ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the best thing this side of nutella’s invention:
i wish blogs could convey the scent that emanates from this precious jar. it’s… indescribably mouth-watering. our friend isa showed it to us when we were staying with her, and in our excitement we almost forgot our manners and inhaled all of her precious stock! good lord, i could swear they lace it with crack…
speculoos are crunchy spiced (pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg) cookies from the netherlands and belgium. they taste a bit like crispier gingerbread cookies… but better! it’s hard to explain, the flavour is so characteristic – and in my mind irrevocably connected to afternoons writing my master thesis in the netherlands, with a cup of tea by my side.
the spread tastes like the cookies, and has an interesting story too:
In the area of Europe centered on Eeklo, Belgium, where the speculoos cookie originated, local workers had long known that a sandwich made in the morning with butter and speculoos cookies would develop a spread-like consistency by lunchtime.
In 2008, two competitors entered a contest on the Belgian television show, The Inventors (de Bedenkers), with a spread made from speculoos cookies— Els Scheppers, who reached the semi finals, and the team of chef Danny De Mayer and Dirk De Smet, who weren’t selected as finalists. Spreads made from crushed Speculoos cookies would subsequently go into production by three separate companies, and by the time they arrived in Belgian supermarkets, Speculoos spread caused a sensation, taking the “Benelux market by storm.”
it’s still hard to find in germany, but we’ve spotted it at kaiser’s and have been sharing it with all our friends ever since. seriously, give it a go if you can get it! :D
…meet our awesome egg cooker! yes, i know what you’re thinking: a machine that only cooks eggs?! when i first started seeing these at big appliance stores, i looked at them with a sceptical raised eyebrow. why would anyone need a machine to boil eggs?
and yet, and yet… the perfect egg was always elusive for me, always tricky to get. too cooked, not cooked enough… the results tantalisingly close but always just slightly off the mark.
i might have mentioned this before – we go through a lot of eggs in a week. if i think about it, they’re probably my favourite everyday food. breakfast? eggs. middle-afternoon snack? eggs. too-hungry-to-go-to-bed-but-don’t-feel-like-cooking-a-meal? eggs. omelets, scrambled, fried, boiled, poached… with kimchi, mushrooms, salmon, caviar, bacon… they’re just so versatile and delicious! *sigh*
and so after a while, the idea of this magical machine and its promise of perfect boiled eggs starting chasing me in my dreams… until we finally caved in and bought it. it’s ridiculously easy: put eggs, put water according to desired consistency, cover and wait. when the water is all boiled, it beeps and voilá.
the results? perfect boiled (or poached) eggs – every single time. that, and a very happy ana! :)
ps – the plastic egg holders in the shape of chickens are another classic from the ddr. those guys sure loved their eggs!
no, it’s not for your sunglasses… it’s an awesome egg-carrier from the DDR! :D silly, but useful!
since paleo came into our lives, eggs have been a staple, and so this cute little box has come in quite handy for trips and picnics! we got it at ostpaket, a shop filled with ostalgie, and all kinds of stuff from east germany, from mocca fix gold to sandmann…
i have a starbucks travel mug, which i got in china. it says shanghai in big letters, and i take it to class every day, filled with tea.
one day, a colleague asked me if i’d gone to starbucks in china, to which i replied that i did. they looked at my mug with disdain, and told me that they’d never do that, their voice dripping with moral superiority… it struck me as an odd thing to say, “i’d never do something”… how do they know?
i didn’t feel the need to justify myself to an almost stranger, but thought about it for a while… and then i realized we didn’t go to starbucks because we particularly liked their coffee (though i respect any brand that has the talent to pull a ‘red bean’ frappuccino…). we went there because it was familiar, and consistent. you know what you’re going to get, and how you’re going to get it – which at times was more than you could say for the rest of the places in the neighbourhood. we went there because when you’re out of your element, feeling misunderstood and lost, you want what is familiar and comfortable. big brands do consistency perfectly, and it can be very soothing.
this is what i should have told him. damned esprit d’escalier!