Friday, September 23, 2011

Old Dutch Apple Pie

Monday is Dennis' birthday. He asked me to bake a pie. "The one I always do, with the apples" he said.
Oh, and if I could make of for his colleagues at work on Sunday as well.
And...please, can I make one extra so we have some for the day after his birthday...
So suddenly I was kneading this massive dough!

The recipe is simple and so Dutch. It's my
grandmothers old recipe from her old cooking-book, but then adapted to what she prefers (my mum guessed the recipe is actually older then the cooking-book in which she wrote the adaptations, which means it's over 70 years old, maybe even older she said).

The good thing is that you can make this pie in basically every oven. Hot air or whatever. I even once made it in a pot on a cole fire and once I'd
put it in the microwave. And it always turns out well.
Now I don't even use scales anymore to weigh all ingredients. I just guess and 'feel' that it's all right.
And because I make this pie so often I decided to share this old recipe with you. This is the translated version, as even for some Dutchies the old Dutch language is difficult to read :)

Recipe, for one pie in a 16cm tin.

  • 300g flour
  • 120g brown sugar
  • 210g butter (no margarine)
  • 1 large egg
  • grated lemon peel of one lemon
  • some salt
  • 3 or 4 sour apples (like the green 'granny smith')
  • 2 spoons of normal sugar
  • 3 table-spoons of apricot jam
  • some cinnamon
  • if you want: dried white raisins
Add the flour together with a sniff of salt and the lemonpeel in a bowl.

Add the butter. Cut the butter into little blocks and stir it through the flour mixture.

Add the browsugar and most of the beaten egg.

Knead the dough into a cohesive ball.
If the dough is too weak, put it into the fridge for a while.

Rub the tin (or silicone form) with a bit of butter. Take off 1/4 of the dough (for the topping) and push and knead the dough in the tin so it fills the bottom and the side. The dough has to be less then 1cm thick. I often make it even thinner then 0,5cm.
If your worried of the dough sticking onto the sides after baking it, then don't rub the dough in the tin itself but roll it out separately and lay it in the tin on a layer of rubbed in butter with some flour over it.

Now cut the apples in small parts or blocks (whatever you prefer) and put them in the a bowl. Always cut off the peel of the apples. The peel makes the pie taste a bit bitter. And the texture is not too nice for the rather 'soft' (or more 'al dente) pie.

Add the apricot jam, a spoon of sugar, a sniff of cinnamon and the dry raisins. If you want you can add some lemon juice to avoid the apples turning brown. Stir the mixture and put it all into the bed of dough.

Now make little 'dough stripes' for the topping and garnish the apples with the stripes. Make a funny text or put them in classic diamonds over the mixture.
'Paint' the diamond pattern with the rest of the whipped egg and the rest of the sugar.

Now comes the difficult part: baking the pie.
Depending on your microwave, oven, or barbecue you should just keep an eye on the baking process. In the oven I have at home it takes 50 minutes on 200 degrees (Celcius) but my parents oven has a double function (microwave/hot air) and then it takes only 20 minutes. On a fire I always have to watch so the bottom doesn't burn and when you only use the microwave you have to watch that the dough doesn't get too hard.

Just see it as a bit experiment. Once you get the skills you can make this pie everywhere, even when you're our camping!

Happy birthday and enjoy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Powered by Petzl & ABK

Nothing to do this weekend? Looking for some fun but nobody to climb with? Looking for some beautiful climbs together with your friends and check out the newest gear without driving to a climbing shop? Want to figure more about the newest climbing clothing? Up for a pro photoshoot? And that all together with some of the BEST climbers of the region (BeNeLux)

Or do you prefer powder...? Or both?
Come check out the newest ski's, harnesses, climbing wear, snowboots and more. Relax and share adventures with the Petzl-team members!

Such bad timing that the National Championships Bouldering are planned at the same I'm 'forced' to go to Amsterdam Centraal climbing gym instead. But, say it: isn't it better to be outdoors and the Fryer limestone then indoors on Dutch plastic?

Come all and gather for the 'Powered by Petzl and ABK' event in Freyr (Belgium)!
Find out more about this fun and cool event in a total lay-back style. No comps, no challenges, just fun and relax and it all costs you nothing (cause nature is there for free)

For more info check this website:

They make the coolest climbing underwear ever! A real must-have for every climber.
So if you haven't figured a your buddies birthday present yet? Now you know what to buy. And...a dirt-bag climber can never have enough underwear ;)

(photos: ABK website)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Post! 5.10 Quantum arrived :)

I just got post :) I have a new sponsor. I quit my contract with Boreal. (For all kinds or reasons) But not the one you'd think of first: shitty rubber. I have to say I was pretty satisfied with the rubber. And now I saw they even improved into really really sticky stuff. The shoes even stuck together on, let's say, gravity :)

As advice I'd always say that you should wear the shoes that suits and fits you best. So it can be that you don't buy 5.10, La Sportiva, Evolv or Boreal but suddenly walk around on Mad Rocks.
Shoe manufacturers get the issue that people tend to buy more and more a shoes that feels comfortable. And that is, especially to beginners, the best advice you can give.
Wearing shoes that are too big or worse too tight can cause trouble later on when you're finally a 'rotten old stinky climber' and have toes that your local pedicure doesn't want to touch anymore.

And that is one of the things my new sponsor, 5.10, keeps on hammering on. On the box of every pair of climbing shoes it says: "Don't fit your shoes too tight".
And that, together with the 8 other points is critical to climbing-shoe fitting and shopping.
Here the other 8 points:
  • Street shoes size is only a starting point
  • Rock shoes are unique, no two designs fit alike. Generally, softer shoes perform best with a snug fit. Stiffer shoes can be worn looser.
  • Eliminate dead space but don't fit so tight as to create hot spots.
  • Climbing shoes should not be uncomfortably tight, otherwise tears might keep you from seeing micro edges.
  • Feet swell during the day, from 1/2 size to a full size. Try on shoes in the afternoon if possible.
  • Synthetic uppers won't stretch - you'll have the same fit in 6 months. You should have no hot sports when you are up on your toes.
  • Lined leather shoes stretch up to 1/3 size after a break in period of about 10 pitches.
  • Unlined leather shoes will stretch up to 1 full size.
Now you know how to fit your shoes.

Time to find the right shoes. For me as iceclimber, boulderer, sportsclimber, semi-crack-climber, multipitch climber, routesetter and alpine climber is it not too easy to find a pair of shoes that always do what I need them to do: stick onto the wall whatever I climb and still stay comfortable.

I prefer a toe-down shoe in any case and I love heelhooking so the heel needs to be tight enough. Now they need to be comfortable but technical. Not too hard, not too soft on the rubber and the sole and as I sweat a lot (ielgh) they need to be lined so I don't 'slip' inside my shoes. I have pretty wide 'trouble' feet so they need to be quite wide at the front.
I guess I found what I need: a versatile shoe that is precise and has a snug fit: Quantum.
I just got them, so tonight will be the first try-out. I'll tell you later what I find of these shoes.

So far this is what others write about the new Quantum:

James Pearson: "Hmmm, maybe this picture can explain a little... my Quantum collection, 3 sizes, boulder, routes, and big wall – these days they are all I wear."

DPM Climbing: "Right out of the box, these shoes fit perfectly: super-snug, but not painful. The lack of dead air in the heel was a welcome change from most shoes for me. Even the laces, which I normally hate, were awesome. The ridged laces stay put when you pull them tight so you don’t have to battle to keep it snug at every pull."

Klimmuur Den Haag: "De enige schoen in de lijst met veters voor extra precisie. Dit is de opvolger van de klassieke Anasazi Lace. Maar nu asymetrisch en met een downturn, voor nog meer gevoel en druk op de grote teen." "I don't give 5 stars to gear often unless it's really deserving, but the 5.10 Quantum deserves the 5/5.
Based on the popular 5.10 Anasazi, the Quantum adds a downturned profile, low volume heel cup and the amazingly sticky and tactile Stealth Mystique to it's previous popular design. These shoes are freaking weapons. I've climbed on them for a few weeks now and I have really nothing but praise for them. The aggressive turn of the shoe make tackling overhanging and technical routes a breeze, and they edge like a fiend on slab and tiny little features. They even jam in cracks relatively well. I haven't put these through a maneuver yet where I was left wanting more out of a shoe."

Fliegerhorst drytool demo

Yay, again an excuse to go drytooling for the whole day!

Theres not much opportunity (yet) in the Netherlands to get a full drytool-workout.
This weekend I headed to Venlo, over 2hrs driving South-East from Bergschenhoek.
The 'Fliegerhorst' had their 'open-day'. They had a competition, via-ferrata, climbing, slacklining, readings, bouldering, walking and drytooling in their program. And I was the one responsible for the drytooling.

I gave two demo's for quite some audience. There were people who'd never seen iceaxes before and people who'd tried some years ago and are now eager to try again.

I took wood-blocks with me and hung them in the roof of the tower. Creating an figure-of-four roof climb with a start on the straight wood wall. It was fun, real fun having the opportunity to just climb as much as I wanted with my axes.
I had a microphone under my helmet, making it possible to talk and climb at the same time. So I could explain in detail about all I 'figured' ;)
Afterwards I had an autograph session. So weird signing children's t-shirts, posters and writing special requests on photo's of me drytooling.
Though this is a perfect way to promote my sponsors, train a bit and bring drytooling to a broader public. Hopefully one day it will give respect for the sports, get us into youth drytooling teams, special made drytool walls in the Netherlands and maybe finally into the Olympics?

Next to the demo's people who joined the competition had to climb the wood wall and all others were invited to try out the wall as well. It gave me the opportunity to show that drytooling and iceclimbing really is a sports and to show that it's not 'just slamming some medieval tools into a simple ice wall'.
Most climbers, experienced and strong as they were didn't even get half way on the wood wall and never even thought of getting into the roof :)

They day was enthusiastically organised by volunteers of the local climbing club. They did really well with the non-stop speaker Pierre, photographer Waldo, loads of volunteers to belay (thanks Koen) and help with via-ferrata, climbing, bouldering, they even had free hamburgers, a pretty professional sound system and more.

I also joined the competition and had to 'walk the line' (slackline), leadclimb the most difficult route on the tower (6b) build a tower out of beer-crates and I was not allowed to join the iceclimbing ;) I would be first but left the victory to local Koen. I won a tick-remover (check link for the joke in Dutch) and he got a beautiful flower-chalkbag.

Pictures: Waldo Waldo Ruiterman & me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Climbing for Cancer

Sometimes you have to remind yourself to the fact that life might be not so easy for everyone. And then as a human it's good to help. Even just a bit is more then nothing at all.
The easiest way to help is with donations.
This weekend was donation weekend. For the Dutch Cancer institute 'NKI-AVL'.
Monte Cervino and a couple volunteers organised a competition with as idea to collect money for the Cancer institute.
Every route you climbed had points, the more difficult the route the more points you got. I climbed together with a young climber, Arno and Jeroen (manager of the Monte Cervino gym). Jeroen belayed me in the lead climbs and Arno and I were a team for the competition.
I won the comp in my category and Arno became second in his category. But this comp was not just for 'winning'. Well, not for us, but the hope to win time and cures for Cancer with the money we all collected.
Afterwards we enjoyed an amazing home-cooked Thai meal. (We want more!)
Next year again!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ice/dry week in the Netherlands

Okay, not what you'd expect in the Netherlands but, yes, as the title says, last week was all about drytooling and iceclimbing!
For my work I had to go to Voerendaal, a little village close to Heerlen in the South of the Netherlands. Living close to Rotterdam driving to Heerlen is what we call 'going aboad' as it's so far away (sort of).
And thus we (Dennis & me) went together for a little 'holiday'.
The first day was work: guiding/teaching/coaching teambuilding games together with Sjaak Ruivenkamp. It was a fun and motivating day.
The next day we were invited at Snowworld. A big (the biggest of the Netherlands) indoor snow hall. National teams from all over the world gather here for their Summer ski-training.
But as I can't ski (really this day was the third time I ever stood on those things) I wasn't there for skiing. We were invited for another thing: iceclimbing! Snowworld has the brilliant idea to build an indoor iceclimbing wall and exploit it commercially. (Yes there is already another iceclimbing wall in the Netherlands, but it's not really popular for certain reasons)
The idea for the next years is to just have it as a wall for groups, students and occasional iceclimbers but if possible, for the future there are ambitious ideas to increase the structure and make it suitable for worldcup competitions!
To get a better idea about how to build a wall, what snow and ice to use, how thick it has to be, how high, how wide, how easy or difficult, how strong, what materials...they invited us. They'd even build a little wall as test to see if the ice, structure and idea could actually work out.
We took our tools and conquered the little wall. (See video)
And later we went to ski, snowboard, eat, ski, snowboard, eat, climb and ski some more. Alltogether we'd spent a whole day in the cold and got used to it. Yes, I guess we're ready for Winter climbing now!
And with the iceclimbing on that day we went on to Fliegerhorst, Venlo. On September 18. they have an 'open day' and we are invited to give an iceclimbing/drytooling demo. The Fliegerhorst mountaineers are a very friendly and warm group of people so we said yes to the demo :)
Now that we were 'abroad' already it was logical to do a stopover in Venlo. Pierre drove all the way to the Fliegerhorst to welcome us and show us the drytool wall.
We drank tea, took lunch, discussed climbing and most of all...we tooled. (In Dutch terms) they have a very descent wood wall with wooden holds and more. Good enough to get you strong for Winter climbing. I realised I still have a long way to go to be fit enough for the Winter. I had difficulties with figure-of-four's and long moves :) But this is a start. You can never start soon enough I guess.
On September 18. I'll be there again for the demo. You're all welcome to watch and try!

Pictures: Dennis and me climbing in Snowworld/Fliegerhorst
Video: iceclimbing in Snowworld Landgraaf (ps. I know, the music is bad, that was a reminder for how the music was in the Snowworld restaurants...)

Monday, September 05, 2011

Competition weekend

Back in the Netherlands.
With a really busy schedule.
From Bergschenhoek to Muiden to pick up my parents. They cycled over 2700km for their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela! See here their report.
Then I went to Bussum (work, teaching a First Aid course) then on to Ommen (being First Aid volunteer on Dennis school camp) where I spent a night and morning in a hospital with a girl and then I drove on to Rockanje to work and then to Eindhoven for the last of the 3 boulder competitions in Monk bouldergym.
I sometimes have trouble with my mind...playing tricks on me... Then I can get nervous and very insecure about all I do: climbing, communication, how I look...about everything basically. I had that with teaching the First Aid course last week and now again with the comp. Then I can simply forget how to climb and I loose all my strength, or when teaching I forget all basic things I have to tell the students. Now when I write about it I'm pretty 'light' about it, but on such a moment I just feel so uncomfortable.
I decided not to climb the finals, as I felt so insecure. So I was 9th after the 8 finalists. I would have been 6th or 7th or some I guess.
The next day, yesterday, was the first Dutch speed competition in 'Arendse Health Club', Breda. A test for the upcoming Speed worldcup which will be in the Netherlands in a couple years. In Breda we gathered with a group of just 14 climbers. A small group, mainly Dutch team members who were all 'forced' to climb. The rest of the Dutch climbers stayed at home. (Why?)
For me speedsclimbing is not the 'real' climbing, the thing I live for, live of. But it's something fun, try to improve your speed, technique and set a better time.
It was an official 10m. wall with the IFSC speed holds as seen on the worldcup, placed in exactly the same way as on the worldcup wall.
Thanks to Dennis' drill and some screws the comp could go on. The end hold, a plate where you tap on to stop the time, got loose every time resulting in false times and failing time records. Luckily I had that drill with because the car, Dennis van, didn't start that morning and I used it to fix some things. I was just in time for the comp...
I'm naturally a really, really slow climber. Doing all moves static. Where all climbers dyno I take a heelhook, rock over and on tension and balance reach for the hold. So speedclimbing is not really my discipline I guess.
But with just Vera Zijlstra of the Dutch national team as serious competitor and three local girls I landed on a second place. I was slow, made a mistake in the top in my second run but actually expected to be worse then I was. So, not bad. With medal and a bottle of white wine I went home.
Now off to Fliegerhorst, Venlo for some drytool fun and work tomorrow.
For all the Dutch: interested in a First Aid course, height safety course or a specialised mountain safety and first aid course or any first aid products? Together with Ascent safety I give courses and sell all kinds of first aid products. Ever heard of Snogg, Sam Splint, or do you just need a new emergency blanket, check this website or mail me for more information :) der.steen[@]