Having lived in Amsterdam for more than 21 years, I know where to eat a good steak in the Dutch capital. Not that I am a big meat eater myself, but friends of mine are and we use to go to Piet de Leeuw every Friday evening for years. Both Loetje and Piet de Leeuw had the reputation of serving the best steak in town. Of The Netherlands even.
This all changed at the beginning of this year when the owner of Piet de Leeuw admitted to the Dutch newspapers they had has been selling horse fillets as beef steaks for more than 63 years. To be precise since 1949 when his father, a horse meat butcher, bought the premises. On their menu it said beef steak with horseradish sauce. Perhaps that was telling something. So now you understand why I am sharing Loetje’s steak recipe and not Piet de Leeuw’s.
Because there can only be one steak king.
Loetje’s Sirloin Steak step-by-step recipe
- 4 sirloin steaks approx. 150 grams each
- 100 grams margarine (or butter)
Take the meat out of the refrigerator in time, so it will not be super cold if you put it in the pan. When you put it in the pan while cold, the cold meat will cool the butter, the steak will sear slowly and the meat juices will not be kept inside and the meat will go dry. Loetje seasons the meat before it goes into the pan. They believe that pre-seasoning the meat will give a tastier gravy.
Heat the pan and melt the margarine. Turn up the flame to high heat, so the butter starts sputtering. This butter will be the gravy , without adding anything to it, so make sure you will not burn it. Actually you cannot step away from the stove at this point.
When the butter starts sizzling, put the steaks in the pan. Keep the high heat up, so the meat sears quickly. After a few minutes (depending how well done you like your meat) you can turn the steaks. In order to get them brown evenly, you have to move the pan constantly. Loetje always uses thongs because if you use a fork, you’ll prick holes in your meat, the juices will run out and your meat will get tough and dry. The gravy should not be too dark brown. In order to ensure that the inside of the steak is hot enough, you can lower the fire the last two minutes.
The steak is done when it’s nicely browned all around and the inside is warm enough. Place the steak on a plate, pour a lot of gravy over it and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. Loetje serves the steak with fries and a simple salad with mustard dressing. You can also serve it with fresh white bread to dip into the gravy.
Tip Loetje: “We fry the steaks in margarine, preferably the Blue Band brand (Dutch brand). It does not contain as much water and gives a beautiful, brown gravy. We use no detergent we just rinse the pan with cold water and we dry with paper towels”.
Many years ago I walked the ‘the trip of 12 mountains’ in Sulawesi, the octopus shaped island of Indonesia. I walked it with a Dutch guy and a Toraja, as people from this area of Sulawesi are called. We crossed these mountains with only a small backpack and totally unsuitable shoes.
During this amazing but strenuous trip I experienced a few things for the first time in my life. Like how Toraja people don’t bury their dead in the ground but lay them in high cliff caves. I saw flying foxes and humongous spiders. I ate black rice with sambal for breakfast. I saw mysterious things that when I told people afterwards, they didn’t believe me.
And it was on this amazing island where I saw cacao pods dangling from a tree for the first time in my life.
Almost everyone loves chocolate. And, because the holidays are getting near, I thought I’d share some easy recipes with which you can impress your guests. I will start with my version of the Molten Lava Cake or Chocolate Fondant. Take notice that not every oven is the same. I recommend you try out this recipe before a dinner party and see how many minutes your oven needs to make the perfect melted center of the cakes.
Chili Spiced Molten Lava Cakes
(makes about 12)
67 g melted butter, for brushing
cocoa powder, for dusting
267 g dark chocolate, best quality you can get, chopped into small pieces
267 g butter, chopped into small pieces
267 g golden caster sugar
1 or 2 whole red chili, optional
pinch of cayenne, optional
5 large or 6 medium eggs
5 large or 6 medium eggs yolks
267 g plain flour
Brush the melted butter all over the inside of nine 150 ml ramekins. Place them into the fridge or freezer. Once chilled, brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the ramekins. Ramekins are bowls or dishes that can go into the oven to prepare food.
Slowly melt the chocolate and butter together Au-bain-Marie. Remove bowl from heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
In a second bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until it has a pale color. Sift the flour into the eggs, if using add chili and cayenne and beat together.
Pour melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well after each addition until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter.
Evenly divide the batter between the ramekins. Heat the oven to 200 C.
Place the fondants on a baking tray then cook for 10-13 minutes until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their ramekins. Take out of the oven, and then let them rest for 1 or 2 minutes before turning out.
Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides. Tip each one slightly onto your hand, then tip back into the ramekin, put a plate on top and turn it over.
If you don’t want to make the chili spiced version, just leave the chili and cayenne out. Both versions are great with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.
Rooftop Table Season has almost come to an end. The last dinner wil be tomorrow and it is an extra one on special request.
We had a wonderful season. We met a lot of new people, enjoyed delicious food and good wine, had celebrations, a Rooftop Table for a good cause and we even had some rain at a Rooftop Table.
But all good things come to an end. And although we enjoy Rooftop Table Season thoroughly, we are looking forward to not doing groceries, not setting and cleaning the table and most of all not doing the dishes anymore……for at least the next 8 months.
We would like to keep in touch with our lovely guests and therefore we came up with the following idea. We will organize a FoodiesOnTour lunch at selected restaurants, once a month. If you like delicious food, a good glass of wine, having a chat and a laugh in good company (and we know you do!) then FoodiesOnTour is for you.
You can join us on your own or with friends. Our first FoodiesOnTour will be Sunday October 20th at Tripadvisor’s #1 restaurant of Torre del Mar: Gastrobar Las Perlas! They designed a 5-course menu especially for us, which you can see here. The cost is € 25,- and drinks will be charged seperately.
You can make your reservations for this lunch here.
There is a good reason why I am looking foward to these lunches. I get to sit at the table with you and enjoy everything as well!
Rooftop Table season is almost here. June 7th will be the first Rooftop Table and like last season we start with an Asian theme where I will cook two of my signature dishes. The first one is Nasi Goreng and Chicken Satay with the works and the second one is Panna cotta.
It is not just your every day Panna cotta. It is a coconut Panna cotta. Coconut is used in almost every Asian dish, and ever since I set foot on Asian soil about 25 years ago, I am in love with coconuts. And with Asia of course.
There are two kinds of coconuts; young coconut which is green and large and mature coconut which is brown, hairy and small. The juice of the green one is delicious refreshing and the meat of the mature one is great to shave and toast and sprinkle on ice cream. Hmmm or……over Panna cotta.
So that is what I am going to do. Use it as a topping on my Panna cotta. Over the mango coulis. Oh, I forget to mention that? Yes, I’ll make coconut Panna cotta with a mango coulis and covered with large toasted coconut shavings. And maybe when I am on a roll I’ll even make a coconut snap on the side.
Would you like to try my Panna cotta or some other great food at Rooftop Table? It would be wonderful if you could join us this season!
I made some Boerenjongens today. Boerenjongens translates into Farm boys in English and is a traditional alcoholic beverage. Ingredients are raisins, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and brandy. Lots of brandy. As we were asked to participate in the Multicultural Festival of Comares on September 15th, and represent your country with some typical drink or food, I thought it would be nice to make something typical Dutch but with a Spanish twist.
Although it is an original Dutch recipe, Andalucía and Axarquía are famous for their raisins. If you follow the Ruta de la Pasa (Route of the Raisins) in the right season, you will see the grapes drying in their ‘paseros’. Comares is part of this route and El Borge as well. The latther is even called Capital of the Raisins and the village has a Fiesta for the raisins, called Dia de la Pasa, every September.
So I made some Boerenjongens today. In Spanish ‘licor de pasas en aguardiente’. That sounds boring. I might just call it Chicos de Campo.