Spring: the best things don’t need cooking
Go to the market, buy strawberries, pop the champagne. Enjoy. Repeat often.
Sunday tartine: golden turnip, Gorgonzola, chives & ruccola
As life seems to be coming back to normal, I feel relieved and happy to pick-up my quirky habits…morning Sunday tartines being one of them. We went to the farmers market yesterday and I’m thrilled to report spring is finally here! We were already stumbling under the weight of tons of greens and fresh veggies & fruits, when I spotted something peculiar: the golden turnip. I’ve been devouring purple turnips the whole winter long, but never the golden ones: something needed to be done! I bought the above-mentioned turnips, headed back home and start planning the next dish in my head. Truth be told, turnips are amazing both cooked and raw, but this time, I decided to go for my favorite way of eating turnips: cooked in butter (really, how expected is this?). Here’s how to achieve turnip perfection and start your day with a mouthwatering sandwich. Read More
Home-made grissini: giving my grandma a run for her money
My grandma grew up in a rather bourgoise family, with all that entails. She had a private tutor for everything that was must-have skills for a young lady, from good manners to navigating her way in the kitchen with grace. She was a fabulous baker and she loved it! Growing up, I was fascinated by the entire alchimistic process: perched upon a kitchen stool, I was fiercely following her every move. She used to make the most grandiose cakes, cookies, biscuits, pies, crumbles, fruit dumplings that everyone in the family loved and enjoyed. Except me. I never had a sweet tooth, not even as a child. So in a grand gesture of love, once the cake was in the oven, she used to look at me and give me a playful smile. I knew I was saved, it meant it was time to make grissini! How can I describe these to you? She was gravitating more towards French cooking (so much in style when she was growing up) rather than classic Italian, so the consistency of the grissini was rather flaky, layered, buttery, a bit crispy, almost like a classic French dough with more weight and crunchiness. She always kept true to a simple topping: white, feta-like cheese and cumin seeds. Years later I realized it was, of course, Sanda’s classic recipe, with an unexpected twist. She made it look so simple, easy-peasy, that somehow, I always thought making grissini take 15 minutes on the clock. Lured in by this (fake) memory, I embarked on the adventure, but little did I know. Truth be told, I am not a great baker when it come to sweets, but this was different, right? In the end, all turned well and I feel that I, somehow, conquered this milestone, too. So roll up your sleeves, boys and girls, today we’re making grissini! Read More
Game on: smoked deer & grapes tartine
Did you really think I stopped eating tartines? Not at all and with the game season in full swing in Belgium, my tartines have become more…interesting. I absolutely love game & wildfowl: having lived in Montana, I should know a thing or two about this. You may have different opinions on the topic, but the truth is in some parts of the world this is simply a surviving method. Not in modern-day Brussels, that’s for sure, but one may as well indulge in the pleasures of life.
How exactly? Pumpkin bio bread smeared with butter, smoked deer and white grapes. A bit of freshly ground pepper and that’s it. Beautiful simplicity!
Lunch of the damned: baked goat cheese Portobello mushroom
Taking full advantage of the mushroom season, I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch today. I am all alone, working from home, so this was totally called for. I told you before about my feelings about making something nice just for myself…if starting the oven for just one mushroom is not commitment, well, I don’t know what it is. Read More
Sunday tartine: jambon de langue de cochon/ pork’s tongue ham
After the Taste of Brussels event yesterday (more to come on that soon), I just felt the need to come back to reality, where us, mere-mortals still enjoy the pleasure of the flesh, with impunity. What better place to surround myself with beautiful pieces of pork, veal, beef, ham, sausages & co. than my lovely butcher, M. Gaston? My week-end shopping list included 200gr préparé and a 800gr roti de porc/ pork shoulder (a wonderfully-fatty piece, now marinating in olive oil, smoked paprika, fresh rosemary & crushed garlic). To my surprise, something caught my eye: next to the tête préssée, a bit lonely and distinct: the pork’s tongue ham. I immediately asked M. Didier about it and he confirmed, then I proceeded to tell him about my love affair with pig’s tongue (while my man was telling him about pigs slaughtering in Romania). We ate the fresh préparé yesterday and I saved the best for last.
My Sunday tartine: dark bread + whole grain mustard + tongue ham + green & red pepper + home-grown ruccola.
For that kind of days: canned mackerel & sardines two ways
There are days when you can dismember and cook a whole chicken, make pizza or moussaka and there are days when all you can do is open a can of fish. Lately, most of my evenings were like that. I told you how I gradually started to embrace fish...well, I recently discovered canned mackerel and canned sardines. Fish full of good stuff and really, really tasty. I always buy the ones in (olive) oil, I get them from Aldi for less than 1 EUR a piece. Still, I did not resign to just cracking the can open and proceed to eating: a bit of sparkle is always welcome. In this case, the sparkle took the shape of onion, tomatoes, capers, red pepper and ruccola. Easy-peasy tartines!
Bio pumpkin bread + butter + canned mackerel fillets + raw onion + capers + ruccola. Sprinkled with spicy olive oil and freshly ground pepper.
Bio pumpkin bread + spicy olive oil + canned sardines + chopped home-grown tomatoes + charred red pepper + onion + ruccola. Salt & pepper
That’s it guys! Absolutely yummy, healthy and easy to make. The dream of any person that comes home from the office after seven PM and still wants to have a good meal.
The week-end tartine strikes back: raw meat at its best
If you’ve been here before, you are probably familiar with my week-end tartine ritual. And my love of raw meet. Pictured above (in very bad lighting, but have you looked outside? We live in Belgium!!!) is raw meat at its best. I only swear by meat bought from my lovely butcher, M. Gaston, all his products are amazing and fresh and delicious…OK, OK, I stop here. This time, my man went for filet américain nature and I opted for rosbif. We collected these goodies and fantasized about the tartines-to-come on our way home. Back in the kitchen, my man started opening a bottle of wine (yes, it’s OK to drink wine before lunch…we’re Eastern Europeans, after all!) and I was getting busy on the assembly line. Read More
Gorgonzola two ways: week-end tartines
Simply perfect for the week-end: Gorgonzola tartines!
- Multigrain toasted bread + Gorgonzola + preserved artichoke in olive oil + ruccola
- Multigrain toasted bread + cherry tomatoes + basil (we grow a quirky variety called lemon basil)
That’s it, enjoy the week-end!