Monday, 25 June 2012

Teaching myself to knit!

Since I haven't been able to sew for a while (can't sit at the machine), I've been trying to teach myself knitting! It's something I can do lying down! Although it can get hard on the arms after a while...
I registered on Kollabora (an online DIY community) and found a few helpful videos there.
My first attempts aren't that glorious:

Casting on, so tight it curls on itself:

Knit stitches, with a few holes and extra stitches created out of thin air (started with 20 stitches and somehow that turned into 32 along the way!):

But I'm gradually getting the hang of it, at least I hope so;)

Monday, 9 April 2012


Over the last few months I have accumulated material for a good dozen posts... So I might start talking about beef stew or even Halloween in April or May ;)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Hello again!

So, I haven't posted anything in nearly 4 months!
I actually only have an excuse for the last month: I was stuck at home with an inflamed articulation in my lower back for 3 weeks, not able to sit or bend down (well strictly speaking I'm able to but it's quite painful).
Last week I decided to try going to work anyway since we have a big deadline looming, so I got a high "party table" to put my computer on so I could work standing up, and a laptop to be able to work from home too.
It was going OK, until I hit a roadblock on Thursday, in the form of an all-day mandatory training. In hindsight I should have just switched to one of the later sessions instead. See, working all day standing up was fine as long as I could walk around to go ask people questions, or go lie down in the infirmary for a while when it was getting too uncomfortable... In the training I could do neither of those things, and by the end of the morning it was getting pretty tough...
I did escape to the infirmary once when it was getting too hard to cope, but by the evening my back was killing me:( So I called it quits for that week and just stayed at home on Friday.
Thankfully, my boyfriend was able to move my appointment with a specialist up from April 18th (another 3 weeks' wait!) to yesterday. I breathed a deep sigh of relief!!! So glad that being a native speaker, he has no trouble dealing with Dutch-speaking people on the phone!
So I went in and the doc gave me a cortisone injection. It was really painful afterwards (up into the night) but is much more tolerable now. If I'm lucky I should feel better tomorrow. If I'm not, I have to go back seem him in a week and a half to presumably get another injection. Let's hope I'm lucky:)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Jeroen Meus's Apple Crumble

Jeroen Meus is one of the local celebrity chefs, much raved about by the BF's mom. His specialty is making traditional Flemish food simple so that people can cook it in the work week.

I'm usually not much of a fan, as I've the same beef with Flemish food as with most "northern" food: too heavy, over-reliance on meat and potatoes, and (this one might be specifically Flemish) sauce overkill.
Our work canteen (with serves a canteen -read bad- version of traditional Flemish food) is no stranger to serving as many as 3 sauces in/on top of a single dish, not counting all the mayonnaise&co sauces you can add yourself...
Don't get me wrong, the Flemish/Belgians have some yummy dishes too (vol au vent, stoverij and waterzooi come to mind, and of course their world famous chocolate, fries, mussels, beer, speculaas...).

So anyway, I had never been inclined to try one of Jeroen Meus' recipes... Until he made apple crumble! Now that's not typically Flemish, but I suppose he wanted to introduce a bit of variation...

Here is the original recipe (in Dutch). I followed it pretty much exactly except for removing a few bits and bobs I didn't like (raisins, cardamom, star aniseed).

Here's a translation:

Ingredients for 4 servings:

For the crumble:
125 g flour
100 g oat flakes
115 g butter
100 g sugar
1 pinch of cinnamon powder

For the apple mix:
4 apples
3 tablespoons of brown sugar (yes I know he's mixing metric and imperial... I just sprinkled some brown sugar over the cut apples)
A slog of rum (he used rum to rehydrate the raisins, but since I wasn't using raisins, I figured I'd just add it to the apples)

Serving suggestion:

With 1 scoop of speculaas ice cream per person (speculaas ice cream is made from speculaas biscuits and is veeerrryyy good, but I just didn't have any...).


1. Dice the (cold) butter.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, the oat flakes, the sugar and the diced butter.
Add a pinch of cinnamon and mix with your hands until you get a crumbly dough.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
4. Peel and core the apples. Cut into chunks.
5. Butter an oven dish, place the apples in it and stir the brown sugar in the apples.
6. Add the crumbly dough evenly over the apples and bake for 25-30 min.


Pretty good, but a few things to tweak for next time:
- use less sugar in the crumble dough (it was too sweet for my taste)
- either cut the apples chunks smaller, or use a lower temperature and bake for longer (the apples were just about cooked while the crumble was browning a bit).

Damn, now I feel like apple crumble again :S