Bored of winter produce? Here is the brightest pasta salad!

This pasta salad has become such a staple in my routine, that it is easy to forget how awesome it is. And I can assure you that this pasta salad is like summer in dark winter days.
For this salad I usually raid our cupboards, which makes it extra convenient on weekdays. I have used jarred (marinated) artichokes, frozen avocado cubes (!), dried pasta, feta cheese, loads of lemon juice, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin oil and green herbs to make the shiniest and sunniest salad possible. The best part is that you make the dressing in the salad bowl, which means less dishes! As an extra note on the frozen avocado, I was hesitative at first (and rather afraid that they would be a little mushy), but am really enthusiastic at this point, especially because it makes me feel like less cooled air freight was needed to Europe. For all the Dutchies among us: you can buy it at the Albert Heijn (!).

I’ve made a bazzilion variations and in case you do not have some of the ingredients, I can comfort you that you can easily make swap in raw spinach leaves, juicy black olives, lime juice or braised celery stalks with great succes.

I find that it really pays off to use the best pasta available (I always buy DeCecco), and cook it really al dente, as the pasta tends to soften a little in the dressing (especially if you leave leftovers overnight, which I usually do).

I’m looking forward to find this in our fridge any day. 🙂

Bored of winter produce? Here is the brightest pasta salad!


  • 500 grams dried pasta, such as conchiglioni or any smaller shape (preferably good quality)
  • 2 large ripe, soft avocados, cubed (or 260 grams frozed cubed avocado)
  • 1 jar of artichokes, drained (around 180 grams)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons of pumpkin seed oil (or high-quality olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of mild mustard
  • Optionally: a handful of chopped fresh green herbs, such as chives, parsley or mint
  • 75 grams of pumpkin seeds (or alternatively you could use choped pecan nuts, or pine nuts)
  • 200 grams of soft feta cheese


  1. This serves 4 hungry adults, with likely quite some leftovers.
  2. Boil the pasta all dente, and in the meanwhile drain your jar of artichokes in a colander. There is no need to clean the colander before you drain your pasta in it.
  3. Juice the lemons and pour this into a large salad bowl. In this bowl, add the mustard and pumpkin seed oil. Give this a quick whisk with a fork and add the cubed avocados.
  4. Make sure to cover the avocado in the dressing immediately to prevent them from turning brown.
  5. Add the artichokes, hot pasta, pumpkin seeds and feta cheese and mix everthing up properly. The heat of the pasta ensures that all aromas get mixed even better.
  6. Serve luke-warm or cold. Enjoy!

Tomato salad with crispy fried black pudding and bacon

Photo 20-03-16 11 29 52

Spring has arrived in Frankfurt! And truth to be told, I couldn’t be happier. It feels like the days are lasting forever and all flower bulbs that we planted during winter (first time that we have a balcony) are starting to show their heads.
While all signs seem to prove that things are really getting better and that that the long and dark winter is behind us, produce still tastes a little cold. And with that I mean that nothing really smells like sun or summer just yet.

These tomatoes really tempted me, but once I was home I realised the were still pretty tart (same goes for the rock-hard ‘strawberries’ I bought, silly me).
To give a little taste to these tart tomatoes I went for one of Jamie Oliver’s salads (I am not kidding, this man really is a salad-genius, this recipe comes from his book Jamie’s Great Brittain) and combined tomatoes with fried bacon and crispy black pudding. A splash of red wine vinegar and some woody herbs into the bacon grease really makes this a very special yet simple meal.

Cheers, to spring time and markets full of blushing tomatoes! 🙂 View Full Post

Egg Salad with Homemade Mayonnaise

One of the blessings of being familiar with a city is that you know exactly where to buy the nicest produce, where to have the most pleasant cup of coffee (or the biggest piece of cake) and where you’ll get value for your money. As for Amsterdam, I have had enough time to try all out myself, or to read restaurant reviews of my favorite critic.

Now that I am settling down here in Frankfurt, I notice that what I am looking for is simply a manual, a list of all good places within a two kilometer range (you know, the one you get in case of a really good Airbnb host).

A lot of ranking websites seem to be out of touch (haha), or they are maybe just to general in their nature (I had a good laugh listening this Podcast on how we are all food critics these days).

To contribute my part, I have given my personal favourite addresses in Amsterdam to do groceries here, as well as some other good referral websites.
In the meantime I will be horsing around in Frankfurt and gather as much field experience as I can, which more or less means eating in the name of research, which I already like.

For now, my Dutch reserves in the cupboards (some really good olive oil from Meeuwig & Zn.) were more than enough to make this really tasty mayonaise and egg salad.
In case you did not yet make your own mayonnaise, I would say: please try as it is pretty awesome and nowhere else to be found this good as in your own home.

Fennel Salad

This French Onion Tart is just one really fresh side dish away from a perfect winter-almost spring kind of dinner. The salad I made just breathes spring in all its crispy freshness, combined with bright green and fruity olive oil.
A good sprinkling of salt gives a really good edge to the sweetness of the fennel. With this it is only a matter of daydreaming until picnics along the riverside, bathing in sunlight, long evenings and white wine.

Until all this outdoor eating starts upon us, Lady Gaga singing the Sound of Music (!!) will simply do. 😉

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Knowing I will be home late from work in the upcoming week, I often like to make some simple food on Sunday for the week ahead. There is something very soothing about coming home late at night to find something nice in my fridge. It definitely doesn’t have to be something decadent, heavy or super complicated, but rather something that is healthy and easy to eat, even when alone and tired.
I often make large salads, but sometimes struggle to make large quantities, especially in winter when tomatoes (or all else for that matter) seem to be out of season.

Very recently an American colleague of mine explained me how to make a good coleslaw. I was really interested as I had often looked up recipes, but was a little skeptical by the amounts of mayonnaise, creme fraiche and even sugar that are making their rounds on the internet.
In this recipe, all three are taken out and still make a
very tasty salad (plus: an excuse to eat a cookie on a
weekday;)). Having said that, you can easily add a couple of tablespoons mayonnaise
to make a safe bet on the taste front (in case you’re panicking and
guests are already approaching your house while you’re still halfway between your office dress and semi-pajamas:)).

This coleslaw makes a
really good side dish or even a dish on its own (maybe with some bread,
nuts and cheese – if not with a large burger, which *might* have happened last weekend, cough). One cabbage makes a wonderful
large salad batch, that won’t go bad very soon, but rather improves in
both taste and structure over the days after preparing. I would honestly say that I have eaten of this
batch for four consequential days (please, no judgment:)).
This is in no way a very refined dish, but it is a really good dish to have in your fridge as it will provide you with a tasty meal and a large amount of vegetables.I have used Chinese cabbage as it was delivered with my organic box last week, but you could easily use any white cabbage. The key to achieve a nice coleslaw is to slice the cabbage very finely, almost waverthin and to cover all in enough dressing.

To make the salad instantly taste as good on day one as on day three, simply knead the sliced cabbage and dressing together with a strong hand for a couple of times, just to soften the cabbage a little (and in that case definitely make sure you already threw off your office dress;)).

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