A celebration of Europe #19 – The Netherlands

It’s Thursday night, so time to visit the fifth happiest country in the world, The Netherlands. Incidentally, as I write this the entire Dutch government has just resigned because, as their PM stated, they were not up to standard. Admittedly they had wrongly accused 20,000 families of tax fraud, but step back for a moment and try to imagine Johnson and his cabinet of sociopathic schoolboys acting with such integrity? Of course not. 87,295 deaths and they don’t even blink.

The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development and quality of life, as well as happiness.

Spinaziestamppot met ei

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30–45 minutes depending how efficiently you coordinate everything
Skill level: easy
Serves: 2 adults


  • floury potatoes –- 600g
  • milk – splash
  • butter – generous knob
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • spinach – 400g
  • parmesan cheese – finely grated – 75g
  • eggs – 2
  • pine nuts (optional – cornershop had run out) – 30g
  • s & p

From the first three ingredients, make yourself some smooth mashed potato – be generous with the butter. Season and set aside keeping warm.

Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a very large frying pan/wok and fry the chopped onions until soft. Add the washed spinach and cook until it has wilted. There looks a lot but it will shrink considerably.

Drain and discard all the liquid from the spinach mixture.

Add the spinach to the mashed potato, stir in the grated parmesan, taste and season as necessary.

Keep warm as you poach your eggs.

Serve the potato/spinach in a bowl topped with the egg and sprinkled with the toasted pine nuts (if using).

Verdict: Now this is good. A sort of cheesy bubble and squeak without the frying. Soft creamy bubble, iron-rich metallic squeak and a tangy cheese finish.

Drink: Thursday evening is technically the beginning of the weekend, so a few beers and a glass of red.

Entertainment: ‘Junior Bake Off’. I love the way Harry Hill refuses to update his cultural references so often his jokes are lost on the baffled kids.

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