Dear readers, Meatless Monday is becoming a great dilemma for me, as I cook the food on Monday, yet I seem unable to post the recipe on the same day. Hopefully I will find the middle way, which allows me to be up-to-date with all my culinary experiments. Today I’d like to present to you a vegetable which has quickly become one of my absolute favorites. I hadn’t even had asparagus until 4-5 years ago, when it was recommended as “the Queen of Vegetables”. Back then, I found the title pompous, but each year I find myself looking forward to asparagus season.
There are two common varieties of asparagus: white and green. I prefer the white asparagus boiled or steamed, while the green asparagus tastes swell grilled, with a tiny amount of salt and olive oil sprinkled on top.
For this recipe, I chose to boil the asparagus for about 10 minutes on medium heat, after peeling them with a vegetable peeler. Peeling the stems of asparagus is very important, otherwise you might be chewing on hardened strands of its exterior layer. After 10 minutes, check the asparagus with a fork. If the fork goes quickly through the stem, it is well done, so you need to place it in a strainer.
While the asparagus was boiling, I peeled, diced and boiled 400gr potatoes. Meanwhile, I fried a diced onion in one tablespoon of cooking oil, until golden brown. When the potatoes were boiled, I drained the water. I added some chopped garlic to the frying onion, then the drained potatoes. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg. I let the potatoes fry until they were golden brown as well.
The potatoes and the asparagus all go on a plate, topped with Sauce Hollandaise and a dash of olive oil. (I love Jamie Oliver, don’t you???) I bet you are already adding asparagus to your shopping list!
Hello everyone! Today we have a great TV series to recommend. Being the TV addicts that we are, we always seek to improve our collection with captivating items. Let’s face it, contemporary viewers are so spoiled, given the huge array of shows, films and series currently available on the market. There is good television entertainment being made and broadcast, and there is also the unsavory type. The latter we do not wish to emphasize, but how can any TV afficionado pass on watching Boardwalk Empire?
I first learnt about this series on IMDB, while searching for the names of the Sopranos cast. Cousin Tony Blundetto from the Sopranos is played by the actor who is the main hero in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Once we were done watching The Sopranos series (which is remarkable to say the least), we decided to give Boardwalk Empire a try.
One major improvement is being able to watch the series in Full HD, which adds to the viewing experience. We even found the intro fascinating: thousands of bottles floating in water, landing at the feet of a man. The mystery of the bottles is quickly solved in the pilot episode of the series.
The plot in Boardwalk Empire takes place in Atlantic City, a resort on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, which was founded with the purpose of bringing pleasure and relaxation to the people of post-World War I America. The most important man in Atlantic City is Enoch (Nucky) Thompson, the City Treasurer. From his high position, Nucky Thompson controls the political and economical life of his surroundings. The first episode finds Nucky, who is quite the entrepreneur, in a new situation, caused by the beginning of the Prohibition. Together with his acolytes, Nucky devises a plan to become even wealthier by selling illegally imported alcohol. It is not easy to bypass the law, but resourceful men have always found a way to make restrictions work to their advantage.
Nucky has the police by his side (his own brother, Eli, is the local sheriff), he has a team of dedicated men who collect money and favors on his behalf, and he has all the right connections in order for his new business to succeed. As the episodes unfold, James Darmody, his protege, turns against him and tries to take over Atlantic City, with the help of his father, the Commodore. The fight for power is intense, alliances are made and broken, betrayal is common in a world where money has become a religion. This is the time when the famous gangster Al Capone comes into play.
The story is well told, the characters are depicted true to their colors, in a world where no person is completely good or completely bad. Nucky is a fierce businessman, yet he has a weakness for people in need, whom he helps with money or favors. Margaret Schroeder seems to be a good mother and housewife, still affected by the violence of her late husband, yet she has a relationship with the very man who had her husband killed. Nucky’s brother, Eli, is a family man who takes care of his father, yet his frustration makes him join the fight against Nucky. Arnold Rothstein, another famous gangster, orders for men to be killed in a perfect English language and insists that everyone uses polite, correct words while in his presence.
The script brings together several stories, with the main story being the one about the fight for power in the Boardwalk Empire: there is the story of Margaret Schroeder, an Irish immigrant who left her motherland because she was pregnant, who now finds herself living with Nucky Thompson, thus being a witness to his doings; the story of Jimmy Darmody, a young war veteran who is trying to win control over Atlantic City; the story of Al Capone, who is taking control over Chicago; the story of agent Van Alden, who works for the Prohibition, and who hates Nucky enough to do anything to hurt the latter etc.
This is a violent series, containing scenes of shootings, people killing each other for the sake of business, people breaking the law for profit, husbands and wives cheating on each other, a world so conflicted and so real, that it becomes captivating, making the viewer come back every evening for more. Boardwalk Empire is a history lesson wrapped in beautiful, lively imagery which depicts a fascinating reality.
Hello, dear readers. I trust you are enjoying the first days of spring, after such a long and cold winter. We can’t really talk of spring here in Holland, since the temperatures are a few degrees below or above 15 all year long. I prefer to call summertime the dry season, and autumn- winter-spring the rainy season. On Sunday we had 9 degrees and sun, which felt like 13, so we were able to go out in the garden and do some weed plucking. This caused blisters and dry, cracked hands. Lucky I had just bought a new tube of my all-time-favorite hand cream: the Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream.
I first bought this little wonde -in- a -pot a year ago. It came in a set with a shower gel from the same brand. The shower gel was good, but not amazing, like the Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream is to me. Firstly, Weleda is known as a almost natural brand, which strives to avoid most of the harmful chemicals other companies use in their products. Some experts will argue that Weleds products are
Expensive for what you get; no sunscreens; no exfoliants; no products to address the needs of those with acne, blackheads, or skin discolorations; heavily fragranced; lack of a robust, broad-spectrum preservative system is cause for concern; most products contain one or more irritating plant extracts, and many contain volatile fragrance components that the European Union recognizes as known allergens.
I must say this is a heavily scented cream. While I try to stay away from perfumed products for my face and hair, I am guilty of enjoying the smell of hand and body creams. The Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream smells sweet and sour, like honey and lemon, not so much like pomegranate, but I find this to be a very pleasant scent. To me, the nice scent is just another incentive to keep repurchasing this product. I recently bought a Burt’s Bees hand cream, which had all the right ingredients, and was moisturizing enough, but the smell… I just could not take that earthy, plantsy smell, so I am now using it on my feet.
Back to the Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream: it is a rather thin, lotion-like cream, which appears greasy at first, but it absorbs very quickly, leaving behing smooth skin. It has no coloring from what I can tell, which is a plus. Whenever I need moisture, I apply this cream, and I am in no need to use it again for 24h. I usually apply the Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream in the evening, before bed time. I recommend this product, it works!
INCI: Water (Aqua), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed Extract, Ruscus Aculeatus Root Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Petal Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Xanthan Gum, Fragance (parfum)*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Citronellol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Eugenol, Coumarin*. *From natural essential oils.
source : the Weleda UK website
When time is of the essence, we often choose to splurge on eating some foods that we know are not the healthiest, yet they taste so good. Can pizza be considered comfort food? For me it is, because I try to carefully select what I eat and when I eat it. With my recent move to a new house, several times I ran out of options, because I had nothing cooked, and I was not in the mood to cook.
I can remember that evening when we got back from a hard day painting walls and scrubbing floors, and we decided to order two pizzas. When the order came, it turned out that I was supposed to have spare change on hand, yet I only had a 50 euro bill. So it took us 15 minutes to go through all pockets, until we found enough coins to total 25 euros. Yes, 25 euros for two pizzas. That is when reality struck. In Romania, you’d pay around 10 euros for two home delivered pizzas.
After eating the pizzas, which were not all that great, yet another resolution came to my mind: I was not to order pizza again, at least in Holland. Therefore, the next time we craved pizza, I decided to make it from scratch. Preparing the dough was far less difficult than I had imagined, because I found the recipe booklet which had been part of my Moulinex kitchen aid set. From the first attempt, the pizza turned out great. I played around with heat settings and time settings, so I can give you the Perfect Pizza Dough Recipe.
90ml warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 sachet baker’s yeast
1 teaspoon sugar (this is my improvement, following the much more complicated Jamie Oliver recipe; it helps the yeast grow)
All you need to do is place the flour and the salt into the food processor, using the dough mixer attachment. Add the warm water, into which you have mixed the salt and the sugar. Mix for 5-6 seconds, then add the olive oil. Now remove the dough from the processor, place it in a bowl that allows for it to rise, cover it and leave it somewhere warm until it doubles in size. I believe I allowed the dough one hour or more to rise.
When the dough has risen enough, spread it on a baking sheet with your fingers, then top it with your favorite cheese, salami and so on. We tried goat cheese and (blanched) spinach, chorizo and mozarella with mushrooms, onions and paprika slices. As always in baking dough, less is more, so try not to add too much topping, and try not to place all the topping in the middle of the dough.
This recipe was made using special flour for pizza and focaccia, in a hot air oven, on the pizza setting. Each pizza took 15minutes to bake on 230 degrees Celsius.
One of the things that I believe weigh the most when preparing for a language exam is real contact with the language, via TV, radio, magazines or books. While studying for my Dutch exams, I chose to read a book, then another. The first experience was unsuccessful. I just could not persuade myself to go further. But I was determined to read at least one book before my exams, so I chose from the list of titles on my tablet. I started reading the book because the title seemed funny and relatively familiar, as if I had heard that motto before. Only later, while doing research for this article, did I realize that the title was familiar because of all the media controversy here in Holland, regarding the authenticity of the writing. As if it really matters whether everything that was said in there is true!
The story is captivating, but what got me interested from the beginning was the style and the vocabulary. Written from the perspective of a girl who didn’t study further than the age of 12, the book has a great advantage for anyone who is new to studying the Dutch language: it has a simple, clear style. I didn’t have to turn to the dictionary so often, and that eased the reading process. I read this book within 24 hours. It was sad, yet so interesting.
“Echte Mannen Eten Geen Kaas” was marketed as the real story of a girl who, at the age of 12, was forced into a life consisting of prostitution, drugs and violence. She became the victim of an older man who was the head of such a crime network, and for 4 years she participated in all the tasks she had been assigned. Despite the drug addiction, despite having to engage in selling sex for money, despite losing contact with her friends, the girl keeps lucidly analyzing the situation she is in. Although in the beginning she believed in a possible romantic envolvement with the older man, she soon becomes aware that he had turned her into a slut, later into a pimp and a drug mule. She accurately describes the techniques that are used to lure young girls into a web of decadence, yet she doesn’t feel sorry for herself, nor does she complain.
This is a story with a not-so-sad ending, because the protagonist decides to have herself commited into a shelter for troubled teens, then she accepts to fly to India, where she can start a new life, away from any bad influence. I mentioned earlier that it doesn’t matter whether the story is 100% accurate. The actions and words described are very rough, and they can obviously have a negative influence on a young person’s mind, not to mention the phisical and mental addiction to drugs. Human trafficking is a reality, and I believe this is the real message of the book. If one innocent girl can be saved from a bad life, then the purpose of the book has been met, and the media can keep advertising this title. After all, even bad publicity is good.
What does the title refer to? You will have to find out for yourself.
Dear readers, another month has quickly passed by. It feels like yesterday I drove my sister back to the airport, but that was a while ago. I’ve recently started to measure time by the empty bottles and tubes of the products I use. Living in this consumer society, I have often caved in to impulse buys, which resulted in the accumulation of way too many products in my cabinet. This is why I think the monthly Empties article is a good way to motivate myself into using everything I bought, and to refrain from buying new stuff until I’ve finished the old stuff.
Without further ado, my empties for this month are: Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion Original, Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Moisture Mist, Oriflame Milk and Honey Gold Hand and Body Cream, Ivamat Mattifying Face Cream, Dove Summer Glow, The All Natural Face Patchouli Liquid Crystal Deodorant.
The Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion in the scent Original is a wonderful product. I had read about it on a blog. It was recomended as a truly efficient moisturizer for the entire body, which it sure is. This thick, creamy lotion keeps your skin hydrated for days in a row, yet it absorbs quickly, without leaving a greasy film on the skin. There is also an Unscented version, but the Original scent smells just fine. It is a powdery, baby lotion type of smell, but it is not overpowering. Paying around 12 dollars for one liter of product is not bad at all. A great body lotion, which I have already repurchased.
Dove Summer Glow for Dark Skin is a gradual tan body lotion. This was an impulse buy, because it just cost 1 euro, so I purchased two bottles. It is not very moisturizing, but it does color the skin if used regularly. Like most self tan lotions, it develops that burnt smell, therefore I didn’t use it every single day. Dove Summer Glow delivered what it promised, so this is another product I will repurchase, as soon as I empty the second bottle.
Ivamat Mattifying Face Cream by Ivatherm is a dermatocosmetic made using thermal spring water from Romania. I bought this in September, because of a buy-one-get-one-free offer. In the beginning, I was pleased with the mattifying effects, but my skin got used to it quickly. After a while, I was using it at night, alternating it with Cetaphil. Ivamat has a gel-like texture, which is rapidly absorbed into the skin. The scent is intense, but not unpleasant. Having done some research in the meantime, I decided to no longer buy creams with a strong smell, because perfume is a potential irritant. Ivamat did not delivered what it promised, plus it is too perfumed, therefore I would not repurchase it, not even on a BOGO.
Oriflame Milk and Honey Gold Hand and Body Cream was an emotional purchase, because it reminded me of the happy years of highschool. Back then, I used to be an Oriflame representative, and this was my staple body cream, mostly because of the delicious smell. Oriflame is a rare sight in the Netherlands, so when I ran into a representative, I had to buy this cream. The smell is still the same, the effects are still the same, but now I know better. It is not extremely moisturizing, but it is not drying either. Having read the ingredients list, I realized there are almost no beneficial components, and that it contains plenty of perfume. I also seem to recall it was cheaper back in the day. Yet another product I will not be repurchasing.
I bought the Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Hair Mist three years ago, when I was preparing to go on a summer holiday. It was part of a set of three (shampoo, hair mask, leave-in conditioner), all in a convenient 100ml size. It smells delicious, like coconut and vanilla, and it makes the hair soft and frizz free. It lasted quite a long time, but I must admit I’d been using it sparingly. Would I repurchase? I doubt. There are cheaper and more efficient alternatives.
The All Natural Face Patchouli Liquid Crystal Deodorant is one of my current staple products. I have tried to find alternatives, but nothing is as good. I first heard about the harmful ingredients in antiperspirants in 2009, and I rushed to purchase a Crystal deodorant. That was difficult to find in Romania back then, and I remember paying around 10 dollars for it. The Crystal worked just fine and I still own one, but I wanted some scent in my deodorant.
Reading online about TANF , I ordered a bunch of cosmetics and a Crystal Deodorant. I’ve been hooked ever since. I alternate the spray with the roll-on. I order 5-6 pieces at a time, and this is enough for a whole year. The Patchouli Spray is my current favorite. It smells great and it stays smelling great throughout the day. I didn’t actually test it several days in a row though. I cannot recommend this product enough. It does not stop sweat, but it reduces it, and it makes your armpits smell fresh. It has no nasty carcinogenics, just hydrosols, essential oils and potassium alum. I will be writing more about the wonderful TANF products soon.
This has been a lengthy post. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and I will be back soon, with more goodies to present.
Dear readers, I want to start another tradition here at WebDelight. It is something that reminds me of my childhood. I have a serious sweet tooth, and I guess I owe this to my mother, who would bake a new cake every weekend. In my family, weekends were all about preparing for the cake, preparing the cake, fighting over who gets to lick the spoon, baking the cake, then waiting for the cake to become edible. The last part was the most dreadful, also because the longer you had to wait, the better the end result would be. The Blueberry Cheesecake is one of those recipes which require at least 24h in the refrigerator, before reaching the right taste and consistency. I guarantee it is worth the waiting.
I must confess I baked many cakes during my first two years in Holland. Lately, I prefer to prepare desserts for other people, as a small surprise, or for parties. This is why I just had to give in to temptation when Linde, my Dutch instructor, said she craved Blueberry Cheesecake. I can’t wait for her reaction when she sees the cheesecake tomorrow evening, in Dutch class!
The recipe is not very complicated. I guess the most difficult part is waiting.
250gr digestive biscuits
150gr room temperature butter
300gr cream cheese (I used Mon Chou, you can use Philadelphia as well)
4tbs powder sugar
500ml whipping cream
1 can of blueberry jam (or any other jam you prefer)
Begin by shredding the digestive biscuits in the food processor. You can also throw them in a ziploc bag, then crush them with the bottom of a mason jar.
Add the cubed butter to the biscuits, and mix until a homogeneous mass has formed. The butter needs to be well blended with the biscuits. The digestive biscuits I used were rather sweet, and so was the blueberry jam, this is why I decided to heavily cut down the sugar. This modification tasted great for us (since I want to watch my calories), but you might want to add more sugar to the cream if you are using unsweetened biscuits or if you like your cakes extremely sweet. Layer the biscuit paste on the bottom of a tray, then even if out by pressing with the bottom of a mason jar wrapped in a plastic bag.
Whip the cream until almost fluffy. From my previous cheesecake experiments, I know that there is always a risk of overwhipping the cream, which can result in curdling. Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla. When the whipped cream is almost right, add the cream cheese, one spoon at a time, and whip for 5-6 seconds each time. The cream will become thicker, due to the cream cheese.
Pour the cream over the biscuit paste and level it. It should look like this:
Now heat the blueberry jam for one minute in the microwave, 900W, or on bain marie, until it liquifies. Pour the hot jam over the cream.
Now all you need to do is rotate the tray, so that the jam is spread evenly over the cream. This works better than trying to level it with a knife of a spoon.
Ta-daa! This is the finished Blueberry Cheesecake. You may wish to divide the cream and the jam into half, and layer it: biscuit, cream, jam, and again biscuit, cream jam. Now your cake is ready for a well deserved rest in the fridge. Make sure you check on it ocasionally.
There you have it: a quick, easy, no-bake recipe which has proven to be a crowd pleaser. Enjoy!
Hello, dear readers. I am not sure whether I have ever mentioned this before, but I love spicy food. This is why I made some devilish chicken for dinner tonight. This Devilish Chicken recipe is absolutely delicious. Well, you can try it for yourself and tell me your opinion. It is inexpensive, easy to make and a fairly healthy dish (if you don’t make it extra spicy) .
I first had it in an Italian restaurant but I’m not sure about the origins of the Devilish Chicken. It might be Italian, since the recipe is well-known as “pollo alla diavola “.
one small/medium chicken, butterflied
Cayenne pepper, diced
¼ cup Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 glass of dry white wine
Take the chicken, remove any remaining small feathers, remove the neck , then wash and dry it . Place it on a cutting board and cut the chest bone a pair of kitchen scissors .Press the chicken with your hands to flatten it . Now you have a nice butterflied chicken .
Rub the chicken with olive oil and season it with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Wrap the chicken in plastic foil and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours (3-4 should be fine).
Heat the oven to 180 C, rub olive oil on a baking dish. Flatten the chicken with your hands and spray it with white wine. Keep spraying it once in a while during baking. The baking time depends on the size of the chicken; you should count on a 40 minutes for 1kg of chicken. This dish can be accompanied by some baked potatoes, grilled vegetables (in order to stick to the healthy ideas of this post), or even some raw salad.
Enjoy preparing and then eating this lovely dish!