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Archive for February, 2010

The Girl

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-26-2010

The Girl is going to be 17 next week. How many versions of Sex and The City are there . It is on her birthday wish list.

The Girl is far too cute and she knows it. And she has a perfect figure , oh, it is so hard to find a bathing suit, my top has to be one size and the bottom another. I just light up a cigarette and say, well, I suppose that in America you could buy two different sizes.

But jeepers, how that child gets away with anything. She has wicked little blue eyes and the same nose as my brother, nice and straight, perhaps vaguely turned up at the end.

I love my first baby so very much, but, gosh, how that child knows how to get what she wants.

And she always wins her battles.

Shopping List

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-25-2010

I suppose that everyone has a shopping list, those scrabbles of must haves.

Here is mine for tomorrow :

Igloo Fish Sticks
dark beer
2 carrots
knolselderij ( celeriac)
2 leeks
cream
pasta
katenspek
eggs

The Father wants to have beer soup once again.

We have not had beer soup for a very long time because the children do not like it. We are talking about perhaps 4 years. But it is a very nice soup, if I can remember how much beer and water to dump into it.

I went to the butcher today. 22 euro later, I had enough meat for three dinners. I was going to make something else with my favorite meat these days, dikke lende lapjes, but beer soup will give two dinners as well.

But I have very odd ideas about soup : I really do not think that one can make soup in a few hours. Nope, that meat has to blubble away for a cooties age. So as a back up, we might have carbonara tomorrow.

Even without the cheese, carbonara is really good food. You know, bacon , eggs and pasta. Italian breakfast.

And it is so easy, 3 egg yolks to a third a cup of cream, olive oil, garlic, penne and about 100 grams of katenspek, some sort of *fatty bacon*. And a lot of cranked pepper.

If everyone is going to be home for dinner, I double the egg yolks and cream.

I am really bad at splitting eggs.

And I am really cranky when I make this, because you don’t want those yolks to turn into scrambled eggs. When it is right, it is right and it is time for dinner. No, not a minute later.

I don’t like to have soup on Saturdays, but, well, sh*t happens.

March 19, 2010

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-25-2010

On March 19th, The Boy is going to Paris.

Now, in the business mobile, this is about a 5 hour drive from Casa Kitchen. But he won’t be taking the business mobile, in fact, there is a very good chance that The Father will be in India March 19th.

One never knows.

And one day, I shall cross that river and be in Ohio.

I am really digressing.

So I’m making up The Boy’s bed yesterday and I see these papers, due today, about a school trip to Paris. I was not trying to be a snoop, but he does tend to forget giving *important* papers to me, to us.

I have filled out the papers and read them 3 times. He has to be at school at about 3 in the morning, to catch the bus to Paris. He needs comfy shoes, a backpack and 2 lunches. Only one can of *energy drink* is allowed. He will return about 24 hours later, at 3 or 4 in the morning.

Lord, he is going to have to bike to the school and back. My skin crawls at the thought of my little boy biking at that hour of the night.

I am already telling him , sleep on the bus. But I know that he won’t.

He has been to Paris before, did the whole Disneyland crap, 5 of us in one hotel room. Saw Napoleon’s tomb ( the only thing that he remembers about that trip). The line was too long at the Eiffel tower, and with a two little girls in buggies, we skipped that.

We had good food and made the French waiters laugh at our attempts to speak French. Hey, we tried, and they appreciated our efforts.

The Boy spent two years flunking French. Once he had a choice, he dumped French and is doing very well with German. But his French is frozen at saying my name is The Boy. In French, of course.

But I have to say that this race to Paris sounds like wicked fun. Exhausting, but fun.

Skippy The Bush Kangaroo

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-24-2010

Usually, I make The Boy something warm to eat when he comes home, round about 3 or 4.

But the weather is now so temperate, that I thought, well, if he wants something warm ( and I was planning on making him that kattenspek and mushroom mess that he likes so much…) we can make a few fried egg sandwiches. Been a while since he has had that and he likes that yum yum fine.

Broken yolks.

That does not translate at all into British English, for I once spent at least 5 minutes explaining it to a proprietress of a bed and breakfast in York. You know, egg in the pan and then you take your fork and go… mush. Broken yolk.

But The Boy did not want eggs today. No, he wanted Kangaroo.

Needless to say, we do not have a stock of freshly sliced Kangaroo haunch in our fridge.

Kangaroo goes back into the mists of time, when he was a wee lad. The children were only allowed to watch TV that was in English, usually BBC. Dreadful Mother that I am, I told myself, well, it is educational, will expand their vocabulary. Although all three still * indeed* left and right.

And a big hit was Skippy The Bush Kangaroo.

Recently, we found Skippy Super Chunk Peanut Butter at some store.

Skippy, Skippy, Skippy The Bush Kangaroo….

You Always Take The Weather

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-24-2010

This long and cruel winter seems to be over.

Where we used to have grass, there is now a puddle of mud. And moss. Does nothing kill moss ?

The camellias seem to have ponied through and we have snow bells.

Is there anything more beautiful than those first tiny flowers of spring ?

So Dutch, The Boy has biked 45 minutes to school and then 45 minutes back, in the most hideous of conditions. Think : Ice slick. Arriving a Boysicle at somewhere around 3.30, 4 o’clock, I try to have something warm for him to eat, even though it is so close to dinner time.

I shall have to save those Oma recipes, those that warmed his bright red ears up. Lunch stuff.

I have no idea what to do about the grass. Well, lack of grass. We have too many birds to sprinkle seed about , and putting in new turf sounds like first I have to dig up a number of centimeters of..mud.

But, but, the camellias seem to have ponied through, and we have snow bells.

( Always look at the bright side of life, de-dum…)

Town Today

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-24-2010

I saw Joanne and Peter today, in town.

I am such a weenie.

Joanne was born somewhere like Amsterdam, in a family of about 12 kids , hard to believe that that was north of the rivers…however…,. Her family migrated to somewhere in Australia, when she was little.

While there, I suppose, she met John, Jan, an extremely clever man, who has visions of things that no one has ever thought of before.

So I´m going to the baker and I see Joanne. I cross the street and, because she has all of those siblings and all of those nieces and nephews, I ask her, still have visitors . Small talk is not my strongest point.

We chat for a while. She and John, Jan, are going to take their boat for three months down the canals and into France. We talk about the French and she has actually been taking French lessons for the last few months. Useful stuff, like, where is the toilet. In French , of course.

She is wearing a beautiful sweater, and I ask if it is Norwegian , god knows why, I am usually not that astute so early in the morning. It is indeed Norwegian and she tells me that she has 6 of them. It is one yum yum sweater.

And then I notice her jewelry, it is turquoise, which one rarely sees in The Netherlands. Indeed, it is from Canada, sold by that old church a few towns over.

I am such a weenie. What a pretty sweater, what interesting jewelry. I once took a picture of their house, quite before it was their house.

And then I see Peter. Something is very different about him, but I can´t quite place it, something with his hair. As usual, he gives me a big smile and says hello, Mummy Dearest. And I say, my, your hair is different, it looks very good.

Why can I not just say hi, and walk along.

Why on earth do I intrude upon people´s space and say how lovely their sweaters are, how interesting their jewelry is, how fine their hair looks.

I really have to learn how to keep my mouth shut.

I am so utterly naive.

Sugar Snaps and Spicy Chicken

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-23-2010

In my vain attempts to de- Knorr The Girl, I will try just about anything for dinner. We found this recipe from the local ( and cheap) super market magazine in town. Rather like some commenter at Epicurious, we like this recipe fine and have changed just about everything in it.

The Original Recipe

250 g tofoe naturel, in kleine dobblesteentjes
( half a pound of tofu, in small blocks)

100 ml ketjap manis
( 100 ml of ketjap manis- sweet soy sauce, about a fourth of a cup)

2 eet. sambal manis
( 2 tablespoons of sambal manis, a rather mild version of, er, ground chilies)

1 Theel. djahe
( one teaspoon ginger powder)

zout en verse gemalen peper

( salt and freshly ground pepper0)

250 g sugarsnaps
(Half a pound of sugar snaps)

250 g eiermie

( half a pound of Chinese egg noodles. Should look like that stuff in that instant soup, what is it ? Ramon ? )

2 a 3 eet. zonnebloemolie
( 2- 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil, or anything else that is cheap and not olive oil)

2 teentjes knoflook, grof gehakt

( 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped)

2 eet. geroostered sesamzaad + extra voor garnering

( 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds + extra for garnish. I ended up using 40 grams. Baby likes toasted sesame seeds)

lente- bosui voor garnering

( about 2 sliced spring onions, as a garnish ..Garnish ? uh, where do I live ?)

Step One ( it seems)

Doe de tofoeblockjes in een schaal en schep ketjap, sambal en gemberpoeder erdoorheen. Laat dit een uurtje marineren.

( place the tofu blocks in a bowl and add ketjap, sambal and ginger. Let this marinate for an hour or so.)

Breng een ruime pan water met zout aan de kook en blancheer de sugarsnaps een minute.

( bring a large pot of water – with salt- to a boil. Blanche the sugar snaps for 1 minute)

Schep ze uit het water in een vergiet en spoel ze met koude water.

( Scoop the snaps out of the water into a colander and rinse them with cold water)

Snijd de sugarsnaps in de lengte een kee door.

( Slice the sugar snaps in half, length wise)

Leg de mie in het kokende water en zet de warmtebron uit.

( Put the mie in the boiling water and turn the heat off)

Laat de mie een paar minuten wellen en roer dan los met een vork.

( Let the mie swell up for a few minutes and then pull it loose with a fork )

Giet de mie af en spoel onder de kraan om plakken to voorkomen.

( Toss the mie in a colander and rinse with cold water, to avoid clumps)

Laat de mie uitlekken en knip deze eventueel met een schaar een paar keer door.

( Once the mie has drained, one might want to snip it a few times with a pair of scissors)

Step 2

Verwarm een eetlepel olie in een koekenpan en bak de blokjes tofoe op hoge stand al omscheppend knapperig.

( Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and fry the blocks of tofu at a high heat, tossing over all of the time, until crispy)

Giet het restje martinade erbij en zet even apart.

( Add the remaining marinade and put this all aside)

Verwarm ondertussen de rest van de olie in een wok en bak de knoflook en mie al omscheppend lichtbruin.

( At the same time, heat the rest of the oil in a wok , and stir fry the garlic and mie until light brown)

Voeg de sugarsnaps, tofoeblokjes en sesamzaad toe en bak enkele minuten mee tot alles goed warm is.

( Add the sugarsnaps, tofu and sesame seeds and toss about until everything is warm)

Breng eventueel op smaak met zout en versgemalen peper.

( Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste)

Serveer direct en garneer eventueel met bosiu en sesamezaadjes.

( Serve and garnish with sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seeds).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I loathe trying to translate recipes.

But this diner works, we are getting 5 out of 5 eating something.

Now, The Father would rather eat sliced and diced freeze dried rat than tofu, so we use about 700gms of chicken breasts. And I cannot get the right mie, so we use mihoen , those terribly thin rice noodles. And because we are using so much meat, I pump up the ketjap manis ( sweet soy sauce ) to about 150 ml.

It works.

The Girl likes it.

I would say * The Boy likes it* but that is really too obvious, isn’t it ?

Old House

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-22-2010

I am so tired of living in an old house ( about 1640).

Eh, it seemed enchanting at the time.

But with this foul and cruel winter that we have had, any beast or bug that can walk or creep has found their way into our… old house.

I went to make up The Boy’s bed today and found some fudging animal in his bed. About 3 inches long, it looked like a baby snake. I think that it was a centipede, but then, I did not take the time to count it’s legs. How the heck did this beast get in the boy’s bed ? His room is on the second floor. True, those stinkin’ double glazed windows from Poland were made of *green* wood and will now not shut, but still, it was either a baby snake or a baby centipede. Won’t tell him , will I ?

We have moths and silverfish in our cupboard. Our cupboard used to be *the shower* in the house, and was never closed up, hence the silverfish.

And we have a mouse in the house.

It must be one mouse. The beast has never been spotted in two rooms at the same time. It travels via the TV cables that we set up, long ago and far away, through 3 or 4 layers of ceilings.

I rather imagine something very Miami, white and aqua.

And I won’t won’t even begin about the beast that the dogs sent squealing last week on the porch. After that surreal noise, The Girl and I took a portable bike light onto the porch, dogs inside.

Searching quite carefully, The Girl told me that she saw a …hedgehog ! I was busy lifting an old tile away and so saw nothing at all.

And then she said : it was a rat !

Logic necessitates that neither a rat nor a hedgehog could enter our walled garden, but something did indeed make that terribly odd noise.

Yup. White and aqua.

Geneology Of Food

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-20-2010

Rather like The Boy, I tend to become focused on one thing or another , at times. Right now, I am looking about and wondering what on earth I ate as a child. What was comfort food .

A lot of it was Pennsylvania Dutch food, which was German, of course. You know, wilted lettuce, scrapple, gosh, how I loved scrapple, until I read some Consumer´s Report about what Scrapple really is. Pig snouts. And City Chicken seems to have been Depression era food, but our City Chicken was never floating in a sea of broth.

And my birthday cake was always a mayonnaise cake. But we never ate mayo, it must have been a Miracle Whip Cake. Chocolate, it was very moist and baking soda was used. I know that, because I rather enjoyed those tiny chinks of soda that never mixed in.

I hate that all of my Mummy´s recipe´s have been lost, all of those cookies that she made at Christmas, all those odd dinners that I liked so much , you know that beef wrapped around a pickle, with some mustard and…something else, tied with a string.

Everyone should save their recipes, because someday, some kid is going to wonder how Mummy made that.

I can imagine some of her cookies, but not well enough to recreate them.

Oh well, I am sure that if she had known that she would drop dead from one minute to another, she would have left me a cookbook. She was like that.

But she did not know.

She was a good Mummy. I know how to dip steamed artichoke leaves in garlic butter and scrap it along the edges of my teeth.

I have missed her for almost 30 years.

I suppose that I always will miss her, for one reason or another.

Coleslaw

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-20-2010

I am whining again.

Big night out, we went to KFC. Could have gone to the Italian, but we live in a democracy. Now, this is a big deal, if one lives in The Netherlands. The Baby can have decent corn on the cob and I can have coleslaw.

Any fool can fry chicken.

I actually prefer my Mother’s coleslaw, but, alas, Mummy is gone and that slip of paper has yet to surface. Although the AH stuff tastes very much like Mummy’s.

I should like to make my own coleslaw ( comes from Dutch words of course, kool- cabbage- sla- salad). But there seem to be about 5 million recipes for coleslaw out there, many containing the ingredients coleslaw mix and a bottle of coleslaw salad dressing.

Is coleslaw one word or two ?

It is easier to just buy a tub of the stuff at the AH.

I did a Google photo search, and some dish by some guy named Bobby Flay came up.
Looked a lot like Mummy’s, although I am very sure that there was no trace of onion in hers and a hint of radish ( uh, color?).

And I find it hard to believe that she ever used mayo. We were a Miracle Whip family, I do not believe that I tasted Mayo before I went to Grad School. I don’t recall ever having seen a jar of mayo in one of our two family fridges ( New England. We were ready for all that Mother Nature could throw at us. I know, but keep those doors closed and those fridges will keep the food for quite a while. But if one thinks about it, well, just put the frozen food outside, up high. Lord, I am too old for these *duh* moments). I still don’t like jarred mayo, although an Italian friend of ours once made some from scratch and I liked that mayo fine. Yum,yum fine.

How tough can coleslaw be ?

I will most likely try that recipe ( dried mustard ?) once. Then I shall just buy that cute little tub of American Coleslaw at the AH about, oh, every two months.