Photos by Zuzana Ľudviková

Amethiststraat 13

‘I always bring Black Balsam to parties’

Photos by Zuzana Ľudviková
In many student houses, having dinner together is a daily repeated ritual. Who’s joining in, who’s cooking, and most importantly: what’s for dinner? UKrant stops by to see what’s cooking. This week: Amethiststraat 13.
29 September om 10:11 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 17 October 2022
om 11:36 uur.
September 29 at 10:11 AM.
Last modified on October 17, 2022
at 11:36 AM.
Avatar photo

Door Ana Tudose

29 September om 10:11 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 17 October 2022
om 11:36 uur.
Avatar photo

By Ana Tudose

September 29 at 10:11 AM.
Last modified on October 17, 2022
at 11:36 AM.

Aleks’s Creamy Chicken Mushroom Pasta

For 3 people

1/2 pack of Grand’ Italia penne pasta (as recommended by his Italian roommate)
300 grams of chicken
8 small white mushrooms
1/2 onion
AH Kookroom (250 ml)
To garnish:
Additional salad à la Aleks:
4 small tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cucumber
Crème fraîche (125 ml)


  1. Cut the mushrooms, the onion and the chicken in small pieces.
  2. Let the onion sizzle in a pan with hot oil and caramelize it for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and the mushrooms, then, after 5 minutes, pour the cooking cream in the pan. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes on a low to medium heat. Season to taste.
  3. Boil the pasta following the package instructions.
  4. Cut the dill thoroughly.
  5. For the salad: cut the tomatoes, red bell pepper and cucumber in small pieces and put it a big bowl. Add crème fraîche. Season to taste.

‘We hardly ever clean the floors downstairs, so don’t worry about taking off your shoes’, Aleks says while heading to the kitchen. Tonight, he is cooking us some pasta. He and he alone.

Here, at Amethiststraat 13, the Latvian does live with three other students, but they kinda live together separately, Aleks explains. They do share the kitchen and the two bathrooms, but the house lacks a living room or space where they can fully organize a get-together and get to know each other better, he says.

There is a backyard, where he likes to go and eat. ‘But most of the time, I bring my food in my own room and eat there.’

Nadiia, the roommate Aleks is closest to, just moved in just a few months ago. He and the Italian girl do sometimes eat together or go to the nearby park for a chat and a walk. ‘I see her and her boyfriend more often than my other roommates’, he says with a smile. But on the weekends the other roommates go to their parent’s houses, who leave nearby.

Air Fryers

In the kitchen, Aleks is looking for a pot to cook the pasta in. In the background, the washing machine and the drier are buzzing, saving time for the ever so occupied students. Two smaller machines catch his attention. ‘Let me tell you a funny story about these two air fryers,’ he says with a sense of drama. ‘They belong to… none of my roommates!’ He laughs.

The first air fryer was bought by a former roommate, he explains, but at some point, she could not make it work anymore and thus she bought a new one. Only to find out that the first one did work after all. Yet, when the girl moved out, she left both of them. Aleks doesn’t mind, though, he uses them sometimes. ‘But we could sell one and make some money’, he considers.

Covid-19 times

One of his roommates must have taken the pasta pot, he gathers. This means he has to reconsider the menu and get some vegetables. On the way to the supermarket, he describes his first stay in Groningen: The Village.

This was during the Covid-19 times. ‘There were a lot of people, which was nice, because I managed to make a lot of friends there, but the kitchen was quite dirty most of the time.’ About a year ago he moved to the student house he lives in now, enjoying the privacy and a clean kitchen. And with one Dutch roommate who was ‘very loud,’ he says. ‘But for some reason, he would always bring us together.’ Not any more. He moved out.

Big pasta pot

Back home, Aleks goes on a search for a frying pan and finds: the big pasta pot. ‘I guess now we can make things even better’, he smiles, ‘a salad on the side’. Focused on what he is doing, tasting the sauce yet again, his mother calls.

The conversation is snappy. ‘I told her that I am very busy creating some amazing and delicious pasta’, Aleks laughs. He cooks daily, he says, sometimes even three times a day, if he does not meal prep. Which saves him money.

‘As you can see, it’s more of an independent place’, adds Alex, apologising for the lack of more than one bowl. He takes his plate, full to the brim with food, and climbs the stairs to his room on the first floor. A place with big horizontal windows, a two-person bed, a place to study, some storage, a sink with a mirror, and an enormous grey couch, which was quite a hassle to get there, he says. ‘We had to cut off the pillows.’ 

And then there is a peculiar-looking bottle. ‘A local herbal – and strong – liqueur from my country,’ Aleks explains, ‘Riga Black BALSAM 1752. I always bring it to parties.’ Then his gaze turns back to the rest of his meal, which he engulfes in minutes, leaving his plate as clean as when he got it out of the kitchen cupboard.

Would you like to share your meal with UKrant? Leave us a message via and we’ll hop by.

Photo by Zuzana Ľudviková