Crazy about strawberries

Strawberries are definitely among my favourite summer fruits. A bowl full of red shining ‘zomerkoninkjes’, little summer kings as the Dutch sometimes call them, can brighten up my day in an instant. That’s also why I love trying out recipes with strawberries. I recently came across this lentil salad trough http://www.healthyfans.com, and it was absolutely delish.

strawberrysalad

All you need for a one person portion is:

  • two hands full of parsley
  • 100 grams of feta
  • 10 strawberries
  • a hand full of rucola or corn salad
  • a tin of lentils
  • one small red onion
  • a third of a cucumber
  • some pepper and salt

One of my old time favourite strawberry recipes is Eton mess. It is originally served at the cricket game of Eton College and Harrow and is very easily made. The only thing you have to do is mix strawberries, meringues and cream and you’re ready to enjoy a lovely dessert!

Of course, strawberries cannot only be eaten but are also fantastic in drinks. This little red fruit can spice up any smoothie, juice or cocktail. The Dutch liquor house Bols has several delicious cocktail recipes with strawberries, such as this strawberry ‘n balsamic martini:

cocktail strawberry

I can’t wait to make these and more recipes. It’s definitely going to be a strawberry filled summer!

Best of: Amsterdam

I love travelling. It’s really one of my favourite things to do. It gives me such a thrill to go to a new place, meet interesting people, get to know a different culture and taste local food. But this desire to travel sometimes makes me forget to appreciate the place I am actually living in, which at the moment is Amsterdam. And Amsterdam happens to be one of the most amazing cities in the world. It might not be as overwhelming as New York, or as romantic as Paris, but Amsterdam definitely has its charm. It’s such a pity that a lot of tourists only come for the weed and red light district, because this city has so much more to offer than that, for tourists and locals alike.

Amsterdam is a very pretty and green city. The majestic canal houses (Dutch: grachtenpand) are of course a sight to sore eyes, and the many parks make the city less hectic than other capitals. Also the numerous museums, amongst which the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank house, are worth a visit. If you want to go shopping I would recommend going to the 9 straatjes, or Haarlemmerstraat, which are filled with little shops varying from famous fashion brands like Karl Lagerfeld to local shops, so they are perfect for window shopping as well as for finding a new outfit or a gift. One shop that I just love because of its window and shop decoration as well as its often changing collection is Tenue de Nîmes. This store is heaven for the denim-lover and its friendly sales people make you want to come back again and again.

Also the Utrechtsestraat is a street with interesting and original shops and when you’re tired you can drop by at the Koffiesalon for the best coffee in town!

Koffie koffiesalon

De Koffiesalong

In general, you can find lots of lovely places in the city centre to get a bite, but recently I have been discovering Amsterdam East which is really up and coming and I’d definitely recommend going that way for lunch. Rum baba (Pretoriusstraat 33), for example, is a great lunch room. It has a fresh and comfy interior which is very inviting both for having a quick lunch or staying a couple of hours while reading a book. They have a wide variety of sandwiches, teas, coffees, juices, and delicious cakes and pies.

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Other places in the east of Amsterdam which I’d recommend are Coffee Bru and 1900 (here you can also go for dinner).

Finding a good restaurant is quite easy in Amsterdam, but finding a good cocktail bar can be tricky. Lots of bars have cocktails and happy hour, but if you want something else than a Sex on the Beach or a Pina Colada you should go to a real authentic cocktail bar. My absolute favourite is Door 74. Standing in front of its plain black door you can hardly imagine that inside you’ll find a sophisticated bar where skilled bartenders can make the most interesting cocktails. Other bars that might be a bit less authentic, but where they have excellent cocktails as well are the Sky lounge, the rooftop bar of the double tree hilton hotel, which is also worth a visit because of its marvellous view, and the Amstel hotel where they only serve cocktails that contain something typically Dutch.

And these are just a couple of my favourite places in Amsterdam. I hope more people will come to realise what a lovely city Amsterdam actually is and keep on coming back and discover new places.

The Non-internship

Nowadays, it seems that every student has to do an internship at some renowned company. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you don’t, but it is definitely a good thing if you do. A few weeks ago a friend of mine came with the idea of doing a non-internship; Instead of trying his best to get a prestigious internship at a big company, he decided to create his own internship by teaching himself new things he’d always wanted to learn about. Teaching yourself new stuff is actually a lot easier than you might think, especially with all the online courses that are available on the Internet. So I thought this was a pretty brilliant idea and since I was finishing my degree at the end of May, I decided to do my own non-internship until I’m starting on my postgrad.

One thing I always wanted to learn was how to make my own website. I already knew some HTML and CSS, which I taught myself through Codecademy, so I just sat down and started to design my own site. Now about 2,5 weeks later I have launched my site and the result can be found here.

The other thing I did thus far, is the Web Development course from Udacity. From which I also learnt a lot of stuff that I used to get my website up and running (for example, how to use Google App Engine).

The last thing I aspire to do is to make my own dress. I know that’s completely different from my other projects, but I have a true passion for fashion and would like to challenge my creativity in a less digital way. I’ve not made that much progress on this project yet, and I think this will also be the hardest goal to reach, but we’ll see. I know that at least I will learn something from trying.

So for those people out there who didn’t yet get themselves an amazing internship, don’t despair! You can learn so much by yourself, you don’t need a company for that. Some sites that offer amazing online courses (taught by people from Stanford, Google, etc) are: Udacity, Codeacademy, and Coursera. The first two focus mostly on Computer Science and coding, but Coursera also offers courses in other fields of study.