The Pancake Bakery

The Pancake Bakery

Lets talk about Pancakes.

In Holland, there’s no need for one day to celebrate and indulge in this food. Everyday is pannekoek day, and they are a staple meal, not just a brunch treat!

They are eaten by families for lunch and supper with lots of sweet, savoury and stuffed variations, and Dutch students also make sweet pancakes for pudding in the evening.

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A Dutch dinner party with pancakes to finish

Now I’ve been to a few good creperies before in Paris and Brussells, but nothing comes close to the Pancake Bakery.

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On the Prinsengracht canal, you could miss this place if it weren’t for the loud red signs declaring it’s location to the wanderers and tourists.

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“The best Pancakes in town!”

However, the pancake bakers don’t really need to worry about not being noticed. They are a worldwide hotspot, and bring in hundreds of new visitors everyday.

I guess we should go in!

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The long cavenous room makes you feel like you’ve stepped off the street (or canal) and gone back in time, and with reason. It used to be a a warehouse for the Dutch East India Trading Company during the 17th century ‘Golden Age’ when Holland was one of the major empires of the world and had a huge influence. I found myself reminiscing the golden age too, since S Club 7’s “Don’t Stop Never Give Up” was playing when we walked in!

At the table, there are bottles of Dutch Schenkstroop (typical syrup), a very large thing of maple syrup, salt, pepper, and sugar powders. I thought that was the meal sorted, but then you see the menu.

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Some very interesting combinations

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Quite a menu, right! As if that wasn’t enough, they also offer a plethora of deserts, just in case you didn’t feel like there was enough ice cream in your main.

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The walls are adorned with old paintings in Amsterdam settings, and photographs of the canals from 50-100 years ago, which you can peruse if you aren’t too busy fantasising over what’s to come……..

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Amsterdam, you haven’t aged a day!

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As you’ll know from my About Me page, I’m not currently able to have any of the ingredients involved in these beauties except the eggs….which could be a little unfulfilling! So rather than stay at the table with an envious stomach, the waitress let me come over to the kitchen to see the orders being made.

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The chef fries the ingredients for the different pancakes with the batter and and flips then over a large flame…

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Money shot!

Then passes them over to be decked out in the toppings.

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Loads of syrups, licquers, sweet shavings, and lots of nutella!

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A daily serving of sugar for the Pancake Bakery!

So, first up was the Canadian:

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Crispy bacon with cheese, onions, ham and mushrooms. Don’t you just want to roll that up and eat it in one! Mmm.

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Next was the Indonesian:

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A folded pancake of chicken, leeks, onions, mushrooms with an Indonesian peanut satay sauce, served with bean sprout salad and crumbled prawn cracker.

Indonesia used to be the Dutch colony, so you find a multitude of Indonesian restaurants and eateries around Amsterdam. The Pancake Bakery believes it’s uniqueness comes from their providing so many cuisines from all over the world in one restaraunt, reflecting Holland’s history in the global network.

Then was the Pancake Bakery’s most popular order:

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Banana, whipped cream and chocolate sauce
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A pretty sweet pic, don’t you think?

Then there was one for the person who likes to kill a few birds at once.

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Morello Cherry liquer
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Poured over peaches, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream

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You’ve got your dinner, your pudding and your drink sorted all in one!

Then things got all Italian. I guess pancakes and pizzas are probably cousins, as this creation looks like it works pretty well!

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Ciao bella!

The Caprese: basil, tomatoes, onions, melted fresh mozzarella and pesto.

The special’s of the day board was intriguing to say the least!

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Have you every heard of a veal pancake with brussell sprouts and red cabbage? You have now!

The sweet pojjertjes are a dutch delicacy; super cute baby pancakes.

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Poffertjes with cinammon icecream, stroopwaffel chunks, Belgian chocolate flakes, whipped cream and vanilla sauce.

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Um, yum!

The Pancake Bakery is open everyday from 09:00-21:30 apart from Christmas Day and is really worth a visit. What I think is most special about it is the huge range of international pancakes, all made properly with the authentic ingredients. And of course the fact that everyone agrees they are the best pancakes in town! The atmosphere is relaxed but still feels like your doing something special whether you go in the middle of the day or later in the evening.

Now as you can imagine, I left with pancakes on my mind, and I thought I would make some too!

I know that the words that come into most peoples minds when they want pancakes are not “LOW CARB” “LOW SUGAR”, but if any of you have diabetic issues or like to eat high fat and protein, then these ones may be up your street aswell!

To make these pancakes you will need:

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2 eggs, 1 tablespoon of coconut flour, 2 tablespoons of ground almonds, 4 tablespoons of coconut milk (or any milk of choice), 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, sugar/sugar substitute (I used stevia) and oil/butter for the pan. {Makes 2 pancakes}

Optional ingredients:

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Coconut flakes, blueberries, yoghurt (mine is pure coconut), cinnamon, nutmeg and nut butters (Hazelnut/almond/Peanut/cashew/Tahini), also bacon not pictured. But anything would work, really. Apparently people eat veal pancakes, for crying out loud!

Mix up all the ingredients in a measuring jug until smooth, but not too thin:

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Then pour on to a non-stick pan with oil/butter:

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If you want to add blueberries, add them now

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Give it a flip, and watch your pan make yo’ cake

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Stack the pancakes and add a dollop of yoghurt

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Extra blueberries, coconut flakes and lots of cinammon. It’s so delicious how the berries burst into the pancakes!

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Now that my diet is coming to an end, I am able to start adding things back in in very small quantities, so this was the first fruit I have had in 6 months! Blueberries are very low sugar so they were the best thing to start with.

If you like to be adventurous, this combination also really works:

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Kinda lost the shape of this one!

Drizzle the pancake with nut butter of your choice (mine is hazelnut):

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Then top with bacon.

This may seem a little weird, but I had always thought maple syrup and bacon sounded weird until I tried it!

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So there we go. I hope I have given you a taste of what Amsterdam has to offer in the way of pancakes, and maybe inspired you to make some quirky ones which will set you up for a flippin’ great day too!

That’s all for now,

Love O xxxx

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A Trip To The Movies

A Trip To The Movies

I just love going to the movies. When you barely feel like leaving your house, let alone going to a club and being sociable, meeting a few friends to see a film and inevitably going for a chilled out drink before/afterwards is the perfect answer.

Luckilly Amsterdam has much to offer in the way of cinema. Pathe Tuschinski is the main movie theatre, probably because of its location just off Rembrantplein (the tourist centre) It is part of the main theater chain in the Netherlands…but rather than having a typical feel, just look how beautiful it is!

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You actually feel like you are about to see a play, not a film, and the Aztec decor and huge ceiling with a dress circle at the top make it feel super grand. Built in 1921, the architect addresses the styles of Art Deco, Jugendstil and Amsterdamse School. The theatre is still used for premieres and you can even see the red carpet being whipped out, and dozens of papparazzi.

Anyway, what I really wanted to show you is The Movies.

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At the end of Haarlemerdijk, The Movies is the oldest still running movie theatre in Amsterdam. Before World War II it was defined as the neighborhood cinema. It mainly plays Art House movies and more niche stuff but you can go here for all the Hollywood blockbusters. At night the big billboard glows with the names of the films it’s showing, it totally makes you feel like you’re in the 1920s! I think it is still a super popular neighbourhood haunt, and when a few of us tried to go and see “Selma” on a saturday night it was completely booked up. We then travelled into the centre to try Pathe, but the only film with any seats was 50 Shades of Grey. Hence the irretrievable situation where I have now seen that film twice.

Anyway moving on from that troubling information, lets go inside……

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It’s so old!

The beautiful art deco interior combined with the restaurant and the quality films in the four rooms makes it a very oldschool stylish evening in a cozy atmosphere.

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Fabulous photography, I’m sure pheobe will agree
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Peak into a film screen

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And here it is at night, looking fly!

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It is really cool to go somewhere that is so uncommercialized and makes you appreciate how people used to feel about going to ‘the movies’, something so exciting and worth getting dressed up for.

After a drink in Rembrantplein, we finished our night with the standard Dutch friets. (Ok well I didnt, but these guys did and I lived vicariously through them!)

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Wrapped up in pink and white paper tissue paper around long cones, these are crispy, crunchy, REALLY good (looking) fries. Hopefully I will be confirming my own observations before I have left Amsterdam!

So that’s a very short look at the cinemas in the city. Although it is a pretty commonplace thing to do back at home, in Amsterdam it has become something to look forward to when you get to see the film in such cool places.

That’s all for now!

Love O xxxxx

A New Home

A New Home

I have a new place to live! Although unplanned, I am actually happy about this, as it’s nice to think of having lived in two different areas of Amsterdam during my year here. But the question of why I have changed accomodation probably requires explaining if you are aware of HOW nice the place I was living last semester was. Literally!

Over christmas I began to worry about whether being on a year abroad was the right thing considering the state of my health: still with bad fatigue and everything else I described (see  About Me  page). It was presented to me that most people with an ongoing illness take time off from studying until they are better, and that I didn’t have to keep going or pushing myself. Eventually I decided to drop out of UVA (Universitiet van Amsterdam). Flying back the weekend before the second semester began, I packed up my apartment, said goodbye to everyone and came home again. I felt an overwhelming feeling of regret as soon as I arrived in London and I spent a week at home resting, but feeling frustrated that I had let Amsterdam go, when there wasn’t a guarantee of my getting better any quicker by doing nothing at home. There’s only so much greys anatomy you can watch before things get bad, right? So, after one week, I was on the phone back to the university, who by a stroke of luck had not processed my de-registration. That could have been awkward! The main thing was finding a new place to live before I could get on a flight, since my room had been immediately given to someone else- unsurprisingly!

This is where I lived before:

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Ok, I didnt live on a balcony. This was the top floor of our apartment, where our shared kitchen opened onto this balcony with an amazing view of the neighbourhood’s rooftops. I shared the flat with 2 other girls and 1 guy, and we got the apartment through the university. The area is the Jordaan, the infamously chic, pretty, and pretty-expensive region, north of the centre of Amsterdam. It is very well connected; I was 3 minutes from the Centraal Station, and a 3 minute walk from the most beautiful streets and shops. It is ridiculously hard to find good quality accomodation in Amsterdam near the centre at a reasonable price, and it doesnt get any better than the Jordaan. Any Amsterdammer will tell you so!

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The ideal place for evening relaxing!
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Where my street met Haarlemerdijk, the bustling hub of the Jordaan

Haarlemerdijk, full of quirky shops, boutiques and cool restaraunts, organic stores and generally everything you could need is just off Prinsengracht, so I was lucky enough to live a few minutes walk from one of Amsterdam’s most important canals, and probably my favourite too, but I think that is just being biased as i have walked along it so many times on the way back to the apartment that it feels like home! It is famously home to the Anne Frank House among other things, so the mile long queue is a constant feature unless you are passing first thing in the morning when only the savvy few know to go.

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Just a few minutes from beautiful Prinsengracht (with the beautiful Rosie and Jo)
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Jo and I with Haarlemerdijk’s Christmas lights
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The Pizza Bakkers Restaraunt, Haarlemerdijk
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Haarlemerdijk in the changing seasons!

Anyway- I don’t have any photos of my room anymore due to doing a large scale cull of my photo library, as I think my iPhone was about to give up the ghost from memory-overload. Turns out that wasnt the best decision for the purposes of this blog. However, it was brand new, airy and nice, I can tell you that! Here is the view from my window, and you can almost see the dock in the background to the right, which at night glows with the reflections of all those apartment lights on the water and the boats look so majestic.

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It was actually quite strange how vividly we could see eachother- the people living opposite and me. Definitely felt like living in a Hitchcock film, just without the murders. At least there was someone always there looking out for me, and who was always keen for a non-competitive staring contest

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….So all in all, you can see I was a lucky person for my first semester!

But to the now! During my frantic week of deciding to u-turn on my dropout decision, I managed to come across a girl who wanted to someone to take over her contract at an independent accomodation for international students in Amsterdam West. It is a ‘concept’ accomodation, and simultaneously a hotel, which means things are all in nice shape. I am on a corridor with 7 guys and 6 girls, and we all share a big kitchen which is fun although with 13 people it can get a liittle messy.

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View from the corridor outside my room
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My bedroom (not very lived in at this point) comes with TV and ensuite bathroom
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The kitchen

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The library
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The downstairs area

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The restaraunt
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Jerrie and a big pieca’ chicken!

So that’s the acccomodation. In terms of the actual area, I am basically living in the hood now, but i like it. Its an interesting contrast for sure, and its also a direct tram ride into the centre of town and to uni, so its still easy to get to where I need to be.

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Directly outside to the trams

So there you have it, my neighbourhoods of old and new!

If anyone reading this is coming to study in Amsterdam and not able to find somewhere through the university I would definitely recommend where I am staying now- it is sociable, relaxed and good quality accomodation, although the general area may not be what everyone is looking for. Message me if you want to know more.

Thats all for now anyway- till next time!

Love O xxxx