"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." ~ Charles W. Eliot
"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook - try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!" ~ Julia Child
"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain." ~ Louisa May Alcott

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Saw Three Ships

I Saw Three Ships

Last year, I bought this book by Elizabeth Goudge. It is a beautiful hardback edition with wonderful drawings throughout. This is a tradition now for me that I reread this story over the Christmas holidays.

Little Polly Flowerdew lives with her two aunts at Holly Cottage. It is Christmas eve and Polly tells her aunts that she wants to leave the front door unlocked to allow the three wise men to come in if they pass by. The door remains locked but Polly sneaks downstairs and opens a window. The adventure of the visitors that arrive set in motion some true Christmas miracles.

If you collect Christmas books, this is definitely one I would recommend for your library!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Glad Tidings

This is my first meeting with the popular author Debbie Macomber. She is, in fact, one of my mother's very favorite authors. I enjoyed the lightness of these two holiday books in one...There's Something About Christmas and Here Comes Trouble but (and that is a big but) I did not find them wonderful. They are both predictable and yet you want to finish anyway...well at least I did. I have been informed that the Cove Series and Blossom Street Series are where this author comes into her own. So I am reserving judgement until I do read them.

There's Something About Christmas finds reporter Emma Collins getting her first good assignment interviewing three finalists in a nationwide fruitcake contest from her state of Washington. Problem is that Emma does not like Christmas or fruitcake or flying. Her boss arranges for her to be flown to each of the three finalist with small plane pilot Oliver and his sidekick dog Oscar. He is arrogant and irritating to Emma. 

Here Comes Trouble is a moment for Maryanne and Nolan to look back and tell their children the story of how they met and fell in love. Coming from totally different backgrounds started out as an obstacle but love can win over anything.

If you like very light romances, you will enjoy these and, if not, give them a miss.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Salad Pizza

A couple of years ago, I was watching a Rachel Allen show on the BBC. She was visiting the home of an Italian chef who had a wonderful pizza oven and cooking area in his back yard. It was the first time I ever saw a salad pizza. Since then, I think I prefer them to regular pizza toppings. I love making a rocket salad pizza but decided to make this one instead since I had the ingredients in my kitchen. My mother wondered what I was doing so I am sharing this recipe...

Tossed salad pizza
Pizza margherita (plain pizza with only tomato sauce and cheese)
Butter lettuce (you will want a soft lettuce leaf and not iceberg)
Red and black olives, sliced in half
Tomato, chopped in chunks
Spring onion, chopped finely
Red onion, sliced in half rings
Parmasan cheese, flaked

Bake your pizza until done. Mix your salad ingredients and add a tablespoon of olive oil, teaspoon of red balsamic vineager and some mixed Italian herbs.  Remove pizza from oven and simply top with your salad. It is a refreshing and healthy pizza.

Eet smakelijk!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Potato and spring onion salad

I tried this potato salad recipe from the British Country Living Magazine (May 2012). It is so good and will be one I make often. Here is my version of this salad...

Potato and spring onion salad
600 gr small potatoes (washed and cook with skins)
1 onion, chopped (I used a red onion)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 spring onions, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons créme fraíche
1/2 teaspoon mustard
pinch of sugar

Cook the potatoes and cut them up in large chunks. Sauté the onion in olive oil just until it starts to go translucent. All the spring onion just just a minute longer and then add the potatoes.

Mix the 3 tbsp olive oil with the vinegar, créme fraíche, mustard and sugar. Now season with freshly ground sea salt and pepper. Toss the potato/onion mixture into the sauce and mix thoroughly.

Eet smakelijk!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Plum Pudding Murder

Plum Pudding Murder (Book) ~ Joanne Fluke (Author) Cover Art

What better combination is there than a cozy community, cats, capers, Christmas and cookies in a mystery? I set aside my regular list of books to read for some Christmas themed books. I always enjoy visiting Hannah at The Cookie Jar to see what kind of scrapes she gets into now.

Hannah is supplying cookies to a Christmas themed park called The Crazy Elf Tree Lot. All seems well and her cookies are selling out so fast that she has to increase the deliveries in the midst of the rush of 10 days counting to Christmas. But when she delivers her latest creation, Minnesota Plum Pudding, to the owner Larry to taste test one evening, she and Norman discover his dead body instead. Hannah happens to discover that a friend is married to Larry although she had not seen him in 15 years. She decides she must do whatever she can to ensure Nancy will not be blamed for Larry's death.

And one aspect of the book that I really adore is Moishe...Hannah's beloved cat. Well, what can I say? I am a cat lover! Norman decides that Hannah needs a Christmas tree this year. The tree is bought and set up but for how long? Moishe has a whole Christmas adventure of his own.

A fun and light read for the month of December!

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Novel in the Viola


This is the second novel by Natasha Solomons. I have read a number of negative reviews lately about this one. I must say that I did enjoy it. I have found novels set in WWII very interesting. I find them intriguing to place yourself through the pages in these turbulent times.

This is the story of Elise Landau told by herself looking back. She is sent by her parents from Vienna to England on a domestic service visa knowing a war is coming. They want to be sure Elise is safe. She is employed at Tyneford House owned by Mr. Rivers. This starts her on a long new life where her entire world changes. She finds loves and then war ravages all she cares for.

I am leaving this review short as I would not want to give away too much for anyone wanting to read it. Maybe one of the things that heightened this for me was having seen a documentary on the BBC over domestic service and how it changed in time. It covered the many girls and women who came over from Austria and Germany before the war broke out. To hear the words of one of these women being interviewed brought this story even more to life for me.

Happy reading!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rode bietjes stamppot - Dutch specialty

Rode bietjes stamppot (stamppot is a traditional dish where potatoes are mixed with one or more vegetables) is a tasty alternative to having the typical kale or andive in your stamppot. Rode bietjes are red beets as you can see from the photo. They do turn your potatoes to a red color but, believe me, it is delicious and simple to make.

Red beet stamppot
about 700 grams potatoes (approx 1-1/2lb)
500 grams cooked red beets (approx 1lb)
1 leek
salt and pepper
Dutch smoked sausage or preferred meat

Peel and cook the potatoes until soft. Add a pad of butter and mash them with a hand masher. Add a splash of milk being sure to keep the potatoes quite stiff. You do not want to make a creamy mash for stamppot.

Meanwhile, dice the cooked beets and slice the leek. Cook these together in a pan with a pad of butter, thyme and salt and pepper. This does not need to be on the heat for long as you just want to heat the beets and wilt the leeks.

Mix the vegetables into your potato mash and heat through. Serve with a Dutch smoke sausage or any meat of your choice. A traditional Dutch winter meal.....

Eet smakelijk!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Importance of Being Earnest

I just loved listening to this performance of The Importance of Being Earnest. It is a recorded live performance and, just as the wit of Oscar Wilde, is perfection of the English language with a humorous view of English society in the Victorian era! This is an Audible book that I will be listening to over and over...

Happy reading!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pumpkin Gingerbread

I made this recipe this weekend for a nice treat. I found it online but once again changed some things. If you make this ahead, let is sit overnight and the tastes intensify. We found it tasted better when we had some with our morning coffee. The perfect treat for a crisp fall day!

Pumpkin Gingerbread
Dry ingredients: mix together
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
Wet ingredients:  stir together well and then add the dry ingredients mixing just until the dry ingredients are combined. Do not overstir.
3 eggs
12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree

Grease and flour a 9 X 13 inch baking pan. Bake in a 180C preheating oven for about 45 minutes. Check to see if the cake tester comes out clean and remove from oven. Allow to cool before cutting.

Eet smakelijk!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Murder at Mansfield Park

Murder at Mansfield Park

When I first started to listen to the audible version of this book, I was glad the narrator, Phyllida Nash, had such a wonderful rich voice and interesting manner as I was not able to forgive Lynn Shephard for her abuse of Jane Austen. I changed my mind half way through the book when the book changed to a murder mystery. Suddenly, it all worked for me. I do love a good mystery and this one kept you wondering. It was one that I had not been able to figure out which also keeps me reading. I enjoyed the character of Charles Maddox who disgusts you in his crass personage at first but warms you with his knowledge of solving the unknown. I felt for him by the end of this book and happily his work continues in Shephard's second novel set in Dicken's time. Looking forward to it...

Happy reading!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Crustless zucchini pie

Last weekend, Jos and I tried this recipe I found online. I made a few changes. It was so delicious and luckily we had a very large zucchini so we grated enough carrot and zucchini which are in the freezer ready to make another pie soon...

Crustless zucchini pie
3 eggs
1/2c (125ml) flour
1-1/4c grated zucchini
2/3c (150ml) grated carrots
1 onion, chopped
125g bacon lardons, fried to preference
1/2c (125ml) grated old Dutch gouda cheese
2 tbsp. olive oil

Grease a 9-inch pie plate. Heat oven to 350F/180C. Beat eggs in a large bowl adding flour until smooth. Stir in zucchini, carrots, onion, bacon, cheese and oil. Pour mixture into the pie plate and bake for 45 minutes. Serve hot from the oven.

Eet smakelijk!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Belgian stoemp

I love trying new recipes but also trying specialties from various countries. I had some carrots and leeks and wanted to do something different with them so I tried out the Belgium version of our Dutch stamppot which is called stoemp. It was so easy to make since it is all thrown in one pot.

I also needed something that would taste good with the Beef Wellington I bought at our butcher. He makes them up when the weather starts to turn cold. They are so delicious and all you have to do is pop them in the oven. He makes his version with a very spicy meatloaf type filling instead of a piece of beef. It is something we look forward to as autumn starts.

Belgian stoemp for two
3 potatoes, peeled and largely diced
2 carrots, chopped in very small chunks
1 leek, sliced
50ml milk
50gr butter
salt and pepper

Peel and boil potatoes in salted water. When the potatoes only need about 5 minutes more, add the carrots and leeks to the water. (The carrots should not be so soft that they mash up which is why you add them later.) When the potatoes are ready, drain the water. Place the milk and butter in a small dish and warm up in a microwave. Now add the mixture to the potatoes, carrots and leeks and mash with a hand masher. Add salt. pepper and nutmeg to taste.

As you can see, we love pepper here so I added a good deal of freshly ground pepper over the stoemp before I served it.

Eet smakelijk!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Year on Ladybug Farm

A Year on Ladybug Farm

I loved the first in this series of books by Donna Ball called A Year on Ladybug Farm. Read this one for sure!

Three good friends and neighbors...Cici, Bridget and Lindsay...decide to sell their three houses and start a new life in a very run down large farmhouse called Ladybug Farm. Life is Virginia is very different than life in the city and they are learning each day to adapt. They work hard together to bring an old mansion back to life and start the farm up once again. But they did not bargain for all the problems the house brings. They made a pact to give it a year and then reassess the following Christmas. But they did not count on the amount of money as well as hard work that was needed.....

This book is just wonderful! It has great description of the farm, house and surroundings. It has fun characters that will stay with you well after the last page is turned.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Forgotten vegetable...black kale or Tuscan cabbage

Each year at the end of summer, the black kale is harvested at an organic farm near Cranberry Cottage. We buy it once a year for a special treat of a forgotten vegetable. It is a type of kale with a delicious strong taste. I prepare it in a similar way as my regular stamppot with kale with a few changes...

Dutch stamppot with black kale
1 bunch of black kale leaves
about 12 small/medium potatoes
vegetable bouillon tablet
salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional: Dutch rookworst (smoked sausage)

Peel potatoes and place in a deep pan. Salt the potatoes and add a bouillon tablet covering the potatoes with hot water. Cut the stem from the middle of the black kale and slice up the leaves. Place on top of the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes.
Drain water and using a hand held potato masher, stamp your potatoes to a mash with the kale. Add a little knob of butter. I find I often do not need to add milk but do so if your mash is too dry. Serve with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper so you can omit adding any additional salt.

While the potatoes/kale are cooking, cook a Dutch smoked sausage or prepare any meat you wish to accompany your stamppot. This would even be tasty with simply bacon fried up and mixed in before serving.

To me, this has become a tradition for summer's end. It has the taste of those last summer days...

Bon appetit or eet smakelijk!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Vintage Affair

A Vintage Affair: A Novel

I listened to the Audible version of this book read by Violet Mathieson. 

Often as I listened, I was working on handquilting a quilt I am making so perhaps it is partly due to the needle and thread connection that this book became so enjoyable. But it was also enjoyable to see how relationships both old and new come full swing in the incredibly descriptive story of Phoebe Swift and her shop selling vintage clothing called Village Vintage. 

Through the shop she connects with old and new when she meets a very sweet old lady, Thérèse Bell, who sells her some of her old clothes. They begin a short but meaningful friendship due to the fact that  Mrs. Bell has cancer. Phoebe works to give her new friend a gift of peace before she passes but also finds that Mrs. Bell has given her the same gift back. 

This has been a delightful book and a story that remains in your heart even as the last word is read!

Happy reading!

Note: I almost considered creating a new category called Not just chick lit as this book would most definitely fall into it. What I have learned lately is that a book that is chick lit is sometimes deeper than you would think. Some are just pure fun and other go deeper. That is A Vintage Affair.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stuffed red bell peppers

I had recently made a recipe that I needed just a little ricotta cheese. I had about 2/3 of the container left and decided when I saw these huge red bell peppers that I would play around with creating a filling for them with what I had in the house. Here is the results which Jos already said he wants to eat again...

Stuffed red peppers
2 large red bell peppers
3 spring onions, chopped
12 button mushrooms, quartered
2 tomatoes, remove seeds and chop
about 12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper
about 1/2 cup grated cheese
2 tablespoons each of breadcrumbs and grated cheese

Cut the bell peppers in half and clean out the seeds. Par boil them in water for about 5 minutes or just until they start to soften. Now fry the onion, mushroom, tomatoes, sage and thyme. Spoon a tablespoon of the mix into each of the peppers.
In a bowl, mix the ricotta with an egg and freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. Stir in the grated cheese mixing well. Mix the remaining vegetable mixture in the ricotta mixture and spoon into the bell peppers. Top with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese mixed together. Bake in a 200C/400F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

Served with a good rosé wine, this makes a perfect dinner on a warm summer's evening.

Bon appetit or eet smakelijk!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Julia Child's 100th birthday!

100e Geboortedag Julia Child

How fun to wake up to seeing this header on Google today. It is because Julia Child is 100 years old today. Did you know that her kitchen is at the Smithsonian for all to see? See...I want that kitchen for my own. *grins*

If you want to see more check out the link at the museum and wonder around this creative kitchen yourself online.
My Life in France
In the meantime, maybe I should start reading this book today in honor of Julia or perhaps I will watch the movie Julie & Julia or perhaps I will just pop into my kitchen and be really creative for dinner.....

Bon appetit or eet smakelijk!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mr. Rosenblum's List

Mr. Rosenblum's List: Or Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman

Even the full title of this book becomes as endearing as the characters contained within its pages...Mr. Rosenblum's List or Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman by Natasha Solomons.

Jack and Sadie Rosenblum flee Nazi Germany for England. Jack strives in life to become a true Englishman creating a list of items that are to him true "Englishness". He becomes successful in business but to him, the English gentlemen are members of a golf club. After numerous rejections, Jack moves himself and Sadie off to a Dorset village to build his own. He buys a pretty thatched cottage with a large plot of land. The locals endearingly call him Mr. Rose-in-Bloom as he tries to become part of village life. Will he succeed to make his dreams a reality?

I would highly recommend this book. It pulls you in and you take Jack, Sadie and the villagers to heart.

Happy reading!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Leek and potato soup - Tessa Kiros

This week, I made a pot of leek and potato soup from Tessa's cookbook 'Apples for Jam'. This soup is simple to make and so delicious. I do add one little ingredient to mine and change two.

Leek and potato soup
2 large leeks, well cleaned and sliced
3 tbsp/45g butter
ground dry flakes garlic
2 tsp/2 theelepels brandy
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups/1,5l hot water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
grated nutmeg
about 1/2 cup/80ml Dutch 'halvolle koffiemelk' or half and half
flaked Parmsesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Place the clean leeks in a large pan with the butter and cook until glassy. Now add the garlic flakes and brandy allowing the alcohol to cook down. Add the potato, hot water and bouillon and allow to come to a boil. Lower the flame to a simmer and cook 45 minutes until potato is soft. Turn off the heat and grate nutmeg in the soup. Puree the soup (I use a stick blender so that I can puree it right in the pan). Add the half and half to taste. Serve with flaked Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Notes about my changes:
I started using the Dutch 'koffiemelk' to cut back the calories added to this soup by using real cream. I find it works well without sacrificing all the taste but still keeping it low cal. I also do not add salt since I put in two vegetable bouillon tablets which contain salt themselves. I flake some cheese in the bottom of the bowl and then again on the top of the soup.

I served the leftover soup for lunch when a friend came over. It warms up very well and perhaps even develops more flavor the next day.

We had a visitor at lunch. This Speckled Wood (pararge aegeria) butterfly flew into my house and sat on the window. Even though this photo looks like he is outside, he is in the house.

Bon appetit or eet smakelijk!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Maeve Binchy...A tribute

This month is ending on a very sad note. It was announced on the morning news that Maeve Binchy has died at the age of 72. The world has lost such a wonderful story teller! When you read a book by Maeve, you join in with Irish village life. For that time, we are all Irish living in the street she tells us about. You walk into her books like they are really happening...unfolding before your eyes. We will miss you dear Maeve and thank you for the warm stories you leave for us!

She left us a legacy of so many wonderful novels. I decided that I am going to start reading a Maeve Binchy book each month. I think I simply do not want to let go of knowing she is there and a new book is coming out. This way I can keep her near for a while longer.

Happy reading!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Forgotten vegetables...Hamburg root parsley

I love trying out forgotten vegetable sorts. We bought Hamburg root parsley (wortelpeterselie) in Germany and I decided to use it in a Dutch stamppot. This vegetable looks like a white carrot but is more in the region of a cross between a radish and a parsnip for taste. A unique taste that was well worth trying out and we will be buying these more regularly when in Germany.

My Country root parsley Stamppot
5 or 6 root parsley, peeled and cut up in chunks
3 potatoes, peeled and cut up in chunks
1 onion, peeled and sliced very roughly (don't make this too small as you want to taste the onion)
branch of rosemary and three of thyme
1 tablespoon herb cream cheese
half red pepper, chopped
1 red onion, peeled and chopped roughly
Dutch rookworst (smoked sausage) - you could also use salami

Cook the root parsley, potatoes and onion in a pan with rosemary and thyme. Use just enough salted water to cover and boil about 15 minutes until the potato and root parsley are tender. Discard the thyme stems and chop up the rosemary leaves.

In the meantime, cook the red pepper, onion and rookworst in a pan until the pepper is a little tender.

Stamp the potato mixture until they are roughly stamped. This is a country style meal and it should be left a little chunky. Now add the cream cheese and stir in well along with some freshly ground pepper to taste. Last, stir in the red pepper mixture and serve.

Bon appetit or eet smakelijk!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cauliflower and potato bake...

This dish is great as a light summer meal on its own or as a side dish to your meat for the day. I use it when I want a light meal that is full of vegetables.

Cauliflower and potato bake
3 to 4 potatoes
1/2 head of cauliflower cut into flowerlets
3 carrots
3 spring onions
125g (1/4 lb.) bacon
salt and pepper
grated cheese of choice
1 vegetable bouillon tablet

Cook the cauliflower in water with the bouillon tablet until tender. Drain and sprinkle with pepper. Cook the potatoes until tender in the bouillon. Reserve a little liquid unless you would rather use a little milk.

Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes and cauliflower together leaving them roughly smashed. You want to have chunks of both potato and cauliflower in this dish. Salt and pepper further to taste.

Fry the carrot, spring onions and bacon until cooked. Now layer half the potato/cauliflower mix to a baking dish. Cover with half the carrot/onion/bacon mix. If you would like, you could also add some grated cheese at this point. Add the rest of the potato/cauliflower mix topping again with the rest of the carrot mix.
Now top with grated cheese and pour a little reserved bouillon or milk over the dish. Bake about 20 minutes in a 180C/350F oven.

This dish serves two as we eat it as our complete meal without a meat accompaniment.

Bon appetit or eet smakelijk!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Strawberry buttermilk

In Holland, buttermilk is very popular. It is something many drink with their lunchtime sandwiches. I normally do not drink it but when it is turned into strawberry buttermilk, it is simply delicious. You are able to buy 0% fat buttermilk here so see if you can buy something low fat to give yourself a wonderful and simple summertime treat.

Clean and puree a bowl of strawberries. This is not rocket science and I simply make it without measuring. I make this in a one liter (one quart) jug so ended up with about 300 ml (1 to 1-1/4 cup) strawberry puree.

Now simply pour in the buttermilk to fill your jug and mix well. Chill well and enjoy a very healthy treat!

Bon appetit or eet smakelijk!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dinner with Tessa.....

Two years ago, I bought two Tessa Kiros cookbooks...Apples for Jam and Falling Cloudberries. Now for anyone who likes to simply read cookbooks, these are a must have but they are full of truly great recipes. So far, every recipe I have tried for us has been wonderful and for keeps.

So this week, I decided to try a new way to prepare spinach which is a favorite vegetable in our house. I found this recipe in Falling Cloudberries which I adapted for use as a side dish for two people.....

Spinach Pilaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 spring onions, chopped
dried ground garlic flakes
1 lb (450gr) fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup (125ml) long grain (silvervlies) rice

Heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Add spring onions and sauté. Add the garlic flakes. Start adding the spinach leaves until they are mixed into the onion. It does not need to be totally wilted at this stage but you need space to fit the rice into the pan. Add the rice, salt and ground black pepper stirring in well. Pour 1 cup of cold water in and bring to a boil. Now reduce the heat and allow to simmer until all the water is evaporated. Fluff by stirring. I added a little more salt and pepper but do this to taste.

This is adapted from the recipe for two servings.

I served our rice pilaf with our meat for the evening and a vegetable dish we love...cook celery. I cut up celery to approximately 3 inch long pieces. Boil in water for about 15 minutes. Drain and serve with sea salt and a sprinkling of old Dutch cheese (or cheese of your choice).

The newest Tessa Kiros cookbook is coming out this October and I already love the name and cover photo! I am looking forward to getting this one but until then, I have a good number of recipes marked to try in my other two.

Limoncello and Linen Water

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Cotswold Ordeal

A Cotswold Ordeal

A Cotswold Ordeal is the second in the Cotswold Mysteries by Rebecca Tope. Thea is at her second housesitting assignment when she discovers a young man hanging from the rafters of one of the barns. A suicide? In the meantime, her sister stays with her at the house called Juniper Court while spending some needed time away from her abusive husband. The two sisters cannot seem to help becoming involved in the story of this Cotswold village while Thea also seems to become more involved with DI Phil Hollis.

I really enjoyed this mystery. It was a mystery where you think you figured out whodunnit and ended up being totally wrong. When the real motive for murder comes out, you find the story twisted without your even seeing it coming.

I am disappointed that I cannot get the third book in this series on Audible.com. I have no ídea why since they do have all the others. I will have to get the book to read before I get the next audiobook.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dutch specialty foods - witlof or Belgian endive

This is a year round favorite in our house. We love any meal where a vegetable takes center stage.

This is Belgian endive or, as we call it here in Holland, witlof. This is a delicious vegetable that can be used in a salad or cooked. Eaten raw is not everyone's favorite as endive is bitter to the taste but, once cooked, it is a mild and tasty vegetable.

To prepare the witlof for cooking, all you have to do is cut off the end and remove the core with your paring knife which does taste bitter if eaten. You can see the core very well on the photo and simply try to score around it to remove. Boil the witlof in a pan full of water to cover. I boil them anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes depending on how large it is. It will go a little glassy when cooked.

Sprinkle some breadcrumbs in the bottom of a baking dish. Witlof continues to release moisture even after being drained and this help soak it up while baking.

Drain your witlof well and wrap each piece in a piece of ham. I like using parmaham but you can use any kind you like. Chop 2 or 3 spring onions and sprinkle over the ham wrapped witlof. Now sprinkle a layer of cheese again using any kind you like. I use Gouda cheese.

Place in an 350F/180C oven for about 25 minutes. Serve hot with noodles or boiled potatoes.

Note: An alternative is to fry some chopped bacon and sprinkle this over the witlof instead of wrapping in ham. If you have never tried this vegetable, I would give it a try. It is a tasty and healthy meal that tastes good in any season. If you still like to eat more meat then serve this as a side dish.

Bon appetit or eet smakelijk!