Vanilla fudge


When we go to one of our favorite restaurants, Zarzo in Eindhoven, we always get some fudge with the coffee, so I thought I would try my hand at making it. Turns out, it is quite easy.

Easy, but potentially dangerous. I feel the need to say it here, as I have all sorts of crazy friends: you are working with sugar at high temperatures here, and you must always be vigilant. No children, pets, or distractions of any kind are allowed. Read the recipe, visualize the steps, and proceed with caution.

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Cheap’s vanilla sugar


You know how sometimes a recipe calls for seeds from a vanilla pod and you are left with a still magnificently flavourful vanilla pod? And you know how sometimes a recipe calls for vanilla sugar that the stores sell in these small bags at the price per kg of cocaine? Well, here is a solution to both of these problems.

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What happens when you add bicarbonate of soda to caramelised sugar? Magic! (Actually, chemistry, but let us not ruin the moment with technicalities.)

Sugar work is not one of my specialities, but with the boyfriend’s support, the sky is the limit, so we decided to give it a shot. The seed for the idea of making honeycomb was planted after watching a few episodes of BBC’s show Sweets Made Simple, with the sweetest couple you have ever seen presenting.

Honeycomb is wonderful served with some lactose-free home-made vanilla ice cream.

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Lamb shoulder in the oven

Another recipe without a photo, but just as well. This dish is not for the faint of heart–or those in a hurry. It is spring, lamb season, so we are indulging a bit in Swiss lamb. Bone-in lamb shoulder is an amazingly good value here, and costs less than bio chicken per kg. This is a recipe inspired by my Dad’s preparation and some stricter guidelines from Jamie Oliver.

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Blue ribbon apple pie

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This is one of my favorite desserts and possibly one of my favorite foods. I do think that apple cakes should be a separate food group. I found the recipe in one of Anna Olson’s tutorials; this is a type of pastry I have not made before, a kind of a cross between a rough puff pastry and shortcrust pastry. My small contribution to the recipe was topping it with heart cutouts because… I could. I also adapted the recipe to the Boyfriend’s taste by using only cinnamon as spice and adding a small amount of raisins.

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Tarator-style salmon


For a quick fish supper, look no further: salmon topped with hummus and a mixture of walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, sumac, parsley, and purple onions. Serve it with couscous enriched with spring onions, chopped tomatoes, and copious amounts of parsley, and enjoy alongside of a glass of wine. Just don’t ask me for a wine pairing.

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It took me a good long while to master these cute little cookies; having made so many, I think I can now say I have nailed it. Two resources were instrumental in my success: the cute little book I love Macarons by Hisako Ogita and the (ambitiously titled) video The Science Behind French Macarons by Thomas Joseph and the Martha Stewart team.

I am using quite a bit of equipment for this, and the recipe is not for the sloppy or the faint of heart. In any case, even if you follow my recipe to the letter, it might happen that the macarons fail. In that case, have a look at the troubleshooting guide below, and try, try again. Here we go!

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