July 24, 2014

tomatoes tart, feta salad and rose water cream with berries

More recipes from my summer dinners:

What is more easier and satisfying than a homemade tomato tart.
need: puff pastry ( i use shop bought), several different type or  coloured tomatoes,  1 red onion 1 table spoon of mustard,1/2 cup of feta cheese, fresh thyme and chilli flakes
go: slice tomatoes and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180C degrees till soft, blind cook the puff pastry. when cooled, spread mustard, layer tomatoes, onion and feta, add chilli, thyme and season with salt and pepper as preferred.
serve: add a few fresh tomato slices and cook for 10 minutes in hot oven to finish cooking and serve.

Such a pretty and tasty salad.
need: blanched beans, sliced cucumber, handfull of salad de ble, pomegranate seeds, feta, lemon verbena leaves, lavender and cappuccine flower
go: toss it all together and dress with the flowers at the end.
serve: provide olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to your guests so they can season as they prefer.

and what a treat summer berries...
need: puff pastry ( i use shop bought), blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cream, 1 table spoon rose water, lemon geranium leaves
go: bake the puff pastry weighed down to keep flat ( i baked it in between 2 baking sheets), whip the cream and rosewater with a little sugar, clean the berries. 
serve: once cooked and puff pastry is cool, layer the cream and the fruit, add the geranium leaves

July 22, 2014

summer cocktails and veggie starters : free-styling in my kitchen!

For any summer occasion a few drinks and bites from my previous post. Feel free to add, subtract or substitute any of the ingredients, this is the fun part of cooking:  
free-styling and full flavour!

Pineapple & Pastis: mix 3 table spoons of Ricard (or any pastis of your choice), 2 cups of pineapple juice, 1 cup of sparkling water, fresh thyme and lemon geranium. stir and serve on ice with lemon wedges. ( idea based on Elle aTable recipe)

Pimm's Cup: mix 3 table spoons of Pimm's, 2 cups of ginger ale, 1/2 cup of sliced cucumber, and fresh mint. serve on ice with lemon wedges. ( best to make in advance to get full flavor)

Crostini with peas and parmesan cheese: i love serving this spread not only because it is easy but also very tasty and you can make it in advance and actually sit down with your guests having cocktails. (winner!!)
need: spelt bread toasted, 1 cup of boiled peas, 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, half of a diced red onion, 2 table spoon of olive oil, mint
go: blitz in food processor the peas, cheese, mint and olive oil. season with salt and pepper as preferred. add more olive oil to make the mix smoother as preferred. I like it quite junky so i don't add much. Refrigerate the mix and right before serving, spread on toasted bread and sprinkle with shavings of parmesan cheese. 

Gazpacho of tomato and watermelonAfter eating this in Florence at the Savoy RF hotel, i was craving it when the weather got hot in Brussels.
need: 1 cup of cut tomatoes ( i used coeur de boeuf), 1/2 cup of cut watermelon, olive oil, 1/2 of red onion diced and fresh thyme
go: blitz in food processor the melon and tomatoes, watermelon, red onion and olive oil. season as preferred. 
serve: add some diced (green) tomatoes and watermelon. sprinkle thyme. ( have fun with color)

Summer salad with stuffed Zuchinni flower
need: sliced cucumber, blanched green beans, salade de ble ( or your preferred leave), pomegranate seeds (knock them out with a wooden spoon), diced watermelon, zucchini flower, 1 spoon of ricotta cheese, cappuccine flower, lemon verbena leaves, olive oil, lemon vinegar 
go: toss the beans, salad, pomegranate, watermelon with some olive oil and vinegar. Stuff the zucchini flower with the ricotta (if you like add some fresh herbs) and cook in a pre heated oven at 180C degrees for 15 minutes till the zucchini is cooked through. (much healthier than frying it)
serve: top the tossed veggies with the zucchini flower, the lemon verbena leaves and cappuccine flower. Have olive oil, vinegar, lemon and seasoning at hand for your guest to adjust to their taste. ( i tend to under salt things and have more herbs)

July 20, 2014

Al Fresco dinning in my garden - veggie dinner for 2

When the weather is HOT and sunny in Brussels, dinner outside needs to be light but tasty.  I don't feel like slaving in a hot kitchen over steaming pots to cook dinner, so i keep it simply but tasty. Being mid July a lot of fruit, flowers and herbs are in full bloom, at it bests, full of flavour. The ideal moment to have a vegetarian meal. Summer makes it easy to have simple tasty food. Below 2 dinners i served last week. We drank home made cocktails, champagne and rose wine. Port and Single malt to finish the night. I will post the recipes separately this week. 

what i served:

Cocktail of Ricard and pineapple juice 
with pea and parmesan crostini 

Gazpatcho of tomatoes and watermelon

Green bean, cucumber, salade de ble and pomegranate salad with feta and fresh garden flowers

Puff pastry, rosewater cream and berries


Pimm's Cup with smoked salmon on toast

Green bean, cucumber, pomegranate, watermelon 
with ricotta stuffed zucchini flower

Tomatoes puff pastry tarte with feta and red onion 

Puff pastry, rosewater cream and berries
and single malt with lemon zest

July 16, 2014

Antwerpen: Fashion and Food

I am determined to get to know Antwerp much better both food and fashion wise.  Of course my trusted Wallpaper City Guide gave me some good ideas, including a GREAT restaurant for dinner.

travel essentials 
I love the unique shops that Antwerp has to offer so i stay clear from the main stream street fashion shops on the Meir but i do stop in a "The Chocolate Line" just for it spectacular building and as soon as you walk in the overwhelming sweet smell of chocolate gives you an instant high even for a non- chocoholic as me. 

We stopped for a quick post-serial-shopping afternoon drink at "Verso" where cocktails and people watching are definitely worth a pittstop.

cosmo, what else
Dinner at "Hofstraat 24" was unexpectedly not only delish but also a real haven away from the busy bustle of the city. I was impressed with the separate dinning rooms and their individual characters. We settled into the library looking on to the conservatory which felt like private dinning, we enjoyed our meal and the flawless service as well as the great wine recommendations. 

sweetbreads with cauliflower
Their most popular dish is skate with almond puree and it was super. I had tried the sweetbreads and cauliflower and the lamb tongues in cream as main. I know not everybody's cup of tea but i like trying unusual things, and they were perfectly cooked and packed with flavour.

I will be back and continue to explore and report back, stay tuned!

July 11, 2014

my top 3 restaurants in Brussels - check it out

There are many but only a few never disappoint. Here are my 3 fave... Bon appetite !

Ventre Saint Gris

It is worth the cab fare to get to their place of the beaten track. Belgian food at it bests. 
and a superb winelist in ode to Bacchus.
My veal chop was amazing and the Chevrey-Chambertin washed it down just beautifully. The foie gras croque monsieur, a chef's classic, was perfect to start with.

Vieux St Martin
a classic, 
a tradition when "maatjes" are in season, 
I MUST have a jenever with these little harings.  

Toucan and T Sur Mer
Both brasseries offer great variety but someone how i stick to the grilled lobster, it is sooo goooood. Love the fresh oyster choice as well to start with.