I have just returned from a week of holidays in Berlin, where among (few) other things, I made out in front of the Berlin Wall.
‘Twas a week of Go-karts, delicious turkish food, East Side Galleries, and the discovery that Lidl supermarkets are suspiciously cheap and good. Why spend 6 euro on shitty wine when 2 euro will do just fine?
My dear home-offering Berlin based chausler discovered that his name actually contains an umlaut, which came more of shock to me than even him.
I came home from work one day and found this pasted at eye level on the toilet door. Apparently for the past eon, Kraft have marketed their ‘Leo’ chocolate bar (kind of like a Kit Kat, but made by Kraft) with the catch phrase “Everyone comes (to you) when you shout ‘Leo!'”.
The print edition here, however says: ” Not everyone comes if you shout ‘Leo!'”.
This afternoon I went to the local Kringloopwinkel (second hand store) on a mission to buy some Ghent flavoured crap to give a mate in in Berlin, and came back with an amazing swag that cost no more than €2,04.
I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered that €0,50 can buy a picture of a gypsie stamping a train track. Not entirely Ghentish, but definitely worth the export to Deutschland!
On the theme of toilet reading shenanigans, my other favourite novelette is Mijn Eerste Frans Woordenboek, aimed at young Dutch speakers who are ready to take on their first French lessons.
For me this book fits in perfectly with my age category, I love talking about carrots and in particular Dutch or French carrots. I can spend hours on the crapper just flicking through these sentences. Perfect for a rainy day with a mind/cistern to fill.
All this week I’m going through the many time-wasters that occupy the floor and wallspace of my favourite room, the toilet.
Most of the reading material is linguistic based, as I’m trying my hardest to understand some of the many thousands of languages Belgians seem to speak. On particularly length trips to the throne room, I enjoy “Hide This French Book 101”, a small hard-cover that contains handly phrases to experiment on French-types. My dear french speaking girlfriend particularly finds them ‘interesting’ when shouted from behind a closed toilet door from an impossibly difficult to understand Australian.
Hide This French Book 101 Contains such brilliant ice breakers such as:
One of the truly remarkable discoveries of the past thousand years is the amazing combination of basil leaves, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil and grana padano – Pesto is without doubt the most delightful of condiments.
Every time I make the sojourn to my corporate headquarters, my first stop after indulging in a local stracchino pizza is down to Antonella’s store in Nervi (as seen on Google Street View) where I stock up her freshly prepared Pesto, wines and tasty tasty cheese.
The pesto is so damn good that my girlfriend won’t let me return to Belgium without a fresh supply, which leads to us eating Pesto at great volume for a week until the ever lasting pot finally gives way to emptiness.
Today she’s out working on the boats (link), so I’m at home on lunch duty. To prepare a batch of the most amazing pasta in the world, here’s what you’ll need:
Pesto from Antonella’s store (you may have to fly to Genova for this)
Water in the pot
Salt to put in the water in the pot
A source of heat underneath the salted water in the pot
Pasta (your choice of variant) to put in the pot once the salted water in the pot is boiling
Six to ten minutes of waiting for pasta to cook in the boiling salted water in the pot
Drain pasta, preserving the cup of pasta broth
Put pesto in with pasta, slop some of the broth in with it (don’t let it get too runny)
Grate some parmigiano reggiano over the top
Eat the most amazing meal of your life.
An equally tasty variation of this simple dish is ‘Penne alla Portofino‘, where we add some tomato passata (mashed up tomato, boiled for a while), which is quite popular when you’re down to the last scoop of Antonella’s pesto.
In short, go to Genova, camp out in Nervi for a while, and spend a lot of money at Antonella’s store on Via Oberdan, Nervi. You’ll love yourself for it. She’s been working the same store the past 27 years, and is terrified of the fattening properties of Belgian chocolates. She also doesn’t understand why an Australian would choose to live in ‘the grey and silly Belgium’.
Without access to her Pesto, sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here too!