Moving Day! by Lauren
It’s here it’s finally here! All the boxes are packed and ready to go. The movers have arrived with their mini truck from which an elevated crane with sleek steel moving elevator attached perches itself to our fourth floor apartment. We open up the window and by human assembly line we load in all our belongings onto the platform elevator which then brings it down to the ground floor, into the truck, and back up comes the elevator for round two. Moving everything out of our apartment took a whopping hour. It was amazing. Bringing everything into our new apartment four blocks away took another hour. And BOOM we were done.
Moving is usually incredibly stressful. I think its up there on the stress calculator after death and divorce or something. So I was shocked when this move went smooth like silk. Not a wrinkle anywhere. Actually the whole process had been easy. I found an apartment that looked too good to be true on Funda.nl (that’s the real estate site here in Holland) back in May. Figuring there was no way this spacious beautiful apartment was going to sit on the market for three months, I did little to pursue it. I thought of it as more of a notion of at least there are some good apartments out there in our price range. But when I got back from Cupertino in June the apartment was still available online. I was shocked that a place like this would sit on the market in Amsterdam would sit on the market. But there it was. Calling out to me. And so I answered.
And everything fell into place. We were moving out of Stefan’s shoebox with the barbie kitchen for a mini mansion complete with all appliances (even a wine refridgerator! can you say heaven?!) and everything an American could want (walk in closets! multiple bathrooms! storage! roof terrace!). We signed a contract for renting for a year, even negotiated the price down a smidge and by the grace of God, one of our friends LJ LOVED Stefan’s apartment and wanted to rent that out from him. No having to put his place on the rental market, no having to do upgrades, nothing. It was just a smooth transaction and perfect transition.
And now I have a proper kitchen with space to really cook, with a five burner stove (even a wok burner!), a bigger oven, with (gasp) a separate microwave. A huge teak dining room table to seat at least six and lo and behold, a dishwasher. I pretty much feel human again and living in the space I’m meant to be living in. Not shoved in some cramped two room apartment without inkling of my personality floating around. Now we get to buy furniture together, pick out a style for the house, put artwork on the walls we both pick out and most importantly get to make this house a bit into our home. Together. It’s what I’ve been yearning for the past two years, a real home, where I feel like a participant instead of a guest.
So clearly after unpacking the first thing I’m going to do is entertain, of which is the other thing I’ve been desperately missing the last two years. I LOVE playing Hostess with the Mostess. I love making little appetizers or planning meals for friends, chatting over good wine. It’s one of my life’s greatest pleasures.
Boxes unpacked and things relatively in place, I invite my girlfriends over for a little girls happy hour to celebrate the move. I was hoping for a sunny warm day where we could enjoy the rooftop, but this is Amsterdam, and it is September so there were passing monsoons so festivities were held indoors. Armed with Cava and Cassis I made some Kir Royals to celebrate and a bunch of fun seasonal things to nibble on while we gossiped and gabbed as girls tend to do for the next 6 hours. I came across a delicious dip from 101 cookbooks called a Mast-o-Khiar Dip and Ottolenghi Quinoa and Grilled Sourdough Salad to use up the last of the summer tomatos and a Fig Salad since Figs are now starting to be in season. Glasses always filled, food on the table, happiness in my heart for my new place, my friends, my life in Amsterdam.
Ottolenghi’s Quinoa and Grilled Sourdough Salad
2 thick slices of sourdough bread
Olive oil for brushing
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, cut into 1.5cm slices, skin removed
20g mint, chopped
30g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
20g chives, chopped
15g dill, chopped
10g coriander, chopped (optional)
For the dressing
Zest and juice of 1½ lemons
75ml extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Brush the bread slices with olive oil. Grill on a hot griddle pan for 1 minute on each side. Place on a roasting tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Put the quinoa in a saucepan, cover with plenty of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10-12 minutes. Strain into a fine sieve, refresh under cold water and leave to drain for a few minutes.
To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Break the bread into chunks and put in a serving bowl. Add the quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, herbs and the dressing. Toss together gently, check for seasoning and serve.
101 Cookbook’s Mast-o-Khiar Yogurt Dip Recipe
I didn’t have any rose petal flowers and this was still yummy. I served with toasted Pita Bread
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 cups / 480 ml Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
a dozen fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 medium cucumber, seeded & finely diced
great quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts, deeply toasted
2 teaspoons crushed dried rose petals
3 tablespoons chopped dried cranberries
On a cutting board, sprinkle the garlic cloves with the salt, then mash/chop into a paste with a knife. In a small bowl combine the garlic paste with the yogurt, dill, and mint. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When you’re all set -stir in the cucumber, and salt to taste. Spoon into a favorite dish and serve drizzled with the olive oil, sprinkled with the walnuts, rose petals, and dried cranberries.
Prep time: 5 min