Babi Pangang, a stowaway recipe for spicy roasted pork belly

Some recipes live a life of their own and obtain fame in a country far away from where a dish is supposed to have originated.

So it is with Babi pangang, a famous dish in the Netherlands widely available in Chinese and Indonesian restaurants.

In itself, the name Babi panggang is Malay for roasted pig.  In Indonesia, the people are for almost 90 per cent Muslim and do not eat pork.

But there are people, like the Batak of North Sumatra, that do eat pork and have dishes of charcoal roasted pork with sauces of blood or with spicy sambal.

Read more

Roast chicken with lemon

Sometimes the simplest recipes give extraordinary good results.

Like this variation on the classic roast chicken from the oven.

Lemon gives it a bit of peps, it makes it tangy and fresh, it also helps preventing the chicken meat from getting dry during the cooking.

This you can also prevent through low temperature cooking or by putting the chicken in a plastic bag, but then you do not get the typical scorched and crackly skin of the traditional roast chicken.

Here the coriander and the lemon juice give the chicken an appetising colour.

Read more

Veal roast with apples and cider

I am lucky to have a good, well-provided and reasonably priced butcher’s. Sometimes, however, I run into something even better when I have the possibility to buy directly from the producer.

In France you can go and visit a farm, you can order online or you can find them on producers’ markets and that is how I got to know the people of the Ferme du Grémonval – François and Fabienne Demarais – who rear boar, dear and cows on their large farm grounds near Neufchatel in Normandy, best know for its cheese.

We’ve met them at several markets and we have been twice to their farm. The last time they were in our neighbourhood I had bought some veal.

Read more

Rolled-up lamb roast with carrots

I sometimes buy vacuum-sealed meat from quality providers and put it in the freezer. One of these suppliers is Greffeuile with the Alaiton lamb from the Aveyron region. Here I made a Sunday roast dish of a rolled, deboned, lamb shoulder, with two colours of turnips. I had also bought some herb and lamb sauce made by Michel Bras. But it is also tasty without.

Read more

Chicken with vegetables in a Dutch oven

I have often wondered about the name “Dutch oven”. I first encountered it during my maiden foreign posting in London, where we lived for several years. As a Dutchman, I had never encountered the name in the Netherlands. There we prepared slow-cooking food in either a “stoofpot” casserole or an oven dish. Just as Brussels … Read more

Roast leg of lamb

This is one of those dishes that seems simple but can easily go wrong. Done properly and it is succulent, done badly and it is…well, tough. The quality of the meat is important. Here, I used a leg of lamb we had bought on a farm. I had it frozen and that means you need … Read more

Roast chicken

Julia Child, the doyenne of American writers on French cuisine (Mastering the Art of French cooking, Albert A. Knopf, New York 1961), wrote; “You can always judge the quality of a cook or a restaurant by roast chicken” (revised 34d printing, 1991, page 240). She is right that the execution of simple dishes is a … Read more