Stage 1: Utrecht > Utrecht

Here we go again!

This year’s Tour starts with a 13.8km time trial over a course so flat it would make a plate of poffertjes look like the alps. Obviously I’m looking forward to seeing how Cow-ncellara performs here, given that he’s talking about it being his last Tour, but I’m also hopeful that the Cow that won’t Quit puts on a good show. Our favourite Welsh cattle ambassador is predicting a good result from Tom Dumooooooolin, so here’s hoping. I’m keen to see whether the Ass-tanners are going to bring back the shiny skinsuits. And now I’m craving poffertjes.

The likelihood of cow-spotting tonight is low. This is an urban route and unless somebody is taking their pet bovine for a stroll in Park Bloeyendael, this cow will be the only possibility for a sighting this stage:

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Photo: Michael Coghlan

Of course, it’s always possible that a winner from last year’s Netherlands Film Festival is still wandering around Utrecht, celebrating their Golden Calf award. Who knows?

Golden Calf

Photo: Netherlands Film Festival

We are in the Netherlands and whilst they produce some interesting-sounding cows-milk cheeses, the ones we tend to get here are relatively plain: Gouda and Edam. Hopefully tomorrow’s stage will bring a chance of live koeien as we will pass through the town of Gouda, so we’ll talk in more detail about the animals and the produce then.

For tonight, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for deep fried crunchy goodness, so have been hard at work braising beef in milk for bitterballen for our stage one snackage. Beef balls on their own seemed a bit lonely, so I grabbed some of tomorrow night’s cheese for some kroketten (well, I had to think of some way to make Gouda interesting). We will start with some boerenkaas soep, mostly as a way of making sure we are not too hungry by snack time, so we go easy on the fried stuff! (See below on notes on the recipes)

Nothing says beer like hot, crispy snacks, but Heineken is really not my speed. Perhaps a Grolsch to get things started before we hit my haul from Slowbeer. The Espresso Stout should serve to perk me up if the late night starts to take its toll.

Beer

Here’s to a fast-paced stage! See you on twitter…

Recipe notes:

Bitterballen

I used a piece of brisket, which fell apart beautifully after 4 hours in the oven. For the roux, I used 75g of butter and 75g of flour, and cooked it out for a while (more than 5 minutes). I added a decent slug of kecap manis as well as some Worcestershire sauce and the mixture didn’t need any additional salt. For the crumbing, I used Panko, as I had it for the croquettes. And I love Panko.

Potato and cheese croquettes

I pretty much followed the link recipe (substituting Gouda for cheddar, naturally!), but – ironically! – this vegan recipe gave me the idea to add bacon, and also form them around a stick of cheese in the middle. Win-win!

Boerenkaas soep

I added some turnip, because I have developed an addiction to turnip (call me Baldrick) and topped it with some sliced rookworst.

 

 

 

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