Thursday, July 30, 2009

Amsterdam, Bagels n Beans... and more food

Word of the day: kokosnoot = coconut

Okay I've been kinda dreading this post because it has so many photos. I guess I'll just post them up and not write anything about them to make it easier :P

On Monday, Amsterdam beckoned, so we went by train at noon.

Took a walk round touristy areas, looked at nice houses and architecture. Also wandered into the red light district for a few minutes. Too early for business, but there were already a few girls/women in the windows displaying their wares.

We bought a big standing lamp with 5 arches for 5 bulbs. The marble base was about 30kg and 30cm wide, which Schrobbenmaster struggled to carry across town back to the station. And I had to struggle with the metal arches in a 9 x 3 foot box. It wasn't too heavy, but it was too huge for me to carry comfortably. Attracted some attention walking past people sitting outside bars - "Kijk, the guy is carrying the small box and the girl is carrying the big box!"

Back in Rotterdam near the Central Station, these buildings looked really nice reflecting the sky at the time.

Said boxes.

The marble base.

That wasn't too difficult!

The next day, we went on a hunt for appropriate lightbulbs, but weren't very successful. Instead, we got sidetracked by peanuts and chocolates at V & D. Got myself some cream truffles!

Then met Duo Penotti Sjoerd at Bagels n Beans for a coffee break. I've finally found a place which sells cafe mocha/mochaccino. Brilliant!

Later on, we headed out to buy kapsalon for dinner. Strangely, the shop seemed to have disappeared into thin air. There was just an empty spot where, supposedly, it used to be. So we went to another Turkish place.

Oh, the next photos are from the day before all this. Sunday, I believe. Schrobbenmaster's odd-looking eggs on toast. And the same special pork dinner, except with red pepper instead of green this time.

Till tomorrow, guys!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pannenkoek, Zomer Carnaval and stroganoff with yummy potatoes

Word of the day: let op = attention!

Schrobbenmaster made pannenkoeken for dinner yesterday. I had mine with just icing sugar (omg so yummy!) and some butter.

His friend, Ruben VDH came over later for a chat, and I sat out on the balcony enjoying - to be honest, freezing a little - the cold wind and my thoughts. One doesn't often get 'alone' time when staying with other people, so I took this opportunity to be on my own and think about the past, the present and a little of the future.

This weekend is Zomer Carnaval (Summer Carnival) in Rotterdam, an imitation of the Rio de Janeiro carnival, where lots of South Americans and Africans make loads of noise and dance around in a parade. We set out at lunchtime to see what was happening. From the house, I was hearing loud drums and whistling all evening yesterday, which, thankfully, wasn't as annoying as it could have been.

We searched for the start of the parade and found the Landmacht (Land Army) group playing their drums, trumpets and whistles, with female booty dancers sweating their booties out. They looked like they were having fun, and it was nice to watch them, until the sun became too hot and we searched for some shade.

They were throwing out Landmacht whistles, and the guy in front of me tried to catch one but missed terribly, and it dropped at my feet, almost as if it wanted to be my pet. Aww...

Not sure what they are, but they're looking a little too well-fed for their outfits.

Freaky yellow (not even blonde) wigged Smurfettes. There were a gazillion of them, and only five Smurfs that I could see, two of which were Papa Smurfs. Got the ratio a little off there, methinks.

What never to wear. Which nut told him palm trees looked good on shirts outside Hawaii?

Again, not sure who they're supposed to be.

McD's, also having McChicken promotion here. On Mondays and Tuesdays, McChicken is only 2 euros! Gotta get me one of them next week muahahaha...

Market selling stuff... didn't really stop to look at the stalls, but the whole market looks pretty big.

Came home after the Carnaval and saw Mumsy Bumsy on Skype. Chatted via webcam to her and the family.

While clearing the kitchen cupboard a few days ago, I found some food that could be cooked for dinner and I wanted to clear all the old things out before buying too many new items. So today, I decided to make beef stroganoff.

One of the types of potatoes I enjoy is fried potatoes (yum!), so I sliced the potatoes to make pan-fried potatoes with onions. Apparently, I should've boiled the potatoes before frying them, but I'd already started frying so I tried to make the best of it. I think it still turned out nice, though, so no regrets.

Bought two slabs of beef from the supermarket to cook. Although I wanted to make them medium rare, they cooked so quickly that they became well done before I realised. Had to endure Schrobbenmaster's quick lecture on how to cook steaks after that. My first time cooking steak and potatoes after all... :S

The result! Not too shabby in the end. The stroganoff sauce from Knorr was tasty, the potatoes were tasty, the beef a little tough, but thankfully not muscly, so it wasn't all a mess.

I actually really liked the potatoes... don't mind making them again, but I wonder if I can get away with not boiling them before frying again? ;)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shopping, kapsalon, wine and weed

Word of the day: honger/hongerig = hungry

Missed the full English, so made myself one, without salty bacon and sausage.

I came to the Netherlands with only 4 pairs of shoes. Shock, horror, gasp! To those who know me. Yes, I was being very responsible: flip flops, sandals, white ballet flats and Nikes. I figure that the black ballet flats I have have all been purchased from Europe, so I'd do well to look for a pair here.

After a few days just wearing my Nikes to walk around, I was feeling severely fashion-deprived. My white ballet flats are too thin to walk around for long, plus I can't wear my black tights with white shoes (shock, horror, gasp!). So we finally scheduled in a Shoe Shopping Day on Hoogstraat.

Bought a pair of black flats from H&M, which aren't extremely comfortable for long walks, but were really cheap at €15. Then walked a few shops down to Clarks and bought a pair of proper girly flats for walking. Very comfy! Although they are technically dark brown, I'm sure I'll survive. I'd better, anyway, since I broke the budget with that one.

This is for frachely who asked if this place is clean.

On our way home. Setting up for the upcoming Zomer Carnaval (Summer Carnival) this weekend.

Pancake restaurant! Strange thing about the Dutch language is that it keeps changing. It used to be Pannekoek, now it's Pannenkoek. It must cost a lot to change signboards like the one above.

I found a recipe for Sweet n Sour shrimp, but as Schrobbenmaster doesn't like seafood, I substituted it for pork, altered some ingredients and measuring amounts *ahem*, and while it didn't taste like sweet n sour in the end, it did taste yummy. So for once, we didn't have to suffer through one of my cooked dinners.



All this was the day before yesterday, by the way. Yesterday, didn't do much except spray a third layer of blackboard paint on the kitchen cupboard door, then remove the masking tape and newspaper. It actually looks alright. Just gotta do up the other door, then pictures will be up here.

Had a pretty late dinner for Dutch standards - around 9pm - and was really hungry. We were planning to have pannenkoek, but Schrobbenmaster was tired from messing about (yes, still!) with his server, so we walked out to get kapsalon instead.

It's a Turkish-Dutch dish with lettuce on top, lamb strips in the middle and lots of chips at the bottom. It's really yummy. It was born in Rotterdam, in a shop that used to be a kapsalon (hair salon), hence the name. And now everyone's hooked onto it and it's spreading around the country. Mmmmm...

Okay, it's time to do some proper work. Oh, and by the way, Shinjuku Incident is just such an awful film.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Project day

Word of the day: zenuwachtig = nervous

After two not very satisfactory dinners, Schrobbenmaster decided to take matters into his own hands. He made boerenkool, which translates into farmer's cabbage. It consists of mashed potatoes, mashed with mashed cabbage, and a big fat sausage on top, unmashed.

Awesome shot of the two potato halves flying out of his hands after being cut!

Those appetising-looking *ahem* green balls are frozen cabbage balls.

The end product looks pretty nice. The sausage is really tasty. The mashed up food needed some vinegar to add much-needed taste though.

Yesterday we stayed home to work on our separate projects. Schrobbenmaster had received his new motherboard a few days ago, and finally found a matching processor and all the other tech blah needed, so he was cleaning and building it happily on the balcony.

I always thought balconies would be nice places to hang out and do stuff. Gotta clear up the unused junk on this one first, then come up with a way to pretty it up. Then perhaps more hangout time out there this summer!

I'm not a big fan of the bright blue cupboard doors with red trimmings in the kitchen, so I decided to make some useful changes. I've always liked the idea of having a blackboard wall to write on, instead of hanging an actual, potentially ugly, board. I had a huge strip on my office wall converted into a blackboard wall, and decided to do the same in this kitchen.

Prepping the cupboard door for the first coat of blackboard paint.

And this is how it looks before... stay tuned for the final makeover result!

Later that evening I was looking for ingredients for tonight's dinner, and found more expired bottles and packets of food. Not nice! So I did a big clearout of the cupboards, threw the expired products away, and packed away items that don't belong here anymore.

Arranged the bottles and boxes in a more conducive order for easy reaching and aesthetic purposes, and now, the kitchen almost... just almost feels like it belongs to me too. Still a long way to go, but it'll be a good journey, I'm sure.