14 August 2012

4 jaar na dato

Ik heb wel eens ergens gelezen (zal wel in "Ik mis alleen de HEMA" zijn geweest) dat je als emigrant vier jaren nodig hebt om helemaal die omslag te maken en te verwerken. Nou, vandaag is die dag! Vandaag is het vier jaar geleden dat we Nederland vaarwel zeiden en vol goede moed naar Italië vertrokken (hier de link naar de blog van 14 aug 2008). En wat is er in vier jaar veel gebeurd en wat zijn we veel wijzer geworden! Nou... wat zijn we in vier jaar eigenlijk wijzer geworden?

het roer om

Allemaal kennen we wel de mislukkingen en hopeloze pogingen van emigranten op TV in programma's als "het roer om". In de eerste minuten weet je al dat het plan gedoemd is te mislukken: geen duidelijke (economische) plannen of veel te rooskleurige plannen, ze spreken de taal nog niet of nauwelijks en het steenkolen engels zal ze ook niet ver brengen... maar toch... ZE DOEN HET WEL! Ik kreeg in de aanloop naar de emigratie vaak te horen "ja daar hebben wij ook over gedacht" en "dat zouden wij ook wel willen"... en telkens waren het mensen die veel beter dan de hoofdrolspelers uit "het roer om" zich zouden hebben kunnen redden. Waren zij die veilig thuis bleven zo realistisch en zij die de deur achter zich dicht trokken zo optimistisch?

Zonder een goede dosis optimisme lukt het in ieder geval niet. Het optimisme heb je vooral ook nodig om je voort te trekken, om te voorkomen dat je bij de tegenslagen (die je geheid gaat tegenkomen) bij de pakken gaat neerzitten.

13 August 2012

homemade Lasagna with Zucchini

Here's the recipe for the Lasagna I made earlier this evening.

As usual my lasagna was based on homemade ragù and bechamel, this time in combination with zucchini.

I never care so much about quantities and portions, if there's something left I usually find use for it in tomorrow's lunch so forgive me for being a bit vague.

click Read more below to go to the recipe!

12 June 2012

an e-commerce story with an Italian flavour

this story is from a recent personal experience!

I wanted to try the Lavazza coffee pads at home (and home-office) and therefore last week Sunday evening (June 3rd) I went onto the Lavazza Modo Mio website, registered, picked a nice coffee machine and selected some pads. Then the "problems" began:

  1. despite ordering a €100,- coffee machine you still need to order at least 8 boxes of their coffee pads. Being a good boy I choose all eight various tastes and went on with the ordering; 
  2. the payment step: my credit card was rejected for the payment (strangely enough I used it 15 minutes later to order Nespresso cups without any problems). So I choose Payment at Delivery which is a common payment method in Italy. One I personally do not like (now even less) but I was left no other option; 
  3. For a week I did not hear anything, a mail I send them via the Facebook page was NEVER answered -so far for Social Care- and also no one delivered this nice new shiny Apple-white with Galaxy-silver touched Italian coffee machine to my doorstep, not even an email, nothing. On their website my order status said is was "in progress"; 
  4. On Friday (so 5 days after ordering) I called Lavazza Customer Service in Turin where someone told me they should have contacted me to ask if I really ordered the machine, etc. I asked them why and she explained it was standard procedure to call every client after an order. To me it seems a waste of time and money... Why I did not receive that call, nor email, nor sms she could not really explain me. I told the operator I still would like to have the machine and that she could proceed with delivery; 
  5. Today, 9 days after ordering (that's a lot of cups of coffee later), the TNT delivery guy phoned to know if he would find me at home (bonus points) and he promised me he would be here within a couple of minutes. As he did; 
  6. BUT... he could only accept CASH or cheque *LMAO*, and since I rarely have more then €100,- in my wallet I had to send him off... 

07 February 2012


Last Friday I was browsing my Facebook event calendar and saw an  invitation for an interesting event that caught my eye: Taste & Match Milano, something about 8 wines and 8 foodbloggers that "invented" a matching dish for one of the wines. Interesting concept, interesting price (€30,- each), not too far away from home (a 40min drive into Milano) and above all... interesting people! Interesting people I already "knew" virtually via Twitter and/or Facebook, foodbloggers whose blogs I read regularly that I could finally meet & greet in real life (IRL so to say). And since I prefer meeting IRL and food & wine seem to be more then a hobby (Klout even thinks I am highly influential about these items, especially in combination with Italy) I decided (together with my lovely wife Maddy) to go and discover this for ourselves.

So despite me feeling destructed after travelling all week, Maddy who just recovered from a muscular inflammation and the snow falling down over Morazzone we hit the road and drove (carefully) to Milan(o). It turned out to be a great evening! Where do you get the chance to have an 8 course dinner with 8 matching excellent wines for € 30,-? Even better: the 8 'enogastronimic' addicts (aka foodbloggers) had given it weeks of thoughts to combine the wine they had been given with a meal . They were serving the dishes and wines themselves so you could ask for explanation, recipes and reasoning!

Here in a short overview the 8 foodbloggers, the 8 wines with the 8 matching recipes!
unfortunately all recipes are only available in Italian but with a little help from Google Translate and by asking the foodblogger you might be able to get there as well

16 January 2012

why #UglyUGGs are bad for economy

It's a known fact to my Twitter-followers I am not fond hate UGGs and that I keep on calling them #UglyUGGs (the #, called hashtag, is something typical Twitter-like to make searching for some topics easier). I think #UglyUGGs are the worst things in fashion over the last years. Well... together with skinny models. They look horrible (both the models and #UglyUGGs), they are bad for your feet (so are high heels, but at least these look good on a woman) and if they get wet they will not keep you warm at all, no worse they'll cause influenza because of wet cold feet!

So WTF is the advantage, why are women wearing these horrible things? Because they are so comfortable and  warm is the most heard answer. Warm? But once they get wet? Which could happen in winter (especially in the Netherlands). Then you end up having soaking wet and cold feet all day! Comfortable? Ow so you girls walk on heels and other fancy shoes because they are comfortable? I don't think so, most women just buy shoes because they look nice, or make them look nice. Which is absolutely okay! I like to look at women (what an eye-opener this must be for some people), I like to see women with nice shoes or boots. Especially with heels, it makes their legs look even better. But hey, if you want to feel comfortable, no problem at all! But why does comfortable needs to be horrible and ugly? There are many many comfortable, warm and still great looking (and CHEAPER) alternatives!

The point I wanted to make is: #UglyUGGs are bad for economy! Today in a short twitter discussion between me and two (until last week completely unknown to me) women concluded that #UglyUGGs are probably the best contraception there is! And likely to be allowed by the Church as well: they cause absolute sexual abstention! And that is what makes them bad for economy! In today's crisis we need people to spend and we need as much people as possible working to pay our future pensions, so children are a must!

So if you want to get your economy going: STOP buying #UglyUGGs!

07 January 2012

Pizzoccheri della Valtellina

Via Twitter, Facebook and Google+ I received some requests for the recipe of Pizzoccheri. I have taken the recipe of the box of the pizzoccheri I usually buy in our local supermarket.

Ingredients (for 6p):
500g pizzoccheri
300g potatoes (in 2x2cm cubes)
150-250g butter (I think 150g is more then enough)
300g Savoy cabbage, chard leaves (the white stamps) or spinach (I prefer Savoy cabbage) sliced
500g half fat cheese from Valtellina (Casera, Bito) - these can be hard to find outside Italy, maybe Fontina, Toma or (worst case) Brie can be used as an alternative (sliced)
150g grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic
some leaves of sage

Preparation (15-20mins):
Cook the potatoes and vegetables in boiling water, add the pizzoccheri after a couple of minutes and boil it for another 12-15mins until the pasta is nicely cooked "al dente".
When the pasta (and potatoes and veggies) are cooked drain the water and mix the slices of cheese and grated Parmesan under the pasta and veggies.
Meanwhile melt the butter on low fire with the garlic and sage (don't fry the garlic) and serve it over the pasta.

Buon Appetito!