Monthly Archives: February 2014

Bake Off 2013

The date – September 21, 2013.  The place – The Apollo Hotel Almere.  The Challenge – Who is International Almere’s best baker?

10 contestants lined up, each with their delicious entries ready to tantalise the judges.  The winner would be selected by popular vote – and the prize?  A voucher to Almere Haven’s own “De Leukste Taarten Shop”, bragging rights on the cover of the first IA cookbook and of course, the coveted crown of “International  Almere’s Best Baker”.

The entries were diverse. Cakes and pies and cheesecakes were all contending fiercely.  Each baker divulged their secret recipe and competition was fierce!

The Entries:

Chocolate Rasp- whatever berry cake! – Rebecca Komen

Red Velvet Cake –  Sandie Lind Pedersen

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies – Patricia and Jordan Weber 

Lemon Chiffon Cake – Dominique Du Toit

Covered Dutch apple pie – Carla Van Der Weide

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake – Maarten Muijs

Honey Blueberry Cake – Georgina Riddle

Citrus Shortbread Bites – Becky Riddle

Quiche Recipe –  Eddie Veltman

Rum Balls – Carly Bridgeman


The judges filed in, tasted each entry and slowly, deliberately cast their votes for the best entry.  As the evening went on, the delicious treats quickly emptied, and the votes were cast.  The adjudicating panel oversaw the voting process to ensure that each vote was cast correctly …

Then, the moment of truth.  The contestants waited in anticipation for the vote counting and the crowning of the IA Best Baker.

And the winner?

Voting was fast and furious, and Maarten Muijs emerged victorious, with his entry of the Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake.  Second place was a dead heat with Sandie Lind Pedersen’s Red Velvet Cake and Eddie Veltman’s Quiche scoring the honours.

A huge congratulations to all our winners and a huge thank you to all our entrants for your fantastic baking efforts! And also a big thank you to our judges who helped decide our winners … See you at the next bake off.


Maarten and his award winning cheesecake!
Maarten and his award winning cheesecake!
Margreet Kwakernaak

Getting to Know – Margreet Kwakernaak

Margreet KwakernaakMargreet Kwakernaak, teacher and owner of Suitcase talen

Who is Margreet Kwakernaak? Though teachers have to answer many questions, they seldom have to answer this question. The role of the teacher is to help other people to learn and not to focus on themselves.

I was born and grew up in the beautiful town of Delft. My father was as well a teacher of German as well as an assistent director at two schools: one at daytime and the other one at night. My mother rose the 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl) and run a very well organised household. My father was mild, my mother was strict. I think I have both characteristics.

After secondary school, I left home to study in Amsterdam. I studied Spanish language and literature at the University of Amsterdam and, in the evening, arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy.

During the first 21 years of my career I always have been teaching Spanish as well as handicrafts and drawing. After 21 years of unruly teenagers I left secondary school to continue teaching Spanish at an adult school. It was the work with adults that I really liked and I started Suitcase talen in Almere, with help from my partner. As we both had jobs during daytime, we started with English and Spanish evening classes.

I am a workaholic but my partner was not, and Suitcase talen was the end of our relation. I moved to an industrial estate in Almere Muziekwijk. In the first year a was responsible for the construction of a building of 436 M2 and as soon as it was finished, Suitcase talen started growing. With a team of 20 free lance teachers Suitcase talen offered English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian to employees of the international companies in Almere
In 2002 we started experimenting with Dutch. I did the intakes and sometimes had to replace my teachers, and with some extra schooling and help of my collegues, I learnt to teach Dutch. It was not difficult after teaching Spanish for so many years.

When I got a new neighbour, an instruction pool for children, hell started. 7 days a week there was the constant clapping of doors of many cars, on the parking places of the building where I worked and lived, on weekdays form 8:00 until 21:00 and in the weekend until 16:00.

In 2006 I wrote the first of 7 textbooks on Dutch, Dutch for Dummies. I loved to dive deep in this writing task during the weekend, after my daily organisational and managing work.

In 2007 I was happy to rent my building to gemeente Almere. Long before I moved to the actual location in Almere-Haven, I had decided to stop managing and that I wanted to have a small school and teach rather than manage other teachers.

And so it happened that the smaller Suitcase talen became, the better got its reputation. My decision to specialize on highly educated students, finally, after 15 years of not feeling at home, reconciled me completely with Almere. Interesting students, Almere becoming a real town with good sport facilities, a growing international group- I love to provide you with quality classes for now and the near future.