Happy 2016!!

I took a mini break so that I can start 2016 rested and fresh. I've made these two mocktails as I want to live a cleaner life in 2016. I want to be more outdoors and become a proper 365 days a year gardener instead of a spring and summer gardener only. We have made a good start of building me a proper garden shed with a pottering table and all my tools neatly organised. I'm going to rearrange the back of the house garden and I'm going to rethink the side of the house garden. I've also started to exercise daily. I've bought myself a good indoor bike and have been on it for at least an hour a day watching two episodes of The Big Bang Theory. As from Wednesday I'll start to swim 3 times per week and by March I might need a break - LOL!!! And a new years resolution we've both made: work less and travel more.

Here's to an exciting fresh new year.

Non-alcoholic Ginger Mimosa (left)

  • 50 ml fresh orange juice
  • 250 ml sparkling water
  • 2 x 1 cm thick slices of fresh ginger
  • Half a Clementine
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary


Pour the orange juice into a glass, then add the sparkling water. Garnish with pieces of Clementine, ginger slices and insert the rosemary sprigs into the glass. Use a cocktail pestle to squeeze the juice out of the ginger and Clementine. To make the drink alcoholic pour 50 ml champagne in the glass and reduce the sparkling water to 200 ml.

For one long drink or champagne glass

Non-alcoholic Iced Chai Latte (right)

  • 1 litre of boiling water
  • 4 bags of Clipper Chai Tea
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 sprigs of star anise
  • Milk


Brew the tea in a litre of boiling water, about 15 minutes. Stir the maple syrup into the tea and add the cinnamon stick and star anise. Let stand until it has cooled completely. Then cool the tea for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before you pour the tea into an ice cube tray. Place in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Pour into a glass of cold milk and add (to taste) the chai tea ice cubes. Stir and wait until the cubes are almost melted. To make the drink alcoholic add 1 tablespoon of Kahlua to the tea mixture before freezing.

For 8 glasses

Mince Pies

It's just not Christmas weather outside and I also really dislike Christmas is over the weekend. I don't know how things are your end, but it feels like we have to squeeze Christmas in this year. Even the supermarkets are open on the 26th. But I'm trying my best to be in a festive mood and these mince pies help along the way.

Ingredients for the filling

500 gr apples (Jonagold or Pink Lady)
250 gr currants
100 gr dried cranberries
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
zest of 1 orange
500 ml of organic apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for the dough

375 gr flour
260 gr (cold) unsalted butter
125 gr white caster sugar
1 egg
12 aluminium ramekins


Cut the apples into small pieces. Mix the apples, currants and cranberries in a saucepan. Add the apple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla extract and orange zest and cover the pan with the lid. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, make sure to stir. Add more of the apple juice, if necessary, to the mixture to keep it moist and juicy. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Knead all ingredients for the dough in a food processor until you have a ball. If you don't have a food processor, then knead the dough with your hands in a large bowl. Push the ball flat, wrap in plastic foil and let the dough 30 minutes cool in a refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Dust a smooth surface with flour and roll out the dough about 2 mm thick. Use a bowl which is just slightly larger as the aluminium baking dishes and cut out circles from the dough. Push them into the aluminium ramekins. Scoop the fruit mixture into the ramekins and cover with a star cut out of the dough. Bake the pies for 15-20 minutes in the oven. Let the pies cool slightly and dust with powdered sugar.

For 12 mince pies

Koken met Behulp van Quooker

Over the next few weeks I will be writing about my experience with a Quooker tap. It's a Dutch product so I'll be writing these posts in Dutch. I can highly recommend Quooker taps and boilers for gardeners, cooks and people with old large homes as Quooker taps and boilers come with EU energy label A and they are awfully pretty. Check out to see if they sell Quooker taps in your country.

PS: the recipes below can be found in my book Yvestown in the Kitchen. Available through and

In het begin was ik nogal sceptisch over het koken met een Quooker. Ik dacht; “wat maakt het uit om wat langer op kokend water te wachten, dat doe ik toch al heel mijn leven?”, maar het scheelt enorm veel tijd. Ook zal het mij op de langere duur energie en water besparen. Zo blancheer ik mijn groente en gaar ik couscous en noedels heel eenvoudig in van die suffe glazen Pyrex schalen. Gewoon onder de kraan en deksel erop. Het werkt echt geweldig. En natuurlijk drinken wij nu liters thee en dat is weer goed voor het vocht verlies. Ik zeg de Quooker is een zeer geliefde nieuwe huisgenoot.

Courgettesoep met Hollandse Garnaaltjes


  • 2 grote courgettes (of 5 kleine)
  • 1 bosje verse koriander
  • 1 rode peper
  • 1 theelepel zeezout
  • 3 eetlepels olijfolie
  • 1 eetlepel kurkuma
  • 200 ml kokosmelk
  • 100 ml water
  • 150 gram Hollandse garnaaltjes


Snijd de courgettes in grove stukken, hak de koriander en rode peper en doe alles samen in een grote pan met het zeezout en de olijfolie. Zet het vuur laag en doe de deksel op de pan. Af en toe goed roeren. Wanneer de courgettes goed zacht zijn, voeg je de kurkuma toe. Goed roeren. Zet het vuur uit en pureer de inhoud van de pan. Voeg de kokosmelk en het water toe. Serveer de soep met de Hollandse garnaaltjes.

Tip: Wil je een pittige soep, voeg dan ook (een deel van) de zaadlijsten en zaadjes van de rode peper toe.

Quooker tip: de 100 ml kokend water kunnen rechtstreeks uit de kraan op het vuur waardoor het kook proces sneller gaat.

Surinaamse Pasteitjes


  • 2 kipfilets
  • zout en peper
  • 2 tenen knoflook
  • 1 witte ui
  • 2 tomaten
  • 250 gram waspenen
  • 250 gram doperwten
  • 50 gram kappertjes
  • handvol verse platte peterselie
  • 2 hardgekookte eieren
  • 1 pak bladerdeeg
  • 1 geklopt ei
  • 12 vuurvaste schaaltjes


Verwarm de oven voor op 200˚C. Bestrooi de kipfilets met zout en de peper en kook ze gaar in een diepe pan met een bodem water tot er bijna geen water meer in de pan staat. Houd de deksel op de pan. Snijd ondertussen de ui en de knoflook. Haal de pitjes uit de tomaten en snijd het vruchtvlees in blokjes. Snijd de waspeen in smalle plakjes en kook ze samen met de doperwtjes beetgaar. Haal de kipfilets uit de pan en snijd ze in kleine stukken. Bak de tomaat, ui, knoflook en kipfilet stukjes samen in een koekenpan. Voeg de waspeen en doperwtjes toe. Roer goed door elkaar. Haal de pan van het vuur en voeg de kappertjes en fijngesneden peterselie toe. Snijd de hardgekookte eieren in smalle plakjes. Bekleed de vuurvaste schaaltjes met 1 vel bladerdeeg en vul ze tot aan de rand toe met het mengsel. Leg 2 plakjes ei bovenop en sluit het pasteitje door het bladerdeeg met de punten naar elkaar toe te leggen. Smeer alle pasteitjes in met geklopt ei voor een goudbruin resultaat. Plaats in de oven voor 25-30 minuten.

Quooker tip: om de kip te bereiden kun je direct kokend water uit de kraan in de pan doen, zo fruit de kip super snel.

Vergeet niet mee te doen aan de Quooker Fusion win actie. Van Quooker mag ik één Quooker Fusion t.w.v.: €1395 inclusief montage weggeven. Klik op deze link om de voorwaarden te lezen en om mee te doen.

This post in sponsored by Quooker. A brand I love, use and can highly recommend.

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus

It's that time of the year when I eat pork but just tenderloins and bacon, I won't eat any other part of this animal as I rarely eat something that walks on four legs. I try to avoid it for health and environment reasons.

Ingredients Pork Tenderloin

  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 250 gr each)
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 6 sprigs fresh coriander
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g smoked bacon
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Ingredients Asparagus

  • 350 gr green asparagus tips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 50 gr unsalted pistachios
  • 25 gr feta cheese

Preparation Pork

Preheat the oven to 225ºC. Cut the pork tenderloin lengthwise carefully in half (butterfly cut), about 2 cm from the edge. Fold open, you now have a flat piece of meat. Chop the herbs finely and mix them together with the sea salt and olive oil. Rub all the seasoning on the meat and then roll the meat shut. Roll the slices of bacon around the meat. Mix the honey and maple syrup in a bowl and paste it with a brush over the bacon. Place the pork tenderloins in a roasting tin and bake for 15 minutes on full heat in the oven.

Preparation Asparagus

Preheat the oven to 225ºC. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Lay the asparagus on the baking paper in the tray. Grind lots of salt and pepper over the asparagus and pour the olive oil over the asparagus. Place for 15 minutes in the oven. Chop the pistachios into fine pieces and scatter over the asparagus. Crumble the feta with your fingers and scatter over the asparagus.

Soup Pots on the Go

Over the weekend I wrote about lunch in pots and boxes in my weekly SJIEK column. I promised the readers to show the mixed version of the lovely soup pot lunches. Prepare them at home and just add hot water when you're ready to eat it.

Preparation Chicken with Noodles

Bring a pan with a little water to the boil. Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water. Grind the salt and pepper on the bottom and top of the chicken and place the chicken in the pan. Fry the chicken with the lid on the pan and heat to the lowest setting for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in boiling water.

Use this order to the pot:

  1. chicken broth paste
  2. peas
  3. onion
  4. noodles
  5. chicken
  6. dill

Add 250 ml of boiling water. Stir well until all ingredients are mixed.

Preparation Tikka Masala with Coconut

Use this order to fill the pot:

  1. tikka masala
  2. corn
  3. onion
  4. spring onion
  5. shrimp
  6. coconut milk
  7. cilantro

Add 200 ml of boiling water. Stir well until all ingredients are mixed.

Easy Peasy Party Snacks for Kids

And adults of course ...

Banana with Peanut Butter Tufts

1 banana
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp chocolate sprinkles
1 tsp disco dip


Cut the banana into thick slices. Use a knife to paste the peanut butter on the banana. Pour over chocolate sprinkles and disco dip.

Popcorn with White Chocolate

1 bag of sweet microwave popcorn
150 g white chocolate
1 tbsp disco dip


Pop the popcorn in the microwave, follow the instructions on the packaging. Heat the white chocolate in a bowl that's placed in a pan of boiling water until the chocolate is melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the popcorn and mix the chocolate and popcorn. Let it cool for 5 minutes and then sprinkle the disco dip over the popcorn.

The plates, cups and straws are by Meri Meri.

Sweet Potato Hummus

My husband, Bo, didn't schedule any work for two whole weeks so I'm taking things easy with him. I do however have quite a lot of work scheduled so I want to keep meals simple so that we get to do stuff during the day.

This is a super tasty, quick recipe that will fill you up.


  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 410 gr chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Steam them in a closed bowl with a pinch of salt in the microwave for 5 minutes at 1000 watts. Rinse the chickpeas well and place them in a food processor with the other ingredients. Let the sweet potatoes cool, place them also in the food processor and blend all ingredients into a hearty hummus.

Serve on whole wheat tortillas with coriander and grated mozzarella cheese.

Serves 8