Showing posts with label hobby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hobby. Show all posts

July 14, 2011

Chesapeake Retrievers

I absolutely adore these dogs! :)
Chesapeake Retriever (Chessie). Cute. Loving. Active. Strong (willed). Like myself :) Haha
chesapeake bay retriever

May 9, 2011

A Casual Sunday Lunch on the Subway

People from a razor, a shiny knife, a New York restaurant, have done one of the most original pop-up restaurants I have come across...

Prepare a 6-course dinner and serve it out to guests in under 30 minutes... on a New York subway train. Tables were created by hanging them from overhead bars you normally hold on to. At each stop, a waiter would get on and serve the next course and remove the previous one. In the end, guests even received their $100 back because they said it had been more of an experiment and a test to see if it could be done. Brilliant!

March 1, 2011

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

I really REALLY wanna get this book: Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. It's one of those once-in-a-lifetime books on food, science and biology. In other words: everything around cooking and eating.

January 14, 2011

Book: Turbo cuisinier/gastheer


I've edited the photobook that I made as a way to remember the great time I had during my course at the academie voor gastronomie last year. January 24th is our very last day as well graduation. I honor of that fact, I've made a few alterations to the book and added a few pages. You can still preview as well as order a copy of the book on Blurb: Turbo cuisinier/gastheer | Book Preview.

December 13, 2010

Wijncertificaat SWEN II

Yeah! Today I heard that I passed my exam on wine. It's a voluntary part of my course at the Academie voor Gastronomie in de Echoput near Apeldoorn. It is nothing big but a basic knowledge of wine-making and tasting, grape varieties and origins and stuff. Getting the SWEN II certificate qualifies me for starting a real Sommelier course, but I won't as it is truly insane on studying and takes a long time.

For now, I'm satisfied. I learned a huge deal on wine. From making it to storing it to aging and tasting. Different wine countries and their pros and cons. Classifications, styles, varieties, biological techniques for growing grapes and being more aware of the soil (terroir) and crops and its natural defenses. Amazing! I also learned of wine-food combinations and how to improve on either of the two with the other. My book will last me a long time because we hardly covered a third of it.

December 4, 2010

5-course Menu d'Aquitaine

As part of my exam at the "academie voor Gastronomie" in de Echoput near Apeldoorn, where I took a course all of last year, I have to create a 5-course meal with accompanying wines. At first I only had random ideas of things I like to eat or know how to make well. Then I had trouble figuring out an overall theme to the menu, something that ties all together. Then I could think of a theme or common idea but had no clue about the wines to go with the food.

And then it dawned on me: the region where my parent live, where we used to go on vacation when I was a kid and the Bordeaux region is sometimes referred to as L'Aquitaine region! So... that will be my theme. I can make canard from the Sud-Ouest where my parents are. I have the wines from that region, but also the Bordeaux-like wines from Bergerac. And I have the dishes and seafood I used to eat while on vacation on Ile d'Oléron with the fabulous Pineau de Charente. So I set out creating my courses and used seasonal vegetables of regional combinations and sauces that I like. And the result is on Google Docs. Sorry folks, it is in Dutch. If you'ld like a translation, just contact me. I'll be happy to explain. But wait until after Monday!

In the end, finding the wines was the hardest. What I did was decide on which type of wine would go with a dish and then I'ld search on Internet to find wines in that category, appélation (AOC, AVA) or château. It was surprisingly easy finding an actual bottle that matched my description. At first I had chosen the Bordeaux Clairet to go with the terrine of duck liver. But I couldn't find a good white Bordeaux to go with the "ris de veau". Until realized I could match the Clairet with the "ris de veau" and simply pick a good white for the terrine. I chose an AOC Bergerac. The red (La pie Colette) that goes with the "magrêt de canard" is one I actually bought and brought with me, after doing my intern at Restaurant des Deux Lacs last Summer. So that one was easy and fixed. 

Now wish me luck for Monday! And oh, I only have to make one dish, not all. I choose the Moules Charentaise and I practiced them tonight. Went well. Found a solution for the runny sauce. ;)

September 16, 2010

Blurb: Photography Book Now Winners 2010

Blurb hosted a competition among their users to submit a photo book to the Photography Book Now showcase. They've just announced the winners and there are some truly awesome photo books there. :) Really nice to see how people use the layouts Blurb offers to showcase a picture even more. Good stuff for inspiration and ideas.

Update: I went to the PBN showcase in Amsterdam and it was soo much nicer to see and feel the books in your hand! Recommend going to a Blurb meet if you can. Very nice people and very helpful with any questions regarding their products.

August 31, 2010

Photo of mine used in news paper

News paper de Stentor from Apeldoorn has used one of my photos from the Academie voor Gastronomie course. :) With permission, of course, but I forgot to mention to list my name. Now it's credited to the Echoput. Oh well. Live and learn.

August 22, 2010

Internship at les deux lacs

Well, my internship at restaurant des Deux Lacs (formerly known as "restaurant les Deux Lacs") turned into a little vacation as well. That is both good and bad. I had hoped to work full-time in a restaurant learn from that what it would like to have a place of my own. I know it'll be hard, but how hard? I know I will be tired but how tired? I expect a lot of things to have to deal with, but what exactly?

I learned some but not all of these things. I had a great time! I worked 4 days straight and was beat when they themselves went on their first vacation in 3 years. :) That gave me a pretty good indication of 'how tired exactly?'. :) The chef, Frédéric and his girlfriend, Magalie, and I got along great. Especially considering we'd only met briefly in May and for a second during times I'd had dinner there before. Fred and I worked well together as if we'd been working together for ages. I went shopping with him, something I love and he hates, so it was fun for both. Imagine going into a Toys-R-Us with a 5 year old: that is me going to food 'n delicacies wholesaler! I'll buy enough food to feed a transatlantic cruise-liner if no one stops me! But it is always infectious, so we had fun.

Lunch was all days nicely busy, dinner during the week was brief but perfectly timed. French people arrived predictably around 8pm and - this being a small town in a quiet area - left after their meal. Everything well executed. Weekends were different. That is when they go out, celebrate or dine together, and when they dine, they dine well. So we'd start the mis en place at 930am, have a quick warm lunch before noon, handle lunch, clean up, go home between 3-6pm, finish the mis en place for dinner, start dinner at 8pm sharp (not a second sooner, you barbaric Americans :) !) and finish the last desserts around 1030pm. Clean up, close up and have a supper ourselves around 11pm so we could drop dead in bed by midnight. Rinse, dry, repeat. Isn't that great!?!?

Needless to say I had a ball, but mostly the talking in French all day long, listening, searching for words, answering, stumbling over words and thinking was so grueling that by 9pm I'd be so tired, I'd simply nod, smile or say yes/no. Having to formulate a grammatically correct, meaningful sentence after working 8 hrs was simply too much effort by that time. :) And since he and I were "locked" together in the kitchen practically all day long, we talked all day long too about anything. Life, love, food, recipes, the academy were I'm doing my course, vacation, Holland vs France, TV, ads about this or that, travel, computers, Internet, websites (theirs sucks but I'll be working on that), produce, meat, fish, vegetables, DSL routers, WiFi and security, repeaters, Telcos, smartphones, iPhones, Android (they have an HTC Desire which they now adore after I showed them what mine could do) and so on.

But it was great! They gave me a culinary going-away gift packed with gourmand goodies and I was baffled. I took home wine, cakes, cantaloupe, duck breast fillet (canard) and cheese. And half of the fois gras we both made by hand. That's 500+ gr of fois gras de canard (not the gross, cruel kind, please, give me some credit!). And to top it off, Fred said that if I ever wanted to open a restaurant he'd be honored to work with me and offered to partner up together. Of course, it would have to be in France, but they are visiting The Hague in the Winter and maybe I'll be able to talk some sense in him. ;)

update: photos online

August 9, 2010

An introduction to my "cooking" course

I had been playing with the idea for a while already when the owner and founder of the Academie voor Gastronomie approached me and asked if I would like to help out. They had seen my pictures of each day in class and were wondering if I'd be willing to lend them for publicity purposes. They thought it would make a great promotion for the course and give a clear idea of what went on. I thought about mini-websites, blogs and other fancy shit, when finally ending up at a clean and simple solution: a book! Online for candidates, hard copy for classmates.

So I agreed and put together a Blurb book with pictures from the first 12 lessons and added some explanatory text. Check out the preview:

July 26, 2010

Moo Business Cards

Totally forgot about this until just now: Moo Partnered with Smugmug. MOO, a UK-based printing service prints business cards, Postcards and Greetings Cards based on one or more of your Smugmug photos. :) Given the partnership with Smugmug, you are assured of an excellent quality. Best of all, instead of choosing one photo for your business card, you can choose up to 50 and get a different image on each of the cards. :) For all of us who simply can't decide, a life-saver!

Update: I got them the other day and they're awesome! Very good paper, thick but not too much. High quality print, crisp colors and good feel. Recommended!

June 20, 2010

BBQ at Hart Beach Surf Club

I helped out Romano and his friend from rent-a-chef hosting a BBQ at Hart Beach Surf Club in Scheveningen. It was cold, windy and rainy during a WC soccer match. But while everyone was watching, I was busy preparing the BBQ with fish papillotes in alu foil, ostrich steaks, potato and bean salads and a ton of sausages. It was a South African braai, in honor of the host of WC, and they made a delicious apricot chutney in traditional style. Wonderful!
In the evening, there was a party there, a Live South African band "Teba Chumba" and a raffle giveaway. Very funny to be a reggae party with people instead of a house party. But I party well everywhere. ;)

May 27, 2010

Condat 2010

Spent a brief weekend at my parents', trying to arrange a two week internship at a local restaurant. I managed to arrange restaurant les deux lacs to take me in, one of my parents' favorite restaurants. I think that instead of interning one week at two places, I'd rather spent two weeks in one place. I think that's more effective. I can always go back next year and try a different place.

While there I had great food and nature was amazing. It had rained a lot in the weeks before, but when I got there it was 30°ree; Celsius and hot. Life had exploded and everything was growing and blooming. Gorgeous!

April 13, 2010

Beemster Lusthof

Last weekend, a friend from the academy, where I am taking my course to become cuisinier/host, asked me to help him out. He had to cook a 5-course menu for members of the Beemster Lusthof. It's a cooperation of local farmers, beekeepers, etc. from a special region in Holland - called de Beemster - that grows bio-products. Everything from cows, sheep, milk, cheese and yogurt to honey, fruit, jams, beer, flour, corn and vegetables. The menu was to be created using only their own local, fresh, bio-grown products. My friend, Ronald Roos, needed some help because everything was going to be prepared on-site and the group was a bit too large for one cook.

The day was a lot of fun and very educational. Both logistically as well as food-wise. We had 5 hrs to prepare everything (!) from scratch: roasts slow-cooked "au bain marie" until done; vegetable bouillon, lam, tiny meat balls, a terrine from carrots, mashed potato and French toast for desert. In the end, everything went fine and the guests were very happy. We were both exhausted, though, after standing on our feet for more than 12 hours! O_o I'll have pictures up on smugmug soon...

Update: pictures are up on smugmug

March 19, 2010

Becoming a "gastronoom" at the Echoput

I've been steadily uploading photos from my course "Turbo opleiding Cuisinier/Gastronoom" at the De Echoput in Apeldoorn, so you can get an idea of what I do there: check it out.

March 5, 2010

Echoput - day 3

I've uploaded photos from Echoput - day 3 to Smugmug. This time we focused on making fonds, the base for all sauces. We made fresh fish fond from Tarbot scraps and veal fond, which the restaurant will finish cooking for us. And we had a lesson on the difference between wine that had time to air first and the same one without air, straight from the bottle. BIG difference. So think about that. However, leaving the cork off won't do a whole lot. Decant it in a nice carafe or something.

February 17, 2010

Education at "De echoput"

Last Monday, I had my first lesson for the year-long course "Cuisinier and Host". It's a brand new course for people in the food/restaurant business or thinking of going into it. It combines parts of a chef, host and sommelier into one intensive course. Because these professions can all benefit from one another when they know more about the other, without having to be excellent in the others.

The course is given at the Echoput in Apeldoorn and organized by the Dutch Academy for Gastronomy. There was so much to remember, write down and talk about that I forgot to take pictures regularly. But I have a few online. I'll update the gallery as the year progresses.

New photos online

I've uploaded new sets of photos last night. For one, the pictures from Morgins and snowboarding there. Had a great time, but sadly nothing seems to be able to compete with the snow I've had when visiting Ed in Colorado in 2008. It's just plain and simple here.
I also updated an album of Capo Cucina, where I have a monthly cooking class. We usually do Italian cuisine, but this year we opted for Vietnamese on occasion. I uploaded our first Vietnamese session.

January 14, 2010

OCski 2010

Was away for a long weekend to Austria on invitation by my colleagues from Oracle. we went to Bad Gastein, quite near Ramsau am Dachstein where I learned to ski 35 years ago O_o and Gerlos where friends of mine from the restaurant are working for the season. Check out the first pictures of OCski 2010

Update: more photos by Vera and by Jaap, and Peter.
Update2: Jan also has photos.

Career change: Gastheer-Cuisinier

Just before NYE, I decided to opt for a possible career change in a few years. I've always wanted to learn more about the restaurant business, cooking, being a host/maitre d' ;) but couldn't really find a good place to try it. Then I did: the 'academie voor gastronomie' in Holland created just that type of year-long course: Turbo opleiding Gastheer-Cuisinier.

There was an open house last Tuesday and I went there. It was everything I hoped it to be and the other people were nice and diverse from all kins of backgrounds. So that should prove educational in all ways. The course will start Feb 8th, not next week as I first thought. They are trying to seek official approval with the bodies that can decide these things, bu either way: a certificate from this institute will get quite the attention. Nationally as well as internationally. Granted, it's the Gordon Bleue in Paris, but just right for me!