Friday Foodie: The Gloriously Delicious Yvette van Boven

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That got your attention didn’t it! Have you ever seen a more decadent, glorious, mouthwatering reveal of a cake?!! One picture and I was seriously in love. The mastermind behind this divine cardamom cake with poached pears (recipe here) is the utterly fabulous Irish-born-yet-Dutch Yvette van Boven. She divides her time between Amsterdam and Paris and for me, her cooking is a great way to get more European about what the food I make, which is nice feeling for an Aussie in London.

Yvette van Boven is not just a cook. She’s a food stylist, recipe writer, columnist, author (she has written five cookbooks) and she’s a shamingly good illustrator as well. The woman even makes her own butter for crissakes. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s bloody gorgeous to boot.

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I  love flicking through her books. They’re filled with her undeniably obvious delight of cooking, creating and eating and she makes it all feel utterly contagious! Resistance is futile. Her husband is her photographer (and a pretty mean cocktail maker as well) and if anyone asked me to put together a fantasy camping crowd, they’d be top of my list.

So here’s my choice of divine van Boven goodies to make for a camping trip:

Crab legs with garlic butter, recipe here.

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Homemade mustard, recipe here.

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Watercress with smoked almonds and goat’s cheese, recipe here.

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Thousand tomato salad with goat’s cheese ricotta, recipe here.

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Italian chicken stew, recipe here.

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Beef stew with red wine, recipe here.

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Quinoa apple cake, recipe here.

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Gooseberry and orange jam, recipe here.

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Make them at home. Make them when you’re camping. Make them for camping. Just make them and you’ll fall in love just like I did.

Enjoy campers!

Pictures & illustrations from Yvette van Boven with thanks.

 

Camp + Cook

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I recently bought a fabulous cookbook called Whole Larder Love: Grow, Gather, Hunt, Cook by Australian blogger Rohan Anderson and published by powerHouse Books. He’s a wonderfully adventurous cook with a brilliant life/food philosophy. He’s been described as a modern-day hunter-gatherer and he is just that. I love his style. I love his sense of humour and I love how (and what) he loves to cook. Next week I’m going to feature a couple more of his recipes, too. If Rohan Anderson can’t encourage us British campers to ditch the pub and do some campfire cooking, I don’t know who can.

Anyway, this is his Nettle Pappardelle, which makes great use of all those annoying nettles that seem to surround every campsite in this country! “Stinging nettle has long been sought after for its health benefits and obviously, edibility,” says Anderson. “It is slightly spinach-like in flavour and will knock the socks off the most dedicated carnivore. You will often find it in impoverished soil or under the shelter of large trees where the sheep take shelter. I carry a pair of rigger’s gloves and garbage bags in the truck just in case I discover a patch, because it’s gold and when it’s available it’s on the menu immediately.”

Here’s the what:

2 large handfuls of nettles

300g parpardelle, linguine or spaghetti

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup pine nuts

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Here’s the how:

Panfry the pine nuts in a glug of olive oil for a minutes until they turn slightly golden. Remove from the pan when toasted. Use tongs or gloves to place the nettles in a large pot. Boil it for a few minutes, and then pour out into a strainer. When the nettles have cooled down, squeeze out the excess liquid. (Don’t worry about getting stung as the toxins are destroyed in the boiling process. Just wear gloves while you’re picking it and keep the kids away!) In a mortar and pestle (unless you camp with a Philips cordless rechargeable hand blender or this Breville one. Seriously tempting, huh?), work the nettles, cheese and toasted pine nuts until you get a reasonably smooth consistency. Slowly add some olive oil to turn the mix into more of a sauce. Season to taste and serve with al dente pasta.

Try it with a squeeze of lemon and/or some dried chilli flakes. And, if you’re feeding loads of people, and chances are you might be, just double or triple everything!

Simple, fast, forager food. Who wouldn’t be proud of whipping this up at a campsite?