Monday, November 30, 2009

Feeding Squirrels in London

So we went to several parks in London and fed some squirrels. I have to tell you, squirrels are my favourite animals of all time and I've never gotten quite this close to them. So, to document the great event for posterity, we took photographs and the following video of a squirrel being fed and squirreling all over the place almost too fast for me to keep up:

And a few photographs of the fuzzy little critters. My uncle took these pictures so please link back if you'd like to use them elsewhere: 



Sunday, November 29, 2009

Recipe: Sticky Toffee Pudding

My favourite dessert is undoubtedly sticky toffee pudding, which I first tasted in Yorkshire, England a few years ago. It is rather sweet so unless you are a bit of a sweet tooth you will not enjoy this one.

Good luck and happy cooking (and eating)!

Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour


For the pudding
150g/5oz dates, stones removed, chopped
250ml/9fl oz hot water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
60g/2¼ oz butter, softened
60g/2¼ oz caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
150g/5oz self-raising flour
For the toffee sauce
200g/7oz butter
400g/14oz brown sugar
vanilla pod, split
250ml/9fl oz double cream


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/370F/Gas 4.
2. Mix the dates, bicarbonate of soda and the water together in a bowl and leave to soak for ten minutes.
3. In a clean bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4. Still stirring the butter mixture, gradually add the eggs, making sure they are well mixed in.
5. Still stirring, gradually add the flour, then add the date mixture.
6. Pour the mixture into a 20cm/8in square cake tin. Place into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cooked through.
7. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a thick bottomed pan over a medium heat.
8. Add the brown sugar, vanilla pod and cream and stir well. Simmer for five minutes.
9. To serve, spoon out a portion of the pudding onto a plate and pour over the hot toffee sauce.

E-reader vs. Books

I bought the Sony Pocket Edition E-reader a few days ago and used it for the first time during my London trip. As such, I would like to discuss the advantages of e-readers and compare them to those of regular books so potential buyers might make up their mind more easily.


* Light and relatively small. Makes it easy to carry and enables you to read without getting in anyone's way.
* Modern, pretty design. Will make it look as if you are up-to-date on technology.
* Room for up to 300 books so you only need one device to keep yourself entertained.
* Automatically keeps track of your progress. No need to use bookmarkers.
* The eBook library allows you to transfer PDF, Word and other text files to your e-reader.
* When you order an e-book, you don't have to wait for delivery. You can download it instantly.


* New product so not all books are available yet as e-books.
* Don't come with bookcovers.


* Have a lovely cover that looks good on your bookshelf.
* Are available in different editions that can be quite valuable.
* More books available than e-books.
* Give one an air of intellect (also a potential con when viewed as a bookwurm)
* Perusing a bookshop can be a nice experience, looking for the purchase that's just right.


* Heavy and usually quite big.
* Books take longer to be delivered when ordered online.
* More fragile - can tear rather easily. 


The e-reader clearly has the advantage in terms of storage space and comfort but books still hold a certain charm. You don't really sit down with an e-reader and a glass of wine so books have the edge when it comes to ambiance. It's fun to visit a stuffy bookstore or read a book at Borders with a cup of coffee. The e-book market is one that is limited to cyberspace and that is not a very welcoming or friendly environment. Practical? Yes, certainly. But I understand why some readers are hesitant to make the switch.

Any thoughts? Anyone agree or disagree? 

Leave comments to discuss. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Farmers on tractors, tulips and windmills

Welcome to Country Bumpkinville!

In my case that's the most Northern province of the Netherlands where we've got a lot of farmers, windmills and tulips!

Here we're all bumpkins and there's nothing wrong with that. Tractors can be quite comfy....after a while.

Farmers are very happy people. They lead an exciting life; growing crops, harvesting, feeding chickens. But check out the flowers!

Yes, that's farmers too! We're not so country now, are we?

Dutch tulips. Aren't they pretty?

I'll be posting all sorts of random things on this blog - whatever preoccupies me whether it be a recipe or a new lamp.

Btw, this blog is called Country Bumpkin in the City because I like to travel. Tomorrow I'm off to London for a few days so I'll take some pics and report back on Sunday.

See yous then, bumponians and have a nice bumpkin!

Lady Tulip