Cooking for Queens Day (Guest)
(Today’s post is brought to you by a guest writer.)
While the UK recently enjoyed street parties and food fit for royalty for the Jubilee, in the Netherlands, every year there are nationwide festivities on Queens Day.
Not celebrated with such the same gusto in the UK, Queen’s Day is the current reigning monarch’s official birthday when the whole country holds street parties and comes together to have some fun. Orange is the colour adopted by the Netherlands so everything takes on the tangy tone for the day; all is included from party decorations to the food on the plates! 2013 will be the last Queen’s Day for a while as Queen Beatrix will be handing over the reins to her son, Willem-Alexander, so from 2014 onwards there will be a King’s Day instead.
Queen’s Day is a wonderful tradition which everyone can enjoy; here’s some regal recipes which are easy to prepare but are guaranteed to tickle the tastebuds.
Starter: Regal Orange Soup
Orange in colour rather than flavour, this brightly coloured bowl of delights can be enjoyed by all ages and is super-easy to prepare. To make it you will need:
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 medium-sized pumpkin
- 2 large carrots
- Plain yoghurt
- 1.3 litres of vegetable stock
- Pinch of saffron
- Salt and pepper as desired
Preheat your oven to 250°C then chop the pumpkin and squash into quarters and top and tail the carrots; there’s no need to worry about peeling first. Put the pumpkin, squash and carrot into the oven and roast until soft and tender; this could take up to an hour.
Whilst the root vegetables are roasting, soak the saffron threads in some hot water and warm up the vegetable stock in a large pot. This should be done just in time for the roasted veg to come out of the oven.
You should find you can simply scoop out the seeds and tough inner parts of the squash and pumpkin, leaving you with soft tender flesh. Using a spoon, remove this from the skin and add it to the stock (whilst on the heat). The skin on the carrots should simply peel away; once removed add the carrots to the pot too.
Add the saffron threads as well as the water it was soaking in (no more than a tablespoon should be used). Then remove it all from the heat and using a blender or food processor, simply blitz until you have a silky smooth and creamy soup.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a generous spoonful of yoghurt.
Main course: Chicken with an orange and mustard sauce
Duck a l’orange is an obvious choice for Queen’s Day and a dish many Dutch people enjoy. However, for something a little different, chicken with a orange and mustard sauce offers a suitably
citrus alternative. The ingredients to make it are as follows:
- 4 chicken breasts
- 75g chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
- 400ml orange juice
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 30g butter
- 4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
Start by heating your oven to 190°C. Lay the chicken in a baking dish, cover with the mustard and the chopped onion. On top of this sprinkle half of the brown sugar and add sufficient orange juice to cover the chicken. Place the butter on top of the chicken.
After roasting for 45 minutes, remove from oven and pour the sauce into a separate pan. Use the rest of the sugar to cover the chicken and return to the oven.
Add the flour to the chicken juice mixture and pour in any remaining orange juice. Heat whilst gently whisking until the sauce is smooth and thick.
Take the chicken out of the oven and pour the sauce over for a tangy treat that is perfect served with seasonal veg.
A custard slice is a popular delicacy in many countries and Oranjetompoes is the Dutch version, jazzed up a bit to mark the orange theme which permeates every aspect of Queens Day food.
To make a batch yourself, you will need the following ingredients:
For the slice:
- 25g flour
- 3 egg yolks
- 250 ml milk
- 4 slices of frozen puff pastry
- 40g sugar
- Half a vanilla pod
For the orange glaze:
- 100g icing sugar
- orange food dye
- some water
Turn the oven on to 220°C to preheat. Take a bowl and combine the egg yolks, flour and sugar and mix until you have a smooth paste.
In a separate pan place the milk and the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Once bubbling remove from the heat, take out the stick and scrape out the inside. Add this back to the milk and then slowly mix together with the egg, flour and sugar and place back onto the heat, gently simmering for around 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool; stir occasionally to prevent a skin developing.
Whilst the cream is cooling, place the four puff pastry sheets on a baking tray, pricking with a fork to stop it rising too much. Bake in the preheated oven for around 12 minutes or until golden.
Once this has been removed from the oven and is cooling, it’s time to make the glaze. Mix the icing sugar with a small amount of water and a few drops of food colouring. Add just a spoonful of water to start with and slowly increase until the glaze is thick but spreadable. It’s entirely up to you how much food colouring you add as it won’t affect the taste; aim for the shade of orange that you like!
Once the pastry is cool cut each sheet in half so you half 8 smaller rectangles. On four of the rectangles spread a generous dollop of the cream mixture. Smother the remaining four with the orange glaze.
All that remains is to pop the glazed rectangle over the top of the cream and voila! four delicious cream slices Dutch-style ready to enjoy for Queen’s Day.
Queen’s Day, or Koninginnedag as it is known in the Netherlands, is a day when the colour orange pervades everything you can see and when the locals party with their neighbours and tourists alike in a glorious day of celebration. The above three recipes are just three of the wonderful culinary treats which you could either enjoy on a trip to the Netherlands, or alternatively create your own mini festivities at home! The article was written by Nicholas Anthony, offering design for kitchens in London and Cambridge.