Christmas

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Christmas Dinner

 

This year we made a traditional Christmas dinner, with Beef Wellington as the star. This year Nikki wasn’t able to join us, which meant that for the first time we could have meat at dinner. Koen and I have a tradition of eating Beef Wellington every Christmas Eve and it seemed like a fun idea to make altogether at our place in Antwerp. For the starter Barbara made her famous pear and butternut squash soup with fried sage and bacon. Yum!

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Christmas 2016

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Family together on Christmas

 

For Christmas this year, we gathered in Breda for a potluck Italian dinner at Sofie’s apartment. Everyone prepared a different dish to bring for dinner. Koen made sourdough focaccia and I prepared pasta lazio, a penne dish with chicken, artichokes and sundried tomatoes.

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Christmas 2014

Christmas

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year! This year Sofie hosted Christmas dinner in Breda. We ate gourmet – which is tiny pieces of meat, fish, and vegetables, that you prepare yourself on grillpans and mini-woks that are setup on the table. After dinner we ate delicious cheese served with my nut and seed bread, followed by Sofie’s dessert of meringue with mango-mojito sauce!

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Christmas 2013!

Opening my Christmas gifts from my parents!

Opening my Christmas gifts from my parents!

Koen and I celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Roosendaal, first at his Aunt Maartje and Uncle Sjaak’s house and then at the Brörmann house for Christmas. Unfortunately Nikki, Brigiet, and Sofie could not make it to Roosendaal to celebrate with us – Nikki and Brigiet were in Friesland and Sofie was surfing in Spain! Christmas Eve, we all made special dishes – Koen and I made two types of meatballs – and enjoyed an evening with lots of laughter and delicious food. The next day began with Christmas brunch. The entire afternoon we took turns in the kitchen preparing for dinner. I made macarons for the first time! Oma joined us for our delicious dinner which included a game where we guess what Dook is thinking. Koen and I were the winners guessing Roy Donder’s huispak and Oma’s pearl necklace! After dinner we facetimed my family in the States where they were also enjoying Christmas dinner! Also, special thank you to Barbara for the beautiful photos from Christmas!

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Antwerp Christmas Market 2013

Antwerp Christmas Market in the Grote Markt

Antwerp Christmas Market in the Grote Markt

I always look forward to Christmas-time in Antwerp. Not only are the streets  and trees filled with lights, but the Christmas market begins! Spread out around the city, little wooden stalls are set up where you can buy trinkets and sweets, and of course warm and strong drinks!

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Christmas Post!

I know it’s a bit late for a Christmas post, but I can be a bit lazy when there are a lot of photos involved!

Because we exchange gifts with Sinterklaas, we celebrate Christmas with a big dinner and everyone prepares a course!

Koen and me in our Christmas clothes!

Koen and me in our Christmas clothes!

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Sinterklaas!

Sinterklaas in the Netherlands is celebrated the 5th of December (and the 6th in Belgium) but because my sister-in-law Nikki was in Pakistan, we celebrated a bit later.  There are a few differences between the Dutch Sinterklaas and the American Santa Clause. Although the Sint brings gifts to the “braaf” or good children, he is much more strict than my dear Santa. If you are bad, not only do you receive a “roe”, or a cane to be whipped with, but also you will be taken from your parents and home in Sinterklaas’ bag and brought back to Spain, where the Sint lives!

Also, Sinterklaas does not have elves to help him with the days up to Christmas, instead he has Zwarte Pieten, black companions that arrive with him on his steamboat from Spain to help distribute treats. Although originally black to represent the Moorish people who once occupied the Netherlands, they are now black because they are covered in soot from the chimneys!  But as an American here, I don’t think I will ever get used to seeing so many people in black face with huge red lips, afros, and golden hoop earrings!

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

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The Antwerp Christmas Market

The Antwerp Christmas Market has begun! The Christmas market is spread out around Antwerp, and you’ll find cute wooden stalls with a variety of vendors. A trip to the Kerstmarkt isn’t complete without first sampling spekpatatjes met looksaus (bacon potatoes with garlic sauce) and Glühwein (“glow wine”, mulled wine). Koen and I ventured into the huge crowd the opening night, Saturday the 8th of December. Unfortunately I didn’t check my battery level and could only take 2 photos! But I went back Monday to take more photos!

Me enjoying spekpatatjes met looksaus and Glühwein the first night of the Kerstmarkt!

Me enjoying spekpatatjes met looksaus and Glühwein the first night of the Kerstmarkt!

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