When do you know you made the right choice? Only when you start believing it yourself? It's been pretty hard adjusting to The Netherlands again. Moving from Switzerland to this overcrowded country was a bit of a shock. There's always so many people, the streets are certainly not so clean as in Switzerland and people are just so loud on the street, in the office. And I have to get used to the bluntness of the Dutch, again. Here in The Netherlands you are always expected to have an opinion about everything. This is cleverly observed by the Chinese-Dutch writer Lulu Wang and since I read that I can not stop thinking about it. It's so true! "What do you think about.....?" Is probably the most-asked question during a workday here in The Netherlands. If you do not give a spontaneous speech about why you had a nice weekend and what was so nice about it, well, they will ask you about the details. I miss the politeness, the timidity, of the Swiss. And the food here...people do not seem to give a lot about food. They are perfectly happy eating a sandwich with cheese for lunch. And of course it's a whole-wheat flour sandwich. If you ever dare to bring white bread -the devil- to your work, well, you certainly get loads of (unwanted) opinions.
So today I could not resist it anymore: I had to cook. I really had to. It was all I could think about. It is my only way to relax. For a while I was wondering if my love for cooking, my passion for food, had faded away. I did not feel the desire to cook. In the last month I just boiled some water for cous cous and I baked an egg, sunny-side up. Since one week it's all coming back again. The desire to cook, to create amazing food, to eat healthy and at the same time delicious.I am so happy that it is a steady love, that I do not get bored of cooking and I will not let it go easily. It is hard in life to find something that you like and that lasts, I am happy I found it.
So the first dish I cooked after more than one month absence is humble but surprisingly good. It is one of those dishes you create on the go. You know what I mean. Pouring some olive oil in the pan while thinking about what you could add to that oil. In the meanwhile looking in your cupboards and fridge to see what they can offer you. And you make the best of it. Often cooking for yourself makes you feel free and creative because there is no stress of failing involved. If it isn't as tasty as you had wished for, who cares? How liberating is that!
This dish I made I could name it rice with beans. But let's be honest: it sounds boring. So, instead I call it easy dinner for one.
- 60 gr basmati rice
- 100/125 gr brown beans in a jar
- 50 ml boiling hot water
- 1 finely chopped garlic clove
- 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 big tomato, chopped in big chunks
- a dash of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 to 1 tsp piri-piri or cayenne pepper
- finely chopped parsley or coriander, to taste
Cook the rice as indicated on the box.
Pour the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic to it. Let the garlic brown, but not too much otherwise the taste will be bitter. Add the spring onions and the celery and let cook for about 15 minutes together with the boiling water (this prevents the veggies from burning). Add the tomato and let it cook for another 10 minutes.
The rice should be cooked by now. Drain the beans and add them to the other veggies in the pan. Let it warm through for about 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and the piri-prir in the meanwhile and a bit of salt, if desired. Chop the parsley and keep it on the side. Serve the rice with the sauce on top, sprinkle some finely chopped parsley on top and enjoy while you are having a quiet night just for you. Or, share it with friends or family. I guess this dish would be perfect for students as it is easy to make and not expensive.