Goodbye September, with your bright blue skies, uncharacteristically warmth temperatures & your incredible high spirits. You were a holiday, a gift; a getaway from life as it tends to be. You brought me arms full of freedom, legs full of miles & a head full of refreshed dreams. And all I can say to you is: thank you!
Goodbye beautiful September, what a lovely time we had together. So much sunlight, so much air to breath, so many adventures to go on & so many hours to spend exploring the world and my place in it. There was nature everywhere. There was the mesmerizing sea; the cold water stinging, the waves rolling in. Like a child, stretching my arms, trying to catch a ride to shore. There were the wide, empty beaches; there were unexplored possibilities in every direction, there were tracks to follow & there were seagulls going their own way. There was sand, grass & wind. There were birds, like great white clouds, sailing away from me. There were seashells in my hand, there were ships on the horizon, colourful parasols creating shade where needed. There were fields filled with flowers, curious goats at lunch, evenings to stay out & mornings to have breakfast at the break at dawn. The sun turned my skin a golden brown, white feet where my socks used to be.
Days passed. Sunny days. I followed my sand covered shoes around. Sometimes walking, sometimes peddling, sometimes resting in the spaces between. I read books, experimented in the kitchen, happily celebrated new life on the way. I was filled with joy, then filled with doubts. Conversations drifted in & out of me. A head full of things to say, I found words for some things, unexpected silence for others. I thought of all the possible things I said & all the possible things I should have said. I felt happiness & it was large as life itself. I felt both pride & regret. I remembered all the lessons I learned along the way, only to forget them moments later. And through it all, I think I was growing somehow; growing up as well as down.
Goodbye September, goodbye to your never-ending tale of human sorrow. Summer is come & gone and some of us are still waiting in vain. Waiting at borders, waiting in between the rubble which once was a city, waiting for aid, a solution or simply waiting for some compassion. Waiting for this world to become a better place, a safe haven for all & not just for a selected few. As I lived out the days of my incredible life, old & new stories sprang to life all around me. People stood gathered, remembering & mourning. Committees were assembled, summits took place, citizens from far and wide took to the streets & demanded a little bit of everything for everyone. It was good, it was brave, it was the best they could do, while I sat & wondered whether it would ever be enough.
Goodbye dear September, our time to part has come. October is waiting. Autumn is setting in. Leafs are falling. The months ahead will carefully wash the traces of this past summer from my skin. But even as I turn a lighter shade of pale, I won’t forget you, nor the colourful days you brought me. Thank you, sweet September. Thank you for all the time you gave me. All the sleep & all the waking hours. Thank you for the seaside, for the fields, the forest & the cool canopy of its trees. Thank you for the safe travels, the memories made & the promise of moments to come. And more than anything, thank you for granting me the time & space to reinvent my ‘extra’ordinary life, just in time for the holiday to end. Take care & I hope we’ll meet again…
Book: I read two Nicci French novels (my guilty holiday-pleasure:), called ‘Blue Monday’ & ‘Tuesday’s gone.’
And I read a beautiful little book called ‘For one more day’, written by Mitch Albom. It’s a great story about a son who gets to spend one last day with his deceased mother; beautifully written & great food for thought.
Series: E.R, still:)
Songs of the month:
The promise – Tracy Chapman
Motherland – Natalie Merchant
We must be crazy – Milow
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye – Leonard cohen
Take me home – Jack Savoretti
Goodbye August, with your bright sunny days & your warm, sleepless nights. How generous you have been; delivering an abundance of sweet summer sun, gorgeous bright mornings & countless numbers of mosquitos. I asked for summer & you gave me summer. And I would like to thank you for it.
Goodbye sweet August, I’ve had a great time with you. Although my legs were heavy sometimes, my throat unexpectedly sore a few days & my arms a little useless every now and then, I still had the best of times with you. Your promising mornings had me longing for fresh air; you took me out into the forest, the fields & onto the water. I went canoeing, I sat at the water’s edge, ate veggies wraps, embraced the world around me, while listening to the voices of the people I have loved all my life & will love forever more. I climbed a hillside, curious cows watched me watching them. Their beautiful brown eyes, those long lashes & the smell of life as I remember it from bygone years. With the world still half asleep, I caught the golden light of day, thanking my mind & eyes for all its wondrous wandering.
Some days, life was as it always is. I made the beds, filled bags with groceries, stood in line & wasted time. I cycled up & down this little town. I saw familiar streets, but every day in a different light. Yes, most of life was as it usually is. But it was lovely, it was sweet & it was how I wanted life to be. New cards arrived, filling me with happiness & pride. Recipes were tested; some worked out, some didn’t. I ate mangoes, blue berries, too many tomatoes & not nearly enough strawberries. My mother came: travelled hours on the train to tell me that she loves me & I couldn’t begin to explain how much that meant to me. I liked almost all of your days; especially the ones spend hiking, exploring, recharging, learning, succeeding, catching up & catching on. There was always something new & always something familiar. And I was grateful for loving the combination of the two.
Goodbye Dear August, this is a summer of broken records. A summer of moments to cheer, moments to cry, moments of joy mixing in with times of disbelieve & cold despair. This is a summer of a trembling earth, victorious athletes, disappearing villages, crazy campaigns, exploding bombs & destructive weddings. The summer of a small boy, a childlike ghost, momentarily shaking us awake, opening our eyes, until it feels appropriate to close them once again. This wondrous world kept spinning & spinning, and I was spinning along as always. Everything changed & changed, yet everything stayed the same & the same. I tried to understand, comprehend & compartmentalize. At the end of every day, I was still there & I felt thankful for it.
Goodbye beautiful August, thank you for being wonderful. Thank you for being warm, bright, kind. Thank you for the golden mornings, the empty streets, the endless walks & the lightness of it all. Thank you for the cats, the cows, the juvenile birds. Thank you for the box of mangoes, which turned out to be juicy and tasty, just like they’re supposed to be. Thanks you for all the talks, the silence & thank you for the quiet reassurance of everyday life.
September is here now; sneaking a chill into the morning air, bringing autumn a little closer. I had a wonderful time with you & hope to see you again, in all your glory, sometime next year…
Book: I haven’t been able to finish a book this month. I’m having a holiday soon though, so hopefully I can make it up in September:)
Series: E.R & some episodes of Early Edition. I watched the new episodes of Masterchef Australia 2016, which has been great so far!
Movies: ‘Heaven on Earth‘, the wonderful sequel to the equally wonderful Swedish movie;
‘As it is in Heaven.‘
Songs of the month:
Rivers – The Tallest Man on Earth
Humble me – Norah Jones
The Boy in the Bubble – Paul Simon
Yesterday I realized it’s the half of August and, besides from an unexpected post last week, it’s been awfully quiet on this blog of mine. Summer has made its appearance at last, half this town has gone on a holiday & these sunny days seem to cause an unintended hiatus on this page. But I suppose that’s alright; it’s not like many of you are at home anyway to miss my updates;)
Having said that, the month would feel incomplete without a monthly recipe to share with you. And what a lovely recipe it is. I’m sure some of you are familiar with Tarte Flambée (otherwise known as Flammkuchen) & there is a variety of similar recipes to be found on the internet. What makes this particular recipe special though, is the superb easy, tasty dough I use as a base for the tarte. Ever since learning about this curd*-based dough, I’ve been using it over & over for pies, quiches & pizzas. As some of you might know, making dough can be tricky; I recall many occasions when my short crust stuck to everything, my homemade pie fell apart or my quiche ended up having holes all over the base. And even though I am not one to get easily frustrated, the perfectionist in me can’t cope very well with broken or crumbling pies/quiches. So, this curd-based dough has been a true blessing for me & I hope it will be for you too. I know it hasn’t failed me so far. It is soft, tasty and ,above all, very easy to work with. It hardly ever sticks, it hardly ever tears & it always tastes yummy.
As for the Tarte Flambée; what can I say? It has a crispy base, it has a creamy layer & it has a delicious, sweet onion topping. It isn’t hard to make & it won’t take forever to prepare. And as for most homemade foods, it just tastes that much better than the store bought version.
The original recipe that I once used just had the onions on top, but since I’m a firm believer in eating enough vegetables each & every day, I decided to use some extra veggies as a topping. I love to add things like grilled fennel, carrots or eggplant. But you can really use any vegetable you like. The tarte is delicious without any of these extra greens, but will taste even better with them.
Well, I will leave you all to it. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below. Have yourself a lovely day, enjoy the rest of your summer & till next time….
Tarte Flambée (with roasted vegetables)
(enough for one large or two medium sized tarte flambées)
– 100 g self-rising flour
– 75 g (low fat) curd*
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– A pinch of salt
In a bowl, combine flour, curd, olive oil and salt, until it forms a firm dough and stops sticking to the side of the bowl. Roll the dough into a ball and place it in the fridge to rest for about 30 min or until you’re ready to roll it.
– ± 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 600 g onions, thinly sliced into rings/half-rings
– 125 g crème Fraiche
– 125 g (low fat) curd*
– 2 garlic cloves, grated
– ± 100 g strong cheese (gruyere, parmesan or old Gouda cheese)
– 2 tablespoons dried thyme.
– 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced and roasted
– ± 8 thin carrots, sliced in two and roasted
– Any other roasted vegetables you like
-Preheat the oven to 200° C.
-Heat the olive oil, add the onion rings, 1 tablespoon thyme and a pinch of salt. Lower the heat and cook the onions until they are softened and start to brown. Stir every so often to prevent the onions from browning too quickly. When the onions are soft, remove them from the heat and set aside.
-In the meantime, combine crème Fraiche, curd, garlic and 1 tablespoon dried thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir well.
-Take out your dough and dust your kitchen surface with some flour. Line a baking tray with baking paper or dust with oil and flour. Roll out the dough as thin as possible, the base of the tarte is supposed to be thin and crusty. Carefully, transport the dough to your baking tray.
-Spread the crème Fraiche/curd mixture over the dough. Make sure to leave a small open space around the edge, this will allow the crust to get nice and crispy.
-Spread the onion mixture over the top. If you decide to use some other roasted vegetables on your Flambée, you should add them now.
-Sprinkle the cheese and place the tarte in the oven.
-Bake for about 20 minutes or until the base is golden brown.
-Allow the tarte Flambée to cool slightly before slicing.
* Curd is otherwise known as quark or kwark and it commonly used in the many European kitchens. If you can’t find any curd where you live, you can try to use greek yohurt or cottage cheese instead. You might have to experiment a bit with the quantities though:)
Goodbye July, goodbye to your canopy of darker shades of green, your half-hearted attempts at better weather, your respectful restrain at being the full-blown summer you could chose to be.
I had a hard time writing this month’s goodbye to you, dear July. A hard time writing about the walks I made, the new things I might have learned, the small events shaping my beautiful daily life. I keep asking myself; what is a golden sunset falling across the fields behind my house, compared to all that is happening in the world around me? Is there ever an appropriate time to reminisce about a beautiful afternoon tea, shared with loved ones, when there are deaths to mourn, issues to address & demons to face?
You see, Sweet July, this wondering is rapidly turning into an ongoing battle, as I try to balance between my world, the rest of the world & the careful merging of those two. How to live in a world where there is light, as well as dark. A world where there is good & there is evil. Where there is a long awaited graduation. A kiss on a cheek. A parent with no child to take care off. Where there are flowers that last longer than expected. A battle everyone loses. Where there is the comfort of nostalgia. Where there is a man who loses everything. Where there is a safe return. There is a bridge that divides instead of connects. A night without mosquitos. No day without news. Where there is a peaceful process that is blown apart. Where there is a cup of coffee just at the right time.
A world where there is a new day. Always a hopeful, completely unmarked, new day.
And all through your 31 days, sweet July, I have been able to live out my own set of beautiful, unmarked days, full of promises of what’s to come. I’ve been cycling into each of those fresh mornings, stirring unsuspected gulls, watching the light catch on their delicate wings as they sail through the sky. I have filled my lungs at the start of every single day. I made plans in my head. I looked up & around. I cycled home, while thinking of children standing at the gates we all allowed for someone to pull up. Thinking of men and women, somewhere out there, planning & plotting scenarios worse than any movie I have ever seen, worse than all of us could ever begin to imagine. I felt frightened and happy and small and important and young and old, all at once. And as I cycled through that new day, long & unstained before me, I thought of the words of a friend. He told me that the best thing for us to do right now would be to stick together, to be kind to everyone & more than anything, to love; love each other & ourselves. And I like to think he might be right.
Goodbye Dear July, I have come to the end of my words. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to honour you in the same way as I have done the other months. But hopefully you don’t mind too much. I did have a nice time with you. So, I do want to thank you. For the walks, for the clumsy baby birds learning to fly, for the flowers everywhere. Thank you for the happy reunions & the uncomplicated partings. Thank you for uncrowded cinemas & for trips down memory lane. Thanks for all those many moments, all the many things & all those lovely instances that make up the sum of my life. Thank you for all the freedom that I’ve been given by those who went before me; the freedom of speech, the freedom of being, the priceless freedom that enables me to sit here, write this, be who I am, without taking a moment to wonder whether I should be someone else instead.
Thank you, dear July, and please remember; I love you…..
Book: ‘Shock of the Fall’, by Nathan Filer. And I read most of ‘Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding‘, by the Dutch author Paulien Cornelisse
Series: E.R, finished the Netflix original ‘Bloodline’ & watched a few episodes of ‘Early Edition’.
Movies: I saw ‘The BFG’ (the Big Friendly Giant) in the cinema, it was absolutely awesome & a real great trip down memory lane, as I used that love the Roald Dahl book as a kid.
Songs of the month:
Piece by piece – Katie Melua
What would I do without you – Drew Holcomb
Stay Gold – First Aid Kit
Day to day 6 days a week – L.A.Salami
Somebody’s Love – Passenger
At last, as promised, the Roasted Potato salad recipe.
As some of you might remember, I was planning to post this recipe last month, but I never quite got to it. Maybe I was too busy or maybe I got carried away when I thought I could easily post two recipes a month. Or maybe I simply forgot about this delicious salad, because I tend to associate the rich, creamy, yet healthy flavours with summer. And somehow summer hasn’t really started here. It rains, rains & rains again. Rivers & houses flood, grasslands turn to ponds & all my favourite warm-weather recipes wither away on the shelf in my kitchen. They’re waiting for sunny days; days warm & long enough to have dinner in the forest, watching the sun set after a dusty, hot day. They are waiting for picnics in the park, for long hikes & lazy evenings at home. But since these kind of days seem far from here & keeping this recipe from you seems a selfish thing to do, I decided to hurry up already & share it all the same.
This salad, which consists of beautifully roasted baby-potatoes, yummy carrots, runny eggs & creamy avocado dressing, is a real delight. I created it by accident one day, when throwing together all leftover vegetables we had in the house. I personally love roasted, crushed potatoes & in combination with some of my other favourite ingredients (like avocado, capers & celery) they simply taste divine. You will have to take my word for it, because if there is anything wrong with this recipe, it is the fact that it doesn’t photograph well. But it taste all the better, I promise you that:)
In the recipe below, it says that the recipe serves 2 to 4 people. This depends whether you decide to eat the salad as a main or as a side dish. It makes a healthy full meal for 2, but will also perfectly fit as side dish at a barbecue for 4 or more.
Well, I hope you enjoy this delicious salad as much as I do. Feel free to leave any questions or advice in the comments below. I’m curious to know what you think…..
Roasted potato & vegetable salad
– 1 pound baby (red) potatoes, washed and halved
– 4 or 5 carrots, washed and cut into chunks
– ± 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 2 free range eggs, medium boiled, cut into eight.
– 1 ½ ripe avocados, cut into small cubes
– ± 1 cup small tomatoes, cut into half
– 4 celery stalks, cut into small chunks
– 1 red/yellow bell pepper, cleaned and cut into chunks
– ± ½ cup fresh or canned sweet corn
– 1 tablespoon capers
– Salt & pepper to taste
– ½ ripe avocado
– 1 tablespoon mayonnaise/sour cream
– Lemon juice, to taste
– Pepper & salt, to taste
– Preheat the oven to 220°C (±430 F)
– Place potato and carrot pieces onto a baking tray. Cover with olive oil, lemon juice and salt, to taste. Place in the oven and roast for about 30/40 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are golden brown and tender.
– In the meantime, boil the eggs and prep the remaining vegetables. Now place all the vegetables, the pieces of egg and capers in a large serving bowl.
– Take the potatoes and carrots from the oven. Take the carrots from between the potatoes and add them to the other vegetables.
– Now place a large plate or clean cutting board on the roasted potatoes, put pressure on plate/cutting board and crush the potatoes. Don’t hesitate to crush them well, they should be about to fall apart when you’re done. Then carefully transfer the potatoes to the serving bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
– To prepare the dressing, simply combine all the ingredients in small bowl and mix well. If you want a really smooth dressing, place the ingredients in a food processor and let it blitz until you have the desired consistency.
– Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the serving bowl and mix well, until everything is coated with dressing.
– Season with salt and pepper & you’re all done. Enjoy!
Goodbye June. Goodbye to your restless days; the showers, the changes & all those hopeful new beginnings. Thank you for the grasslands growing, the grain swaying, the birds overhead & the rivers flowing. There was more rain than the ground could take, more heartache than our souls should take. There were swallows dancing, clouds gathering, lightning striking. You were wild & unpredictable, yet you were beautiful & brave. And I’d like to thank you for that.
Goodbye sweet June, thank you for the days I got to walk through. In the midst of your confusing sadness, you have taken the time to once again remind me of the importance of all things little. You have warned me about the weight of things larger than life; the heavy burdens of everything I cannot possible change, nor carry. And so, I set out looking for the sun behind the clouds, the silver lining at the end of the day. With a renewed lightness in my step, I hiked up a hill, I watched the sky in wonder & I adjusted my heartbeat to the unexpected rhythm of your season. And, suddenly, I felt so much lighter than before.
Living through your days, I hoped, I feared, I tried, I managed, I failed. Some things came to an end, while other patiently waited to begin. I learned new words with the same meaning. I created & conquered. I made long lists which I never finished, I set goals I decided not to reach. I watched games unite & divide. I cheered for Spain & cried for England. I let the world get to me. I read the news & became painfully aware that I too am part of a greater whole. Part of something. Something nameless & abstract, yet something that seemed to be coming apart at the seams. And all of a sudden, I felt frightened over the prospect of losing the sense of unity I had never felt before.
Goodbye Dear June. Do you wonder, like I do, what will happen now? Where we might go from here? Why do we do what we do? Why do we let fear cloud our judgement, let prejudice get in the way of who we ought to be? When did our world turn into a place where parties turn into massacres, holidays into horror? I broke down, I cried in disbelieve. I felt the loss in my heart, mind & my soul. And all that while, I understood that it was alright to feel too much at once. That the feeling of devastating sorrow, which sat in my chest, was what the world needed from me that very moment.
It ought to hurt, because it is an crime & it’s a terrible, terrible disgrace. And we should never be allowed to be numbed by all the suffering, but we should be outraged & empowered instead.
Goodbye June, thank you for everything. Let’s make way for your friend July, see if she holds the summer we somehow were unable to find. Thank you for all the wonderful moments of togetherness you send my way. Thank you for the sweet strawberries, the tasty dinners & yummy cakes. Thanks for the love of those who love me; their words, their laughter & their reassuring nearness. Thanks for the walks, the wide skies, the rain that soaked my clothes & the shower that warmed my skin. It’s time to wave goodbye now. Take care & hope to see you next year.
Book: unfortunately, I didn’t manage to finish a book this month:(
I am half way a novel called; The Shock of the Fall, by Nathan Filer. It’s promising so far…
Series: still watching E.R & mixing it up with a Netflix original called Bloodline. Furthermore, I’ve been watching a few soccer matches from the European Championships:)
Songs of the month:
Up & Up – Coldplay
Nearly Morning – Luke Sital Singh (with Gabriella Aplin)
Hold back the River – James Bay
Young as the morning, old as the sea – Passenger
This month I would love to include a lovely, colourful & incredibly creative music video I’ve been playing on repeat. This song lifts my spirit whenever it needs lifting & even though, I’m normally not crazy about music videos, I’ll gladly make an exception for this creative, funny & inspiring piece of art. Of course, it helps that I’m a huge Coldplay fan, but give it a go & who knows, you might like it too…
I feel overwhelmed by life today. After reading today’s news, I was crying over breakfast, feeling that everything was simply too much somehow. At times, I feel it’s such a complex world we live in. Not only is it hard to digest the daily portion of human suffering we’re presented with, it’s equally difficult to witness the seemingly decrease in simple human compassion & the growing sense of ‘us against them’.
Today I’m overwhelmed by life. Overwhelmed by the world & all its complicated struggles.
And I’m not writing this because I feel or pretend to have any of the answers. Because I, like many of us, don’t know how to keep us all united. I don’t know how to stop one man from shooting 49 others, nor do I know how to save families from drowning out at sea. I don’t have the power to take down fences or fix broken deals. I don’t want to be black & white in my statements, neither do I want to point fingers at the people in power, who, for all I know, are trying best they can. They are, after all, the people we, at some point, elected to represent us.
More than once in the last few years, I decided not to write down how I feel about anything concerning politics or current events, feeling it was not my place. Because it’s just me, you see. I can’t back anything up with facts & figures. I am this one single person, barely 5 feet tall. I can’t even raise my voice enough to order myself a cup of coffee, let alone start a revolution. I have never done anything worth mentioning in any history books to come & I probably never will. I know merely what I read, what I see & what I’m told.
But I know what I feel. And I have a conscience which feels an awful lot for me.
I feel we can’t go on like this. I know things have to change somehow. Something has to happen here, before the whole things spins out of control & sweeps us all along with it. I know I refuse to look back at my life & this part of history to which I will one day belong, and feel ashamed about all the things we didn’t do. I simply can’t justify living in these troubled times without taking as much as a stand, without saying as much as: ‘this is not right. It seems to me that we are moving in the wrong direction.’ I want to urge us all not to fall apart. For us to be kind & generous & open-minded & unafraid. Let’s be the very best versions of ourselves, so that we, together, can make the history books proud.
I know I’m just me. Me, with my little blog, where a handful of people will read my incoherent story about a world too huge to comprehend. Hardly anyone will take notice, hardly anyone will care what I’ve got to say. And that’s alright. I just had some things I needed to get off my chest, just needed to write this down to make some sense of it all. I hope you don’t mind & that I’ll see you around some time….