Saturday Market: Sausages

Maybe it’s the autumn weather, but this week I got inspired by the flavoured sausages on sale at the market. I bought the dried tomato version, it’s delicious sliced thinly or paired with pecorino. I also used some to flavour a lentil soup.

Pimp My Bike #27

bikepimpoct2015A home paint job gives this bike some snazzy stripes. You can see the advantage of pimping your bike when see the “usual” black bikes surrounding this one.

Saturday Market; Lilypad Soup

lilypadsoupA rather nice thing happened at the market on Saturday, I purchased my vegetables as usual, and as I paid I was offered some baby asparagus. They were past their best, or as the stall keeper tactfully put it “you need to use them soon”. I did, I made this soup yesterday which contains no lilypads but plenty of asparagus. When I saw the colour match with the table cloth I couldn’t resist the name.

I based the recipe on one I found on the BBC food site. It worked out well, it’s full of flavour without tasting too strongly of asparagus.

Lilypad Soup


  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 200g asparagus roughly chopped
  • 1 medium sized potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4-5 sprigs of oregano, leaves only
  • 250 ml vegetable stock
  • 150 ml double cream
  • good olive oil to drizzle
  • crusty bread to serve
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, add the leek, asparagus, potato, and oregano saute for about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetable stock, add more water if the vegetables aren’t covered.
  3. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer until all vegetables are cooked.
  4. Take off the heat, blend with a wand blender until smooth. Add cream and blend again
  5. Return to heat, add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve pour into bowls, drizzle some good olive oil on the top and serve crusty bread on the side.


If you don’t want to serve it straight away, or want to store some of the soup, I would reserve the cream until you re-heat the soup just before serving. I didn’t test it but the soup mixture without cream should freeze fairly well.

If a vegan version is needed skip the butter but double the cooking oil, and add an extra potato and a little more stock or water. The potato does give the soup a creamy texture.

Monday Market; Buttons, Ribbon and Fabric

Saturday’s market is all about food, Monday’s market is all about fabric and what my grandmother would have called “notions”, all the trimmings of a sewing project. She worked in a button factory, hence my fascination with buttons.

Back to the Beginning; 10 Years of Blogging

anniversary10My very first blog post included a photograph from this shop, 10 years ago.

In the intervening 10 years the shop has got scruffier. I heard from a taxi driver born in the neighbourhood that it used to be owned by the current occupant’s father who had a great interest in glasses. He ran the shop, and a more lucrative business renting glasses to various photo shoots, films and tv productions. After he died his son inherited, but although he runs the business he seems to have little interest in it.

I’ve published more than 600 posts and my top viewed post is about the day I was surprised to find a Russian submarine in Amsterdam harbour. Most people find my blog via search engines, and the best referring site is I Am Expat. For 2015 most visitors have been from the Netherlands, followed by USA, UK, Germany and Canada.

To all of you dank je wel, thank you, thank you, danke schön, and thank you.


Sail 2015

We’ve just had SAIL2015 here in Amsterdam, an extravaganza of tall ships, small ships and sailing fans that occurs every five years. I went to look at ships as they came in, it’s a big thrill to see them. There are some great images collected of the event on Instagram, but the best visual of the event is this time-lapse drone-based video from Haven Amsterdam (Amsterdam Habour Authority).

Pimp My Bike #26

pimp_bikeBright stripes – emulating the catalan flag.

Also note the tourist standing in the middle of the cycle track in the background, he was busy reading a map.