Masterchef Holland

(Dutch-related) Stuff That Happened In March 2015

Bit of a quiet month blog-wise as March has been a reeeeeally busy month at work (yep – I have a real job and everything!) Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like it’ll let up anytime soon, so you’ll probably only be hearing from me about once a week for the next few months. Just so you know and that. I haven’t been kidnapped.

Tomorrow we’re off to Brussels (for one night) en route to France to see my parents for a few days. (Yep, the ‘rents are expats too – they moved to France a couple of weeks after I moved to Holland!)

So before we go off gallivanting… here’s some stuff that happened this month.

 1. Rediscovering Etsy 

I’m very happy to have discovered some extremely talented Dutch illustrators in the past month… Introducing Kim Bell Illustrations. Love her work!!

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After living here for nearly a year… the office/blogging den/spare room is finally finished! (Crikey, we are terrible DIYers!!)

I was looking for some funky postcards to frame and brighten up my office –  so there’s the obvious, Paperchase, but their delivery rates to the Netherlands are ridiculous (£5 for a postcard… huh??) so I decided to look elsewhere.

Bravo, Etsy! Bravo!

These fine specimens are from a seller named Darveelicious:

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I also bought postcards from Moa Gift Ideas, Steak & Eggs Please and Le Lapin Blanc. I specifically opted for Dutch illustrators / Etsy shops (with the exception of Steak & Eggs Please) because they ship to the Netherlands (obviously) but also because they are friggin’ awesome. Why look further afield when there is so much talent right here in the Netherlands? Can you tell I’m a BIT excited about this!?!?

And the final result…

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I should probably also show you the other side of the room, aka the Blogging Den, but hmmmm my desk is a bit of a mess now… and can I be arsed to tidy it for photos? No.

2. Clog slippers

Possibly the best slippers ever? The Dutchie has been without slippers for about six years, but whilst in tourist paradise at Zaanse Schans, he was sucked in by the clog slippers.

Nothing to do with me, honest!

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3. Visiting Haarlem, Zaanse Schans & Gouda

Pretty impressed I made it to three new places in March. In case you missed those posts, there was A Quickie in Haarlem and Tourist Paradise – Zaanse Schans.

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I didn’t write a post about Gouda because, well, there were no rose-tinted spectacles involved!! ‘Twas a dreary and cold day and the photos I took on my iphone just didn’t do it any justice. My American friend and I did however discover a fantastic cafe thanks to Sophie in Clogs (big thanks again, Sophie!) This is an especially good tip for mamas who are visiting Gouda… we went with a one year old and the place was totally kid-friendly. It’s unofficially split into two parts, the right-wing for kiddie winks (with loads of toys and high chairs etc) and the left-hand side for grown ups who’d like to enjoy their coffee in adult company.

Zoet & Zalig (yup, that’s my full review on Trip Advisor) is most definitely off the beaten track and if you didn’t know it was there, you’d be forgiven for walking straight past it. Here’s the entrance:

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But once inside – it’s a complete hidden gem!

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Fantastic food, beautiful interior details and a great atmosphere. It’s set in a former orphanage but they have completely transformed it – including the outside. When the weather’s nice, there’s a gorgeous courtyard with funky tables and chairs. Ohhhh and THE CAKE. I’m not at all a cake person, but their selection of cakes and tarts was too hard to resist. The coconut and pineapple taartje was stunning. If you visit Gouda, go here for coffee and cake, minimum!

4. Masterchef Holland

A new series of Masterchef Holland has started! YAY! Pretty much one of the only Dutch TV programmes I can watch! I love you guys, but you really don’t have the best TV… Thank funk for Netflix! So yeah, one of the contestants is an undertaker… or so I thought when I translated ondernemer  literally. It actually means entrepreneur! Oops!

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I have also been watching a few Dutch films: Gooische Vrouwen (yes, I know, I’m totally behind the times!!) Dunya & Desie (totally a teener film, but hey, I like Clueless!) and Jackie, which I watched last night. If anyone has any other Dutch film / series recommendations for me – preferably on Netflix – I’d love to hear them please! Trying to watch as many Dutch programmes as possible. It all helps, right? It’s still such a strange concept to me that I can actually watch films in another language. Fuck! (Sorry Mum!)

5. D’ Vijf Broers, Zaandijk

Gah! More food! Yup, pretty much sums the month up: working & eating!

You know when you go to a restaurant and fall in love? I really did with this place. D’ Vijf Broers in Zaandijk is truly unmissable if you’re visiting Zaandijk / Zaandam. Full review here.

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6. Port tasting

Oh, and we did a cheeky bit of drinking too!

Our friend works at a Gall & Gall store and we went to a port tasting evening (in Dutch might I add!) at the beginning of the month.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and although I didn’t understand absolutely everything – as there were so many technical words – it was fun and something I wouldn’t have been able to do a few months back.

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It’s not a wine tasting until you’ve spilled wine, right?

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7. Bagels & Beans

And while we’re on a food and drink theme… I have to mention Bagels & Beans which we have visited twice in the past week!! If you follow me on Instagram you will have probably already noticed my new obsession!

If there’s a Bagels & Beans in your neighbourhood and haven’t visited yet, I encourage you to do so now!

Koffie – check.

Goedkoop – check.

Lekker – check.

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There is a distinct lack of bitterballen in this post!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??

Have a great weekend everyone!

Hayley x

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Being Dutch – Part 8: Lekkerrrrrrrrrrr

Whilst the Dutchie and I were watching Masterchef Holland last week, I got extremely excited when one of the challenges was to guess the 16 ingredients in… wait for it…

BITTERBALLEN!!

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! In fact, I was so crazily enthusiastic I actually went and got a pen and paper to join in the game! Sadly… they turned out to be non-traditional fish bitterballen with a fancy coating. I was truly disappointed that I couldn’t play! 😦

The episode wasn’t a complete washout though, because on sight of the aforementioned bitterballen  – one of the contestants, Rosah, did the “lekker” hand sign which launched the Dutchie and I into hysterics!! (There’s a story to explain… below.)

If you don’t know the word lekker: it means delicious, tasty, yummy. The Dutch LOVE this word and use it at every possible opportunity. The word is now so popular it’s now used outside the realm of food, pretty much anything can be lekker! There’s also a funny Dutch hand sign to accompany it: you raise your hand to ear level with your palm pointing towards your face and wave it back and forward a couple of times… whilst saying the word lekkerrrrrrrrrrr (roll that r!!)

Let’s see Rosah from Masterchef do it:

Lekker hand position 1 ;-)

Lekker hand position 1 😉

Lekker hand position 2

Lekker hand position 2

Lekker hand position 3… then back to position 1. Repeat as many times as necessary whilst saying the word LEKKER.

Lekker hand position 3… then back to position 1. Repeat as many times as necessary whilst saying the word LEKKER.

Anyway, the reason for the giggle-fit: rewind 3 years and the Dutchie has just moved to England. We’re in a trendy pub Winchester (with a bit of a hangover from the night before) and he’s meeting a group of my close friends for the first time. We order some well-needed pub grub and he’s off: being his charming self and getting on with all my friends as I knew he would. (Bit annoying really! He gets on with EVERYONE!) 30 mins in, the food arrives and the Dutchie looks like all his Christmases have come at once!! Gotta love English pub grub!

We’re happily chomping away on our hangover-curing delights when the Dutchie locks eyes with my friend’s 2 year old son, raises his hand to his ear, does the hand sign and booms “lekkerrrrrrrrrrrrr” in his extremely-loud-and-heavily-Dutch-accented voice. The boy ponders it for a millisecond, but no… he bursts out crying at the top of his lungs.

The whole pub goes silent, except for our table who have all fallen off our chairs laughing!! What the FUCK was that!?!

The poor Dutchie had assumed it was a universal sign! Nope, a freaky-deaky Dutch sign nonetheless!

He’s now known as the official child-scarer in our circle of friends.

Hayley x