Local Heart, Global Soul

August 24, 2014

Choosing You Meal Is Never Usually This Personal…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post about us ordering lunch at a restaurant on the bay of Damouchari port, I feel I need to be a little more specific about how the ordering system works when you arrive as the tourist season is ending and are the only customers for lunch.

Yes, the menu was presented to us, but not in printed format as is normally the case, but  ‘in person” (as it were) because we were invited right into the  kitchen to take a look at what was in the pots on the stove.

It was with big smiles that the menu was explained,  we see the chef throwing in bay leaves by the handful, there is slow cooked beef,  chicken being prepared and all with plenty of enthusiasm.

It’s very rare that customers can choose their restaurant meal directly from the stovetop…

Of course during high season and during busy times this wouldn’t be possible, but  for me it’s a chance to sneak a peek at a professional kitchen and take a look  “behind the scenes”. Outside there are baskets if vegetables, and of course, in due course our meals were served to us at our able outside.

(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)

(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)

August 25, 2013

Zooming In On the Garden Details…

Filed under: Audley End House,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It should come as no surprise that I managed to find some detail to photograph in a kitchen garden too.

I like the obvious “working” areas of the garden as well as the  neatly presented parts: the rows of pots lined up for use, the bulbs drying before being stored  over the winter etc.

I was also fascinated by bees zipping in and out of the blooms in one area and tried hard to get close up for some  micro shots but I have one small problem:I’m severely allergic to bees and wasps so I had be be rather cautious as to how close I dared get.

The little mini glass-houses  on the ground (yes I am certain they probably have a more technical name)  also caught my eye…

…are they there to help the plant grow faster? or to  keep the bugs and birds from eating whatever is inside? who knows?… but they are very cute. Let’s have a look around…

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 24, 2013

I SO Want One of These In My Dream Home!

Filed under: Audley End House,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you ask two Foodies like my Singaporean friend “Velvetine” and I which part of Audley End House we would like most to replicate in our if-we-won-the-lottery dream homes, we would be sitting debating for a while to decide if it would be the Kitchens we have just visited or the Kitchen gardens we have discovered now.

Seriously, I really want a garden like this one day (ok I may have to scale down my vision just a little LOL) Therefore I first opted for the kitchen garden but changed my mind and decided to be greedy:

I sooo want both.  I’m delighted to see that the Audley End kitchen garden is also organic…

An information board tells me:

The kitchen garden at Audley End provided a continual supply of fruit, vegetables and flowers for the household.

It was established in the mid-18th century, and grew to a peak of productivity around 1900, when it covered nearly 9 acres. The restoration of the kitchen garden is the result of a special partnership between English Heritage and Garden Organic . Europe’s leading organic gardening organisation.

The framework of the garden, including the  path layout and glasshouses, has been restored by English Heritage. A team of gardeners from Garden Organic is creating a working example of a walled Victorian kitchen, demonstrating the best of both the past and the future. Organic gardeners use practical, effective, environment friendly alternatives to artificial fertilisers and pesticides – harnessing natural systems to create healthy, attractive gardens.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The original glass-house was built in 1856 to the designs of Thomas River to house fruit trees in pots, especially peaches. The present glasshouse is a replica, built in 2001.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Historic garden. This is the historic core of the garden and  and is being authentically restored and managed as it would have been around 1900, with vegetables, fruit and flowers of the period.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Vinery. The magnificent vinery, one of the largest and earliest surviving in the country is back in full production, with it’s historic vines and  and a central show house for flowers and exotics.

I find it really interesting that the glass roof of the vinery follows the pattern of the large wall that runs along the back side of it…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back sheds. Tucked out of sight behind the vinery’s array of glass, this row of buildings formed the heart of the working garden, The potting shed and tool shed are once again in use and the mushroom  mushroom house and the boilerhouse have been opened up to  visitors.

These sheds are neatly tucked along the wall, (the other side of which has the vinery along the length of it.)

In the 19th century, two apprentice gardeners lived here in the bothy.

Bothy Garden. This part of the garden kitchen garden is planted with ornamental plants that are beneficial to wildlife, as well as being attractive to look at. the large grassed in the centre of the garden is bordered with heritage apples trees.

(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)

August 21, 2013

We Even Managed to Keep Our Itching Fingers OFF!!!

Filed under: Audley End House,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer we scooped up our visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” and took her on a condensed tour of as many places as we could squeeze  during her three week stay.

We reckoned she could catch up on sleep on the fourteen hour flight home, so whilst she was with us we laughed and explored new places galore.

We had been recommended a visit to Audley End House,  located close to the town of Saffron Walden, and have be delighting in our visit.

“Velvetine” and I, as keen Foodies have been very well behaved in the Audley House kitchen, keeping our fingers on the shutter buttons of our camera’s and managing to refrain from running them over every delicious item of kitchen equipment we are drooling over.

Naturally there were many items to zoom in on,  and the detail fanatic enjoyed every new discovery. There were things like wooden pork pie mallets, where the pastry is shaped and built up around the tubular base,  There were the things I assumed were tiny copper omelette pans hanging from hooks by the jelly moulds, but I realised later that these weren’t omelette pans, they were the lids to some of the pots on the shelves above.

There were little pie and biscuit (cookie) moulds and an old fashioned wooden sieve, the basket of the sieve was in two halves with the soft thin mesh sieve rolled and fastened between the two halves… there was a heavy duty cast iron grinder for coffee, spices or maybe meat… so many things to catch a culinary eye.

In stark contrast with many a modern day kitchen, the lack of plastic here is noticeable… wood, copper, cast iron, porcelain and metal were king of this kitchen in it’s day. Personally I’m a woman who could care less for shoes and handbags,  but I could drool over kitchen equipment like this all day long!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The sieve…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(The eggs are plastic!)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wooden mallets for making pastry pies…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Any clues what two wooden triangle forms are for? My guess would be for cutting croissant dough?…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Not the omelette pan I first thought it was…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The apples were not plastic…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Pastry brush and… a docker maybe?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 16, 2010

Sheep in the “garden” and other Unexpected Views…

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

It’s time for us to leave Slot Loevestein and head home…  the weather has been brilliant, we managed to arrive before the hordes so as we leave, the main street area of the garrison, (almost deserted when we arrived), is now packed with people having a late lunch/early dinner.

We concentrate on the former houses opposite the cafe’s, … which now house room after room of exhibits  excavated around the castle.

I did take lots of photos there, but made a fatal mistake of knocking the dial of my small pocket camera off “automatic” and halfway to the next setting.

I saw it on the camera when were outside the castle later and fixed the setting not thinking anything of it  until I  put the chip into the computer at home. Then I saw that most of the photos I took inside the museum were out of focus and looked over exposed. Oh well, I suppose it happens sometimes.

We have just finished walking around the entire castle, there is an extended walk that takes in the extended land also under castle ownership beyond the outer castle  defenses, but it’s a step too far for Little Mr’s legs today after all that stair climbing, bucketloads of running on the embankments and playing as much as possible everywhere.

All we need to do now is to give you a short tour of the grounds…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Like the old shoes that have been found around the castle and grounds, we have done our walking for the day and it’s time to head  for home for  a rest…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 15, 2010

A Castle and the equivalent of the Penthouse View…

Filed under: THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Naturally getting to the very top of the Castle towers,  you want to take a look at the view.

The one small thing that puts a spanner in the works is the medieval builders did not put in panoramic windows at the top of their castles…

Come on now,Mr Medieval Builder, a little vision would not have gone astray now would it?  What?  You need protection from flaming arrows and cannon balls? (sigh)  Ok, Ok…

And so it is, that there are no convenient windows on all four sides at the top of the tower, I have to make do with pressing the camera up to the glass in the small ones near the top.

Still, with  view like this… who cares, anyone can feel like the “King of the Castle” and  it was worth all those stairs.

Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 14, 2010

And my kids think they are hard done by, because we have no Dishwasher!

Filed under: THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

For any self confessed Foodie the most interesting room when visiting anyones home is always the kitchen.

Castles, for Foodies are just “former homes” and even more interesting because they also speak volumes about the Culinary Art of ages past.

When our guide tell us that the next room will be the castle kitchen, my heart soars, when I rounded the corner and saw it …my heart sank…  wow, how sparse!  and for the number of people that  castle would have housed and necessitated feeding,  how  amazingly small!

The is a massive fireplace with a kind-of-spit-roast-thingy (for want of a better, more accurate technical term) but it’s a huge contraption that’s easily as tall as I am with a quadruple layer of turning spits and handles…. not only a remarkable  feat of engineering but also probably an annoyingly delicate balancing act to use in practice.

Most of the articles here today are  reproductions of what would have been represented here in centuries past, but two things grab my attention immediately: a less than round barrel that isn’t a reproduction and the source of water: a well.

Yes, literally parked into a recess in the outer wall there is a large cover (closed now for safely reasons)  over the large opening, with a pulley system and a wooden bucket above that again.

Even in summer, the  task of hauling water up from the depths of the well must have been a thankless enough task. In Winter it must have been pure misery. Water is heavy,  and pulling on a rope with your bare hands  is harder than it looks. Even with strong arms,  the chances are that the water hauler probably got splashed quite often and layers of wet  medieval clothes were probably no fun to squelch around in or to get dry.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since invariably, menial kitchen work was done by women, there were probably rather a lot of scullery maids with fabulously toned biceps  hidden under their tunics and bodices simply because they hauled water from the well so often. No workout video’s needed  in those days!

It appears from the diet depicted here that food was very simple, very seasonal and probably sometimes rather limited.

The Dutch are the tallest people in the world, but it wasn’t always that way…  centuries ago they were usually rather short. Look at any preserved suit of armor that’s a few centuries old and you may be shocked at just how short.

My nine year old daughter has a far closer chance height-wise of getting into one of these suit than I ever would, and Himself?  Yikes,  by medieval standards  he’s a Goliath, and towers over the suit of armor like a friendly giant.

The amusing thing about that is that Himself is not considered “especially tall” here  in The Netherlands,  but yes, does attract comment when we travel. LOL

We have two nephews who are equal in height to Himself, and one of them is still growing!

In little over a century it’s abundantly clear that diet has played a massive role in how tall the Dutch were as a nation,  and have become today. Milk and cheese consumption here is wondrously huge and it’s not just Dutch height that has skyrocketed, it’s also longevity. So many people here celebrate their 100th Birthday these days  that it’s barely news any more.

So, simple food is a nice thought, but too simple and probably not enough of it, not only stunted growth but also meant short lives. Of course there are many other factors, people dying of the common cold or very small  infected wound  is thankfully no longer the regular occurrence it once was centuries ago.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This kitchen is very small,  there are some tables, but other than the oval shaped barrel in the corner, no other furniture remains, I try and envisage some, but it’s hard since the room is irregularly shaped and  there’s not really a lot of  open space.

At least the wooden doors remain, … beautiful, but nothing can hide the fact that the food cooked here was probably seasonal, very plain and exceptionally repetitious.

If you are well off enough to be sitting reading this on a computer, chances are that you also have food in your fridge, a supermarket or a garden, or a farmers market at hand somewhere close by, and such a selection of foods to choose from that  any medieval person walking though a time warp between their kitchen and yours, would  be totally overcome at the sheer scale and variety of food items on offer.

We don’t have a dishwasher in the Kiwidutch household, (well, actually we do, since all four of us enjoy the job description of “washer and dryers of dishes“).

Next time my kids complain of the task, or when I look at the pots and pans stacked up  in the sink and think “ugh, not really in the mood for this but where shall I start?”

I should at least have a decency to remember the poor medieval scullery maid, who had no instant hot water from the tap, just buckets of cold, nay, oft freezing water to do her dishes in.

If I also remember her fabulous biceps, then I might also see some gain and (gasp!), pleasure,  in my household  manual labour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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