The Most Festive Window in The Hague

Gaze at a complete festive world
Molenstraat in The Hague

Every year we wait to see what will be in this little shop window in the lovely old Molenstraat in The Hague. And this year we were not disappointed. It is even better than last year and I am positive there are even more models whizzing and whirling. I took this photo today after waiting for lots of kids to stop gazing in awe at this wintry wonder world. I think the shop owner deserves an award for outdoing the displays in the big stores and I hear he does an excellent facial as well. I am not going to tell you exactly what number it is – let your kids spot it first. It appeals to kids of all ages by the way. And if you do find a better window, please let us know.

Also spotted today a lovely Gingerbread house at The Cheesecake Company on Torenstraat opposite the Grote Kerk. This gorgeous little creation is up for sale for a fair price and will help raise funds for research into Cystic Fibrosis. So do go and make an offer and have a slice of proper Cheesecake – it’s is the real thing, rich, creamy and decadent. But hey it is the season to be ever so slightly spoiled! And a quick tip for last minute presents for those last minute shoppers – Lemon Curd at De Bakkers Winkel on Torenstraat, Chutney at Kelly’s Expat Shop on Piet Heinstraat,  Stemless wine glasses & wine at La Buena Vida on the Fahrenheitstraat or some glorious fair trade crafty thingies at Waar by the Grote Kerk.

The Best Gingerbread house this year!

Enjoy!

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Organic Cafe – a home away from home


One dreary day in February on the Veenkade we noticed a busy group of people painting what had been a drab and sad dark brown take-away cafe. The look was retro circa 1950, canary yellow flowery vinyls, mis-matched pretty china cups and Grandmas teapots. Cheerful fun, friendly, organic, vegetarian, happy to pass the time and talk food – Baklust had arrived and we were so, so glad. It has the feel of a home away from home and it has the best carrot cake this side of Sydney.  It serves only vegetarian and organic food and we think it gets better by the day. They make a good Sunday brunch opening at 10 sharp, have whole-meal scones on the weekend, make a scrummy salad and soups. Do check the board for their specials which reflect the seasonal produce available and feel free to share ideas and recipes with them. We have! My daughter loves their tapenade toasted sandwich and the chocolate cake.

But the really, really difficult part is to resist those cakes – carrot cake with icing neither too sweet or tart, cheese cake, tartlets, slices and others.  But the really fab thing is what nice folk they are which makes you happy to pay up and come visit again. OK, it’s not molecular cuisine but it is good, honest food made with passion. What more could one ask?

Find them at Veenkade no. 19 – closed Mondays, opened 10 – 18.00 www.baklust.nl

The Fabulous Farmers Market

My name is Kathy Voyles and I am passionate about food – honest, local organic food if I can get it. I grew up in the green grasslands of the Waikato, in New Zealand, in prime dairy farming territory where we had a large veggie garden, seemingly acres of fruit trees and loads of creatures hanging about from peacocks to muscovy ducks, bantams, goats and our arch enemies, the prize rose eating ‘possums’.  Since then I’ve come a long way via various countries to somehow end up in the international city of The Hague. I can tell you I like it better each day, especially on such golden autumn day as this one is. I am also a most avid food forager, seeking the best of what this city has to offer and sharing that knowledge with others.

Since living here I have also become a bit of an urban activist, encouraging kids to look upon their city spaces, green and otherwise, as an environment for all to share and to enjoy.  I also encourage all I meet to grow edible plants and flowers in their garden (should they be lucky enough to have one) or on a balconey or even just a few herbs on a kitchen window. Then I tell everyone I meet, know, email or exchange even a few words with to visit the wonderful farmers market in The Hague. This is my idea of heaven on a Wednesday. I head out early, trundling a hip green shopping trolley already in a foodie flutter of anticipation. There is disappointment if a favourite stand is vacant. I head straight for the far right corner where conference pears are at their autumn best and the flowers are glowing with purple flame. Then I pick up some crusty bread baked by Menno and discuss the merits of spelt flour. After that it’s over to the wise women of the wild mushroom stand. Their knowledge of preparing fungi is legend. We contemplate how best to serve the autumn truffle that nestles on the white rice and I cannot resist the large beige portabellos which are destined to be served with lashings of rosemary basalmico and soft goats cheese that evening.

I purchase my olive oil, red rice, cranberries and nuts from the friendly ladies in the middle, buy my cheese, milk and eggs from the laughing cheese chap and finish with the always calm and kind marketeers at the far left opposite. My trolley brimeth over with a rainbow of fresh herbs, vegetables and gorgeous produce from simply the most friendly, laid-back market in this town. It’s open from 9 until 5ish every Wednesday close by to the entrance of the Binnenhof opposite the Novohotel entrance to the Passsage. I will be the one in the hat, but not in my full Green Witch regalia which is mainly used for story-telling these days. Do come over and say hello. I would be delighted to share my food foraging knowledge with you.