Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bienvenue en Belgique, Le Coeur d’Europe!

Having now entered the working world, my time for baking and finding great recipes has been cut drastically. By no means does that include my love and passion for baking, however; Both of those are still very much apparent.  Having recently moved from Cape Town to Brussels, I have obviously undergone some changes in lifestyle and I wanted to take the time to share with you a few new additions to my life as well as a few of many beauties I enjoy in Europe!

Bienvenue en Belgique, le Coeur d’europe! Welcome to Belgium, the heart of Europe! This is my new home and excitement is an understatement when I try to describe my feelings about my move to Europe. Many factors contribute to this excitement and it most definitely has nothing to do with a dislike for Cape Town. Anyone who has read any of my blogposts on Cape Town may realise how much of a fan I am of the city. I can quite confidently say that Noordhoek (a part of Cape Town) is one of my, if not THE, most favorite places in the world! I love the lifestyle, the nature, the good food; the list is endless. However, I place Cape Town and Brussels in different categories. Both have their beauties and being able to reside in Europe will open up endless doors to me; it is where I want to be at this point in my life. Such doors include travels to gorgeous cities, tastes of the most amazing food, a career, culture, history, family and roots, languages, German bread and Belgian Brioche :), Love, Love and more LOVE.

Two further factors that contribute to my excitement include two new additions in my life. Please say hello to Molly, my absolutely beautiful, brand new Kitchenaid!!! Molly deserves a blogpost dedicated to solely her (which she will receive shortly) as she will be the best little helper any baker can hope for (in keeping this blog alive with beautiful recipes).

My next little friend is called Coco. I don’t think I will ever get over how adorable and cute she is!

Molly and Coco give me so much happiness and although some may simply consider them as material goods; to me they take on a human form, develop personalities and, hence, have the ability to bring me such joy every single day!

La Coeur d’Europe. Belgium at the heart of Europe? Not a bad place to be I reckon. Europe is a wonderful place! I have only been here two weeks now, so every little thing is new and exciting to me. I can assure you that these bursts of excitement won't fade for me, however, as Europe is full of surprises, options, new places and foods to discover. I will not bore. Here are some beauties I would like to share with you - little, simple things that bring me joy and smiles.

Fresh Pasta at the local Sunday Market
Wandering through IKEA and getting inspiration for my dream kitchen!
IKEA Cinnamon Rolls
Endless amounts of amazing Bakeries
German Streusel Kuchen
German Mohn Stollen
My new Baking Spoons from Janine!

The reason for this post and one of my key mottos: Take the time to experience and enjoy all those little moments and beauties in life that make it so sweet! Do not overlook them, do not take them for granted. It is the small things in life that make a difference!

I want to leave you with a message I listened to on a podcast today, which touches upon what I just said. Click here to hear Neil Pasricha speak on The 3 A’s of Awesome: Attitude, Awareness, Authenticity…

Have the right Attitude – Stay positive and be resilient when life throws you a blow.
Be Aware – Embrace your inner 3-year old. Take in the world around you with an open heart and open eyes.
Be Authentic – Know who your are and be happy with yourself. Let your heart lead you!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Light and Fluffy Pavlovas with Berry Sauce and Passion-fruit Pulp!

Finally I am getting around to writing a long awaited blog post! This one goes ALL the way back to Christmas and is meant to encourage YOU to try out these wonderful little bundles of fluffi-ness very very soon! Making a pavlova has been on my to-do’s of baking for some time now and I was very excited to finally find the perfect occasion. I was in charge of creating the dessert on Christmas Eve and after running a few options through my head, I chose a pavlova as it is light and suited for a warm Christmas.

On that note, we celebrated Christmas in our Cape Town home again this year and it was EVEN more magical than last year; most likely because we all feel so much more at home there now. After having lived in Cape Town for the whole of 2010, I can most definitely label myself as a local Cape-tonian!

If anyone is interested in where Pavlovas come from, check out the Wikipedia site here. It sums it up quite nicely:
Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova. Colloquially referred to as "pav", it is a cake similar to meringue with a crispy crust and soft, light inner. The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years. The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and is frequently served during celebratory or holiday meals such as Christmas dinner or New Years Day brunch.”

Click here for the recipe. I got it from a site called Simply Recipes, a lovely site with endless amounts of beautiful recipes for both the sweet and the savoury cook. There are endless options but I chose a classic berry sauce and added some cream and passion-fruit pulp to serve the individual pavlovas with. Honestly, a perfect combination in my books!

For a very simple berry sauce recipe, click here.

I hope some of you get around to trying out the recipe. Its perfect for a dinner party dessert as it looks great and tastes even better!

Here are some more pictures of some of the starters we had at our Christmas Eve dinner. Yum!

Bruschetta and Champagne!

Little Prawn Cocktails

An avocado mixture wrapped in smoked salmon

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