Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Pluck Yourself Flower Farm Visit, another 101 Experience

Honestly, Europe is an amazing land.  It is vast, beautiful, full of character, sometimes contracting with modern and old clashing together, cultured and they know how to enjoy life in whichever fashion you like and stylishly - I feel.  With summer around the corner, soon I will be joined by family member on a whirlwheel tour of some of my favourite cities in North Europe.  I live in a small town but that does not stop me from looking forward to some activities every weekend.  Last weekend included. 

Sorry for the lack of food related post, I am still trying to shed that last 2.5kg off (urg!) but hooray to the 8.5kg so far :-)

In Germany, there is such a trust system when you walk into any of these flower field to pluck your own flower.  There is a general indicator, a wood piece with different hole sizes on to indicate the price of the bunch of flower you pluck when you insert your bunch in.  No one is there to collect the amount except a metal coin box present for you to drop the said amount.  Base on trust.  Well, I don´t think this will ever work in Malaysia, really ... sorry if you feel offended reading this fellow Malaysian but I think its true!

The flower field is not far from our place.  It is 5km by car ride but double the distance with bicycle.  It was sunny and windy last weekend but nevertheless a perfect day to do some cycling.  Our third weekend so far and I swear my skin is getting tan by the day.  So much for my love of tofu white looking skin!

I drove over to Netherlands to pick up some window box flowers too.  Our tomtom finally did his job.  Phew, because I was alone.  And I came back with these too.  These are call Campanula Bali. There is nothing here that reminds me of Bali.  The rose shape or colour so, point to ponder on flower names.

One of the flowers I fell in love with while plucking them from the field was this orange coloured Dahlia.  But sadly, it has very weak stalk.  With a heavy heart, I snipped them shorter before placing them in a separate vast.  It looks pretty like that too isn´t it but as I am typing this, it had already wilted beyond recognition.  And it is less than 3 days after plucking! Oh well ...

Right now, my hubby had gone almost full gear on his bicycle riding actitivy.  Last week, he came home panting with sweat dripping from head to toe just because he was trying to beat a personal record from his timer watch.  He can be so competitive like that.   How different can we get :-)  Then he went to get himself a lovely riding helmet, riding sunglasses and the like. 

Now, I am tempted :-) First, I would really like to own a CUBE bicycle.  Then a white helmet and then a pair of cycling pants which I feel is so essential because of that additional padding.  But I guess I shall wait till I get back from summer holidays first :-)

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Painting 101 Outdoor

I have a funny story to tell.  When I was young, I love to colour and paint.  It is one of those hobbies where most girls around my age does back then and I was not the exception.  Being brought up and schooled in a public school with influence of english curriculum (we had shakespeare, choir and the likes session btw) I remembered being asked to draw my house many a times during art classes and what I drew looked nothing like the house I live in Malaysia - but believe it or not, it looked more like the house I live in in Germany right now.  Funny right.  I was just telling hubby this the other day and he asked me why I did that.  I could not answer him.  Back to painting, I have been wanting to pick it up again for the longest time. And finally, I did last weekend, during one of our cycling session around the neighbourhood and I found a nice secluded spot to do just that.  I am pleased.  But I realised I´ve lost touched to the very basic of painting.  After all, its been years since.  But hubbys around and he gave me tips, so I think I survived.

Part 2 shall follow this weekend ... am hoping for pleasant weather :-)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Donut Boat Gathering @ Boathouse Almere

It rained that morning and our spirit dampen along.  We made our way to Almere Centre anyway for the preplanned dimsum breakfast.  The sky then cleared along, making way to another wonderful day with the girls. Relieve is an understatement because we´ve paid and there won´t be any refund should we decide to abandone our donut boat ride.

Each and everyone of us contributed something to the griller.  An option we opted for instead of catering their standard grill item which came with the Donut Boat rental.  Some of us made more than an item of us.  Missing food from homeland, this is our only chance to enjoy them guiltfree and sharing is caring - a motto one of the girl is fame of saying :-)

We had Thai Mango salad to work out our appetite.

While waiting for the chicken wings, Yok Kon (chinese pork jerky), sweet corn and DH Hamburg´s endowed sausage which got into hot topic of conversation :-)

DH Hoorn shared us her mum´s traditional recipe of Mui Choy Khao Yuk - preserved chinese vegetables with three layered pork belly stew.  Delish.

A lot was going on but I did not manage to snap photo of all of it.  Vegetables on skewers were not here.  So as the dessert end of the meal which one of the girls delicately skewered in beautifully.  You know who you are! Thank you so much!

Someone´s feeling the heat ... :-D

Our Calamari was ladenly soaked with Portugese Style Grill Fish Sauce.  Lovely.

Cockles made its appearance too but was dissapointingly chewy. Lesson learned.  Never ever buy frozen cockles.

Host itself prepared a special sambal sauce to go with her freshly brought prawns.  Another hit dish.

And Mackarel fish photo which I did not capture.  All equally spicy, all equally yummy because this are the taste we grew up with and it is only during such gathering that we get to enjoy them!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Malaysia´´s National Flower - The Hibiscus

Yesterday morning, I sent a mail to my beloved niece asking her what her favourite flowers are?  She answered simply `Hibiscus`! Coincidently before I opened up her email later yesterday evening, I picked up a Bellefleur Hibiscus from a local garden centre here.  Hibiscus thought common back in Asia is pretty rare here.  It comes with the most beautiful hues too for example the one seen here which my MIL planted sometime back - a rare species which came with trio of colours coming out from one tree.  I quickly sent her a photo during my email reply to her.  I shall see her reaction.

Shanghai Garden Restaurant, Den Haag

A few of the girls decided to meet up last weekend in Netherland to celebrate DH Almere´s belated birthday.  From a simple gathering plan, it ended up being a few days back to back program consisting of restaurant visits, medieval town sighseeing and even manage to meet up with DH Southlake whom was on medical leave, for a yummy dinner.  DH Southlake whom dines pretty frequently knows every nook and corner when it comes to good eatery and Shanghai Garden Restaurant is one which she highly recommend.  But be prepared, she warned as Sichuanese cuisine are known for their fiery flavour.  We came ready and were utterly not dissapointed.

I can´t read chinese so the ordering was done by those who can.  It is nice to sit back and enjoy what comes out from the kitchen.  So with that being said,  I hope my photo here would do the talking of how good, authentic it really is ...

Chicken appetiser (amazing!), Mapo Tofu (superbly executed!), Fish in Spicy Peanut Gravy (Love the sauce but could suspected Pengasius fish did not do justice to it), Dan Dan Noodle (authenticically good!), Fried Kai Lan (full of wok hei and possibly imported from Hongkong and not locally grown in Netherland), and lastly, some carbo of Fried Kuey Teow with Beef which I had to skip.

Overall it was fantastically executed, no question on where their kitchen staffs are from.  I would like to be back if given a chance and hopefully, this restaurant stand the test of time.