Ginger syrup: the perfect accompaniment to pancakes.
Who loves ginger? It’s one of those almost “magical” ingredients that promises to cure upset stomachs and sore throats, while also accompanying meals from sushi to desserts. I was contacted by a company called The Ginger People (excellent name) and they offered to send me a selection of their products. They kindly sent a giant box full of ginger goodies – and I was seriously impressed. My fear was that things would either be too strong or else taste bland and artificial, but these people really do know how to do ginger right. It’s all fantastic – I started by chilling and sipping on the truly soothing Ginger Soother drink, and I packed a couple of the Arjuna Ginger bars in my bag (these were just the right amount of strong – they pack a punch but won’t make your eyes water). They also sent super high-quality minced ginger and pickled sushi ginger (none of that super-processed pink stuff).
And then we get to my two ultimate favourite products (even though the ginger bars and the ginger soother were close contenders). First of all, I had placed the crystallised ginger box at the back of my cupboard – not thinking I would really ever use it. HOWEVER – I recently read the back of the box and it suggested that the crystallised ginger can be enjoyed as a post-meal nibble, and it’s totally settled my stomach after heavy meals (and it’s the perfect sweet treat). Then, the real star (in my humble opinion) of this product range is that ginger syrup. Just pour it on top of fresh pancakes and transport yourself straight to heaven. Just the right balance of ginger and sweetness – beautiful. Very highly recommended.
I’m particularly confident to share today’s recipe with you because of the enthusiastic positive feedback I’ve received about these cupcakes from my colleagues at work. Easter is coming, and it’s the perfect time of year to bake some Easter-themed goodies. This recipe is a mishmash of inspiration I found online, and I hope you try it out, because it really didn’t take me a long time to put together.
Ingredients for the cupcakes
120g butter/vegetable oil spread
120g caster sugar
2 large eggs
120g self-raising flour (seived)
half a teaspon of baking powder
Preheat your oven at 190 degrees Celsius or Gas Mark 5. Mix the ingredients together until well mixed. Bake for around 20 minutes, and let them cool completely.
Ingredients for the nests
40g butter/vegetable oil spread
3 tablespoons sugary syrup
a few shakes of drinking chocolate powder
around 180g milk chocolate
mini eggs (to decorate) – ideally these would be Cadbury mini eggs, but the Delhaize ones were excellent substitutes
Melt together the butter, syrup, drinking chocolate powder, and milk chocolate (either in a bain-marie or simply in the microwave at short low-heat intervals – mix well as you’re heating them). Mix the cornflakes in the melted mixture (adjust amount accordingly). Put a tablespoon of the cornflake mixture on each cupcake in a nest design, and after it sets a little, pop on a mini egg or two. Adorable and delicious.
Lent 2017 starts today, and I’ve always paid reverence to this annual period. A time for reflection, and a time for trying to better yourself (you flawed, sinful human, you). This year, I’m particularly re-evaluating my relationship with food and alcohol.
I love my high-fat, high-carb, (almost) all-sugar diet, but I realise that it is very unhealthy for me. We don’t want heart disease, yo. I’ve increased my vegetable and fruit intake a lot over the past months, but I should still definitely try and limit my intake of “bad” fats and “bad” carbs and piles of sugar (not really, but almost). We’ll see how that goes. I foresee horrid cravings for cheesy pasta.
The main “going without” mission for Lent 2017, however, is alcohol. I have somehow settled into a lifestyle where I drink often, and almost always seek a glass of wine at the end of the day. I don’t have an issue with binge drinking, because I’m perfectly happy with a drink or two, but I am noticing a slight urge sometimes to actually have a drink, whereas before it used to be more of a conscious decision. I hope I’m explaining myself properly. I need to rediscover that that happy “buzz” does not only come from a drink at the end of the day, even if it’s nice to have a good glass of port (mmm).
So Lent 2017 is going to include some better food choices and no alcohol (apart from Sundays and my birthday). Wish me luck.
Now that some semblance of summertime has appeared in Luxembourg, it’s time for one of my all-time favourite activities: eating outside with friends. While my favourite al fresco spots are still to be found in Malta, it’s lovely to whip up something special on a nice day in Luxembourg to share with my boyfriend and friends, and it’s a perfect opportunity to make the most of grassy spots and lakeside views. (Luxembourg really does look very beautiful when it’s sunny.) This summer sangria is not too strong, and perfectly summery – and great to share ;)
A bottle of sweet rosé wine
Simple syrup (if desired – for an extra-sweet cocktail) (sugar & water)
Chop and de-seed the watermelon, and combine it with sliced lime, fresh mint leaves, and the chilled wine. Add some (cooled) simple syrup, if you’d like your cocktail to be extra sweet. (To make simple syrup, let around 115g of sugar dissolve in around 120ml of water in a saucepan.) Stir the mixture properly and let it sit in the pitcher or bowl for at least a couple of hours. Add chilled sparkling water just before serving.
This drink is perfect for summer parties. (Here, I served it with a side of delicious Delhaize tortilla chips.) Thanks to Delhaize Luxembourg for providing the delicious ingredients.
LISTEN UP. The summer is coming back! (…or maybe I’m just bringing a bit of the summer back from Malta) ;)
After what felt like the longest winter in history, Luxembourg seems to finally be emerging into something which resembles summer (wasn’t the weather on the Duke’s Birthday glorious?) – and that means going outside and eating more summery things. Today, I’d like to share a couple of go-to dips that are inspired by different Mediterranean flavours, using products that have been kindly provided by Delhaize Luxembourg.
The lemon-feta dip is potentially a love-it-or-hate-it kind of paste, but most of my friends adore it and clamour for more every time I make it. If you’re not a fan of lemons, perhaps choose a smaller lemon or go easy on the zest, but I love putting a bit more in, actually.
The tomato-cracker-pepper dip is inspired by a family recipe (my boyfriend’s family, that is) – his grandfather used to make this dip with traditional Maltese water crackers and traditional Maltese kunserva (tomato paste). However, Delhaize offers a great selection of own-brand products which served as substitutes for the classic Maltese ingredients, and we also used spicy crackers (instead of plain ones), which gave the dip a little extra kick.
Here are the ingredients for each dip: simply blend them together and serve with crudités or crackers/breadsticks/fresh bread. It’s also very important to have a nice, cool beverage to accompany your dips – we went for a picnic in a park in Bonnevoie and had some Delhaize bio cider.
Tomato, cracker and chilli pepper dip
a clove of garlic (diced)
crackers (add anywhere between 100g and 500g, depending on the desired consistency) (crumbled)
one can of tomato paste
a couple of generous glugs of sunflower oil
fresh chilli peppers (a handful of the small ones, or two medium-sized/large ones) (diced)
Lemon feta summer dip
200g feta cheese (crumbled)
one lemon (juice and zest)
a clove of garlic (diced)
a couple of generous glugs of olive oil
These make a lovely snack, picnic item, party dip, or starter preceding a meal or BBQ. Let me know if you make one and how it turned out.