the homemade book review + launch: super leuk!!
Posted in amsterdam, books, food, stylists August 31st, 2010 by pia

It’s Tuesday afternoon, the sun is appearing from out behind wispy clouds, and I’m sitting at my dining table with a cup of tea, flicking through Yvette’s new and incredibly inspiring cookbook Homemade, remembering the fun of Thursday night’s private book launch at Foam. Oh what a night! And oh, what a book. It now takes pride of place in my home…

Would you like to take a little peak inside Homemade with me? I’ll pour you a cup of tea while you peruse it’s pages…

that little vessel on the left page is a gift I brought back with me from Australia at the beginning of this year for Yvette – it’s a sam robinson piece, and I’m thrilled to see yvette has used it as a prop in homemade! super leuk.


I don’t know what I love more – the paper cut out chapter openers, the how-to sections, the personal stories and funny anecdotes peppered throughout the book, the photography (which will knock your socks off), the menu suggestions and “don’t forget the dog” section toward the end of the book, Yvette’s own handmade font, the unique and incredibly delicious recipes, the drawings,… the list goes on.  Yvette has created a seriously unique cook- & DIY book, with over 200 recipes and ideas for home cooking, and I have no doubt it is going to be a great success, it’s truly beautiful…

here is friend Floris who makes the best patés and terrines ever, he has his own shop here in Amsterdam, I’ll take you there one day soon!


As far as the recipes go, what should I try first?  The lentil, apple & coriander salad (sounds like the perfect lunch to me!), oven baked rissotto with sausage and paprika, zucchini cakes with basil cream, camembert & apricot jam toasted sandwiches, hang op… just to name a few,  it’s all so gooood.  The book is only in Dutch at this stage,  but I’m hoping it will be translated into English soon, I’ll keep you posted about that.

Now, let me tell you about the book launch party last Thursday night! Foam Café was filled to the brim with press, publishers, Yvette’s close friends and family, and the very lovely and very famous French chef, Stéphane Reynaud.  Yvette presented the first copy of her book to Stéphane as he has been a great inspiration to her. I was terribly nervous for her when she was standing up there in front of all those people, I thought my heart was going to pound right out of my chest and into my wine glass. But she was amazing, and didn’t look one bit nervous while she addressed everyone and asked Stéphane to sign her book.  I was able to snap some fun photos of the presentation, would you like to see?

Yvette’s publisher Fontaine Uitgevers is also the publisher of the Dutch version of Stéphane’s new book 365 , which the first copy was presented to him along with Yvette’s book. And I was also pleased to find out from Stéphane that my publisher (that be Murdoch books) is publishing the English version of 365, and it will launch in Australia this coming month, yeah! I had a great long chat with Stéphane, it was the first time I’d met him, he’s super nice. We had lots to talk about, he is really looking forward to visiting Australia this coming month – he loves the place, and loves the food! I was thrilled to hear and see his enthusiasm for Australian fare.

here is yvette at the signing table, signing away like a champ!

So there you go, that was last week’s fun. Ah but wait, there’s more! We had a very special house guest this weekend, perhaps you recall her pretty face from here, here, here and here

Yes, it’s marie! Yvette had a huge catering job to attend to over the weekend and asked if we’d babysit, of course we said yes. Marie was so well-behaved and completely charming. We did lots of things together – we had afternoon naps together on the couch, we went for walks, and on Sunday morning when she heard Romain get out of bed she jumped off the couch, ran into the bedroom with tail wagging furiously and right up into the bed to say good morning, giving us both lots of kisses and cuddles. On Sunday it was raining all day and we soon realised she had no intention of getting out there in the rain, instead she spent the entire day on the couch, and I spent the day looking over at her, snapping photos of her various couch surfing positions, check her out…

Classic! I miss her already. And did someone just say she can’t get any cuter? Umm, well, take a look at this…


To find out more about Yvette van Boven’s new cookbook Homemade, click here.

All photography in Homemade by Oof Verschuren.

PS marie sat on that cushion while Yvette styled the biscuits all around her, and then posed for the camera! I remember Yvette & Oof showing me the pic when they took it, she is the ultimate photo-friendly pup, gotta love her.

some lovely boutiques to explore…
Posted in etsy favourites August 30th, 2010 by pia

Just a quick note to let you know about two online boutiques that I have been exploring lately  – first up is Jen Altman‘s pop up shop called ‘the favorites’ where she has a beautiful selection of prints from her past collections available for a limited time…

from jen’s feather & bone collection, now available in the favorites.

And field & sea‘s etsy boutique is filled with some great new handmade treasures like little remindersprinted cards, script beads and kraft stickers

It occurred to me the other day that once upon a time, when I was much more organised, I used to have a collection of special little gifts for spontaneous gift-giving. I think these two boutiques are the perfect places to find such treasures. Also, how cool are the script beads? I know I’ve featured them before, but they still make my heart flutter.

a spoon. but not just any spoon.
Posted in pia's photos, stylists own August 26th, 2010 by pia

For the past few weeks I’ve been looking into the best way to scan some negatives which I brought back with me from Sydney at the beginning of the year – just a small bunch of old and somewhat recent film,  images that I’d like to include in my upcoming book (commonly referred to as the book). First I asked all my photographer friends here if they had a neg scanner  – I figured at least one of them would have one since they all used to shoot film back in the day. But alas, no! Which was interesting. Then I looked online to see if any of my local photography shops scanned negs, but I also checked out the prices of neg scanners while I was at it.  Long story short, after getting a hefty quote for scanning a few negs I thought it worth investing in a neg scanner of my own as I’d like to start shooting film again soon. Yesterday the neg scanner arrived in the mail and even though it took a while to set up, I soon got the hang of it by scanning a few random negatives from my neg folders.  What is no doubt much more interesting to you though, is what I found among those random negatives: a spoon.

This spoon is possibly my favourite spoon of all time. I haven’t seen it for years, and I’m not even sure if it still exists. I think – I hope –  it is in my storage unit back in Sydney. It has a history which probably dates back to before my ownership of it, but its history with me is special: I bought it about ten years ago , possibly at a flea market,  when I had my store. And then when I opened the teahouse I put it on display there, behind the counter, resting on a little nail in the wall. However one of the staff knocked it unfortunately, and it broke. But I loved it too much to get rid of it. So I bound the two broken pieces rather crudely with some metal wire (time was of the essence back then) and over the years it fused together with rust. I must have taken a photo of it at some point in the last decade with my canon ae-1 and now, all the way over here in my home away from home, I have been reunited with my spoon again via this photo. Today, thanks to this spoon, this photograph,  I am inspired.


PS This is the original photo scanned straight from negative, untouched, unaltered. I just love it. I might have to find a place for this photo in the book I think.

PPS I still think about opening another teahouse one day. I know it’s crazy since the last one nearly killed me, but I do think I’d do it soooo much better this time and really, how many cafés out there know how to make a proper chai these days? I need to bring back the chai.

PPPS I want to say thank you to everyone who has been leaving such luscious compliments about my writing of late. I can’t tell you how much that means to me since the book is filled with such writings, and your encouragement inspires me everyday. So, thank you.

Yvette’s book launch tonight…
Posted in amsterdam, food, stylists August 26th, 2010 by pia

I’m a very proud friend – Yvette’s book called homemade will be officially launched tonight at a private book party at Foam, I cannot wait. It will be fabulous to see the book in the flesh for the first time – this has been such a labour of love and passion for both yvette and her husband oof who has been busy taking all the photographs of all the delicious recipes over this past year. Above is a photo of Yvette looking over the book pages at the printers in Spain just a few weeks ago.

For my Dutch readers, if you’d like to be the first in line to buy a copy of Yvette’s book homemade, it is now available from de vries boeken.  I will definitely give more details about the book’s whereabouts once I have them.

For now though, I’d like to just make this post an opportunity for us all to shout out in unison a big CONGRATULATIONS to Yvette for the launch of her book tonight. Will you join me in this toast?


out & about: i love vintage in amsterdam…
Posted in amsterdam, amsterdam: made by hand, fashion August 26th, 2010 by pia

Tomorrow evening,  ilovevintage here in Amsterdam is hosting a “miniature” exhibition in their beautiful new boutique on the Prinsengracht – for those who have Amsterdam: Made by Hand, you will find ilovevintage gracing pages 42-45.

There will be miniature handmade illustrations between 1 and 20 cm on display by two artists, based on the theme “woman”, along with music, performances, and fashion shows. Sounds like a fun night – doors open at 7pm, programme starts at 8pm. I’m going to try to go as I haven’t been to one of their exhibitions yet, and I remember when I interviewed the owner Faranak for my book, she was describing all the new ideas they had for the new store –  these special event nights being one of them.  Perhaps I’ll see you there!

When? Friday, august 27th
Where? ILV Atelier boutique. Prinsengracht 201, Amsterdam