As my local farmer’s market Marta is in hibernation mode til next year, I was eager to visit Les Ecuries Van de Tram in Schaerbeek in Brussels.  This small market is worth a visit just to see the  amazing building that used to house the stables for the horses pulling the trams, but also has an interesting mix of vendors.

We picked up coffee beans from Mok (a Belgian roaster I had never heard of but apparently his coffee is served at the Jane) at Apex coffee and tried some raw milk.  I really wanted a quinoa empanada (but we were on our way to that amazing lunch at ICI…), there are fruit and veg stands, spices, tea and wine as well as a little café at the side where you can sit next to the stove.

 

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Ever since reading about ICI on the Brussels Kitchen and S Marks the Spot blogs, I’ve been curious to go there for lunch.  And yes, of course the food is amazing, the Assiette Mixte a very generous portion of  seasonal vegetables freshly prepared that morning (think tasty roast pumpkin and quinoa salad) and can be ordered vegeterian (with goat’s cheese) or with meat or chicken.  There is also a lunch menu that includes soup, salads and a freshly baked cake. But what is hard to describe is how cosy this place is, the benches full of cushions, the waiters so friendly and helpful. Definitely worth a detour but keep in mind it is best to book as from what we could see, this little place gets busy over the lunch hour.

PS If – like me – you’re too full after lunch to taste their amazing desserts, take a chocolate moelleux to go!

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Seven years after having moved in, friends coming over are still asking us when the loft will be finished… Whilst I definitely don’t want lots of stuff, winter drawing in made me want to add some furniture and furnishings.

I’m really happy with our new reading light from Lumina and the woven carpet and the cork trivet from the Ilse Crawford Sinnerlig range (designed for Ikea).  Still haven’t found any art I really like so instead, I’ve put the Obus vase, from our ICO range on a plywood base.

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If you follow me on instagram or facebook you have probably already seen the images of the new ICO Collection.

I’m so excited to finally tell you about this project I have been working on for over a year!  I’m always on the lookout for beautiful products to feature in the webshop but sometimes it feels like there is so much unnecessary ‘stuff’.  I hate clutter but like objects that serve a purpose, things that are functional.  Interior Architect Marc Merckx and I collaborated on the ICO Collection.  He has designed so many beautiful things: a stone bowl that turns into a chopping board, a tray that serves as a bread board, a chair that can be used inside or out….

The materials used for the Collection go back to the archetypal kitchen.  They are solid, natural materials pleasing to use and touch.  Copper and brass refer to the traditional pots, pans, sinks and taps and have been selected because they are warm and tactile materials that age beautifully over time.  Each piece from marble and terrazzo – often used for worktops and sinks – is sculpted from a single block.  Wood is the traditional material for chopping boards and butcher’s blocks.

A small selection of objects is for sale in the webshop now with more coming up soon.

All this combined with my dayjob means I am rather busy… so I won’t be checking in on the blog regularly.  If you wish, you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.  If you want to know when new objects will be added, you can also subscribe to the newsletter.

With thanks to The Fresh Light for the beautiful photography and Nightingale for spreading the news and PR support.

 

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‘There’s life and vitality and messiness and ugliness – but realness’

Matthew Abrams

Last Saturday, Suzy and I hosted the sixth event for Kinfolk Magazine in Belgium.  The theme: a Wabi Sabi meal. This Japanese philosophy embraces the imperfect and stands for earthiness, orientation toward the present, simplicity and unpretentiousness.

To start with, we found an industrial location, Kerk Gent, old factory buildings waiting to be torn down and redeveloped…  We decorated the place with recycled materials from junk shops – curtains became table cloths, carafs turned into vases – and lots of materials from nature – weathered branches, spiky chestnuts, wildflowers….  The fantastic boys from Sir Catering developed a menu of many small dishes where the pure tastes of two or three ingredients could be enjoyed.  On the table were organic wines from C’est Party, as well as matched teas from Qualitea time.  When darkness fell, we were all drawn to the softly percolating coffee by Or.

We had such a great time meeting new people, and greeting old friends… and are already dreaming of the 2015 gatherings.  If you would like to keep up to date, subscribe to the Kinfolk newsletter or here.

All of the above pictures are by the wonderfully talented photographer Melissa Milis, find more photos on facebook or see the full set here.

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Come join Suzy and me as we organize the sixth Kinfolk event in Belgium on October 11.  As the days are getting shorter, we invite you to celebrate the beauty of imperfection with us.   We will look to nature for inspiration with earthy flavours and embrace the beauty of simple tastes and seasonal produce. The October gathering will take place in Gentbrugge in the old Sidaplax factory buildings.

Enjoy this evening filled with good food, warm encounters and cosy conversations.

Location & Date
October 11 – 18.30

Kerk Gent, Kerkstraat 24, 9050 Gentbrugge

Tickets
22 tickets available – $ 85.00
Ticket price includes aperitif, food and wine

 Tickets can only be booked directly from the Kinfolk events page here from today.

Photos of the previous Kinfolk gathering by Melissa Milis

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I have finally joined Instagram come find me here…. be prepared for lots of images of yummy food in pretty bowls….

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