Sunday, October 23, 2011

Light as a feather coffee walnut cake

My parents gave me a huge bucket of fresh walnuts from their garden and immediately thought: I want to make a cake! But I find coffee walnut cakes often extremely heavy and overly sweet, but not this one! I found this one at BBC Good Food, I tweaked it a little and it turned out really great. Very light, not too sweet and slightly sour. It's an instant fav! It needs a little work, but it's well worth the effort.

coffee walnut cake low cal!

What do you need?

For the cake:

1 tbsp coffee granules, plus 1 tsp
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
85g light muscovado sugar
50g golden caster sugar
25g chopped walnuts
2 eggs , beaten
250g natural yogurt
75ml walnut oil

For the filling:

2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 tsp coffee granules
140g mascarpone
100g Quark (you can't find this in the states, take half cream cheese, half yogurt)
2 tbsp icing sugar

For the icing:

140g fondant icing sugar
1 tsp coffee granules
1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts

Let's start with the cake!

Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and flour a 20cm round (6cm deep) loose-bottom tin.

Mix the coffee with 2 tsp warm water and set aside. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the baking powder, ground almonds, both sugars (make sure there are no lumps) and walnuts, then make a dip in the centre. Put the eggs, yogurt, oil and coffee mix into the dip and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until everything is evenly mixed. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 40-45 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out and let it cool on a rack.

Time for the coffee syrup!

Put the caster sugar and coffee into a small, heavy-based saucepan, and add 3 tbsp water. Heat gently, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Once dissolved, raise the heat, then boil at a fast rolling boil for about 1½-2 minutes until thickened and syrupy. Pour into a small heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.

The filling!

Beat the mascarpone, quark (or cream cheese and yogurt), icing sugar and vanilla together until smooth, then stir in the cold coffee syrup. Set aside.

The icing!

Sift the fondant icing sugar into a bowl. Mix the coffee with 1 tbsp warm water, stir this into the fondant icing sugar with about 1 more tsp (I needed 2) water to give a smooth, thick but spreadable icing.

I love it when a cake comes together!

Slice the cold! cake into 3, then sandwich back together with the filling. Spread the icing over the top, scatter over the chopped walnuts and leave to set. Store in the fridge.

coffee walnut cake

So great!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mmmmmmmmmoist almond and orange cake

When I saw this recipe, I just had to try it. In this recipe there's no flour and no butter. Sounds good to me. You'll have to boil (!) organic oranges and then you have to process them, including the peel. It sounds strange but it really works!

orange and almond cake

What do you need?

2 organic oranges
250 g ground almonds
250 g white sugar
6 eggs
2 tbsp orange blossom water
1 tsp (glutenfree) baking powder

Take a large saucepan, fill it with water and bring to the boil. Wash the oranges thoroughly and put them in the water. Put a lid on the pan and let it boil for 90 minutes.

Drain the oranges, cut them in four and remove all the pits. Process them in a food processor until smooth.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar until white and very thick (5 minutes). Slowly whisk in the almond flour, orange blossom water, baking powder and the processed oranges.

Grease a baking tin with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper. Pour in the batter and let it bake in a pre-heated oven for 50 to 60 minutes at 190°C.

Have fun!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Beautiful eclairs with coffee cream and dark chocolate ganache

My mother-in-law used to go to a little bakery in Leuven where they sold round shaped eclairs with a butter cream filling and chocolate ganache. But now that bakery is closed for good, and she asked me to make them for her. And so I did.

But I find the butter cream filling a bit too rich so I made a coffee cream filling instead. She absolutely loved them. And so did we.

This recipe is exact science, even the liquids are weighed and there's no room for improvisation when it comes to the pastry.

coffee puff

What do you need?

100 grams! water
100 grams! milk
100 g unsalted butter
150 g flour
6 free-range eggs
pinch of salt

Pour the water and the milk into a saucepan and add all of the butter. Stir and bring up to the boil. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the head and tip in all of the flour. Beat well with a wooden spoon until you have a ball of dough.

Beat the eggs in one at a time until fully incorporated. Stir in the salt. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and allow to cool for a couple minutes.

Pipe about 5-6 round shapes (4-5 cm diameter) on a floured baking sheet (I did it in two batches). The pastry will double in size so leave plenty of space. Place into a preheated oven (220°C) and bake for 20 minutes (do not open the oven during the baking process!!!)until golden brown.

Turn the éclairs upside down, and with the point of a knife gently press a whole in the bottom to let the steam come out. Let them cool on a wire rack.

For the filling:

500 ml double cream (cooled)
75 g icing sugar
3 tbsp very strong coffee (cold)
2 tbsp coffee liqueur

Whisk the cream with the icing sugar until firm peaks. Gently stir in the coffee and coffee liqueur. Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle. Pipe the cream into the éclairs through the hole you've made earlier until they are well filled.

For the ganache:

250 g dark chocolate (good quality)
250 ml double cream

Heat the double cream in a sauce pan, add the dark chocolate, turn of the heat. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is beautiful and shiny. Let the ganache cool a little.

Dip the filled éclairs into the ganache and let the ganache set. And now they are ready to serve. Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Scrumptious shrimps with tomatoes and feta cheese

I saw this recipe on the Saveur website, but I found the cooking times a bit odd. 50 minutes in total, seems like a looooooong time to me. That's fine if you like rubber shrimps, but I don't. So I adapted the recipe, and now this dish is ready in 20 minutes tops.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention how finger-lickin' good they are. An instant success!

messy shrimps with fresh herbs and feta

What do you need? (serves 4)

2 lbs medium shrimps (scampi) (thawed, peeled and deveined)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
1 red chili (seeded and finely chopped)
2 scallions (peeled, chopped)
4 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh oregano
6 to 8 large type cherry tomatoes or 2 regular tomatoes (seeded) chopped
1/2 lb feta cheese (crumbled)
3 tbsp milk

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and toss in the bell pepper, scallions and chili. Keep stirring and cook until the scallions are translucent. Add the shrimps and the tomatoes and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the herbs, the milk and the feta and let it cook for another 3 minutes or so until the shrimps are ready. Season with freshly ground black pepper. No need to add salt in this dish. Serve with fresh bread, or white rice.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A waffle recipe from a Belgian. Yep, the real deal!

In Belgium there is no such thing as a Belgian waffle. We have 3 types of waffles. The sugar waffle (from Liège) with big chunks of sugar in them. The very light and fluffy Brussels Waffle (to be eaten with icing sugar or some fruit and whipped cream). And the vanilla waffle. These you can keep for about a week or so. And no, we don't eat them for breakfast, nor with savory stuff.

Today we're making vanilla waffles. This type is at its best when eaten cold. The buttermilk is essential in this recipe and so is the cane sugar, so please don't substitute.


What do you need?

250 g soft butter (room temperature)
250 g cane sugar
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
3 eggs (separated)
240 ml buttermilk (1 cup)
500 g self rising flour (sifted)
1 pinch of salt

Whisk (with an electric mixer) butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Whisk in the egg yolks and the buttermilk. Gradually add the flour.

Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk until medium stiff peaks. Take 1/4 of the egg whites and mix into the batter. Take the rest of the egg whites and fold them gently into the batter (use a rubber spatula). Do not whisk!!!

The batter is ready to bake!

Place the waffles on a cooling rack so they don't get soggy. You can keep them for at least a week in an airtight container. Have fun!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What a beautiful weekend!

It was absolute heaven! The weather was great (better than we had all summer), everybody was in a good mood. Perfect times. I baked an apple crumble tart for my inlaws and after that we went for a long walk in a park nearby. Wish it was like this all the time.

apple crumble - very strong light today

What goes in the apple crumble tart?

1 sheet of ready-rolled fuff pastry, thawed
4 to 5 large apples (like Braeburn)
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1 knob of butter
50 g + 50 g light brown or cane sugar
50 g ground almonds
100 g flour
100 g butter, diced

apple crumble

Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 24 cm round baking tin. Flip the dough over the baking tin and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Trim the excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Line with parchment paper, add baking beens and bake for about 10 minutes.

Remove the parchment paper and the beans and set aside. Leave the oven on.

Peel and core the apples and slice them into 3 mm thick slices. Melt a knob of butter in a sauce pan, add the apples, cinnamon and 50 g of sugar, stir and let it simmer for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

Place the flour, cinnamon, butter and almonds into a processor and whizz to a fine crumble mixture then mix in the sugar.

Pour the apples into the baking tin and spoon the crumble over the apples. Put the tart bak into the oven and let it bake for another 20 minutes until golden brown.

The apple crumble tart is great warm and cold.

And after that it's time for a loooooong walk.


home sweet home+emiel




garden + greenhouse

chickens and frogs




Speaker dog


achtertuin plat

nevel plat 3

nevel plat


nevel 4

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Simple but delightful kedgeree

How I love kedgeree. I know it's meant to be a breakfast-brunch type of dish, but curry doesn't go very well with my coffee, I think. I prefer it in the evenings, when I don't have much time to cook. I used smoked salmon, which goes very well with the curry.

smoked salmon kedgeree (Explore)

What do you need?

400 g basmati rice
750 ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 spring onions, chopped
1 chili, deseeded and sliced
1 tbsp yellow curry powder or paste (to taste)
1 knob of butter
4 hard boiled eggs
200 g smoked salmon
1/2 bunch of coriander (cilantro) or flat leaf parsley
1 lemon (juice)


Pour the stock into a saucepan and add the rice. Bring to the boil (lid on). When the rice boils, remove the lid and let it simmer on low medium heat until all the stock is gone. Turn off the heat and put the lid back on.

Heat the oil in a large pan and tip in the chopped onion. Fry over medium heat for 8 minutes. Stir in the curry and let it fry for another minute. Stir in the cooked rice and add the nob of butter. Keep stirring. When the butter is melted and the rice is beautiful yellow, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the smoked salmon, the spring onions, the chili and the coriander or parsley. Taste and add pepper and salt if needed. Peel the eggs and cut them in 4, add them to the kedgeree.

That's it!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Moroccan butternut soup.

Pumpkin soup can be very dull, I think. A dollop of cream just make it richer, but not very exciting. This one, I really love. It's simple and full of flavor. Give it a try!

maroccan spiced pumpkin soup central framing

What do you need?
2 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, (white part) sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
3cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 carrots, peeled chopped
1.5kg butternut cut into 3cm pieces
75 g red or yellow lentils
1.5 l of chicken or vegetable stock
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Cilantro or coriander
pepper and salt

Heat the oil in a pan over low-medium heat, add the leek and the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chili, cinnamon, cumin and ginger and cook for about 1 minute. Add the carrots, pumpkin and lentils, stir. Pour in the stock and let simmer for little under one hour.

Remove the cinnamon stick and add the lemon juice. Process or blend the soup until smooth, reheat the soup and add salt or pepper if needed. Serve with some fresh coriander.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Roll cake with tiramisu filling... a real treat!

In Dutch

Last thursday I had this crazy idea to make a tiramisu and a roll cake. But then I thought why not combine the two? And it worked out really, really well. Everybody came back for seconds. To me that's a sign that it wasn't such a crazy idea after all. ;-)

First I moisten the cake with a coffee syrup, then I add the tiramisu filling and I finish the cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It looks like a lot of work, but it really isn't. It took me 30 minutes tops.

tiramisu cake

What do you need for the cake:

5 eggs
150 fine caster sugar
5 tbsp milk
150 g self raisin flour

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F)

Whisk the eggs with the sugar until a thick and almost white consistency. Carefully fold in the milk and gradually add the sifted self raisin flour.

Grease a 10x15X1 inch baking pan and line with waxed paper. Evenly spread batter into the pan. Bake the cake for 7 to 8 minutes (until the cake springs back when you touch it lightly).

Turn the cake immediately out onto a linen towel. Peel of the paper and roll the cake up in the towel, starting with the short end. Let it cool on a rack.

The syrup:

2 cups of very strong coffee
1 cup of confectioners sugar
3 tbsp coffee liqueur (I used sambucca con caffè, but Kahlua or Amaretto is fine too)

Add all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce by half on high heat. Set aside.

The filling:

300 g mascarpone
3 tbsp confectioners sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
3 tbsp coffee liqueur

Separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Blend the egg yolk with the sugar and then add the mascarpone and the coffee liqueur. Stir until you have a smooth texture. Whisk the egg white until stiff and fold in the mascarpone mixture. Let it rest in the fridge until you need it.

For the frosting:

300 ml cream (thoroughly chilled)
3 tbsp confectioners sugar
2 tbsp coffee liqueur
chocolate shavings

Chill the bowl and the beaters. Whip the cream on medium speed and add the sugar. Keep on whipping until soft peaks are forming. Slowly add the liqueur. Set aside.

Assembling the roll cake:

Carefully unroll the cake and moisten with the syrup. Then spread the tiramisu filling over the cake within one 1 inch of the edges. Roll the cake up again. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Keep the cake in the fridge until served.

Have fun!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Whoohooo carrot cupcakes!

Carrot cake is not really known in Belgium, and for once the Belgians are wrong. Carrot cake is absolutely heaven, especially these cupcakes. The frosting I used is a mixture of cream cheese and fromage blanc. If you can't find fromage blanc, feel free to use butter (at room temperature).

carrot cupcake

For the cupcake:

100 g sultanas
zest of 1 orange
Juice of ½ orange
175 g brown sugar
175 ml canola oil
3 large eggs (slightly beaten)
140 g grated carrots
175 g self raisin flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg (grinded).

One hour in advance:

Put the sultanas in a bowl together with the zest and the orangejuice and let them soak for an hour. If you don't have the time, put them in the microwave and nuke them for 1 minute (maximum!)

Mix the sugar, carrots, oil, the raisins and the juice, and the slightly beaten eggs in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, baking soda and the spices and mix with the rest of the batter.

Divide the batter over the cupcakes and let them bake in a pre-heated oven at 160° for about 20-25 minutes.

Allow to cool.

For the frosting

100 g cream cheese
100 g fromage blanc (or softened butter)
3 tbsp confectioners sugar (sifted)
2 tbsp lemon juice

Just whisk everything in a bowl and decorate the cupcakes. That's it!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Subtle and moist Italian cake with fresh pears

Minimum effort, maximum flavor. That's the secret ingredient for this lovely cake. It is a really easy and simple recipe to make, but it is sooooo yummmmmm.... Only use very ripe pears for this recipe. Mix all the ingredients with a whisk, don't use a food processor. It enhances the flavor and keeps the cake fluffy and moist.

italian pear cake

What do you need?

100 g soft butter (diced - room temperature)
200 g plain flour
15 g baking powder
200 g caster sugar
40 g pine nuts
zest of 1 lemon
3 whole eggs
125 ml milk
1 tbsp vanilla-extract
2 pears peeled, cut into 4 or 8 wedges*

italian pear cake piece

Pre-heat the oven at 180° (350° F). Grease a cake pan (25 cm/10 inches) and line the pan with parchment paper as shown on photo above.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat the eggs with the milk, and vanilla extract and add to the dry ingredients. Whisk in the butter, don't worry if the batter is still lumpy. Pour the batter in the cake pan and add the pear wedges.

Bake for 35 minutes. And that's it!


italian pear cake

*You can also add 40 g of sultana's and/or 50 g of dark chopped chocolate.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lovely fresh tuna pasta salad with lemon

Dutch version

This dish is absolutely superb! It's full of flavor, easy and quick. And perfect to take to work or school - if you have any leftovers that is...

citrus tuna pasta

What do you need? (serves 4)

500 g short pasta (1 pound)
1 large bunch of basil
1 large bunch of parsley
2 tbsp capers
2 anchovy fillets (canned)
1 lemon (juice + zest)
1 kl dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
100 ml olive oil
200 g peas (frozen)
1 can of tuna(400g)
pepper and salt

Prepare the pasta as indicated on the packaging.

Chop the basil, garlic and parsley. Put them in a blender together with the capers, anchovies, mustard, half of the zest and the lemonjuice. Mix and slowly add the olive oil. If you don't have a blender, don't worry, just finely chop everything and stir in the olive oil.

3 minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the pasta. After 3 minutes drain the pasta and the peas and rinse with cold water. Add the pasta back to the pot and stir in the sauce and the tuna. Serve cold or warm, topped with the remaining zest.

This recipe is based on a recipe I found in the Dutch Delicious, edition October 2011.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A grilled baguette with cambozola, pear and chanterelles

Dutch version

A sandwich can be extremely dull, don't you think? This sandwich however is anything but that. The sweetness of the pear, the sharpness of the cheese and the nutty mushrooms are a match made in heaven. If you can't find cambozola, you can always use another blue cheese.

pear and cambozola sandwich

What do you need?

1 wholegrain (or sourdough) baguette
2 slices of cambozola
1/4 ripe pear, sliced
100 g chanterelles (or wild mushrooms)
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 nob of butter
pepper and salt

Clean the chanterelles with a soft brush. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the chanterelles on medium heat. Add the garlic and the parsley. Stir and fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes or so until they are done.

Slice the baguette in two (lengthwise), add the pear, then the cheese and finish with the chanterelles. Put them under the grill for about two minutes until the cheese is melted.

pear and cambozola sandwich 2

You'll be in heaven. Guaranteed!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Donna Hay's velvety cauliflower soup with porcini oil

Nederlandse versie

This is a really simple but very classy soup. The porcini oil is an absolute bonus in this recipe, it is so much better than the truffle oil you can buy. You definitely have to give it a try.

Donna Hay's couliflower soup with porcini oil

What goes in it?

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 liter or 4 cups of chicken stock
1 liter or 4 cups of water
salt & pepper
200 ml fat free cream (1 cup)

Heat the oil in large saucepan, add the onion and cauliflower. Fry gently for 2 – 3 minutes until the onion is tender. Add chicken stock and water, and let it cook for 10 – 12 minutes or until the cauliflower is done.

Mix the soup in a food processor until smooth. Pour it back into the pan, stir in cream and simmer for another 5 mins. Add pepper and salt if needed.

Porcini Oil

15 g (3 tbsp) dried procini
150 ml or 3/4 cup olive oil

Slowly heat the oil and dried porcini in a saucepan for five minutes over low heat. Set aside and let it cool.

Pour the soup into a bowl or a plate and drizzle the porcini oil over the soup.

Really beautiful.

1001 wedding nights.

Nederlandse versie

It was like a dream. Covered with gold and fire. There were belly dansers and fighting fire breathers. A wedding especially organized for Elza D and me. Or at least, it seemed like it. All weddings are special, but this one I'll definitely never forget.

Here are some pics I've made.






duo nacht 10


Wedding 9/17

vuur gevecht

vuur rug 2

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pasta with creamy pumpkin and sage

In het Nederlands

The idea was to make a classic risotto with pumpkin and sage, but I forgot to buy the rice. And I figured, risotto is Italian and so is pasta. Why not give it a try? It works a charm. Again this recipe is very quick and easy. Just how I like it.

pumkin pasta with sage

What do you need (serves 4) ?

1 pumpkin or butternut squash (750 g peeled, cut in chunks)
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 glas of dry white wine
20 cl pouring cream (fat free is okay)
1/2 bunch of sage
pepper and salt
500 g pasta (spaghetti)
olive oil

Pecorino or parmesan cheese. Or blue cheeses like stilton, roquefort, Danish blue... to make it even more flavorsome.

Prepare the pasta as indicated on the pack.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and the onion, fry till the onion is soft. Add the pumpkin and fry for a minute or two. Pour in the wine and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Chop the sage, add to the pumpkin. Pour in the cream and add pepper, salt and nutmeg to taste. Add the cooked spaghetti and sprinkle with the cheese of your choice.


Pumpkin pasta with peccorino and sage

A fair in Leuven

Nederlandse versie

Just a small impression of my visit to the fair in Leuven. Most cities in Belgium organize a fair once or twice a year. As a kid I wasn't really fond of fairs. But now, since I have my camera things have changed. I still don't like them, but they are great to photograph.

play city



I think Obama had something else in mind when he said "Yes we can".

yes we cans





wit madammeke hoek

These are the one and only Belgian waffles. Not the chewy things you have for breakfast.


Pink is the new black it seems.

roos duo

Oh well...