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.


Stained glass Posthoornkerk

I wandered past the Posthoornkerk on Sunday and saw that it was open. This church has been restored and converted into offices and event space, it’s now used for all sorts of events including the Game of Thrones exhibition. Apparently it’s open the third Sunday of every month, but I’ve never noticed it before. So in I strolled.

Posthoornkerk Although the church is no longer in use as a church, I assume it’s de-consecrated, there is still plenty of evidence of its original purpose, most noticeably the soaring stained glass windows. They have the usual religious theme, including one image of the consecration of the church in the 1880s.

This is a relatively new church by Amsterdam standards. The church was designed by Pierre Cuypers, who also designed the Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam Central Station. Building started in 1861, while the towers on Haarlemmerstraat were built between 1887 and 1889.

It was built once the freedom of religion was restored in 1853, ending almost 300 years of the suppression of Catholicism in Holland (the province) following the Union of Utrecht in 1579. During this time it was not possible to build Catholic churches in Amsterdam so Catholics gathered in hidden, or secret churches.

posthoorn sign at Prinsengracht 7The Posthoornkerk takes its name from one of these hidden churches that had congregated nearby, with the last location being Prinsengracht 7, which still has a Posthoorn over the door.

By the 20th century congregation numbers had dropped, and the church was closed and boarded up in 1976. There was a plan to destroy the church and build some form of social housing. But a campaign was started and the building was saved. It was restored in the 1980s and developed into the offices and event space we have today.

It’s open for various events, but to see the full impact of the height of the space and the stained glass windows it’s best to see it when empty – which is the third Sunday of the month. You can also book it for events, including weddings, via the Stads Herstel website (Dutch only).