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yunnermeier

eG Foodblog : yunnermeier - Hungry in Holland,Oberhausen & Budapes

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Good morning! I guess no one guessed it was me ;) I just arrived from Paris and am now back home in Weesp (I have to work :( ) .

Let's get the introductions aside:

I'm Mei, 21 and am an au pair in the Netherlands. I am Malaysian (Baba& Nyonya from Melaka) but took a break from college to be an au pair here for one year. Of course being Malaysian automatically means I love food. So much so that I never lasted more than 7 hours on a diet in my entire life.

I never cooked simply because Mum did the cooking and the kitchen back home wasn't a erhm.. condusive enviroment but I really like the kitchen my host family has so I recently started baking and will be trying out some dishes this week (let's see if they turn out ok...).

Back home, my friends and I ate out a lot because we were probably better off than the average Malaysian teen (only because we worked and studied and they preferred to focus on academics!) but here , I eat home almost everyday. Not counting McDonalds and Chinese, I've probably only had dinner out 4-5 times! Oh , now I date a man who only ever eats things he's familiar with (like ham and cheese sandwich or babi panggang at a Chinese restaurant) which can be very very difficult ;)

So there you go! Here's where you can watch me fail or succeed with my cooking experiments! We'll also drive to Oberhausen (or maybe Dortmund or Keulen, my boyfriend and I haven't really decided) on Thursday or Friday and then it's off to Budapest at 7pm on Saturday!

After this: Pictures of Paris (I just came back this morning)!


Edited by yunnermeier (log)

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Thank you, mizducky, for helping me with the pictures:)

Paris

I couldn't help but cheat by posting yesterday's pictures because

Paris was gorgeous! Truth be told , we didn't eat at any good

restaurant because I'm an au pair on a tiny budget and when we DID go

to a nice-looking cafe for lunch, we always end up ordering the wrong

thing (ie we pointed at some fancy-sounding French dish , only to get

boiled sausages on a bed of shoestring fries).

This chocolaterie is within walking distance to the Eiffle Tower. I

forgot to write the name down but I think it was Jacques something (

fat help ,that!)

I thought the bottled flavoured waters and liquors were beautiful. I

ended up only buying chocolat chestnut jam (preserve).

gallery_28660_3809_27060.jpg

In the Netherlands, steak tartare is well..steak tartare, usually

grilled or fried but when I got this from the waitress, I asked her if

it was supposed to 'be like this' (I'm a country mouse). I must say

that it was very very good though! The herbs and the beef were very

fresh , even my friend who doesn't like raw meat, thought it was

delicious. Sorry about the bad picture, we were quite tipsy by then

:laugh:

gallery_28660_3809_124375.jpg

Random pictures:

gallery_28660_3809_95076.jpg

gallery_28660_3809_104247.jpg


Edited by yunnermeier (log)

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As you know, I am an au pair. I take care of a baby (he's 1 year old now) 4 days a week plus do light household chores. As you can imagine, life is a whole lot different from what I was used to back home but while it's something I wouldn't do again, I definitely do not regret going on this programme.

Sebastiaan (taken in the summer)

gallery_28660_3809_7426.jpg

The house I lived in used to be a butcher shop from the late 1600s until August last year (when my host family bought over).

This is the kitchen just before it was demolished:

gallery_28660_3809_150846.jpg

Kitchen (sorry about the mess, didn't have time to clean up)

gallery_28660_3809_10773.jpg

The Dutch (of which I only know 3;) ) generally don't consider breakfast important. My host mum usually has muesli or cereal with plain yoghurt and my host dad gets coffee (and maybe something at work?). My boyfriend doesn't have breakfast but he does grab a sandwich or something at 10.00 or 11.00. When I first arrived, I'd eat sandwiches as soon as I woke up as that's what my mum used to prepare for me before college but I stoppped after a while because I thought my host family was giving me weird looks (OMG she's such a greedy pig! :laugh: ) . Now, breakfast is usually instant noodles (my host family buys that for me), yoghurt, cookies or whatever is interesting. Today it was leftover mooncake.

OK I'm off !

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How nice to "meet" you, Mei. It will be lovely to spend a week with you, I'm sure. Your charge is adorable in the picture, but I'll bet he's not always smiling so sweetly. Be sure to tell us about your favorite and not-so-favorite food discoveries in your temporary hometown.


~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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Ooohh this is so exciting, a Dutch foodblog! (yes I know Paris, Oberhousen, and Budapest are in this blog, but I'm sure you'll understand that the Dutch part is particularly interesting to me :smile: )

Weesp is such a lovely little town! And that's a very cool kitchen!

Oh and I'd love to hear what you think about Dutch food.

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Hi Mei,

Always nice to see another eGulleter in Holland!

Though it sounds like eating out is not really your thing, I'm interested to know if there are any Malaysian restaurants in Weesp that you're aware of (I'm assuming no, because here in Amsterdam there are only two that I know of)....I'd love to know what a Malaysian person thought of the Dutch-Indonesian-Malaysian-Surinamese-Indian-Chinese hybrid food that is such a staple of restaurant/takeout eating here.

mark

ETA: You could almost hear Klary and I simultaneously pouncing on this blog!


Edited by markemorse (log)

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Though it sounds like eating out is not really your thing, I'm interested to know if there are any Malaysian restaurants in Weesp that you're aware of (I'm assuming no, because here in Amsterdam there are only two that I know of)....I'd love to know what a Malaysian person thought of the Dutch-Indonesian-Malaysian-Surinamese-Indian-Chinese hybrid food that is such a staple of restaurant/takeout eating here.

There are no Malaysian restaurants in Weesp but I did remember seeing one in Amsterdam last week called "Wau". My best friend and I were thinking of trying it out but we couldn't bear to part with 14 euro for a bowl of laksa when back home it costs less than 1 euro . Mind you, we would be quite happy to pay 45 euro for steak but somehow paying 14e for laksa is just WRONG. :rolleyes:

I despise Indonesian-Chinese restaurants here and I especially hate babi panggang. I noticed that 'Chinese' food here is a lot more 'starchy' than back home. Nam Kee is probably the most genuine Chinese food I've tasted here and cheap as well. What I cannot fathom is how people order just one dish and eat it all themselves (just babi panggang and rice for instance!) when back home, my dad would order at least 7 dishes when the 4 of us went out (2 veg, 1 pork,1 chicken, 1 squid, 1 fish and 1 tofu) . I also noticed that Chinese food is usually served with nasi (fried rice) or bami (fried noodles). Again, which I think is WRONG WRONG WRONG! That's just me I suppose! I did however, really like the oysters from Nam Kee :smile:

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Though it sounds like eating out is not really your thing, I'm interested to know if there are any Malaysian restaurants in Weesp that you're aware of (I'm assuming no, because here in Amsterdam there are only two that I know of)....I'd love to know what a Malaysian person thought of the Dutch-Indonesian-Malaysian-Surinamese-Indian-Chinese hybrid food that is such a staple of restaurant/takeout eating here.

There are no Malaysian restaurants in Weesp but I did remember seeing one in Amsterdam last week called "Wau". My best friend and I were thinking of trying it out but we couldn't bear to part with 14 euro for a bowl of laksa when back home it costs less than 1 euro . Mind you, we would be quite happy to pay 45 euro for steak but somehow paying 14e for laksa is just WRONG. :rolleyes:

I despise Indonesian-Chinese restaurants here and I especially hate babi panggang. I noticed that 'Chinese' food here is a lot more 'starchy' than back home. Nam Kee is probably the most genuine Chinese food I've tasted here and cheap as well. What I cannot fathom is how people order just one dish and eat it all themselves (just babi panggang and rice for instance!) when back home, my dad would order at least 7 dishes when the 4 of us went out (2 veg, 1 pork,1 chicken, 1 squid, 1 fish and 1 tofu) . I also noticed that Chinese food is usually served with nasi (fried rice) or bami (fried noodles). Again, which I think is WRONG WRONG WRONG! That's just me I suppose! I did however, really like the oysters from Nam Kee :smile:

Happy blogging Mei.

I also found this very strange. I was used to ordering several dishes and every body shares them. They do the same thing in Germany and Switzerland.

Reistafel is good in Holland, but I am not crazy about the Chinese restaurants in most of Europe. They tend to be very expensive and very Europeanized. I did go to a decent Thai restaurant in Maastricht.

I don't understand the concept of the monster egg rolls. They tend to be very greasy. I prefer smaller egg rolls.

I love Dutch pastries. Is it hard for you to stay away from them?


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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Sharing is just not a very Dutch thing. People are not used to it and I think they find it confusing. Dinner is the food on your plate, period. Not somebody elses food..

This is ofcourse, like everything else, slowly changing with the rising popularity of tapas/mezze restaurants. There, it's much more common to order a bunch of dishes and share. But Chinese/Indonesian food has been around forever, and the people who eat there, are usually not the most adventurous eaters anyway, so they tend to stick to their old habits.


Edited by Chufi (log)

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There are no Malaysian restaurants in Weesp but I did remember seeing one in Amsterdam last week called "Wau". My best friend and I were thinking of trying it out but we couldn't bear to part with 14 euro for a bowl of laksa when back home it costs less than 1 euro . Mind you, we would be quite happy to pay 45 euro for steak but somehow paying 14e for laksa is just WRONG.    :rolleyes:

I think you were right in avoiding Wau...I ate there twice when I first moved to Amsterdam a few years ago, and while the first time was pretty good, the next time was more expensive and much less interesting. BUT: the dining experience there is definitely one of my top 10 most memorable, because the ambience is so, um...exotic?

The lights are extremely dim, it's actually quite beautiful inside, what you can see of it, but instead of music they play nighttime insect sounds (um...vs. "daytime insect sounds"? right.), very loud. I should mention that I actually have many CDs full of music that resembles insect sounds, so this in itself is not a problem. :wink: But the darkness combined with the unexpected volume and speaker placement led my dining companions and I to just kind of sit there in speechless amazement while the beetles, crickets, cicadas, and who knows what else crescendoed around us. We could barely hear each other talk (all of this is not really a complaint, either, it was just...odd. I can't imagine people without insect music in their CD collections enjoying themselves there...and how often do you get to say that about a restaurant?).

My point is: much better (and a bit cheaper) than Wau is Nyonya Malaysia Express on Kloveniersburgwal just south of Nieuwmarkt. You'll have to bring your own deafening cicadas though.

mem


Edited by markemorse (log)

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People often laugh at Dutch cuisine (huhuhu what cuisine?!) but I must say that I do like the potatoes + meat combination. Stampot (mashed potatos, bacon bits, a giant sausage and farmer's cabbage is the usual ingredients but there's quite a variety) is one of my favourite foods but I find what the Dutch term 'lunch' a very disappointing affair.

Lunch is almost always bread. Bread (usually sliced dark bread) , cheese and some kind of cured meat. Or bread and one of those spreads (chicken and pesto or omelette etc) you get from the supermarket. Sometimes if I'm really lucky I get french toast or cream-filled buns but I must say that that doesn't happen often. Today we had toasties and for a special treat, I asked Maartje to get us something sweet because bread bores me senseless (my best friend who's living here only eats this boring bread + thinly sliced ham + cheese with plenty of ketchup) . She got us kersenflap ( cherry pastries?) from the bakery across the street (I love the pink cherry flavoured granulated sugar on top).

gallery_28660_3809_140719.jpg

Fellow Dutch bloggers, please don't be mad if I poke fun at Dutch food or Dutch eating habits! I really do like Holland very much! :wub:


Edited by yunnermeier (log)

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Hey, great -- a new voice! Welcome, and I'm all ready for the trip.

Sounds like you need to educate your hubby. This will require a lot of time and even more patience.

I have a couple of questions:

--Are your travels on your own time, or are these trips part of your duties as an au pair? Or both?

--What is that thing with the circular door in the kitchen next to the oven?


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Hey, great -- a new voice!  Welcome, and I'm all ready for the trip.

Sounds like you need to educate your hubby.  This will require a lot of time and even more patience.

I have a couple of questions:

--Are your travels on your own time, or are these trips part of your duties as an au pair?  Or both?

--What is that thing with the circular door in the kitchen next to the oven?

Heya! I enjoyed your blog:)

i) I don't usually travel (I'd only gone to Italy this year before this.. this week is action-packed)but I'd planned my weekend in Budapest in advance (before I knew I was doing this blog) and then 3 weeks ago, my best friend said she could come and visit me so we decided to go to Paris! Anyway, my host family were really nice about it and said I only have to work today and tomorrow and they'll ship Sebastiaan off to his grandparents on Tuesday night so that I can enjoy my week with my best friend (she goes home Thursday morning I think) .

The average au pair receives 2 weeks paid vacation a year but I get something like 5 (partly because my host family is generous and also because I work more hours than most au pairs).

ii) The circular door next to the oven is the steamer! I think it's very cool but not as useful as a microwave . We use it to steam vegetables, make baby food ,warm leftovers and to sterialised baby bottles.


Edited by yunnermeier (log)

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Hey, Yunney...aunty TP here! Was surprised to see a msian name blogging. Syabas!

Where did you get your stash of mooncakes? Just a couple of days ago, I made fresh batches of mini shanghai ones as I still have ingredients left. Want some?

While you're still in mooncake mode, we're making open house rounds for Raya. Did you get your rendang, nasi himpit, lontong, nasi tomato, lemang etc...?


TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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I love Dutch pastries. Is it hard for you to stay away from them?

I love Dutch pastries too but I am slowly getting used to them. When I first arrived, I was in a state of gleeful shock. The pastries looked great, tasted great and was so cheap! I remember buying gevulde boterkoek once a week (at one stage, it was one entire boterkoek a day) and 100 grams of chocolate (it was something like 3 euros/100gram and in Malaysia, chocolate was 6-10 euro per 100 grams) . I ate A LOT (and subsequently put on 5 kg) , not just pastries but also patat ( fries),frikandellen (sausage) and vla (custard-ish dessert)

Hi Aunty Tepee! Nola , my friend is staying with me now mah so she brought a box over. No rendang, ketupat or ayam masak merah for me this year! I'd give anything for nasi lemak with sambal ikan bilis or better yet, nasi kandar (or asam laksa, ipoh sar hor fun, chicken rice, everything really)! Kesian :sad:

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Thanks for the blog yunnermeier.

gallery_28660_3809_10773.jpg

Nice kitchen.

I have a question about the unit to the right of the wall oven. It looks like an autoclave. What is it?

I also like the beer tap next to the espresso machine. Nice.

Look forward to more of your blog.

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It's going to be so nice to glimpse an adopted (if temporarily) country and cuisine through a visitor's eyes. And two other countries you'll be visiting and describing as well!! You WILL have a busy week.

The picture in the tease led me to believe that the living quarters were in a big lighted window space, with all the comings and goings open to passersby, but I see from a pic above that that was the BEFORE pic, pre-window-glazing and kitchen-adding. I can see the flowers and scale, now that I see them from another perspective. It's also good to know the family has some privacy, though only shoulder-high. What a lovely light must fill that kitchen!

Do go to the Dutch Cooking thread, with Chufi's glorious demonstrations and recipes and her amazing photography. It will teach you more about the cuisine of your adopted land than any three sets of lessons. You'll be amazed and delighted, and perhaps persuaded to give some of the dishes a try, whether at home or out and about. At least, it will help you know what you'd like to order, without any surprises. (Somebody PLEASE make a blue link)

Looking forward to the week. . .

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Thanks for the blog yunnermeier. 

Nice kitchen.

I have a question about the unit to the right of the wall oven.  It looks like an autoclave.  What is it? 

I also like the beer tap next to the espresso machine.  Nice.

Look forward to more of your blog.

That is a steamer. We do use it everyday, mostly to sterilise baby bottles and for vegetables /potatos (3 minutes at 120degrees is enough to make mashed potatos, much faster than boiling!)

Foo , am I tired or what. I decided to make Chufi's Dutch apple pie because we had some apples sitting around. It was Sebas' birthday a few weeks ago and they went to pick apples from his apple tree.

This didn't go as planned because I couldn't find the pie tin and I couldn't go out to buy one because Sebas was in bed , host dad went to the DIY shop (he's home this week to paint and do up the attic) and Jules had gone to Amsterdam (I was literally ready to cry). Finally I saw some disposable lasagna containers in the drawer and used that instead. I figured since it's already spoilt , I'm not going to bother following the recipe anymore so I 'seasoned' the apples to taste using mostof the ingredients from Chufi's recipe and added a bit more,namely vanilla sugar and I sprinkled granulated sugar on top of the pastry.

Surprisingly, it actually came out really good! My host dad ate HALF THE PIE . At least it was good for something (I served it with vanilla ice cream)! :D

gallery_28660_3809_49991.jpg


Edited by yunnermeier (log)

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The picture in the tease led me to believe that the living quarters were in a big lighted window space, with all the comings and goings open to passersby, but I see from a pic above that that was the BEFORE pic, pre-window-glazing and kitchen-adding.  I can see the flowers and scale, now that I see them from another perspective.  It's also good to know the family has some privacy, though only shoulder-high.  What a lovely light must fill that kitchen!

Do go to the Dutch Cooking thread, with Chufi's glorious demonstrations and recipes and her amazing photography.  It will teach you more about the cuisine of your adopted land than any three sets of lessons.  You'll be amazed and delighted, and perhaps persuaded to give some of the dishes a try, whether at home or out and about.  At least, it will help you know what you'd like to order, without any surprises.  (Somebody PLEASE make a blue link)

Looking forward to the week. . .

Hi Racheld! Yes, Chufi's Dutch cooking thread is one of my favourite threads (Chufi is practically my eGullet idol :raz: )though I've never tried anything until today (above apple pie)! One of these days I'm going to make Chufi's Frisian suikerbrood.

The huge window is a constant problem because passerbys WILL peep and look at us . It's funny because everyone tries to look in our kitchen and quickly turn away everytime I catch them (Looking into people's houses is a favourite Dutch passtime) . My host family and I don't really mind that, though as we are not really private people (we're also not allowed to change the design outside as the house is a monument).

ETA: obligatory picture of fridge and sauce cupboard. I didn't take a picture of the freezer and the larder because they're in 'drawer-style' (ie you can only see the top)

gallery_21328_3810_53920.jpg

gallery_21328_3810_61694.jpg


Edited by yunnermeier (log)

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Hi and thanks for blogging!


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Mei, that applepie looks great! It's a really good idea to sprinkle sugar on top.. I never do that because my husband doesn't like crunchy sugar :shock:

and the disposable piedish is very smart, less washing up that way..

Hi Racheld! Yes, Chufi's Dutch cooking thread is one of my favourite threads (Chufi is practically my eGullet idol :raz: )though I've never tried anything until today (above apple pie)! One of these days I'm going to make Chufi's Frisian suikerbrood.

now where is that blush smilie when you need it... :blush: ah there it is!

(rachel, the link to the Dutch Cooking thread is in my signature)


Edited by Chufi (log)

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Hola! Almost time for dinner; we're just waiting for Walter to get back but in the meantime, I'll post some pictures :smile:

This is Maartje (my host mum) cooking. She's a lovely lady and one cannot ask for a nicer host mum.

gallery_28660_3809_15117.jpg

Oh yes, I forgot to say that my host family made stofvlees (braised beef, you can get the recipe from Chufi's Dutch Cooking thread) yesterday. There's quite a bit leftover so we're eating hutspot tonight. Hutspot is the only stampot I don't care for ; thanks to the mashed carrots, it tastes a little too much like baby food (in my opinion).

It is said that stampot came to be when Leiden was attacked by the Spaniards a few hundred years ago (Dutchies, please correct me if I'm wrong). The mayor closed the gates and the locals ran out of food after a while. Finally, the Spanish army left . A little boy was so hungry that he climbed over a wall (or went through a hole in the wall or something like that) and found, still hot in a pot, what is today known as hutspot!

gallery_28660_3809_200774.jpg

Hutspot with stofvlees

gallery_28660_3809_179959.jpg

For dessert, we will have stofpeers (also leftovers from yesterday) with biterkoekje pudding. You'll notice that the top part of the pear is not red. This is because my host dad cheated by using the steamer.

gallery_28660_3809_96262.jpg

Ok I'm going to go downstairs and wait with Maartje for Walter to be back! Toodles!

Next : A spacecake and a joint or two at one of Amsterdam's famous coffeeshops


Edited by yunnermeier (log)

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How much do you cook in that lovely kitchen? Do you typically help with the meals? The apple pie looks very nice... I also have to comment on the adorable photo of your little charge!

Also looking forward to your travels later in the week. I hope you get to try some nice pastries and cakes in Budapest. We recently were discussing Hungarian Chestnut Cream torte on this thread and it has whetted my appetite for Hungarian/Austrian desserts.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Hey Mei, cool! Amazingly, I still have a few of the Malaysian foods you sent me way back when we did our food exchange, so maybe I'll have to make something for you, just so you can see the picture and eat it vicariously.

This will be a really interesting blog, since you're in a "foreign" country to you, but we have members there to comment on your experiences with a native eye. I'm looking forward to this week!

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      A bit of background on me and where I am.  I'm Elizabeth; I'm 33 years old and since the last foodblog I've ceased to be a Canadian expat in Ecuador, and become a full-fledged Ecuadorian citizen.  I run a catering bakery out of Ambato, and I deliver to clients on the entire mainland.  I've got a large customer base in nearby Baños de Agua Santa, a hot-springs town about an hour downslope of me to the east; I'll be visiting it on Wednesday with close to 100 kg of baked goods for delivery.  Ambato, the capital of Tungurahua province, is located almost exactly in the geographic centre of Ecuador.  It's at an average elevation of 2,850 meters above sea level (slightly higher than Quito, the capital) - but this is measured in the downtown central park, which is significantly lower than most of the rest of the city, which extends up the sides of the river valley and onto the high plain above.  We've got what amounts to eternal late springtime weather, with two well-marked rainy seasons.  Ambato has about 300,000 people in its metro area; it's the fourth largest city in the country.  But maybe the most important thing about Ambato, especially to foodies, is that it's a transport hub for the country.  Anything travelling just about anywhere has to pass through Ambato on the way; it gives us the largest, best-stocked food market in South America.  I have simply staggering variety at my fingertips.
       

       
      This view, which was a teaser for the blog, was taken from my rooftop terrazzo.  It is a fraction of the panorama of the river valley that I see every morning, and since Easter is traditionally somewhat miserable weather-wise, the clouds stick to the hilltops.  The barrio you can see in the middle distance is Ficoa, one of the most luxury districts in the city.  Ambato is notable amongst Ecuadorian cities for having small fruit farms (300-500 m2) still operating within city limits and even within its most established barrios - it's from this that the Ambato gets one of its two sobriquets: The City of Fruits and Flowers.  The tendency for even the poorest barrios to take tremendous pride in their greenspaces gives the other: The Garden City.  My barrio, Miraflores Alto, is a working-class mixture of professors and labourers, and my neighbours keep a mixture of chickens, turkeys, and ducks in their yards; someone down the hill has a cow that I frequently hear but have never seen.  Consequently, if the season is right I can buy duck eggs from my neighbours (and if the season is wrong, entire Muscovy ducks for roasting.)
       

       
      Today, I'll be doing my largest fresh-food shopping at the Mercado Mayorista, the largest market of its kind in South America - this place covers nearly 30 square blocks, and it exists to both buy and sell produce from across the country.  Sundays and Mondays it also opens up to a huge, raucous farmer's market where smaller quantities are available for purchase.  Sunday is the day of the freshest food and the largest number of vendors.  And I'm going to cross more than half the city to get there - I've moved since the last blog, and my new house, on the slopes of the river valley is further away than the old one on the high plain.  I promise to take many pictures of this - particularly close to the High Holy days, the Mayorista is alive with vendors and there will be special sections cordoned off for sales of bacalao, truly enormous squashes, and if it follows the previous years' trends, a festival of Hornado (about which more later).  Apart from mangoes, which are just finishing up their season, it is harvest time across the country, and the Mayorista will be well stocked with all manner of fruits and vegetables.
       

       
      To start us off, I'll demystify one of my teasers a bit.
       

       
      The Minion head that peeks out of my cupboard every day belongs to my jar of ChocoListo, the Ecuadorian equivalent of chocolate Ovaltine.  Since I gave up coffee for Lent, it's my go-to morning beverage.  ChocoListo normally comes in the plain white jar with orange lid that you see in front of the Minion; that's now my hot chocolate jar because I just couldn't resist when the company came out with the specialty jars.  I firmly believe that one is never too old to have whimsical things!
       

    • By therese
      Good morning, y’all, and welcome to the party chez Therese.
      As per the teaser, this week’s foodblog does indeed come to you from Atlanta, where I live with my two children (hereafter known as Girl and Boy) and husband (hereafter known as The Man). Girl is 11, Boy is 14, and The Man is old enough to know better.
      Atlanta’s huge: the total metro population is about 4 million, and there are no physical boundaries to growth like rivers or mountain ranges, so people just keep moving (and commuting) farther and farther out of town. Atlantans can be divided into ITP (inside the perimeter) and OTP (outside the perimeter), the perimeter referring to the interstate freeway that encircles the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, separating it from outlying suburbs. The politically minded may note that these areas could be designated red and blue. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
      We’re about as ITP as it gets, with home, work, school, and restaurants all in walking distance. The neighborhood’s called Druid Hills, the setting for the play/movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. The houses date from the 1920s, and because Atlanta has so little in the way of “old” buildings the neighborhood’s on the National Register as a Historic District. Charming, sure, buts lots of the houses need some updating, and ours (purchased in 1996) was no exception. So we remodeled last year, including an addition with a new kitchen, and this week’s blog will look at the finished product.
      So, some encouragement for those of you presently involved in kitchen renovation, some ideas for those who are considering it.
      But never mind all that for the moment: What’s for breakfast?


      Dutch babies, that’s what. And even better, these Dutch babies are produced by my children, the aforementioned Girl and Boy. The first picture is right from the oven, the second is after the somewhat messy job of sifting powdered sugar on top. They are delicious (the Dutch babies, I mean, not the children) and a great weekend treat.

      The Man drinks coffee in the morning whereas I prefer tea. He's not up yet, having played poker last night. I'm hoping he makes it out of bed in time for dinner.

      I also eat fruit whereas he prefers, well, anything but fruit. This is not such a bad thing, as it means that I don’t have to share the fruit. Pomegranates are a pain to eat, but not so bad if you’re reading the newspaper at the same time. This one’s from California, but you can also grow them here if you’ve got enough sunshine (which I don’t).
    • By Shelby
      Good morning, everyone and happy Monday!  
       
      It's me again....that girl from Kansas. 
       
       
      This is VERY spur-of-the-moment.  I was sitting here yesterday thinking of all of the canning etc. that I needed to do this week and I thought, well, why not ask you guys if you want to spend the week with me while I do it?  I got the ok from Smithy so away we go!
       
      This will not be nearly as organized as my first blog was.  But, really, when does a sequel ever measure up to the first?     
       
      Most of you know all about me--if you missed my first blog you can read it here.
       
      Nothing much has changed around here.  Same furry babies, same house, same husband  .
       
      Right now we have field corn planted all around the house.  In the outer fields we have soybeans that were planted after the wheat was harvested.  Sorry for the blur....it was so humid the camera kept fogging up.
       

       
      I just came in from the garden.
       
      I snapped a few pictures....for more (and prettier) pictures you can look in the gardening thread.  I always start out saying that I will not let a weed grow in there.  By August I'm like..."Oh what's a few weeds" lol.
       
       
       
      Here's a total list of what I planted this year:
       
      7 cucumbers
      8 basil
      23 okra
      4 rows assorted lettuce
      20 peppers-thai, jalapeño, bell, banana
      4 rows peas
      5 cilantro
      1 tarragon
      2 dill
      many many red and white onions
      7 eggplant
      3 rows spinach
      57 tomatoes
      5 cherry tomatoes
      7 rows silver queen sweet corn
      11 squash
      4 watermelon
      2 cantaloupe
      6 pumpkin
       
      I killed the cantaloupes...and I tried damn hard to kill the squash lol.....sigh...squash bugs came early this year and we sprayed with some kind of stuff.  WOW the plants did not like it, but they've come back and are producing.
       


      I just love okra flowers

      Found some more smut   
       

       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Pille
      Tere õhtust (that’s „Good evening“ in Estonian)!
      I’m very, very, very excited to be doing my first ever eGullet foodblog. Foodblogging as such is not new to me – I’ve been blogging over at Nami-nami since June 2005, and am enjoying it enormously. But this eGullet blog is very different in format, and I hope I can ’deliver’. There have been so many exciting and great food blogs over the years that I've admired, so the standard is intimidatingly high! Also, as I’m the first one ever blogging from Estonia, I feel there’s a certain added responsibility to ’represent’ my tiny country
      A few words about me: my name is Pille, I’m 33, work in academia and live with my boyfriend Kristjan in a house in Viimsi, a suburb just outside Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I was born and schooled in Tallinn until I was 18. Since then I've spent a year in Denmark as an exchange student, four years studing in Tartu (a university town 180 km south), two years working in Tallinn and seven years studying and working in Edinburgh, the bonnie & cosmopolitan capital of Scotland. All this has influenced my food repertoire to a certain degree, I'm sure. I moved back home to Estonia exactly 11 months and 1 day ago, to live with Kristjan, and I haven't regretted that decision once Edinburgh is an amazing place to live, and I've been back to Scotland twice since returning, but I have come to realise that Tallinn is even nicer than Edinburgh
      I won’t be officially starting my foodblog until tomorrow (it’s midnight here and I’m off to bed), but I thought I’ll re-post the teaser photos for those of you who missed them in the 'Upcoming Attractions' section. There were two of them. One was a photo of Tallinn skyline as seen from the sea (well, from across the bay in this case):

      This is known as kilukarbivaade or sprat can skyline A canned fish product, sprats (small Baltic herrings in a spicy marinade) used to have a label depicting this picturesque skyline. I looked in vain for it in the supermarket the other day, but sadly couldn’t find one - must have been replaced with a sleek & modern label. So you must trust my word on this sprat can skyline view
      The second photo depicted a loaf of our delicious rye bread, rukkileib. As Snowangel already said, it’s naturally leavened sour 100% rye bread, and I’ll be showing you step-by-step instructions for making it later during the week.

      It was fun seeing your replies to Snowangel’s teaser photos. All of you got the continent straight away, and I was pleased to say that most of you got the region right, too (that's Northern Europe then). Peter Green’s guess Moscow was furthest away – the capital of Russia is 865 km south-east from here (unfortunately I've never had a chance to visit that town, but at least I've been to St Petersburgh couple of times). Copenhagen is a wee bit closer with 836 km, Stockholm much closer with 386 km. Dave Hatfield (whose rural French foodblog earlier this year I followed with great interest, and whose rustic apricot tart was a huge hit in our household) was much closer with Helsinki, which is just 82 km across the sea to the north. The ships you can see on the photo are all commuting between Helsinki and Tallinn (there’s an overnight ferry connection to Stockholm, too). Rona Y & Tracey guessed the right answer
      Dave – that house isn’t a sauna, but a granary (now used to 'store' various guests) - good guess, however! Sauna was across the courtyard, and looks pretty much the same, just with a chimney The picture is taken in July on Kassari in Hiiumaa/Dagö, one of the islands on the west coast. Saunas in Estonia are as essential part of our life – and lifestyle – as they are in Finland. Throwing a sauna party would guarantee a good turnout of friends any time
      Finally, a map of Northern Europe, so you’d know exactly where I’m located:

      Head ööd! [Good night!]
      I'm off to bed now, but will be back soon. And of course, if there are any questions, however specific or general, then 'll do my best trying to answer them!
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