Good morning all! I hope you will forgive my long stretch without posting, I have gotten into a rather bad habit lately of leaving all my posts 'til the end of the month and then being sick of writing posts by the end of the month and then taking the first week or two of the next month off the blog completely. Which, of course is a vicious cycle, because it means that all my posts get left until the end of the month again. Oh dear, what a convoluted mess. I'm going to try and break that habit next month!
So, as it happens I'm posting my first April post up today. Did you all enjoy March's Samoan food? I hope so! Unless of course you hate coconut in which case it probably wasn't your month! This month we're travelling pretty far away from Samoa, back into Europe. This month we're having.... drumroll.....
The Netherlands Month!
This month Dutch food will be happening big time at Gormandize! I hope you're ready for a really delicious month (silly sentence really, as you're obviously not hoping for a really disgusting food month).
Although a few Dutch dishes have made it big internationally (like Speculaas!), overall their cuisine is relatively unknown on the world stage and doesn't tend to get a lot of hype from foodies. Infact, the Netherlands seems to be mostly famous for drugs and it's red light district. Oh, as well as windmills and clogs. I visited the Netherlands with my family when I was about 10 years old and, needless to say, didn't experience any of it's (in)famous drug culture. I did, however, learn what a red light district was and have a ball at the windmills and clog shops.
Enough gibber-jabbering now though, it's time to talk about food! Dutch food is probably best known for it's spiced biscuits, cakes and breads and so that is exactly where we're starting. These are called Lazybones Buns, and the cute name isn't the only reason I picked them to try first out of all the Dutch recipes I googled. Having, just had Easter, I've been having a lot of delicious Hot Cross Buns. To me, Easter is all about Hot Cross Buns, and then suddenly (literally overnight), they're not available any more :( So, I sometimes have some withdrawal cravings.
These Lazybones Buns remind me quite a bit of hot cross buns (minus the cross on top of course), so they were perfect for my withdrawal. They're a bit like a cross between a hot cross bun and a fruit scone, either way they made a pretty sensational breakfast or afternoon tea snack.
There is a lovely tradition behind these buns, and as I'm not Dutch I'm going to refer you to another source to explain it:
"Luilak these days is a very localized custom - Amsterdam and surroundings - on the Saturday morning before Pentecost. Children and teens rise very early to play pranks on those considered to be ‘lazybones,’ by ringing their doorbell and then run away. Before ringing the bell they tie the doorknob to another fixed object, and make all kinds of noises to awake people. In earlier times they would chant and parade noisily through the streets, bang on pots and pans, use rattles and sticks. The person in the family who slept in the longest that Saturday morning, by tradition was expected to treat with these buns"
~Extract from www.godutch.com
Ok, we're almost there! I know I've been banging on a bit in this post, but I promise you there is a recipe coming soon! One more thing that I should mention is this: these buns are traditionally made with raisins and currants as the fruit. When I set out to make them I was sure there was a box of currants in my cupboard - but turns out I was wrong! So instead I've made mine with dried cranberries and raisins, and it was delicious so I recommend it :)
50g vegan butter or margarine
1/2 cup non dairy milk (I used rice milk, but any will do fine)
2 tsp dried yeast
300g plain white flour
100g wholemeal flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Zest of 1 lemon
50g dried cranberries (or currants)
1. Place the butter small saucepan and heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk and then the dried yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes, a slight foam should form on the top (if it doesn't, check the expiry date on your yeast!).
2. In a large bowl combine all the remaining ingredients. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast.
3. Mix well until it forms a ball and then turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes (set your oven timer otherwise you'll invariably do it for too short a time!).
4. Sprinkle some flour (or brush some oil) over the bowl and then return the ball of dough to the bowl and cover with a tea towel or some cling wrap. Leave in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours to rise.
5. Turn it out onto your bench again and knead briefly, then divide into eight equal portions and roll them into balls. Place on a large baking tray lined with baking paper.
6. Cover and leave in the warm spot again for a further 45 minutes (while this is happening, heat up your oven to 180 degrees).
7. Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove and allow to cool slightly and then heat warm with a generous smear of vegan margarine or butter.
Makes 8 buns.
This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from The Netherlands.
Check out my other Dutch recipe posts: