Our beautiful house for the weekend in Burgundy, France
May 2015 marks the 35 year wedding anniversary of Koen’s parents Dook and Els. All of the children wanted to do something special, so we planned a weekend getaway to Burgundy, France for all 8 of us. The date was made known, but the destination remained a suprise until the day we departed!
We chose a beautiful house in Saint-Germain-Des-Bois, in the countryside to stay for the weekend. Koen and I drove down with his parents. To break up the trip, we made a quick stop in Péronne for lunch and to stretch our legs. Péronne is in Picardy, France and boasts a big history for such a small country town. The Museum of the Great War is located in the old chateau, and the whole city has statues and monuments dedicated to the Australians and WWI. Why Australia? I had the same question and looked it up once I was back home in Antwerp. At the Battle of Mont Saint-Quentin, Australian troops stormed, seized and held the key height of Mont Saint-Quentin (overlooking Péronne), a pivotal German defensive position on the line of the Somme.
The four of us arrived in Saint-Germain-Des-Bois at Moulin du Merle, at exactly the same time as Koen’s sisters. We had already done groceries and enjoyed the evening cooking together, drinking wine, and playing games all night!
This year Koen’s birthday fell on a Tuesday – my day off. Koen’s parents came to Antwerp that afternoon and we did a lot of groceries – going to the butcher, cheese shop, and Delhaize – so we could prepare a dinner of Koen’s favorite foods.
For the third year in a row Koen and I celebrated Christmas Eve at the De Feijter home. Everyone – all the parents and children – create and bring delicious food to share while catching up and playing games. In 2012 Koen and I made mini tomate aux crevettes with grapefruit, 2013 we made meatballs, and now for 2014 we took it to the next level with: parma ham wrapped smoked duck and Belgian endive on top of nut and seed bread with quince peer jelly. Koen smoked the duck and made the quince pear jelly and I made the nut and seed bread! Mmm mmm mmm. The nut and seed bread recipe comes from My New Roots and I’ve already made it again because it was so delicious!
I’m a big fan of Courgetti and Zoodles, aka thinly sliced zucchini that looks like spaghetti noodles. I’ve tried courgetti with various sauces ranging from avocado to tomato, but this is the first time with mango! Mmm… The Mint & Mango Marinated Zucchini Spaghetti from Green Kitchen Stories is so delicious! I prepared the zoodles as a side dish with salmon with paired together perfectly.
I love a good salad and Sprouted Kitchen’s Coconut Quinoa + Spinach Salad is delicious! So many flavors – raw spinach, quinoa cooked in coconut milk, shallots cooked in coconut oil, pistachios, pomegranate, and a lemon-thyme dressing. Fresh and perfect for the hot weather we’re having right now in Belgium! Although there aren’t too many ingredients it still takes time to make. First, I had to open all of the pistachio shells. Second, I never realized how hard it is to get all of the arils (the red drops holding the seeds) loose from the fruit. Normally I press the pomegranate for its juice and I wasn’t even sure you could eat the whole aril but luckily I have access to the internet and found out via Live Strong that not only are they edible but nutritious.
Massaged kale salad with grapes and pinenuts with a poppy seed dressing. (Served with ciabatta)
Massaged kale salad with avocado, quinoa, chickpeas, walnuts, and peer with a poppy seed dressing.
I like to look at different cooking sites and blogs to find healthy recipes to try at home. Most often I read that kale is the king of the superfoods, but I don’t love the texture. When I was browsing one of my favorite food blogs, My New Roots, I found a recipe for massaged kale! By taking 1 or 2 minutes to massage the leaves with olive oil, lemon, and salt, the texture goes from being stiff and waxy to soft and lettuce-like. The combinations are endless and you can even top a sandwich with the leaves!
For my next recipe I really wanted to try cooking an Indonesian dish from scratch. I was at a loss of where to begin but luckily after googling Indonesian recipes, I found a great website with a lot of photos and instructions, Indochine Kitchen, and after searching a while I settled on Gado Gado. I chose this recipe for a number of reasons – I love peanut sauces and dressings, kroepoek, and salads. Gado Gado is basically a boiled salad – the cabbage, the bean sprouts, and the eggs were all boiled and then mixed with cucumber and spring onions. After making the tofu veggie ramen bowl, Koen didn’t want anymore tofu, so I left it out of the recipe.
I am very proud of my peanut dressing! I fried the peanuts myself and then painstakingly crushed them with my pestle and mortar (Koen had to help when I got tired) along with the other ingredients. It was perfect on top of all of the vegetables and rice. We scattered fried onions on top – yum!
Quinoa Salad with Arugala, Quick Pickled Onions, and Goat Cheese
When the weather is warm, I really love to eat salads! I choose this recipe, Quinoa Salad with Arugala, Quick Pickled Onions, and Goat Cheese because I liked the idea of pickling my own red onions. They were so delcious – sweet and tangy! I had some leftover from the salad and added them to other salads later in the week. The only change I made with the recipe is substituting millet with quinoa, because I had quinoa on hand.
For Koen’s Oma’s 85th Birthday Party, the family hosted a get together catered by the children and grandchildren! As my blog can attest, we all love to cook and eat well! Koen and I made savory dishes, chicken legs and chicken salads while the rest of the family made sweets and other delicious treats!
I can’t get enough of My New Roots! So many new flavors and combinations I never thought to make and they’re all so healthy! To make the dressing, I had to go out and buy a lot of the dried herbs which was more difficult than I expected because I forgot to translate them first! Who knew that clove is kruidnagel in Dutch? That literally translates into herb nail (like fingernail, not hammer and nail). The dressing was delicious and spicy. The recipe is more for a lentil salad base, with a lot of freedom for what actually goes into it.