Dinner with ham (“Beenham”)

by Rob on

I was in the mood to make a nice dinner again. Something that I didn’t have for a very long time was in a oven grilled ham. So I bought a very nice ham (“beenham” it is called in Dutch). For all of the day the ham was resting in a marinade of olive oil, mustard, honey and a little whiskey (Not a single malt! Just a nice blended one).
I grilled the ham for 40 minutes on 200 degrees and after that an hour on 90 degrees.

To the ham I baked some chestnut mushrooms with some bacon and unions.

The potatoes were cut in pieces but with peel. They have been laying for at least 4 hours in a marinade of olive oil, rosemary and garlic (and of course some pepper and salt). They were baked shortly in rice oil on a high fire.
The salad was, I admit, ready bought, It contains garden peas, corn and paprika. Add a little mayonnaise, curry and pepper to it and it is delicious.
A nice dish of all kind olives was served to it all (for the olives a with garlic enriched olive oil was used).

On advice of Marion we had a very nice Bordeaux served with the ham.

Hmmm…. the parsley on the dish with ham is a bit overdone. Could have been a bit less :)

Tomorrow I plan to make dinner based on fish… :)

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About music…

by Rob on

That I have wide interest is very different styles from music is something that is rather well known, I think.

Just browsing through the music on my iPod shows that. My iPod is a 80gb one and holds my complete music collection (close to 5500 songs and good for almost 15 days non-stop music :P).

Many people see me as the guy that goes to rock, metal and goth concerts. Sure, I do. I like the atmosphere at that kind of concerts. But that doesn’t mean that I only like that kind of music.
Let me mention some artists and groups I see when I browse through my iPod (and that should make clear how many styles of music I like)…. 10cc, Within Temptation, The Who, Veldhuis & Kemper, Vaya Con Dios, Vangelis, Uriah Heep, Ellen ten Damme, Toto, Toontje Lager, Tony Hazzard, Suzanne Vega, Supertramp, Steve Miller Band, Sinéad O’Connor, Satanna, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Roxette, Alan Parsons Project, Mannfred Mann Earth Band, Re-Vamp, Krypteria, Queen, David Bowie… and many more…

And yet, I still manage to surprise people… :)

This afternoon Peter, a nephew of Marion, did visit me here at my home. He knows about all the concerts I go to and things like that. He couldn’t believe his ears when he arrived here and “Concerto For 2 Violins In D Minor” of J.S. Bach sounded through my apartment :)

Yes, I also like classic music… and that is something not many people know. Classic music often helps me to relax and that is a good thing I think :P

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by Rob on

Yesterday at work we were discussing what we like to drink in the evenings. Of course beer and whiskey was mentioned. No need to say that I like both :).
As beer I like my beloved Grolsch and of course there are some pretty good German and Belgium beers… “Bittburger”, “Duval”, “De Verboden Vrucht” and many more.
And a good single malt whiskey is really something to enjoy. One of my favourites is “The Glenlivet”, but there are many more extremely good ones as the Glenrothes, Highland Park, Jura and others.
Oh something nice to mention… Sanne recently noticed that I always write “The Glenlivet” and for instance “the Glenrothes” (so the word “The” with or without a capital), which she as a teacher of course noticed directly.
But yes, there is a reason for that. The Glenlivet got their official license to make whiskey in 1824 (before that they did it illegally). They were the first distillery to have this official license and because of that they were allowed to add the word “The” to their brand name and they are the only single malt distillery who are allowed to do this. And as the word “The” in the case of The Glenlivet is part of the brand name you write it with a capital and for other single malts not.

But I am getting completely away of what I wanted to write here today… :)

Anyway, yesterday during the conversation at the company I suddenly had to think of something I really liked in the past and which I drank on cold winter evenings after the last walk of the days with the dogs. After such a walk in the freezing cold you could use something to get warm and comfortable again…. and that was for me a bit of “Kruidenbitter”.

Now I have no idea how to translate “Kruidenbitter” to English, but I guess it would be something like “herbal liqueur”, which makes it sound a bit as a medicine…
Basically a “Kruidenbitter” is a gin or brandy enriched with all kind of herbs during the process of making it. Depending on the brand a “Kruidenbitter” contains 20% to 35% alcohol.
Many Dutch towns and area’s have their own “Kruidenbitter” with their own special mixture of herbs. A good “Kruidenbitter” should be served very cold. So the better ones you keep in the freezer, where they stay liquid because of the amount of alcohol.

I think “Jägermeister” is one of the best known “Kruidenbitter”, which finds its origin in Germany (“Kruidenbitters” are not unique to The Netherlands, far from that). Personally I don’t like “Jägermeister” very much, its it too strong in its taste.

So yesterday I bought at the local liquor store a jug of “Kruidenbitter” of the brand “Botter Bitter” (which is made in West Friesland). I have to say that I like it. It has a nice smooth taste.
But sadly it cannot compare to my favourite “Kruidenbitter”…. The “Bornse Kruidenbitter” (made in the town of Borne), which has a very special taste because anise was used as one the ingredients. And this “Kruidenbitter” you cannot get over here in this part of the country. Maybe one the next times when I travel to the eastern part of The Netherlands I have to make a detour to Borne….. or get someone so far they bring it along for me :)

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by Rob on

Yesterday I watched the Dutch movie “Interview”. I had the DvD already laying around for rather some time, but I never got to it to watch it. But yesterday I finally did.

The movie was made in 2003 and tells about a interview between a war correspondent and an actress. But the interview takes a very strange way as it becomes a strange exchange of word games, emotions and secrets. And the end of the movie is quite surprising.
Although I mostly don’t like the movies made by Theo van Gogh, this movie is the exception to that.

Funny detail… In the beginning of the movie there was an actress of who her face was so familiar to me, but I could not place it. Deeply ashamed when I saw the credits of the movie I realized it was Ellen ten Damme. But Ellen ten Damme really changed in looks since the time that the movie was made… and not for worse :)

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Tenderlion with Red Wine Sauce

by Rob on

Yesterday I wanted to make something nice to eat for Marion and me, but without standing for more then a hour in the kitchen. And of course, there are more then enough options for that.

As I really like some good meat, I did go for some very nice tenderloins…

I baked the tenderloins for around 7 or 8 minutes in butter and olive oil (butter to give the meat a nice color and the olive oil for the better taste). This time makes them nicely medium baked, which Marion and I both prefer. After I baked them I wrapped them in aluminium foil for around 5 minutes. This will make them even more vivacious (wonder if that is a correct translation for the Dutch word “smeuïg”…).

In the still hot butter/oil I fried some oyster mushrooms. Just for a little. Not more then a minute.

Meanwhile I cooked some podded peas. As Miranda told me some time ago, I first boiled the water and then added some salt. If you do the other way around (putting salt in the cold water that you want to boil, which what I aways did) may give ugly spots in your pans and pots. BTW I uses with vegetables just a very salt and preferable sea salt.
Also I prepared some mini potatoes with parsley. I baked them in olive oil until they were nicely done.

For the tenderloins I made a red wine sauce. Which is very simple to do with some red wine, bouillon, butter, flower and pepper. I used a dry red wine, but as Miranda always says, don’t use an expensive wine for sauce (that would be the same as mixing an single malt whiskey with cola :P).

All done in 15 to 20 minutes :)

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“De Discus”

by Rob on

When I was young lad, I loved to read the books about “De Discus”. These books were about a professor named Tjerk Hiddes and his sons. Tjerk Hiddes had to go jail by false evidence. This evidence was delivered by some mighty business cartel.
During the time in jail Tjerk Hiddes designs this super aircraft that can travel on unbelievable speed and can be used also under water and in space as well. Together with his sons Tjerk Hiddes has the greatest adventures.

The books were written by R. Feenstra and published by Kluitman (a well known Dutch publisher of youth books). In the past I had the complete series about “De Discus”. When I moved away from my parents home, these books were left behind with the idea to gather them later. But somehow the books disappeared… together with other Kluitman books I owned about “De Euro 5” and “Inspecteur Arglistig”. Never learned what happened to them. Although I have a suspicion about this, I won’t mention that here on my public blog.

Anyway, for years I haven’t thought about these books, until some time ago at work we talked about books we read when we were younger. I had to think about “De Discus” books and brought them up. It was nice to hear that I was not the only one who have read them.

I mentioned that it would be nice to have these books again and read them all over. A colleague suggested to on “De Marktplaats” (“De Marktplaats” is something like EBay, but then only localised to The Netherlands. As a matter of fact “De Marktplaats” is owned by EBay). And there I found a very nice offer for 6 “De Discus”-books and I made a offer on them!

So now I have these 6 books here at home :). Ans yes, after I have finished the book that I am currently reading, I will read these books again. It will be fun… and of course I will try to complete the series.

(Credit photo: Rob)

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And then the weekend was over…

by Rob on

It happens that after having a wonderful weekend (as we had this weekend) and Marion has to leave for her work again, I feel a bit…. sad? “Sad” is not the proper word, because I am not unhappy. Far from that. It is more a kind of little emptiness that is suddenly there. It is only me adapting to new week again…
And no, there is no need to do something about this. This is the way we have chosen to live. And to be honest, I am convinced that because of our way of living we are enjoying life so much!

Maybe a few words about the way Marion and I have chosen to share our lives (I noticed that there lately many new readers on my weblog). Basically it is all very simple. Marion and I both had very bad experiences with relations in the past. And before we met each other we have been on our own for a long time (Marion even way longer then me). In that time without partner (but to put it very clear, not without friends) we both created a strong desire for independence and freedom. This desire is not something you can push very easily apart, not to mention that we both don’t want to push it away. After all, it made our lives after all the disasters liveable again.
So after we discovered our mutual feelings for each other, we decided not to get married or move together. We both have our own home and share only the time together that we really want to be together. In The Netherlands we call this a LAT relation (Living Apart Together). And for us this works greatly…

Anyway, as said, don’t pity me. I am just a lucky guy who misses the lady he loves after a great weekend :).

So today I went along with Marion to Schiphol Airport. She needs to be tomorrow early on location for her next working week. Because of that she had to leave already on Sunday (luckily that happens not very often).
After she checked in, I watched from the promenade deck in which leaving plane she would be. But this time I failed in that. So after a little time I jumped on the train back home to Heemskerk.

Now there one thing that always makes me feel better when I am tired, a bit blue, unbalanced or whatever… and that is the sea. So in the train I decided to get off at the railroad station of Haarlem and catch the train to “Zandvoort aan de Zee” for a nice beach walk.

(BTW the dog on the picture above is a “Friese Stabij”, a breed I used to own dogs off. Salute Bas, Binke and Boukje!!!).

So I made a nice long walk along the beach of Zandvoort aan Zee. Made some pictures. Talked with some people. Played with a crazy dog (and learned the owner something about handling a dog :P). And as always, I felt good again. The sea is for me a miracle medicine :)

After a while I went home. In the train home I got the usual, but oh so welcome “I have landed safely” SMS. At home I made myself a nice dinner and had a beer or two.

Did I already mention that life is not bad at all?

Some remarks about the sea…
– One of the great things of having moved to Heemskerk is that the sea is so close by…
– This year I really want to go horseback riding with Marion on the beach…
– One day, when there is lots of wind, maybe even a storm, I want to go make pictures at the beach.

And oh, Marion… Remember the place where we ate “Kibbeling” (no idea how to translate that to Englisch)? Today I had these big baked shrimps. They were more then delicious!!!! :)

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Celebrating the years…

by Rob on

Although it was officially Christmas Eve, Marion and I celebrated yesterday our anniversary. This evening has been something I have been planning for a long time, because I wanted to make something special of it. And finally I managed to keep it a small secret for her, which is always hard for me (“Those eyes… those eyes…” :)).

So Marion arrived yesterday more or less unaware at my apartment in Heemskerk. More or less, because I don’t ask her to take a day off from work without reason. So I told her that I reserved a table in a nice restaurant in the city of Haarlem and that we had to be there in time, which was of course completely the truth.

We had dinner at Lambo’s in Haarlem. And I must say that what I heard about this restaurant was absolutely correct. The food was just superb. The people very friendly. What I really liked is that we could take all the time we wanted for all the courses (we had a 4 course dinner). According Marion the different wines they selected were very good and I believe her. She knows a lot more then me on that subject.
This is surely a place I would like to go back again some time.

After dinner I suggested to take a small walk through the centre of Haarlem. It stopped raining and the temperature was nice for the time of the year. We both like Haarlem, so we enjoyed the walk. But what Marion didn’t realize that I was guiding her slowly in a certain direction.
When we walked to the Philharmonie of Haarlem, Marion remarked surprised that Ellen ten Damme and her Cirque Stiletto performed there that evening. Well, I had to admit that this was correct… and that I had tickets for this performance! The word she said pleasantly surprised I won’t repeat, but it resulted in a very nice hug :).

Well, about the performance I can say only one thing: WOW!!!.

Of course, first there was Ellen ten Damme who was the red line through the show. I already knew what a voice that woman has. And I already knew that she knows how to set a performance. But also in this circus she is right on her place. Her very special and sexy clothes added all to it in a positive way. Also the show was full of some pretty good humour and that I like a lot.
And Marion fully agreed with me… Ellen ten Damme has great legs (as Marion has to complain about that :P).

The other artists in the show were awesome as well. The things the acrobats did really make you sit on the tip of your chair. Some of the things we saw showed strength and complete control of the body. The most “scary” thing was in my opinion the knife-thrower and the lady bound to the turning board. If I understood it well Marion found the things the man walking the rope did pretty scary. Remember, unlike in a normal circus, we were sitting very close to it all.
Anyway all the performing artists were more then great and breathtaking.

Also the dancers that performed throughout all of the show were awesome. What a sense of rhythm. They made it all complete.

Marion and I really really enjoyed this show. We had tickets for one of the front rows, so we could see everything very well.

It was not allowed to take pictures or movies and in this case I can understand it. But I knew there were some movies on YouTube. Of course some movies of people who don’t understand what “not allowed to take pictures or movies” means. Those I ignored. But I could remember that I also saw some official movies on YouTube and I found one.
One or two things in the movie below were different then in the show that Marion and I saw, but most were the same. But as the stage on which we saw yesterday the performance is much smaller then the one on the recording, we could see things a lot better. And maybe because of the same reason I thought that the quality of the sounds was also yesterday a lot better. And most likely the Philharmonie has a way better acoustic then the huge hall on the movie anyway.

After the show Marion needed to visit the ladies room and that gave me more then enough time to get a signed CD (Ellen ten Damme has often signing sessions after her performance). I bought an older CD of her (“I am here”) and asked her to sign it.

After we left the Philharmonie we walked towards Grand Café “De Gouverneur” to sit and drink something. Here we chatted a bit about the show we just saw. Marion had one or two glasses of a very nice red wine and I took a good tasting single malt whiskey (I believe a Glenrothes).

When we stood up and prepared to leave, Marion was thinking that we would be going home, but here I had another surprise. For that night I reserved a room in the Ambassador City Centre Hotel (here I had a partner in crime who made sure I got the key of the room and that the things we would need for the night were already in the room).
As I already knew, the room was perfect. Everything one could need was available. There was a beautiful view on the big church that was close to the hotel.
We talked a bit and I showed Marion the signed CD and that made her laugh out loud (for those who don’t know the special meaning of a signed CD for us, should search my blog on “signed CD”. Somewhere in there is the answer to that).
After some more talking we both took a shower and went to bed…

And well, how they say? The rest is history… *WINK*


(Credit photo’s: Rob)

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Duke Nukem Forever

by Rob on

Yes, I do love computer-games, but mostly I do like RP and Fantasy games the most. I am really not that in the so called shooters, but a long time ago there was exception to that: Duke Nukem 3D.

I have been playing Duke Nukem 3D for some many hours. Standalone, but also over networks with others. I loved the action of that game… and I loved the at times a bit rude humour of that game.

For many years there have been word going around for a successor for the old Duke Nukem 3D and they have seemed been working for many years on that game. But now the news is there… the successor of Duke Nukem 3D will be released in 2011… Duke Nukem Forever!.

I will most certainly going to have a look at the game. Even when it means I have to buy it…

Duke Nukem Rulez….

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Babylon 5

by Rob on

In the last two months I have been watching all the 5 seasons of the TV series Babylon 5. This TV series has been recorded from 1994 to 1998. My attention was pulled to this series because some conversation we had about it on work.

Babylon 5 is about a space station at a neutral place in the space and is focal point for politics, diplomacy, and conflict during the years 2257–2262. And that makes it the centre of many exciting adventures.

I could only remember fragments of the series… the way the Centauri wear their hair… the space fighters…. the telepath Talia Winters. But I am glad I have watched it all again. I must admit that I never saw a Science Fiction series that had such a great focus on politics, religion and all that comes along… and still being so very exciting.

Buying these DvD´s was well spend money.

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