Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chinese New Years Diner

This week was my uncles Chinese association's yearly new years diner. We are always invited and always happily comply! Usually these events tend to be a combo of dance and singing performances, a raffle and of course good food. Being totally fake Asians, we don't speak any kind of Chinese. No Mandarin, Hakka or Cantonese, really nothing at all. So, we usually just enjoy the food and join the crowd in applauding when it seems appropriate :)

Benelux Tsung Tsin associationassorted meatsshrimp and mushroom soup
peking duckbroccoli and mushroomssweet and sour pork
seafood noodle basketsautéed shrimpsdon’t know what this was
fruitdessert soupraffle tickets
Happy Chinese New Year!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Baby shower fun!

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to spoil my cousin silly. She is expecting her own bundle of joy this month so we were hoping she'd get through the baby shower in one piece. Fortunately all went well and I do believe she had a great day!

We went for a birds an tree's theme and had some super gifts, games and snacks prepared. We had a basket full of cute and cuddly clothes, handy trinkets and fun toys. Instead of a diaper cake, we had a diaper stork to bring the baby some much needed nappies. A finger-tree to commemorate this day and all the loving aunties that made it possible, plus a suitcase filled with words of wisdom for our little baby boy. We used baby pictures of the aunties as a banner to decorate our room and then used it for a guessing game. It provided for great fun and great decoration!

Of course there was also a cute and yummie cake to celebrate juniors soon to be arrival. I put all my love in to making a baby block inspired cake. It consisted of six layers of vanilla cake with prune filling and sweet and sour icing. As cake topper I used a small wooden ducky piggy bank. Not only did it look great, but it would also be juniors first ever piggy bank :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Birthday to Meeeeeeee!

Today is the day I have to start telling people I'm no longer 27... 
So I had a little party to celebrate this joyful  occasion with friends and family.
We had some good food, yummie cake and partied the night away!
I can honestly say I felt very blessed to have so many wonderful people celebrate with me <3
birthday cake

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cuppies with Love


In a few day's I'm turning 28... Where did the time go?????? Like wtf!!!!!!
Let's just say, time flies when you're having fun :)

Any whose. I thought I could seize this opportunity to treat my colleagues to some sweets and try out something new. The idea was to make a bouquet of cuppies, so I decorated my cupcakes in shades of pink and white. I did some roses, rosettes and swirls. Added some hearts, flowers and shaved chocolate curls and poof my super cute cuppies were done! The bouquet part however fell through 100%. The cupcakes just wouldn't stay on their skewer... boohoo... So the bouquet was of. Ok whatever, who needs that anyway!

In the end I just put them on a serving tray with a little note telling them the who's and why. That looked fine as well :) The next challenge was getting them to work in one piece. In the end I left my personal bag at home, put all the trays in a big shopper bag and very very carefully carried them on the metro... and the train... to work... It is at times like these that I'm very thankful for simple things like anti slip cloth!

Fortunately the cuppies were a success! Everyone loved them and so did I... Muhahahaha.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Saigon Café

The other day one of my friends found an awesome deal to go try Saigon Café a newish Vietnamese Restaurant in Amsterdam. Johannes van Dam, one of Amsterdam's culinary critics, gave them a 9+ so we were very very curious.

Saigon Café is situated in on of Amsterdam's busy shopping streets the Leidsestraat. Since it's on the first floor above the McDonalds, it's not very obviously present from the outside. Once inside it's decorated in greyish warm colours. The ambiance lies somewhere in between hip-ish and a regular Asian restaurant.

I thought our diner deal was going to be a three course meal which left some choice in the dishes. I was surprised to find out that there would be no choice. Pleasantly surprised that is, cause we were going to get ALL the mentioned dishes! So here's what we got to munch on:
prawn spring roll beef sate
The prawn spring rolls were delicious, crispy on the outside with big seasoned prawns on the inside. Hmmmm. We were all hungry as hell so my friends didn't wait for me. I had to slap away their greedy hands to snap a quick pic for you to see! I had just finished munching down my prawnie when the next dish arrived, super tender beef saté seasoned with lemon grass. Very yummie as well! According to my friend it tasted almost as good as the ones her mum makes.
pho pho condiments
Next was the pho. Also very nicely done. The soup was well flavored with thin slices of tender raw beef floating in it. It also had all the right condiments served with. The only thing we were missing were hoisin sauce and some spicy sambal. Luckily the waiting staff was quick to bring some over so we could enjoy our pho to the max :)
curry chicken crispy chicken
At this point we were very impressed with their food and couldn't wait to find out what would come next.
But the main dishes were a little disappointing. It's not that they were unpleasant, but they just weren't anywhere as good as the preceding dishes. The chicken curry just didn't taste Vietnamese. In fact if they'd served it with a roti it would have been a perfect match. And the crispy chicken did indeed have marvelously crispy skin while still being juicy on the inside, but the taste just wasn't impressive at all. Such a shame.
caramel flan che
Then as desert we had some caramel flan, which was just a caramel flan. Not bad, but not great either. And the che chuoi, hot coconut custard with tapioca pearls and banana, tasted fine. All pearls where cooked through and the banana went well with the coconut flavor. In fact there was nothing wrong with it, but I just didn't really consider it restaurant worthy. Maybe I'm just bitching now, but in the short time I spent in Vietnam I had some awesome tasting che. And yes, I know that it doesn't always look very appealing, but with a little effort you can really make something nice out of it.

But don't let my bitching fool you. We had a lovely evening and we LOVED the first half of our diner. The second half was ok, but not great. They did spark enough curiosity for me to want to try their banh xeo and goi. So I do think I'll give them another try sometime soon. And like I said we had an awesome deal so we got to try ALL these dishes for the mere price of €12,50 per person. That being said, I guess we more than got our money's worth :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January totally flew by!

I hope you enjoyed my Surinamese favorites, I certainly enjoyed sharing them with you!
But still, I don't really feel like I had the opportunity to share everything I wanted to share... So I'm just going to continue sharing and sharing and sharing  ;)

If you'd like to explore Surinamese cooking a little more (and you just happen to speak Dutch...) there's an awesome cookbook "Het groot Surinaams kookboek" that's been on the market since 1976!
It was originally intended as a guidebook for the students of the domestic science school (huishoudschool) in Paramaribo, but it has been purchased and used by just about everyone. The recipes are accurate and concise, however they use a lot of Surinamese names/descriptions so it might be a little challenging for a newbie to Surinamese food. Either way if you'd like to give it a try, you can order it here.

Just the other day my cousin and I tried out their recipe for "abongra koekjes" (Surinamese sesame cookies) and they turned out nice and crispy with full sesame flavor. I wouldn't consider it one of my favorites, but they're yummie none the less :)

abongra koekjes