Monday, July 14, 2014

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Review: Coco's Outback

When it comes to my eating preferences (not habits), I guess you can say I eat like a man. Yes, I love light, healthy and all that fun stuff, but give me a big, fat steak, perfectly grilled (if I don't see blood, I send it back) and you've never seen a happier girl. Not that I indulge in all that goodness all too often. But admittedly, I must have a proper steak a few times a month. With frites, a bottle of red and eaten with an Opinel knife. French style. In fact, steak frites is my standard 'welcome to France' meal. It's the first thing I order when I'm back on French soil.
This weekend hubby and I headed to Amsterdam for our Saturday lunch out. After wandering through Rembrandtplein where it was nearly impossible to find an empty table, we headed to Thorbeckeplein and quickly decided on Coco's Outback, an Australian pub (the only one in Amsterdam!). I think it was the 'lousy food and warm beer' under their name that did it for me. A place with a good sense of humor. The food just had to be good too.
We were immediately greeted by a very friendly waitress, ordered two chardonnays and opened the menu. It was somewhere around 3 o'clock in the afternoon and we were starving. Although Coco's offers a decent variety of hearty snacks (i.e., Dutch bitterballen, nachos and chicken wings), and dishes such as fish and chips, ribs and their own savory pies, it didn't take long for us to decide on their rib eye. Served with chips, onion rings, salad, a baked tomato and three sauces. 
Well, we weren't in France, and I wasn't at home eating my own perfect steak, but sweet lord was this GOOD! And I'm not only talking about the food. Even their red house wine (failed to ask what it was, sorry) was mellow and very drinkable. The service was also 'tip top ready to rock'! 
I think we'll be back soon. Very soon. But I may just start with a cocktail or two first.
Coco's Outback, Thorbeckeplein 8-12, Amsterdam

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Almond Thins with Crème Fraîche, Strawberries and Beaujolais Syrup

If you're looking for a great dessert, dainty and tasty as can be, look no further. I present to you a sweet little creation that you can offer your guests at the end of a dinner party, without worrying that some of them will object. There's no such thing as 'too full' when this baby comes around! 
It's light as can be and full of flavor thanks to the wonderful almond thins from Belgian biscuit master, Jules Destrooper. Like all of their products, these beautiful little biscuits are made with only the best ingredients and according to their secret family recipe. 
The almond biscuits are delightfully studded with slivers of almonds from Valencia. Combine them with a sweetened vanilla crème fraîche, ripe strawberries and a reduction of Beaujolais wine and you'll be in dessert heaven!

Bon Appétit!

Almond Thins with Crème Fraîche, Strawberries and Beaujolais Syrup
Serves 3
150ml Beaujolais wine
60g sugar 
small stick of cinnamon
90g crème fraîche
2 tbsps powdered sugar
seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
5 small strawberries, halved

First make the wine syrup by putting the wine, sugar and cinnamon in a small pan, stirring and bringing this to the boil. Lower the heat to about medium and allow the wine to reduce to a thick syrupy consistency. This will take approximately 20 minutes. Make sure you stir every now and then. Remove the cinnamon stick once thickened. In the meantime, whisk the crème fraîche with the powdered sugar and the vanilla seeds. To serve, simply arrange the cookies in a neat little row with a bit of the sweet cream in between, the strawberries on top and a good drizzle of the Beaujolais syrup. Serve, smile and enjoy!