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Today we’re saying goodbye to summer, as it’s Autumnal Equinox tomorrow. But it’s also the day I said farewell to my colleagues in the Netherlands Police Museum – which doesn’t actually exist any more either now that it has merged with two other cultural heritage institutions.

This moment in time called for a comfort food bento in fall colours!

Goodbye Bento #195

Left tier
Simple coleslaw with avocado dressing and sweet beet salad.

Right tier
Couscous with chili, white paprika with caper and radish flowers, 2 garlic cashews and flat leaf parsley.

On the side (not shown)
Vegan banana-walnut muffin that my friend Janny baked with some plant based butter and raspberry jelly.

My colleagues gave me a gorgeous bouquet, a lovely self-made card with the sweetest wishes and a gift card for which I’m going to purchase something awesome. Summer may be waning but I feel warm inside!

Farewell bouquet from NPM colleagues

Spring birthday gift with origami flowers

In april I wrote about getting reacquainted with origami. Remember I made some flowers to decorate a present?

Some of you asked how I did it and I decided to make a video… Let me tell you: that’s easier said than done! ;) But I’m going to present my 7-minute amateur film anyway, since this month’s mission for Hello Japan! is to create some origami. And who wouldn’t want to be eligible for that awesome prize consisting of kawaii origami paper and droll geisha bookmarks?

If you’re familiar with the art of paper folding, you may want to know that we’re starting of with a bird base (of which the well-known origami crane is created), folding it into a ‘small kite’.

And if you’re an origami newbie and I’m working too quick for you — or the video is too vague, knowing this will enable you to search for additonal instructibles on the web. ;) But try and watch this first!

I have also scanned the instructions I originally used myself. They’re in Dutch so I will redirect you to some English sources and roughly translate the part I couldn’t find online.

It’s best to choose some flamed origami paper for this flower.

  1. Start with a square base with the coloured side of your paper down.
  2. Continue to make a bird base.
  3. Follow the instructions accompanying the picture below.
Instructions for Origami flower
  • Hold your bird base in front of you with the open point downwards.
  • Fold the ‘wings’ down to make a small ‘kite’ shape.
  • Now unfold the whole figure!
  • Using the same creases, fold the coloured part inwards and flatten the paper. You’ll get a 33° pyramide shape; I guess you’ll really have to watch my video for this to understand.
  • Slightly open all four sides and curl the leaves outwards with a chopstick or pencil.
  • You’re done!

Have fun!

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task relating to some aspect of life in Japan.

Organic CSA vegetables week 24, 2011

Our tomcat Ringo coming to check out the escarole among the organic vegetables again…

Amelishof organic vegetables week 24, 2011

  • Radishes
  • Broad-leaved endive
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Chinese cabbage (napa, michihli)
  • Red & green basil
  • Broccoli
  • Scapes (garlic flowers)

Organic CSA vegetables week 25, 2011

Amelishof organic vegetables week 25, 2011

  • Pointed green cabbage
  • Rhubarb
  • Red lettuce
  • Rapini (turnip tops)
  • Courgette (zucchini)
  • Snow peas
  • Parsley

It’s the last rhubarb of the season and I haven’t figured out yet what to do with it. Any ideas?

Here’s the rest of our menu plan!

Menu plan June 22-27 2011

  • Pea soup from a can [Wednesday]
  • Sambal goreng cabbage tahu (Vegetarisch Indonesisch kookboek p.93) [Thursday]
  • Szechuan noodles (leftover sauce) and Chinese cabbage with coconut (Exotic & Traditional Vegetables p.2) [Friday]
  • Simple dinner with guests before going to piano recital: Cream of tomato soup (La Dolce Vegan p.114), salad with snow peas, brownies [Saturday]
  • Imam’s Eggplant, mashed carrot salad & tabbouleh (World Food Café p.37, 39 & 31)
  • Tomato, cucumber and green pepper mezze (World Food Café p.37), Turkish lentil soup (Met machtig mooie menu’s de wereld rond p.36), leftovers

From the menu plan I previously posted I’ve already shown you the Couscous salad with Orange Basil-Tempeh and Sweet Miso Dressing. Here are the pictures of two other dinners I photographed.

Lentil loaf with scapes (garlic flowers) and Turkish takeaway leftovers

Lentil loaf (from Food for Thought podcast) and Turkish takeaway leftovers

Szechuan noodles from Vegan Family Meals

Szechuan noodles from Vegan Family Meals

Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food related post!

Even MORE strawberries this week! We have to thank that to a mix-up with our vegetables: at first only iceberg lettuce and dill were delivered to our CSA pick-up point… Now that won’t do, right? ;) When it was fixed later in the evening we got even more lettuce, dill — and two boxes of strawberries which we weren’t supposed to get at all since we had them last week. Lucky us!

Amelis'Hof CSA vegetables week 23, 2011

  • Bok Choy
  • Strawberries
  • Red beets
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Chard
  • Garlic flowers (scapes)
  • Red bundle onions
  • Dill

So there’s actually another head of lettuce and a hand of dill in the fridge; they didn’t feel like coming out for the picture. ;)

Menu plan June 9-11 2011

Dinner plans for the next couple of days:

  • Salad with couscous, orange-basil tempeh and sweet miso dressing (Vegan Family Cookbook), Moroccan tajine (freezer stash) [Thursday]
  • Japanese meal at a friends house. Our contribution: Ginger Miso Soup with Kombu Dashi (Vegan Family Cookbook) [Friday]
  • Szechuan Noodles with Hot Spicy Peanut Sauce and Pak Choi (Vegan Family Cookbook) [Saturday]

I’ve already shown you our Mexican dinner (bento) and Summer Picnic Pie, so I’ll just leave you with a picture of the Hollandse pot (‘Dutch dish’) from last week’s menu plan: broad-leaved endive mash & bangers with mushroom gravy.

"Hollandse pot" (Dutch dish): potato mash with raw endive and mushroom gravy

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task relating to some aspect of life in Japan. This month’s mission is ‘Back to School‘: to learn something, anything, about Japan.

I’ve been getting reacquainted with origami. In my early teens it was one of my biggest hobbies that started when I discovered how to fold a butterfly on an Asian open air market. It was probably the first Japanese thing I really got into — not counting my father’s enthralling stories about his childhood in a World War 2 Japanese prison camp… :\

Somewhere along the line I lost interest in the art of paper folding, but I never stopped using my golden paper fir trees as Christmas decoration! Unfortunately I can’t show you ‘cause they’re stowed away in the basement. You’ll have to wait till X-mas time! ;) Or ask Mr Gnoe whether it’s true.

Now that I’m having some kind of burnout, I’ve been looking for activities that are less intense than computer stuff, reading or watching movies. Enter: cooking, ‘gardening’ (on our small balcony), hiking & my old pastime origami. My brain is SO hazy I can’t remember a thing, not even how to fold the butterfly that I must have made a thousand times. So I started from scratch again by buying second hand copies of the instruction books I owned back in the days. Of course I had hung on to my multiple cute papers! :)

I’ve been learning how to do some of the old fav figures, but I had to learn something new for this month’s Hello Japan! challenge. Since I’ve also been looking into origata, the (related) art of gift wrapping, I here present the combined result: a spring birthday present with origami flowers I’ve never made before.

Spring birthday gift with origami flowers

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Edited to add: there’s a post up on Graasland explaining how to make these fancy origami flowers!
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As the gift is a book (Crossroads, by Niccolò Ammaniti), I also taught myself how to fold a crane bookmark. In Japan cranes are a symbol of longevity.

The mark is made of gold & blue paper: both colours symbolizing wealth. The feminine blue also represents self-cultivation, calmness and purity and pale blue is specific for April. The warm gold & cold blue tint are in harmony (yin & yang).

A present: novel & origami bookmark

But that’s not the only thing I’ve been learning this month… I also set my mind to learning how to count to ten in Japanese. I already knew how to get to eight, but now I’m trying to recognize the characters, know the digits out of order and to sum up to ten. And yes, I’ve got some proof! Listen to this. :)

1 t/m 4 in Japanese

I hope you’ve also contributed to April’s Hello Japan!? For each and every participant our host Tanabata is donating $6 (¥500) to either the Japanese Red Cross or — even more up my alley — Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue Support (JEARS)! No need to have your own blog, commenting on the challenge post is fine too.

I’ve already donated to JEARS but their work is so important that I hereby pledge to follow Nat’s example with the equivalent of €4,- per person. So please join us if you’ve got a chance!

Here’s why.

When we collected our organic vegetables at the Groenekans distribution point last Friday, we got this lovely field-bouquet.

Colourful organic field-bouquet from Groenekans

Groenekans is the second local farm we get our groceries from. It works different from Amelis’Hof in that we can pick our choice from a weekly list instead of getting a surprise batch of greens, and pre-funding is on a voluntary basis. Because we do pay an amount in advance they gave us these colourful flowers. Nice, eh? I’m not much of an expert on flora, but I bet some of them can be eaten or made into tea… Still, I like ‘em just where they are on the dining table :))

Now, on with the vegetables we got from Amelis’Hof in the last few weeks, our first (bio)organic resource. Although they didn’t only land in our kitchen this time… When Mr Gnoe and I were on a trip to Paris two weeks ago, my friend Elsje took hold of them in our place! She was sweet enough to make a photo so that we would actually know what we had missed out on :)

Amelishof CSA vegetables week 36, 2010

Amelis'Hof CSA vegetables week 36, 2010

  • Endive
  • Aubergine (eggplant)
  • Lettuce
  • Runner beans
  • Carrots
  • Flat leaf parsley
Elsjes picture of Amelis'hof CSA vegetables week 35, 2010

Elsjes picture of Amelis'hof CSA vegetables week 35, 2010

  • Lettuce
  • Yellow & pink beetroot (OMG I never had those!)
  • Corn on the cob (yum!)
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes
  • Green beans
Amelis'Hof CSA vegetables week 34, 2010

Amelis'Hof CSA vegetables week 34, 2010

  • Leek
  • Fennel
  • Lettuce
  • Green beans
  • Corn
  • Dill
  • Courgette (zucchini)

There will be a new bag of vitamins waiting for us tomorrow afternoon — the last of the summer season… I’m hoping for a really sunny loot! :))

Lily of the Valley Postcard

Today I received this lovely Postcrossing postcard from Germany: a Lily of the Valley (called lelietje-van-dalen in Dutch, and Maiglöckchen in German). Amazone, it’s sender, took great care in finding a card that suits my interests and wrote a little on the back about our similar interests. I love it when people are so kind to a (relative) stranger!

I started Postcrossing in October 2008. I stopped for a while because I received so many (view)cards with only best wishes. What I like about postcrossing is hearing from fellow earthlings around the world, so I prefer it when they actually write to me ;) And sometimes I even think I like sending cards better than receiving them… Until I get a card like today — that makes my day!

It’s been raining continuously but it’s still spring; exactly the atmosphere these lovely dewy flowers communicate to me :)

Now I’m off to draw some new addresses from the tombola. I have this huge pile of unwritten postcards sitting in my drawer and I am not allowed to buy anything new until it has decreased notably — so let’s send them off!

Lekker, deze week zowel blauwe druiven als appels in de groententas van de Aardvlo! Verse appels wel te verstaan — en geen restant uit de koeling (zoals bij de supermarkten het geval is, volgens het NRC van afgelopen maandag ;) Verder staan komende dagen op het menu: bloemkool, kropsla, maïs, rode peper (en ons eigen plantje doet al zo zijn best op het balkon!), en prei.

Trouwens, tijdens openingstijden van het Aardvlo winkeltje kun je bloemen plukken in de pluktuin (v.a 0,15 per steel). Da’s een leuke afsluiting van een wandeling op Amelisweerd. Nou ja, je moet natuurlijk eerst nog wat groente kopen en dan thee met iets lekkers nemen bij Theeschenkerij Amelisweerd. Wat een heerlijk middagje heb je dan!

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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