Courgetti Bolognese

I recently decided to eat less carbs at night… Now, don’t you worry… I am not going paleo on anyone… but rather eating my carbs in the morning for breakfast & at mid-day for lunch. This has meant some mindset changes – especially as I have had a tendency to have salads for lunch (because I am at work) and big hearty dinners (when I am at home).

Last week – I knew that I was going to make a pot of bolognese sauce… but instead of teaming it with conventional noodles or spaghetti – I decided to read up a bit about zoodles (zucchini noodles) or courgetti (courgette spaghetti).. which is when you make a “faux” noodle out of courgettes. I especially enjoyed reading Elana’s Pantry recipe and pretty much followed her cues for a bowl of warm courgette zoodles.

courgetti 3

Essentially – using a spiralizer made the job super quick and easy.

Make again? Yes… in fact, I did it again the following evening too!

courgetti 1

Courgetti Bolognese (feeds 4)

3-4 large courgettes (1 per person)
olive oil

400g mince (pork/beef mix)
500ml passatta
180g tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 grated carrots
salt/pepper/dried herbs

  • To make the bolognese sauce, I heat up some olive oil in a large saucepan and then add meat
  • Once browned, I mix in the passatta, tomato paste, sugar, carrots, garlic and seasonings
  • Reduce heat and leave to simmer for 20-30minutes
  • For the courgetti, spiralize the courgette.
  • Salt it and leave to sit for 20minutes
  • Rinse & drain the courgetti, and pat dry with paper towels
  • In a frying pan, heat a dash of olive oil and then ‘fry’ the courgetti for approx. 5minutes
  • Serve

As simple as that

courgetti 2

Lemon Icebox Pie (SRC)

Yippee yeah, yippee yeah… it’s SRC (Secret Recipe Club) monthly reveal time again!

newsrcbanner

For those who haven’t been up to speed on what SRC is – it is a Secret-Santa blog swap, whereby each blogger receives another bloggers website to check out & make a recipe from – then the entire group reveals their post on the same day at the same time… TA DA!

This month, I got A Spoonful of Thyme – how brilliant is that name??? I love the playfulness of Thyme versus Time🙂 especially when we talk about a cooking blog! Kate follows in her Grandma’s (and mothers) footsteps by embracing the kitchen and cooking for others with her whole heart. And I love how Kate says as a child she was given the “important job” of sitting on the porch swing to watch her Grandma’s pies cool down – something she took very seriously. I have to be honest… I couldn’t be trusted around my Grandma’s baking… I used to steal her fresh-out-of-the-oven biscuits and go & sit (ahum *hide*) in the backyard tree to eat them… hee hee… So KUDU’s to Kate!

Did I mention that she has been part of a *gourmet group* for 33years?? *RESPECT*

I had so much fun reading her blog and scouring her recipe index – wondering if I should make her coconut cream bars (because I also have a lifelong love affair with coconut), sprinkle pudding cookies (because I have never even considered using pudding in a cookie!!), this beef & beer pie (because the picture alone had me drooling) and cheesy stuffed pull apart bread (aka crack bread) – because who doesn’t love bubbly melted cheese, bacon & bread, eh?

lemon icebox pie 2

But I finally decided on making her Lemon Icebox Pie… because this warm summer weather in Brussels has me screaming for fresh, tangy types of desserts… and also because I am a sucker for any lemon based desserts as well🙂

lemon icebox pie 1

Lemon Icebox Pie

130g crushed biscuits (Marie or digestive)
9 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup cream
1 tin (340g) sweetened condensed milk
2 large lemons, juiced (& zest of 1)

  • Line in a loaf pan with greased parchment paper
  • Combine biscuits and melted butter in a bowl and press into pan to make a base and place in fridge
  • Beat the cream until you have stiff peaks
  • Add condensed milk, lemon juice & lemon zest & mix well
  • The mixture will be thick (as the lemon juice reacts with mixture)
  • Pour over the crust
  • sprinkle more lemon zest over the top
  • Cover & refrigerate until set (at least 2hours)
  • Cut into squares and serve

lemon icebox pie 3

Banana upside down cinnamon cake

Our latest fruit and vegetable delivery was a bit disappointing with all the fruit at the peak of ripeness on the day of their arrival. This meant that we had to think (aka eat) quickly before items were beyond saving.

The banana’s however were well-ripe on day 3, and with 4 left on the bunch (after both of us eating one each day prior to that) – I knew that it was time to make this recipe!

banana upside down cake 1

The BBC Good Food Magazine (May 2016 issue) had a recipe for “sticky upside-down banana cake”. I made a few changes by omitting the ground ginger and using buttermilk instead of soured cream in the cake mix and all in all, it turned out pretty well. HIM happily devoured a few slices and said it reminded him a Portuguese Honey cake.

This is a DEFINITE make again kind of cake… something that I was able to whip up relatively quickly with a 10month old sitting on the floor next to me playing with plastic containers… and I had it in the oven before boredom rolled in for her!

banana upside down cake 2

Banana Upside down cinnamon cake

80g butter
150g muscovado sugar
4 bananas

240g flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
300g caster sugar
120g butter, softened
3 large eggs
150ml buttermilk

  • Place butter (80g) & sugar into a saucepan over a medium heat until melted & combined
  • Pour into greased cake tin
  • Cut bananas in half and arrange on top of the caramel
  • To make batter, beat together sugar and softened butter, adding eggs one at a time
  • Then add flour, baking powder, cinnamon & buttermilk and continue to mix/whisk until smooth & evenly combined
  • Pour batter over bananas
  • Bake for 50-60min at 180C

banana upside down cake 3

C O C O Donuts in Brussels

I had already been stalking checking out their Instagram and Facebook feeds for a while, drooling over their donuts and begging HIM to visit to fulfill my donut craving…

So finally… while Michelle of Very Hungry Explorer was visiting us in Brussels for a day… we finally made our way to Petit Sablon and settled down outside the shop on some outdoor furniture to devour their sugary goods and sip on their homemade lemonade.

coco 4

C O C O Donuts was started by 2 ladies, Chloé & Candice who thought up the idea while in Sydney, Australia. They make the most of organic & local ingredients and bake their donuts Tuesday to Sunday in their workshop.

coco 5
Salted caramel, chocolate and berry donuts for us

Offering conventional flavours like lemon, sugar & cinnamon, salted caramel, berries or chocolate to more adventurous flavours like maple syrup & bacon, pistachio & white chocolate, oreo or peanut butter & jam… there is something for everyone!

coco 2

We enjoyed them so much that we bought a box of 4 for HIM to take to work to share with his co-workers… (Image below: top left in clockwise: pistachio & white chocolate, lemon, speculoos & crunchy chocolate)

coco 3

So yes – you can pop into the shop, sit down & enjoy the sugar rush right there and then, or you can purchase to take away (either in store or order in advance via their website, email or telephone). Cost for 1 donut is 3,50€, or you can buy a box of 6 for 20€ or a box of 9 for 30€. They even offer a delivery service (for a fee)

Wondering about the name? C(hloé) O C(andice) O with the “O”‘s being Donuts… pretty clever, eh?

Visit them….

C O C O Donuts

address: rue de Sainte-Anne 36, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

telephone: +32 498 57 43 16

email: cocodonutsbrussels@gmail.com

website: http://www.cocodonutsbrussels.com

Opening hours: Wednesday-Sunday: 12h00-19h00 (or until they are sold out!)

Chocolate chip cheesecake with Dr Oetker

Just in time for the Belgian National holiday (21st July) – I was spoilt with a goodie box of Dr Oetker baking goodies.

The Challenge was simple enough – “Belgian National Holiday”… so I started brainstorming Belgian foods… Frites (although tasty… I am not sure that baked in a cake would suffice); Beer (a great bread ingredient… but in cakes… I am not so sure.. unless we are talking Guinness Chocolate cake); cheese (I know that they say that French cheese is the best… but if you saw what was on offer in Belgium, you would also smile)… which left me the well known Belgian Chocolate…  because, who doesn’t love Belgian Chocolate? And what better way to celebrate the National day than with one of the worlds favourite Belgian foods!

choc chip cheesecake 3

Thank goodness Dr Oetker makes baking so simple… everything was in the box mix, except for cream & cream cheese (for the filling) and 25g melted butter (for the biscuit base)… and of course, I added my own chocolate kick… nutella and chocolate chips! AND they even supply the baking “tin” (a cardboard cutout) – so even the washing up isn’t a problem!

choc chip cheesecake

Belgian Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

1 Dr Oetker Cheesecake Box Mix
500g cheesecake
200ml cream
25g butter
2 Tablespoons Nutella spread
3/4 cup of chocolate chips

  • Make cheesecake base according to the box instructions
  • After making the base and putting it in the “tin” – spoon on your nutella
  • Make cheesecake filling according to the box instructions – adding the chocolate chips
  • Bake according to instructions

choc chip cheesecake 1

It couldn’t have been easier!

Berry Popsicles

When I was pregnant with our little Monkey (not a real monkey, mind you – although sometimes her 9.5month mobility activities do have me wondering…), I developed such a sweet tooth! I couldn’t finish a day without having an ice-cream or a piece of chocolate before bed. Sadly… this habit has extended into my post-natal life as well. Which means that I need to get savvy when it comes to sweet things, otherwise my jeans will never fit again…

And of course, with the mini heat wave that Brussels has had over the past weekend… Ice-cream seems to the be preferred choice. (Don’t worry – I am not complaining about the heat – only making the statement that we have had it🙂 and hopefully this is just the beginning of summer!) I had previously make a “fake” cheats berry ice-cream, so this a bit of a take on this … but in popsicle format!

berry popsicles 1

Simple, healthy and tasty… no more guilt! hurray! The addition of the banana’s and the yoghurt give it a more creamy texture and this time, there is no need to freeze the fruit before hand! I used baby yoghurt (found in the local Delhaize) so that I could share this treat with her without worrying about additives, sugar, etc. She pulled a funny face with the first mouthful – probably because it was a lot colder than she anticipated – but she still managed about a dessert spoon full (brain freeze face with each mouthful… hee hee… but that didn’t stop her from baby-bird mouth open for the next morsel!).

berry popsicles 3

I got these moulds from Ikea… cheap, colourful and cheerful… and trust me… every shop in Brussels seems to be selling something similar at the moment!

Berry Popsicles

100g raspberries
100g blueberries
100g yoghurt
1 banana

  • blitz everything with a hand held blender (or whichever method you prefer)
  • Pour into popsicle moulds
  • Freeze for a few hours
  • In order to get the popsicle out of the cover, hold the cover under warm running water to melt it a little bit (just enough to loosen the cover)

berry popsicles 2

White chocolate chip cookies

Just before I was knocked down with a 2nd bout of tonsillitis (don’t even ask – but I was seriously not a happy camper) – I managed to whip up a batch of these delicious white chocolate chip cookies!

white choc chip cookies 3

Firstly – I found the recipe in the Olive magazine (July issue) – but theirs called for caramelizing the white chocolate. Now, anyone with a mobile 9month old is not going to be working with hot chocolate for an hour while their Monkey is crawling around their feet … right? So I didn’t do this – but followed the rest of the recipe and they turned out great.

My only negative (and my own fault for not caramelizing the white chocolate) is the cookies looked a bit bland and colourless (even if they tasted great!)

white choc chip cookies 1

Would I make it again? Yes – the recipe is easy and quick – but next time I would use milk chocolate chips OR colourful sprinkles – maybe nuts & cranberries… Hmmm! The opportunities are endless!

White chocolate chip cookies

100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
150g butter, room temperature
150g sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon milk
220g self-raising flour

  • Beat butter & sugar until light & creamy
  • Beat in egg
  • Add vanilla extract & milk
  • Mix the flour in
  • Add chocolate chips & mix in
  • Line & grease a baking tray (or 3)
  • Place a teaspoon ball of dough on the tray (evenly spaced). Don’t worry about flattening out, as they will do this while baking
  • Bake for 10min at 190C
  • Rest for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool

white choc chip cookies 2

Bran Berry Muffins (SRC)

It is Secret Recipe Club (SRC) reveal time again!

newsrcbanner

This month – I got Cheese Curd in Paradise blog – a fellow mommy (of 2 little tykes Rowan & Kellen). Ashley has shared her pregnancy experience along with some amazing recipes! And I love her *weekly meal planning* ideas!

I particularly wanted to try out her Creamy basil & tomato risotto, lunch lady brownies, mini lemon muffins and this one pot chicken feta alfredo

bran berry muffins 1

but finally decided up on her Big Sky Bran muffins – probably because we have bran… and blueberries… coincidence, eh? But also because I love the combination and I was getting tired of having either cereal or toast for breakfast! The only adaption that I did was to add one mashed banana…. Otherwise – all is the same. And really yummy! (I made a rookie mistake – I didn’t leave them in the oven for long enough – so a few were a little soft in the middle! But still soooo good)

Bran Berry Muffins

1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups  bran
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup berries
1 based banana

  • Whisk  egg, oil & sugar in a medium bowl.
  • Then add buttermilk, mashed banana and vanilla and continue to whisk.
  • Placed bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  • Stir wet mixture into dry until just combined and still a bit rough.
  • Add 1 spoon to each greased prepared muffins cup.
  • sprinkle in fruit
  • Top with remaining batter
  • Bake for 16-18minutes at 180C

bran berry muffins 2

Introducing… Breakfast Delivery Brussels

When people decide to pursue their love of food and start up their own business serving their local community – I am definitely one of the first people to stand up & help support (crowd funding, kiss kiss bank bank or whatever might make the most sense)

So when I saw a new concept in Brussels of having breakfast delivered to your front door… I thought the idea novel and quaint.

Don’t get me wrong – sometimes, the highlight of my weekend is going out with HIM and the monkey for breakfast/brunch somewhere… but sometimes, just sometimes – you also want to laze about in your pj’s while still enjoying freshly baked goods, soft boiled eggs, freshly squeezed orange juice and steaming hot cups of ** (whatever your heart fancies)… without actually having to go to the shops or even enter your kitchen.

breakfast delivery 3

Which is where Breakfast Delivery Brussels comes in.

logo_breakfast

A simple concept… either a Simple or Deluxe breakfast…

Simple 15€

  • coffee/tea
  • orange juice
  • pistolet (a bread roll)
  • croissant or pain au chocolat
  • Jam & chocolate spread OR ham & cheese
  • Hard or soft boiled eggs with toasted bread soldiers

Deluxe 22.50€

  • All the above
  • yoghurt with granola & fruit OR chia-coconut pudding with fruit
  • Toast with Avocado & Salmon

you always have the option to add (for an extra euro): pistolet, croissant, pain au chocolat, jam/chocolate spread, ham & cheese. And you can make it extra special by including some bubbles too! Either in 35.7cl or a full 75cl bottle

I had supported the concept via Kiss Kiss Bank Bank – and therefore got 2x Deluxe breakfasts… (suppose to include a bottle of champers but I think that this must have been mislaid – but that really didn’t matter and a delicious pot of home made rhubarb & strawberry jam)

breakfast delivery 1

What do you think? Pretty impressive eh?

There was SO MUCH food – that we ate off it for 2 days! I loved the yoghurt with home-made granola & fruit (so much so – that I “stole” HIM’s for the next days breakfast) and the salmon/avo toast was left for the afternoon.

breakfast delivery 2

Why we loved it:

  • Our delivery slot was 9-10am and I got a phone call at 8h50 to say that it would be delivered in 5minutes (which it was!)
  • Everything was fresh and tasty – even the coffee was still hot on delivery
  • So much food – real value for money!

Future improvement suggestions

  • Time slots should be in 30minute intervals… HIM starts at work at 11h00, so I would have preferred a 10am delivery time, but if I chanced it and took the 10h00-11h00 slot, I couldn’t be guaranteed that our food would arrive in time. Instead I took the 09h00-10h00 slot and it was delivered at 09h00 sharp.. which was actually too early
  • an option to add the yoghurt/granola/fruit parfait to the simple breakfast…

What you need to know:

  • Deliveries are only on Saturday & Sunday: 08h00-13h00
  • Deliveries only possible in a 4km radius from the Bourse Area
  • Payment: cash, bankcontact, bank transfer – but remember to put your proof of payment in email format
  • You can order in advance online or even phone/email on the day
  • the more you order, the cheaper it gets!

Would I use them again? DEFINITELY – but I would opt for the simple breakfast going forward! Show your support and order for this weekend!

BREAKFAST DELIVERY

email: info@breakfastdelivery.be

website: http://www.breakfastdelivery.be

phone: +32 493 06 78 24

Bourbon Biscuit Brownies

Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love trying out new recipes… which is why my food magazine addiction keeps publishers in business…

So when I saw the picture of this recipe on the front cover of the Olive Magazine (May 2016 issue) – I knew it was a *must make*

bourbon biscuit brownies 1

I made one fatal mistake… I left them in the oven too long .. so the middle wasn’t as squishy as it should have been. Taste wise… they were awesome and I would definitely try them again… especially the level of chocolate (which is SUPER high). I even threw in a handful of blueberries… Mmmm

bourbon biscuit brownies 2

Bourbon Biscuit Brownies

16 Bourbon Biscuits
100g butter
200g chocolate (they say dark, but I used a mix of dark & milk)
4 eggs
250g caster sugar
100g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
30g cocoa powder

  • Keep 5 of the biscuits to one side. Using a sharp knife, cut down the middle to separate the side. Roughly chop the reminder of the biscuits
  • Melt butter & chocolate together over a water bath and leave to cool to room temperature
  • Whisk together eggs & sugar until mixture is pale & double in volume
  • fold in the chocolate mixture
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and fold in
  • Stir in the chopped biscuits (and a handful of blueberries if you are adventurous like me)
  • Spoon into a greased baking tin
  • Bake for 20-25min at 180C

bourbon biscuit brownies 3