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.
Here are a few photos from the New Years Eve celebrations this year, taking sometime after midnight. It definitely seemed like most people did their fireworks before midnight rather than after. There were still a lot of fireworks going off — I just didn’t get any good photos of those!
And what would a blog post be without a photo of a small New Years Eve fire:
And finally, here’s a link to a drone video on YouTube someone made this year of the New Year’s Eve celebrations here in The Hague. They also made a video of last year’s fireworks extravaganza as well.
Every year on New Year’s Eve, Scheveningen and Duindorp build huge bonfires, one trying to outdo the other. They are actually right by each other, with Scheveningen on the north side of the beach and Duindorp on the south side.
The above picture is from Scheveningen in 2015-2016, when it captured the Guinness World Record for largest bonfire at 8,695 cubic meters. And Duindorp had the record the year before that, to give you some idea of the competition (!).
Here is a link to a drone video of the preparation earlier last week. The cool thing is you can see the other bonfire rising up at the other end of the beach as well. The preparation was not without some hard feelings this year. For instance a truck with pallets for Duindorp accidentally drove to Scheveningen and unloaded the pallets there. The article also goes on to say that Duindorp reached its maximum height and was told to stop, while Scheveningen was at a similar height but was not told to stop building. For that reason, Duindorp started adding more pallets overnight, but stopped again when morning broke. And the article also mentions that some youth in Duindorp were threatening “builders” for the bonfire in Scheveningen who happened to also live in Duindorp.
So you can see that things were a bit riled up this year, which led to the bonfires being higher than they should have been (safety wise). But everything was approved and went ahead last night, and when the bonfire in Scheveningen was lit, it was spectacular.
And then the wind quickly changed direction, and two things were brought with it (video from nu.nl): a rain of fire descending on the beach and nearby houses, and tornados of fire. Actual tornados! One of the beach tents started burning and the fire department cleared out the boulevard as no one wanted to get out of the way for emergency vehicles. They had to use a bit of force (and police dogs) to get everyone to clear out.
Here you can see some of the damage to the surrounding area. Luckily there were no injuries. The fire department did an exceptional job keeping some of the more important buildings wet throughout the night (including the Old Church) to keep them safe.
As mentioned in a few months back, the oliebollenkraam (= stand to sell oliebollen) has temporarily moved to the Grote Markt due to construction around the Spuiplein. I suspect the move has been good for them and they are making much more money where they currently are. They are consistently voted one of the best stands in this providence.
Oliebollen is sort of like a doughnut and covered in powdered sugar. They are traditionally filled with raisins, but you can get them without raisins as well these days. They are eaten around New Years Eve, although you can also find them at carnivals throughout the year.
Here is a look at the line around 10:30 this morning:
And a close up, to show you what the stand looks like:
So the lines weren’t too bad at 10:30. This is what it looks like around 14:30, just four hours later:
There’s still three lines, give or take, and they stretch just to the edge of the tram/bus area. Compare that to the lines in 2014 and 2015. Of course that is at the old location, where it is easier to just have a single line.
I suspect the crowds will be greatest around 17:00, when everyone is out of work. However by then festivities will also be starting at our place so we won’t be going outside until closer to midnight, for the fireworks.
One of the best things about the upcoming holidays (besides finally having a few days off – the last public holiday was June 5th!) is breaking out the gourmet set for New Year’s Eve.
Gourmetten is awesome. You have a little grill that goes in the middle of the dinner table and you spend a few hours grilling meats, vegetables (onions, paprika), and other miscellaneous items like pineapple (yuuuum!).
To get a sense of what it is like, check out this blog post from 2015.
This past Saturday Marco, Roger and I celebrated the closing of 2016. As per our yearly tradition, after midnight we go outside for about an hour and check out the fireworks. This year it was quite foggy even before people started setting off fireworks, so it seemed like most people began their celebrations early in the night rather than waiting until midnight.
My favourite photo from that night had nothing to do with the fireworks – it was of the Christmas lights at a house. Although since the lights were red white and blue you could say they were celebrating their nationality:
While some of this fog was due to the fireworks, it really was a pretty foggy night
A bit of purple to brighten the night sky
Quality time with family and friends
Everyone seemed to have the fire “baskets” you see above. Not sure where they came from.
This year we are celebrating New Year’s Eve at Roger’s. One of the most important parts of that (besides hanging out with friends, of course!) is “gourmetten”. Below is a picture of all of the gourmetten foods Roger purchased for the evening, although we already know we won’t be able to eat everything.
“Gourmetten” is a Dutch tradition of frying meats and (to a lesser extent) vegetables on a small grill on the dinner table. You can see pictures of the gourmet grill in the 2015 New Year’s Eve blog post I made. Roger purchased a new grill for 2016, so I will try and take some photos of that in action. I can’t wait!
Marco, Roger and I went outside on New Year’s Eve this year to see the fireworks being shot off this year. Here are some of the photos I took, although in some cases they are a bit blurry.
A photo of the fireworks sparking up as someone stirred up the fire with a stick:
Christmas trees usually end up in most fires as you can see in this family photo:
Random look at ground fireworks:
Random look at fireworks from a distance:
Someone was stupid enough to try and drive their car over a fire in the middle of the road. They drove through quickly and then got out to inspect the damage. Admittedly those streets are narrow and it would be almost impossible to turn around.
Building a fire (early on in the evening):
Here’s a look at a the remnants of the fireworks surrounding a bike, the day after:
A lot of Dutch have a New Year’s Eve tradition of dusting off their gourmetten sets to grill up mini meats, fish and vegetables, similar to the New Year’s tradition of consuming oliebollen. I’ve written about it a few times, but here’s a look at how it went this year.
First we start with a clean set. This set in particular is good for 3-4 people and has 8 pans underneath for extra grilling potential:
Here is a look at the underside so you can see the pans:
And a look at the meat we grilled up:
Dutch supermarkets sell a lot of gourmet mini sets with items that are pre-cut and otherwise packaged in small containers (meats, sauces, peppers, onions and similar). They are frequently sold as “buy 2, get 1 free”.
The gourmet set in action:
And the most awesome thing ever? Grilled pineapple at the bottom (which I have never had until Marco and I went to Rodizio).
And also underneath – shoarma and mushrooms. Yum. Not shown – bread with a choice of garlic butter, aioli and sweet paprika sauce.