Holidays

August (Or: Did you know it is already time for Sinterklaas?)

Marco and I visited Action today. Action (English Wikipedia) is a cheap store, kind of like Dollar General in the US without saying everything is a dollar.

Imagine my surprise (okay, not really) when we saw that Action was selling kruidnoten (English Wikipedia) already. Although I know Roger already saw some at the beginning of this month. Kruidnoten is a hard cookie-like confectionery sold in the time leading up to the Sinterklaas holiday on 5 December. These days it starts appearing in August, and 2021 was no exception.

They also had other Sinterklaas items for sale:

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Categories: Everyday purchases, Holidays, Shopping | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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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King’s Day 2021 (Or: A sea of orange)

When Marco and I took a walk this afternoon we spotted these flowers by the Hofvijver (English Wikipedia):

Fitting, since today is King’s Day (also Wikipedia), a Dutch national holiday.

Who else remembers that Koningsdag (=King’s Day) was called Woningsdag last year? Woning = home, so it was a play on King’s Day reminding people to celebrate from home due to the pandemic.

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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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FOAM Easter brunch (Or: A mix of savory and sweet)

This year’s Easter brunch by FOAM was delicious, not that we expect anything different by now. Both photos were taken by Marco, who has a better eye for food photos it seems.

Let’s see. Some of the savory items include: a scone with salted butter and chia jam, an avocado sandwich, a mini spinach quiche and a scrambled tofu sandwich. (Note: that seems to be the only way I like tofu. So tiny it tastes and looks like scrambled eggs. Although oddly I also only eat eggs every 2-3 years, so who knows.)

Some of the sweet items included a coffee hazelnut milkshake, a huge chocolate chip cookie, banana bread, and a fresh fruit salad. My favorite was the chocolate chip cookie (of course) but the banana bread was a close second.

See also the 2020 edition for FOAM’s Easter brunch. That was one of the first FOAM meals we had in corona – pre-FOAM@home on Fridays. I can’t believe it’s been a year already!

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Happy Easter (Or: A drawing from Marco)

Happy Easter everyone!

In the Netherlands Easter Monday is also an official holiday. Unfortunately it is back to work for us tomorrow…

On that note, check out this Easter bunny that Marco drew:

This was for an Easter card that we sent to Marco’s dad. It also included a rhyming poem (not pictured). Not bad considering he wrote the poem and drew the rabbit during a (very) short 7 minute tram ride!

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Valentine’s Day box from FOAM (Or: Two roses)

Marco ordered the Valentine’s Day box from FOAM for the two of us. How cute!

The two extra roses were a nice touch. The box contained fruit salad, an avocado and smoked almond sandwich and a beetroot wrap with black pepper cream cheese, tempeh bacon and cress. On the sweet side we had French toast, banana bread and a chocolate/coffee cupcake. Oh, and juice made of beet/apple/ginger/blueberry. Yum yum. The only thing that I personally didn’t like as much was the black pepper cream cheese, perhaps because I didn’t know the cream cheese had black pepper in it to begin with. It was an interesting flavor either way! The unexpected star of the dish was definitely the fresh toast.

Marco likes to take the artistic photos. I benefit from getting to post them on my blog!

After half a day of rain, the snow and ice has begun to melt. Tomorrow we’re looking at highs of 10C/50F and the weekend might (if we are lucky) get up to 16C/60F. Oh course I read my parents back in the US are facing another snowstorm today… brrr.

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Just another Thursday (Or: Curfews and Easter eggs)

It looks like more Dutch parties are in favor of the curfew, as long as it starts a bit later. Last weekend the rumors were that it would last from 20:00-04:00, during the press conference on Wednesday we heard possibly 20:30-04:30 and now there is talk of it not starting until 21:00. This slight compromise seems to be the only way for the government to get a majority of parties to vote for the plan, although prime minister Mark Rutte mentioned that if it starts any later than 21:00 it would not have much effect.

MPs set to vote to bring in a curfew from 9pm after a full day’s debate from dutchnews.nl

The Dutch government revised the vaccination schedule slightly. See also this article at dutchnews.nl: When is it your turn to get vaccinated? The schedule so far (or the same list in Dutch from rijksoverheid.nl)

Did you know mid-January means Easter eggs are already arriving in stores? Het is januari, dus… zijn de eerste paaseitjes gespot in Den Haag from indebuurt.nl. The essential stores that are allowed to be open during this lockdown, at any rate. On the linked page the big picture on the bottom is of the Easter egg selection at Jamin, a Dutch candy store. The article says that some of the more unique flavors sold this year are wasabi, apple strudel and carrot cake. I’m also a big fan of the color coordination, though it makes me wonder what flavor is missing in the lower right in the article’s photo.

Speaking of Easter eggs, here is the selection at an Albert Heijn grocery store (somewhere in the Netherlands):

The tweet reads: “Every Easter I buy a large bag of Easter eggs and put them in a big vase on the table. Every January Albert Heijn reminds me that I still haven’t eaten all of them yet.”

Easter in January…

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Anyone up for some satay? (Or: Tasty Christmas gifts)

Roger gave Marco a recipe book for Christmas: Indostok (bol.com, in Dutch). The title combines two words, “indo” and “stok” (stok=stick). The book includes many, many different satay recipes from Vanja van der Leeden.

Another skillfully posed photo by Marco

Satay (or saté in Dutch) was one of the few Dutch meals we made in Chicago for relatives. We brought along spices to make the accompanying peanut sauce (pindasaus) and then cooked and skewered some chicken. We also brought along a small jar of acar (atjar in Dutch – I had to look up how to say it in English, even), which is a vegetable pickle dish.

For me, the sourer the atjar is, the better. Consider this: one of my favorite random side dishes is cucumber with white wine vinegar, a bit of lemon juice and hot sauce. My mouth is puckering just thinking about it…

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The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Or: Enjoying the Christmas gifts)

Marco received an awesome book for Christmas this year—The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian—from Roger.

Marco being Marco, he had to get the perfect photo. And what better way to do that than to use the reindeer and teddy bear he bought from Xenos as the “readers”?

If you look closely you’ll see some chocolate in the lower right. That is dark chocolate marzipan from Albert Heijn, a joke of sorts between Marco, Roger and I. A few years ago Roger “stole” some dark chocolate marzipan we had in our Christmas candy dish, so Marco bought some and wrapped it up as a Christmas gift that year for Roger so he wouldn’t have to “steal” ours. But Roger also bought some and wrapped it up as a gift for Marco, so there was lots of marzipan going around.

This year we each gifted one to another (three packs in total). The tradition lives on…

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