Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yes, 2012 ! (Que venha 2012 !)

And another year has gone by !
From Flintstones lifestyle to The Jetsons'. From homo sapiens stupidus to homo galacticus. The pandora box is about to be open at any moment. Are we going to make it in 2012 ?

Thanks for all the comments and support.
I am off now, enjoying some oliebollen.
I see you again in 2012. Best wishes !
(Comments are closed )

Obrigada pelos comentários e apoio.
Fui ali comer um oliebol e já volto.
Feliz 2012 e os melhores votos !
(Comentários encerrados)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Celebrations

Pheew, 2011 was not an easy year for me and lots of people !  Due to the economic crisis I had friends who preferred to quit their lives in Holland and go back to their home countries. I truly have witnessed many close acquaintances heavily affected by the bad economy. My old house is still not sold and this has provided me a bitter taste... plus the Eurozone is heading for a crisis.  This amplifies my anxiety. On the other side, I have learned this year how resilient and driven I can be. I think I have also completed some karma that needed to be burned. Looking back I conclude that I have had health and love the whole year and that's all that matters.

Although I doubt 25th of December be the date of birth of Jesus (it really doens't matter what the "real"date is)  we can all celebrate Christmas this year by returning to the true spirit of  tolerance.
If you are not a Christian, you can always celebrate the beginning of the new solar year on December 25th.
Let's hope for more manifestations of all good things in the world and more synchronicities.
Occupy yourself !
I wish you a Merry Christmas and lots of good vibes in 2012 !
Now, on a lighter tone... My private gringo received a DVD from my parents: " Ivete Sangalo at Madison Square Garden". My children got as presents... binoculars ! They do not stop observing the neighboorhood's activity, it can be embarrasing sometimes (the houses on my new address have already very wide windows).
Read my last post of 2010 here. I had already talke a bit about Ivete then. Below, a video with her. Enjoy ! See you in 2012 and thanks for following my blog !!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Super Easy Orange Cake (Bolo de Laranja de liquidificador)

Bilingual Post. Em português, na segunda metade.

Looking for a super quick orange cake ? Read this !

The juice of 2 oranges freshly squeezed
1 cup sunflower oil
2 eggs
2  cups baking flour  
1 1/2  cups of sugar
2 tea spoons baking powder

Pre-heat the oven at 180°C (356°F ).
Grab a cake mold and grease it well inside (with butter or oil, it doesn't matter). Sprinkle inside with flour. Set it apart.
Mix well the eggs, the juice of the two oranges and the canola oil until you get a yellow and homogeneous cream. In a large bowl mix well the flour, the  sugar and the baking powder. Add the yellow cream and mix well with a wooden spoon. Transfer this mix to the mold and pop it into the preheated oven during 45-50 minutes.  You can remove it from the mold when it cools down.

This is a light and refreshing cake.  Optional : garnish with powdered sugar and fresh fruit for a festive presentation !

Bolo De Laranja de Liquidificador
Quem não gosta de um bolinho caseiro super fácil e rápido ? Não precisa bater claras em ponto de neve nem fazer medições em gramas. Esse fica ótimo para ser saboreado numa manhã de domingo, com um café amarguinho. Ou então à tarde, com um chá de camomila como eu fiz. Meu filho adora passar manteiga e colocar uma fatia fininha de queijo prato por cima do bolo, enquanto toma chá gelado com limão ou ... suco de laranja ! Minha filha pede prá levar de merenda prá escola e gosta de comê-lo bebendo leite com chocolate. O maridão gosta mesmo é  de curtir um bolinho de laranja depois do jantar enquanto vê TV e as crianças já estão dormindo. É... lá em casa todo mundo adora essa receita mesmo!  Você vai precisar de laranjas ótimas para fazer suco. E os demais ingredientes vai ver você já tem até em casa. Vamos lá:

2 laranjas
1 xícara de chá de óleo de canola
2 ovos
2  xícaras (chá) de farinha de trigo
1 1/2 xícaras (chá) de açúcar
2 colheres (chá) de fermento em pó

Aqueça o forno à 180º. Unte uma assadeira ou forma de buraco com manteiga e depois polvilhe com farinha. Lave e esprema as duas laranjas.  No liquidificador bata os ovos, o suco das laranjas e o óleo até obter um creme amarelinho e homogêneo. Numa tigela funda misture a farinha de trigo, o açúcar e o fermento. Adicione o creme de laranja-ovos aos poucos e misture delicadamente com uma colher de pau ou espátula de borracha até a massa ficar homogênea. Transfira a massa para a forma já untada e enfarinhada e leve para assar em 180º por 45 minutos, ou até passar no teste do palitinho. Desenforme morno, quase frio.
Eu disse que era fácil, não disse ?
Sentada ao lado da janela, comendo bolo e vendo a vida passar...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Volendam - Kitsch souvenirs, Cocaine and the Paling Sound

If you are looking for a very typical Dutch fishing village you can visit within a couple of hours then Volendam is a must see. You can also combine it with a boat trip to Marken.

It seems the population of Volendam form a quite closed community of hard working people - and are pretty expressive cocaine users as well. It made national news a while ago. Sad.
Volendam is packed with tourists during the weekends. Souvenir shops with lots of kitsch souvenirs galore ! It is also possible to have yourself portraited in a very old fashioned way. This woman is going to be transformed into a typical Dutch woman. Okay, not a modern Dutch woman but one with those folklorical clothes, pointy lace hat in an over loaded background. I always wanted to have pics of my kids like Volendam fisheman and cheese girl in order to send some to my parents - but my son refuses it fiercely. My little girl accepted it, with clogs, tulips, cheese and everything else.
By the way, would you like to check how the client above got the looks of  a traditional Volendammer ? Have a look below:
Kitsch Pretty good !
At these souvenir shops annex photo shop you can find on the glass windows a lot of famous Dutch people dressed and protrayed like that: singers, actors, TV hosts and even Brazilian football players !

My little girl bravely decided to go with me to the back of the shop where lots and lots of clothes and accessories were. We were helped by an experienced photographer/salesperson and in two minutes my daughter was completely ready for the shots. She posed for the pics and within two minutes we were out of the shop - however,  we should wait a couple of hours to have the pics printed and in our hands. Then we decided meanwhile to jump into a boat packed with tourists an visit Marken.
At the end of the afternoon we picked up my little girl's photo and decided to pay a visit to a bar with the kids and the rest of the family before driving back home for dinner.

Some tourists were departing back to Amsterdam and the locals were arriving at the bar annex restaurant. Many locals were arriving to drink (and already get stoned ?) and asking for extra stools. I could see the bar owner was rather concerned in arranging chairs for the loyal clients than for the tourists. I have heard the youth of Volendam are avid consummers of cocaine (50% to 80% porcent of all youngsters below 25 years old consumme cocaine everyweekend. The police says the youth  in this village thinks sniffing cocaine is a "normal thing". Source: here. ) Anyway... There was a screen above the bar with typical scenes from Volendam and the back ground  music was... Well, palingsound !! It's is weekend, you live in Holland Volendam and what else could you ask for ? Beer, cocaine and paling sound,of course ! (Nee, niet voor mij. Dankje. )
I love "paling". Paling the fish, not the sound (it is "eel" and juicy & delish delicious, not euwh !)  
The fishing village of Volendam is also the birth place of many famous dark haired Dutch singers (The Cats, Jan Smit, Simon and Nick and many others) and their typical Dutch style of pop music. It is called "The Paling Sound". It seems the artists themselves do not see it as a negative label (Duh! The Dutch are always 100% proud of their produce).  Check more about the paling sound on the video below. Nick and Simon traveled with a very tall Dutch model to Florence and sing "Rosanne". Why they hired a Dutch beauty for the video and not an Italian one I have no idea. Anyway, the paling sound... Best irritant en idioot melodie  - but the Dutch cannot get enough of it. My little daughter and I guess all the kids at her school love singing Rosanne. This video has over 7 million views. Not bad for a country with a population of 16 million !

Thursday, December 8, 2011

3 Typical Dutch Delicacies / 3 Delícias Doces do Inverno Holandês

Bilingual post English / Portuguese

Wondering which sweets the Dutch enjoy in December, during Sinterklaas and Christimas celebrations ?
Well, I have already talked a bit about it here.
And here below that's what we enjoyed during last Saturday afternoon, while waiting for the Black Peters knock at the door (and before the visschotel: fish and salad buffet in the evening).
This one gets an 8 from me. Speculaas koek with almond.
O primeiro doce que apresento é o bicoito gigante speculaas, que é servido quebrado. Sequinho e crocante, com gosto de canela, leva bastante manteiga. Diversão média para mim. Posso tranquilamente passar sem.

Number #2 is... Speculaas cake. I do not care much about this. If there was a list of all sweets from Holland this one wou get a 5 (because I am in a good mood today).
Bobagem doce número dois é o bolo de speculaas. Nem vou falar a respeito.

Aaah, my fave from all Dutch pastries: Amandelstaaf. Moisty inside, crispy and dry outside - just like a croissant... a truly 10 (in my humble opinion) !! And then my husband arrived last Monday home carrying more of this he had received at his work. AND I am visting the gym more frequently this week.
Item bom de patisseria é esse: um folhado de massa de amêndoas,a açúcar e manteiga. Não é muito doce, tem maciez & granulosidade por dentro e é mais ou menos como um croissant por cima. Dá para brincar de muitas texturas na língua.
After enjoying the sweets, tea and warm chocolate my parents-in-law's neighbour Black Peter knocked wildly at the door. Everybody's hearts bumped quicker (me too - duh!) and the kids ran to the back door.  They have found two sacks with little presents (cadeautjes).

Depois de curtir essas doçarias inúteis enquanto bebericávamos chá ou chocolate quente ouvimos um batidão na porta. Ui, pulei no sofá de idiota. Era o vizinho que tinha combinado num tal e tal horário bater na porta e deixar os sacos de presentes, fazendo as crianças pensarem que alguém chegou. Claro que encontraram dois sacos com presentes, deixados pelos Pedros Negros (Black Peters).

And we read the poems and we luckily could decypher the hidden messages on them...
E lemos os poemas em cada presente e deciframos do que se tratava as mensagens em códigos...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I ♥ Tokos

Vontadinha de comprar feijão preto com carne seca, macarraozinho lámen, aipim (AND pimenta sechuan a pedido da sogrinha que anda perdendo o paladar depois da retirada do tumor no cérebro). Dei uma passadinha no meu "toko" (loja de produtos comestíveis asiáticos) favorito em Zaandam onde dei de cara já na entrada com uma travessinha de bacalhau desfiado a 4,75euros por 400 gramas. Hum, eu acho que o preço está razoável, néam ? Aliás, foi a primeira vez que vi escrito em holandês como bakkeljauw ao invés de kabbeljauw. Quase abracei o garoto chinês atendente do toko e fui cantar "Ilariê-Ilariê-ô-ô-ô" quando peguei o bacalhau !  I ♥ toko shops.

Nunca, mas nunca mesmo em anos e anos vivendo na Holanda tinha visto bacalhau salgado. Fiquei superfeliz, pois meu marido é tarado por pratos de bacalhau adora receitas brasileiras que levam bacalhau salgado que é cozido e desfiado. ("Oh, a pobre já fica feliz de achar umas ripinhas de bacalhau seco e salgado. Que simplória" já tou ouvindo neguim pensar...). Acho que vou fazer algo fácil para o segundo dia de Natal: uma brandade. Vou por fé na qualidade desse bacalhau de toko ! E receita de brandade é tão simples, mas tão simples que até parece comidinha de criança. Mas vou te contar, hein ? O resultado é divino !

Estranho ela não ter posto nem creme de leite fresco na massa nem ter acrescentado queijo parmesão ralado e levado ao forno mas... tudo é valido.
Abaixo, um vídeo interessante com uma varição da receita clássica. O chef acrescentou presunto e azeitonas. Fica ótimo também. Eu tenho esse anel de metal e vou tentar.

Ou será que faço bolinhos de bacalhau ? Mmmm...

Oh, dúvida cruel !

Monday, October 31, 2011

I ♥ Tins

This one is pretty old...

Not so old... 1980, Queen Beatrix celebrates 25 years on the throne.

A castle... how lovely is that ?
Everything together.

Colecionar latinha prá mim funciona assim: quanto mais antiguinha... melhor ! Uso todas. TO-DAS. Quer dizer... algumas são do maridovski (ele guarda selinho de desconto que ganha no posto de gasolina). Dá uma peninha se começa a surgir uma ferrugenzinha aqui ou ali...  E olha: não troco, não vendo, não barganho.
E você ?
não gosta...
ou não tá nem aí ?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Verkade Museum (Het Verkade Paviljoen)

Last summer I have visited with my parents and kids the Verkade museum. It is a section of the Zaanse Museum and is located in the Zaanse Schans in Zaandam.

The Verkade products are very popular in Holland and many are found in other European countries. Specially famous in Holland are the Verkade chocolate letters you find in supermarkets during November and December.

In the 125 years of its existence, Verkade has produced 48 different cookies, several types of chocolate, toffees, bonbons, waffles, cakes, snacks and... candles.
Below, some of the old machines used in the factory.

The Verkade museum also displays a huge quantity of adverstisement produced during the years. Some are quite popular and you can buy such vintage metal plates at Loods 5, in Zaandam.
  I love them !
(photo above: The Verkade Museum archive)

At the end of the XIX century, Verkade was one fo the first industries in the world exploiting employing women. The "girls from Verkade" were hundreds of young Amsterdam girls who went every morning to work in Zaandam by train. In the museum, I have read a testimony of a woman working as secretary for Verkade in the beginning of the XX century. She found unbelievable how hard the girls had to work, hour after hour during many long days. She herself was very happy and feeling lucky for doing administrative work and not being one of "those (blue collar) girls". There are also written testimonies of the Verkade girls, how they were gathered in Amsterdam every morning at the Central Station in Amsterdam, how they bonded with each other singing in the train,  how they had to perform domestic chores at home after factory hours, and how they tried to steal cookies to take home during the World War II.   Life was tough !
The last years you watch now and then on the TV commercials from featuring "the girls from Verkade" - mostly naif, young & sweet girls who make cookies at the company. Hey, but apparently on Fridays they get "a bit naughty" because they make salty cookies with herbs. (Check vid below). Talk about eroticizing products...

Well, that was it. My kids loved visiting the museum while my parents got a little bit disappointed because nothing was in English. The absence of translations in the museum is really a negative aspect. Anyway, next to the exit/entrance to the museum there is a lunch room and a souvenir shop. You can also visit the shop without having to pass by the museum first.

Above: wooden molds (in the shape of a windmill and dolls) for speculaas cookies. I think such molds are also funky when used as decoration items hanging on the walls of a kitchen.

The museum shop is a large one, and has a wide range of  items such as reproductions of vintage posters, illustration cards (with themes such as butterflies, flowers, fruits and the Dutch landscape), books, tea sets, trays, kitchen utensils, cookies, chocolates. Very lovely and pretty.

Below, a parody of Verkade girls made by the comediants from the program Koefnoen.

At Verkade we know what delicious means...
You just put blushy blond ladies next to a pack of cookies
and it sells itself.
Thus our sweetenes in a tasteful jacket.
They are de Verkade girls !
A delicious combination of boobs and cookies.

And while you get distracted by them,
the real Verkade ladies are working hard making cookies
in order to deliver to whole Holland
something that is good to dip (in tea)
according to tested recipes.

(voice off) Old Cookie - by Verkade