Today, the third of October, the inhabitants of the Dutch city Leiden celebrate the 435th anniversary of the day the siege of the city was lifted – Leidens Ontzet, the “Relief of Leiden“. To celebrate this event, people take part in the festivities all throughout the city. I don’t live in Leiden and I wasn’t there to celebrate today, but I do go to university there and I really liked the idea of making the foods that traditionally accompany this day.
These traditional dishes include hutspot and, for some reason, herring on white bread. Obviously, my versions weren’t going to be authentic, but I still wanted to try and turn them into a tasty vegan meal.
Hutspot, a dish supposedly inspired by the bits of food the Spanish soldiers left before they made their way out of Leiden, consists mainly of mashed potatoes and carrots. I wasn’t actually too fond of the hutspot I’d had up until now, so I wanted to try and make my version slightly different. Instead of boiling all the vegetables in water, I just boiled the potatoes and sautéed the onions and carrots separately. After that, I added everything to one pan and mashed it together with some vegan margarine, water, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.
I think my main reason for not liking hutspot before was the sweetness of the carrots. I don’t really love boiled carrots anyway, and in hutspot there is nothing to contrast the flavour. In an attempt to change this, I decided to balance the sweet taste with a simple lemon-tahini sauce. It helped! I definitely preferred this hutspot over the ones I had before. I’m not sure a tahini sauce was the best choice for this dish, but it was tasty nonetheless. I might try a different kind of sauce or gravy in the future.
Apparently, people traditionally serve hutspot with a kind of beef, but I obviously wasn’t going to use that. Instead, I baked up a few chickpea cutlets! You can find the recipe for these in Veganomicon or online here. They’re quite delicious. I made a double batch this time because I had a big can of chickpeas and I wanted to freeze a few for later use.
My original plan was to make the hutspot into a big meal for my family today, but no one else seemed interested in having it for dinner. Therefore, I decided to just make the small portion you can see in the picture. They thought everything smelled so good, though, that we ended up sharing it! And my parents really loved the hutspot. Yay!
I also mentioned the herring on white bread, which people apparently enjoy eating today. Now, I’ve never actually had this before I went vegan, so I have no idea what it tastes like. It’s obviously a kind of tricky dish to veganise, so I figured I’d go with an entirely different dish with some of the same characteristics (so something sour or salty served on white bread with chopped onions). For some reason, I thought pickled eggplant would work for that. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I think fish and eggplant can both look kind of… gross…
Anyway, I used this recipe to make the eggplant, only using some different add-ins for the oil. I was afraid this was might turn into something awful, but it actually turned out pretty good! It tastes like pickles (I usually don’t eat many pickled things, so all of them probably taste like pickles to me) and though the texture of some slices is a little tough, I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the eggplant in different dishes.
I don’t think it actually tastes like herring, and I didn’t expect that. However, my Mum said she liked this as an alternative to the fish and it was a fun experiment!
I’m off now because we’re watching Magnolia and it’s already started!