couple things.

Hi. I am "OK"!
Also, the thing I find myself coming here the most for is, invariably, this, so I'll put it at the top and strip it down to the infinitely-modifiable version I always use these days in my post-shrimp life: 


baked risotto.

3 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, or one medium onion of your choosing, chopped small
1 cup Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

up to 1 tsp salt, or possibly no salt, depending on saltiness of your broth
up to 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano (can also use pecorino romano sometimes)

garnishes: you choose. freshly cracked black pepper, butter, gormas, hot sauce, fresh herbs, pangrattato, furikake, etc.


Heat oven to 190°C.

In a medium ovenproof saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Add rice, and stir until grains are shiny and well coated with oil, about 2 minutes more. Add wine, and continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add stock, stir to combine. Cover saucepan; transfer to oven. Bake until almost all of the stock is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Take it out, check for doneness, it should still be barely inedible. Add cheese and return to oven. After 6-8 minutes, remove from oven, check salt level again and adjust if necessary. Serve immediately, topped with grated cheese and your choice of garnish.

Serves 4, sometimes less.


bitchin confidential, chapter 1.

Friday morning. I walk in at 08:06 and it's already clear that things have gone wrong, even before anyone else has been here today. Our main supplier delivers late Thursday night, usually around 22:00 (+/- an hour) and/but somehow cannot tell us in advance when they are unable to deliver any part of our order. 

Clearly, there are technological challenges. Their website only started to feature photos of their products a couple of months ago (it's 2023), it used to just basically be an enormous spreadsheet with a Submit button, so you'd have to select things like "15107 ACTIE Aard Alouette Vastk Aardappel 1kg", click Submit and hope for the best. 

Anyway: after too many Thursday nights waiting at the cafe for them to show up (neurotically checking the clock because we have to go to bed so we can get up early Friday and cook) we now leave them a key under the zinc flowerpot next to the back door so they can let themselves in and out. I do wish we also had a security camera back there so we could have some Instagrammable therapeutic times watching the delivery guy battle his way down the densely overgrown and rustic (unpredictable) garden path with an overloaded hand truck in the pitch black darkness. Thankless job, meet thankless job.  

So if the upside of this arrangement is a possible extra hour or two of sleep, the downside of not being there for this delivery is that we don't find out until Friday morning what parts of the weekend's menu are fucked (I guess if we found out Thursday night we probably would lose those extra hours' sleep anyway). 

"Choose another supplier". There just isn't one, not that delivers where we are. Nobody delivers anything where we are except for the mailman. Mailperson. Mail carrier. You can't even order a pizza. 


We have dinner for 20 on Saturday and lunch reservations all day Saturday, and suddenly we don't have red wine, and we don't have buckwheat flour. One of those things might seem way more important than the other, but buckwheat pancakes have become a significant component of our lunch menu, and without them I can already hear the parents complaining that there's nothing on the menu for kids, which means that I'll probably be getting off-menu requests all day for which there is no standard presentation ("a cheese sandwich for table 6 please", "what does that mean", "you know, a piece of buttered bread with thinly sliced cheese on it", "[threat level rising] which bread, daan's or saskia's? just one piece? whole or in halves? toasted, or not", "I don't know, just whatever" "mmm, no: if i make this and you come in here to pick it up and then ask me to remake it i will kill both of us" "[brief pause] ok, saskia's, whole, and not?", "how old is the kid?" "6?" "ok got it  [waits a moment, then jabs paring knife into temple]").

(And why not just use another flour? Three things: gluten, veganness, and induction. Making pancakes on an induction burner is an inexact science (or a very very exact science: once you have a successful formula, changing any of the input variables in the slightest produces unpredictable results): we tried a different brand of buckwheat flour last Sunday, and one child ended up in bitter, bitter tears b/c her tablemates had their hot non-pancake food while the cook was in the kitchen silently screaming and hurling yet another failed pancake attempt against the wall. The biggest bug/feature is that the recipe is three ingredients: oat milk, buckwheat flour, and salt. It's, frankly, genius. But, having now tried a few different brands of buckwheat, all with varying results, I can say that the only thing you can do to mostly normalize the variation is to let your batter hydrate for 20 minutes, meaning just let it sit there after it's all mixed together. But yeah bottom line: predictable pancakes are only doable with this one recipe and this one buckwheat flour).

So, after figuring out what has showed up, and what it actually is (for example the crate of eggplant we ordered for caponata is comprised of tiny purple eggplants that are about as long as, appropriately enough, my middle finger. They are super cute! But their tinyness means it'll take at least twice as long to trim and clean them as usual, and the many many red onions we need for Saturday dinner are also unhelpfully tiny, meaning the same old sad story: more prep time and more waste), it's now 09:10 and i haven't started cooking yet. Instead I am calculating whether or not we have time to solve our wine/buckwheat problems: the nearest grocery store is a few towns over, about an 11 minute drive (one-way), and while they will definitely have some crappy red wine, the probability that they will have buckwheat flour is extremely extremely low. 

I mean they could, but given that I have 3 cakes, a soup, and two lunch specials to prep before 12:00 I don't have 22 minutes to find out that they don't, so I mentally 86 the pancakes, put on me apron, and enter the kitchen.



the tree was inside it all along, part 3.

Installment 3 of: just to be clear, because I used to hate it when I would find a blog that would talk about addiction struggles and then the blogger would disappear for two years: today is 993 days (minus 2) without alcohol.


ghost kitchen.

Yeah. Jotting this here because I can't find it online anywhere. 
The idea is that I've been baking with aromatics a lot lately, and these two Paula Wolfert variations seem like an interesting thing to add to a cake in place of "2 tbsp rum" or other alcohol. You can also flip the proportions of orange blossom water and Armagnac.


basque aromatic mixture.

2 tbsp orange blossom water
2 tbsp anisette (not pastis)
2 tbsp dark rum
50 ml Armagnac
1 tsp almond extract
1 strip lemon peel


dill + peanut.

3 large aubergines (1.2kg)
some neutral oil
coarse salt

4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 long red chilli, very finely chopped
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

zest of one lemon
1/2 cup toasted coconut
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp soft brown sugar, or more to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp ground turmeric

100g delicious peanuts, either pre-roasted and salted or you-roasted and salted
100g crunchy peanut butter

water to thin
salt and sugar and lemon juice to taste

Fried onions
Fresh herbs – a handful each of mint, coriander and dill, all chopped
Steamed rice and/or salad


pickled tomatoes.


400-500g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 scallions, greens and whites, sliced diagonally
1 green chile, chopped
½ cup white vinegar
⅙ cup brown sugar
2 tsp flaky salt
1 tbsp thinly sliced ginger
1 tbsp thinly sliced garlic
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp turmeric
½ cup blended oil (50/50 canola/olive)

In a pickling jar combine tomatoes, scallions, and chile. In stainless steel saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil, add brown sugar and salt and cook until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a bowl next to stove combine garlic, ginger and spices. Heat oil in stainless steel saucepan until hot, add ginger/garlic/spices and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes, until “aromas are released”. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vinegar mixture. Immediately pour over tomato mixture. Wait at least a day to eat, lasts 5-7. 



1500mg turmeric
1 cod liver 


u n f e s t i v e.

"Ever stop and think about how many people you've already seen for the last time?" Actually yes, I do/have, and it's not really the worst thought of all time. How many still-living people in your life do you actually need to see again? I think my number is "less than 10".