Local Heart, Global Soul

May 6, 2018

Cherry Lovers Find A New Delight…

Filed under: FOOD,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Wellington region: Wainuiomata — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Spending our 2017 Christmas Day in Wainuiomata, just outside of Wellington, we came of course bearing gifts.

But in addition to the ones destined to go under the Christmas tree there were also some gifts for the dinner table.

Our journey from Christchurch to Picton means passing through Blenheim, a region world famous for it’s award winning wines.

Less known is that both Blenheim and Central Otago in the south of the South Island both enjoy being the primary growing regions of cherries.

They both also grow apricots and Otago, many more stone fruit. We have been fortunate on our last two travels to find roadside stalls in Blenheim where we can get boxes of freshly  (that morning!)picked cherries.

I bought two boxes, one the “typical” dark red variety but the other, one new to me. It’s lighter in colour, a bright reddy-orange-yellow in parts with a white inside.

At first, I was more than a little suspicious that these cherries were not ripe, but no… this variety is supposed to look like this. I got to taste-test a few at the road side stall… hmmm, these are seriously good. In Wainuiomata our hosts and other friends also delighted in my find and agreed that the taste was fabulous. Both boxes started emptying at a steady rate. Our friends also were amazed at the prices, I paid NZD 20,– for each large box, far, far less than what they would have paid at supermarkets in the neighbourhood, or even in Lower Hutt or Wellington. The Cook Straight ferry crossing adds unavoidable transport costs to produce travelling in either direction. If we see these again in Blenheim, we will be snapping them up as quickly as we can.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 14, 2018

Kiwi Daughter Finds Food Heaven…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch visited New Zealand recently.

Heading to friends in Wellington for Christmas, we take the State Highway 1 route to Picton.

Blocked by twenty-one land slips in the November 2016 earthquake, this road has been closed for slightly more than one year.

Although it’s clear that a massive amount of work has been done, it’s also clear that this road is going to be “under construction” for a long, long time still in the future.

Of course there have been delays, sections of the road are still one lane only, there are reduced speed limits for very large stretches and more kilometres of road works and works machinery than we’ve ever seen in a single day before.

A stop for lunch in Kaikoura was most welcome, and we chose the “Beach House Café” on the main road. Kiwi daughter has just “discovered” Caesar Salad, and not only has added it to her new culinary experiences, but putting it quickly into her favourites list. Finding Caesar Salad on the menu made her very happy, but also nervous since she didn’t know if it would measure up to the taste of the first one that rocketed it to the top of her “this is gooooooood!” list. The food arrived. I have to say that Little Mr, our mega fussy eater was less than impressed that his toasted sandwich arrived with brown bread (but that’s his fault, and problem to deal with, not in any way that of the café).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Luckily the “eat it or starve” motto worked on this occasion and after a lot of complaining his hunger got the better of him.

It was of course helped by the fact that Himself and I quietly insisted that he at least give it a decent go, otherwise his Lolly cake would not be available for “dessert”.

Suddenly he had the motivation he needed. Not without a lot of grumbling mind you.

Kiwi Daughter tasted the first bite of her salad apprehensively, Would it measure up? Then her face lit up and it was clear that she had hit the jackpot on this one.

In fact as soon as her mouth was empty she started raving about how good this was, the Paparazzi were not welcome, go away Mama with the camera, she wanted to tuck in.

A short time later she declared that this Caesar Salad was the BEST one she has had so far.

We now have strict orders to come back to this café on the return journey. Himself had coffee, I wanted something a little sweet so had a hot chocolate.

The Beach House Café has been a complete winner for one member of the family, the drinks were fine so no problems from Himself and I, Little Mr. had a more critical review, but that must be taken with a sack full of salt considering just how fussy this kid is and how he fights any attempts to stretch away from his limited array of menu favourites. The positive reviews far, far outweighed the grumpy and hard to please Little Mr. and I think that if Kiwi Daughter lived in Kaikoura, half her wages would go to eating Caesar Salad here at the “Beach House” every day!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 13, 2018

Beach House Café: A Villa Remodeled

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch made the drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura in December 2017 on the very newly opened State Highway 1.

Closed for repairs for just over a year after a massive earthquake, some of the damage we saw left us in awe of just how much of hillside can be shifted by Mother Nature during a 2 minute shake.

In fact, it was not only clear why the road had to close for so long, but also a wonder that it’s open this quickly considering the size and number of land slips that need clearing, hillsides to be stabilized, bridges checked and repaired, road edges repaired etc.

Despite a number of places where we needed to wait for oncoming traffic to take their turn getting though sections of road that were still one lane only, and the naturally slow speed limit through areas still not fully repaired, we made fairly good time to Kaikoura, where a break for lunch was in order.

Deciding to avoid the central area of town, we kept to the main road and picked this place for no other reason than there was a parking place on the main road close by and after perusal of the menu it got a thumbs up for serving toasted sandwiches and Caesar Salad for Little Mr. and Kiwi Daughter respectively.

Called the “Beach House Café” this is housed in a traditional old style New Zealand villa and has been open plan renovated to suit a café style. It means that the various rooms of the house open to the public flow from one to another but still retain their own character.

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 24, 2017

An Angel of A Dinner At Den Engel…

After a busy day where Himself and I had walked (or in my case, rolled) through the streets of Baarle Nassau / Baarle-Hertog followed by a small car tour of the immediate area, dinner was the next order of the day. We were both tired and since the previous evening’s dinner was excellent, we thought we would stay with a good thing and have dinner at the Den Engel Hotel this evening too. We were not disappointed, Himself choose steak and I had fish, and another amazing meal was enjoyed by us both. It was an excellent end to a wonderful day.
(still with previously “windows” resized photos)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 14, 2017

When Your Bread Leaps Out At You…

Filed under: BELGIUM,FOOD,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Belgium supermarket just a few kilometers from Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, has come up with a third and final surprise.

Still in the bakery section where I found the bread slicing machines of yeterday’s post, I now find another difference to Dutch supermarkets.

There are individual cabinets for the various bread loaves, Ok, a few Dutch supermarkets have this but we have seen it more often in Germany.

The ones we have seen before however are just the sort where there is a row of (usually perspex) containers, and they have drop-down (or occasionally lift-up) doors so that you can reach the items inside.

This one goes a leap further because each section extends out quite a distance, that said I have not quite figured out why this would be a bigger advantage over the “flat” wall systems we already know.

I can only guess at two reasons: it would be easier for staff to clean inside the cabinets and if two customers wanted access to the same cabinet then they could take a side each and get what they want without waiting. there are probably more reasons that I haven’t twigged to yet, but this style of bakery cabinet is yet another ‘first” that we have seen here. I know… it’s the small things that get me excited, but I prefer to think of it as: a new discovery is a new discovery no matter how big it is.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 13, 2017

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread? …

Filed under: BELGIUM,FOOD,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Still inside the supermarket of yesterday’s post I now see a second thing I have never seen before: a machine where customers can slice their own bread.

A different form of the slicer is less unusual, most Dutch barkeries have them, you select your whole loaf and if you don’t want to slice it yourself at home, then you ask the bakery staff to cut it for you on the machine behind the counter.

What is completely different about these two machines is that customers slice their bread themselves: it even has adjustments where you can choose various thicknesses, you choose which setting you want, slice the loaf and then the bag slips over the metal bar that the bread is standing on and everything slides into the bag in one smooth go.

Perfect! I love this idea, the fact that there are two machines and not one must also mean that these get plenty of use.

It would also save time, no need to stand in a queue waiting to have your bread sliced. I think that the main reason bread is only sliced at point of sale is: some people prefer to cut their loaf at home, others not so this saves having two uncut when maybe one customer wants cut the other not, and the uncut bread stay fresher for longer since less air gets around the bread to dry it out. If a household uses less bread they may prefer to slice it as they need it. It’s a way to save waste too, you stock the bread in a form where it can be sold either way then let the customer choose their preference.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 8, 2017

Oh, And Just A Little Mayonnaise Please…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Any New Zealander will tell you that when you want something to put onto fries, nothing beats good old “Watties” (brand) tomato sauce.

Not just any tomato sauce, it has to be Watties.

You can taste the difference of substitutes a kilometre away, and the absence of it in Europe is the reason I would rather eat fries with just a little salt than anything else.

Ask any born and bred Dutch person though and you will get the answer for their preferred topping in a nano-second: mayonnaise. In fact for many Dutch, anything except mayonnaise is almost unthinkable.

After a busy morning touring Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, Himself suggested some fries for lunch.

He was hungry, after all all I have to do is sit in the wheelchair and take photographs, he’s the one doing the pushing.

After twenty-three years of marriage I know he’s a big fan of mayonnaise but nothing quite prepared me for the sight that greeted me when he exited the shop with this. I was about to say “this monstrosity” but since we were sharing and I was getting the mayo-free ones from the bottom I thought I better not make too much fuss over how gross I thought this looked. Needless to say ALL of the mayonnaise was for him. Good thing he’s in training for a marathon, you’d need to after a lunch like this.

November 19, 2017

Delighting In The “Every Day”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Arriving for breakfast in Baarle Nassau’s “Den Engel” (The Angel) Hotel is a tricky ordeal for us arty folks.

On one hand you are hungry but on the other you can not bear to tear yourself away from the delicious stained glass windows that illustrate the long and colourful history of this southern Dutch town.

Eventually my hunger won,  with more than a little help from Himself  who eventually said he would rather not dine alone so please come to the table please.

Breakfast was well worth stopping for: we were up early so had the serre to ourselves right until the very last part of our meal.

We were treated to a continental breakfast, tea / coffee,  choice of breads and toast, cold meats, sweet spreads and cheeses, eggs prepared to our preference and juices. We had already decided to build in several breaks into the day, an early start would allow us to do this and still have time for a leisurely dinner in the evening. Pattern, texture and form delight me, so after breakfast I got photographs of the seats by the bar area, and a massive pile of cloth serviette. The latter was not anything special as in rare antique or specialist work of art, I was just drawn to how the stack looked, it’s folds, shadows and composition. I suppose that’s me in a nutshell: I can find equal beauty in an old Master and a stack of serviette, it’s the delight in the “every day”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.hoteldenengel.nl/
Hotel Den Engel / Baarle Nassau / (Baarle-Nassau/Hertog) The Netherlands

November 16, 2017

The Ultimate Compliment To Give To A Good Meal…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Before I get to the beautiful interior of the “Den Engel Hotel” (the Angel Hotel) in Baarle Nassau, I will first give you a glimpse of the delicious cuisine.

After a busy day and journey here, Himself and I were ravenous.

We had booked a table in the hotel restaurant when we checked in, and were among a group of late diners.

A large group had a long table close by, judging by the banter we heard and the ages of those at the tables, someone there was having a special birthday and the entire close family were present.

We were tucked away by the window in relative quietness, and with the main rush of the evening already over, and other staff assigned to the birthday group, our waiter had time to give recommendations, and explain the menu in detail.

Himself chose steak and I chose prawns: we shared a side salad for two plus fries. An appetizer arrived soon after we sat down, we were both so hungry that my plate was empty and Himself was on his last bite when I grabbed the camera and remembered to snap a photo. Everything in the main course was delicious and things got even better when dessert arrived. I’d ordered a waffle (not my usual sort of dessert, especially because it came with loads of whipped cream which I usually avoid because it’s bad for my asthma). On this occasion the dietary restrictions went out of the window and I indulged, an experience made doubly delicious by the addition of lashings of warm chocolate sauce.

Himself usually helps me out with desserts but not on this occasion because he said that eating anything sweet would ruin the taste of his cheeseboard. So I was (sigh) “forced” to finish this myself. If that’s not taking one for the team I don’t know what is. The small detour outside to get to our room gave us both a much needed breath of fresh air after we had stuffed ourselves. It was a classic case of “I’m full, but this is so good I’m finishing it anyway“. Himself had the same with his cheeseboard. I suppose that’s the ultimate compliment to give to a good meal.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.hoteldenengel.nl/
Hotel Den Engel / Baarle Nassau / (Baarle-Nassau/Hertog) The Netherlands

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

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