is what we have been experiencing lately. The painting is by Hendrick Avercamp and dates from 1609. And here are some pics of ice skating fun dating from 2009; 400 years later and not much has changed.
Young and old are still to be found on the ice, even baby in its pram.
Quite a few people came by bike, a very ordinary way of transportation if you live in the Netherlands. Even our Prime Minister goes out on his bike, and the Queen.
This is what the ice looks like after people have been skating on it.
And this is what most Dutch people are eating either on the ice, buying it at a Koek en Zopie kraam (Cookies and Punch market stall), or as soon as they got home; snert aka erwtensoep (pea soup) that has to be so thick that your spoon will stand straight up in it. If you want to try your hand at making your own traditional Dutch pea soup you will find a recipe here. Snert is one of the best Dutch comfort foods as it warms and fills you up after a long hard day of skating. And for desert there is pannekoeken (pancakes) with spek (bacon) and stroop (treacle).
As quite a few people have expressed an interest in Dutch oliebollen after I wrote about them in my previous post, they will find a recipe for oliebollen here. Hmmm, my blog is turning into a culinary blog it seems.
At a Koek en Zopie kraam they usually sell hot chocolate, hot sausages, snert, coffee, tea, cookies and cakes and oliebollen. The latter will only be sold in November and December before the New Year starts, not after as it is traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve. Zopie is not sold anymore as it's hard liquor (its either made from warmed beer, brandy and eggs or hot tea, rum, sugar, lemon, raisins and almonds) and quite a few people got drunk on it, very drunk. Skating and drinking don't mix, so quite a few accidents happened on the ice when zopie was served. Nowadays you can often buy a glass of mulled wine (glühwein) at a Koek en Zopie.
It's been quite awhile since we had a real old fashioned winter like we're having now with hoarfrost, snow and heavy frost (between minus 10 and 15 C). Can't remember when we were last able to skate for more than a week on natural ice.
And it all looks so pretty outside.
A swan flying over in the late winter afternoon
My garden looks lovely too,
and I've put out extra food and water for the birds. They need a bit of pampering now and as the water keeps freezing I water them regularly, at least three times a day.
It's not only us humans who've been having such fun in this magical winter wonderland. But more about this doggy fun another time.
copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen