My love for speculaas biscuits began at a young age when growing up in Amsterdam. In those days kids were given home baked speculaas biscuits 'sandwiched' in butter creamed sandwiches to eat at school, at break-time.
Many years later, having moved to London, the inspiration to set up The Speculaas Spice Company came with the realisation that I really missed the smell of speculaas and eating fresh speculaas biscuits regularly.
While taking regular trips to The Netherlands, each time returning with more and more speculaas biscuits as gifts for friends and family, I wondered if I could make speculaas biscuits, based on my grandmother's speculaas spice mix recipe, and in some way improve on it.
After several months and numerous tasting sessions, I finally succeeded in creating deliciously evocative tasting biscuits infused with our speculaas spice mix in such a way, so that the spices are released at different intervals as you eat them.
Of course you can buy various spice flavoured biscuits in some supermarkets and bakeries, but nothing comes closer to reminding me of the seductive speculaas biscuit smells, and the taste and flavours of the home-baked speculaas biscuits cakes and bakes from my childhood in Amsterdam.
Recent developments: diagnosed with Vasculitis
In March 2016, I was diagnosed with Vasculitis - a relatively rare desease
literally meaning 'inflamation of the blood vessels and arteries'. I for one
had never heard of this disease, nor its potential to kill if not diagnosed
and treated 'in time'.
Specifically, I was diagnosed with Cutaneous PolyArteritis Nodosa (CPAN):
which is apparently an even rarer form of Vasculitis. it involves the small
and medium sized arteries, in my case, in the skin of my legs.
After diagnosis, patients are treated with high doses of corticosteroids.
Other immunosuppressive drugs are often also added. As is in my case,
in order for the steroids to have a greater effect to treat the disease.
In August I had my sixth and final Chemo session and the various side
effects have now mostly subsided. I feel also much better. I have now
arrived in the 'control & maintenance' phase. Back being my happy
Being prepared to get my first Chemo immuno
I have been lucky, because I was diagnosed early enough for the suppessant session, early in March, 2016 treatment to start in time. However, unfortunately there is still no cure.
In order to increase awareness of Vasculitis I have decided to support Vasculitis UK, a Registered UK Charity since 1992.
I hope you will join me in supporting this charity. Many thanks! Steven
Tastes of Christmas Past: Two men keep family memories alive with recreations of their grandmas’ recipes by Gillian Harvey
Woman’s Weekly - Christmas edition 2016
As I bite into the small biscuit the zest of spices sparks my
senses and something deep within me stirs: the ghost of
a memory, the taste of something just out of reach, and a
feeling of warmth and love. “Thank you, Grandma”
I whisper softly.
Many families have precious recipes handed down through
generations, but the spice mix I infuse these tasty biscuits
with has a little more of a story – it was unearthed in some
old papers by my father two years ago, and comes from
a grandmother I never met.
My father often talks of my Dutch grandmother - Esther -
painting a vivid picture of a loving woman, whose baking
and cooking skills enabled her to satisfy a family of 10, even
during The Great Depression in the early 1930’s.
Meet The Members: Steven Dotsch by Sal Godfrey
Great Little Baking Company 19 May 2016
If you’ve ever been to one of the fabulous Christmas markets you can find in The Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia, then you’ve probably tried speculaas biscuits – deep golden-brown, crisp and perfumed with a heady mix of spices, including cinnamon.
For Steven Dotsch, it’s a taste of home and family, so when he uncovered his Dutch grandmother’s own recipe for the spice mix, he knew he had to have a go at preserving and recreating it.
The Speculaas Spice Company is now selling their own unique mix via the Great Little Baking Company, as well as the beautiful wooden moulds that are traditionally used to make speculaas biscuits.
Great British Bake-Off: You are never too young or too old by Eleanor Doughty
The Telegraph 15 August 2015
57 year old Steven Dotsch is another of the new age of cooking
enthusiasts. After 25 years working in international finance, both
in the City and abroad, he stepped away from the corporate
world, and entered the edible one.
Dotsch’s grandmother was Dutch and had her own special
sweet-tasting spice mix. When Steven’s father discovered this
two years ago, he was inspired to take up a new career.
First, Steven launched a recipe website dedicated to those based on
the vandotsch speculaas spice mix, which contains nine different
spices . . .
On the Speculaas Spice trail by Jenny Linford - 5 May 2014
It is often said that, when it comes to food, you can find anything
in London. This, of course, simply isn’t true. While some cuisines
are very well-represented here, both by restaurants and food shops,
others are far more elusive.
Despite our long trading history with The Netherlands, for example,
there is very little Dutch food to be found in London. So, when I
came across Steven Dotsch and his brand-new London-based
speculaas spice business, I was intrigued to learn more and went
to visit him in Highgate . . .
Who’s For Dinner with Steven Dotsch, The Speculaas Spice Master Chef?
15 July 2015
Steven Dotsch is the Founder of Speculaas Spice Company which is based in Highgate, North London. The spice mix is based on his Dutch grandmother’s sweet tasting spice mix. He also introduced speculaas biscuit dedicated wooden moulds that help home bakers around the world make authentic looking Dutch biscuits. He recently launched a dedicated website for vandotsch speculaas spice recipes, including contributions from food bloggers, bakers, chefs and two Great British Bake Off finalists.
Follow the progress we are making, please follow us @vandotschspices at Twitter.