Monday, December 31, 2012

Fresh North Sea air at Zwin

The Good Life became The Choosy Life, because it corresponds me even better I thought... So hello again and Happy 2013! A good way to start (or end the year) is by breathing in some good fresh North Sea air. Check out our visit to "Le Zwin".

Part I : At the end of November we did a tour of the Zwin, a famous nature reserve and bird's nesting paradise at the Belgian seaside. Don't forget to wear your gumboots!

That's Cadzand in the Netherlands accros the water.

There's a little zoo with birds attached to the Zwin. Here's a fantastic HooHoo owl, amazing how he turns his head 180° ...  A bit sad to see that beautiful creature in a cage, but then again otherwise we wouldn't be able to see him so close in real life ...

Part II : We ended the year with a long walk along the coast next to the Zwin. It's also a great place to bicycle. You can even walk to Cadzand when it's low tide. Unfortunaltely, it wasn't the case when we were there... You better check ahead if you wanna cross to the Netherlands. 

 Cadzand is in the back...

Of course a stop at "Le Rubens" could't be omitted after a good walk. It's a traditional place where you would go with your family and friends.  I love their pimms with canada dry, the yummy croquettes crevettes and the light and crispy waffles with cream mmm... 2012 was a very good year, let's hope 2013 will be as good :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

ByeBye Italy

What do you do when you're just back from holiday and you still would like to be there... although home is a good place too. But we missed the sea, the food, the Italians, the beautiful nature, the sun ripened tomatoes... When getting back from our lovely summer trip in Italy, we just started cooking even more Italian dishes as usual,  to make the coming home smooth and yummy. Here are a few ideas to feel a little Italy in your house.

Refreshing summer salad with fennel, red onions, cucumber, orange and a red wine vinegar dressing.

A fusilli pasta dish with green beens, zucchini, peas and lemony salsa verde mmm!

We even found some wine from the visited region :-) (South Italy, Paestum, Cilento)

Royal bream with oven baked potatoes and fresh spinach simply drizzled with olive oil and lemon, simplicity can be sooo good!

Talking of simplicity, Mozzarella di Bufala from the Campania region (bought in Delhaize) and a fresh tomato, just with a little fleur de sel on top and a dash of locally produced olive oil we took back from our trip.

This is one of the best things, delicious pasta from Napoli, difficult to find but look for it... We are lucky, 2 shops sell it in Brussels (kismad & gaudron).

I think Italian food is my absolute favorite! Besides Belgian and Swedish cuisine and other tasty world cuisine, of course ;-)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Improving our kitchen terrace with a Herb Garden

What a blessing to have a terrace or a garden in the city...

Francis Bacon' essay on Gardens (picture taken in Villa Augustus)

At the end of March we went to an organic garden shop and bought a raised garden kit to install on our kitchen terrace.

Plenty of fresh herbs : rosemary, laurel, dill, sage, marjoram, chives, flat parsley, thyme and tarragon.

And two mini salads.

One month later....

May 13, our two salads will be ready to eat soon I guess.

Mini tomatoes - Strawberries - Curry that looks like rosemay but smells very indian - Chives blossoming with purple flowers.

Today's look.

We still got a paint job to do here, put some white on the walls, add a colored wall and shelves to put those pots on so we can have breakfast on the little table.... More pictures will follow when works are done :-)
Have a nice Thursday afternoon all x

PS : At first we thought of turning a palette into a garden / herb garden, but we finally chose the easy, faster option... but I still love this idea of using a palette for a garden. Click on the pic above for more info on that.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Baby shopping

The cool thing about girlfriends having babies is that I have a very good excuse to go shopping, shopping for baby of course!  I recently discovered an interesting shop on my bike route on the way home, and finally took the time to stop by.

This is Diane von Furstenberg's little pop-up store (only one in the world) and yes it's in Brussels. You also find this exclusive collection in some of the GAP stores in other countries. DvF created baby and kid's clothes is association with GAPKids, which means all these cute girly items are affordable.

Cute dress with inside mini short.

Lovely little body with hearts.

For little baby Olivia I choose this pretty orange dress, based on the iconic wrap dress by DvF.  Dressed in style for summer.

Anyway if you got girls pregnant around you or with kids... go take a look at the rue du Grand Cerf 18 in Brussels, the store is open till the end of June. Then another concept will pop-up....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

J'aime les sardines dans de jolies boites en conserve...

As it hasn't been very sunshiny these last days, I thought, let's write something about canned Sardines, because they always give me a sunny seaside holiday feeling.  Sardines, I discovered them last year, probably on my holidays in Marseille… or was it my man, who is eating them since a long time, who made me taste them…    Anyhow now I love them! Funny cuz I've always seen some sardine cans in the cupboards at home, but never knew what to do with them, nor how to eat them. Until one day I changed my mind :-)  They are so cute, packed in little colourful cans, besides they are cheap and super healthy because full of fatty acids and vitamins. And of course they taste nice, like a summer soirée.

Two kinds can be found in the cans : some with bones and some without. I don't eat the bones, but some people say you can… So if you are lazy, pick a can of boneless sardines, otherwise some patience will be required. You'll find plenty of preparations already made for you in a can, so you almost don't need to add anything (I always add a bit of fresh lemon).  A famous brand is the French La Belle-Iloise from Brittany.

Here's a little easy recipe : buy a can of sardines "au naturel" so it means not marinated in oil, less greasy, get rid of the bones, use a fork to mash them up just a little, add a dash of sauer cream, black pepper and some fresh herbs like chives for example. Put them on little toasts, made from baguette and add some fresh lemon zest for decoration. Have a good fresh white wine with that, perfection.

Sardines are also perfect for a pick nick, easy to take with you or even the little recipe above can easily be transported :-)

Good food can be very easy!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Playing tourists in Brussels

A thing we like to do on Sunday, is playing the tourist in our hometown Brussels.  We then just walk through the city, often with a goal or two.  This time we wanted to check out Stanley Kubrick's recently opened photo exhibition. Along the way we stopped at the place Poelaert  for some city views, did a little chocolate shopping stop at Laurent Gerbaud (you must try "gare aux noissettes" ) and went to say hello to little baby falcons.... It's a nice feeling to discover new things, to take the time to get lost on those streets we already know...even if our little walks always turn out to be a little longer than we planned.

Spring is in the air!

Blue sky & clouds...

City views at place Poelaert.

I love black & white photographs, so definitely didn't wanted to miss out on Kubrick's exhibition. Before being a memorable film director, the young Kubrick worked as a photographer for the New York magazine LOOK. A selection of 130 photographs is shown at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels.

We bought some "Gare au noissettes" which is home-made praliné,  Piémonte nuts, grilled salted cashew nuts, milk chocolate and cane sugar. Delicious!!  Also bought a few chocolate coated coffee beans. Laurent Gerbaud himself is always in his shop, he's very accessible and friendly, so that's a good reason to have a coffee and a chat there while choosing your chocolates. Must do a blog post on him sometime.

Somewhere in the left tower of the St Michael/Goedele cathedral a couple of peregrine falcons is nesting for the 8th year on a row! So we went to say hello to the birdies (3 of them this year). You can see them live on a tv posted next to the cathedral or here.

 To end our journey, a well-deserved apero : cold white wine, sunshine and sardines on toast... I must do a blog post on sardines, later on!   Sometimes there is no place like home and the best restaurant is at home too. We are lucky to be lucky.