Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Dutch Landscape... at your home.

I have just spotted today on Casa de Valentina blog the following colourful carpets  works of art:

Above: Landcarpet The Netherlands, from Florian Pucher.

Above and below: Liz Eeuwes offers you the possibility of having the tulip fields of Lisse under your feet.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adriana Calcanhotto in Amsterdam

Brazilian singer Calcanhotto is going to perform on the 29th October at Bimhuis, in Amsterdam.

Piet Heinkade 3
1019 BR Amsterdam
020 7882150

Friday, October 22, 2010

Today I Love

Today I love... this projection on the statue of Christ the Redemeer.
Project : Fernando Salis.
Music: Heitor Villa Lobos, Bachianas Brasileiras # 7
Have a wonderful weekend you all !

Hoje eu estou adorando: projeções do abraço do Cristo Redentor no Rio de Janeiro, de Fernando Salis. Música de Villa Lobos, Bachianas Brasileiras no. 7. Um bom finde a todos e uma otima semana !

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Repurposing objects

Urn as a sink.
(I have snatched this photo a long time ago from a French website. If somebody knows who the author of this image is please just let me know and I shall give the credits here). Gorgeous ! However, I wonder whether it is possible to easily clean the bottom of it.  
Above and below: downtown Zaandam, metal trash bins were upgraded to flower vases.

Above, spotted in a restaurant in a place in Perigueux this summer: a pot that was formely used to preserve pate'  is now used as a serving bowl for a dame blanche dessert. My husband asked me whether I was going to serve desserts to guests in such pots from now on. I prefer to use it for butter.

Above: one of the rooms at a hotel in Milan. All rooms have this graphic of a female face a la Sophia Loren on the walls - and paper bins. I asked the manager whether I could buy one and he ofered it to me as exchange for some translation work. Below: an ex-paper bin transformed in socks bin now graces my bedroom.

The tea box above is a Jan Des Bouvries concept for... tea bags (how original). I bought it at Douwe Egberts shop using lots and lots of D.E. coffee package stamps - plus adding some money. But why keeping 9 different types of tea flavours when I use only two ? And during parties my guests prefer coffee. Thus... from tea box to bijoux box. I like to wear big bold jewelry, and this big box suits perfectly my storage needs.

No gas ? No problem ! Just grab an iron and grill some sausages on it (on chicken, or beef...). Medium, no wrinkles please. (Image snatched from the hillarious Brazilian food blog "Rainhas do Lar"). Hahahaha !!
On a previous post I  published under the label "gardens" you can check more objects serving for a purpose different from what they orginally were made for. 

The Dutch Always Know It Better

The Boomerang Wok: the Dutch solution for making wokking easier (wokking for dummies). More info at:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life

(Image above: available at the official site of Body Worlds)

A bit of a cultural agenda: a fascinating travel through human bodies can be made visiting the exposition Body Worlds, since last month in Rotterdam. The expositon aims to show to the visitors that our bodies are not only a natural and complex system of processes - but also a personal task: your body is the result of the way you choose to live your life.
The human bodies (a total of 20) used in the exposition were treated with a  technique called plastination. This method was developed by German doctor ans scientist Gunther von Hagens in 1977. It consists of several stages, as follows:  embalming, dissecation, removal of body fat and water, forced impregantion with silicone rubber, positioning of the body as desired and finally the curing/hardening.

BODY WORLDS is the only anatomy exposition in the world which is based on a donor program. In the world there are eleven thousand donors who decided to donate their dead bodies to be used in expositions via plastination. About thirty donators are Dutch. (if you wish to know more about donating your body for plastination visit: )

In The Netherlands you can visit the exposition in LP II In Las Palmas Rotterdam up  to the 23rd January 2011. Below, two beautiful videos to give you an impression.

Our life is made by the death of others.  (Leonardo da Vinci)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sal Gorda, Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Amsterdam

Last Sunday we have been with another family in the Vondelpark. Before 5 o'clock (kids eat around 18 h in Holland) we started to wonder where to have some dinner. During years we try to drag this other family to try out a certain tapas restaurant with us. Because it is situated just a stone thrown away the Vondelpark, they enthusiastically said "yes !"
Sal Gorda is established in an old charming buidling in the South area of Amsterdam. Let's check it inside, shall we ?
I have been into some other restaurants in Holland which supposedly serve Spanish food - in a Spanish ambiance. So fake ! Dutch brown cafes transformed into Spanish restaurants with tacky, dusty decorative elements, African sculptures, rotten furniture and chipped clay dishes/bowls. That is not the case of Sal Gorda. All objects, lamps and especially the wall tableaux made of tiles were really Hecho en España.

The restaurant has two main rooms in two different floors. But there are also some niches for couples.

We ordered chicken, meat balls and bread with garlicy saus for the kids. For the grouwn-ups shrimps in garlic (left) and (right) baked meat.
Toasted bread with goat cheese, herbs and roasted nuts. Excellent.

Above: little octopuses with garlic. I found it overfried.
Champignons al ajillo y persil. Big, warm pieces of mushies in olive oil with garlic and parsley. Very yummy.
Patatas bravas (potatoe chunks in a spicy sauce). Also the tortillas and salads were very good. But I found the portion of fried sliced eggplant too small  (4 thin slices) - and therefore overpriced.

Above, by the entrance, the bar. Because we started there very early, the kids could be now and then a bit lousy  - there were no other people near us. Not many desserts (flans, ice-creams and chocolate pie), but delicious anyway. The service was correct and smiley -an Argentinean waiter and then a young Dutch lady were helping us - the ambiance is great and I definitelly recommend the place.  Oh, they have very good caipirinhas too, with real cachaça by the way !

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Call me kitsch (Me chama de cafona)

Autumn in the Northern Europe for me means: mushrooms and pumpkins. Especially the mushies, they are everywhere in my village - gardens, trees, grass... even on the outer walls of the gym I go to (it is a brand new building).
At an impulse, I have bought today the mushies you see on the photos. They are made of wood and very pretty.
O outono no norte europeu e' anunciado por cogumelos.  Num impulso, comprei hoje esses que vi numa floricultura. Sao feitos de madeira e encantadores.
I have inserted them in vases around my living room. The result you can see on the next photos.
Distribui todos pelos vasinhos da sala de jantar. O resultado voces veem nas fotos a seguir.

And this mushie came with a bonus ! A tiny escargot (equally fake, of course) on it.   Esse cogumelo ai de cima veio com um brinde: um caracolzinho (de mentira, claro !).  

Kitsch... or kitsch ? Well, I have a good excuse to play around with tacky mushies. I just say "Actually I do not care much about them - but the kids find them cool and begged me to buy some". Hahahaha !
Qual a desculpa que eu dou pra essa cafonice ? Ah, que eu tenho criancas e que eles acham lindinho, hahaha!

Mussels Time !

Photo above:
Mussels... the Belgian way. With fries and Belgian beer, natuurlijk.
Check here for the whole story and yummy recipe - while the link lasts.

I invite you to my kitchen. Let's prepare mussels - my way ! With two chefs in the kitchen it goes quicker. One chopps the veggies (onions, shallots, carrots, celery, garlic...) while the other washes, debeards and srcubbs the mussels and discards the broken/open ones. Fry at low heat the veggies in oil or butter.

Add the mussels into the pan. I also added a splash of white wine and some spoons of tomato sauce.

After three or four minutes shake it, shake it !

Ready. You may sprinkle some cilantro and pepper if you wish.  
Would you like some beer to drink ? Or maybe wine ?
I prepared two sauces, mayo with garlic and white pepper and another with mayo, green olives, cappers, parsley and dill. We do not prepare French fries at home (so much smoke - ugh!) , we prefer to have our mussels with warm white bread and home made sauces.

Eu preparei dois molhinhos para acompanhar: maionese com alho picadinho e pimenta em po' branca. O outro era maionese com azeitonas verdes, alcaparras, salsinha e dill. Preparamos uma baguete fatiada quentinha no forno e pronto.

And the liquid from the bottom of the pan can be used as a base for a soup. I just added cooked diced carrots and enjoyed it the following day.

Com o caldo que sobra na panela eu acrescento cenoura picadinha cozida e faco uma sopa pro dia seguinte.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Texel, Netherlands

Tip for a sunny dry weekend in the Netherlands: visit Texel (it is pronounced as Tessel). Texel is the largest of all Dutch islands - Waddeneilanden.  Leaving by boat (ferry) from Den Helder you can reach the village of Den Burg in twenty minutes.  Den Burg is quite busy with tourists, and you can find there traditional shops and the usual Dutch shops you find in the rest of the country.

Above, traditional candy shop in Den Burg: The Sweet Sugarball.
Unfortunatelly, it is forbidden to take pictures inside.
Above and below, Den Burg.

After visiting Den Burg we drove to tht north, to the village of De Cocksdorp. We had reserved a brown bungalow for six people in a vacationpark called De Krim. There are lots of facilities there: swimming pool (indoor and outdoor), sauna, bowling, restaurants, a small supermarket, a souvenir shop near the reception ... The bungalows/houses are free standing, completely equipped and with all comforts. You can look for more info at
Below: decorative windmill, De Cocksdorp.

Below, lighthouse nearby De Cocksdorp.
The following day my father-in-law decided to visit an exposition of old tractors. It does not appeal that much to me but the boys of the family were quite excited about it. "Boys will be boys..."

There are two Jutters Museum in the island.  I think you can translate "jutter" into "wreckage, debris" in English. The first one  Jutters Flora Museum had a lot of huge pieces exposed outside. We decided to go for the second in the village of OudeSchild and give it a try.  It is called Maritiem & Jutters Museum and you can visit   for more photos and info.


The next series of pics below are the interiors of old fishermen' houses.

There is a barn /silo with lots of wreckage and rubble from the shores. Confusing but funny.

Texel offers a lot of  varied landscapes and there is a lot to do and visit. Sheeps are everywhere and Texel lamb is a specialty you cannot forget to try. The best organic meat has the label "Goenga", and this first quality produce is available at most restaurants in the island of Texel. Other famous products are the beauty creams made of wool fat (wolvet/lan olie /lanoline) from Noord Kroon: hair conditioners, creams for your face, hands and feet. Really good !
I have three posts about another Dutch island: Terschelling. Click on "blog search" on the right side of this page to access the posts. Terschelling has canals, dunes, and is poshier and further than Texel, and  you have to rent a bike in order to circulate around the island. Which one I prefer ? Both.