Museum of History & Fine Arts @ Muduem De Lakenhal Leiden

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

I was wandering aimlessly in the city of Leiden on a rainy and gloomy Saturday afternoon. My heart would yearn to visit the Hortus Botanicus Leiden (the botanical garden) but I somehow ended-up in the Museum de Lakenhal, also known as the Cloth Hall in English.

As the name suggested, the Cloth Hall was once functioned as the textile inspection unit where the famed Leiden textile was inspected. It also served as the meeting point for the Governors and Syndicates of the textile industry back in 16th century. It was officially converted into a municipal museum in year 1874.

Besides the fine architecture and interior, the museum also boast a fine collections of arts and paintings by Leiden's famous artists such as Cornelis Engebrechtsz., Lucas van Leyden and Rembrandt.

At the ground floor of the building, hide this little old Dutch kitchen. I felt like walking into the past when I stepped into the kitchen. The wooden buckets, the tiled sink and wall, metal pots and piles, the working fire place and the wooden furniture transformed me back to a typical 17th century kitchen.
Museum de Lakenhal
Museum de Lakenhal
Museum de Lakenhal
Museum de Lakenhal
Museum de Lakenhal
In the middle of the hall, lays this long table which was once used to measure and check the textile.
Museum de Lakenhal

17th century wall paintings, furniture and fire stoves are well maintained and preserved till present days.
Museum de Lakenhal
The fireplace with Delft blue tiles is the signature of typical Dutch interiors back in 17th and 18th century.
Museum de Lakenhal

The wall painting of the famous Dutch Windmill in one of the room.
Museum de Lakenhal

The wooden staircase, color tinted glass and golden chandelier are another highlight of the museum.
Museum de Lakenhal

Museum de Lakenhal
Museum De Lakenhal
Oude Singel 28-32, 2312 RA Leiden
Tel: 071-5165360

Operating hours
Tue - Fri                    10:00 to 17:00
Sat, Sun & Holidays 12:00 to 17:00

Entrance fee
Adults €7.5
Children below 18 free

The Perfect Midnight Snacks: AH Satay

Saturday, August 24, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

sate with peanut sauce
Your little tummy starts groaning when the clock strikes at 12 midnight. A cup of instant noodle might sounds good. But I bet it still can't beat a skewer of succulent chicken satay with savory thick peanut sauce.

A skewer of charred satay is easy to access for urban Malaysians during these odd hours. An ideal example would be the famous food paradise, Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur. With most of the stalls operate till 2-3am in the morning, Jalan Alor is a great place for midnight snacks such as satay.

Unlike the lucky folks in Malaysia, with most restaurants close at 11pm, the hunt for late night snacks seem to be mission impossible in the Netherlands. If you really crave for satay, I do have a fix for you - the frozen chicken satay with peanut sauce from Albert Heijn.

Three sticks of satay in thick peanut sauce is sold at affordable price of €0.90 per pack. This pre-cooked chicken satay is packed in a microwavable container. It is really convenient. Just poke a few holes on the wrapper and heat up in microwave oven for 3 minutes. Plate up and enjoy your satay with some cucumber slice.

sate with peanut sauce
I dislike my satay with chunks of fat and chicken skin, hence this AH satay suits my taste well. Check out the chicken chunks. These are high quality and succulent chicken breast meat.

The peanut sauce is thick yet smooth in texture and the portion is just right. It is more than enough to coat all the satay skewers and at the same time you may have extra to go with your rice (if you are having the satay with rice). Localized to suit local taste buds, the peanut sauce is non-spicy. If you like spicy sauce, perhaps a dash of sambal oelek could do the wonders.

satay with fired rice (sate with fried rice)
The AH frozen chicken satay is a perfect match for my homemade nasi goreng 'shrimps fried rice'. You may even top it up with a fried egg and some cucumber slices to make it an awesome and healthy lunch too!

My Top 5 Favorite Dutch Sweet Snacks

Thursday, August 22, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

In all honesty, I do not possess sweet tooth but was transformed ever since I landed in the Netherlands almost a year ago due to the irresistible Dutch's sweet snacks.

Featured in this post are my top 5 favorite Dutch sweet snacks, which are non-seasonal and are available all year long.

1) Butter Apple Walnut Cake
Dutch Sweet Snacks
The butter apple walnut cake (Rb Appelnoten Koek) married both my favourite snacks together - nuts and cakey appeltaart and there is no way I am not falling in love with it. The nuts, apple filling and tart blend in perfectly while the sweetness level is just perfect. You may enjoy it on room temparatue or chuck it in the oven for a couple of minutes, it is entirely up to you. For me, I prefer the latter. The pipping hot apple walnut cake surprisingly tasted as fresh as the one freshly baked from the oven.

2) Sugar Waffle
Dutch Sweet Snacks

Sugar waffle is unmistakably the twin sister to the famous squarish Belgium waffle. They might look pretty alike but with completely different texture and taste profile. Distinguished from its twin sister, sugar waffle is 'embedded' with crystal sugar bits and with bread-like texture. Usually sold in individual packaged, sugar waffle serves as a perfect snack for those who are on-the-go (like me) as it is ready to eat without any additional jam or spread. The chocolate coated sugar waffle is available if you are a chocolate lover too.

3) Butter Apple Round 
Dutch Sweet Snacks

Butter apple round is also known as 'roombuter appelkoeken' in Dutch. It has the taste profile very similar to our pineapple tart and is absolutely delicious. The tart is fluffy and not overly buttery. The sweet apple jam blends in perfectly and created an addictive fruity taste. Seriously speaking, you can't be satisfied with just a single piece. If you are a big fan of pineapple tart, you gotta love this, the Dutch butter apple round. Yum!

4) Gevulde Koek (filled cake)
Dutch Sweet Snacks
Dutch refer to it as  Boter Gevulde Koek, loosely translated as 'butter filled cake' but they are actually butter pastries with various types of filling such as almond paste. Since I am an aficionado for Chinese pastries especially 'Tao Sa Peng', naturally I like these koek too. The two have very similar pastries texture profile, except the Dutch's version is slightly thicker. To be honest, I do enjoy the pastries more than the filling and I really don't mind if they serve the 'kosong' koek here - the koek without filling. These butter koek comes is various fillings and is available in most of the grocers and pastry shops.

5) Stroopwafels
Dutch Sweet SnacksA typical Dutch delicacies, stroopwafels has maintained its classic flavor, the caramel flavor (only caramel flavor is available). A layer of caramel spread ozzing in between 2 slices of wafer thin batter crisps, stroopwafels are highly fond by both kids and adults. According to the Dutch, the best way to enjoy the stroopwafels is to prepare a cup of hot coffee with a slice of big round stroopwafels and allow the caramel to melt by the steam from the hot coffee. Brilliant idea isn't it? I guess the Denise's way is equally good either - just heat up the stroopwafels in microwave for 30sec. Piping hot Netherlands delicacy for less than 1 Euro: Stroopwafels

Amazing Experience @ 5-Star Grand Hotel Karel V in Utrecht

Saturday, August 17, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

I would never miss bringing my own slippers and tooth brush (plus tooth paste) whenever I travel around European cities when overnight stays are required. Regardless of whether I am staying in a hotel or a hostel, these are the ESSENTIAL items.

It might sounds bizarre to some Asians, mainly because even 3 and 4-stars hotels in Asia have these items readily stocked for their customers. However it is not the case in Europe. Through my experience, hotels in Europe (even 4-star hotels like Mercure or Marriott) do not usually have these essential items provided, hence self-prepared is required.

Lately, I discovered the exception in the Grand Hotel Karel V in Utrecht city. Not only the hotel room is equipped with all the essentials, it has so much more to offer.

The Room
Grand Hotel Karel V Utrecht
I was totally bowled over and fell in love when I entered my room in Grand Hotel Karel V. It is really unique due to the split-level design. The decor is contemporary chic and luxurious with a touch of 18th century finesse.

This Deluxe room is dominated by an utterly comfortable huge king size bed, flat screen TV and high ceiling design. The upper level meanwhile consist of a lounge sofa, work station and a second flat screen TV with minibar too. The view outside of my room was stunning to say the least where I can admire the courtyard garden with fountain while the Dom tower of Utrecht is serenading us at the background.

Grand Hotel Karel V Utrecht

Grand Hotel Karel V Utrecht
Pampered yourself with premium body and bath products from 'Rituals'.

The Surrounding

Grand Hotel Karel V Utrecht
Lush English styled garden landscape for all the guest to enjoy and unwind after a day walking and touring around the medieval old town of Utrecht city.

Grand Hotel Karel V Utrecht

Grand Hotel Karel V Utrecht

A number of remnants from Utrecht during Roman times are also on display in the hotel for guests and other visitors to admire, including a number of Roman era archaeological finds unearthed in the hotel complex during the construction.

The Restaurant
Grand Hotel Karel V Utrecht
Brasserie Goeie Louisa featured one of the oldest kitchen in the Netherlands that offers tasty, affordable, and enjoyable meals.

Grand Hotel Karel V Utrecht
Grand Restaurant Karel V is opulently styled with nice ambiance and excellent food too. Although I only tasted the breakfast spread, I hope to return 1 day and dine in this 1 Michelin star restaurant.

The Service
Grand Hotel Karel V Utrecht

I particularly would like to applaud the impeccable service rendered by the professional staff. The service was fast, efficient and personal especially the check-in crew which even walked us to our room while explaining the history of the hotel and all the facilities available throughout our stay.

Staying at the 5-star Grand Hotel Karel V Utrecht is an awesome experience and I don't mind to pay the premium price for this unforgettable experience. 

Grand Hotel Karel V
Geertebolwerk 1
3511 XA Utrecht
T +31 (0)30 233 75 55

Easy Homemade Lemon Chicken Recipe

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Chinese Lemon Chicken Recipe

Hot honey lemon tea has been the renown home remedy for flu. Down by heavy flu, I was busy looking around for fresh lemons from supermarket. Last week, I finally brought back a pack of yellow fresh lemons from AH grocer.

Usually a lemon can make 4 servings of hot honey lemon drinks. So, I do have extra lemons to spare for nice treats. Since there are chicken slices available in the fridge, I decided to pampered myself with a plate of homemade lemon chicken for Sunday lunch.

I am very please with the results even-though this is my very first attempt. Seriously, the lemon chicken tasted as good as it looks in the photo. I am super proud of myself !!

I wouldn't say this is a quick dish, but it is definitely not hard to prepare. Here you go the recipe.

300g of chicken breast, cut into stripes
1/2 lemon
2 eggs (beaten)
2 table spoon of honey
all-purpose flour
corn starch
cooking oil
pepper and salt to taste
Chinese cooking wine

Step 1: Marinade the chicken stripes with salt, pepper, chinese cooking wine and corn starch for at least 30 minutes.
Step 2: Heat up a cm of cooking oil in shallow frying pan
Step 3: Coat the marinated chicken stripes with beaten eggs and then with a mixture of  all purpose flour and some salt
Step 4: Fry the chicken till golden brown and set aside
Step 5: Prepare the sauce by adding in the lemon juice, honey, corn starch dissolve in some water, sugar, pepper and salt
Step 6: Once the lemon sauce hit the right consistency, pour over the fried chicken stripes to serve
 Chinese Lemon Chicken Recipe

Chinese Lemon Chicken Recipe

What Every Tourist Must Try in The Netherlands?

Sunday, August 11, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

It has been ages since I last biked. If my memory served me right, it was more than 3 years ago in Janda Baik Village Home, Pahang. Located at the outskirt of city center with village style environment, Janda Baik Village Home is an ideal place for biking. Unfortunately it wasn't a pleasant ride for me as I was on an old bike with flatted tires. I reckon it was pretty 'dangerous ride' due to the ill condition of the bike. It lasted for a mere 10 minutes before I called it off.

This will never be the case in the Netherlands. Not only the Netherlands is equipped with good cycling path, biking rental with good condition bikes are easily accessible too. Biking is indeed a great way to explore the Netherlands and is a MUST-DO activity if you happen to be in the Netherlands.

It took me months to get my wish materialized - biking in the Netherlands. I have been waiting for the perfect timing for biking. Yup, the summer! Winter might not be a good time to bike as the icy condition or melting snow resulted in a rather slippery pathway. Spring & Fall maybe a little too chilled for my biking escapade.

The first ride was a bit awkward to say the least. I was not used to the bike as I was overly dependent on hand brake. Unlike the bikes back home, the way to stop the bike here is by reversing the paddles. However it did not take long for me to master the art of braking. It was a fantastic ride and I really look forward my next biking adventure soon.

Bike rental in the Hague is slightly limited. However, these are the two you may consider

1. Best to go early in the morning as most of the bikes would be 'out' by noon  (based on my very own experience)
2. You will have better selections of bikes if you are an early bird
3.You may either return the bike on the same day before 6pm or even kept it overnight and
return it before 10am the next day.

Ultimate Breakfast Granola Muffin Addiction

Thursday, August 08, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Dried fruits and pumkin seeds muffin

I've never been a die-heart fan for muffin until I 'met' my favourite muffin. It is so good which I have been having it for 3 consecutive days without missed. My colleague reckoned me as a muffin addict. Perhaps he is right ... as I had been grumbling like little kid when my favourite muffin was sold out at the coffee corner last Friday.
Dried fruits and pumkin seeds muffin

Chocolate muffin may top my list of the most desirable muffin but it could be overly sweet and fattening. However, not for this muffin as healthy ingredients are used and it's less sweet than the normal muffins which you can get in major grocer. Taste as good as it looks, you will not be let down by this breakfast muffin after the first bite.

This granola muffin is jam packed with different types of dried fruits (i.e. cranberries, apricots, raisins, dates and carrot) and pumpkin seeds. The granola has indeed created the complex texture to the overall fluffy and moist muffin. Every single bite is a surprise as a minute you are munching at the sweet cranberries and another minute you are munching at the nutty pumpkins seeds. What a great indulge!
Breakfast muffin
Being a pumpkin seeds and cranberries lover, this breakfast muffin simply fit my bill perfectly. I like the lasting fruity scent lingering in my mouth after every bite. Simply love it!

Tasty Home Delivery Indian Food @ Chef India in The Hague

Sunday, August 04, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

It has been months since I last tasted Indian food. I seriously have deep craving for India food.
It was a weekly affair to have Indian food back home and it is a MUST for me. However, it seems almost impossible to keep up with this 'life-style' in the Netherlands until I discovered Chef India, the home delivery Indian food services recently.

My first experience with Chef India was good.

  • Hassle free: just a click away. Order are done online and only need to pay on delivery
  • Reliable delivery: your food is delivered on-time around 45 mins
  • Reasonable price: it is definitely much cheaper than the normal Indian restaurants in town
In terms of the taste, it fairs pretty well too, mainly because you are given the option to decide how spicy you want your dish to be.

I was delighted with the Alloo Baingan potato eggplant dish. The eggplants were cooked to perfection, savory in taste and instantly melt into your mouth. I can eat it just on its own. Love this this very much.

Fresh potatoes and aubergines prepared and cooked in fresh tomato, onion, and garlic Punjabi masala.

The daal on the other hand was less exciting as it was thicker than the normal daal I used to have in Malaysia. Also, it was pretty one dimensional without other ingredients such as radish, carrot or potato. Perhaps this is the Northen Indian's version - thicker in texture and purely daal grain only.
A mixture of Lentils gently slow cooked with Indian spices

The Chicken Tikka Masala tasted pretty good. The chicken pieces were well marinated and grilled to perfection in a Tandoor oven before cooking in the rich Masala gravy. I opted for the mild taste tikka masala and I believe the spicy version would taste even better. Will definitely try the spicy version next time.
Cut chicken fillet marinated and braised in a clay oven then cooked in a rich masala sauce
It takes an minimal order of 20 and above to qualify for free delivery services and hence I topped up another 1 for the mixed pickles. Wise choice indeed as the achar went so well with the other rather rich dishes.
Chef India
Perhaps it comes as complimentary, I got 2 big pieces of papadum which I didn't recall I ordered any. Thanks to Chef India ... I did have a very hearty lunch and have left over to keep for the next day or two.
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