Food

Dining in (Or: Corona measure relaxations)

Okay, technically this rule was relaxed last Saturday, but we did not take “advantage” of it until now. We are now allowed to dine in at a restaurant with mixed households (still a maximum of 4 not including kids). On today’s list was visiting FOAM with Roger for a late breakfast. Part of me was selfishly glad that the weather wasn’t spectacular, because I went with “inside” when booking the reservation, just to be safe. (Side note: did you know there are a few days of 31C/88F coming next week? The Netherlands is going to bake! ☀️)

Here was Marco’s pancakes. You have to love the color.

And my grilled sandwich (commonly referred to as a “toasty” over here). It is with harissa hummus, grilled bell peppers, eggplant, parsley, dukkah and an Israeli salad on the side.

And my chai latte. What can I say? I had to take a photo – I loved the stencil on top.

Marco and I have a few restaurants we are eyeing for later this month or next month. Back to Himalayan restaurant for Indian/Nepalese food at some point soon, and also SET restaurant (Japanese) for a romantic dinner. SET has been completely closed for half a year, not even doing takeout, so I am looking forward to it.

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A hidden piece of nature (Or: FOAM back terrace)

Recently I took a few photos of the back terrace of the FOAM restaurant in The Hague. It’s a tiny splash of nature, only 5 tables or so. On the other side of the foliage is a playground, so you constantly hear the murmur of kids playing.

And a look at the upper level (on the other side is the playground):

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the flowers, either. These were s a vibrant shade of purple.

For this visit Marco and I just had a hot drink (cappuccino for me, matcha latte for Marco) before we took home our “Foam@home” meal. This time it was a very delicious Sri Lankan coconut curry.

And if you have stuck around this long, I will treat you to a photo of a very, very plump (and slow) pigeon that was waddling around in the garden.

It is perhaps a bit hard to tell how plump it was, but it was probably about 50% larger than it needed to be. In the photo its chest extends just past the chair leg. I was surprised it was able to fly away in the end… but it did.

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Friday evening meals (Or: A bit of heat to end the week)

On Friday Marco and I cooked Kolhapuri chicken curry, a spicy, flavorful meal accompanied by naan bread. We found the recipe in our “Indian Food and Cooking” recipe book (Amazon.com link). The chicken joints were first marinated in yoghurt combined with chili powder, black paper, garlic, gram masala and more goodness. Top it off with some garnish (tomato, red pepper slices, fresh coriander) and you have a spicy treat.

Marco and I watched the Eurovision Song contest finale last night. We usually don’t–he watched begrudgingly but did get invested in the end. But since it was held in Rotterdam this year I wanted to watch. Article from nltimes.nl (note: spoilers).

The highlight of the night was seeing Iceland’s presenter: Olaf Yohansson is a Eurovision hit as he tries to award 12 points to Jaja Ding Dong from radiotimes.com (YouTube link). If that does not make sense to you then you need to watch Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga on Netflix. It is a comedy by Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. Olaf Yohansson was a character who is known for repeatedly shouting “Play Jaja Ding Dong!” (YouTube) at the main characters at one of the local bars.

Oh, and for the first time in history a Dutch driver is on top of the Formula 1 standings after a win today at Monaco (see also formula1.com). Crazy!

Categories: Food, Sports | 2 Comments

When does air equal water? (Or: A riddle for you)

Last week Marco picked up some pancake mix from the local grocery store, Albert Heijn. The brand was Pondan, an Indonesian company.

I was slightly confused when I looked at the back of packaging to see what extra ingredients were needed (top left with the red arrow):

What? I need 100ml air? How does that work?

And then my brain kicked in and my eyes started working. Air in Indonesian is water in English. How confusing!

But I must admit I love the fact that most packaging is not just in Dutch. Usually you see Dutch and French, because the two main languages in Belgium are Dutch and French. My contact solution bottle has 10+ languages on it. It’s so different from packaging in the United States. For logical reasons of course, but it still is something that makes me pause sometimes.

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Fun in the sun (Or: Eating on the terrace)

On Sunday Marco and I spontaneously booked a reservation for FOAM restaurant here in The Hague. That’s the same restaurant where we get FOAM at home meals on Fridays. I had resisted making an appointment earlier in the week as it was forecasted to rain, but the sun was out in full force Sunday morning so I said we should give it a try. We got a seat on the terrace outside at the front of the restaurant. (Here in the Netherlands you are currently only allowed to eat outside on a restaurant terrace, not inside the restaurant.)

Of course even with beautiful blue skies we managed to get a short burst of rain twice. We looked up and realized there was a tiny grey cloud amidst a sea of blue and white. It was pretty strange. Luckily everything was dry again after a few minutes.

I just loved the ‘this table is reserved’ spoon so I had to take a picture of that:

I decided to have a flatbread with white bean hummus, parsley pesto, red cabbage, eggplant and more. Here is a look before I snapped up the last bite:

And Marco had a ‘no queso quesadilla’ with black beans, sweet potato and a spicy tomato jam:

I do think that might be the next thing I try on the lunch menu. The next time the sun decides to show itself!

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Orange, orange, orange (Or: Cheese and nuts for King’s Day)

Over the weekend the intercom unexpectedly buzzed. It turned out to be a surprise package from work. Inside were gifts to celebrate King’s Day with.

Think of things like a toxically orange lei (you can just see it hidden behind the orange ballons), nuts, cheese blocks, Valencian orange tonic water, and a game of tic tac toe with wooden blocks. Oh, and an elderberry syrup mixture to stir into your water.

The two drinks were Aperol Spritz, an Italian drink (aperol, sparkling water and prosecco). They actually weren’t part of the package. I still had leftover aperol spritz from last year when I celebrated King’s Day with my coworkers! Virtually, of course. Luckily the bottle is now empty. It’s an okay drink… once a year?

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Orange sugar (Or: King’s Day in the Netherlands)

King’s Day is next Tuesday which means a lovely day off. That’s about the only advantage these days, since the usual King’s Night parties (the evening before) and the King’s Day market can’t take place this year due to the pandemic. But who am I kidding? I probably haven’t gone to a King’s Night party in the last 5 years (back when it used to be Queen’s Night, before she abdicated and gave the throne to her son).

It also means you see a lot of toxic orange baked goods at the grocery stores.

On the left in the back you have soesjes (profiterole according to the English Wikipedia). Those are pastries filled with cream. In the middle you have tompouce, which is just called tompouce over at the English Wikipedia because it is a Dutch/Belgium pastry. My sweet tooth doesn’t usually show itself so I don’t eat this kind of stuff that often anymore. The best tompouce I ever had was from Hema with a lime flavor, putting it a bit more on the sour spectrum than the sweet spectrum. But tompouces are tricky to eat, more like overstuffed hamburgers. If you bite wrong the cream in the middle squirts out in the back.

On the right you have a schnitte. I had no idea what this was. I told Marco and Roger this and they looked at me a bit incredulously. Apparently its a two or three layer cake with whipped cream between the layers, or sometimes jam. Marco said that Viennetta ice cream (English Wikipedia) could also be an example of an ice cream schnitte.

Viennetta was actually a possibility last week for celebrating my birthday, but we went for cheesecake instead. I will always consider Viennetta a luxury, since that is how I viewed it as a kid. With the commercial where the group would enjoy the ice cream in clear, tall glasses (obligatory YouTube link)…

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Slow cooker chili (Or: Friday meals)

You know it’s Friday when your phone says “No Alarm” for tomorrow. Finally! This was a long week. It wasn’t even work’s fault. It was just the week itself that was slow. It started on Monday when I thought it was already Tuesday… and yesterday I thought for sure it was Friday. You get the idea.

Tonight Marco and I watched the series (season?) finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Wikipedia) on Disney+. It’s a cool show. Not as crazy as WandaVision was, but still cool. It had some great moments. Marco has definitely converted me into a Marvel fan. I think we’ve done a marathon of all of the MCU films at least 3 or 4 times now over the years.

Here was Marco and I’s treat for surviving a long work week:

Slow cooker chili with cheese and crackers. The best part? How tasty it is. The worst part? It cooks for 8-10 hours. Since we both work at home these days, that meant delicious aromas wafting through the apartment. All. Day. Long.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Birthday cheesecake (Or: Too many choices)

On Saturday Marco and I picked up some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Company in celebration of my birthday last week. This was our first visit in 2021. Last year we went right before the country went into a soft lockdown (talking with the owner about “the corona situation” while sipping our coffees) and we picked up some cheesecake later in the year. These days the company has a new owner to carry on the proud American cheesecake tradition. The store still sells the same flavors (and of course some new ones too), so it’s going fine.

For my birthday I chose lemon lime, Marco chose lime blueberry and for Roger we chose blueberry banana. (Do you see the nice chain of flavors we made by doing that?)

I couldn’t help but take a picture of some uncut cheesecake just waiting to be put out on display:

Lots of flavors!

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Decadent delights (Or: Three mini birthday brownies)

Earlier this week I received a small box in the mail. In Dutch it’s called brievenbuspakje. Brievenbus = mail box, pakje = little package. (A normal package is called pakket and the Dutch have the habit of adding -je to the end of the word to make it cute and tiny. If you’re interested in the reasons why, feel free to read Make it small: the Dutch love affair with diminutives at iamexpat.nl.)

But I do love brievenbuspakjes or brievenbuscadeautjes (mail box gifts). For whatever reason I am not a fan of having a company deliver something to our door, probably because the doorbell for downstairs is so heart attack inducing when you press it too long. Or something like that. I will go out of my way to order something at bol.com (effectively Dutch Amazon) if and only if it has the option to deliver to the local Albert Heijn grocery store.

But brievenbuspakjes are even better because they are guaranteed to fit in your mail box, meaning you don’t have to be at home and the deliver doesn’t have to spend time ringing your doorbell. Just put it in the mailbox and move on to the next delivery.

But back to that small box I received in the mail. I was thrilled to see the tiny gift in our mailbox earlier this week, though had no idea who it was from. The spoon is in the back of the picture to give a bit of reference to how small this box is.

It was from work to say happy birthday! It was a brownie from a local Dutch site, www.mmoodwineandfood.nl. At first when I read the flavors on the card (caramel, white chocolate and m&m topping) I thought it was one really, really extragent brownie. But no, luckily it was separate flavors:

It was so rich Marco and I split the one on the left, the m&m toppings. (Also, I’d not call that m&ms. They were more smarties size, aka the UK chocolates (English Wikipedia). Which apparently pre-dates m&ms by a few years.) The other two brownies were saved for another day.

But: yummmm. Even though we weren’t able to get to them for a few days it was still moist and delicious.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Categories: Food, Working & Volunteering | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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