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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Tag Archives: countryside

Fresh, one hour and some scratches later...

Fresh, one hour and some scratches later…

Yes, I know… it has been almost a year. So about time to get back in the saddle.

In the meantime I have been pretty busy.

There are many things to learn in the countryside.

But the most important is simply to live, but more importantly to live simply.
Quite some time ago I wrote with great pleasure about growing up, loving to drink Roosvicee.

Today I made it myself. For free.
(well ok, if you discount the oil used in the AGA, the sugar from the jar and the cost of the water…)
It is nice how the online recipe for Rose hip syrup looks so simple, but isn’t.
It leaves out the experience of one hour or so, picking and cleaning the hips. (if you can find any at all!)
Then to boot, at the bottom of the comments, a reader lamented the poor advice, explaining that temperature and cooking pots had to be significantly different.
(no metal with acid, no boiling vit. C.) Pfff. Fussy.

In a way, the way I made the syrup today shows exactly what I have learnt in the country this year.

It is so important not to leave out the experience and value of actual handy work. (the hour of picking, thorns, fresh air.)
And instead of getting lost in the very exact details (see comments) and ‘have to-s’ you just follow your gut feeling.
Everyone, sing along with me: 
… The cold never bothered me anyway…

Rose syrup done... Fruity and warming. Bring on the zing.

Rose syrup done… Fruity and warming. Bring on the zing.

In the end just I simmered the chopped rose hips in an enamel pan. Strained it once, none of this double filter nonsense… Left it to cool. And have been drinking it all day. Wonderful.


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Catch of the day (minus the other half already eaten)

Catch of the day (minus the other half already eaten)

Over the past few weeks the Plum season has been in full swing, so every day I trundle off to the orchard early in the morning with a dog.

The Victoria Plums are particularly wonderful this time of year and beg to be eaten instantly instead of bundled up in a basket.

Still they do look such a pretty colour all huddled up together, but we digress…

The trick is to pick the ripe ones once a day, otherwise the wasps and other rude grubs get to them.

This morning it was rather damp, so right at the same moment I was thinking about how docile the wasps were today… One stung me!

Right across the jaw!

Right across the jaw!

Right across the jaw… It must have fallen from a plum above me, half drunk from all the sugar and got caught in my collar.


But every country problem comes with its solution: Onion!
(I also tried rubbing a copper coin on it, but that just made me look a bit weird)

So after half an hour with an onion stuck to my face, the burning is a lot less. Sadly though I now smell of the beginning of a stew and I couldn’t stop crying for an hour…

Note to self: Don’t get stung by drunken wasps… wear a hat and tight fitting collar in the orchard.

(Note to self 2: You are not allergic to wasps, if you were you would now be dead….)

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Please note the returned boxes in/on the basket...


After letting rip on the eggnog yesterday I asked around where I could find some fresh eggs.

To my surprise the Dutch countryside has a new innovation!

The Egg Automat!
I am not kidding, the local farmer had had enough of selling his eggs for nothing to the supermarket chains, so he installed a small cabin at the side of the road. It is open all day and everyone far and wide has come to see this novelty.

Pick a number...

It is all very plain and simple:
1. You put in some coins, (€1 per box of 10),
2. Pick a number of the door with the right amount of boxes in it
and voila!
3. The little trap door opens and delivers your eggs.

Cheaper and fresher than any shop could supply.
(Supermarket eggs are generally around 3 weeks old, so these are really a whole different kind!)

It really does make all the difference.
Pity this farm is in the Dutch bible belt, so it is closed on Sundays!

(I am sorry I have to add this overly gay song. It has been stuck in my head, since I had a wonderful breakfast in Amsterdam some weeks ago. Eggs weren’t that good, but the company was.)


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Golden beeches...

Every morning my mother drops me off, deep in the woods.

So far I believe it is not because my parents are getting fed up with feeding me. (even though I have been looking for a new house made of candy lately…)

Instead, on her way to the gym she drops me off on one of the beautiful golden and copper lanes of the Remmerstein estate. This way I can get my exercise and run back before breakfast.

The smell of autumn in the morning is just incredible these days. It is fresh, earthy and moist at the same time. Occasionally you get a whiff of some mushrooms or sometimes even a fox. (alas no wolves)
Especially on a rainy morning the scents get stronger. So I am starting to see that in the countryside there is no bad weather… Only different kinds.

There is just something magical and mysterious about a living forest like that. No wonder Halloween happens in this witching season.

Got candy?

May be people celebrating Halloween are on to something…

The colours of the lanes do make me miss New England though… The cinnamon laden smell of pumpkin pie and warm Cider…


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