Sunday, 13 December 2015

Dementia Cake

Good evening readers,

This post, I would like to focus on a cause that is close to my heart, and a terrible disease. I'd like to tell you a little bit about the many forms of dementia.

Left: normal brain - Right: Dementia brain (c) Wikipedia

When someone is diagnosed with dementia, they forget things. First it's little things, like keys, appointments, cooking.. But it gets worse: they forget memories, faces, family members. And the worst bit is: there is no cure. Alzheimer is the most common kind of dementia, followed by vascular dementia (often caused by a stroke). 1 out of 5 people get the diagnosis dementia.

When I was 18, my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia. After her death in 2011, it turned out that she had a rare form of dementia called Lewy Body. Lewy Body is a very quick and aggressive form of dementia and very different from the 'kind' Alzheimer. People with Lewy Body start hallucinating, get confused and mood swings. They can be all calm one moment and very very angry the next. You don't know how fast you can lose someone you love, when they have Lewy Body.

Thankfully, I never saw the worst bit of Lewy Body. My mother, however, did. First with her grandfather and then with her own mother. She doesn't talk about it a lot, but I can't or want to imagine what sort of pain it must be, to see your own mother disappear so fast and aggressively. It's terrifying.

Alzheimer Socks! 

A couple of months ago, the Alzheimer fund in Holland started a special campain to make people more aware of the illness. By doing this, two famous designers created 'Alzheimer Socks': one blue sock and one black-white striped sock.

Mixed socks to raise awareness!

They represent the struggle that people with dementia have every day. Buy the socks and you're donating money towards the Alzheimer Fund in Holland. Isn't it just a great idea to get attention for dementia? As soon as I saw the commercial for the first time, I nearly ran out to buy them. I got two pair and started wearing all my socks mixed up. I wore my socks mixed for 30 days, and told a lot of people about it. After the 30 days, I donated 30 euros to the Fund.

Needless to say I like dots and stripes :)

Shortly after donating, I had an idea. To raise more awareness, I decided to bake a special cake: a Dementia Cake!

Dementia Cake :)

The idea for this cake is the same as the Alzheimer Socks: to represent the struggle people with dementia have every day. One half is a chocolate/coffee cake with chocolate icing and roasted almonds, the other half is a vanilla/lemon cake with jam, whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

Very different kinds of cakes now combined :)

The dementia kind my grandmother had, Lewy Body, is a special kind of dementia that couldn't be diagnosed until the patient had passed away. Lately, there have been some developments in science that made it possible for the disease to be diagnosed. But it's still a very unknown disease and that simply HAS to change!

This is a very personal post, with a personal request: please help the Alzheimer Fund, so they can do more research and hopefully find some sort of cure. But maybe it's not that personal. 1 out of every 5 people get the diagnosis dementia. In a family, that could be you or your mother or father. Wouldn't it be nice if the researchers found a cure before that happens? I know I'll be screaming with happiness if they do find a cure!

Thank you for reading this, thank you even more if you're donating <3 Donating is also possible by buying the Alzheimer Socks :)

I wish you a wonderful week ahead <3


Love, Rebecca

Friday, 11 December 2015

First cooking workshop

Hello readers,

Happy Friday! It's been a terribly busy week for me (end of the year). I've had my first university class on Tuesday (very excited! :D), on Thursday I had a late visit from sinterklaas (aka my boss <3) and today I had a goodbye lunch with my manager. Busy busy busy, but very fun!

Last Monday I did a tremendously fun thing: I had my first cooking workshop! The department of one of my manager is going to abolish. So to go out with a bang, I joined the organising group to help organise the farewell party :) Our group decided that a cooking workshop would be a nice fun last thing to do together. We sent the invitations, picked the location and the menu and off we went!

Kookplein, an excellent restaurant in The Hague! 

I have visited the location before during a lunch with my manager (other manager, confused yet? :)), and the first thing that noticed me was the 'comfyness' of the restaurant. It's very bright with open kitchens and nice furniture. I like those restaurants! After a funny quiz (I was the 'charming assistant'...), we started cooking. 

The menu:
- Flatbread with mozzarella, roasted pumpkin and courgette/zucchini
- Swordfish with a Cocos Blancs salad (white beans :))
- Roasted duck (<3) with a risotto made with truffles and wild mushrooms
- Tiramisu
- coffee with chocolate chip cookies

Sounds delish, doesn't it!?! Yes, thought so. I decided to join the group to prepare the flatbread. I NEVER bake bread cause I don't like the smell of yeast. I don't like the smell of beer either (yeast). So time to face my demons and bake some bread! 

The dough felt very bouncy, which is such a lovely feeling

The recipe was surprisingly easy to follow. And the best part: NO YEAST <3 my colleague/fellow chef proved to be a master chef, and cooked very naturally. It was a bliss to see. I'm naturally a baker, and not so much a chef, so I really enjoyed this lesson. I learned a lot and will definitely prepare this flatbread at home again around Christmas :)

Roast the pumpkin, roast the courgette, prepare the dough, rip the mozzarella and cut the herbs. Roasting the dough to create flatbread was very fun to do :) 


Trust me, it tastes as good as it looks. One of th ebest party snacks I've ever had! Gladly the others thought so too :) Our job was done (box!), so it was time to sit back, relax and wait for the troups that were cooking the main dishes. 

Roasted duck always makes me smile. I love the tenderness of duck (I'm sorry duckies, I just do :( ) when it's prepared well. And in my case it was. Surpringly, I liked the risotto a lot. Normally I prefer rice (less wet), but this one had a nice and strong flavour. The fish was excellent, the tiramisu was nice and strong (I like comparing desserts :) ) and the chocolate chip cookies were warm and moist, JUMMY <3

*even more drooooooooling*

It was a lovely evening, I was amazed how well all my colleagues can cook, even the hard dishes like duck. Good job everybody! I laughed and learned a lot. Maybe I'll focus a bit more on cooking from now on, it's never a bad idea to explore :) 

More news this week! My blog had a feature on another fabulous blog <3 please visit Passion 2 Create, for lots of fun lifestyle, beauty, creativity and reviews! Thanks for the feature, Sandy, love your blog! :)

This weekend, I will create something very special, for a cause that is close to my heart. More info soon :) I will end this post with a picture of the present Sinterklaas got for me <3 bye readers!

Thank you Sinterklaas! <3

Love, Rebecca 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Happy Sinterklaas


I bet you all know Santa Claus. I'm sure you do. Did you know that Santa Claus is actually based on a Dutch holiday figure? It's true! I'm talking about Sinterklaas :) 

Sinterklaas vs Santa: let the battle begin.. xD

On December 5, we celebrate the birthday of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicolas). Saint Nicolas was a bishop, living in Myra (Turkey) from 270 to 343. He used to be called a patron saint of children, for he was very generous towards them! Giving them presents and candy to kids in Europe. In the Middle Ages, everybody was talking about him and celebrating his birthday! After many ups and downs (wars, poverty, change of religion), we still celebrate his birthday. 

The kids can put their shoe (not socks like Christmas!) by the fireplace, and during the night, Sinterklaas will visit all the kids on his horse Amerigo, with his helpers (Zwarte Piet), and bring them presents. It's common that kids leave a poem in their shoe and a carrot for the horse :) 

A hunch of the many snacks to eat in December..

There are many traditional snacks to eat during Sinterklaas, the most common to be: kruidnoten (spiced nuts). They're made with a special dutch spice: speculaas :) it's spicy, sweet.. It's a unique flavour that's inexplicable! You have to eat it in order to know its flavour. It's used for a lot of Sinterklaas treats: speculaas cookies, speculaas filled with almond paste, KRUIDNOTEN <3

Another common snack (MY FAVOURITE) is amandelstaaf. The best translation I found for it is: butter almond filled puff pastry. It's basically puff pastry, filled with almond paste, with extra flavours to taste. It's my favourite Sinterklaas snack <3 .... Ok kruidnoten too! And marzipan! <3 

The pets get presents too :)

So december is a very busy month for dutchies, but that doesn't stop us from celebrating <3 Sinterklaas is mostly a children's holiday, but grown ups (not me ;) ) also create a happy feast around it. It's the perfect day to have a nice meal with family and friends, and share presents! 

Time to eat <3<3

My family and I celebrate Sinterklaas by giving each other small presents and having a good meal. This year, we'll prepare our food on a raclette grill! 

And for dessert, I made something special... Pecan cake <3 

Pecan cake with walnut ice cream, roasted almonds and maple syrup

Use the basic cake recipe, add a splash of milk, along with 120 grams of ground pecan nuts. Eat it luke warm, with a scoop of ice cream, and you'll have a feast for dessert!

The best part about this day is having lots of fun and being together :) We had a great day today! Also, can you believe Christmas is only three weeks away?! Time flies when you're having fun.. I hope you're all well. 

I wish you a lovely December and a lovely weekend <3 see you soon! 

Thank you for the presents, Sinterklaas <3

Love, Rebecca 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Becca Week: Saint Pancake

Hello readers,

I would like to wish you all a happy and blessed Saint Pancake <3

No, I haven't just lost my mind. Today is a very special day: it is Saint Pancake! 

Yaaaay Saint Pancake! :D

Ok, I admit, this isn't an 'official' holiday. But who doesn't want a holiday which is all about pancakes? I know I do! 

The first time I heard about Saint Pancake was when I was about 11. My godmother used to read these comic books called 'Jan, Jans en de kinderen' (Jack, Jackie and the kids), created by Jan Kruis. The comics contain funny stories about the family, the kids growing up, the father's job and more :) One special comic story, was about Saint Pancake. 

The story started with the grandfather preparing vegetables with one of the kids. The child didn't really feel like having the veggies, and so the grandfather sort of 'made up' the holiday Saint Pancake :) Which suppoingly 'originates' in Rotterdam, and is very 'traditionally' celebrated on November 29. When father comes home from a long day at work, everybody in the family puts a pancake on their head and wishes father a "happy and blessed Saint Pancake". 

Many thanks to Jan Kruis for creating this lovely Holiday :) 

Don't you just love this story and picture? :D And ever since, me and my family have also celebrated Saint Pancake! 

Pancakes come in many many MANY forms and flavours. There are regular pancakes, french crêpes, thick American pancakes, Russian blini's, Japanese okonomiyani's, you can eat them with fruits, chocolate, vegetables, bacon, honey, whipped cream, mushrooms, cheese, ham, maple syrup..!

I love maple syrup <3<3

Basic pancakes contain only four ingredients: butter, milk, flour and salt. That's it. You can add flavours to choice, like sugar, vanilla, almond. You can decide to change the flour (make it gluten free, be sure to add some baking powder then too). The variations are limitless! Did you know that the recipe for pancakes dates back to the year 5 BC? Incredible, right?! 

My most successfull recipe contains 500 ml of milk, 2 large eggs (or 3 small ones), 200 grams of flour, a pinch of salt, and the seeds of 1 vanilla bean. Mix, mix, mix, melt some butter in the frying pan, fry 2-3 minutes on both sides and voila. 

It's commonly said that the first pancake always fails. Truth or false? FALSE. The reason why the first pancake always fails, is because your frying pan isn't hot enough. Make sure that, when you turn the heat on, you won't pour in the first batch right away. Leave the frying pan for a minute to get hot. You'll know it's hot enough when the butter sizzles right away. Continue as instructed and you'll always have a perfect first pancake.

Bon appetit :)

Time to round up this post and eat my pancakes :) See you soon!

Love love love love,