Do you actually like roasted cauliflower ?
Or is it just me ? Perhaps I didn't cook it very well ... but I come from a generation that ate cauliflower decently cloaked in cheese sauce or later , influenced by Mahdur Jaffrey , as Gingery Cauliflower soup . I watch young cooks now making couscous from it ... and rather wonder why they don't just use couscous .
But then , I'm post Fanny Craddock and pre no-carbs . We post-war children were encouraged to eat everything in sight by grannies who'd battled through rationing , and experimented on by Festival of Britain mothers who wildly added gherkins or pineapple chunks to things .
My generation , armed with Elizabeth David and complete ignorance , burst with brio into a world of olive oil and After Eight mints .
I have memories of cheerfully deciding to make Beef Wellington for a dinner party ... I was 20 , I think , and only had a rough idea of how to make pastry but we and the guests survived ... though both I and the beef had turned grey with worry by the time it was served .
Still , we all learnt and ventured into moussaka , chilli and kebabs . Chicken became clichéd , cod scarcer , rabbit stew a curiosity ...
I ran away to Spain and lived there for twenty years , so I learnt how to clean and cook fish , make tortillas and hearty lentil stews and what to do with pigs trotters . Then we came to Holland and ate lots of good cheese and searched for a decent tomato and non-watery cucumber . More and more North Africans appeared and they opened shops , filled with olives and feta , proper tomatoes and chick peas . The world slowly became more organic , bread better and pineapples broke free from their tins . Had it stopped there , all would have been well ...
But somehow or other , the last year or two have taken another giant step forward ;
gluten's bad , milk's bad if it's been anywhere near a cow , carbohydrates are unmentionable in polite society , butter was bad but is now good , and this week's taste sensation appears to be ice cream made from coconut milk , green tea powder and vanilla .
And anyone worth their salt can perform miracles with cauliflowers . Well , anyone except me ...
Still , I'll just celebrate a recent brunch , simply and perfectly delicious and eaten in the best of company : perfectly fresh free range eggs with green asparagus 'soldiers ' to dip in , and freshly baked , still warm Turkish rolls from a nearby baker . And best of all , not cooked by me .
* A rather tatty recipe leaflet given out in 1928 by the Dutch Confederation of Potato Merchants , containing 90 recipes ranging from mashed potatoes to mashed potatoes with cheese ...
Had someone told me a few years ago that the best way to widen one's circle of acquaintances was to hang over a bridge with a handful of similarly idle adults , exchanging breathless updates on a bird's nest , I wouldn't have believed them .
The eight eggs have become three plump fledgelings and are , as of today , allowed out of the nest , carefully shepherded by both parents . The gloomier among us who predicted instant disaster in the form of ingestion by huge fish or being turned into mincemeat by outboard motor have been proved wrong .
The woman who won't feed them even a crust of bread in case they become "too reliant on Fast Food" is being ignored by another fan who buys them biscuits .
And the man who knows everything now says he knew they'd have three , because coots always do ... even though at first he'd said it was a ( adjective deleted ) stupid place to have nested and no good would come of it .
And , so far , I've managed not to drop my camera in the water .
I've only lived here for twenty years so can't hope to know everyone yet , unlike an extremely elderly neighbour who pointed out a wizened old chap in a scootmobile to me , yesterday , "He was my mother's milkman , you know " .
But now I'll be able to say in fifty years time , "That's the Gwyneth Paltrow woman of us waterfowl fanciers , you know ."
Of course I have been doing other things , too .
The Annual Scarf gets a centimeter longer every day . It was inspired , in part , by this poster
And by a couple of recently painted houses in Groningen
Oh , and talking of posters ...
I now find myself considering every cat I come across ... The power of advertising .
I've always liked coots. They're excellent mothers , impeccably smart in their black and white ensembles and they do build very designer-y nests .
And , as if that weren't enough , they can run on water . Magnificent !
This year ,there's a family ensconced next to the supermarket , in one of the strange emergency housing/floating window box affairs the council puts up along the canal where the water's too enclosed by high walls for nest-building .
Everyone going past is stopping to see how they're doing . On Friday we could all see eight eggs !
By yesterday evening , as passersby were hanging over the railing trying to see if any had hatched , we were rewarded by a glimpse of a rather squashed redheaded chick . And after I'd bought some tomatoes and a yoghurt , there were two ... and even more onlookers .
We're all going to have to nip along to buy something else today . Maybe we should have a club scarf ... black and white with a narrow red stripe ?
Oh , and talking about fan clubs ... It's no wonder the lady from my last post looks rather pleased with herself ; here she is in the Boijmans Museum in Rotterdam , still drawing admiring glances !
Thankyou for the advice ... you're right , of course .
This season's wardobe must have a touch of pink ; and deep olive green does go so well with certain shades of pink . Definitely a paisley shawl and a somewhat larger bonnet with slightly larger ribbons for high days and holidays . And , given the chilly wind , the football socks sound cosy .
Just not the gardening clogs or Twinkletoe's gold trainers ... I'm not convinced they're me , somehow .
J.A. Kruseman's anonymous lady* , painted in 1829 , looks so delighted with her outfit and I'm sure I will be , too .
* Doesn't she look like Mrs. Bumble !
I've spent so long this winter bundled up like Smaller Grandson that I've only just realised I've got absolutely nothing to wear . Or any idea what I'd like to wear .
All my neighbours , obviously much more organised than me , are sporting new 'tops' in peach or white that look alarmingly like the tops very old ladies with tight perms wore in the '60s . The girls going up to the college all seem to have denim shorts which they wear with black tights and football socks . Everyone female between twentyfive and fiftyfive is wearing coral-pink teeshirts , gold trainers and jeans that their knees poke out of . Every little girl has a Frozen pink tu-tu on and the drunk outside the supermarket has Frozen pink rubber gardening clogs . I only seem to have fourteen chunky jumpers and sensible shoes .
Probably time I went shopping ... but what for ?
P.S. Smaller Grandson doesn't really walk round like this usually , but he couldn't resist it at the Space Museum
It's been like living in a snow globe recently . There was a sudden wonderful burst of sunshine the other day , and I grabbed my coffee and sat on the balcony ; whereupon the heavens opened and the hailstones bounced off my toes ... my bare toes . At this rate I'm going to have to buy fur-lined slippers .
Well wrapped up , I have ventured out , though . Went to a Collectors' Fair in Utrecht with Friend , both of us showing admirable restraint ... slightly easier for me , I feel , since I can't shoehorn one more thing into my flat , much as I'd like to . Accessories seem to be the next big thing ..
And there's been an impressive exhibition of Mayan treasures in Assen Museum , which I have no photos of , since the off button on the new camera's flash is unfindable.
Never mind , I found the poster for you , where it incongruously peeked out of a shop window . Assen , the museum apart , is dying on its feet ... the building of an out-of-town Shopping Center and
the closure of the department store has taken the heart out of the town . Even the tattooist ,
Suits 4 Life , has closed its doors . It's not been helped by the town council's determination to upgrade the drains in the town center ... all at once . Next time I'm wearing waders .
Back home , a trip to the shops revealed the surprise addition of a three-story high pirate's sword in the town square . Makes a change ...
But it's now disappeared again , perhaps swept away by marauding students over the weekend ... so much more impressive than a traffic cone , after all .
Fatigued by all this excitement , yesterday I got on a country bus and enjoyed the scenery as we wandered from village to village through endless green fields and herds of dozy cows . From Wommels to Winsum , skirting Tzum and Lollum ; past windmills , barns and little churches , two or three to every hamlet all the way to Bolsward and a book sale in its Martinikerk .
As I went in , the church's huge , empty , whitewashed arched interior with a wonderful carved pulpit
and magnificent organ ( in need of repair , hence the book sale ) , was suddenly filled with song ... incredibly Ray Charles and Willie Nelson were singing 'Seven Spanish Angels ' . And just as suddenly it stopped ... the volunteers had found a Bach cd . More in keeping , perhaps , with this Reformed , very plain building .
I did find a small restored wall painting hiding up in a corner
and pottered happily along the pews , lined with the usual ancient bird books travel guides , including a pristine Illustrated Aerial Guide of the Twenty Best Roundabouts of Europe ( I decided against it , but the sale's on till June in case you need it ) , bought four paperbacks , and promising to come again , wandered up through quiet little streets to have a sandwich and resist kidnapping the cafe's little white-stockinged tabby cat who was snoozing on my feet .
I know , I'm a fraud ... Bloggers are supposed to blog , aren't they ; post about things like their garden or knitting , personal journeys , achievements ... Well , I could tell you about today's soup ; a new recipe from last week's paper :
( Frozen spinach , coconut milk and stock , a chili flake or two . Simmer briefly and blitz . Add some prawns . )
but I won't ... I'll just say that replacing the prawns with frozen salmon wasn't a huge success and I won't be making it again . Oh yes , and that a final , rather desperate shake of Fish Sauce won't help . At all .
I could tell you about the library books I'm reading but I won't ... I'll just say that of all the books I've read lately , this is the one I really , really wish I'd written
I could tell you about my knitting but we'll draw a veil over that and the less said about any sewing the better ... I'm sort of hoping that the jeans I bought in November still fit me when I finally get round to hemming the second leg ...
So I'll just show you my African violet which has just woken up again
and a rather fine cocoa goddess from Guatemala who I met in Assen , the other day .
It's just that there's a new bird perching outside my bedroom window this month and no , he doesn't tweet ... he wakes up at six every morning and starts bawling what sounds like
" Raviol-i "!!! , like some demented replacement Muppet chef . So now I'm going to eat a baked apple and lie down with my eyes closed and nod off ...
SmitoniusAndSonata is a mother and daughter collective blog.
London based Smitonius (Jessamy) makes one of a kind jewellery using vintage buttons, as well as a combination of beads from all over Europe: from lampwork ones by a range of UK artists to vintage and modern glass beads.
Sonata is a miniature quilt maker based in the North of Holland (Leeuwarden). Geraldine Keyzer is already known to collectors of Hitty dolls and owners of vintage dollhouses. She likes to use vintage as well modern cotton to create a range of quilts from simple One Patch to the more complex Grandmother's Garden.