I love this time of year!

Antwerp becomes even more charming as the weather becomes colder! The streets and trees are decorated with white lights, the Christmas markets begin, and Sinterklaas arrives in his steamboat!

Also, because the weather is chilly, the food becomes “wilder” and to Koen and me, more delicious!

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View of the Christmas lights from my dining room!

Knolselder, or celeriac in English, is a delicious vegetable I never ate in the States, but am becoming fond of in Belgium.   The celery root is very versatile – you can eat it raw, in salads or shredded on sandwiches, but also cooked, in soups or mashed. Knolselderpuree, or mashed celeriac, is a delicious substitute for mashed potatoes with dinner!

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Celeriac

To pair with the knolselderpuree, Koen prepared pheasant with a cranberry sauce that was made au jus, so it wasn’t overly sweet. Yum!

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Pheasant, with cranberry sauce, knolselderpuree, and broccoli

Another evening we began the evening with a North Sea shrimp duo – cocktail and bisque (which Koen made using the shells as the base for his broth).

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North Sea shrimp duo – cocktail and bisque

For the main course we had venison filet au jus with stove pears and potato kroketten. Here is a brief explanation of the sides:

  • Stove pears are typically Dutch/Belgian – they are special pears found in the winter that are soaked in red wine and sugar before being baked in the oven.  Typically stove pears are eaten with wild meat.
  • Potato kroketten is a typical Belgian winter side dish. Basically they are fried breaded mashed potatoes!
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Venison with stove pears and potato kroketten

Another great thing about cold weather? Winter beer! So far, Palm Dobbel is my favorite – not too sweet, but perfect with the heavier meals!

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Palm Dobbel, my favorite winter beer!

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