Mein Jahr 2002

Von Frau Percanta  habe ich ein Stöckchen bekommen. Mein erstes überhaupt. Ich schreibe das hier jetzt auf Deutsch, und bitte vorher schon um Verzeihung wenn ein Verb mal zu früh kommt, oder eine Kasusmarkierung zuviel oder zu wenig auftaucht oder ähnliches. Muttersprache eben nicht Deutsch (auch nicht English, sondern Niederländisch).

2002 ist eine ausgezeichnete Wahl, ein Jahr das gemischte Gefühle mit sich brachte. Ich promovierte (hurrah!), aber die Promotion ging einher mit einem extrem unangenehmen Streit mit der Doktormutter  (ich werde das hier nicht weiter ausführen), der immer noch mitbestimmt wie ich manchmal funktioniere und/oder reagiere. Weh tut es seit nicht so lange Zeit nicht mehr, immerhin. 2002 also!

Alter: bis auf 10 Tage 29. (meine Güte, ist das schon sooooo lange her? ich werde alt)

Beziehung: ja, und da möchte ich eigentlich gar nicht so viel zu sagen, weil, vorbei. Es war meine erste Freundin, die dritte Beziehung mit ihr (ja komplizierte Sache), und die die am längsten gedauert hat. Diese hatte angefangen in 1999 (kennen tat ich sie schon seit 1991). Zusammengezogen sind wir in 2001. In 2002 gab es das erste richtige Tief, so dass ich schon auf Wohnungssuche in Utrecht war und überlegte ganz dahin zu ziehen, aber irgendwie haben wir dieses Tief überstanden und haben dann angefangen uns gemeinsam Häuser und Wohnungen zum Kaufen an zu schauen. Gedauert hat diese Beziehung insgesamt 12 Jahre. Eine lange Zeit, die auch lange nicht besonders glücklich mehr war, die aber auch sehr glückliche Momente hatte.

Beruf: Postdoc an der Universität von Utrecht (Nl) in einem größeren Projekt (Projektleiter, drei Postdocs, 2 Doktorandinnen) in dem es um Sprachverarbeitung ging. Obwohl die Entscheidung diese Stelle anzunehmen zum Teil Auslöser von dem obengenannten Streit war, war es trotzdem eine sehr gute Entscheidung. Ich habe extrem viel gelernt, es war sehr schön in einem Team an einem Projekt zu arbeiten. Es war sehr schön wertgeschätzt zu werden für was man kann, ohne komplizierte Anhängigkeitsverhältnisse. Ich erinnere mich an vielen fachlichen Diskussionen, in den Zimmern meiner Kollegen, auf dem Balkon meines Kollegens (wir hatten unsere Büros mit der ganzen Gruppe in Altbau mitten in der Innenstadt. auch da: wie toll ist das denn, arbeiten mit Blick auf dem Dom!), und oft auch eben nur zwischen Tür und Angel. Neben Studentin, wäre ich gerne mal wieder Postdoc. Superzeit, man kan wissenschaftlich machen was man möchte (mehr oder weniger), schreibt lustig Aufsätze und geht auf Tagungen, muss aber kein Buch schreiben und man sitzt noch nicht die ganze Zeit in Gremien. Einziger Nachteil: leider immer befristete Verträge. Deswegen bin ich jetzt auch nicht mehr da, und deswegen hat es mich nach Deutschland gezogen (aber auch dafür gilt: Superentscheidung aus vielen Gründen).

Musik: ich werde in diesem Jahr, wie eigentlich immer mal wieder, auf jeden fall die niederländische Qualitätsmusik genossen haben (Borsato, Blöf, ..und vieles mehr). Abgesehen davon werde ich beim Musikhören vor allem von meiner damaligen Freundin beeinflusst gewesen sein. Die hatte viel Musik, ein eigener Geschmack, und viel Musik gehört. Ich hörte also mit, und mochte einiges, aber nicht alles (Paul Weller, Crowded House, Joni Mitchell, Massive Attack (mag ich immer noch), Paul Simon). Weil viele von dieser Musik so sehr verbunden ist mit der ehemaligen Freundin, mag ich vieles davon gar nicht mehr hören, weil es mir sofort in die Zeit mir ihr zurück bringt, und da eben nicht nur schöne Erinnerungen mit sich bringt. Massive Attack höre ich aber schon immer noch. Nicht zuletzt hatte ich in der Zeit das ich viel Zug fuhr ein kleines Mobiles Radio mit Kopfhörer und ich habe dementsprechend viel Radio gehört. Schön war das. Fragt mich aber nicht was ich gehört habe, vermutlich das war gerade in war.

Haare: oh da habe ich aber tief nachdenken müssen. Ich meine so halblang alles auf einer Länge. Das wurde dann ganz bald danach deutlich kürzer, und seitdem hat sich da eigentlich sehr wenig getan, außer dass ich immer mehr graue Haare entdecke. Übrigens scheinen die aber auch öfter auszufallen, so dass es sich mit der Grauheit in Grenzen hält.

Sport: eher selten. Ich bin erst im späteren Alter einigermassen sportlich geworden. Ich werde in diesem Jahr, soweit ich mich überhaupt an Sport erinnere, vor allem sehr unregelmäßig in ein Fitnesszentrum gegangen sein. Schrecklich.

Aufenthaltort: ich wohnte in Groningen (Nl), mit meiner Freundin zusammen, in einer Wohnung aus den 50-Jahren (also echte Qualitätsbau), es war unsere erste gemeinsame Wohnung, und wir waren schon langsam auf der Suche nach einem Haus, zum Kaufen. Das kam dann allerdings erst im nächsten Jahr. Außerdem war ich wegen der Arbeit 3 Tage der Woche in Utrecht (Nl), wo ich ein Zimmerchen gemietet habe (winzig wirklich). Das war eigentlich gut machbar, und obwohl es auch anstrengend war und ich manchmal mein zu Hause vermisste, war es auch wirklich gut Zeit für mich zu haben. In Utrecht würde ich auch jeder Zeit wieder wohnen wollen. Schöne Stadt. In Groningen übrigens auch. Abgesehen von den beiden Wohnorten war ich dann bestimmt in Urlaub, ich kann mich aber wirklich nicht mehr daran erinnern wo ich in diesem Jahr war. Was ich aber schon noch gefunden habe: ich war in New York, Korinthe, und Potsdam für Tagungen und Workshops. Ja, man sieht was von der Welt (auch da gilt: Postdoc: superjob).

Ach 2002, so viel gelernt, so viel gemacht, so lange her. Ein gutes Jahr, trotz Schwierigkeiten. Aber wenn es eine Zeitmaschine gäbe, ich würde sicherlich nicht nach 2002 fahren.

Dutch kitchen: ossestaartsoep (oxtail soup)

I am actually not sure whether this really is Dutch kitchen, but, for me it is. Until yesterday, I only had this at home, made by my mother. Ossestaartsoep is a harty soup, ideal as a starter. I think it makes a good starter for a luxury meal, and yet it is dead easy. Well, apart from one aspect: i still don’t know yet how to get the soup clear, mine was a bit more like troubled waters. I’ll have to ask my mum about that one.

Here goes for 4 persons (i kind of followed this recipe):

  • 1 oxtail (about 800 gr)
  • 1 leek, 1 big carrot, 1 big onion, 3 stalks of celery
  • 2 bay leaves, 1 piece of mace, 1/2 table spoon of thymian
  • 100 gram bacon
  • 25 gram butter
  • a big splash of madeira
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 litres of water
  1. beware, this is going to be a bit smokey. Put the butter in a big pan, and  fry the bacon until golden brown, add the oxtail and also fry it until brown. Take the meat out of the pan, but don’t throw it away. (i actually did throw away the bacon because it had gotten black after I fried the oxtail, this was no problem)
  2. in the same pan, now fry the vegetables (cut in big chunks). These also should be fried until brown, since this gives the soup the nice brown colour.
  3. Once brown: add the water, the bay leavers, mace and thymian and the oxtail. Add some salt and pepper as well.
  4. Bring to a boil, put a lid on the pan (don’t close it completely), and let the soup simmer for about three hours.
  5. After three hours, take a clean cloth (i used a tea towel), put it in a big sieve and sieve the soup. Cool down the soup completely.
  6. Retrieve the oxtail from the sieve and cut the meat in small pieces (i tried to avoid the fat as much as possible.)
  7. Remove the fat from the cold soup (if possible). Cook the soup again, taste and add salt and pepper if necessary, when cooking add a liberal amount of madeira (about 1 dl) and briefly cook this as well.
  8. Divide the meat on four plates and pour the hot soup over it. Serve immediately.
  9. Enjoy!

Mosselen met spek, mussels with bacon

Last summer, we spent a week in Yport, a little village at the French coast (Normandy). We had fish or sea fruit every single day, because it was so fresh and so good. One meal I even had twice, namely: mussels with bacon and cream sauce. It was fantastic, why hadn’t we thought of this combination before? I used to make mussels the traditional way. To be specific, the way it is traditionally done in the Netherlands (with carrot, celery, leek, onion and a splash of white wine.) But mussels and bacon: great combination! We finally managed to get some good mussels this and last weekend and I decided to try and replicate what we had in France. Here goes:

for two persons:

  • 1,5-2 kilo mussels
  • 1 onion (medium size)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • about 150gr. bacon
  • cream (200-250gr depending on taste)
  • splash of white wine
  • butter, pepper, salt
  • to serve: parsley, lemon wedges
  1. clean the mussels, throw away the ones that are broken
  2. cut the onion in small pieces and the garlic as well. divide the onion into two portions
  3. cut the bacon into small cubes or whatever form you fancy.
  4. heat some butter in a small sauce pan and some butter in a big pan (the one the mussels end up in
  5. start with the sauce: slowly fry half of the onion in the sauce pan (don’t colour them, just get them soft), when soft, add about 2/3 of the bacon. when the bacon is done, add the cream and some salt and pepper. Let it cook slowly, so that it can thicken just a bit. If it seems to thin, you can thicken a bit with some flour. But, don’t make it too thick.
  6. when the sauce is slowly cooking, fry the other half of the onion with the garlic, when soft, add the rest of the bacon. When slightly browned, add the mussels as well as a splash of white wine and some salt and pepper. Cook them until they are open. This should take about 5-8 minutes. When open, they are done (throw away mussels that didn’t open up).
  7. now carefully put the mussels into a sieve to get rid of all the water. Put them in a nice big bowl and drizzle your cream-bacon sauce over the mussels. You can carefully give them a stir now.
  8. make it even prettier with some chopped parsley and lemon wedges.
  9. Done! very easy meal, very quick, very tasty!

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more eating than cooking

it’s been quiet here . There are several reasons: I did not have much time or energy to do the daring cook thing, and some of the last challenges didn’t appeal to me all that much. I haven’t been cooking many new things lately. And then we have this big party in the summer that needs to be planned (it is going to be wonderful).

But, we have been eating out a lot lately, and I bought myself a new cookbook: Home Made Summer, by Yvette van Boven. I first saw this at a friend of mine’s and liked it immediately. can’t wait to have a quiet weekend with lots of shopping at the market and then playing in the kitchen with in.

As for eating out, we went to (not in this order):

1) Bestial (twice). Happy to say that service has improved! We are especially glad about the new bar tender Sam, who makes very good cocktails (he was in Sierra, Oldenburg before). We ate burgers one time, which were good. Good quality meat, not to dry (and not to medium), with nice bread, and good sauces. The pinot noir went down well also. (we started with an aperol spritz, not made by Sam, and that was unfortunately not all that great. Or let’s say: mine is better.) The second we came here, we ate from the grill. They placed two huges grills on the terrace and make a very nice menu from them. A recommendation! fresh meat, nice vegetables and interesting combinations (but I don’t remember them all that well anymore, except for the patty from calb meat, which was lovely).

2) der Schwan. This was basically just because we had a meeting there and hadn’t had anything to eat. I wouldn’t go there for dinner, because the food is not great, and I especially do not like the service there. They are extremely slow, unattentive and sometimes even rude. But, we again had burgers with fries and they were ok. And of course it has a very nice terrace directly next to the small harbour. Anyway, for a beer or so it is nice. Wouldn’t come back for food though.

3) Schmitz. We’ve been here before and were very happy about this ‘newish’ restaurant. They changed the menu a bit since last time, now also offering a menu with a wine menu as well, which is what we took. Before that we had austern, always nice, even though it was not the best time of the year (but, we had to celebrate a birthday, so what can you do?). After that, we had the three course menu, starting with tuna in two variations (one grilled, one as a tartare), both delicious. Very good quality fish, very fresh tastes and great combinations (with mint for instance), without being complicated or prententious. This was followed by calb in a sauce with herbs, with polenta and some things I don’t recall (and somehow the pics on my camera are gone, so I cannot trigger my memory). Desert was great, but too much, which I always find a pity, because you then end up feeling overeaten. (ok I did not have to eat all, but it really was very nice!). In Schmitz, service is great, for instance, we got a luke warm red wine to our main dish, which, really was just too warm. We commented on it, and immediately got a new glass, from a bottle taking directly from the cellar, which had a perfect temperature. Of course, if you pay a little more, this is what you should be able to expect. But it is nice anyway.

4) Het Strand (Katwijk, Netherlands). Sliptongetjes met patat, after a walk at the beach. Perfect. It is full, loud, relatively expensive (although I think the prices for the fish are justified, sliptong is not supposed to be cheap!), but the view of the sea makes you forgive everything.

5) Bistro Bord’o (Leiden, Netherlands). This I will probably do in a longer blog post with pictures. Summary: really good food, creative kitchen, beautiful plates, very nice wines, good service.

Some more dining out this week, and then for the rest of the month and next month, I would really like to eat in, and start cooking all those nice summer vegetables that are arriving at our market!

 

Dutch Kitchen: gevulde koek

This weekend I finally gave the recipe for ‘gevulde koek’ (a typical Dutch filled pastry) a try. Something I had wanted to make for a long time, since I love gevulde koeken and they are hard to get here in Germany. It looked quite complicated though, which is why I hesitated for quite some time. I used the recipe from the book: de banketbakker, by Cees Holtkamp. Possibly the best book on Dutch cookies, pastries, cakes etc. And it is in fact not all that complicated.

Start at least 4 days in advance with the filling! This is what you’ll need:

for the filling:

white 150 gr almonds, 150 gr sugar, about 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest

for the dough:

200gr butter, 100 gr caster sugar, 6gr baking power, half an egg, a pinch of salt, 300gr zeeuwse bloem, a teaspoon grated lemon zest.

For assembling: more eggs (about 3-4), about 20 whole almonds.

Zeeuwse bloem is fine  low gluten flour, which is similar to German 405 or English ‘pastry flour’ or Italian 00 flour according to this website. I haven’t tried out any of the variants, since I got some zeeuwse bloem from a friend of mine.

Start at least 4 days in advance making the filling. It is a simple almond filling (amandelspijs), which is used  often in Dutch pastries (see my gevulde speculaas entry).  Try to grind the almonds as finely as possible, mix with the sugar and lemon zest and then mix in the beaten egg. The consistency should be like a thick paste. Put this in the fridge to let it ripen. And yes, it is ok to have the raw egg in it for 4 days (or even more, I had it there for almost 6 days and we didn’t get ill from the koeken), there is so much sugar in it, that nothing bad can happen to it. Of course you should always use fresh eggs for this. The paste really gets better when it gets some time to ripen in the fridge.

Then it is time to make the cookies.

First make the dough: mix everything but the flour, until well mixed. Then add the flour (I do this with my hands, that’s the easiest way), form a ball, put this in cling foil and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.

Then: assembling!

First preheat the ofen at 210 degrees. Then carefully role the dough (which is called ‘weenerdeeg’) until 2mm thick (i had mine a bit thicker, which was not so good, cause then the cookies become a bit drier.) and then make about 24 round pieces of about 10 cm diameter (or more if you want smaller cookies like I did). Put half of them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Now first, mix the filling with some beaten egg so that it is just about possible to spray it, be carefull not too make it too thin, it should not drip, or run from your cookie. Mine was definitely too think this first time, and I made a huge mess. Actually, come to think of it, next time I will use a teaspoon. Try to get as much of the paste on the cookie as possible. When done, cover all the cookies with the other pieces of dough and push the sides together a little bit so that they stick. Now cover each cookie with some more beaten egg and put one whole almond in the middle of it. After half an hour cover with some more beaten egg and bake in the oven in about 10-15 minutes.

IMG_2911

This is what they should look like:IMG_2912

Although very pretty, I need to try again. My dough was a little too thick and my filling was way too thin, hence, I had relatively much dough and relatively little filling in each ‘gevulde koek’. It tasted nice, but was not yet exactly what one buys in a Dutch bakery. But: their looks are perfect!

 

Dutch kitchen: Stamppot rauw andijvie

One of my alltime favourite dishes is a traditional dutch dish: stamppot rauw andijvie. Which translates as: stew of raw endive, or better described: mashed potatoes mixed with uncooked endive.

I love it. And it’s the time of the year, so here comes a recipe for two hungry people, since this is perfect food for after working in the garden for a whole day, hiking or any exhausting and outside activity.

You’ll need:

  • endive, not too much, one crop is usually too much, but you can eat it as salad as well.
  • kilo potatoes ( the sort you would buy for mashed potatoes)
  • 100- 200 gr striped bacon cut in small cubes or pieces (basically as much as you like, is there such a thing as too much bacon?)
  • one or two eggs per person
  • milk
  • butter
  • pepper, salt

BTW: vegetarian variant, also very very good: instead of bacon, either use an old cheese (any not too mild cheese would work I think, but of course if you can get a mature gouda that would be nice), or a combination of cheese and roughly chopped cashew nuts. Of course these do not need to be fried crispy, but apart from that follow the recipe below.

Peel and cook the potatoes in enough water, with salt. In the meantime, wash and cut the endive in small stripes. I usually take of single leaves and then cut these in stripes of about half a centimeter or even less (this way you can save the rest of the crop for a neighboor, or for making salad). Lots of dutch people are less sensitive about this and just roughly cut it. Wash well, cause it is gonna be sandy. The amount you’ll need for two persons is about one big colander full. But again, this depends on taste as well. I like it if the mix is green, and you yet you still taste the potatoes as well (see picture). Cut the bacon in small cubes. Fry them until crispy.

When the potatoes are done, mash them together with a bit of butter and a good splash of milk, until you have a nice and smooth mash. It doesn’t need to be fully smooth, there can be smaller parts of potatoes in it (again, this depends a bit on taste). Make sure it doesn’t cool too much, either by mashing it while still on the stove, or by being quick!

Then, switch of the heat and mix in the bacon and the endive, for the latter: as much as you like. Work quickly, cause you do not want to cook the endive, it should be as fresh and crisp as possibly, cause this gives the whole dish its freshness, with a slight bitterness. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the mix seems dry add some more milk/butter. In the meanwhile, use the pan that you used for the bacon to fry one or two eggs per person. I like them best when the yolk is still soft and the rest is done.

Serve a generous amount on a plate and put the egg(s) on top. Enjoy!

IMG_2860

OK, it is not really pretty food, but, it is the perfect comfort food, really!

 

gevulde speculaas -update

My gevulde speculaas baking infected die Kaltmamsell, who turned it into a much less messy baking event: a couple of changes to the original   recipe makes our lives much easier (and the kitchen cleaner). Thanks dear Kaltmamsell!

So, first of all: you can make the dough in advance, it is even recommended, but, do not leave it in the fridge all the time, cause it’s gonna be rock hard and you will not be able to use it. Either take it out well in advance, or, like I did last time, just let it rest in a relatively cool place. This makes it much easier to get it into the form.

Second: I followed Kaltmamsell’s recommendation and first made the top of the speculaas, rolling half of the dough (or in fact a little less than half) on cling film, which I put on the form, so that it had exactly the right size. (I used a springform, so this was easy). once done, put it aside and the role the other half onto the form. I left over a little bit of dough to make a small edge/rim, so that the almond filling is covered from the sides as well. I just rolled this on my working top, cut small stripes and put them carefully into the form. After this the almond paste comes in. Mine is to thin to role, but I actually think that makes it easier. Just put it in, and then, carefully smear it into the form, so that it is divided equally. I used a spoon for that, which I made wet with a bit of water, so that the paste does not stick to it.

Then: tricky part: getting the top on the almond paste. I now had a beautifull top, but…no idea how to get it in without making a new mess. I just turned it over carefully, and it happened to land approximately there where I wanted to have it, but it also broke a little bit. I think as Kaltmamsell suggest, the Tortenretter (no idea how to translate that) is indeed needed here.

I’ll have to make another one, to optimize the process!

But, most importantly: the taste was great. It had a nice crust, I made it a little less sweet, and all agreed it was very good and better than the stuff bought in the supermarket.IMG_2858