baked camembertThis weekend I slowly started to give the house little hints of Christmas; a string of lights on the mantelpiece and lots more candles. It’s so funny. When summer is almost at its end, I will be the first one to start lamenting its departure. I hate to think about the dark, dreary days ahead. The cold, or worse… the snow. I really am not a fan of snow — unless it’s on Christmas day and no one has to leave the house because we’re all in our pyjamas stuffing our face.

Snow, especially in the Netherlands, (where most people never bother to shovel or use salt), if and when it falls, is a scary thing. No biggie when it’s fresh, but oh man when it freezes over. I’ve landed on my butt my fair share of times!
Despite my preference for months that don’t have an ‘r’,  I can’t help but love the last three  months of the year. October officially kicks off the cozy, happy season. It comes with pumpkins, apples, golden leaves and all kinds of excuses to bake. Then November rolls around and there’s Thanksgiving to look forward to. In the seventeen years I’ve lived in Holland, I have never missed a Thanksgiving (or a Macy’s Parade). It’s a tradition I hope my daughter will continue, and a tradition I love. Which reminds me, I need to get to Kingsalmarkt in Amstelveen to stock up on things like canned pumpkin and eggnog. And yes, Thanksgiving pumpkin pie means Libby’s at our house. December brings four celebrations, and is ridiculously expensive. First there’s Sinterklaas — or shall I say the original Santa Claus — who comes with a burlap sack full of presents. Then Santa Claus, who leaves them under the tree. Then on the 31st it’s Kirstie’s birthday and New Year’s Eve. I don’t know whether to splurge on cake, oliebollen (the mother of donuts, really) or Dutch pancakes (which is usually her birthday meal of choice), so I end up settling for all three. Not good for my waistline, I know, but once January rolls around I come back to my senses.
So, there is actually a reason to love the darker, colder months, and there is no reason to try to hang on to summer for dear life. Is it really that great to be eating outdoors with 17C when it’s November? Not really if you ask me. Not that I wouldn’t take advantage of the situation, but it’s definitely a sign that nature is very, very confused.
Anyhow, these months are to be enjoyed in a suitable way: with a fireplace, lots of glowing candles, a bottle of Burgundy and the ones you love. Oh, and making this baked camembert wouldn’t hurt either.
Happy November and enjoy the months ahead.

Baked Camembert
Serves 2

  • 1 camembert of 250g, in its box
  • few sprigs of thyme, leaves plucked
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 200°C. Take the cheese out of its foil package and put it back in the box. Carefully cut of the cheese’s top layer. Sprinkle with the thyme, pierce with the sliced garlic and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Put the lid back on the cheese box and wrap the box loosely in aluminium foil. Place the cheese on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve with fresh, crusty bread or crisp vegetables.

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