Author: Mieke

Tata For Now

It’s been a while coming but I have decided that for now I will not be updating this website with new recipes or any of that any further.

I’ll keep its barebones alive because I know some people enjoy my recipes, but I am tired and uninspired and this website and all the side effects from having a website is taking up way more time and energy than it should.

I’ll keep shit posting on Twitter and Instagram. I hope I will find the energy to shoot again and I am slowly regaining the energy to cook, but beyond that for now you’ll have to make due with what’s already here.

Francis Kuijk’s pandan fudge

Francis Kuijk has a well-known and beloved face in the Dutch food scene since she made it to the season 4 finale of Heel Holland Bakt (Dutch Bake Off). She has large online following, makes regular TV appearances and has released four cookbooks in the Netherlands up to date.

Her new book, Manis (Indonesian for ‘sweet’), is coming out this week and I had the pleasure of having a look before it hit stores. Like me, Francis is of Dutch-Indonesian descent so after her tomes on the foundations of Indisch and Indonesian cooking it was time for a book on Indisch and Indonesian sweets and baking.

Pandan all the things!

Manis offers a nice combination of nostalgic Indisch and Indonesian recipes alongside more modern concoctions that Francis came up with herself. Though her editor told her that maybe that was enough pandan for one book, personally I can never get enough pandan so I was quite happy to see so much of it (and gula djawa) in one book.

If you don’t know what pandan is, it’s often called ‘the vanilla of South East Asia’ but I never know if this is because it is so widely used or because people need to come up with useless comparisons. Flavorwise, except for the subtlety, it is nothing like vanilla in my opinion. All you need to know is that pandan is good, makes everything sweet more delicious and that it turns everything green (including my nose when I was making this fudge).

While we can now get fresh or frozen pandan in Europe, I remember the first pandan I ever had coming from Indonesian pandan chiffon cake mixes my grandmother brought over in the 90’s. This is probably why I prefer artificial pandan over ‘real’ pandan which is too mild for my tastes. I recommend the Koepoe Kopoe brand of pandan paste. I’ve tried those extracts in small brown bottles but suffer from a bitter note that is really gross and drowns out subtle pandan. Furthermore, as Francis points out in her book, extract ads more liquid to your bakes, which tends to cause problems.

Oh fudge

The recipes I was most eager to cook were the pandan and gula djawa fudge (Javanese palm sugar,  my other favorite Indonesian sweet ingredient – more on that that some other time) as they seemed the easiest to tackle. I’d wanted to combine them with one a swirl to the other, but as I’m a shit baker and they are made with two different techniques, Francis warned against it. I got the ingredients for both though, so I guess I’ll be eating fudge for the next month or so.

If you want to make pandan fudge yourself just follow the recipe below, for the gula djawa fudge I’m afraid you’re going to have to hope Francis will one day share it in English, or get the book and figure out the translations for yourself.

Other recipes that caught my eye are rose syrup marshmallows, kue putu mayang (fresh made noodles in a gula djawa sauce), rotikukus vanila cokelat (this is a steamed Indonesian cake I used to get for all my birthdays but I have yet to replicate my grandmother’s recipe) and brownies with a kue lapis crumble (hello?!).

Manis is unfortunately only available in Dutch right now, if you’re looking for an Indonesian cookbook recommendation Sri Owen’s Indonesian Food (UK) or The Indonesian Kitchen (US) is your best bet in English.

A wall made with green pandan fudge pieces in stacks of seven and rows of three, on a green marble and plain green backdrop.

Francis Kuijk's recipe for Pandan Fudge

Dorothy Porker
Make a sweet, soft and delicious venture into pandan with this super easy pandan fudge recipe from Francis Kuijk's Indische sweets andb baking book Manis.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Resting time 1 d
Course Birthdays, Dessert, Sweets
Cuisine Dutch Indonesian, Indisch, Indonesian

Equipment

  • Baking tray the lower wider kind, that you'd use for brownies
  • parchment or baking paper
  • heavy bottomed large saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Fridge
  • trivets

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 c - 170 g unsalted butter roomtemperature + extra for greasing, see note in recipe and below
  • 2 c - 500 g white caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt leave this out if you only have salted butter
  • 2/3 c - 150 ml unsweetened evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp pandan aroma I prefer Koepoe Koepoe paste, see blogpost above
  • 7 oz - 200 g white marshmallows see note
  • 8.5 oz - 240 g white chocolate callets, but you can also just coarsely chop up a bar

Instructions
 

  • Grease your baking tray and line it with parchment. Set aside.
  • Place the 3/4 c - 170 g of butter, 2 c - 500 g of sugar, 1/4 tsp salt (if using salted butter) and 2/3 c - 150 ml of unsweetened evaporated milk in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.
  • Place on a medium low heat and allow to melt and bring to a gentle boil while stirring continously.
  • Leave to simmer at a light boil for 4 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary, and keep stirring.
  • Once the 4 minutes have passed, add 1 tsp of pandan aroma before you add 7 oz - 200 gr of white marshmallows (see note). Keep stirring until the marshmallows have dissolved completely.
  • Turn the heat down and stir in 8.5 oz - 240 g of white chocolate callets or coarsely chopped chunks, stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
  • Pour your mixture out into your pre-greased and parchmented baking tray and leave to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • Place in the fridge and leave to cool for at least 2 hours. I set mine on some trivets as the baking tray was still very hot and I didn't want to accidentally shatter my fridge shelves.
  • For best results, leave to cool overnight before cutting into even squares and tucking in.

Notes

  • I picked out all the white marshmallows from the bag and then used the pinks to reach 200 grams, it turned out fine.
  • The original recipe was written in grams, milliliters and teaspoons. Follow those measurements for the best results.
  • The fudge keeps for 2 weeks in an airtight container. Be sure to separate the fudge by placing layers of parchment in between each layer.
  • If well packed, you can also keep this in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • This recipe is very sweet, if I make it again I would drizzle dark chocolate over the top.
Keyword Asian sweets, fudge, pandan

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor pandan fudge uit Francis Kuijk’s Manis.

Shortlist Pink Lady Awards 2022

Hurray! I am once again nominated for a Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Award!

This time I am nominated in the category Production Paradise Previously Published with the photograph I took for Tummie Magazine #2 Heet to accompany my recipe for chipotle chocolate mousse, which I combined with Cathy Erway‘s recipe for chili crisp peanut brittle. You can find Cathy’s recipe here.

Tummie Magazine is a new Dutch-Flemish independent food magazine that brings together people from the Dutch and Flemish worlds of food, something which sadly wasn’t really happening before, so it’s a real enrichment of local food media (I’m not just saying this because I contributed). They focus on a specific theme each issue, #2 and #3 are still available in their webshop but it is in Dutch so kind of useless if you don’t speak the language, even if it does come with pretty picture.

You can check out the full list of Pink Lady 2022 nominees here.

Have a browse around and if you like I have to offer, follow me on Instagram for visual delights, behind-the-scenes and shit posts, subscribe to my newsletters for life in France or Twitter for food reads.

Nomnomnom is in stores now!

UPDATE August 31st

At the book presentation I was told that Nomnomnom is already going into its second printing. I can’t believe it and am forever grateful to everyone who supported or bought the book.

Nomnomnom is out now

I know this post is kind of pointless here, because as of yet my book is only out in Dutch, but: SHE’S HERE! My book Nomnomnom is finally out and available in Dutch bookstores now. Okay, she already came out last week, but I was swamped signing and shipping pre-orders and processing all the incredibly positive reactions so far.

Still, I thought it was time to pay a little attention to my book here as well, including what has been said in the media so far and an explanation about how and where you can order or buy signed books and what’s up next for me.

Nomnomnom in the media

Nomnomnom has received media intention in virtually all Dutch and Flemish press, so much so that I can’t list everything here. Nevermind that it’s in Dutch so what do you care.

Highlights include this interview on Linda.nl including the below quote by Laurie Woolever that had me up at night (with glee, obviously)

“Dorothy Porker’s book is something you’ll want to own, just for the wit and art of the photography and food styling, and all of the practical information about what to keep in your pantry, where you can swap in ready-made items, and how to have fun and be successful in the kitchen. Some books are fun, or clever, or beautiful, or useful, but Nomnomnom is all of those things.”

Knack also published a very nice interview and recommendation this week, including a recipe from the book. If you are so inclined, you can run these links through an auto-translation tool.

Team bookstore! Where can you find Nomnomnom?

What I am especially thrilled about is how supportive bookstores have been of my book. Baby-Dorothy fave Broese in Utrecht and Boekenbar in Utrecht have both promoted me in their stories online. I will be signing books on Saturday the 28th of August from 15.30 at De Kler in Leiden. Scheltema in Amsterdam have also asked me to come and sign some books (order a signed copy from their website here), I was spotted by many friends in shop windows and on shop tables.

And somehow Nomnomnom has already made it into the cookbook top 10 with the Libris bookstores.

I have to say, as someone who’s favorite place is the bookstore (any bookstore), I love to see it. So, because I prefer to focus on writing, cooking and photography, from here on out I will leave the sale of Nomnomnom to bookstores.

If would like me to be left with a little extra when you buy my book, you can order Nomnomnom through this Libris-link (and then at your nearest Libris bookstore) and I’ll receive a percentage of the sale from them. But shop at any independent bookstore and I’ll be pleased as punch.

So now what?

Next Tuesday I will have a little book launch celebration among friends. After that I hope to start sharing recipes again. I’ll also be adding a new postcard set in my webshop, as well as larger prints. Beyond that, I am looking to develop recipes, write and shoot for digital and print publications, so if you have a job for me: check out my work and get in touch.

Nominations – update april 2022

Nomnomnom was nominated for both Het Gouden Kookboek and Kookboek van het Jaar, the two major cookbook awards in the Netherlands. Both Trouw, a large Dutch newspaper, and Dutch Cosmopolitan included Nomnomnom in top 10 cookbook listicles, another honor.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of my weird ass, to everyone who pre-ordered both from myself and from bookstores and to everyone who’s loved the book since before it’s been out. It’s been a ride.

Zoek je deze post in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor Nomnomnom ligt nú in de winkel.

WillsArk X Kimchi Poffertjes

This is a sponsored post created in collaboration with WillsArk.

Former co-worker Sjoerd got in touch with me last month and asked me if I’d be interested in developing a pairing to go with his own indie beer brand, WillsArk. Sjoerd developed WillsArk with his friends Will, Anthony and Peter. Together they created a craft beer with a playful design. It’s a light, fresh and fruity gose beer brewed in Lochristi in Belgium and available in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Now, to be perfectly honest I’d never done a food and drink pairing before. But because I do like my beers fresh and crisp for summer, the sound of WillsArk appealed to me. Sjoerd was kind enough to send me some samples. So off I went, sipping and thinking of things this super fresh summer beer would pair nicely with.

You can order WillsArk from their webshop, at Brander Wines in the Netherlands or ask your favorite local beer specialist to start stocking them.

Umami all the things

WillsArk is a a very crisp, fresh beer and I really wanted to something to develop something to cut through those flavors somewhat. I also wanted it to be more of a snack than a meal, because when I think of summer I think of drinking and grazing with friends.

So here’s what I came up with. Kimchi ‘poffertjes’ (Dutch silver dollar pancakes) with kimchi, smoked oysters, Kewpie mayo and imitation caviar.

I fell in love with smoked oysters after Suresh recommended them to me and discovered they are now easily available in Holland. I really felt the smokey umaminess of the oysters would go a long way of cutting through the acidity. Then I basically built the remainder of this snack around that. I choose Kewpie to enhance the umami even further and get a bit more grease in. And then finally added carbs to bulk it up, kimchi to add a sour note and imitation caviar for an extra salty punch. Together with WillsArk this is a flavor bonanza for your taste buds.

On to the recipe.

Kimchi poffertjes with smoked oysters

Dorothy Porker
Kimchi silver dollar pancakes, topped with kimchi, smoked oysters, Kewpie mayo and imitation caviar make the perfect pairing for WillsArk beer, a sour gose summer beer.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
If making your own kimchi 2 d 8 hrs
Course Appetizer, Brunch, Cocktails, Party snack, Snack
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Very large bowl (if making your own kimchi)
  • Food processor (if making your own kimchi)
  • Mason jar or other large glass container (if making your own kimchi)
  • Chopsticks (if making your own kimchi)
  • Large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Frying pan or poffertjespan if you should be so lucky
  • Small ladle or squeezy bottle

Ingredients
  

To make your own kimchi (store-bought is fine too, see notes)

  • 1 large head Napa cored and roughly sliced
  • 1 small daikon thinly sliced or julienned if you're a pro
  • 8 spring onions greens roughly chopped, whites reserved
  • 2 T - 30 g salt
  • 8 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
  •  1 1/2"  piece of  ginger  peeled and grated
  • 1/2 c - 125 gr gochugaru  coarse Korean chili powder, except no substitutes!
  • 2 T - 30 gr  white miso paste  red works as well
  • 1 T - 15 gr  sugar
  • 1 c - 235 ml  water

To make the Dutch poffertjes batter (store-bought batter is fine too)

  • 1 c - 250 g flour
  • 2 tsp - 10 g baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 c - 50 g butter melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c - 125 ml kimchi liquid or as much as you can squeeze from your kimchi
  • 7/8 c - 225 ml milk adjust the quantity depending on how much kimchi juice you were able to squeeze out
  • butter or sunflower oil for frying

To finish

  • 2 tins smoked oysters drained
  • Kewpie mayo to taste, mix a pinch of MSG into an American style mayo if you can't find any
  • imitation caviar optional, to taste

Instructions
 

First, make your own kimchi (store-bought is fine too)

    Day 1

    • Place 1 cored and roughly sliced Napa cabbage in a large bowl with 1 thinly sliced small daikon and the roughly chopped greens of 8 onion greens and sprinkle with 2 T - 30 gr of salt.
    • Mix to get an even coating of the salt on all the leaves and leave to sit at room temperature for 1 or up to 12 hours to drain out the liquid. You should be left with about at least 1/4 or 1/2 c of liquid while the cabbage should be completely wilted.

    Day 2

    • Mix together the whites of 8 spring onions with 8 smashed and peeled cloves of garlic, 1 1/2" inch of peeled and grated ginger, 1/2 c - 125 gr of gochugaru, 2 T - 30 gr of miso and 1 T - 15 gr of sugar in a food processor until you get a thick paste.
    • Mix together the cabbage and gochugaru paste. Rub each leaf individually so all the cabbage leaves are all thoroughly coated.
    • Add 1 c - 235 ml of water to the mixture and mix well before tasting. The liquid should be as salty as the sea, so add more salt if necessary (generally I've found this not to be the case).
    • Now, place your cabbage in a mason jar or other glass container with a good seal. Make sure you pack it together tightly and use a chopstick to release any air pockets at the end by pocking the air pocket with the chopstick, allowing liquid to fill its place.

    You now have two options to eat this kimchi:

      Kimchi for impatient people

      • Move your kimchi to the fridge straight away and try it daily until it's reached the level of fermentation you enjoy (or until it's finished, basically). I tend to move it to the fridge straight away and just start eating, because I have no patience.

      Kimchi for patient people

      • Leave at room temperature for 24 hours before moving it to the fridge and leaving it there for a week before you dig in.

      Make the poffertjes

      • If you are using a ready-made poffertjes or pancake mix replace 1/2 c - 125 ml of the liquid from the instructions with kimchi liquid and add a pinch of of salt, otherwise your poffertjes will taste stale.
      • Mix 1 c - 250 g of flour in a bowl with 2 t - 10 g of baking powder and a pinch of salt.
      • Add 2 eggs, 1/2 c - 125 ml of kimchi juice and 7/8 c - 225 ml of milk and whisk before adding 1/4 c - 50 g of melted butter and whisk again thoroughly to an even consistency.
      • Let the batter rest for 20 minutes or so.
      • Take your smoked oysters, kimchi, Kewpie and imitation caviar out of the fridge to let them get to room temperature.
      • Now grease up your poffertjes pan or frying pan with butter or oil and heat over a medium heat. Use a small ladle or squeezy bottle to portion the batter into the pan. Fry the poffertjes in portions (as many as your pan will hold), until you are out of batter. If you do not have a poffertjes pan, a poffertje should be about 2" - 5 cm in diameter.

      Assemble

      • You can be as neat and tidy or slap dash with this as you want. Or even just serve the poffertjes and toppings separately so people can concoct their own little piles of deliciousness. But the way I went is: 1 poffertje - some kimchi - 1 smoked oyster - a dollop of Kewpie mayo - a small helping of imitation caviar.

      Notes

      • A poffertjespan is a specially made frying pan with little 'holes' to make the right sized poffertjes, if you do not have one you can just make tiny pancakes
      • If using store-bought kimchi, I find the kind that comes in a bag rather than a jar tends to be of better quality and holds more liquid
      • Obviously you want to eat this in one sitting and the kimchi poffertjes are best when still warm
      • You will be leftover with kimchi but there's no harm in that, you can use it to make kimchijeon or kimchi mac and cheese
      • If you make your kimchi based on this recipe, it will keep for up to 1 month in the fridge
      Keyword amuse, beer pairing, canape, kimchi, oysters, poffertjes, silver dollar pancakes

      Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor kimchi poffertjes met gerookte oesters.

      This is a sponsored post created in collaboration with WillsArk.

      London Loy’s Jerk Mushrooms

      London Loy is a Dutch chef who helped put street food on the map here. These days he’s best known for being one of the chef’s working bringing flavor to the masses (and we need it) on Dutch day-time TV show Koffietijd as well as being the personal chef for kickboxing legend Rico Verhoeven.

      Mix it up

      I bought his book Mijn Recepten (‘My Recipes’) last year because I really like his style. London has a Surinamese background and a really exciting way of bringing together the flavors of Suriname (which are already quite extensive) with other classics from around the world.

      London Loy's cookbook Mijn Recepten with a Enid Coleslaw doll from Ghostworld.

      Think bakkeljauw (dried and salted cod) brandade, spicy pesto made with Madame Jeannette (similar to Scotch bonnet) chilies and suviche (a Surinamese take on ceviche). If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that’s that is entirely in my weelhouse of flavors. Except I grew up with Indonesian, Indisch and Chinese food and use those influences in ehr… I guess everything I do.

      Other than that Mijn Recepten is wonderfully to the point. No lengthy stories, no extensive recipe introductions. Just, how do you make it and where did it come from. With very short bits of background about London himself and fantastic photography by Stacii Samidin.

      God hates me

      I really wanted to make the banana blossom fritters from London’s book but because God hates me I couldn’t find banana blossom at any toko near me to save my life.

      The other recipe that grabbed my eye is this recipe for jerk portobellos. I had my first taste of jerk in London at Cummin’ Up (more on that here) and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since. Because chicken is such a shit show I’m always looking to cut back on my chicken so this shroom jerk had my name written all over it.

      A server tray with the London tube map on it and a paper wrapper jerk bun perched on the bottom right side of it with mushrooms and mayonaise spilling out around it.

      Of course, because God hates me, I couldn’t find portobello mushrooms either. I said “fuck you God” and went with shiitakes instead, which was fine. They turned out tangy, earthy, moist and delicious and will also do nicely on a barbecue.

      London serves his with toast, I stuck mine on a burger bun (ideally you’ll want some coco bread for this but I didn’t have the energy to make them) and topped them with mayo, just like that first jerk chicken sandwich at Cummin’ Up all those years ago.

      Note: there is parsley in the pictures to offer a little bit of contrast and because that’s what I had laying around, but if you want to put some green on your jerk bun I’d roll with coriander or cilantro instead. Apologies for being so shallow.

      A server tray with the London tube map on it and a paper wrapper jerk bun perched on the bottom right side of it with mushrooms and mayonaise spilling out around it.

      Jerk mushroom recipe

      Dorothy Porker
      This is a recipe for jerk mushrooms from London Loy's book Mijn Recepten (my recipes). Tangy, earthy and moist, this recipe works with both portabellos and shiitakes and can be made on a hot grill either on the barbecue or on the stove.
      Prep Time 30 mins
      Marinade 4 hrs
      Course Barbecue, Dinner, Lunch, Main course
      Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
      Servings 4

      Equipment

      • Small food processor
      • Citrus press or fork to juice oranges
      • Zester or fine grater to zest oranges
      • Sealable bowl or bag to marinade the mushrooms in
      • Griddle pan or barbecue

      Ingredients
        

      For the marinade

      • 2 shallots peeled and cut in half
      • 2 cloves garlic peeled - double if you're nasty
      • 15 sprigs thyme leaves removed, stalks discarded
      • 4 fresh bay leaves
      • 1/2 t - 2.5 g ground cloves
      • 1/2 t - 2.5 g ground nutmeg
      • 1/2 t - 2.5 g allspice
      • 6 T - 90 ml rum ideally try and find Borgoe, a Surinamese rum
      • 6 T - 90 ml sushi vinegar or add 1 t - 5 g of sugar and a pinch of salt to rice vinegar
      • 1 T - 15 ml honey or maple or golden syrup if you want to keep it vegan
      • 1/4 Madame Jeanette chili seeds and pith removed - again, more if you're nasty
      • 1 t - 5 g salt + extra for finishing
      • 6 T - 90 ml olive oil + extra
      • 3 oranges juiced and zested - avoid the white pith the skin, it's bitter and nasty

      To make the jerk mushrooms

      • 6 portabello mushrooms or 16 oz - 450 g - shiitake, gently brush off any dirt and debris, remove the stems and cut into threes
      • black pepper to taste, for finishing
      • bread of choice be sure to toast it no matter whether you're going buns or regular toast
      • mayo optional

      Instructions
       

      • Blend all the marinade ingredients together in a small food processor. If the marinade is thick rather than liquid, add more orange juice.
      • Place 6 cleaned and cut portabellos or 16 oz - 450 g of shiitake in a sealable bowl or bag with the marinade and leave to infuse for 3-4 hours or overnight.
      • Heat a griddle on a high heat. I like to brush my griddle with a little bit of oil before I start. Shake off any excess marinade from the shrooms before you place them in the griddle. Grill until golden, starting to caramelize and cooked through. Don't let them go too long so they retain some bite.
      • Season with additional salt and black pepper to taste and serve with toast or on a (coco) bun with a slightly tangier mayonaise.

      Notes

      After grilling them you can keep the cooked mushrooms in the fridge for up to 3 days and simply warm through in a frying pan with some oil to reheat them. 
      Keyword cookbook recipe, jamaican food, jamaican recipe, london loy, vegan, vegetarian

      Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor London Loy’s jerk paddenstoelen recept.

      What to get at the Asian supermarket

      The give-away associated with this blog post is sponsored by AsianFoodLovers.nl.

      ‘Toko’ is the Indonesian word for shop and is what some of the first Asian supermarkets here were called, as they were rooted in Dutch-Indonesian history (from here on out I will use the term ‘Indisch’, which is a Dutch term for both the people and food associated with the Dutch East Indies). Being Indisch myself, I’ve been going to tokos since before I was born. You can read a brief history here.

      Over the years I have seen them expand their wares from limited Dutch-Indonesian and Indonesian imported and locally recreated wares in the early 80s to covering most of East Asia as well as other parts of the world today. Because I get asked what people should buy at the toko at least once a week I thought it was time for a good ol’ (but grossly incomplete) listicle of things to buy at the Asian supermarket.

      While the ‘Asian’  diaspora has a presence everywhere, what you can buy at your local Asian supermarket can be very different. As I am based in the Netherlands and mostly know about what to buy at Asian tokos here, that is what this post is generally about.

      The basics

      Rice
      Ever since I read Vegan Japaneasy by Tim Anderson, I’ve switched to Japanese rice. Often sold under the name sushi rice, it can also eaten plain or in other dishes. Japanese rice has a short, thick grain and dries well, which I like slightly better and works perfectly for fried rice.

      Other solid rice varieties are basmati and jasmine (of course arborio is also solid, but that’s a different continent).

      Tofu
      There are different types of tofu. I use firm tofu for frying and silken tofu as an egg alternative in vegan crème brûlée or in vegan mapo tofu for example. It is best to poach silken tofu briefly before use so that it doesn’t fall apart as much. Firm tofu is best frozen in the packaging with the liquid, before thawing (and then freezing and thawing again) and then pressing it for further use.

      Noodles
      There are many different types of noodles. So many in fact, that I think the only way to find out which one you like best is to try different ones.

      I’m a big fan of pre-cooked udon noodles, which are nice and thick, hold sauce well and cook in no time. I really love flat rice or glass noodles in cold salads, while other people prefer egg noodles for bami goreng for example. So just grab some noods and try them, they tend to run quite cheap so no harm no foul if you don’t like some of the ones you try.

      Herbs, spices, sauces and condiments

      These are the herbs, spices, sauces and condiments that I always have in stock because they can always be combined into something delicious.

      Note: spices and herbs tend to run cheaper at the toko and are usually also more flavorful than those from the supermarket, so it’s really worthwhile to stock up on all your herbs and spices here.

      Fresh and frozen 
      Sereh, also known as lemongrass, is really indispensable in Indisch, Indonesian but also in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. In stews like rendang it’s best to bruise and then tie it in a knot, while for uses where the sereh gets mixed into the dish, like Thai larb, it’s best to peel the sereh until you get to the soft white core and finely chop that up for further use.

      Jeruk purut, also known as makrut lime leaf, is also widely used in Indisch and Indonesian cuisine. It is also known by the k-name that I no longer use, you can read why you shouldn’t use that name here.

      Laos or galengal cannot be replaced with ginger no matter how many times recipe developers write this. It is fresher and sweeter, less spicy and according to some has a slightly piney flavor (I think it has a laosy taste, but who am I?). It has a shiny white skin.

      Ginger is not a replacement for galengal. It is a lot more spicy (and gingery, continuing a theme here) and stringy. It has a course yellow-brownish skin. You can use leftovers to make tea (or whiskey) with lemon and honey.

      Sichuan pepper, though spicy, is not actually a pepper but part of the citrus family. This pepper is essential for Sichuan cooking, gives you a mild high and numbs you mouth a little, which allows you to pick up other flavors better. Very floral. I love making ice cream with this, there is a recipe for Sichuan pepper ice cream in my cookbook Nomnomnom coming out in August in the Netherlands.

      MSG. Controversial in some circles, MSG is actually just super salt that naturally occurs in tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and many more foods and is artificially recreated through fermentation. Research has yet to show there are any true health risks associated with the use of MSG, but the myth (originally fueled by anti-Chinese racism) persists. You use MSG like salt to boost umami. If you want to understand more about MSG, Pit Magazine devoted an entire issue to it, while The Bad Food Bible also does a stellar job of explaining why there is nothing wrong with using it and The MSG Pod is a lovely podcast to check out.

      Sauces
      Crispy chili in oil is indispensable in any kitchen. You can use it for mapo tofu, but really everything tastes better with a little chili crisp. I often eat it with scrambled eggs, as a dip with dumplings, to add heat and crunch to noodles or straight from the jar. For Tummie Magazine I made Cathy Erway’s peanut brittle with chili crisp recipe to go with chipotle chocolate mousse. Lao Gan Ma is pretty much the standard, they also sell a version with peanuts if that’s your thing. You can make chili crisp very easily at home, but I like to support the Lao Gan Ma empire by always having a mega pot of it on my shelf.

      Gochujang is a fermented Korean chili paste and equally indispensable. I use it to glaze Korean fried chicken, in all kinds of marinades but it also pairs incredibly well with melted cheese on a toastie or with pasta.

      Hoisin sauce is another indispensable sauce (this is a bit of a theme with me and condiments). You may recognize this as the dip you get with Peking duck, but you can of course also dip other things in it (your finger is a good one) and use it in all kinds of marinades. With hoisin I notice that everyone has different preferences because the taste and texture are slightly different across brands, so try different brands until you find your hoisin match. I’m sure it exists.

      Sriracha with extra garlic. I think everyone is familiar with Thai sriracha by now. My favorite brand is the (American) Flying Goose brand and my favorite flavor is the one with extra garlic, which seems to have more depth than ‘plain’ sriracha. Flying Goose has developed a whole bunch of variaties, which are all worth a shot. I’m a big fan of their smoky sriracha as well as the ones with  black pepper and extra lemon grass.

      Light soy sauce is the nicest soy sauce for cooking because it’s slightly more subtle and less salty than dark soy sauce. I always have light soy sauce at home for cooking and dark for dipping or finishing dishes.

      Kaki Tiga kecap medja is Indonesian sweet kecap, which is slightly less sweet and thick than kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce). This is the kecap that I grew up with and that’s probably why I like it best. If you are looking for really good kecap manis, I recommend the Bango brand.

      White miso is a well-known Japanese fermented soybean paste. There are also yellow, red and black misos. White is the most versatile/ accessible, so that’s why I tend to use that. I use it in marinades, to make dressings or mayonnaise, as a substitute for shrimp paste and fish sauce, but also to give dishes an extra umami kick, like this hummus for example.

      Thai spice pastes are great to keep in the cupboard for days when you don’t feel like cooking and want to get something on the table with relative ease. There are all kinds of ready-made Thai spice pastes available, I like red curry and penang paste in particular. In Thailand curry pastes are generally used as a foundation with more ingredients added to the dish during cooking, but if you mix the paste with some coconut milk, a protein and some veggies you’re already going to have a pretty good time.

      Miscellaneous
      Coconut milk, see Thai spice paste for why it is useful to always have this at hand, although I also use this a lot in Indische and Indonesian cooking. Because I live alone, I like to keep small tins or tetra packs of 250 ml at home. Note this is not the coconut milk you can now find in most grocery stores as a replacement for cow milk and there are various textures and flavors of coconut milk available as well. Most stores will indicate which ones you can use for cooking and which for baking for example, which is mostly related to the water content of the milk.

      Kimchi is a Korean method to preserve vegetables and ready-made kimchi usually comes in the form of the classic and most well-known Nappa cabbage kimchi. You can of course make kimchi yourself, but I like to have a ready-made jar or bag at home for snacking, to use on cheese melts and burgers or to make kimchijeon (kimchi pancakes). You never know when the kimchi craving strikes.

      Panko. Coarse Japanese breadcrumbs that make everything you breadcrumb a 1000 times more delicious as when you use western (I guess?) breadcrumbs. They result in fluffy super crunchy fried things every time.

      Ready-made

      If you don’t feel like cooking, the toko is also your friend. Most tokos have a fresh or take-out counter where you can get ready-made meals you just have to reheat. But they also have an arsenal of other ready meals. Below you’ll find some my favorites, which I always keep at hand for days where I am unable to cook.

      Instant noodles
      There are many different types, flavors and brands of instant noodles available from all corners of South East Asia. Instant noodles from South Korea, Japan and Singapore tend to run slightly more pricey but are totally worth it. Beyond that Indomie is probably the most famous brand out there (if you can find them their potato chips are pretty damned good too).

      With instant noodles it’s also best to just get some and just try them until you find the ones that tickle your pickle. It helps to know that Asian people tend to use instant noodles as a base and often enhance them with other ingredients rather than eating them ‘plain’. A classic example of this is stirring a beaten egg, roughly chopped spring onion and a slice of cheap cheddar cheese into your Shin Ramyun noodles.

      Please do pay attention to the instructions: due to the different noodles used instant noodles have different preparation times. There wet as well as dry instant noodles so you don’t always use the cooking liquid to make a soup.

      My personal favorites are the laksa noodles from Prima Taste, basically anything from Nissin and Indomie‘s dry noodles.

      Gyoza and dumplings
      Nowadays you will finds loads of gyoza and other dumplings in the freezer section of the Asian supermarket.

      I personally like Anjinomoto’s vegetable gyoza best. You can steam as well as steam-fry (my English abandons me here) them, where you crisp their bums in sunflower oil for 5 minutes before adding a splash of water and closing the lid and steaming them for another 5. Most packages also come with microwave instructions but I find steaming or steam-frying them gives the best result.

      Snacks
      Of course you can find an endless arsenal of (potato) chips and krupuk (prawn crackers) at Asian supermarkets. Again: try stuff that appeals to you and then keep getting the stuff you like best.

      My favorites from the freezer are custard buns and edamame, those shelled steamed and salted soy beans you get at Japanese restaurants.

      All potato chips well for me, but my favorite krupuk has and always will be palembang. In the Netherlands you can also buy krupuk to fry at home, but I’m too lazy for this and prefer to look for  surprising flavors in the crisps and/ or cracker department. Tip: if you come across anything with salted egg, that’s usually going to be a good thing.

      Win Asian groceries from Asian Food Lovers (open to Dutch inhabitants only)

      Update: the giveaway is now closed. Check out the comments on the Instagram-post for Asian groceries I have missed in my list.

      That’s it for my toko tips. To help 1 lucky winner on their way, in collaboration with Asian Food Lovers, I am giving away a box of toko goodies worth €60. In this you will find: Japanese rice, silken tofu, udon noodles, chili crisp, gochujang, hoisin sauce, sriracha, light soy sauce, kecap medja, white miso, red curry paste, coconut milk, kimchi, panko, a selection of instant noodles, vegetable gyoza, edamame and palembang krupuk.

      All you have to do to get a chance to win is to follow me and Asian Food Lovers on Instagram and leave a like and comment on this post, you can tag someone or let me know which toko groceries I have pathetically overlooked. Entries are open until Monday 31 May at midnight, I will announce the winner on Tuesday 1 June in my stories.

      The give-away for this blog post is sponsored by AsianFoodLovers.nl. Zoek je deze post in het Engels? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor wat moet je kopen in de toko.

      Tortas de Chilaquiles – Mexican Sandwiches

      I’m a simple woman. I see chilaquiles, I have chilaquiles.

      The first time I had them was at Puerto Alegre in San Francisco roughly 10 years ago. I fell in love with the dish and red mole immediately. Both of these are hard to come by here in the Netherlands so I’ve had to make due with instant sauces and Thai-Mexican mashups of my own making.

      The cookbook Comida Mexicana by Rosa Cienfuegos surrounded by a few empty tomatillo husks.

      Comida Mexicana – Rosa Cienfuegos

      Lucky for me, GoodCook (one of my favorite Dutch cookbook publishers) were kind enough to send me a copy of their newly released a translation of Comida Mexicana (UK only) by Rosa Cienfuegos. It’s a stellar read. With amazing photography by Alicia Taylor. As well as wonderful personal story of creating a home away from home.

      There’s lots of stuff I want to cook from this book, but the tortas de chilaquiles (a chilaquiles sandwich) was my number one.

      A closeup of salted black totopos (fresh fried nachos made from fresh tortillas).

      Sourcing Mexican ingredients

      As mentioned, it can be hard to find Mexican ingredients in the Netherlands. In the past 10 years the situation has improved greatly however. So I was able to order tomatillos and jalapenos to make fresh salsa verde, as well as fresh tortillas to fry my own totopos from Westland Pepers. The tortillas are made by Tortillería Taiyara, who supplies all the best eateries and tokos in the Netherlands. You can also order your totopos ready-made from her.

      A scathering of empty green tomatillo husks.

      Schnitzelgate

      I decided to make mine with tofu schnitzel because I am trying to cut back on meat. To make this I froze my tofu straight from the shop. Thawed it. Pressed it and then coated it in panko. You are of course free to use veal, which the original recipe calls for, or buy storebought schnitzel because why the fuck not.

      A jar of salsa verde.

      All this? For a sandwich?

      This recipe may seem like a lot of work for a sandwich but it’s a DAMNED good sandwich and you can skip a bunch of steps by going with store-bought totopos, schnitzels and salsa verde (if you’re lucky enough to have any nearby).

      A tortas de chilaquiles (chilaquiles bread roll) with chilaquiles made with black totopos, sour cream, tofu schnitzel and feta cheese.

      Tortas de chilaquiles - Chilaquiles sandwiches

      Dorothy Porker
      A recipe for tortas de chilaquiles (Mexican chilaquiles sandwiches) from the cookbook Comida Mexicana by Rosa Cienfuegos, made vegetarian with tofu schnitzel.
      Prep Time 15 mins
      Cook Time 15 mins
      Tofu freezing, thawing and pressing time 2 d 30 mins
      Course Lunch, Snack
      Cuisine Mexican
      Servings 6 tortas

      Equipment

      • Freezer, if making your own tofu schnitzels
      • Heavy object, if making your own tofu schnitzels
      • Griddle pan, if making your own salsa
      • Blender or food processor, if making your own salsa
      • Deep fat fryer or frying pan, if making your own totopos
      • Deep plate x2, if making your own schnitzels
      • Large frying pan x2

      Ingredients
        

      For the salsa verde, you can also use store-bought

      • 21 oz - 600 g tomatillos fresh or canned
      • 20 jalapeno peppers
      • 1 white onion coarsely chopped
      • 1 clove garlic
      • 1 T - 15 g salt
      • 1 bunch coriander coarsely chopped

      For the totopos, you can also use store-bought

      • neutral oil for deep fat frying
      • 12 fresh corn tortillas cut into 8 pieces each
      • salt to taste

      For the tofu schnitzels, you can also use store-bought

      • 1 egg whisked
      • 2/3 c - 150 ml milk the heaviest milk you can get, nutmilk is fine
      • 1 T - 15 g salt
      • freshly ground black pepper to taste
      • 1 pack firm or semi-firm tofu frozen in its liquid, thawed, then pressed for 30 minutes and cut into 1/2" - 1 cm slices
      • 1 c - 100 g bread crumbs I used panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) because I'm fancy, but use whatever
      • sunflower oil for shallow frying

      For the tortas de chilaquiles

      • 4 c - 1 l salsa verde recipe to follow, or store-bought
      • 2 lbs - 1 kg totopos recipe to follow, or store-bought
      • 6 teleras (Mexican bread rolls) I used what the Dutch call 'an Italiaanse bol', look for something slightly firmer on the outside but soft on the inside
      • 2 T - 30 ml sour cream
      • 2 T - 30 g cojita cheese I used crumbled feta
      • 6 tofu schnitzels recipe to follow, or store-bought

      Instructions
       

      First, make the salsa verde

      • If you were able to source fresh tomatillos, remove the husk and wash 21 oz - 600 g of tomatillos. If using tinned tomatillos drain and pat dry.
      • Griddle them on a very hot griddle with 20 jalapenos and coarsely chopped white onion until they turn black on the outside. You can also do this directly over a hot flame if you dare.
      • Move all of the blackened tomatillos, jalapenos and onion to a blender or food processor with 1 clove of garlic, 1 T - 15 g of salt and 1 bunch of coarsely chopped coriander and blend until fine. If the sauce is too coarse add water until you get your desired consistency.

      Now, make the totopos

      • Heat oil in a deep pan or in a deep fat fryer to 180° C - 360° F.
      • Fry the tortillas cut into 8 pieces in batches until crisp and starting to brown. Usually once they start floating and stop bubbling they are done.
      • Drain on some kitchen towel and season with salt.

      Next, make the tofu schnitzels

      • Mix the whisked egg with 2/3 c - 150 ml of milk, 1 T - 15 g of salt and freshly ground pepper in a deep plate. Place in the slices of tofu and leave to soak for 3 minutes.
      • Place 1 c of bread crumbs in another deep plate and heat a decent layer of sunflower oil in a large frying pan.
      • Coat the tofu slices in breadcrumbs and fry until golden and crisp. This should take 5 minutes per side or so.

      Now, make the chilaquiles

      • Heat almost all of the 4 c - 1 l of salsa verde in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Add the totopos and a cup of water, stir and heat through for 5 minutes or so. If you like your chilaquiles a little crispier, I'd skip the water and the 5 minutes.
      • Remove from the heat.

      Tortas de chilaquiles, ASSEMBLE

      • Cut your teleras or whatever bread rolls you're using in half, top with a scoop of the cooked chilaquiles, the sour cream, cojita or feta, tofu (or other) schnitzel and a little bit of uncooked salsa verde and dig in.

      Notes

      • Obviously these tortas do not keep and should be eaten straight away.
      • The salsa verde will keep for about a week in an airtight container in the fridge and are great for dipping chips or having on any number of tacos.
      • Totopos will keep for about a week in a cookie tin.
      Keyword chilaquiles, Mexican food, sandwiches, tortas

      Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor tortas de chilaquiles, Mexicaanse broodjes chilaquiles.

      Pastel Tres Leches – Three-Milk Cake

      If you don’t think pastel tres leches (Mexican three-milk cake) is the best cake in the world, you just haven’t had it yet. I’ve been told tres leches is finally gaining traction in the US, but in Europe it’s still a sight for sore eyes.

      This classic Mexican cake is the cake that will bring the word moist back en vogue. It’s a sloppy wet kiss of a cake and I love it more than any cake in the world.

      A close up of the burnt meringue coating the tres leches cake.

      White Cube, white cake

      The first time I had pastel tres leches was in London. On a rainy terrace in Hoxton Square after a visit to a now-closed gallery. I have never forgotten about this cake, but I haven’t seen it on a menu since. The recipes all seemed quite intimidating for a shit baker like me. So it took me a few years to work up the courage. But work up the courage I did, because this cake is just that good and I have to get my fix in somehow.

      The cookbook Mexico The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte with pieces of pastel tres leches on a cake stand off to the side of the image.

      Mexico: The Cookbook – Margarita Carrillo Arronte

      Color me superficial but I bought Mexico: The Cookbook (order in the US or UK) by Margarita Carrillo Arronte because the dust cover is worth the money alone. Luckily it’s also one of the most complete cookbooks on Mexican cooking and I’ve had many a good meal because of it.

      On orange plate with a slice of pastel tres leches with milk seeping out of it and a bamboo knife to the front of the image, on a soft pink background.

      Raspberries and milk crumbs

      Originally this cake is made with strawberries, but I’m a big raspberry fan so I used raspberries. I also thought it’d be fun to try and add a little extra texture to the cake in the shape of milk crumbs from Christina Tosi‘s All About Cake (order in the US or UK). But you do you.

      The cookbook All About Cake by Christina Tosi with an orange plate with a wedge of pastel tres leches in front of it.

      On orange plate with a slice of pastel tres leches with milk seeping out of it and a bamboo knife to the front of the image, on a soft pink background.

      Pastel tres leches - Mexican Three-Milk Cake

      Dorothy Porker
      A recipe for the best cake ever: Mexican pastel tres leches, from Mexico: The Cookbook, with the addition of Christina Tosi's milk crumbs (which you can totally skip should you be so inclined).
      Prep Time 1 hr
      Cook Time 1 hr
      Course Birthdays, Dessert
      Cuisine Mexican
      Servings 8 - 10 people

      Equipment

      • Oven
      • Sheet pan
      • Parchment x2
      • Small bowl
      • Round cake pan ⌀ 11" - 28 cm
      • Large bowl x2
      • Sieve
      • Small bowls x2 to separate eggs
      • Metal serving spoon
      • Food processor or blender
      • Large rimmed plate or cake plateau
      • Heatproof bowl
      • Saucepan that the heatproof bowl can sit on comfortably
      • Handmixer
      • Spatula
      • Blow torch

      Ingredients
        

      To make the milk crumbs, for added texture (optional)

      • 1/2 c - 40 g milk powder
      • 1/4 c - 40 g flour
      • 2 T - 30 g extra fine sugar
      • 1 T - 15 g corn flour
      • 1/2 t - 2 g salt
      • 4 T - 55 g butter melted - unsalted (or skip the salt above)
      • 1/4 c - 20 g milk powder
      • 3 oz - 90 g white chocolate melted

      To make the pastel tres leches

        For the cake

        • butter for greasing the cake pan
        • 2 1/2 c - 275 g flour
        • 1 T - 15 g baking powder
        • 8 large eggs yolks and whites separated
        • 1 1/2 c - 230 g extra fine sugar
        • 1 T - 15 ml vanilla extract
        • 4 T - 60 ml milk
        • 2 c - 240 g strawberries raspberries or other slightly more tangy soft fruits work well too

        For the cream

        • 1 can condensed milk 14 oz - 395 g
        • 1 can evaporated milk 5 oz - 150 ml
        • 1/2 c - 150 ml single cream
        • 3 egg yolks whites set aside for the meringue coating
        • 1-2 T - 15-30 ml brandy I used rum cause that's what I had - if you're feeding kids use 1 T - 15 ml of vanilla essence instead

        For the meringue

        • 3 egg whites set aside from when you made the cream
        • 1/2 c - 100 g extra fine sugar
        • juice of 1/2 lemon
        • 2 T - 30 ml golden (corn) syrup

        Instructions
         

        Make the milk crumbs (optional)

        • Preheat your oven to 120° C - 250° F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
        • In a small bowl, mix all dry the ingredients together except for the 4 T - 55 g of melted butter, 1/4 c - 20 g of milk powder and 3 oz - 90 g of white chocolate.
        • Now add the 4 T - 55 g of melted butter and stir until the mixture comes together in small clumps.
        • Spread the clumps out onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until dry and sandy and leave to cool completely.
        • Once the clusters have cooled completely toss with the remainder of the 1/4 c - 20 g of milk powder.
        • Melt 3 oz - 90 g of white chocolate and toss to coat. If you toss this every 5 minutes or so until dry the milk crumbs should develop a nice even layer of white chocolate.
        • Store in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container until ready to use.

        Now make the pastel tres leches

          First, make the cake

          • Preheat your oven to 180° C - 350° F. Line the bottom of the cake pan with parchment and grease the sides with a little butter.
          • Run 2 1/2 c - 275 g of flour and 1 T - 15 g of baking powder through a sieve into a bowl and set aside.
          • In a separate bowl, whisk 8 egg yolks with 1 1/2 c - 230 g of extra fine sugar and 1 T - 15 ml of vanilla extract until ribbons form.
          • Now, in small portions, gently fold the flour and baking powder mixture through the yolks and sugar, alternating with 4 T - 60 ml of milk.
          • In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold these egg whites into the egg-sugar-flour mixture. This is best achieved in small portions with a metal serving spoon, taking one scoop of fluffy egg whites at a time, folding them in until almost fully incorporated, before folding in the next scoop. You really want to be gentle here so you don't knock the air out.
          • Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

          Make the cream

          • Place all the ingredients for the cream into a food processor or blender and blend until thoroughly mixed. If you are planning to feed kids, please use 1 T - 15 ml of vanilla essence instead of 1-2 T - 15-30 ml of liquor.

          Back to the cake

          • Once a toothpick has come out clean from the center of the cake, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.*
          • Cut the cake in two layers while it's still warm and slice the outer top crust off the top layer of the cake, this will make for easier soaking (if you zoom in on my photo you'll see the top layer is relatively dry.
          • Place the bottom layer on a rimmed plate or cake plateau (I say rimmed because this cake will leak) and divide 2 c - 450 g of strawberries and the milk bar crumbs (if using) across the bottom layer before placing the top layer of cake back on top.
          • Pour the cream all over the cake, making sure you hit all the areas of the cake. Ideally the cake is still a little warm when you do this.

          Now make the meringue

          • Place the whites of 3 eggs, 1/2 c - 100 g of extra fine sugar, the juice of 1/2 lemon and 2 T - 30 ml of golden (corn) syrup in a heat proof bowl and place on top of pan with barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
          • Whisk vigorously using a hand mixer until the mixture becomes fluffy. Remove the bowl from the pan and keep going until a meringue forms, this should take 5 minutes or so. It'll still look a little floppy but will hold fine on the sides of the cake.
          • Use a spatula to cover the cake in whatever look you fancy. slapdash, prim and proper, what have you, and burn the meringue with a blowtorch to your desired level of browning. Dig in.

          Notes

          • The milk crumbs will keep for 1 month in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
          • The cake will keep for 3 days or so in an airtight container in the fridge. 
          * The book says you should 'leave the cake to cool completely' but then later says you should soak in the cream while the cake is still hot, so I'm doing a bit of both. 
          Keyword all about cake, cake, christina tosi, dessert, margarita carrillo arronte, Mexican food, milkbar, tres leches

          Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor pastel tres leches, Mexicaanse drie-melken cake.