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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Making Mock Kapucijners From The Lowlands

Kapucijners are Chick Peas (field peas), or Keper-ertjes, for my Afrikaans readers. Among the recipes I learned about while visiting the Netherlands, was this fabulously easy one for making a delicious Chick Pea and Mince meat dish. However, just as I was about to bring the whole dish together, I realized I was all out of chick peas and I quickly had to find an alternative. I added butter beans, which is not the same thing, but now you know why I call it a mock variation of the real dish. The rest of the recipe is true to the real thing and you can easily swap out my butter beans for chick peas. I also share some more of the wonderfully beautiful landscape I traveled with you.


You will need an onion and a sweet pepper.


Finely chop your vegetables. Fry in a pot in some hot oil.


Add about 300 g mince meat, gehacktes in Dutch, and fry till done.


I then added my gift packet of premix from the Netherlands. Without such niceties, you can add 5 ml turmeric, 2,5 ml paprika, 5 ml oregano, 5 ml parsley and 2,5 ml thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.


You can dissolve the packet in 200 ml water, or add the two ingredients separately. If you are not using the packet, you can thicken your dish with a flour and water paste if it is too runny. Stir the mix into the mince.


This is the point where you really should be adding a can of chick peas. It is also the point where I discovered I had run out and substituted the peas for butter beans. Let it simmer on a low heat for about 5 minutes.


Stir the beans in and serve hot with sweet yellow rice.


If you'd read the previous blog, you will know that I told you about my visit to the rural area of Hemen/Dodewaard in June-July. I first visited this area in March, when the weather was just starting to warm up. Even then, the area was astonishingly beautiful and I wanted to share this one picture with you from that visit with you still.


But what I really want to tell you about, is my weekend stay and visit to De Hoge Veluwe National Park, outside of Arnhem. Click on the highlighted words to meander over to the website.


When you enter the park, you pay an entrance fee and every other area is free of charge from that point on. You will find hundreds of bicycles lined up at the entrance and scattered throughout the park. You simply pick one, adjust it to your leg length, and cycle through this wonderful park.


The park has diverse landscapes as they intended to mimic various landscapes from across the world. You can find yourself in a wooded forest at one moment ...


... only to find it opening up to a desolate desert area the next moment. Truly astonishing!


Needless to say, you can find hundreds of brilliant photo ops and, for artists who are always looking for original reference material, this park is a true gem!


Speaking of art! There is a brilliant statue garden that you can wonder through at your leisure.


There is also an art gallery with a phenomenal collection of Van Gogh paintings to feast your eyes on. The museum is called the Kroller-Muller Museum. Click on the highlighted words to navigate over to the website.


There is such peace and tranquility here as I have seldom experienced elsewhere. Granted, the park had only just re-opened after shutting for the winter and tourism was slow on the uptake, but I would choose the exact same time of year, if I had it to do over again. The winter is just cold enough to make cycling a pleasure and not a chore. I am speaking as everything but an avid cyclist. Truth be told, aside from the stationary cycle at the gym, this is the first bike I've been on since my teens.


You can purchase a map at the gate, and I highly recommend that you do, but the sights are all clearly marked with distance markers along the way.


The park also has historical attractions where you can see how the Dutch used to live hundreds of years ago. Very insightful and interesting. There is yet another museum, not shown here, where you can learn about the formations that created the area millions of years ago, giving you insight into the archaeology of the area as well.


You don't even need a guide, as everything has information boards to accompany them. Even the trees and plants have signs up telling you their names and all the other stuff you might be interested in on a cursory level.


Just when you think it could not get better, they throw in a couple of short hikes. Now this IS something I enjoy doing and I made sure not to miss these.


And then there's the castle, or rather the Jachthuis Sint Hubertus. This old hunting lodge is beautifully decorated in the art nouveau style and is a thrill to move through. Here they do provide guides and it is an extremely interesting tour to undertake.


I stayed at Vakantiepark Veluwe, right outside the gates of the national park. It is part of a group called DroomParken. Feel free to click on the link and look this up as well. I truly enjoyed my stay there, even though I did not spend much time at the house. There was simply too much to see and do in the surrounds.


On the Sunday, I joined my friends for a visit to the Burgers Zoo. This is still in the immediate area. The zoo mimics the continents and has animals from all over the world. Combining this visit with the Hoge Veluwe one, means that you get a clear picture of the globe, all in a few kilometres.


Even the pigeons at the restaurant tried to outshine their counterparts here in South Africa, making it clear that they insist on taking the crown!


I can not leave off without telling you about De Pannenkoekenmolen (The Pancake Mill). Head over to the website to learn more, but not before you have a look at the pancake in the last photo.


This is what they call a pancake in the Netherlands! It almost has the consistency of flapjacks, but the toppings of a pizza. Who can fault that?! Now, start packing. You have some traveling to do!


Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
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Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
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