Jan van Eyck’s contemporaries rejoiced when spring was in the air. After Easter, the consumption of meat, cheese, butter and eggs was again allowed. The inhabitants of Ghent owed their lavish meals to the lush pastures where cattle and sheep grazed. April heralded the end of a period of hardship.

Did you know? The Leiebrug bridge connecting Zuivelbrugstraat to Meerseniersstraat was called Suvelbrug (Dairy Bridge) after 1476 because it led to Vrijdagmarkt, where dairy products were sold.

The medieval basis of our dairy products

Late medieval recipes often mention cheese, milk, butter and eggs. Cookery books from that period already describe quiches with cheese and green herbs, biscuits made from milk or cheese and poached eggs served in all colours of the rainbow. One recipe from a late-15thcentury German cookery book even mentions cooking eggs on the spit. First the eggs were blown out, coloured and mixed with bacon and parsley. Then the egg shells were filled with the mixture and the egg was cooked on the spit. Quiche is still a popular dish today and cheese crackers continue to be eaten as a snack.

Get started

Brittle aperitif biscuits with cheese

Ingredients for 75 pieces:

  • 240 g flour
  • 250 g soft butter
  • 40 g potato starch
  • 60 g powdered sugar
  • 160 g hard cheese
  • 10 g boiled egg yolk
  • 3 g salt
  • Utensils: Round biscuit cutter


  1. Knead all ingredients by hand until you get a smooth dough.
  2. Roll out the dough to 0.5 cm thickness.
  3. Leave to set in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
  4. Cut out the biscuit dough with a round biscuit cutter.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 160°C for 10 to 14 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool down on a grid.


Ingredients for basic recipe for one person

  • sufficient shortcrust pastry or puff pastry to cover the baking tin
  • 1 dl milk p.p.
  • 1 dl cream p.p.
  • 2 eggs p.p.
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 30 g ripened cheese or sharp sheep’s cheese p.p.
  • 10 g green herbs: chervil, dill, celery


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Cover a greased baking tin with the dough, trim the edges and prick the bottom with a fork
  3. Grate the cheese and spread the mixture over the bottom.
  4. Whip the cream with the milk and eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the filling with the egg mixture.
  5. Bake the quiche in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Garnish with a generous amount of green herbs and serve.
  7. Serve with a watercress, common marigold and caper salad.