October 10, 2015

light the candles and cozy up with a duck and pear dinner

Night falls quickly now and the temperatures dropped all the way down, fall is clearly here. This is where i light the candles and put on some cashmere while cozying up on the sofa and after a hard day's work maybe sip a glass of single malt. 
I am craving comfort food these days, like duck with poached pears. These little "jeffke" Belgian pears just had to come home with me; they are juicy and super sweet little ones but firm so ideal for poaching.

need: 1 or 2 pears per person, 1/2 duck breast per person, water, star-anise, cinnamon, sugar

go: heat the pan till very hot, skin down bake the duck breast, after 5 minutes turn and reduce the heat while cooking for 5 minutes on this side. Transfer to a pre heated oven at 180C for a few more minutes. I like mine pink so i keep a close eye on it. 
In a pot add the peeled pears, cover them with water, add the spices to taste. I love a lot of star anise and cinnamon. Add a few table spoons of sugar as sweet as you prefer, depending on the sweetness of the pears.

October 4, 2015

a purple Indian Summer pic nic with mini plum galettes

To qualify as a true Indian Summer we should have had warmer temperatures and well ... sun. September was instead cold and rainy but this weekend it (finally) was sunny with big blue skies and the sun turned everything gold. The leaves are starting to fall but there is still lots of green around and i craved getting some air in the Bois. The transition from summer to fall to me is somehow synonymous with deep purples and pinks. And i simply love all the great fruit that comes in season, like plums.

I saw these plums and had to make little galettes, easy to take on a pic-nic in the Bois.

need: 2cups of sliced and pitted plums, 2 tblsp of sugar, lemon zest, 1/2 tblsp of cinnamon, 4 tblsp of ground almonds, a pie crust (i used puff pastry), 1 egg

go: toss the plums in a bowl with the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and ground almonds. Unroll the pre-made (store bought) pie-crust and for smaller galettes cut in 4. Pile the plum mixture in the middle of the pie crust leaving 2 cm all the way around. fold the pie crust over the plums, brush with egg wash and sprinkle some sugar over it, than bake for approximately 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200C .

September 20, 2015

Breakfast in bed with ricotta hotcakes and a good book

The fall is coming, I can feel it in the cool temperatures at night already and well... it's been quite rainy in Brussels lately so breakfast in bed and reading a good book, shut away from the outside world, is very tempting indeed. 

I was craving ricotta hotcakes, so i whipped some up - the ultimate breakfast comfort-food. I never really measure anything, i just look for the right texture and consistency.

need: 2 eggs separated, 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of ricotta, 1 tsp of baking powder and pinch of salt

go: mix with fork the egg yolks, milk, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the ricotta to the mixture with spatula leaving some lumps. Whisk the egg whites till stiff and gently fold them into the mixture.
Warm a pan with some vegetable oil and bake a spoon full of the mixture a few minutes on each side.

serve: i added blueberries, agave syrup, lavender and orange blossom flower water to mine. You can use everything in the fridge or cupboard: cinnamon and butter,  rosewater and raspberries, dried fruit and cream, shaved almonds and honey... anything is possible.

September 18, 2015

Brussels: Restaurant Genco - elegant Italian food

A late night dinner at Genco made me fall in love with their food. Full of flavor but so 

elegantly and refined. We shared little steamed mussels, a paper thin vitello tonnato, grilled 

octopus salad and tagliatelle with fresh truffle shavings accompanied by a delicious red 

from Sicily . We finished it off with an excellent smooth grappa. 


I will be back ... soon.

September 16, 2015

In season: figs - a tasty breakfast

Easy breakfast of figs, blueberries, feta, a drizzle of agave syrup with lavender and lemon verbena from the garden.

I harvested the lemon verbena from my garden and not only added it to the salad but also infused it, it is so good for digesting and cocooning on the sofa on a rainy chilly morning.