Fresh granola and places to get ingredients

Beginning of 2012, we decided to change our eating habits a bit. We decided to minimize the amount of processed food and to use as many fresh ingredients as possible. That’s all very vague, I know. The rule of thumb we use is:

  • No more stuff that I can make at home myself
  • No more ingredients in our food that I don’t know (meaning no more E-numbers, no more added preservatives with names I don’t recognize)
  • At most one processed ingredient

We keep a list of exceptions that holds things such as cheese, stock cubes, milk, yoghurt, butter, maple syrup and others.

Since then we’ve also started making our own granola and that’s been a blast. It’s fresh, tastes a lot better than store-bought granola, gives you a great smell in the house once a week and you can fully customize the granola with any ingredient you like.

There are plenty of recipes out there so I will keep things short here. I typically use a combination of rolled oats (rye, oat, wheat, et cetera) as a basis and then add nuts (pecan, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia, almonds) and seeds (such as sunflower, pumpkin). Then I add melted butter, sesame oil or some other vegetable oil and a sweetener (maple syrup, honey, sugar) and a bit of cinnamon. Then I add it to the oven (150 to 180 Celcius) and toss it around every 10 minutes or so until it’s browned and crispy. Then, I let it cool and add, raisins, cranberries, dried apricots and other dried fruits.

I try to add as little fat (oil, butter) as possible. Some suggest to add a bit of water instead of oil. I yet have to try that.

Places in Amsterdam where I typically get my ingredients are the following:

  • Tabak’s Notebar on the Rijnstraat. Close to the A2 highway onramp. A bit out of town but definitely worth it. Here I get all my nuts, seeds and dried fruits
  • The market (every Saturday) on Nieuwmarkt has a stand with all kinds of all and one-litre Maple Syrup containers that aren’t too expensive

Amsterdam in Winter

“So, it must be nice living in centre of one of the most beautiful towns in the world?”, people ask me sometimes. Well, actually–I must admit–it is, and I feel privileged.

The next question I get regularly from people, mostly foreigners is “So, what’s best in Amsterdam”? I’m not a tour guide, so I definitely don’t know what’s best in Amsterdam. There’s only the Amsterdam I like, the bars and restaurants I like and the parks, terrasses, clubs and cinemas I like.

So I’ll write about that. I’ll try to keep things condensed, with short personal tips and will spread it out over multiple posts.

For now, I would like to leave you with a picture of the Kloveniersburgwal, the canal we are living on. In this picture it’s fully covered in ice. The was a few weeks ago and it was the first time you could actually skate on the canals in 15 years. More pictures of Amsterdam on ice on Flickr.

Kloveniersburgwal on Ice

p.s. my favorite place in Amsterdam if it’s cold? Well, that’d be the Wijnand Fockink. You will be hearing that name often in this series as it’s actually my favorite place for a lot of different types of occasions. I’ll tell you more about the place later.

The perfect culture for innovation: Apple or IBM?

A few months after Jobs’ death Business Insider published an article that struck a chord with me. In Why Every Company Needs To Be More Like IBM And Less Like Apple Mark Fidelman argues that IBM is way better at creating an attainable and sustainable innovation culture than Apple has ever been or will ever be.

Apple pictures IBM as Big Brother in its 1984 Superbowl ad but Mark argues that today IBM is the antithesis of Big Brother. It’s as he calls Big Open. Apple, on the contrary has transformed to a company with a genius led culture of fear quoting Adam Lashinsky from Fortune Magazine.

Apple’s closed culture has left the company with an innovation vacuum after its founder left whereas one genius leaving IBM would not matter at all. Its genius lies in what Mark calls fostering innovation through co-creation with its employees, suppliers, partners and customers. This is what creates real shareholder values he argues.

Continue reading

New start

I used to have a blog that I started somewhere in 2003. I posted on a lot of different subjects, ranging from cooking to kiteboarding, and from the Spring Framework to entrepreneurship. That blog is no longer. I still have to see if I can somehow get the data from that blog back into this blog.

Until that has happened, this is the first entry in this entirely new blog.

Happy reading.