Local Heart, Global Soul

December 3, 2012

FreeRice… A Very Good Cause for Playing Games

Filed under: 101 Things in 1001 Days,LIFE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A few years ago a friend sent me a link to a website called “FreeRice.com”.

It’s a non-profit organisation owned and supported by the United Nations World Food Programme and on their website you can go to a range of subjects and answer quiz-like questions with multiple choice answers.

The questions on each topic start at a basic level and rise up a level after you get a certain number of questions correct in a row. Typically any incorrect answer will lead to that question being repeated as often as it takes for the player to get it right.

Repetition helps the player to grow their knowledge of the subject and rise to the upper levels. Every correct answer given earns 10 grains of rice for the UN World Food Programme. The website says: “The rice is paid for by the sponsors whose names you see on the bottom of your screen when you enter a correct answer. These sponsors support both learning (free education for everyone) and reducing hunger (free rice for the hungry). 

One hint from me if you are interested in playing on FreeRice learning games is that you should start your own Free Rice account, this means that every time you play all of your totals are kept and updated, so you can see how much you have earned and in which subjects over an extended period of time.

I made accounts for Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr. so that they can practice their multiplication tables and earn rice for hungry children at the same time.

They prefer to skip off to the “Flags of the World” section if they think I’m not looking though,  and our family all hate playing ”Capital Cities” with Himself because he’s known them all off by heart since he was seven years old… needless to say he thrashes us every time.

As part of my “101 Things in 1001 Days” one of my missions is to earn 101.000 grains of rice on this website.

My current total is 22.690,– so only about 80.000,– grains to go LOL,

…Better get some more rice into that bowl!

December 7, 2013

Nelson Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom…

Filed under: HISTORY,LIFE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The news we always expected in recent years but never wanted to hear has finally arrived: Nelson Mandela has passed away.

Before today if you asked 100 people who would be on their Invitation list of dream dinner party guests, it would not be surprising if Nelson Mandela’s name didn’t appear and reappear as a very frequent entry. He’d be on my list for sure…

In September 2012 a statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled by Desmond Tutu in the Hague between the  Omniversum building and Bel Air Hotel on the Johan de Wittlaan in the Statenkwartier. It is the work of  Arie Schippers, a Dutch painter and sculptor and was commissioned by a private foundation “the Stichting Standbeeld Nelson Mandela” (The Nelson Mandela Statue Foundation)

The statue is far bigger than life size… standing at 3.5 metres (11 .5 feet) and unusually for a statue, there is no plinth,  it stands like the man himself did, with his feet firmly on the ground.

Tributes and biographical details of Mandela are all over the news: Here’s  some more information from Wikipedia…

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela  (born 18 July 1918) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative, multi racial election.

His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation.

A Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela attended Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member of its Youth League.

Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961 but was found not guilty. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, in association with the South African Communist Party he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961, leading a bombing campaign against government targets. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Mandela served 27 years in prison, first on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison.

An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990.

Becoming ANC President, Mandela published his autobiography and led negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multi-racial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory.

He was elected President and formed a Government of National Unity.

As President, he established a new constitution and initiated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses, while introducing policies to encourage land reform, combat poverty and expand healthcare services.

Internationally, he acted as mediator between Libya and the United Kingdom in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, and oversaw military intervention in Lesotho. He declined to run for a second term, and was succeeded by his deputy Thabo Mbeki, subsequently becoming an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Controversial for much of his life, right-wing critics denounced Mandela as a terrorist and communist sympathiser. He has nevertheless received international acclaim for his anti-colonial and anti-apartheid stance, having received over 250 awards, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Soviet Order of Lenin. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

He is held in deep respect within South Africa, and has been described as “the father of the nation”. He is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name of Madiba.”

I never liked that Nelson Mandela took part in the bombing campaign and personally believe that nothing can sanction that level of violence, but  no-one can deny that  he paid the price for that with all those years and jail and he was fighting against a regime who were certainly no strangers to committing their own atrocities when it came to the human rights (or complete lack of them) of the non-white population.

What I do like about Mandela was that he  was never an “it’s all about me”  type of politician…

…he was driven by wanting a decent, fair democratic South Africa: where equal opportunities for all South Africans regardless of their beginnings in life  or the colour of their skin.  I feel like he spent a lot of his later life trying to atone for the wrongs he had done in his early years, his mediation and charitable work shows me that going  forward by peaceful and constructive means clearly were very important to him.

Since centuries worth of wrongs within a nation can not be undone in the time span of a single generation, it’s also clear that this vision is a work-in-progress and may take many generations to achieve in reality.

Changing economic, social and legal imbalances, eliminating poverty, improving education, health care, career opportunities, housing, and national infrastructure is almost the “easy” part because realistically, changing the mindset of a nation: their deep rooted assumptions, perceptions, attitudes and habits of a lifetime  is a deeper task that will take far far longer.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The plague in the ground by the statue  reads “Long Walk to Freedom”  which  I think so succinctly sums up not just the character of Mandela, but also the process that South Africa  has entered since the abolition of apartheid… I can only hope that as the spirit of Mandela walks on into the history books, so in the same spirit, does the nation of South Africa.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

June 26, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Peas Pulao (Rice)

Filed under: FOOD,INDIA,Indian Cusine,PHOTOGRAPHY,Recipes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Peas Pulao (Rice)

2 Cups (260 grams) Basmati rice (for best results use Tilda): approx for 4 persons
Water for rinsing the rice
4 Cups water for cooking the rice

2 Tablespoons Gee or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
3-4 small piece cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1 onion (finely chopped)
3 Tablespoons Gee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil

Frozen peas (approx 50 grams) (the amount can be varied according to taste) Take them out of the freezer at the beginning of the recipe so that they begin to thaw.

This is the final recipe in my Indian Cooking Lesson series… and I’m ending the series as I began it: with one of my favourites of all the recipes.

This is a recipe that I can see myself making again and again and again. It’s spiced up enough to give it some flavour but not so much that you will scare off the fussy eaters. It’s the kind of side dish that will go not just with other Indian dishes, but also with food from around the rest of the world, it’s more exciting for the numerous vegetarians in our family than the usual plain rice and ever since I discovered that the rice can be cooked first in the microwave, it’s easy, easy. easy to make!  Your buffet table will never look the same again.

Our teacher cannot stress strongly enough the importance in getting Basmati rice if you can… it might cost a little extra but the difference in taste is streets ahead every other type. I also like the fact that after splashing out on the rice, all the other ingredients are mainstream ones, cheap and easy to find in the average supermarket.

Yes, there is Gee in the recipe, but you can make your own by slowly simmering a block of butter for some 40 minutes… the butter during the process clarifies itself and turns into Gee. When it’s cooled a little pour it into a container, keep it in your fridge and hey presto, you have Gee (clarified butter) on hand for whenever you want it.  A recipe that’s easy on the budget, tastes great and is simple to make: What’s not to like?

Method:

Wash the rice thoroughly in cold water (three times) in a pyrex or microwave proof container. Add 4 cups of cold water (Important note: always use same cup for measuring rice as well as the water) Place in a microwave for 20-21 minutes at 900 Watts.
For step-by-step photographs of this please see:   https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/new-1118/

In the meantime, heat the gee (or vegetable oil) in a deep frying pan (wok pan is ideal). Our teacher used a little of both which also works…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To the heated gee and oil  add the cumin seeds and fry for one minute until slightly brown.(Important: do not let the cumin seeds burn or your whole dish will taste bitter).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the bay leaves and cook gently for a few minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the chopped onion and fry for 3-4 minutes until it  starts to often.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the cinnamon sticks and continue frying for a further 3-4 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cook until the onion is well sauteed and a soft pale golden colour …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the peas,  stirring them in..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Finally add the cooked rice and stir thoroughly over a low heat until everything is mixed and the peas are fully cooked.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Serving Tip: Perfect accompaniment  with any type of curry.

Kiwi’s Note: tomorrow a surprise!

February 17, 2013

Accumulating , Like Little Grains of… Rice!

A little while back I talked about the “Free Rice.com” website and the great work they do. As part of my 101 things in 1001 days I have pledged to try and gain 101 000 points on my account on the FreeRice website.  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/?s=free+rice

Today’s post is an update about how that is going… I’m actually rather pleased that I’ve managed to almost double my previous total of 22 000 points to 42 700 points even though work has been crazy busy, we have been out and about at weekends, and a mixture of family engagements, study and tons of time supervising kid homework so computer time has been haphazard.

All in a good cause, even though it’s a little by little effort, every little bit helps…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 28, 2011

101 Things in 1001 Days …Rising to the Challenge!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

101 things to do in 1001 days Challenge

Agh me hearties… I’m feeling reckless brave, (nah, that’s probably the Tramadol)  and I have been in two minds about joining up because of my extremely limited mobility,  but yesterday I had a “good” day after several tough ones and decided to bite the bullet.

Sadly since I have more enthusiasm than capability and I can’t realistically expect to be physically recovered before  Christmas 2011, items like the “Move it” section ain’t happening except in my imagination.

I have trouble with 60 meters of walking on crutches at the moment so planing a 6 kilometer walk is a rather sick joke. Still, I have weighed up the options and decided that there are some things on my list that I can start with on my list… so here goes.

1001 days is roughly 2 years, 8 months and 23 days.. . more or less…  let’s kick this off now and see how it pans out.

Some of the things on the list may need some further explanation.. rest assured …it will all follow as appropriate in due course 🙂

I’ll try and add a separate “101 in 1001” page and just have one main thing to say about my challenges: I will only make a “101” post when something is completed or a particular milestone has been reached with the challenge. (that may however also be a ” first” a flop, something funny along the way).

Kiwidutch’s 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge List:

Unleash the Creativity

1. Take one of the many songs I compose in my head and write down at least one of them per month

2. Work on “that” design idea I have for Spoonflower.com ….. (it’s a secret until it’s finished)

3. Teach Kiwi-Daughter to hand sew a project from beginning to end.

4.  Show both kids how to make paper.

5. Teach Kiwi-Daughter a new embroidery stitch.

6. Show Kiwi-Daughter how to make friendship bracelets.

7. Help Kiwi-Daughter make 10 hand-made cards.

8. Help Little Mr. make 10 hand-made cards.

9. Help Kiwi-Daughter make 5 hand-made gifts.

10. Help Little Mr. make 5 hand-made gifts.

Family Matters

11. Hand-stitch 3 Christmas Tree ornaments for Kiwi Daughter

12. Hand-stitch 3 Christmas Tree ornaments for Little Mr.

13. Update my Will, and make a letter to my kids to be opened should I die suddenly.

14. Write a letter to my kids telling them how much I love them/ am proud of something they have done etc and post it so that they will get a surprise in the post.

15. Let the kids plan an entire family day out and say “Yes” if it’s financially/practically do-able.

16. Play “family restaurant” at home where the kids are the “chefs” and other kids are the “guests”  (adult help in kitchen with oven)

17. Play “family restaurant” at home where the kids (not necessarily just our kids) are the “chefs” and parents are the “guests”  (adult help in kitchen with oven)

18. To chase up family history from some older family members before it’s too late.

19. Have a family picnic dinner in the park, do this more than 5  times.

20. Have a family picnic dinner in the park, invite another family we know to join in.

21. Have a pot-luck family/friends picnic dinner in the park, with a minimum of 3 families. Bonus points for ever additional family/friend set roped into the event.

22. Organize an extended family picnic , do this 2 times.

23. Let each kid have one Baking Day per year where they get to completely choose what is baked (no matter how much sugar or how unhealthy)

24. Have 10 Games evenings where the whole family plays, board games, lego, cards etc.

25. Plan a neighbourhood treasure hunt for our kids local friends.

26. Have a Mama/Kiwi Daughter day that we plan together.

27. Have a Mama/Little Mr day that we plan together.

Foodie Fantasies

28. Get the kids to have  5 new “joined-up-food”  experiences (the “sauce” being the new ingredient)

29. Get the kids to have  5 new “joined-up-food”  experiences ( the “herbs” being the new ingredient)

30. Get the kids to have  5 new “joined-up-food”   experiences (the  “spices” being the new ingredient)

31. Get the kids to have  5 new “joined-up-food”   experiences (the  “vegetable” being the new ingredient)

32. Have 10 goes at baking bread

33. Learn how to use the game pie mold I bought.

34. Find and make 5 recipes that use Filo pastry

35. Find and try out 5  aubergine recipes (that’s “eggplant” to some of you)

36.  Make and try 50 new healthy recipes

37. Try out 5 new tagine recipes

38. Find a  Historical recipe, research it,  make it and review it.

Exhibiting my Weird Sense of Humour

39. Think up 5 absolutely brilliant Aprils Fools Jokes, carry out appropriate research and planning and see how many people you can fool when you pull them off. (suggestions from readers welcome)

40. Make up an elaborately detailed practical joke (any time of year) and pull it off successfully

41. Host a (surprise) “regressive” dinner, so guests start the meal with dessert and end with an aperitif.

42. Convince the local Islamic Butcher to give me 10 sheep’s knuckles so that I can teach the kids  the game of “knucklebones” .

Giving Back and being Grateful

43. Raise at least Euro 1000  for the charity we support.

44. Have everyone donate a pig, chicken, goat, rabbit etc to an organisation like Heifer International, instead of Birthday or Christmas gifts.

45. Make a difference to a complete stranger, in a Continent I don’t live on. Do this anonymously.

46. Make a difference to a complete stranger, in a Country I don’t live in. Do this anonymously.

47. Send 10 “goodie” baskets to people  …“just because”.

48. Write 50 letters , handwritten ones snail-mail ones, and stick a stamp on and post them

49. Write and send a Thank you card whenever  people have done something nice.

50. Play and donate 101 000 grains of “free rice” on the Free Rice website.

51. Send 50 Postcards (with meaningful and personal messages)

Local Inspirational

52. Get to know someone new on my street.

53. Organize a summer street party.

54. Dig out a piece of city history and catalog it.

55. Bring recognition to an unsung “local hero”

56. Have neighbours (from across the street, you know who you are) over for dinner for the first time.

57. Have neighbours (from bottom left of the stairs, you know who you are) over for dinner for the first time.

58. Have neighbours (from several doors down of the left, you know who you are) over for dinner for the first time.

59. Have neighbours (from approx 6 six houses down, you know who you are) over for dinner for the first time.

60. Organise a “progressive” dinner within our street (soup at one house, main course at another, dessert at another etc)

Staving off  Dementia a.k.a. Stretching  the Mind

61. Make an additional two week of “reserve” blog posts written (Works-in-progress finished)…

62. Scan 101 old trip photos from my film camera days

63. Learn how to use my DSLR Macro lens

64. Improve my French language skills, specifically learn 20 new verbs.

Getting Personal

65. Plan and take 3 kid-free long weekends away with Himself.

66. Plan a surprise gift  for Himself.

Move it More

67. Use a fitness apparatus 5 days out of 7. (and break a sweat)

68. Take the whole family on a 3km walk.

69. Take the whole family on a 5km walk.

70.  Save for a Wii Fit/ sport thingy.

71. Walk 1001 kms on my walking machine or similar calories/effort on cross trainer.

72. Loose the weight I gained whilst in Paster / on crutches

Saving the Planet: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

73. Actively save towards one solar panel

74. Be better at switching off lights no one is using

75. Switch off computer and anything on “standby” if I’m popping out , no matter how short I’m popping out for.

76. Bake two things in the oven instead of one, do this on more than 20 occasions

77. Walk somewhere that I may have previously taken the car, do this more on than 50 occasions

78. Reduce my “collections of treasured stuff” by a third, get picky(ier)  about what I add to my stashes.

79. Clean out ancient emails, but save the good stuff.

80. Run 5 Give-a-Ways on my blog.

Get  Social

81. Meet up personally with 3 fellow bloggers who I follow on-line regularly

82. Offer a free bed and a bite to someone passing though… random catch of stranger, preferably someone on a budget.

83. Cook and deliver a meal to someone who’s going through some general long term stress.

84. Cook and deliver a meal to someone who’s just had a baby/had an operation/bereavement etc.

85. Have friends and family over for home-cooked meals  20 times.

86.  Babysit + kid-sleepover (for free) so that another set of parents can have a weekend off.

87. Include someone else’s kid(s) in one of our family kid-friendly outing so that their parents can have an afternoon or a day off.

Wanderlust

88. Visit Castle ( exactly which, yet to be decided)

89. Visit Castle ( exactly which, yet to be decided)

90. Visit Castle ( exactly which, yet to be decided)

91. Visit  Museum  (Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum (HOVM)

92. Visit:  Vredespaleis ( The Peace Palace) in Den Haag (The Hague)

93. Visit  Museum  (exactly which, yet to be decided)

94. Visit  Museum  (exactly which, yet to be decided)

95. Visit a Hofje   (exactly which, yet to be decided)

96. Visit a Hofje   (exactly which, yet to be decided)

97. Visit a Hofje   (exactly which, yet to be decided)

98. Visit a Hofje   (exactly which, yet to be decided)

99. Visit a place of interest in my Province  (exactly which, yet to be decided)

100. Visit a place of interest in my Province  (exactly which, yet to be decided)

101. Visit 3 new countries.

101 Things in 1001 Days

Filed under: — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am

Kiwidutch’s 101 things to do in 1001 days …Started July 28th 2011…

This is the Update page where you can keep track of the whole list and keep me accountable for progress. (yes I realise that progress is slow, but I’m still recovering from my accident and still on crutches … so until my foot gets back to working order,  life at the moment  and possibilities “to do”  are understandably rather limited)

If you would also like to support other “101’ers” in our group I have links on my Blogroll Page.

Some of the things on the list may need some further explanation.. rest assured …it will all follow as appropriate in due course :)

I will  make a “101″ post whenever there is something relevant to report regarding any of the challenges.

Key:

Black = the original version of the list .

Red = partially completed tasks. (links to completed parts if appropriate)

Green = Completed tasks. (links to completed tasks)

Kiwidutch’s 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge List:

Unleash the Creativity

1. Take one of the many songs I compose in my head and write down at least one of them per month

2. Work on “that” design idea I have for Spoonflower.com ….. (it’s a secret until it’s finished)

3. Teach Kiwi-Daughter to hand sew a project from beginning to end.

4.  Show both kids how to make paper.

5. Teach Kiwi-Daughter a new embroidery stitch.

6. Show Kiwi-Daughter how to make friendship bracelets.

7. Help Kiwi-Daughter make 10 hand-made cards.

8. Help Little Mr. make 10 hand-made cards.

9. Help Kiwi-Daughter make 5 hand-made gifts.

10. Help Little Mr. make 5 hand-made gifts.

Family Matters

11. Hand-stitch 3 Christmas Tree ornaments for Kiwi Daughter

12. Hand-stitch 3 Christmas Tree ornaments for Little Mr.

13. Update my Will, and make a letter to my kids to be opened should I die suddenly.

14. Write a letter to my kids telling them how much I love them/ am proud of something they have done etc and post it so that they will get a surprise in the post.

15. Let the kids plan an entire family day out and say “Yes” if it’s financially/practically do-able.

16. Play “family restaurant” at home where the kids are the “chefs” and other kids are the “guests”  (adult help in kitchen with oven)

17. Play “family restaurant” at home where the kids (not necessarily just our kids) are the “chefs” and parents are the “guests”  (adult help in kitchen with oven)

18. To chase up family history from some older family members before it’s too late.

Looking at the Past and thinking of the Future:   https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/new-430/

19. Have a family picnic dinner in the park, do this more than 5  times.

20. Have a family picnic dinner in the park, invite another family we know to join in.

21. Have a pot-luck family/friends picnic dinner in the park, with a minimum of 3 families. Bonus points for ever additional family/friend set roped into the event.

22. Organize an extended family picnic , do this 2 times.

23. Let each kid have one Baking Day per year where they get to completely choose what is baked (no matter how much sugar or how unhealthy)

24. Have 10 Games evenings where the whole family plays, board games, lego, cards etc.

25. Plan a neighbourhood treasure hunt for our kids local friends.

26. Have a Mama/Kiwi Daughter day that we plan together.

27. Have a Mama/Little Mr day that we plan together.

Foodie Fantasies

28. Get the kids to have  5 new “joined-up-food”  experiences (the “sauce” being the new ingredient)

29. Get the kids to have  5 new “joined-up-food”  experiences ( the “herbs” being the new ingredient)

30. Get the kids to have  5 new “joined-up-food”   experiences (the  “spices” being the new ingredient)

31. Get the kids to have  5 new “joined-up-food”   experiences (the  “vegetable” being the new ingredient)

32. Have 10 goes at baking bread

33. Learn how to use the game pie mold I bought.

34. Find and make 5 recipes that use Filo pastry

35. Find and try out 5  aubergine recipes (that’s “eggplant” to some of you)

(1) Finially, I’ve conquored my Fear of..  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/new-453/

(2) Food Fears and Inadvertent Departures from the Recipe…     https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/new-396

36.  Make and try 50 new healthy recipes

37. Try out 5 new tagine recipes

38. Find a  Historical recipe, research it,  make it and review it.

Exhibiting my Weird Sense of Humour

39. Think up 5 absolutely brilliant Aprils Fools Jokes, carry out appropriate research and planning and see how many people you can fool when you pull them off. (suggestions from readers welcome)

40. Make up an elaborately detailed practical joke (any time of year) and pull it off successfully

41. Host a (surprise) “regressive” dinner, so guests start the meal with dessert and end with an aperitif.

42. Convince the local Islamic Butcher to give me 10 sheep’s knuckles so that I can teach the kids  the game of “knucklebones” .

Giving Back and being Grateful

43. Raise at least Euro 1001  for the charity we support.

Which Charity?Kiribati School and Center for Children with Special Needs”    https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/new-444/

Crafty Fund-Raising Campaign No.1. https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/new-432/

Credit Where it’s Due…      https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/new-467/

Amount Raised to Date: Euro 181,–

44. Have everyone donate a pig, chicken, goat, rabbit etc to an organisation like Heifer International, instead of Birthday or Christmas gifts.

45. Make a difference to a complete stranger, in a Continent I don’t live on. Do this anonymously.

46. Make a difference to a complete stranger, in a Country I don’t live in. Do this anonymously.

47. Send 10 “goodie” baskets to people  …“just because”.

48. Write 50 letters , handwritten ones snail-mail ones, and stick a stamp on and post them

49. Write and send a Thank you card whenever  people have done something nice. (3 occasions, 3 homemade cards sent. Oops missed= 0)

50. Play and donate 101 000 grains of “free rice” on the Free Rice website.

51. Send 50 Postcards (with meaningful and personal messages)

Local Inspirational

52. Get to know someone new on my street.

53. Organize a summer street party.

54. Dig out a piece of city history and catalog it.

55. Bring recognition to an unsung “local hero”

56. Have neighbours (from across the street, you know who you are) over for dinner for the first time.

57. Have neighbours (from bottom left of the stairs, you know who you are) over for dinner for the first time.

58. Have neighbours (from several doors down of the left, you know who you are) over for dinner for the first time.

59. Have neighbours (from approx 6 six houses down, you know who you are) over for dinner for the first time.

60. Organise a “progressive” dinner within our street (soup at one house, main course at another, dessert at another etc)

Staving off  Dementia a.k.a. Stretching  the Mind

61. Make an additional two week of “reserve” blog posts written (Works-in-progress finished)…

62. Scan 101 old trip photos from my film camera days

63. Learn how to use my DSLR Macro lens

64. Improve my French language skills, specifically learn 20 new verbs.

Getting Personal

65. Plan and take 3 kid-free long weekends away with Himself.

66. Plan a surprise gift  for Himself.

Move it More

67. Use a fitness apparatus 5 days out of 7. (and break a sweat)

68. Take the whole family on a 3km walk.

69. Take the whole family on a 5km walk.

70.  Save for a Wii Fit/ sport thingy.

71. Walk 1001 kms on my walking machine or similar calories/effort on cross trainer.

72. Loose the weight I gained whilst in Paster / on crutches

Saving the Planet: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

73. Actively save towards one solar panel

74. Be better at switching off lights no one is using

75. Switch off computer and anything on “standby” if I’m popping out , no matter how short I’m popping out for.

76. Bake two things in the oven instead of one, do this on more than 20 occasions

77. Walk somewhere that I may have previously taken the car, do this more on than 50 occasions

78. Reduce my “collections of treasured stuff” by a third, get picky(ier)  about what I add to my stashes.

79. Clean out ancient emails, but save the good stuff.

80. Run 10 Give-a-Ways on my blog.

(1) (Closed) Stroopwafels explained,  you could be in to WIN!  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/new-425/

(2) (Closed) Enter Kiwidutch’s Very Cheesy Competition!      https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/new-504/

(3) (Closed) When a Piece of Plastic Stopping You From Going Green… Is a GOOD Thing!   https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/new-634/

Get  Social

81. Meet up personally with 3 fellow bloggers who I follow on-line regularly

82. Offer a free bed and a bite to someone passing though… random catch of stranger, preferably someone on a budget.

83. Cook and deliver a meal to someone who’s going through some general long term stress.

84. Cook and deliver a meal to someone who’s just had a baby/had an operation/bereavement etc.

85. Have friends and family over for home-cooked meals  20 times. (1 0f 20 completed)

86.  Babysit + kid-sleepover (for free) so that another set of parents can have a weekend off.

87. Include someone else’s kid(s) in one of our family kid-friendly outing so that their parents can have an afternoon or a day off.

Wanderlust

88. Visit Castle ( exactly which, yet to be decided)

89. Visit Castle ( exactly which, yet to be decided)

90. Visit Castle ( exactly which, yet to be decided)

91. Visit  Museum  (Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum / HOVM) The Hague.

92. Visit:  Vredespaleis ( The Peace Palace) in Den Haag (The Hague)

93. Visit: MC Escher Museum in Den Haag (The Hague)

94. Visit  Museum  (exactly which, yet to be decided)

95. Visit a Hofje   (exactly which, yet to be decided)

96. Visit a Hofje   (exactly which, yet to be decided)

97. Visit a Hofje   (exactly which, yet to be decided)

98. Visit a Hofje   (exactly which, yet to be decided)

99. Visit a place of interest in my Province  (exactly which, yet to be decided)

100. Visit a place of interest in my Province  (exactly which, yet to be decided)

101. Visit 3 new countries.

October 11, 2019

Jolly Good Day For A Drive Old Chap!

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Vehicles,THE NETHERLANDS,Wassenaar — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s weird, but whenever I see people out and about in Vintage / Classic cars (called “Old Timers” here in The Netherlands), I can’t help but assume that everyone driving them speaks with an English accent circa 1930.  It’s a totally stupid idea, especially when you think that most owners of these automobiles are older and Dutch is their native language. We were out and about one day during the summer and saw several of these cars whilst driving in Wassenaar, just north of The Hague. Wassenaar (pronounced: “Wos enn ah“) you learn quickly after settling in here, is where even small “stand alone” houses with gardens command property prices in the millions.

The large houses have prices that are never listed in the brochures, along the lines of : “if you have to ask the price you can’t afford it“. These are often no ordinary houses and gardens though, many of the houses are palatial and the gardens massive. Diplomats, Bankers, Directors and CEO’s of multinationals, and people in high paying professions, or “old money” live here.

It’s one of the richest residential areas of the Netherlands (think the last stretch of the Monopoly board) an extremely affluent area of the Netherlands, and I learned from Wikipedia that: “…(home to) …the country’s most expensive street, the Groot Haesebroekseweg” Now that’s a tiny titbit of useless information I didn’t know until now.

Himself and Little Mr are excellent spotters of unusual or expensive cars, but this one was right in front of us so even I couldn’t miss it.  It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I realised that there was another Classic car on the opposite side of the highway turning into the street coming up to the left of us, and in my second photograph you can see a second Classic car  on our side of the road waiting to turn left into the same street. All of these beautiful cars turned off into the same street so there must have been some sort of event going on close by… an event and social circle far above our pay grade! These cars are beautiful, we may not be able to buy, but hey! …window shopping is free!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 8, 2017

Step-By-Step: Wok Are Your Tips And Tricks?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterdays post I covered our discovery of “Eazie” in Scheveningen, one of a chain of restaurants in the Netherlands.

The principle behind the cuisine is that diners select fresh ingredients which are then wok fried in front of them, the prepared food can be eaten in the restaurant or taken away.  As usual I asked permission to take photographs of the restaurant interior and once given, added that I would love to also take photographs of the cooking process.

Permission was given for that too and soon I was clicking away. During this observation I also picked up some wok cooking tips and tricks. The first tip for doing this at home is probably the most basic: all meat, fish and veggies have to be cut in sizes suitable to them all cooking evenly together.

The thickness of all the carrot pieces, for instance should be as uniform as possible. I have the luxury of having an electric slicer, and during the summer tried an experiment that turned out to be a huge success. I got Himself to bring home a huge bag of veggies from the Haagse markt where  the prices are less than half the price of the supermarkets.

That said, you will need to do a fraction more work with your bargains: (a) often you have to check veggies for bad spots or the odd bit that’s well on the way to going rotten,(b) veggies are often waaay cheaper because they are misshapen, so be prepared to spend more time peeling around knobbly bits of carrots etc. (c) veggies are usually more on the “ripe” end of the scale than the “under ripe” end of the scale, so be careful buying in bulk if you can’t use it all before it’s past being edible.

Since sitting is something I do rather well these days, I sat on a stool and washed, peeled, topped, tailed, stripped off nasty outside bits of carrots, onions, beans, chinese cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum peppers, broccoli, and other seasonal veggies so that I had a massive pile of whole, but prepared veggies for slicing. Then the slicer came out and on a thin setting I started slicing it all.

Soon I was surrounded by mounds of white, green, orange and yellow veggies, which I then mixed up together. The last step was easy: fill up freezer bags and stack them all in the freezer. Whenever we fancied a stir-fry at a later date, all we had to do was grab a bag of pre-cut veggies from the freezer and head towards the stove. The thinness of the veggies means they separate, thaw and cook easily. The biggest surprise is that the onions and Chinese cabbage stayed white and mostly kept their shape, I had imagined I’d get a soggy brown mess once it thawed so this was a wonderful surprise.

Here at “Eazie” the veggies are fresh of course and not frozen; and have already been cut to appropriate thicknesses and even sizes.  An excellent tip I learned from these professionals is that they put your meat/fish/veg into a sieve and plunge it into a pot of boiling water to blanch them for a couple of minutes, then drain/ shake the water off and transfer everything to the waiting hot wok.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This not only partly cooks harder things like carrots, broccoli and cauli stems and the like, it also keeps the colours bright so the end result doesn’t look like a dull coloured mess. (I’ve been there with my stir-frys, I’ll bet you have on occasion too).

Then the hardest bit of all: a serious heat and a decent wok pan. Stupidly when I bought my new stove I was delighted that it had a special Wok burner that goes far harder than the other gas flames.

Less intelligent of me was that on this model stove this element is near the wall and not in the middle row (I have six burners), so I can only use a very small pan to use it with. I have been making do with a regular fry pan but think that I should think about getting a proper wok for the job because then the heat is in the right place at the right time.

The problem with a fry pan is that you have a lot of heat but the flames get too big around the pan so I keep turning it down, and needing longer cooking time and my stir-frys have been a little more wilted than I’d like.

I’ve heard raves about Ken Hom stainless woks so maybe I need to have a word with Santa about that one. The next thing I learn from watching the Eazie chefs is that they keep the heat high and the pan moving more than I imagined they would. They use the long handled spoon/ ladle thingy to work the sauce around the meat and veggies as the meal cooks. I am going to try this technique, especially the quick blanching first and see if I can improve not only the appearance but also the taste of my wok meals from now on.(Please note that my photos are a compilation of several different meals since I was tired and not all of my pics were sharp).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://www.thuisbezorgd.nl/eazie-scheveningen
Eazie, Restaurant Scheveningen / The Hague/ The Netherlands

September 28, 2017

You Only Have A Hefty Supermarket Bill To Loose…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I love to use root ginger in my cooking, there is nothing better in a stir-fry or a curry.

I have several pet peeves about the stuff though when it comes to the practical side of things.

Who of us can say we are not guilty of buying some ginger for a recipe we are making, using a centimeter or two of it and then leaving the remainder in the fridge until it dries up and withers?

During the time of our gingers demise we glance at it with “good intentions” of using it, but it doesn’t go into our pasta or potato dish so our good intentions gather dust.

Eventually the now offending piece is unceremoniously scooped out from the bottom of the veggie bin and thrown out as we or our families lecture about food waste and we swear we will not ever do it again. Until next time.

For a long time I stored my root ginger immersed in a jar of sherry. The two flavours go very well together and would fuse, adding a wonderful extra level of flavour to marinades, and whenever you needed a spoonful of sherry in something it’s ginger accompaniment would make it shine. My mother used this method for years and never had a problem but for some reason I have had a layer of mold form at the top of my jars,  I stopped using this storage method. Then a friend suggested her method: peel the ginger and store it in a plastic bag in the freezer, grate from frozen whenever you need it. Seemed ideal, but I quickly found that my fingers do not function well when stuck to a stone cold piece of ginger and in charge of an uber sharp micro grater.

Then comes the biggest and not insignificant problem with root ginger. It has all of these tiny little nodules that stick out from the main root, I loath to waste them but at the same time they are a pain in the butt to peel and grate.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I also have to be brutally honest; at base level, I am lazy, both the freezer and sherry storage methods require hard word right at a moment when I want it least: in the middle of cooking a meal.

It’s hard to get enthusiastic about peeling and grating awkward bits of ginger whilst pots are boiling over, the oven timer is pinging incessantly, the pain in my foot is killing me, a kid decides to get under my feet wanting to rummage in the fridge in my nano-sized galley kitchen, half of the groceries are still needing unpacking on the bench so I am desperately short of space to work in and I am turning the kitchen over for the fresh garlic I had in my hands minutes ago but can now not find for love nor money.

I need a root ginger storage system designed for a very lazy me.  Now I think I may have found it.  We get a lot of our vegetables at the Haagse markt, and in doing so have made a very big dent in our food bill.

Last Saturday Himself arrived home with a bag of root ginger and a question: ” Guess how much this lot was?” Several seriously off course guesses later he told triumphantly told me; “Three Euros!”. Wow… that would be the price of just the largest piece at the supermarket. What a brilliant find !!! Now I had to deal with the stuff. I blocked off the entire kitchen by hauling up  a chair, and armed with a veggie peeler and a knife, set to work. It was slow but mindless work, I took several tea breaks and one nap during the process but liked that no real concentration was involved so no stress.

The pile of peelings grew steadily larger as I tried to save as much of the ginger as possible.  My food processing machine took out the hard graft of grating for me and in doing a bulk amount, justified the extra washing up.I had some plastic inserts from a special biscuit (cookie) tray in my cupboard, intending to using when next making my chocolates. Having made them last well over a year ago I am kidding myself, so these became freezer containers instead.

I packed the ginger in and added some water to seal and hold it together. The rest was such a large quantity that I put it into a zip-lock bag, added a little water and then froze it flat. Later I can cut or break off a chunk of this ginger and put it to thaw ready-grated into my stir-fry pan and curry spice mixes.

Added to the fact that this bag of ginger cost literally  next to nothing, we also save a bomb when prices skyrocket in winter no matter where you want to buy it. Yes, it’s all the preparation work in one day, but I found this far less frustrating than trying to prep miniscule amounts at moments when I am tired and cooking is enough of a job for me to manage. If you have a local market / farmers market / market garden where you can stock up on veggies and things like this, I can not recommend it highly enough.  Take leeks for instance: supermarket sells them priced per leek, market stall sells bunch of leeks for the same price… or less!  You will save a shocking amount of money in a very short amount of time. If you can, then go do it… you only have a hefty supermarket bill to loose.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Landmarks in Den Haag (The Hague): The Haagse Markt… Part 2.
Landmarks in The Hague: The Haagse Markt…

January 3, 2017

The Tortoise And The Care…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Pulau Ubin Island,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

For my last installment about Pulau Ubin Island, Himself tells me that he and Velvetine got tired of walking so decided to hire some bicycles.

Most of the tracks are unsealed so this was easier going, at least for my Dutch husband who is completely used to cycling.

There were however rather a few jokes from Himself, and from me later, about  how our Singaporean friend’s derriere would be faring after this adventure since she is not a regular cyclist.

During their bike ride our friend “Velvetine” spied a tortoise that had gotten entangled in a fence, and not being people to leave a creature in distress, they carefully managed to help it to get free.

Once it was clear that the tortoise was only entangled and not actually injured in any way, Velvetine decided that it needed to be set free somewhere where there was no risk of getting snared again.

A suitable spot was found a short distance away, the tortoise making the trip in the basket of  Velvetine’s hired bicycle. After that the bike ride was without incident, just beautiful scenery.
Wikipedia tells me that “ The Singapore Government’s development projects on the island in the last few years have been controversial and debate has been able to find its way through government-controlled media.

Their main ideas is that the East West Line could be extended to Pulau Ubin from Pasir Ris. Although the government has highlighted the area for future development, the island is unlikely to be urbanised because many foreign tourists visit Ubin and it has become a tourist attraction.

Though recent government action has been limited to widening the paths for bicycles, building shelters for trekkers and other facilities for the growing number of visitors, it is already discreetly changing the face and nature of Pulau Ubin from untouched to planned, and paving the way for further developments. The future of the island is in the hands of Singapore Government, which may postpone its development in order to concentrate on re-developing existing space on Singapore island and nearby Pulau Tekong.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

For now, Pulau Ubin is a haven as a former rural way of life will most likely disappear with its last “kampung” generation passing.

There are a few tarmac roads on Pulau Ubin but most roads are gravel. There are a number of minibuses, jeeps and motorbikes on the island, all bearing PU (for Pulau Ubin) numbered plates.

Although the locals try to keep the island un-urbanized, they need some small boosts of money to support them. On the island there are currently conservation projects for the Oriental pied hornbill,  monitoring of identified populations of seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) and pipefish (Syngnathoides biaculeatus).

One of the current popular tourist attractions on the island is Chek Jawa. A former coral reef 5000 years ago, Chek Jawa can be said to be virtually unspoilt, with a variety of marine wildlife comparable to other islands, such as sea hares, sea squirts, octopuses, starfishes, sand dollars, fishes, sponges, cuttlefishes and nudibranches. 

Ketam Mountain Bike Park which was built in 2007. The trail is approximately 8 kilometers long and features a wide range of terrain ranging from open meadows to thick jungle. There are numerous steep but short climbs and descents. The trail is well-marked with signs indicating the difficulty level of each section.

The rental price for bicycles range anywhere from S$2.00 to S$20.00 (for the entire day) depending on the condition of the bike, number of gears etc. People can also bring their own bikes to the island to ride.
 Getting here from the main island of Singapore  can be done via a 10-minute bumboat ride from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal (previously known as the Changi Village jetty). In 2015 the one-way ticket price was  S$3.00 per passenger.

Every bumboat can carry 12 passengers and the captain will wait till his boat has reached the maximum capacity before leaving. People who do not want to wait can pay S$36.00 for the whole bumboat and leave without waiting.”

After their walk and bike ride and before leaving Pulau Ubin, Himself and Velvetine decided to have lunch. I’m allergic to shellfish so it’s not often that Himself has someone to enjoy some with. Needless to say both of them enjoyed their slippery delights and afterwards made their way back to the hustle and bustle of mainland Singapore on one of the bumboats. I have been indebted to Velvetine for taking far more photographs than Himself ever would have done, it’s enabled those of us who weren’t able to go to enjoy the trip at least via through the photograph album.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Note the PU number plates on the vehicles… probably the rarest number plate series in Singapore.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Velvetine tells is that these floating communities on the water in front of the Singapore high rise skyline are Pulau Ubin fish farms…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Wikipedia: Palau Ubin

 

 

 

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