A few weeks ago I visited Kelly’s expat store here in The Hague. In a moment of nostalgia I picked up a box of S’mores pop tarts. (My second choice would have been regular chocolate, another nostalgia hit.) I have had a pop tart a few times over the years but not that often. I think it is also the price – when I left the US back in 2012 you could wait for the occasional deal to get 2 boxes for 5 bucks. Whereas one box is €5.25 over here in the Netherlands. Import pricing…
In reality the look left a bit to be desired, but the taste was the same as I remember. I did do one thing differently though. As a kid I would always peel off the sides (where there isn’t any top frosting) and throw them out. Shame on me, I know. But these days I enjoy things a bit less sweet, so I ate it all.
MediaMarkt in The Hague (aka the Dutch version of Best Buy) is moving later this spring, from their current location on the Grote Marktstraat to a new location on the… Grote Marktstraat. They will be moving into the old location where the Dutch department store V&D was, which is a better spot then what they currently have. I will just enjoy having escalators and not horrible steep stairs to get to another floor. Thanks to Marco’s dad for that news tip.
There will be another press conference here in the Netherlands tomorrow evening. The rumor is that almost all corona measures (except for the basic rules like hand washing, ventilation and testing if you have symptoms) will disappear on Friday, February 25. So no more mandatory face masks (except probably for vaccination centers or hospitals), no more advice to work at home, etc. We’ll see if it works.
Check out this Christmas tree made of bread rolls:
It is as tasty as it looks. It is actually bake-off bread – you buy it at Albert Heijn and finish baking it in the oven. Perfect toppings include butter, peanut butter, speculaas paste (Wikipedia), and/or hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles). If you’re Dutch you would add a layer of butter and then the hagelslag sprinkles, but luckily I am not Dutch so I am exempt.
We also split a mini kerststol(Wikipedia) between us, a sort of sugary Christmas bread with almond paste inside. And it was one of those rare mornings where I went and made a second cup of coffee… Good times!
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.
As I write this, thunder rumbles in the distance. I miss a good thunderstorm; they aren’t as prevalent here in the Netherlands. Or when you do have them they are not loud enough. I did find a website which shows lightning strikes in realtime (from blitzortung.org). It is just a bit hypnotizing to watch.
Did you ever expect to see popcorn in the breakfast aisle? I did not, but here is a photo from a local grocery store:
That is a granola based cereal with oat, corn flakes and crisps. And popcorn…
I already knew things were going downhill 20 years ago when I saw Reese’s Puffs for the first time, which according to Wikipedia was first launched in 1994. My, how time flies. That cereal is flavored with chocolate and peanut butter, which seemed excessive to me.
I can’t complain, though. One of my best “cereal” memories was of a paper slide built into the back of a Cocos Puffs cereal box. You could roll pieces of cereal down the chute and then eat them. Or there is the memory of me as a young adult eating (dry) cheerios with a diet Dr Pepper on the side for lunch. I loved it.
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.
While shopping at the local Albert Heijn (grocery store) I decided to take a photo of the pancake options. There are a lot after all…
Let’s see… the second row is pancake options from Koopmans. Original, complete, whole wheat, custard (? Opps. Someone put that back in the wrong place – should be 6 grain whole wheat pancakes), “Grandma’s pancakes” with cinnamon, multigrain pancake and biological multigrain pancakes. The second row is mostly the store brand options – original, complete, multigrain pancakes, spelt pancakes, biological pancakes, and pancakes with extra egg whites. The last three options are the liquid pancake options – natural, original and complete pancakes.
That is a lot of pancakes, but where are the boxes of waffle mix? Those are much harder to find, unfortunately!
Here is another breakfast item Marco bought at the local supermarket, Albert Heijn:
We decided to be funny and bake some bacon as well. That way they would have a scarf to keep their necks warm. What do you think? This bread was not that much different from the bread shaped like a Christmas tree we had earlier in the week. (Which, if I must admit, was a bit tastier. These weren’t bad, though.)
And yay, I have a day off tomorrow! I am quite looking forward to sleeping in. And later in the day Marco and I will be going to Roger’s for New Year’s Eve. It is hard to believe I haven’t been to his place since March (!).
For the first time in my life (at least, that I can remember) it was useful to pay attention to the safety notice sent out by the local grocery store, Albert Heijn. In this case the notice was about the sesame bagels they sell. I first heard about the issue on Tuesday when they sent customers an email about it.
I’ll admit I had no idea what “gewasbeschermingsmiddelen” was, but Marco explained it was basically pesticides – during a routine safety check they noticed that the amount of pesticides left over on the sesame seeds was too high. After the email I didn’t think too much about it for two reason. First, because the original dates listed didn’t match the date on our package and second because we already ate two of the four bagels over a week ago and didn’t get sick. (These are bagels which you finish baking at home with expiration dates 6-8 weeks in the future. They are also packaged in two groups of two, which is always handy when there’s only two of you.)
So on the one hand I’m thinking “Okay, different batch, and we didn’t get sick from what we already ate… let’s keep it.” and on the other hand I’m thinking “Hmm. I’ve seen this happen before. Let’s keep the remaining bagels, but not eat them right away. Just in case they change their mind.” Which they did on the following day, as you might be able to read in my screenshot. Now it says that they are removing all sesame bagels from the store shelves as a precautionary measure. So into the trash our poor remaining bagels go. Thud. We never even got the chance to invite you over for breakfast…
Helaas. Or as Dutch kids like to say because it rhymes: Helaas, pindakaas. Which translates to “Unfortunately. Peanut butter.” Which isn’t as cool as it is in Dutch, I know.
Hagelslag in Dutch is basically chocolate sprinkles. I like to eat them occasionally, but I’ll admit I don’t eat them in the traditional way: on buttered bread. The butter is needed to keep the hagelslag from sliding off the bread as you raise it to your mouth. No thanks, I’ll skip the butter and take a risk. …and listen to the clink clink clink as a few pieces of chocolate fall off and crash into my plate. It’s all good.
I recently saw that Albert Heijn came out with variations on the traditional sprinkles theme:
The brownie bites caught my eye first. However I did not purchase them as I am afraid that I would eat them directly out of the box. Yum. Strooifeest, seen at the top of the box, translates to something like “sprinkle party”.
Oh, to be a kid again and enjoy eating that much sugar with breakfast. I have fond memories of eating Rice Krispies cereal with a few spoonfuls of sugar at my grandparent’s house. Luckily I was already too old for sugary cereals by the time Reese’s Puffs hit the market in 1994, which is a chocolate and peanut butter cereal. Very American, really. I remember being quite shocked that anyone would put peanut butter (or peanut butter flavor) into cereal. But it seems rather normal these days…