Dutch bar snacks

I’m just back from an incredible couple of days in the Netherlands. Nestled in the southeast provence of Limburg lies the beautiful town of Valkenburg.

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Beautiful town

This friendly town is officially called Valkenburg aan de Geul . The Geul is a small river that flows through the centre of town. The houses and buildings were generally tall and narrow and had ornamented façades.

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Roof tops

Valkenburg boasts the only elevated castle in the Netherlands. Originally built in the 12th century, it was rebuilt and added to several times over the generations until finally being destroyed in the 17th century to keep it out of the hands of the invading French troops.

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Taken from a steam train

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The castle

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The food and drink was stunning. Valkenburg is known for its ‘Burgundy lifestyle’, meaning enjoyment, good food and extravagant display! There were streets full of cafés, restaurants and bars all with beautifully decorated outside terraces.  Flowers and plants sat alongside tables and hung from canopies while candles glowed in the evening. It was all so welcoming.

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3 local beers and goats cheese

Bite-size snacks are commonly served as bar-food or side-dishes in the Netherlands. This clever little trick was meant to entice you to drink more to wash down the salty spicey morsels. Sitting outside a tiny traditional bar we sampled some Bitterballen and Vlammetjes alongside some cheese cubes and sausage.

Vlammetjes or ‘little flames’ looked like little golden envelopes and were packed full of spicy mince. They were served alongside a sweet chilli dip.

VLAMMETJES

Ingredients
10 Spring Roll Pastry Sheets
500g Minced Beef
5tbsp Sambal
Salt & Pepper
1tsp Vetjin (flavour enhancer)
1tbsp Garlic Powder
1tbsp Ketjap Manis (Indonesian Soy Sauce)
Oil (for Deep-frying)
2 Eggs (for sealing)

Method
Cut Pastry squares into quarters, then each quarter into two triangles for a total of 80.
Combine the mince with the other ingredients.
Roll 80 meatballs. Place one in each triangle, then smear a little egg around the edges. Fold the triangle closed so it’s still a triangle. Deep-fry in oil until brown.

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Bar snacks

The little golden Bitterballen balls were crunchy on the outside but strangely gooey in the middle. I didn’t like the look of the inside of the ball- it looked like dodgy dog food! However, dipped in mustard the beefy mixture was fantastic.

BITTERBALLEN

Ingredients
4tbsp Butter
250g ground beef or veal
2 carrots, finely diced
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper
1tsp Grated Fresh Nutmeg
1tbsp fresh lemon juice
2tbsp parsley, finely chopped
5tbsp flour
1 cup beef stock or milk
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water
Oil (for Deep-frying)

Method
Heat one tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat and cook the meat, carrots, and onions until the meat is browned and the carrots are tender. Drain the meat in a colander, then place in a mixing bowl. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, lemon juice, and parsley and stir to combine. Set the meat mixture aside.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over moderate heat and stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook this for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the beef stock/milk. Continue heating, stirring constantly, until the sauce boils and becomes quite thick. Combine the sauce with the meat mixture, stirring to combine them thoroughly, and chill this mixture for at least two hours in the refrigerator, until it has become solid.

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When the mixture has solidified, roll it into balls about 1 inches in diameter, using your hands. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs, then in the egg and water mixture, then in the bread crumbs again. Fry a few at a time in a deep fryer with at least 2 inches of oil at 190 degrees C until golden (about 2 to 3 minutes). Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

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My final little discovery was this funky fruity liquer mixed up with some freshly squeezed orange juice.

I’ll be bringing a bottle and hopefully some snacks to Angie’s place for this week’s Fiesta Friday, take a look.

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The castle

Melissa xx

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61 thoughts on “Dutch bar snacks

  1. Your trip looks absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing some pictures and the Bitterballen recipe. I’m sure the Safari will be a hit at FF too. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  2. Lovely photos. I’d never thought about castles in the Netherlands. They are such a feature everywhere else in Europe, one just assumes everywhere in Europe follows suit. But then, we’ve never actually set foot in the Netherlands, so what would we know!

    Great treats: VLAMMETJES. I’m sure they’ll be nicknamed flaming jets if I make them here – our family has a bad habit of mangling words for fun, especially if it involves mispronunciation. Thanks for bringing these along to Fiesta Friday.

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  3. Gorgeous post, Melissa ! – what a wonderful time you had !
    For me, the crowning joy would have been the ruined castle: I couldn’t keep away from them wherever we went …

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  4. Wonderful post, Melissa! The photos are just beautiful…makes me wish I could visit there someday! It seems so quaint, yet with a very strong history behind it. I’d love to know who lived in the castle, and what it looked like in its glory.
    The vlammetjes and bitterballen look and sound so delicious! Thank you so much for sharing! ❤

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  6. No, really you were just in the Netherlands?! Crazy though that you were “around the corner” . Valkenburg is ridiculously close (ridiculous as I have to admit that I have never even been there). Next time you should visit the Netherlands, do drop me a line – it would be great to catch up even if it just for a quick borrel (drink) met bitterballen 🙂

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  7. I’ve been there last year, I don’t even mention that I’m heavily in love with Netherlands in general, but this little town is like a pearl, so lovely and full of nice places to go and have a nice lunch or dinner. These pictures brought very nice memories of our weekend trip, thank you 🙂

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  8. The Netherlands is a deeply underrated country to visit for food and drink – I absolutely love it there and look forward to trying some of these snacks 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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