Carrot and Banana Cake

Vegetables in a cake means it is ok to have more than one slice, right? Right???

carrot and banana cake

I had a few banana’s that were starting to ripen quicker than we could eat them (I mean, I can only eat one a day… and soon as they get ripe & soft, I am immediately put of) and of course… carrots. We always have carrots – for dipping in hummus, for the base of soups, to boil as a side vegetable when I am really lazy… etc

I found this recipe on the Good to Know website (my first time visiting) and I have to admit it was a really easy recipe to make. Instead of using mixed spice – I used half a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Would I make it again? Yes.. Yes…Yes

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Carrot and Banana Cake

280g Self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
60g raisins
170g sugar
2 ripe banana’s (peeled & mashed)
220g carrots (peeled & grated)
3 eggs (beaten)
170ml sunflower oil

  • Sift flour, baking powder & cinnamon
  • Stir in raisins & sugar
  • Beat eggs with oil and add to dry ingredients along with carrots & banana
  • Bake in a greased cake tin for 50minutes at 180C
  • Leave to cool on a wire cooling tray

Cream cheese Icing

50g Butter (softened)
300g Icing sugar
150g cream cheese

  • Beat butter with icing sugar until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs
  • Beat in the cream cheese until smooth
  • Cut cake in half and sandwich together with half of the icing. Use the rest of the icing to cover the top of the cake

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Ballekes Restaurant (Brussels)

After having started a bistro (t’Bolleke) in Brussels serving traditional Belgian cuisine, it soon became apparent that the Ballekes that Francoise & Thibault were serving were an absolute hit… so the idea of providing a fast (but casual) restaurant with minimum service serving high quality Belgian meatballs, fries & beers was born! (you can read about their crowdfunding initiative in my earlier post here)

We finally got around to heading out to their newly opened shop *Ballekes* for lunch on one gloriously sunny Thursday.

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The interior is fantastic – clean, funky and lots of seating (plus enough space for us to park the stroller at the end of one of the bar tables – so they get a big thumbs up for us on that one!)

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They explained the concept to us – but all in all it was pretty simple

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  1. Select your protein – pork/beef, chicken or bio veggie
  2. Select your style – with one of their 6 fantastic sauce; in a baguette or the healthy salad option
  3. and finally… select your sides & extra’s

We all ordered their “special” – 2 meatballs, 1 style & 1 side for 13.50€

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HIM & Sarah got 2 pork/beef meatballs – one in the tomato sauce & the other in the mushroom sauce – with frites & mayo (for him) & truffle mayo (for her). While I had one chicken meatball in mushroom sauce (my favourite) and one pork/beef meatball in tomato sauce with frites & truffle mayo (OMG … so GOOD!!)

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At first, I was worried that 2 balls and some frites wouldn’t be enough – but we were really full…  especially washed down with one of the beers from their awesome selection (don’t judge me… but HIM and I are currently on a cider kick…)

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But that still didn’t stop us from sharing a slice of their delicious carrot cake

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Would I go back? Absolutely… I am thinking it might be the perfect spot for some birthday lunch:)

#Jointhebelgianmeatballrevolution

BALLEKES

address: Chaussee de Charleroi 174, 1060 Brussels

telephone: coming soon

open 7days a week

 

Blueberry buttermilk pancakes

I promised myself that I would make sure that I made some time for blogging again…. no easy task when you are working mom. But as HIM rightly pointed out – this is something that I love doing – and that I should dedicate a few hours each week to it (and to myself)… so my goal is back to producing 2 blog posts a week….

In order to fulfill this goal (and also to say thank you to HIM for his pearls of wisdom) – I decided to whip up a batch of blueberry pancakes (because he loves my blueberry banana muffins!)

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I found a recipe on the Martha Stewart site – but left out the lemon zest and decided to rather add the blueberries as the batter was in the pan – allowing for a more even distribution of berries & less “bleeding” affect than her suggestion of folding them into the batter (after dusting with flour)

Would I make these again? YES! In total – the batter made about 16 pancakes – enough for 4 healthy portions

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Blueberry Buttermilk pancakes

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon sugar
1-2 cups of blueberries (I used fresh)
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs

  • Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl – and then using a whisk, mix together until well combined
  • Make a well in the centre and add buttermilk & eggs
  • whisk until just combined – lumps are good!
  • ladle a spoonful of batter onto a preheated frying pan (I had 2 pans going at the same time) and add blueberries (pushing them down into the batter)
  • Flip them when you start to see little bubbles forming
  • Serve with maple syrup

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Honey roasted cashew nuts (SRC)

It is Secret Recipe Club time again (SRC)…. the secret Santa blog swap concept whereby once a month, each member in our group (Group B) receives anothers blogs to find & make a recipe from – with our reveals all on the same day at the same time! It is super fun and a great way to find new blogs (and recipes!)

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This month – I got Searching for Spice. Corina is a busy mom of 2 little ones – Little Miss Spice & Master Spice… how cute are those names? She loves using spices (hence the blog name) and her repertoire of recipes is mainly savoury (although sweet can be found thanks to Little Miss Spice’s arrival :)).

I love her *Cook once, eat twice* series… and of course, there were so many lovely recipes to try out… like Lemon & Courgette Spaghetti, Garlic Chicken Roast in a bag, Chinese chicken curry and Vietnamese Rice & Chicken Salad.

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But these Honey roasted Cashew nuts had me drooling! I made them and they lasted a whole 5minutes in our house (hee hee)… so a DEFINITE make again.

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Honey Roasted Cashew Nuts

250g raw cashew nuts
30g Honey
20g Butter

  • Melt honey & butter in a container in the microwave
  • Mix in the nuts
  • Place on a greased piece of foil on a baking tray
  • Bake at 180C for 10min (mixing half way) – be careful that they don’t burn!

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Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

As soon as I saw Rhubarb available on Cirkle – I couldn’t wait to add it to my basket! (If you don’t know about Cirkle – they are a bio fruit & veg delivery service in Brussels – read about my review here). Why? Because I love rhubarb… I love the tartness of it… (probably the same reason why I love Lemon Meringue pie so much…)

I have made a few rhubarb recipes before … but I had yet posted a rhubarb & apple crumble recipe – so I headed over to google box to find something that I wanted to recreate… and found this one on the Taste Australia website.

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I omitted the rolled oats and it still turned out great… I also swapped out the ground ginger for cinnamon!

Would I make it again? Absolutely YES

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Rhubarb & Apple Crumble

5-6 stalks of rhubarb, cut into 2cm chunks
3 apples, peeled & diced into 2cm chunks
1/4 cup caster sugar
dash of lemon juice
1 Tablespoon water
1/3 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
100g butter, chilled & diced
1/2 cup brown sugar

  • place rhubarb, apples, caster sugar, lemon juice & water into an ovenproof dish and bake at 180C for 20minutes (I did this in the morning)
  • Sift the flours & cinnamon
  • Using your fingers, rub the butter into the sifted flour to make a crumble and then rub through the sugar
  • Place the crumble on to of the cooked fruit and bake for a further 20minutes
  • Serve with custard, ice-cream or as it is!

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Goats cheese and chive soufflé

This is probably considered a *cheat* post – but in my defense…  I had watched the same episode of Hairy Bikers making these Goats cheese & chive soufflé’s as my friend… and I was in her kitchen at the time of their making (I even beat the egg whites…before they were folded in) … NOT to mention the speedy consumption of the finished product.

But I have to confess that they were not made in my own kitchen by my own 2 hands, but instead by my wonderfully talented friend Sarah…

The recipe can be found on the BBC Good Food website here

And is a definite crowd pleaser! These were made into individual dishes (6 portions) and in my humble opinion was a better idea than in one dish… as they have a tendency to collapse after a certain amount of time – plus plating from one dish isn’t as pretty!

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Goats cheese & chive Soufflé

300ml milk
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
1 small bunch of thyme
300g goats cheese
50g butter
50g flour
4 eggs, separated
3 Tablespoons of chives (finely chopped)

  • Using baking parchment paper, create a collar for each of your butter greased ramekins (remember to butter the parchment paper too!)
  • Place milk with onion, bay leaf & thyme into a pot. Bring to a simmer and then leave to cool for 15min. Then strain into a jug
  • Cut the rind off the goats cheese and slice into smallish pieces
  • Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in flour and then gradually add the milk stirring between addition to create a smooth but thick consistency
  • Leave on the heat for a further 2 minutes before stirring in the cheese
  • Whisk egg yolks and stir into milk mixture until smooth
  • Whisk egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture (starting with 1 ladleful)
  • Pour into your greased ramekins & bake on a preheated baking tray for 20-25min at 220C

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Simple Caramel Fridge tart

This is probably the simplest and quickest make ahead dessert… and a well-loved favourite in most South African households!

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For those who don’t have a tin of caramel available – you can make your own with a tin of condensed milk. Simply filly a pot with water and bring to the boil – then place your tin of condensed milk (unopened) in the centre and cover. Leave at a medium temperature for 3hours – adding water when necessary and turning tin to avoid burning every half hour or so. Leave to cool before opening.

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Caramel Fridge Tart

1 tin of carnation caramel
1 packet of Marie Biscuits (South Africans would use Tennis biscuits which is a coconut based square cracker)
250ml cream

  • Whip the cream
  • Mix in the caramel
  • Layer biscuits then creamy caramel and repeat until all ingredients are used up
  • Place in the refrigerator for at least 1hr to set

yes… that simple

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CHEZWaWa (Brussels)

A new kid on the block has opened….

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CHEZWaWa has moved into the Chatelain neighbourhood…offering locals a new style of farm-to-counter California-style Mexican dining called *Roll your own Way*. What they describe as Fresh, Fast, Flavorful & made-to-order… just as you like/want it.

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HIM took me there for lunch one Saturday… we arrived early (just after 12) to avoid having to fight for space at a table (especially as we were sporting our little miss in her stroller).

Space wise – you walk into a ground area for seating with 2 bar style seating tables on one side, some window facing counter seats and a long table on a *stage*. Then up a few steps (impossible with a stroller) to more table type seating and at the back is the order/counter section. Not the most practical of set ups – but as it was quiet – we had no issues as you need to start on the left hand side (where the entrance to the toilets is) and then move right along the counter while they make up your meal to where the cashier is. Meaning that if there is queue… you are 2 queues of people deep in a somewhat constrained environment.

The ceiling décor is awesome!

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The concept sounds pretty simple –

  1. Choose your base: Burrito (flour tortilla) or Naked Burrito (no tortilla but served in a bowl) or Taco (3 corn or flour) or Salad
  2. Choose your protein: This determines the price you pay: Poultry or shredded Pork or Beef or Spiced Tofu or grilled vegetables
  3. Choose your rice and beans (and/or): white rice or brown rice or/and pinto beans or black beans
  4. Choose your salsa: fresh or mild or medium or extra hot
  5. Add the extra’s: sour cream, shredded lettuce, grated cheese (free) or pay extra for guacamole, extra salsa/meat, grilled vegetables, chillies….

Sounds simple, eh? But the combinations are just too much and I struggled to decide… even when I had it right in my head – carrying out the order at the counter while they made it up for me while I stood there had me unsure… *Do you want rice in your taco’s?” he asked…. *Am I supposed to?* I responded… *Roll your own way… it is up to you* he said… and bam.. I was confused!:)

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HIM went for a Shredded Pork Burrito with bacon rice, pinto beans, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, roasted peppers… but no sour cream (9€)

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I opted for the Taco’s… with poultry (chicken), black beans, sour cream, shredded lettuce, grated cheese (9.25€) and guacamole (extra 1.25€) – not the most lady-like food item to eat with your hands – but OH MY WORD… delicious!

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We washed it down with a Mexican Beer (they range in price from 3.95-4.50€)

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Our total meal was about 28€ and we were both STUFFED (aka very full)… so this is a really great deal and is sure to do well with anyone wanting a fast, delicious and cheap meal!

Would we return? Absolutely… plus I see that they are on Deliveroo… so I can even get my fix delivered!!

CHEZWaWa

address: Rue Americaine 91, 1050, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 534 6330

website: http://www.chezwawa.com

Opening hours: Mon-Tues & Thurs: 12h00-22h00; Wed & Fri-Sat: 12h00-23h00 and Sun: 17h00-22h00

Classico Restaurant (Brussels)

Going out for a meal with a 6month old is really REALLY (did I mention *really*?) difficult!

Firstly, there are very few places in Brussels that have sufficient space between tables to allow for a pram/stroller and those that do aren’t always offering the food that I might want. (i.e. Ikea canteen restaurants are the perfect place for any new mum in Brussels – parking, sufficient space between tables and of course excellent changing rooms…). Secondly, going out in the evening to a restaurant has proved to be tricky… since HIM works Monday-Friday evening and I am definitely not trekking out with all the baby paraphernalia by myself at night and weekends are normally jam packed with meeting up with friends. And finally, the whole baby routine thing that we are supposed to be doing… bath/feed/bed by 7.30pm…

BUT… HIM took me out for lunch one fine Saturday… and we decided that we would try the new place called *Classico* Brasserie which took over the same spot where Lucy Chang in Ixelles used to be.

First impressions (at 12noon) was that the interior was smart and sleek with a fabulous bar seating area on one side (no picture) while maintaining the maximum amount of seating on the other side of the restaurant (i.e. spaces between tables was really tight – but we were there early and placed on the end of one section so that we could accommodate the stroller).

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The staff member we interacted with was knowledgeable about the menu and friendly with a very French air about him.

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Wines were tasty but on the pricey side… (7-9€ a glass)

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Food wise – HIM ordered the Butternut Risotto (on the specials menu for 27€)

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and I got the Chicken Supreme with a piece of deep fried polenta & some vegetables (25€ Suprême de volaille fermière, polenta croquante et légumes glacés)

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Both of our dishes were delicious… and we might have been tempted with dessert if Little Miss hadn’t decided that this was the perfect moment to start crying because she was tired but didn’t want to go to sleep… (within 5minutes of walking with her after leaving she was fast asleep…). So we had to quickly pay the bill and run…

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In total – our bill came to 80€ for 2 glasses of wine, 2 main dishes and a bottle of water for 2 people. Don’t get me wrong, the food was delicious and the atmosphere classy but I consider this to be on the upper side of pricey for a Saturday lunch… especially since I still had room for dessert after my main course:)

Would we return? Maybe… for an *occasion* type dinner (anniversary, birthday, etc) – but it wouldn’t be my regular go-to-spot.

Classico Brasserie

address: 124 Rue Americaine, Ixelles, 1050, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 537 9039

website: http://www.classico-la-brasserie.com/

email: welcome@classico-la-brasserie.com

Opening hours: Tues-Sat: 12h00-15h00 & 19h00-23h00 and Sun: 12h00-15h00 & 19h00-22h00

 

Apple Cinnamon Buns (SRC)

After quite a difficult month… Brussels attacks (read about it here), both Little Miss & I being sick and of course being back at work fulltime, means that I haven’t been able to create, photograph or post as many recipes as I had hoped since the last SRC reveal (the last reveal was for a delicious potato & zucchini au gratin)

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And for this months SRC (Secret Recipe Club) Reveal – I got Cookaholic Wife blog – fantastic name, eh?

Nichole started this blog a few months after moving in with Tom… her then boyfriend – who is now her husband (since 2010) and like me… is a lover of books (although I prefer reading mine on the couch, on the bed or in the bath rather than the beach) and also finds her happy place while baking something in the kitchen!

Recipes wise… I really had a difficult time choosing just one! Because they all looked so amazing…  like the Cardamom Glazed carrots, Strawberry Basil Mojito (yes please!!!), Heart Shaped Apple hand pies & of course this spaghetti squash with pancetta and peas.

But the final decision was… Apple Cinnamon Rolls!

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Soooo good…. I didn’t use Nichole’s glaze recipe as HIM is not a huge cream cheese fan… but this is my normal glaze recipe and it worked really well!

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Apple Cinnamon Rolls

For the rolls:
1 cup of warm water
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
6 Tablespoons butter (soft)
3 cups flour
For the filling:
2 medium apple (cored, peeled & diced finely)
3 Tablespoons butter
5 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
For the glaze:
1 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon milk or orange juice

  • Combine water, sugar & yeast and allow to stand for 15minutes
  • Line your baking tray with greased parchment paper
  • In a medium saucepan, mix filling (apples, brown sugar, cinnamon & butter) and cook over a medium heat for 5minutes (until apples are soft). Allow to cool slightly.
  • Add salt & butter to your bun mixture… and finally your flour
  • Mix until combined to form a soft dough (you may need to add more flour)
  • on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle
  • Leaving a 1/2 inch border, spread the apple mixture along the dough
  • Roll the dough lengthwise, cut into 12 evenly sized rounds with a serrated knife
  • Arrange in your prepared baking tin & rest for 5-10minutes
  • Bake for 15-20min at 200C
  • In the meantime, make the glaze by mixing together icing sugar andvanilla
  • Add half the milk/orange juice to start with – stirring to make a thick glaze and adding additional liquid a drop at a time to get the consistency that you want
  • Spread over cooled cinnamon rolls (it will form a crust and harden as it cools)

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