Thursday, March 29, 2012

Would you like a cup of tea ?

I always get a bit angry in a good restaurant when they serve you a yellow tea bag priced 5€ when you ask for a tea, grrrr!  How difficult can it be for them to buy some decent teas and infusions? It's the same story when that supposedly good restaurant only sells good wine by the bottle...while serving a louzy  housewine... Do they think people who drink less, have less taste? I wonder… or they just don't bother to find a good housewine that you can choose to have by the glass or by the bottle...

Anyway here are a few of my favorite teas : mostly green, sometimes white, almost never black and lots of infusions, but that's my personal taste ;-)

At home, after dinner I love to prepare some nice herb infusions in my golden cast iron japanese teapot : I usually mix verbena and linden flowers, tastes fresh, soothing and is good for digestion.  I like it just as it is, but you can always add a lick of honey if you'd like.

Teas are a bit like handbags, you never have enough of them ….but luckily they are cheaper. I do try to withhold myself from bying tea every time I pass a nice teashop, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't… Last time I was in Liège, I stumbled accros a shop selling Marriage Frère tea, a famous Parisian brand with lovely boxes and teas.  So I let myself purchase 2 kinds : a loose green tea La Na Thai from Thailand (instead of a genmaichi I originally wanted to buy) and some de-stress green tea with floral notes, ideal before bedtime.  And as I was in Liège, I took the opportunity to check out Benoit Nihant's chocolates….which were recommended to me by a reader of my blog.

La Na Thai (slightly smoked green tea, too bad pictures don't smell)

I wanted to taste those little green ones by the "Comme chez Soi" chef

Instead I went for the classic box, and I must admit they taste pretty good and refined.

Back to tea, another brand I also like is Kusmi. My friend Lisa got me the cute afternoon assortment, 5 little boxes to vary the pleasures.

Oh and you know what, a nice tea or infusion doesn't need to be expensive, I also like the organic range from Delhaize supermarket.

Here are two nice teashops in Brussels : La Septième tasse and  Comptoir Florian.  I think it's time for some tea now; tonight I'll have a white tea with cherry blossoms in one of my favorite mugs.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sunday Brunch Ideas

I've been a bit lazy lately and enjoying life with my chéri... but here are some nice ideas for your Sunday brunch or any morning you have a little bit of time .... We love Sunday brunch, waking up slowly, yummy yummy food, nice company, some newspapers, music, a real lazy start of the day...

Sweet & Salty Deluxe : home-made pancakes with vanilla whipped cream and maple syrup, green asparagus rolled in Italian ham with a soft-boiled egg, organic apple juice mixed with lots of kiwis for plenty of vitamin C, French brioche from Paul (smells sooo delicious) with raw milk butter, minty green tea & coffee.

The English : organic beans in tomato sauce, sautéed mushrooms with garlic & parsley, 2 fried eggs, crispy bacon and mashed potatoes (great way to use left-overs,  mash from last night).  And a big glass of orange juice with blueberries to wash it al down, followed by a nap in the couch... This breakfast is specially recommended after a party night ;-)

The lazy one : chestnut crèpes & tea. Last Sunday we were quite busy adding some colors to our walls at home and buying a herb garden (I'll write about that soon).  So I decided to prepare something quick, easy and yummy : chestnut crèpes mmm.  Some with gruyère cheese and others with vanilla sugar, simple can also be very delicious. Sorry but no pics, so I'll put up the recipe : 60gr of chestnut flour, 140gr of wheat flower, 1/2L of milk and 4 eggs. Mix everything and bake with butter.  Another cool thing about the chestnut crèpes is that the chestnut flour is slighty sweet so actually you don't really need to add sugar. Gotta go now, it's yoga class time!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fish Taco Night

We love Mexican food! Last Tuesday we were invited to a fish taco night at a friend's place, which is actually in my old apartment hihi.  Anyway I've always loved all the little ingredients combined into Mexican food while sipping on a fruity margarita.  So what do you need for  a successful fish taco night :  a couple of friends, real mexicans to make the fresh tacos with imported mexican flour, lots of fresh produce (avocados, tomatoes, garlic, onion, fresh coriander, cod filets, ...)  And some drinks of course : frozen strawberry margaritas and lots of coronas with fresh lime to wash it all down. Oh and some Mexican tunes on the background.
Fish taco ingredients :
-home-made guacamole (tip : leave the pits in there, it avoids the guacamole to change color)
-fresh tomato onion coriander salsa
-fresh garlic tomato sauce
-fried cod filet dipped in beer batter
-finely chopped white cabbage
-secret white sauce (made with a mayonnaise & sauercream base and dill)
Put all those food ingredients into a home-made taco and eat it, with some of it dripping on your fingers, mmmm.....
With thanx to the 3 South American girls Anna, Tatiana and Celine and the fish cook Robin.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Strawberry feast at the end of Winter

Don't you love strawberries? I know it's a bit weird to eat them at the end of winter, even if today feels like spring here... but I bought a few kilos for my shop last week and they just smelled so nice. They are of course still a bit hard but mixed with fresh juice or in a dessert preparation, they are more than ok.

Here's a yummy juice with apple pineapple and strawberry.  Another lovely combination is fresh apple & pear juice blended with mint and strawberries mmm!

My loved one also used some of the strawberries to make us a delicious strawberry cheesecake last week. Again a hummingbird recipe. We tend to diminish the sugar quantities in every recipe, because we don't like it to be too sweet, and we always use organic cane sugar, which also diminishes the sugar feel and is more healthy, right?

Gotta go, feel like making myself a huge fresh strawberry smoothie right now, appel kiwi strawberry!

Monday, March 5, 2012

SaTuRdAy NiGhT pArTy

Last Saturday we went to the 2nd edition of  "The Bowler Sessions", a party organized by Robin, Anne and Romain, three people who are into music and bar tending. It happens in a little basement, where a DJ is spinning lots of different cool tunes ( I clearly remember The Doors) and most important, there are very very good cocktails and a nice crowd! All cocktails are new creations, so there was a revisited cosmopolitan with raspberry liqueur, a Black Jack Margarita (my favorite!) and 3 other cocktails with southern comfort as a base.... No date yet for the next party, but check their facebookpage... Anyway here are a few pix to let you feel the vibe.... but chuuut don't tell anyone, we don't want it to get too crowded ;-)

The Black Jack Margarita

Another Black Jack

Two Chamroks (the revisited cosmo)

A friendly Indian, who owns the place

Friday, March 2, 2012

Le Corbusier au BARBETON

I am always in for a drink in a new place, so yesterday we had an apero at the new BARBETON, one of Frédéric Nicolay's latest projects.  He's well-known in Brussels for lots of trendy projects, mainly bars with a cool interior  (Zebra, Roi des Belges, Café Belga, Bar du matin....and recently the Potemkine).  I usually like the vibe in those places, although you always feel the Nicolay touch, they each have their own identity and wide variety of customers.  BARBETON is a cosy little neighborhood bar, designed with a mix of materials such as concrete, wood (of recycled wooden palettes), original granite floors and mirrors. The bar is an exact copy of the reception of Le Corbusier' Cité Radieuse in Marseille, isn't that cool? By the way we spent a few nights there last summer cuz La Cité Radieuse also got a hotel in there, besides lots of apartments, a bakery, a doctor's practice and even a school. Such great design, imagine it was build between 1945 and 1952. Anyway back to BARBETON, the drinks menu is fine, nothing new on it but classic is ok right?  We had a nice margarita and they do free tapas on Thursday & Friday afternoon. So see you there for a volga (the beer on tap) one of these days.

Oh and here are some pix of our trip in Hotel Le Corbusier last summer.... The restaurant is supposed to serve very good food too, unfortunately closed when we were there.