This morning we began our European adventure early. 3:15 to be exact. Last night when Karen checked that the taxi was ok they told her that she had booked it for 3:15. We put them back to 3:30 and we were still in John Lennon airport by 4:05. I think we actually were there before the last flight from the night before had taken off.
As with so many things in our life technology features heavily on this trip. This was the first time that we had used e-boarding passes before. These let you use your smart phone (or as most people call them “phone”) to show your boarding pass. No need to queue up at check-ins or carry paper printouts. So for this trip we have boarding passes, train tickets, hotel reservations and train timetables all in our phones.
Now whilst embracing new technology but not whole heartedly trusting it, I have of course printed everything out as well. I’m sure this was the vision which Steve Jobs had for the future of travel. People having the freedom to travel the world, armed with just their mobile device…and a half a rain forest of paper in case their battery runs out (and lets be honest, with an iPhone, that’s pretty much as soon as you disconnected it from the mains). I’m sure all the time we spent downloading apps, registering and printing stuff out will be worth it in the long run. At the moment I’m just not sure how.
After an hour long flight we arrived at Schiphol airport at 8:20. Then we went on a little tour. I have been to Schiphol once before but I had forgot how big it was. It has (at the last count) 5 runways; the terminal has its own museum and casino and it takes a long time to get anywhere. We taxied from the runway to the terminal. We went over a couple of road bridges, did a right past an entire fleet of KLM planes and still we couldn’t see the terminal. I could see the control tower but it looked to be in the neighbouring town. There were tower blocks between us and it. 15 minutes after landing, we eventually arrived at the terminal but then the walk began. We set off from the plane clutching our passports ready for immigration. 5 minutes later we still hadn’t reached it. 10 minutes of walking and 2 travelators on we still hadn’t got to it. I was starting to see were JRR Tolkien got the idea for these epic quest tales. He had probably been to Schiphol airport before he wrote the Hobbit. Eventually, 15 minutes after being released from the plane (that was the stewardesses expression, not mine) we arrived at immigration and on to baggage reclaim. 35 minutes after landing we eventually set off to get out first train to Amsterdam Centraaaal.
This afternoon we went to the Vincent Van Gough Museum (Gough pronounce “go”, not “goff” apparently). I was never a big fan of the one eared wonder, but I really liked him after visiting here. His dapple technique reminds me of those pictures we made at school with rice. He was also ahead of his time as well Every other picture was a selfie. “Vincent Van Gogh self portrait wearing a straw hat”; “Vincent Van Gough Self Portrait wearing a felt hat”; “Vincent Van Gough self portrait painting the sun flowers”; “Vincent Van Gough self portrait doing the ice bucket challenge after nominating Gauguin and Bernard”
But it gets worse, Van Gough, Gauguin and Bernard did a series of self portraits which they sent to each other with a picture of the other person in the corner so it looked like they were having a Skype conversation or the other person had photo bombed the painting! (See pic)
We had our first cake of the holiday and we went for the traditional Dutch Stroop Waffle (recipe below). You can make one yourself, or if that’s too much effort, just go to Starbucks, they sell them.
Cars x 1
Plane x 1
Train x 1
History of the Stroopwafel:
Stroopwafel, as it is known in Holland, is a unique type of cookie that has been around for centuries in its native country, the Netherlands. It is a traditional daily treat for the Dutch and is mostly eaten with their morning coffee or tea. The Syrup Waffle (Stroopwafel) is still sold and made the traditional way, at local open air markets using propane powered cast iron grills. As the delicious scent travels through the market, the customers line up with their mouths watering.
Traditional Syrup Waffles (Stroopwafels) are made with two thin waffle-type wafers that have a very special caramel filling. Sometimes hazelnuts or honey, or other flavours are added to the filling. The waffle is cooked at a very high temperature on a waffle iron then sliced in half. The syrup then spread on and the two halves come together again. The best way to eat a Stroopwafel is either at room temperature, or to heat it in the microwave for just a few seconds.
Stroopwafel recipes are generally guarded secrets that are passed down from parent to child, generation after generation. Good recipes are very difficult to find and even if a good recipe is found, there is a tremendous amount of specialized equipment needed to bake a proper Stroopwafel.
A Little More Stroopwafel History:
These delicious Caramel Cookie Waffles (called Stroopwafels by the Dutch) with richly filled chewy centers are one of Holland’s true specialties.
The history of the Stroopwafel goes back until 1784. A baker from Gouda baked a waffle of old crumbs and spices and filled this waffle with syrup. The Stroopwafel was born. In fact the Stroopwafel was a rest product. And therefor a popular pastry among the poor.
During 1784 the Stroopwafel was only known in Gouda. Nowadays every bakery in Gouda has its own recipe.
Did you know…. that every Dutchman eats about 20 Stroopwafels a year!
In this stroopwafel recipe, we do our best making stroopwafels by using a pizzelle iron.
For The Waffles:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
For The Filling:
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts, optional*
Preheat pizzelle iron.
To Make Waffels:
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
Cut one (1) cup of the butter into the flour. Mix in the sugar, cinnamon, eggs and yeast mixture. Mix well and set aside to rise for 30 to 60 minutes. Roll dough into 12 small balls, squeeze each ball into the preheated pizzelle iron and bake for about 30 seconds. Cut the waffles into two thin waffles and spread with filling.
To Make Filling:
In a saucepan boil the brown sugar, the remaing one cup of the butter, cinnamon, and dark corn syrup until it reaches the soft ball stage (234-240 degrees F 112 -115 degrees C). Stir in ground hazelnuts at this point, if using.
Cut each waffle into two (2) thin waffles and spread with filling. Repeat this process until all the filling is used.
Makes 12 servings.
*Note: If using hazelnuts, remove skin, if possible. Grind hazelnuts in a food processor until they are ground to a fine powder.
Tip: Try eating your stroopwafel by resting it over a warm cup of coffee or tea…the steam will warm these up just right.