It suddenly dawned on me yesterday. Next weekend is Thanksgiving, the week after that Sinterklaas. Almost time to buy a Christmas tree and decorate the house…
Seriously. The days are whizzing by too quickly. It’s not a cliché, it’s the truth. And with that truth, I’m starting to go into slight panic mode because I haven’t ordered a turkey, done any Sinterklaas shopping or planned any holiday menus.
So today is Friday again. The day after Beaujolais Nouveau 2014, to be precise. I purchased a bottle yesterday, like I do every year, and kept my fingers crossed. Last year was horrible. One bottle went down the drain after the first sip and another one, a present, ended up as cooking wine. This year our first bottle (because yes, I probably will be buying another one) was a Joseph Drouhin. I was quite pleased. The wine was balanced, with mild tannins and aromas of ripe strawberries. We enjoyed it with duck rillettes spread on slices of thick sourdough.
I guess Beaujolais Nouveau time will always be synonymous with the start of the holiday season for me. Hence, the realization that I better start getting my act together. But when will I get around to doing that? This week has been packed, and the work load is pretty hefty for the one ahead, too. I am currently working on four culinary productions, all of them due in two weeks. That’s 24 recipes to be written, tested and adjusted. Not complaining at all though. It’s what I love doing, but what that basically means is that I’ll be working evenings and the whole weekend. In fact, this weekend I will not get around to doing my usual restaurant review because I will be spending the two days testing in the kitchen. And because I will be celebrating Thanksgiving the Saturday after that (I live in the Netherlands, remember?), I won’t have a review for you again until Sunday, December 7th.
One of the things I’ll be squeezing in next week is a press event for the HEMA, a popular Dutch chain store with branches in seven other European countries. They will be showcasing their holiday collection and I cannot wait to see it and tell you all about it. I just couldn’t pass up that invitation.
And with that, I better get started. Can you believe I haven’t even had coffee?? A day of writing English pie recipes awaits! PS: If you’re in Holland, grab a copy of Vriendin this week. Included are six of my delicious (and easy) Mexican recipes. The huevos rancheros is highly recommended for Sunday brunch! Extra tips and background information to go with the recipes can be found here.
Have a fab weekend!
One of the perks of my job is being invited to interesting events in the world of food. Restaurant openings, culinary demonstrations, wine tastings, book presentations, etc. Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the opening of Gastrobar Anton, a new hot spot in the ritzy Dutch city of Laren. It was quite a lively evening full of champagne, cocktails, great wine, a posh selection of bites and fabulous oysters! The gastrobar has a Scandinavian inspired interior with warm color accents, robust materials and different types of seating options.
I’m not going to give you a full review just yet as I’m planning on going back there for lunch, but suffice to say that I had a great time. One of their wines, by the way, just happens to be a favorite of mine — Le Petit Berticot Cabernet Sauvignon from none other than my beloved Duras! How awesome is that?! Highly recommended by yours truly.
After the event, my friend and I decided to try out another restaurant in Laren. We figured we were already there, so why not? Both of us love Spanish food and Bodega, also located on the Brink, seemed like a good choice. Their menu features a varied selection of tapas as well as ‘Paella Valencia’, which is what we both went for, agreeing that perhaps this would make up for our last paella experience — ahem, it took place at an awful restaurant in Barcelona’s La Rambla called ‘El Choquito‘. El Choquito does not have a website, in case you’re interested, just a restaurant full of rude, frustrated waiters, crap food and weak sangria. Luckily, our experience at Bodega was not as appalling (kudos for the friendly staff), though their paella left a lot to be desired. The seafood selection was mostly deep-fried and I barely detected three tiny little mussels hidden in the rice, which missed more saffron, in my opinion. Some lemon wedges could’ve also helped the dish a bit, too.
In other news, it’s almost weekend! In case you don’t have any cooking plans yet, allow me to suggest grabbing a copy of the latest Vriendin (#43) where you can check out six of my easy and seasonal mushroom recipes! My aromatic noodle soup with shiitake and prawns is especially recommended today — rain, rain, and only rain!
I’ll be headed to Amsterdam tomorrow to review a new restaurant that boasts a menu which made me go a little weak in the knees when I read it. You can catch the review here on Sunday.
Have a delicious weekend!
I’ve been having a rather slow morning today. A well-deserved one, though, which started with a bowl of oatmeal, beauty tutorials on YouTube (yes, I do like to watch those every once in a while) and a strong ristretto. The to-do list is pretty big right now, but I’m not feeling the least bit guilty about this little indulgence. In fact, I should make it a habit! I’m pretty precise when it comes to sticking to the agenda of the day, but really, I think this chick needs to loosen up!
So, what’s on my mind this Friday? A lot! From finishing an article on Dutch meat croquettes to happy anticipation for things like the mailman delivering a set of make-up brushes any minute now to a few very cool press events that I have coming up within the next weeks. I’ve been ignoring those more than I’d like due to a serious lack of time, but I’ve decided I simply need to make the time to show my face at these happenings a lot more often!
I’m still busy with the appetizer recipe production for Vriendin, and as soon as I hit ‘post’ for this blog, that’ll be the first thing on my agenda: writing the next eight recipes and trying them out tonight. By the way, those of you in the Netherlands, might want to check out this week’s issue (nr. 42) where you’ll find six of my quick and easy stew recipes, perfect for those days when you come home from work in need of serious comfort food that doesn’t require hours of cooking.
And speaking of recipes, a few weeks ago hubby surprised me with Yotam Ottolenghi’s new book, Plenty More. My goodness am I pleased with it! The book features colorful and flavorific vegetarian recipes with stunning ingredient combinations and gorgeous photography. This week we tried the root veg mash with shallots braised in red wine. All I can say (with my hand on my heart and as a serious Francophile!) is that it gave even the best boeuf bourguignon I’ve ever had a run for its money. Holy sweet lord!
It’s going to be a busy weekend again with shooting a new food video (cupcakes!) and checking out a new restaurant tomorrow (very excited about that as it combines an awesome menu with one of my other biggest passions). Curious? Stop by Sunday for the full review!
For now, I wish you all a happy weekend. Open a bottle of something wonderful tonight… just because!