Lustrum Snacks with a Story

Honorary doctorate Ien Ang during Dies Natalis 2022
Wednesday 8 Nov 2023, 16:30 - 18:00
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Erasmus Food Lab: Irene van der Reijken, athlete, cooking

During the Dies Natalis drinks reception, three special EUR snacks will be presented. Each snack has its own EUR story. The vegan snacks are designed in the Erasmus Food Lab and later made by our caterer Vitam.

Snacks designs

The three new EUR snacks will be developed in the coming months. Pinar Coskun, founder of the Erasmus Food Lab, will work on the recipes and Karin Schreuder, life balance coach at HR, will write the stories around the snacks. The stories will be a nice combination of EUR history, the festivities and the snacks.

During the Dies Natalis, these will be handed out with a card attached. On it will be the snack story and a link to the recipe.

About the creators of the EUR-snacks

Gabi Helfert has been working at RSM since 2008 and although she does not consider herself entrepreneurial, some other characteristics of this mindset really suit her: creativity, innovation, and a strong desire to continuously improve. The risk-taking side of entrepreneurial behavior is not her cup of tea, but she has a strong will to make good ideas come true by giving all her energy and inspiration to the people in the front lines.

A keen example is the Erasmus Foodlab. When she first saw Pinar educating and cooking with kids, she had the vision of such a place at EUR. It took years and lots of energy to make this happen but eventually it did!

Gabi Helfert, originally from Germany, started working at RSM in 2008. She has held various positions and has been the executive director of 15 master's programs for the past 7 years. She loves cooking, especially on weekends. 'Recipes are often too rigid for me; I use them as inspiration and then add my own twist. But sometimes, you need to be very precise. For example, if you want to make cheese from cashews, don't improvise! It's the same in work: sometimes the rules are the most important, and you can't deviate from them. But in other cases, you can make more progress if you apply them flexibly. Knowing the difference between the two is a great art and a continuous challenge.”

I have been vegan since 2011, so the hard-boiled egg for lunch that I had when I started at EUR is no longer on the menu. The main motivator was animal welfare; when I read Jonathan Safran Foer's book 'Eating Animals,' I couldn't support the use of animals anymore. But it's also much better for the environment. Green is my favorite color when it comes to food. Have you ever looked closely at Brussels sprouts or broccoli when you briefly cook them? The color becomes so vibrant! I also eat spinach and peas almost daily, in salads or with noodles or rice.

EUR has changed in many ways over the past 15 years. Of course, international students and staff (at RSM, 40% and 60%, respectively) have brought a tremendously colorful and diverse atmosphere to the campus. There have also been significant changes in sustainability: you can only print if you're physically at the printer to retrieve your prints, and waste separation is practiced across the entire campus, making everyone more conscious of what we throw away and where. The Foodlab and the Sustainability Hub are also wonderful examples, and sustainability is increasingly being integrated into educational programs.

Another change is the focus on the well-being of students and staff; it's no longer just about performance, and that's a good thing. We are all human and need human attention, reflection, and moments of rest.

Diversity, inclusion, and accessibility are also slowly making their way onto the agenda. It will still take some time before all the necessary accommodations for people with different bodies, neurodiverse brains, or other socio-cultural backgrounds are truly in place, but at least there is attention being paid to it.

Working at EUR can also be a bit crunchy at times; not everything goes smoothly. Sometimes, you really have to chew on matters and show perseverance. And as someone from a diverse background, I find EUR to be traditional in some respects, if not downright old-fashioned: the cheese sandwich in the cafeteria, the fraternity culture with alcohol during initiation activities – not really in line with student cultures worldwide. But EUR can also be surprising: suddenly, there was a rainbow crosswalk!"


The amounts are for 30-50 people enjoying a party.

  • 300 g kale

  • 300 g parsnip

  • 300 g tofu, leaked well

  • 300 g chickpea flour 

  • 5 tbsp shoarma spices

  • 2 brunch fresh herbs

  • 2 tbsp ground fenugreek

  • oil to fry

  • 50 g cashew (soaked overnight)

  • 1 tbsp nutritious yeast

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • Salt and pepper

How to make

Make first the crème: Mix all ingredients in a processor. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the kale (without the nerve) and parsnip roughly. Put in a food processor, together with crumbled tofu. Grind until paste. Transfer into a mixing bowl. Add chickpea flour, chopped fresh herbs, shoarma spices, fenugreek, salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands.  Make small patties, like flat falafel rounds. Fry in hot oil both sides golden brown.

Serve with cashew dip.

Umer Moten chose to study at EUR purely because of the program. In his own country – Pakistan – he had seen issues like discrimination of minorities and badly equipped public health and hygiene facilities and that motivated him to study Management of International Social Challenges. During the first two years of his studies, he joined the curriculum committee because he had some observations on the actuality of the program. And now – finalizing his BA – he’s reflecting on his next steps. But some insights are already clear to him: ‘There is only so much you can achieve with theory and I want to be part of the change.’

Umer Moten began his study in Management of International Social Challenges at Erasmus University in 2021. He moved from Pakistan at the age of 19 into a room at Campus Wousetein. It was in the midst of Covid: “I remember there being restrictions, and signs hanging on the doors of buildings on Campus. It looked very unwelcoming. Fortunately, there was a network of support in my apartment building, and we internationals would often meet and cook together.

I love cooking. Soup has always been my favorite dish - it is so warm, versatile and comforting. But nowadays, I have started to experiment with tomatoes; you can prepare the most wonderful dishes with tomatoes as it pairs well with so many flavors. Red is also my favorite color for food. And yellow food, like potatoes, is not my cup of tea.

It took some time before I found my place at EUR. It’s always challenging to enter a new system, but it's even harder to integrate when there are structural blockages in place like different levels of ECTS for European students versus non-European students. To get used to a new country and their educational system is extremely difficult. That combined with a lack of leniency, higher expectations and requirements make that process even more daunting. I am very lucky and grateful to study here, but for an institute like EUR that projects itself as highly inclusive and progressive, it falters in that compartment. Moreover, I was a bit disappointed to witness the facade of sustainability and efficiency since I found most processes rather bureaucratic and therefore often tedious. In my perspective, EUR is a bit behind its time.

Also, after a year I had to leave my room at the campus and find myself a place in the city. It felt like entering a jungle as I had no idea about the rules and active discrimination within the Dutch housing market. Of course, I succeeded eventually like most internationals, but a little guidance and support from EUR would have helped to cushion the blow. Also, with the structural discrimination within the Dutch system, it is very hard for international students to integrate within basic domains of life such as work. Despite a labor shortage, internationals can hardly find a job due to the red-tape and hurdles in place. All in all, life at EUR is a challenging field, sometimes passive and comfortable, but mostly crunchy and tumultuous, which is nice in its own way as it pushes you out of your comfort zone.

However, I made an excellent decision to join the Sustainability Hub almost 2 years ago now, where I have become a Board member since this year. The Foodlab has had a remarkable impact on my perception towards nutrition and the intrinsic impact of our lifestyle. It is a great place to come together, meet like-minded people and enjoy delicious food. We all eat every day, that’s why the impact of our food choices is so drastic, and often detrimental. I really want to contribute to this awareness. Eventually, through the ups and downs, I have found my community here at EUR, and all the dominoes have started to fall in place.”


The amounts are for 30-50 people enjoying a party.

  • 900 g risotto rice

  • 450 g onions

  • 450 g tomatoes

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • Vegetable stock

  • 1 big jar roasted red peppers

  • 50 g walnuts

  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs

  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • 1 tsp rice syrup

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

How to make

Cross the tomatoes with a knife at the bottom side. Soak them in hot water. Peel and cut in very small pieces. Keep in a bowl.

Cut the onions in small pieces. Fry them in hot oil.

Add the rice and start making risotto by adding little by little stock. Add also the tomatoes. Cook until all liquid is vanished. Let all cool down. Make balls as big as golf balls. Roll the balls in a plate with breadcrumbs until they get a nice crust.

Deep fry in oil.

Make then the muhammara: Put the roasted peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs, cumin powder, rice syrup and lemon juice in a blender, and mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the risotto balls with muhammara dip.

Borg van Nijnatten started his study on the History of Societies in 1981. This was a new history program where chronology was largely discarded to make room for a societal and aspect-based approach towards the past. Combined with integrative social science disciplines (political science, sociology, psychology, etc), it was genuinely a broad and formative education which appealed to Borg as a born and raised Rotterdammer.

As an essential characteristic of EUR, he values its strong liaisons with the city and harbor of Rotterdam. As EUR has grown a lot since the eighties, so has specialization. Thus, the main challenge is to keep coherence and collaboration with the surrounding society.

"In the seventies and eighties, university education was highly broadening; there was student involvement in research programs, and it was possible to pursue a free doctoral degree. There was one central building on campus, and everything came to a halt for six weeks during the summer. EUR was like a village, and the establishment of new programs and faculties was in full swing. In the sixties, Philosophy, Law, and Social Sciences were added to the Economic College, where it all began. And in the eighties, Arts and Cultural Sciences, Public Administration, and later Psychology and Pedagogy were added. All following the Rotterdam model, which means: with its own applied character.

And now? The village has turned into a city. Our original university building has become a (partially vacant) monument, and an enormous and beautiful campus has been built where activity continues even during the summer holidays. Student numbers have more than doubled, as has the number of staff. Digitalization has made its entrance, transforming the entire operation to a different level. The number of regulations has increased, and the workload has grown accordingly. The attitude of the students has also changed: they behave more like clients and are more focused on utility. If a client is not satisfied, they seek their way to the complaints committee or the examination board; we notice that too

The most exciting development at EUR, in my opinion, is the expansion of the disciplinary palette. This has largely arisen from the need of Economic Sciences to enrich its own perspective, resulting in the creation of new faculties and programs. Now, the challenge is to collaborate across different disciplines because that is necessary to maintain our societal character as a university.

To me, EUR is like a big Indonesian rice table with various dishes. They are all placed together on a large table and offer beautiful colors and flavors, but the cohesion among them is limited. There is a real opportunity for EUR to bring more harmony and connection to the overall palette."


The amounts are for 30-50 people enjoying a party.

  • 2 big onions

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 red paprika

  • 1 red pepper

  • 100 g peanuts

  • 200 g yellow lentils, soaked

  • 40 g currants

  • 125 g chickpea flour

  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs

  • 1 tbsp cumin powder

  • 1 tbsp garam masala

  • 2 tbsp ginger juice

How to make

Grind first the peanuts, then soaked lentils in the food processor. Add the rest and mix further. Make balls and deep fry all.

Serve with chili sauce.

    More information

    Find out all about the Erasmus Food Lab.


    See what the Dies Natalis will look like.

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