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
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(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!

September 24, 2011

Ingredient Search: Food Colouring and Flavouring…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Two of the things that home bakers  find hard to obtain in The Netherlands are food colourings and artificial flavourings.

In very recent times, there has been a small explosion in the amount of baking items on Dutch supermarket shelves, cake decorations different sorts are available, and pre-packaged icings (glazes) are available in a few limited colours, but if you just want the actual food colours so that you can make a Birthday Cake or playdough etc of your own design and colour scheme then you won’t be finding the food colourings anywhere close at hand in the baking section or anywhere else in the shop either.

I’ve bought food colouring back with me from my trips to New Zealand and have also gotten it from expat shops like “Thomas Green’s” http://www.thomasgreen.eu/shops/nl/denhaag   and “Kelly’s Expat Shop”     http://www.kellys-expat-shopping.eu/  here in The Hague but have also found myself wondering: “Where have the Dutch traditionally gone to get food colouring when they needed it? ”

The answers appears to depend very much on where you live in The Netherlands…  and the answers are many and varied.

Your first stop in your Food colouring search may well be your local neighbourhood Bakery. “De Banketbakker”  (The Patissier).

Banketbakkers usually make Birthday cakes to order and use food colouring in their marzipan work etc, but they tend to buy their food colouring in commercial quantities  so if you come armed with small bottle(s) with your request,  they may be  inclined to sell you a small amount.

Each local baker is different so maybe build up a repore  with the bakery first and take care to not  go at the shops busiest  time of day when the customers are four deep at the counter and  maybe your request will be met with a  favourable response.

You won’t have to have lived in The Netherlands long to have discovered a local ‘Toko“. The actual word “Toko” means “shop” in Malay, but ask any Dutch person how to find one and you will be directed to a shop that sells Indonesian, Surinamese and other various Asian products.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Quite often there will be a  small deli of freshly made Asian (usually Indonesian)  food for you to buy too.

Some Toko’s sell food colouring but since they are all individually owned and run and what’s stocked is up to individual owners, you will have to take pot luck with this one and try a few. Geography plays a big part in success if this one, but who knows? … you might just hit the jackpot at a Toko close to you.

I have heard that some Turkish supermarkets also stock food colouring… it’s much the same hit and miss deal as with the Toko’s, with the one difference that there are a heap more Toko’s spread throughout the Netherlands than Turkish supermarkets.

One strange place to look (yes I think it is strange) is a nationwide chain of shops called “Pipoo’s”. It’s strange because Pipoo’s are a primarily a Craft Shop and are usually where you would get craft paper, pens and the like. Suddenly cake baking and decorating is apparently an art form, because Pipoo’s have a small but rather amazing selection of cake making supplies.

Either pop along to a Pippo’s near you or browse their internet site (Dutch language only and it’s not really intuitive, so here are a few hints)

Pipoo’s  http://www.pipoos.nl/  (click on: “webwinkel”->“taart en cupcakes” ->” bakmixen en fondants” (page2+) for ready to use rolling fondants and marzipan in various colours)   To find any of the 30+ branches thoughout the Netherlands:  http://www.pipoos.nl/winkeladres.php?Sort=13

Click on “bakvormen uitstekers”  if you are looking for any unusual cookie forms and rollers and on “toebehoren”  ( pages 3,4,5 etc   for food colour pens and “verf poeder” (colour powders) and liquid food colours.

Several other places cropped up when I did my research:  “The Jumbo” supermarket in Zwolle is said to have food colouring, as are the small chain of   “de boerenbond” shops    http://www.boerenbond-welkoop.nl/advies/advice.html?id=72496 (yes I know, another strange one as  it seem that this is an extra section in a shop where you’d normally pick up a garden shed, tools and rubber boots)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Of course the Internet is on hand   … if you know the correct search terms.

For  colourings try: de geur- en kleurstoffen,   evensmiddelenkleurstof,  voedings kleurstof,  kleurstoffen

For flavourings try: smaakstof

I did a quick search and came up with these, but you should be able to find something near you.

Cookie Cottage (Utrecht) http://www.cookiecottage.nl/

Taartwinkeltje (Eindhoven) http://www.taartwinkeltje.nl/  (large ranges in different size selections)

De Zuidmolen  (Groesbeek)   http://www.de-zuidmolen.nl/

de Peperbol (Amsterdam) http://www.depeperbol.nl/ (concentrated and in powder form)

Duikelman (Amsterdam) http://www.duikelman.nl/  (extracts, fondants, ready to use icings, Wilton decorations)

A.J. Van der Pigge   (Haarlem)   http://www.vanderpigge.nl/ (Note: I could only find the colour blue on their website but there is a note to say that the website is under construction so there’s a fair chance that not all stock is on the website yet.  Heck if you live near this one I’d say it’s worth a visit  just  to enjoy the fabulous beauty of an old fashioned drugist!)

Oldenhof  (Hilversum)  http://www.kookwinkel.nl/  (click the “Food” tab)  They have extracts, fondants, ready to use icings, and colourings.

I can’t personally vouch for any of these later links, I haven’t been to any of them: but if you have, or even better, if you can extend my list of places in The Netherlands where Food colouring and Flavourings can be obtained then I’ve love to hear from you in the comments so that I can make a comprehensive list here as a resource for  my readers.

Many Thanks to reader Anastasi who recommended both  http://www.jamin.nl    (many branches nationwide) and  www.deleukstetaartenshop.nl  (6 shops nationwide) for colour pastes and baking supplies.

September 11, 2011

Bacalhau à Gomes De Sá (Salt Cod and Potato Cape Verde)

Filed under: CAPE VERDE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whilst this post is not from my Cape Verde series of Photos, it is inspired by it.

One of the dishes that I discovered when we were in the town of Espargo on the island of Sal was called  “Bacalhau à Gomes De Sá ”  which is  a salt cod recipe.

I know that salt cod isn’t easily available everywhere in the world, but if you can get some locally then I’d strongly recommend this recipe because it tastes fabulous.

One of the very first blog posts I ever made, were step by step instructions on how to “deal with” your dried salt cod once you got it home.   https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/bacalhau-salt-cod-and-how-to-prepare-it/

For the purposes of this recipe I’ll assume that you have already done all the steps from the link above and are now ready to proceed with the already prepared fish.

Since the soaking and cooking process needs to be done in advance this isn’t a quick recipe to make, but a shortcut that I highly recommend is to buy as much salt cod as you can at one time, do all the preparation in one hit and then divide the resulting flaked fish into meal sized portions.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Freeze whatever fish you are not using for this recipe and you will have a stash of salt cod in your freezer for much quicker recipe preparation on the next occasions.

I experimented quite a bit, tweaking my recipe a few times until I finally replicated the great flavours that we enjoyed in Cape Verde.

Bacalhau à Gomes De Sá
1kg salt cod fish (2 lbs soaked, cooked, de-boned, flaked per instructions in the link above)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions (diced)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
white pepper (to taste)
6 large potatoes
6  eggs ( hard-boiled)

Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F)
Peel your potatoes and dice them into small to medium chunks so that all of the pieces are the same size, cover  with water and boil until until  just cooked though. (I usually hard boil my eggs in the same pot with the potatoes to save pots, water etc.)

Once the potatoes are cooked and drained slice them roughly so that they are in small pieces all roughly the same size.

Put the olive oil into a fry pan and gently saute the onion and garlic until golden but not browned.

Peel the hard boiled eggs and roughly chop 5 of them, but carefully slice the last egg into rounds for decoration.

Mix, but don’t mash! the flaked, cooked, salt cod with the potato, onion and garlic mixture, then add the nutmeg and pepper and parsley. If the mixture is too dry, a very small amount of water can be added to make it only just stick together.

Spoon the mix into a baking dish and lay out the decorative egg rounds on the top. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes until it is completely warmed though.

January 4, 2011

Mega Easy Roast Vegetable Perfection

Filed under: FOOD — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you are reading this in the Northern Hemisphere sitting in the depths of Winter,  then you will know that it’s definitely great time of the year for a roast dinner.

Going to the trouble of a full roast in a weekday is more than many people have time  to bother with, but I find that if you prep. the vegetables before work, or as soon as you walk in the door after work, then roast vegetables on their own can be served fairly quickly  as part of a weekday meal with minimal fuss.

I’ve cooked many a roast, and have finally developed a recipe for roast veggies that is as close to perfection as I think I will ever get.

I know this this recipes doesn’t have roast potatoes as I usually do them in a different dish to keep them really crunchy. This recipe is for the “other roasteds”.

I’ve also not given any instructions here for meat…my roast meats are usually also separate (or with the potatoes) as I generally roast my meats longer and slower at a lower temperature after sealing them.

Depending on the size of your vegetables, this serves 4.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


1 lb carrot (450g)
1 lb parsnip (450g)
6 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
4-6 Tablespoons medium sherry
3 tablespoons thyme
3 tablespoons rosemary

3 sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 8cm /3 inch rounds) (optional)
4-6 pieces of pumpkin, skin scrubbed , seeded (optional)


Peel parsnips and carrots.
Cut the parsnips into 2″ pieces.
Cut the carrots in half and slice into 1″-2″ pieces.
The carrots need to be smaller because they take longer to cook.
Melt the butter in a shallow baking dish.
Stir in the brown sugar and sherry.
Add parsnips and carrots ( and optional vegetables if using them)
Coat the vegetables with the liquid.
Bake at 400 F (200 C)  for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Add rosemary and thyme.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake for another 10 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 30, 2010

Kid Cooking made Easy… “Pigs in Blankets”

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

Kiwi Daughter: currently aged nine years of age, often expresses interest in cooking.

I’d like to think that it’s all due to the Maternal Influence in this household… that she has seen my passion for food, my deep love of cooking, of entertaining and feeding people.

Sadly more critical inspection reveals that the most likely cause of her motivation consists of her attempting over indulgence of her rampant sweet tooth, since about 95% of her chosen recipes involve chocolate or icing as an ingredient… or even more preferably, if she can manage it…. both.

Because of this I have been trying hard to show her that cooking savory items can also be satisfying and since she has recently discovered that she likes puff pastry, she asked if she could make something for lunch that included pastry.

I am not able to stand on two feet at the moment and the combination of crutches, an oven, a nine year old helper and a minuscule galley kitchen meant that I needed to think of something easy, whereby Himself could take care of the oven and assist in the easiest preparation possible.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Thus the brainwave… smoked sasuages wrapped in pastry, a.k.a. “pigs in blankets”.

Dutch pastry of the commercial variety comes in small frozen packages of ten little square sheets, approximately 10 cm square (about 4 inches square).

Here in The Netherlands we do have soft sasuages in cans, called ” knackworstjes“. They come in regular length and in mini form and I think that the mini sized ones translate to the little sasuages that are called “cocktail franks” in North America.
Our version of these have soft side and no real skins and would quickly go mushy in the oven, so I used a different sort of knackworst that has a firmer skin and just sliced them into thirds to make them the right length.

All Kiwi Daughter needed next were a few sheets of pre-prepared puff pastry.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Several sheets Puff pastry
Milk (optional)
Mustard (optional)
Ketchup (optional)

Preheat your oven to 225 C (440 F)
Take a thawed sheet of ready rolled puff pastry and roll up your Frankfurter pieces.
Use a small dab of water to seal the join of the pastry, and place the pieces join side down onto a baking tray.
Brush with milk ( if you want a more golden coloured pastry).
Bake for about 12- 15 minutes or until the pastry, puffs up, is cooked and golden in colour.
Serve with mustard or ketchup if you wish.

Et Viola!, Himself was the Master Controller of the Oven and hot trays, Kiwi Daughter did the cutting of the sasuages and the rolling up of the pastry, she achieved a simple tasty lunch with minimum effort and adult input and she’s pleased as punch with the results.

hmmm… I foresee a looming addition to puff pastry, so dear Daughter, no you can’t have these every day this week, there are other savoury school-holiday lunch recipes at our disposal too… we will cover many of them in due course.

Meantime, my Compliments to my budding chef and her sous-chef helper: Himself… by the time my foot is mended I might have a fight on my hands to wrestle back my kitchen LOL!

December 26, 2010

Nic’s Boursin Tomato and Cucumber Nibbles, Mega Easy Chic!

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

Before I return you to our Portuguese adventures, I will respond to a request that was made in a comment to yesterdays post.

Yes, and this photo, again LOL!

I was asked for recipes to the photos that I posted, and whilst I won’t do them all right now, I will do the first one and then get to the rest as soon as I’ve finished with the Portugal posts.

I’m a long time member of the website (formerly) known as “Recipezaar.com ” It now sports the very generic and bland name of  “Food.com”  and whilst there are many failings and blips in the new site, it does have a wonderful recipe data-base submitted up by many faithful members over the years.

There are possibilities to review recipes and, if you like submit photographs of them as well, and I have had the pleasure of making, reviewing, and often photographing more than 1000 recipes over the years.

It’s actually just as well that Tracy ( a.k.a. “milkayphoto”  http://milkayphoto.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/from-our-house-to-yours/) asked for this recipe, because until this moment I didn’t realise that I had been making it for at least two years now for family parties and friends to dinner but had completely forgotten to submit a review or my photos.  (An omission that I will rectify shortly.)

The recipe was submitted by a Zaar member with a screen name called “Nic” and I have made several recipes from her in the past, all good. The recipe uses basic ingredients that you can jazz up at will, but produces as result that is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

So, in short, mega easy with the “wow factor“, what busy Foodie doesn’t appreciate that?

I can tell you that I have make my own feta and garlic spread in the past and used that in place of the Boursin, but both taste great so if you don’t have Boursin to hand but have something else that you think might work then don’t be afraid to experiment a little. This recipe is very forgiving.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I pat off most of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes with a paper towel just so it’s not dripping in grease, but a little oil is highly recommended as it gives great flavour and blends the different elements together.

I also always peel my cucumbers because the first time I made this I did a large batch for a party and did some peeled and some not and the peeled version disappeared light years before the un-peeled ones. Since then I’ve always peeled the cucumbers.

Here is the recipe in full, but if you make it I’m sure that Nic would appreciate it very much if you would click on the link to the original recipe that I have provided below and leave her a review to tell her how the recipe faired for you and your guests.

Prep Time: 20 mins, serves 20-25 depending on how thick you slice your cucumber and how long your cucumber is.

1 cucumber
100g  Boursin cheese with herbs

20-25 fresh basil leaves
20 -25 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
Cut the cucumber in half length-ways and slice a little off the bottom to make it sit flat on the plate.
Note: you can peel the cucumber if you prefer or if the skin is tough – it’s easier to do this before slicing in half.
Scoop out the seeds and discard them.
Fill the hollow of the cucumber with the Boursin or cream cheese, smooth top with a knife.
Cut the cucumber into bite sized pieces and top each one with a basil leaf and a tomato.
Secure with a cocktail stick.
Drizzle with some of the olive oil from the tomatoes.
Chill until ready to serve.



December 20, 2010

Restaurant Review: Tapas Portuguese Style

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are back in the northern Portuguese town of Vila Nova de Cerveira, this time we are eating out again Recanto de Vila, a Restaurant that specialises in “Tapas Variadas” (varieties of Tapas).

The day has been warm indeed, we are tired and as it’s late in the day.

We opt for a simple tapas meal, and with the last rays of the setting sun finds us seated outside with a simple meal of bread, meat and cheese, accompanied by a simple side salad of tomatoes and onion and some fries to indulge the kids.

Some of the best meals are this simple, the bread is soft and divine as usual and the meats are smoky.

The cheeses are creamy and go well with the meats… all in all we have a brilliant meal.

Had it not been so late already (and Little Mr. fading) I would have been interested in ordering something from the barbecue, if only to have been able to have had the novelty of seeing it cooked on this medieval looking, humongously solid machine.

The heat of the day and the tiredness of the kids however dictated common sense when choosing from the menu and all in all, our meal turned out very well indeed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Verdict? … Yum!

April 13, 2010

New Zealand Lolly Cake, the favourite of generations of Kiwi’s…

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

Lolly Cake in New Zealand  is a national institution.

But first I need to inform you of one small thing if you ever want to make this yourself:

It uses a specific biscuit (cookie) and only one sort, to give it it’s very distinctive  taste.

These biscuits are called “Malt biscuits”.

If you are not living in New Zealand or Australia and you want to make real Lolly Cake with the real Lolly Cake flavour then you’d have to order Malt Biscuits via the internet.

The specialty of the Malt biscuits that the unique flavour cuts the sweetness of the lollies (sweets/candy).

It gives a nice balance of flavours that is rather different from anything else you will have ever tasted. Yum!

It’s not for nothing that this recipe is such a favourite  and can be found as a regular item on every Birthday Party buffet table.


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


1/4 pound butter (4 oz / 100g)

1 tin condensed milk    (14 oz  / 400 g)

2 packet Malt biscuits  (Griffins brand) crushed, but with some larger pieces left in. (Sorry but using any other type of biscuit will not give the desired resulting taste)

2 packet hard marshmallows (“Eskimo’s”, Fruit puffs, ) cut into thirds or quarters.

1 Cup (approx) unsweetened dessicated coconut flakes for coating the outside.

1) Melt the butter in a saucepan over a very low heat so it doesn’t burn.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the condensed milk to the melted butter, still over a very low heat, and stir the two together until the butter completely disappears. (Please don’t be tempted to do this on high temp, because the mixture will scorch on the bottom of the pan very quickly and you will have burned bits that mar the taste of the whole mix)

Here’s the process as it happens so you know what to expect:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

2) chop the hard marshmallows (fruit puffs, Eskimo’s) into thirds or quarters and put into a large baking bowl.  (this is a double mix recipe so you will need plenty of room to mix the ingredients together)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

3) crush the Malt biscuits so that you have at least half in fine crumbs, a quarter in larger crumbs and quarter in bits the size of postage stamps or slightly bigger (my kids tell me this this is the BEST combination for maximum perfection result ) LOL

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Mix the Malt biscuits in with the chopped hard marshmallows.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

4) By now your butter/condensed milk should have cooled off a bit,  add it to the biscuit and marshmallow mix, use clean hands to squish it all together.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Note:  [b]don’t [/b] add it to the rest when it is too hot because a) from long experience I know that this is easiest mixed together with clean hands and you’ll burn yourself !, and b) a very hot mixture will melt the marshmallows and make a far less than perfect lolly cake.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

5) you will have a very big lump of mix in your baking bowl… I cut mine into four even sections and  take one section at a time, squeeze it together firmly, whilst molding it into a “log or sausage” shape. Once you have your shape, roll it gently in the coconut to cover the outside and ends. Place in a container because at this stage it is very soft and will need to firm up in the fridge before cutting. Repeat this step with the other 3 portions of your mix so that you have 4 roughly even sized logs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Leave in the fridge for at few hours minimum to firm up, (overnight is even better)  then cut slices off the log … and wow the kids with the pieces of Lolly that show up in the slices like jewels!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 24, 2010

Is there something unwittingly missing from your menu?

Filed under: FOOD — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I heard the other day on TV that the biggest kid favourite meal at the moment is Spaghetti Bolognese.

If my kids are anything to go by, it might be better said that it’s not their actual favourite meal, but rather just the one that gets thrust under their noses most often at meal times because I know that in spite of their grumbles they will eat it, and Nooooo there is NO possibility in this house of getting  the rubbish that they really want:  chicken nuggets.

I never ever had Spaghetti Bolognese as a kid, or Lasagna, Chili con carne or Pizza.  Ok, Yes I did have Pizza on odd occasion when I was much older,  ….home made efforts with a slightly too thick crust that always was a bit undercooked and  doughy in the middle.  That’s probably why it’s taken me so long to get enthused about Pizza as an adult.

Did my mother have something against Italian cuisine? , well, no, not really, the answer was  plainer and simple than that: she was severely allergic to tomatoes.

Subsequently I grew up only ever expecting to see my tomatoes raw, on the side of salads. I had no clue until I left home that tomato  were something you could cook with, put into sauces and meals with (as opposed  to squirts of the stuff on the side of the newspaper wrapping  of your fish and chips, that you dipped your chips into)

Our family has a history of food allergies and I unhelpfully carry on the tradition by being allergic to mould, fungi and  a few sorts of shellfish.  For me, things like blue cheese, truffles, truffle oil and  mushrooms are strictly off limits  but whilst  I  realise that I can’t eat them myself, I have resolved to prepare them every now and again for Hubby and the kids.

I don’t wish to repeat my childhood experiences  where the rest of the family missed an entire taste possibility simply because  the cook couldn’t eat  it too.

I can clearly understand that  trying to make a Lasagna  without tomatoes is a bit like trying to make hamburgers without the meat…  you can work around some things but in these  type of dishes the omission of tomatoes isn’t really one of them.

My allergies on the other hand are polite and not at all disruptive to the daily cooking routine. The one thing that I have to be extra careful of  are shop-bought veggie soups and packet mixes for sauces or gravy. Even a small amount of ” mushroom powder” is  a no-no.  …as found out  when Hubby tried a new gravy mix on a surprise meal for me years ago…  hmmm  it turned out to be  far more of a surprise than either of us bargained on or wanted.

Since then Yes,  he has cooked surprise meals for me but we have both become expert at reading ingredient labels on packets before we buy them, and at asking in restaurants what’s in the meal so that the surprises stay as nice ones and not the nasty ones.

If you are the cook in the house and you have food allergies, then you too will have to ask yourself if the thing that is restrictive for  you might also be unwittingly restricting the eating habits and experiences of your family… and maybe,  like me you need to make a separate meal every now and again to compensate them for the things you can’t enjoy.

My sister was the lucky one, she managed to be the only one in the family without any food allergy, and my poor  father copped the easiest one to avoid but probably the unluckiest… he’s allergic to strawberries.

January 29, 2010

Specialist Shops in The Hague: “Kelly’s Expat Shopping”

Kellys Expat Shopping

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When Kelly Branson married Jason Kelly, she naturally became “Kelly Kelly”.

She’s a Dutch national of mixed English/ Dutch heritage and with her Birmingham husband she recently started up a Grocery shop for ex-pats in the Hague after missing many of their favourite food and grocery  items from the UK.

Kelly’s  shop is  called  ” Kelly’s Expat Shopping” and can be found in the Zeeheldenkwartier, in Piet Heinstraat close to the junctions of Elandstraat and Zoutmanstraat.

BLOG UPDATE: these photos are now of the old shop… the new shop in the Hague has moved just around the corner to the Zoutmanstraat  22A  which I’d judge to be a one, possibly two minute walk  around the corner.  I’ve included Kelly’s updated address at the bottom of the post.

It’s a cheerful,  friendly shop and when I asked if it might be possible to speak with the owner, the staff were happy to oblige and Kelly emerged to chat for a moment.

The shop has been running for a relatively short time, but seems to already cater well for both the Dutch and Ex-pat community, providing those little items  from “home”  and favourite brand name items that people know and love.

Although Amsterdam is the bigger city, The Hague is the home of many of the International Organizations,  Embassy’s, Schools and Companies so the concentration of  local Ex-pat’s is high.

For me, as a foodie cook and baker it’s nice to know that simple items like food colourings which are ridiculously difficult to get in Dutch shops are available for  my cake decorating  needs and that  I could get things like Treacle (the English form of Molasses)  here too.

Every time I have visited Kelly’s shop the staff have been friendly and the shop has been busy, both  very good signs in the Dutch world of retail where I often wonder if the national motto must be ” service without a smile” . Don’t get me started on Dutch ” service” (or more correctly, the usual lack of it… we could be here forever).

Kellys Expat Shopping

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The staff also have some knowledge about the goods on sale,  and I hope that that knowledge will grow over time. The goods are predominantly British Isles favourites with a smattering of American  items too and latterly some South African lines have been added as well.

Kellys Expat Shopping

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kellys Expat Shopping

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… and a community notice board, advertising functions, events, goods and services…

Kellys Expat Shopping

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I like that you can either pay the shop a visit in person, or shop on-line,  since the shop is local to me I haven’t yet done any on-line shopping but it’s nice to know that the option is there should I need or want it one day.

Kelly’s also brings in specialist items and  treats for Christmas, Easter, Valentines and Expat holidays like Halloween.

Kellys Expat Shopping

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kelly puts out an electronic newsletter that it is possible to subscribe to that informs not only of what’s up and coming in the shop, but also of what’s on in the city that might be of interest to customers, a very handy feature.

Kelly’s opening times are:

Monday – Friday 09:30 – 18.30
Saturday 09.00 – 18:00
Sunday 10.00 – 17:00

Piet Heinstraat is located between the Laan van Meerdervoort and Elandstraat. (only a block or so from the Elandstraat)
If using public transport, take Tram 17, and get off at the “Elandstraat” tramhalt, cross the big intersection, heading towards the Laan van Meerdervoort on the Zoutmanstraat and it will be the first street on the right. You will be able to see Kelly’s on the left hand side of the street after just a few meters.

Kellys Expat Shopping

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kelly’s Expat Shopping:

Zoutmanstraat 22A    //  2518GP   The Hague     //  The Netherlands    //  Tel: 070 346 97 53

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