I was reading through a stack of older housekeeping magazines looking for vegetable recipes, and I kept coming across cauliflower. We used to eat a lot of cauliflower! Not surprising really, because bloemkool has always been an affordable and available vegetable in the Netherlands. It's mostly grown around West-Friesland, in North Holland, on the islands and near Venlo in Limburg. 

Bloemkool is also a very versatile vegetable: it's easy and quick to prepare, and is fairly neutral in taste. Nowadays, bloemkool is eaten both raw (in salads or with a dip) and cooked, as a substitute for rice and mashed potatoes in low-carb recipes, or in au gratin casseroles, cheesy soups or as the main vegetable in the traditional Dutch AGV (potatoes, vegetables, and meat) menu. 

The other reason why cauliflower kept coming up so much is that it was so easy to use up if you had leftovers. The menu said to serve cauliflower boiled like today's recipe one day, and then make soup or an oven casserole out of the leftovers the next day. Nothing like Dutch frugality/practicality to create new dishes out of what was not used the previous day! I am quite appreciative of that creativity, to tell you the truth. 

Looking up to see how much we consume nowadays I thought it was interesting to read that, according to a Dutch magazine survey from 2021, people under 40 years old do not include cauliflower at all in their top 10 of vegetables, and those over 60 only as their 8th most purchased one. Surprising, because cauliflower is low-cal, has plenty of fiber and anti-oxidants and contains choline and sulforaphane, important for eh...all kinds of things. It's just not a very instagram-able vegetable, I guess? 

The cauliflower I prepared today is served oma-style, the old-fashioned way, which is boiled and with a "papje", a white sauce. Traditionally, this is accompanied by boiled potatoes, and a choice of meat, most often a gehaktbal, a meatball, but it goes well with almost any kind of protein. Colorwise, it's all very beige on your plate, I can't even make it look good in the picture, but it is such a comforting dish! Big, soft lumps of cauliflower, covered in a silky, creamy sauce seasoned with salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of nutmeg on can't go wrong. IF you like cauliflower, that is. This is one of those dishes that you either love or hate - there is little in between! 

I prefer to make the sauce with the cooking liquid, and a splash of cream at the end, to get more of that cauliflower flavor, and any possible nutrients that may have survived the boil, so I keep an eye on the cooking time, and try to not overcook it. I save the rest of the cooking liquid to purée the leftovers with the next day and make a cheesy bloemkoolsoep for lunch, but if you don't care for leftovers or cauliflower soup, feel free to use milk only.

For this recipe I used fresh cauliflower, but frozen works just as well. 

Bloemkool met een papje

2 lbs (1 kg) cauliflower, rinsed and broken into florets
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

For the sauce
4 tablespoons (50 grams) butter
1/3 cup (50 grams) flour*
2 cups (500 ml) milk or cooking liquid
Salt, white pepper, nutmeg

Bring the water to a boil, salt, and add the cauliflower. Boil at medium heat for about fifteen minutes, then check to see if the texture is to your liking: the longer you cook it, the softer it gets. 

When it's the right texture, drain the cauliflower but save the water, and measure out two cups (500 ml). (Don't discard the rest of the cooking water if you are planning on making soup with the leftovers). Put the empty cooking pot back on the stove, and in it, melt the butter (do not brown). With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour until the two have come together as a paste, and slowly add the two cups of milk or cooking liquid, while stirring. Keep stirring until the lumps are gone and the sauce has thickened. Bring up to taste with salt and pepper. 

Add the cauliflower back into the pot with the sauce, stir once or twice so that the vegetable is covered with the sauce, or serve the sauce on the side. Right before serving, sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg over the cauliflower. Serve with boiled potatoes.   

*If you would rather not use flour, use cornstarch to make a slurry and bind the sauce.


There is an abundance of "schoteltje" recipes in our traditional kitchen, like "broodschoteltje", "macaronischoteltje", "beschuitschoteltje", "rijstschoteltje". It appears to be a collective name for predominantly sweet dessert dishes, but not always, like today's savory dish. 

I don't really have a good translation for the "schoteltje" part. Schoteltje literally means "small dish". The recipes themselves fall somewhere between small casseroles, au gratin dishes, or cocottes - but they're not always a full-blown casserole, which would imply cooking for a lengthy time in the oven using raw ingredients (because that would be an "ovenschotel", an oven dish), and not all recipes require gratin, and sometimes cocottes are initially meant to contain personal servings, which also doesn't apply. So for now, I am going with the unsatisfactory English name of "dish". Maybe you can help me come up with something better? 

Most schoteltje recipes are generated straight out of our frugal tendencies: they use up old bread, leftover rice or pasta, even oliebollen, and often incorporate eggs, a food that is still affordable for most. So too this recipe, that uses up a glut of tomatoes, a handful of leftover shredded cheese, and a few eggs.

This recipe is a great lunch or brunch dish: tomatoes stuffed with cheesy scrambled egg, topped with bacon, and baked in the oven until the skin and flesh of the tomatoes softens and become jammy. Together with a green salad, or a few slices of bread or toast, it's a satisfying meal, and an affordable one. 


4 large tomatoes
5 eggs
1 cup (100 grams) shredded cheese
4 strips bacon
Herbs (optional)

Cut the top of the tomatoes, and put the caps aside for now. Hollow the tomatoes out with the help of a spoon. Save the seeds, or puree the tomato pulp and save it for soups. Sprinkle a little bit of salt on the inside of each tomato, and place it upside down in the dish. In the meantime, crack the eggs and whisk them, then melt the butter in a skillet. Add the egg mix, and when it starts to set, scramble the eggs with the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and herbs, if desired. Don't overcook the eggs.

Heat the oven to 400F/200C. Turn the tomatoes right side up, stuff them with the scrambled eggs, and top each one with a strip of bacon. Replace the cap, add a little bit of water to the bottom of the dish, and bake the tomatoes for 20 - 25 minutes, until the caps are slightly shriveled and the tomatoes are starting to burst. 

Serve warm, with toast, or a green salad. Eet smakelijk!

Why can't I print your recipes???

Every now and then I get that question. It's usually accompanied by three or four question marks or an angry face. I've alluded to the reason in previous posts, but after another angry message last week, I figured I better put my reasons in a post, so you all know where I stand. I fully expect to lose some readers over this, but I also feel that it is important that you understand my reasoning, and perhaps are inspired by it.

When I started The Dutch Table, my vision was to have it as a recipe repository, with stories about our food traditions and history, something to reach for when memory would fail me. Now, after fifteen years, I think I have accomplished that. Thousands access the website for recipes, they read the stories and sometimes leave comments or send emails. Our readers are not only Dutch people, but also people who had Dutch parents or grandparents, aunts or uncles, or partners.

It wasn't long after starting the website before I began to receive emails from readers, asking for help with finding recipes that they could only vaguely remember, or that their parents reminisced over. Sometimes they didn't remember the name, or the way it looked, but we'd start with the little they did remember. Over the years, I have amassed a significant amount of books about our food traditions, but also about Dutch housekeeping, gardening, preservation, folklore and oude ambachten, ancient skills and crafts. All these, plus searching in online newspapers, advertisements, journals and handwritten notes, would often provide a solution. The joy it would bring was well worth all the effort, because it's never just about the food, is it? It's about the memories it brings, the joy of remembering loved ones, and recreating or preserving traditions. 

As a small business owner, my content is not only my livelihood but also a part of my personal creative expression. Having it freely printable makes it challenging to manage and protect my work. More importantly, I believe in the charm and tradition of handwritten recipes. There's something special about a recipe that's been copied down by hand, perhaps with personal notes and adaptations, and then passed on. It's a way of making each recipe your own and creating a legacy that can be handed down through generations.

It's not that you can't print the recipes. It's a simple right click on the page, select the print option, enter the amount of pages and hit the button. Nevertheless, I encourage you to take the time to write down by hand the recipes you love. This not only helps support my website and the work I put into creating these recipes, but it also allows you to add a personal touch that printed pages just can't capture. Write them down, perhaps in a notebook (see below) or on recipe cards, and add your personal notes and memories about it: how and when it was served, what dishes or utensils you would use, who loved the dish and who didn't, and any other memory you have associated with it. Doodle in the sidelines, wipe away a splash of sauce, and keep it handy in the kitchen. Because ultimately, a recipe online is easy to find, but it's the cherished treasure of your handwriting and personalization of it that adds all the value.  

I hope you understand my perspective and continue to enjoy the recipes! 

Thank you for keeping our culinary heritage and traditions alive, and for your support always.



I put these blank notebooks (120 and 200 lined pages) together with some of my favorite vintage Dutch images. You can see the selection here, If you buy through this link, the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program will pay us a small commission on qualifying purchases. It does not increase your cost or price, and it will help us keep the website running. Your support is very much appreciated!


Almonds have a prominent place as an item of luxury in the baked goods of the Netherlands. One of our oldest cookery books, Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen (A Remarkable Book on Cooking) published around 1514 by Thomas van der Noot in Brussels, already contains several almond based recipes. Christmas stollen are enriched by having a ribbon of almond paste running through its middle, speculaas is enhanced by adding a layer of almond paste inbetween, and numerous cookies and pastries contain almonds in various ways. 

So too today's cookie, the bitterkoekje, bitter cookie, so named after the bitter almonds that were traditionally used in its recipe. In a different book, this one from 1832, it said that "cookies made from bitter almonds" were shared at weddings to symbolize the ups (sweet) and the downs (bitter) of marriage. What a pity that this custom is no longer practiced! 

Bitterkoekjes are crispy on the outside and slightly chewy in the middle, and are made with the basic ingredients of ground almonds, powdered sugar, and egg white. The bitter flavor comes from pure almond extract. so check your extract to make sure it lists "bitter almond oil" in the ingredients.  Because they don't contain any flour, these cookies are also a good gluten-free option. If you choose almond flour instead of grinding your own, read the ingredients list to make sure there are no other additives.

1 cup (150 grams) powdered sugar, packed
1 1/2 cup (150 grams) finely ground almonds 
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 eggs, egg whites only, divided

Line your baking sheet with a double layer of parchment paper. Heat the oven to 375F/190C. Sift the powdered sugar. Mix the almond with the powdered sugar, the salt, the almond extract, and one egg white until it's well mixed. Add a little bit at a time of the second egg white until you have a consistency that can be piped but is not too liquid that it will spread on its own - look at the picture to the right for an example of consistency. 

Pipe marble sized dollops onto the baking sheet (or use a tiny ice cream scoop, or two small spoons) leaving a little bit of space between. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, but check the color after 10 minutes. Because of the high sugar content, these tend to go from light golden to dark brown in no time, so keep checking! Makes approx. 60 small cookies.

Cool on the paper on a rack, and when they're cooled, peel them off the paper. Keep in a tin. As time passes they will get hard if you're in a dry climate - a slice of bread in the tin will help soften. 

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Photo by Tetiana Bykovets 
It's hard to say when almonds made their entrance into the Dutch kitchen. In Europe, almonds appear in recipes from the late Middle Ages (from 1300) on, often in combination with honey, and spices from Asia. These products came with traders from the Middle East during the Crusades. The oldest Dutch recipes for almond recipes (particularly marzipan) date from the beginning of the 17th century.

Almonds are still a big component of our baking traditions, mainly during the various holidays such as Sinterklaas and Christmas, where it makes its appearance next to speculaas, flavored with a tantalizing combination of spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, coriander, and ginger, and as a core in the traditional Kerststol, the Christmas bread. During the rest of the year, we see it appear in gevulde koeken, (almond paste filled buttery cookies), amandelbroodjes (almond paste turnovers), rondos, and as an optional base for apple and pear cakes.

Because almond paste tends to be fairly expensive, the commercial baking sector also employs something called "banketspijs" - made white beans and almond extract. If you are buying almond flavored products, read the label to see if you're getting almonds or beans. Both have pros and cons. 

This recipe is for a batch of almond paste, and is easy to remember: the same weight of almonds and sugar, mixed with an egg, lemon zest, and a splash of almond extract, if you want to boost the almond flavor a bit. It holds fairly well in the fridge for about a week to to ten days. Make sure to use clean utensils when taking paste out of the container for recipes, and return it to the refrigerator as soon as you're done. 


2 cups (250 grams) almonds, blanched and chopped*
1 1/4 cup (250 grams) sugar
1 egg
Zest of a small lemon
Almond extract (optional)

Blend the almonds and the sugar together in a food processor or blender until well combined, like wet, fine sand. Add in the egg, the lemon zest and, if desired, a tablespoon of almond flavoring. Mix everything together into a thick paste. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

*nowadays it's easier to find almond flour or almond meal. Read the label to make sure the only ingredient are almonds. 

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