30 December 2011

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM...A DUTCH NEW YEAR'S EVE...

Tomorrow we ring in a new year! Yeah!
*** 2012 ***
We are currently very busy in Holland. Not only with shoppings and buying fireworks.
No way…we spend the last days of December baking typical Dutch holiday pastries that we eat
at the 31st of December and the 1st of January.

By far out the most popular are: OLIEBOLLEN (raisin fritter balls)
However, I prefer the literal translation:  OIL BULBS
What about that, see the link to my Dutch nationality ☺!!!
Raisin fritters are very delicious and we Dutch eat lotsa them.

 It’s fun to build your own tower of raisin fritters and then dusting it all over with icing sugar.
(I wonder what will happen if I sneeze…hihi)

And if you do not want to bake the holiday goodies and many other yummies yourself, then 
they are widely available from bakeries, supermarkets and market stables like the one above.
 
I live in the east of Holland, and in our region it is a tradtion to bake New Year Rolls:
well known as KNIEPERTJES
They are made off normal cookie batter with a hint of vanilla, cinnamon and anise.
They are very crispy and taste delicious.
 
This is how you make them:
 

After they have cooled you fill ‘em with whipped cream….mmm

These New Year Rolls are baked for a long time. Below you see a painting of Tomas Yepes
in 1640. Here you see a whole basket full of New Year Rolls.

But by far my favorite delicacy of these days, joy of all joys…….tadaaaaaaaaa……..
Dutch APPELBOLLEN “ (Apple Dumplings)

  

This is a real Dutch treat and they are only available in this time of the year.
You need a particular apple variety: the so called GOUDREINETTEN, they taste a little sour.

Apple dumplings are made off apples (!), raisins, cinnamon, sugar, marzipan and puff pastry.
 Hmmmm I’m almost melting if I see a picture of them!

Dutch apple dumplings are delectable, free-form packages made by wrapping puff pastry around a cored apple filled with marzipan, cinnamon, sugar and raisins (rum, too, if you’re feeling frisky !!!). They’re almost like individual apple pies, but faster and easier to make, especially if you have puff pastry on hand.
 
Here is the recipe for Dutch “Appelbollen” - Apple Dumplings

The shopping list:
what you will need to bake 4 apple dumplings
  1/2 Cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 c water
1 Tbsp butter, plus 4 more tsp
4 apples, peeled and cored
2 Tbsp raisins
4 Tsp light brown sugar
cinnamon

marzipan
for each apple you need one  puff pastry square ( or French pastry), 

enough for a single crust apple dumpling.

Cooking instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350º degrees F/ 180º C. Make syrup: Place dark brown sugar, water and 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a minute or two, to thicken up. Set aside.
2. Take 1 puff pastry square. Roll or hand flatten each into a “pancake” large enough to cover a whole apple. Place each apple in the middle of its own pastry square and take a little marzipan and press it down.
3. Evenly divide raisins, light brown sugar and butter among the 4 apple core holes. Sprinkle all 4 apples with cinnamon. And for those who want to feel ‘frisky’ add a little bit of rum.
 For each one, bring up the sides of the puff pastry to cover and close in the apple. (If you like sprinkle the puff pastry with white sugar). Place apples on a rimmed baking sheet, baste with syrup and bake for 20-25 minutes, basting 2-3 more times, until golden brown.
Serve hot or cold, with icing sugar. Enjoy!!

Well…phew…

I suppose this is (or was?) my last blog post of 2012.
Enjoy the last days of December and I wish you all a great New Year's Eve.

  ♥*♥*♥ See ya in 2012 ♥*♥*♥

Oops…before I forget: 

 ♥*♥*♥ * ♥*♥*♥


24 December 2011

A very Merry Christmas to all of you

At last....tonight it is Christmas Eve.
Another year has passed us by. A year with highs and lows.
But the year 2011 had a theme: I'VE BEEN BUSIER THAN EVER BEFORE.
At least that is how I experienced this year.

First I want to thank everyone who has become a follower of my blog.
I thank you all for all your comments. I very much appreciate that.
 " It is by chance we met . . .
By choice you became blog followers "
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  You are very special and I love each one of you  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Here is my wish:
 
This is also the wish of Mr. BOOMY my very special teddy bear.
 
Boomy is very special to me, because he is one of my first teddy bears. I lost the first one.
I guess I hugged that one to much, it only remains in pictures when I was a little girl.
Boomy is from the 1950's, probably 1951-1952. 
My father won this bear at a fair, shortly after he came home from the war in Indonesia. 
He gave Boomy to his newborn niece.
When she got older Boomy moved to another niece in the family. 
And from there he moved a couple of times from one family to another.
He came into my life when I was a toddler.
I played with him endlessly and he stayed with me ever since.
Nowadays he is the keeper of the house
for he now sits on the stairs in the hall and sees everyone going in and going out
and most of all running by......ggg.
He is made off sparse mohair, stuffed with wood wool and 5-way jointed.
Don't know anything of his creator.
He has had some accidents, as his eyes, nose and mouth are not original.
My mum restored him a little bit and I still don't know what to do with him.
Restore him into the bear he once was or.....
leave him as the the teddy bear that I remember from my childhood. 
And because that memory is so special to me I decided to leave him as he is...
The picture below was taken by my father and here you can see me with Mr. BOOMY
on my 3-wheel bike. Isn't it fabulous...!!! We're quite a team...!!!

Well, I will finish this blogpost by saying that: 
 I truely hope that your Christmas days will be merry and bright, warm and cosy
and surrounded by those who are most dear to us.
And I look forward to keeping in touch with you in 2012!!!
Big bearhugs and kisses from me and Mr. Boomy to each and everyone of you.

♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥

23 December 2011

In der Weihnachtsbäckerei.....

Cinnamon Stars - Zimtsterne - Kaneelsterren
 A German-Swiss holiday favorite - and one of mine too.... ☺
*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*

With Christmas not so far away (patience dust Thea, you need to wait one more day....)
you can find me in the Christmas Bakery, (now the alternative for my kitchen).
I was born and raised on the border of Germany, I have German family and friends,
and therefore I understand this language very well.
I love this beautiful country very much and not only for their delicious pastries and pies.
Because, apart from the fact that they have the best teddy bear shows of the whole world,
they also bake the best cinnamon cookies of the whole world!!!
It has become a tradition in our house to bake these stars at Christmas.


And when you bake these cookies you simply have to sing this German song: 
♪♫♪♪♫♪  " In der Weihnachtsbäckerei ♪♫♪♪♫♪

(in the Christmas Bakery)
 




 
From the remaining batter you can create these funny cookies.
Wrap them in a cute bag and give 'em to your neighbours, they will ♥ love you 4-ever ♥


And now over to this delicious recipe:
  • 2 2/3 cups finely ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons lemon juice
  1. Stir together the almonds, cinnamon, and lemon zest until combined.
  2. Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Slowly sift in the confectioner's sugar, continuing to beat until the mixture is stiff. Set aside 1/3 cup of the egg white mixture for the glaze. Fold in the almond mixture.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C). Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a surface that has been sprinkled with confectioners' sugar. Using a 2 1/2-inch star cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and place them on the cookie sheets.
  5. To make the glaze, add the lemon juice to the reserved egg white mixture, stirring until smooth. Brush the tops of the cookies lightly with the glaze. (If the glaze starts to thicken, add a few more drops of lemon juice.)
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When done, they will be light brown and soft in the center. 
  7. Remove and cool on wire racks.
*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*♥*
Oh and if your are interested in this lovely German song, here you go.
Please note, I cannot stress this enough, this song it is at least 7 days in your head!!!
(...and sometimes even longer ☺...)
So go ahead and take the risk, I'm pretty sure that you'll love this as much as me.



20 December 2011

I can smell the scent of Christmas...

I think that I have mentioned that I love Christmas. Woo Hoo it's only a few days away...
How wonderful to stroll around and smell the scent of Christmas everywhere.
Here are a few shots from my visit at the garden center.

 Aaaahhhh...these are the cutest and coolest Santa booties that I've ever seen.
Now I have tiny feet, but unfortunately they did not fit.


If you see this beautiful Christmas stuff, you want to buy it all.
Somehow I managed to restrain myself, but it wasn't easy.... You rock Thea :o)

Tadaaaa.....it's simple and easy to create a major effect...

 Christmas balls keep fallin' on my head :o)


It looks like a big Christmas Blow Out Sale....!!!!

 
But there is an exception to every rule, especially when you love wrens.
I got weak knees when I saw this little bird...I counld not resist, so it's all mine now.
It was love at first sight.

 Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas Tree, how immense do I love thee


And now I'm off......into my Christmas Bakery and start baking
those delicious christmas cinnamon stars.
Yummmmmmmmm!!!
SO WATCH THIS SPACE

16 December 2011

Painting the Past

Christmas is really getting closer each day.
You simply cannot deny it...as if I ever could....I love this time of the year.
Besides warehouses and garden centers, you can visit various Christmas markets
and other events.
And one of the most beautiful events to visit is our local historical spectacle.
Last weekend our village went back in time to the year 1830.
This is always a great event and has also become well known in the Netherlands.
Visitors come from everywhere to " PAINT THE PAST ".
As usual the amount of impressions was just too much, but here are a few:

Sing a welcome song......
    The Major......................and...........................the Piper

Local children gave their " Acte de Présence "
An awesome abacus...I wish I was mine....

LOOK OUT: Chickens on transport!!!


Awww.... two poor girls dressend in old rags, bagging for food and money...
I'll bet they love eatin' "our" crispy french fries :o)
 

It was just one day, but one day to remember.


Have fun to prepare yourselves for the most beautiful time of the year.
I know I will.

06 December 2011

I LOVE HER TO BITS....

Falling in love with your own pet. Does it seem familiar to anyone?
Sometimes Ymke, my dog, can be so funny, creative and weird. 
Take a look at the snapshot below that I took from her.
First of all, remember this, it is always good to have a camera lying somewhere... :o)

I love my dog very much, but there are strict rules like this one: 
IN MY STUDIO!!!!
But sometimes she sneakes into my studio, just like yesterday. I did not hear her come in.
I have a babysitter in my studio which I wanted to sell.
Apparently Ymke tought it was a nice place to sleep. I was working on my new piece from the previous post and when I turned around I found her like this:

Ain't she sweet-looking?
I LOVE HER TOO BITS...!!!
Where would she dream about...??? I would like to know. Do you have an idea??

And apparently Ymke is not the only dog who is lying in someone else's bed.
And I found this funny video of Glenn Page and his doggy Lullaby song
" TIME TO SLEEP "
Hope you will enjoy it as much as I did :o)