July 27, 2008

Food obsessed

Well, obsessed might be a big word. But I seem to be very preoccupied with the need to be able to bake and cook properly.

Is this me re-lapsing into the '50s and thinking I will never get hold of a man if I can't use my kitchen properly?
Or is it the influence of Ms. Cookie?
Or is it my genes playing up? I am after all the daughter of a kitchen chef.

Whichever it may be I seem to be obsessed about gaining the ability to bake proper pastry/dessert/cake/etc. After a few failed attempts, I seem to have made a successful dessert last Friday. Yumm.

And I can't seem to cook just by putting some ingredients together, and always have to pull out a recipe from somewhere if friends come over.

Well, luckily this weekend all of the above did work well. But that doesn't happen much. But why do I bother? Why is it so important to be able to just whisk up this magnificent meal in the kitchen? Highly frustrating!

Oh, and for inspiration of this post I had a look at my food challenges from a few years ago:
* bake desserts and cakes;
* grow my own herbs;
* use more non-standard kitchen utensils;
* take better care of cut-out recipes;
* use more seasonal foods;
* cook more Japanese.

Well, except for #2 & #5 I'm improving so I'll stop complaining!

July 24, 2008


In a little over a month I'll be spending a short three weeks in the US. Finally. I've talked about wanting to go for a long time, but now I'm actually going. Can.Not.Wait.

But - I can't really make up my mind where to go. I will most likely be spending the first four days or so in Washington DC (but just heard that the friend I will be seeing will actually be here until around the day I was planning to leave the city - so those plans might still change), a few days (up to 5 days, I think) somewhere else and a week in NCY. The problem is those couple of days in between. I'm reading and researching but can't really figure out where to go, what would be good (I want something non-city) and what is accessible enough (I don't want to drive).

[edit, i just re-read a message from DC and apparently I have use of a car while I'm there. Not sure if this guys knows what he's getting his car into, and not sure if it's such a good idea for me, but it gives me some more options maybe]

So, I need your help. Vote, on the left-hand side, and let me know what you would do.

(There is a very vague option of going up to Maine, but I don't expect that to happen)


I've just returned from spending a few days away from home, and my computer, and discovering an unknown part of my country: the Veluwe. Gorgeous area, and although the Netherlands never gets truly wild, I think this part probably comes as close as it gets. We even saw wild boars! Unfortunately all the cyclists on the third day were a bit annoying, so we were always looking forward to get off the asphalt and really into the woods again.

Some pictures below, and more on here, as always.

July 12, 2008

Gormley in NL

Hayward Gallery towards the London Eye
Originally uploaded by macchi.

I took this picture when I was in London just over a year ago. Reading the arts section of my newspaper today I discovered that he's now exhibiting in Rotterdam at the Kunsthal (www.kunsthal.nl). Cannot wait to see his work here. Rotterdam is probably also the best city in the Netherlands to have his sculptures exhibited in..... hope to have some pictures of that soon!

July 11, 2008

New traditions (2)

Despite my fairly frequent foreign travels I also love to see more of my own tiny country. Unfortunately I don't do that often enough.

Two years ago my mum and I decided that it would be fun to spend a weekend away somewhere - but instead of turning it into a fancy shopping trip (fun as well), we decided to go hiking in an unknown area of our own country. This turned out to be very fun so we've made it into a new yearly 'tradition'.

Last year's destination was very pretty, but it also turned out to be too hot - quite unbelievable for a Dutch summer.

In two weeks' time we're heading to one of my favourite parts of the country, but first we're finishing the previous hike. Very much looking forward to it!

July 07, 2008

Afghanistan stories

I recently stumbled onto a travel blog of a Dutch woman who is walking from Amsterdam to Tibet. Yes, you read that correctly, she's walking.

I found the blog at the time that she was walking through Tadjikistan - I just read her latest posts which are of crossing the border into Afghanistan. Although the stories and pictures are fascinating I can't stop thinking that you have to be crazy to be doing a trip like this....

Travel stories seem to fascinate me at the moment, especially those going through Central Asia. I just finished Colin Thubron's Shadow of the Silk Road which I loved. I especially liked that he doesn't only describe what he sees, but he really ties together the long history of the area and talks a lot about the people he meets. Now waiting is also 'On the Road to Kandahar' - a report by a military journalist (I think) of travelling Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fascinating stuff. And good for dreaming up new destinations (although I won't be bothering my boss for tickets to Kabul any time soon I think - but Kyrgystan or there abouts would be good.... but then I need a different job).

(ps, the blog is slow as I have very irregular connectivity at the moment. Oh, and no inspiration)