Abricots and Love

Sharing my love for food with people I love.

Festive table ideas

Pine needles and olive sprigs

This theme has an organic & sophisticated feel. Mix up mocha/beige table linnen with crisp white china and cutlery. Make a centerpiece out of pine needles and candles. Handwrite name tags and tie together in a knot with an olive sprig and a table napkin.

White as snow with a touch of red and vice versa

For red/white themes you can really play around. The color combination has a slightly warmer, Scandinavian feel. Try different things using only these two colors together.

Add some Christmas berries, twigs, candles, .. to decorate the table.

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Christmas inspiration

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.. ”

I’ve put this post together to share my love for Christmas decorating, giving you a glimpse of the jolly spirit in our home. Since Pinterest and DIY blogs are hot and people like to see what inspires others, I too wanted to share my projects. From now on, next to recipes, you will also find life style posts on this blog. Now, let’s sneak in!

 

Christmas inspiration

Excited?! These ideas may start your own creative engine! (Scroll down for more inspirational photos)

 

Tree branches

Some white coated tree branches you’ve brought along from the park will serve as decoration in many ways for examples: glitter dipped, make a wreath, hang in front of a window with christmas ornaments, break into short pieces and glue around a tea light, etc.

Tiny and sweet

I also like to put some subtile, tiny decorations here and there. For instance some golden sprayed miniature trees under a glass bell on the hall table, a few sprayed trees standing in the window frame, small porcelain houses for tea lights, white deers with small wreaths around their necks, small white felt stars hanging behind the window, etc.

 

Collages with candles and pine cones

With some natural, white, glittered, .. pine cones you can come a long way making decorations. They’re lovely to use in wreaths (looks lovely in combination with any of the following greenery: pine needles, bark, moss, branches,  ..) Pine cones are also lovely to scatter around on decorative trays (mirrored, wooden, threw iron, cany trays, etc.) between candles and tea lights. Please be cautious for fires.

 

Mistletoe 

Mistletoes are a must when celebrating Christmas. It’s part of the tradition,  don’t you think? With mistletoes there are also many ideas for you to try, such as:

wreaths, a romantic crown to wear as a headpiece (perhaps add some flowers), a bouquet (to hang upside down, as a gift to the hostess at a dinner party, to put into small and big antique vases (you could add some holly, greenery, rosemary branches, dried hydrangea, Sea Lavender, etc.), table decorations, ..

How to give your imitation Christmas tree a more natural look with classy feel using blush and mocha. 

I’ve chosen an imitation tree with various tones of green, scandinavian inspired. What I like to do is to create a more natural look by adding various natural things before hanging the lights.

Things like: variations of pine cones, dried flowers, imitation flowers with silky leaves, imitation greenery, ..

Ornaments: mostly glass Christmas balls in colors blush and mocha (a combination of mat and shiny, smaller and bigger ones), (glass) icicles, ornaments in felt, antiques ( Christmas balls and other ornaments)

 

 

Florist (mostly)Walter Van Gastel

Photographer Anaïs Stoelen – shesaidyes.be

 

Most important! Have fun expressing yourself by making your home a warm and welcoming place to celebrate the Christmas holidays!

 

 

Forest fruits pie

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Summertime calls for sweet & refreshing forest fruits. That’s why I’m making a creamy pie with forest fruits.  I find blueberries & raspberries make a lovely couple, and they’re also very healthy.

This is what I found on Wikipedia when searching the health benefits of these fruits.

Blueberries contain anthocyanins, other pigments and various phytochemicals, which are under preliminary research for their potential role in reducing risks of diseases such as inflammation and cancer.

Raspberries are a rich source of vitamin C, with ~ 32 mg per serving of 1 cup (about 54% daily value), manganese (about 41% daily value) and dietary fiber (about 32% daily value). B vitamins 1–3, folic acidmagnesiumcopper, and iron are present in raspberries.

So, healthy & awesome tasting berries they are!

This pie is still a guilty pleasure, but you’re using fresh summer fruits, so that compensates, right? (I’m so guilty haha)

I wan to keep it light (no heavy bricks please!) 😉 .. So I’ve chosen to work with puff pastry. You could make puff pastry at home, but when you’re in a hurry and you’re craving for some sweetness.. make you’re life easier, go ahead and buy a ready made puff pastry.

This recipe for Forest fruit pie will serve 4 up to 6 people.

List of ingredients:

– one ready made puff pastry

– one egg yolk

– about 200 grams of raspberries

– 100 grams of blueberries

Whipped cream:

– 500 ml full cream

– about 20 grams of vanilla sugar

Recipe

Preheat your oven at 200°C (hot air circulation). Roll out the puff pastry while waiting for the oven to heat up. Wash the berries. Whip up the cream with the vanilla sugar until soft peaks start to form.

Take an oven tray and cover it with a baking paper. Place the puff pastry on top of the paper. Carefully fold over the edges of the round shaped dough, to create a large square. Use a fork to make some air holes in the dough and decorate the edges. Brush the edges with egg yolk. Put the pie in the oven for around 10 – 15 minutes. Or until the dough has a golden appearance.

Carefully remove the pie from the baking tray onto a cold surface. Let the pie rest for a few minutes.. If the pie bottom looks puffed up, just give it some punctures with your fork to release the air. Dollop the whipped cream onto the pie. If you have left over cream, you could enjoy it with your coffee perhaps.

Cover with a delightful amount of fresh forest fruits. & that’s done! :p ENJOY!

Hope you’ll like it!

Feel free to share! & Please comment 🙂

Kiss, A.

Pavlova my love

PAVLOVA my love! My heart races when I indulge into this soft & creamy pinkish cloud..

This fluffy sugary delight is named after a russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. Pavlova consists of layers, whipped cream, merengue and fruit.

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Pavlova is made with different fruit toppings. For this recipe i’ve chosen red fruits, strawberries & raspberries.

List of ingredients for a Pavlova that serves 4 up to 6 people.

Merengue:

– 4 egg whites (about 150 ml of egg whites)

– 220 grams of fine crystalized sugar

– 1 teaspoon of (alcohol)vinegar

Whipped cream:

500 ml full cream

20 grams of vanilla sugar

Berries:

– about a handful of raspberries

– about a handful of strawberries

Recipe:

We’re going to start with the merengue. Preheat the oven at 120 °C.

You’ll need a stand mixer or bowl to whisk the egg whites. Make sure your appliances are clean and dry, otherwise the egg whites will separate.

Whisk the egg whites in a bowl and slowly pour in the sugar and vinegar, keep whisking until soft peaks start to form. Slowly stop whisking. Take a baking tray and cover it with baking paper. Scoop the merengue on to the baking paper. Place the merengue in the oven, with the door slightly opened (that way the merengue will dry out completely). The merengue should bake in the oven for about 1,5 up to 2 hours at 120°C, in the middle of the oven. (hot air circulation) To test if the merengue is dry and crisp, I tap on the merengue with a teaspoon.. if it feels like tapping on an eggshell it’s ready.. If you tap and the spoon goes trough the merengue and you see a soft inside, the merengue isn’t ready yet.

When the merengue is ready, turn of the heat and leave the merengue in the oven (with the door slightly opened) until the oven has cooled down.

In the meantime start whipping the cream. Just whip up the cream with the vanilla sugar, until soft peaks start to form.

It could be that you’ll end up having left over merengue.. You can store the merengue.. just chop the merengue, and put the small delights in a jar for later. ( something different than a cookie for the coffee hour)

With a chef knife (or a sharp kitchen knife) cut the merengue in long strips.

Layer up: the bottom layer is merengue, then whipped cream and berries, then merengue and end with a creamy top layer. Decorate the top with berries.

So did you like the taste of summer?Please feel free to share your love for Pavlova!

Thank you, Kisses, Anaïs

Coffee mocha pudding with Amaretti

We all love coffee right? Il caffè è così delizioso..!

So here’s a little something dolce for the coffee lovers.. An italian pudding with coffee and Amaretti di Saronno biscuits. It’s a smooth pudding with bittersweet accents like the Amaretti biscuits, the coffee and chocolate. I use the small Amaretti biscuits but you can also use the big ones if you crumble them up. If you want to use the original Amaretti biscuits and you can’t find them in your local supermarket, you can order them online.

Click here: http://www.amazon.com/Lazzaroni-Amaretti-16-Ounce-Tin/dp/B0001FQVMK

I must note out to you that this pudding is alcoholic, because of the delicious rum. But no worries folks, it’s perfectly fine without alcohol. (Simply replace the rum with espresso.)

mocha pudding

Pudding for 4 people

List of ingredients:

– 1 liter milk

– 120 gram crystallized sugar

– 80 gram cornstarch

– one tablespoon of rum (one for every glass)

– 12 gram coffee powder (I used Kimbo coffee)

– 8 gram chocolate powder

– a few Amaretti di Saronno biscuits (italian bitter biscuits) (one for every glass)

– a small pinch of sea salt

Making pudding!

Fill a glass with milk (about 10 tablespoons of cold milk). You will be needing that glass at the end of the preparation.

Start by adding the milk and the sugar to one sauce pan, slowly heat the mixture and stir occasionally. Let it come to the boil.

While we are waiting for the milk to boil, you can choose 4 cocktail glasses for the presentation. Put some biscuits in each glass and pour over the rum. Allowing the cookies to soak up the delicious rum and become tender.

When the sweetened milk is boiling and it’s rising, quickly remove the saucepan of the heat. Take the glass of milk and slowly pour the cornstarch into the glass, while stirring with a fork until the texture is smooth and silky. Put the sauce pan on the heat again and slowly pour the glass of binding mixture into the sauce pan, keep stirring the milk, until it’s thick and feels like pudding.

Now, add in the salt, coffee powder and chocolate powder. Stir just a little bit more, until it looks smooth and mocha.

Turn of the heat and let the coffee mocha pudding cool down a few minutes before pouring it into the glasses. (When glass is thin and fragile it could break when pouring in a very hot liquid.)

è prontooo! 🙂

Tip: I decorate the top with a few extra Amaretti biscuits. & I prefer to eat my pudding cold. How do you like your pudding?

Please feel free to share the recipe.. and leave your comments! 🙂

Risotto with Limoncello and King crab

 

To make this italian inspired summer beauty, these are the ingredients you’ll need.

For 1 – 2 servings

Risotto

– two tablespoons of Extra Virgin olive oil

– about 1/4 teaspoon of dried Arrabiata herbs (or use dried chili flakes and origano)

– one cup (or ladle) risotto (arborio)

– 1,5 cups boiling water

– 2 dl poultry stock (Lacroix)

– a good splash of Limoncello liqueur (depending on how strong you want the taste to come trough, for me about two tablespoons is will do)

– the zest and juice of an organic lemon

– about 60 – 80 grams of grated Parmigiano reggiano cheese

– 1/2 white onion, cut into small slices

– 1 clove of garlic, mashed

– 1/3 fennel + foliage, both chopped

– about one teaspoon of fresh dill, chopped

– a sprinkling of sea salt

 

(finishing) The topping

You just add the topping when he risotto is already on the plate. The vibrant red crab meat looks pretty on top.

– 120 grams of King crab (canned crab meat, I used the Delhaize house brand)

– a knob of butter (at room temperature)

If you don’t like crab you can replace it with one of the following ingredients: langoustines, lobster, scallops.. even lamb chops, chicken filets or beef make a great topping!

 

Let’s start cooking! (tip: it’s best to use a wooden spoon to stir.)

– take a big frying pan or cooking pot and heat (low to medium heat) about 2 spoons of olive oil

– then we infuse the oil by adding the Arrabiata herbs & by grating over the garlic

– add the onions and the fennel (only the flesh at this stage), give it a good stir

– when the vegetables are slightly fried add in the risotto

– gently stir together with the vegetables

– pour over the boiling water and the poultry stock, just more than enough to cover the risotto

– stir the mixture around and cover the pan with a lid

– let it boil until the risotto has absorbed most of the liquid

– if that’s done, put the lid aside, we’re going to gently stir the risotto around*

– we’re going to stir in the knob of butter, add the parmesan cheese, grate over the zest and pour in the juice of 1/2 lemon..

– sprinkle over some sea salt, and finish of with the fennel foliage and dill.. make sure you stir it good so that the tastes merge..

.. that’s it for the cooking part..

– spoon the risotto on a plate and decorate with the topping, being the (leaked) King crab (as you prefer)

– Give it a little bit extra zing by splashing over a little bit of lemon you’ve got left

 

* to make sure it’s al dente (with a bit of a bite), you push a little bit of the risotto around and if the sauce and risotto slowly refill and you can see the bottom of the pan for an instance, then you’re ready for the next step

 

Feel free to share my recipes! Now, I will shut it up 😉 and let you enjoy your makings!

 

 

 

Lemony cranberry mocktail with mint

Per glass/person:
(Big glass see picture)

– one part cranberry juice
– 1,5 part lemonade (sparklinh Spa lemon)
– a quarter of a lemon (juice) and a quarter (decoration)
– a few sprigs of maroccan mint
– a good splash ( i would say about 1 – 2 tablespoons) of elderflower syrup
– about a 3/4 teaspoon of ginger powder
– a few ice cubes

To make the mocktail, simply add the ice cubes to the glass and pour over the ingredients.. Decorate with a piece of lemon and mint.. Serve with a spoon or stir before serving..

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Greek inspired lunch/starter – feta with dill and yoghurt

Are you in a hurry and longing for a quick and light lunch? Is it to hot hot hot today to eat? Or are you having a dinner party and thinking about a light starter? I’ve got just the thing for you! You’re gonna love this fast and fresh dish..

Per person this is what you need..
List of ingredients:

– about 60 – 80 grams of greek feta (try Dodoni)
– one tablespoon of low fat yoghurt
– one teaspoon of fresh dill, chopped finely
– two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
– a few sundried tomatoes (with basil)
– a pinch of seasalt and white pepper

tip: it will look stunning on a crisp white design plate

Preparation:
– you’ll need a plate 🙂
– dress the bottom of the plate with the fresh dill
– crumble the feta and place it on top of the dill bed
– pour the yoghurt and the olive oil around the feta
– finish of with a few sundried tomatoes and season with pepper and salt

More tips 🙂
– It goes well with sourdough or ciabatta..
– Turn it into a side dish.. Goes good with seafood (pizza), durum, lamb chops, ..

Well, that’s it! Let me know if it was good! 😉 and feel free to share!

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Taboulé Monaco and eggplant gratin with feta

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This meal feeds 4 – 6 people/ ready in 30 – 45 minutes tops!

List:

For the taboulé:
– 200 grams of couscous
– a handful of chopped dill
– 50 grams of raisins
– 2 slices of bio smoked salmon
– about a tea spoon of ground cinnamon
– a good pinch of salt
– a good pinch of white pepper
– 2 handfuls of chopped rucola
– a few branches of white celery, finely chopped
– a few grams of baking powder
– about 1 liter boiling water
– half a bio cucumber, finely chopped
– a handful of sun-dried tomatoes (with basil)

Eggplant gratin with feta:
– one bio eggplant
– about 2 dl of passata (tomato pulp)
– a pinch of white pepper
– a pinch of sea salt
– a tablespoon of regular olive oil

Let’s prepare the dish!

– Start by preheating the oven to a 180 degrees Celsius
– cut thin slices of the eggplant, by cutting lengthwise
– take a baking dish and grease the bottom with the olive oil
– place the slices of eggplant in the dish
– pour over the passata until the eggplants are almost completely covered
– sprinkle the salt and pepper
– place the dish in the oven under a hot grill for around 20 – 30 minutes
– while the eggplant is in the oven we can start with the making of the taboulé

– take a large dish, or a tagine
– pour in the dry couscous and put it under water with just enough boiling water.. Put a lid on it for a few minutes
– stir the absorbed couscous and make sure the texture is loose
– shortly cook the finely chopped celery (about 10 minutes) in enough boiling water with the baking powder (keeps the celery light green)
– add all the ingredients of the list, gently fold them in

– check the gratin
– let it rest for a few minutes until it is lukewarm and then add the cold feta on top

– tip: you can make it a day in advance.. and it’s best enjoyed cold

Spicy lunch salad

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The perfect light lunch for one..

List of ingredients:

– one bio lemon
– a hand full of rucola
– a can of mackerel
– a few thin slices of grana padano
– some sunflower seeds
– a pinch of white pepper
– a pinch of sea salt
– about two table spoons of good extra vergine olive oil
– a hint of cayenne pepper

Preparation:

– place the rucola on your favorite plate
– add the mackerels and the grana padano and pour over the olive oil
– finish with a good squeeze of lemon, the sunflower seeds, cayenne, pepper and salt
– serve with the lemon

Tip: If you don’t like mackerel you can use chicken..