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Cheese fondueToday I’ve been blogging elsewhere. I posted two cheese fondue recipes on the Kookgrrls’ Weblog: Mexican fondue for Christmas, and Saint’s fondue for Sinterklaas.

If you don’t know about Sinterklaas, check out Iris on Books and Leeswammes; both have posted about it in this year’s Virtual Advent Tour.

Mr Gnoe and I originated this tradition to eat cheese fondue on St.-Nicholas’ night a few years ago. We had made this one before, using abbey cheese and wheat beer.

It is less usual for us to have another fondue at Christmas, but we had friends visiting who love a guacamole & tortilla dip, so a Mexican cheese fondue with cheddar seemed perfect.

Unfortunately for English readers of Graasland both recipes are in Dutch.

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Join Beth Fish’s weekend cooking with a food-related post!

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo

Last Day of Summer Holiday Bento #115

On the last day of our summer holiday the weather was really quite nice –  although not as good as in Paris, France ;) So when we returned from the birthday party of our just-turned-five-year-old grandniece that Sunday, Mr Gnoe and I grabbed our books and quickly assembled this snack bento for a picnic in the park. We had to eat something with our bubblies, didn’t we? :P

Here’s what we enjoyed.

  • Salad of organic plum tomatoes, fresh basil, pickled white onions and dressing of balsamic vinegar.
  • 2 types of cheese brought back with us from France: on the right Beaumont de Savoie (nice!), but I forgot the name of the other one… (as if you can see the difference ;)
  • Smiths Nibbit Cocktail potato chips (my favourite — with some others).
  • French honeydew melon.
  • Pink Prosecco wine.

Not only was it the last day of our summer vacation, it was also one of the last sunny days.

*SIGH* I’m already nostalgically looking back.

Bunny Bento #96, March 30th 2010

You know how it is with rabbits… You start with two and suddenly there’s a whole bunch of them! So, bunnies galore in bento #96. Let’s make it my 2nd entry in hapa bento’s April B.O.M.B. Challenge!

Bunny Bento #96 en routeIn my usagi sakura bento box you find a Tofu Puff Bunny snuggling up to ordinary inarizushi, a bottle of soy sauce, rucola and parsley greens, a piece of snack tempeh and two avocado maki rolls. Yesh, I made all the sushi myself :) And it was goooooooood.

The snackbox contains homemade chuka wakame (seaweed salad), no.1 farmer’s cheese — nationally elected as ‘the best’ — and bunny marshmallows. On the side I had a mandarin and spicy rooibos tea.

Almost at the end of my hikeThe bunny bento hopped along on my hike today, where it got devoured on a bench next to the water. I walked the last 9 kilometers for my 2nd 100 Mile Fitness Challenge! Deadline is tomorrow so I’m right on time :) It was a nice trail called Kortenhoefse Plassen, crossing peat lands. A bit soggy at times ;) I especially liked the end, overviewing the lakes of Loosdrechtse Plassen.

So, what’s my end total for the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge?
163 kilometers = 101 miles. Yay!

100 Mile Fitness Challenge logo

Should I go for another round? I wouldn’t have gone out today if I hadn’t needed to trot those last few miles…

Usually I don’t win any prizes… But lately I’ve been really lucky!

Velvet from vvb32 reads gave me not one, not two, but four awards!

Click on the award pics to go to the different blogposts on vvb32 reads. From left to right: I received The B for Beautiful of the The BINGO Award, the Ohh la la! I love your blog Award, The Lemonade Award (a ‘feel good’ trophy that shows great attitude or gratitude), and the Honest Scrap Award for bloggers who write from the heart.

I’m so honored! I have to answer a few questions to actually pick two of them up, so I’ll do that at the end of this post.

But my luck does not end here. I also won the cutest maki-e stickers (shiny things are excellent for a magpie like me) and mobile phone charm in the Japanese Literature Challenge at Dolce Belezza. I’m not linking to the post because I want to show them to you once they’ve arrived ;) Now I definitely need to buy an iPhone so that I can personalize it with my new goodies! ;) In situations like these I’m always thinking of Ren & Stimpy: HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!

Won: Traditional Framer's Gouda Cheese

Now for those of you who are wondering what that cheese is doing in this blogpost… It was a prize also! We’ve got a fabulous new cheese shop in our shopping center and although we missed out on the first prize, a garden kitchen, we were lucky enough to win the 2nd: real Gouda farmer’s cheese. Yum! We are actually happy to have come second because we wouldn’t have been able to fit the kitchen on our balcony anyway! LOL

Now that we’re feeling lucky we’ve bought a ticket to the New Year’s Lottery..! Keep on dreaming eh? ;)

As promised, here’s my acceptance speech for the awards…

Ohh la la! award
J’adore your blog!

Where is your favorite place to read a book?
Actually… while commuting by train! And in my reading chair at home, cosying up with da kittehs.

Bookmarks or dog ears?
Bookmarks.

What is the best book you have read so far this year?
It’s almost time to compile my top list for 2009… Best read so far is either John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath or Yasunari Kawabata’s The Old Capital. Both classics..!

Do you like to snack while reading and if so, what is your favorite snack?
Not especially, just when I feel like snacking. I have a taste for salty — but potato chips & reading do not go well together… (no grease spots in my books please ;)

Book borrower or book collector?
In 2009 I was mostly a book collector.

For the Honest Scrap award I need to disclose 10 honest things about myself…

  1. I still prefer a nickname when socializing on the web.
  2. I’m keeping my blog separated from my professional life as a museum employee.
  3. I’m a vegetarian but I sometimes crave meat.
  4. Thankfully my lust for meat vanishes when I recall why I’m a veggie.
  5. I wish I was strong enough to stop eating dairy as well — but I’m not.
  6. I feel I’m the slowest book blogger on the planet when it comes to writing reviews.
  7. Making bento’s usually takes more time than it should too :\
  8. I can’t decide on a favourite book of all-times, nor a fav author.
  9. I lied. I think David Mitchell is the best writer ever ;)
  10. I’m not very good at passing awards along.

Well, that’s pretty honest, isn’t it?! And because of confession #10 I’ll just round up with a big THANK YOU!

Last Friday’s bento (#64):
Licorice (sugarfree), crushed walnuts for the salad, farm cheese, red berries, radishes, parsley and a rice salad (rice, dried apricots, tomato, sundried tomato, parsley, cucumber, gherkin, capers, peas) with a dressing of honey, wine vinegar, raspberry vinegar, oregano, salt ‘n pepper.

Last weekend summer officially started and we’ve been having some fine weather in Holland since then! So on Thursday it was time for a mediterranean bento (#56).

Upper tier

  • currants
  • black olives
  • dressing for Greek salad
  • cashews with Provencal herbs
  • basil

Lower tier

  • Romaine leaves
  • basil
  • black olive
  • mix of feta goat’s cheese, tomato, spring onion, sundried tomato and red bell pepper

The salad leaves, paprika, basil and red currants all came from our weekly organic veggie bag!

Friday 19th’s bento (#55) was another good one :) I used a lot from our weekly bag of veggies from De Aardvlo, organic vegetable gardens nearby!

The upper tier contains a salad of corn kernels, tomato (*), red bell pepper (*), black olives, shallot, leek white (*), gherkin, lettuce (*), chickpea, basil (*), feta cheese and dressing from Oil & Vinegar fruschetta mix.

The lower tier contains:

All ingredients with ‘*’ added came from our veggiebag! For the rest of the week (until Wednesday) we only have some more lettuce, broccoli, leek, basil and garlic onions left. That will not be a problem ;)


Okee, niet iedere bento kan een schoonheidsprijs winnen ;) Ik moest vandaag weer aan het werk en had gisteravond opeens veel meer voor te bereiden dan verwacht… Bovendien is onze koelkast door de vakantie wat slecht uitgerust qua veggies en restjes. Bento #53 werd dus niet meer dan dit.Bento #53 (a quicky) by you.

  • plakjes radijs en augurk
  • SkyFlakes crackers (verstopt)
  • geroosterde amandelen met mediterrane kruiden (uit Madeira)
  • humus
  • mijn laatste geitenkaas babybel uit Frankrijk
  • basilicum en mini pruimtomaatjes
  • ontbijtkoekboompjes en honing voor erbij

Goed smaken deed het toch wel! :))

Oops, it took me a whole week to post about bento #52! It came to work on Wednesday May 20th — and it’s been my last bento up until today. I was too busy! And I don’t have to go to the office for a while now, so bento’s will be sparse in the next few weeks.

In the picture my lunch looks quite cute — but don’t be fooled! The hint is a packet of Smint…

The red stuff you see in the left hand tier is Mediterranean bean paste, which erm.. had a bit too much garlic in it :-o I don’t like tasting garlic all day, so I came prepared.

Here’s another one of Gnoe’s tips: natural & healthy remedies against garlic smell (and taste) are drinking milk, eating an apple and – last but certainly not least — chewing on a bunch of parsley. That’s after you’ve eaten garlic, not before ;) In my experience these solutions work best if you don’t apply them immediately, but after you’ve brushed your teeth without result.

Well, my apple is not in the picture but it did come along. And in the photo you can also see some fresh parsley (not enough though, LOL) — and the before mentioned package sugar free Smint for emergencies ;)

What else could be found in bento #52?

  • red leaf salad (hiding)
  • 3 conchiglioni (pasta seashells) with herbs, slightly greased with olive oil so they wouldn’t stick together
  • black olives
  • slices of orange sweet bite
  • capers, small & large
  • yellow cherry tomatoes
  • parsley (like I said)
  • yogurt coated apricot
  • roasted sunflower seeds as topping for:
  • leek salad (leeks marinated in a basil-garlic dressing)
  • Mediterranean bean paste made of white beans, tomato, red bell pepper (paprika), onion, olive oil and oven-roasted garlic (to eat with the pasta)
  • grated cheese for the conchiglioni
  • pistachios and cashews
  • cranberries

Both the leek salad and the bean paste were easy to make. But… the bean spread was best on the day it was prepared. Next day it had gotten a bit ‘watery’ and needed the salty & sour addition of capers and olives.

So, bento #52 was like a wolf in sheep’s clothes: looking cute, but with a sharp bite! Well, I got a lot of work done that day with few colleagues disturbing me ;) Which is good — is it? It was really my day off… :\

Bento #51 was not only a good beginning of the next fifty (on the way to 100!), but also a great start of the week :)

I’ve been getting questions about preparation time. Well, this bento to me a relaxed 12 minutes in the morning! Could have been quicker if I had been in a hurry! :) Of course I’m only counting throwing in the quiche, not baking it LOL. I also had the steamed green beans ready to go and I cleaned my yellow tomatoes, radishes and a carrot the night before. Nothing I couldn’t have done in a sec this morning :)

Gnoe’s tip: did you know that steaming vegetables is so much quicker and healthier when you do it in the microwave? Do follow instructions though (LOL). It sounds obvious but I know a lot of people who don’t use the microwave for cooking veggies.

Well, I’ve already mentioned some of my bento’s content but here’s the complete list:

  • yellow grape tomatoes
  • strawberries
  • red salad leaves
  • spinach pie with blue cheese, leeks, pinenuts and black sesame seeds
  • some cranberries
  • walnut and hazelnuts
  • carrot hiding under green beans
  • garden cress
  • radishes
  • basil
  • and… mini rhubarb-raspberry crumble!

As you can see I tried to do something creative with the radishes :-o I had hoped the carefully peeled skin would ‘flower’ after I had put the veggies in some ice water but… it failed ;) And yes, that experiment took place within the before mentioned 12 minutes! ;)

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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