Local Heart, Global Soul

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)

December 27, 2012

It’s a Zilverstad Surprise, But on This Occasion Sadly Not in Silver…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My workplace has a social budget which allows for a small gift for employees and this is how at the end of last year everyone in our unit got a gift card that could be used in various places throughout the Netherlands.

Himself and I looked at the internet site of the company offering the gift cards and there were all sorts of options, such as a balloon ride for one, but not many at first sight that really fit in as a family activity with kids our age.

Then later Himself looked again and found something on the site that he came and told me about with a huge grin on his face.

The result of this discovery is how one in the morning one summer Saturday we found ourselves driving around an hour out of The Hague to the Dutch city of Schoonhoven.

Schoonhoven is a medieval city that’s earned the nickname of “Zilverstad” (Silver City) because for centuries it’s the place where silversmiths worked, but we didn’t think it would be too interesting for our kids to be dragged around silversmith establishments (although to be honest I wouldn’t have minded at all) so sadly silver isn’t why we are here on this occasion.

We haven’t told the kids where they are going or why either and their questions have been halted by the appearance of our Nintendo’s. These electronic games are in our household reserved for aeroplane flights and longer car journey’s only so the novelty value is very large indeed when they are produced.

I actually think that kids being kids and the tangible being far better than the integrable that the excitement of the Nintendo’s even overrode the knowledge of an impending surprise. Yes, I am  being mean making you wait for the surprise too… Let’s start by taking a look at the journey and by taking note of the houses on the right hand side of the next photo…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

…just around the next corner we get to see what the land looks like on the back side of the houses (note therefore the difference in height of the canal and the surrounding land).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We drove along a long narrow canal where the “fields” to the right are typical Dutch narrow strips of land with smaller canals in between. The little house-like sheds evenly spaced along the entire length (several kilometres) are most unusual and we first guessed they might be pumping stations, but there’s also some kind of pipe in the ground at appears to connect it all so maybe something to do with methane gas production?

(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)

Little Mr. insisted on the next two… (even Nintendo doesn’t stand a chance when these come along)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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!

October 19, 2012

Really Less of a Border Crossing and More Of An Obstacle Course…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now that Indonesia has been stuck off the travel list for this trip, there is only one practical alternative  left for our next adventure: Malaysia.

Last evening we made plans and with the help of Reception were lucky to secure a place on a bus trip, but it leaves very early in the morning so we kick ourselves out of bed bright and early (ok, perhaps a little less of the bright…) take a shuttle bus from the Rasa Sentosa to the Casino on the other side of Sentosa Island, change to a larger shuttle bus and then to our tour bus, one of several parked in the carpark of the  Singapore Flyer.

We sort out our tickets, climb aboard a large air-conditioned coach and a short while later are heading north.

Sentosa island is fairly well at the central southerly point of the island State of Singapore and the place we are headed towards first is pretty well right at the central top of the island of Singapore.

On the Singapore side of the Johor Strait is Woodlands, on Malaysian side is the city of  Johor Bahru, which  is usually abbreviated  by the populations on both sides to “JB”.

Our Singaporean friend “Velvetine’  is not only a mine of local knowledge but also an excellent travel companion and friend. We met in person some six years ago for the first time after meeting several years previous to that via the cooking website “Recipezaar”(now called “Food.com”) so have known each other since about 2003 or 2004.

We are living proof that total strangers on different sides of the world of the kind who were often first dubbed as   “oh,  one of your  imaginary internet friends?” can turn into a fabulous and lasting friendship that apparently only gets better with time.

Her internet nickname has always been “Velvetine” and mine naturally enough is “Kiwidutch” and we discovered that we share a passion for not just cooking and all things Foodie, but also for travel, photography and to Himself’s astonished delight, for the small remote Pacific  island nations, namely Kiribati.

Velvetine is the biggest reason that our Singapore stopovers have grown over the years from 12 or 18 hours to five days, and the time always flies by too quickly and there are always sniffles and handkerchiefs at the airport when we say goodbye.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Today however we are going on adventures together… and this starts with the leaving of Singapore.

Unlike a bus trip I did as a teenager from France to the uk, where a stack of Passports were collected  by the driver, handed to a customs agent who came on board to check that the faces matched the names and we never left our seats, this is completely different.

We are required to not only exit the bus but also to join  throngs of people streaming into the border crossing building, and on crutches I’m struggling to keep up.

We also have to take a slightly different route to find the lifts and avoid the stairs and to be honest on the Malaysian side it’s not intuitive or brilliantly marked.

We’ve been warned that if we don’t find the bus at the other end it will leave without us because they have a schedule to keep and Velvetine is worth her weight in gold at this moment because she has done this crossing many times before and has a good idea where we could find the lifts and how to get back the the main route again once we had negotiated border control.

Even so we are rushing like lunatics, quicker people in a hurry are weaving around us in droves.  Himself  is herding the kids like little sheep so that they don’t get lost or bowled over, Velvetine is helping us both and even my now strong arms from a year on crutches are aching and feeling like jelly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

All in all it’s an awful of lot of bus hopping  and walking through the checkpoints of both countries and seems like a lot of hassle, but clearly I’m spoilt by the ease with which we can cross borders within Europe.

Velvetine warns that it’s probably not a good idea to try and take photos inside the customs areas as they may take a dim view for security reasons, so I have no photos of the route inside, but eventually we end up in a basement area where our bus is now waiting in a queue of some twenty others and on the Malaysian side we negotiate the final obstacles which consist of  massive curbs and no ramps down to get to the bus.

Luckily Himself  is on hand to help me negotiate these.  How a wheelchair user would negotiate this terrain and experience I have no idea, except to say  “with great difficulty”.

If there was an easier way to do all this, certainly no one offered to show us  how,  nor were there obvious signs that would help us, so my first impression of Malaysia ended up being that people with disabilities or mobility impaired are not made to feel particularly welcome.

For an exceptionally new building on the Malaysian side it seems unreasonably complicated to negotiate  your way though, is this yet another case of the designer getting a brief for a building but having no contact with the people or experience needed to take place inside it? Who knows? Either way it’s the most tiring, exhausting, rushed and frustrating way I’ve ever had experience to enter a foreign country.

We all flop into our seats on the bus and grab our water bottles out of our backpacks… we’ve successfully crossed the border, let the adventures begin.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 15, 2012

When a Piece of Plastic Stopping You From Going Green… Is a GOOD Thing!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since this a car journey that features mostly winding roads, hills, trees and both inland and coastal views, landmarks that are a bit different are welcomed by kids looking out the windows.

But one of the most noticable differences between the generations sitting in our vehicle is that our kids have Nintendo games to play on long car journeys and prefer this to looking out of the window.

(the fact that our Nintendo’s are exclusively reserved for long car and plane journeys and are not out at other times is definitely part of the attraction)

As kids, Himself and I had no choice but to look out of windows : that and the “I Spy” game were our only entertainment.

Since I have always turned green in cars, I regularly offered my parents the alternative entertainment game of “get the car stopped quick enough to get kid about to throw up out of the back seat and onto the grass to get the inevidable over with” with extra challenges of steep gradients, narrow roads, lack of grass verges, passing traffic and possibly bad weather thrown in.

Ah, “anti-car-sickness pills” I hear you say…

…hmmm that was the other game of “how far can you spit the pill?” since I wasn’t great with pills either.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Nature posted revenge by giving Kiwi Daughter the “motion sickness gene” so I’ve “been there, done that” with the pill swallowing drama and tears from the parental side too and from whoever’s side you look at it, it wasn’t fun.

Fortunately help is at hand from a very unlikely source.

I was allerted to a gadget by a French friend who has the same problem with two of her four children but a more difficult situation because pulling over suddenly in French motorway traffic really is taking your life in your hands.

Not surprisingly also she tried everything and had already been down the unsuccessful pill-with-tears route too, then she found it…

…a piece of plastic that changed their travelling lives.
Like her, I was totally sceptical… come on, a tiny bobble of plastic stuck to a wrist strap…    …that’s IT ???

I stopped laughing when she told me that her boys now had hassle-free car journeys all the way from the Netherlands to the South of France.

Let’s take a closer look at this seemingly silly piece of plastic. It’s a little bobble of plastic, solid, smooth and attached to a one-size-fits-all wrist strap that does up with valcro.

To wear it you place the plastic bobble on the the centre of the inside of your wrist and do it up as tight as is comfortable. This forces the plastic bobble down to press on the pressure point in your wrist and takes care of your motion sickness.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Easy as that, there’s one for each wrist and if for example you are bobbing up and down in a boat feeling bad, then an additional press on the plastic bobble is also said to increase the fight against nausea.

Before we left for New Zealand I dispatched Himself to the ANWB (Algemene Nederlandse Wielrijders Bond = Dutch Automobile Association) to procure us a few pairs. If any piece of plastic against car-sickness needed to be put through it’s paces, then the winding roads and hills of New Zealand would be the perfect place to do it.

In addition to the car journeys there was the added bonus of the Cook Straight ferry crossing since Cook Straight has been deemed one of the roughest pieces of water in the world (after Fouvoux Straight further south and the Drake Passage off South America).

These places can all be found within the infamous “rouring forties” and are the product of routine high winds that circle the globle at this latitude and either a meeting of two vast oceans (Drake Passage) or in New Zealand’s case, the funneling of big winds and vast seas through narrow landmass gaps.

I’ve had experience of Cook Straight in both it’s extremes: from as calm as a millpond and in the most awful storm in the 1980’s (awful as in: I was clinging to a table that was bolted to the floor but the chairs were sliding past back and forth in alternate directions as the boat rolled from one side to the other… needless to say the rest of the ferry crossings that day were cancelled and the ships stock of “amenity bags for the stomachily unsteady” started to run in short supply.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If any stout test is needed to see if these wrist-bands are up to the task, then the comination of road and sea routes that New Zealand has to offer will be sure to show up any strengths and weaknesses.

I’m delighted to report that much to my amazment, these bands really do work!

Ok, we did take rest stops to get some fresh air but we managed shorter and fewer stops than previous trips doing the same route, so much so that we arrived in Picton with just over an hour ahead of our estimated arrival time…

….and  there were no “Mama, I don’t feel good, I think I’m going to be sick” pleas constantly from the back seat, and I personally have never had a less green road journey as this one.

Granted it didn’t cure our motion-sickness 100% but it did help take away maybe 80-90% of the misery and that  for both Kiwi Daughter and I, means that these wrist bands are nothing short of miraculous and we will be packing them on every long car journey from now on.

There is no gurantee that these will work… apparently they help roughly 80% of motion sickness sufferers, to a greater or lesser degree: but if you have suffered car-sickness or sea-sickness, or have kids that do, you will know that a “no-pill” solution that offers any improvement at all is only a win, win, win, win, win solution.

I’m so delighted with these that I want to share my exciting discovery: If you suffer from car-sickness or sea-sickness or know someone who does, then comment on this post before midnight on March 22nd,  2012 and be in to win one of these for yourself!

I have two to give away, so you have two possibilities to win… so drop me a line and be in to win!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 4, 2012

Working Piece by Piece Towards seeing the Big Picture…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On a totally different tack today, this is about a discovery that we made at the Hidden Haven B&B in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Rae has a cupboard with some puzzles and games and the Kiwidutch children soon pulled out this one, enthusiastically announcing that we “should complete it right away“.

Now I’ve only seen these once before and didn’t realise they were a series but the idea that it’s a puzzle that isn’t exactly what it says on the box appeals to me (I have a warped sense of humour LOL).

Since I want to develop Family Games nights as one of my 101 Tasks in 1001 Days list, (No.24. Have 10 Games evenings where the whole family plays, board games, lego, cards etc.)

I siezed on the kids interest, and started sorting out puzzle pieces. Actually, since we have limited time here and plenty of appointments with family and friends we didn’t get any further than what’s shown in the photograph, but we did leave with a resolve to buy one of these when we get back to The Netherlands and to make it part of our Family Time.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m all for any activity that allows us to work as a team and which is more like “good old fashioned fun” no batteries, control boxes, rechargers or power plugs included. This seems to be just the ticket.

In fact I heard Kiwi Daughter asking Himself  “when is Mother’s Day?”  so hmmm …Who knows… ?

One thing that Rae did have that looked like a very useful invention was a large mat with accompanying cardboard tubes that fitted together, and you could roll a partially made puzzle up in it and put it away if you needed the table space or if you wanted to take it with you.

I’ve photographed the box of this gadget so that I’ll remember to look for one back in The Netherlands.

I’m guessing that since these are not “regular” puzzles that I will be the one doing most of the hard graft the first time around, but I’m a detail fanatic and this kind of challenge suits me perfectly.

I think that once I’ve completed one I will take a series of photographs of the whole thing and close-up’s and put them in the box with the puzzle pieces so that if the kids want to make it themselves later, then they have a head start on how to get started.

I might just give them some specific close-up photos as “clues” but not the full picture and leave them to get on with the rest.

This one will have to be a “work in progress” for the meantime, but I will report back sometime in the future with progress both on puzzles and games evenings (see if it catches on in our house).. and the puzzle building process as we work piece by piece to an end result and seeing the bigger picture.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 2, 2011

Felt Christmas Ornament, the Kiwidutch Version…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s the beginning of December and for many western countries the shops have the  Christmas decorations out,  the background Carol music on and are cranking up their offerings of merchandise  to reap  the commercial benefits of the Christmas festive season.

I love the Christmas festivities too, but prefer to try and keep things  low key and true to the origonal spirit of  Christmas as much as possible by emphasising the value of gifts that are handmade with love, time and patience.

Tasks 11 and 12 on my “101 Tasks in 1001 Days”  project  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/about/101-things-in-1001-days/   are to make a handmade Christmas tree decoration for each of my two children, each year.

Many of my decorations in the past have been cross-stitched: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/stitching-ornament-heirlooms-for-kids/ but I’ve been branching out into felt ornaments in the last year and fancied making something a bit different  than cross-stitch  ones for a change.

Then I stumbled on a craft post on the internet that got me thinking… Jessica Okui  at  http://zakkalife.blogspot.com/2009/11/craft-project-felt-christmas-ornament.html  made a beautiful Christmas decoration from felt, ones that echoes a design of  paper or card decoration designs I have seen around  for years.

I liked the idea of working it in felt, but there were a few points about Jessica’s version that I still felt I wanted to tweek for my version.

First I knew I wanted all the edges of my ornament  to be stitched. Secondly, I knew I  wanted to stitch the two pieces of felt next to each other that radiate directly from the top and bottom of the ornament instead of leaving them oen as they are in Jessica’s version.

Lastly, I wanted not just to stitch the  sections together with thread but also to add beads. Shiny, sparkly beads, to twinkle in the light of tree lights.

So… here is a Step-by-Step tutorial of  the Kiwidutch Modified Version of a Felt Christmas Ornament.

Materials:
– 6 circles cut from felt  (mine each measure 6-7 cm / 2 inches across).
– Beads of your choice
– Needle that will fit through your beads. (a sharp needle goes though the felt easier than a blunt one)
– Embroidery thread of the colour of your choice ( mine match either the bead or the felt or both)
– Thread in contrasting colour  (for basting)
–  Decorative cord or ribbon for hanging up your ornament (20-24 cm / 6-7 inches)

Method:
1) Cut six circles of  felt fabric in the colour of your choice. I die-cut mine but tracing around a small jar lid would work just as well.

2) Place two of the circles over each other and with a contrasting basting thread, make a loose line across it vertically and horizontally, effectively making your circle into quarters. Then, still with your basting thread, divide each quarter in half again so that you finish with two circles of felt sewn together, and marked out in eighths.( This sounds more complicated when it is, the photograph below with the white circles and blue thread should make it clear).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

3) At the top of one of the basting lines, and stitching through both layers of felt,  attach a bead then blanket stitch the two edges together until you reach the next basting line,  add another bead, blanket stitch to the next basting line and add the last bead.  You will now have three beads attached with blanket stitch joining the sections between them.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

4) Repeat step (3)  only  at the ends of a basting line with a bead on it.This will give you a circle with: bead-blanket stitch, bead-blanket stitch-bead, then a basting line with no stitching  or bead at either end, and then bead-blanket stitch, bead-blanket stitch-bead again. (Again, it sounds complicated when I describe it, but the photo will show  you how simple it is)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

5) Repeat this process with the other two felt circle pairs. Once they are all completed, fold your decorative ribbon (for hanging it up)  in half and secure it to one side of the middle layer, then line up the other two sets of  felt  on the outsides so that the beads match.

Hand-stitch from centre bead (top) to centre bead (bottom, through all six layers of felt. (Opps, I know the felt has changed colour, I forgot to photograph this step on the white one).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

6) Starting at one of the beads that is not on the centre line, blanket stitch only one layer of the two  along  the unstitched edge until you reach half-way along the circle,  take  the closest piece of  felt from the next felt circle pair and join them together with a bead. (look at the stitched and unstitched sections of  the centre of the ornament in the next photograph to make this clear).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The easiest way to stitch this is to make a zig-zag pattern all around one side of the ornament, joining all the centres in the middle until you get back to your starting point and then to turn the ornament around and blanket stitch the remaining unstitched edges in the same manner.

Voila! a beautiful hand-stitched Felt Christmas Tree Ornament, made with love and that will make your tree sparkle for years (and even generations)  to come.

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that in the red ornament photo above, there are eight circles of felt (4 doubles together) and not three, as in the white.   The  red and yellow ornaments were experients where I used eight circles of felt  (4 doubles together).  Whilst I first thought that eight would be better than six, the finished  product is I think actually too “squished” in appearance. If you pull one side to make it look right it immediately squishes up on the other side.

To the other extreme the even bigger white ornament was made with 24 circles:  twelve “doubles”and I quickly saw that it looks very cramped indeed. I also used white beads on that one and they hardly show up or sparkle at all (at least in comparison to the dark glossy beads I used for the others).

This means that six circles of felt (3 doubles) appears in my opinion to work best and these are my new Christmas favourites!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 17, 2011

Feeling at Home at Chez André…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now if you look carefully in the lower centre of the top map photo in yesterday’s post and in the bottom left corner of the second map photo, you will see a name : ‘Chez André ‘.

We were driving around Brielle, looking around from the comfort of the car in between cloudbursts of rain, and for a café or restaurant that was open and had parking close by so that I didn’t have to walk far.

It’s  public holiday, and almost all of the towns businesses are closed for the day so we start to think that we aren’t going to find anywhere, but by chance “Chez André”  is open and due to the foul weather, there are parking places aplenty right outside the door.

This looks like a really cosy place to take shelter in and have something nice and warm for lunch.

Himself orders ” Toast Champignons” which consists of  toast with fried mushrooms, onions, bacon, egg and cheese…

Since I’m allergic to mushrooms, Himself rarely buys them to cook at home for himself, so it’s nice that he can order them when we are out sometimes.

Little Mr.  says a pouty “no” to  everything on the menu and dithers until Himself  just orders him a “Tostie” (toasted cheese sandwich), he then moans that he doesn’t want it while it’s being prepared and proceeds  to inhale it once it arrives.  (kid, we know you better than you know yourself).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The photo was taken reluctantly because he wants to eat  right now!  Check out the little fingers waiting to pounce back onto it (eek, if I had only seen at the time how grubby his fingernails were!  ugh!)

Kiwi Daughter opts for “kroketten”  (meat croquettes) an item that’s  probably in the top three of  national Dutch take-a-way favourites…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I fancy a hamburger and go for the “Hamburger Hawaii”, with salad, pineapple, and there’s a portion of fries to share…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

All good solid Café fare.

We have fun with Kiwi Daughter as she ventures to try a sliver of pickled gherkin from my plate and  screws up her face  in an excessively  melodramatic fashion  as the sweet/sour taste hits home.

She gives it thumbs down .

(I can’t wait until my kids” taste buds  grow up!) but has earned herself dessert by at least giving it a go.

It’s cheap here too… amazingly for The Netherlands;

Himself’s  mushrooms were Euro 7.50,  my burger was Euro 8.95,  the two kroketten with bread were Euro 5.95 and with drinks and the rest of the meal it came to around Euro 25,- for the four of us.

Wow. I’m rather impressed actually. The meal was fine, the kids are having fun, the service was friendly (never take that for granted in the Netherlands!)

…and there is even a very nice surprise in store after we have finished our warm food, but that’s for you to find out about tomorrow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 15, 2011

And the WINNER is…..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A few days ago I  invited you to enter a very cheesy competition…  To win some cheese!

To my surprise,  I got  only two comments, and one of them was from Raymund in New Zealand who very sadly we both know I can’t send any cheese to (even if I took it myself on the plane it also wouldn’t get in).

So… Hedwig It’s your lucky day!  You are my winner!

I don’t know if Ed has the Beppino Occelli cheese in stock at the moment, but if he has, there is some with your name on it!

Do you like Blue cheeses?  Since you will already be familiar with Oud Dutch Kaas, I will send you some of the other speciality cheeses that you might not be familiar with. I’ll need your address please 🙂 … I’ll email you.

Congratulations!

Just a note… the cheeses in the photo here is just the remnants of what’s left over in our cheese drawer before grocery shopping day, it’s NOT the prize LOL.

Question for all of my readers though… don’t any of  you like  the possibility to win some of this  fabulous cheese?  200  people viewed the post but only two  made comments,  seriously: did I do something wrong???

Update:  Himself is back from the cheese shop, I put Beppino Occelli on a list but for the rest, just told him to be adventurous since you said you would probably like everything… and we’ve opted for cheeses that  it’s highly unlikely your local cheese shop would have, so hopefully you will have some big taste surprises in all of these.

I had literally 5 minutes to get these packed before he had to dash off to deliver some urgent work to a client,  get the kids to scouting, run errands for Oma, (it’s one of those Saturday’s…) so sorry Hedwig for the rushed packaging job…  The cheeses you will be getting soonest are called “Ulivo, Cruttin Occelli, Cabrales los Picos, Camembert Calvados and Galet du Mas” …the camera was sitting next to the bed so I grabbed a speedy photo for you… Enjoy!!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 11, 2011

Enter Kiwidutch’s Very Cheesy Competition!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ah yes… I know I said yesterday that yesterday’s post would be my final cheesy post… but I lied, got thinking, had a better idea, as to why it shouldn’t be.

Just think about it… I’ve been making your mouth water with delectable photos and descriptions of  Ed Boele’s specialist cheese shop in the Fahrenheitstraat of  The Hague and probably you are now grumbling that “it’s ok for you to have such a wonder in your city but we dont have that where I live“.

Well,  Kiwidutch has decided to share.

Readers who leave a comment  on this post, about which of the posts in this “cheese series” is their favourite and why, will go into a draw to WIN some delectable cheese posted to you direct from my favourite shop.

There are however a few hurdles to overcome: for starters, I know for sure that I can’t post (even vacuum packed) cheese to New Zealand or Australia due to their exceptionally tight food import regulations.

These are countries that have sniffer dogs in airports searching for not just drugs, but also food.

We are questioned extensively about food in bags whenever we enter New Zealand, even the untouched apple that Little Mr. wanted to “eat later” doesn’t make it past the large disposal bins at the baggage check.

In fact none of the food carried on the plane from Singapore (or anywhere else) makes it past these checks either. So I’m truly sorry my New Zealand and Aussie readers, I already know that if I tried to send you some fabulous Dutch cheese it’s destined for the disposal bins  and I’m far too Dutch to post stuff knowing it will be dumped, so please feel free to comment but apologies, you can’t go into the draw.

I have successfully posted Dutch cheese to Canada before, but haven’t yet tried to the USA… elsewhere in Europe, I’m assuming should’t be a problem and am willing to give it a go.

So: whilst I send Himself off on a cheese shopping mission, the rest of you have until 12:00 MIDNIGHT GMT  on Thursday 13th October to comment and be in to win!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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