Can you imagine a country that:
- Makes 22kg of finest chocolate per person per year
- Has 1000 varieties of beer
- That invented chips?
Is this country some kind of food heaven?
No just a short hop over the English Channel and you are in Belgium—a food lovers paradise!
What’s more amazing still is that they would invite an English man there to talk about food… well, that’s exactly what happened last week! I was invited to the wonderful city of Reimst in North Belgium to give a ‘Keith on Food’ charity workshop.
Our first stop was to the World Peace Flame monument for which we were raising money—this is a real eternal flame on the northern gateway to Belgium.
Hmmm I was tempted to show people the English way of over-boiling vegetables (particularly our festive treat of soggy brussel sprouts)—but the workshop was on Ayurvedic cooking and finding your Ayurvedic body type. Try my quiz for yourself here to find your own type.
For some hands on fun, we also set up the kitchen so that everyone could make a dish from my forthcoming recipe book ‘Cooking with Keith’.
Ayurveda can be confusing—especially when explained in a second language by a foreigner! Luckily it was me doing the explaining—adding a few words in Flemish (which I’d looked up in my dictionary the night before) and drawing pictures so everyone could understand….
I did try speaking in Dutch but everyone looked more confused—probably because Flemish has different pronunciation. But I do find they struggle with my Dutch in the Netherlands too! I don’t think my London accent helps.
The results though were fantastic here is my Mojo sauce and potatoes. The Belgians really are great cooks and managed to improve a lot of my recipes, with a few basic skills.
The stir fry with tofu and seaweed was fantastic. The best ever!
A fantastic salad combination
Here are some of the recipes…
Butternut Squash Soup
1 tbsp / 15ml coconut oil
1 leek (washed and sliced)
1 tsp / 5 ml black mustard seeds
1 tsp / 5 ml cumin seeds
1 tsp / 5 ml turmeric
1 bay leaf
1 lb / 500g butternut squash (peeled and chopped)
1 lb / 500g sweet potato (washed and chopped)
1 ¾ pints or 1 ltr water
1 tsp / 5 ml grated ginger
4 tsp / 20 ml Bouillon powder
- Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to pop for a few seconds.
- Add the other spices and leeks. Sauté for a few minutes.
- Add the veg, ginger and water, boulion powder and simmer for 35 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon and bay leaf. Then liquidise.
Cashew and Apple
4 carrots grated
1 onion sliced
1 small potato diced
1 large apple grated
2 oz / 50g butter
1 ltr stock
2 oz / 50g cashews
- Sauté the onion in the butter till softened.
- Add the carrot and apple and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the stock, potatoes, and cashews.
- Bring to the boil, cover and simmer until tender.
- Liquidize and season to taste
Incas’ Quinoa Salad
8oz / 200g quinoa
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
small bunch fresh basil
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp / 30ml linseed oil
2 tbsp/ 60 ml virgin olive oil
2 tbsp / 60 ml tamari
Juice 1 lemon
- Wash the quinoa carefully to remove any bitter saponin. Washuntil the water runs clear.
- Cook the quinoa with two cups of water, bring to the boil then simmer with a tight lid, until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. The grain should be transparent and the spiral germ separated from the grain.
- Cool the quinoa then add the oil, tamari, lemon juice and crushed garlic.
- Dice the peppers, slice the tomato, and chop the basil and add to the quinoa.
- Stir in the olives and decorate with basil leaves and tomato roses.
Stir Fried Veg
4 oz / 100g mushrooms
Small tin water chestnuts
Small tin bamboo shoots
½ tsp / 2.5ml sesame oil
2 tbsp / 30 ml mango chutney
2 tbsp / 30 ml tomato puree
1 tbsp / 15 ml tamari
2 tbsp / 30 ml water
- Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Slice mushroom and onion, cut carrot and courgette into sticks.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large pan over a high heat.
- Add the carrots. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the courgettes and onion. Cook for a further 2
- Add the chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the sauce and serve.
8 oz / 250g Tofu
1 oz / 25g dried shiitake mushrooms
¼ pint/ 100ml water
1tsp/ 5ml dried oregano
2 garlic cloves pressed or fine sliced
¼ pint/ 100ml olive oil
3tbsp / 45ml red wine vinegar
5 tbsp / 75 ml mirin
¼ pint/ 100ml tamari
Ground cloves good pinch
Black pepper good pinch
- Cube the tofu in 2 cm cubes and put in dish with deep sides.
- Simmer the mushrooms in water for 15 minutes
- Toast the oregano until aromatic but not burning.
- Add oregano and everything else to the mushrooms. Bring to boil. Simmer for a few minutes.
- Pour the boiling marinade over the tofu. Make sure the marinade covers all the pieces.
- Cover and allow to marinate for at least 1 hours, preferably overnight.
- Place a little oil in a pan and fry the tofu till all the liquid has evaporated
Categories: Plant-based Cooking & Recipes