Gorgonzola two ways: week-end tartines

Gorgonzola tartine

Simply perfect for the week-end: Gorgonzola tartines!

  1. Multigrain toasted bread + Gorgonzola + preserved artichoke in olive oil + ruccola
  2. Multigrain toasted bread + cherry tomatoes + basil (we grow a quirky variety called lemon basil)

That’s it, enjoy the week-end!

A vegetarian lunch

Vegan meatballs

If you’ve been here before, you’ve seen all kinds of meats: from burgers to organ dishes, from raw meat to great oven roasts. What I’ve never told you is that my man and I (try to) do a whole vegetarian month every year, usually around May (well, kinda vegetarian, as we still eat fish and seafood). My man’s idea, but I felt OK to accept this challenge. Last year we had an amazing month: I cooked veggie curries, tagines, various pasta and a whole array of salads. Inspiration just spoke to me. This year, however, total fail. We didn’t take it too much to heart, because we don’t really care and we look at this yearly project as a fun experiment (even though some of us maintain a raised eyebrow for the entire month…that’s me, ofc). Anyway, this was the high-peak of the shortly-abandoned veggie month: chickpea & white beans meatballs with turmeric. I just made them like any normal meatballs with all the ingredients: one egg, grated carrot, chopped onion, grated garlic and finely chopped parsley. I also added some flax seeds & soaked psyllium seeds, which give a nice texture. Salt, pepper, turmeric. I always cook meatballs on the grill and never-ever fry them, so that’s what I did. In the evening we ate them with a big salad and a blue cheese dressing. Almost the same for lunch: a colorful salad and a piece of Romanian maturated cheese. Satisfying and energy-giving is the verdict. Read More

A Sunday Roast: rack of lamb

Roasted rack of lamb

Lamb… ah, what a beautiful beast! In my culture, we’re only eating lamb for Easter. Everyone buys a full baby lamb from the butcher and proceeds to their best knowledge and ability. I’m proud to say, in my family we do lamb really well. Yet, this is a very controversial dish- most people (I know) just don’t like lamb. But it’s tradition to eat lamb for Easter (our heavy orthodox, religious customs require it) and people are desperately trying to abide. They either eat and weep or (worse, in my opinion), they try to cover the lamb in spices, pungent flavors and suck out all the lamb goodness. They sometimes even advertise it: do try it, it doesn’t taste like lamb at all! I have devised many comebacks over the years for this stupid remark; these days I’m just content to roll my eyes and say “no, thank you.” My man and I both love lamb and mutton (me more than him, but I sometimes manage to squeeze the mutton on the menu- evil, I know!). And we eat it all year-long, with passion and delight. As a final note (this will sound weird), I noticed that lamb in Romania tastes more lamby than the lamb in Belgium. I have no idea if it has to do with the nutrition of the animal, the breed or whatever…safe to say, I carry frozen lamb in my suitcase when I come back from visiting my parents. Anything to declare, miss? Yes, sir: half a frozen lamb, chopped in pieces and stuck in my luggage! Read More

Home-made pizza: pomodorini freschi & ruccola

Home-made pizza pomodori freschi

You’re probably wondering why. Why make your own when we have so many great options and pizza joints spread all over town and good delivery services?

I’m a huge pizza fan (I mean, really, who isn’t?) and Friday is pizza night at my house. I have 2 secret (well, not so secret) places where I get the pizzas from.

My best guarded secret place is called La Bottega Della Pizza on Chee. Waterloo…conveniently walking distance from my house, as they don’t deliver. You can either eat there (nice terrace & small, but cozy resto) or pick it up to enjoy at home. Now, these guys come from Sardegna and we have very close sentimental bounds with this wonderful island. My man used to live there and we go visit regularly. But what about the pizzas? Authentic, fresh, excellent ingredients, really THE BEST I’ve had! A bit more expensive, but totally worth it! My absolute favorite is Margherita Imperatrice: simple, beautiful, perfect! And you can enjoy an ice-cold Ichnusa…which I something I absolutely love: promoting their local products instead of going for the easy & convenient. I’m not telling you what Ichnusa is, you have to go there and discover for yourself.

Also very close to my heart is a shop called Pizza La Regina, in Ixelles and Brussels City. I’ve never actually been there, but I order from them on regular basis. I think it’s a mom & pop’s business and they are really doing a great job. They are super friendly on the phone, good delivery time (30-40 minutes) and the pizzas are absolutely AMAZING. My favorite ones are 4 fromaggi, Parmigiana and Siciliana. Whenever I have an event at work, I call them. If they can make happy 70 hungry, picky, smart engineers (my colleagues), I’m sure they can make you happy, too. Oh, and the prices are more than decent.

Then WHY do I sometimes make pizza at home? Well, the answer is very simple: for the love of cooking and for the love of pizza. I simply enjoy making it at home. No, it’s not authentic, it’s not perfect, it’s not always fancy. Yet, we love it and my man sometimes asks me to make pizza (yep, true story). It seems that I have an inclination towards pizza provencale, with a  thinner, more crustier crust. Interested in making it? It takes less than 30 minutes, baking time included. Read More

The glorious food of Belgium

Happy Birthday, Belgium!

No, it was not love at first sight! Like all good things, it took time. I needed to get to know it first, to understand it and then irremediably fall in love! I’ve been in this country for 10 years and in Brussels for about 5. There’s no other place on Earth where I feel more at home, happier, at peace and alive than in my wonderful neighborhood of St. Gilles. It is magic and I love it from the bottom of my heart. So today, I want to celebrate all the glorious foods that Belgium has given us. Life would not be the same without them. Read More

Romanian Potato food: Good food for bad days

Romanian potato stew

This is an old friend, a childhood love and a steady companion since forever. Very creatively named “potato food”, it celebrates the beauty of the potato and it’s everything you can hope for. All Romanians eat and love the potato food, it really is one of the most prominent dishes in our culture. Yes, it’s humble, it’s sometimes called “food of the poor”, it’s served in workers’ cantines, it’s basic, it’s the antonym of fancy…say what you want, but give it a try and you’ll fall in love! I will be forever grateful for this recipe, it saved me when 20 EUR was my weekly allowance that needed to cover food, beer & smokes. And looking at today’s economy and downward slope we’re on, I thought I’d just put it out there. It’s comforting to know that if you ever find yourself in times of trouble, you can cook something (very) cheap, nourishing and oh!, so delicious. Here goes!

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Breakfast avocado tartine

Avocado toast

My love affair with tartines continues. Here’s the latest one, from this morning: dark bread, avocado, olive oil, salt & pepper, one cherry tomato, some pepper that was dying in the fridge and some of my beautiful home-grown ruccola. Simple, delicious and incidentally, very healthy. Enjoy the week-end!

Making something nice for “just yourself”


For me, cooking and eating are about the joys of sharing. But for a few days, I was alone, with no one to share anything. My man was travelling to see the family.
As much as I enjoy cooking, I sometimes have trouble making something “nice” for “just myself”. Silly, I know, but that’s pretty much how it goes. Or better said, how it went. I have dumped my usual “I-m-home-alone-shawarma” for something a bit more sophisticated. This time, I decided to treat myself with more care and enjoy alone-dinners as much as I can (while doing a SATC marathon and gulping down red wine). Read More