Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Eetcafe de Eend in Loosdrecht

One of our favourite places to go on a weekend for a lazy lunch is Loosdrecht.
It is especially nice in the spring and summer when the sun is out and you can sit outside on a terrace right by the water. But we inevitably find ourselves heading towards Loosdrecht whenever we can't decide where to go. It just never disappoints.

We had a lovely lunch at Eetcafe de Eend.
I had a goats cheese salad, the husband enjoyed a burger, the kids ate nuggets.
They had a baby chair for Stella and a colouring kit for Heidi so everyone was happy.
The service was good, we had a view of the water.
Definitely my kind of restaurant.

Sunday, 29 January 2012


As usual, playing with my hipstamatic app...

Friday, 27 January 2012

DWZI - Temptation

This week I was tempted twice.

Cris, my master baker colleague, brought two cheesecakes to the office. One to celebrate her mother's birthday, and one to celebrate that she passed her drivers theory test.

The cheesecakes were beautiful. 
Imagine it, an oreo cookie cheesecake.

I had to use every ounce of my willpower to resist the temptation.
And resist I did.

Of course the temptation did not end there.

My illustration teacher had a birthday this week and she baked a cake for the class too.
She promised to put the recipe on her blog... and she did :-)
When I reach my goal weight this is the first cake I will be baking!
It had nuts, courgette, and other really healthy stuff as ingredients.
Even though I did not taste it, and I didn't even get a photo, it looked really good.
Take my word for it.

Happy weekend everyone!

You can find more 'Deze Week Zag Ik' participants here.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Kids Food #1 - Scrambled Eggs with Ham

Eggs are versatile.
Eggs cook very quickly.
I like eggs and luckily for me, so do the girls.

Scrambled eggs with ham is a quick and easy dinner, or breakfast, for kids (or adults!).

Mix 3 or 4 eggs, add some diced slices of ham and scramble it all together for a couple of minutes.

Serve with wholewheat bread and a couple of cherry tomatoes.


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Kids Food

Since we are on a strict diet for the time being, I decided to focus more on the kids' dinner.
I found a cool cookbook from the local supermarket, Albert Heijn, called Opperdepop. I actually bought it years ago and it has been waiting patiently for me to finally use it.
It is filled with good ideas and I'll definitely be trying a few.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Surprise Party at the Mary K Hotel

A good friend of mine gave her husband a surprise party at the Mary K Hotel in Utrecht. It is a really lovely hotel, filled with quirky design details.

The party was in the basement which leads out to the Oudegracht. It's the perfect venue for a small gathering of friends, or even a business meeting.

The catering was done by Anne Marije Eko Kitchen. Delicious sandwiches, a big salad, cheesecake... it was yummy!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A Pretty New Jacket

Heidi has a new jacket.
It was about time that we got her one, and the V&D sale happily obliged at a really good price.

I think she looks absolutely adorable!

Friday, 20 January 2012

DWZI - Uppercase!

Yay! Jippeee! Whoohooo!

The latest version of Uppercase magazine arrived on my doorstep this week.
It's my special treat.

Now I just have to make some time to read it.

Happy weekend everyone!

You can find more 'Deze Week Zag Ik' participants here.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Beef Mince Curry and Rice - South African Style

Mince curry and rice is a dish that I grew up on.

Now, this is not a curry in the Asian style. No, this is true South African 'cuisine'.

I must admit that I do not remember all the ingredients of this dish, so as usual I kind of winged it a little.

In a nutshell I sauteed an onion and crushed garlic in vegetable oil and added a tablespoon of curry powder. Then throw in the beef mince (500gram) and saute until it becomes nice and brown. Add some chopped tomatoes, chopped potatoes and then a can of carrots and peas.The next step is to add a cup of hot water and stir it all together until it forms a bit of a sauce. Season to your liking. Let it simmer gently for 10 to 20 minutes.

Make the rice while the curry simmers away. My preference is always for basmati rice, and that takes about 18 minutes to make. Add some turmeric or curry powder to the water in which you cook the rice if you want to give it a bit of colour.

Serve the curry with chutney, sliced bananas and a side salad.

And there you have it, my quick and improvised South African curry and rice.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Namaskar Indian Restaurant

On a whim I bought a voucher from Groupon for a dinner for two at Namaskar. We have ordered take out from them quite a few times, but we rarely go there for a sit down dinner. Groupon has some really good deals and I couldn't resist.

The voucher was about to expire and we decided to finally make use of it, kids and all.

We arrived at the restaurant and was greeted by a less than enthusiastic waiter. In fact it looked like they really did not want us there. But still, they were obliged to serve us. I cannot fault the food, it was good. Although the waiter wasn't actually able to tell us what we will be getting. They served chicken tikka, some lamb dish, a lentil dish, a vegetarian dish, yellow rice, a garlic naan bread and a side salad. It was a lot of food and the kids were able to eat along with us.

It is just such a pity that the waiter couldn't even crack one smile. All the staff were sullen and completely preoccupied with their take out section.

Will I go here again for a sit down meal? Probably not.
Will I order take out from Namaskar? Definitely.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Microwave Cake?

Heidi had her fourth birthday and my neighbour from around the corner called to ask if she and her kids could drop by later. I suddenly realized that I had nothing in the house to offer them... we had a big party for Heidi when we were on holiday thus I didn't really plan on make a fuss about it on the day.

I also had next to nothing in the house in terms of baking ingredients.

Then I remembered my mom's microwave oven cake. She used it many a time when in need of a last minute cake.

In a mad rush I went ahead and made the cake. It took all of 9 minutes in the microwave oven, then 5 more minutes to rest.

When it had cooled down I eagerly cut into the cake to see whether it would be fit for consumption. It was a bit dry... but I decided that I would cut it up into bite sized pieces and ice each one individually. Good plan right :-)

It did the trick and the kids happily gobbled up their little pieces of cake.

Of course later that evening, when I finally sat down to relax, it dawned on me that I had forgotten to add a crucial ingredient to the cake. The ingredient that would have made it moist. Silly me.

So, if you decided to give this recipe a go then make sure you add ALL the ingredients!!


65 ml vegetable oil
20 gram butter
250 ml (200 gram) castor sugar
300 ml (160 gram) self raising flour
5 ml baking powder
125 ml (50 gram) cacao powder
3 jumbo eggs
5 ml vanilla essence
185 ml warm water

Either use a standard butter cream icing or a chocolate and cream glaze

Grease a 10 x 20 cm microwave dish
Line with a paper towel or similar
Mix all the ingredients until smooth
Bake in the microwave oven on high for 9 minutes
Remove and let it rest for 5 minutes
Turn out of the dish and remove the paper towel

If using a glaze, then melt together 250 ml cream and 250 gram chocolate pieces until smooth. Pour over the cake while the cake is still warm.

If using buttercream icing, then wait for the cake to cool completely before icing it.

Good luck!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

My Cute Little Munchkin

Stella has a new car seat, and she really is such a cute little munchkin!

Friday, 13 January 2012

DWZI - Big Mama

This week I saw the start of a diet... yes, Big Mama (me) wants to be not so big mama.

Will I succeed this time?

I'm sure giving it a go...

You can find more 'Deze Week Zag Ik' participants here.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Night Spa

Who ever heard of going to a night spa?
Certainly not me.

Well not until I started looking at options during our holiday and found out that in South Africa there are lots of places offering night spa treatments.

The two Spa's I looked at was Mangwanani and Bayete Estate.
We ended up booking a night spa at Bayete and it was lovely.
The price was very reasonable and included 3 treatments and a 3 course dinner.

The estate is located quite remotely just off a little road somewhere near Centurion. I must admit we were a little nervous driving around there at night but in the end it all worked out fine. Once you park your car you become aware of the beautiful lush green gardens. It is very well maintained and also serves as a wedding venue. It has a bit of an old worldly feeling. Quiet and rustic. The reception area is right next to an outdoor bar, heated pool and jacuzzi.

Here are some photos taken of the grounds in the early evening just as we arrived and before the sun set.

We received a little dressing room where we had to change into our bathing suits. They provided dressing gowns and slippers. Two friendly massage therapists welcomed us and guided us through a maze of little pathways to the stone treatment huts.

My husband and I had all our treatments together which I thought was quite romantic. Indian neck and shoulder massages, a full body hot stone massage as well as hand and feet exfoliation and massage. Candle lights and the sounds of the night insects calling each other added to a very peaceful ambiance.

After about three hours of treatments with breaks in between where we could help ourselves to something to drink, we were ready for dinner. But first we jumped into the jacuzzi!! It really was a beautiful warm summers night and we felt very pampered.

We did have a little excitement in our dressing room when a scorpion fell out of my clothes as I picked it up! As I jumped on a chair my husband, the hero, opened the door and let the little unwanted visitor out.

Dinner was excellent. I had haloumi cheese and my husband had garlic snails as a started. Then I had fillet of beef and my husband had the fish, all served with a side of fries and a greek salad. And lastly we had malva pudding with custard for dessert.

I definitely recommend having a night spa treatment!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Bacon Wrapped Cherries

Bacon and cherries.

You might think this is a strange combination but trust me, it works wonderfully.

I first ate this when I was still a teenager so I have very fond memories of this bite sized snack. In fact, I used to make it for myself in my microwave when I was a student and missing home... I didn't have an oven in those days but my microwave sure did the trick.

It really is a great party snack :-)

One packet of streaky bacon
One box of glaced cherries (green or red) OR a jar full of marachino cherries.
Regardless of the type of cherry you decide to use, just make sure it is pitted!

Heat up the oven to about 200 degrees Celsius
Separate the bacon strips and lay them out in an oven dish
Place on cherry at the top of the bacon strip and roll up.
Stick a toothpick through the bacon and cherry.
Repeat until you have used all the bacon.
Place the oven dish in the oven for about 25 minutes.
You might want to leave it in there a bit longer depending on how crispy you like your bacon.

Serve up and enjoy!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


I love snacks.

Plates full of bite sized heaven.

Call them what you like: snacks, finger foods, hors d'oeuvres.

Savoury and sweet, chips with dips, meat, vegetarian, cheese and crackers.

Thank you Mom and Dad for the lovely spread.

We certainly had our fill this festive season!

P.S. Check out my post tomorrow for my favourite bacon and cherry finger food recipe.

Friday, 6 January 2012

DWZI Fireworks!

The one day we were in the midst of summer, basking in the sun.
The next morning we landed at Schiphol and we were in the middle of winter, pouring rain and grey skies.

The end of a holiday.

The beginning of a new year.

Fireworks everywhere.

You can find more 'Deze Week Zag Ik' participants here.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Sunday Lunch at The Farm Inn

A Sunday lunch and a game drive.
The hot African sun.
Family and good times.

That is exactly what we experienced at The Farm Inn country hotel and game reserve in Pretoria a couple of weeks ago while on holiday in South Africa.

It is set in a suburb of Pretoria, but somehow it feels more remote.
They have a small game reserve and we went for a game drive with the kids.
We saw giraffes, deer, lions, hyenas and lots of beautiful birds.
The game ranger told us interesting facts about the wild animals and we were thoroughly entertained.

After the drive we headed to the restaurant where we enjoyed a buffet lunch.
They catered for everyone. Meat, vegetables, fish, salads, hot and cold dishes, bread and sauces, the works.

We sat at a table outside and put a blanket down for the kids.
Definitely a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Glorious Garlic

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had a lot of garlic and was contemplating roasting them.

Mission accomplished!

It took a while but I finally got around to roasting the garlic bulbs this week, they were patiently waiting for me to return from my holiday.

Every single recipe that I looked at followed the same basic procedure:
- Slice the top off the garlic bulb.
- Place in an oven proof dish (I used my muffin tin).
- Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Cover with tin foil.
- Roast in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes to one hour.

Before long my house was filled with the lovely sweet smell of garlic happily roasting away.
I waited a little bit too long before checking on the garlic, I should have taken a peek at 40 minutes but I got distracted and only looked at it when the timer went off after 55 minutes. Oops.

The garlic was definitely done. A little too done around the edges but still tasty.
I immediately spread a clove or 5 on a slice of buttered toast and it was well worth the effort. Glorious roasted garlic indeed.

After letting it cool, I saved it in a container in my fridge.

It has been there for 3 days and so far I have used it in mashed potatoes, a pasta dish and of course spread on toast and sprinkled with sea salt.

Do I have garlic breath? Most definitely!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Wimpy Burgers and Strawberry Milkshakes

We had a wonderful time in South Africa.
Saw lots of family and friends, and simply (over)indulged in lots of food.
It was quite a trip down memory lane visiting all our old haunts and eating food from my childhood.

Of course we stopped at the Wimpy.
It is an institution after all!

So there we were, eating our wimpy burgers and strawberry milkshakes, just like old times.
Except that it wasn't the 'old' times anymore, it's all new times and we are tourists.

Still, I really enjoyed my strawberry milkshake.

Monday, 2 January 2012

2012 Here We Go!

I really can't complain about 2011.

I got to spend 6 months at home with my darling Stella, who just turned one last week.

Then there was all the baking and cooking I did while I was at home... looking back it was like one big feast at my house! Heidi, who will be four next week, helped me make countless cookies and cakes.

I started the blog because I constantly found myself talking about food and taking hundreds of photos with my iPhone. It's been quite a journey in blogland. A whole new world opened up for me. Blogs, writing, photography, illustrations, bring it on!

One of my favourite things of 2011 was enrolling in an evening illustration class. I love it.

The scariest thing was starting my own part time mosaic business.
Pieces of Elma is where I sell my mosaic art and I also give mosaic workshops.
It was a big step to take and I'm hoping that I will eventually make some money with my art... (yes, I am a dreamer).

So, looking back I can honestly say that I had a really good year.

Let's hope that 2012 brings more wonderful adventures my way.

Here's wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year!


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