Author Archives for Ellen

Gado gado

Around two weeks ago i made myself nasi goreng with peanut sauce and tofu. Nasi goreng is a very common dish in the Netherlands. Indonesia used to be one of our colonies. We still have many Indonesian restaurants. Conimex is sold here in like forever, or as long as i can remember. Or, as you can read in the linked page (Dutch) Thuis in de Oosterse keuken, available since 1932.

Of course i didn’t use any Conimex in the recipe for my gado gado. I mean, it is so well known, it can’t be good.

Gado gado is a Indonesian salad. You can use all sort of different vegetables. I used broccoli and french beans. Cucumber and coriander for some freshness. One day i had boiled potatoes, the next i cooked some basmati rice. I had fried tofu, the second day marinated them in some ketjap manis.

First i made a peanut sauce. I used different recipes as a starting point. This one from Ottolenghi and one from Rasamalaysia.

I used the following ingredients for the peanut sauce. This gives a sauce for around four people.

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 2½ tbsp sambal manis
  • 2 small pieces galangal
  • 4 medium shallots
  • trassi
  • 80ml vegetable oil
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • 90g palm sugar
  • ½ tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp thick tamarind water (tamarind paste whisked in water)
  • 225g roasted peanuts, without skins
  • 450ml water
  • 200ml coconut milk

I followed the next steps, basically following Ottolenghi’s steps. I did add the trassi and used the palm sugar insted of normal sugar. In the chinese supermarket the Sambal Olek wasn’t available, i got the Sambal Manis in stead.

  1. Whiz the garlic, lemongrass, sambal, galangal, shallots and trassi in a food processor. Heat up the oil in a saucepan and cook the paste over a low heat for around 40 minutes, stirring regularly.
  2. Mix the salt, sugar and paprika with the tamarind and add this to the cooked paste. Cook for 10 more minutes.
  3. Wiz the peanuts, not too fine, and add them to the cooked paste with the water. Let this simmer for a further 20-25 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and stir. Done!

For the gado gado cook any vegetable you can not eat raw. I had a simple version. I cooked some broccoli and french beans. I cooked some basmati rice and added coriander leaves. I sliced a fourth part of a cucumber. Tofu was fried and afterwards put in some ketjap manis to marinate a bit. The wrong order, i know. Still enjoyed the taste. I didn’t have any eggs. I had eaten two eggs for breakfast, that was enough for me.

I had some kroepoek with the meal. I had bought some of the dried paste you can fry your own kroepoek (krupuk?). Simply heat up some plain vegetable oil and wait till its hot enough for a kroepoek to fry quickly. Afterwards i put the finished kroepoek on some kitchen paper to get most of the oil out of it. Great with the gado gado. I used a vegetarian kroepoek one.

Lovely meal. Especially the peanut sauce!

All the ingredients for the peanut sauce. The trassi was still in a drawer, i did add that too.
The paste for the peanut sauce cooking on a small fire
The peanuts and the water added to the paste.
The kroepoek before and ...
... after they were fried.
Published on April 4, 2016 at 6:00 by

Paul Cézanne

It was a good idea writing a bit about some of the best painters i know. Johannes Vermeer, making perfectly balanced and composed paintings. Paul Cézanne is the next painter on my list. I won’t go into his biography. You can read about that on his wikipedia page, or do a search on duckduckgo.

I will try and limit the paintings i will show here. I did copy many from the list of his paintings. You’re welcome to go through his paintings.

I did do a year of painting at art school. At the end of that year i got a 0 for it. A refusal. All my other marks were good, but that zero, that null prevented me from going any further into painting. So i didn’t. Next year i switched to photography and monumental. I didn’t read that much about painting anymore. In the back of my mind i did have this quiet thought that i could turn back to painting in my old age. If i wanted to.

You may think i’m choosing artists which are part of the recognized canon of western art. You are right. That doesn’t mean these artists are not important, that everything has been said about them, everybody has seen their work. I do try to take my time watching these paintings when i see them. Or watch the photos i found online. Even with photos there are many things to observe. It does require time to let an image sink in. Let the image become a part of your world.




The Bathers
127 × 196 cm
National Gallery, London



Still Life with Apples and a Pot of Primroses
58 × 91 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York



Still Life with Open Drawer
33 × 41 cm
Private collection



Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier
59.7 x 73 cm
Private Collection



Madame Cézanne
55,6 × 45,7 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York



Portrait of Madame Cézanne
46 x 38 cm
Private collection



Madame Cézanne (Hortense Fiquet, 1850–1922) in a Red Dress
116.5 x 89.5 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York



Madam Cézanne in a Red Armchair
72,5 × 56 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston



Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Armchair
81 × 85 cm
Private collection



Mount Sainte-Victoire
65 × 81 cm
Private collection



Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry
65 × 81 cm
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore



Mont Sainte-Victoire
67 × 92 cm
Courtauld Institute of Art, London



Mont Sainte-Victoire and the Viaduct of the Arc River Valley
65,4 x 81,6 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York



Maison Maria with a View of Château Noir
65 × 81 cm
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas



L’Estaque with Red Roofs
65 × 81 cm
Private collection



Forest Interior
61 x 81,3 cm
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco



High Trees In Jas de Bouffan
73 x 59 cm
Private collection



The Grounds of the Château-Noir
90,7 × 71,4 cm
National Gallery, London



The Great Pine
85 × 92 cm
São Paulo Museum of Art, São Paulo



The House with the Cracked Walls
80 x 64,1 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York



Boy in a Red Waistcoat
92 x 73 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC



61 × 47 cm
Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington D.C.



Self-Portrait with Palette
92 × 73 cm
Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zürich



Self-Portrait with Olive-Colored Wallpaper
33,6 × 26 cm
National Gallery, London



Still Life with Carafe, Bottle, and Fruit (watercolour)
Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection


Published on April 1, 2016 at 6:00 by


When i reread the post Mixed thoughts i was so embarrassed. Not the entire post. The first part is ok. But the middle and the end, eew. Well, apart from the final sentences, they were alright. The post felt to me to be too thought out. Too much thought put into it. Too heavy. So i felt happy to leave it behind me and not think about it anymore. “Writing this post gives me a chance to sort my thoughts.” I guess that is true.

So i postponed my post about art. Hmmm. That post is still hazy in my mind. I have a document with some lines. Most of which i will not use. But i do need to try to find what i want to say, in the coming week or two.

This afternoon i went out and made a short walk through the center. I sat on the Grotekerkplein for a bit. I had taken of my coat. Enjoying the sunshine. Looking at the buildings, at the sky, at the water, at the doves walking around, flying up at times, at the people sitting around, walking past.


I walked to the AH after that. I heard some music from somewhere. I looked down, to the wooden platform closer to the water. I saw a mobile phone lying on a bench, with a yellow small cylinder besides it. Two girls were just walking to that bench, but they didn’t pick up the phone. I went down the stairs and looked at the phone. The yellow cylinder turned out to be a music box. I turned of the music. The phone was unlocked. I talked to the girls, but they didn’t know. My first thought was to bring the phone to the police. But one of the girls said to look at the contacts. It was a Samsung phone, which i never handled myself. But she showed me. I looked through the log file of previous calls. I decided to call someone from it. I got a girl on the line. I explained i had found the phone. She asked me if they could get the phone later that evening, which was fine with me.

They just got here. I gave them the phone. A good deed of the day.

Published on March 31, 2016 at 6:00 by

DIY: Fermenting your own sauerkraut

Today i started making sauerkraut. I have read about this process, fermenting, for years. Last year on the Rotterdamse Oogst Markt i talked with the girls from Ferme Kolen. I bought some kimchi then.

Fermentation is used in many different foods and drinks. Beer, wine and cider converse sugar into ethanol. Bread uses the yeast to produce CO2. Sauerkraut, sausages, kimchi, yogurt, miso, soya all use fermentation to alter the taste and make the end product more usable.

The pot will need to stand in room temperature for around two to three weeks. A white mould can appear on the surface, i do need to remove that as fast as possible.

I used the following recipe.

  • 1 kilo white cabbage
  • 5 gr mustard seeds
  • 4 gr juniper
  • 3 gr caraway
  • ± 22,5 gr salt
  • a few peppercorns

Sauerkraut is the easiest fermented product to make. I used some spices to add a bit of flavour, but you can make it with only the white cabbage and salt. I will see how this will evolve and report back here.

Starting out with white cabbage, salt, juniper, mustard seeds and caraway. I did add some black peppercorns at the end.
Slicing the cabbage as thinly as possible. Next time i use my mandolin and grate them really fine.
Adding the salt, 22,5 grams for 1 kilo of cabbage. After a couple of minutes of crunching and munching and stamping with clean bare hands the cabbage gets moistened. Here you see the spices put on top of the cabbage after the first kneading. After this the spices gets kneaded in the cabbage for a few more minutes.
The pot i wanted to put the cabbage into broke. I had this other pot, not ideal, i hope it will work fine. On top i put a big leaf from the outside of the cabbage. The core of the cabbage is used as a weight with which to crunch all the cabbage down. I did add some salted water to get the cabbage completely covered with it.
I use a dish cloth to close up the pot.
Published on March 30, 2016 at 6:00 by

Looking out

On my way to Rotterdam, this afternoon, sitting in the train.

Only when i got home i saw the windows itself, the reflections, the dirt.












Published on March 29, 2016 at 6:00 by

Mixed thoughts

This past week, on Tuesday, in the morning i was sitting behind my computer. I routinely went through my twitter feed. I saw a strange picture. Sort of a train station with messy black and white parts of the ceiling or wall on the floor. I looked further down. I saw more tweets, but only thirty minutes back. Something was going on.

I turned on the television. There it was. The Dutch journal with an extra edition. Explosions in the airport Zaventem in Brussels. I switched to the Belgian tv.

That entire morning i was watching the news. Switching between Dutch, Belgian and British tv. I saw the footage of people running out of the halls in Zeventem. The short clips of people climbing out of metro train in Brussels. People crying, other people quiet. The city becoming more silent, with only heavenly guarded police and militairs on the street. My mind went to friends who are living in Brussels for over ten years.

I saw the speach of our prime minister Rutte, around half past eleven.

“We are with more.”

Those words went through my head over the next few days. So being with more means what? The majority wins? What if we got into war with China? India? There are more of them.

Over the next few days i read more articles about Brussels and the responses of our politicians.

“An attack on our values.”

We can not live in this make believe innocence in which we inhabit this perfect land where nothing bad ever happens. We do not. Our Western European world is as internally conflicted as all the other parts of the world. We do sweep it under the carpet. Out of sight, out of mind. But it is still there.

We do have a certain amount of freedom. Especially the indigenous people of Western Europe do have the possibilities and chances to find what they most want to do in their live. It is hard though, in this neoliberal world with fast four years studies, high debts and expensive living costs.

The last war in Western Europe ended in 1945. Seventy years ago. In those years our western world has evolved in a rich, polluted and contaminated, globalizing, expressive and rude world inhabited with people unaware of what a war can be like. People taking our hard won peace for granted. Most of us. Me too.

We live in this highly coated world with shop fronts the same around every city in Europe. We do not apply any terrorist action. Of course not. Other do those actions to us. The innocent, happily buying stuff, dancing and eating and drinking Europeans.

A few days after the attack, Johan Cruyff died. Every news show was showering his memory with love and adoration. The last symbol of our Dutch glory. So it was said.

I am not a football fan. Not a Johan Cruyff fan. It is not my world. I watched some of the shows with amazement. Not my place to say anything more about it.

Microsoft pulled its chatbot Tay from Twitter. In less than 24 hours its tweets changed from the innocent to the outright dark. Since it was learning from tweets targeting at it, all its noises were coming from other people, “a pack of sadistic psychopaths”.

hellooooooo w🌎rld!!!
1:14 PM – 23 Mar 2016

@wowdudehahahaha I fucking hate niggers, I wish we could put them all in a concentration camp with k****s and be done with the lot
12:49 AM – 24 Mar 2016

We do have problems.

The entire world has problems.

I don’t have solutions. I simply think about what is happening, what people say, what people do. I don’t do this every single day. But this past week, i did.

Writing this post gives me a chance to sort my thoughts. Try to see a line to pick up, try to find a way out of this aweful mess we are in. This desolate world in which we live our lives as is prescribed by the people with powers surrounding by other people with powers surrounding us.

I am not able to find an answer on my own.

I am happy to search.


Most of these links refer to Dutch or Belgian articles. Some may be behind a paywall.

Na de aanslag
Aanslagen in Brussel
Waarom aanslagen geen aanval op onze waarden zijn (en politici ons dat wel willen doen geloven)
Brussel leert: over terreur is alles al gezegd (behalve wat bijna iedereen denkt)
Er is niks mis met selectieve verontwaardiging
Buitenhof: David van Reybrouck en Willem Schinkel over Brussel
The US-led Coalition Bombed the University of Mosul for Being an Islamic State Headquarters
Irakese academica schreeuwt haar woede uit over bombardementen op de universiteit van Mosul
‘Als je geen regenpak aanhad, schopte ik je helemaal dood.’
It’s not Tay’s fault that it turned racist. It’s ours.
Twitter May Have Just Doomed Humanity by Trolling an Artificial Intelligence Bot
Willem Schinkel over de ‘allochtoon’
Boeken: Willem Schinkel “Over nut en nadeel van de sociologie voor het leven”

Published on March 28, 2016 at 6:00 by

Rotterdam CS

I sat in the train homewards this afternoon. I was thinking about my plan for today’s post. I do have a post about the news this week around the events in Brussels. I remember thinking i needed a bit more time. And then the thought cropped up to make a few photos inside the Rotterdam Central Station. It would give me a few more days to write about the news.

I actually do like a couple of the photos. I did make them a bit more saturated. And a bit less contrasted. The dark a bit lighter, the light a bit darker. Nice ones.



Published on March 25, 2016 at 6:00 by

Johannes Vermeer

I remember an art school trip to Germany in the late 80s. In a museum in Berlin i remember sitting on a bench in a rather dark room watching enchanted a Johannes Vermeer painting. Today i went through the complete catalogue and saw there are two Vermeer paintings in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie: The Glass of Wine and Woman with a Pearl Necklace. I especially like the latter one. The white washed wall fills the center of the painting. Curtains on the left, the table at the bottom, a chair to the right with a girl staring at herself in the mirror opposite holding a pearl necklace in front of her.

I also do remember drawing the Girl with a Pearl Earring at art school. Together with Whitney Houston and myself. This was in the second year at art school in 1987-1988.


After the time i said goodbye to the art world, in 1994, Vermeer did stand out as a truly magical painter to me. 1-autoportrait-deux-cercles-xlI don’t like every painting. Only a few weeks ago i saw The Guitar Player in the Kenwood House in London. The Rembrandt painting Portrait of the Artist hanging in the same room is so much better. But i have to say, even though i appreciate Rembrandt and love some of his paintings, they never touched me as the paintings of Vermeer have.

Johannes Vermeer, 1632 – 1675. He died when he was 43 years old. Young by today’s standards. Born in the midst of the Dutch Golden Age. I should read more about this period. I’m pretty sure i did learn a bit about this period at school, but it has faded away.

I have only seen his paintings here in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam and The Hague. I have seen the ones in Berlin and London as well. But that is it. I do hope to see all of them: New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Edinburgh, Vienna, Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin. This gives me a good list to start traveling more.

Below i have a couple of the best paintings. I know Vermeer deserves more text than i could ever write. Other people are much better in describing his techniques, the time in which he live and his paintings. I simply love to watch the paintings themselves.



A Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window
c. 1657 – 1659
Oil on canvas
83 x 64.5 cm. (32 3/4 x 25 3/8 in.)
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery), Dresden



The Little Street
c. 1657 – 1661
Oil on canvas
54.3 x 44 cm. (21 3/8 x 17 3/8 in.)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam



View of Delft
c. 1660-1661
Oil on canvas
98.5 x 117.5 cm. (38 3/4 x 46 1/4 in.)
Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, The Hague



Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
c. 1662 – 1665
Oil on canvas
46.5 x 39 cm. (18 1/4 x 15 3/8 in.)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam



Woman Holding a Balance
c. 1662-1665
Oil on canvas
42.5 x 38 cm. (16 3/4 x 15 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.



Young Woman with a Water Pitcher
c. 1662 – 1665
Oil on canvas
45.7 x 40.6 cm. (18 x 16 in.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York



Woman with a Pearl Necklace
c. 1662 – 1665
Oil on canvas
55 x 45 cm. (21 5/8 x 17 3/4 in.)
Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin



Girl with a Pearl Earring
c. 1665-1667
Oil on canvas
46.5 x 40 cm. (18 1/4 x 15 1/4 in.)
Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, The Hague



The Geographer
c. 1668-1669
Oil on canvas
53 x 46.6 cm. (20 7/8 x 18 1/4 in.)
Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, Germany



The Lacemaker
c. 1669-1671
Oil on canvas (attached to panel)
24.5 x 21 cm. (9 5/8 x 8 1/4 in.)
Musée du Louvre, Paris



The Love Letter
c. 1667-1670
Oil on canvas
44 x (17 3/8 x 15 1/8 in.)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


PS. When i posted this, i set it in the World category. But this evening, while i was watching Masterchef on the BBC, i suddenly realized Beauty is so much better. It is different from the other posts in that category, but i don’t mind. The meanings of these category names are subject to change. Beauty!

Published on March 23, 2016 at 6:00 by


The library used to be one of my favourite places to go. But it’s been years since i’ve been inside. To look for books. I don’t read that much anymore. And really, i do think i read most books i wanted to read and which are available in the library.

I loved poems from W.H. Auden. There was this thick book, it might have been Collected Poems. I got it like three four times, at least.

I do admit, this was how far my poetry went. Over the past year i did read the poetry page in the NRC on Thursday. But i never really dived into it.

Today, when i was going through my old present pages on, i came across this poem i published there on 31 December 1999, Lullaby.


Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s sensual ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of sweetness show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness see you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

W. H. Auden (1907-1973)

Summary and analysis.

I had to think about the category into which i would place this post. First i picked Beauty. Still good. But i decided against it and picked World. And then i thought stupid me! it should go in Books and TV!

Published on March 22, 2016 at 6:00 by