Monday, July 25, 2011

Welcome to a Brand New Week! How Was Your Weekend?

Hi! Welcome to a brand new week!
How was your weekend? Come on in and let me tell you a little about my weekends.
It was rather autumnal here in the Netherlands and we were all complaining about the weather and the lack of summer. Of course I was a little disappointed, but knowing this too would pass, I took the time to read something nice, eat great food, lounge on the couch with a glass of wine and just plain relax. Hope you did too, no matter what the weather was like in your part of the world!
I truly adore weekends. Usually, I am the first one up on Saturday mornings. Somewhere around 7AM you'll find me downstairs in front of the tea kettle and a little after that, I'll walk into the garden, cup of tea in hand. Early, but I can't think of a better way to start the weekend than with a breath of fresh air and the feeling that I have the world all to myself. I'll have a look at the apple tree and delight at how pretty my apples are growing. I'll run my hands through the lavender and take in its sweet, calming scent. Perhaps trim the geraniums or remove a snail from my courgette plants. Why would I want to sleep late when all of nature is wide awake and ready for me to enjoy?
When we had Meiki (our Siberian Husky), I would take her on a long walk very early in the morning. We were pretty much on our own, enjoying the quietness while the rest of the world slept in. It's one of the things I miss most. I do go on early morning walks alone sometimes, but it's not the same. I'd much rather wait until I pick up Kirstie from school so that we can venture off together, or wait until the weekend when we all hop in the car and drive somewhere beautiful for a long walk.
Hans and Kirstie join me a little later and we have breakfast on our long wooden table, the one we had hand-made when we bought our lovely home. Hans is a great cook, so sometimes he'll surprise me with something delicious for breakfast. I feel so spoiled!
We usually listen to a little French radio while we eat and discuss our plans for the day. No weekend would be complete without a visit to the market, so usually that's the first thing on our agenda.
We love the market in Hilversum and the organic market in Amsterdam. At the one in Hilversum we always stop by Le Perron, a great stand selling amazing French breads and pastries. Their buttery croissants are to die for, as are their mini-quiches, especially the one with leeks. I'm usually at the Noordermarket in Amsterdam a few times a month for my culinary walks. After I'm done guiding a group through the city's best gourmet spots and we've ended our market walk, hubby joins me for our own weekend shopping.
Wherever they may take place, markets are such a great source of inspiration! I may not have a clue about what I want for dinner that evening, but after a walk through the market, I'm simply busrting with ideas!
Dinner on the weekends, is of course, something we really make a point of enjoying. On Saturdays, Hans and I usually plan a dinner date at home after Kirstie's gone to bed. Lunch on the other hand, is always an easy affair. If we don't head somewhere nice for lunch, we might buy a delicious pie from the Pie Man in Amsterdam. They sell the best English pies ever! It's just a matter of adding a salad, perhaps a chilled glass of white wine, and lunch is served!
This weekend though, we went to our favorite place for a pancake lunch. The Dutch are known for their deliciously oversized pancakes and at De Vuursche Boer their eggy, generously-topped pancakes are always a delight to eat. My favorite is their house pancake with tuna, onions, peppers and tomatoes. Perhaps a strange combination, but oh-so yummy! Especially with the little bowl of ketchup they serve with it.
The rest of our Saturday afternoon is spent either with some leisurely shopping or should the weather permit, in the garden, with a glass of something nice and a good nibble.
We both love cheese, so a cheese platter is really something we look forward to. Especially if it's accompanied by one of the wines we've brought back from our travels through France. The first sip is always full of memories. I can recall how and when I bought the wine and I can almost taste its region.
On Sundays we might have a barbecue. I love to cook, but I am hopeless in front of the grill. That's why I'd rather sit by the hydrangeas and geraniums- after I make all the side dishes, of course. Hans is much better at grilling than I could ever be.
On sultry summer evenings, we'll round off the day in front of our outdoor fireplace. Perhaps with a nice glass or armagnac at hand and definitely with some good conversation. It's always a moment to relish in the joy of being at home, with the people I love the most.
So how do you celebrate your weekends? I'd love to know! Till next time!

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