Circle) and explored new (or rather gentrified, to be fair) ones such as Shaw and Capitol Hill/Barracks Row. We walked many, many miles. Hopping from monument to monument, because well, when you're in town, you just cannot not go. Of course we also visited the office on M Street and spent a lovely evening in our old home on R Street. What amazed me most is how emotional I got from the odors of both places. Smells I had forgotten, but recognized immediately. It brought tears to my eyes for a second, but I decided to not to let them get the upper hand. Instead, I enjoyed every moment to the fullest and tried to live in the moment. No easy thing when dealing with so many emotions, I tell you. It's just dificult to describe what it feels like to step back into your old life: it feels like not a day has passed, but at the same time you realize that so much has happened in these four years and none of my friends live in DC anymore, so it's a bit like coming home to an empty house.  

What was new to me, was seeing the city through the eyes of a foodie. In 2012, I did not care much for real, plant-based, and high-quality food. Much has changed. Not only I have, but so has DC. Four years ago there was hardly a food culture. In the last few years, many new places have popped up. I talked to some restaurant owners about this and they told me it's because the city is expanding and has become one of the fastest growing towns in America. My friend Alyssa, who also lived in ISH four years ago, but recently moved to Philly, says it's the Obama bump. The Obamas often go out and about, explore new places in DC, and dine out, which is good for business. Hence, the bump.

Anyway, it was such a pleasure to walk from cafe to cafe and restaurant to restaurant, and just order whatever seemed perfect. Or sounded perfect; hello Jolene Peach Punch! I had fun walking through Whole Foods again, actually paying attention to all the products I always see on those pretty Instagram accounts. 

Apart from all the eating, we of course created new memories too. Ones I will never forget. Like ordering all those Ubers ('cause of laziness), the mysterious Airbnb cat who might or might not have stolen some of our belongings, looking outside the window while being in the shower and discovering the White House in the distance, dreaming about winning the lottery and being able to buy one of those colorful townhouses. <3 Find a list of things to see/do/eat at the end of the post, after scrolling through thousands of photos. 

To eat:

Big Bear Cafe: Lovely ivy and plants-covered patio. Delicious cocktails, nice vibe. 
Pineapple and Pearls: Good coffee + cinnamon buns. Good location. Popular place. 
Chaia: Plant based tacos made with local products. Really good!
Dolcezza 14th Street (pastries & coffee), Dupont (gelato): Italian sweets in DC + delicious lattes. 
Five Guys: If you're craving a burger + fries, go here.
Jrink: Cold-pressed juices and gorgeous space
Mintwood Place: Feel like brunching? Go here. Nice people, very decent place, high quality food. 
Ted's Bulletin: Homemade pop tarts. Do I need to say more?
Shouk: Middle Eastern inspired food. Pitas with lots of veggies. 
Smucker Farms: If you need some healthy snacks, sandwiches, or kombucha on the go. 
Little Serow: The new "it" restaurant in DC. Thai food, only a few tables available, be prepared to wait for a seat. Considered the best place in town.  
Compass Coffee: Yummy ice coffee, located in an upcoming neighborhood. 
USDA Friday Farmers Market: The best place to pick up some food while visiting the Mall. 
Sweetgreen: When you have no idea where to go for lunch, Sweetgreen is always a good option.

To visit:

Renwick Gallery: Recently reopened after a major renovation. Features art from past & present.  
Salt & Sundry: Cute store with objects for home & kitchen. I bought my favorite nut butter there. 
Union Market: DC's food hall
The Memorials: In particular Jefferson & Lincoln
The Mall: In particular Holocaust museum & The Museum of The American Indian
The White House, The Capitol, The Library of Congress, and The Supreme Court
Eastern Market: Food, art & cultural market in Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Old Town Alexandria: Alexandria is a cute town just outside of DC. Easy to visit by Metro. Lots of little stories, cafes and a nice harbor to sit and relax.
Smithsonian Zoo

(All the Smithsonian institutions are for free)

To see: 
Adams Morgan
Dupont Circle
Logan Circle
Georgetown
Capitol Hill

So what are you waiting for? -x

Rhubarb upside down cake with Holly

My life feels like it's in rush hour at the moment. There are many things that need to be done, which are long overdue, and I constantly feel as if eight hours of sleep a night is not enough. I am not complaining though, I am really enjoying everything. Like writing articles for this new online magazine from New York, Dirt. Last week they published my story about De Kas, a greenhouse restaurant in Amsterdam, and in a few weeks Darling Magazine will feature three summer recipes developed by me. Not to forget all my travels. The past six months I've been to Berlin, Marbella, Copenhagen, Venice, Washington and New York. Above all, I am grateful that I can finally combine work with pleasure and I am looking forward to all things to come this summer!

Next week I will tell you more about my USA adventures. For now I am just trying to process all of it, trying to feel what it has done to me. Every trip changes you, I am sure of that. I came home last Thursday and discovered that I still hadn't shared the recipe for my rhubarb cake. Like I said, so many things are overdue. I apologize, you guys.

This cake was inspired by a visit to my friend Holly Marder who lives in Delft and shares her love for styling and beautiful things on her blog Avenue Lifestyle. Holly is a wonderful soul who has a great eye for interior design and photography. I loved meeting up with her for this recipe shoot. We were both so busy that day but managed to prepare and shoot two dishes: her lentil salad and my rhubarb cake. I actually had to develop the cake recipe some more, so I baked it again at home a few weeks later and am now finally able to share it with you. Isn't it great to create and devour food together with friends? There is so much to learn from Holly and she perfectly seems to get me. We will definitely do this again this summer.

What I like about this cake is that is both soft, dense, and moist. It goes perfect with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon. But I wouldn't be surprised if you ate a piece for breakfast either. 

Rhubarb spelt upside down cake 

You need:

145 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 stalks rhubarb, rinsed and chopper into 1,5 cm cubes.
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
zest of 1 small lemon, grated
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
2 eggs
2 heaping tbsp yoghurt
1 tsp lemon juice

How to make it:

1. Preheat the oven to 170C, and grease a 15 cm springform pan with butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper. 

2. In a bowl mix rhubarb with cornstarch and honey. Set aside.

3. Place 30 gram butter and the brown sugar in a small sauce pan. Stir frequently. When melted leave to cool a bit.

4. In a second bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and vanilla seeds. Mix well.

5. Then in a third bowl place the rest of the butter and mix with a standing mixer for 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and the lemon zest and mix for 4 minutes until fluffy and creamy.

6. One by one add the eggs and mix until fully incorporated. Finally, pour in the yoghurt and lemon juice and give last good stir. The mixture should look a little curdled.

6. Then little by little add the flour mixture. Combine everything with a spatel until you have a creamy and thick batter.

7. Pour the butter mixture onto the bottom of the spring pan. Then add the pieces of rhubarb and try to make an even layer. Scoop the batter on top.

8. Place in the oven and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm and a toothpick comes out without clumbs of cake.

9. Leave to cool on room temperature for 20 minutes. Then run a knife alongside the edges and with a plate or baking sheet on top, turn upside down. Release the cake from the springform. Enjoy!

Photos taken by Holly Marder and Ingrid Hofstra

 

Buranelli, a Venetian cookie

Any way you run, you run before us
Black and white horse arching among us - Beach House, Zebra

Where do I start? How do I even begin to explain what my trip to Venice meant to me? So many thoughts run through my head these days that it feels impossible to prioritize them. They mostly consist of feelings, which makes it hard to translate them into words. But I will try.

Somewhere last summer I stumbled upon Zaïra's blog The Freaky Table. I was truly blown away by her dark and moody food photography, her writings which literally read like a book, and her and Francesco's raku pottery. I left a comment and from that moment on we kept in touch. First through our blogs and Instagram, later via e-mail and Facebook, I interviewed Zaïra for my blog and we slowly got to know each other. What we both felt, I think, is that even though our photography differs in some ways, our characters are very much alike. So we made plans to meet each other. Rob and I would fly to Venice, and spend some days with Zaïra, Francesco and her parents and they would come back with us, to The Netherlands. 

While many may gasp upon seeing Zaïra's beautiful photos, she's also very good with words. Each blog post is a short story. About seasonal produce, her mother's meals, about her way of life, about a memory, about Venice or Tuscany. There is só much I could learn from her. Zaïra's storytelling ability is ironically 'beyond words'. During our stay with the Zarotti family I experienced some of her world. I feel lucky that I now know where so many of her stories take place.

When we arrived at the airport, Zaïra and Francesco were waiting for us. We drove to their house and met Luciano and Dorina, Zaïra's parents. Such kind people. I am utterly grateful for their hospitality. Their home is a dream. A farmhouse kitchen, spacious and bright studios where they create paintings, drawings and sculptures. A garden filled with fruit trees and a beautiful vegetable garden. I felt right at ease. 

Of course we also spent time in Venice (more about that in a second blog post). Zaïra lives about thirty minutes from the city. We walked for hours, while talking and getting to know each other. After one day it already felt like we had known each other for years. It's amazing how we connected, all four of us. During the rest of our stay we visited an amazing vintage market in a nearby town, tasted Dorina's delicious lemon cookies, had long conversations at the kitchen table, and laughed so much that my stomach started to hurt. The best kind of instant happiness. We had many coffees and shared Tony's Chocolonely (chocolate) which we brought from Holland. And of course, Francesco showed us his pottery skills. I even created my own cup (che figo! I.e. how awesome)!

On our last day in Italy, Zaïra and I did some baking and quickly took some photos. The cookies you see on the photos are Buranelli. A yellow biscuit which is a specialty from the island of Burano, near Venice. We visited this place on a stormy and wet day, but I had so much fun nevertheless. The cookies come in two shapes, a circle and a -s-, and are perfect to have with a cup of espresso. Back in the day, Buranelli were typically baked on Easter Sunday, but you can now find them year-round, or bake them yourself! By the way, if you are in Venice, I'd really recommend a visit to Burano. It's quiet and so colorful. I loved it. 

After four days, Zaïra and Francesco came with us to The Netherlands and we enjoyed each other's company for another week before saying goodbye. Actually, I refrained from saying "good bye", because I am sure we will see each other again. So it's was more like a 'ciao!'. <3

 

Buranelli cookies

You need:

250 grams all purpose flour
3 egg yolks
200 grams granulated sugar
100 grams butter, room temperature
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
1 organic lemon, zest and juice

How to make it:

1. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and the sugar. Mix with an electric mixer until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the butter and mix until fully incorporated. Add the lemon zest and juice and combine. Lastly, sift the flour in the bowl and add the vanilla. Mix until everything you have a smooth cookie dough.

3. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

5. Create S-shaped cookies and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The time depends on the size of the cookies, when the edges turn a little brown and the cookies look golden, they are ready. Enjoy!