The best way to turn 30

Is as follows:

Come home to a bunch of balloons:

And two dozens of roses:

And a chocolate cake:

And then follow it with a luxury dinner at Restaurant Lof:

Amuse Bouche:

Jerusalem artichoke cream with kale and truffle as starter for me:

and Jan’s Cabbage and curry with poached quail eggs,black olives and peppers:

Red beet with inlayed pumpkin, gherkins, airy cashew nuts, polenta and red beet sauce as main dish for me:

And Baked pear with parsnip, red onion compote, roasted shallots, crispy salsify & creamy porcini sauce for Jan:

Dessert was Pear cake with mascarpone, coffee and dark chocolate for me:

And ‘Our’ tarte tatin with apple, vanilla ice cream, caramel and sugared pastry for Jan:

Followed by tea for me:

chosen from a fancy tea menu:

And coffee for Jan:

It was a lovely day!

Orange cranberry cake

Yes, another recipe!


  • 225 gr (salted) butter, softened
  • 180 gr sugar
  • 225 gr flour
  • 8 g baking powder (1/2 baggie)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp orange essence
  • 125 gr cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and flour a loaf cake tin.
  2. In a big bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in essence.
  3. Shift flour and baking powder together. Fold into butter-sugar-egg mixture. Fold in cranberries.
  4. Pour into prepared loaf tin and bake in preheated oven until done (a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean), 45-60 mins.
  5. Cool slightly before turning onto a rack to cool completely.

Servings: 12 hearty slices (315 calories, 37 g carbs, 17 g fat, 4 g protein)


It’s a fishy affair

After a month of working in safety boots, my feet needed some TLC. And Groupon came to the rescue with an offer for a fish spa & pedicure not to far from me. So I bought it, and booked it. And then one Monday it was time to go to my first ever fishy pedicure. And where was this? At Beauty Studio Fauvelle, (also on facebook), in Eeklo.

I was received with a smile by Chloe, the owner, and directed to a nice private room, with low light, a comfy  chair, and my personal tank full of hungry fishies. After cleaning my feet with a nice warm moist towel, I got to immerse them and say hello to the fishes, that then went happily about their business of nomming my toes, I mean, sucking the dry skin from my feet. They did a great job of it! I also got a free coffee to enjoy while those little friends did their work.


After 15 minutes of relaxing that passed rather fast, I slowly pulled my legs from the tank, and got them dry. We then went to another room, where the rest of my pedicure took place: filing whatever was left of dry skin, trimming & filing nails, nail polish and a nice foot massage with cream.

You can also can enjoy this, for the reasonable price of 40€ (35€ for fish spa and pedicure, 5€ for the nail polish). And she also has a fish spa for two, so you can go with your best friend!

It must be autumn

And all I can think of is pumpkin. Ok, not really, but there was some in my mind. So I bought one, and made a risotto and a soup with it. Recipes have been requested, and here they are.

Pumpkin Risotto



  • 2 tsp (~10 gr) olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or use a garlic press)
  • 2 shallots (~100 gr) , peeled and chopped finely
  • 400 gr pumpkin, in 1 cm cubes
  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme
  • 130 gr arborio rice
  • 1/2 glass dry white wine
  • 1 l veggie broth (from a cube, can, home made, I won’t judge you), simmering
  • salt & pepper
  • 50 gr parmesan cheese, for serving

Make it:

  1. Bring broth to a simmer and keep it simmering.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide heavy bottomed pan (I prefer non-stick, requires less stirring). Add shallots & garlic and cook on medium heat until a tiny bit golden. Add the pumpkin & thyme and stir for a few minutes.
  3. Add the rice to the pan, stir to cover all grains with the oil, about 1 minute. Add the wine, stir and let the rice absorb all of it. Then start adding the broth by the ladle, stirring after each addition, and let the rice simmer and absorb the broth before adding more. Keep doing this until rice still has a tiny bit of a bite left. It should take about 20 minutes,
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning (salt & pepper).
  5. Serve warm with cheese on top.

Serves: 2 as a main dish. (Approx.: 450 calories, 72 gr carbs, 12 gr fat, 15 gr protein each)

And the second recipe is

Pumpkin soup 

(no picture of this, sorry, just imagine a bowl full of pumpkin orange soup!)


  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion (~130 gr), roughly chopped
  • 550 gr pumpkin, in 2-3 cm cubes.
  • 1 l broth
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • salt & pepper

Make it:

  1. In your favourite soup pot, heat up the oil. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and cook until it starts to turn golden. Then add the pumpkin and cook a couple more minutes.
  2. Cover pumpkin with broth, bring to a simmer, and let cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender, mix soup until smooth. You might need to add more liquid to get a soup consistency instead of a puree.
  4. Add soy sauce & mix. Taste, adjust seasoning, serve hot.

Servings: 4 bowls (Approx.: 72 calories, 12 gr carbs, 3 gr fat, 2 gr protein each)

KickAss Sangria

We had a big BBQ to attend this weekend, and I wanted to take some sangria along so they’d try proper sangria (instead of the bottled stuff they sell here). So I asked my best friend for her recipe, and she obliged. I’m sure she won’t mind I spread the taste of great sangria with the rest of the world. So, recipe for all of you!

Sangria a la Sus


  • 3l of (cheap) rose wine – I used a partybox from Aldi
  • 500 ml of lemon/orange soda (I used Agrums – all in one, what can I say?)
  • 60 ml of whisky
  • 210 ml of cane sugar syrup (purchased, because well, I wasn’t feeling like making it)
  • 1 orange, scrubbed, cut in wedges and then sliced
  • 1 lemon, same as above
  • 1 pear, scrubbed and cut into cubes
  • 1 nectarine, scrubbed and cut into cubes

Make it:

  1. Pour the wine in a big container (a 6-8 l pot is ideal). Add the soda and whisky, and mix well. Add nearly all the syrup and mix well, taste and add more syrup if necessary.  Warning: the sangria should still taste sharp-ish at this stage, it will mellow after macerating in the fridge.
  2. Add the orange and lemon to the sangria, you can squeeze / mush some pieces so they release some juice. Add the rest of the fruit and let rest for at least 12 hours, ideally 24, in the fridge.
  3. Serve cold, adding some fruit to each glass.


Pasta salad for a warm day

So what does one eat when it’s too warm to cook? Something that requires little to no cooking. Today that was a pasta salad.

Pasta salad variation #1

Pasta salad


For the salad:

  • 125 gr whole wheat short pasta, such as penne rigatti
  •  1 endive (~150 gr)
  • 4 slices of canned pineapple in juice (important this part, please)
  • 160 gr cucumber (that’s a piece about 15 cm)
  • 1 small tin peas (~140 gr)
  • 110 gr peeled white asparaguses
  • 3 medium carrots (~140 gr)
  • 100 gr cherry tomatoes (~6)

For the dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons of pineapple juice (from the can above)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 rounded teaspoon honey (~20 gr)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1,5 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch ginger powder
  • pinch salt

Make it:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions, al dente. Drain and cool under running water. Put pasta in big salad bowl.
  2. Peel carrots and cut in rounds. Cut endive in fourths lengthwise, then chop in pieces about 1cm thick.  Drain the pineapple (keep the juice!) and cut slices in eight pieces. Cut cucumber in four lengthwise and then in pieces 0.5cm thick. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Drain and cut asparaguses in pieces about 3cm long. Drain and rinse peas. Add everything to the pasta.>Make the dressing: mix all ingredients in a small bowl until honey has dissolved.
  3. Pour dressing over pasta salad, mix well, and let macerate for about 30 minutes before serving.

Servings: 2 servings as a main, 3-4 as a side dish.

Nutrition (based on 2 servings): 467 calories, 87 gr carbohydrates, 8 gr fat, 14 gr protein.

Note: you could serve this as a side, adding some protein like an omelette, a (veggie) burger, piece of grilled fish or meat for those not vegetarian.

Birthday Lemon Cheesecake with Speculoos Base

So today’s Jan birthday (Happy Birthday!), and we (because he helped) made a no bake cheesecake to celebrate. No bake because it’s too warm to cook anything lately.

Recipe: No Bake Lemon Cheesecake with Speculoos Base


For the base:

  • 90 gr speculoos cookies
  • 55 gr butter, melted

For the filling:

  • Grated zest of two lemons, and juice of three lemons (so you need three lemons, just to be clear)
  • 8 gr agar agar1 (to be found at health / bio stores)
  • 200 gr ligh spread cheese (or not light, as you wish)
  • 500 gr quark (or platte kaas or verse magere kaas or similar)
  • 180 gr powder sugar

What you need:

  • zester or grater
  • small microwave safe bowl or small sauce pan
  • big bowl
  • electric mixer, food processor / blender
  • 20 cm diameter spring form (or two smaller 15 cm spring forms)
  • assorted stuff: knife, spatula,


  1. Make the base: in a food processor blend the cookies to a coarse powder, add the melted butter and mix again with the food processor until it all comes together. Spoon mix onto spring form(s) and press onto the base to make an uniform cohesive layer. Let it chill while you make the filling.
  2. Make the filling: in a big bowl, mix lemon zest, spread cheese, quark and sugar together with electric beaters until smooth. Place lemon juice in small microwave safe bowl / sauce pan. Sprinkle agar agar on top and let soak for a few minutes. Then heat up in the microwave on low-medium for 6-8 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. (If in sauce pan, bring to a simmer and let simmer for about 4 minutes). Add lemon gelatin to cheese batter and mix well. Pour filling over base.
  3. Let set in the fridge for several hours, ideally overnight. To release cheesecake from spring form: run a warm moist knife around the edge.

Serves: 8-12 depending on appetite

  1. agar agar sets bad when acid foods, such as lemon juice, are added. I initially used 4gr of agar agar and the cheesecake didn’t set properly, next time I’ll use double

Copenhagen (with a side trip to Malmö) – Part 7 of 7

9th July – The last day

Our last day in Copenhagen and the day we came back to Belgium. We started the day with the usual breakfast in the hotel, then repacking everything to check out of our hotel. We left the suitcase at the hotel, since the flight was at 7pm, and went off to the center to do some stuff.

Statue on the grounds of St Petri Kirke

First stop: the kiosk at Fisketorvet to buy a klipcard to go to the center. We took the bus to the center, where we walked about a bit. We passed by Hvidberg stoffer, one of the oldest, if not the oldest, fabric stores in CPH. The carry all sort of fabrics and also have tailoring service for what I saw. Sadly I didn’t get any souvenirs since the cheapest I saw was way out of my range at 160DKK (plust 25% tax) per meter. It’s also a store where you need to know what you want, because browsing will make you dizzy. Afterwards we stopped by Sommerfuglen again to confirm that I had bought a 50gr skein and not find a second one so 50gr will have to do.

The Viking House Bar & Restaurant

We then strolled to Magasin du Nord for a lookey for food, we also passed by the Holm’s Coffee next door but they don’t have any veggie sandwich, so we ended going to Baresso Coffee, to have a panini and a piece of (no bake) cheese cake for lunch.

Equestrian statue

Since we had bought a klip card and wanted to make the most out of it, we decided to take the Boat Bus (yes, CPH has two regular bus lines that are boats!) back to Fisketorvet to kill some time before heading to the airport. We had a peek at Bog og ide, a store that sells paperwares, books, and other school / office stuff, plus some gifts, and by Zizzi, a plus sized clothing store that has “We looove curves” as a motto. We stopped by Joe & the Juice (warning: music playing site) for a juice (instead of a cup of Joe). Finally we had a look at Bahne, a house wares store, where I got a souvenir for the kitchen – a spoon to rest a stirring spoon (makes sense, no?). We then went to pick up our stuff from the hotel, and to begin our trip back home.

Sign at the Nationalmuseet room over exotic drinks (tea, coffee, chocolate)

First a S-train from Dybbølsbro st. to Københavns Hovedbanegård (aka Central station). Then the ø- train to the airport. We were early there so after dropping off our luggage and passing security, we roamed the stores for a while. We ended having a coffee and sharing a chocolate chip cookie at Caffe Ritazza, and looking for a vegetarian sandwich for about 20 minutes. We ended buying them in Starbucks, how sad is that? With our sandwiches ready, we headed for our gate, that was about 10 minutes walk away. Although apparently 10 minutes in CPH airport are more like 2. We did get stopped to fill in a questionnaire about the airport. We got to our gate and waited for our flight. A short flight later (1.5h is short!) we landed in Brussels, picked up our luggage and headed for the train station. And then we took the slow ass train for Ghent. And we decided to try and take a different one in Brussels North, but it didn’t stop in Ghent, so we ended in yet another train. And we got to Ghent on time to take the last bus to take us home!

Home, sweet home.

And so concludes our vacation.

Read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 & part 6. See all the pictures.

Copenhagen (with a side trip to Malmö) – Part 6 of 7

8th July – The plans that weren’t

Initially, as in, before we landed in CPH, we had decided to put Sunday (the 8th) aside to visit Malmö, and Saturday (7th July) to visit Elsinor. But since we had already visted Malmö, we decided to move the visit to Elsinor to Sunday. So the second plan was to go to the center to buy a CPH card for a day (free transport to Elsinor & all the visits included is worth it), and then take the train there. However Jan woke up with a very painful leg that made walking a lot nearly impossible. So I convinced him to take the tablet and park himself at the Nationalmuseet cafe with a cup of coffee (or two) and their free WiFi while I visited the rest of the museum. This time I took the camera along so I could take pictures (for free!).


My first stop was on the first floor (second for the Americans) that contains the exhibition on the Danish Middle Ages and Renaissance (1050 – 1660 AD), and the Prince’s Palace with interiors from the 18th century and the History of the Museum. I then climbed to the third floor to see the Near Eastern and Classical Antiquities exhibition, and on my way down I stopped at the second floor for the Stories of Denmark exhibition (1660 – 2000 AD) and the Doll Houses rooms.

17th century knitting in the nationalmuseet

After the lengthy visit, we went to Foodish (no website found) for lunch. They sell sandwiches and salads, and our sandwiches were delicious! We then stopped by Illum to explore the make up section (sometimes I do like to indulge in a new nail polish, but I didn’t find anything I liked this time). Afterwards we went to Holm’s Cafe for a juice and to plan the next move. We decided to visit some churches and then take the boat bus back to our hotel, but it didn’t really work.

peek show in nationalmuseet

We walked by, but did not climb, the Rundetaarn (Round tower),  on our way to St. Petri Kirke, which was closed. We then walked to Helligåndskirken, which seems to host a book sale but not be open to visitors. On our way to Nikolaj, we realized that we had already walked by the day before and noticed that it’s now a cafe (and a Contemporary Art Center). We followed our planned route to Holmens Kirke, that was closed as well. Luckily we saw that Slotskirken (The Palace Chapel) was open and we could visit.


After sitting for a few minutes in Slotskirken (and taking pictures, obviously), we walked towards the Royal Library, also known as the Black Diamond due to its polished black granite cladding. The library was obviously closed since it was Sunday. We wanted to take the boat-bus that stops next to the library but we were out of trips on our clipcard, and also 4DKK short in cash for the trip :( So we ended walking back to the hotel along the canal side, with frequent stops since my feet were killing me.

Holmens Kirke

When we arrived at our hotel, we unloaded weight and went to the Bar to enjoy a Pineapple  Sunset (alcohol free) cocktail while relaxing on the terrace that overlooks the Copencabana canal swimming pool. A while later we went to the 5th floor to visit the sauna and the steam bath to relax. After a nice shower, we went back to Fisketorvet to have dinner. After exploring the possibilities, we decided on a Mexican restaurant called Indiana that had a reasonable amount of veggie options. And soon it was sleep time. The following day was the last day in CPH.

Read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 & part 5. See all the pictures.