Eton Mess

Eton mess is one of my favorite deserts and really easy to make. Although the original recipes are mainly cream based, our variant uses half cream and half mascarpone and is really extremely simple to make.

Preperation time: 15 mins

The ingredients (6-8 persons):

  • 500 ml cream
  • 500 g mascarpone
  • 500 g strawberries
  • 200 g raspberries
  • 1 bag vanilla sugar
  • Meringue

The work:

Put the vanilla sugar together with the cream and whip the cream. Stir the mascarpone gently through the whipped cream.

Clean the strawberries and cut them into bite size.

Take a glass container (or vase) and make layers:

  1. sprinkle some Meringue
  2. add a layer of the cream/mascarpone mix
  3. sprinkle some fruit
    restart from 1

Add the layers lightly on top of each other.
Alternatively you can also add a layer of coulis to make the desert-vase more colorful.

This recipe can be made with he fruit of the season. Here we make this often with red fruits, but you could for instance do an alternative version with plums or with mango, or both.

I typically put a spoon in the vase as it looks so nice. Give everyone a ice cream glass or bowl and let them serve themselves. You’ll see a lot of people start of with a small amount but will go back for a second round. This desert looks like a heavyweight sweet, but you will find that it goes down pretty lightly

The tip:

You can prepare this desert by cutting the fruit and making the cream/mascarpone mix, but it is recommended to make the layers with the merengue only just before you serve, as otherwise the merengue will lose its crunchiness and dissolve in the mass.

Handles for felt bags

I haven’t spent much time explaining how to make handles for felt bags yet, but they are really not difficult and you can experiment and adapt the outer edges of the handle’s look and feel to fit the models of the bags you are designing/making.

How to make handles:

1) cut rectangular pieces of felt
2) stitch (close) alongside the longer edge leaving free space on both ends
3) cut the outer edge corners into shape (example rounding the corners or cutting the tips of the corners)
4) position the handles carefully on the bag body. I use a fine tailor chalk to draw the positions on the body of the bag to make sure I get them symmetrically placed. Although I pin the handles in place, you will find they move easily, having an extra anchor helps if that happens.
5) stitch the handles on the bag.

Here are some examples of other handles I did in the past:

Felt bag Model 1

This felt bag model is the first I ever attempted and I still believe it is the easiest one to make because you can easily add the handles to the felt before you stitch the seams and the bottom. This is more a computer or handbag than it is a shopping bag model. The bag is not wide, so it is excellent to keep for instance magazines or a computer nicely organized in the bag, even if you put it down against a wall.

The bag can be made in many colors. Personally I like it best in one color, but you could use two different colors as well.

If you have the habit of wearing a bag with the handles over your shoulder, I would recommend to use handles of 65 cm long. If you carry the bag in your hand, then handles of 50-55 cm long are OK. You have to take into account the handles will stretch a bit over time from using the bag. The handles of the bag can be finished round, rectangular, square… as you wish. Use your own creativity.

Felt

I always use felt of 3 mm thick. The woolen felt is the nicest but most hard to find.

Cut:

  • 2 pieces of 37 x 47 cm for the body of the bag
  • 2 handles of 55 x 4 cm or 65 x 5 cm (see my remark above about the length of the handles)

Sewing instructions

  1. First sew the handles on the body pieces like this:

2. Sew the front seam (front center) and back seem (back center) of the bag. These are the shortest sides of the rectangles. Sew close to the edge (3mm seam) and make sure the seam is on the outside of the bag.

3. Turn the bag inside out and sew the bottom. Sew close to the edge again (3mm). Here the seam will be facing the inside of the bag once it is done.

4. Push the corner tip flat so that the body lays flat on the bottom seam and draw a line perpendicular to the bottom seam where the width from left to right is 7 cm (3.5 cm on both sides of the bottom seam). Sew on that line. Do that thoroughly, possibly sewing twice on the same line. Cut off the tip beyond where you just sewed.

5. Turn the bag back inside out and you’re done! Congratulations.

SMOSKONTE

“Smoskonte” is Flemish for someone who makes a lot of mess with food. The letters are embroidered with the same color, but through the angle of embroidery they appear to be of different color.

Download links for the embroidery files

Smoskonte.PES (embroidery file)
Smoskonte.AI (vector file outlined)

Christmas bags

Christmas 2020 was bad because we couldn’t visit our dear ones. Instead of having to do festive preparations we had lots of time to work on creative projects. My husband and I decided to make goodie bags for brothers and sisters which we would go and hand them at their doorsteps on Christmas eve. The goodie bags included home made food (pickled onions, Atjar Tjampoer, pickles and smoked salmon) and the bags were all home made felt bags.

Most of the bags were of the same size, but by using sometime side seams at the outside or at the inside of the bag, the felt bags looked different.

I typically use felt of 3mm thickness. Felt can have a lot of different qualities, the nicest to use is woolen felt, but is not easy to find. Best is to buy felt in a shop where you can see the quality and the colors for yourself. Felt is very strong and very easy to work with. I make these bags with my normal sewing machine but with a thicker needle than normal.

You need to cut:

– 1 piece of 35 x 78 cm (front, bottom and back side)
– 2 pieces of 30.5 x 18 cm (left and right side of the bag)
– 2 pieces of 5 x 50 cm (handles)

Sewing instructions:

  1. Start by closing the handles :
    Measure 7 cm from both ends of the handle and put a needle at both ends to mark the distance. Now fold the handle in the middle (longest side) and sew close to the edge to close the handle, leaving the 7 cm on both ends idle.
    You can experiment with the shape on both ends (the 7 cm idle space). Sometimes I use square looking ends, sometimes I make them round or egg-shaped.
  2. Position the handles at the top of the bag. The top of the bag is where the rectangular body piece measures 35 cm. Make sure the handle is positioned in a proper distance from the side and the top so that handle sticks out at the top of the bag and is not too close to the side seam. I typically make marks with a tailors chalk to make sure both sides of the handle are positioned symmetrically and that I can repeat the distances on the other side. Be careful, both handles should be on the same side of the body piece if it is flat on the table = the outside of the bag. Pin the handles in place and sew them on the felt. With the body piece still being flat, it is easiest to manipulate and sew the handles on.
  3. Now sew the side panel on starting from the top. On the opposite side of the body panel, do the same with the other side panel. New sew the 2 other seams of the side panel (not the bottom seam, just the side seam).
  4. Turn the bag inside out and sew the two bottom seams.
  5. Turn the bag back right, and done!

You’ll find felt bags are very strong and stand the weather well.

Enjoy!

Kokkie en Peppie

Kokkie and Peppie was a show on television when I was a kid. The word ‘kokkie’ also means ‘small cook’ in Flemish. That made it somewhat funny to do this duo of aprons. When hosting diner parties, I guess in a lot of households, its going to be one taking care of the cooking and the other taking care of the drinks. At least that is a highly recognizable pattern for us 🙂

Links to the embroidery files can be found here:

https://www.etsy.com/nl/listing/1034604551/kokkie-en-peppie-borduurpatroon-voor

Grand Chef

During Corona I finally bought an embroidery machine.
Since we couldn’t visit anyone, I started to make cooking aprons for the family and some friends. Some very personal ones, some more generic, some in English and some in Flemisch.

Because it is not easy to find nice embroidery designs I made my own and gladly share the designs. Just let me know if you liked them.

Download links can be found below:

Grand Chef .PES embroidery file
Grand Chef .AI design file (outlined)

Petit zizi .PES embroidery file
Petit zizi .AI design file (outlined)

Have fun!

Carrot-parsnip soup with a spicy Thai twist

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

The ingredients:

  • 400 g parsnip (3-4 roots)
  • 400 g carrots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 2 shallots
  • 0,5-1 tsp. Thai red curry paste
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 cubes of low fat chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • salt & pepper
  • margarine (optional)

The work:

Clean the parsnip, the carrots, the onion and the shallots and gut in coarse pieces. Peel the cloves of garlic and cut in small pieces.
Put all vegetables you have just cut, the coriander and the cubes of chicken bouillon, into a pot and add 1 to 1,5 liter of water. The vegetables should be well covered with water. If your soup turns out to be to thick, you can still add water later.
Bring the soup to the boiling point. Then turn the heating lower, making sure the soup keeps boiling slowly. At that moment add 0,5-1 tsp. red curry paste, depending how spicy you want it to be.
When all vegetables are soft, about 45 minutes later, you can mix the soup with the blender. If the soup is thick, add more water to your liking.
Finish the soup by adding 200 ml coconut milk, salt and pepper.

The tip:

Since I try to make my soup as low fat as possible, i don’t use fat at all (apart from the fat in the coconut milk). In case you aren’t trying to cut calories, then I would recommend to stew the onion, shallots, garlic and Thai curry a couple of minutes before adding the veggies, the stock and the water.
In case you don’t have any curry paste in the house, you can replace the punch with 0,5 tsp. cayenne pepper and you can add an Asian twist adding cumin. Enjoy.

Chocolate Mousse

Preperation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour (includes 30 mins cooling time)

The ingredients:

  • 300 g chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. rum
  • 0,5 l wipping cream

What you need:

Normally I don’t make a habit of listing how many pots and pans you need to make a recipe, but since you really need a lot of equipment for this one, here goes: 2 pans, a measuring cup, a small ovenproof bowl, a bowl, a cutting board, a whisk, a knife, a tabelspoon, an electric hand mixer and a spatula.

The work:

Whip the cream stiff and put it in the refrigerator.
Cut the chocolate in pieces so that it melts easy. Put the chocolate pieces in the smaller pan and melt using a bain-marie (water bath). The water should never reach the boiling point.

Once the chocolate is melted, now put a bowl with the 2 eggs and rum in the water bath and whip the mixture using the mixer. Poor the chocolate together with the whipped foamy egg mixture. Stir gently using a whisk or a spatula until you get one smooth mixture. Now poor this mixture with the whipped cream and stir gently until you get an even mousse. Be gentle so you don’t ‘break’ the fluffyness of the mixture.
If you wish you can poor the mousse in one serving bowl or in different smaller ones, depending how you plan to serve. Cool the mousse in the fridge.

The secret:

The main secret of good chocolat mousse is good chocolate. We allways buy pure Callebaut chocolate, nothing beats a mousse with that base. But you can use milk chocolate if you rather fancy a slightly less outspoken taste.

The tip:

You will find that the mousse really stiffens very well. So the mousse can easily be served using an ice cream scoop, potentially as part of a dessert plate. You can make it a really small or a really big treat.

If you read the recipe and think its a lot of work and a lot of washing up… it’s worthet.

Rhubarb Pie

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

The ingredients: for 6 persons

  • 110 g sugar
  • 150 g self-raising flour
  • 6 tbsp. oil
  • 250 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 packets of vanilla sugar
  • 2-3 rhubarb stalks
  • 100 g butter

The work:

Preheat the oven at 180 °C.
Mix 4 tablespoons of the sugar with 1 egg and put this on the side for later use.

Peel and cut the rhubard stalks in pieces (1,5 to 2 cm). Mix all other ingredients except for the butter and pour the mixture in a round or rectangular baking (or cake) pan. Scatter the rhubard stalks on top of the dough.

Bake this 20 minutes in the oven.

Melt the butter and mix this with the mixture of the sugar and the eggs you have put on the side earlier. Pour this mixture over the pie and put this back in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Grill for 5 more minutes until the pie is gold-brown.

Let the cake cool down.

The tip:

This cake keeps the middle between a kind of pudding and a cake. So I would advise not to try to get it out of the baking pan as a whole, but cut parts first and then serve the parts on plates.

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