Food and Stuff

Zapekanka

by Rob on

Zapekanka

Begin this week a colleague was so kind to bring a dish from her homeland (and surrounding countries if I have understood correctly). This dish is called Zapekanka and she made it herself.

Looking around on the internet it shows that Zapekanka originates to the Ukraine and Russia (and most likely some more countries in that area). I found English names for this dish as “Cottage Cheese Cake” and “Farmer Cheese Coffee Cake”. But I was told not to refer to it as cake. So I won’t. *grin*
Anyway, more about this later on in this article.

When I tasted the Zapekanka, among the many very nice tastes, there was one flavor I recognized, but I could not place right away where I knew it from. It triggered a memory from long ago, so to say. But still I could not pinpoint it down!

Curious about this dish, I looked up a recipe on the Internet and I even found one in Dutch. And looking at that recipe it suddenly hit me like a bolt out of the blue: “griesmeel” (semolina).

When I was a young boy my mother often made “griesmeel pap” (semolina pudding). And I have to admit that over then I disliked it. But tasting it now so many years later the taste is rather interesting, to say the least.

Funny that a taste can stay that long in your memory!

But back to the Zapekanka… It seems that it is very popular in the countries of its origin.
One thing is very clear when you search the Internet, Zapekanka can be made in many ways and variations, but as far I can see now it is always prepared in an oven and egg is always an ingredient.
I saw variations with eggplant, mushrooms and fruit. And that makes it very interesting to experiment with.
Yes, I surely will try to make Zapekanka myself.

I really love these dishes from other countries and specially when they taste as good as Zapekanka *THUMBS*

Rob
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As every year, new tea!

by Rob on

Thee

Autumn is here again and for me that means it is time to buy fresh tea again.
I always try to get a nice mixture of white tea, green tea and black tea. Of course some teas that aren’t really teas (real tea is made of the leaves of the tea-plant, Camellia sinensis).

For me there are several reasons to drink tea. First of all the many delicious flavours that tea can have. Tea is a good thirst quencher. It is useful when you are on a diet. And there are quite some positive effects on your health, a lot the depending on the ingredients of the tea.
Tea, just like water, is very easily absorbed by the body. The higher the quality of the tea, the more tea can contribute to our body, partly because this drink contains, as said. many nutrients.
But as many things, too much is not good. This goes for tea as well.

I buy all my tea at the same at the same webshop (and no, I won’t make any advertisement here on the weblog).
Well, there are two exceptions and that is as first my beloved the Greek Mountain tea (or Shepard tea, as it is also called). This is sent to us directly to us by Mel from Greece. And the second is that I have always fresh mint for tea in my refrigerator. But as said, both are not real teas.

I drink my tea always with honey, just a little because of the calories. But the honey I use is a real honey of a high quality. And of course again sent to us by Mel from Greece.

Every year I try to buy different teas, except the “Brandnetel thee”. That one I buy always. And I always try to buy a tea with ginger. I really love ginger.

These are the teas I bought for this year…

“Brandnetel”
“Brandnetel” is the Dutch name for “stinging nettle”, a plant that is mostly considered as a weed. But stinging nettle is known for its cleansing effect. It works blood purifying and diuretic. It is also good for the digestion, lowers cholesterol levels in blood, helps against high blood pressure. Also suitable for a beautiful skin (not that important for me *SMILE* ) and as support for a diet or detox tea. There seems to be more beneficial effects of this tea, but those are scientific proven.

“Marrakech Mint Bio”
A cooling refreshing green gunpowder tea with sencha and peppermint. This honey-colored tea offers an intense aroma and taste reminiscent of traditional Moroccan tea. The surprising sensations of fresh mint and hot tea result in a natural revitalizing drink.

“White Wonder”
A white tea with raspberries, Goji berries, black berries, rose petals and an aroma. A nice and mild tea that is a little sweet of taste.
The combination of ingredients in this tea bring a lot of goods. Think of antioxidants and vitamins.

“Olive’s detox bio”
A fruity soothing green tea containing olive leaves, apple pieces, orange peel, banana chips (coconut oil, cane sugar and organic honey), kiwi, sunflower blossom and cornflowers.

“Lavender”
Fragrant lavender from the Provence. Very suitable against stress, headache and flu.

“Energy Booster Bio”
Herbal blend with ginger is good for digestion and gives energy (ginger, lemon grass, rose petals).

“Earl Grey”
Powerful variant of the classic Earl Gray may with its refined, fresh mountain flavor. Very good for breakfast (at least that is what we think).

“Winterspice”
A mild-spicy spice mix with cinnamon, cardamom, clove and orange. Very nice for going home when it is cold outside.
This tea can be used a base for “Gluhwein”.

Rob
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Sea Bass for dinner

by Rob on

In Plomari, a city on the isle of Lesvos, there is a sea food restaurant called “The Seven Seas”. During our stay at Plomari we visited that restaurant 3 times. Yes, 3 times! The fish was just wonderful there. Twice I had a wonderful grilled sea bass there.

So once back in The Netherlands I wanted to make sea bass once myself. So I asked at the local fish store if they two sea basses for me. Yesterday I could collect them. The owner of the fish store cleaned them for me, removed the organs and scales for me. And tonight I prepared them on the grill…

Sea bass

… and it tasted wonderful. The taste of the sea bass is just awesome. Just as I love it.

Sadly the skin of the fishes was a bit damaged on the grill. Maybe there is a trick to prevent that from happening (Miranda?). Not that this had any negative influence on the taste, but it just might just have looked better on the table.

I think there will be more experiments with fish *THUMBS*

Rob
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Most people will know by now that I am trying to lose weight and with a good result so far. On that later a bit more.

A few days ago I was in Haarlem and I decided also to buy some new jeans.

At a shop I found I went directly to the XL, XXL and XXXL section as I used was over the last years. I got a bit frustrated as I could find nothing that fitted well.

A lady working at the shop must have noticed my frustration, she came toward to me and asked me if she could help. I explained that I had problems to find fitting jeans.
She took two steps backwards and looked at me. Then she told me that I should not be looking here at the larger sizes, but should go to the section with the common sizes.
I literally felt a warm glow… back to the “normal” sizes. What an achievement!

The kind lady showed me the part of the store where I should be according her.
I asked her if she could advise me on the size of jeans I should look for.
She looked at me again and said 38/32. I really could not believe this. But there I was a few minutes later, wearing jeans of size 38/32! Completely unbelievable for me!

Why this was a huge surprise for me? Some pants I bought some months ago was of the size 58/32. Yes, you read well… 58… and now 38!

I am so happy with this complete out of the world result.

So yes, I have been trying to lose weight and as it shows with good result. People all around me told me that it showed so very well. There was even one person who carefully informed if I was ill.

In the around two months I am working on this I lost around the 18kg. An average of 2 kilo per week, which is good because losing too much too fast is really not good (and often leads to gaining weight later on again). And I went from “seriously overweight” to “overweight”, but my goal will be of course “normal weight”.
My last concern is my belly. But I know this will be the hardest to get back to normal and it will take time. But I will go for it.

Some folks asked me what my secret was. Well, there is no secret. Move more (10.000 steps at least per day, which sounds a challenge but isn’t) and eat healthy (look at calories, stay away from pre-prepared things, no sauces and alike from the supermarket, focus on vegetables and fruit… but choose wisely :P). My fear was that I only could eat things that weren’t really tasty. What a mistake! I can eat salmon and other fishes, all kinds of beef, poultry, many kinds of vegetables and much more.

What really helps a lot is the support and advices from the people around me. Specially when people react very enthusiastic on the result I have, that really gives a damn good feeling.

Rob
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Haaksbergen

by Sanne on

Haaksbergen is a municipality and a town in the eastern Netherlands, in the province of Overijssel, in the Twente region. There are around 25.000 inhabitants. Haaksbergen covers 105.55 km² ground (of which water: 0.27 km²).
First signs of people living in the area of Haaksbergen were found at the Buursebeek and are from around 800 years before the year 0. This was of course before the town was founded. The first time Haaksbergen was mentioned is around the year 800.

Haaksbergen
So why this interest for Haaksbergen? It is the town where I was born, grew up and I am still living.
And although the town changed a lot over the years, I still love this town.
Most of the people who write here on this weblog have a close bound with Haaksbergen, but even Patricia (how lived and grew up in Noord Holland) and Mel (our friend from Greece) claims that the town has now a special spot in their heart now.

I can tell for a long time about how Haaksbergen is nowadays, but I would say come and have a look yourself. But I thought it would be nice to share some things from the past of Haaksbergen. And also on that matter there is so much to tell.
So I thought it would be even more nice to write something about (more or less) old places in Haaksbergen that has a special meaning to one of more of us

 

Hotel Assinkbos
Half way between Haaksbergen and Eibergen we find Hotel Assinkbos, at least that is what is used to be. Currently it is not in use any more and that is a pity.
But it has also been the home of Disco Silver Shadow. Marion, Jennifer, Miranda (although she was living in Eibergen at that time), Rob and I have been more than once to Silver Shadow. I knew Marion already at that time, but the others not. We may have been there at the same time. And now all of us are best friends.
Very good memories of Silver Shadow.

 

Markt 2

Markt 2, next to the town hall of Haaksbergen, have been the practice of a general practitioner and a dentist, who has been my dentist. More recently it was a very good restaurant known as “Eetcafe Markt 2”. Most of us have have very good memories of the Markt 2. But for Marion and Rob this was really a special place (you should ask themselves why :P).
It was a sad moment that the Markt 2 was closed. Now there is a new restaurant called “De Kornuiten”, which is not bad, but in no way to compare with the old Markt 2.

 

Zwembad Scholtehagen

Another place that doesn’t exist any more… “Openlucht Zwembad Scholtehagen”. I never understood why they closed it. I really miss the opportunity to swim outside. Especially now more and more at lakes and streams, it is not recommended (or even forbidden) to swim. Sure, we have now an indoor swim paradise, but it is just not the same.
Marion and I both learned (ourselves) to to swim in one of the brooks close to my parents farm. I would not be surprised if Jennifer and Rob learned to swim at Scholtehagen.

 

Oostendorper Watermolen

And here, all of us has been, including Mel and Patricia: The Oostendorper Watermolen.
The ones that grew up in Haaksbergen swum here, made walks through the surrounding forests.
I even can remember that Rob told me that when he was a young boy he once went fishing here, the first and the last time he did that.
The Oostendorper Watermolen with its 3 wheels, unique in The Netherlands. The watermill was build in 1548. After restoration in 1987 the watermill is fully functional again.

 

De Biester

And then there was restaurant De Biester. How many times have not been at De Biester, alone or as a group? I stopped already counting a long time ago. It was always good to be there.
Sadly begin 2017, De Biester had to close the doors. I think everyone of us felt that as a big loss. Another place we loved to go gone.
But end of last year, a new restaurant was opened in the building. I heard good things about “Bianca’s Eetcafé, but I haven’t been there yet. So my suggestion is to go there when we all are in Haaksbergen again. Would be nice.

Really have to say that I enjoy telling about our town. So I think I will do that again, maybe when I have found more photo’s or when I find something that worth to share. Keep an eye on it :-)

 

 

Photo view on Haaksbergen: Rob (Thank you :P).
Postcard Hotel Assinkbos: In possession of my parents.
Photo Markt 2: Legaat Mej. Wiedenbroek
Photo Scholtehagen: Openlucht Zwembad
Photo Restaurant De Biester: Bombardement rond Buurserstraat


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“Zoethout” (licorice root)

by Miranda on

Zoethout

Tomorrow my niece and her two children will be visiting us. So I thought to go and buy some candy for the kids, but I didn’t want to get the standard super sweet sugar rich stuff. So I made a little trip to Enschede to see if I could find something nice for them.

And I found something from my own youth… “zoethout”. It has been ages ago that I have seen this for the last time, which doesn’t mean it was not available. I just didn’t see it.

Maybe I should explain what “zoethout” actually is. “Zoethout” are small pieces of the root from the Lycyrrhiza Glabra plant. The plant contains a sweetener that some 30 to 50 times as strong as sugar, but is not harmful for the teeth. You really have to chew really on it to get the sweet fluid extracted from the root, which seems to be good for your teeth.
When I was a young girl I was crazy about “zoethout”. We had it often at home, so I could often be found chewing on a piece of it. I can remember that my father also used it a lot when he stopped smoking (and he was successful at that).

Talking about smoking, liquorice was in the past used for flavouring cigarettes, moist snuff, chewing tobacco, and pipe tobacco.
It is also used in many kinds of candy. And over here in The Netherlands in our famous (loved and hated) “drop”.

Well, I am curious what the kids of my niece will think of this “zoethout”. I have to be honest, I tried it this morning and it seems that my taste has changed since I was a young girl: It is not terrible, but tasteful is something else. And in case the kids don’t like it either, I have some very nice chocolate for them *SMILE*

Miranda
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As regular visitors of our weblog will know, there is an overview of restaurants of which consider they are good to exceptional (you can find that overview of Cafe’s and Dinners here.

As Marion and Rob go often out for dinner during their weekends together, I guess you can say it so kind of hobby of them, the list of restaurants grew quite some over time.
Especially around Haaksbergen (where Marion lives and Rob grew up) and Heemskerk (where Rob currently lives) there are a lot of restaurants they visit. Mind you, only restaurants they consider good or better will make it to the list.

Somewhere last year Rob opened up his weblog for his close friends and with that he opened also this list.
This leaded to more entries around Haaksbergen and Heemskerk. But our dear friend Mel also started to add entries and as she lives in Greece (Lesvos to be precise) that area also started to show good restaurants.

But there is even more to it. Marion travels very often through Europe for her work. She does not always like to eat at the hotels she is staying and eats at restaurants that were recommended to her. Some time ago, she started to add restaurants she enjoyed to the list, giving it a more European coverage. Patricia, who works as a flight attendant for a big international working airline company, followed up the idea of Marion. This made the list really international.

So some time ago Rob and I were pondering if we could not do something more with all this list of good restaurants. Quickly the idea was there to put them on a map. We both liked that idea.
But this map should be dynamic and easy to maintain. After some time we found exactly what we were looking for…

Map Restaurants

The map above is not the dynamic map, just a picture and nothing more. For the dynamic map you have to go to the actual list of Cafés and Dinners.

Restaurant map

At the top of the map there is an option to search the map. You can enter there an address, city/town or country. You can also change the way the result of the search will be displayed (map, satellite, hybrid or terrain). Next, you can select which map you want to see. Actually, we are trying to remove this because there will be only one map.
And you select from a dropdown-list the restaurants from the list. The list is sorted on the name of the restaurants.

Restaurant map

While holding the left mouse-button it is possible to move the map around, basically in all directions as long you hold the mouse-button.Of course it is also possible to zoom in and out. This can be done by holding the CTRL-key and using the scroll-wheel of the mouse. Also, there are on the right bottom of the map two buttons that can be used for zooming in and out.
Zooming in can be done to street level and where available Google Streetview can be used.

Restaurant map

When clicking on the pin that locates a restaurant, a window with more information will pop up, such as the address.
When known, it will show who of our group has been there and when. In the beginning the kind of information was not placed in the list, so there may be restaurant without this information.

Sometimes a small message may be added as the “back, because we loved it the last time” in the screenshot above.

The “More information’ link in the window will open the website of the restaurant (in a new browser window).

We are thinking about doing more with this window, but there are so many options and possibilities that we will leave it for now like this.

Not all restaurants on the list are already on the map. It is quite some work to do.
Amsterdam, to mention one, still has to be done. Rob lived for more as a year in Amsterdam without the possibility to cook. So in that time he often visited restaurants in that time. But of course, in the Amsterdam will also be added to the map.

One thing we noticed while checking all the websites on the list: Many restaurants are closed. Now I can imagine the world of restaurants is very dynamic and that it changes fast, still it is sad to see…

Anyway, enjoy the new map :-)


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“Buy a cow” (koopeenkoe.nl)

by Miranda on

Cow

Last weekend Rob and I chatted through Skype.and the conversation turned to meat. Don’t be scared, this article will not be about vegetarianism. Not that anything is wrong with that, but Rob and I both can appreciate some good meat.
But having said that we both also care about the well being of the animals.

Rob told me that someone he knows very well (and sorry, I forgot the name of this lady) who gave him last year some meat from extreme good quality. Very clearly no bio-industry meat, but very well prepared meat and never has been frozen in before.
Believe me, every time you deep freeze meat it loses some of its quality. Often meat from a supermarket has been frozen before you buy it. There are even stories going around that meat in a supermarket can be 2 years old (beware, I said “stories”. I have no idea how true these are). All in all, for me, enough reason not to buy any meat at a supermarket.

For me it is very simple: Something that has been frozen, you never freeze again.

Anyway, Rob really loved this high quality meat that he got last year and he has been looking for a way to buy it for himself. He found one organisation, but you had to collect the meat yourself and only throughout the week during office hours, this was not doable for him.

But very recently he was pointed by someone to another organisation who sounded really good to him AND they deliver at home during two evenings in a week. This organisation is called “Koop een koe” (“Buy a cow”).

People buy a part of a selected cow. When the cow is “completely” sold, the animal will be slaughtered with as less stress as possible (which can be a lot less as in the common slaughterhouses).

These cows are kept in a friendly way. When possible they can walk outside. The sheds are modern, clean and with lots of space. A calf can stay for 8 or 9 months with their mother, which benefits the health of both.
No preventive antibiotics. No not needed medicines at all.
The meat is really pure 100% beef. There are no E-numbers, sugar, colourings or preservatives used.

Some people may not like the idea that you buy a cow that is still alive for its meat, but on the other side you know that this cow had a good life.

When the meat is delivered is it all ready to be placed in the freezer (labelled and all). But I would like to advise to pick one piece of the meat and enjoy for once the wonderful taste of meat that never has been frozen before… it is worth it.

The package meat is marked with an ear tag number, that is the cow’s ear tag, so the meat is always traceable.

The thing is that Rob told me very excited about this organisation, but privately I already often buy my meat through “koopeenkoe.nl”. Apart from the well being of the animals, the meat is of superb quality. And for me, with my background, that is also very important.

Miranda
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“Koetjesrepen”

by Sanne on

Koetjesreep
Yesterday, when I was doing my weekly shopping for groceries and alike, I suddenly saw something in the supermarket that surprised me: “Koetjesrepen”!

I was convinced that they were not made and sold anymore. Turned out I was very wrong.

But maybe let me first explain what “Koetjesrepen” are, because I assume it is something only known in The Netherlands and maybe Belgium. The photo at the top of this article may let people think it is a chocolate bar. But no. It looks like a chocolate bar, but it isn’t. The bar contains less as 35% cacao and according Dutch regulations it isn’t chocolate bar. So they call it a “Cacaofantasie”(cocoa fantasy, which is also in The Netherlands a protected name).
Originally the “Koetjesreep” was made by the Dutch company Promena Boon & Comp (Wormerveer). Currently this is done by the Belgian Chocolate Group.

I will not go into the discussion if the “Koetjesreep” is healthy or not (I am truly amazed about the nonsense that is said about food).

When I was a young girl my parents had always these “Koetjesrepen” as treat, as so many parents I guess. It was a good and cheap replacement of the more expensive real chocolate bars. And I loved them. But just as with Rob when he recently discovered that “Quality Street” still were around, nowadays I find the taste acceptable, but not more as that. Maybe I am spoiled by too much “real” chocolate that contains more cacao.


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Parsley (Dutch: Peterselie)

by Jennifer on

Parsley

As Marion and Rob are currently on Lesbos, it is maybe a good moment to speak about parsley. Oh, there is a connection between parsley and Greece?
Yes, there is! For the ancient Greek parsley was a symbol of joy. Laurel wreaths were made of parsley and worn at festive.
A combination of parsley and oregano was considered a cure against a hang over.

It were the Romans who spread parsley over Europe.

Anyway parsley (Petroselinum crispum), or “peterselie” as we call it in Dutch, is a species that belongs to the family Apiaceae.
Parsley is native to the central Mediterranean (southern Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). There are nowadays many cultivated species available.

Fresh parsley sprigs or chopped leaves are very often used as garnish of many dishes. Chopped leaves are also often used in soups and stews.
Sometimes it is even used as a snack. It has indeed a very nice flavor. Try it someday, you may like it.

Fresh parsley contains relatively large amounts of minerals (especially iron and silicon), as well as B-vitamins and carotene. The vitamin C content is exceptionally high (80-300 mg per 100 grams).
This only goes for fresh parsley. Dried parsley contains a lot less vitamins. So fresh parsley is always preferred over dried ones.

Apart from all mentioned before, parsley is also beneficial for your health.
Parsley is anti-inflammatory. Regularly eating parsley can help to prevent inflammations.
Parsley supports the digestion. If your digestion is not optimal, by, for example, a mostly sedentary existence, parsley supports the digestive process and reduces the risk of stomach ulcers.
It provides a clean, fresh breath.
Despite good oral hygiene you can suffer from bad breath. Eating parsley helps you to get a fresher breath. Parsley contains quite a bit of chlorophyll; a substance with an antibacterial effect. This substance fights the wrong bacteria in your mouth.
And these are just some of the positive effects of parsley.

There, how a simple herb as parsley can be so special!

Jennifer

 

 

 

(Photo was published in the public domain, see Public Domain Pictures)


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