>Queensday 2009: a day that started festive but ended in drama…

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Today is a national holiday in The Netherlands, called Queensday. On this day we celebrate the Queen’s birthday and the Royal family always visits one or two towns in Holland. I was suppossed to post for CEiMB, but I won’t. As I am writing this post I am watching the television in shock. I never thought that anything like this could happen here in my peaceful little country. I don’t quite know how to discribe what I’m feeling, I’m baffled.

Today an attack on the the Royal Family took place in Apeldoorn. A car drove through a crowd watching a parade involving Queen Beatrix and her family, killing four people and seriously injuring at least 13 others. The car crashed into a monument, barely missing the open-topped bus carrying the royals. Dutch officials said the driver, who was seriously hurt in the crash, appeared to have acted deliberately. The only thing known about the man, is that he is a Dutch national aged 38.

This is a picture of the car with the driver in it,
on the background you see the open-topped bus carrying our Royal Family.
Source: http://www.nu.nl/

My thoughts go out to the victims of this attack, both the deseaced and injured, and their family and friends.

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TWD – Chocolate Cream Tart

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Tuesday again, where did the time go?? Almost totally forgot about TWD this week. I made this one pretty last minute, like last evening! When I first started to bake I baked everything pretty much last minute, on tuesdays actually, but that made me feel rushed and sometimes I wasn’t able to finish the recipe on time. So I decided to bake ahead of time: so normally I would have baked next weeks recipe last weekend. But somehow everything got scrambled up the last few weeks. 

 

 

This week Kim of Scrumptious Photography picked Chocolate Cream Tart for us to make. Kim is a wonderful cook/baker with an amazing talent for photography, I go to her blog on a weekly basis just to look at the gorgeous pictures she takes of the food she bakes. Yum!

 

The crust is easily put together, this is my sort of crust! Throw everything together, no rolling: just divide evenly in the pan and pop into the freezer for a little while before baking. Easy peasy!I had some doubts about the chocolate cream however, mainly because the recipe looked really similar to the one for the banana cream pie which I didn’t like. Also somehow I had run out of semi-sweet chocolate, so I had to use milk-chocolate. I did taste a bit of the chocolate cream after it had cooled (about a teaspoon): Oh My God, this stuff is addictive!! I absolutely loved this!!!

 

 

I made 4 mini-tarts and I’m taking them all to work today, since we don’t have a fridge at work and it’s been extremely warm for the season I won’t add the cream on top as I’m afraid it will turn bad. Today I’m starting a week of Weight Care to jump start back into weightwatchers mode and I decided that I won’t be trying this, so I’ll get report later on whether or not the coworkers liked this one. Check out what my fellow TWD-ers thought of this tart here.

 

Sunday the recipes for May were posted over at TWD and now I know that May is going to be great!! Apart from my visit to Disneyland Paris and a daytrip to Paris I have these tasty recipes to look forward to:

 

May 5- Megan of My Baking Adventures chose Tiramisu Cake on pages 266-268.
May 12- Babette of Babette Feasts picked Tartest Lemon Tart on page 336.
May 19- Kelly of Baking with the Boys selected Fresh Mango Bread on page 45.
May 26- Beth of Supplicious decided on Chipster-Topped Brownies on pages 94 and 95.

 

>Taste & Create XVIII – Mirch Masala – Asparagus Spaghetti

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This month I decided to join another interesting cookgroup: Taste & Create.
I had seen this event over at Grumpy’s Honeybunch and instantely fell in love with the idea of Taste & Create: it’s whole purpose is to create a community of bloggers who test each others’ recipes and share links. Every month you send an email to let Nicole from For the Love of Food know that you’d like to participate that month, she makes pairs and then you select one (or more) recipes to recreate from the persons blog that you’re paired with.

This month I’m paired with Superchef of Mirch Masala. Superchef is a very talented cook that has a lot of Indian recipes on her blog. My intention was to go ahead and try to recreate one of the lovely Indian dishes, but time flied this month and before I knew it it was time to post. As I was in a hurry today I made this easy-to-prepare pastadish.

I really enjoyed it, it was put together very quickly and very tasty. It gave me a chance to use my leftover spinach from the CEiMB-recipe. I absolutely loved it: the way the egg-parmesan mixture coats the pasta that makes an ordinary sauce completely absolete. Go here to check out Superchefs pasta. To see what the other creators made, visit Taste & Create.

Asparagus and Spinach Spaghetti with Garlic,
Basil and Parmesan Cheese

250 grams Spaghetti

300 grams Spinach
4 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 stalks of Asparagus, cut into 1 inch length
1 egg, beaten well
1/2 cup, grated Parmesan + more for garnish
a few basil leaves, chopped finely
a handful of sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta as per package instructions, drain and keep aside.
In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the asparagus, spinach and garlic.
Add the spaghetti to it and toss well.

Meanwhile, mix the egg and the grated parmesan in a bowl and keep aside.
Remove the sauté pan from the heat and then add in the egg-parm mix to it.

DO NOT add this mix while the pasta is on the stove as this will only scramble the eggs.
This way, the eggs cook enough in the heat of the pasta and forms
a nice smooth sauce with the parmesan.

Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Toss in the cherry tomatoes and serve with the basil leaves and
more grated parmesan as garnish.

>CEiMB: Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach

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Well, it’s Thursday today and we all know what that means: Craving Ellie in My Belly. And I am especially exited about this weeks pick. Guess why…. Because I got to choose a recipe!!! It was really difficult to decide on one recipe, ’cause The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger is filled with wonderful dishes.

I eventually selected Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach and Couscous. Chicken is one of my favourite meats to cook with, simply because it’s so versatile and I love both spinach and couscous allthough I would never have thought of putting them together in one dish.

Since I wasn’t able to find baby spinach, I simply used normal spinached: it just needed a bit more time in the pan than indicated. It took about 15 minutes to cook and I really enjoyed it! I loved the combination of the tomatoes with the balsamic vinegar. This dish is perfect for one of those nights where you don’t feel like cooking, but still want to eat a healthy and tasty meal and it will definetely be made again by me!
Check out what my fellow Ellie-istas thought of the chicken here!!
Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach and Couscous

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
8 ounces baby spinach
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-sodium canned chopped tomatoes with juice
2 cups whole wheat couscous, cooked
Directions
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove the chicken and set aside.

To the same pan, add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth to the pan and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook 3 to 5 minutes.
Place the couscous in a serving bowl. Top with the spinach, chicken and balsamic-tomato sauce.

>TWD: Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

>This week we made Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding for Tuesdays with Dorie. The recipe was picked by Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle and it was another first for me: I had never had Bread Pudding in my life.

Unfortunately I must say I wasn’t really crazy about this one… The finished product didn’t look very appealing, it sort of looked like dog food to me. I doubted the staleness of my brioche, I think it actually passed the staleness stage allthough it wasn’t moldy yet. Finally I got over my aversion and tasted the pudding.

I thought it tasted okay, but unfortunately I must say this was not my favourite Dorie-recipe so far. Some people thought the pudding was soggy, but mine was actually quite dry. Maybe I overcooked it? Since I was making miniatures I only put them in the oven for 25 minutes. The pudding was very easy to make, but I don’t think that I will make it again. I guess I’m simply not a bread pudding type of girl….

Check out what my fellow TWD-ers thought of the Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding and stay tuned for next weeks Chocolate Cream Tart!!

>Dreaming….

>Do you guys ever dream so vividly that you think it’s actually real? And do you remember your dreams? I would love to know what my dreams mean. Sometimes I dream that my teeth are falling out, apparently that means

I hadn’t remembered eny of my dreams for a while, but last night I had the strangest dream that was really vivid. During the dream I had this feeling of being happy and content. So here’s my dream:

I was at an event with a friend where I spotted this cute guy (someone I’ve actually seen several times around work at lunchtime but never talked to.) One moment later I’m standing outside on the parkinglot on my way home. As I get in my car I see the cute guy getting in his car (some sort of oldtimer), and for a long time I drive right behind him (somehow he’s taking the same route that I have to take).

Suddenly I’m actually in his car, it’s a white cabrio and we’re on a road where there’s a meadow without a fence around it on one side of the road and a hill on the other side of the road. In the meadow is a beautifulwhite horse with pink/purple spots on it, this horse jumps in front of the car, so I’m scared that we will hit it. But the horse it very fast so we miss it. As soon as the horse is on the hill it turns around and jumps back to the meadow, with a short stop at the backhood of the car, the horse does this several times…

Moments later I’m in some sort of gymclass with three or four kids, playing and having fun (I’m still an adult), the guy is there too, I want to show him something so I turn around and then I wake up…..

I can’t figure out what this dream actually means, so if any of you have some suggestions I would love to hear them!

>The Winner of my big 3-0 Cookbook Giveaway!!

>Yep, it’s time for me to choose a winner for my giveaway!! I asked people for ideas for the high tea/afternoon tea that I’ll be hosting for my 30th birthday on the 5th of July. It’s still a couple of months away, but I like to plan ahead for special occasions like this one!

I received some great ideas:

As you can imagine it was very difficult for me to choose only one of these tasty suggestions: they all sound so wonderful! I had difficulties deciding on a winner because all of the entries are sooo different. Normally I prefer sweet over savoury, but in this case I loved each and every suggestion. But since I only had one cookbook to give away I did have to pick just one…..

I finally decided on a winning recipe and before I tell you who has won I’ll tell you why this is the winner…. :

  1. This recipe is supereasy to make.
  2. This is a crowd-pleaser: out of all the entered recipes this is the only one that would actually be eaten by everyone that I will invite to my tea party because it doesn’t contain any ingredients that someone won’t eat.

So…. The winner of this cookbook is: Shelby of The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch! Congratulations!!