Wednesday 30 April 2008


Minimum effort, maximum result...
As my sewing machine is in repair, I had to come up with something else...

For long I wanted to make a nice 'something' to cover the ugly lamp on the ceiling of my son's room (couldn't find an existing one, nice enough to replace the ugly one).

Today I finally had some time to be creative... but no sewing machine...

This is the result:

Easier you can't get it: cut some strings of matching fabrics, glue them to double sided tape, glue it to the lamp... ready!
Wish you all a nice, long weekend (Labour Day!)!!

Monday 28 April 2008


Another post today...

Completely forgot to share this with you. And I really have to share this with you!!
Three weeks ago I went on a shopping trip to Jardins with a friend. Jardins is the hot spot of São Paulo, where all the hip and famous go (and those who think they're hip and famous...), you find a lot of upscale restaurants and hotels there as well as all the big (and expensive) brands.
Anyway, that's not thát interesting!
What ís interesting is that I was having coffee at the terrace of a nice coffeeshop opposite one of those hotels (Emiliano for those who know São Paulo a little bit). And all of a sudden I saw somebody crossing the street.
I said to my friend: ''wowh, this guy really looks like Pierce Brosnan". "Yeh, indeed he does", she said. The two of us not excited at all, just a handsome guy crossing the street.
But then he sat on the table next to us and ordered coffee... in the most perfect English you can imagine... It was really him!
As elegant and charming as in his movies...

Too orange?

Koninginnedag... Queens'Day

One of the traditional Dutch holidays! On April 30 the Dutch celebrate the birthday of the Queen. As the colour of the Dutch Royal family is orange,m everybody dresses in orange, the streets are orange, etc.
And although I'm far away from home, we do celebrate as well.

We've already had the Orange Ball (a gala party) and a real Koninginnemarkt/Queens' market, including a flea market, a playback show and a 'braderie', little stalls that sell all kinds of stuff. Tomorrow the Consulate of São Paulo is organizing a party as well. And last but nog least, I'm playing the role of the Dutch Queen next Wednesday at the Dutch school here in São Paulo

So for this orange month, I even changed the colours of my blog to orange. But don't worry, it won't stay too long like this (getting hyperactive...).

Sunday 27 April 2008


Have been a little bit too busy the last week, not even time to blog...

Today just a quick blog. I'd love to share one of my favorite cakes: the Spekkoek (Lapis Legit)

A legacy of Dutch colonialism, this "thousand layer cake" is often served after the 'rijsttafel' but will do equally well served with the coffee or tea. This is a very rich cake and should be served in thin slices.


225 gr butter, softened
230 gr sugar
10 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
150 gr flour
2 tablespoons confectioners (icing) sugar
Spice mixture: 2 teaspoons cinnamon. 1 teaspoon ginger. 1 teaspoon aniseed. ½ teaspoon nutmeg. ½ teaspoon cardamon. ¼ teaspoon cloves. ( all spices are ground )


Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs yolks a few at a time. In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff. Fold into yolk mixture. Fold in sieved flour. Divide batter between two bowls. Add the spice mixture to one bowl and mix in well. Line the bottom of a buttered 9" (25 cm) round cake pan (or springform pan) with wax paper and butter the wax paper. Pour about ½ cup of the spice batter into the pan, spreading to form a thin (about pancake thickness) layer. Place pan under a preheated broiler (oven grill) for 2 minutes, or until the layer is firm and very lightly browned. Spread ½ cup of the plain batter over the top and broil until firm. Repeat layering and broiling until all batter is used. Let cake cool, then remove from pan. Sprinkle top with confectioners sugar. Serve in thin very slices.
Bom apetite!

Friday 18 April 2008

Herbs, herbs, herbs

picture: dille & kamille

Cooking with fresh herbs is my addiction (ok,ok, I do have other addictions but they are not the subject here!)

I adore the scent of fresh basil, rosemary or cilantro. And what about going with your hands through a bunch of lavender leaves and then smell your hands. Heavenly!
This is one of my favorite recipees, easy and soooo fresh, yummy! (a dipping sauce to combine with beef skewers for example):

1 cup of fresh basil leaves
1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup of fresh mint leaves
1 small chile, seeded
2 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of Thai fish sauce
3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1/2 cup of chunky peanut butter

In a food processor combine the basil, cilantro, mint, chile, garlic, fish sauce, lime sauce, and peanut butter and process until smooth. Transfer to a small serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigarate until 30 minutes before serving (the dipping sauce can be made up to 1 day in advance). Try it and let me know if you liked it (or not...).

: mint goes very well in bottles or jars with table water but why not trying something new? Use some basil in it. Gives a great, different flavor to the plain water (use a whole bunch of basil sprigs and just hang them in the jar!).

Herbs, for cooking but also for decorating: I often use herbs as table decoration: the huge rosemary sprigs that are for sale here are a wonderful possibility. And so is a little twig of basil combined with a neutral colour napkin.

Ok, one confession to make: I can't keep my herbs alive... I buy and buy and buy lots of plants in small containers, but after a week, they're brown, dead, not one single green leave is left. What do I do wrong? Too wet? Too dry? Tell me!

Have a spicy weekend & enjoy the sun!
Love, C.

Thursday 17 April 2008


Living in Brazil has its advantages.

Full time personnel is one of them. I don't need to worry about the laundry, the ironing or the cleaning. One of the few things I still do is cooking a meal for the family at night. But I just leave the kitchen as it is, it will be clean again soon!
The bad thing about it (yes there is, believe me!), is always having people in your house, always noise... (ok, I must admit that the advantages are more important than the disadvantages!!), whether you're in the mood or not.

So today was my lucky day!
Nobody around!

Boy, how much I like that, I just stayed in. Didn't even fancy going anywhere!
And thus treated myself to a nice lunch in the garden (instead of a quick sandwich while running around like crazy):

A tasteful green salad with little tomatoes, basil and roasted pineseeds, a healthy roll with some french cheese and as dessert a bowl of yoghurt with fresh strawberries.

I enjoyed the calm atmosphere of my garden (even the neighbours' personnel was quiet...), savored my lunch while admiring beautiful pictures in some magazines (Country Living and British Homes & Gardens) and just was HAPPY!

Have a HAPPY day!

Love, C.

Monday 14 April 2008

Getting some rest...

It's done!

The Oranje Ball 2008 was a great success: the weather, the food, the decoration, the ambiance, the fairy-tale like garden, the amount of money we collected for charity ( or It all turned out so amazingly well, you can't imagine. I'm so happy with the results...

So, 'the day after' (yesterday), I got some rest finally...

The pictures I made turned out extremely bad (sorry!), I will show the only acceptable one:

Fortunately, we hired a professional photographer, so pictures will definitely follow later!!

Saturday 12 April 2008

Almost ready for the Oranje Ball 2008

Preparations are still going strong. The food is nearly ready (you really don't want to see my kitchen right now...)!

But today is absolutely the nicest part: decorating!
And the pictures will follow soon :-) , I promise!

And please, keep your fingers crossed that it won't rain tonight, that would really ruin the whole party... (and all the decorations).

Talk to you soon, gotta go now: party time

Enjoy your weekend!
Love, C.

Wednesday 2 April 2008

Time to bake??

Once again, I pampered myself (you can't do that enough in life, that's my opinion!!!). I ordered two books at and they arrived within two weeks in Brazil! Now, isn't thát amazing?

Here are my new treasures:

The latest Martha Stewart: Cookies

The next thing to do is to find time to really start baking.
At this moment I have a lot of cooking projects going on: coming Saturday there's an international day at my son's school and I'll be presenting the Netherlands, together with a Dutch friend. But the Dutch goodies are not te be found here, so we have to make them: boterkoek (a cake with flour, sugar and butter, very tasteful, very light...) and speculaas. Furthermore, we'll offer some real Dutch cheese with grapes on top... ánd some 'rookworst' (a kind of smoked sausage).


Apart from that, on April 12, we'll be organizing a party for the Birthday of the Dutch Queen.
This is celebrated in the Netherlands on April 30 and it's a public holiday.
In Brasil, it's not a day off of course, but we do celebrate her Birthday (unfortunately, the Queen cant attent the party this year...). The food we'll serve during this party is Indonesian. The Indonesian 'rijsttafel' offers a wide variety of dishes (we have about 9 fish and meat dishes and about 7 side dishes). Guess who needs to prepare this for 100 guests?? Yes, me, together with 4 other ladies (bless them!). It's a lot of work, the logistics, the actual buying, the chopping (guess we'll use over 200 onions, can you imagine??) and the cooking, but, I'm sure it will be a marvellous evening.
Glad I already found my cocktail dress, don't need to go shopping for that anymore, so I can dedicate all my time to cooking...

But when will I have time to prepare Martha's cookies or a recipee from the other book I ordered:

Doesn't it look delicious? Can't wait to start!

I'll keep you posted on the parties, will publish some pictures in the coming weeks!

But I gotta go now, time to start chopping...

Have a great week!

Love, C.


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