Limburg Red Wine Cherry Pie

Monday, December 31, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

Limburg Red Wine Cherry Pie
Cracking your head for the perfect desserts to serve to your guests during the festive seasons? Let me share with you some of my quick dessert tips.

If you are in the Netherlands, I would recommend Limburg Red Wine Cherry pie sold in Albert Heijn (AH) supermarket. Half a pie that can comfortably serve 6 person only cost 3 Euros. This famous red wine cherry pie is freshly baked and delivered daily from Limburg, the southern most provinces in the Netherlands.

The crust of the pastry is crunchy on the outside while the red cherry filling is rich without being overly sweet. It is quite addictive even just after your first few bites. You may serve the pie either cold from fridge or reheat in the oven for a couple of minutes before serving.

Since it is winter season now, I prefer my pie to be served warm. Hence I re-heated the pie in the oven for 5 minutes. Before serving, I topped my pie up with some frozen winter berries to provide the extra zing and flavor contrast between hot and cold. Yummy.... it tasted really good.

Still have some left over winter berries in your fridge? Not to worry. Just scoop one or two spoonful of sorbet (any flavour) and top it up with some frozen winter berries. Add in some whipped cream or custard if you prefers. There you go, another way to indulge yourself with great desserts without damaging your wallet.

Fruit sorbet
Winter Berries Sorbet with Frozen mixed berries

Rotterdam to Brussels in Fyra High-speed Train: Service Review

Friday, December 28, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-


Do you wish to travel from Rotterdam to Brussels in 1 hour and around 20 Euros? Fyra high speed train is your answer. I have the first hand experience in the Fyra high-speed train service during my recent trip to the capital of Belgium: Brussels. This new high-speed train service that links Amsterdam to Brussels was launched in early December and I would like to share my humble review.
Fyra High-speed train
Fyra High-speed Train
Fyra high-speed train set was designed by Pininfarina, the world renowned Italian design house that also designed a number of Ferrari super cars. The maximum speed for version v250 of Fyra train is up to 250 KM/h but only reached on certain stretch of the journey between Rotterdam and Antwerp. Operating up to 10 times a day, Fyra train service can slash an hour off the journey from Amsterdam to Brussels.

Getting a ticket for Fyra is simple. Tickets could be purchased securely online with credit card anytime of the day via NSHispeed.nl website, NS Hispeed Telesales via 0900-9296, or at the traditional ticket & service office at major train stations. You may purchase an advance ticket up to 3 months before your intended journey and typically the cheapest 'Super Saver' tickets are available if you procure earlier.

I bought my tickets online a couple of days before my departure and paid 44 Euros for the return train ticket. The train arrived on time at Rotterdam central station and I was impressed by the aerodynamic while quirky train design that coupled with a rather striking paint job. Boarding was a breeze even though the train is rather full.

Rotterdam Central & Brussels Central station
Rotterdam Central & Brussels Central Station


The blue colored seats on the 2nd class carriage is rather plush and wide with comfortable head rest. There was also ample leg room unlike the cramped economy class seats in a typical airline. Cabin noise is kept to minimal and the overall ride quality is superb. If you feel a little peckish, fear not as there are light snacks and hot beverages sold via a mobile cart on-board. I can hardly feel time flew-by as the 150 KM journey was completed quicker than I originally anticipated.

Although not the longest nor the fastest high-speed train service in the world, Fyra can certainly give the European best a run for their money. I look forward to another journey on-board of Fyra high-speed train in the near future.

Book your tickets now via nshispeed.nl to experience this fast and fuss-free Fyra high-speed train service.  


For more info and tickets, visit:
http://www.nshispeed.nl/
http://www.fyra.com/Travel

Easy & Tasty Brussels Sprouts

Thursday, December 27, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

I am always fascinated with Brussels sprouts due to their unique size and shape. They look like a miniature  round cabbage but you may be surprised that these winter veggie grew on a stalk instead of individual plant like their big sister, round cabbage.

Back home, Brussels sprouts are sold at a premium price. A small package of Brussels sprouts, around 10 buds only will easily set you back a cool MYR10 (2.5 Euros) or more.

Widely considered as one of the most nutritious vegetables, Brussels sprouts is packed full with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and even chemicals that can suppress cancer cells. Even though I have no idea how Brussels sprouts taste like, I'm keen to give it a try since winter veggie are on sales now. I brought back half a kilo of Brussels sprouts from AH supermarket, for less than a Euro. What a steal and I planned to give it a try over this long Christmas break.

Thanks to the simple recipe by Phoebe, my first attempt was a success! This easy and tasty recipe can be prepared by anyone in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients:
  • 500 grams of Brussels sprouts
  • some Olive oil
  • some Balsamic vinegar
  • some salt
  • some pepper

Instructions:
Step 1: Clean the Brussels sprouts, trim the bottom, remove the outer leaves and split each Brussels sprout into half.
Step 2: Place the sprouts in a big bowl and season well with generous amount of Olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Step 3: Transfer the sprouts into the oven tray. Take extra care to arrange the sprouts in a single layer for even baking. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes until the sprouts are moderately charred and fully tender.

It is indeed a simple dish to prepare and it tastes good too. Although it may be an acquired taste for some, a veggie lover like me is totally in love with this dish. Further inspired by another Jamie Oliver's recipe, I plan to try out stir-fried Brussels spouts with bacon next time.

Easy and tasty Brussels Sprouts
Trimmed and Split Brussels Sprouts

Easy and tasty Brussels Sprouts
Seasoned Brussels Sprouts

Easy and tasty Brussels Sprouts
Easy and tasty Brussels Sprouts

Dutch Blue Delftware: The Amazing 12700 Miles Journey

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

Delft pottery or more popularly known as Delftware refers to blue and white pottery made in and around the city of Delft in the Netherlands since the 1600s.

Royal Dutch Airline, KLM present these small Delftware in the form of old Dutch canal houses that filled with Jenever (a type of Dutch liquor) as gifts to their first and business class passengers on the long-haul flights.

 
I got these 3 beautiful Delft miniature Dutch canal houses while traveling with KLM on the Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam  flight 3 years back. While the distance between Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam is approximately 6350 miles.

Dutch Blue Delfware
KLM Dutch Blue Delftware
I was really surprised when these Blue Delft miniature houses suddenly appear while unpacking my shipment after arrival in the Netherlands. This is because I did not recall packing them for the relocation in the first place. How did these Delftware make the 6350 miles intercontinental journey then? 
Blame it on the packers. They must have accidentally wrapped and packed the miniature houses into the carton boxes to be shipped to The Netherlands. Perhaps, these 3 Dutch Blue Delftware may have just claimed the world record as the furthest traveled Blue Delft miniature houses: a total of 12,700 miles.

Tasty & Affordable Japanese Lunch Set at Genki Tei @ Den Haag

Monday, December 24, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

Weekend is all about good food.

The initial food quest for this weekend was Hong Kong cuisine. To our dismay, the shop is closed for renovation, so we opt for a Japanese restaurant nearby instead.

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I may have just found my favorite Japanese restaurant in Den Haag. The food taste great, service is prompt, ambiance is cosy and the most important thing is the affordable price tag. A lunch set price range from 7.99 to 18.75. All sets come with an appetizer, main course and miso soup.

The Katsu Gozen set we ordered had seaweeds and fish cake as appetizer, fried pork cutlets in onion and mushroom egg omelet, rice and a bowl of tasty miso soup. Absorbing all the essence from the caramelized onion, shiitake mushroom and egg, the fried pork cutlet turned out to be juicy and flavorful.  Not to mention, the portion is pretty huge too.

The Bento Fish Box was our next pick. This is a Must-Order set. Besides the standard seaweeds appetizer and miso soup, the bento comes with salmon in teriyaki sauce, assorted tempura (vegetable and seafood), fried fish cake, salad and rice. The salmon is surprisingly fresh and the tempura were fried to perfection. I especially adored the ebi tempura, it tasted superb with the tempura dipping sauce. This bento set cost just a mere 11.99.

Such a satisfying meal! Genki Tei Restaurant has just stake the claim as my top choice for affordable Japanese restaurant in The Hague.

Genki Tei
Katsu Gozen (Port Cutlet Rice With Egg & Mushroom)
Genki Tei
Bento Fish Set


Set Genki Tei 元气亭
Schoolstraat 4
2511 AX Den Haag

070 3638839

Operating Hours
Tue/Wed/Thu     12:00 – 23:00
Fri/Sat               12:00 – 24:00
Sun                   12:00 – 22:00
Close on Monday


Simple Homemade Loh Mee Recipe

Friday, December 21, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-


Braised Noodle
Yummy Loh Mee

I am a big fan of Chinese braised noodle, which also known as Loh Mee back home. The highlight of this dish is undoubtedly the thick, savory, starchy while slightly sourish egg gravy. It is pretty addictive to be honest. Most of the time, I would finish the gravy before the noodles. Perhaps I should order a bowl of Loh Mee sans the thick yellowish noodles instead.

Unlike Europe, Loh mee is widely available back home in Malaysia. Thus it never crosses my mind to try cooking a bowl myself until now. I have been painstakingly collecting all the key ingredients for over 1 month. Finally, here is my version of simple homemade Loh Mee recipe that could be prepared wihtin 30 minutes. Although this is my first attempt in creating my version of Loh Mee, I am proud to share that the end product is a great hit among friends and family.

My quick and simple homemade Loh Mee recipe. Preparation time is 10 minutes with another 20 minutes for the actual cooking.

-- Serving for 3-4 pax --

Ingredients
  • 2 packs of Japanese ramen noodles (100 grams each)
  • 1 pack of instant miso soup mix
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 200g of shrimps
  • 1 liter of water
  • fish cake (cut into slices)
  • Chinese cabbage (or your preferred vegetable)
  • 2 table spoon of Chinese rice vinegar
  • 3 table spoon of dark soy sauce
  • 3 table spoon of light soy sauce
  • 4 table spoon of corn starch mixed with equal amount of water
  • sugar to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • fried shallots
  • 1 dry chili pepper corn (optional)

Instructions
Step 1: Bring the water to boil and add in the miso paste, Chinese cabbage and dry chili pepper corn
Step 2: Add in fish cake, shrimps, vinegar, light and dark soy sauce plus sugar to taste
Step 3: Add in corn starch mixture and constantly stir the mixture until the soup thickens
Step 4: Turn off the heat and pour in the egg mixture in a circular motion. Gently stir the soup several times
Step 5: Heat up the noodle in a separate pot for 5 to 8 minutes and drain off the excess water
Step 6: Place some noodle in a bowl, pour in the soup

Lastly, serve your Loh Mee with a sprinkle of fried shallot and a dash of pepper. Best eaten with some sliced red chilli in light soy sauce. My quick and simple homemade Loh Mee recipe. Enjoy!  


The Largest Christmas Market in The Netherlands @ Dordrecht, South Holland

Thursday, December 20, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-

Visiting Christmas market is one of the Dutch traditions dated back several centuries ago. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, traditional Christmas markets will be scheduled in multiple cities around the Netherlands. 

One of the largest outdoor Christmas market in the Netherlands is in the historical city of Dordrecht in South Holland. Unbeknownst to most people, Dordrecht is the first official Dutch city and the country's earliest trading port due to Dordrecht's strategic location at the intersection of key rivers. 

Lady luck is on my side as my weekend visit to Dordrecht coincides with the Christmas market. The hour-long train ride from Den Haag was unusually packed to the brim with visitors clamoring for this once a year event.  


Dordrecht Christmas market is only held for 3 days and featuring over 200 vendors selling traditional crafts, Christmas trinkets to seasonal snacks and food. I am really impressed by the quality of the products on offered as most stalls offer real, hand-made Christmas products and not mass produced junks.Our festive mood was also elevated several notches by the live performances of bands, choirs and mini orchestras.

Dordrecht Christmas Market
Dordrecht Christmas Market
Dordrecht Christmas Market
Dordrecht Christmas Market
Dordrecht Christmas Market
Food & snacks sold in Dordrecht Christmas Market 2012
Skating Ring in Dordrecht Christmas Market
Skating Ring in Dordrecht Christmas Market

We were also pleasantly surprised to discover a skating ring or 'Ice-rink' at the Scheffersplein. Scores of teenagers can be seen with bright orange colored skates enjoying the Dutch tradition of winter skating. There were also a large white tent erected beside the skating rink that serves creamy hot chocolate or 'glühwein'.

If you are in the Netherlands during Christmas season, do not miss the largest outdoor Christmas Market in Dordrecht.

Check out more details about Dordrecht Christmas Market:
http://www.holland.com/us/Tourism/Activities/Events-in-Holland/December-1/Dordrecht-Christmas-Market.htm
www.kerstmarktdordrecht.nl (Dutch website only)

Quick and Tasty Tuna Baguette @ BackWerk or Bake&Take

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

Whenever I walk by BackWerk or 'Bake & Take' bakery shop, my heart will long for the sumptuous baguette and sandwiches due to the strong aroma of freshly baked bread. Without realizing it, I have developed a routine of stopping-by the Bake&Take Bakery (also known as BackWerk in Dutch) at Turfmarkt street to grab a quick lunch after my workshops.

There are a variety of fresh breads, sandwiches and pastries on offer daily. Just like the tagline suggested, Goedkoper. Sneller. Lekkerder! -- it is valued for money, quick and tasty. Undeniably, the snacks and sandwiches sold here are 30% to 50% cheaper than the average competitors. Plus the rolls are freshly baked everyday.

My pick for the day was the tuna baguette. I simply adore the crunchiness of their freshly baked baguette. Coupled with the savory tuna spread and fresh iceberg lettuce, it just hit all the right spots for me. At just 1.99 a pop for this delicious tuna baguette, I am indeed a happy and satisfied girl!

BackWerk
Bake&Take Tuna Baguette

Check out the links below to find out more about Bake&Take Bakery.
http://www.back-werk.nl/
http://bakeandtake.co.uk/

Ovomaltine, the perfect MILO replacement?

Monday, December 17, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-


MILO is undoubtedly my all time favorite cocoa malt drink. It has accompanied me since I can barely walk on my own. In other words, I grew up with MILO.

I always kick-start my day with a cup of hot MILO. MILO is such a fulfilling drink which you can enjoy almost anytime of the day. Either cold or hot, with or without added sugar, MILO tastes equally awesome. A glass of MILO 'O' Ice is something I look forward to quench my thirst during the hot and humid days back home. Ever since the MILO tetra pack was introduced, I made it one of the 'must-have-items' in my fridge. It is so convenient and could be offered to my guests at home too.

MILO is so versatile that you can even use it as breadspread. When I got bored with fruit jams and peanuts butter spread, I will grab my favourite MILO instead. Just sprinkle a spoonful of MILO powder on the bread, ... eemm... eemm, it tastes really good!

Ever since I have relocated to Europe, I went without MILO for over 2 months. Blame it on the tight European custom regulations that prohibit the importation of any food products with milk. I seriously miss my MILO dearly. However lady luck is on my side, I managed to score 2 sample packs of cocoa malt drink - Ovomaltine during my weekend sojourn to the near-by supermarket. Anticipation quickly turned to disappointment as Ovomaltine did not even come close to my dear MILO in terms of taste and creaminess. The complimented breadspread was also too sweet for my liking either. Perhaps my judgment was clouded due to my fondness to MILO.

I later found out Ovomaltine is actually known as Ovaltine back home but is only a relatively minor player in the cocoa malt drink sector. With little exposure it may explains why Ovomatine is not my perfect replacement for MILO.

Ovomaltine
p/s: sorry guys, there isn't any MILO's images for this post. I never thought of writing a post about MILO and hence didn't bother to take any photos of MILO while I could access it anytime ... sigh~~

How To Make The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

Monday, December 17, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-

I'm a self-confessed egg addict and could have eggs for every single meal.

I like omelet, scramble egg, poach egg, soft-boiled egg, steamed egg ... but strangely not a huge fan of hard-boiled egg. Reason being I just dislike the strong eggy smell of the greenish egg yolks once the egg is over boiled.

However, I recently discovered the perfect method to prepare hard boiled egg though internet. It works for me and so far I have a 100% record after 3 attempts. Just follow these few simple steps and everyone can make perfect hard boiled egg.

Instructions
Step 1: Place the eggs in a pot and fill the pot with tab water which enough to cover all the eggs
Step 2: Add some salt to the water and bring the water to boil
Step 3: Once the water in the pot starts to bubble, turn off the heat and cover the pot with the lid
Step 4: Set aside the pot for 15min with the lid on
Step 5: Pour off the hot water and run the boiled egg in running cold or icy water
Step 7: Peel of the egg shell and cut the eggs into half and serve

Creamy yellowish yolk ... yum!

Hard Boiled Egg
Perfect hard boiled eggs

Momiji Sushi Restaurant @ The Hague

Friday, December 14, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

My quest for good Asian food continues in The Hague.

It was a cold and windy Sunday with intermittent light shower. We decided to go for something soupy to warm us up and awake our senses. Hence, the pick for the week was Momiji Sushi, a Japanese restaurant conveniently located in the busy China Town of the Hague.

Momiji Sushi Restaurant

Momiji Sushi Restaurant
Momiji Sushi Restaurant


The interior of the restaurant is cozy and spacious. The seats are well organized with Oriental partitions to provide some privacy. It is simply an ideal place to hang out with friends and family. 

There are a wide variety of food you could choose from the menu, ranging from the usual sushi, sashimi, bento set, ramen, don (rice set), shabu-shabu to sukiyaki. We ordered a Tonkatsu don (pork cutlet rice) and a bowl of seafood ramen. 

The pork cutlet was fried to perfection, crunchy on the outside while juicy inside. The onion and mushroom omelet was nicely done too with some shredded seaweed sprinkled on top of the rice to provide added texture. It was a well executed dish.

The seafood ramen was the surprise of the day. The broth was so flavorful until I can easily gulp down 2 bowls. The chef was also generous with the amount of seafood ingredients. You would not believe a bowl of seafood ramen which was filled with two big oysters, one mussel, one big prawn, 1 scallop, half a hard-boiled egg, fish cake and seaweed only cost a mere €13. This is simply value for money.

Do give Momiji Sushi a try if you happen to visit China town in the Hague.



Tonkatsu Don @ Momiji Sushi
Tonkatsu Don @ Momiji Sushi
Seafood Ramen @ Momiji Sushi
Seafood Ramen @ Momiji Sushi


Momiji Sushi もみじ寿司
Rabbijn Maarsenplein 1
2512 HJ Den Haag

070-4277999
http://www.momijisushi.nl/

Operating hours
Mon                   14:00 – 22:00
Tue/Wed/Sun     12:00 – 22:00
Thu/Fri/Sat         12:00 – 23:00

Piping hot Netherlands delicacy for less than 1 Euro: Stroopwafels

Thursday, December 13, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

The aroma of the piping hot Stroopwafels is simply irresistible!

Sweet caramel filling oozes between 2 thin layers of crispy baked waffle batter looks so tempting until I can't wait to take a big bite. These stroopwafels not only taste good, but sold at an affordable price of 1.30/pc throughout the Netherlands.

Being a foodie myself, I know exactly how to enjoy this delicacy anytime at home for less than an Euro. Here is my tip.

I usually get the pre-packed stroopwafels from the supermarkets. When ever I crave for the sweet stroopwafels, I will take a piece of the harden stroopwafel and heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds. It tastes as good as the freshly baked stroopwafels from the food vans.

I got my pre-packed stroopwafels from Albert Heijn for an unbeatable price of 0.64 (10pc pack with discount). 3 pieces of these stroopwafels would be equivalent to the size of a freshly baked stroopwafel from the food van. Thus, I only pay 0.20 for my 'home-baked' waffles  (0.064 x 3). What a great deal !
Netherlands delicacy
Stroopwafels Van


Netherlands delicacy
Van Schaik Stroopwafels
Netherlands delicacy
EuroShopper Stroopwafels

Ngon Vietnamese Restaurant @ The Hague

Monday, December 03, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-

I am currently embarking on a quest for good Asian food in The Hague area.

My pick last week was Ngon Vietnamese Restaurant @ Den Haag. Ngon restaurant is strategically located opposite of the Old Town Hall and the Great Church (Grote Kerk) in The Hague at Dagellojkse Groenmarkt street. The restaurant could be easily spotted while you are in Tram #17 as the tram pass-by right in front of the restaurant.


  
Without making any prior booking, we decided to try our luck by patronizing the restaurant at around 2pm local time on a Saturday. Timing was just right as there were only 4 occupied tables when we entered the restaurant.

The decor of the restaurant is pretty modern with an open kitchen concept at the front. Our anticipation increased 2 fold when we noticed that the chefs were actually imported from Vietnam judging by their spoken language. The service was prompt and our food arrived in under 15min.

These were our orders:
(1) Vietnamese fried spring rolls
(2) Vegetarian fried rice
(3) Ngon's signature beef pho (with beef briskets, beef balls and beef tendon)

The Vietnamese spring rolls are highly recommended. It was filled to the brim with savory minced meat and vegetable fillings. In short, crunchy but not oily and complimented perfectly by the fish-sauce based dipping. The highlight of the meal is definitely the hot bowl of signature beef noodle. The beef broth was top notch and the chefs did not skimp on ingredients with generous topping of tender stewed beef briskets, bouncy beef balls and chewy beef tendon.

I would say the portion of the food is pretty huge for a small eater like us. Both of us were completely stuffed after the these dishes and there was no room left for desserts.

Overall, it was a very satisfying meal with acceptable price. I shall be back again for something else, perhaps some mouthwatering desserts.
Vietnamese spring roll
Vegetarian fried rice
Beef pho

Ngon Vietnamese Restaurant
Dagellijkse Groenmarkt 31
2513 AL
Den Haag

Operating hour
Mon/Wed/Thu    Lunch 12:00 - 15:00   Dinner 17:00 - 22:00
Fri/Sat/Sun        Lunch 12:00 - 15:00   Dinner 17:00 - 23:00
Close on Tuesday
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