Food & Drinks, Simplify

Early Summer Harvest

The branches of our plum tree are bending from the weight of ripening fruits. Not wanting these to go to waste or possibly causing more damage to the tree, D and I spent a few minutes plucking and harvesting about 20 plums from the fruit-laden plant. This is our first harvest of the fruits. There shall be many more throughout the summer. I will have to freeze some of these, bake several plum cakes, and give the nice ones away.

The green peas are at their end stage of production. Soon, I will be able to remove the dried up plants and make space for other things. Because there is a drought going on, I am reluctant to plant anything that requires too much water. I need to find out more about drought-resistant vegetables and herbs.

Food & Drinks, Simplify

Green Peas & Strawberries

I have been freezing part of my harvest of strawberries since June. Now at the end of the season, there is a one-litre box of frozen berries all ready for future uses. Daiquiris, jams, pie filling, sangria ingredient, you name it…

This has also been a very good and bountiful year for green peas. I have been harvesting and eating them for weeks. Today, I decided to blanch and freeze a batch of shelled green peas. There is about 500g of frozen green peas in my freezer right now.

Good times!

Food & Drinks, Travels

A Pot Of Honey

It was to be a warm day today. So, D and I biked to De Gavers for our picnic lunch of simple sandwiches.

After lunch, we biked to the visitor’s centre, parked our bikes and took a walk to the new look-out hut on the other side of the lake. Both D and I noticed that there had been quite some new add-ons at the harbour area. These installations are mostly catered to school children who are now learning things outside of the classic classrooms.

After the look-out hut, we walked to the office and bought a pot of honey. First pot of honey this year.

Belgium, Food & Drinks

Grass, Beers & Raw Herring

The grass on our lawn has grown a bit unruly due to the recent rainfalls. Because the weather forecast predicted weekend rains, D and I decided that it is best to mow the lawn this Friday afternoon.

After we are done, we rested, drank something and watched a bit of an international cycling race. Eventually, D and I went to our go-to beer place to stock up on our beers.

On our way home, we stopped by the Lokaal for some fruit juice and fresh bread. There was a promotion of free maatjes (soused herring in English) if one buys a drink at the bar. So D bought a beer while I had a glass of water. Being the alleseter, I ended up eating most of it.

The funny thing here is that I have already eaten two maatjes at lunch today! This morning, the mother-in-law dropped by to give me the ones she bought at the farmer’s market yesterday. She later decided that she does not really like Dutch raw herring…

As for me, I will eat almost anything.

Food & Drinks

Soto Ayam

I bought a kilogram of chicken breast meat at half price yesterday. In addition to that, I also have a bag of fresh bean sprouts, the right spice packet and some home-made crispy fried shallots. The ingredients determined our dinner this evening, which is a well-liked Asian dish known as soto ayam.

Food & Drinks

Banana Chocolate Muffins

There are three very ripe bananas in the fruit basket. Instead of making banana pie again, I decided to use these to make muffins this time. To the batter, I also added and used up some chocolate from last year.

The muffins turned out good. They will be ideal for breakfast or as tea time snacks.

Food & Drinks, Health, Simplify

Real Food

D and I went out to buy food this afternoon. We did not go to a grocery store but to three different places to get meat, potatoes, fruit juice, butter, mushroom, and some fruits. All the running around made us both very thirsty so we sat down to have a drink at the Lokaal in Deerlijk after we were done with our grocery.

I spent about €90 for this afternoon’s food purchases. It was not an expensive trade off because my fridge and pantry are now loaded with real food which will last me for weeks. The objective is to cook and eat decent healthy meals so that we do not have to spend our old days paying the doctors’ salaries!

Food & Drinks, Health

Parboiled Rice

A few weeks ago, I bought a bag of parboiled rice. I do not know what it was then but was eager to try it out because of the price. A kilogram of jasmine rice from the Asian grocery store costs two times more.

As I always do with unfamiliar subjects, I did some on-line research to gather necessary information. To my surprise, parboiled rice are actually more nutritious than the usual white rice I consume.

Yesterday, I cooked this atypical rice in my steamer. At the end of the cooking process, I found that the water was not entirely absorbed by the rice kennels. Despite the harder texture, the rice actually tasted sort of familiar to me. Maybe I have eaten this at the university cafeteria a long time ago?!

Next time, I shall cook this rice in a pot on the stove-top. And I will probably cook it a bit longer than the typical 20 minutes. I might even pre-soak the rice as suggested by some websites. Cooking experiments, I never get tired of them…

Belgium, Food & Drinks

Sprouts & Endives

I made soup using one potato, some second-generation endives I harvested from the utility room, and a handful of week-old Brussels sprouts from the farmers market.

To the boiling soup, I added two slices of bacon. These were then chopped up and added back to the soup before serving.

What a delicious soup this turned out to be. Perfect for the cold and rainy weekend we are experiencing now. And what can be more Belgian than a spruitenwitloofsoep?