Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Oranges in Grand Marnier

Cut peels from a washed orange with a potato peeler, to avoid the bitter white part. Cut the peels into julienne strips. Dissolve an equal amount of sugar into ditto water, dump the orange peel into it and boil softly for 10 to 15 minutes. Take out the strips and let the syrup from it drip back into the pan. Add a slosh of Grand Marnier.
Cut one navel orange per person crosswise into slices and cut away the peel. Lay them into a glass dish and pour the syrup over them. Let stand for a few hours.
Serve with grated dark chocolate and the candied julienne peel.
Subtle and refreshing!

Saturday, February 25, 2006


I grew up in a tidy house. Everything was shipshape and had its place. No one would dream of disturbing the order. We didn’t know any different.
Only when I moved away to go to university did I discover I am not a neat person myself. I would stack the dirty dishes day after day, until I had run out of clean ones. On my desk lay an ever-growing pile of papers and books. Vacuuming would be done once a month. The only relatively tidy place was my bed, which I made every day.
Things have improved since then, but not dramatically. I am just not a very orderly person. For a long time I felt that as a shortcoming, a minor sin. Until we met the P’s: warm, jolly people, two feet on the ground. Lovely friends. And untidy! Their house was even more of a mess than ours, and they seemed to feel perfectly at ease with it. I learnt then that untidiness is not a sin after all. It is a character trait, not a convenient one at times, but no more than that. Now that I have accepted it, it is easier to find ways to minimize the inconvenience. To see it as a pitfall, of which I don’t need to be ashamed; to laugh at my own shortcomings; to warn people that I am not very well organized, and that they may point it out to me, when I have missed something important.
It has made my life a whole lot easier, and better organized into the bargain!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Seasonal Food: Celeriac Salad

My greengrocer told me that vegetable supplies do not so much follow the seasons as the desires of the customers. At the end of winter they are fed up with kale and sprouts, and they demand young beans and strawberries. Therefore the farmers grow what the customer wants in their glasshouses or the products are imported from afar. Thus, even though the season and the weather dictate sturdy root vegetables, they are in short supply.

So before they have disappeared from the market altogether, here is a delicious recipe for celeriac salad:

First make a generous portion of remoulade. Mix mayonaise with low-fat yoghurt, strong mustard, crème fraîche for silky texture, lemon juice or cider vinegar or both, salt and pepper.
Slice and peel a bulb of celeriac, and grate straight into the dressing to avoid discoloring. Add chopped parsley, mix thouroughly and allow to stand for a few hours, if possible, to give the flavours the chance to marry.

Even better the next day, and all in all no comparison to the bought version!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Clear Soup

Dilute a quality vegetable stock cube in water and bring to the boil. Dump in it: thinly sliced spring onions, thin rondelles of carrot, ditto celery, and any other vegetables that seem suitable. Not too many varieties at the time, to keep it exclusive. Cook them al dente.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle chopped parsley on top.
Serve piping hot.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


. . . And all this time the Americans have been shamelessly torturing Iraqis . . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Child Abuse

In my contacts with parents and children I have become more and more convinced that taking sides with an abused child against its parents is absolutely counterproductive. Social workers are well aware of how strong the loyalty of a child is towards its father and mother, and they see it as a set back. They feel the need to separate child and abusive parent.
I believe, however, that hardly ever do parents maltreat a child on purpose; that it is done against their will, in an act of despair. Parents love their children, however much social services seem to believe the opposite.
Abusing parents need sympathy and help, rather than punishment and censure. They need recognition in their struggle with raising children. It is in the interest of the child that a parent can openly talk about the difficulties she encounters, so she can learn new ways to deal with her children.
I strongly believe that in many cases abuse can be stopped if society took a more lenient, open stand on it. Forcing abusive parents to hide their shame is not in the interest of their children.
One cannot protect children by antagonizing their parents.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine Feelings Anno 1957

H.J. was my first boyfriend. He brought me cookies and sweets at school, and that was about it. I was the only girl to be invited to his birthday party. We went to the Muiderslot. It was fun.
When my mother suggested I bring him home for lunch one day, I dutifully invited him. He refused point blank.
"Why?" I insisted, surprised at such stubborness.
"I just won't. And it is over between us!"
He has hated me for the rest of our schooltime together.
I couldn't care less.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Verwarming opdraaien . . .
E-mails lezen . . .
Waden door stapels wasgoed . . .
Telefoneren met de kinderen . . .
Kijken wat er nog aan proviand is . . .
Agenda raadplegen . . .

Terugkeren tot de dagelijkse sleur . . .

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Whitest White

glass bauble
dangling on a string

on whitest white


icy blue

only the string,
the glass bubble

to the valley

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Ice Cream and Frozen Fruit

This is a chic and easy dessert.

Heat some frozen summer fruit with a little sugar (and lemon juice). Boil for a few minutes, until it is mushy, but the berries are still more or less intact.
Serve over two scoops of quality vanilla ice cream.
Decorate with a mint leaf for presentation, if you think the colour combination is not spectacular enough!