the homemade book review + launch: super leuk!!
Posted in amsterdam, books, food, stylists August 31st, 2010 by pia

It’s Tuesday afternoon, the sun is appearing from out behind wispy clouds, and I’m sitting at my dining table with a cup of tea, flicking through Yvette’s new and incredibly inspiring cookbook Homemade, remembering the fun of Thursday night’s private book launch at Foam. Oh what a night! And oh, what a book. It now takes pride of place in my home…

Would you like to take a little peak inside Homemade with me? I’ll pour you a cup of tea while you peruse it’s pages…

that little vessel on the left page is a gift I brought back with me from Australia at the beginning of this year for Yvette – it’s a sam robinson piece, and I’m thrilled to see yvette has used it as a prop in homemade! super leuk.


I don’t know what I love more – the paper cut out chapter openers, the how-to sections, the personal stories and funny anecdotes peppered throughout the book, the photography (which will knock your socks off), the menu suggestions and “don’t forget the dog” section toward the end of the book, Yvette’s own handmade font, the unique and incredibly delicious recipes, the drawings,… the list goes on.  Yvette has created a seriously unique cook- & DIY book, with over 200 recipes and ideas for home cooking, and I have no doubt it is going to be a great success, it’s truly beautiful…

here is friend Floris who makes the best patés and terrines ever, he has his own shop here in Amsterdam, I’ll take you there one day soon!


As far as the recipes go, what should I try first?  The lentil, apple & coriander salad (sounds like the perfect lunch to me!), oven baked rissotto with sausage and paprika, zucchini cakes with basil cream, camembert & apricot jam toasted sandwiches, hang op… just to name a few,  it’s all so gooood.  The book is only in Dutch at this stage,  but I’m hoping it will be translated into English soon, I’ll keep you posted about that.

Now, let me tell you about the book launch party last Thursday night! Foam Café was filled to the brim with press, publishers, Yvette’s close friends and family, and the very lovely and very famous French chef, Stéphane Reynaud.  Yvette presented the first copy of her book to Stéphane as he has been a great inspiration to her. I was terribly nervous for her when she was standing up there in front of all those people, I thought my heart was going to pound right out of my chest and into my wine glass. But she was amazing, and didn’t look one bit nervous while she addressed everyone and asked Stéphane to sign her book.  I was able to snap some fun photos of the presentation, would you like to see?

Yvette’s publisher Fontaine Uitgevers is also the publisher of the Dutch version of Stéphane’s new book 365 , which the first copy was presented to him along with Yvette’s book. And I was also pleased to find out from Stéphane that my publisher (that be Murdoch books) is publishing the English version of 365, and it will launch in Australia this coming month, yeah! I had a great long chat with Stéphane, it was the first time I’d met him, he’s super nice. We had lots to talk about, he is really looking forward to visiting Australia this coming month – he loves the place, and loves the food! I was thrilled to hear and see his enthusiasm for Australian fare.

here is yvette at the signing table, signing away like a champ!

So there you go, that was last week’s fun. Ah but wait, there’s more! We had a very special house guest this weekend, perhaps you recall her pretty face from here, here, here and here

Yes, it’s marie! Yvette had a huge catering job to attend to over the weekend and asked if we’d babysit, of course we said yes. Marie was so well-behaved and completely charming. We did lots of things together – we had afternoon naps together on the couch, we went for walks, and on Sunday morning when she heard Romain get out of bed she jumped off the couch, ran into the bedroom with tail wagging furiously and right up into the bed to say good morning, giving us both lots of kisses and cuddles. On Sunday it was raining all day and we soon realised she had no intention of getting out there in the rain, instead she spent the entire day on the couch, and I spent the day looking over at her, snapping photos of her various couch surfing positions, check her out…

Classic! I miss her already. And did someone just say she can’t get any cuter? Umm, well, take a look at this…


To find out more about Yvette van Boven’s new cookbook Homemade, click here.

All photography in Homemade by Oof Verschuren.

PS marie sat on that cushion while Yvette styled the biscuits all around her, and then posed for the camera! I remember Yvette & Oof showing me the pic when they took it, she is the ultimate photo-friendly pup, gotta love her.

Yvette’s book launch tonight…
Posted in amsterdam, food, stylists August 26th, 2010 by pia

I’m a very proud friend – Yvette’s book called homemade will be officially launched tonight at a private book party at Foam, I cannot wait. It will be fabulous to see the book in the flesh for the first time – this has been such a labour of love and passion for both yvette and her husband oof who has been busy taking all the photographs of all the delicious recipes over this past year. Above is a photo of Yvette looking over the book pages at the printers in Spain just a few weeks ago.

For my Dutch readers, if you’d like to be the first in line to buy a copy of Yvette’s book homemade, it is now available from de vries boeken.  I will definitely give more details about the book’s whereabouts once I have them.

For now though, I’d like to just make this post an opportunity for us all to shout out in unison a big CONGRATULATIONS to Yvette for the launch of her book tonight. Will you join me in this toast?


in paris, this weekend: café éphémère…
Posted in artists, food, paris July 17th, 2010 by pia

Just wanted to pop my head into the (blog)house for a moment to let you know that designer Anne Xiradakis has organised another fab café éphémère in the 19th arrondisment of Paris this weekend, along with furniture designer Pierre Hourquet, and chef Delphine Zampetti. The free petite dégustation includes sablé au beurre salé, boisson aux fruits rouges,  and langue de chat au caramel all served on Anne’s new collection called “variables“.

Café éphémère 16 will be open today and tomorrow from 4-6pm at 104, cour anglaise: 104 rue d’Aubervillers, and on monday from 4-6pm at the jardin CPCU : 2, rue de la marne. To make a reservation call Anne on 06 63 06 83 11.

If you’d like to know more about the concept of café éphémère, click here.


Have a wonderful weekend mes amis.


edible tapestry tales in melbourne (+ some)…
Posted in australia, food, handmade July 9th, 2010 by pia

photo courtesy of rachel khoo.

It’s been awfully quiet here in the (blog)house this week, perhaps a little too quiet for your liking, my apologies. I’ve been on deadline and was really in the zone, writing day and night, night and day. And when I did manage to lay my head on my pillow to catch some zzz’s, I was editing and writing in my sleep. Right now, my brain feels like it is melting from the inside. Not a good feeling but I’m hoping it will all be worth it in the end.

In not so quiet news, I’ve been wanting to tell you about some super cool events happening down under this month…

photo courtesy of rachel khoo.

Do you remember a few months ago I wrote about the fab rachel khoo and foodie partner in crime frankie unsworth’s edible immigration tales in sydney? Well this month they are embarking on a new adventure in edible story telling, this time of the tapestry kind…

photo courtesy of rachel khoo.

Frankie and Rachel will be creating a series of dinners at the Australian Tapestry Workshop – an amazing space specialising in hand-woven tapestries (click here to read more about it).

photo courtesy of australian tapestry workshop.

For the past few months rachel and frankie have been busy making all sorts of edible weaves and hand dying edible threads (like saffron dyed homemade pasta, for .e.g. miam!). They’ve been testing out all sorts of other edible tapestries in their Paris and Sydney kitchens, skyping the results to each other. Rachel is now on her way there from Paris as I type. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for these special dinners –  if I was samantha stephens, I’d bewitch myself over there in a flash.

The six-course dinners will be held over 3 nights – friday, 23 July, saturday 24 July, and sunday 25 July –  as part of the state of design festival. The tickets are $110 per person. There are limited places available still for the Friday night and a couple on the Sunday night (saturday night is sold out). To make a reservation email rachel and frankie by clicking here.

For more info about the event, click here, here and here.


photos by me, pjb, from this post.

And in Sydney this Sunday, at the ever-lovely vaucluse house, there is a special event called colonial gastronomy: the lost art of ‘potting’. It sounds awesome, here is the blurb from the events page:

“Potted, collared and jugged foods were standard items in the C19th larder. Rediscover these lost arts, from a time when a well-to-do Victorian breakfast table would be graced with “neat little white pots, with a crust of yellow butter suggesting the spicy treat beneath, beef, ham or tongue, handiwork of the second or third kitchenmaid…” Elizabeth David, Salt, Spices and Aromatics in the English Kitchen. Potting was a method used to preserve and extend meat and shellfish, traditionally served on toast for breakfast or supper. In this hands-on workshop you will make butter in the dairy and your own potted treat to take home.”

photo by me, pjb, from this post.

The workshop is from 10:30am-12noon this Sunday, July 11. Cost is $35. there will be another session from 1:30pm-3pm as well. I’d really love to be there so if you go, please be sure to tell us all about it.

Also on at Vaucluse House at the moment is a display by guerilla knitting group Knitting the House. They have infiltrated the house and knitted up a storm! Have a look-see at this little video to have a sneak peak of some of the knitted pieces on display. What a fabulous idea.  The display will be on throughout the house until July 18.


And then there’s one more thing I noticed while perusing the historic houses trust website: at the Museum of Sydney there is an exhibition on at the moment called skint!making do in the great depression. It might sound depressing, but it’s far from – it’s all about how people in the 1930’s survived the tough times by finding thrifty ways of reusing and recycling commodities, growing vegetables, raising chickens, bartering, sharing recipes and resources. The exhibition runs until July 25th.


That’s my news for you oz birds down there. Up here in the north, the city of Amsterdam is gearing up for Sunday’s football final – Holland vs Spain. The past few weeks here have been unbelievable already – while I’ve been tucked up inside my little boat, writing my heart out, I have heard the city roar at random intervals. When I look outside during the match, the streets, apartments, canal is deadly quiet – there is not a soul to be seen. But then, all of a sudden, there is this all-mighty roar and that’s when I know they’ve scored a goal. It’s insane. Even though I haven’t been watching the games because of my workload (but also I’m so not the sporty type – remember, piano and reading books was my thing as a kid), I will make the effort to watch the game on Sunday. It would be unpatriotic of me not to do so.

I hope you’ve all had a terrific week. Enjoy your weekend, mes amis.


PS it is stinking hot here. I love it!

new creative ventures, part one: welcome to the sea circus…
Posted in creative ventures, food May 21st, 2010 by pia

Today in the (blog)house I am going to take you to two new creative ventures in two completely different parts of the world. Both of them inspire, excite, and entice, and in turn I believe they have each captured a little bit of magic. I hope you enjoy this impromptu Friday mini series…


Last month while I was in isolation-writing-retreat mode, (blog)house visitor Charlie – a.k.a the lion tamer – emailed me to let me know about the launch of her super exciting new venture in Bali. I was completely captivated by it and have been dying to share her news with you ever since. With the help of a number of creative souls including a few australian + parisian designers, the lovely Charlie & gang have set up an ultra cool new restaurant and bar in seminyak, bali called The Sea Circus.

The grand opening party last month looked like an absolute riot – a circus-clad crowd of people filled the restaurant, overflowing into the street and performing all sorts of circus tricks amidst, the atmosphere looks palpable…

In her email, Charlie told me that after visiting the (blog)house she was inspired to search for new art and has created a dedicated ‘wall of art’ in the restaurant. How cool is that? Charlie also authors a great blog, full of fun details about her new venture but it’s also packed with inspiration, illustrations, and bali info (so if you’re planning to visit bali at some point, it’s well worth bookmarking her blog with posts like this one, and this one.)

This dining table was set up for a special Australia Day supper before the restaurant was actually finished, it’s so beautiful, I love the tins of flowers and the gorgeous colour combo of the chairs and table.

love the business cards!

The chef on board at The Sea Circus used to work at the famous sydney restaurant longrain. His tapas style menu sounds scrumptious – yellowfin tuna & watermelon tartare with whitlof & citrus; mahi-mahi & tofu fritters with chilli jam & spring onions; and tart citron with clotted cream & lemoncello, par exemple.

Charlie, Josh and their team also commissioned 23 year old  spanish artist Manuel Rebollo to make a couple of ‘sea circus’ illustrations, how gorgeous is this one below…

Spectacular, non? I love all the little touches, it looks like a little slice of magic in the heart seminyak. A big congrats to Charlie, Josh and all the sea circus gang for creating a place so wonder-filled, I look forward to visiting one day and I wish you all the best!


all image courtesy of sea circus bali.