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Tackling my back(b)log with a double bento post.

Sunny Gado-Gado Bento #155

I left summer in style with a Sunny Gado-Gado Bento. It was a lousy summertime — the more reason to brighten up my working days with a colourful lunch!

Sunny Gado-Gado Bento (01-09-2011)

Gado-gado is eaten at room temperature so it’s perfect for bento, as I’ve shared before. I bring it every once in a while; easy, ‘cause it’s made quickly steamed or cooked veggies. My only condition is that I have some leftover peanut sauce. :)

In this case there’s purple potato, cauliflower, green beans, carrots and baked plain tofu. I like to have something sour with it, hence the gherkin slices pushed aside in the corner. A cute curly chili pepper harvested from my balcony is resting on a dollop of compulsory peanut sauce.

Salad vegetables are corn on the cob, yellow bell pepper, red and orange cherry tomatoes & lettuce. More peanut sauce in the little container and homemade sambal bawang in a small holder of The Body Shop. I’ve almost ran out of my shallot sambal and got a huge harvest of peppers so I plan on making some more sambal upcoming weekend. Yay!

The SnackTaxi bag contains emping and cassava krupuk. Oh I felt like such a lucky grrl on September 1st! I just looooooove Indonesian food. :)

Fall Picnic Bento #156

The first bento of fall came along for a picnic in the park on a suddenly gorgeous autumn day (September 25th). Still, the flavours of this snack-for-two are obviously earthier in accordance with the season. It’s quite the carbo-bento!

Fall Picnic Bento #156 (25-09-2011)

Upper tier
Radishes with skordaliá (Greek garlic-potato dip) from the Ecofabulous cookbook I borrowed from the library, on a bed of lettuce.

Lower tier
Sundried-tomato hummus for the rosemary & thyme crackers on the side, pesto and cucumber slices to dip, a few pieces of apple.

Fall Picnic Bento #156 in new carrier bagOn the side (next to the already mentioned crackers): cashews and a bottle of bubbly (not shown ;)

The skordaliá was nice but a bit weird as well. It had a gooey texture and tasted VERY strongly of garlic. That did go well with the radishes but I had much left and I threw it away (which I don’t like to do) so I’m not sure whether I’ll make this again. Could be that I did something wrong though, because I didn’t make the full recipe. One should never gamble with ingredients. ;)

Anyway, it was a yummy picnic and I got to bring it in my new carrier bag that I really like! Do you?

Chinese woodblock print of orchids (postcard)

Hanakotoba is the language of flowers: emotions or messages are communicated through the symbolism of flowers. Since it turned summer on June 21st, I figured I’d tell you about the meaning of orchids.

Mahjong Guardian Stone Summer OrchidAs a mah jongg-player I thought it was THE flower of the season, orchid being the Summer Guardian Stone. But having looked into Japanese flower symbolism, I seem to be wrong! Yeah well, mah jongg is originally Chinese, so.. :) Never mind. As the game is being played in Japan as well, this post is still relevant as my submission for June’s Hello Japan! mini challenge about Flowers & Japanese Gardens. ;)

Mahjongg Card Summer OrchidStarting of with a haiku by Yosa Buson (1716 ~ 1783), translated by R.H. Blythe.

An evening orchid,
Hidden in its scent,
The flower’s whiteness
yoru no ran
ka ni kakurete ya
hana shiroshi

The orchid represents refinement. It is no common plant and it’s pleasures are reserved for the privileged few, so it is also a symbol of the rare and precious. The essence of refinement is an continual process of improvement until absolute perfection is reached.

In the art of fortune telling with mah jongg cards or stones, the Orchid Guardian protects young girls. If it appears in response to a question about a daughter or a younger female relative, it serves to allay any anxieties regarding their welfare.

I have a white orchid at home. It was a birthday gift from my aunt several years ago. White seems appropriate for a flower like this, since it indicates purity and cleanliness in traditional Japanese society, and is seen as a blessed colour because of its sacred nature: it’s the colour of the gods and therefore free of all ‘contamination’. But what is maybe best — if you’re into Zodiac signs that is (which I’m really not) — the white orchid belongs to my sign of Pisces.

White orchids

I’ll leave you with the Japanese version of a beautiful song about flowers by Einstürtzende Neubauten: Blume, sung by Etsuko Sakamaki-Haas. I invite you to listen to the English translation afterwards.

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. June’s mission is ‘Flowers and Japanese Gardens’.

This week’s pile of organic vegetables consists of romaine lettuce, carrots, zucchini, Collina apples, yellow common beans (gele spekbonen) and cilantro.

Amelis'Hof CSA vegetables week 33, 2010

Due to our ‘culinary vacation’ we have been eating out a lot so these lovely but perishable items were added to most of last week’s loot. Now we need to process all of it a.s.a.p.!

Menu plan

  • Carrot soup with ginger, coconut & cilantro, fennel-tomato salad. Apple crumble for dessert.
  • Indonesian night: nasi goreng (fried rice with leftover leek & chili pepper), sambal goreng boontjes tahoe (beans and tofu in spicy coconut sauce), tempeh goreng manis (fermented soy beans fried in sweet soy sauce), atjar ketimoen (pickled cucumber & gherkin), boiled egg, seroendeng and emping. Melon for dessert. [Friday]
  • Lasagne with grilled veggies (mainly courgette, half an eggplant, some fennel, navet, tomato sauce and home-made pesto with crème fraîche & Parmesan. Green salad with fresh herbs. Prosecco with limoncello ice cream for dessert. [weekend]
  • Eastern beet Leftover ginger-carrot soup, osèng-osèng of pointed cabbage & tempeh, rice noodles.
  • Leftover lasagne, stewed zucchini & basil (dish to be decided).
  • Red beet risotto with garden herbs, salad, courgette.

We actually have two bunches of carrots so I’m also thinking about baking a carrot pie!

Now, “what’s that about a culinary vacation,” you may ask? Our summer holiday started last week and since we’re not really going anywhere — except for some single night sleepovers — we decided we could treat ourselves to several nights of dining out!

On the evening of our last workday we started of with Turkish mezze at my favourite restaurant of the moment, Sinni in Apeldoorn. The next day we had a ‘spicy Asian sauces tasting’ with @variomatic before going to a recommendable Indonesian restaurant in Amsterdam: Long Pura, where we thoroughly enjoyed our vegetarian rijsttafel. On Tuesday we had a delicious 4-course wholesome meal in a vegetarian guest-house called Het Volle Leven (Appelscha):

  • Brie with honey on toast as amuse
  • wild mushrooms in a pastry basket with lemon-green bean salad for starters
  • vegetable ‘moussaka’ with spelt and blue berries, garden salad and fries
  • mango meringues for dessert

Next week we’ll be treated to another 4 course surprise menu in Silk Road, a grand restaurant with water view on the IJ, and thanks to the yearly Restaurant Week it’ll only cost 25 euros. Ha! After that our last culinary adventure (as far as we know now) will be a Veldkeuken garden dinner at our CSA veggie provider Amelishof next Saturday. Let’s hope the weather holds up! Huge disappointment: the garden dinner was cancelled because of too few participants! How can that be? :-o

Prize won: outdoor eating set

The picture is of a prize I won this week in a slogan contest: an outdoor eating set. I don’t often participate in this kind of competitions but since I quite liked the plates and bowls I decided to enter. Oops. Only after I had won I realized I had mistakenly assumed that they were made of plastic! It’s all real porcelain and crystal though — not the kind of thing you’d bring on a picnic. LOL Oh well, I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth ;)

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

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo


Green beans, Swiss chard, red lettuce, spring onions, opal plums and beet.

The first CSA vegetable bag from summer brings us zomerkoninkjes (‘kings of summer’) a.k.a. strawberries! With lettuce, zucchini eggplant (what was I thinking? ;), bok choi, spring onion and cilantro.

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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