It’s the veal thing

[Recipe 1] DUTCH VEAL ROLLS (blinde vinken) and BRAISED RED CABBAGE with APPLE (rode kool met appeltjes) transforms into
Reuban sandwich
“If it smells like someone let a wicked fart loose in your kitchen, you’re on the right track.”
I intended to make my own fermented sauerkraut for this post, but when I came across that particular comment whilst browsing food blogs, I chickened out. That, and reference to possible contamination by pesky microbes had me dishing up Braised red cabbage with apple (rode kool met appeltjes) instead. While not strictly sauerkraut as it’s not fermented; it comes pretty close in flavour. It’s my own take on my dad’s recipe – the cabbage is simmered in chicken stock with fresh apple, Dijon mustard and spices, and is quite delicious! You’ll find so many ways to use the leftovers during the week – this little picture shows our lunch at work on Thursday, photographed on a cutting mat (see tips/ingredients below the main recipe).
Braised red cabbage is the perfect accompaniment to Dutch veal rolls (blinde vinken). The name translates literally as ‘blind finches’, a classic quirky Dutchism. They’re lovely spiced logs of minced veal and pork, traditionally wrapped in paper-thin slice of veal, but I prefer to use pancetta. I also like to add grated apple (firm pear works well too). They’re simmered in stock and my boys LOVE them as they’re basically fancy sausages.
Cranberry and goji berry jam on sourdoughBy making double the quantity of Dutch veal roll mixture, you can serve up Swedish meatballs later in the week (or later in the month if you choose to freeze them)! Unsuspecting family members will have no idea this is the same mince mixture, rolled into balls. I’ve served them up Ikea-style (minus the horse meat); with mashed potatoes and home-made Cranberry and goji berry jam (I’d love to make Swedish lingonberry jam, but where on earth can one buy lingonberries in Australia)? I threw the goji berries in on a whim and they added a lovely tartness to the sauce. Goji berries are packed full of protein and vitamins, in fact they apparently contain 500 times more vitamin C than oranges! After much experimenting, I’ve found that simple is best with this jam. No need for vinegar, onion or wine. It’s gently sweetened with maple syrup and has a nice burst of zing from the ginger and lemon zest. Delicious! Recipe link is here. We spent 5 days at Apollo Bay Music Festival last week, and this jam went down a treat on sourdough smeared with White Castello cheese (pictured).
So, we didn’t miss the sauerkraut at all, but one day I’ll work up the courage to whip up a batch. Has anyone made it? If so I’d LOVE to know if it was a success, and if the resulting putrid-smelling kitchen was worth it.

Blinde vinken (Dutch veal rolls)[Recipe 1] Dutch veal rolls (blinde vinken) and braised red cabbage with apple (rode kool met appeltjes)

Ingredients for braised red cabbage with apple (makes 4 cups):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red (purple/Spanish) onion, finely chopped
2 large green apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 small head red cabbage, shredded, inner core discarded
1¾ cups (435ml) store-bought or home-made chicken stock, plus extra ¼ cup if required
½ cup (125ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon marjoram

2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Ingredients for Dutch veal rolls (serves 4 for 2 meals):

4 slices wholemeal bread, crusts removed, cut into pieces
½ cup (125ml) milk
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) humanely-farmed veal
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) free range pork
½ cup chopped parsley
1 small red (purple/Spanish) onion, very finely chopped
1 large green apple, peeled and grated

½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon marjoram
2 eggs, lightly whisked
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
100g (3.5 oz) thinly sliced pancetta
Olive oil, for frying, extra

1 cup (250ml) store-bought or home-made chicken stock, or veal stock
Pan-fried kipfler potatoes, to serve

For the braised red cabbage with apple (this can be made up to 3 days in advance):
Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Fry onion and apple for 5–8 minutes, until onion is soft and transparent and apple begins to turn golden brown.
Add mustard seeds. Cook for for 1-2 minutes. Add cabbage, stock, vinegar, mustard, cloves, marjoram and brown sugar. Simmer over a low–medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add a splash more stock if it is drying out. Season.
Set aside until required. Braised red cabbage can be served cold or re-heated gently on the stovetop. It improves with age so is best made at least the day before.
For the Dutch veal rolls (these can be made up to 3 days in advance, or frozen):
Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes, and gently squeeze out.
Place minced meat, parsley, onion, apple, spices and eggs in a large bowl. Add the squeezed-out bread. Mix well and season.
Divide mixture in half (approx. 650g/1.4 lb), and reserve one portion for the Swedish meatballs.
Roll the remaining veal mixture into eight log shapes. Wrap each in pancetta.
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frypan. Add veal rolls and gently fry until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cook in two batches if required, and return to the pan when cooked. Pour in stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 8–10 minutes. Turn the veal rolls over and simmer for a further 8 minutes.
Remove veal rolls from the pan and keep warm on a plate covered with foil. Bring pan juices to the boil and simmer until reduced by half. Drain in a fine mesh sieve. Set aside strained juices and reheat when required.
Serve the veal rolls and pan juices with braised red cabbage and pan-fried kipflers or thickly-sliced rye bread.

  • Uncooked Dutch veal rolls can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. Place baking paper between the layers. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Drain on kitchen paper to absorb excess moisture before cooking.
  • Braised red cabbage can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. The flavour improves with time.
  • Braised red cabbage is fabulous in a Reuben-style sandwich (pictured in the intro text) with Edam cheese, pastrami and Dijonnaise (2 teaspoons Dijon mustard mixed with 2 tablespoons mayonnaise). 
  • Braised red cabbage is also delicious served with pork schnitzels, Slow-cooked beef brisket, Pulled pork or served up Dutch-style, nestled on a bed of endive and potato mash with a big fat rookwust sausage resting on top (my Dad’s specialty).
  • If you don’t have the time or inclination, you can buy ‘kapusta czerwona’ (braised Polish red cabbage) by the jar at European delicatessens – the flavour is very similar to Dutch braised cabbage. Warm gently on the stove-top.

Swedish meatballs (Ikea style)

[Recipe 2] Swedish meatballs with cranberry and goji berry jam

Ingredients (serves 4):
Half quantity (approx. 650g/1.4 lb) reserved Dutch veal roll mixture
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
2 cups store-bought or home-made chicken stock
150ml (5 fl oz) cream (I use light cooking cream)
Creamy parmesan mashed potatoes, to serve
Cranberry and goji berry jam, to serve

Steamed green beans, to serve
Chopped fresh dill, to serve

Roll mixture into 20–25 walnut-sized balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes if time permits.
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frypan. Add meatballs and brown well on all sides, about 8 minutes. Cook in two batches, transferring to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
Add flour to pan, and cook, stirring for about one minute. Gradually pour in stock and cream and bring to the boil. Return meatballs to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through.
Serve meatballs and their sauce with Creamy parmesan mashed potatoes and Cranberry and goji berry jam, with a side of steamed green beans. Scatter with chopped dill.

  • Meatballs can be frozen, raw, for up to 3 months. Place baking paper between the layers. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Drain on kitchen paper to absorb excess moisture before cooking.
  • If you don’t have a deep-sided non-stick pan; cook the meatballs in a shallow-sided non-stick pan first; and transfer them to a deeper pan for cooking in the sauce.
  • The Cranberry and goji berry jam is beautiful served with sourdough bread, spread thickly with White Castello cheese (pictured in the intro text).
  • Dried wild goji berries are available from health food stores or online from Loving Earth.
  • I always buy 300ml (10 fl oz) tubs of cream, and freeze the leftover 150ml (5 fl oz) cream in its tub. Nearly all my recipes that contain cream use 150ml. Allow the cream to defrost in the fridge overnight and use it for this recipe again or for:
    Caramelised onion and goat’s cheese tart or
    Chicken and leek pot pie or
    Creamy pumpkin fettuccine with toasted walnuts or
    Sticky date pudding with toasted hazelnuts or
    Roasted red capsicum and fresh herb tart

The frying Dutchman

[Recipe 1] VEAL OSSO BUCO transforms into
A couple of weeks ago, on the road to Bendigo for my mum’s 70th birthday with a car-load of fellow Dutch folks, we passed a hand-painted sign on the side of the Calder highway and a collective shriek rang out in the car: ‘DUTCH KROKETS $5’.
I skidded to a halt and we just about bolted inside. Jos and Coby Jansen, the proprietors of the tiny Junction Hotel (built in 1874) in Ravenswood, have a menu of house-made Dutch specialities including poffertjes (tiny pancakes), uitsmijters (soft bread, ham and a fried egg) and Krokets.
Dutch veal croquettes (Hollandse kalfs kroketten) are one of my favourite Dutch fast-food treats. My dad often cranked up the deep fryer to make a batch for lunch. There are food vans all over Holland selling the ubiquitous Broodje Kroket – a soft white roll stuffed with French mustard and a crunchy deep-fried log, containing the most delicious molten, creamy, meaty filling. In Amsterdam krokets can be bought warm from little vending machines, nestled individually on squares of kitchen paper.
Coby from the Junction Hotel was lovely enough to share her kroket recipe with me; which I’ve modified slightly to make for a more chunky, meaty filling. Also, instead of making them from scratch, I first made a beautiful (even if I do say so myself) Veal Osso Buco, which we scoffed for dinner with a mound of creamy parmesan mashed potatoes. The addition of orange zest to the Osso Buco intensifies the flavour and cuts through the richness, alleviating the need for a zesty accompaniment like gremolata.
By saving a couple of chunks of the Osso Buco, (see the orange diamonds in the recipe for details); you can whip up a batch of Dutch veal croquettes easily. Oh my gawd they’re so good. The only tricky bit is the double-breading but this is important for the crisp-factor, and also to ensure they don’t split open during cooking.
Eet smakelijk iedereen (eat well everyone)!

Dutch krokets sign

Veal Osso Buco[Recipe 1] Veal Osso Buco

Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals):
1½ kilos (3 lb) humanely-farmed veal shanks, osso buco-style (cut into thick 2½ cm/1-inch slices)
3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra
2 brown onions, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped into small pieces
2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
75g (2½ oz) bacon, fat removed, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup (250ml) red wine
400g (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1½ cups (375ml) beef stock
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste (tomato concentrate)
Salt and freshly-cracked pepper
Creamy parmesan mashed potatoes, to serve
Chopped flat-leaf parsley to serve

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Place veal shank pieces and flour in a large plastic bag. Toss to coat, and shake off excess flour.
Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook veal in batches (adding a splash more oil when required) for 3 minutes each side until well-browned. Transfer to a plate.
Add onion, carrot, celery and bacon to the pot, and 1 tablespoon more oil if required. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until vegetables start to soften. Stir occasionally. Add garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes, uncovered, stirring regularly. Return veal to the pot. Add wine, bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Transfer vegetables, veal and juices to a large oven-proof, flame-proof pot.
Combine tomatoes, stock, orange zest, oregano and tomato paste. Pour over veal and vegetables. Season.
Cover tightly with foil (or a lid, with foil underneath) and cook in pre-heated oven for 1½ hours. Test to see whether veal is tender. If not, return to the oven for a further 15 minutes and check again. The meat should be falling off the bones.
If there is a bit too much liquid, place pan on the stove-top and simmer, uncovered, for a further ten minutes.
Reserve 2–3 cooked veal pieces for the Dutch veal croquettes. You’ll need about 1½ cups/350g (¾ lb) of actual meat, so roughly break it away from the bones and plonk it in a cup (or weigh it) to make sure you reserve enough!
Serve osso buco on a bed of creamy parmesan mashed potatoes, scattered with parsley.

  • Osso Buco can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge and should be used within three days; or it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Leftover pan juices from stews like this can be blended and turned into a lovely rich soup for lunch. Add a bit of leftover shredded meat and vegie chunks after blending.
  • When using store-bought stock, I love Moredough Kitchens variety (available from independent food stores, delis and butchers all over Australia). It’s real stock, sealed in a pouch, with nothing yucky added. Definitely worth the expense. The veal stock is fab. And no, they didn’t pay me for my testimonial! I find supermarket chicken stock is mostly fine (I prefer Campbells), but supermarket beef stock is too overpowering and caramel-ish in a dish like osso buco. Moredough stock has a more subtle, home-made flavour.

Dutch veal croquettes

[Recipe 2] Dutch veal croquettes (Hollandse kalfs kroketten)

Ingredients (serves 4, makes 12 croquettes):
60 grams (2 oz/½ stick) butter
½ cup (75g) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 eschalot (shallot/scallion), finely chopped
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock, store-bought or home-made
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 sachet (10g/3 teaspoons) powdered gelatin*
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2–4 pieces reserved veal osso buco, finely chopped (about 1½ cups/350g/¾ lb)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
Vegetable or sunflower oil for deep-frying
French mustard, to serve
1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour extra, for dusting (plus extra if required)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup dry breadcrumbs

Make a roux by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Gently stir fry the eschalot until soft. Gradually stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until a paste forms.
Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in the stock. Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring thoroughly, until the sauce is smooth and thick.
Add gelatin, nutmeg and mustard to the saucepan, stirring.
Add reserved, chopped Veal Osso Buco.
Season, and stir through parsley. Mix together thoroughly then transfer to a container with a lid and allow to cool completely, in the fridge.
Roll about 12 little sausage-shaped logs from the mixture, each about 3½cm (1½-inch) thick and about 7½cm (3-inch) long.
Double-coat the croquettes. Dredge each croquette in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip into egg and coat well with the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate the croquettes for at least 15 minutes to help the coating adhere. Repeat the entire coating process so that each croquette gets two coats of flour, egg and breadcrumbs.
Deep-fry the croquettes in two batches at 180°C (350ºF) for approximately 3 minutes, until golden brown. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test whether the oil is ready by dropping a few breadcrumb lumps in the pot. They should sizzle as soon as they hit the oil.
Drain croquettes on kitchen paper and serve immediately, slathered with French mustard.

  • Dutch veal croquettes can be frozen, uncooked. Deep-fry from frozen for 4 minutes.
  • Croquettes are best eaten immediately. They don’t stand up to re-heating in the oven as they lose their beautiful crispiness. Believe me, I’ve tried!
  • Croquettes are excellent for a party. Double the quantity and make bite-sized croquette balls (‘bitterballen’ in Dutch). Deep-fry for 2–3 minutes, and serve on toothpicks with French mustard.
  • I’ve used powdered gelatin as it’s more readily available (and it removes the temptation for me to visit the Essential Ingredient where I always manage to empty my wallet). I reckon it’s worth using gelatin leaves when making delicate desserts like panna cotta, but for rustic croquettes, powdered gelatine is absolutely fine. If you insist on using gelatin leaves though, 1 sachet (8g/3 teaspoons) powdered gelatin is roughly equivalent to four gelatin leaves.