Sunday, 29 March 2009

Nigella's Brownies

I bought Nigella Lawson's "How To Be A Domestic Goddess" and "Forever Summer" last week and baked her brownies from the former 2 days ago.

I don't think much of it. While it's pleasantly fudgey, it lacks a certain complexity. I can't say there's anything special about them. What a waste of 200g of good chocolate and a bar of butter from grass-fed cows:-P

Recipe (Adapted from "How to be a Domestic Goddess" )

250g butter
250g dark chocolate
4 eggs
1tbs vanilla
335 sugar
150g flour
190g hazelnuts
1/2 tsp salt

1) Melt butter and chocolate together. Set aside and allow it to cool.
2) Combine flour with salt.
3) In another bowl, beat the eggs with vanilla and sugar.
4) Add it into the chocolate mixture. Then, add the flour and nuts/

Bake at 180 degrees for about 25 minutes (could be longer or shorter depending on your oven and what size pan you use).

What else I have been doing:
Malaysian Kari Ikan!! I was too lazy to buy bendi (lady's fingers/ okra) but had half a box of broccoli sitting in the freezer so I dumped that in. Ate it with roti canai and froze the rest for another day:-D

Marbled Banana Loaf Flavoured with Chocolate, Rum and Lime. The Dutchman loved it.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Random Things

* I passed statistics!

*I am certain I failed Accounting and Finance. &*$@()$@ I should've started on Wednesday instead of at 8pm yesterday :(

* Dutchman asked me to listen to a song which he says should be our wedding song. I didn't like it! haha

* I am so excited for Istanbul! I bought the Istanbul Lonely Planet Guide yesterday and Istanbul looks AMAZING. I wonder if it'll beat Prague (the most beautiful city I've been to)?

* I am fat. I don't know how much I weigh as we don't have a scale but I've gone up 2 belt loopholes and my love handles have gone even bigger.

* The dentist charged me 200 euro for one filling (granted, a big one la but 200 euro?!)

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Food Again

Haven't cooked much lately. Dutchman is home so we eat out most of the time.

Spare Ribs with Potato Croquettes and Brussel Sprouts

Fish, Potatoes and a Tuscan salad

Sunday, 22 March 2009

And again.....

It's funny how busy life is when you have friends. Friends are hard work and I sometimes wish I had none. I am not popular and I plan to keep it that way. Even with the few friends that we have, there is barely any alone-time these days. I don't know why but going out with people always seem like 'work' to me. I like them but I'd rather be alone. I'd rather run to the shop and pick something and come home within an hour instead of a 4-hour shopping extravaganzza. I'd rather watch a movie I want, I'd rather NOT talk, I'd rather go online, I'd rather lounge around in my sweats.

Melissa celebrated her birthday on Friday. It was also Marij's birthday so Dutchman went to the latter and I went to Melissa's where I embarassed myself with Sing Star. But of course, for those birthdays, a present must be bought so there were 2 x 4-hour shopping trip with other girls. Then, last night there was a birthday party for yet another friend- Dutchman's friend's girlfriend. She's foreign and is only in NL for a few days so we had to go. Luckily, this one only required one hour worth of shopping. The party turned out OK though (only because of the rosé ;) ) .

There's a constant feeling of guilt about picking one friend over another to spend a day out with. Melissa's actual birthday was yesterday and I think she was annoyed.

All I want to do is DO NOTHING. NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING. My favourite thing in the world.

I don't want to wake up with a mild hangover. I don't want to put on make-up, or do the laundry (because the clothes I want to wear to the party need washing) or walk anywhere or 'turn on' my mind and concentrate on what people are saying or store a bunch of anecdotes in my mind so that I am not completely boring nor do I want to pretend to be fecking interested in whatever anyone is saying.

Today is Sunday and I am going to do NOTHING :-)

Friday, 20 March 2009

Something Good!

Got a letter today.

As a reward for passing the higher level of integration exam, I will get 270 euro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How awesome is that!!!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Oven-Baked Pasta

Whoever thought ketchup would be the secret ingredient to this dish?


1 400g can of tomatos boiled in basil (you can also choose to do it separately)
500g penne
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g bag of "Italian vegetables"
500g mince meat
tomato ketchup
1 bag grated cheese (I prefer parmesan, pecorino, old chedder, gruyere or old gouda. Mozarella does not have enough taste)
salt & black pepper to taste
generous splash of dark balsamico

1. Boil pasta til al dente (not more because your pasta will cook more in the oven).

2. Squirt some liquified butter or olive oil and throw in the meat. When almost done, add in the vegetables and stir-fry until tender.

3. Add the can of tomatoes and a generous amount of ketchup (basically til it has the consistancy of spaghetti sauce) and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Crush the 2 cloves of garlic and stir it and the balsamico in. Simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Meanwhile, layer the pasta at the bottom of a large casserole dish and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Heap the sauce on top of the pasta and top it with grated cheese. Put the dish in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Simple and delicious:D Not authentic but it's good:)

Marmalade Yoghurt Loaf

Mince+ sauerkraut+ potatoes+ cheese+creme fraiche+ chives casserole

Banana Cupcakes with Lime Icing

The first nice day of the year at one of our special spots.

Monday, 16 March 2009


I have zero time. It feels like I have something else to do after I finally complete one assignment. Exams next week- I haven't even started. I don't even know if I'll make it this semester.

Thomas was here on Saturday. We wanted to take him to Bistro de Bok but it was ridiculously crowded and we had to wait an hour for a table so we went to Humphrey's which was ALSO full. I'm glad we didn't go to Humphrey's though as Thomas can be pretty loud. We finally settled on Proeflokaal De Waag which was great. Excellent food and atmosphere but I should probably cut down on eating out...

Because we didn't want to watch a movie at home, we hung out in the city. I took the boys to The Cavern which is a pretty crap bar but it's where all the international students hang out. You can always count on students (Germans in particular) being there even at 10 at night (most places are empty til midnight). Turns out there WAS a birthday party which I was invited to but completely forgot about because I don't know the birthday girl well. LoL

Called Marieke and Daniella who came over as well. We ended up staying in the city til 3a.m.! The Dutchman even danced! I couldn't believe my eyes;)

I'll post some photos of food and recipes as well tomorrow. Too lazy to look for my camera cable.

Now: back to work. Bleurgh. Have to prepare for my lesson tomorrow. I don't think I'm going to do this for long. 11.50 euro an hour is definitely not enough for me to actually prepare for the lesson for free. Man, my babysitting job rocks the socks off compared to this. Let's just see how long I'm going to last;)

Saturday, 14 March 2009


Photo from Thomas Cook Travel
I am so excited! We're going to Istanbul next month- just a short trip (4 days/3 nights). Austrian Airlines is having a great sale so we only paid just over 150 euro per ticket.

Tonight: Dinner with Thomas and Dutchman at Bistro de Bok.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Some Updates

Last night's dinner: Rib-eye with brussel sprouts and potatoes

I haven't cooked much lately. The Dutchman's assignment is over so he's just hanging about at home (he still gets paid so no worries there) until he gets his new assignment. Because he doesn't have to commute, he is so much more relaxed- so much so that he took me out for tapas on Tuesday. The Dutchman is not romantic and food is not at all important to him. When we go out, it's usually because I want to and he just tags along;)

We had tapas at a little restaurant called La Puertas close to the Korenmarkt. We weren't sure what to order so we put our hands into the waitresses to get us 9 different tapas. I don't think we like tapas much. Doubt we'll go again unless we absolutely have to.

The next day, I went out with the girls for some sushi. Students get 50% off the menu price so it was a REALLY good deal (All-you-can-eat for 12, 50 euro!!).

Other news: Got both jobs I interviewed for but decided on P/T Job #2. I am now an Arts&Crafts teacher for 4-11 year olds for a Dutch company. I went for the training on Saturday and 'taught' for the first time yesterday. Teaching 15 children is hard work. Most times, I'm just making sure they don't kill each other (there's always one hyperactive one who picks on everyone else). The younger ones were really sweet though! One horrid boy (not in my class) actually threw a ball at my back. Ill-mannered children are horrid creatures. I'm just going to do this for the next 6 months, just to prettify my CV and of course I'm going to keep my babysitting job because I love that little girl, it pays so much better and is just so much more fun. The new gig is perfect for days I have compulsory tutorials and am only available for a few hours per day.

Another photo:

This is what 15+ euro gets you at the supermarket
Toilet paper (very cheap this week. It's usually 3 euro for 8 rolls and I got 24 rolls for 6 euro this week), 1 kilo potatoes, 1 bottle wine (on sale), 2 croissants, 2 Berliner bollen (sugar doughnuts thing) and a loaf of bread.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Dinner Out

We went to a great restaurant with one Michelin star for dinner last night. The food was good, the atmosphere less so and the service was.. strange. I was nursing the mother of all hangovers because I overindulged in an international student party the night before (will NEVER do it again) which was a pity because I'm sure I'd have enjoyed the accompanying wines and the company of the Dutchman much more.

I left my bag in the car so no photos, sorry! You can look at it here though:

It didn't start well- my head was aching like crazy and my balance was affected so I stumbled in into the hall. We stood there like idiots and the hosts stood there like dumber idiots. After a minute of awkward silence (I was waiting for them to usher us in or take out coats or ask if we had a reservation or SOMETHING) so I asked if we were supposed to go upstairs (a perfectly normal question ,I swear..there were 2 places we could go) after which they finally burst into action by taking off our coats, confirming our reservation and showing us to our places.

We eat out a lot though we've never been to a restaurant with Michelin stars (incidently ,it's not even that expensive) but the atmosphere seemed fake somehow.... the fake niceness , the big production of every single thing... we were initially somewhat uncomfortable (that plus my bad balance...).

The food however was good. Everything was so pretty and interesting/ lots of foam, interesting flavours and best of all , fresh. I can´t remember what we had but we started with a little amuse of infused kwark and a sprinkling of kroepok, followed by some pickles, another amuse and something. The first course is was my favourite: seafood (sorry, it's hard to explain.. ) in a giant bamboo lala (:P) shell and lots of lovely cauliflower foam.

Our main course was a Texel lamb with some special sauce, 2 pieces of spring onion (very good), 2 pieces of leek (even better!) and one single potato cube confite. You´d think we´d be starving but we weren´t - it was just nice.

We probably got another amuse after that but I can´t remember what it was. Dessert was the most perfect textbook kwark souffle I have ever seen (very tall, fluffy, little brown on top but NO cracks, no bubbles etc. ) and an ice cream (can't remember flavour) with blood oranges, cinnamon and who knows what else.

We finished off with a ´coffee service´ which was excellent (and cheap!). I had tea (which of course was prepared in typical theaterical fashion), he had coffee and we both also received, a bon bon each, some strangely texture (but enjoyable) uhm... I don´t know what (a cross between a bon bon, marshmallow and mousse) and the best of all.. it was so beautiful, we had no clue it was actually something to consume. I swear, I thought it was a salt and pepper pot because it didn´t seem as if it had an opening. Anyway, it turned out to be a lemongrass milkshake (green and foamy on top, pure white milk at the bottom). It was good in a strange way.

What we loved -
i) we got to experience something different
ii) the food, the presentation

What we didn' t like -
i) the big production over everything(incl. the opening doors thing, putting on my coat..I always feel like a retard because I can put my own coat ,thanks and they never get it right, causing me to twist my body like a caterpillar...)
ii) the service

Total Bill
110 euro (no wine as he had to drive and I had a hangover)

Monday, 2 March 2009

It's Funny

how I feel at home in The Netherlands now. Don't get me wrong, there are times when I hate it but lately, it seems as if I wouldn't mind living here for the rest of my life. Mind you, I get itchy feet after staying anywhere for a year or two but if I could pick only ONE country to live in forever, I wouldn't mind The Netherlands (and Malaysia of course). I lived in Japan for over year and while it was a good experience, I knew it wasn't for me. The double meanings, the formality and the culture (I don't mean tea ceremonies and temples!) drove me crazy. The simple , straightforward Dutch culture and I seem quite compatible. It's strange but from the time I was old enough to walk and talk, everyone I met (including my own parents) said I should live abroad because I'm very 'western'.

Ooh, some news - I passed the Dutch integration exam! Got the results in the mail:) My Dutch is still lousy though but oh well whatever. At least, I have nothing standing in the way when I apply for PR.

Also, I decided to apply for part-time jobs because I really want the oldies to not spend any money at all when they come here in the summer. I feel terrible because the Dutchman and I pushed them to buy tickets early and one week after they bought the tickets, the price went down by 300+ euro per person 0_0. Oops:P I have an interview on Wednesday and another on Thursday. Hope I'll get something!