CHYL in Brussels

When CHYL announced via instagram that they their bio café was now open on a Tuesday for lunch (previously only open as of Wednesday through to the weekend)… I knew that HIM and I were going to finally get a chance to check them out… so we bundled little miss up, put her in the stroller and headed over via the Flagey lakes to be there at 12noon on a Tuesday.

CHYL stands for Change Your Lifestyle…  offering seasonal foods in their café, with focus on natural, raw and cooked healthy food. Plus if you are a vegetarian or a vegan – this place has a wide range of offerings aimed at you! A green spot in the centre of the city!

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Obviously, eating out with a stroller is not an easy task… for us, other patrons and of course the restaurant… so we always try to make sure that the restaurant is ok with taking us and giving us a table that would provide the least amount of hassle to them and to other patrons. Something that CHYL very kindly did when we arrived there without a reservation (I must point out that we were one of the first people to arrive so it was easy to allocate us one of the empty tables!)

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Décor wise… they are following the trend of hanging plants and funky lights (as seen at places like Knees to Chin, King Kong, etc) and sitting area tables are simple with funky cushions on bench seats… but the real fun part is the seating area near the entrance which gave me a Moroccan feel… think couches seating area made of packing crates and low tables…

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I ordered the Detox juice (cucumber, apple and mint) while HIM went for the homemade lemonade – both of which were around 4-5€. (The Detox juice was DELICIOUS…)

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We both ordered from the “Daily specials” chalkboard… with HIM going for a cheeseburger (14€) served with House frites (a combination of normal potato & sweet potato) & a salad.

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and I opted for the “assorted salads” with chicken (17€) – I absolutely loved the quinoa mix, the violet mashed potato and the chicken (even if it was a small protein portion) – the rest of the salad mix was “nice” but didn’t wow me.

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Would I go back? Possibly, I have a friend (Sas) who is a fan of the healthy bio options, so I would return with her – but I know that this kind of cuisine is not HIM’s favourite… so he probably wouldn’t go back with me. I would however, love to go back just to spend time in their shop!!!

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address: rue de Belle Vue 62, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 648 3476


Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday: 12h00-15h00; Saturday-Sunday:10h30-17h00

Lilicup Cupcakes in Brussels

Maternity leave can leave a mom starting to experience “cabin fever”… whereby going to the post office or doing grocery shopping suddenly becomes the highlight of your week – because you actually get to leave the house (and spend more than 2minutes running through the shower) – so you can imagine my excitement (and absolute dread) of leaving the house to meet up with a few of the prenatal group mums & their tots.

The original plan was to enjoy a pastel de nata (or more) with a cuppa at Forcado – but sadly, they were closed the day before a public holiday – so we walked 2 streets over to Lilicup cupcake shop & café.

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Now most places would see 3 mums with 3 strollers & 4 little babies and want to lock the door and pretend to be closed – but these ladies actually smiled at us as we parked the strollers along the side of one wall and started to order cupcakes and refreshments. Maybe because the café was empty… and maybe because they felt sorry for us? Whatever the reason – I was grateful! Truly grateful… it was warm inside and hungry – not only for something sweet, but also for “mum” advice chats!

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The venue is small – but super cute – white on white with fresh flowers on each table – at the front of the shop with a counter showcasing the most delicious range of cupcakes. Cupcakes with names that have you drooling and wishing you hadn’t eaten breakfast and wondering why you didn’t visit when you were pregnant and actually had a valid reason to “eat for two” :)

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Yes people – each of these logos is a cupcake flavour… Mmm

I opted for the Tiramisu cupcake and mini violette cupcake… both were soft, light and delicious… (I could have eaten half a dozen!)

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Would I go back? Hell yes… with or without Little Miss (although the likelihood is “with”) in the next few weeks while I still have weekdays at home! Plus I feel the need to work my way through the whole flavour offering :)

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PS – did I mention that you can buy cupcakes there and take them home? A definite winner!! If you haven’t been… GO!


address: 65 rue de Page, 1050, Ixelles, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 538 0268


Open: Tuesday to Saturday 10h00-18h30

Leek, Bacon and Roquefort Risotto

One of the benefits of being on maternity leave is that I am home during the day… and that Little Miss normally sleeps for at least 2 straight hours sometime during this time … which means that HIM and I can either have an early or late lunch together (the timing is dependent on her sleeping schedule… go figure :))

This recipe was from my “must make” pile – Olive magazine (February 2010 issue) – although their version didn’t have the bacon… and I didn’t have any white wine to add to the risotto. Other than that… it is pretty much the same and is really (REALLY) delicious! A definite make again.

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Leek, Bacon & Roquefort Risotto

olive oil
25g butter
2 leeks, sliced
125g risotto rice
100g bacon, sliced
900ml stock
100g Roquefort (gorgonzola or blue cheese)

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  • Heat the olive oil & half the butter in a pan
  • Fry the bacon & leeks together for 5-10minutes
  • Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil/butter
  • Add a ladleful of stock and simmer, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed
  • continue adding ladleful of stock and repeat until all the stock is used and the rice is tender and creamy
  • Remove from heat and add the cheese and remaining butter

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Buttermilk Biscuits (SRC)

After taking a one month blogging sabbatical from SRC (because of the birth of our gorgeous little girl) – I am back and ready to share another delicious blog & recipe with you…


For those who don’t remember – SRC (Secret Recipe Club) is a blog swap /Secret Santa concept whereby each month, we are allocated another’s blog to review and make something from… all to be revealed on the same day at the same time in our particular group (Group B).

This month – I got Goodie Godmother… a blog that looked so professional that I had to double-check that I had the right website! Mary is a lover of baking, travel and gives everything a little bit of pixie dust sprinkle… which just made me smile :) Funnily enough – we both majored in mathematics at university… and we both consider the kitchen to be our “happy place”. Mary is also married and has a baby girl… so the connections just keep appearing :) (and her love of caramel over chocolate is something that my HIM agrees to!)

Her blog is jam-packed full of delicious looking recipes – from stuffed eggplants to buttercream rose frosted cupcakes to S’Mores Cheesecake.

But when I saw these Southern Buttermilk Biscuits/Bread recipe – I knew that it was something that I wanted to try! In the US (and parts of Canada) – a biscuit is essentially the term for a “quick” bread with a crust and soft interior. They rely on baking powder or baking soda as opposed to yeast and therefore don’t need time to rise (hence the term “quick bread”).


They can be enjoyed with sweet or savoury items… but for the purposes of this recipe… I was thinking along the lines of scones – with jam….as their consistency is something between a scone and bread… yet neither sweet nor salty. A definite make again.


Buttermilk “Biscuits”

2 cups of self-raising flour
6 tablespoons butter (chilled and cubed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk

  • Add salt to flour
  • Cut in the butter to the dry mixture and using your fingers make a crumble
  • Add the buttermilk & mix to create a dough
  • On a floured surface, cut biscuits with a biscuit cutter
  • Line baking dish with greased paper
  • Bake for 10-15minutes at 180C

Serve with lashing of butter and jam (like I did!)


Stuffed butternut

HIM came home with a recipe for me the other day… a page that he had seen in a magazine featuring meat stuffed butternut and asked me to make it.

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Who am I to refuse HIM? The man who eats to live … not like me… who lives to eat… so if he has a particular interest in a meal, I will make it!

The recipe came from the store magazine of Delitraiteur – which has been around for 22 years, with 35 shops across Belgium, open 7 days a week from 07h00 to 22h00 and focusing on offering ready-made meals, fresh bread, fruit/veg and a range of quality goods.

I adapted the recipe based on what was in our fridge… (i.e. no goats cheese) and I actually roasted the butternut before scooping out the centre and adding it to the mince!

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Stuffed butternut

1 butternut (cut lengthways & seeds scooped out)
250g mince (beef/pork mix)
80ml tomato paste
100ml passata
1 teaspoon sugar
garlic (crushed)
olive oil
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese

  • heat olive oil in a saucepan and add mince & crushed garlic – cook until brown
  • Add the sugar, tomato paste & pasatta (and a splash of water to make sure that there is sufficient liquid in the pot)
  • reduce heat and leave to simmer for 10-20min
  • Season butternut, add a drizzle of olive oil and bake at 180C for 30min
  • Scoop out the cooked butternut and mix in with the mince
  • Add the mixture back into the butternut shells, top with cheese and return to the oven for 15min (180C)

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Easy Pita Pizza’s

Sometimes lunch needs to be quick (especially when you have a 3week old baby and are running between feeding times, nappy changes, bottle sterilizing, laundry, sleep and *Life in general*)… and sometimes we like to use up the contents of our fridge/freezer… which brings me to the fact that freezer compartments in Belgium are super small! Ours is just bigger than a shoebox and often contains a portion of mince, chicken and of course, some chopped vegetables. It has also recently started to contain containers of frozen fruit for my “fake ice-cream“.

But occasionally when we don’t use up something it gets shoved into the remaining miniscule space in the freezer… which is exactly what happened with some pita bread. And now that I am at home during the day… I am trying to use up food that we have, instead of trekking to the nearby grocery store every second day… although heading to the local shop is also an outing that I relish :)

I am not sure where I saw this before… as there really is nothing unique about this concept… using pita breads, topped with tomato pizza sauce and toppings for “instant pizza’s”…. but it was so quick, easy and delicious, that it felt wrong not to share it.

This recipe fed 2 adults within 20minutes (half of this was cooking time) … and is a definite make again and potentially a perfect child-friendly meal for the future!

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Pita Pizza’s

6 pita’s
6 Tablespoons of pizza tomato sauce (or use pasata mixed with olive oil & dried herbs)
selection of toppings – I used 1 slice of ham, 2 slices of salami, 1/4 of chopped green pepper and 4 mushrooms sliced
cup of grated cheese
fresh basil (optional)

  • spread a tablespoon of pizza tomato sauce on each pita
  • Add your toppings followed by a sprinkle of grated cheese
  • Place on a greased baking tray
  • Bake at 180C for 10minutes

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it really is as easy as that!

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Aubergine Caprese Salad

As already mentioned… our lives have changed recently with a new arrival in the family (a gorgeous baby girl… and even though we know that we are biased about her beauty… our friends & family seem to agree with us :))

But this is also means that I am on maternity leave… and learning to live with a whole new schedule… which includes being awake around 4am…

Now most of you would be encouraging me to go back to sleep… but for some bizarre reason, I can go to sleep at the same time as her at 9pm.. and back to sleep instantly after the midnight feed… but after the 3am feed, I am normally WIDE-AWAKE… so I thought I may as well make the most of this time … right??

This does not mean that I am baking or cooking at this hour… but it does mean that I can get some writing time… and I can also go through my “must make”  recipe pile!

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I found this recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine (July 2013 issue) – although they called theirs “melting middles aubergine parcels” with focus on BBQ cooking & eating. The only difference to my interpretation is that after constructing the parcels – I didn’t put them back on a grill to melt the mozzarella – mostly because HIM looked at me strangely and said “But Caprese salad is eaten cold??”. (FYI – Caprese salad = mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil salad). And of course – I used ready-made pesto as opposed to making my own (why? Because I have a 2week old baby to look after … so short cuts are my favourite thing in the kitchen at the moment :))

This is a yummy tapas, starter, vegetarian or main meal kind of dish and would definitely be made again in our house!

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Aubergine Caprese Salad

2 aubergine, sliced long ways
olive oil
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 mozzarella balls, drained & sliced
basil leave
ready-made pesto

  • Brush slices of aubergine with olive oil and either grill or fry them (I fried mine)
  • spread a small amount of pesto onto each cooked slice of aubergine, add a slice of tomato & a slice of mozzarella and then using a toothpick – wrap the aubergine slice around & secure
  • You can either add the basil to the wraps or on the plate
  • Season with salt/pepper to taste and a good drizzle of olive oil is an added extra!
  • Serve either warm or at room temperature with extra pesto

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Asparagus and bacon Quiche

Little Miss is 2weeks old today… and I still can’t get over the awe and amazement of gazing into her face every day… and that she is our little girl! (I also can’t get over the fact that she was inside me for 9months, but that is a whole other story!)

So far… sleeping has not really been that easy (or at least at nighttime for her anyway)… which means that both HIM and I are walking zombies some days… but we are trying to put some kind of a schedule together and sharing the load… which makes things far more manageable and of course eating/cooking has also been “rostered” with each of us taking a turn to make sure that there is some kind of a hot meal each day.

Sunday afternoon (late lunch/early dinner) saw me attempting my first “real” quiche (but obviously cheating with store-bought pastry) using the Jamie Oliver Spring Quiche as a reference, as I had previously only ever made crustless quiches

It was quick to put together (15minutes tops), but took 45min in the oven (leaving us enough time to feed, change, etc Little Miss) before sitting down to enjoy this delicious easy meal.

Would I make it again? Probably – but I might up the bacon/ham and cheese portions…

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Asparagus & Bacon Quiche

1 portion (230g) ready-made pastry
400g Asparagus, washed & chopped
100g bacon, chopped
200g cheese, grated (I used leftover raclette cheese)
4 eggs
200ml cream
100ml milk
salt/pepper to taste

  • Cook bacon & asparagus in a frying pan until almost done
  • Place ready-made pastry into a greased pie dish
  • Layer in the bacon & asparagus & cheese
  • Beat together the eggs, cream & milk and pour over the mixture
  • Bake at 180C for 45min


Chicken and Butter Bean Soup

The weather has started to change… days are getting shorter, colder and darker… and of course… that means that the tendency of my tummy is to crave stodgy comfort food…. and which is more comforting than a bowl of soup???

Normally – I am quite boring when it comes to soup… simple veggie that has been liquidized to be smooth… but when I saw this recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine (February 2014 issue) I just knew that this was the perfect soup for using up leftover chicken … and the perfect autumn/winter meal!

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I didn’t add all the herbs that the recipe called for… and I didn’t have leftover chicken … so all I did was stirfry some chicken breast pieces in soya sauce (~300g) and add this.

Would I make it again? DEFINITELY… HIM raved about it and this is actually the kind of soup that will be a regular on our menu going forward! The butter beans give the soup this really luxurious creamy taste….

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Chicken & Butter Bean Soup

1 onion
4 potatoes (peeled & chopped)
6 carrots (peeled & chopped)
1 tin (400g) of butter beans (drained)
~300g cooked chicken

  • Fry onion in a little bit of oil in a large pot (approx. 5min)
  • Add carrots & potatoes and cook for a further 5minutes
  • Add stock
  • Bring to the boil & then reduce heat to simmer for 20minutes
  • Add the beans & cooked chicken and cook for a further 10minutes
  • I removed half the solids (veg and all of the chicken) and liquidized the rest of the soup & then re-added the veg, chicken
  • Serve with a good crack of black pepper

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Passion fruit Mousse

I have only ever known this fruit as “granadilla” … but mentioning this to friends in Europe achieved me a few strange looks… so now I revert back to the more popular term “Passion fruit” (or passionfruit) – which is actually a type of berry that has a hard outer skin with a juicy seed filled centre (which has a somewhat tart taste).

I saw this recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine (June 2014 issue) in a section all about Brazilian cuisine… where they called it Maracuja (Passion fruit mousse traybake)….

Now I made some adaptions… I halved the recipe, as well as swapped out the gelatin & juice for some jelly – and I topped with fresh passion fruit seeds as opposed to a mango/passion fruit coulis.

Would I make it again? yes… easy and tasty. I would only make one change…. I would be careful to add the seeds to the jelly – as the acid caused the jelly not to set properly!

Passion Fruit Mousse

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4 passion fruits, flesh scooped out
1 packet of jelly (made to instructions but only using half the liquid)
400g can of sweetened condensed milk
250ml double cream, loosely whipped
125g digestive biscuits, crushed
50g butter, melted

  • For the base, mix the melted butter with the crushed biscuits and press firmly into the base of 6 individual serving dishes
  • Place in the fridge to chill for 30-60min
  • Add half of the flesh/seeds of the passion fruit to the condense milk and fold in cream
  • Gently stir in the jelly
  • Pour over the biscuit base
  • Chill for 2hr
  • Top with the other half of the passion fruit seeds/flesh

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