Carry on

Carry on…no not as in “keep calm and carry on” but as in carry-on luggage. Tomorrow I am going to Portugal for a, if I must say so, well-deserved get-away with four of my best girl friends. But we decided to travel with only carry-on luggage. This means one little suitcase for a 5-day holiday. Why….in Gods name…why did we decide this again?!

5 days, 4 category’s of activities; beach/swimming pool, shopping, going out and wining&dining. This actually means I need to bring an entire wardrobe cause you never know what to expect and who you might run into. So right now I am a flipping coin for al pre-selected items to see what will actually carry with me.

But truth is I cannot wait to get away out of the country tomorrow. It is going to be sooo much fun. Just fyi…in another category of carry on I carefully deleted several mobile phone number of boys that I collected over past few weeks in my eternal search for love. It is time for less drama and more girls just want to have fun.

Turn on out office, switch mobile phone into flight mode, keep calm and carry on!

keep-calm-and-carry-on-sample

Advertisements

The Diet Dilemma

EPSON MFP imageNew Years Resolutions! Yes ik know, it is half way January. But I am not a big fan of them and yet I have been on my favourite diet since the second of January. It is called the 17 days diet and tomorrow I will finish the first phase of 17 days. There is 3 more to come. Basically the diet consists of not eating carbs, not drinking alcohol and not playing couch potato.

In other words:

  • No bread, no pasta, no rice and/or potatoes in any form. 
  • No wine, no beer, no gin tonic and thus no social life in any form. 
  • Cycling, walking and running every time I leave the house and trying to leave the house as much as possible. 

 Goal: -5 kilos (secretly -7 kilos)

 Deadline:  Friday the 28th of February 19h00. Or as we Southern Dutchies call it  the beginning of Carnaval.

Easy, right?!

Ok so now my dilemma. I am meeting this boy tonight for drinks. Am i going to cheat on my diet for him? Or am I going to social and drink my (if I must say so myself) more than deserved glass of wine.

Cheating on my diet for a boy (not even this one in particular) feels kind of stupid. Because, let’s be honest, part of the on-going loosing weight battle is to be more attractive for the opposite-sex. More importantly I have been listening to the angel on my shoulder for weeks, not cutting myself any slack in my diet. And proud of it!

However, the little devil on my shoulder is screaming that one night of drinking won’t make me fail my diet and I would probably stand more change with the boy if I am tipsy.

So any thoughts on what I should do? Be my angel, be my devil…

PS. Any thoughts on what I should wear are also very welcome

Chocolate Day

Today, September 13th, is International Chocolate Day. And although I consider every day to be a chocolate day I thought I would share my favourite recipe with you guys. The recipe includes tons of chocolate and some fruits to give a healthy twist.

The cake is easy to make and will give you something to do during a rainy afternoon (yes…summer is over the rainy afternoons are coming!). Bake it with love and eat it with your loved ones after! The recipe is called “party cake” and is published in “The naked chef returns” by Jamie Oliver.

Party Cake - Jamie Olivier

So what do you need:

  • 3 rounded tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 200gr caster sugar
  • 200gr butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200gr self  raising flour, sifted
  • 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 handful of flaked almonds
  • 200ml double cream (heavy cream)
  • 1 large handful of raspberries
  • and 1 large handful of strawberries

Ok, did you groceries? Now preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Line the bases of 2 x 20cmcake tins with greased greaseproof paper.

Mix the cocoa powder with 4 tablespoons of boiling water until smooth.  In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy, add the cocoa mixture, eggs, flour and baking powder.  Mix well, fold in the nuts.  Divide the mixture between the tins.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  When cooked, allow to cool then remove from the tins.

So now you have your cake, but what is a chocolate cake without a topping. So run to the supermarket again to buy the following:

  • 100gr butter
  • 100gr best cooking chocolate
  • 100gr icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Melt the chocolate topping ingredients in a bowl over some slightly simmering water.  Stir until blended well and allow to cool.  Whip the double cream to soft peaks and sweeten with a little sugar. To assemble the cake, remove the greaseproof paper from both sponges.  Drizzle each one with a little sherry, if you like.  Spread the cream over one of the sponges, then sprinkle the fruit on top.  Sandwich the second sponge on top and press down.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake to smooth it off and drizzle over the chocolate topping.

Happy days, you’ve done it!  But allow the chocolate topping to firm up slightly before tucking in. Enjoy and invite me for a slice…

Dinner at Belhamel

brouwersgrachtWhen mama is town things get fancy; that’s why we went for dinner at Belhamel yesterday. One of the restaurants on my “where to go for dinner” wish list. This cute Parisian style restaurant is located in the Amsterdam neighbourhood Jordaan. It’s a very cosy somewhat romantic restaurant at an even more romantic location overlooking two of the typical Amsterdam canals; Brouwersgracht and Herengracht.IMG_2947We started off by selecting a bottle of white wine to over think our menu choices. Besides their a la carte menu they have a seasonal menu to choose from as well. Most of the dishes derive from French – Italian cuisine but all of them have a multi-cultural twits to it.

After reconsidering all possibilities – I am the worst at making menu decisions – I decided to take a starter from the seasonal menu and my main course from the a la carte menu.

So to begin with I had a half quail stuffed with a soaked plum and armagnac parsley jus. My brother choose for the sautéed prawn and scallop with puff pastry and a chive-shrimps beurre blanc. My mother enjoyed the fish plateau with lobster, smoked Bawykov salmon, crayfish rosti and a ravigotte sauce.

IMG_2956 IMG_2952 IMG_2950

As my main course was New Zealand rack of lamb and Jan was having grilled organic Iberico cutlet we had to change from white to red wine ;). We choose a delicious Cotes de Rhone from Chapoutier to accompany our great meal. I have to say my side dish – an egg-plant biscuit – was literally the best food I had in months. Or to quote “I want to marry this cookie”.

Because the food was so good, we couldn’t resist to try the desserts as well. My brother choose the classic profiteroles and I opted for the delicious white chocolate cheese cake and raspberries.

Belhamel dishes have been rewarded with the Michelin Bib Gourmand award for 6 years in a row. Besides this prestige price they also received a certificate of excellence on Tripadvisor – rated 4,5 out of 5. So it is not just me who loves their food. If I were you I would add it to your “where to go for dinner” wish list as well.

A last advise is to go with your mother as the prices of the menu are somewhat above budget for the job-hunting youngsters amongst us.

Enjoy!

Dinner at Pink Flamingo’s

zoutelande

It has been a few days that I was online to blog something. But summer is full-on (we are currently experiencing the first heat wave since 2006) and let’s be honest the few sunny days we have must be enjoyed to the fullest. So, the past few days I spent relaxing at the beach in Zoutelande. Not so coincidentally elected the best beach of the Netherlands by Zoover. A nice picture to proof this on the side.

But as befits a city girl, after a few days of “hanging” at the beach, it is time to go back to the lively city and meet up with friends for social activities, preferably in the wining and dining category.

So, yesterday I met with Joyce, part of our usual group of four, for a dinner for two (as the other ladies are enjoying the sun overseas). As always we tried to find a restaurant that we haven’t been to before. This time we choose for a pizza place with a slightly tropical name, Pink Flamingo’s, to celebrate summer and talk sex & the city. This small restaurant is located in the heart of one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Amsterdam “De Pijp” (Gerard Douplein 8).

pink flamingosLucky as we are, we were able to find a front-row spot on the cosy terrace, otherwise completely filled with happy people enjoying drinks and pizza. And because we were thinking pizza we were expecting the usual suspects on the menu like a margarita, Quattro Stagioni and 4 cheeses. But no, Pink Flamingo’s offers nothing like that. Their slogan “Pas commes les autres” (not like the others) gave it away a little bit of course. Instead of the ordinary pizza’s they have a menu filled with funky combinations that you would never imagine to be delicious on a pizza. To name a few; the Obama with bacon and pineapple chutney and the Ho Chi Min with chicken, shrimps, green curry and coconut milk.

We, however, decided to take the Pizza Du Moment (made with season products and inspiration of the chef) and a Aphrodite and split the two. The Pizza Du Moment was topped with fresh figs, pistachios, goat cheese and honey. The Aphrodite was nicely decorated with slices of grilled egg plant and humus. So like I said not your ordinary pizza, but super delicious nonetheless. Accompanied with a few glasses of sauvignon blanc and summer stories to share we could not ask for anything more to enjoy the lovely evening.

pink flamingo amsterdamSo I would definitely recommend to go and try out the tasteful 2.0 pizza’s. And, no worries, Pink Flamingo’s is not only based in Amsterdam. The chain also has four restaurants in Paris, and locations in Bordeaux and Valencia. If you are living close enough to one of the shops consider yourself lucky; Pink Flamingo’s delivers there pizza’s at home as well, but by bike only.

Funny fact; Pink Flamingo’s Amsterdam is co-owned by Jaap Reesema winner of the 3rd series of X-factor in the Netherlands. The chances of running into a Dutch celebrity are thus very high.

Interested in reading more about Pink Flamingo’s and their pizza philosophy check out their website: pinkflamingopizza.com. Interested in enjoying the best beach of the Netherlands, let me know and I’ll hook you up with some great tips.

Enjoy summer!