|Happy Birthday, Queen Beatrix!!|
(Courtesy of eo.nl)
Queen's Day started officially on August 31st, 1890 to celebrate the birthday of the then Queen of the Netherlands, Wilhelmina, and was a yearly festivity until 1948 when her daughter, Juliana, took over the reigns. Juliana was born on April 30th, so Queen's Day moved to early Spring. By the time Beatrix, daughter of Juliana and current Queen of the Netherlands became Head of State in 1980, it was such a tradition to have all the outside activities, that she didn't have the heart to move Queen's Day to her day of birth, January 31st. Which is just as well. The weather cannot be guaranteed to be sunny and pleasant at the end of April, but it's bound to be a heck of a lot better than on January 31st! Beatrix kept April 30th as the date for this colorful national celebration.
Traditionally, the Queen visits one or two locations in the country where she's greeted by the local authorities, given a tour and has the opportunity to show, perhaps feigned, interest in the local sights. Noblesse oblige. This year, she is visiting the two towns of Thorn and Weert in the province of Limburg. Smart move! They'll probably fete her with a nice slice of Limburg vlaai......
There is no food directly related to Queen's Day. Yes, the icing on the cakes will be orange. The tompoezen will have changed their pink icing to sunny orange, there will be orange beer, orange desserts, and many other orange food items. I may even give those orange tompoezen a go tomorrow, I'm always game for dessert.
However, there is one item that holds it own today: Koninginnesoep. A fairly late comer to the Dutch kitchen, a recipe for Queen's Soup appeared for the first time around the 1900's and has been a steady regular at celebratory events. It's a creamy, chicken-stock based soup that will please everybody in your family, and is easy and quick to make. Which is a good thing, today is after all a holiday!
6 cups of seasoned chicken stock
2 cups of whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 cup of peas
1/2 cup of diced carrots
2 cups of cooked chicken meat, diced
1 tablespoon of ground almonds
Warm the stock, add the vegetables and boil until they're tender. Whisk in the milk and bring back up to temperature, but don't boil anymore, the milk might curdle. Stir in the chicken and the almonds, let the soup simmer for another five minutes, then taste and adjust if needed.