Hongrui Cui arrived in Wageningen a few months ago. He notices some interesting and even funny things around here. How to make quiche Dutch-style, for example.
illustration Henk van Ruitenbeek
Having been keen on cooking for years, I am popular with my friends because I cook fabulous Chinese meals. Knowledge is infinite and the same goes for knowledge about food and recipes. So, after arriving in the Netherland, an amazing country famous for various types of cheese, I just cannot help trying many new things. From swallowing herring with onion by pinching its tail, to sipping wine with a piece of cheese and taking cheese sandwiches for a quick lunch, I quickly got into the local diet and I enjoy it a lot. To progress further, I am now learning to cook with local ingredients, starting with cheese.
Having grown up without cheese, I put some time and effort into understanding how many types of cheese there are. Last week I decided to bake a healthy vegetable quiche. Grated carrot and courgette are low-calorie while providing useful carbohydrate and fibre, adding some cheese provides good protein, and some spices and garlic add flavour. Then, put everything in the oven and anticipate a delicious meal!
A bit later, a nice Dutch corridor mate came along and asked: ‘Do you smell something?’ I quickly opened the oven to check if anything was wrong. A strong smell filled our noses. ‘What on earth are you making?’ He smiled and rushed to open the window.
‘Oh, just vegetable quiche.’
‘Cool. With which cheese?’ He seemed to have hit on a clue.
‘One I bought at the market, a good one with low fat’, I said. I am confident of the quality of my ingredients.
‘Well, it could be a good one but I think it is quite mature... and normally very mature cheese is for eating with wine or nuts. But not for cooking.’
Well, this was really helpful information. Now I knew there is a new classification for cheeses: the eat-as-it-is type and the can-be-cooked type. By the way, though: the vegetable quiche tasted very good. Just don’t smell it before taking a bite.
Hongrui Cui, PhD student from China
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