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Queen’s Day Soup


It was sheer serendipity that we were in Amsterdam for Queen’s Day on April 30th. What a way to kick-off our week-long bike/barge tour of the Netherlands! Queen’s Day commemorates the (former) Queen’s birthday and is the most widely celebrated national holiday and, with a carnival-like atmosphere, the biggest street party  in Amsterdam – much like Mardi Gras or New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

We were in good form at a club in the Liedseplein on Queen’s Night and the next day walking along with crowds of revelers meandering through the city-wide street market. Fortunately for us, we boarded our barge on Queen’s Day and the harbor was within walking distance to city centre where festivities were in full swing. Amsterdam attracts more than 700,000 visitors from all over Europe to join in the fun and, if you’re not already in the city on Queen’s Night, you’ll have to hoof it as streets are closed and trains and public transportation run on a special schedule on Queen’s Day.

Our carousing ended early and we were safely back on board the barge to be “fitted” for our bikes by late afternoon.

We met the crew: our skipper Else, who would safely navigate the many canals and locks; first mate Peter, who would later surprise us with an amazing magic show; cook extraordinaire Ellen, who had us applauding as she announced “for dinner tonight”; and the lucky man who was to be responsible for our crazy group for a week, Piet :-)

On our first night on the barge, Ellen served up a “Queen’s Day” Pumpkin Soup that won the instant approval of all the women. I didn’t waste any time telling her that I have a food blog and would love to feature her smiling face and one of her recipes. Throughout the week, she impressed us with her delicious, flavorful soups and entrees, colorful salads full of fresh veggies , and smashing desserts. But in the end, I came back to the special Queen’s Day soup. Cooking for 25 guests and crew, she doesn’t really use recipes, but graciously jotted down the ingredients and basic instructions.

One thing that I discovered when I took the L’atelier des Chefs cooking class in Paris, is that Europeans refer to squash as “pumpkin”. This is actually a squash soup, although I don’t know what kind of squash she used. I decided to use kabocha squash because it has a rich, nutty flavor and a taste between pumpkin and sweet potato. I also roasted the squash to bring out its rich flavor and adapted the recipe to serve 6-8 instead of 25 :-) Oh, and I always like a little heat so added some chili spice along with pungent coriander.

Thank you, Ellen! If you’re ever in the Netherlands and require the services of a talented and lovely personal chef, contact Ellen through her website.

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26 Responses to “Queen’s Day Soup”

  1. pachecopatty
    May 21 at 7:13 am #

    You timed your trip to Amsterdam right- how fun to experience the Queen’s Day celebration. Looks like you had a fabulous trip and I love this soup recipe.
    I want to get more info on your barge trip as we are planning a trip to Amsterdam this Fall, hoping it won’t be too cold. Beautiful photos Priscilla, hope you’re enjoying your weekend, Patty

  2. Priscilla
    May 21 at 7:57 am #

    Thanks, Patty! It was sooo much fun! I’m going back with hubs one day. We used CycleTours and I would recommend them – I’ll shoot you an email. They do other barge tours that don’t include cycling :-)

    Note: if your a Subscriber – I hit “publish” last night and then realized that I had forgotten to include the 1 T. coriander and put 1/2 cup cream (instead of 1-2 cups) since I divided the soup to freeze half. This is what happens when you don’t write things down right away!

  3. sippitysup
    May 21 at 8:56 am #

    My only trip to Amsterdam was to attend this event (a looooooong time ago). Your photos make me want to return. The soup may have to suffice! GREG

  4. Now you are making me want to go to Amsterdam even more! This soup looks absolutely stunning and I bet it tasted supreme. Great photos – felt like I was there. :)

  5. Anita Lau
    May 21 at 5:32 pm #

    Your photos look FANTASTIC!!

  6. Quyen - Kitchen Runway
    May 21 at 5:51 pm #

    You got me at kabocha! I love it and it has such wonderful flavor. Looks like you had an amazing time and now you have a soup to remember it by! YUM!

  7. blackbookkitchendiaries
    May 21 at 8:27 pm #

    this looks amaizing!! thank you for sharing this:)

  8. Angie's Recipes
    May 21 at 10:02 pm #

    The pumpkin soup looks so mouthwatering..oh man…love the vibrant deep orange colour of the soup.

  9. Carolyn
    May 22 at 9:22 am #

    You take the best trips, Priscilla. Can I come? This soup recipe is a great souvenir.

  10. Lindsey@Lindselicious
    May 22 at 10:01 am #

    What an amazing trip and story about how you got this delish recipe! Your pics from amsterdam make me want to travel to Europe again soon! For now I will try this soup. LOL Thanks Priscilla!

  11. Jean
    May 22 at 12:23 pm #

    What a fun time to be Amsterdam. I’ve never been and some friends and I have been toying with the idea of visiting that part of Europe. Your pictures have me hoping that this happens soon! The biking portion of your trip sounds especially appealing to me. :-)

    I smiled when you said that you wasted no time in letting Ellen know that you were a food blogger–I know that I would have done the same, LOL! She seems like a sweet person and now we get to enjoy what she served you. :-)

    Enjoy your Sunday, Priscilla!

    • Priscilla
      May 22 at 5:18 pm #

      @Jean – You should definitely go! I’d like to try a cycling/wine tour next. Wonder how that works though – it would be risky for me to be on a bike after a few wineries ;-)

  12. Priscilla
    May 22 at 5:06 pm #

    Thanks everyone! If nothing else, this blog will serve as a memoir of my life’s adventures in and out of the kitchen. Glad to share them with you :-)

  13. chef renee
    May 22 at 5:27 pm #

    Priscilla, beautiful post. The soup looks divine and your adventures continue to intrigue!

  14. Simply Life
    May 22 at 5:57 pm #

    wow! great photos! this soup looks wonderful!

  15. Nancy@acommunaltable
    May 22 at 9:41 pm #

    I finally managed to get up on your posts!! It looks like you had an amazing time !!! I loved the photo of you eating the herring in the “traditional” manner! Good for you that you got the recipe for the soup – I love these types of soups and I can tell that I would love this one!!

  16. Kate@Diethood.com
    May 23 at 11:12 am #

    Oh my yumminess!! Where’s my spoon?!

  17. Victoria
    May 23 at 11:41 am #

    What a great experience! I’m so glad you were able to get the recipe and recreate it at home. Now you will always remember Queen’s Day in Amsterdam when you make it :)

  18. torviewtoronto
    May 23 at 3:25 pm #

    delicious looking soup
    lovely pictures looks like lots of fun

  19. Magic of Spice
    May 23 at 4:24 pm #

    What a fun time you had…by the way, why don’t you take me on such adventures? Never mind I know the answer, lol. And this soup is just delightful as well as your photos :)
    P.S. Gorgeous presentation too!

  20. Monet
    May 23 at 7:04 pm #

    Oh such a festive event! What a wonderful experience you had. I wish I could have been there. I can’t wait to give this soup a try. Thank you so much for sharing this deliciousness…I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. Hugs from Austin!

  21. 5 Star Foodie
    May 23 at 7:37 pm #

    What a fun experience with the Queen’s Day celebration! And the soup looks absolutely fantastic!

  22. Faith
    May 24 at 1:14 pm #

    Looks like such a fun celebration and a delicious soup! Love how you used kabocha, I bet it was fantastic!

  23. Sandra's Easy Cooking
    May 24 at 10:28 pm #

    What a lovely photos, and great soup..I love the presentation and the recipe!!!
    Thanks you for sharing your experience!!!!

  24. bunkycooks
    June 3 at 12:48 pm #

    It looks like a Mardis Gras type of party to me! We have been wanting to go to Amsterdam, so I will have to make plans to do that someday for sure. It looks like a beautiful and very fun city.

  25. Correen
    June 19 at 6:31 pm #

    I can tell that your trip to the Netherlands will forever hold special memories for you…how wonderful it that!? Thanks for adapting this colorful soup…I just wanted to dig into the screen with my spoon :)

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