Sunday, 30 October 2011

Wizards and Witches at Kasteel de Haar

It's hard to believe that barely a week ago my good friend Naomi was here with her beautiful son, Luke.

We took the kids to Kasteel de Haar where they had a 'wizards and witches' afternoon full of activities for the kids.

Heidi refused to be a witch and instead decided that she is princess Doornrosie, Luke named himself wizard James.

The kids activities were so much fun and included making brooms, green drinks with spiders floating around, amulet making, story telling, and more.

We enjoyed some sun even though it was a chilly autumn afternoon. The kids ran around and managed to get rid of all their excess energy. They were fast asleep in the car the moment the wheels started turning.

Thank you Naomi and Luke - we had a wonderful time!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Comfort of Homemade Banana Bread

I had three very ripe bananas, waiting patiently to be used. So I mustered up the energy to bake a banana bread.

Having a bad cold doesn't really make me fun to be around. And I needed something comforting. A banana bread seemed like a good idea. I used my Mom's recipe and it made me feel closer to home.

Heidi, Stella and I enjoyed a slice of banana loaf with a little bit of margarine spread on top.

Probably not exactly a healthy breakfast, but definitely one that made me feel just a little better.

Friday, 28 October 2011

DWZI Tissues, tissues and more tissues

Deze week zag ik... this week I saw
(inspired by DezeWeekZagIk on the blogs by Daan en Roos)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Asia Restaurant in Apeldoorn

A couple of weeks ago we had a team event which ended at a Vietnamese restaurant in Apeldoorn called Asia.

The restaurant is surprisingly big once you go inside. We were a group of about 50 colleagues and it easily accommodated all of us with about half the restaurant to spare.

There is a big grill area where you can select your meat or fish and it is cooked right there in front of you. It is grilled to perfection. I had the chicken skewers, but some of my colleagues had prawns and steaks and they went for seconds and thirds.

A selection of standard Asian dishes was also available. Curries, noodles, rice, stir fried vegetables, banana fritters, fresh fruit, ice cream and more. The best part was the food from the grill, and the service with a smile.

We enjoyed our team dinner and I can happily recommend this restaurant if you happen to find yourself in Apeldoorn and in the mood for Asian cuisine!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Roasted Vegetables Again

I make oven roasted vegetables ALL the time.
It's just easy and delicious and the perfect side dish to any meal.
Sometimes we even eat it as the main course!

Here is a photo of some vegetables seconds before I placed them in the oven.

Yes, it is something of everything in the vegetable department. Carrots, courgette, onion, garlic, potatoes and corn on the cob. I just tossed them all together with a drizzle of vegetable oil, seasoning and into the oven they went.

Funnily enough I forgot to take a photo once they were cooked :-)
I assure you though that we enjoyed eating them!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Steak and Fries

We do not eat red meat often.
In fact, I think we eat red meat once a month...
But I just felt like having a steak and fries dinner, you know?

I made the fries myself, peeling them one by one and cutting matchstick size potato pieces. Well, not quite matchstick but thin enough to my liking.

We do not own a deep fat fryer And I swore we will never get one. So I heated up some vegetable oil in a pan, about 2 cm deep and fried up my lovely little chips.

The steaks went onto the griddle pan and I made my usual green salad.
It seems to me that a meal is not quite complete without a side salad.
Steak, fries and a salad. A very satisfying combination.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Vitamins, vitamins

I've been pretty bad the last few weeks in terms of what I eat...
So out of desperation I decided to contact a woman who gives food advice and through Chinese healing methods works out a personal plan for you. Her website is

It's really quite interesting and I'm going to give her suggestions a try.

The first thing to do is to start taking vitamins, lots of vitamins!

Wish me luck this week - I'm going to need it!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

One more Tori Amos photo

Here is a gorgeous photo taken by my friend Tip who joined me at the Tori Amos concert.
Classic Tori with her red hair, in front of a piano.

It really was a special evening.

I also want to wish my father a very happy birthday today :-)

Friday, 21 October 2011

DWZI - Tori Amos!

This week I saw Tori Amos at the Amsterdam Carré.

What a beautiful venue and what a great show.
I was lost in her sweet voice and transported to another world.

Happy weekend everybody :-)

Deze week zag ik... this week I saw
(inspired by DezeWeekZagIk on the blogs by Daan en Roos)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A pasta dinner made by my husband

Sometimes I just don't have the energy or the inclination to make dinner.
Then my hero steps in and saves the day.
My husband is actually quite a good cook, lucky me.

Last night he made us a lovely dinner of spaghetti with chicken and mushrooms. He even served a  dessert of vanilla custard with apple pie filling. Delicious!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Quick Macaroni Dish

The macaroni in the Netherlands is really, really, really tiny.
Little elbow shaped pieces of pasta.
I received a free bag of macaroni and I do like free stuff.

A simple tomato based pasta sauce with garlic, onions, mushrooms and basil smothered the cooked pasta. Then I covered it with a yellow layer of grated cheese and placed it in a hot oven to melt the cheese.

Serve it with a green salad and this quick vegetarian meal is complete.

Monday, 17 October 2011


My husband simply loves Melkkos.
It is a truly South African dish, eaten either as a warm and filling breakfast or as a dessert.
This morning my husband decided to make it for us as a special treat.

The main ingredient is milk, about 1 litre which you need to bring to the boil.

In the meantime add 1.5 cups flour, 1.5 tablespoon butter, pinch of salt and two tablespoons of sugar into a big bowl. Now rub the mixture together with your hands until you have breadcrumb like consistency.

Add the flour mixture a little bit at a time to the boiling milk and stir, stir, stir.

Once you've added everything you need to let it simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

The consistency will be similar to that of porridge.

In a little bowl mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon. Add the cinnamon sugar to the Melkkos and mix well.

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, 14 October 2011

DWZI - Bubble Writing

I bought the most wonderful book:
How to be the best bubble writer in the world ever by Linda Scott.

It's fun and it makes me feel young and now I find myself wanting to use bubble writing for everything. Even taking notes during a meeting!

Happy weekend everybody :-)

Deze week zag ik... this week I saw
(inspired by DezeWeekZagIk on the blogs by Daan en Roos)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Leek and Celeriac Soup - the Very Basic Version

The rapid change in weather brought the cold and all of a sudden I found myself craving warm, comforting soup.

Soup that warms you up from the inside and makes you feel satisfied.

Leek and celeriac soup felt like just the right combination for this cold and rainy day. I decided to make a very basic version, since my ingredients were limited. It has pretty much only four ingredients: vegetable oil, leeks, celeriac and vegetable stock. That is it.

Take three large leeks, wash and trimmed, and then slice them into pretty rings. Peel and dice the celeriac. Add a dash of vegetable oil to a casserole dish (or whatever you happen to be using to make your soup in) and heat up the oil for a minute. Then place the leeks and celeriac in the dish and saute for a couple of minutes. Now add a litre or so of vegetable stock to the vegetables and season as per your personal taste.

Let is simmer for 30 - 45 minutes, stir occasionally and add water if necessary.

Once all the vegetables are nice and soft, take a hand blender and blend until you have a smooth consistency. Serve with fresh bread and enjoy.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Baking an Ikea Bread

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I really like Ikea.

Not only for their furniture, but for all the accessories and food stuff too.

This week I baked a bread, a lingonberry bread, and it came out really well.
Plus it is gluten free!

I served it with leek and celeriac soup and the whole family was happy as can be.

The recipe goes something like this:
Mix the flour with the yeast. Add warm water and mix well. Knead the dough for 10 minutes and let it rest for 30 minutes to rise. Knead some more, divide in two and rest for another 30 minutes. Bake in a 200 degrees Celsius oven for 40 minutes.

Yes, it really was that simple!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Couscous Salad

If you want something really quick and healthy for dinner then I can suggest making a couscous salad. All the vegetables in this salad is raw and the beauty of couscous is that it is ready in 5 minutes.

This salad is served cold and is perfect for a summer evening, or pretty much any time of the year!


Couscous - 250 gram or less, depending on how many mouths you have to feed. (I made enough for two adults and lunch the next day)
A hand full of green beans - cut diagonally into small pieces
2 or 3 tomatoes
Half a cucumber
Half a red onion
One small carrot - finely diced
A handful of green olives - sliced
A hand full of cashew nuts
Toasted pine nuts
A handful of raisins
Sea salt and black pepper

Use any dressing you like or prepare a simple vinaigrette by mixing white wine vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard and some extra virgin olive oil - I usually just adjust the quantities to my liking.


Prepare the couscous as per the packaging.
Once it is ready, let it rest and cool down. You can also add the raisins at this point (or leave them out if you don't like them).

Dice and slice all the raw vegetables and then combine together.
Season and add the dressing to the salad. Mix well.

Combine the vegetables and couscous.
Add an additional dash of extra virgin olive oil or more dressing if your salad is a bit dry.

Monday, 10 October 2011

A Bit of a Detox Weekly Menu

Oh the good life.
The too good life.
Time for a detox.
No meat or processed food for one week.
One can but try...

Friday, 7 October 2011

DWZI - Kasteel de Haar

This week I saw some real extremes.

We enjoyed a lazy sunny picnic at Kasteel de Haar.
Then before you know it the weather changed and I spent most of my time stuck in traffic, alternating between first and second gear.

I felt like ranting and raving about the craziness and the frustration of sitting in your car, not moving, and not being able to do a thing about it. Then I decided it is better to focus on the beautiful picnic that we had. Good friends, good food and sunshine.

Kasteel de Haar has some kind of magic about it.

Happy weekend!

Deze week zag ik... this week I saw
(inspired by DezeWeekZagIk on the blogs by Daan en Roos)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Wok de Mallejan in Maarssen

Sometimes you go to restaurants simply because you know exactly what to expect.

Wok de Mallejan is one of those places.

We don't go there often, well that is an understatement. Once a year at most.
It is a very big restaurant where they make all kinds of oriental food served buffet style including sushi but their main attraction is their wok bar. You pick the ingredients and they cook it in the wok for you.

Here is what I like about it:
- if you are hungry you can literally have a plate of food in front of you within minutes of entering the restaurant;
- it is child friendly. They have baby chairs, changing facilities and an unsupervised kids entertainment area.
- it has a lot of choice. Sometimes it is nice to be able to have a little bit of everything.
- you can eat as much as you like (probably not a good thing in my case).

This is not the type of restaurant where you go for fine dining. It is loud, busy and the food is o.k. You go here because the price is good, the service is quick and you feel like being a bit of a glutton. Once a year is just about the right number of times to go.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Quiche Lorraine

This was a week of many firsts... I finally decided to make a quiche.
Perfect picnic food, right?

I found a James Martin recipe for quiche Lorraine on the BBC Food website. It had a rustic look about it which tempted me into making it.

Well, it did turn out to be delicious but I had a bit of a pastry disaster.

Lesson learnt: Use ready made pastry - it will just make your life much easier!

Here is a link to the recipe.

The most important thing to note is that you simply must make sure that the pastry does not have any holes or cracks or else it will leak when you pour in your egg mixture.

Here is a copy of the recipe:

For the pastry
For the filling

Preparation method

  • To make the pastry, sift the flour together with a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until you have a soft breadcrumb texture. Add enough cold water to make the crumb mixture come together to form a firm dough, and then rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll out the pastry on a light floured surface and line a 22cm/8½inch well-buttered flan dish. Don't cut off the edges of the pastry yet. Chill again.
  • Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
  • Remove the pastry case from the fridge and line the base of the pastry with baking parchment and then fill it with baking beans. Place on a baking tray and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for another five minutes to cook the base
  • Reduce the temperature of the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.
  • Sprinkle the cheese into the pastry base and add the sliced tomatoes if you are using them. Fry the bacon pieces until crisp and sprinkle over them over the top.
  • Combine the eggs with the milk and cream in a bowl and season well. Pour over the bacon and cheese. Sprinkle the thyme over the top and trim the edges of the pastry.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and set further.
  • Trim the pastry edges to get a perfect edge and then serve in wedges.
  • Tuesday, 4 October 2011


    Uppercase Magazine.

    If you don't know it well then I think it is time for you to find one and read it!

    It is a Canadian magazine and I stumbled across it in my Illustration class when my teacher, Kim Welling brought it along for us to look at. It is a magazine for the creative and curious (me! me!)

    Filled with interesting ideas, personal stories, beautiful fonts and lovely illustrations. It just makes me happy.

    Monday, 3 October 2011

    Salted Caramel Millionare's Shortbread

    You might think I am a little silly, but the main reason I made this dessert was because I had a can of condensed milk in the cupboard. I typed 'condensed milk' into the BBC Food web page and did a search.

    Salted Caramel Millionaire's Shortbread came up.

    It seemed like the perfect dessert for a picnic.

    Two things to note...
    1. I have never made shortbread.
    2. I have never made caramel.

    Did that stop me? No, no, no.

    Here is a link to the recipe.

    I followed it to the letter. However, there were some problems.
    The caramel wasn't quite as simple to make as I had hoped... in fact, it was a bit of a disaster!

    It split. I mean the condensed milk mixture totally separated from the butter.
    I thought I was going to have to just throw it all away, but miraculously I managed to save it. I got rid of the butter, and transferred the remaining caramel to a cold ceramic bowl. Then I stirred it until it became a lovely smooth caramel which was just right in the end.

    The shortbread turned out beautifully. All in all it was a bit of a learning curve for me but the dessert was excellent.

    It is not called Millionaire's shortbread for nothing - it is very rich so you only need a little bit at a time.

    Saturday, 1 October 2011

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