Food & Drinks, Simplify

Asian Braised Beef Cheeks

In the past month, I have learned how to cook tough and cheap beef cheeks into tender mouth-watering morsels. The cooking process is relatively easy. Low heat and time are the only requirements when it comes to slow cooking.

First, the chunks of beef cheeks need to be browned so they have a protective crust to keep the meat moist. Then add onions, garlic, ginger, some Asian herbs and sauces. Finally, pop the stew pot into an oven that is heated to about 150°C. Stir the contents every hour or so. Add water when necessary. Taste and adjust your seasoning throughout the cooking process.

And viola, four hours later, I have a big pot of delicious Asian braised beef cheeks which I will be eating for the next 3 to 4 days.

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Belgium, Events, Food & Drinks

E3 Harelbeke 2017

Yesterday was the 60th edition of E3 Harelbeke. This is probably the most important event of the year for Harelbeke. Schools were closed, some shops as well, and the streets were filled with people. Like all Flemish events, this one was not short on its food, drinks and music.

D and I walked out of our home before eleven in the morning. By the time we were satisfied gawking at the bus row of different cycling teams, it was time to witness the start of the race. After the cyclists were off, the public was offered free fries and small dishes from Michelin star restaurants! Before we left the house, I told D that I will not stand in lines getting push around by idiots clamouring for a sorry portion of fries. Well, luck was on our side and getting these free food turned out to be not difficult at all. I ended up having a pretty decent lunch. I had an entire portion of fries to myself, a lamb and peas dish, two egg dishes and a chicken dish. I also drank two local beers paid by D’s mom.

The best things in life are for free?!

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Food & Drinks, Quotes, Simplify

For The Love Of Potatoes

I made veggie burgers for lunch using last night’s leftover potatoes. My wariness of soy products, which are usually highly processed, ignites quite some creativity when it comes to my choosing of  non-meat ingredients. Life does not need to be complicated. Hand me some good old potatoes…

I bought a big bag of potatoes and it’s growing eyes like crazy. Other foods rot. Potatoes want to see.
~Bill Callahan, Letters to Emma Bowlcut

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Food & Drinks

Bagels

I discovered a wonderful bread product known as bagels when I was a student in Michigan. I loved them so much I was having them for breakfast as well as for lunch. Since I cannot seem to find them here in West Flanders, my next cooking endeavour will be to bake a batch of bagels and have these taste like the ones I remembered. This shall be fun.

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Food & Drinks, Simplify

Chocolate Mousse & Ginger Beer

Today, I am the mad scientist, in my kitchen…

First, I made chocolate mousse by mixing and using up the rest of my cooking chocolate and some chocolate eggs we got last year. It was a while ago since I made this, and the first time I ever mixed chocolates. I think my mixing bowl was a bit too warm when I put all the ingredients together. The end result turned out a bit runny than usual. Well, we shall see if it stiffens up after cooling down in the fridge for a few hours. Fingers crossed.

Then, I continued on to make ginger beer with some previously frozen ginger skins and some expired Champagne yeast. I won’t know whether the yeast are still good until I see bubbles from the brewing container. Again, fingers crossed.

Regardless of the results, I have taken actions on my simple intention of ridding the pantry of old chocolates and expired yeast.

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Food & Drinks

Banana Cream Pie

My latest kitchen adventure is shown in the photograph above. It is a banana cream pie I made a few days ago.

Given that it was my first attempt, I decided to play it safe by using a pre-made short crust pastry and a box of cream filling mix. All I needed to do was rolled out the pie crust and baked it according to instructions. The preparation of the cream filling required even less effort. I just added milk to the dry ingredients, mixed and placed the mixture in the fridge for 15 minutes. The rest of the pie was just assembling work.

Despite the not-made-from-scratch ingredients, the pie was adequately tasty to be completely consumed within 48 hours. Next time, I am going to try a different type of crust and maybe make my own cream filling.

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Food & Drinks

Strawberry, Banana & Buttermilk

What would you do when you have two overripe frozen bananas, frozen strawberries from last year’s harvest, and leftover buttermilk? A cooking experiment of course! Time to play with some existing recipes, tweak the ingredients and create something exciting (and edible).

My pie turned out a bit on the sweet and lumpy side, but nevertheless good enough to be eaten and enjoyed. Most importantly, I get to use up some stuff that will otherwise end up in the compost or garbage.

This is not my first dump pie, and it definitely won’t be my last…

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Food & Drinks

Veal Stew

Like my mother, I have the tendency of not following any recipes to the letter. To everything I cook, I often add a bit of this and that. And it never bothers me if I am missing an ingredient or two.

This evening, I made an exception. For the veal stew cooked in wheat beer and cream, I actually went to the grocery store twice in one week’s time! I bought things that I never write on my shopping list. I even cooked the stew according to instructions. However, I could not stop myself from adding some button mushrooms which were bought at discount.

Long story short, dinner was yummilicious!

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Food & Drinks, Simplify

Vegetable Dump Soup

Today is the day that I finally use up the rest of the cabbage. It has lived happily for more than two months in the fridge, contributing to countless number of dishes!

The following are the ingredients of my vegetable dump soup: a shallot, a mid-sized potato, leftover leek white, some sad looking lettuce leaves, chives, and leek greens which I was re-growing in a big cup. The soup was cooked for half an hour, mixed, and was enjoyed during lunch. It was really tasty and satisfying.

Been a while ago since I made a dump soup of this calibre. I feel good being able to use up so many bits and pieces most people would just toss into their garbage.

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