Monday, 30 September 2013

Old Fashioned Apple Pie

We had a lot of fun making apple pie last week. I had more than my fair share of the pie... but it was just so good. So very, very, very good. And the best part was that I didn't even have to bake it myself!

My dear husband was in a baking mood and my lovely neighbour gave me a big bag full of baking apples. A match made in heaven. My husband is not that fond of the classic Dutch apple pie so he found an American recipe that sounded good.

Of course it was a team effort. Picture this. My husband doing all the hard work and me reading the Martha Stewart recipe on my iPad and taking photos. Seems like the perfect division of labour to me! There was a little catch though... we started making the dough very avidly and then realised that there was a lot of resting time required. Like that apple pie was not hitting the oven for at least one and a half hours. Oh well, that just meant that we'd have it for dessert.

Not!! Once we finally had the apple pie in the oven I watched a video on how to make apple pie (yes, should have paid more attention up front) where it was revealed that apple pie should rest for about 6 hours or more before slicing into it.


Apparently the juices need to settle (blah, blah, blah). But for once I decided that I can be patient. And I was rewarded. That apple pie was wonderful when we sliced into it the next morning. My neighbour came around with her daughter and we had us a little apple pie party. Happiness.

Here are a few more photos of the best (and only) apple pie we've ever made:

Here is a link to the Martha Stewart recipe and here is a copy with my notes:


Apple Pie:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
(Pie Dough) Pate Brisee
12 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used baking apples since that's what I had!)
3/4 cup sugar, plus additional for pie top
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (I might use slightly less lemon juice next time to accommodate my kids)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves (I left this out since we don't like cloves in my house)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten

Pate Brisee:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Pate Brisee:
(Note: watch the video - it gives a great view on how to work this dough)
Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide in two. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two discs. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

Apple Pie:

Heat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pate brisee into two 1/8-inch-thick circles to a diameter slightly larger than that of an 11-inch plate. (I am clueless with inches so I just kind of guessed here...) Press one pastry circle into the pie plate. Place the other circle on waxed paper, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill all pastry until firm, about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, lemon zest and juice, spices, and flour. Toss well. Spoon apples into pie pan. Dot with butter, and cover with remaining pastry circle. Cut several steam vents across top. Seal by crimping edges as desired. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with additional sugar.
Bake until crust is brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool on wire rack before serving.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Museum Speelklok

We did it! We made a resolution and are sticking to it.
Yes, we went to another museum. 
So our museum cards are not going to waste!!
(Imagine me grinning proudly)

This time round we went to the Speelklok Museum in Utrecht. It houses an impressive collection of musical instruments that all play 'automatically'. They have a guided tour every half hour and we went on it twice because the guide plays different instruments every time. That way you get to see and hear something new every half an hour! 

It has recently been renovated too and their new exhibition area was very good. The kids enjoyed it (they could press buttons and listen to sounds so they are easily pleased) and I also really liked it. Definitely worth a visit.

I hope you have a fun weekend!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Burgers at Steiger1

On a sunny Saturday evening before the summer vacation we headed towards Amsterdam.
In a moment of weakness I bought a Groupon for burgers at a restaurant called Steiger1. I really wanted a burger and it was a good deal so you can't really blame me for buying it!

The staff were very friendly and very accommodating towards the kids, who, let's face it, were not on their best behaviour that day. We sat outside on the terrace with a view of the water and the sun shining on our backs. Perfect.

We ordered our food and enjoyed the sun.
Then we couldn't resist some key lime pie as dessert.
Good times indeed.

Afterwards we let the kids play in a little neighbourhood playground.

All in all the food was good although it took a little long to get to us. If I find myself in the area I will definitely drop by this restaurant again!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Apple Pie Illustration

It is all about the apple pie today.
My husband baked one last night and I just had a big slice.

I'll post some photos and the recipe next week because trust me, if you have baking apples then you simply have to bake this classic apple pie!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Spanish Tortilla Flop

Sometimes things just don't work out.
I tried to make a tortilla, you know the type with potatoes and eggs which I've made before... but it just did not go my way at all. I mean it just went wrong, wrong, wrong.
I still ate it and so did the husband.
Put it in a serving bowl, cover it with fresh parsley and dinner is served.
Did not look that fine... but actually tasted fine!

Monday, 23 September 2013


Who can resist home made hummus?
Not me! Plus it is just so easy to make and I do love using my food processor.
Here's a link to the recipe I always use.
Now let's toast some pita bread and have a dip party tonight!

Friday, 20 September 2013


There are so many wonderful museums to visit in the Netherlands and we, (the husband and I), decided it is about time we made more use of our museum cards. So off we went with the kids to Leiden to visit the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre. This is heaven for kids and I found it pretty interesting too.

Would I visit this kind of museum on my own? No way. But let me stress again that the kids really loved it. Dinosaur bones, stuffed animals and a big sensory activity room... we were there for hours. Now I wonder which museum we will visit next!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Rice Pudding with Left Over Rice

Yes, yet another first for me.
My husband simply loves rice pudding and I have never really been a big fan of it.
Not sure why, because the rice pudding I made was pretty damn good.
My husband was a very happy man and the kids also emptied their bowls.
Left over rice will never be wasted again!

Here is a link to the recipe on and here is a copy (I adapted the recipe to the quantity of rice I had left over):

2 cups leftover cooked white rice
3 cups milk (any kind)*
1/2 cup sugar
small pinch salt
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
pinch nutmeg, optional

Combine cooked rice, milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and stir in the vanilla and raisins. Cook until just about all of the milk is absorbed (30-45 minutes, depending on how absorbent your rice is). Stir in cinnamon and/or nutmeg, if using.

Divide rice pudding into individual serving dishes serve warm or chilled.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Pumpkin Illustration

Yesterday I made pumpkin fritters from this lovely little orange pumpkin. 
Now all I can think about is pumpkin... luckily they are in season!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Avocado on Toast

I can think of a lot of ways to eat avo.
But when it comes to breakfast then I prefer mine on a slice of toast, mashed up with a pinch of salt and some fresh lemon juice. Perfection.

Monday, 16 September 2013


Let's start the week by talking about how fabulous croutons are.
Home made croutons, of course.
I recently discovered the pleasure of making your own croutons and now that I've started I don't ever want to stop making them. Left over stale french loaf turns into a heavenly accompaniment to any soup or salad. 

Here's what you need to do.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Slice the bread into even bite sized pieces. 
Cover with crushed garlic, olive oil, herbs (fresh or dried) and a bit of salt. Use as much or as little as you like. Use your hands and mix it all up. 

Cover a baking tray with with baking paper and spread the bread out on it. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until nice and golden. This might take a little more or less time depending on your oven so keep an eye on the croutons so they don't burn!

Let them cool and then you can use them all week long... they should keep at least 5 days in the fridge. I used mine with a gorgeous broccoli soup and then later in the week twice in salads. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Screen printing!

I went to a screen print workshop at Urlaub a week ago and it was great! I've never done screen printing and Femke from Windstilte taught us a quick and easy method to do this at home. We decorated scarves and I came up with a little bird in flight for mine. Although it almost looks like an airplane from certain angles...

I briefly considered giving you a step by step but then decided not to since I might just confuse you. If you want to get a rough idea of how it works you should check out Kim Welling's tutorial. She explains a slightly different technique which I'll definitely be trying too!

I'm already thinking about what I'm going to print on t-shirts for Heidi and Stella. Guess there is going to be lots of hearts, stars and flowers in my future if they have anything to say about it!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Jamie Oliver's Strawberry Ice Cream

I'm a sucker for anything easy and delicious and when I saw this video on YouTube I was sold. I even froze my strawberries the very next day.

Unfortunately it took a month or two before I finally made the ice cream. I must admit that my food processor was quite full but it might be because I was a little confused about the yoghurt quantity mentioned in the video and added 500ml instead of 250ml shown in the recipe on the website... doesn't matter since it still turned out great! It is very easy and we all loved eating it. I'm thinking it is time to freeze some more strawberries! (or just buy them already frozen if you want to make your life even easier!)

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

500 g frozen strawberries
250 ml natural fat-free yoghurt
1 tablespoon runny honey
a splash of Pimms (I used a strawberry liqueur and it worked well for me!)

Add the frozen strawberries to a food processor, along with the yoghurt, honey and Pimms, if using. Whiz for a few seconds, or until smooth, then scoop immediately with a hot dessert spoon and pop into serving bowls.

Easy right?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Rose Illustration

Draw what you see... that's what I do. 
And my roses are still looking really lovely one whole week after I bought them!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


You will be suprised to know that I have never been a fan of making pancakes all by myself. 
I have always been a great assistant to the person making the pancakes (usually my husband!).

But for once I decided to indulge the children and make them pancakes for lunch. The trick being not to try and flip them over in the air. I tried it once or twice and it really did not work out well for me. Maybe it is a hand eye co-ordination thing? 

Using a spatula to flip the pancakes over turned out the best option and the pancakes were delicious. I covered them with a little cinnamon sugar and the kids gobbled them all up.

I found a Delia Smith recipe on the BBC Food website and this is going to be my standard pancake recipe from now on. I suggest you double the recipe if you have more than 3 people to feed for lunch...

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


For the pancake mixture
110g/4oz plain flour, sifted
pinch of salt
2 eggs
200ml/7fl oz milk mixed with 75ml/3fl oz water
50g/2oz butter

To serve
caster sugar
lemon juice
lemon wedges
Note: my kids don't appreciate lemons that much at this stage of their young lives so I made a cinnamon and sugar mixture and sprinkled this on top of the warm pancakes.

Preparation method
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets an airing. Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs - any sort of whisk or even a fork will do - incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.
Next gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking (don't worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk). When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream. Now melt the 50g/2oz of butter in a pan. Spoon 2 tbsp of it into the batter and whisk it in, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it to lubricate the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round before you make each pancake.
Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you're using the correct amount of batter. I find 2 tbsp is about right for an 18cm/7in pan. It's also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it's tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife - the other side will need a few seconds only - then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate.
Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.
To serve, sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar, fold in half, then in half again to form triangles, or else simply roll them up. Serve sprinkled with a little more sugar and lemon juice and extra sections of lemon.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Rose in a Jar

I bought myself flowers last week.
Just because.

One rose bud got a little lost but I helped it find its way to a jam jar filled with water.
It is blooming and every day I stare at it in wonder.
My beautiful lost little rose.

Hope you have a lovely week ahead!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Afternoon Coffee

A couple of weeks ago we went over to my brother's house for coffee.
Just a lazy afternoon with lots of kids running around and delicious treats served by my sister in law.
I loved the colours of these little cup cakes.
And I ate quite a few...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Le Creuset

I finally have something made by Le Creuset in my kitchen!
It was a birthday gift from my brother and sister in law and it is gorgeous.
An olive oil and vinegar set.
The colour is perfect.

Of course the only problem is that I now want more...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Pasta Illustration

I've been eating pasta all week long... might as well draw it!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Basic Banana Bread

I decided it was time for a banana bread. I've just been craving one and the hot weather we had before we went on holiday facilitated the ripeness of all the bananas in the house. Plus I had to use up all fresh produce before we left! (okay, like I really need an excuse to bake... you know me so well.)

For a change I used the basic banana bread recipe from theKitchn. It turned out really well. Didn't even last an afternoon... but then again banana bread is one of my very favourite things to eat.
This recipe is not much different to my mothers' recipe. The main difference being the addition of some milk and using fewer bananas. 

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

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (2 medium bananas) mashed bananas
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Gather Ingredients - make sure everything is at room temperature.
2. Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease the pan of your choice. This recipe makes 1 loaf but also makes 6-8 muffins.
3. Add butter and sugar to bowl of mixer. Blend on low until combined and then increase speed until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
4. Crack and add eggs to the mixture one at a time, incorporating after each addition. Next, add bananas and blend on low until combined. Mixture will appear to curdle or separate and that's alright. If all your ingredients were at room temperature, this shouldn't occur and will keep the texture more creamy.
5. Add the remaining milk and vanilla to the mixture and mix just until combined.
6. Add the flour to the bowl and the other ingredients on top of it (sift prior if you wish). Mix on medium speed until mixture has come together and is thick and creamy. Now is the time to check the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all dry ingredients and butter has been incorporated.
7. Now is the time to stir in nuts, berries or chocolate chips if you wish.
8. Pour into prepared pan and smooth surface with a spatula. Place in preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. If you use a different size pan, start checking after 20 minutes in 10 minutes increments for doneness. Some moistness in the crest that forms is fine, but actual "goop" will mean it needs to continue cooking.
9. Allow To Cool - approximately 20 minutes.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Hartbeespoort Dam

It feels a little strange to be home in the Netherlands.
Three weeks raced past me.
Now it is back to reality... life goes on after all and we certainly have a busy life.
School starts today but more importantly Heidi starts swimming lessons this afternoon (and she's afraid of water so wish us luck!).

Here are a few photos of a lovely day we spent last week at the Hartbeespoort dam. We went up the mountain with a cable car and had the most spectacular views. Then we stopped at a little zoo near the water where we went on a lazy afternoon cruise on the dam. My parents certainly know all the good spots in this area and they made the day truly special. I miss them already.

I really love this photo of my father and Heidi.

Yes, these really are giant turtles!

A last view at the water...

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