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:

Kokkie.pes (embroidery file)
Kokkie.AI (outlined)
Peppie.pes (embroidery file)
Peppie.AI (outlined)

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.

Pumpkin-Paprika Soup

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

The ingredients: for 6 persons

  • 1 butternut pumpkin
  • 2 red paprika
  • 2 onions
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cubes low fat chicken bouillon
  • 1 bouquet garni (garnished bouquet)
  • 1 tbsp. paprika powder (soft taste)
  • 1 tsp. sharp paprika (spicy)
  • olive oil or other light fat
  • salt & pepper

The work:

Peal the butternut, take out the seeds, and cut the meat in pieces. Clean the 2 paprika’s, take out the seeds and cut them into pieces. Peal the onions and cut them in cubes. Peal the garlic and cut into small pieces.

Put some olive oil or other low fat oil into a cooking pot and simmer the onions, the paprika and the  garlic for a couple of minutes until the onions start to turn glazy. Add the butternut pieces and immediately cover all vegetables with water. You’ll need 1 to 1,5 liter. Add two cubes of chicken stock and the bouquet garni. To strengthen the taste of the soup, add a table spoon of soft paprika and a pinch of sharp paprika (spicy paprika).

Once the soup boils, lower the heat so that the soup boils softly for the rest of the cooking time. The paprikas will need about 45 minutes until they are tender.

At the end of the cooking time, take out the bouquet garni and mix the soup using a mixer or blender. Add some extra water if necessary, to give the soup the right consistency. Season the soup with salt and pepper.

The tip:

My neighbor brought me some smoked garlic the other day. I used this instead of normal garlic, and although i can’t prove nor measure it, but I believe the smoked garlic lifted the paprika taste much more than normal garlic. I’m sure if I would roast the paprika’s and peal them before using them, this would also be very beneficial for the taste of this soup. I really need to try that sometime.

I hate battling against pumpkins, so I in the beginning of winter I buy a bag of frozen butternut cubes. No work, as good!

The Secret:

Yet again the herbs are the secret to this taste. With the bouquet garni and the soft and spicy paprika herbs to the soup it gets a herby flavour and a great paprika ‘bite’.

If you don’t have sharp paprika, you can replace it by chilli. For the bouquet garni I used a dry bouquet which I bought in the shop. It contained: thyme, laurel and rosemary.

Red fruit and yoghurt surprise

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

The ingredients for the coulis:

  • 0,5 bag of mixed red fruit (from the freezer)
  • 3-4 tbsp. of sugar

The ingredients for the surprise:

  • greek yoghurt
  • strawberries
  • raspberriess
  • blackberries
  • mint leafs
  • pepper
P1010891-2

The work:

You should make the red coulis beforehand so that it can cool down before serving. Put the frozen red fruit in a saucepan and add some sugar and little water. Boil the coulis down to the right consistence. It shouldn’t be thick like preserve. It needs to be somewhat runny to have the nice effect on the yoghurt in the glass.

When the red fruit coulis has been boiled down, remove it from the fire and let it cool down. Put the mass through a conical strainer to remove the seeds from the coulis. An alternative would be to mix the coulis with a mixer or a blender. In some recipes they may actually advise you to do both.

Poor the coulis in a squeeze bottle and put it in your fridge for later use.

When it is time to serve desert, use a nice glass per person. Wash the red fruit and dry it with kitchen paper. Cut up some strawberries and add some to each glass, then add some of the other red fruits and some strawberries again. Continue like this to make the fruit mix until the glass is almost full. Remember to leave some space for the yoghurt at the top.

Put some pepper on the red fruit. Now add a couple of spoons of yoghurt on top of the red fruit. Add coulis on top and finish it all off with a mint leaf.

The secret:

Even after a heavy meal, everyone has room for this one. It’s tasty and light, and surprisingly good. Nobody ever refused or skipped our favorite summer desert.

If you are not keen on making red coulis, you can replace the red coulis with elderberry syrup. I would then put the syrup on the red fruit first and then add the yoghurt on top to make the desert more surprising.

The tip:

If you make more coulis than you need – which is often the case – you can put it in the freezer and save it next time.

I’ve made this desert with plenty of other red fruit like currants, blueberries,… I’ve even used the seeds from a pomegranate. Just use what you have in the fridge. Sometimes I’ve even made alternatives with nectarine, blue prunes and dark cherries. The desert wasn’t as red then, but just as surprising.

Vol-au-vent

We recommend to make this dish in a larger quantity. Cooking vol-au-vent is rather messy and greasy. Once you’ve done the vol-au-vent, you can easily freeze it in portions per person.

Preperation time: 60 minutes
Cooking time: 1:30 minutes

The ingredients: (for 18 persons)

  • 2 chickens
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 3 – 4 chicken legs
  • 1 kg minced meat
  • 2 kg mushrooms
  • 400 g cooked or steamed ham
  • 3 lemons
  • 4 leaks
  • 6 stalks of celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1l cream
  • 3 cubes chicken stock
  • 250 g butter
  • 250 g flour
  • 4 bay leafs
  • 4 cloves
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • salt & pepper

The work:

Put the cleaned and coarsely cut- vegetables (onion, celery, leak, garlic, carrots), the herbs (thyme, cloves, bay leafs, pepper & salt) and the chicken stock in a big cooking pot and add enough water so that not only the vegetables, but later also all the chicken will be covered with the stock you are now starting to make. Boil the stock until the vegetables are soft.

While your stock is cooking, you can roll balls of the minced meat (2-3 cm diameter). Cut the mushrooms in 4 and stew them in olive oil with pepper and salt. When they are starting to change color and going brown, sprinkle the juice of one lemon over the mushrooms to keep their light color. Turn of the heat when the mushrooms are ready.

Put a couple of spoons from the stock (which is in the making in your large cooking pot) in a smaller cooking casserole to boil the meatballs just for a couple of minutes until they are cooked. This fluid we will not use further because it becomes greasy from minced meat. So use not more than needed.

When the vegetable in the stock are tender, add all the chicken you have and cook for one hour. Check the chicken tenderness; it should be coming of the legs easily.
Now take out all the chicken of the stock and cut the chicken into pieces. If you don’t like bones at all, peal the meat from the bones. We tend to leave in the legs and the skin of the chicken in the stew, but that’s a personal preference. We like the chicken pieces rather large than cut to bite size. The breasts we cut up (or tear-up) a bit smaller.

Choose a new large pot. In this pot you will make the vol-au-vent sauce, so it should be bit enough to take the mushrooms, the meat balls, all the chicken and the ham. Start by making the roux for the sauce. Melt 250 g of butter (make sure it doesn’t burn), add flower gently and stir with a whisk. You will see that the mixture becomes dryer as you add more flower. The roux should smell like a pastry dough, like the French ‘bisquit’ dough. Watch out not to burn the roux. Don’t stop too early with the flower. 250 g of flower will be too much, look at the consistence of the roux while stirring to determine when to stop adding flower.

Use a large spoon to transfer stock from you large pot to the pot with the roux and stir constantly. The sauce will start to tie when the substance cooks. When it starts to thicken, add cream until it is nice and white. Make sure you control the heat, dim the fire if necessary and don’t forget to stir. Add more stock to come to the right thickness of the sauce.

When the sauce is made, add the juice of 1 to 2 lemons. Taste is the key here. The lemon should lift the sauce, but should not dominate the taste. Cut the ham and add the ham, the chicken, the mushrooms and the meatballs to the sauce. Done!

The secret:

Don’t be afraid to spice the stock. Pepper & salt, herbs from the garden, are indispensable to flavor and deepen the taste of the stock.

The tip:

Minced meat is well spiced with salt & pepper in Belgium. If you know the minced meat in your country is not spiced, then make sure to mix it up with enough salt & pepper beforehand.

The rest of the stock you can pass through the kitchen sieve and use as a basis for soup.

Vol-au-vent sauce you can make really thick or runny, depends on how you like it.
Vol-au-vent is often served in a puff pastry, but that’s optional, you either like it or you don’t. You can serve vol-au-vent with cooked potatoes, croquettes,… but for a Belgian it is inevitable to serve with Belgian fries and mayonnaise.

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