Raviolo all’uova

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Raviolo all’uova is “a single raviolo with a ricotta and spinach nest and a raw egg yolk that when boiled and lightly fried in butter cooks gently but remains tender and gooey, adding a luscious creamy texture that balances the freshness of the cheesy next and earthiness of the brown butter sauce” (as excellently described here).

Koen and I saw this dish for the first time on an episode of Mind of a Chef featuring Gabrielle Hamilton. We knew immediately this was a dish we had to make! So, so, so delicious!

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Orso Pizzeria

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Mom and Dad in front of Orso Pizzeria

For my parents’ last night in Belgium we headed to one of our favorite places, Orso Pizzeria. Orso is located in Berchem, a small city in the province of Antwerp – but only 15 minutes away by tram, so not too far! It’s a small place where you definitely need to reserve ahead of time for a table. The pizza is super delicious and they serve their own naturally fermented wines!

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London with Mom

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Brunch with Mom

To celebrate my mom’s birthday early, we headed to London for the day! London may seem far away from Antwerp, but by train it’s actually only a 2 hour ride! This was my mom’s first time in London, so we did a full day of sight-seeing, ending on a high note with afternoon tea at Claridge’s.

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De Koninck Brewery with the Family

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Entrance to De Koninck

My parents are in town! I really love the De Koninck Brewery, so I thought this would be a fun family outing for both my parents and my in-laws to do together!

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Geneva, Switzerland

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Jet d’Eau

Geneva is so beautiful in the sunshine! I was only here for one day, but I tried to fit in as much as possible – visiting Lake Geneva & the Vieille Ville (Old Town), all the while trying to eat as much cheese as possible!

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Beijing: Temple of Heaven Park

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Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest

Luckily after lunch the sunshine came out for our visit to the Temple of Heaven Park, built in 1420. I had read ahead of time that it’s a park where the elderly spend time – in the morning doing exercises and in the afternoon playing cards. Didn’t disappoint!

Lonely Planet describes it as:

A tranquil oasis of peace and methodical Confucian design in one of China’s busiest urban landscapes, the 267-hectare Temple of Heaven Park is absolutely unique. It originally served as a vast stage for solemn rites performed by the emperor of the time (known as the Son of Heaven), who prayed here for good harvests and sought divine clearance and atonement. Strictly speaking, it’s an altar rather than a temple – so don’t expect burning incense or worshippers.

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Beijing: Exploring the Hutongs and Hua’s Restaurant

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Exploring the hutongs

After visiting the Summer Palace, we headed back to the hutongs in search of lunch. We figured we’d wonder around and try to find somewhere that looks good. Along the way we sampled some Old Beijing Yoghurt and shaobing filled with red bean paste before stumbling upon Hua’s Restaurant. This had to be fate. I had researched best traditional Beijing restaurants and had really wanted to visit Hua’s but there wasn’t any time. But then we discovered it by accident! We had a HUGE feast, trying as much traditional food as possible! Hua’s is quite famous because they serve imperial-style food, using recipes from “Notes of Imperial Court Food” written during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

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Beijing: Summer Palace

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Koen and me with our new friends Nicole and Adam

Unfortunately for our last day in Beijing, the weather wasn’t so great. It had cooled off quite a bit and we had rain all morning. That didn’t stop us, though! We still ventured out to the north of the city to the Summer Palace! When we were traveling from Moscow to Siberia, we made new friends who also happened to be ending their trip in Beijing. They had just arrived and were able to meet up our last day!

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Beijing: Great Wall of China

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Fresh faced before the climb!

Mao Zedong once said “He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man”. No trip to Beijing is complete with a visit to the Great Wall of China, one of the New7Wonders of the World! Such beautiful views!

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Beijing: Peking Duck

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A hanging Peking Duck

Peking Duck is the dish of Beijing (formerly Peking), and has been around since the imperial era. I love Peking Duck so much and could not wait to try it in Beijing. Koen and I weren’t in Beijing so long, so we had to decide how many times we’d eat it and where. In the end we decided to try Peking Duck 2 ways: more modern and lean at Da Dong and more rustic and traditional at Siji Minfu.

*At the end of the post I’ll show you step by step how to prepare a Peking duck pancake in the correct way!

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