Author Archives: Niki

About Niki

I run the blog http://www.lifeinthehague.com

Sanquin Bloedbank (Or: Puzzle time!)

Some months ago I was able to choose a gift for donating blood for the 15th time. I could not pass up the jigsaw puzzle that I saw – a 500 piece puzzle from Jan van Haasteren!

Image downloaded from https://www.jvh-puzzels.com/all-puzzles/by-image/sanquin-bloedbank.html

It’s specially designed for the Dutch blood bank, Sanquin and not available in stores.

Highlights include: the Sinterklaas in the upper right in the elevator, next to a prisoner stealing the pelican (Sanquin’s mascot), the guy in the business suit in the middle donating blue blood, and the gnome sitting patiently in the donation area on the right middle. Oh, and the gentlemen on the left side with the green shirt who is taking advantage of the policy of free snacks for blood donors.

Here’s my finished puzzle:

And on to the next one, considerably more difficult: an Escher jigsaw puzzle.

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Hiroshima style okonomiyaki (Or: Do I mean onomatopoeia?)

Yesterday, Marco, Roger and I made okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake. The recipe came from a cookbook called “Tokyo stories” which I gave to Marco for Christmas this year. It was a nice find at the local American Book Center, or ABC for short. The joke in the blog title was that Marco couldn’t pronounce it right away after visiting Japan (oh-co-nome-e-ah-key) so he took to calling it onomatopoeia, which is ironically just as difficult to say. But these days we all just call it by its true name.

This variant was the Hiroshima style, which differs from the Osaka style Marco and Roger ate in Tokyo last year. 1) It uses 3 to 4 times the amount of cabbage as the Osaka style variant, with the cook (in this case Roger) pushing it down to flatten it as it cooks. 2) It is built in layers, including one careful flip halfway through. Roger was a flipping master last night.

For the most part, you can add whatever toppings you want. The original recipe called for squid but we were not adventurous enough for that, so we used pork instead. There is bacon in the recipe – you add it to the top of the pile and then you immediately flip the pancake so that the bacon is on the bottom and crisps up. It also usually has noodles (we used yakisoba noodles, which are stir-fried). There’s also a special okonomiyaki sauce, and we used a wasabi mayo as well on top.

We also used Roger’s gourmetten set, which has a dual use plate depending on how it was flipped: a grill for gourmetten or a flat grill for occasions like this. For the most part we cooked everything on the stove in pans and then transferred the mixture to the grill plate at the end to keep everything warm (traditionally you should cut off a piece and put it on your plate and get more later).

As a drink, Marco and Roger had calpis, which is a Japanese uncarbonated soft drink. But personally I like carbonation so I don’t drink that often. I had an Asahi “super dry” beer. Ironically enough it does taste pretty dry. It is also my beer of choice if we go to Wagamama in Amsterdam.

As usual, Marco cooks awesome stuff!

Categories: Food, Friends&Family | 2 Comments

Cappuccino, cappuccino, cappuccino (Or: Cappuccino muffin with your coffee)

Last week Marco and I stopped by Urban Café for an afternoon coffee. My eyes were instantly drawn to the cappuccino muffin, which did not disappoint:

It went well with my creme brûlée latte (right) and Marco’s pumpkin spice latte (left). And we had a lovely view of the street Spui while we enjoyed it.

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Fireworks over The Hague (Or: Happy New Year!)

The Netherlands has survived its night of fireworks. We did see one drunk guy (still holding his bottle of alcohol) walk up to a police car waiting at a stop light and talk to police agent for a few minutes. Maybe he was simply wishing them a happy New Year, who knows. By the time we crossed the street the police car was on the move again.

There is also a YouTube video available from user VerdierMedia PuntNL where he/she uses a drone to capture the fireworks over The Hague last night. Check it out!

Categories: Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Sugar and all things sweet (Or: New Year's oliebollen)

Marco and I made oliebollen yesterday! (Or: I supervised while he did almost all of the work.)

Yum yum yum. With a touch of powdered sugar on top. A New Year’s Eve treat.

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Holiday Mickey (Or: Christmas in The Fred)

Holiday Mickey Mouse would like to say hi:

This is in the Fred (an important shopping area and an international/expat area of The Hague).

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Purple and gold (Or: Christmas tree in De Passage)

Here’s a look at this year’s Christmas tree in De Passage (The passage):

And a close up of the Christmas ornaments:

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Christmas at Bijenkorf, The Hague (Or: 2019 edition)

Last week a colleague and I had some extra time on our hands after work so we decided to check out the Christmas section at Bijenkorf in The Hague. Here are some of the photos I took:

The gingerbread houses look so yummy!
A look at the Christmas tree theme this year
A beautiful (if slightly busy/crowded) table setting
More Christmas items, and ornaments for sale in the background

I always check out the Christmas section at Bijenkorf – they make some wonderful items. They come in different sizes and styles, so there is something for (almost) everyone.

Categories: Holidays, Shopping | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Gibberish (Or: Riding the HTM tram)

I’m a big fan of public transportation and love reading everything about HTM trams, so I just had to share the photo I made about the check-in/check-out machine in one of the local trams:

For years these machines display gibberish about 50% of the time. The machine should read IN/UIT- CHECKEN at this moment, which it… mostly… does. But about 15 seconds prior ‘CHECKEN’ was actually ‘SLURKEN’. I’m not sure why exactly, but one letter randomly changes here and there and random symbols appear on the sides.

Maybe it’s all just a big puzzle we are supposed to figure out.

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Decorated Christmas cookies (Or: Bring on the holidays)

Check out the Christmas cookies that my colleague decorated on Friday. They were decorated during a themed ‘Ugly Christmas sweater’ event:

And they are just as tasty as they look! I had part of the one in the upper right – peanut butter and all spice, if I remember correctly.

Categories: Food, Holidays, Working & Volunteering | Tags: | Leave a comment

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