Just a pot of cream

I know it's the trimming, slimming, detoxing season but when your local supermarket gives you cream for free, one just has to give in  :)

So Saturday morning, after cashing out, a little fridge standing at the exit of the supermarket with a sign saying "a donner" (to give away), music to my ears

I took a couple of jars and quickly set about using my new Christmas gift - a butter churner.
I poured 300ml of the cream into the jar, cranked away for about 10 mins then voila, the butter was made.
A photo posted by Baking In Belgium (@bakinginbelgium) on

But after you make the butter, you're left with a lot of buttermilk ! and there are two uses for that in our household -
1. Buttermilk Pancakes
2. Irish Soda bread

So soda-bread it was!

Back to Base

Seems like it's been ages ago, but the time is ripe.
I'm just back from Malta and still very keen on eating Maltese foods and using Maltese ingredients. I must admit they are VERY hard to come by in Belgium, but with the help of my family, I do keep a constant supply of a number of items including kunserva, pastizzi and of course twistees !

This summer I tried to see what was new on the market and new Maltese products seemed to be sprouting. New cheese spreads, new brands packing bigilla and of course gbejniet.

My girls gave me a butter churner last Christmas which was put to good use a few days later when the local supermarket was trying to get rid of a large amount of soon-to-expire cream. We made butter, which we ate, froze and even made bread with the buttermilk.

They also gave me a book about cheeses and butter which I must admit I have not really used except for the part where it explains how to make butter.

Having come back from Malta though, I was keen to try my hand at making Gbejniet.  These are little cheeselets made from goat's or sheep's milk and do not taste anything like the goats cheese we find here, chèvre.

I have found a recipe from Marlene Zammit who lives in Australia and runs Maltese Mouthful. Her recipe for gbejniet seems very authentic however, the ratio of milk to rennet varies completely to the once published by Pippa Mattei.  I just need to source the fresh goat's or sheep's milk and try the recipes out! 

Look out for more updates on my Instagram or Twitter accounts !

Falafel from scratch

Oh no, don't turn away! It's not as complicated as it sounds.

Falafel always fascinated me and whenever I found the opportunity I always ordered them. Sometimes I was very happy with my choice whilst others I was confronted with a soppy, oil soaked, flavourless patty.  But not this time.

I was reading an article on Food 52 which explained how easy it was to make Falafel at home from scratch, so with all the list ingredients ready at hand, I tried it out this weekend.

I am at the stage where lots of weekend cooking and preparation saves me precious time during the week, so this recipe was prepared and cooked on Sunday in preparation for the week ahead. Surprisingly though, when we all had a taste of the first patty to make it out of the pan, my carnivorous family where all willing to ditch the roast in favour of these delicious "burgers".

No need to worry, the animal did not die in vain; the roast was devoured minutes later!

So here what you need to buy to make falafel

2 cup of dried chickpeas (which is just under 500g)
1 small onion
A handful of fresh mint
A bunch of fresh flat-leaved parsley
2 cloves of garlic
A generous pinch of salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ras el hanut (this is a North-African spice mixture)
2 lemons, juiced

And here is what you need to do:

The night before you plan on preparing these little flavoursome parcels, soak the chickpeas in a large bowl.  Make sure there is enough water in the bowl as they will absorb quite a lot.

The next day, whenever that suits you, place all the above ingredients, except the chickpeas into a blender and blitz for a few seconds.

Now drain the chickpeas and add them to the blender. Blend until all turns into one nice big spicy smooth paste. Make sure that it is really smooth as there is nothing else to bind the patties together except the consistency of the paste itself.

Using your hands, turn the paste into patties. The size depends on how you want to serve them. If you are making burgers then portion them into burger-sized patties but if you will be serving them in pitta pockets then I suggest you make them smaller. This way you'll be able to fit a few in and get the lovely flavours with every bite.  

As an indication, these quantities make around 18 burger-size patties. If you think that's too much I suggest that you still go with these amounts and just freeze any leftover falafel; they will be a true life saver when you're too hungry or tired to cook!