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!

How to make yourself a cup of slow and fair coffee

Before I start this post I have to say a few things:

- Chances are you will get sick of my hands holding that gorgeous Chemex. I understand.
- That rhubarb cake you see at the end? I will post the recipe soon. Like next week.
- I actually like tea much better than coffee. I even have a bag that says: "You drink coffee, I drink tea my dear." 

That being said, I've also learn to appreciate a good cup of coffee in the past years. When Fairtrade Netherlands asked me and Maura to organize a "Fair Coffee Break", my answer was of course 'yes!'. We invited a couple of enthusiastic bloggers and had a nice get together in my favorite coffee place in Utrecht: The Village. One of the guys who works there showed us how to make a delicious cup of coffee with a Chemex. I've seen this fancy pour-over glass coffee maker on Instagram many many times, and have always wanted one myself. So it was my lucky day as we all got to take one home. 

So why this coffee break, or as I like to call it a high tea without the tea and pancakes instead of pastries. :-D Well, next week it's Fairtrade Week here in The Netherlands. During those days people will hear a lot about honest products and the stories behind them. I've talked about this before on the blog: when I buy "exotic ingredients" such as bananas, chocolate, coffee, tea, or coconut milk, I choose fair trade because it makes me happy that I can help the hard workers who provide us with these products. Even if it's just a little bit. An important theme this year is climate change. A few months ago I posted a recipe for coffee chocolate muffins (here!) and I explained in detail how climate change affects coffee farmers all over the world. The coffee plant needs predictable seasons and plenty of rain, however, more and more often the harvest is lost due to drought and too high temperatures. 

If we don't act, chances are that in 10 years we cannot enjoy our daily cup(s) of coffee anymore. Even worse, those farmers in for instance Colombia or Ethiopia are out of a job and can no longer provide for their families. The good news is, is that we can support them by organizing a coffee break next week, like we did, using fair coffee. With our help they have the chance to learn more about protecting their crop in times of hardship and get to invest in special stoves that reduce CO2 emissions, just to name a few examples.

So if you decide to throw a coffee break, post a photo of your cozy gathering on social media and tag it with #fairtradechallenge. People from 20 countries are participating! Together we hope to drink a record amount of cups of coffee and support the farmers. Are you with me?

Dutchies: if you want to participate with friends or colleagues, you can sign up via this website. If you want to see pics of our coffee break, check Instagram. 

So back to the Chemex. If you own one, you know it takes a few minutes before your coffee is ready. And like Maura wrote on her blog: it does not only requires patience, but also focus and full attention. Maybe it helps you realize that coffee is not something we should take for granted. Until a month ago I had no clue how to brew this kind of pour-over coffee, but slowly I get the hang of it. However, I am not a barista, so I've borrowed these instructions from the Chemex website, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Local Milk (whose husband is a coffee genius). If you know any tips & trics, or a special recipe, please share in the comments. I'd love to know. 

How to (for a 6 cup chemex):

1. Bring to a boil 550 ml of water. 

2. Weigh out 30 grams of coffee (you can also of course grind your own beans). The grind should be about as coarse as that of a French press.

3. Unfold the filter and place it in your Chemex. The triple-fold portion should face the pour sprout. 

4. Pour some of the water over the filter, to rinse the paper flavor and to preheat the glass. Remove the water after about a minute.

5. Pour the coffee into the damped filter. 

6. Make sure the water is not too hot. Wait a few minutes after it stops boiling, that'll do it.

7. Starting at the center, gently pour 50 ml of water. Work your way outward. Allow the coffee to bloom for about 30 - 45 seconds. This will ensure even water dispersion (i.e. a perfect cup of coffee!).

8. Continue pouring, gently, in slow circles until the grinds are fully saturated and all the water has dripped through. This should take 4 minutes. 

9. Discard the filter & enjoy your perfect cup of coffee!

 

PS: Dutchies, this week it's also Fairtrade Week in The Netherlands, and I can offer you a discount on a box full of my favorite products here!

Spring salad w/ fried zucchini, peas, and pickled cucumber

I've got Spring fever. I am super energized and in love with the world again. The warmer weather, those tiny, vibrant green leaves, and the singing birds make me so cheerful. I went for a run the other day, the first one in months and I didn't feel exhausted at all (is that what they call a runner's high? ;-)). 

But, I also have to be careful. Almost a year ago I took a break from work because I felt so tired. I was afraid to say "no". To work, to obligated parties and diners, to friends, to family. You name it. These last twelve months I definitely learned how to protect myself, to prevent this from happening again. But every now and then I struggle. I am a perfectionist and a people pleaser, so I forget to say no sometimes. So it's time to take a step back and only agree to things I want to say HELL YEAH to. Is this a personality trait you recognize? Or are you a person who knows exactly how to do deal with these things? 

On a different note, I redesigned my blog! AGAIN? Yes, again. And it's probably not the last time. Style is a constant process, which I enjoy and hate at the same time. I liked the previous design, but it didn't cater to my needs anymore. This new template gives me the opportunity to showcase both my love for photography & writing. I hope you like it just as much as I do. 

Now on to this week's recipe: a spring salad. As temperature rises, I become more lazy in the kitchen. Meals have to come together quickly and have to consist of lots of fresh ingredients. When served on a beautiful handthrown plate from Hannah's Speck and Stone, one of my favorite ceramists, it suddenly looks like a super fancy dish instead of a simple salad, don't you think? I adore how robust yet vulnerable her plates and cups look. You will definitely see more of it on the blog. 

Spring salad with fried zucchini, peas, and pickled cucumber

You need:

For the pickled cucumber (recipe My New Roots)
1 cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp salt

For the salad:
1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup fresh broad beans
1/2 zucchini, sliced thinly
1 tbsp good quality olive oil
a splash of lemon
thyme
salt & pepper to taste
pecorino or goat cheese

How to make it:

1. Combine the vinegar, water, maple syrup, and salt. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Add the cucumber to a weck jar and add the liquid. Close, give it a shake and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. (It's best to make this a day ahead)

2. Add a knob of ghee to a frying pan on medium heat. When melted, add the zucchini and the peas. Fry for 6-8 minutes. Stir every now and then to prevent from burning.

3. Bring a small pan filled with water to a boil. Add the broad beans and cook for 6 minutes. When ready, add to a salad bowl together with the zucchini and peas.

4. Add the pickled cucumber. Stir. Add thyme, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Top with some cheese. Enjoy!
 


Copenhagen | Travel stories

A month ago on a Sunday afternoon, I got on a plane to Copenhagen. This would be my first job abroad since my start as a freelancer last October. My heart filled with hope and excitement, ready for this adventure. 

I stayed at a cute AirBnB apartment in Nørrebro. I knew I'd only have about 1,5 day to explore the city. Way to short, but I figured I still had plenty of time. To make the most of my trip, I rented a bike first thing in the morning. Those who have been to Copenhagen know this is the perfect way to get around town. Everybody does it! 

Traveling by yourself is not a lot of fun since there's so much you'd like to share, but you can't really. However, at times it maybe is also a good thing. I really cleared my head, took in so much of that crisp Copenhagen air, bought some pretty souvenirs, and had a lot of good food. And best of all: I got to interview Sarah Britton, the heroine behind my favorite blog My New Roots! The reason I was in Copenhagen in the first place. The story with her will be published soon. I'll give you a heads up when it's there. 

So here are my CPH suggestions. By no means complete, but I hope it will still help you navigate through this gorgeous and super friendly city.

To eat:
Grød: candlelight breakfast/ porridge & skyr + lots of toppings
Mirabelle: heavenly sourdough bread + very good coffee
Atelier September: instant interior crush, perfect avo toast w/ fresh grapefruit juice
Torvehallerne: Copenhagen's indoor food market. For a tapas style dinner & drinks or to pick up some chia pudding on the way home. 
Parterre Christianshavn: cozy place to have coffee and a nice view over Christianshavn.

To see:
Jægersborggade: a very pretty street with small must-visit stores,cafes, and restaurants.
Nyhavn: you'll find all tourists in this gorgeous harbor. Very crowded, but something you would want to see nevertheless. 
Rundetaarn: supposedly the oldest astronomical observatory in Europe. Gorgeous design and amazing views. 
Botanisk Have: the university's botanical garden. A visit to the greenhouse is recommended!
Vor Frelsers Kirke: a baroque church. A climb to the top is worth your time, though very steep. The view is magnificent though. You can even see Sweden. ;-)

Celebratory chocolate cake w/ matcha green tea buttercream frosting

Sometimes people ask me how I come up with topics to write about every week. I get that - I myself wonder at times as well. But more often than not, things just come to me. I'm inspired by the food I prepare, things that happen to me, or I write about something I am very invested in: travels, projects I work on, the people I love etc. And then there's my personality. Friends, family, but also colleagues know I have trouble shutting my mouth. ;-)

So this week I was thinking about my former hometown, Utrecht. Rob and I lived there for two years and this summer it's also been two years since we moved away to Hilversum. We made this decision for multiple reasons, but none of them had to do with our heart. And that was a mistake. We don't really feel at home here and would love to move back. So we're looking into that. While I was thinking about this, I asked myself if I would have started my blog if we had stayed in our little house in Utrecht, a cute but small semibasement. It was our first real house, not counting the dorms we lived in during our studies. We no longer had to share the bathroom or kitchen with other roommates. It was just Rob and me and we were so proud of our new home. But it was also old and dark (especially during winter), and expensive since it was situated in the most beautiful neighborhood in town. 

If I would have started Let's talk evergreen in that house, shooting the recipes against the wall I painted grey, my style probably would have developed differently. Sometimes I wonder about that. Then again, what's the point? We don't live there anymore. I started my blog shortly after we moved to our current bright apartment. The first recipe I shared was oatmeal porridge and I wrote about being homesick. Funny isn't it. Almost two years later a lot has changed. One of them is that people actually read my blog now. And by people I don't only mean my mom and Rob (hi guys!). This week I reached 10K followers on Instagram. Something I would never imagined, of course hoped, but never really expected to happen. What I want to say is thank you. Thank you for sticking with me, for reading my sometimes vague and incoherent ramblings. <3 Or maybe you're just the kind of visitor that immediately scrolls down to the recipe, that's fine by me too. Anyway, I am glad you're here.

- Ingrid

Chocolate raspberry cake with matcha vanilla buttercream

(serves 4 people)

You need:

1/3 cup brown rice flour
2 tbsp almond flour
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup hot water
1 large egg
4 tsp good quality olive oil
2 sticks/230g unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp matcha powder
1 vanilla bean, seeds
raspberries

 

How to make it:

1. Grease three 10cm mini cake tins with coconut oil. Coat them with a pinch of cacao powder and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. 

2. With a stand mixer, whisk the egg. Add sugar and whisk again until slightly thickened. Add the olive oil, mix, and then the hot water. Mix one more time and set aside.

3. In a second bowl combine all of the dry ingredients. Add to the wet mixture and combine until there are no dry spots left. 

4. Fill the tins halfway and if you like, press a few raspberries into the batter. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

5. When the time is up, insert a tester. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tins. Further cool on a wire rack.

6. Prepare the buttercream. Combine the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and matcha in a bowl. Cream until smooth. Scoop into a piping bag. 

7. When the cakes have cooled down, you can either choose to cut off the tops, to create a steady and straight cake, or you leave them like this which makes for a slightly more imperfect cake (which I love with these minis). 

8. Pipe the buttercream on top of each separate layer. Stack them and place raspberries on the upper cake. Cut into four (or two ;-)) pieces and enjoy!  

 

Easter lemon almond cake with chocolate eggs

Hii! A quick update from my side. Things are kind of busy here. I am working many hours and got back from a yet another short trip (I know, it's a hard knock life). This time to Spain where we visited our newborn niece. Rob and I are absolutely in love with her. She's so sweet and cute and her parents are doing a great job. It's funny how you can be so proud and feel so much love for a little person from the moment you meet. I really hope to one day learn her how to bake a pie, or make delicious smoothies together.

But first, this lemon and almond cake. For you guys. In between work I somehow managed to create a last minute easter recipe for the blog. The batter for this lemon and almond bundt cake comes together very quickly and while it's baking in the oven you've got all the time to make a glaze. I absolutely love it how the lemon comes through in this cake. It matches perfectly with the almonds and the chocolate eggs.

I hope you guys all enjoy your weekend and I'll be back soon with a makers story + a photo post of Copenhagen. 

- Ingrid

PS: This lovely plate is created by Daisy Cooper. Daisy grew up in rural Scotland which has influenced and still inspires her work. I absolutely adore her ceramics and am so proud to show this piece to you. Find more of her work here


Lemon almond cake with chocolate eggs
 

(recipe slightly adapted from What‘s cooking good looking)


You need:
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup almond flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
chocolate eggs (optional)

For the glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp plant milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a bundt or rectangular loaf pan. 

2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Whisk. Make a well and add all of the wet ingredients. Stir until everything is combined. Don't overmix. 

3. Pour the batter into the greased pan and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Check if it's done by inserting a cake tester. The edges should be pulling away from the sides of the pan. 

4. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before removing from the pan. Then transfer it to a wire rack. 

5. In the mean time, make your glaze. Pour it over the cake. In about 10 minutes the glaze will harden. Decorate with chocolate eggs, almond flakes, and confectioners' sugar if you will. The cake is best served while still a bit warm. Enjoy lovelies!