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!

Garlic Soup

Garlic Soup - Tuks Kitchen

Garlic Soup – Tuks Kitchen

I know that the combination of all previous posts is more or less a strange hodgepodge (cough: Kimchi, Braised Celery and loads of cake).
And before you run away: I have an explanation. I didnt’ necessarily expect it, but amid the wedding preparation (sorry to say this, I admit this sounds obnoxious), we have actually been staying in a bit while doing stuff like placing orders online together and testing cake recipes.
Which is awesome, one because it is some quiet before the storm but also because it gives the luxury of being able to eat whatever we want (read: large amounts of garlic). 

Having said that, I am extremely happy to eat all this stuff with Anton as it is truly good. However, I wouldn’t dare eat this on a first date (or on the 10th  to be honest). Which, again is actually a really nice thought while we are approaching our wedding date. 

Whether you are with someone to eat garlic with or not, I suggest is that you eat this soup in a soft pyjama out of a bowl in front of the telly. Accompanied by a plate of wonderful sliced cured meats and cheese (detoxing is for tomorrow).

Enjoy! 🙂

This garlic soup is roughly inspired by the Spanish ‘Sopa di Ajo’, and based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe.
I omitted the almonds as the soup is quite rich on its own already, but feel free to add these back in again. Just make sure your blender is strong enough to blend them into the soup. This recipe serves 4 (generous) portions. View Full Post

Tomato Tapenade with Pine Nuts

Photo 26-11-15 08 16 53I take true pride in cooking nice stuff and am happy to shine off as much as I can. Having said that, I am also a fierce believer in making things as easy as possible. 

This Tomato Tapenade is a perfect example of that. The biggest effort that concerns this recipe is dragging the jars of dried tomatoes home, a thing that can actually weigh down your shoulder bag quite a bit. Other than gathering the ingredients, you only have to blender all together. This with a really amazing result.

The recipe is very forgiving and you can simply amend it to your likings and cupboard content. You could for example add grated parmesan cheese, paprika powder, fresh parsley, walnuts or almonds instead of the feta cheese. I’ve chosen to leave out the more traditional capers and anchovis, as I simply like it this way, but you could easily add these seasonings.

I love to eat this on top of a slice of good quality bread, possibly topped with some cheese or dolloped on top of a bowl of pumpkin soup, as a pasta sauce (served with red peppers for example) and next to grilled meat. These pots are on the list for this year’s Christmas presents but besides giving them away I will most definitely keep one to mix into some linguine pasta or to eat it as a sauce (mixed with Greek Yoghurt) next to some Hasselback Potatoes. View Full Post


Photo 23-10-15 18 25 44Whenever I am talking about decadent desserts, I am well aware that it is no everyday-after-work kind of affair. Making a three-step cake, or patiently rolling truffles is not something I am happy to do upon coming home in the evening after a day of work.

Even though I sometimes forget this (it can be truly tempting to cook something after daydreaming all aforementioned day long), it is no fun to have to chop, sweat (the vegetables, not me) and clean up. There is hurry, hanger and on top of that it feels like an evening full of other fun things to do (such as scrolling through GIFs of jawning cats) is flying by and evaporating together with the boiling water.

My main approach to weeknight dinners (even those with friends) is to make something really good during the weekend and simply double the amount. It would concern something that holds up very well and can be heated up without losing its quality, such as stews, quiches or this lasagna. In most cases, the amount of work is not significantly increased, and there is only the practical matter of having enough storage room in your fridge (or freezer) for the second dish.

Then, once a tired weeknight comes around, it is a matter of putting this lasagna in the the oven and dinner is getting ready while you can unapologetically move wildly to music in your living room or scroll through mentioned jawning-cat-GIFs.

In case you would like to make this look a little special (if it is not already), you can serve this with some salad or pickles (did I mention cheese?) and call it a day. For that matter, I often also make a nice sauce that will form the base for a good salad or is good with roasted vegetables, such as Pesto or Mustard Mayonnaise while the bolognese sauce is simmering on the stove.

More practically, this lasagna tastes best the day after you’ve baked it. So actually, this whole approach brings you to the perfect lasagna, as you should almost only make it when you know you’d like to eat it the next or following days. Also, please don’t be intimidated by the relatively lengthy recipe, it will pay off, and it will be much easier to make the second time.

Photo 23-10-15 18 25 15
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