BBQ grilled pineapple grilled pineappleEven though I am a big fan of easy weeknight cooking (I really loved reading this article, in which Michelle of Hummingbird High gets very real on how to fit in making food after coming home from work and the gym), I would like to make an argument for lighting up the bbq when you come across one of these beautiful, cooler evenings at the end of summer. Even if you have worked all day.

I know this is a controversial statement, not only because lighting up a bbq takes time and patience but also because you are supposed to light up your bbq in the sunniest middle of summer. What I find, however, is that by the time the air cools down a little, all of a sudden it is really nice to feel the heat of the bbq on your terrace (and arms) a little. And once it turns dark, you finally see this beautiful glow that fire (!) gives.

And one more thing, especially now in autumn, I want to eat all the hearty things to fill up on before a cold and long winter (read: burgers, steak and shashlicks).

This grilled pineapple somehow fit perfectly in this inbetween season, they are sweet and sticky, but still light as summer.

The grilling brings out a syrupy quality with loads of caramel flavor. I sprinkled the pineapple pieces with some demarera sugar in advance, to let the fruit macerate. It is not about the added sweetness of the sugar, but much more about slightly amending the structure of the fruit. The sugar draws out some of the pineapple juice and makes the flesh softer and much easier to sear on the bbq. Leaving out the sugar would more often lead to almost drying the fruit on the grill. The syrup, released by the pineapple can be perfectly used in a summer lemonade (I love making this one in summer).

Nigella accompanies her grilled pineapple with chocolate sauce, but I would argue that that is a bit too much of good. Instead I’d advise you to sprinkle some finely sliced mint leaves on top of the grilled pineapple or even some mild cayenne pepper, if you’re feeling fancy. 😉


BBQ grilled pineapple


  • 1 pineapple (even a less sweet or ripe one will do), cleaned and core removed, cut into 8-10 vertical sticks
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • Wooden skewers (makes it much easier to handle the pineapple after the grill, but is not necessary)


  1. Clean, core and slice the pineapple vertically. Lay the pineapple sticks on a plate and sprinkle with the sugar. Let the fruit macerate for about an hour or overnight if you prepare this the day before.
  2. Put on a hot grill and let the fruit caramelize until golden brown.
  3. Be careful not to burn your mouth. Delicious with some good sorbet ice cream, but also amazing on its own. If you want to go fancy, sprinkle some shredded mint leaves on top and serve with rum. Enjoy!

Smoky & spicy paprika mayonnaise smoky and spicy paprika mayonnaiseI am a big fan of homemade condiments, for many many reasons. You see, having this smoky and spicy mayonnaise in my fridge makes me feel excited about even the most mundane kind of food. Such as, let’s say, thinking of having a boiled egg and a slice of bread for dinner. Mwahhhh.
But when I think of adding a spoonful of this mayonnaise to the equation, all of a sudden I’m cycling home a bit faster.

And that is exactly what a homemade condiment does for me – bringing normal food to a level of awesomeness. Which is also what I remind myself of when I go through the motions of making this mayonnaise (or this pesto,  labneh or fig mustard), as it does not give the immediate satisfaction of having a meal ready.  

I love serving (and obviously eating) this mayonnaise next to a grilled burger, roasted paprikas, with polenta fries (and yes, I really need to reshoot these photos *hiding face in hands*) or on top of said sandwich with some boiled eggs.

In case you are a little intimidated by making your own mayonnaise, feel reassured, as I think pretty much everyone is. You might not get it right the first time, but I am sure it will all work out the second time (at the latest :)).
I will admit that I have a success rate of around 90%, and I have given some tips in the recipe notes on how to fix a ‘troubled’ batch of mayonnaise. In any case: enjoy!

Smokey & spicy paprika mayonnaise


  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 250 milliliter of neutral oil
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of chili flakes, or more depending on how spicy you like your mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon of salt, I use pink himalayan salt, but you can use any
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon of smoky whisky such as Laphroaig, if you chose to do so reduce the lemon juice by half. Another tasty addition could be 1 teaspoon of crushed & finely chopped garlic


  1. There are (roughly said) two methods to make mayonnaise.
  2. The conventional way would be to whisk the mixture into emulsion by hand, demonstrated here by Jamie Oliver.
  3. The method I prefer, however, is less biceps-heavy and uses a hand-blender, and is accidentally also ready within minutes. Here is a very handy description with useful photos, and Kenji Lopez description is gold. 
  4. By all means, I find that I have the highest success rate when all ingredients are cool, rather than on room temperature. 
  5. With this method you place the egg first in a larger cup (for example the measure jug that comes with your hand blender) or large mason jar, together with the mustard and lemon juice (wait with adding the salt until your mayonnaise is ready, as it might cause it to not firm up). You then place the hand blender in this mixture without turning it on. You then pour the oil on top of it. Only now you start the hand blender without moving, in short intervals (to ensure that you don’t incorporate too much oil in one go).
  6. Once you can see the egg, mustard and oil binding on the bottom of the glas, start moving the blender slowly upwards until you have a homogene mayonnaise.
  7. Once your mayonnaise has come together, turn of the hand blender and mix in the salt and spices (and optionally a spoon of smoky whisky) by hand. 
  8. To lighten the mayonnaise up, you can add a little more lemon juice (be careful in case you already added extra liquid by means of some whisky) and eventually also some thick (Greek) yoghurt.
  9. What do if your mayonnaise turns into soup?
  10. By all means, do not throw away and be reassured that it can still be rescued. 
  11. The way to save your mayonnaise is by practically making more (or starting over, just how you want to see it). You restart the whole process (one egg, teaspoon of mustard, juice of a lemon) in a jug, and instead of pouring oil on top, you slowly add the 'soupy' mayonnaise while having your handblender on. 
  12. Good luck and enjoy!


Happy Sunday!

[photo via] Hello, how are you doing? I happy to report that I am back!
With summer holidays around, workload seems to reduce and I feel like there is enough energy and headspace to daydream, read and spend time in the kitchen.
This weekend is the epitome of all of aforementioned, with loads of pottering around along my balcony plants (we have planted two climbing roses on our terrace!) and reading this surprisingly amazing book.

I am sharing the best things I came across tihs week on the web. Happy to surf with me?

This way of cutting a large, high cake is brilliant. I would be happy to apply this to a cake like this Italian Buttercream Sprinkle Cake.

Juicing a watermelon has never looked this easy. This week I am planning on making this watermelon lemonade for a barbecue and am happy to try it out.

Pineapple is one of my favorite things to eat in summer, and I love this roasted pineapple-ricotta toast recipe.

I often daydream of being a pancake-weekend type. This sourdough cheddar-scallion variation sounds delicious, and hopefully make their way into next week Sunday’s brunch.

This week’s Modern Love beautifully remarks on how we are able to shape the way we love and live together.

This adorable and incredibly cute love story of Serena Williams (!).

Watching this is mesmerizing (via It reminds me a lot of these incredibly satisfying paint mixing videos.

And having tomorrow’s day in the office in mind, I thought that this piece on meetings is really interesting.

And, in case you missed it, I wrote about my adventure of traveling 500 kilometers with a wedding cake. 🙂

Have a wonderful week!!

Transporting a wedding cake, tips & tricks!

This wedding cake traveled 500 (five hundred!) kilometers from Frankfurt to the Dutch countryside earlier this month.
I can’t mention any of this without giving a huge amount of credit to Anton, who kindly coped with heavily airconditioning our car and really managed to avoid any bump or curve in the road.

Considering I (we) managed, I am happy to share my tips on transporting the wedding cake over a long distance.  

Choosing your cake & ingredients

Whenever choosing a cake, make sure that you do not use the softest or most crumbly cake recipe you can think of. I did make one tier out of a rather tender chocolate cake, but I made sure I prolonged the baking time just a little, to make sure it wouldn’t all break apart. The fact that the cake had enough time to settle into the buttercream compensated for this loss of liquid.

We started traveling two days prior to the wedding, so I took care to not use any fresh fruit as a filling, and I was also extra careful with making sure that none of the buttercream ingredients were extra perishable (I didn’t add fruit puree or fresh cream for example).

In addition, I avoided using anything ‘slippery’ as a filling as it might cause the cake layers and buttercream to start moving (think of the architecture behind building a no-slip sandwich). Instead I used a limited amount of concentrated marmalade and mostly buttercream.

As the day prior to the wedding was a national holiday, I decided to use silk flowers, instead of fresh flowers to make sure the flowers wouldn’t look old or wilted.

I was really happy that I went for the safest options possible, as the week of the wedding of our friends was incredibly hot, but you might feel more comfortable choosing otherwise.

Allowing time to let the cake get firmer

To ensure that all cake layers would arrive in one piece and largely undented, I made sure that the cake tiers were finished at least one day in advance. Doing so allows the cake, buttercream and marmelade to ‘sink’ into each other and to get more grip (this prevents cake layers from sliding off one another).

In addition I used wooden skewers that I stuck into the cakes to also prevent further movement. Even though this leaves little holes in the buttercream, this is easy to cover up once you assemble the cake.

To be extra-extra sure I completely froze each cake tier before traveling. This meant that our freezer needed to be empty, but it was a huge peace of mind during our travel which made me feel like it was worth the effort.

Materials to wrap the cakes for travel

In short: each cake tier was made on its own cake board and packed separately in a sturdy cardboard cake box, large enough to fit a cake board larger than the cake resting on it, and high enough so that the buttercream wouldn’t touch any of the sides of the box.

Needed equipment:

  • 3 sturdy and large cardboard cake boxes (I used these)
  • 2 thinner cake boards (that can be cut into shape with scissors, I used these)
  • 3 extra thick cake boards (two of it you will be able to reuse, I used these)
  • wooden skewers
  • dowels

I made each cake tier on a cake board that was larger than the diameter of the cake, to make sure that no cake would touch the sides of their cardboard box.

As I still wanted each cake tier to be smooth (without any cake boards sticking out), I made sure that I made the two smaller cake tiers on cake boards that were a bit thinner and that I could cut to size with scissors once we were at the venue.

To be sure that these smaller cakes would still have enough support during travel, I put thicker cake boards under the thinner cake boards inside the box. Because I can reuse the thicker cake boards (no cake has touched it), I didn’t feel too bad about using double materials.

Transporting the wedding cake

I placed the cake boxes in an empty car trunk, so that nothing could slide into the cake boxes during our travel.

To be sure, I did my best to keep the temperature in the car as low as possible, which might not be necessary, but my advice is to prevent transporting (or leaving) your cakes in a burning hot car, as I am afraid you might end up with puddles of buttercream speckled with cake.

Things you will need at the wedding venue

So you have made the drive with the cakes in the back of your car and you have carried the cake boxes safely into the venue!

So now that your cake arrived carefully at the location, try to put the cake tiers into the fridge for a bit. Even if it is only 20 minutes, it will firm up your cakes exponentially and will make it so much easier to assemble your cake tiers together (here is a really useful video on how to dowel and assemble your cake).

  • a power socket
  • a kitchen counter or working space
  • a fridge (although not necessary, it is a really nice to have)
  • an hour to an hour and a half at the wedding venue to finish your cake in peace
  • half of a portion of Italian Buttercream, packed in a ziplock bag
  • a handmixer (to smoothen and soften the buttercream)
  • a (disposable) piping bag
  • silk flowers (or any other decoration you’d like to use)
  • enough wet wipes to clean any counter you will work on
  • 2 tea towels (you’ll be happy you brought these)
  • a microwave or hair dryer (or any other device that will help you warm up your buttercream so that it will not curdle when you whip it up)
  • knife (to fit your dowels to your cake)
  • Scissors (to cut the cake boards of your upper two tiers, so that none of the cake board is visible after assembling)

Not technically needed, but great to have is some support by means of someone helping you carry the cake boxes, open the door for you, supplying you with coffee (thanks Anna and Anton) and to encourage you during the process.

Conclusion: you can transport a wedding cake over a long distance as long as you are thoroughly prepared. Wishing you the best of luck!

When it was all done! 🙂 Thanks Anna & Anton for the great support, encouragement and coffee!!

Homemade Ramps Pesto

 There is little that makes me happier than to have one amazing homemade condiment in the fridge that will make throwing together easy weekday meals so much easier. What I mean with this is having a killer pesto, tapenade, mayonnaise, labneh or ajvar-yoghurt dip ready to be used, so that any sheet of roasted vegetables or toast with simple salad will be turned into an amazing and complete meal.

Admittedly, it will take you some time to prepare for example Sunday, but you will really enjoy the fruits of your labor for many days after this.
Think about this: you make a grilled chicken with some raw spinach. Perfect, but what about adding a tablespoon of this ramps pesto to your plate? Ba-boom, magic! The same goes for roasted sweet potato fries with some homemade mayonnaise? I know, perfect!

Now to this pesto: it is made with ramps, also known as daslook, baerlauch or bear’s garlic. Until I moved to Germany, I had never seen these greens in big bunches. Chances are, however, that you have already come across it in the forest. You know, this kind of garlicky smell in the air when you enter a patch of forest in spring and summer? That is ramps!

Until recently one wasn’t allowed to forage these in the Netherlands, but since this has been legalized, ramps have rapidly increased in popularity.
It kind of makes sense. These leaves have all the taste of garlic (and onion), but have none of sharp bitterness that you get when you slice up an onion or garlic clove (or smell).
I find the leaves still quite pungent and would be hestitative to add them to a salad, but in this pesto, mixed with parmesan cheese, a handful of pinenuts and a good glas of olive oil, you get something that is as good as green gold. Where traditional basil pesto can be on the sweet side, this ramps pesto is perfectly savory.

I loved eating this on toast, steak, on grilled chicken and next to roasted vegetables, especially mushrooms.
By any means: in case you come across these greens, take your chance and try it out!

Ramps Pesto


  • 150 grams of ramps leaves, washed and dried
  • 250 milliliters of fruity, good quality olive oil (or a neutral nut oil, such as almond oil)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 grams of finely ground parmesan cheese
  • 50 grams of pine nuts


  1. Chop the ramps leaves to make it easier to make a smooth pesto out of it.
  2. Pulse all ingredients together in your kitchen machine or in a large bowl, using a hand blender.
  3. Store this in the fridge, it will stay good for around a week. This pesto also is perfect to freeze. 🙂
  4. Enjoy!