Local Heart, Global Soul

June 4, 2015

Pass Me A Wave Board And I’ll Lemur The Basics…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m just skipping back to part of our outdoor walk in Apenheul Zoo, a zoo specialising in all sorts of monkeys and primates.

Located  in the east of the Netherlands, we thought it would be a nice outing on a winters day over Easter 2013, hoping also to avoid the crowds because the park had only been open a few days for the season.

As it turned out the crowds were not at all a problem because most people had more sense than us and realised that it was going to be a bitterly cold day and stayed firmly indoors  in the warm.

We on the other hand, either endured frozen fingers (moi) or stuffed fists into pockets (the rest of the family) and made the best of things.

One animal that bought a huge smile to everyone’s faces was the Black and White Ruffed Lemur. We found one braving the outside cold but I suppose with his thick black and white woolly jacket of fur he was better insulated than we were.

Originally from Madagascar this monkey was delightfully both super shy and mega inquisitive at the same time.

He (or was that She?) was very skittish and sudden movements had him bounding away, but when Family Kiwidutch, and the visitors around us stood still, he was back to investigate these strange human beings and their kit.

His yellow eyes with an inner darker circle of yellow watched us intently. We all became silent or passed a few barely whispered words when he came right over to investigate the gloved outstretched hand of the lady next to me, and all of the visitors present had to stifle giggles when he checked out the wave-board that another child had put onto the ground close to us.

We whispered that maybe he was asking for lessons so that he could show his mates a few tricks?  Then some other visitors came around the corner talking and laughing loudly and the spell was broken.

The Lemur bounded off through the branches and settled in a tree some distance away, checking us out once more. Had the park been as busy as normal then probably we would have never been treated to such a close up experience with such a beautiful creature… and after he left us everyone in the little group he had just visited started exclaiming how wonderful an animal we had just seen. 

(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)

July 28, 2013

France On the Horizon … But Where is the Horizon?

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A short drive away from the harbour in Folkestone we start to climb the steep hills that make up the local terrain and include the white cliffs of Dover, only 7 kms away.

What’s maybe lesser known is that France on the other side of the channel, has it’s own matching set of white cliffs, and both are of course a natural geological continuation of each other.

Sadly although we have a beautiful sunny day in Folkstone when we visited, there is a sea mist above the channel and France is somewhere behind the haze.

Instead we turn around to admire the view in the inland direction, part of which is dominated by a truly enormous building that was formerly the Folkestone Metropole Hotel.

These days it houses apartments on the top levels and an art/ exhibition gallery on the ground floor. It was also once a very grand rival to it’s neighbouring  building just a short distance away…

(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)

June 10, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Saffron Rice or Plain White Rice…Who Knew it was THIS Easy in Your Microwave?

Filed under: FOOD,PHOTOGRAPHY,Step-by-Step Tutorials — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We have a rice cooker at home which gets  a lot of use.

I love rice but have two problems:(1) I have a tiny Dutch kitchen so storage space is at a premium and (2) our rice cooker was a wedding present and after almost 18 years of being used  more than once a week, it’s still cooking great rice but  getting harder and harder to get the cooked rice out of the rice cooker’s metal bowl as the bottom layer sticks.

Since Himself is already aghast at the scale of kitchen equipment on my wish-list and we are both wondering where to store things, the discovery in my Indian cooking class that we can use the microwave to cook perfect rice means that we can still have great rice without our rice cooker when the machine finally dies.
The secret of perfect rice in your microwave comes in three parts: One: always rinse your rice thoroughly 3 times to remove the starch, Two: always use the SAME measuring cup for measuring out the rice as for the water you add to cook it in and Three: always use two cups of water for every cup of rice.

Here are my Indian cooking class recipes for both Plain white rice and Saffron rice cooked in the microwave, as usual with step-by-step photographs.

Plain White Rice in the Microwave

2 Cups (260 g) Basmati Rice (for best results use “Tilda” if available)  for approximately 4 persons.
Water for rinsing
4 Cups of  cold water for cooking the rice

Place the 2 cups of rice into a microwave container or Pyrex bowl.

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wash thoroughly three times to get rid of the starch.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Drain off the water used to rinse the rice. Add 4 Cups (same sized cup as you used to measure the rice) of cold water to the rinsed rice.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cook uncovered in a 900 Watt microwave for 20-21 minutes. (Our teacher’s image used with permission)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Result: perfectly cooked rice!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Saffron Rice in the Microwave 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

2 Cups (260 g) Basmati Rice (for best results use Tilda) for approximately 4 persons.
Water for rinsing
4 Cups of water for cooking the rice
5 cloves
5 whole cardamoms
approx 8 strands of saffron
2 Tablespoons of milk

Since the first steps for preparing the rice by rinsing it  are exactly the same as in the photographs for the Plain Rice recipe (above) I have not repeated them here.  Once you get to the part where you add the 4 cups of water for cooking the rice, you continue with the photographs below.

I have two additional notes: (1) this Saffron rice is not the brilliant yellow colour I expected it to be,  it’s barely yellow at all, more  a  faint cream colour. That’s as it’s supposed to be, real saffron is very expensive and imparts quite a strong flavour that can quickly become overpowering so a little goes a long way.  We learn here too that cheap imitation saffron usually has added turmeric in it which means it goes very yellow… but using the real thing sparingly is far more authentic.

(2) We  asked why the saffron is infused with milk rather than with water… the answer is that even this tiny amount of milk improves the flavour and makes the saffron infuse better.

Place the 2 cups of rice into a microwave container or Pyrex bowl and wash thoroughly three times to get rid of the starch.Drain off the water used to rinse the rice. Add 4 Cups (same sized cup as you used to measure the rice) of cold water to the rinsed rice. In a small container gently heat the milk, add the saffron and pour this liquid over the rice.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the cloves and cardamoms to the rice.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cook uncovered in a 900 Watt microwave for 20-21 minutes. Result: Perfect Saffron rice!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 7, 2012

Mike’s Beer…. Organic, Whisky,Coffee, Imperial or Pale Ale Brew?

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

Beer, glorious beer! Of course we are looking at the main product of Mike’s Brewery… There are Porters, Pale Ales, specialist beers like Whisky, Coffee  or Imperial Porters, which are limited editions in individually numbered bottled and all organic! I’m no beer drinker but we bought some to take with us for Himself to enjoy and review later and Himself said he was very pleased with his selection because everything he bought tasted very good.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 6, 2012

Beer, Pies, Coffee and the Longest Chip We’ve Ever Seen…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are just north of Urenui, on the east coast of  New Zealand’s North Island and visiting the White Cliff Estate organic brewery, a.k.a. Brewery Mike’s.

Lunch has just arrived and whilst fries are not healthy, they and the pies are welcome on a hot day after our car journey.

Himself washes his food down with a beer and pronounces it very favourable indeed but the one for the road is definitely a coffee.

Kiwi Daughter scores the longest French fry we have ever seen, she holds it up to her face and it reaches from her forehead to just past her chin.

I then get a series of photographs where she tips her head back and tries to swallow it whole like she’s eating a Dutch pickled herring. I’ve deleted her face from one of the photos to give you and idea of  how long it was, the top is by her forehead and the bottom reaches past her chin. That must have been one massive potato!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 5, 2012

A Comfortable Look Inside…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It was a hot Taranaki day when we stopped in at Brewery Mike’s for lunch.

I can’t remember now if the old hall used to be a schoolhouse or if it was an RSA  (Returned Serviceman’s Association) Hall but either way it’s been well decorated for it’s present use, there are relaxing seating areas inside as well as out.

There  is a small display of local art (Kiwi Daughter spent some pocket money buying one of the paintings  in the photo) and some interesting old photos of local brewing, but since our food was arriving at the table outside I forget to check if  these were photos taken of this brewing family or not.

The place is cool in the summer heat and by the looks of the log burner in the corner surrounded by sofas, it’s probably pretty comfortable  in the winter too.

I like that not only is the beer organic but they stock a few organic snacks too, for example organic chocolate. Let’s take 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)

August 4, 2012

Stopping in at Mike’s for a Brew….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

An easy drive down the coast near the small town of  Urenui,  Himself suddenly spies a large sign on the roof of a building that says “brewery” and as the beer drinker in the family he’s suddenly finding himself very interested in a break from the road, a hearty lunch accompanied… possibly, very strangely coincidently…. by a beer.

We have stumbled upon Brewery Mike’s White Cliff Estate organic brewery…

We pull in to find an old hall that”s been converted into a  beer shop and café, a massive deck has been built out the front and it’s been covered with a sail-like canopy so there is ample shade, excellent for a scorching day like today.

The kids want to run round on the large lawn at the front but after a few circuits and a quick investigation of the outer edges they decide it’s just too hot and come and flop at the table with a cold drink and waiting for the food to arrive.

We place our orders and take 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)

April 25, 2012

1886 Oops, Better Drop the Pink and White Terraces from the Tourist Brochure…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Very close to Rotorua is a place called Whakarewarewa  and part of  Whakarewarewa  probably houses one of the world’s most unique “housing estates”.

Ok, so it’s not  exactly a “housing estate” at all, but rather a small community of houses that are quite literally right on top of an active geothermal area full of steam vents, geysers, and pools of boiling mud and water.

I’ll go into more detail shortly, but this is a very special community to live in indeed.

A Caldera  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caldera  is the remnant of   a large collapsed volcanic structure and often additional volcanoes and vents open up after the caldera has formed, this has happened in Whakarewarewa, many areas surrounding Rotorua , Yellowstone National Park in the USA,  Lake Toba in Indonesia,  and Santorini in Greece to name but a few.

Often these caldera regions are accompanied by some amazing geological  land features and Rotorua’s were  amongst the most impressive of them all… Pink and White terraces had formed, filled with hot water and very distinctively coloured by minerals in the water.

So… Why aren’t New Zealand’s  Pink and White Terraces attracting the world’s Press and tourists today? The easy answer is:  because it’s impossible  to make  a tourist attraction out of something that no longer exists.

They were obliterated by a volcanic eruption in 1886.

The texts from several of the information notices tell me:

Pre 1886 : Te Tarata (Pink Terraces) and Otukapuarangi (White Terraces) at Rotomahana Lake were attracting  visitors  from Europe in the early 1880’s . Te Paea  Hinerangi  (guide Sophia) and Kate Middlemass (Guide Kate) were already well known as guides who took visitors to the  terraces from Te Wairoa Village.

On the night of June 10th, 1886 the eruption of mounts Wahanga, Ruawahia and Tarawere bought devastation to the Pink and White Terraces and to the Villages and homes around Lakes Rotomahana and Tatawera. Over 60 people sheltered in Guide Sophia’s home at Te Wairoa Village which managed to with stand the power of the eruption. Sophia moved to Whakarewarewa where she continued to guide well into her old age.

A classic case of Mother Nature gives and Mother Nature takes away… there are theories that more of the terraces might exist deep below the surface of  Lake Rotomahana, but one thing is for sure… this entire area is full of exciting geothermal wonders… or a geological time-bomb, depending on how you do your geological  maths.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 23, 2012

Making Wishes, to be the Tallest?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m still taking you with me on our Duck Tour in the city of Singapore.

As we come into the Marina Bay, and cast our eyes toward the famous Singapore Merlion that stands on the other side we are fascinated by the presence of thousands of white balls floating in the water.

They are roped off by a series of buoys (and I think nets) and the Duck Boats don’t venture very close to them but clearly I’m not the only one wondering what all of these balls are for before just as I’m about to ask, another tourist gets in before me and asks the guide if these are artworks or…?

It turns out that before the Chinese New Year (today,  January 23,  2012)  people can pay for one of these balls and on them they write wishes that they hope to come true. It appears that the bigger the ball you purchase the bigger you wish can be.

So, what you see before you are many thousands of wishes that the residents of Singapore have made.  To any of you who celebrate the lunar New Year today, I wish you a very Happy New Year and I hope that  you have some wonderful festive New Year celebrations with your friends and family and that all of your wishes come true.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So what else is there to see in the bay? Our Duck Tour guide also tells us that  the next building:  the five-star, Swissôtel The Stamford, is the tallest hotel in the world.

There are other buildings that have hotels in them that are taller, but apparently this one is the tallest that houses soley a hotel and where the space is not combined with commercial office premises etc.

At 226 meters (741 feet) I had troubles to get it all into the photograph when we travelled close to it on the road, but when out on the water we got a better view. Wiki tells me that it has 1,261 rooms and suites, 16 restaurants and bars, Raffles City Convention Centre, and one of Asia’s largest Spas.

For me, I find the 11 or so stories of the Rasa Sentosa quite high enough… I’m still making up my mind if I were ever in a room on the upper floors of this hotel, if making up in the morning to the view outside would be a dreamy experience or one of my scariest nighmeres. Jury is out on this one.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is also an outdoor stadium that seats 20.000 people…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… and something that had Little Mr. pointing and getting all hot and bothered about… the clear highlight of the day for a six year old boy is, naturally:  a crane lifting a boat out of the water… (I was under strict orders to get the photographic evidence and to post the proof of this wondrous event in my blog) He may live to regret this demand when he’s 18 and I’m looking for suitable blackmail material to keep him in line.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Blog at WordPress.com.