Local Heart, Global Soul

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

November 7, 2017

Wok Kind Of Place Is “Eazie?”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kiwi Daughter was responsible for the next stage of our family outing. Actually there was no saying “No” to this one, she was insistent that “Eazie” was the only place we would be going to eat.

The restaurant in question is located on the front side of the Kurhaus almost right on the junction of the Gevers Deynootweg and the Badhuisweg.

Set back just a fraction from the road, this is a place I remember vaguely from the past as a restaurant, but just not as this particular one.

The idea behind the menu is simple: These are custom-made wok meals. First as a customer you  choose from an array of fresh meat, fish and vegetables; these are put into bowl by staff,  you then choose a sauce and the chef cooks your selected wok meal for you in front of your eyes (should you wish to watch, rather than go take a seat).

Kiwi Daughter is sixteen and she and her friends have a series of favourite restaurants that they like to go to eat and hang out in, this is one of them. The food is fresh and tasty, it’s easy to cater to various dietary needs and specific cultural requirements, the prices are very reasonable and the seating areas are relaxed and comfortable for large or small groups. Since these kids are too young for bars, (Dutch law is strict about underage drinking) and they still have a decent amount of study to get done for school, these places are ideal meeting places, especially during weekends and school holidays.

Himself and I had never been here before so she was keen to show us around, point out how it worked and see if we agreed with her about how it tasted. We checked out the menu options: there are various sizes of meals, double portions of meat or fish have a small additional cost and some sauces are very spicy, some sweet. My one and only complaint is that there was no Soya sauce on the sauce menu since I prefer my wok veggies served with just a hint of salty flavour and nothing else. No double portions were needed on this occasion, we just started picking out vegetables with gusto.

Little Mr had been promised chicken nuggets as a treat but was prepared to wait for us to eat here first, so the rest of us got our bowls picked out and into their separate woks. Afterwards the food is transferred into cardboard boxes and served at the table from those into small bowls. Yum! This was excellent! Vegetables were cooked but still with crunch, we each had our favourite ingredients and this was relaxed, healthy and quick. I’d come here again no problem. Even better it’s possible to get food home delivered and there are more branches in the Hague and other Dutch cities.

(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

November 4, 2017

Taking A Spin Around A Giant Wheel…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Although we were on the Scheveningen pier one weekend last summer, it was not exactly the pier we were here for.

It was what was at the end of it that was important; the ‘Reuzenrad” (which literally in English means: “Giant wheel”). I have heard other people call this the “Scheveningen Eye” too, although it is not it’s official name.

This is what Himself and I had been dragged out of the house for, both of our kids agreed (that was a shock all of it’s own!) they really wanted to go on it, together!

Parents of a teenager and an almost teenager will likely gasp as we did, our two are at an age where being seen together in public most of the time is a major embarrassment.

Even more amazing, both Himself and I were welcome too (I think we should have checked them for fever, but it might possibly because of the fact that parents were paying).

Nowhere is the phrase ‘four seasons in one day” more apt than the Netherlands, it was a warm but overcast and patchy day, no sooner had we paid for our tickets and stood in line when the heavens opened.

There is a small amount of cover closest in by the wheel, luckily others in the front of the queue quickly snuggled up so that as many people at the end of the queue as possible could get in under this cover.

The queue moves fairly quickly despite the crowd so even though we were a short time getting wet it was soon our turn nearer the front of the queue.

It was possible to leave wheelchairs and push-chairs at the bottom, assistance was given to help me up the few steps to the cabin (I have my doubts that anyone less mobile than I am could manage this however, it might be possible with prior arrangement with the company, I do not know for sure.)

The cabins have a small table that can be lifted up when passengers enter and extended once they are seated, it allows for a small space to put your camera and other things on but please be warned, the space in the cabin is small so if you have a lot of stuff with you then things may get complicated.

There are also a few steps to negotiate before and after you get to the ticket office. I have a crutches holder on my wheelchair so could transfer to those for these sections but visitors unable to do this will have a problem because there are no ramps. We asked about this and were told that apparently it is somewhere on a lengthy “to do” list because this is a relatively new company and they are still ironing out all of the finer details. There is even a cabin that has a glass floor is you are really brave.

Of course I took pity on Himself and did not even think of suggesting that one!
Once inside our cabin we start to rise slowly in speed but quickly in elevation. I took a lot of photographs for our private family album, rather a lot of them of Himself’s face because due to his fear of heights I have never seen him so far away from terra firma (aircraft excepted). His fixed expression, wide eyes and willingness to only look into the furthest distance rather than straight down confirmed that this was the first and probably the very last time in our so far twenty-three year marriage that I was ever going to see him get on anything like this.

The cabin pauses at various points during your time whilst other passengers before you, exit at the bottom, and you get to make two full rotations before your turn has finished. It was our bad planning that we had chosen a spur of the moment activity on a day where the weather was less than cooperative: we got some clear photographs but others consisted of close-ups of rain filled windows.

Still, I used the zoom to get close-ups of the Kurhaus and of the scenes below us, such a photographer getting snaps of a group of girls by the seas edge. Our time was up too quickly (or maybe not quickly enough for Himself). Three out of the four of us immediately said we would love to come back and do this again on a fine day, Himself was noticeably silent (or still in shock). I was delighted that Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr worked together to bring us here as a family, so a very successful outing!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.pier.nl/company/reuzenrad-op-de-pier/
Scheveningen Giant Wheel / Scheveningen Eye / Attractions The Hague / The Netherlands

(Apologies for the link failure, I will keep trying to fix it until it’s good)

November 3, 2017

Everyone Has Their Own Droolworthy Moment…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 2017 saw Family Kiwidutch make a visit to Scheveningen, more specifically to the pier.

There is the possibility to take either an inside walkway, or an open air top one, but since the weather was changeable and there were steps to the top level we opted for the lower, inside level.

We haven’t been here for ages and it was nice to see food stalls and food trucks along the pier’s length as well as shops, souvenir stalls etc.

The view out of the window is always amazing, despite the summer time crowds.

My only complaint: they leave a little too little space for wheelchairs (or push-chairs if you have small children) to get past some of the shops, adverts and stalls.

I suppose you have to expect this during the busiest months of the year, and we managed some stops too because Kiwi Daughter adores coconut. I don’t mind the stuff mixed with other things but having it as the predominant flavour is my idea of hell. Both she and Himself however, give a very big thumbs up to the “Madame Cocos” stall. Little Mr had his eye on many a knick-knack, none of which were quality or healthy. In return for not wasting money here, he was instead promised a Lego treat on another day; something he was quick to remind Himself of when he then dragged his father off to the shops the next day. My drool moment was something not for sale: a seriously long table at the entrance of the pier that I wished could be made available at my place for Christmas dinner at our place. Of course the grand structure of the Kurhaus is always droolworthy too, no matter the season.

(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)

November 2, 2017

The First Part Of Their Wish Was Practical…

For someone who lives in a city so close to the sea, it’s a shame that I am not such a huge fan of it. Given the choice I would take a mountain holiday over a seaside one any day, doubly so in the time after my accident. Yes, wheelchairs and crutches are not compatible with mountains either and I do miss hiking, but sand is the most inconvenient medium for my new modes of transport bar none so I avoid it like the plague. We spent most of this summer at home, so when my kids united in a wish for a family day out at the beach, secretly my heart sank. They were practical with their wish however and the first part of our afternoon out was simple; drive to Scheveningen.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

p.s. Long term readers may remember that I have posted photographs of this lighthouse before (March 2015;  Shining A Light On Buildings Bare…  ), however, back then the paintwork was old and it has been recently been repainted giving it a far more dramatic effect.

October 1, 2017

Taking Your Housekeeping To The Beach…

Filed under: ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights,Scheveningen,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are plenty of beaches cafe’s open during the summer but due to lack of parking in close proximity most of them are off limits for me.

Both crutches and wheelchairs are not in any way friends with sand, so luckily the Gemeente (city council) puts in permanent concrete paths.

Most of the time it is far too much work so I do not join Himself, other parents and a large group of kids at the beach, but on one occasion I did and captured these machines in action.

Several large earth movers are keeping a large drum filled with sand, the drum rotates and screens out unwanted debris, the now cleaned sand is then spit onto a pile where it will later be smoothed out.

It’s an excellent idea, the beach along the Dutch coast is crowded during the summer and even with a dog ban in place there are plenty of other dangerous, messy or wasteful debris to be disposed of in the sand.It’s great that the council go to the trouble, but I suppose they have a duty of care to upkeep the coast line in their area. The wheelchair was never going to allow me to get closer but so the zoom lens will have to do.

(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 14, 2016

I Am Not Quite Sure What To Make Of This One…

Filed under: ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,Scheveningen,Statues / Sculpture,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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In this photographic post I discover another sculpture around The Hague, well,  Scheveningen to be exact. Seen from the car as we stood in traffic, this “interesting” piece that depicts… hmmm I’m not quite sure. A stylised  daffodil maybe? There are plenty of those in the lawn around it in the spring time. Truly, I am not quite sure what to make of this one…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 2, 2016

It Might Hurt This Poor Man To Sit Down…

Filed under: ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,Scheveningen,Statues / Sculpture,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

Regular readers will know that I have many collections of photographs on my blog Most of them are art works of some sort, statues, sculptures and the like but there are also street man hole covers, bicycles,various pieces of architectural detail and quirky stuff such as letter boxes, loos and strange wheeled vehicles. This post is rather tame when it comes to quirkyiness: it’s a statue of a man looking towards the harbour area. Located in the Scheveningen district that connects The Hague with the sea, it’s one of many “blink-and-you-miss-it” pieces that needs to be glimpsed on the pavement between parked cars.

It has not however escaped my eagle eye, and is now another checked off item on my long list of sculptural pieces in The Hague and surrounding areas.  No, I have no idea why the poor man appears to morph uncomfortably out of the post that supports him. He doesn’t exactly look comfortable does he? It kind of looks painful. But here he is… standing guard? waiting? My first feeling looking at is that I’d like to give the poor man a chair. Who knows what the artist was thinking…. I’m not entirely certain I want to know.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

November 28, 2016

Little Mr. Was On The Right Track After All…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Scheveningen,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whenever our kids went to the beach this summer they would arrive home with stories for me at home about how their day had been.

On several occasions, when having been down by the harbour, Little Mr would start to describe several vehicles, and to say that he gave me rather strange visions about what he had seen was an understatement.

The vehicle he described had “wheels but not wheels, …like a tank, a truck tray that tips backwards, but with big sides, like a skip, and a sitting place for the driver, but not like a truck, … like a crane.”

My head tried had to compute what he meant, … and failed.

Then he tried to draw it (and in order to not heart his feelings, I did the Parent Thing: told him it was a beautiful drawing and I got it, but reality was that the drawing was no blue print and I didn’t really get it). Yes, it was a white lie, but the drawing was a blue print in his mind and I should have gotten it, so I played the game. Several weekends went by and we went other places so it was more or less forgotten. Then we returned to the beach by the harbour and saw these on the way home. Indeed, Little Mr. was completely right: his description was on point, even if  I had been too stupid to imagine all the parts together. It’s a truck with tank tracks, and I’m wondering if it has anything at all to do with the harbour,  might this be used in dredging work? I asked Himself to cruise past whilst I took a string of photographs. It’s another unusual vehicle to add to my photographic collection but in all honesty, this one is all for Little Mr.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 12, 2016

Way More Than Fair Weather Friends…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The summer of 2016 was for the most part (ok, discount June more or less entirely) one of excellent weather.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Himself and adults from three or four other families took turns to supervise a bigger group of kids on the street or take them to the beach during  week days.

Weekends they would forsake their bike rides to the beach and join me in a car ride to one of the spots that had a car park close to the beach café we wanted to go to.

Luckily with a seven seater car we manage to pile in extra kids so the kids weren’t short of a friend to take with them.

The Dutch are a cycling nation and nowhere is easier to get to by bike than car, is the beach.

All along the dunes there are hundreds of cycles racks, which at the height of summer can see bikes chained together on one rack up to four deep and every available signpost or fence surrounded by clusters of bicycle hardware.

Our weekend visits to La Cantina on the south side of the harbour were no different, but one of the attractions was that this was one of the quietest spots along the shore, so bike parking was never as bad as I have sometimes seen it in other places during my time here in the Netherlands.

One thing did catch my eye, and that is the sharp rise in the use of “Bakfietsen”  (cargo bikes) in the last decade: one reason their popularity increase is that although they are very expensive to buy, they hold their value incredibly well and you can sell one in good condition, second-hand for near new prices.

This makes them an excellent investment and the Dutch are never ones to pass up a good thing when a deal makes sense.

It’s therefore no surprise that I saw quite a few bakfietsen during our visits to the beach. Two bikes did perplex me for a moment because I only saw strong metal “prongs” (not sharp ones) sticking out in different configurations from several bikes, then the penny dropped: these were also bakfietsen, but ones where the “bak” (Literally translates as “container”) i.e. the kid-carrying compartment, can be taken off the bike and taken with you.

I don’t know the exact brand of this type, but they are soft sided ones similar to the “Gazelle” bakfietsen in my photographs.

Hard sided bakfietsen are of course heavier and are as far as I know, never detachable.  I love how this mode of transport has been embraced, and how the trend is growing. They even come with sturdy rain covers for the winter months, making these fabulous bikes way more than just fair weather friends.

(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)

 

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