Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Salji Yang Ciput

Inilah salji yang pertama kali turun untuk musim sejuk kali ni. Tak tahulah pulak kalau salji ada turun masa ketiadaan kami di Holland selama seminggu hujung tahun 2011 yang lalu. Tapi rasanya tak ade.. .

Alamakkk ciputnya salji. . .

Malam tadi DS duk berharap biarla turun banyak sikit, tak sabar nak main salji ni. Tapi memang mama DS tak berharap sangat sebab dah tengok ramalan yang katanya "light snow". Betullah ramalan tu. . . . sikit sangat. Dalam hari-hari yang akan datang pula, cuaca memang sejuk -5 tapi matahari bersinar ceria pulak, jadi macam mana nak ada salji ? Sedih juga tak dapat nak merasa salji kali ni. Rasa-rasanya tak ada lagi salji dalam bulan Februari ni.

Salji dicelah-celah anak tulip

Takpelah. . . . nak buat cam mana kan :(  Jom kita layan roti yang di buat bila ye? Oh ya. . . rasanya minggu lepas. Inilah dia "Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread"

Hingga terkeluar dari baking dish tu hehehe

Kali pertama buat, sedap. . . DS dan DH siap bawa bekal lagi hehehehe. . . . Resepinya diambil dari blog Dapurku Sayang . Memang resepi-resepi dalam blog Dayang Jack ni nampak sedap-sedap belaka. Seperti biasa IA cuma letak je dalam bread maker tu. Bila doh dah naik 2 kali ganda (timer BM tu 1 1/2 jam) IA ambil dan letak dalam peti sejuk (tutup dohnya) dan keesokan paginya baru dikeluarkan. Kalau nak terus dicanai pun tak ada masaalah.


Rupanya doh tu naik lagi walaupun di letak dalam peti sejuk hingga melekat di aluminim foil yang diguna untuk tutup bekas tu.

Canaikan doh dan sapukan melted butter dan tabur campuran gula perang dan cinnamon (IA tak ada gula perang, jadi guna gula halus saja). Potong doh tu dan susun dalam bekas. Lebihan butter tadi disapu di atas roti dan tabur lagi gula. Sementara proses ni nak siap, doh tu sempat naik lagi, doh yang tadi dicanai agak nipis sekarang dah jadi agak tebal

Bakar selama 20-30 minit dalam oven 350 F (IA letak 175 C). Bila dibakar, tentulah doh tu naik lagi kan, hingga terkeluar dari baking dish tu hehehehe. . .

Cubalah, kalau tengok roti Dayang Jack buat, memang nampak sedap.

Resipi : Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

2 3/4 cawan + 2 tbs tepung
1/4 cawan gula kasar
2 1/4 tsp yis
1/2 tsp garam
4 tbs butter (IA guna 60 g)
1/3 cawan susu penuh krim (IA guna susu segar)
1/4 cawan air
2 telur saiz A
1 tsp vanila

Cara :
  • Susu dan butter dipanaskan hingga butter cair. Ketepikan hingga suam2 kuku, baru dimasukkan  dalam BM
  • Proses yang lain adalah sama seperti kaedah BM yang lain iaitu masukkan bahan2 cecair dahulu, diikuti oleh bahan kering.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Neighbour

We live in a neighbourhood of Leidschenveen, in the outskirt of The Hague. The short lane to our house only have 4 houses and all the four houses share a common gate which is situated on the bridge over the canal. My house is right at the very end, no 4. Naturally I have to pass their houses in order to go to my house. I know all my neighbours, even though we rarely meet on everyday basis. Two of the couples are quite elderly, whereas the other couple are perhaps in their forties. 

Below is Marion (I think that is how it is spelled, anyway). She and her husband Henk live at No 1 house, so their house is the very first house you see once you go through the gate. Both of them are very nice. Every week Henk takes my rubbish bin from outside the gate and brings it to my own gate. You see, rubbish collection is once a week, so every Monday night, my DH would push the bin and leave it outside the gate for collection the next morning. Most of the time, Henk would push the bin back to my house after the rubbish has been taken. He does that to all neighbours, "It's the neighbourly thing to do" he said one day when I told him he need not take my bin from outside. I'm surely blessed with having good neighbours who help me with rubbish and they happen to have the same first name!!! Read about the other Henk who was my neighbour in Amsterdam here.

Marion and our visitor Jas, in front of her house

Anyway, Marion is also nice and friendly. One day she called up to me when I came home from picking DS from school, just to show me a type of fragrant flower that she claimed only blooms for 2 weeks. 

The other day when I met Marion at the other neighbour's party read here, she told me one very interesting and amusing fact. She said that all my visitors who came to my house, seemed to like photos of trees. Apparently, she has been observing from the quietness of her house the antics of my visitors. It amuses her to see them going from this tree and that tree and taking pictures (with them in the picture of course). Some trees according to her did not even have leaves !!!

I laughingly said that we come from a rainforest country and naturally we love trees and nature :D The sight of beautiful flowers blooming on Dutch trees are so beautiful we just have to take pictures of them. And in response to the "no leaf tree", I said that they (my visitors that is) have never seen trees in winter with just empty branches and no leaves, after all in our country we have greens all year round.

Her statement caused me to recall all the many visitors we had with their cameras practically hanging on the necks clicking here and there in front of the neighbours' houses :D  The photo above was taken just after our visitors Jas and Jak and also my DH been taking photos in front of her house and naturally she couldn't resist and came over to say hello and cheekily mentioned the very same fact :D


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Milk Coffee Buns and Buah Melaka

I am sure into bread nowadays. . . .  whenever I look at them in someone's blog, I am practically drooling. A few days ago I saw this recipe called something like Pulled Apart Cinnamon Bread "Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread" (pandai pulak I ubah nama roti ni. . . ) from this famous blogger. My mouth was watering looking at them. Funny really because I am not that fond of cinnamon, on bread that is. . .  The recipe looked a bit complicated so perhaps I will try it on my good days :D

Then, I saw this "Milk Coffee Buns" from Treat n Trick blog. . .  Wow it sure looked yummy and I could almost taste the coffee. I am a coffee addict (how I bemoan this fact !!!) and this recipe surely attracted my attention. So yesterday I took out my breadmaker. Yes I do have one, but when was the last time I used it for bread??? Hmmm definitely not since I moved here more than a year ago. But I did make kuih pau a few times using the breadmaker, so I suppose that counts as bread too :D

So here is my Milk Coffee Buns. . .
Source : Treat n Trick

Hooray. . . I made it. . .
The buns are superb! It's definitely a keeper, it is soft and wonderful and the smell of it baking was heavenly!! DH and DS demolished 4 of them right after I took it from the oven, and they just had dinner not half an hour ago!!! 

But somehow it doesn't look as round, as smooth and as shiny as the one from Treat n Trick !!! I wonder why?? I went back a few times to the blog this morning to see why hers look much yummier. Perhaps because I used fresh milk instead of evaporated milk? Or was it the yeast? Or perhaps I punched it too much? It rose more that double before I punched it, or perhaps it's the butter, I wasn't sure how much 3 table spoon was, but I used about 60g. Anyway, next time I must glaze and sprinkle it with more sugar. I'm quite proud of myself hehehe. . .

Now let's see how it was before I bake it. . .

Before baking and glazing

It looks hard, but it is really soft !!

And my trusted breadmaker . . .

Cap ayam je. . .

Bought it 2 years ago, but the number of times I used it for bread?? Hmmm less than a single hand hehehe. . . But this is the first time I use it for buns, and now I berkobar-kobar will definitely try to make many more of them.

And here is my buah melaka. . .

There's no daun pandan. . .

I made it this morning for breakfast . .  I actually mixed the flour last night, while waiting for the buns in the oven, but then I thought this was too much "makan kena berpada-pada kan, jangan turutkan perut sangat. . ." So, this morning it became our breakfast together with the leftover coffee buns. Hmmm. . . buah melaka ni takla secantik Ladylavender punye hehehe. . .

This is the recipe for Milk Coffee Buns  ;

2 cups all purpose flour (I used gluten flour)
2 tsp yeast
3 tbs butter (I used 60g)
2 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup evaporated milk (I used fresh milk)
2 tsp instant coffee
2 tbs milk and sugar for glazing

Methods :

- Heat milk with coffee and butter. Let it be lukewarm.
- Pour milk in breadmaker
- Add in flour and all the dry ingredients
- Set the maker to dough.
- Take out the dough and punch it, devide into 10 small buns.
- Cover and let it rest for 45 minutes
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180 celcius.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Saturday's Dinner - Chicken Lasagne

DH was away for 3 days since Friday, off somewhere in Belgium. While he was away, I decided to try and make lasagne for the first time in my life. Why didn't I make it while DH was around? Well. . .  I'm such a good wife you see. On the rare occasions that I cook pasta dishes, I have to make another dish for DH who is not that fond of it, ohhh he eats them no doubt, but he still craves for that something extra. So, being a "good" wife, I hate "love" these extra cooking. . .  I believe in simple life and simple food. I cook only 1 dish and 1 vegetable dish everyday, sometimes I even combine them in 1 dish hehehe. . .  So to avoid the extra cooking, I cook sphagetti/pasta only when DH is not around, ohh don't worry about him, he would rather have mee goreng anytime.

DS and I love Italian food, but this was my first try at making lasagne. We got this packet of lasagne pasta from our host when we went to Milan last October.

Lasagne pieces

I used 4 pieces of them. Put the pasta in boiling water for 10/12 minutes.

And I used the following packet for the white/cheese sauce. Bought it here in Holland.

Dissolve 1 packet of the sauce mix in 500 ml of milk. I used 400 ml of milk only, so the sauce was a bit thicker. Next time, I will make my own cheese sauce . . .

And the meat sauce? I made my own. . .

Topped with lots of cheese
I don't have the right lasagne dish, but never mind. . . just used whatever I had :D

After 25 minutes of baking...

Hmmm yummy....

Ingredients for the meat sauce :

200g minced chicken
2 garlics - pounded
1 onion - cubed
2 tomatoes - cubed
1/2 cup of tomato puree
1 teaspoon of dried chilli
salt and black pepper
4 big button mushroom - cubed
4 pieces of asparagus - cubed
a bit of courgette - sliced in 4

Methods :

- Saute garlic and onion, add in the minced chicken
- Add in salt, black pepper and dried chilli.
- Add in tomatoes until soften, add in the puree.
- Add in the vegetables

Oh ya . . .  we saved a big piece for DH :D

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Invitation For Coffee

A few days before Christmas, we had a surprise visit by our next door neighbour. He came to give us this....

A Christmas wreath !!! It was specially made by his wife for us to hang on the door....

That was nice of them. No doubt they knew that we did not celebrate Christmas, but it was given in good faith, so I accepted it and thanked him profusely... :D 

He also invited us for a long overdue coffee, the date to be set sometime in the new year. Again, I accepted his invitation.... after all it's only coffee. It crossed my mind that when a Dutch invites you for coffee, that's what you get, coffee, nothing else, well maybe a biscuit or two.... So we would not be in danger of being in a position of explaining to our gracious hosts "Ohh.. I'm sorry I do not eat this... or I do not eat that..." I wasn't worried. In fact, our neighbour did further ask me, what drink should he offer us. So I said to him that tea or coffee is just fine with us.

So on that coffee day, we were ready to go by 4.30 pm. As we walked the short distance to their house, we saw another neighbour walking to the same house. Hmmm... it seemed that we were not the only guests. It turned out that they invited all the neighbours around the house... about 5 couples of all. The coffee invitation seemed more like a new year party, well the elderly fashion that is. "A biscuit or two" that I thought, turned out to be a small party with a few finger food varieties. Our gracious hosts painstakingly tried to explain to us that all the food with the exception of one, were all vegetarian and fish based ingredients. There were two types of fish pate, boiled eggs, dates stuffed with cheese, fruit salad, garlic breads, various types of cheeses and a few others. They did it out of consideration for us. That was sweet of them.. I really appreciated that, it was a great relief that we were being informed of the ingredients without having had to ask :D

It also turned out that our Dutch hosts were actually Germans !!!! They came to the Netherlands after World War 2 and decided to stay here for good. Now it all made sense... for one thing, they were not as tall as the other Dutch neighbours (They came from Bavaria, where the people were not as tall as those from Hamburg, their words not mine), and for another, why there were more food on the table and not only biscuits as I had imagined !!!

We were there for 2 1/2 hours, chatting and mingling, drinking tea and eating German bread and fish pate.... And towards the end of it, my back and legs were begging me to sit down !!! Was it the Dutch way or maybe I should say German way that they did not invite you to sit down?? I realised that no one was sitting, so that means we were expected to stand. Briefly, a thought of new year parties in the movies came to mind, right..... no one is sitting!!! Everybody is standing or dancing and drinking !!! Hmmm no wonder....

It's all right for me to walk for 2 hours, but to practically stand still for 2 hours???? It's actually very tiring... trust me. But it's worth it, we learned that most neighbours on the street were originally farmers, rich farmers in my opinion considering their big houses.

It's been an interesting and enlightening beginning of the year 2012.  It is now already 2 weeks into the new year, and yet sometimes I feel not ready to face the new year... why??? New year means new and more difficult challenges??? I do not know. But the following cartoon strip best explain my feelings sometimes.... :D

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wind, Wind Go Away....

It's been very windy for the past 2 days now, the same strong wind I'm sure that battered Britain in the last few days. I read on Yahoo that some people got killed by falling trees while others were injured. All these were reported in Britain, I have yet to hear of any casualties in the Netherlands.  I woke up at 4 am on Wednesday morning to the sound of these fierce howling wind, it sounded so eerie that I was actually scared to go to the bathroom!!! What a weather to start the new year!!! My Dear Son began his first day for the new term on Wednesday, I was actually tempted to call the teacher and said "I'm sorry Ilham couldn't come to school today because his mother is not feeling well.... it's the wind you see... it makes her sick!! "  Imagine what Mrs Jannsen would say to that!!!!  Mr Porrit (the head teacher) would soon circulate a letter of warning to every parents (or rather a parent like me) to send their children to school NO MATTER what, unless they are SICK (and regardless if it is the mother who WAS sick!!!) Honestly, I was not sick, I was just feeling lazy.... To his credit, my DS was so impatient to go to school again, no doubt looking forward to play football at recess time.... and not because he misses his school :D

This windy weather seems to be occuring so much lately. I did not recall it being this windy last year when we first moved to The Hague. Three weeks ago, it was so windy that I felt scared to sleep in the bedroom. DH was back in Malaysia for a meeting, so it was only me and DS. We decided to sleep in the living room instead. I hope this weather condition will soon be over, I'm actually tired of fighting against the wind to go to school to pick DS up. Even grocery shopping gets much difficult with the bags decided to fly up and away in the wind !!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Coming Out From Hibernation

I can't believe that I have been hibernating for the past 8 long months. What have I been doing during that time??? Or rather.. why did I hibernate in the first place?? I honestly cannot remember. But I can imagine my blog being an irritating eyesore on someone's bloglist, down, down at the very bottom of the list. Perhaps someone has already taken me off their bloglist *sigh*. I do not blame them, I'm surprised that they haven't done so!!!!

So, what contribute to the long silent months??? Initially I was a wee bit buzy, then I had a bit of computer problems, then what happened? Ohh I think I was suffering from a combination of writer's block (as if I ever was a writer!!!) and just simply PLAIN lazy.... There, that's the main contributor of my being in hibernation.

I do not know how to restart my blogging again. Should I just simply continue from my last unfinished story? The story that had gone stale? Or should I begin with the current story? It's a shame that the story of my lovely homegrown tulips should just be left unposted and the story of the BIG EVENT just being left as it was. I do not know, we will see how I feel in the coming months...

The new year seems to be the perfect time to start again, not that it's a new year resolution!!! Hopefully I will be able to update regularly if NOT everyday!!! To those out there who just happen to read this, I hope it's not too late to wish you "Happy New Year" and "May the new year will be full of blessings to you and family"