Hei ho hei,
we are back and still have a nice jet-lag. Our munchkin sleeps for hours a piece but otherwise we are all fine and had a really good time in Oregon.
We flew out on the 16th of May. We had gotten up early in the morning to catch the first flight to Amsterdam a little after 6am. The first leg of our journey went well and a few hours later we were boarding the next plane with destination PDX. The second flight was 9hours 45min long and we were dead when we arrived, well except Theo. He was up and smiling and becoming the star of the plane. “Oh, what a nice little baby you have. He didn’t make a sound and look at him, he’s smiling after such a long flight.” Arriving at PDX is a pain to be honest. First you have to go through immigration then you pick up your luggage and go through customs and then you have to take a bus (yes, with all your luggage) to get to the main terminal and then you are starting to search for the taxis. Annoying! Especially if you have 3 suitcases, a small stroller, a car seat and 2 hand luggages and your baby :).
We didn’t have to wait too long before we made it to our hotel in Portland which was located in the Northwest district, a neighbor district of the popular and cool Pearl district. Direct at the hotel is a stop for the street car which we used to get around. It’s cheap and very convenient. And Theo became the star of the street car: what a happy baby! Look at that smiling baby!”
On Saturday we started the day off with having breakfast at the Pearl bakery. An artisan bakery with delicious baked goods, good coffee and nice staff. We enjoyed and with breakfast in our tummies we went on and visited first Powell’s where we got a few new books (ice cream!) and went then to Target. We had lunch at an Indian restaurant and in the afternoon we searched for the Joinery, a cooperative which makes wonderful handcrafted wooden furniture but a few toys too. Theo got a dragon to pull behind him. And we picked up my race package.
Sunday was all about the race. I was pretty calm but M had become mother hen… Can you imagine? And M as mother hen is worse than an overprotective mother. He was so nervous and he hadn’t run the race. So, I was happy after he had dropped me off close to the start. M and Theo had a few things on their agenda before we wanted to meet back at the finish area.
The race was hard and that long uphill was murdering me. But I bit my teeth together as my mum would say or sucked it up and made it without walking into the finish. Then (11.30am) we rushed back to the hotel (check out time 12pm) that I could take a shower before we wanted to drive down to Eugene. By 11.55am we had checked out and M drove down to Eugene while Theo and I took a nap on the back bench…
In Eugene the weather changed (the Sunday had been a bit rainy) and we had the most perfect weather possible. It was sunny and warm and that every single day. Once it rained a bit in the morning but only to welcome an even warmer sun and bluer sky later in the day.
Theo got a bike trailer
We had a few projects on our agenda in Eugene and we took shifts in helping our friend G who is repairing so much. M and I planted a few new junipers, a couple of rhododendron bushes and a Japanese maple for our Theo. It’s his tree. 🙂 I cleaned out the guest room to make it actually usable and then we cooked and visited friends for barbecue or just to hang out. And as always when you think you have the best time of your life…the time flys by and soon you have to think about packing again. Those days in Eugene just flew by and packing was hard. We enjoyed the last evening together with friends and then on Tuesday morning we headed back to PDX before boarding the plane to AMS. At lunch time CET the next day we were back at home. Totally wracked and in for a nap…ehm a 4 hour nap. The same evening we picked up our Ecky who had an incredible time at our friends.
Good old Sophie, we are going to miss her until next year
They went hiking with him and then on the second weekend they went on a camping trip with canoeing and sleeping in a tent. Well, I think I wouldn’t mind to be reborn as an Ecky… 😉 He had a blast of a time and so he wasn’t mad at all when we picked him up. We had missed him and we were more than happy to have him back at home.
Thursday was a public holiday, Ascension day, here and we used it to take one or two naps. On Friday we worked and then we went into nap mode again.
The weather has been, except for yesterday, fantastic.
Kitchenwise we haven’t been too busy but we have started to get back on the track. I made a light sourdough bread yesterday and I’ve started the fermentation process to prepare a Sriracha-style chili sauce for which I’d brought a lot of peppers from the US. And on Friday they had a good deal on tasty strawberries, so we ate 2lbs on Friday, yesterday I made a cake with vanilla cream and strawberries and today we are going to eat another 2 lbs, freeze 2lbs and I’ve a rhubarb strawberry compote on the stove.
Let’s start with Sriracha-style chili sauce. It takes 8 days of fermentation so start early enough…
Sriracha-style chili sauce by Canning, 2014 issue, pg 54
- 1.5 lbs fresh chile peppers like Fresno, Jalapeño, Anaheim, Serrano, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup of water
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- optional: 1 tsp fish sauce
- In your food processor combine the chile peppers with the water, garlic, salt and brown sugar. Let it mix until smooth, max 3min.
- Poor into a ceramic or glass oven dish and cover loosely with cling film. For the next 8 days: stir once a day. Keep it a room temperature but in a dark spot. After 3 days the fermentation process should have started and you should see small bubbles.
- Return mix to your food processor and add the vinegar. Mix until very smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large saucepan.
- Bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. The sauce is going to thicken a bit more as it cools. Remove from heat and stir in the fish sauce, if desired.
- Transfer the chili sauce to canning jars or airtight containers and seal. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Makes 1 3/4 cups.
Light sourdough bread (for 3 loafs) adapted from Morten Schakenda
- 1.5kg all-purpose flour
- 1l water
- 35gr salt
- 250gr sourdough (made from 125gr fine rye flour, 125gr water and your starter)
- 75gr fine rye flour
- In a big bowl combine the flours with the water and let it sit for 30min. Then add the sourdough and the salt. Knead the dough for 15 to 20minutes.
- Let it proof in a big bowl covered with cling film until the dough has doubled it’s size, about 3 hours. Then split the dough into 3 equally big parts and form each on a well floured counter.
- Set your loafs on a lightly floured baking tray, sprinkle each lightly with flour and cover with cling film. Set them at a not too warm spot and let them proof until they have doubled their size.
- Preheat oven to 220C, cut each loaf on the surface and set them into the warm oven and close the door asap. Have 1 cup of warm water on the bottom of the oven to create a bit of steam.
- Bake for 5min at 220C, then reduce the heat and bake for another 50min at 180C. Let them cool on a cooling rack.
For the rhubarb strawberry compote, before cooking it
Strawberries as we love them
Vanilla cream: made from whipped whipping cream and vanilla pudding
The ready cake: sponge cake with vanilla cream and fresh strawberries