Malva Pudding (South African)

I recently hosted a South African themed Bookalokal Dinner in Brussels – serving sweetcorn fritters as a starter, bobotie as a main & malva pudding as dessert!

Malva Pudding is a proudly South African dessert of Cape Dutch origin, made from apricot jam & has a sticky cake texture – normally served warm with custard, cream or ice-cream (or all of the above if you are a piggy-piggy like me!)

This is a super easy dessert to whip up & appeals to anyone with a sweet tooth (aka like HIM)… the below recipe provides 8-10 servings… and is a definite “make again”!

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Malva Pudding

1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
Generous pinch of salt
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon apricot jam
1 Tablespoon butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup milk

  • Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt
  • Beat the egg and sugar together & then add melted butter, vinegar & apricot jam
  • Alternately add egg/butter mix and the milk to the dry mixture and beat well
  • Place into a greased dish
  • Cover with a piece of foil & bake at 180c for 45 – 60 minutes until lightly golden in colour.

To make the sauce:

1/2 cup of cream
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of hot water
125g butter

  • Place all ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat until melted
  • When cake comes out of the oven, use a toothpick to poke holes into the cake and then pour entire sauce over the top (it may look like too much liquid… but the cake will soak it all up)

malva 3

Pub lunch at Two Brewers (Covent Garden, London)

Once every few months – HIM and I board the Eurostar (speed train) from Brussels to London for a little weekend getaway. This normally also includes seeing a show, spending copious amounts of time in bookshops, a bit of shopping and of course… the obligatory Pub visit!

This particular February visit was a short one – with us arriving in London on Saturday morning around 10am, dropping our bags off at the hotel, and meandering into Covent Garden area (probably our favourite spot when we are short of time) – we had a few hours to kill before attending the matinée musical performance of Mathilda at Cambridge Theatre and finding a pub was priority #1.

Two Brewers is in throwing distance from the theatre – and oozes pub feeling (probably because it has been there since the 1800’s!!!)

Interior wise – it delivers on all expectations of a pub… dark (but not too dark) interior, a long wooden bar, lots of beer on tap, and seating on mini stools at round tables or in little alcove type booths. The walls are decorated with signed thespians pictures (clearly representing the theatre district that they are in) and staff are relaxed & friendly.

london 10 london 1

As per the usual routine – find a table, settle down, review the menu & then place your order at the bar (for food & drinks). The custom is normally to pay at the same time – but we were offered the option of opening up a tab. Drinks are normally poured immediately & within 5minutes – I was back at the table with our 2 rather large glasses of vino! (I do need to point out that alcohol is a bit on the pricey side … and that each “large” glass of wine was the same price as our plate of food!)

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Within about 10minutes – our food was ready & being brought to the table.

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HIM ordered the Bangers & Mash (obviously) – Juicy Boroughbridge pork sausages served on mashed potatoes with lashings of gravy and sticky onion chutney (8.29£). Thankfully, we also ordered a side of seasonal vegetables (2.49£) as the portion of bangers & mash was a little on the small side for my man.

london 2

I went with the Chicken & Bacon Salad – chicken breast & crispy bacon, served with mixed leaves, tomato, cucumber, red onion and a soft-boiled egg, finished with a drizzle of honey & mustard dressing (9.29£). It was “fine” – nothing amazing – but let’s be honest, how great can a salad really be? Plus it was also a little sparse on the chicken & bacon.

london 3

In terms of the actual pub – when we arrived, it was empty, but after an hour – it was filled to the brim with people waiting for tables to become vacant. It was warm & cosy & everything that I love about sitting in a pub in the afternoon. The food was tasty – but nothing special.

Would we return? Probably. It was close enough to Covent Garden & the surrounding theatres to be convenient. And again… I loved the atmosphere!

Two Brewers

Address: 40 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9EP , LONDON (United Kingdom)

Telephone: +44 207 836 7395

website

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 12h00-23h00 & Sunday: 12h00-22h30

Comfort Food : My Chicken Ginger Chow Mein

This is my once a week “go to” recipe for a quick & easy dinner – but is also something that I know is healthy and exceptionally tasty too!

stir fry 4

In our house – we started to call it “chow mein” (pronounced “chao meean”) which is normally the term given to a dish of stirfried noodles that is often found in Chinese restaurants (how authentically Chinese it is … I have my doubts). But the ingredients are pretty similar – flat noodles, soya sauce, vegetables (carrots & green pepper are pretty much essential)…. and of course, in my case, ginger & chicken!

stir fry 1

This normally provides about 4 generous portions & I would recommend using a large wok (or frying pan) as once you start adding the noodles to the stirfry mix – you need the space :)

Chicken Ginger Chow Mein

120g uncooked flat noodles (you can even use linguine)
300g diced chicken breast
peeled ginger (I normally use a piece the size of my thumb, finely chopped)
3 carrots, peeled & diced
1 small green pepper, deseeded & diced
300g button mushrooms, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled & crushed
3 Tablespoons soya sauce
juice of 1 lime
olive oil

stir fry 5

  • Leave the chicken pieces in a splash of the soya sauce with the garlic & ginger to marinate
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan or wok & brown the chicken pieces (us a good squeeze of the lime half way through to help tenderize the chicken)
  • Add the carrots, mushrooms, green pepper, the marinade sauce (including the ginger & garlic) as well as the rest of the soya sauce
  • At the same time – cook the flat noodles in a pot of salted boiling water (5-8minutes)
  • Once the noodles are cooked & drain
  • Add the noodles to the wok with chicken & vegetables and toss in the soya sauce infused liquid
  • Serve & enjoy

stirfry 2

Gluten Free peanut butter Banana muffins (SRC)

It feels like ages since I participated in the Secret Recipe Club reveal – but that is because the last post was on Monday 3rd November (Hidden Christmas Tree Cupcakes), plus there was a break over the festive season & also because I offered to swap out of Group A so that the numbers in each group were more representative & even – and was therefore re-assigned to Group B. Therefore this is my first reveal in Group B… and the first reveal for 2015.

newsrcbanner

For those who are not aware – The Secret Recipe Club is an international community of food bloggers – whereby once a month – each group reveals a recreation of a recipe from “someone else” blog. Now “someone else” is a blog that has been assigned to you – normally 3weeks in advance & you get the opportunity to check out their blog and make your selection from anything that they have made in the past!

This month – I got Rebekah’s blog called Rebekah’s Family, Food & Fun – a mom to 5 (yes – you read that right – FIVE) children who also lives with her husband, 2 dogs & 5 chickens in Arkansas…. Now what makes her truly amazing is not only the fact that she also homeschools all of the children (ranging in age from 11 to 3), is active in her church community or runs – but that she also makes the time & effort to churn out some seriously delicious looking recipes – most of which are healthy too!

I managed to narrow down the task to 4 awesome looking (and reading) options:

  1. Deep dish sloppy joe casserole – this had all the makings of a pizza & lasagna mix that had me seriously drooling!
  2. Pineapple pie (this would have been made if I could actually find a tin of crushed pineapple in the local grocery store in Brussels!!!)
  3. Pizza rolls – no further words required….

But I finally settled on her Gluten Free peanut butter banana muffin recipe – not because I was particularly drawn to the gluten-free idea – but because I had loads of banana’s just waiting to be used!

I adapted the recipe by omitting the chocolate chips, adding an extra banana & using a hand held blender instead of a food processor – now I am not sure which of these contributed to the minor “dip” that my muffins took in the centre after removing them from the oven – but looks were not everything – as these muffins tasted AMAZING! Plus they proved to be quick, easy & what I would call guilt-free!

I also made 12 normal sized muffins instead of 40 mini muffins as Rebekah had.

Interesting enough – the day after baking – I found that the peanut butter flavour was less strong…or maybe the banana flavour had intensified – whichever it was – I loved them and would definitely make them again!

gluten free banana muffins 1

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

3 medium bananas, peeled
2 large eggs
1 cup peanut butter
4 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt

  • Place bananas & eggs into a bowl and use an egg beater to mix together
  • Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla essense & bicarb and mix with beater until combined
  • Place into greased muffin trays
  • Bake for 15-20min at 180C

gluten free banana muffins 3

http://secret-recipe-club.blogspot.com/

Rooibos Iced Tea

If you utter the name “Rooibos Tea” to any South African – they know exactly what you mean…. But in the rest of the world, this herbal tea is still a growing concept and can sometimes be met with blank looks – which is normally when I start referring to it as “Bush” or ‘Red Bush” tea.

Rooibos (a variety of one of South Africa’s infamous fynbos bushes) is grown predominantly in the mountains of the Western Cape of South Africa and promises to have numerous health benefits ranging from restful sleep, relieving skin disorders or stomach complaints to cancer fighting properties.

It is caffeine free & high in anti-oxidants…and more importantly – SO tasty! So what more are you waiting for?

While in Cape Town over the festive season – I enjoyed a day at Kirstenbosch gardens with HIM, Dad & Bulent… walking along the Boomslang Canopy Tour (as pictured below) & through this gorgeous botanical garden… and finally settling down for a late lunch at their restaurant… where I had the most amazing thirst-quenching Rooibos Iced Tea… and inspiration struck!

kirstenbosch

So this is my take on the same drink, which makes 2-3l

iced tea 2

Rooibos Iced Tea

2-3l water
3-4 tea bags of Rooibos
1-2 lemon/lime
2 Tablespoons of honey
mint

  • Add tea bags to boiled water & leave to steep (the longer you leave the teabags in for – the stronger the tea will be)
  • Add honey around the same time – as the heat of the water will melt the honey (of course – adjust the amount of honey depending on whether you like your iced tea sweet or not)
  • Leave to cool – anything between 1-2hr & then refrigerate for a further hour
  • Add sliced of lemon, mint & ice-cubes

Tibetan Restaurant: Mo Mo in Brussels

M had suggested visiting Mo Mo before – but because they are only open on Thursday-Saturday evenings – it made trying to find a date that worked for both of us a bit more complicated!

But we finally got there (along with Mr Draper)!

Nestled along Rue Decaqz in Ixelles – this Tibetan dumpling & soup spot is a beacon of light on a cold winter evening, amongst the dark neighbouring apartment blocks.

Although we got there early (7pm) & hadn’t made a reservation – they were able to accommodate us with space at a table (as long as we were gone by 8pm).

Interior wise – it is simple – with a gorgeous mural on the back wall – one long table down the centre & counter seating around the edges. On the one end of the long centre table is a station where you help yourself to chopsticks, cutlery & napkins.

momo 1

The process is pretty simple – you order, collect your drinks self-service from a fridge, eat & pay on the way out.

All 3 of us opted for the “Formule du soir” 13€ – which included a mini basket of sliced vegetables (steamed & still with a decent amount of crunch, with a sweet soya sauce & lots of anise… giving it a flowery liquorice taste); 5 assorted steamed dumplings (I got 3 meat ones which were “ok” & 2 vegetable ones – which were amazing) and a small soup (the soup that day was a yellow lentil version – which Mr Draper was convinced tasted like scrambled eggs).

momo 8 momo 5 momo 7 momo 6

The dumplings have a somewhat thicker dough than the dim sums that I am normally used to – and of course the word for these tibetain dumplings is “mo mo” – so quite appropriate that the place is named after their speciality!

momo 2

All in all – the meal was full of flavours & made me feel quite virtuous in terms of healthy eating (all those vegetables) & of course, I respect the concept – which is that (organic) products are prepared by Tibetan women who used to be political prisoners in Tibet….

But would I go back? Doubtful – the steamed vegetables & the vegetable dumplings were delicious – but the soup & the meat dumplings were not really my thing. So maybe – if I only went back for the veggie options…. or it might be a healthy option via the Take Eat Easy home delivery service.

Mo Mo

address: 27 Rue Defacqz, Ixelles, 1050, Brussels, BELGIUM

Telephone: +32 2 522 09 68

Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 11h30-14h30; Thursday – Saturday: 18h00-21h30

website: http://mo-mo.eu/ (just a landing page)

Dinner at Bowery (SMETS) in Brussels

I was recently treated to dinner at Bowery at SMETS in Brussels with their PR consultants Marion Flipse & Partners – who represent a range of brands offering an array of skills ranging from media relations, sales, PR & marketing communications.

bowery table

Now, Bowery, as some of you might know – is a restaurant (and wine bar) above the SMETS premium fashion outlet at Place Meiser – proving that in both fashion & food – luxury & creativity can work hand in hand.

The restaurant decor is fun and playful – but retains an element of class & panache in a comfortable surrounding. (There is even a terrace for those balmy summer evenings!!!)

bowery interiorbowery interior 2

After placing our orders for Mains – we were served a gorgeous amuse bouche of Bar (Bass) Tartare:

bowery bass tartare

Thereafter a glass of warm foie gras créme was presented (with all the deliciousness & decadence that one has come to expect of this luxury liver plus a little something extra! Because we all know how much I adore foie gras!)

bowery foie gras creme

Then our mains arrived – Dos de Cabillaud (29€ – Cabillaud/Cod fish topped with a mussel & a dollop of caviar served on potato purée surrounded by an oyster & young leek froth)

bowery cabillaud

Saint-Jacques (31€ – pan-fried scallops with slivers of pumpkin & fresh sage in a mandarin emulsion)

bowery scallops 2

Sole (34€ – Sole stuffed with grey shrimps settled on a fragrant bisque and side dish of seasonal vegetables)

bowery sole bowery vegetables

all of which were devoured with murmurs of “oh” & “ah”…. And then desserts were served…..

Tarte Citron (12€ – a tangy lemon tart topped with home-made meringue & served alongside freshly sliced citrus)

bowery tart citron

and of course – because no evening is complete without a bit of chocolate – Fondant Chocolat (9€ for a molten lava chocolate cake served with vanilla ice-cream) – and yes, the inside was gorgeously gooey!

bowery moulleux chocolat

And although not pictured – our coffee/tea at the end of the meal was served with verrine of speculoos mousse and bite-size cakes.

You can also take advantage of a set formula – either entrée & main or main & dessert for 45€ – or let the chef’s special menu surprise you at 75€ a person (something I would definitely do next time!)

Would I go back? Absolutely – This is the kind of restaurant that you take a date or customers to, if you want to impress them; it has a classy yet relaxed atmosphere. And the food from chef Maxime Maziers is excellent & presented so beautifully – you can really tell when a chef loves his job… because it shows in his food! Plus the staff were friendly & attentive – and all in all – it was an excellent evening.

Lastly – once again, enormous thanks to the Bowery Team, Marion & Thomas for a wonderful evening!

Disclaimer – I was not paid for this post but I did enjoy the evening as a guest.

BOWERY

address: Chaussée de Louvain 650, 1030 Schaerbeek, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 325 1230

opening hours: Monday-Friday: 12h00-14h30; Saturday: 12h00-15h00; Wednesday-Saturday: 19h00-22h00

website: http://www.bowery.be

email: info@bowery.be

Why you should vote for Brussels Food Friends in the Visit Brussels 2014 Awards

In 2014 – on a road trip to (and from) a blogger meetup in Rotterdam – a group of Belgian based bloggers decided that it was high time that there was an active community in their same country.

And so … Brussels Food Friends was born (affectionately termed #BxlFF) ~ although “Brussels” was in the name, it was open to all Belgian Food Bloggers (and those beyond who were also interested!)

BxlFF-MMV

Offering an online platform – showcasing bloggers recipes & restaurants blog posts; interviews and sharing details of any upcoming foodie events in Belgium – it grew from a handful of followers to an interactive community!

3 Events happened during this time frame – each at a different venue, encouraging support from so many wonderful suppliers:

  1. 29th March 2014 at The Hotel
  2. 21st June 2014 at Hotel BLOOM
  3. 1st November 2014 at Maasmechelen Village

So the question remains – Why should YOU vote for Brussels Food Friends in the “New Concept” 2014 Visit Brussels Awards?

visit brussels 2014

The food bloggers that we have had the pleasure to interact with in Belgium, all have a full-time job, partners/loved ones and regular lives – yet still find time to photograph & write about one of their favourite topics … “FOOD”.

Majority of them don’t get paid for the articles – they do it because they love doing it – they are passionate and dedicated.

And the thanks that they receive is your readership for their hard work… (and every blogger knows that getting a comment on a post is awesome… because it meant that someone has actually read it!)

So what makes Brussels Food Friends special?

  1. It is created & executed BY bloggers FOR bloggers
  2. It is free to join – any food blogger in Belgium can be added to the community irrespective of language (as simple as sending an email to brusselsfoodfriends@gmail.com with the respective link)
  3. It promotes as many food events in Belgium as possible through an event calendar
  4. The #BxlFF events allow bloggers to finally meet the persona that they follow/support on social media face-to-face
  5. Every day – the team at #BxlFF reads all the food blog posts of the community that have been published in the past 24hr (yes – EVERY day) and then sets about sharing them on Twitter & Facebook.
  6. It showcases posts by bloggers every monday with the Top5 post on the website
  7. It showcases an individual blog every friday with #FollowThemFriday interviews
  8. It encourages bloggers to support each other – follow, interact & promote each other on social media – creating a support network
  9. It gives suppliers an opportunity to present their products directly to the foodie target market through these bloggers
  10. It creates a COMMUNITY - where irrespective of language, age, gender or race – the love of food binds everyone together

So we ask you to show a little support & remember to vote!!

 

Brunch at Petits Fours in Blouberg

On one of our final days in Sunny South Africa over the Year End season – we met up with friends for brunch at Petits Fours in Blouberg.

Petits Fours is part of the Seascape Collection that also includes Ons Huisie, On the Rocks & Weltevreden Estate.

Again (just like at Pepenero) – we were a stones throw from the beach… this time with a delightful view of Table Mountain & her bay… Capetonians – just in case you didn’t already know – you are truly spoilt with views like this!

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Open 7days a week from 08h00-17h00, Petits Fours offers a range of baked goods that are not only baked on the premises but also available to eat there or take away!

Situated in a heritage site with more than 200years of history – the cafe markets itself as a unique combination of a French-inspired bistro, delicatessen and a mix of West Coast cuisine… all of which – I would say that they accomplish very well. (plus – as already mentioned… the view from their dinky patio across the bay doesn’t hurt either!)

source: their website
source: their website

We arrived at 10am… with the place bustling with full tables. However, we waited patiently and were seated within 5-10minutes (one thing I would like to note as the place was so full – it meant that manoeuvring space between the tables was on the “tight” side).

The breakfast menu (served until 12noon) is quite extensive and all four of us found & ordered different items!

Between the boys – one ordered the Petits fours breakfast burger (homemade beef patty, crispy bacon bits, cheddar cheese, monkey gland sauce, topped with a poached or scrambled egg between 2 slices of flatbread – served along with baby potatoes) – G went for a poached egg (good choice!)  – this looked to be a MAMMOUTH meal… but G managed to polish it off (give the man credit – he was cycling….)

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while HIM went for the British gentleman’s breakfast (Two poached/scrambled eggs, 2 rashers of bacon, 2 beef sausages, sautéed mushrooms and a grilled tomato) – HIM went with scrambled eggs…

brunch 2

The girls, however, approached brunch with a more “french inspired” theme – with Bacon wrapped Asparagus & goats Cheese (and a poached egg) for me – and I loved this idea… so I might be recreating this in my own kitchen in the near future.

brunch

And Eggs Florentine (poached eggs served with spinach & salmon on flatbread) for P.

brunch 4

Would I return? Just to look at those cake filled stands again… yes. Plus our friends really recommended these baked goods… so another place to put onto my list as a “revisit” spot for when I am back in SA in May! (Even if the weather is miserable in Cape Town in winter – at least enormous cups of tea & cake will cheer us up!)

In terms of pricing – I think that brunch for 4 of us was less than R400, including hot beverages & a tip…. so pretty good value.

PETITS FOURS

address: 20 Stadler Road, Blouberg, Cape Town , SOUTH AFRICA

telephone: +27 21 554 4462

website: http://www.petits-fours.co.za/

email: petitsfours@seascapecollection.co.za

Opening hours: 08h00-17h00 Monday-Friday

 

Un Jour de Peyrassol (Brussels)

Team EAT (our group of 6 food friends) got out to Un Jour à Peyrassol in Brussels in January… although we were only 5 of the original group of 6.

source: their website
source: their website

Situated just off Place Chatelain in Ixelles & offering Valet parking – it really can’t be missed.

un jour de peyrassol

What I would describe as a French inspired Italian restaurant… I know… 2 different countries, right? But the menu is definitely Mediterranean on the Italian front – with southern specialties (i.e. lemon Veal/ escalope au citron) along with homemade pastas (linguine with seafood, gnocchi, etc) – plus they have a whole section of the menu dedicated to truffles (which was a bit “rich” for my blood… even though I adore truffles – I really can’t justify 40€ for a truffle risotto).

un jour de peyrassol menu

While the decor is just a bit on the “french bistro” side (in my opinion) and of course, we started the evening off with house wine from their estate (yes – they have an estate in Provence (ah, France! go figure!) … with wines, olives & …. their truffles)… which was truly delicious. But definitely did not fall into the House wine price category at 38€ a bottle.

un jour de peyrassol wine

Nibbles were placed on the table while we reviewed the menu to make our choices – thinly sliced toasted bread either topped with a tuna/tomato paté or with aubergine caviar – both were very tasty….

un jour de peyrassol nibbles 2 un jour de peyrassol nibbles 1

We arrived just after 8pm to a “half-full’ restaurant – and placed our orders for both starters & mains by 8.30pm latest… but waited over an hour for the food to finally arrive. I had even commented while we were placing the orders that the fact that the waiters placed the orders directly onto a hand-held palm pilot type of device meant that the kitchen got the orders instantly  – *sigh* this must have jinxed it! Plus our poor waitress was in a complete panic – rushing from kitchen to tables to bar area in a rush… while her fellow staff members all stood around the bar chatting.

Originally 3 of us ordered the Tempura stuffed courgette flowers – but one of the waiters appeared about 10min later to tell us that there was only 1 portion left… so G changed his order to “mussels” while I ordered the Calamari (with garlic, olive oil & red peppers), Angela & Mr Draper both had opted for the Mille Feuilles of aubergine, smoked provola & red tomatoes.

un jour de peyrassol starters

All starters were excellent (when they arrived after 9.30pm) except maybe the tempura stuffed courgette flowers… and ranged in price from 14-17€ (somewhat pricey perhaps…)

For mains – Mr Draper & I both went for the Escalope au citron (18€) served with a bowl of spaghetti – really & truly excellent flavours… the perfect amount of lemon… truly & utterly delicious (I have no more words….)

un jour de peyrassol veal

While Sas & Angela both ordered the Bar fish (Bass) which was done with salt & herbs of Provence (18€) – looked & tasted great – but had a fair amount of bones which they both spent a good portion of the evening removing from their mouth!

un jour de peyrassol fish

Would I return? Good question… the food is out of this world in terms of excellence – but reflecting back on the evening – it worked out to about 70€ each – wine, water, starter & main course – and although the food really was out of this world, it was still simple & for that sort of pricing… a bit on the steep side. If the pricing was a bit more reasonable – I would definitely return.

Un Jour à Peyrassol

address: 76, rue de l’Aqueduc, Ixelles, 1050, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 2 539 3299

website: http://www.unjourapeyrassol.com

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 12h00 - 19h00 & Sunday from 11h00 to 16h00