Simple wok dish.

by Rob on

Today I felt lazy, so I was also not really in the mood for real cooking. But on the other side I didn’t want pizza, shoarma or any other fast food. A nice alternative is making a wok-meal.

After the chicken fillet was nice brown baked in a very hot wok-pan, fine cut leek, red unions, chestnut mushrooms, red paprika and parsley was added. Having mixed this all firmly and bringing it on temperature, pandan rice was mixed with it. Stirring it all the time now, because the rice sticks easily to the wok-pan

I made a sauce based on cocos milk, shallots, green chilli pepper, garlic, coriander, sea salt and water.
This all I baked together for a few minutes. Until all was nicely mixed and good heated.

Some Opak Pedis (“Casave Kroepoek”) to it is a good addition.

There a simple, but very nice tasting dish. Cutting and slicing all the ingredients is more work then the actual cooking. The only thing I have to ask Miranda once how to make such a wok-meal look nice on a plate :)

And I have a nice left over for somewhere this week!!!

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by Rob on

On April 30th we over here in The Netherlands we celebrate Queensday, the day that we celebrate the birthday of our queen. Now is April 30th the birthday of the mother of Queen Beatrix (who’s birthday is really on January 31th). But she decided when she became the queen of our country to keep this national celebration on 30th April.

Anyway, after all that happened recently I am not in a celebration mood. And even more, Marion and I are rather tired. So going to a busy celebration in Haarlem, not even to mention Amsterdam, was not what we wanted.

So we decided at the end of the morning to have a look at the Queensday celebration in Heemskerk. Although still busy that was more after our mood. It reminded us more at how Queensday was celebrated in Haaksbergen. Just other streets and buildings, but for the rest the same. We both liked it.

The free market was fun. A free market is where people may sell things without the need to have a permit. As far as I know Queensday is one of the very few occasions that this allowed. A lot of second hand things are sold. Very nice to watch.
A pity that I didn’t have the list with the titles of my “Suske en Wiske” collection with me. Many were second hand offered. Maybe this was a possibility to add now books to my collection. Ah well, next year!

I really liked the show of old tractors. The were so nice to watch. Ah well, blood crawls where it cannot go :).

Marion and I had lunch at “In de Kas”. We have been there before and just as the last time, we enjoyed it this time again. The soup and breads were delicious again. It is really good place for lunch or to have some snacks.

After some time we went home again. We enjoyed the Queensday celebration in Heemskerk. But we both we still very tired. Once home again, we both were in for a nap.

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Some times there are books people are very enthusiastic about and when you read it yourself it is disappointing. The book “Over seks en liefde” (About sex and love), written by Saskia Noort en Jan Heemskerk, belongs for me to that category.

Maybe it is because I really enjoyed the book “Delusions of Genders” that I don’t really liked this book.

Sure, I had to grin at times when reading the book, but many times more I had to frown. Man and woman are displayed so stereotypic, with all the prejudices you can hear every day. Also I didn’t like the generalisations in the book. Man and women are displayed as dumb, not functioning creatures… of course in the view of the opposite gender.

Maybe I am taking this book to serious…. maybe that is it. I will Marion and Sanne to read it also. Curious what they think about it.

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Today it is Easter and the weather was more then lovely today. It was way to nice weather to stay at home. At first Marion and I were thinking of going to the beach, but somehow we were guessing that beach would be overloaded with people. And that was not what we wanted.
So we decided to make a nice walk somewhere outside of Heemskerk. After looking at a map with the local area we made up our mind and went to the area of “Het Fort bij Veldhuis”. This fortress is part of the Fortification of Amsterdam. A beautiful are to walk. Marion and I really enjoyed the wonderful nature, the warm shining sun and maybe most of all, the silence around us. This kind of moments always makes me feel very close to Marion…

Some pictures….

At the fortress is also an Airwar museum. In the near future I will visit that place. I am curious. And also there seems to be another very nice area to walk, but it is protected to preserve nature and this time of the year it is not allowed to go there. But in June one may go there…. and we most certainly will!

After our walk we returned home. After drinking something together we took a shower, which can be very refreshing with this kind of weather.

And so time for dinner arrived. Because everything that happened in the last weeks, I haven’t done any real cooking for Marion and me. But this Easter weekend I wanted to make something nice for us again…

I bought yesterday two very nice pieces of duck chest fillet. I learned that duck chest fillet is almost always sold with the skin. For some recipes the skin (and the fat under it) can be great, but not for the recipe I wanted to make.
So I had to remove the skin. Luckily I had a very nice and sharp knife for that, but to do it good it is a very precise thing to do. But I managed. Gently I rubbed some salt and pepper on the fillets.
On a high fire I baked the fillets nicely brown, but so that the inside was just medium done.
From fresh orange juice, honey and some butter I made a sauce for the fillets.

I cooked some of those funny, but very well tasting, round carrots. On the dish I spread some parsley over them.
Also I baked some bush mushrooms and after they were well done I added some red wine sauce to them.
In some hot oil I baked some potato rosettes (I have to admit, I love those…). And yes, they were bought and not self-made. Making them self is such an effort and they are very cheap to buy!
And some apple sauce to make it all nicely fresh.

I really have to admit that I loved the duck fillet. It tasted really good.

And as dessert pieces of different kinds of melon. Served with freshly made whipped cream.

As I already said, I liked what I made today. And Marion assured me that is really, really liked it as well. As I type this Marion is already asleep behind me :P). I will finished off this article and then snuggle up with her :)

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An old movie from 1972….

by Rob on

My brother sent me a link to an Youtube-movie of which he thought that would be nice for me to watch. And he was right…

It was a movie from 1972 and it about the blood transfusion campaign of Dutch Red Cross Haaksbergen. In 1972 I was 9 years old.
The nicest thing about the movie is that my father and my brother can be seen in it. In the beginning two men can be seen who are unloading the “Ford Transit”. The man who with his hands full pillows turn towards the camera is my father (who passed away 14 years ago).

It is a bit strange. Of many things and persons that can be seen in the movie I have memories.
So I can remember very well Hotel Centraal”, but that is already gone for a very long time. I can remember the blue “Ford Transit” that the Dutch Red Cross Haaksbergen used for transportation.

I am happy to have this movie.

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by Rob on

Currently we are handling an important project with a high priority at the company where I work. So that means that we are spending time and effort on that project. One of the things I was working on was storing certain information in a secure way.

Well, as first the data had to be hashed with SHA256. Not really a problem. With the right libraries, classes and modules that is easy.
Same could be said about encoding the hashed information with Base64. Also that was not very hard.

But somewhere with moving the hashed data to the function to encoding it with Base64 something went very wrong. After looking through the code line by line and reading a lot of related information in books and on the Internet, I had the feeling I was very close to the solution of the problem. But somehow I could not really put my fingers on it.

Hours and hours went by and the end of the working day arrived. Some of my colleagues working on the same project had planned some overtime. As I really wanted to finish off this part of the project, I decided for some overtime as well. Together we had dinner and I had a lovely tasting pizza (with chicken of course :P).

After dinner I continue to hack my source code, but somehow it did not do what I wanted it to do. I started to get frustrated by it, as I was convinced that I was so close to the solution.
Then suddenly, almost at the end of the evening….

Suddenly I saw what was going wrong. Within 5 minutes I corrected my code and the function did what it should do.

Point is that this kind of things are poorly documented and it can take a long time to find something about it (even on the big bad Internet).
Tomorrow I will clean up the code of the function and will start to implement the function into the application I am working on. It is nice to go home after working so long on a solution to finally solve the issue. I felt good :)

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And suddenly somewhere this last week I turned 48… Still on the good side of the 50 (if I ever would care :P).

It are weird times… times of fast changes… and at times moments of sadness, but overall good times. But I have to admit that at times I have the feeling that in, lets say, the last five years I lived the experiences that normally fit in 15 years. But as said, overall in a good way…

Of course I ran into Marion. I will never forget that afternoon on the busy terrace of a café where this nice looking lady asked me if she could share the table I was sitting. I surely will never forget the Christmas that followed on that.
Without doubt this leaded to the biggest change in my life for me.

Then the job change come along. The nice team I ended up in there. Great environment to work (I say “great”, not perfect :P). Nice direct colleagues. Always something to laugh about, but also always willing to help each other. Challenging work… So a nice place to work.
The new job leaded to the year that I stayed in Amsterdam. Of course it was nice to learn more about the city where I was born. Also I saw many of the places my parents told me about.

In meantime the health of my mother sadly slowly turned worse. And it was needed for her own good that she was taken into a caring home that could support her with the problems her weak body were causing her. And as I said so many times, her body may have been weak… her spirit was strong. And that was her strength.
Around that time I was offered to rent an apartment in the town of Heemskerk. I accepted and rented the place for a bit more then a year.

For already a long time I decided that I would love to buy the apartment, but for certain reasons things to arrange just started begin this year. Talks about mortgages and percentages started.
End of March this year I knew that I arranged a mortgage.

A date was set to officially transfer the house to me…. 11 April 2011. The birthday of my father (he passed away around 14 years ago).

Then one week before April the 11th I heard my mother had passed away. That brought a lot of sadness for us. And still it is very often in my mind.
So on the Friday after that sad day, we had the funeral of my mother. To have on the next Monday the apartment officially transferred to me. To run directly into my birthday.

And yes, I only mentioned the high lights of the last five years. So many more things happened…. but in the end it all brought me where I am now and I am not complaining about that.

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Let the movies and music come…

by Rob on

Already for some time my media-set was giving some problems. Things as the sound suddenly dropping. Very annoying. So I was already looking around for something to replace the old one. And some days ago I something I really liked. And yes, I was able to buy it…

My new media-set is of the brand Pioneer. So that is not bad at all. The complete set contains a receiver, a BluRay player and a nice 5.1 speaker-set.

For those who likes it, here are the technical information about the set (Sorry in Dutch):
– Pioneer VSX-520-K Receiver
– Pioneer BDP-330 BluRay Player
– Pioneer S-ES3TB 5.1 Speakerset

This new set has so more configuration settings as my old one, so there is a lot to try out and to learn. But that is kinda fun.

Also I have to replace all the speaker-wires, but that is something I will do next week. Also I need a new Ethernet cable to the cabinet, because my new BluRay player can also be connected to network.

Yesterday I watched my first BluRay movie… Wow, what a quality. I love it!!!!

I tried to make some pictures of my new equipment, but the black of the new media-set is not very visible in the black cabinet where it is placed in… So no pictures, so you just have to come visit me to see it :)

Oh and a sweet thank you to Marion, Marion’s parents and Sanne is very well on its place!!!!!

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Delusions of Gender

by Rob on

During her holiday on Hawaii Marion has been reading the book “Delusion of Gender” written by Cordelia Fine. She really liked the book and suggested that it might be interesting for me to read as well.

The book is about the supposed differences between genders. Yes, supposed differences, because the author claims that there are not that much differences as we normally assume. Of course there are some differences, as a number of physicals ones. But according the writer many differences in gender we take for granted these days are more caused by upbringing, education, social background, history and more things like that.

The many examples, references to other researches makes the book very clear, understandable…. and I have to be honest, very convincing.

The book was real fun to read, made me laugh and grin at times… but deeply serious! A book to recommend.

The details of the book:
“Delusions of Gender” by Cordelia Fine 2010 (and reprinted in 2011)
Iconbooks – ISBN 978-184831220-1

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Home, sweet home :)

by Rob on

Most people who read here on regular base, know that a bit more then a year ago I moved from the town of Haaksbergen to the town Heemskerk. I rented there an apartment belonging to my colleague and friend Tom, with the option if I liked it I could buy it after some months.

After living in that apartment for 3 or 4 months I already decided that I wanted to buy it. But for several reasons (and most not depending on me :P) almost more then a year to move on in this process.
Somewhere at the end of January of this year the value of the apartment was officially determined… and from there all went very fast. Arranging the mortgage went very fast and with a nice result of 4.9% for 10 years (Jan, thanks for all the help).

And today Tom and I have been to the notary to make it all official. So officially, since 12:00 am today I am the official owner of the apartment (well, basically there is one small thing that could go wrong and the registration at the cadastre. But in all his years of work the notary never had any problems with that… so I assume there will be no problem).

And for those that claim that when you have a mortgage on a house that the house is owned by the organisation that supplied the mortgage…. you are wrong. As long I pay as agreed for the mortgage, I am lawfully the owner of the apartment (only when I fail to pay on regular base such a organisation could take steps to take ownership….). Jan, thanks for clearing this :).

And yes, after the funeral of my mother last Friday this all feels a bit weird…. and yet, I am very happy that I have a place to call really my own again!!!!

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