Local Heart, Global Soul

September 17, 2013

Traditional Settings For Some Traditional and Yet Less Traditional Glass…

Following yesterday’s post about the stained glass in Canterbury Cathedral, in Kent, England, I am struck by the fact that each of the windows has it’s own distinct character and style and that all of the main patterns within them are unique.

Some of the stained glass windows look what I will call “traditional” in style, but others are amazingly modern and very untraditional, …to my eye at least.  Once again this photographic series is for my artistic inspirational archive file as well as for my and your viewing pleasure… colour, pattern, texture and oodles and oodles of styles…

(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)

November 10, 2011

The Tools of the Trade…

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

My regular readers will know that I adore strange and wonderful things…  manhole covers, decorative windows, tiles, architectural stonework  and tools to name but a few.

(sigh) Yes, tools.

Give me old fashioned  wooden dippers for wetting the papers and woods during the glass making process and I’m there, zooming in with my camera lens. Give me old fashioned cask buckets of water and tin containers and I’m loving the mixture of hi-tech and olde worlde  style things.

I like looking “behind the scenes”, so when the glass blowers take a short break from their hot work and go off to get a cool drink, I  “take a look around” from the front and record what I see.

Certainly for every successful creative effort there are a multitude of failures as one discard box attests.

I find it interesting that the various  tools of the trade have either remained  in their traditional form because  they are so efficient that they don’t need any changes, or in the case of the kilns, have arrived completely and totally into the twenty-first century as modern technology makes this part of the process more eco-friendly, more efficient and safer.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 9, 2011

Problem? Hmm… I know! Pass me a Blowtorch!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

…In a continuation from yesterday’s post I’m looking at the ancient craft of glass blowing and made a photographic journal of the transformation that the glass pieces have undergone during our visit to the  Glass Studio in Leerdam.

Glass blowers use a special stool that looks like a workbench with long arm rests, sitting on the stool the glass blower can simultaneously roll the glass with one hand and form it with the other. Whilst rolling the glass on the pipe on the arm rests, the glass blower shapes it with wet paper and a block of wet wood, holding them against the glass as he rolls.

Since the paper and the block constantly moisten each other they don’t stick to the glass,  therefore the glass blower always has a bucket of water at his side.

As long as the glass is hot the glass blower can manipulate it as he wants,  it can be pricked to make openings or closures, groves can be made and pieces can be added or cut off. This is all done with various pincers and scissors.

Because glass hardens as it cools down, it is regularly placed in a warming kiln whilst it is being worked to keep the glass soft enough to work with so the glass blower can continue working on the piece.

We notice that one of the handles doesn’t attach very straight on the body of the vase,  so the man holds  the pipe whilst the woman blasts it with a blowtorch, this makes the area of the glass they want to correct soft enough so that they can straighten out the wobble,  and mission accomplished they go on to finish the piece.

Once the glass blower has finished working the piece it isn’t  the end of the process. The temperature of the glass will still be around 600 C (1112 F)  so the blower  “taps” the object off the pipe with a large fork and transfers it to a “cooling”  kiln where the temperature has been set also at 600 C  to keep the finished temperature of the glass stable.

The kiln stays at this temperature during the working day so that the day’s production can be added to it as the pieces are completed and then at the end of the day when the  blowers have finished, the kiln is locked and the cooling process begins.  The kiln reduces in temperature very slowly  until it reaches 20 C  (68 F) and the pieces can be removed.

Thin pieces of glass need at least overnight to cool. This allows  the glass molecules to settle and if it were not done the glass would crack or explode.  The thicker the glass the longer it takes to cool down so there are two cooling kilns in the glass studio, one for thick pieces and one for the thinner ones.

The process is fascinating and I could sit for hours watching the creation of these fiery molten forms into beautiful glass pieces.

(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 8, 2011

Put THAT on your Pipe and Blow It!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I tried to look up some information on the history and process of glass blowing  as we would see at Leerdam but the website is not incredibly informative. Fortunately I’d picked up a  free information sheet during our visit, so these facts come from that,  and from the commentary given whilst we were there.

There is an overhead video screen that shows parts of the process, (like the “tapping off” of the glass at the end from the pipe at the end of the process), but since we are on the very front row of the tiered seats I literally have ring-side view.

Leerdam is regarded as the centre of the Dutch Glass industry and is sometimes called the Netherlands Glass City.

Leerdam’s first glass factory was founded in 1765 and glass was made manually. Today glass is made using computer controlled equipment but professional  glass blowers have not completely disappeared from the scene. At Royal Leerdam Crystal, glass objects are still manufactured using traditional methods to this day and here at the Glass Studio it’s possible to see first hand how this traditional craft is practised.

Experienced Masters and young ambitious glass blowers practice their craft in teams. Glass blowers come from around the world to study techniques at Leerdam and they can assist each other even when they don’t  speak the same languages because  basic glass blowing techniques are the same world wide.

Vocational training takes four years on average, and upon completion of this training the trainee becomes an “Assistant”. Depending on talent, becoming a fully trained glass blower then takes several years more. Only then, finially,  will they have earned the title of Master glass blower.

Glass is made from sand, soda and lime. When mixed together  it’s called “the blend” and is placed in a melting crucible which consists of a small pot in the centre of a stone melting kiln. Temperatures in the kiln are kept at 1500  C  (2732  F) to melt the blend and once it turns into molten glass the temperature is reduced to 1150 C  (2102 F) to keep the glass fluid and ready for use.

The steel blowing pipe is roughly 140cm long and is used to take the molten glass out of the melting crucible. The glass blower inserts te pipe several times into the molten mass, adding layers of glass to the mass to achieve the amount of glass they need. When making large pieces, the  molten glass on the pipe can weigh up to 10 kg.

Once the desired amount of glass is on the pipe, the glass blower blows air into the hollow centre of it resulting  in a round form that is the starting point of the object being made.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Phew, it’s certainly warm in here… more on hot glass blowers tomorrow…

 

April 21, 2010

A step-by-step guide to Kiwi’s Real, Traditional Fish and Chip perfection…

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

We do have Fish and Chips in The Netherlands… but it’s definitely not the same sort of Fish and Chips that I grew up with in New Zealand.

The differences run deeper than just the varying fish varieties that are caught in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere’s, the batter is completely different in both texture and taste and the end result in The Netherlands is never the wonderful crunchy batter that I love about New Zealand Fish and Chips.

The chips are usually smaller too, more what I would call Kiwi “French Fries” here in the Netherlands and what the Dutch call “Belgium Patat”  for the New Zealand ones. ( i.e. large chunky pieces of potato sliced thickly, not thinly).

I miss my Kiwi Fish and Chips to death sometimes and every now and again get a hanking to make my own.

Over the years I’ve been tweaking my recipe each time to try and get maximum crunchiness out of the batter,  to find out the best way to size the  fish pieces for easy cooking,  and the best batter mix that sticks nicely to the fish and the best cooking method to get the batter to stay on the fish (and not end up in a crispy black lump on the bottom of my fryer) .

I have a very basic arrangement for my frying: a deep pan with oil, not a fancy electric fryer, if you have an electric one then just follow the instructions that come with it for best results.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ingredients, Chips:

potatoes, peeled and sliced into thick lengths.

oil for frying

salt for seasoning

vinegar for seasoning (optional)

tomato sauce (preferably “Watties”) (optional)

Friet sauce or mayonnaise (optional)

Batter for Fish:

300 ml beer (about 2 cups)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

6 heaped tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon mild paprika powder

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

pinch salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Frying the Chips: (Do these before the fish)

Pat your raw, cut chips with a clean, dry teatowel/teacloth to absorb any starch, (the teatowel/ teacloth goes into the laundry after this job)

Heat your pan of oil so that it is up to temperature for frying. (place a small piece of potato in first to test it) bubbles should form quickly around the potato and you should see the oil “boiling” around the chip, if there is no movement immediately, then the oil isn’t hot enough yet.

DO take EXTREME care when deep frying with oil, any burns will be deep and painful and NEVER leave a pan of hot oil unattended,  (unattended fat fryer’s catching alight are a major case of house fires).

Fry your potatoes, in batches until they are golden brown and almost all the way though, when they get to this stage, remove from the heat and drain on paper towels to absorb the excess fat.Continue until you have done all the chips, they will be light brown and almost completely cooked.

Set the chips aside to finish after the fish is cooked. After the fish is cooked, pop the chips back into the fryer until they are cooked through ( 1-2 minutes), drain off the excess oil onto kitchen paper towels and serve immediately with the fish.

Frying the Fish:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(any beer will do…)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whisk all the batter ingredients together until you have a smooth batter with no lumps.

(photograph © Kiwidutch

Cut the fish into small pieces, I cut my double fillets in half lengthwise, and then in half width-wise so that the pieces are fairly uniform in size and cook evenly. The pieces will be almost rectangular and a little longer than my index finger (and 2-3 times as wide)

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Take a piece of you fish fillet in your (clean) fingers, hold it by the thinnest end of the fish and dip it into the batter, letting about half of the excess drip off and then carefully, slide it thick end first into the hot oil.

I hang on to it VERY carefully for about 15-20 seconds with my fingers about 2-3 cm (just over an inch) away from the oil and then I gently let it drop. Do this slowly and you should not get splashed by the oil, and the fish will not stick to the bottom of the pan.

My deep fry-pan does come with a basket, and I use the basket when I’m frying the chips, but I personally prefer to remove the basket  when doing the fish and just very carefully slide the fish in. DO  make certain that there are no drips of water on your hands or the fish, if water comes in contact with the hot oil it will splatter enormously and you could get burnt.

Clearly this is  also NOT a recipe that you would consider making with any children close by.

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I find that I can get up to four small pieces of fish into my fryer at once.  If I try more they stick together and it all gets very messy very quickly.  I let them get quite brown so that even the thickest part of the inside fish is cooked though, and then I carefully lift them out with a metal slotted spoon, putting them onto some sheets of kitchen paper to blot off any excess oil .

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The batter should be wonderfully crisp and crunchy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have the batter pretty much as I want it now… from now on I will only be tweaking the seasonings a bit more, maybe some herbs?….  If I can make it even better, then I will post updates in the future.

Yum… Enjoy!

March 13, 2010

A traditional Dutch Clog …or not.

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As can happen in Bloggy World,  you can have good days and bad, and for the last week I’ve been fighting a head-cold that’s been getting steadily worse.

It’s a total pest for my lung condition and asthma stability and one of the biggest and seemingly unnecessary annoyances of life, but C’est la vie, I will live. Sadly a big spike  in medication  is necessary to keep the health wobble just a wobble and not a crash,  has reduced my concentration skills to zero and my drowsiness levels to about 200 %.

Since yesterday I’ve retreated into bed so before I take more pills, exhaust yet another box of tissues  blowing my nose, roll over  and sleep again,  but here is a photo taken whilst  out on one of my walks of recent weeks.

I spied a traditional Dutch clog nailed to the street wall outside a house.

Clearly the owner  has a sense of humour and has put their own very distinctive twist onto a very Dutch icon that is often displayed in a rather more kitsch manner.

It made me smile  and had me reaching for my camera…

So your new  Dutch word for today is the name given to traditional Dutch wooden shoes: pronounced as “clomp-pen

klomp/klompen” = clog/clogs.

March 9, 2010

Offering my deepest condolences…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When someone passes away in the Netherlands it is customary to post out a special card to the deceased’s friends and relatives by their family, announcing the persons passing, plus the time, date and location of  viewing ceremonies and any other essential information needed for attending the funeral.

What might be less obvious to an outsider is that there is a special stamp that is only used for the sending of this post, and that the envelope is also specifically and uniquely marked.

This is an indication to the post office that this post needs to get priority so that people can have enough time to make arrangements to attend a funeral.

Whilst a few newspapers carry Obituaries, and most carry In Memoriam notices, it is not usual here for people to find out about a death via a newspaper, instead, this envelope in the post is the usual method.

So.. this is a photo of the stamp used to designate an announcement of someones passing. Note that on this envelope there is a very thin line around the inside, this is also only found on obituary envelope announcements, and the colour will vary, grey, black, dark blue being the most common, and the thickness of the line can range from being very thin as on this envelope, to a substantial  5mm solid border all the way around the envelope.

Yes, I have just received  this in the post, the  extended family member was past 90 years of age and in such a state of physical and mental health that death was more of a release than a snatching away of life.

Himself and I will be paying our respects this week and offering our support and deepest condolences…

January 19, 2010

Dutch Recipes: Appelmoes … is Apple Sauce !

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

In my favourite second hand shop I picked up a new kitchen gadget…

Well, New to me at least.

This is a vintage appelmoes sieve and it has a wooden ball-like piece in the middle to make making your apple sauce easier.

Appelmoes is the traditional Dutch apple sauce.

It’s very simple to make and family recipes differ depending on who you ask.  Everyone has their own recipe that they think is the best.

Some people make it using just the speculaaskruiden which is a mixture of ground spices, usually including nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.

Many Appelmoes recipes contain one or more of these spices but  ginger, vanilla sugar, appelstroop (apple syrup) and saffron are sometimes included in some recipes too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (Elstar or Jonagold are good apple varieties to use)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoons ‘speculaaskruiden’ (or pumpkin pie spices)
1 tablespoons sugar

Method:
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan.

Heat gently for 15 minutes or until the fruit is soft and mushy.

Mash well with a wooden spoon. (don’t use a metal spoon or you will change the taste of the appelmoes)

Appelmoes is a firm favourite in many Dutch households, so much so that it’s even counted as a “vegetable” in the main  meal  for many families. Our little Dutch family seems to be an exception to the rule, since we hardly eat appelmoes, but then we don’t follow a “typical” Dutch eating style either.

I do however make my own home-made appelmoes from time to time because  I am trying to find a good vegan cake recipe  for my young niece who has many food allergies including dairy products. Vegan cakes don’t have dairy products like butter or eggs in them and Appelmoes is a good replacement for these ingredients.

Making it yourself  means that other allergy problems like colourants, preservatives and “E” numbers are also illuminated and the added bonus of using appelmoes in cakes is that it has a far lower fat content, so if you are wanting to keep the weight under control, then appelmoes is a good thing to include in your recipes.

This is so very easy to make, and a very handy ingredient to have, a few apples on hand Voila! you can have your own home-made appelmoes  in no time. Enjoy!

January 15, 2010

Portuguese Homemade Piri-Piri (Hot Sauce) Mia’s Way…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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I’m a Recipezaar.com member and have a friend there called Mia… She lives in Portugal and has a family recipe for traditional Piri Piri.

What is Piri Piri? it’s a Portuguese traditional hot sauce that comes in several forms: a sauce version and can also be bought in a dried form of pepper flakes. Both are very hot, so use a little until you get used to it and add more in very small increments until you get the desired heat.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Portuguese Homemade Piri-Piri(Hot Sauce) Mia’s Way
Recipe #336778
40 min prep
Makes 4 , one liter jars

Ingredients:

2 kg hot red chili peppers
3 bulbs of garlic
2 cups olive oil
1 1/2 cups coarse salt

Directions:

1. First remove the stems from the hot peppers, but leave the seeds in.
2. Next you peel the garlic bulbs, and the onion.
3. Add all of the ingredients into a blender, for the exception of 1/2 cup salt and olive oil.
4. Blend everything until its very well blended. Like a thick sauce.
5. Now you pour it into a bowl, and sprinkle the remaining salt and olive oil over the sauce. Leave it for 4-5 days in a dark cool place, remember to stir it 2-3 times a day.
6. Now just pour into distilled jar, add a little more oil if it looks too dry, and store away. Enjoy!

Mia said: I got this recipe from an aunt of mine years ago. You can add it to a roast B.Q. into what ever you desire. Sometimes if I have fresh parsley on hand I add that to. I usually make enough to do me the whole years, sometimes more. But “BEWARE” its very “HOT” so have the beer handy! Ha!! I hope you all enjoy it, as much as I do.

If you make this and would like to review it, you can do so here:

http://www.recipezaar.com/Homemade-Piri-Piri-Hot-Sauce-Mias-Way-336778

I used Scotch Bonnet peppers when I made this and believe me, there are very  very fiery indeed. A small half teaspoon is enough heat for an entire meal… for us at least.  The heat you will get will depend entirely on which variety of  hot peppers you use.  With this recipe you will have a decent  supply of Piri Piri, I bought my Scotch Bonnet peppers at the Haagse Markt for Euro 2,- per kilogram, so this is a very cheap recipe to make.

DO wear gloves when dealing with your peppers and take care of your eyes, even leaning over the food processor will leave you breathless, this stuff is very strong. Keep well out of reach of children. Add this to any recipe where spicy heat is required.

Thanks Mia for a brilliant recipe!

January 12, 2010

A Dutch Baby Tradition: Kandeel Drink.

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Here is another Dutch baby tradition that not even all Dutch always know about.

Kandeel is a traditional drink that is served when visitors come to visit a new baby. Kandeel has been around since the 17th Century and used to be homemade but today it can be found ready made in most liquor shops.

It’s a creamy, yellow drink that contains 17% alcohol and tastes a little of “advocaat” (eggnog) because of the brandy and eggs.

The name “Kandeel” is originally from the word “ caldellum” which means “ warm drink” and tradition has it that the baby’s Father would stir it with a stick of cinnamon in the presence of the visitors who came to see his new child.

Whilst stirring, the Father has to wear a silk cap adorned with ribbons of his wife and this ritual was to keep away evil spirits from Mother and Baby.

Kandeel should be served in a small glass or beaker with a spoon, (just as you would with advocaat /eggnog) along with any of the following: “lange fingers” (sugared lady finger cookies), kaneelbeschuitje ( a type of cinnamon cookie) or “beschuit met muisjes” (see my blog post of  January 2010 to explain what this is)

It’s also very nice served over vanilla ice-cream or with fresh strawberries or raspberries.

Kandeel is traditionaly served lukewarm, but may also be served cold.

(I’ve translated this text from a Wikipedia article that is only available in Dutch, and also spoken to Staff in the company that makes it.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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