Friday, 10 October 2014

Time for Change

So here's the thing. 
The reason why I've been a little quiet.
I'm working on a new website for myself.
The illustrator / photographer self that is.
The one that wants to make a living of her art.

The website is a work in progress because it turns out there is a LOT to learn once you delve into the world of html, css and wordpress. My oh my. 

You can see my progress here:
Don't be surprised if it changes daily.
I have big plans.
But not enough time.
I'm taking a little break from blogging here to give myself more time.

It would make me so happy to have your support and patience as I commence this new adventure.

I'll leave you with a few photos of the kids enjoying autumn in the Netherlands.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Apple Pie - the Italian Version

Last week one of my neighbours invited the kids and I around for some apple pie. While my girls played with her daughter we enjoyed our cappuccino's with this delicious apple pie. I knew right away that I had to bake this and do it soon.

Lucky me, the opportunity presented itself yesterday when Heidi received her B diploma for swimming. Of course I already bought the apples last week at the weekly market in town... just in case you see.

We enjoyed a late afternoon celebratory slice of pie (although it is a bit like cake) and everyone was very happy indeed.

My neighbour found the recipe on (in Dutch), here is a copy of it in English:

150 gram butter
150 gram sugar
4 eggs
500 gram apples
150 gram self raising flour
the zest and juice of 1 lemon
dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Peel and core the apples, then cut into thin slices and cover with the lemon juice.
Melt the butter and let it cool slightly.
Place the sugar, salt, lemon zest and 4 eggs in a bowl and beat well, until mixed and frothy (for lack of a better word!).
Mix the butter into the apples and then add the flour and mix together.
Now add the sugar mixture to the apple mixture and mix well.

Grease and line a spring tin of about 28 ø cm and pour the batter into it.

Bake the apple pie for about 40 -50 minutes until cooked.
Switch off the oven and let it rest for another 5 minutes inside the oven.

Remove from the oven and cover with a sprinkling of icing sugar (which I chose not to do!).

Friday, 26 September 2014

Martha Stewart's Red Velvet Cupcakes

I was on a roll with baking a few weeks ago so who could blame me for baking cupcakes. Red velvet cupcakes... not once but twice I made them and both times I was very happy with the result.

Being a Martha Stewart recipe you would expect it to be easy to do and indeed it was. I was quite happy using the gel paste food colouring because you need to use a lot less than you might think to achieve that deep rich red colour. Delicious!

Here is  a link to the recipe and here is a copy:


2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color (I used 1.5 teaspoons of gel)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Cream Cheese Frosting (I used the frosting from the red velvet cake I baked based on the delicious magazine recipe)


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Kröller-Müller Museum

In the summer we went to the Kröller-Müller museum. The last time we went Heidi was still a baby and it seems like a life time ago. Luckily the museum did not disappoint. It really is lovely. We spent most of our time in the sculpture garden with the kids. We even had one of Heidi's friends along for the day.

They have white bicycles which you can use to cycle through the park but with three kids in tow we just didn't have the energy to add cycling to our activities that day. It is a beautiful national park so we took a little drive to show the kids a bit of nature after we had our fill of art (as if that is possible!).

Even though we have museum cards we still had to pay entrance to the park so it isn't a cheap day out... but definitely worth a visit every few years!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Selfie and such

My husband bought me a remote for my camera as a birthday gift. I love it. I've been playing with it this past week and took a few photos of myself.

I do love black and white.

I need some distraction from the problems we have. A lot of unexpected bills which we cannot pay, one in particular that arrived yesterday which totally blindsided us due to an error by the contractor who built the house.  All the plans we had for the garden will have to be cancelled and the holiday I was secretly hoping for in October will also not be happening. I tried baking something yesterday to make me feel better and for the first time in my life I managed to ruin a banana bread. Needless to say I did not take a photo.

But hey, nothing stays the same so this too shall pass. Maybe we win the lotto or maybe I find a job. At least we have some good weather right now!

Monday, 15 September 2014


One of the great things about our new neighbourhood is the activities hosted by the neighbourhood association. We've had several parties for the Word Cup Soccer, we've had a neighbourhood barbecue and on Saturday we had BINGO! They even had an afternoon session for the kids with lots of prizes.

Stella didn't find it all that interesting but the older kids loved playing and most of all they loved winning something from the prize table... Stella almost cried out Bingo a few times just so that she could win a prize but it wasn't her lucky day. Next time!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

You guessed it. I had spinach and I had mushrooms. So yes, a quiche was inevitable, right?

I searched the internet for recipes but didn't find anything I wanted to use so I just made it up as I went along. The result was delicious and the quiche was enough to serve two dinners (with a side salad) and one lunch which made me feel thrifty too!

Here's what happened. I made a pastry which is basically flour, butter and sesame seeds. While it was chilling in the fridge I sauteed a big bag of fresh spinach leaves with a bit of crushed garlic and olive oil. Once wilted I let it rest in a colander so that the excess fluid could drain away. The next step was cooking the mushrooms and letting it rest. Then I whisked three eggs and added 300 ml double cream which I just happend to have in the fridge (yay!). After I rolled out the pastry and draped it into my pie dish I pricked the pastry with a fork.  I decided to blind bake the pastry for about 15 minutes just to give it a head start.  Layer the spinach and the mushrooms on the pastry. Make sure you squeeze as much juice as possible out of the spinach before adding it to the quiche.

A sprinkling of grated cheese goes a long way. Lastly pour over the double cream and egg mixture (remember to season it with salt and pepper!). Place it in the oven for about 45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

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