Vivera Veggie Steak

It’s real.. a vegan steak! Vivera launched the first vegan steak in the world. Steak was always my favourite meat when I used to eat meat. When I think about the time I did, I can’t actually believe I used to do something so horrible. Anyway, when I heard the news of Vivera launching the steak, I was very excited. Not only because I was curious of the taste, but also for this development itself. The day it was launched I jumped into my car as soon as I was off work and I drove to the biggest Tesco, with my fingers crossed. I was rewarded, because there was a whole box of Veggie Steaks. I took 3! Just because I know Vivera and I know they do good products, so I was confident enough it was going to be tasty. I love that Vivera is a Dutch company and I love it even more that they launch more and more products here in the UK. I love EVEN more, that they’re transitioning from being a vegetarian/vegan company, to an all vegan company. I love it! If you want to know more about Vivera and their products, you can read this article (+ lots of nice recipes!) I wrote before.

So about the Veggie Steak. To have a good idea of the taste, I served it with corn on the cob, sweet potato fries, chunky guacamole and ketchup. All separately served. To start from the beginning, the steaks look very real. The size is just right, the inside is red and they even ‘bleed’ a little. Then the taste. I think they taste very real. They’re soft, juicy and have a realistic structure (esp when you fry them on a high fire, so the outside will be a little more firm). I do like the taste, but in general it didn’t have to be that realistic for me. But to be fair, as far as I can remember a meat steak, I like these Veggie Steaks better. The taste and structure are just very good or maybe it’s just tastier because you can enjoy it with a clear conscious!

If you want to serve them just like I did:

VIVERA VEGGIE STEAK

Serves: 2

2 Vivera Veggie Steaks
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tsp olive oil
a pinch of garlic granules.
2 corns on the cob
1 small avocado
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove of garlic (minced)
salt/pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp chili flakes (optional)
2 tbs ketchup

-Preheat the oven to 200C.
-Cut the sweet potato in long big chunks and drizzle some olive oil on top.
-Add the garlic granules + a little salt (to taste) and mix it well.
-Put the sweet potato on in the oven for about 20 min.
-In the meantime:
-Prepare the Vivera Veggie Steaks as describes on the pack.
-Grill the corn on the cob until little black marks appear.
-Smash the avocado and add the lemon juice, garlic, salt and chilli flakes.
-Serve everything in separate bowls.

I hope I made you curious. I’m very curious if you like them too. Please let me know! You can do this in a comment below or tag me on Instagram. You can also use the hashtag #planetmanel is you like, so I can find your picture and comment! Thank you! X

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Personal #2 – Life these days

The last time (also the first time) I wrote a personal post was back in September. A lot has happened in the meantime, so I thought it’s really time to write an update. In my first personal post you could read about the fact that a lot of things were going to change for me. Things have changed now. Seriously changed. They even changed a lot more than I could imagine.

OLIVER
Something that I didn’t foresee was that I became a pig mum within 2 weeks of moving. You maybe already know this if you follow my blog or my Instagram, because I posted about Oliver here and a lot on Instagram too. He even has his own Instagram profile. Last Friday he turned 12 weeks, what means he’s already with me for over 10 weeks! Mid December he moved to the barn and he’s doing amazing. He is so lovely and I love him so so much! He brought me a lot, mostly good things. Actually only good things. I said mostly, because looking after him is a big responsibility and I always worry about him. He is all healthy now, what is amazing, but I worry about his future. I’m doing my best to raise him well, but he will be big and he sometimes forgets he is strong. This is why I choose to not have another pig for now. It will be nice for him to have a companion, but I’m worried that accidents will happen (mainly with the small kids I’m looking after). Two big pigs together will be maybe too much to handle when they’re both full size. So I want to see what it is like when he is bigger and in the field. By then I hope he will still accept a companion and if not, that he will be ok by himself. Especially when I’m traveling in a few years.

STRUGGLE
Lately I feel that I struggle with being vegan. Don’t get me wrong, being vegan itself is the easiest thing. Doing the right thing for the animals, my health, the environment and so many things more is the best decision I’ve ever made. My struggle is with the fact that the rest of the world isn’t vegan. In the first years of being vegan it was bothering me as well, but I can feel the feeling is getting stronger and stronger. I think this is for a few reasons. Since I have Oliver, there are a lot of people who want to make a funny comment about him, in terms of ‘bacon’ ‘bbq’ ‘spare ribs’ etc. Or people who ask me why I have him or what I am going to do with him. As in ‘will I eat him’. This bothers me so so much (and this is a very nice and polite way of expressing myself comparing to what I actually feel at moments like that). Even only writing it down now, makes me very angry. To be really honest with you, what I feel at moments like that is hate. I don’t want to feel it and I’m a very positive person and I always try to see things in a positive way or at least to not let it get to me, but I’m failing terribly. I’m really struggling with this more since I’d say 6 months and it got worse since I moved and have Oliver. In the country side there are so many meat/dairy/egg/hunting related things around me. The pigs in the fields next to the house, the cows and other animals I see in the fields, hunting the pheasants next to the house, but also the people everywhere. It’s more ‘normal’ here it seems, what makes it so hard for me. How can people be so distant from all these beautiful animals? They must be so lost in society and tradition, that I should actually feel sorry for them. This all is so hard and definitely the hardest things about being vegan. Why do people not get it? Why don’t they see what I see? Where is their compassion? I feel like it bothers me more and more and sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself. I always have an answer for everything, but for this one it seems I’m stuck.

VANLIFE
Something super exciting is that I bought my van. Last year, in November. It’s a white Citroën Relay from 2014. So far I stripped and cleaned it. I wanted to fit in the skylight ventilator and the window before Xmas, but it was too cold. I have the insulation ready to fit in, but there is so much condensation (because of the cold as well) that I have to wait with that too. I will wait until there is a weekend with temperatures above 15C. Hopefully this will come soon, because in March my dad is coming to help me and the insulation needs to be done by then. Overall, I just need to be patient, what is super hard, because I want to work on it. I’m so excited for it to be finished and me moving in.

HEALTHWISE
Last year I didn’t work out much, I made less time for yoga/mediation and mindfulness and I ate too much junk food. This year I want to change that and it’s going super well so far. I’m eating clean and I’m seriously working out almost every day. I’m trying to make sure I live in the now and I start my mornings with yoga and meditation. One of the things I also started doing since the first of January, is writing down what I did every day, like a little journal. I bought a day-a-page diary for this and I do this every evening before I go to sleep. It’s not so much for writing down my feelings etc. but more to remember what I did that day. This works great for living more mindful. I also started to read more, what was one of my new years resolutions. I love reading.

Do you recognise some things? Do you have questions? Or do you have something you’d like to share after reading my more personal stuff? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Netherlands October 2017

Hello everybody, I’m sorry I hardly posted anything in the past 2 weeks. It has just been so busy with moving houses and with getting used to being in a new place. Also, since a week I own a little piglet, that I saved from a pig farm. So the last week has been crazy crazy, with looking after him. Especially because he was (and still is a bit) very ill. He’s still very up and down, what makes me very stressed. Anyway, that was the reason why I wasn’t that active here. I’ll try to post more regularly again from now on. I just have to organise it all a little better and find a new routine. I did promise you to tell you all about my travels to the Netherlands in October and I’ve got some lovely new hotspots for you, so there we go.

I left quite early in the morning on Friday the 13th (ah oh! ..haha!) to Stansted Airport. My favourite airport to fly from and to when it comes to London. Everything went well and I had some spare time to get a Starbucks before boarding. I flew to Eindhoven, what means I had to travel another 3 hours by train from there to Assen. I actually really like this, because I can just look out of the window and relax. My mum was there to pick me up. One of the reasons I was coming to the Netherlands this time, is because my mum bought a little house and I wanted to see it of course. It’s he cutest little bungalow with an amazing garden. I love it a lot! My nephew came in the end of the day, because he was coming with us to Amsterdam the next day. So lovely to see him. That night we had to sleep at my mum’s work. For the people who don’t know, my mum works at Rikus. Rikus is a hotel-restaurant n Eext. Normally the lady who does the vegetable gardens lives above Rikus, but as she was on holiday and there needs to be somebody in the building at night, my mum slept in her house. We actually slept there for 3 nights. It’s an amazing apartment! I love it so much! Apart from the location and that it’s above a hotel, I’d totally see myself living there. In the evening we watched the movie White Chicks with the 3 of us and then went to sleep. As we had to wake up early to travel to the capital.

We caught the 7:30 train and about 2 hours later we got out at Amsterdam Central. Amsterdam is such a lovely city. We came here for 2 things. First of all we were visiting my mum’s friend and second I met Lisa (from the blog Lisa Goes Vegan) to give her the key of my flat. Lisa will live in my flat for a month, after I moved to the country side. She will work on her second book there, what is so cool. I wish her all the best! First of all I wanted to visit this place called ‘Koffie ende Koeck’. I heard so many nice things about this, that I wanted to see it for myself. Koffie ende Koeck is such a lovely cafe and 100% vegan! Yay! My mum had a cappuccino with oat milk, I (of course) ordered a chai latte and my nephew wanted a yummy tropical smoothie. I also ordered a croissant and my mum tried their brownie. It was all super delicious, though my mum did say the cappuccino could have been a bit hotter. We walked everything this day and so we passed a lot of nice looking hotspots too. We didn’t have time (and enough space in our stomach) to go everywhere, but I will mention them in the hotspot list.

We walked all the way to Olive&Cookie. This is a very nice little restaurant, run by two lovely people. It was actually closed, but because my mum’s friends knows them well, they opened the restaurant especially for us, whilst they were preparing some catering. Because you can also hire them for catering. It was so nice. Lovely to meet them all and the food.. wohw! This was such delicious food! If you get the chance, please go here and you’ll know what I mean. It’s all vegetarian, but there are also a lot of vegan dishes. They made me pastries filled with lentils and veggies, there was crispy sweet potato (I could have eaten all by myself), beetroot salad and an amazing chickpeas salad. As a dessert they made me not one, but two cupcakes. Most delicious an I ate them both, haha! This is the kind of food you do not want to swallow, because it feels so good in your mouth. I will definitely come back for this. Then we met Lisa, fairy close to there, at The Meets. A very nice eatery with several healthy vegan things on the menu. We all had a fresh coconut, what was super delicious. It was lovely to meet Lisa as we do not only share the same name, but we’re both bloggers and have a passion for veganism. She’s such a lovely girl and I’m super happy to have her in my flat. This way it feels like I gradually move from London, even though I don’t live there anymore whilst she is there. On our way back to the station we passed several amazing hotspots. Amsterdam really is more up coming. There are new hotspots every time I visit. At the station my nephew and I ordered a portion of fries, because Smullers (a snackbar you can find on almost any big train station) now offers vegan mayonnaise. I obviously had to try that. It was a lovely day in Amsterdam.

On Sunday we took a new family picture. So everybody came to my mum’s place and we took a lovely picture in the garden. It was very nice to have everybody together. After we went to the snackbar to have lunch (didn’t I have fries yesterday already? Oops!). On Monday my mum and I went to my dad’s house in the forest and we had a drink on the terrace in the nearby village. We also went to the COOP supermarket to get some Vivera products. Mainly to take them home to London. Vivera is a very nice Dutch brand, that does sell in London, but only a small selection. Now I was finally be able to try their new vegan fish burger for example. It was very yum! On our way back we stopped the car to collect some chestnuts. Later that evening I put them in the oven and my mum, my brother and I were enjoying them, until my brother and I both discovered one with a maggot in it. You kind of lose your appetite then. I felt mostly bad for putting them in the oven though.

I needed to have some new jeans and a shop I always find some good ones is C&A. So my mum and I went to Emmen to do some shopping and lucky me, I did find 2 pair of new jeans. When we finished we went to see my sister in Hoogeveen, because she just moved houses too and I wanted to see her new house of course. A lovely house, with so much space. What is good, because there is a third baby on the way.. I will become an aunty again next year April, yay! On our way back we stopped by my aunt and uncle and my cousin Blessing. I love Blessing very much. Poor him though, because he had broken his arm at football practice. So we brought him some treats. So lovely to see them all. On Wednesday I went to see my grandparents (I always visit them whenever I’m in the Netherlands) and on Thursday I went back home again. Home for only one more night, as I moved houses the next day.

HOTSPOT LIST:
Rikus – Hotel-Restaurant – Hoofdstraat 10, 9463 PC Eext.
Koffie ende Koek – Cafe – Haarlemmerweg 175, 1051 LA Amsterdam.
Juice Brothers + Van Leeuwen – Juice & Ice Cream – Haarlemmerplein 43, 1013 Amsterdam.
SLA – Salad bar – Westerstraat 34, 1015 MK Amsterdam.
Impression – Painting studio – Van Beuningenplein 1, 1051 VS Amsterdam.
Olive & Cookie – Restaurant – Saenredamstraat 67, 1072 CD Amsterdam.
The Meets – Eatery – Cornelis Troostplein 3, 1072 JJ Amsterdam.
Mastino – Pizzaria – Eerste van der Helststraat 78 hs, 1072 NZ Amsterdam.
Vegan Junk Food Bar – Restaurant – Staringplein 22, 1054 VL Amsterdam.
Smullers – Snackbar – Amsterdam Centraal (+ many more train stations).

Have you been to any of these hotspots yet? Or are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip and experiences! You can leave a comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Newsletter OCTOBER

This is a big month! For lots of different vegan reasons, but also for personal reasons. There are also a lot of other things happening in October.. a great start of Autumn!

07-08/10 – BRIGHTON VIVA! VEGEN FESTIVAL 
A huge vegan festival in the lovely Brighton, held at the Hilton Hotel. Both days you’re welcome between 11:00-17:00. There are around 100 vegan stalls, including many caterers. There will also be cookery demos, talks and workshops. The tickets are £5 at the door, £8 for a whole weekend and £15 for fast track entry + goody bag!

13-15/10 – BRIGHTON OCTOBERFEST – Beer&Cider Festival
And there is more to do in Brighton this month as the following weekend there will be a 3 day beer & cider festival, starting at 20:00 on Friday and ending on Sunday 23:00. All made without any animal derived finings. It’s held at the Cowley club.

13-19/10 – NETHERLANDS 
Before I move (move??), I planned a holiday to the Netherlands, to have a little break (well.. break? I will be doing lots of things!) and to spend some time with my family. I will be going to Amsterdam for a day and do lots more. I will of course write about it all when I come back, with hopefully some new hotspots for you.

17/10 – TRAFFIC LIGHT PARTY
For everybody who wants to meet new people, go have dinner at Tibits this Tuesday between 18:30 – 10:30. They are having a Traffic Light Party. Red = off limits (e.g. attached and monogamous, or single but not looking).  Green = single and looking. Yellow = other (e.g. attached but polyamorous, early days of dating someone or prefer not to say). This is not a singles party, buy if you are single.. who knows!

20-22/10 OM YOGA SHOW
A 3 day show, all about yoga. With lots of classes and workshops in 3 levels. Friday: 11:00-18:00 / Saturday: 10:00-18:00 / Sunday: 10:00-17:00. It’s held at Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY. There will be vegan (and vegetarian) caterers serving hot and cold food. You can get your ticket at the door, but you get a discount if you get your tickets in advance.

21/10 – HACKNEY DOWNS VEGAN MARKET
There will be a lovely vegan market in Hackney again, like every month. There are such lovely stalls and you will be pleased to choose from a wide range of great tasting food. It’s from 11:00-17:00 and the entry is free. I’ve been here twice already and there is such good food.. really worth going!

21-22/10 – VEGFEST UK
Yay! VegFest timeee! A huge vegan festival with over 250 stalls, held at London Olympia. There will be so much to do. Some of the highlights are: Professional Health Summit – Vegan Athletes Summit – Environmental and Food Sustainability Summit – Animal Rights Summit – Vegan Comedy Festival – Vegan Film Festival (‘The Invisible Vegan’ will premiere here!) – Cookery Demos, – Living Raw Zone.. and much more! On Saturday it’s open from 11:00-18:00 and on Sunday from 10:00-17:00. Tickets at the door are £15, but if you book in advance they’re £12. If you buy one ticket, you will get the second for half price. Be quick though, because there are only a few of those tickets left! For more information and to see what else is on, go visit their website.

22/10 – MOVING DAY
This will be my last day living in London, because this weekend I will be moving to the country side. Moving to the country side?? Yes! You can read all about it here. New life starts now..

29/10 – BRIXTON VEGAN MARKET
Brixton launches a vegan market at the Brixton Station Road today. It will be from 9:30-15:30 and you can find lots of sweet and savoury food here. Hurray for another vegan market!

31/10 – HALLOWEEN
I’m not so much into Halloween, but there will be a yummy Halloween recipe up on my blog!

MORE EXCITING NEWS
* Wagamama will launch a vegan menu with 6 main options! YAY! It’s not available everywhere yet, but hopefully it will be soon!
* Tofurky will come with pre-packed sandwiches in 3 flavours (Tempeh Lettuce Tomato / Chick’n & Sweetcorn / Chipotle Chick’n). You can buy these at the WholeFoodsMarket from the 2nd of October. So curious!

RECIPE SPOILER
The Halloween recipe will be up just before Halloween, to give you enough time to get the ingredients! Keep an eye out!

Was this helpful, did you like to read this or do you have any questions? Would you like to tell me about your Easter.. I’d love to hear all about it! Please let me know in a comment below! Do you have any exciting things coming up what is related to veganism, positivity, spirituality etc? Please let me know! Send me a message via CONTACT and I might publish it in my next newsletter! Thank you! X

Dutch Balls

Do you have the balls to make these Dutch Balls? Haha.. I’m not sure if Dutch people are the most courageous, but we are known for being direct. I think that counts! These snack balls are made with a Dutch spice called ‘speculaas’. Speculaas is actually a mixture of different spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. All these spices together is called ‘speculaas’. You might know this as in Dutch biscuits. Or in the ‘pepernoten’ we eat when it’s ‘Sinterklaas’. It’s a super nice spice and I thought why not make snack balls with it? This way it’s healthy too! If you can’t get your hands on the ‘speculaas spices’, you can always make this yourself:

-Mix 2 tbs cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 cloves, 1/4 cardamon, 1/4 white pepper, 1/4 coriander seed, 1/4 ginger, 1/4 aniseed. (all ground)

DUTCH BALLS

Makes: 12-15

-1 cup oats
-1 cup soft dates
-2 tbs coconut oil (melted)
-2 tbs almonds
-1/2 tbs speculaas spices
-pinch of salt
-4 tbs desiccated coconut

-Put everything (apart from the coconut) in the food processor and blend until it’s sticky.
-Make balls of the dough and roll them through the coconut.

Do you know the Dutch speculaas spices? Are you going to try to make this recipe? Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Yay for King’s Day!

As I’m Dutch myself, I’d like to give King’s Day some credit from over here. Everything in the Netherlands will be orange today! Today the Dutch people are celebrating the birthday of king Willem-Alexander. As we used to have a queen for very long (King Willem-Alexander is the 1st male monarch in 123 year!), it used to be Queen’s Day. The first Queen’s day was held on 31 of August 1885, in honour of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina. What means it’s a long going tradition. Later on, the date changed to 30th of April, the queens birthday. The next queen, Queen Beatrix, kept that date in honour of her mother and I’m sure part of the reason is also that her own birthday is on the 31 of January. Way too cold! Basically everybody in the Netherlands is celebrating this day. What means it’s probably the biggest birthday party in the world. People dress up, mainly in orange, but also in the colours of the flag: red, white and blue. As the lion represents the Netherlands, this is also a symbol you most probably will spot this day. But the most important rule seems to be: the crazier, the better! There are flea markets and activities everywhere, spread over the country, but especially Amsterdam is going totally crazy! Around 250.000-300.000 are traveling to Amsterdam, from all over the Netherlands and the rest of the world, to be part of it. Because for a long time the date used to be April the 30th, there are still a lot of tourists who come to Amsterdam, all dressed up, 3 days late! Poor them! Anyway,, I’ll not be in the Netherlands this time to celebrate, but especially for King’s Day I created 2 healthy (orange) recipes.. lunch and dinner if you like. Oh and if you are going: Enjoy!

RAWR

Can be eaten all raw (leave the bread out and use raw sesame oil). It might seems strange in combination with the strawberries, but I promise you it’s tasty.

Serves: 2

1 courgette
1 cucumber
2 carrots
6 strawberries
1 avocado (smashed)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs sesame oil
salt/pepper (to taste)
fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp mixed seeds
2 pita breads

-Use a spiralizer for the courgette, cucumber and the carrots.
-Mix the avocado with the garlic, the lemon juice and sesame oil.
-Mix everything together and add salt/pepper.
-Shape the strawberries and the basil leaves into tulips and use them as decoration.
-Sprinkle the seeds over the salad and serve with warm pita bread.


KING’S MEAL

Super healthy and loaded with protein. Apart from eating this on King’s Day (to restore energy), this is a perfect meal for after a good work out.

Serves: 2

200 gr red lentil pasta (uncooked)
1 cup butter beans (cooked)
3 hands spinach
1/2 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/3 chili pepper (chopped)
3 tbs houmous
1 tbs olive oil
salt/pepper (to taste)

-Cook the pasta as described on the pack.
-Put the olive oil, the onion, the garlic and the chilli pepper in a frying pan and fry them until the onion gets brown edges.
-Add the beans and the spinach. Switch off the heat, just before the spinach all slunk.
-Mix in the houmous and then carefully mix in the pasta.
-Add salt and pepper.

Are you in the Netherlands today to celebrate King’s Day? Are you going to make these recipes? I’d love to see some pictures (of the food and of today..)! You can show them to me by tagging me in the picture or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. I look forward to it! Thank you! X

Netherlands – Easter

Early early! My boyfriend, Steven, and I had to wake up at 3:00 in the night. Walk to the bus stop and get to LiverpoolStreet. From there we took an Uber as the trains didn’t go as normal. So annoying, but apart from that it’s a lot more expensive, it’s easy though. Or it should be easy.. because the driver almost wanted to drop us off at Stansted. Steven noticed it just in time and so we were able to turn around. We did make it in time and didn’t have to wait long at the airport itself. The flight went well and within an hour we were in Amsterdam. We started with a Starbucks on Schiphol and then took the train to Amsterdam Central. I made a whole planning (always prepared) and so we started as planned, at Dam Square. From there we took a right to the Singel and crossed at the Blauwburgwal bridge. There in the corner is vegan shop called: Vega Life. They sell all vegan things here. For a good pair of vegan shoes, belts, shirts and much more, this is where you want to go. It’s not big, but they have a lot of choice. It was nice to have a quick look. From there we walked to the Prinsengracht, crossing the Herengracht and the Keizergracht. I wanted to have lunch at Bolhoed, a quite known vegetarian/vegan place. It was still a little early though, so we decided to walk around in the Jordaan (an area in Amsterdam) for a little while. We saw a lovely bakery and Steven wanted to go in for a coffee. But when he saw the delicious bread with jam a lady next to us was eating, he wanted that too. It was called the children’s sandwich, but who cares. He loved it! I had a fresh mint tea and after that we made our way to Bolhoed. The first thing I saw when coming in was a very big Main Coon! He looked so fake the way he was lying down, but after a while he moved, haha! Bolhoed is very vintage. Very different from everything you know. It really reminded me of Berlin. Vintage, strange art, but very easy going. I ordered pitta bread, with salad and humous and Steven ordered the soup of the day. Their menu isn’t big, but almost everything is vegan. The food was nice, but I expected a lot more from it. It was fresh and filling though, so it was definitely getting me through the afternoon. We walked on the Prinsengracht, all the way to the Rijksmuseum. On the way we passed a very cool Japanese Antique shop, called ‘Van Hier Tot Tokio‘ (translated: From Here To Tokyo). Steven’s eyes started twinkling and we basically looked at everything in there. Very nice! The Rijksmuseum is amazing. The building form the outside is already very impressive, but the inside is amazing too! I always wanted to go here, but I never took the time. It was very nice to now share this experience with Steven. We saw so many beautiful paintings from such famous artists.. Van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer.. but most impressive, was the ‘Night Watch’ from Rembrandt. It was amazing to see this in real life. It’s absolutely beautiful and a little bigger than I expected. The whole museum is very impressive and definitely worth going! When we came out of the museum, we took a little break at Museumplein (Museum Square). This is the big square behind the museum. It’s beautiful, with lots of tulips, water and grass. There are some little coffee/food stands and Steven got a veggie burger. They even had a vegan burger, but the only thing was that it was sold out.. a shame, but also very positive! Haha! I wasn’t very hungry actually, just the fact that a random food stand has a vegan burger makes me want to try it. Try it for me in case you can get your hands on them and let me know if it was good. We walked towards the Vijzelgracht and Steven drunk a beer on the corner there. We had lovely seats, next to the canal, in the sunshine! Then we followed the Lijnbaangracht and de Reguliersgracht, until we reached Rembrandtplein. It started of quite chilly in the morning, but now it was lovely and sunny, with a bright blue sky. We walked back via the Kalverstraat (shopping street) and the Rokin, towards the red district. Every tourist goes here and as it’s Steven’s first time in Amsterdam, I had to take him. It was quiet on the Wallen, but it’s a good way to make our way back to the station. In the meantime it was already a little after 17:00 and after another Starbucks and getting some snacks at ‘AH to Go’, we got our suitcases (we left them in a locker at the station, so handy!) and our train tickets. Turned out that the train wasn’t going to Zwolle and so we had to change 3 times before we got out at Assen. It was 22:00 in the meantime, but my mum was waiting for us over there and it was sooo lovely to see her and to introduce her to Steven. I love my mum and on the way home, what is only 20 min, we already had so many laughs. At home Julian (my brother) and his girlfriend Marsha were there and it was so amazing to see them too! Also aways lovely to cuddle the cats Kenya and Dublin and Nynjo the dog. And so nice to all introduce them to Steven. My mum moved houses a while ago and this was also the first time I saw her new house. A lovely black, cozy, Swedish house. I love it!! We all kept chatting a little bit, but as Steven and I were already awake for almost 22 hours and had such a busy day, we were also happy for our heads to finally touch the pillow.

The next day I had to drop my mum off at work at 7:00, so Steven and I were able to use the car in the morning. I did crawl back into bed for a little bit after I came back though, but then we really had to get up and get the Easter groceries. We had to go to 5 different shops and Steven still regrets he came with me. I’m kind of a nightmare in supermarkets. I did make a list, but I do like to take my time. Reading ingredients and think about how much I need. I love it, but it turns out, Steven and I do not have that in common, haha! We went to my mum’s work to pick her up (For the people who don’t know: she works as a hostess at Rikus in Eext, a lovely hotel-restaurant. You can read about it in my other travel posts from the Netherlands if you like.) and she showed Steven around. At home I made Vivera burgers for everybody. They’re so yummy and there will be a huge review about this amazing brand soon. Stay tuned! If I had to believe my weather app it was going to rain the whole time, but this Saturday afternoon it was actually quite nice outside. Though the wind was a little cold, we (Julian, Marsha, Steven and I) decided to cycle to the lake anyway. It’s less than 10 min and it’s very beautiful over there, with lots of good memories. We skipped stones over the water and though Steven made it look very easy (he is so good at it), I managed to do it 3 times, but with a lot of effort, haha! It was very nice to be in the forest and we even saw lots of tadpoles in the lake, yay! Later that day I started baking. I had to make the whole Easter brunch by myself, for 9 people. Normally my sister and I make it together, but she wasn’t coming unfortunately. So I started with a chocolate chia pudding, the Hopping Bread, a vegetable bread and a frittata. It all went well, but I couldn’t make more, because we (my mum, Julian, Marsha, Steven) decided to go out for dinner. We went to Breed, a wok-buffet restaurant. My dad came too, what was so nice and we had a lovely evening all together. They have a lot of vegan options and it’s very tasty. After we came home I put the veggie bread in the oven and Steven helped me preparing the carrot cake.

I woke up at 8:00 to continue making the brunch. It was going to start at around 11:00, but I still had to bake the frittata, the croissants, the little breads and bake the pancakes. I also wanted to make scones, but as there was already so much and not that much time, I decided not to. Steven helped me and that was really nice, as it didn’t only go faster, but it was also nice to make it with him. My mum and dad arrived around 9:00, Julian invited a friend from school and my sister dropped off my nephew and niece, Jinan & Joella.. and when everybody finally arrived, we started eating all the goodies. Everybody luckily really liked it and everything turned out well. I was worried about the frittata, as I never made it before and I just did something, without having a recipe, but everybody actually really liked it. A shame I didn’t write down what I did. I have to make it again and make it into a recipe I  guess. After the brunch and after everything was tidy and clean again, my mum, Steven and I went to my dad’s place. He also just moved houses, so we had to see his place too of course. He lives in the middle of the forest (the forest where we had loads of family holidays) in a lovely sweet little house with a veranda. I loved it so much! We did have to get back in time, because we were a little tired and my mum, Steven and I planned to go to the cinema. So after some nice tea, we drove back, we all had a quick nap and then drove to Groningn, where the cinema is. This cinema is inside the football stadium. It’s avery nice cinema. We went to see ‘The Beauty & The Beast’. I already watched it 2 times, but I loveee this movie and I really wanted to watch it again (and again actually). Steven also already watched it (we went together, right after it came out), so he went for the second time. My mum never watched it and that was the reason why we went. It was so nice to watch it again. If you didn’t go yet, then book your tickets now, before it’s too late! It’s the best movie I’ve every watched in the cinema, in my life. It’s like going to a musical. As soon as it’s on iTunes, I’ll buy it. In the meantime I listen to the songs and the music all day long. I can tell you that Steven doesn’t really appreciate the ‘repeat’ button atm. Hehe..

Today we planned to go to the north. To see the house where I grew up, the dikes, the sea, my grandparents and my best friends. We left a little later than we wanted to, but there was still enough time. For me it’s already a treat to drive the car, as I don’t get to do that much in London anymore and I absolutely love driving. It was so nice to show Steven the place I grew up and all the memories I have around there. Though it was very cold and windy at the dikes (as always), we did take some lovely pictures. We then went to my friend Nienke and her daughter Annemarie. Always so nice to see them, especially because Annemarie grows so fast and she looks like a different girl every time I see her. They also
have a pig, doggies and a cat.. so lots of cuddling! We didn’t stay long, because we also wanted to go to my grandparents. We had a cup of tea there, but as they can’t speak English and our flight was going in a few hours, we had to head back after that. Still lovely to see my grandparents though and to introduce Steven. I know they really appreciated this. When we got home we quickly packed our suitcases and left to the airport. Everything went smooth, but it’s never nice to say goodbye to my mum. It was so short this time, only 3 nights. But we did have such an amazing time. Busy days, but all worth it!

HOTSPOT LIST:
Vega Life
– Singel 110, 1015 AE, Amsterdam.
Bolhoed – Prinsengracht 60-62, 1015 DX, Amsterdam.
Van Hier Tot Tokio – Prinsengracht 262-HS, 1016 HH, Amsterdam.
Rijksmuseum – Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam.
Museumplein (Museum Square) Amsterdam.
Kalverstraat (shopping) Amsterdam.
Rikus – Hoofdstraat 10, 9463 PC, Eext.
Breed – Nieuwe Streek 35, 9351 BZ, Leek.
Kinepolis Cinema – Boumaboulevard 53, 9723 ZS, Groningen.

Have you been to Amsterdam? Did you know about these cool hotspots (you can find more in my earlier travel post about Amsterdam) or are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip! ..and what did you do with Easter? Please tag me in your Easter creations! You can also comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

ART: Elise Klinkert

If you read my travel posts about Holland, I’m sure you know that my mum works at hotel-restaurant Rikus. I always mention RIkus as I always go to my mum when she’s working. Do you also remember that in my first post about ‘Holland Groningen/Drenthe‘ I mentioned the artist Elise Klinkert? She makes beautiful paintings, from animals (mainly horses) and also people. Her work is some sort of dreamy and magical. I especially like the paintings with the horses, but there are also some people-portraits I really like. Always when I go, I hope there are new paintings I like and I’ve never been disappointed.This is why I like to tell you about her and her work. 

Elise Klinkert was born in 1967 in the Netherlands. She now lives in the north of the Netherlands, with her husband and 2 children. As a child she actually never painted. She was good at drawing, but she never decided to do something with it. She has always been creative though and designed and made other things, like jumpers, cardigans, teddies, lamps and even a wedding dress. Now, since 20 years, she is a stylist for fashion and advertisement photography. For the last couple of years she’s also been active as a photographer herself. Only 3 years ago she started painting and she feels that this is her future. When she paints it feels like everything comes together and this is what she wants to do. She is completely autodidact when it comes to painting. In the back of her garden she created a little studio. It’s very quiet there and she can completely focus on her paintings, whilst looking at an old magnolia tree and the birds singing in the background.

As a vegan I was curious why she chose to paint a lot of animals. But she actually doesn’t have a clear explanation for that. She loves animals and if something touches me she wants to translate that into a painting. ‘It’s that simple’ she says. For me this is a very clear answer of why she chooses animals automatically. Animals touch you, they’re so pure, honest and majestic. Nature and emotion are her biggest sources of inspiration. Most of the time it’s just that one moment, that glance or that right atmosphere she tries to translate through her paintings. She finds it very important in her work. She doesn’t make some sort of plan of what she should paint. She paints what she feels. This means that sometimes she started something, but then she doesn’t touch it for months. Then later on she will work on it again. It also means that some paintings will never be finished and end up in the hearth. ‘That’s part of it’ she says.

She mainly works with acrylic paint, but sometimes also with oil paint (like the ‘White Goat’ here on the right.) She definitely prefers acrylic paint, as she has difficulty with the mediums you use with oil paint. She also likes to use acrylic paint better, because oil paint is bad for your health and for the environment. Depending on the painting and her mood, it can happen that she finishes a painting in a matter of days, but it also happens that it takes months and that she does other painting in the meantime. Elise also does commissions, depending on the clients wishes. If you’re interested in her work, I recommend taking a look at her beautiful website. Here you can see all her art work and all the other things she does. At the moment she is looking for a nice gallery what suits her, so all she has to do is paint.

New York
About a year ago she notices an art competition: The Equus Film Festival Art competition! Everybody who makes art, involving horses, was invited to send their work. As she likes to paint horses and she does it quite often, she decided to send some of her work. She made it into the competition and was invited to join. The first round was choses by the public. Everybody could vote via Facebook. After that, out of the winners, a jury of experts picked the winner. Elise Klinkert won!! She never even dared to dream about winning this. It felt all very surreal to her and it was totally unexpected.So last November she flew to New York, with her paintings, to exhibit her work at the Equus Film Festival! ‘You understand, this was an amazing experience!’ she says. The painting you see on the left, used to hang on the wall at Rikus and I saw it many times. She couldn’t bring this specific painting, as right after the news that she was going to New York, it was sold instantly. The painting on the right is one of my personal favourites. In my opinion she totally deserved to win as I’m a big fan of her work. So without any doubt: congratulations Elise!

I want to thank Elise very much for letting me share her story and art with all my readers. 

Do you like Elise Klinkert her work? Is it the kind of art you would get for yourself? Please let me (and Elise) know by leaving a comment below or on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Dutchie Pie

img_8155This Sunday, the 12th of March, Planet Manel will celebrate it’s first anniversary! Yay!! That means: CAKE! So I made this typical Dutch cake for you. It’s the ‘Authentic Apple Pie’. The cake itself is a bit like biscuits and a bit like cake, with a filling of apples, raisins and cinnamon. It has always been my favourite cake. I only like the home-made ones though, because pre-made, they’re not tasty at all. I actually don’t like any pre-made cakes, so that explains. On every birthday I went as a child and also when I was older, I’d choose home-made apple pie. On all my own birthdays I always made an apple pie. Though they never really turned out perfect. My sister is a lot better at it than me. So when I decided to veganise this pie I was a bit nervous. Very surprisingly the pie turned out to be more than perfect. I was so proud of myself that I finally made a good one after 15 years of trying. Vegan Power!! WARNING: This pie is not healthy, haha! ..but super super delicious though!

applDUTCHIE PIE

Serves: 8

dough
3 cups plain flower
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbs flaxseed (+ 6 el soy milk)
2/3 cup liquid butter
pinch of salt
filling
5 big apples (peeled/chopped)
1/3 cup raisins
4 tbs sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

img_8156-Preheat the over at 180C.
-Mix the flaxseed and the soy milk and let it stand for about 15 minutes. In the meantime you can make the filling:
-Mix the apples, the sugar, the cinnamon, the lemon juice and the raisins in a bowl. Make sure the juice on the bottom of the bowl, coming from the apples, is taken out before pouring it into the cake tin.
-Put the flower, the baking powder, the sugar, the salt in a big bowl (or use a food processor) and mix well.
-Then also mix in the flaxseed mixture and the butter and knead it until it forms a firm dough. It should not be sticking to everything: too wet ..or flaking: too dry. Add a little bit of flower/butter in case it’s too wet or too dry.
-Spread the dough over the bottom and the side of the cake tin, but make sure you keep about 1/4 of the dough for the top of the cake.
-Put the filling on the dough and spread it out nicely. Don’t press too hard, but make sure it’s even everywhere.
-Form 8 strips out of the left over dough to cover the top of the pie.
-Put the pie in the oven for 55-60 minutes.
-Let it cool down before cutting it into pieces.

Are you going to give this very tasty recipe a go and celebrate Planet Manel’s 1st anniversary with me? Please let me know! And I’d love to see some beautiful pictures. Please share them with me on Instagram using #PlanetManel ! Thank you! X

Biscoff Spread / Alphabet Biscuits

img_6392BISCOFF SPREAD
If you ask me about what I think they serve in heaven, I will say ‘Speculoos’. This is what we call it in Holland, over here we call this amazing spread from Lotus: ‘Biscoff Biscuit Spread’. It’s super unhealthy, loaded with bad bad sugars and bad fat.. you really shouldn’t look at the ingredient list! Hehe.. Ok, you should, because then you hopefully can hold yourself together and try not to eat the whole jar at once. Yes, sometimes I eat it from the jar.. It’s also delicious on white bread with butter (just adding to the healthiness here), crackers, biscuits and apples (no this still doesn’t make it a responsible snack). Last Friday I posted a simple recipe with this amazing spread, ‘Spread Magic’. It’s a hot chocolate.. you should try it! At first there were only biscuits, but later they made spreads out of it too. Can I get a Hallelujah?! The biscuits are originally from Belgium and are already around since 1932. Do you want to know more about this brand? Check out their website.

img_5536ALPHABET BISCUITS 
Yes, these are actually children snacks. Though, why can’t we adults eat them too?! I like the brand ‘Organix’, because they do not use any crap in their products and most of it is vegan. So if you want to give your kids a nice snack, I’d like to recommend them. But that is why it’s also a nice snack for adults. I’m not saying you can now swap your salad with packs of biscuits, but once in a while, as a snack, is totally fine. They btw, taste great with the Biscoff Spread. Though, adding crappy nutrition onto good stuff might be considered as a sin. They don’t have a very strong taste, but that is what I like about it I think. They’re just nice simple biscuits. They come in little packs, what makes it handy for on the way and perfect for sharing too. Give them a try! If you want to know more, please check out their website.

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X