Monthly Archives: January 2019

Beef noodle pho (Or: It’s what’s for dinner)

(The “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.” line is an American slogan from the early ’90s.)

A few weeks ago Marco, Roger and I made Pho again. It’s a Vietnamese soup dish, made with either beef or chicken.

I’ve blogged about pho soup once before, last May. The best part of the dish: the beef is thinly sliced, and then cooked at the table by pouring the hot broth over it.

Tasty! Though I might have been a bit greedy with the amount of coriander I threw on top (although some of it was also mint). The noodles are bean spouts, something I don’t remember having before moving here. In fact, I’ve learned the Dutch name for them, taugé, but always have to look up the English translation. The sprouts pictured above are most likely from Indonesia.

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Talk about last minute (Or: Extension to my residency permit)

I’ve now been in the Netherlands for six years (time flies!). In October of last year I received the letter to renew my residency permit. My first year here I had a one-year permit, but after I married Marco I qualified for a five-year permit (hence the six-year total). This is much appreciated, since the fee (€171) is the same for either case…

I received the notice in mid-October, and send in the paperwork about a week and a half later. Of course, if I had known that the decision could take up to three months, I might not have waited!

The letter above says “We have received your request for an extension to the duration of the residency permit. The timeline for this decision started on October 27, 2018. You can expect the decision by January 25, 2019.” Guess when the next letter arrived with IND’s decision?

No, really. There’s only one right answer.

If you guessed “January 25, 2019” you would be correct!

Marco and I knew that there was a bit of a backlog at IND (understandable, since they aren’t fully staffed) but sheesh. The reason I should have sent in the extension right away was because my residency permit expired a few weeks before the 25th. No big deal, as I simply carried around the letter saying that the extension was in progress, but still. It’s amazing to think your existence in a country is tied to what is effectively a thin piece of plastic with a picture on it.

At least now I am officially legal until January 2024!

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The yearly tradition (Or: Zuurkool, better known as Sauerkraut)

Last Tuesday Marco’s mom made zuurkool for Marco and I (yay!). The three of us have an agreement that she makes zuurkool once a year, when it gets cold out.

This year worked perfectly as Tuesday was the first snowfall in here in the Netherlands. Only about half an inch, give or take, and gone within a day or so. Nothing compared to the cold weather which parts of the U.S. are getting with that polar vortex!

Zuurkool was on Tuesday’s menu

The best way to describe zuurkool is “sour mashed potatoes” (indeed, the Dutch version is generally a combination of zuurkool and potatoes).

It’s very tasty when the weather is cold out. Which is exactly what I said last year, it looks like…

Categories: Culture, Food | 2 Comments

Gevulde speculaas time (Or: Who knew almond paste was so tasty?)

Last week Marco and I made gevulde speculaas (literally “filled speculaas”) which is a type of spiced biscuit filled with almond paste. In case my parents are wondering, this is what Marco and I brought over for Thanksgiving! The actual recipe came from a box of Koopmans mix.

One possible title for this one is “The day after”

The only thing we had a bit of trouble with was the thickness of the bottom and top dough. Easy enough to roll out, but then it was too wet to transfer it to the baking dish easily.

But was it delicious? Yes it was! Especially if you add a small spoonful of whipped cream on top, with a dusting of powdered speculaas spices…

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Amsterdam, where Prinsenhof and Brouwersgracht meet (Or: Puzzle time)

I recently finished a 1000-piece puzzle of Amsterdam — a present last year from Roger. And indeed, the puzzle sat in the ‘puzzle holder‘ for a good 5 months before I was able to finish it. The puzzle itself shows the corner of Amsterdam’s Prinsenhof where it meets Brouwersgracht, on King’s Day – hence all of the orange-clad characters.

Here is a close up look of the detail:

In the meantime, I’ve already started the next one. That would be a puzzle of The Hague’s Hofvijver which Marco bought for me as a Christmas present.

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Tandr restaurant in The Hague (Or: On a whim)

Over the weekend Marco and I went to Tandr in the city centre, not far from city hall. We’ve walked past it countless times, our interest piqued by the lovely smells from the grill wafting out the doors. I’m not sure why it took so long to step inside…

A view of the restaurant

The menu is Mesopotamian. Marco and I both chose lamb durum, with durum being the type of wheat bread the meat is wrapped in.

We ordered the meal (durum wrap, French fries and drink). The durum wrap has a small salad inside, a mixture of garlic and samba sauce, and the chosen meat (in our case, lamb).

It was really delicious! It was definitely a bit much for a lunch, but the price was reasonable, around €9 or €9.50. The menu on the website is a bit out of date in regards to the pricing, so keep that in mind. My only quibble with the wrap is that the pieces of lamb were sometimes a bit too big to eat in one bite, at least for me.

It’s always a good sign when a place includes a jar of pepper flakes on the table. Marco quickly threw some over his fries.

I would definitely recommend this restaurant, and plan on visiting it again!

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The fables of Jean de la Fontaine (Or: Exhibition at the Central Library)

From now through April 1st, there is an exhibition (De Raaf, de Vos en Kornuiten) going on at the Central Library. That translates as The raven, the fox, and his mates. The exhibition covers the work of Jean de la Fontaine, a French fabulist.

The header translates as “A lesson in behavior”. The beginning of the text reads: “A fable is a short story or poem with a moral. The intent is to both amuse you and to teach you something. You can think of the moral as the soul of the fable…”

The fables shown in the library were translated by Rob Scholten while Carlijn van Vlijmen worked on the illustrations.

“The monkey and the dolphin”
“The wolf and the dog”

As mentioned, the exhibit runs through April 1st and can be seen on the first floor of the Central Library, next to the escalators.

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Street food Vietnamese style (Or: Viet Street in The Hague)

Just before Christmas Marco, Roger and I decided to try out a new food place in The Hague. Well, Marco – being the adventurous soul he is – had already visited it during lunch one Friday and brought back the good news to us.

In late October a Vietnamese street food restaurant with the name of Viet Street opened. It sounded delicious so Roger and I quickly agreed to try it out. We decided to go there for a late lunch before seeing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse at the movies (which was awwwwwesome).

Because we were not sure about the portion sizes we ordered some spring rolls to split as a starter, although I didn’t snag a photo of those. Marco and Roger both got Vietnamese pancakes (stuffed with shrimp and/or pork belly, if I remember correctly) with the usual added veggies on the side. You open up your pancake and throw them in as needed.

Vietnamese pancake time
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Categories: Food, The Hague | Tags: | 6 Comments

A Christmas treat (Or: Ice cream cakes for the win!)

I was going through my photos of the holidays and noticed another good one to post. On the first day of Christmas we went to Marco’s dad and his wife for a lovely rijsttafel spread (Indonesian meal, translates to “rice table”).

For dessert, she made a delicious ice cream cake for us:

As soon as I saw it my eyes lit up at how fanciful it looked. And the ice cream inside was positively delicious. As the holidays are already a few weeks gone, my memory plays tricks on me but I believe it was cinnamon ice cream.

The talented baker did apologize for one detail, which would hardly be noticed. She created red and green leaves (with fondant, I believe?) to go all along the sides of the cake, but ran into trouble when the ice cream melted and dripped down the sides a bit. Personally, I love the little gaps on the side allowing you to look into the cake and at the leaves.

I’ll admit, I wish I had a slice of this ice cream cake in front of me to eat again.

Categories: Food, Friends&Family, Holidays | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Feeling like you are in an American cereal aisle (Or: Unicorn Froot Loops)

Spotted at the local Albert Heijn last month:

The American-style cereals are definitely starting to take over… I mean, Frosties have been here for a few years (at least) but Unicorn Froot Loops is a new one to me!

On the other hand: all hail the influx of Pop-Tarts (EN Wikipedia | NL Wikipedia) to this country.

Categories: Food | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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