Recommended Reads

maandag 25 februari 2013

When I picked up a copy of 'One Day' by David Nicholls, I did so because on the sleeve it had a blurp by Nick Hornby. Always a good way to sell me on a book. One of the funniest writers I know. It was only after I had finished it and -as I usually do when I liked a book- went online to see if the author has more books for me to read, that I found out that David Nicholls also wrote episodes for one of my favorite TV shows: Cold Feet. It makes a lot of sense. Just like Cold Feet the book has enough understated British humor in it, without loosing the credibility needed for the more dramatic parts. I also really liked the concept of following these characters for almost 20 years as they grow up, but only for one day of each of those years. The fact that the author did not get tempted to let all the 'key events' take place on this particular day -but still found a way to tell you what happened without it feeling forced- makes this book a very good read.

Of course -since I liked 'One Day'- I now own a copy of all of David Nicholls books. I've already read 'Starter for Ten'. It's about a young guy who has just started college and tries to simultaneously impress a girl -that's of course way out of his league- and win a TV "general knowledge" quiz. Very funny. It reminded me a bit of Adrian Mole. I'm saving 'The understudy' for another time, so maybe more about that one later.

Right now I'm reading 'Solar' by Ian McEwan. Another one of my favorite authors. This book is funnier then I expected from McEwan, but still has that oppressive vibe going on that I'm used to in his books. His main characters always annoy me -in a way that I apparently like- because they know what the right thing to do is, but are just too weak -or human- to do it. And I keep reading to see if at some point they will step up and be better people. Haven't finished it yet, so all I can tell you is: not yet.

Furniture love

vrijdag 22 februari 2013

I don't fall in love easily. My friends will vouch for that. But once I do, all reason goes out the window. And so it happened that yesterday -while roaming the internet in search of a secondhand commode in order to create some extra counter-top space in my tiny kitchen- I saw this beautiful cabinet and knew it had to be mine.

Tiny problem: I need the counter-top space mainly to put my oven somewhere. And there is no way that I am going to put an ugly oven on top of such a nice cabinet. And that's when reason left the building. Who needs extra counter-top space when you have a piece of furniture that looks this good? I'll just put my oven on my kitchen counter-top -and as a result cut my work space into half- and chop my vegetables on top of the cabinet. There. Problem solved. This cabinet is mine. Now where can I put the green locker, the blue commode and the apothecary cabinet?

If you don't have room for new furniture don't look their website, because at 'Hout en Nieuw' you run the serious risk of falling in love.

Top 5 Songs for a train ride

maandag 18 februari 2013

I travel by train about once a week. And I quite like it. Since I know this is an unusual thing to say I'll explain why.

I love living in a big city and can't see myself living anywhere else, but I also love looking out the window and seeing nothing but nature -just for one hour a week of course-. I've got two main train-ride destinations. When I go visit my mother or brother the train ride takes me straight through a forest and some sort of swamp like area, when I go to my sister's house/our Nith-office it's just farmland as far as you can look. Now, combine these views with an empty boot, a cup of coffee and -very important- the right music on your Ipod, and it is a very relaxing experience.

Personally I like to listen to either very sad music -because the wide views somehow make me feel a bit sentimental- or very bombastic music -because this music is just made for listening to through headphones-. I no particular order, since it all depends on my mood:

My Top 5: Songs for a train ride  

Don't explain - Angela McCluskey
Dust Bowl Dance - Mumford&Sons
Shirk - Meshell Ndegeocello
Some Devil - Dave Matthews
I got life - Nina Simone

Red Lentil - Chickpea Soup

donderdag 14 februari 2013

As I'm planning to post recipes on this blog every now and then, chances are that at some point you'll notice a commonality between them. I'll give you a heads up now to avoid disappointment in the future: the kind of food I love can usually be eaten from a bowl. So don't expect to find recipes for lams rack or delicate deserts here. It's mostly soup, salad and pasta that comes out of my kitchen. And nothing fancy either, just easy to make - eat while watching a dvd - dinners.

One of my favorite soups is red lentil-chickpea soup with soft goats cheese and arugula. It is very easy and will only take about 15 minutes to make. Last night I had it with a side of grilled pita bread and curry-crème fraîche dip. -I'm sorry, there's no way to translate crème fraîche. It is what it is apparently: French. You can also use sour cream.-

p.s. I wanted to make a nice picture of it, but then the battery on my camera died and my dinner was getting cold. As it turns out I'm not much of a food photographer and you'll have to settle for a snap shot made by phone. But it gives you the general idea, right?

Red lentil-Chickpea soup

Ingredients -to serve 4-:

For the soup:
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 spring onions
3,5 teaspoons of  curry powder
2,5 teaspoons of paprika powder
400 gr chickpeas
800 gr red lentils -just use canned lentils, who has the time to soak things overnight-
1 liter of chicken stock -or vegetable if you're a vegetarian- 
salt and pepper

For the topping:
some arugula
soft -or fresh- goats cheese

For the side dish:
200 ml crème fraîche or sour cream
a pinch of salt
2,5 teaspoons of curry powder
1-2 cloves of garlic
lemon juice
1 spring onion to garnish
pita bread to dip

It's easiest to make the dip first, because it's cold anyway. You can prepare the pita bread as well, but wait till your almost ready to serve to toast it so you can eat them warm.

To make the side dish:
1. take 200ml of crème fraîche or sour cream
2. stir in the -finely chopped- garlic and curry powder
3. add a splash of lemon juice and some salt to taste
4. garnish with thinly sliced spring onion
5. slice the pita bread through the middle, coat lightly with some olive oil, toast in a focaccia grill or grill pan, slice into pieces so you can dip

To make the soup:

1. use a regular pan -so not a skillet-
2. finely chop garlic and slice spring unions
3. put in the olive oil and -on medium- heat fry the garlic and onion until they start to glass over
4. add the powdered curry and paprika and stir for about 30 seconds
5. add the lentils and chickpeas -which you've drained- and stir for couple of minutes
6. add the chicken stock
7. bring it to the boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes -stir a couple of times-
8. give it a couple of whirls with a hand blender. I like it to still have some bite, but that's up to you of course
9. season with salt and ground peper
10. top with a handful of arugula, crumbled goats cheese, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and some extra ground pepper

Iconic trends. Exhibit no.2: Denim

woensdag 13 februari 2013

Some trends are iconic, never go out of style and are therefore always right.

Ok, I'll be honest. Some denim trends could do without a revival if you ask me. My theory is this: you only get fooled by a trend like stone wash jeans once. For those of us who've been around the first time, let's just use this unfortunate comback as an oppurtunity to reminisce about our teenage years and be very grateful the internet was not around then to save our highschool party pictures for all eternity.  

Exhibit no.2: Denim. 

Denim in the 50's: 
Brigitte Bardot, James Dean, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe

   Denim in the 60's: 

Flower Power, John Lennon, Woodstock

Denim in the 70's:

Farrah Fawcett, The Clash, Marvin Gaye

In the 80's:                                                                                             In the 90's:
Beverly Hills 90210, Friends
The Breakfast Club, Dirty Dancing

In the 00's:

Emma Stone, Gwyneth Paltrow

Denim Looks for Spring 2013:

Pepe Jeans, Madewell, Levi's


dinsdag 12 februari 2013

It happens to me every time. The sun shines for a couple of days and I'm fooled into thinking the worst is over, spring is here! And starts to snow again. I understand the appeal of fírst snow, but that's it. It only takes the city about an hour to turn this beautiful first snow into a greyish, slippery sludge I then have to navigate by bicycle. Best to stay in for a while, watch movies and read books. Spring will start in about a week, right?  

For the full cocooning effect you need a nice throw of course. Here are some that I like:

1. Delve
2. Interior Addict
3. Ferm Living
4. Interior Addict
5. Klippan Yllefabrik
6. House Doctor

New look, new language

maandag 11 februari 2013

Up till now the layout of my blog has been…well let’s say: the best I could do. But last week I’ve got myself a nice new layout through Blogmilk. It may still need some tweaking -I’m learning how to do this as I go- but it is definitely getting close to where I’d like it to be.
And with my new look -it seemed to me- the time has come for me to start blogging in English. It seemed weird to just do so without saying something about it. So, there it is.. new look, new language.

I hope you win! Really!



De Groningse ontwerpster Anne Varekamp van het label WFTH is al vanaf de start van Nith bij ons. En dat vinden wij meer dan leuk. Niet alleen omdat haar armbandjes niet aan te slepen zijn of omdat we gek zijn op unieke dingen (en wat is er nu unieker dan een armbandje waar je een zelf gekozen tekst op kan laten zetten?), maar ook omdat ze gewoon een ontzettend leuk mens is. 

Goed voorbeeld: Anne belde ons op met de vraag of wij niet een armbandje willen verloten onder onze facebook-"likers"? Topidee! Dus, klik op deze link en "like" onze facebookpagina. 

En als je toch aan het "liken" bent, like dan ook even Anne's facebook: WFTH! Kun je ook op de hoogte blijven van al haar nieuwtjes. Zo voorspel ik alvast dat WFTH in 2013 internationaal gaat doorbreken.

Op 2 Januari kiezen we de winnaar en maken deze via Facebook bekend. Liken dus! En ga maar alvast nadenken over een mooie tekst (je hebt 200 tekens tot je beschikking).

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