I haven’t blogged for a while, probably because there is really no such thing as a work life balance when you have three kids. It’s more like work – life compromise. And unfortunately it’s the creative delights such as writing that get the first flick.
I have to say however that I am really very proud of myself this year. I have managed to change some behaviours for the better, including cooking more of our family dinners, lunches and breakfasts from scratch, making lunches to take to work for myself, not buying coffees regularly at work, and also doing some exercise (yoga is now being offered at one lunchtime a week at work – fantastic). It all adds up, both in cost savings, but also for the health of my family too.
I have taken to cooking in bulk on the weekend, freezing half of whatever I make in glass pyrex containers, and putting the other half in the fridge. We have been living off soups, casseroles, and the like, all made from organic or if not that, good quality ingredients. I have a weakness for a warm lunch, so now I have been taking soups. After dropping the ball a few times and paying $6 for a cup of soup, I have decided it’s not worth it. Plus my soups taste better, and I know what’s in them.
But today, today, I wish to blog about one of those recipes that is so naughty that it’s nice, and also because I had it for dinner yesterday, and every time I eat it, I enjoy every single, last mouthful of it. It’s called Zuurkool met worst (pronounced Zur – kol, the met worst part means ‘with sausage’).
It’s dutch and it involves bacon (naturally), butter (of course), potatoes (dare I even have to mention it?), sauerkraut (for a touch of class – if fermented cabbage is what you call classy) and a big hunk of Rookworst sausage. It is so unbelievably yummy that the first time I tasted it, I wondered where it had been all my life. It is not a dish my own family ever cooked. I didn’t have Zuurkool until I went and stayed with Tom’s family 7 years ago. We went to France for a 2 week vacation, and just like the Dutch do, they travel for 19 hours and pass through 2 countries and still manage to bring their own potatoes and sausages and chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag) with them, because of course, how could you have a holiday without them?
Tom’s Mum probably spends a week organising how she is going to fit everything into the car, and there is usually some sort of family fracard with her and Tom’s Dad when they are packing the station wagon beyond the limits discovered by clowns in the circus mini-cooper. Why the potatoes in France are no good I will never know. I will never know this because I haven’t had to find out!
So anyway, it’s summer, I am in the Southern part of France, and unlike other people who go to France to immerse themselves in wine, pate, amazing cheeses and the like, I had my first exposure to a hearty Dutch winter meal.
It doesn’t sound like much of a fare, but to be honest, this is the sort of dinner that will keep your batteries running for hours. You could eat this and then go and do 8 hours of skiing, or field ploughing. I am sure that is what it has been designed for. As long as you don’t eat this sort of food every night of the week, then I think there is nothing wrong with it. And can I just say, the type of sauerkraut makes all the difference. A German brand, or wine sauerkraut is probably the best. Also, the rookworst sausage really doesn’t taste like any other. It’s unique, so if you can’t find it, then just don’t even bother to make the meal. It’s that simple. Near enough isn’t good enough.
- 2kgs Nicola or dutch cream potatoes
- 300g diced Bacon
- 800g Sauerkraut (The one I have is Weinkraut – which has cabbage, white wine and salt)
- a few knobs of Butter
- Pepper to taste
What you will need
- A big pot for the potatoes
- A separate saucepan for the sauerkraut – important note – don’t cook the sauerkraut with the potatoes, or they will never soften.
- A fry pan for the bacon
What to do
- Cut the bacon in small pieces, and cook in a frypan until crispy. Retain the fat. Yes…I kid you not.
- Boil the potatoes until soft enough to mash.
- In a separate saucepan, bring the sauerkraut and juices to the boil. Add the Rookworst sausage on top of the sauerkraut and gently simmer for about 10 mins or until fully warmed.
- Drain and mash the potatoes, adding a knob of butter and enough milk until it is creamy.
- Add the bacon pieces and fat to the mash.
- Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.
- Add the sauerkraut to the mash and mix the bacon and sauerkraut into the mash.
- Cut the sausage into about 6 pieces.
- Plate up each person with a huge mound of zuurkool (mash) and a piece of sausage.
Note: This dish tastes even better the next day, reheated. So don’t throw the left overs away!!