Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) Salad

I made this salad for Sinterklaas in the Netherlands. It is a huge occassion in the Netherlands, pakkiesaand being important for children as Sinterklaas and his helper Swarte Piet bring a huge bag full of presents!

The red paprika seemed to go well with Sinterklaas’ outfit and since Swarte Piet is from Spain we had to have citrus. Off course that is where citrus was from traditionally before South Africa started produsing and exporting and for balance I added all the colours of the rainbow! Red wants green and then you need yellow and eventually your salad is quite South African.

Fortunately my olive oil was from Spain, so that was a good fit. The balsemic vinegar is from Modena which isn’t quite Spain, but that can’t be helped.

An unusual combination, but the sweet of the manderines (naartjies) and the balsemic vinegar makes a good contrast with the sharp radish and the slight bitter of the spinach. Green beans for something crisp to bite into and the nuts and salami add texture and substance. The soft lettuce leaves and olive oil makes it juicy.

 Oak leaf lettuce, green and purple

Baby Spinich (a more or less equal amount as the lettuce)

Red paprika 2

Yellow paprika 1

Green beans (flat or round) a hand full

Radishes about a bunch

Naartjies 6 or 7

Sliced mini salami about 125gram

Mixed nuts (preferably unsalted) 220gram

Cream of Balsemic Vinegar

A good olive oil

Chop the paprika and green beans and marinate in the balsemic vinegar and olive oil. Don’t hold back with the oil and vinegar, it becomes the dressing for the whole salad. The longer you marinate the softer your ingredients.

 Peel the naartjies and remove the white bits, mix the segments in whole otherwise you have a mess.

Chop the radishes fine.

Shred the lettuce and spinash according to your own beliefs, add the rest of the ingredients, and there you go!

Luxembourg

A few photos of Luxembourg – the city. Luxembourg the country is a grand duchy and the last one in Europe.

Banking is important off course and brings with it the highest per capita income in Europe.

This is the Spaerkaese or savings chest, it seems to be their moto, save and guard.

Spaerkaese (Spaarkas) die Staatsbank
Spaerkaese the State Bank

One can speculate that the security brought by the casemate lead to banking in Luxembourg becoming so popular.

Their tunnels in the mountains together with the Bock became the dream of every military man to such an extent that a decision was taken on European level to demolish them as they had become a threat to peace in Europe.

Starting a war only in order to take them had become worth while.

The Luxembourgoise word for their country is Letzebuerg. If it means Last Burg as one may assume, – it is a germanic language, it is quite aptly named.

Below a protestant church shows the name on their glass doors.

Apparently they are not people who want to battle with ventilation.

The Pétrusse valley runs through the heart of the city and is planted and maintained very beautifully. There is a very sophisticated and massive sluice system in place 😉

Sluis Lux vallei kanaal

From the Pétrusse valley you can see how they built walls on top of the cliffs. The whole town is a project that ran over centuries with a single purpose – defence.

You can only imagine.

Their is a very old and tiny chapel in the Pétrusse valley named after Saint Quirin. It was cut into the rock with a facade of cut rock.

Inside is a fountain where you can still see the original shrine built over it to mark it as a holy site.

The chapel is said to date from the 5th century AD. Rather early for Christianity to reach the North?

Sint Quirin kapel
Chapel of Saint Quirin

According to church authorities, it is still used on special occassions, but it doesn’t look as if they had one recently..

In town everything is very well  kept and seemingly wi-fi is big.

The war memorial is for WWI volunteers who gave their lives for the freedom of their country. A golden lady or gëlle fra in the local language.

WW1 monument
Gëlle Fra

Luxembourg was invaded by the Germans despite their declared neutrality, it was labelled a war necessity. Many people of Luxembourg didn’t trust the declared goals of the Germans and suspected that Germany will annex their country after the war. Later plans proved them right.

Those in Luxembourg at the time of the invasion couldn’t do much but people overseas at the time could join the allied forces. 3700 fought with the French and 2000 lost their lives. Luxemburg lost about 1% of her population at the time. A much higher price than many other countries.

Charlotte seems to have been a popular grand duchess. Her statue has pride of place and she had an important bridge named after her.

Duchess Charlotte bridge
Charlotte Hertogin
Duchess Charlotte

Outside of town, people have their gardens and provision is made for bon fires.

The people of Spain.

There is the most wonderful story about the people of Spain.

With the turn of the last century, Barcelona hosted a world exhibition. Lots of construction work took place and many poor people went to Barcelona to find work.

After a vacation when the workers returned from their home provinces, they talked about how they spent their time at home.

One guy was from Aragon and said he spent the weekend with his grandmother. She cried all the time.

Another guy was from Andalucia and told the same story, he spent his weekend with his grandmother.

When asked what they did, he said, oh, we danced all weekend!

It's a trip

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