Eat a Rainbow and The Best of The Hague (part 1)

I was wondering if I needed to have a table at our school fair – quite often you end up speaking to those who are already “the converts”! And while that’s just lovely and honestly what could be more fun than talking food, sharing recipes and re-visiting food memories, that really wasn’t completely the idea. The idea is to inspire and spread the Eat a Rainbow word! We found out very late in the day that we had a table – 2 hours before the fair started but we packed our books, made a few quick samples (tapenade and beetroot/kwark dip, grabbed our emergency snack box staples and some of the quails eggs from the brekkie table and flew out the door. It was worth it. Worth it to chat to those who are well aware of the difficulties of bringing our kids up in an obesigenic world, aware of the food technologists who are endevouring to tempt our palates with combos of fats, sugars and salt to trigger our bliss points ( see David Kessler in the End of Overeating) but it was also great to talk to those who just wanted ideas for snack boxes &  who wanted to do their best. Best of all, it was great to talk to kids about what they know about food! Some of them know a lot and many are game to try different things. Most of them love to cook so do please encourage them to cook up a rainbow because food is medicine and pretty yummy as well! We had some rather interesting and fun chats about their favourite foods so I had to share a few of mine too!  That would be pretty well any recipe in the “Plenty” cookbook by Yottam Ottolenghi although I try not to over-indulge too much with the cheesy bits. Remembering that we started out with our last blog by listing our snackbox and lunchbox favourites I am noting a few favourites below…

Favourite Sandwich fillings (for my kids anyway)

1. Boiled eggs mashed with milk and chives with lettuce and a thin scrapping of salted butter on dark brown wholewheat bread

2. Parma Ham with thinly sliced baby tomatoes (patted dry with a paper towel), lettuce, and a slice of cummin cheese on spelt bread from BROOD (homemade indian spiced chutney as well for me on that!)

3. Herby omlette, basil pesto spread, green lamb’s lettuce on an olive bread

4. Brie with chutney, spring onions finely sliced with crispy lettuce (and beetroots for me!)

5. Grated cheese mixed with 1 egg, spread on thinly spread marmite toast and grilled in the oven. Slice into fingers and serve with a salad of cucumber, tomatoes etc.

6. Organic mince made into mini burgers with salad on spelt buns – not to mention slow roasted tomatoe sauce with tofu mince and wholewheat spagetti with parmesan in a thermos and soups and wholewheat tortillas with coleslaw, refried beans, cheese etc. Those are some of my kid’s most favourite lunches and there are loads more variations, combinations and ideas etc.

Best of The Hague 2011 Part 1

Now for my Best of Awards 2011 part 1. For all those I mention I shall offer them a huge bunch of gorgeous organically grown summer flowers electronically of course…. and much thanks from me & my friends..

Best Market: Without a doubt it’s the Farmer’s Market (Boermarkt) Hofplaast on Wednesdays 9- 18.00 in The Hague – there is no competition.

Best Italian Deli: Italy on Piet Heinstraat for the caprino cheese, the wholewheat farina flour, bits and Italian bobs and such lovely people!

Best Indian Takeaway: Chef India on PrinsHendrikstraat – try their Tarka Dahl and chilli nan bread

Best Cheese Shop. Phew, this one is too tricky but in the end it had to go to Zuivelland, Bankastraat 44! One of the youngest cheese shop owners and how wonderful she is! Plus, the Cheesemen at the Boerenmarkt, so many cheeses, so little time, plus smoked tofu, soy products, various milk products, love that wild garlic cheese!

Best Sushi: This is very contentious: my Japanese friends think that Sushi Morikawa on Balistraat has very good sushi but I have heard both good and not so good reports from others.  One thing is for certain it is expensive and not really for fidgety kids! Oni, a pretty restaurant on Prinsestraat also has a following  & although I have had excellent morsels there, but have been let down by service and by the price of drinks! I really am not keen on the plethora of all you can stuff in Japanese sushi restaurants  which seems to be a nasty throw back from the 70’s, So, with the sad demise of Dim Daily (high rentals apparently) we are looking for a good solid sushi/noodle restaurant so more reports please on good, consistent family friendly sushi restaurants please….

Best cakes for a afternooon tea or coffee: Baklust, it’s fun, funky and service is kind. We still love it and feel comfy there!

Best quick meal on the run: Falafel from Falafel King, cheap, reasonably healthy and fill it up with good salads! Vlammingstraat 37 in the Centrum

Best Butcher: Now this is tricky for me as I don’t buy meat but I have had many votes for the butcher at the Organic Market, personal service, great meats and cold cuts! For game it is the Slagerij Matla on Bankastraat 48 (thanks Eva!) Eva also reccommends the Lidl for meats and organic veggies too!

Best Bread: have you noticed how many artisan bakers are suddenly springing up in our town. For me it’s a toss up between two. Phillipe Garlene’s patisserie on Aert van der Goestraat. They make a fab spelt bread that you finish baking at home. It is delicious. However newcomer BROOD also has a gorgeous spelt seed loaf, so good that we refer to it as spelt Cake in our house. I adore their little olive breads and the cheese and rosemary breads!! Keep me away, BROOD is a very dangerous place and you will find Audery making from scratch soups there as well! As I write the carrot and ginger is one of her most popular but she is constantly adding to her recipes.

Best Eko/organic shop: For personal service and food with integrity go to De Kruidentuin on Bankastraat, and they do great bread as well! Gaia on Aert van Goestraat also has an honourable mention and has loads of loyal customers and the large Ek0 Plaza in the centre of town has the largest range of orgnanic goods. By the way just because these goods are sold in an organic shop doesn’t mean they are good for you- check the labels for loads of hidden sugars particularly in bars targeted at kids – you will really be surprised at the (natural!) sugar content.

Best Supermarket: No award and is there more than one?Ok Lidl Eva will say. Me I like to shop in small places so I try and avoid supermarkets.

Best Wine Store: I know this is a school lunch box blog but there may be the odd parent out there who likes a glass of wine now and then! I only buy New Zealand wine online at but if in need I head to Wijnkoperij De Gouden Ton on Denneweg 81.

Best Tea and Coffee specialists: I like Simone Levelt and especially their Milano, mild, aromatic roast – see for all their locations.

Asian Supermarket: Amazing Oriental for noodles, spices, sushi rice, rice vinegars, raw peanuts, Thai curry paste, rice paper for spring rolls etc. Grotemarktstraat below the movie complex right by the Ekoplaza

Best Cheesecake: Oh please, The Cheesecake Company – there are no other contenders or pretenders. I won’t say it’s good for you but it is very, very delectable

Friendliest cafe: It’s Quirkys and not just because I am friends with the owner Christine. It is because just about every customer gives the owner a hug, and the friendliness is catchy!  Plus her coffees are the bees knees.

Alas time has run out, it’s time to cook dinner and  then do a late night interveiw with DutchBuzz, the radio people

Watch out for part 2, coming soon!

And our favourite mushroom lady at the market who is happy to share her huge knowledge!

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