I can’t believe it has been 7 years since Marco and I were married: 19 September, 2013.
Last week Sunday Marco and I went to FOAM – The Kitchen to attend a Thai cooking workshop. This was the first cooking workshop that I have attended in my life, so I was a bit nervous about how things would go. But it worked out nicely and we had a lot of fun!
Due to the corona measures there were less participants than normal, only 8 this time. Each participant was in charge of one recipe. Marco and I took the okonomiyaki recipe (a small Japanese pancake) and a pineapple with nuts recipe. Check out Marco cooking the okonomiyaki (yum):
The base is cabbage, with shredded carrots, spring onions, sesame seed, flax seed, fresh garlic, fresh ginger and more. It was also my first opportunity using a Magimix machine which shredded the carrots and cabbage in half a second. Crazy!
We also made a pineapple dish, topped with a paste consisting of: walnuts, red peppers, onions, sunflower seeds, tamari (a type of soy sauce, in this case gluten free) and more. The topping made it hearty, so it isn’t quite a dessert.Continue reading
Oh, sunny days! (which makes me think of the song “Oh Happy Day” from Sister Act 2 – obligatory YouTube link).
But today’s temperature was about 66F / 19C. Spring is coming. I took a break from work to take a short walk, finding bits of sun while practicing my social distancing responsibly…
I took a photo of the old city hall, where Marco and I were married in September 2013. See the stairs in the lower right? We took some wedding pictures there. I was reminded again of how much taller Marco is than I am, as I had to stand a few stairs above him in the pictures.
Blast from the past (blog post from September 19, 2014 to be exact): Holding hands (Or: A year ago today)
There was another press conference this evening with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Healthcare Minister Hugo de Jonge. For the most part the message was Hou vol! Or “Keep going! You’re doing great!” With a few exceptions, we managed to use our common sense and stay home over the weekend, only going outside if needed and going out alone, etc.
There was also a reminder that Easter was coming and we needed to celebrate it at home responsibly and not travel throughout the country to visit family. With a similar amount of “You’re doing great! Don’t stop now!” and a reminder that the only way the country can consider relaxing the measures (piece by piece, slowly) is if we all individually and collectively make smart decisions in the near future. You get the idea.
Minister de Jonge also mentioned that the government was looking into two apps to help in the fight against the coronavirus: one app to let you know if you have been in contact with someone who had later been diagnosed with the virus, and another app to help potential patients stay in touch with their doctors. They don’t know if the apps will be compulsory (my guess is no, as people tend to be stubborn around here) and how they will work with regards to privacy and user data.
Further reading on the two apps:
Last month Marco and I visited Eindhoven for a short weekend as a belated anniversary trip. One of the things we saw was an area full of graffiti called “Step in the Arena”.
That’s the name of graffiti festival that has taken place for the last 10 years in the Berenkuil, which translates to bear pit in English. It’s a roundabout for cars, along with a sunken level underneath for bikes and motorcycles. 2019 was the 10th edition.
Here are some of the photos from the 2019 festival’s graffiti:
And finally, a claw crane game:
It was definitely a great spot to visit and one I can recommend (although it was about a 20-25 minute walk to get there).
A few weeks ago Marco and I went to Utrecht for half a day. It’s about a 45 minute train ride – when the trains ride properly anyway. There were some issues that day, so I think it took about an hour and a half to get there. Opps! It’s a city in the middle of the Netherlands with about 350,000 residents.
The main reason for this trip was to visit the Hoog Catharijne mall, which has probably been under renovation for years. At least it seemed that way. I don’t think it is completely done, but the parts that are done look really good. Check it out:
And just outside the mall in one of the canals is a piece of art: a whale made of plastic. Of course, a statement on plastic in the oceans.
And a close-up look at the whale from the front:
It’s a nice day trip, especially when you a combine it with a tour of the older parts of the city (which we did a few years back).
❤ Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤
Marco and I exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts this morning. He got me a small bottle of cava (a Spanish sparking wine), a bag of Haribo gummy bears and a chocolate rose. ❤
I got him Winter-in-lov, a chocolate and rooibos tea, with additional spices like cinnamon, ginger and licorice. If you like tea with chocolate notes, I can highly recommend it.
We interrupt this blog post to say: Happy birthday, mom!
Here’s a look back at our oliebollen making attempts this year. (Quick recap: oliebollen literally translates to “balls of oil” and are sort of like doughnuts, usually with raisins found inside. They are a traditional New Year’s Eve treat for Dutchies.)
First, a look at the batter. Doesn’t look like much yet! Or it kind of looks like we are making chocolate chip cookies… But it still needs to be allowed to rise for about 45 minutes, too.
To make the experience a bit easier this year we bought an oliebollentang from Albert Heijn. It’s really just a glorified ice cream scoop. We also tried wetting the scoop in oil between each oliebol. It was still trial and error, but we finally learned the best trick for us was to use a large spoon to grab the batter, and then carefully place it into the oliebollen scoop, and finally put the scoop into the oil, releasing the batter under the oil so that it would come off (a bit) easier.
Time to fry them up! My favorite part is when the oliebollens start flipping on their own. Doesn’t always happen, but sometimes.
They are already looking a lot like oliebollen. You only need to keep them in the oil for 3-4 minutes, but they should be flipped once to make sure both sides are evenly cooked.
And the finished product, with a fair heaping of powdered sugar on top.
My oh my, how time flies. It’s been five years since Marco and I got married! This year we went to Breda for a few days. Marco chose the location and hotel secretly. I must say – he chose well!
Breda is a city relatively close to the border with Belgium, with about 180,00 inhabitants. The only times I had been there was to transfer from one train to another, so it was new to me.
We stayed at the lovely Bliss Boutique hotel in the city centre. I can highly recommend it! Marco booked through booking.com, and thus didn’t have a chance to select a specific suite. However, it worked out wonderfully as we were placed in the Long Island suite.
It was perfect for us, as it comes with a separate sitting area (pictured below), an eating area, a king-size bed, a bath and double shower… the list goes on and on. The location was also great, being right next to the Grote Kerk (Church of Our Lady) in the heart of the city.
We also got complimentary prosecco and chocolates upon arrival, a welcome surprise as we hadn’t mentioned anything about it being our anniversary!
While walking to the hotel, we went through Valkenburg park. It was beautiful, and luckily we had gorgeous weather for the mini-trip. We were in Breda from Tuesday to Thursday last week. Thursday was coincidentally the last day of summer-like weather in the Netherlands. Friday the weather suddenly changed and brought cold, wind and rain. We didn’t even need our jackets while in Breda. So much good luck there!
This week shall officially be dubbed as ‘Pearl Jam week’ as they had three shows in the Netherlands. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Ziggo dome and Saturday at Pinkpop, a huge outdoors festival. The last time they visited was four years ago, which I was a bit shocked by.
The first night four of us went: Marco, myself, Roger and my mother-in-law. We had fan club tickets, specifically standing tickets, which meant we could go in a half hour before everyone else. It does have the downside that you need to pick up your tickets the day of at the box office as you are required to show an ID, though.
We arrived around 2:30. Let’s just say the line for getting the tickets was over an hour and the line for merchandise was about an hour and a half… So we did some divide and conquer: Roger and Marco got the tickets, while my mother-in-law and I got the merchandise – posters. There are unique posters for each Pearl Jam concert (Marco and Roger got them all).
Marco also picked up a new ‘Safe travels‘ keychain, to replace the one he got about ten years ago.
Today marks five years to the day since I arrived in the Netherlands. It is amazing how time files… Yesterday was otherwise a very typical December day:
- We visited the Christmas Fair at the Lange Voorhout
- We went grocery shopping at the local Albert Heijn (this one being of the “XL” variety over on Elandstraat)
- We baked cookies (see below)
- We started working on Christmas cards… we are really behind on the international cards this year!
To mark the occasion of “five years in the Netherlands” I made lemon cookies. You can find the recipe in Dutch over at OhMyFoodness. It’s one of my favorite recipes to make. The cookies turn out very lemony and chewy – just the way I like it!
Five years! I couldn’t bake five years ago if my life depended on it…