Cooking with fresh vegetables and fruit is not difficult in the Netherlands. For us we can simply walk across the road in Doezastraat and we have the most wonderful selection of fresh produce. This way you can make sure that feshness goes into your meal before you start. Fresh basil, or courgettes, peppers, garlic make a meal a taste sensation when they are cut up and used there and then whilst your preparing your food. Even when baking fresh apples can make an apple tart bust with flavor.
Is cooking with fresh ingredients expensive?
Not really. Ready meals are often over priced and flavored with artificial spices and long life products which lack the nutrients our bodies need. The trend to eat healthy has introduced much more variety in stores today with much better prices. Fresh lettuce, mushrooms and carrots are not expensive and one can experiment with different types of vegetables in your cooking to see what flavors work , or simply have them raw.
If you decide to use only organic produce and free range eggs, your shopping bill will go up, although you will be getting a better quality product for your meals. Leiden is full of markets ant this is the best way to get fresh produce often directly from local farmers markets. You can buy lovely fruit, vegetables and cheeses, not to mention all the delicious home produced jams and pickles, eggs, cakes and baked goods.
The fun of freshness
Cooking is fun, and the TV chefs make it easier for us to experiment and try new things. You can get away without having a recipe book and simply use YouTube to find any information on how to prepare your favorite diesh or substitute ingredients.
For us at Panini Leiden there is just no compromise. Everyday I come into the restuarant and begin preparing and baking bread, in the afternoons I start making pasta. Our chefs come in and start prepping fresh pesto, mushrooms, topping and making sure that the flavors are fresh for our clients. That’s what you are tasting. Goodness.