Fancy Meringues


Do you ever feel that some recipes a suited better for different seasons, or weather?

Well this is definitely a summer recipe.

In the summer when it is so hot (hopefully ;-)), I never feel like having a really heavy dessert, and I usually prefer to have something easy, and fresh, this is it.

Simple, yet fancy, sweet, but fresh. The perfect summer dessert.

I had never really eaten a meringues until I went to Turkey, and even then I rarely ate them because, let’s be honest, they are a bit boring on there own, but they are gluten free, which makes them an easy option.

Then I saw this recipe, and made it.

It is so light and fresh, plus it is super easy! Give it a try!

Fancy Meringues
Adapted from Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Meals

4 meringues, nest-shaped works best, but any shape will do.
4 tbsp Lemon curd
a handful of strawberries, cut up small,
1 tsp of strawberry jam
4 tbsp plain yoghurt

Mix together the strawberries, jam and yoghurt.

Scope a tablespoon of lemon curd onto each meringue. Top with the strawberry yoghurt. Serve.

Expat Living- Friends


“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”

One of the most difficult things about being an expat is making and keeping friends. Expat living can be a very transient lifestyle, people are always coming and going. It can be very rare that you are in the same place, with the same people for very long.

Here is how it starts, when you first move to a country, you try to be friends with any one who speaks the same language as you. Maybe they work with you, maybe you meet them in a classroom, or maybe you over hear them speaking English in a Starbucks and you start up a conversation with them. Whatever the reason, the commonality of language is the key factor.

You realize that you are only friends with that person because of the language. That they are a person who, in your normal life, you never would have been friends with. Sometimes that is a good thing, and you’ve opened yourself to a whole new kind of person and friendship, and sometimes it isn’t.

Then, you start to become more picky, just speaking the same language is no longer enough, you start to look for friends who you actually have something in common with, or dare in say, like.

And then once you’ve settled into a routine with this friend, coffees, shopping, even play dates with the kids you both have, it is time for one of you to move on.

What do you do? How do you deal with this revolving door of friendships?

Keep in touch! You never lose a real friend. They are always with you, and these days it is even easier to keep them with you. Facebook, Skype, text, keeping in touch is not as difficult as it once was.

Keep making friends. You can never have too many friends. You don’t need to replace them, just make room for everyone.

Keep your options open, yes you are no longer going to be friends based solely on English, but give someone who you wouldn’t normally be friends with a chance, maybe she is ten years older than you, or not married, but perhaps there is something else that that you two have in common.

Since I started my life as an expat I have had some of the most amazing friends, people who have been through all of the major and minor moments in my life with me. I am truly lucky.

In the last few years I have had to say goodbye to so many of these amazing friends, and looking towards the summer, I am dreading saying goodbye to two more amazing people.

This is the life of an expat.

You can’t close yourself off, as my grandmother used to say, every stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.

How to Poach an Egg


I’ve tried to poach eggs before, and it has always ended in disaster.

Soggy, undercooked eggs that are slimy.

I think I know now what the problem was, I wasn’t using fresh eggs.

Well, now that I’ve got loads of fresh eggs (ok, two to four eggs a day), I thought I would try poaching them again.

I’ve been working on this skill for the past week, and I think I’ve got it down now.

Here is my step by step guide to…

A Perfect Poached Egg


Start with a pot of water that has got about five centimeters of simmering water in it. Make sure that it hasn’t come to a rolling boil.

Crack a fresh egg into a separate bowl.


Pour your egg into the pot of water and let it sit for a few seconds. You can pull the edges of the egg up onto itself if necessary. This egg was really fresh, so it kept together really well.

Let it cook for about two minutes if you like your eggs drippy (runny, whatever adjective you use to describe an egg that you can dip toast into.)


When it is cooked to your liking, lift the egg out with a slotted spoon.


Let it dry a bit on some paper towel.


Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Very easy, and very delicious!

Saturday Favourites…


This week has been all about the chickens. We’ve been taking care of them, collecting eggs, and eating eggs.

Alara is almost not scared of them any more!

Really though, life is finally back to normal. Alara is back to school, Seyfi to work and me back to my walks in the forest, baking/cooking and having a nice time at home with Ela.

If only the weather could be a bit nicer!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve bee reading on the web…

What a great idea for a brunch with friends, then everyone could take the coffee cup home with them…

I do love me some salads

Muffins + coffee cake = delicious

I love crepes, and these are some great ideas…

I generally don’t care for tiramisu, but this one looks fab…

This blog looks so good, the food photography is great!

***

Seyfi and I have started watching Game of Thrones… Better late than never! It is really good, I can’t believe it took me so long!

***

The reason I didn’t do my favourites on Friday, like usual, I was at my new book club. Great group of gals, we read The Book Thief. Probably one of the best books I have read in a long time.

Next month I am hosting the book club, and I need to choose the book…

Any suggestions??

Baked Camembert


Cheese.

Is there anything better?

I love living in this part of Europe, if for nothing than the variety of cheeses.

Hard, soft, stinky, sweet, white, yellow, orange and blue, old, young, every kind of cheese you could ever imagine.

I have fallen in love with Camembert. A soft cheese, stinky cheese. It tastes so good on a piece of crusty baquette with some grapes on the side… Heavenly.

I do like my Camembert the traditional way. However, sometimes I buy a Camembert, and it ends up sitting in my fridge for a bit too long, and it is no longer as soft as I would like.

So I bake it.

It becomes so ooey-gooey, and the herbs give it a lovely new flavour layer.


Here’s my recipe for baked Camembert…

Baked Camembert

1 Camembert cheese in it’s wooden box.
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
A small handful of fresh oregano, torn
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C

Remove the cheese from the plastic wrapping and place it back in it’s wooden box.

Score a circle into the top of the cheese and pull of the circle of rind.

Put the garlic, oregano. Pepper and oil in the cut out circle.

Put in the oven for about ten minutes.

Remove and eat. If it is too runny, let it sit for a few minutes to firm up.

Expat Living- Breastfeeding in Public


Today I went to my local breastfeeding support group. There are two facilitators, Jane and Cindy, (who are so resourceful) and a bunch of new mothers, some first time, some second or third babies. We sit and chat about breastfeeding problems, mothering questions, new baby issues and try to bounce ideas off of each other to help each other out.

Breastfeeding is hard. It isn’t as easy as it looks in the beginning. I had some very painful problems in the beginning with both Alara and Ela, and with Ela, this group helped me out immensely, and I have since been able to go on and continue breastfeeding her.

What does this have to do with breastfeeding in public? A lot actually, because if you are not comfortable and relaxed while breastfeeding, there is no way that you are going to even attempt to breastfeed in public.

Seyfi and I always said that we were never going to let having children stop us from traveling and going out. However, we don’t want to leave our kids at home either.

So we take them everywhere.

With Alara she went to every restaurant, cafe, dinner party, you name it with us when she was a baby. Here’s the thing though, I would breastfeed her in a separate room. I would go to a different area, or one of those breastfeeding rooms in the shopping centre, and breastfeed her there.

Not with Ela.

With Ela I have a whole new outlook on breastfeeding in public.

I do it wherever I want.


I have breastfeed Ela, in airports, on airplanes, in restaurants while eating, at friend’s houses, at the library, at the park, the list goes on. I have even breastfed her on the top of a open double decker tour bus while touring around London!

I just make sure that I cover myself up.

There are a few reasons why I no longer hide myself…

1. I have a three year old, I am not going to lock Alara in a room with me while I am trying to feed Ela, and it is just the three of us.
2. If it is the four of us, or we are with friends, I don’t want to be left out. I don’t want to miss out on anything that is happening around me!
3. I love going out, and so does Ela. I don’t want to spend the next year of my life stuck at home. The best way for her to see how to behave in public, is for us to actually take her out in public.
4. We are only in this part of Europe for a short time. I don’t want to take a year out of being able to travel around and see great places.
5. And this one might be controversial, but I am just feeding my baby, and there is nothing wrong or shameful in that.

Ok, so those are my reasons, here are a few tips…

*bring something that can go over both you and the baby. Most people won’t even notice if you are covered up. I generally use an old pashmina or really big scarf. You can buy/make one of those cover ups.

*if you think you are going to have to breastfeed in public, plan your outfit accordingly. A dress that doesn’t allow access from the top may not be the best choice. But blouses, flowy shirts, wider sweaters all work well.

*find somewhere comfortable to sit down. This is so important, you do need to be comfortable, otherwise it will be difficult to get comfortable, and then you will have to adjust yourself more often, which I find stressful.

*this is a tip for restaurants, but try to put your baby on the side that allows your ‘good’ hand to work. This way, you can still eat without dropping food all over yourself!

You know, I’ve never had anyone say anything to me while I was breastfeeding in public, maybe I’ve been lucky, but I’ve done it in a few different countries, and it hasn’t been an issue…

I hope that if you choose to breastfeed, that you have all the support that I have had, and you can always email me if you need some more!

Location:Rue des Brasseurs,Mons,Belgium

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


When it comes to making cookies, I am generally not too adventurous. I make chocolate chip cookies throughout the year, and the shortbread and gingerbread at Christmas.

I never make oatmeal cookies.

I don’t know why I never make oatmeal cookies, maybe because I usually think they are too healthy to be a cookie. Or because they usually are so hard that they would make a better hockey puck than after school treat. I just never make them.

My friend Jane makes the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten. Whenever she has them out at her house, I usually eat about ten, I’m not even kidding!

And she uses really delicious/expensive Belgian chocolate…

When I was in England, I bought a bag of really soft oatmeal raisin cookies from the Tesco bakery. They were so delicious, with a hint of cinnamon.

I thought to myself, there is no way I can compete with Jane and her expensive chocolate, so I will try to make something better than Tesco’s.

I made them with lots of raisins, and lots of cinnamon. It gave the cookies a really nice texture, and flavor.

Here’s my recipe…

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
Directions

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C.

Put the raisins to soak in a bowl of warm water.

In large bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture.

Stir in oats and remove raisins from water and stir in.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
Cool slightly, remove from sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.