Food & Drinks, Simplify

Ketchup

As summer ends, there was a sudden inflow of ripe tomatoes. D and I simply cannot consume these fast enough. Not wanting to toss anything and having no more room in the freezer, I decided to make spicy ketchup according to a recipe I found online.

The end product tasted like ketchup, but has the consistency of soup. Maybe the tomatoes I used were too watery? Maybe I should have left the pot uncovered when cooking? Next time (I am pretty sure there will be a next time), I shall strain the tomatoes first and then add a teaspoon of corn flour to thicken the concoction.

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Food & Drinks

Grape Pie

Today, I made a grape custard pie from scratch by following a recipe D got from an on-line acquaintance.

The pie turned out to be quite tasty. But if I am to make it again, I shall reduce the butter and sugar required. I will also add a tablespoon of corn starch to firm up the custard mix.

Cooking is experimenting and learning. I love it!

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Food & Drinks

Octopus Challenge

A week ago, D came back with a culinary challenge. Octopus – all eight tentacles, beak still attached, a beautiful intriguing creature that is now lifeless yet scary at the same time.

This evening, D and I shall prepare it two ways. Grilled for a starter and then pan seared with tandoori spices served with pasta for the main dish. This will be a fun experiment for me. Definitely a culinary and taste exploration for both D and I. 

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Food & Drinks, Simplify

Grape Juice – Batch II

I spent half a morning de-stemming, washing, and then boiling many kilograms of grapes. I let the liquid cool, filtered the grape juice into glass containers and placed these into the fridge when they have cooled down to room temperature. 

This is the second batch of grape juice I made this year. According to D, there will be at least four more times of this!

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Food & Drinks

Mid August Grape Juice

In the years past, I will only start harvesting the in-laws over-abundance of grapes in the month of September. Due to the drought and heat, this year’s grapes have ripened earlier and are ready for consumption.

D came back from his parents’ place yesterday with several kilograms of purple grapes. So this Sunday afternoon, I have been busy rinsing, separating, and boiling the grapes. I will then run the juice through a sieve and store this in the fridge. Whatever is leftover in a week will go into the freezer. Vitamin C for the dark winter months.

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Belgium, Events, Food & Drinks

Bicycles, Beers & Wontons

Yesterday was the first day of the International Beer Festival at Zwevegem. Despite the fact that I was having a dizzy spell, D had managed to convince me that we should cycle there. Having done it once before, and not wanting anyone of us to drink and drive, I agreed. Now that I am better at cycling, the 6-kilometre bike ride was not as daunting and was quite enjoyable. And holy crap, a glass of well-chilled beer can be so ridiculously good when one had to huff and puff to get to the location of the festival.

This afternoon, most of the neighbours will get together for the last speelstraat. I made some wontons in the early afternoon, to be fried up and served when D and I join the drinking later in the day. It is a small gesture on our part. We are not kids haters and definitely can be friendly and generous in our own ways.

Summer is almost over and I suspect that my tenting nights are rather numbered…

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Food & Drinks, Simplify

Hot & Cold Tomatoes

The abundance of tomatoes this summer has become a fun challenge to me.

When the days are cloudy and cooler, I make tomato onion chutney. When it is hot and dry, it is time for sun-dried tomatoes. The jars of chutney may be stored in the fridge and will keep for a month. According to what I read on the internet, sun-dried tomatoes have a significant shelf life of years! I doubt mine will last the next months because I just cannot stop myself from eating them.

If I ever get tired of the tomato soups, the sun-drying and the chutneys, I will chop up fresh raw tomatoes and freeze them in my muffin form. This way, I will have portioned tomatoes pieces in the freezer. Cooking with home grown tomatoes during the winter months is a wonderful thing.

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Belgium, Food & Drinks, Jibber Jabber

Adapt Or Die

This morning, I ate a self-made tomato shallot chutney for breakfast. The jammy tomato concoction which I spread generously on pieces of bread is utterly yummy. I had to stop myself from finishing the whole jar at one sitting. Fortunately, I do not have any cheese at home!

As a result of yesterday’s cooling wind, today’s temperature hovered around the comfortable mid-20s. Enjoy it while it last, people. Tomorrow we are going to hit the 30s again.

My latest batch of sun-dried tomatoes are stored in jars marked as ‘heat-wave tomatoes’. Since I only have one fresh tomato in the fruit basket, I shall think of another menu-experiment-project for the following days.

Adapt or die, baby…

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