Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trash Containers # 6

I have already seen maaaany gnomes in Holland, but never such a large one on a trash container before !

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mini-interview # 2

I will try to post here once a month a short interview with foreigners living already for a while in the Netherlands. Most of them live in North-Holland and are (I guess just like my readers !) between 25 and 45 years old.
Who are you ? Please introduce yourself.

Paul H., born in Warrington England 1971. Singer with Amsterdam based 'The Quazatrons'. Our songs are part inspired by my hobbies, amongst them the works of Joseph Heller and Fumito Ueda.

And what brought you to Holland ?

I believe it was a Boeing 737.

What do you miss the most about your home country ?

Aside from friends and family, the things I miss most about England are Yorkshire tea (though it can be bought over here....for the right price), English cheese. T.S Elliot once said that Wendsleydale cheese is the Mozart of cheeses. Who am I to disagree ? I also miss common sense amongst the majority of the populace, English humour and people waiting for their turn.

Paul, what is the best about living in the Netherlands ?

Best thing about living in Amsterdam is the amount of nationalities located or visiting here. You could feasibly sleep with a girl from each country in the world without leaving the place, marvellous.

And the worst ?

The worst thing about living in Amsterdam is probably the price of a pint, five pound for a pint of cider?????? Come on! Play fair!

Any final advice for English expats ?

My advice to expats would be to seek out a good tea supplier before getting used to the Dutch equivalent of English tea.

Thanks Paul !

Fired ! [Gedumpt !]


To be fired has serious impacts in someone's life. According to psychologists it can be compared to the impact of losing a dear one, sickness, prison penalty but also the stress of a marriage or pregnancy. 

What should you say to a friend /partner/relative that has been fired ?

"I had already thought it would happen."
"When are you going to look for something ?"
"It is difficult to find something now, with all this crisis..."
"Oh, that company was not worthwhile anyway."
"And what do you intend to do now ?"

All the options above are wrong according to psychologist Gertruud Bolhuis in the magazine Intermediair . You should think together with your friend (or partner or relative). Ask things such as: "In which sense does this affect you ?" or "Do you see positive aspects in this fact ?. Try to be a coach !

Friday, March 27, 2009

Summertime [Zomertijd]

Saturday 28 th March at night we advance the clock in 1 hour in every European country.
The summertime lasts from the last Sunday of March until the last Sunday of October.

Global Warming [Opwarming van de Aarde]


This Saturday 28th March 8:30 p.m. (wherever you are in the world) vote against global warming switching off your light for 1h - earth hour. For more details check the site below:


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trash Containers # 5

It is indeed time for a spring cleaning (de grote schoonmaak).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday [Woensdag]

My supposed day "off".... Ha, ha, ha ! What a joke.
I am so busy sometimes I can't hear my own thoughts.
I think I do not know my name anymore.
The hard disc is full.
Ahn, what is this post about ? (sight)
I had a pile of things to do and instead of accomplishing anything...
I just threw the kids in the car and went to a playground in Purmerend.

Easter [Paas] #3

Hey readers,
Remember I mentioned the differences of Easter shop decorations between Brasil and NL ?
Well, a loyal reader made some pics in Brasil and I would like to share with you what she sent:

And there are even eggs with wrappings of your favorite football team as a theme !

And piles of bonbon boxes :

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Saddle [Fietszadel]

I have read this on papers: the new trend for bike owners is a plastic to protect the saddle.

The same afternoon I spotted one:

Where can I find one of these things ? Anyone ?

Feminino FORTE

I am just loving the new colours of nail polish sold by the HEMA. They are feminine, funky...

...and oooh, they make me feel so foxy !

Girls, for God's sake: transparent or pearly colors should be used only by receptionists, (brain) surgeon doctors or brides. Express yourself ! Found in all branches of Hema for 2,50 euros.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Classic Dutch Apple Pie [Appeltaart]

Easy to make, one of the glories of the Dutch cuisine !

100g raisins 300g flour
180g butter (at room temperature)
150g white sugar
1 egg, whisked
1 pinch salt
4 apples (Gold / Goud reinetten)
1 lage spoon lemon juice
1 tea spoon cinammon (powder)
1 tea spoon powder sugar
1 tea spoon nutmeg

Preparation: easy, 25 to 35 minutes / Baking mold: 24cm

Soak the raisin in a bowl with hot water. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.

Place de flour, sugar, salt and the half of the egg in a large bowl. Add the butter in pieces and mix everything until a crumbly texture is reached. Place 2/3 of this mixtures in the mold and press firmly against the bottom and lateral of the mold. The rest of the misture should be flattened with a pastry roll until it is 0,5 cm thick.

Core, peel and cut the apples in small blocks and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and add the powder sugar and cinammon. Mix well. Dry wll the raisins with kitchen paper and add to the apples. Pour the apples in the mold.

Cut the flattened pastry in stripes and distribute it over the pie in a checkered pattern. "Paint" it with the rest of the egg to provide some shine.

Insert the oven until the outside is golden brown.

Serve it still warm with whipped cream or cold with a ball of vanille ice-cream. I prefer it simple!

Amen !

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Today is a beautiful sunny day in the Netherlands !
21st March is the official start of spring in the North hemisphere.
Time for the big cleaning, organization of the clutter.
Have a nice weekend you all !

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Easter [Paas] #2

The countdown for Easter has already started a while ago. In Holland the decoration of shops is quite different from what I was used to see in Brazil. There, the ceilings of shops are embelished with hanging chocolate eggs of all sizes and colours. Glitz & glamour ! And people exchange boxes of chocolate bonbons. Here it is rather a children's celebration and the style of decoration is more focused on the usage of little (farm) animal items in plush, wood or plastic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Delivery Bike # 2

Another model of delivery bike. For hip parents only...

Monday, March 16, 2009

[Il] legal

Different countries, different laws.

I was so surprised when I started to get acquainted with the levels of (in) tolerance of this country, it took me years to adapt to new concepts of forbidden, allowed, and tolerated.
There are certain things in Holland that are in theory forbidden but the Dutch pretend they do not see it. They call it "gedogen" (in Brazil we would call it "fazer vista grossa").

I will clarify you the different levels of acceptance of some activities below. What I say herebelow is based on what I have read on newspapers, watched on TV, read in books about Holland. Please bear in mind I am not a law specialist or similar !

Drugs: the rule is "the consumption of illegal drugs is not forbidden; the possession of illegal drugs is forbidden". Understood it ? Me neither.

Illegal foreigner: staying illegal in Holland is criminal only when someone is unwillingly a foreigner. Got it ? Me neither.

Sex with animals: this is not a criminal activity, as long as the animal does not suffer (animal mistreating is forbidden, though). Hummm, I guess is very diffcult to prove that an animal actually suffered with sex with humans. Holland therefore is the biggest producer of films of sex with animals in the world.

Suicide: Commiting suicide is not a criminal activity. On the other hand, helping other(s) to commit suicide is criminal. Dear readers, here goes a piece of advice: it means that when someone is feeling down it is better to cheer him/her up. Do not come up always with conversations such as "Life is a bitch", "the world sucks", "the whole human kind is rotten", etc..

Escape of prison: not a criminal activity. Every prisoner will try to do ir. But, of course, helping others to escape prison is criminal. And the prisoner will loose his rights of occasional freedom.

Plan an attack: against people, groups of people, monuments etc. is not criminal. You are free to think about things, although you CANNOT put your letal, destructive, harmful (whatever) plans into practice. You cannot start preparations to put your mean thoughts into practice either, such as making bombs, buying ropes, torture instruments, etc.. Well, this law seems obvious to me.

Pheeeew ! I hope I did not make the readers more confused than I am (was). Well dear readers, I guess this post gave you some food for thought !

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Apple Tarte Tatin

Today, Sunday, I baked the famous inverted pie Tarte Tatin. Yes, it is a French pie. So what is a French recipe doing in a blog about Holland ? Well, for many reasons:
1- This is a famous pie and I have see it in several chic restaurants in the Randstad.

2 - Holland is an international country (at least the Randstad part) and Dutch people do like to eat foreign food. Well, sometimes.

3 - Apples are cheap, I am francophone and this blog is mine so I post whatever I want.

I prepared the pie using a Le Creuset Tarte Tatin Dish, which is mItalicade of cast iron. Such pan is indeed pricey but I see it as a good investment.

Here is the recipe:

75 g (1/3 cup) white sugar
75 g (1/3 cup) butter
5 large dessert apples, such as Golden Delicious
2 tablespoons lemon juice
225 g (80 oz) ready made puff pastry

(I used 5 squares from Dutch brand "Koopmans". Puff pastry is called in Dutch bladerdeeg and is easy to find in the frozen section of supermarkets)

Oven: 200 C / Gas 6 - preheated

1 - Put the sugar and butter into the tatin dish. Heat on a medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar becomes light brown.

2 - Peel, quarter and core the apples. Sprinkle with the lemon juice. Place in the dish. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes.

3 - Remove from the heat and cool for few minutes whilst rolling out the pastry.

4 - Roll the pastry to a circle the same size as the top of the dish. Press it lightly over the fruit, tucking the edges down around the edge so that when cooked it forms a rim to contain the fruit.

5 - Make four small steam holes.

6 - Transfer to the pre-heated oven and bake on the top shelf for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is well risen and golden brown.

7- Allow to rest for 5 minutes before loosening around the edge with a knife. Invert on to a wide shallow plate. Serve it warm with whipped double cream or creme fraiche (or vanille ice-cream).

Note: Calvados Apple Brandy or Cognac can be used instead of lemon juice.

It is easy to make, it looks refined and above all: it is yummmmmy !
(Galera do Brasil: fica codiloco !)

Friday, March 13, 2009


Have a nice weekend !


Pssst !
"Greetings From Holland" celebrates today, Friday 13th March, 1 month. Happy Birthday for the blog !

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Today I gonna tell you how to prepare a wonderful fish with only three ingredients: filet of fish (preferably frozen), pesto rosso (dried tomato paste), and yoghurt (I used a greek one, no fat).

Spread the tomato mixture on the fish (see above), then the yoghurt (see below). Oven 25min.
I used cod but you can use any other filet of white fish according to your preference.

If you wish, you can also add cappers, or olives or coriander or parsley at the end.
But believe me: tomato paste and yoghurt is more than enough.

That is the result (see below) with shrimps and parsley:

I served the fish on the top of mashed potatoes, using a ring for that round effect on the presentation.

Ta-da ! Serve the fish with rice and salad or mashed potatoes and veggies as I did.