As I am an extremely helpful person and understand you are mighty busy at this time of year, I just wanted to help you out in case you need some inspiration for my Christmas presents.
(from top to bottom)
You can always count on COS for pretty gifts that look a lot more expensive than they are. These traditional Chinese scissors have many uses both in and outdoor and are a steal at 7 Euros.
Belgian artist Michael Verheyden designed this tray for When Objects Work. Michael has designed so many beautiful things, it took me about half an hour to choose a favourite from his website!
This copper trivet from Oji Masanori protects your counter or table from hot pots and pans with style. Available now from the Joy of Little Things boutique.
The iconic Lumière Noire scent by Francis Kurkdjian is also available as a home perfume at the Graanmarkt13.
I have been coveting this bracelet by Antwerp based designer Salima Thakker for years. It is just the right blend of edge and sophistication.
Tags: antwerp, antwerpen, decoratie, Decoration, gifts, Graanmarkt 13, Michael Verheyden, Oji Masanori, Salima Thakker, When Objects Work
Objects made with love to be used over a lifetime
Finding beauty in the small things
Pure lines, simple shapes, natural materials
Brass, terracotta, white marble, oak
Tactile objects, a pleasure to hold
The Joy of Little Things boutique is now open
See all the objects here
Like our Facebook page or subscribe to our newsletter before the 15th of December and you could win a chopping board by Sue Pryke worth 42 Euro! If you have already liked our Facebook page or have already subscribed to our newsletter, you will automatically be entered into the draw.
Ever since we decided to quit eating sugar at the beginning of the year, I have been submitting my friends to all kind of homemade baking experiments usually soliciting a polite “mmm, interesting taste but I am actually quite full…” response from my poor guests. I have to admit that sometimes even I could barely eat the result and many batches ended up in the bin.
However, I do not give up easily, baking is in my blood. My grandfather had a bakery on a tree lined street in Zurenborg and delivered the daily bread with a dog cart (yes I know I didn’t believe this either but my father swears it’s true!). I finally decided to choose one recipe and keep on tweaking it until it was right. As an early christmas present to you, I’m sharing here my recipe for sugarfree carrotcake. Just slather on the icing and dig in, you can thank me later.
PS do you like my cake stands? All you need are flower pots and glue, you can find the tutorial here.
Carrot Cake, refined sugarfree
inspired by many but probably borrowing most heavily from Bill Granger
70g self raising flour
70g spelt flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
60g almonds or walnuts, roughly chopped
1 orange peel (use a microplane grater or zester to remove)
1/2 teaspoon fine seasalt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice
60g xylitol or sugar of choice
1 orange peeled, flesh pureed (see note)
60g rice syrup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100ml canola oil
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Line 12 cupcake moulds.
Combine all the dry ingredients (from flour to sugar) and mix well. In a separate bowl combine all the wet ingredients (from orange to vanilla) and mix. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually mix in the wet ingredients with a fork. Mix well. Pour into your moulds.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the largest part of the cupcake no longer comes out wet. Keep checking they don’t brown too quickly.
Let the cakes cool down then slather with greek yoghurt and sprinkle with a shake or two of chocolate powder.
1. I add the flesh of a pureed orange as this gives a nice moist crumb, just make sure you remove the white pith before you puree in your foodprocessor as this can be bitter.
2. Depending on how sweet you want your cakes, you need to add about 120grams of sugar. I like to use a combination of rice syrup (fermented rice, available in Delhaize or organic food stores) and birch sugar. It is also known as xylitol which sounds horribly artificial but is actually one of the most natural sugars around. Neither rice syrup, nor the xylitol give you the sugar high and crash associated with refined sugars.
3. If you prefer, you could use one large cake mould instead of the cupcakes. In that case you will need to bake the cake for about 10 minutes longer.
4. You can use another oil but preferably it should be one with a light taste, I find olive oil too pronounced
5. I think this would also work with courgette and lemon instead of carrot and orange. If you try it let us know in the comments how you get on!
6. Don’t overfill the cupcake moulds as these do rise. The batter should be about half a centimetre below the paper cup.
7. If you can’t eat all the cakes in one go (what? really?) it is better to keep them in an airtight container and only put on the icing just before you eat them
Tags: food, home cooking, recipe
Those of you who (like me) have a small Aesop addiction will be happy to hear this australian brand is now available in Antwerp at The Recollection. I have not had the time to stop by there myself but wanted to at least let you know so you can send anyone asking what you want for Christmas in the right direction…
If you have never tried their products, you can’t go wrong with the heavenly smelling geranium leaf body cleanser. Beware, it is highly addictive, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
A sneak preview of the boutique opening soon…
I admit I sometimes buy food just because I think the packaging will look good in the cupboard… Found in Delhaize: Swedish Vilmas sourdough crackers. Look at those deer, how cute! I love the plain brown box with only a splash of colour… And the crackers taste nice too.
I pair them with a generous slice of Tomme De Savoie cheese and top this with stewed plums for a delicious afternoon snack.
The plums are also great spooned over muesli and greek yoghurt. If you let them cook a bit longer they fall apart and you have a basic jam that is delicious on toast just by itself or paired with ricotta.
Spicy stewed plums
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chinese 5 spices
Cut each plum in 8 and remove the stone. Heat in a small saucepan with a splash of water, the vanilla extract, cinnamon and chinese 5 spice.
Stew for about 15 minutes (the time depends on how ripe the plums are, check after 10 minutes for doneness). Taste and add some honey if you don’t like it too tart.
Tags: food, home cooking, recipe
Together with the lovely Suzy, I hosted the Kinfolk event in Antwerp to launch their new cookbook but forgot to report about the actual book itself… Oops!
If you are looking to spoil someone for Christmas, this is the book to get people. The founder of Kinfolk, Nathan Williams, traveled the world to collect recipes from chefs, bakers, writers, bloggers, artisans and artists. In his own words “Entertaining looks different for all of us, but as long as we’re cooking and inviting people into our homes with a genuine interest in sharing experiences, conversing, and eating together, then the way we do these things becomes insignificant and ultimately comes naturally. A burned dish or a missing serving piece becomes trivial. The humble soup or homely bread becomes a feast. It all seems quite simple.”
In Belgium it’s available from Amazon or the Kinfolk website. Let us know in the comments if you spot it for sale somewhere else.
Full of simple recipes and gorgeous photography this is not just a cookbook but a book of stories about the joy of casual entertaining. First on my list to try: the calamari linguini. Who’s coming over for dinner?
Tags: food, home cooking, Kinfolk