zondag 28 september 2014

A culinary tour of the castle

When you approach De Haar castle, you think it was built in the Middle Ages. Nothing is further from the truth. Baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt decided to rebuilt his ancestral home on the ruins of an old castle, at the end of the 19th century. Sparing neither cost nor effort. The Dutch architect Pierre Cuijpers was given the job. He built the castle in neo classical style. It was finished at the beginning of the 20th century. Although it looked medieval, it had modern comfort, like a well equipped kitchen, a central heating system and hot and cold water in most rooms.

The last baron, who passed away in 2011, used to visit the castle in September. He gave sumptuous dinner parties for his family and friends. Among his friends were celebrities like Roger Moore, Brigit Bardot and Maria Callas. For this event he flew in a well known cook from Paris, who would prepare the meals for him and his guests.

The foundation who now runs the castle, decided to give culinary tours, which you can join. Showing you the kitchens, wine cellar, sitting rooms, dining rooms etc. To celebrate the birthday of one of my friends, who is a good amateur cook, we decided to join the tour. We hoped the chef, who is quite a stunner for his age, would be the one to show us around. You can imagine our disappointment when this wasn't the case and we got a tour guide instead. Although enthusiastic and a good story teller, he was not nearly as handsome as the man himself! Ha, ha! We hoped to hear some culinary secrets too, but alas..... Nevertheless it was great fun and we had a good laugh :-) Furthermore, the rooms and especially the kitchen with the enormous ovens and copper pans, were really impressive. Definitely worth a visit. You can find more information at the castles website.

The castle and gardens have recently been renovated. I visited years ago, when it looked a bit neglected. Cannot tell you how surprised I was to see how beautiful it all looked now!

Wishing you a happy new week.!


Madelief x

* Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take photo's inside

zondag 21 september 2014

Blue it's going to be


A blue post today, showing you some photo's which I took recently.

We had another beautiful summer day yesterday. I was at the allotment complex at half past eight (am), to do communal work. This time I had to trim hedges.

As there was no electricity nearby, I used a hedge cutting scissors. Ha, ha, I can tell you that my arms were not used to that. I couldn't even hold my camera still when taking photo's in the afternoon :-).  I think I may even develop some muscles, doing so much physical labour lately. Working in the early morning sun was lovely though and the hedge looked terrific once finished.

I did some much needed work in my own garden afterwards. With pain in my heart (I am overdoing it a bit), I cleaned up the sweet pea bushes.  I emptied the greenhouse next, so that I can put my terracota pots in there when it gets colder. The fact that there will be no more sweet peas or tomatoes to enjoy, made me a bit sad, but the bright bunches of flowers which I picked to take home with me, brightened me up immensely.....and my tea cups off course!

Well that's it for now. My daughters and I will be celebrating my mother in laws eightieth birthday today. Hurray to her!

Happy new week!


Madelief x

zondag 14 september 2014

Sailing from Rotterdam

Last weekend I visited the World port days in my home town Rotterdam. My daughters and parents joined me. Days like this are a highlight for my father. At seventeen he started working for the Holland America Line (HAL) as a bellboy. Ending his career at sea in his early twenties, after having seen great part of the world. It was a very pretty lady, my mother, who managed to keep him at home in the end :-)

Before my father sailed, he used to have his book stamped in the old building with the green copper turret. For a long time this was the main office of the HAL. Nowadays it's a popular hotel/restaurant, called Hotel New York. My dad still enjoys visiting it.

So when I mentioned the words 'harbour', 'boats', 'Hotel New York', he was enthusiastic straight away! We watched demonstrations by the Royal Navy and life guards, enjoyed the lively atmosphere and walked through Katendrecht, which was once a dubious part of town. Nowadays it's hip and upcoming.  It's the place where you can meet for a cup of tea or coffee, have a delicious meal and buy something old or new. It's quirky. It's old warehouses versus skyscrapers. It's really HOT!

Besides watching the boats, we had lunch at Posse espresso bar, a vintage cafe in one of the old warehouses. After that we bought some freshly baked bread at Jordan's bakery, which you can find at the Fenix Food factory. 

Next time you are looking for a city trip, take Rotterdam in mind. It's worth it! I did an earlier post on Rotterdam and Katendrecht. Please have a look if you would like to see some more photo's.

Have a great week! I am off to Zeeland. A friend, who is from the islands, is going to show me around!


Madelief x