Age: 34 years old

Profession: (Web) designer and front end developer at Goulashoup.

Website: (EN) (NL)

When and why did you start Nombelina?
I started Nombelina in 2008. I’ve always had a website or online journal in one form or another and always had a love for food. I thought combining the two would help me stick to blogging since I didn’t always have inspiration to write. With food it’s much easier, since I happen to eat every day :P.

Why so passionate about food?
To me food is love. As a kid, food was part of being together as a family. For celebration, but also for mourning. I was brought up in the South of the Netherlands (with Dutch parents) where food and drink is an important part of life.

The food we ate at home wasn’t always very special. But we always tried new things and my dad especially liked experimenting. For example testing how flammable the exhaust hood was while flambéing :).

Where do you get your inspiration from to cook?
I mostly get inspired by images. Be it in a magazine, online or on television. I also like to recreate dishes I’ve eaten elsewhere.

Hot Spot:
My favorite place, is a place to relax and isn’t too fancy. One of my favorite places in Rotterdam is Lof der Zoetheid. They have an amazing afternoon tea with lots of sweet and savory goodness.

Fave meal:
This one is so difficult. Because there is so much that I really love. I’ll go with thickly cut fries with stoofvlees (stew) and mayonnaise.

If it’s about eating with others, then I love communal food. Everyone sitting around a large table loaded with good food.

Fave drink:
I can’t drink alcohol, so soda (usually something with lemon), green tea or water.

Fave cookbook and why:
I have a confession to make. I rarely cook from books. Usually I get inspired by dishes or recipes and make my own version. If I had to pick, it would be Kitchen from Nigella Lawson. I’ve been oohing a lot while leafing through it.

Fave Cuisine:
Can I make it easy on myself and say Asian? I love Chinese dim sum, fried rice and vegetable dishes. Japanese sushi, tempura and meat on a stick. Indonesian stews, skewers and snacks.

What 3 kitchen ingredients would we always find in your kitchen? And why?
Rice, flour and eggs. There is a lot more, but I’d say those are the ingredients that I won’t run out of. With all 3 you can make a quick meal without needing a lot of extra ingredients and they are very versatile.

Dish you master:
There are plenty! But one of my all time favorites is roasted pork belly.

I don’t do or remember quotes :).

Food you ate today:
Potato and Brussels sprout cakes with bacon and homemade piccalilly for lunch. For dinner I’ll be making roasted pork belly with fried rice.

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Recipe for Chinese pork belly

2 pounds of pork belly with skin attached

1 to 1,5 liters of boiling water
1/2 ts Chinese 5 spice powder
2 Tbs hoisin sauce
1/2 to 1 Tbs Shaoxing rice wine
Coarse sea salt

1. Prepare the pork belly the day before eating. Score the skin, every 1/2 inch or so, with a sharp knife. This will help release the fat and makes it easier to slice the pork. Try not to cut into the flesh part.

2. Put the pork on a rack over your sink and carefully pour the boiling water over the skin. You will see the skin react to the hot water and tighten up a bit. Dry the pork with paper towel.

3. Mix the 5 spice powder, hoisin sauce and rice wine. Put the marinade on the flesh side of the pork belly. You don’t need to use it all, just enough to cover the meat with a nice layer. Put the pork, skin up in a clean oven tray. Make sure that there is no marinade on the skin. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate over night inside the fridge.

4. Remove the pork belly from the fridge and dab the skin with paper towel to remove any moisture.

5. Preheat the oven on 210C/410F and put the oven tray in the center of the oven for 45 minutes or until the skin has gone slighty brown. Sprinkle liberally with coarse salt. This will help draw out more moisture and fat and can be brushed off later.

Occasionally I add a bit of water to the oven tray (don’t let it touch the skin), so the marinade doesn’t burn and to keep the meat juicy.

6. Turn the oven down to 190C/370F and roast the meat for another hour. Keep an eye on it and add little bits of water when necessary.

7. To crispen up the skin some more, I turn up the oven to 230C/450F for half an hour towards the end.

Remove from the oven and let it cool for 15 to 30 minutes.

In spite of the reasonably long roasting, the meat turns out nice and juicy and the skin gets a nice crunch. Oven times may differ. Give it enough time at the lowest temperature, to render the fat. Cover with tinfoil if the skin becomes to dark.

Serve with some steamed rice and stir fried vegetables. Hoisin sauce or plum sauce is ideal for dipping. for step by step photo’s.

If you liked this post, be sure to check out my other interviews.

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