Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Touch of Dutch: My Mini-Interview

Woohoo ! I am at this moment being featured on Isabella's A Touch of Dutch blog. It has become one of the "classic" and must read blogs about the Netherlands. I love mini-interviews because they are easy to make, easy to answer and not so serious. Plus: the reader can get within a couple of minutes a different perception of the interviewed. Go there now accessing it here.
Thanks Isabella, obrigada !

Eyecandy: bike delivery, Amsterdam

Luckily I had my camera with me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Curious Birthday

Picture that:
you live in the Netherlands, it is autumn, it is grey, it rains a lot, you and your kids have recently had a cold and your sister-in-law invites you to celebrate her birthday with the whole family in a tour in the nature. "Saturday 25th of September, Recreation area Het Twiske at 12h30", to be precise.
And there goes the family into the recreation area Het Twiske. I have previously posted here about Twiske (for more about it click on the tag list "twiske") and about this hobby of my sister-in-law. Today she told us she would guide us through pads with lots and lots of mushrooms. Ummm, it starts getting interesting for me because I am fascinated about these funghi.
Above, the S.I.L. shows the "classic" type of mushie from fairy tales to my little girl : a red one with white dots. Lovely.
The mushie above looks like an apple that was beaten by gnomes, doesn't it ? Chomp, chomp, chomp !

My SIL in action. With little mirrors, she shows us how the mushies look on their under. She doesn't take any of them from the trees or the ground. But the broken ones she does collecst in a bag for her future tours. She knows how to preserve them for a while.

It was one and half good hour spent in the middle of uncountable and odd mushies. Oh, no way I can remember the names and functions of all of them !

Below: big fox holes.

My sister-in-law advised me never eating blackberries from the lowest branches of bushes, 'cause foxes pee on them. But enough mushies and fruit. It is time to sit down and go drink and eat something, thus we headed to Pavillioen.

We were so lucky with dry weather. The location of Pavillioen is really amazing, near water, bushes ... there were even rainbows. We decided to sit on the back outside so that the kids could run freely - and make some noise.
During years and years, we have always sat outside in The Pavillion and asked some snacks and beer. French fries or bitterballs and a beer. Just that. I didn't know that you actually could have a fancy dinner at there.

Prosecco was ordered...
Most of the grown-ups decided to go for a classic Dutch chocolade truffel, and the kids asked muffins and hot chocolate.
Many Dutch people like having something sweet and light for their lunch: slices of bread topped with chocolate, some fruit or yoghurt, or maybe a soup, or sometimes just a pie. I preferred to order a tosti - cheese /tomatoes. However, deep inside of me I would rather have a tagliatelle with mushies, garlic, cream, parsley and parmesan cheese. Or a small risotto... with lots and lots of mushies, of course !

I enjoyed a lot such unusual birthday celebration.
And we were sooo lucky it didn't rain.
Gefeliciteerd Anja ! Happy Birthday !

Friday, September 24, 2010

Robodock Festival 2010 - 24th & 25th September

The tenth edition of Robodock Festival is happening today and tomorrow on the slope of the NDSM wharf in Amsterdam North. Robodock was created in 1998 as a cultural self-defense and has become one of the most inventive cultural festivals in the world. It is a unique international festival with technology and art, theater, multimedia and industrial installations. This year, the theme is "Rhythm and Time - 10 Years of Transformation".

"Robodock presents THE FENIX: a hypnotising industrial fairytale. After a century of adventures, the mythological firebird has landed at Robodock. Her nest is drifting on the waves. In a cacophony of overwhelming mechanischal soundscapes, blazing fire sculptures and music from all over the globe, the ancient bird prepares for her last breath. " (extracted from Youtube)

Location: NDSM, Tt Neveritaweg 15, Amsterdam-Noord
Dates and times
Friday, September 24 terrain open: 16.00 – End musical acts: 23.00
Saturday, September 25 terrain open: 11.00 – 23.00 end musical acts

The online ticket sales proceeds exclusively through and shopping at Free Record Shop and Van Leest. A limited number of tickets available at the door.
Friday, September 24 presale € 20 / € 25 door
Saturday, September 25 presale € 32.50 / € 37.50 door
Children till 10 years € 1 (max. 2 children accompanied by an adult)

Smoked Mackerel [Gerookte Makreel] {Maquereau Fume'} (Sarda Defumada)

We have been recently in Enkhuizen and spotted a wonderful offer for smoked mackerel. Generally this is an expensive fish - and very versatile. But it is A LOT OF WORK to separate the flakes from the bones, humpf ! Well, you can buy it boneless, in filets in the supermarkets - but then it is even more expensive. Anyway, I decided to mix the pieces with olive oil, some spoons of lemmon juice, capers and very little diced onions. We spreaded it on a toast and the taste was amazing.
I have also topped crackers with the mixture and added semi-dried tomato and olives. I believe if you add to the fish some mayo, cherry tomatoes, parsley and green onions and have it with a green salad then it is going to be also fantastic. For sure, capers and green olives make an excellent combination with this type of fish. But imagine this fish with pickles or gherkins... Mmmm, mouth watering...
In many villages in Holland the fish stall show up on Fridays and Saturdays. At least in my village and many other villages in North Holand they do. So if you live in Holland here goes a tip on how to prepare and serve it. Eet smakelijk !

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Bloody Sunday - SambĂ´

vandaag: today / hoje
maandag: Monday / segunda-feira
dinsdag: Tuesday / terca-feira
woensdag: wednesday / quarta-feira
donderdag:Thursday / quinta-feira
vrijdag: Friday / sexta-feira
zaterdag: Saturday / sabado
zondag: Sunday / domingo

In Dutch, the days of the week are not capitalized.
If you know English, it is quite easy learning the days of the week in Dutch, isn't it ?

A Bloody Sunday in festive samba rhytm.
You like it ? Dislike it ?
And Brazilians canibalize everything. Any rhythm (heavy metal, rock'n'roll, classic, religious mantras) can end up in samba.

Een prettige Zondag aan iederen ! Bom domingo !

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

La Tulipe (The Tulip) [De Tulp]

When my husband turned 40, one of the presents he got was this book in a deluxe edition: Leven Als Gort in Frankrijk, by Ilja Gort. It could be translated to: living like a god in France. This is an expression the Dutch use a lot, "leven als God in Frankfrijk", meaning to enjoy an excellent life / enjoying life to the maximum with sun, rest and good food.
I firstly ignored the book and put it aside for a while. I had already read several good books of American (Magic Provence by Yvone Lenart), Dutch (Wonen op Vakantie, by Esther Verhoef ) and English (all books from Peter Mayle) authors about their lives in la douce France. So I had had enough of that theme. But this year during our vacation in France I decided to read "Leven... " until the end. My husband and mother-in-law had recommend it and I decided to give it a go.
Ilja Gort is a maestro and a componist, author of many world famous jingles (for Nescafe, Heineken and others). He has made some fortune with his adverstisement tunes and decided to buy a castle in France in order to start making the world's best wine. This while at the same time running his studios in Maartensdijk, Holland. After some frustrations the third castle he visits becomes the one: the XIII century Chateau de la Garde, nearby Saint Emilion, in the Bordeaux region.

I liked the book. Okaaaaay... It IS indeed a huge ad of Gort's talents, luck and wines. But the story behind wine making is delicious. We have a Dutch person who barely speaks French beginning from zero, with no previous experience - though he had read a huge library about wines. Gort and his then wife Turf search for the perfect castle in the Bordeaux area, have lots of difficulties in finding personnel to work in the wineyards, and learn how to interact with the French culture and way of doing things. The Gorts really had a hands on approach. An example: his 6 year old son (now in his twenties and following management studies in London) painted the tulip featured on the label. However, what impresses me the most is Gort's drive. He is a very successful wine farmer, a very successful componist, and a very successful author.

La Tulipe - rose'. I decided to give it a go while enjoying a meal salad - and I just loved it. It is made from Merlot and Cabernet grapes and considered the best French rose' from the Bordeaux region, got high grades from Robert Parker and keeps winning several prizes year after year.
In Holland you can purchase La Tulipe de la Garde at Albert Heijn.
The first images on this post were snagged from:
For a nice youtube video go here.

Update: my husband has celebrated his birthday recently and got from a friend two bottles of La Tulipe and a bonus: Het Merlot Mysterie, by Ilja Gort. I have already started reading it and asked my husband whether I could highlight with a yellow pen some words by page. "Of course you can " - he replied. He is such a discomplicated guy !  Probably he will be reading the book only next year during his next vacations...