Friday, September 26, 2014

S is for...

…Sinterklaas! The best Dutch holiday of the year! Every year, at the end of November, Sinterklaas and his friends come to the Netherlands with their stoomboot (steam ship) and on December 5th we celebrate his birthday. But instead of giving him presents, he gets us all kinds of gifts and candy! Isn’t he the greatest? Oh and the candy! Like pepernoten and oh boy oh boy, speculaas! That is a cookie full of yummy spices like cinnamon and such. It tastes so good! And…oh boy oh boy… schuimpjes too! Those are sweet, soft candies that you can really sink your teeth in… Well, me no have teeth, but you know what me means! It is kinda like meringue, but a little different… O no, now me is hungry!

Speculaas / schuimpjes
Above: Sinterklaas

Speaking of treats and sweets, also starting with the letter S is suikerspin (cotton candy) and spekkies. No, no bacon, although that is called spek too… Spekkies are sweet, multi-coloured marshmallows.

Suikerspin / spekkies

And there are also cookies starting with the letter S. Like sprits, a soft biscuit, and stroopwafel! This thin waffle is filled with syrup. Me have talked about this yummy cookie in a blog a few months ago.

Sprits / stroopwafel

To conclude the letter S, me will talk about a sweet, woolly animal: schaap (sheep). There are a lot of sheep living in the Netherlands, especially on the Dutch island of Texel. People use the wool for knitting sweaters, scarfs (sjaals) and socks (sokken). Nice and warm for winter! Speaking of winter. During that season the Dutch love to eat stamppot (stew, like hotchpotch) with rookworst. Really good after a day of winter sports, like schaatsen (ice skating or speed skating). The Dutch are really good at speed skating. They won a lot of medals last Winter Olympics.

Stamppot / schaatsen
Above: schaap

Well, that was the letter S. Next week it is time for the letter T. There are loads of yummy treats starting with that letter. Oh boy, me can’t wait! Om nom nom nom…

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The gorgeous Cathedral of Albi

Hi! Here me again with a blog about me vacation in France. Because me did not only eat sophisticated cookies me also went sightseeing.

One day we drove to the gorgeous city of Albi. A fortified city with this beautiful cathedral slash fortress that was used by the Pope in the Middle Ages. One time, you must know, there were two popes. One lived at the Vatican in Rome and the other in Albi, France. Well, me is only a little blue monster, but this Cathedral in Albi made me feel like a tiny monster! Don’t you think it looks gorgeous! Me even took a peek inside. There are really impressive paintings on the ceiling and walls. And the outside is so pretty too!

After all that beauty me went sightseeing around the Cathedral. Don’t you like this little peek-through? Me also had a nice fresh panini from the baker on the corner and me ate it in front of the Cathedral so me could study the gargoyles that are looking over the people of the city. Like quiet witnesses of history… Me wonder what kind of stories they could tell us if only they could talk… But just look at them. Gorgeous huh!

Next week me will tell all about a beautiful Lioness me saw on vacation!

Friday, September 19, 2014

R is for...

…Rembrandt, a very famous Dutch painter! He was famous for painting portraits and he was greatly known for his special, mostly brown, golden and dark, colour patterns. His most famous piece is de Nachtwacht (The Nightwatch). Also his selfportrait is very famous throughout the world. Nathan Sawaya even made it with Lego bricks. (Rembrandt’s selfportrait made out Lego bricks)

The letter R is also for regen (rain). It rains a lot in the Netherlands (but not as much as some people might think). Sometimes it even pours and me will get soaking wet! Have you ever walked in the rain when you are only dressed in fuzzy and blue fur? But me do not mind always. Because when me gets home Berry always wraps me up in a cozy blanket and me get hot chocolat milk and cookies. And sometimes when there is rain, me love to look outside, especially when the sun is shining too. Me just love it when a regenboog (rainbow) appears!

Regen / regenboog

At the breakfast table the letter R can be represented by rijstepap (rice porridge), also known as rijstebrij (rice goo). It is made from sweetrice for desserts. Often there is milk involved and some brown sugar. Also yummy is roggebrood (rye bread). Often eaten with unfried bacon and pea soup.

Rijstepap / roggebrood

For the Dutch who are more into salty stuff there is the rookworst (smoked sausage) from the Hema (a popular convenient store where you can buy almost anything from food to clothes and school- and carsupplies). The Hema rookworst is very famous. The Unox rookworst too by the way. There is a sandwich called Broodje Unox (Unox Sandwich). It’s a white bun with an Unox rookworst and a special sauce. Also nice is the rolmops (rollmops herring) made out of pickled herring, some onions and a pickle, rolled up in a nice curl and hold together with a little wooden pick. The Ouwehand rolmops is the most famous and very tasteful.

Rookworst / rollmops

Well, this conclude the letter R. Next week me will have a lot to tell with the letter S. Especially when me can talk about my favourite candy filled holiday! Bye bye for now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sophisticated French Cookies

Remember me told you me have been to France for me vacation? No? Than you should follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram because me drops some words and pictures on social media too. But back on topic: me have been on vacation to beautiful France. And ofcourse me have tried out the local cookie cuisine…

Yummy cakes
To start off me have been tasting a lot of yummy cakes and little pastries. Me had a very good apple pie, a delicious cream puff cake filled with strawberries and pudding and (see the picture above) a tasty fruit cup with pudding in a yummy crunchy crust. Me really loved it… a, me mouth is watering again…

Macaron cookies
Ofcourse me had to taste the macaron cookies too. Berry bought them at the Marché Gourmand – a market where you could buy food from the local farmers and cooks. It was so delicious. Nice panini’s, great tasting crepes and ofcourse COOKIES! These macarons were super yummy. Berry bought all different kinds of flavours. The best thing was, these macarons were all organic and gluten free. Om nom nom nom nom…

Cookies from Toulouse
Me made a roadtrip to the gorgeous city of Toulouse one day. There we found a tiny shop with all kinds of cookies, fudge, nougat and candy. It was a deli with handmade candies and cookies and stuff. It was good me was holding on to Berries back, because me really wanted to dive in for a big OM NOM NOM NOM NOM! through the whole store. But because me was such a good monster, Berry bought me this bag of sophisticated Chocolate Chip Cookies. So delicious. Me even managed to save a few to bring home.

Well, that is what me wanted to tell you about the France goodies. Me will blog soon about a gorgeous city called Albi!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Q is for...

There are no yummy Dutch words starting with the letter Q. And me not know any cookies or cute animals that start with Q either. The only normal word me know is qua… It translates a bit as ‘like something’. Me could say in Dutch: Qua smaak zijn deze koekies heerlijk!, which would mean in English: In taste these cookies are delicious. But that is all me can think of…
A well, next week it will be much better. Trust me!

Picture: One very confused Cookie Monster

Saturday, September 13, 2014

P is for...

…Pino! He is Big Bird’s cousin living on the Dutch side of Sesame Street. Pino is also a very big bird, with gorgeous blue feathers and a great, sweet personality. Me sometimes visit him at his nest. Also starting with p is poppenkast (a puppet show at a puppet theatre). It is a children’s puppet show with old fashioned hand puppets with people hiding inside this wooden cabinet with a window in it. Jan Klaassen and Katrijn are the most famous hand puppets. There are often shows to see at the park, like a pretpark (amusement park) like the Efteling or other nice amusement parks in the Netherlands.

Poppenkast / Pretpark (Efteling)
Above: Pino

At a pretpark – but also at normal parks, the zoo and in the city, they like to serve patat (fries). Mostly served with mayonnaise or ketchup. Om nom nom nom! Also really Dutch are pannenkoeken (pancakes). These are different from the American breakfast pancakes and can be compared more to crepes. The Dutch like to eat theirs with syrup, sliced apples, raisins, bananas, chocolate, cheese, onions, meat… well almost everything! More traditional are poffertjes (Dutch baby pancakes). Mostly served with a little lump of butter and some powdered sugar… Oooo me mouth is watering!

Pannenkoeken / Poffertjes
Above: patat at the Efteling

Not really Dutch but it is used much in Dutch dishes is peper (pepper). Also they like to eat a lot of pepermunt (peppermint) here. The Wilhelmina pepermunt is very famous. It looks like a coin with the portrait of the late Queen Wilhelmina on it. There is no pepper in the peppermint though. It got its name for the sharp taste. Just like there is no pepper in pepernoten. A Dutch treat that is eaten during the party of Sinterklaas. The Dutch have two kinds, one is more spongey – those are the real pepernoten – and the other taste like speculaas cookies and really need to be called kruidnoten (herb cookies). Both are thrown through the room though by Black Peter (Zwarte Piet, me will tell more about this wonderful fairytale being when the letter Z comes around), Sinterklaas his loyal helper. Like Santa’s elves.

Wilhelmina Pepermunt / Pepernoten (the cookie kind) with some Sinterklaas candies
Above: Peper

You know what is loved all over the world but also very much in the Netherlands? Pindakaas (peanut butter)! The best sandwich is made out of white bread spread with a nice layer of yummy pindakaas. Especially the smooth Calvé brand. They have such a nice marketing slogan: Calvé Pindakaas, wie is er niet groot mee geworden? Translated: Calvé Peanut Butter, who hasn’t grown up with it? Well, me know a lot of people did! Me? Well me love peanut butter cookies ofcourse.

To conclude the letter P me will talk about how the country of the Netherlands is divided in different provincies (provinces of states). There are 12 different provinces: Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Gelderland, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Flevoland, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-Holland and Noord-Holland. Each have their own main city and government, but the whole country is led by the politicians in The Hague. It is very complicated for this little monster. But me just wanted to show that this little country is divided into 12 parts.

Well that concludes the letter P. A little later than me promised, but hey, it is here now! To get back on track me will post the fascinating letter Q tomorrow. Fascinating…because me really do not know what to do with the letter Q!