Saturday, July 31, 2010

Easiest meal to prepare: Tacos

On lazy days and a good excuse to eat chips for dinner...shout out loud: MAKE SOME TACOS!

Sauteed minced beef in taco mix

Lettuce strips for something healthy

tomatoes for some lycopene and color

taco shells

with zesty sauce (salsa)

and nice tasty cheese


an overflowing taco for Hungry Trotter like me...

And it's one of my first culinary experiences. If you call that cooking...whew!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Utrecht, Netherlands: De Parade

De Parade is the much anticipated summer event in the Netherlands travelling to the 4 biggest cities in the country i.e. The Hague, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, of course. 

When HT hubbie told me that we were going to The Parade, as a newbie, i'm on the go!

We cycled (again) to the event area and met up with our Dutch friends who go to this event every year.  Our friend, GJ, organized everything from buying the tickets and the itinerary for the night (Bedankt, GJ!)

We entered an open area with lots of people hanging out and queueing up in big cargo containers.

What is De Parade all about?  It consists of mini-plays, music, literature, films dance, visual arts, eat and drink (, you name it, they got it.

they hold plays in creative containers like this...

and this, simple but made lively by the funny lads, Leonard and Jeroen  (  check them in facebook and youtube too!

We watched another mini play entitled RECHT NIET, if you ask me the plot, i can't really tell as I really don't know but definitely, gave me jaw aches from laughing.

in fun times like this, it won't be possible without drinks

something for the kids and wanna be kids

coping up with the technology (meet and tweet area) - handwritten in colorful papers

Of course, we wouldn't leave the place, without...

baking my own poffertjes (photo courtesy of our friend, MN)

What is poffertjes?
small pancakes look-alike that are made of yeast and buckwheat which are light and fluffy in texture (wikipedia).  Pouring the batter into the cast iron, you flip it when it's done.  Reminds me of takoyaki we have in Asia.

smothered with butter and powdered sugar...and with my own culinary touch....yum!

Dutch raves for it

Another thing I like about the Netherlands, they have one of the most creative minds in the planet...
Who said that outdoor disco is not possible?

think again...

It was a fun fun night!  We had drinks and endless chit chats until its time to go home. Dank je wel vrienden! (thank you friends)

Enjoy this event til August 1 in Utrecht, and moving to Amsterdam on Aug 6 onwards!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Feels like Singapore

With a plate of rice and a bowl of this...

it feels like home......

Bak Kut Teh, I miss you. 

Thanks hubbie for cooking this for me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TIME OUT: Why bicycles are embraced in Holland

Fiets? Bicycles? Manual Two Wheels?  Yes, this is one of the first toys of Holland babies.  Everyone is taught how to cycle from very early age.  With the acquired skills from childhood, dutch learned to cycle with no hands, or carrying a bag of groceries with one hand and the other hand lying comfortably on the bicyle steerer or sending SMS while cycling without being hit or hitting.  Yes, they're the best bike exhibitionists.

It was a big step for me cycling on the road here as I've learned to pedal only during my quarter life crisis (~25 yrs).  A lot of my friends back in Singapore and Manila asked me, why use manual bicycles, don't you have cars there?'s not that old-fashioned...of course they do...but I've seen the advantages of using bicycles here.  Join me in discovering...

1. Bicycle riders don't need driver's license so anybody can use it to reach their destination faster.  And bicycles have more rights than cars...meaning equal rights as pedestrians.  So you can let a big motorized vehicle wait at your back, while you pedal slowly at your own pace.  And if you get hit by a car, even if you don't follow traffic rules, it's their fault (ok i might be exaggerating a bit, but you get my point) :D.

2. The red pavements are the bicycle lanes.  The roads for bicycles are wider than for cars.  Now you can slowly see who's the boss here...

3. Car parking is so expensive!  For 1 day, you pay 15,80 euros (about 30 sgd)  from 9 am to 9 pm and this is a residential street so just imagine the parking fees near the offices or the town center.

And why bother paying if you can park like this?

4. Towns were not revamped to allow motorized cars to pass by.  In small streets like this, aren't bicycles practical?

5. Lastly, you can drink and drive :D (don't quote me on this)

Convinced why bicycles are embraced by the Dutch?  I do...

Nevertheless, some of them prefer....


Monday, July 26, 2010

Utrecht, Netherlands: Suriname broodje (sandwich)

Suriname, a country situated at the North of South America, was colonized by the Dutch (Exchanged for New Amsterdam aka New York City USA, plus 1 guilder. Ouch!) until the 1970's.  Yes it was pretty late, until they got their independence from the cloggies :D.  So it's not surprising the Suriname and the Netherlands shared things here and there.  Language is one.  60% of Surinamese speak Dutch (wikipedia).  What i'm interested is how these countries shared their cuisine influences.  I can't speak of dutch food in Suriname as I haven't been there, but I can give a few insights of Suriname dishes in Holland.

My first taste of Suriname dish was made by HT hubbie. 
You're reading it's Roti!  During the long colonization period, the Dutch brought Indian, Indonesian and African laborers to Suriname, thus asian and african cuisine influences was brought there.  This box is another ready made item in the grocery (since most people cook at home). The packet contains the roti's and 2 sachets with spices and herbs mix. Add meat, veggie and potatoes and you're in business. I love the supermarkets here as they have a wide range of easy to prepare meals.

HT hubbie in action!

finished product...ROTI KIP (chicken roti)!  The Roti was not as thin, but hey, i still love it.


Walking around the Saturday market, this stall was attracting a crowd.  (Suriname snacks and rolls)

They offer several items that goes with the bread: Bakkeljauw is  Cod, Varkenvlees is pork, Rundvlees is beef, Kip is chicken, Garnalen is shrimp...these are the Dutch words that I have already memorized by heart. *wink*

Spicy curry, small shrimps(garnalen) with cucumber in bread...simple yet tasty.

With Suriname cuisine all over Holland as a substitude for my Asian cravings, homesickness might be further delayed for a while. I'm keeping my fingers crossed....

some information are taken from wikipedia &

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Utrecht, Netherlands: Goeie Louisa Brasserie: First bday in NL

"What do you want for your birthday?"  asked HT hubby.  To be honest, I can't think of anything.  He was joking around that I'm too spoiled that's why it was hard for me to answer his question.  (yeah right!)

So, what did HT wife got for her birthday?

HT wife is always hungry...fond of taking pics of food, and writing it on her blog...*bang* suddenly, an idea pop out into his head.

I want my birthday to be special but no fuss.  No dressing up necessary.  So, hubby who is now a foreigner in his own country after years of staying in Singapore, made a research on where to go...and we end up in this brasserie.

Brasserie is  a type of restaurant with relaxed, yet upscale setting which serves simple dishes. (Wikipedia).  What appears on the card is what you get.  No fuss.  Just good food.  (Goeie Louisa website).

You know why I don't want to dress up? As we have to cycle on our way to the restaurant.  Yes, this is another typical dutch.  Hoop earrings, short dresses, long sleeves with coat and tie, everyone was fleeing with their bikes. I just love the uniqueness this country offers.

We entered Hotel Karel V which used to be a cloister - from the 13th century onwards, but now houses a 5 star hotel, with restaurants Brasserie Goeie Louisa  and a Michelin star restaurant (which is closed for renovation).  Both restaurants work closely with their house suppliers to offer biologically grown veggies, meats and cheeses, and they prefer to grow traditional or oldfashion type of breeds.

Goeie Louisa ("good Louise") have 2 rooms to suit customer preferences.  You can dine in the living room or in the kitchen.  Guess where we end up to?
keuken, of see what the chefs were cooking

The ambiance was really a true brasserie...simple yet elegant.

A tin base plate for a medieval look

As soon as we were seated, this plate of toasted bread with olive tapanade was served.

The menu (menukaart), was indeed straight forward.  Not too much choice for main course, 1 beef, 1 chicken, 2 types of fish, 1 veg and 1 lamb.

I've been researching on restaurants here in NL, almost every place offers set menu.  In this brasserie, they don't print out the set menu details so I have to listen carefully to the waiter (which I was very fortunate since he spoke excellent English).  While he was enumerating each ingredient in the 4-course set, I was already salivating, that i had to secretly swallow a bit and got me somehow demotivated to look at the menu as I already know what I want.  HT hubby felt the same too.

After waiting for our orders, they served a basket of bread with this very aromatic olive oil (the best I ever had).
unfiltered, Valderrama from Spain

Finally, the set arrived...
Salad with organic veggies, scallops and bacon - when it was place in front of us, hubby and I were thinking where the heck is the bacon that the waiter mentioned? :)  See those translucent sheets on top of the small scallops ?(yes i was a bit disappointed as the scallops were tiny)  Those were the bacon fats! I gorged into it as it was so tasty, and didn't give me that tingling feeling everytime I accidentally eat meat fats.  Lightly drizzled with citrus dressing, it was a great starter.

King prawns on saffron risotto with sea lavender - The king prawns were not really kings, they're more of young princes...coming from Asia, where the king prawns are really huge.  The prawns were lightly grilled giving its yummy natural taste.  The winner for this dish I would say is the risotto!  You don't even see the grains as it was fully covered with cheese that's not overwhelming but delicious.  Those leaves were called lamsoren (literally lamb's ear) in Dutch.  I was shocked for a second, then the nice waiter explained, that its called sea lavender.  It grows in an area influenced by tides or flood giving its salty edge (wikipedia).  And, since it's not available all year round, this ingredient was considered special.  And it tasted pretty good, just well-balanced green for this plate.

Lamb on mashed potatoes and fennel with tuinbonen - Ok, i'm not very sure what is the English word of tuinbonen whether it's petai or broad beans but i can attest that it was very fresh.  The mashed potatoes and fennel tasted so good, which we really can't think of what's making it so tasteful that we suspect it was the fennel (read more about it).  The lamb was tenderly cooked and heavenly.   The main course was such a delight.

click on the picture to see the up close and personal
Strawberry pudding with citrus cream - this big bowl was placed in front of me, making my dessert look small.  But first bite, it was absolutely divine.  It was nectarous and the citrus cream was a great complement.  I just love its lightness to end the meal. 

Hubby had his dose of coffee and this was what came with it...
macarons, nougat candies, cinnamon chocolate covered almonds

A great meal wouldn't be as great without a fantastic service!  And, it's always nice to see how your food is being made.  I've seen the waiters do return to the chefs if they think the dish they're about to serve doesn't look good enough or  doesn't have enough sauce.  I love how they worked together, all for the satisfaction of the customers. *clap clap*

Thanks to HT hubbie for the wonderful dinner. 

Price Summary in Euros
4-course set €42.50
Still water €5.50 ( too much )
Coffee with all the sweet €2.25 (better drink coffee than water)

Geertebolwerk 1 3511 XA Utrecht
The Netherlands
*reservation is a must (especially in the kitchen)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TIME OUT: Bioscoop in the Netherlands

Watching closely as they're planning how to fight with the new vampires hunting Bella, the Cullen's and werewolves have combined forces, getting ready for the heart was beating with excitement, then suddenly...pak!


(as seen on cinema screen) heartbeat stopped for a second with an open mouth.  What the heck happened?  Looking at HT hubbie, he remembered of the 15-min breaks in cinemas.  Oh brother, then i better go to the washroom before i pee my pants.


Another Dutch 101... :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Maastricht, Netherlands: Dutch Pastries 101

When we hear tiramisu, we tend to think... oh an Italian dessert!  We hear macarons, and associated it to France and waffles are Belgian. Whatever their origins were, i'm sure there's still a debate up to now who made it first.

Have you ever ask yourself, how about the Dutch?  What's their specialty? 

I am lucky that I'm part of a Dutch family from the province of Limburg, bordering Germany and Belgium.  I was able to experience first hand the sweets that HT hubbie grew up with.

HT hubbie would always mention the word 'Vlaai' with a big smile on his face.  To us who are not familiar:

Vlaai is 'a pie made of flat spongy base and topped with fruits and whipped cream' (from

This is a typical treat that used to be served during special occasions in Limburg.  In modern times, Vlaai is available country wide where people would have easy access to this specialty in different bakkerij (bakery).

It was HT hubbie sister's birthday and I was given an advice that eating only one slice of vlaai is not pleasing for the host. So i prepared my tummy and was excited what's awaiting for us.  (since it's my first time).  A typical foodie who is happy to taste anything new.

Aardbeien Vlaai - this was my first choice as I love aardbei (strawberry).  And I made the right choice as this turned out to be home made by HT hubbie's sister.  This cake really made me mouth-watered the first time I laid my eyes on it.  It was love at first sight.  So I happily took one and it didn't fail me.  It carried just enough sweetness and complimented with the cream and the thin, smooth crust.  Home made is always the best.  Look at the abundant strawberries on top! 

Kruisbessen Vlaai - gooseberries, which is only available around the month of June and July*, made this vlaai a summer treat.  Hubbie was anxious at first that I might not like it, as gooseberries are usually tangy in taste.  The sugar, sweet components of the cream, the rich and sour taste of the gooseberries worked well together.

Kersen en Abrikozen Vlaai - half cherries and half apricot (not sure it was bought like this or just to halves put on 1 plate).  I had the cherries as my 2nd serving (yes, i had more than one!) of the vlaai and it was delicious! The pop of each cherries and the taste of its juice was heavenly everytime i took a mouthful of the vlaai.  I like the softness of the crust and the criss cross sugar-filled dough on top.  And something in this Vlaai makes me feel healthy even if i take another one.

Pudding greumele Vlaai (Custard crumble) -  I was not able to taste this vlaai as i was enjoying chatting with family members, and my tummy was topped up by now as well.  It must be those air i took from chit chat that made me full. Now when I look at this, I felt like I miss something. Just looking at the crumbles just reminds me of apple crumble...yum!
Hubbie managed to fill his craving as well, with 3 slices of these mjammie vlaaien he was a happy camper.

It was a fun fun night.  Just full of laughters, food and's always nice to share these with the family.

With Vlaai and kroket, i think i'm in love with the Netherlands.

Bakkerij de Lekkerbek
Maastricht, The Netherlands
*Aardbei Vlaai was home made