Archive for ‘June, 2013’

CoconutLemonCake

I’ll have two tests on Thursday and two papers due this weekend. What I would normally do in these circumstances, when I would be home that is, is to lock myself in the kitchen and start procrastinating by baking and cooking like a madman. I still have to wait 3 more nights until I’m back in my (even though I’m sharing it with 7 others, I like to think it is completely mine) kitchen, so for now I’ll just have to stick with talking about it.

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I made this cake last winter on my short visit home and every single person who tasted it was smitten with it. The cake is moist and sticky and the coconut and lemon make it taste fresh and light. Last winter it gave me the feeling that the days were not as cold and dark as they actually were and I’m imagining that when I would eat it in summer, the coconut and lemon would cool me down from the summer heat.

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After writing that I wasn’t craving any special dinners, I suddenly couldn’t stop thinking about my old time favorite: this pasta with loads of cripsy garlic, a generous amount of spicy chili peppers, good olive oil that is infused with these flavors and topped with parsley and more cheese than can be good for you.

In the year before moving to Beijing I ate this carb bomb at least once a week. It is my ultimate comfort food, so I would mostly make it when I would be busy stressing about deadlines, but it also cures mean hangovers – that last one might be the reason why I was craving it so badly this weekend..

Anyway, this pasta dish is so easy to make, it might take you 15 minutes on your slowest mode from start to finish. Once you’ve figured out how much garlic and chili you can handle, you don’t need to bother measuring or tasting while cooking.

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Next Friday I’ll be home again. My plane will land around dinner time after a 13 hour flight, so I bet I’ll be hungry and ready to eat an embarrassing amount of food. People have asked me what I would like to have for my first meal back on Dutch ground, but, to my own surprise, I don’t really care. Some dumplings or noodles would be fine with me. I do know that after I wake up the next morning, I’ll go to the farmers market that is just around the corner of my house and I’ll buy a crusty sourdough loaf and some smoked eel and I’ll enjoy the heck out of this sandwich.

To some people smoked eel sounds disgusting, but to me this Dutch delicacy is one of the best foods in the world. It’s meaty, fatty and full of flavor. You don’t even need butter or anything other than a couple of pieces of this yummy fish on some nice bread. The only thing bad about it is that it’s ridiculously expensive, but I guess that I can treat myself on my first day back home.

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After I finished my morning swim an hour ago, there was loud thunder outside, rain was pouring down like crazy and the skies were dark as if it was night. I raced back on my bike to the dorms, but I still ended up soaking wet. Now I’m clean and dry again and I don’t think I will leave this room today unless I get hungry and dare to make the 20 second sprint to the canteen.

Even though it’s only 9 am and I just had my dumpling breakfast, I can’t stop thinking about these sausage rolls. They would be the perfect comfort food to make on a day like this. Curl up in front of the tv or in bed with a good book and eat one of these still hot from the oven.

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At this time next week, I’ll be getting myself drunk on cheap Chinese liquor on my own goodbye party, cause on Friday morning I’ll be catching a plane that will take me back home; to the Netherlands that is. I will not spend my summer lying on a beach on some tropical island or backpacking in Asia, but I will spend it nice and calm with my family and friends, by baking cakes and in a (much-needed) healthy environment.

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For the last couple of weeks I’ve been having these crazy little nausea attacks. This happened to me before I left to spend two summers in Taiwan and it also happened before I moved to Beijing. It is a mixture of adrenaline and fear for the unknown. The weird thing is that I’ll not be going to an unknown place this time, but instead I’m going home.

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On the one hand I’m feeling excited; I’ll be seeing my friends and family again, I’ll have all the opportunity to cook and bake whatever I want, I’ll know what is in my food (no pork that is actually rat meat) and I’ll be breathing fresh air (instead of the Beijing Air Quality Index stating something between “unhealthy / very unhealthy / hazardous / more than the index can count”).

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But on the other hand I’m feeling a bit uneasy; two months ago, after living in Beijing for about 8 months, my life finally got a bit of a routine and I started feeling more at home: bought a bike, got OCD on my morning swim, started studying more diligently and started tutoring the cutest 14-year-old girl. Now I have to put this all on hold, so when I come back (/home?) I can pick it up from where I left it.

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