A thousand Facebook likes!

Gefeliciteerd!! We just reached our first 1,000 likes on Facebook and, as promised, we'll celebrate in a properly fashion! Stay tuned for more exciting news to come :-)

By the way, like the card? Check out the Simply Dutch website (www.simplydutch.com) for great designs, children's clothing and accessories, all from Dutch designers!

Spinazie met soldaatjes

If you have never visited Marianne Orchard's blog,  Like A Sponge, I highly encourage you to do so. Orchard, a British native who makes her home in the Netherlands, captures the Dutch spirit with kindness but with a very clear view of what makes us different or stand out, and she does this with a great sense of humor. Her latest post, Dutch Chorus at the Checkout, is very recognizable, and I trust for many of you it may too. I read her post with a smile on my face, and was encouraged to see that the thrifty spirit is still alive and well!

Marianne's purchase at the grocery store was spinazie, spinach, and it reminded me of a traditional dish called Spinazie met Soldaatjes, spinach with soldiers, these last ones being fried strips of bread, not the military kind. Spinach is a tricky vegetable to serve kids, right along with spruitjes and boerenkool, but made from fresh produce and with a splash of fresh cream, it may work just fine. And if they don't eat it, try the traditional Dutch approach of mashing the veg with boiled potatoes and a big helping of appelmoes, apple sauce! Works every time :-)

Spinazie met soldaatjes
2 eggs
2 lbs fresh spinach
2 slices of bread, day old
1 tablespoon butter
Generous splash of cream (optional)

Boil the eggs in water, for 8 to 10 minutes, rinse with cold water. Let cool for a minute, then peel and slice.

Wash the spinach and remove any sand, hard ends of the stem or wilted leaves. Cut the korstjes, the crusts, off the bread and cut it into strips. Melt half of the butter in a pan, shake the water off the spinach and add to the pan, stir once or twice, cover and leave on low heat to wilt the leaves.

Stir the spinach. Heat the rest of the butter in a small frying pan and fry the bread on either side until golden brown. Taste the spinach, add a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir. If you wish, you can add a splash of heavy cream at this point, stir, and bring up to temperature.

Serve the spinazie with the egg slices and the soldaatjes.


If you're not Dutch, or were not raised by Dutch parents, the fixation with apple sauce may leave you wondering. The Dutch love their appelmoes, and it is very often a side dish to the main meal of the day. 

As children move on from puréed baby food and start sharing the same meal as their parents, their boiled potatoes and vegetables are often prakked together with pan gravy and apple sauce. It makes for a sweet-and-salty taste and a mushy texture, and it is great for masking the more bitter tastes of traditional vegetables such as boerenkool (kale), spruitjes (Brussels sprouts) or zuurkool (pickled cabbage). Most children will consume the sweet applesauce with their warm dinner and consequently, many an adult will continue the tradition, whether it’s with homemade applesauce or store bought. 

Children's menus at Dutch restaurants will invariably offer appelmoes on the side, and a very old-fashioned but oh-so-satisfying entrée to order is chicken with french fries and apple sauce. Kinderen Voor Kinderen, a Dutch children's choir, sang a very catchy tune about it: kip, patat en appelmoes. And it is a must of course that you dip your hot and salty French fry in the mayonnaise first, and then in the cold and sweet apple sauce. Don't knock it until you try it!

The weather is slowly cooling down and Fall is just around the corner. The apple trees are ready to share their bounty, so let's prepare some appelmoes! The sauce can be held in the fridge for a couple of days, frozen or canned. Please follow your local Extension office recommendations regarding canning procedures.

8 large apples  (preferably a variety of flavors: tart, sweet etc)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup water
Cinnamon stick, optional

Peel, core and chop the apples. Add with sugar and water to a saucepan with a heavy bottom and slowly bring up to a simmer. Cover and simmer the apples until done: leave it chunky or mash it slightly to create a finer texture. Taste and adjust the sweetness or the flavor of cinnamon as preferred.