Sophies Foodie Files

Mostly healthy & tasty colourful cooking with Sophie's twist!

Refreshing vanilla strawberry buttermilk smoothies!

Do you want one?

Do you want one?

This afternoon, I made these refreshing delicious vanilla strawberry buttermilk smoothies because I had buttermilk & strawberries to use up in my fridge!

I made them for my cleaning lady & myself. They were just right! Easy to make, so refreshing & ooh so delicious too!  We both agreed on that! :)

Yum Yum Yum!

Yum Yum Yum!

Recipe: For 2 larger smoothies = 1000 ml = 4 cups


500 ml unsweetened cold buttermilk, straight from the fridge

12 fat large juicy strawberries, cold, straight from the fridge, cleaned, hulled & each cut up into 2

2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract/ I use home-made

1 tablespoon coconut sugar


1. Take your Vitamix & add all ingredients in this order in it. Place fitted lid with tamper in it. Blend on full power & on high-speed until fully joined. Use the tamper, to push ingredients into the running blades. It took me 15 seconds. You must taste the buttermilk, the strawberries & a hint of vanilla. I only used 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar because you need that tang of the buttermilk in here! ;) Pour into 2 larger smoothy glasses & enjoy with a thick straw! Yum yum, I say! :) xxx

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The ingredients before blending!

The ingredients before blending!








A warm Puy lentil, parsnip & watercress salad!

MMM! :)

MMM! :)

This evening, I made this tasty warm Puy lentil, roasted parsnip & watercress salad. A seasonal warm salad! I topped it with shaved sheep’s Pecorino. I drizzled this tasty salad with a fitted garlic-lavender honey-mustard dressing! All of the flavours went magically together,..;You taste the sweet of the parsnip, the salty of the cheese on top, the peppery side of the fresh watercress & the dressing topped it with tasty deliciousness,…:) Oooh yeah! I know that you will love this warm tasty salad too! ;)

Digg in, I say!

Digg in, I say!

Recipe: For 2 persons


1/2 bunch of fresh watercress, big stalks removed

Pecorino sheep’s cheese, a smaller piece, grated not so fine

* For the cooked Puy lentils:

75 gr dried Puy lentils

1/2 white onion

1 dried bay leaf

4 parsley stalks

black pepper

Maldon sea salt

* For the oven-roasted parsnips:

3 big parsnips, peeled & cut up into bite-sized chunks

black pepper

sea salt

a fruity extra virgin olive oil

* For the mustard-lavender honey dressing:

2 teaspoons mustard

2 teaspoons lavender honey or another good honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 tablespoons of a fruity extra virgin olive oil

1 fat clove of garlic, cut up finely

black pepper

Maldon sea salt


1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (400 F ) for 10 minutes. Place your parsnip chunks in 1 layer in a fitted non-stick oven dish & add some black pepper & sea salt. Drizzle with a fruity evoo. With clean hands, mingle everything together. Roast until tender. It took me 25 minutes. Turn your parsnips over, after half of the cooking time.

2. First, place your dried lentils in a cooking pot. Just cover them with water, bring to the boil & boil for 1 minute. Drain well & fill again with water until it just covers the lentils. Add your aromatics to the lentils. This is the 1/2 onion, 4 parsley stalks & 1 dried bay leaf. Bring to the boil & simmer the lentils until just cooked through. I had to add a bit of hot water to my lentils. My lentils were cooked through after 20 minutes. Keep warm. Take your aromatics out of your lentils.

3. In the meantime, make your dressing. I placed my garlic in my pestle & mortar & added a bit of sea salt & pasted it into a kind of paste. I put this into a clean jam pot & added the other ingredients too. I closed my jam pot with a fitted lid & shaked my dressing up & down & up & down until all was well emulsified. Taste! It has to taste fabulous!

4. When you are ready to plate up, divide your watercress on the 2 plates. Arrange your parsnip chunks all over the 2 plates & divide your cooked aromatic Puy lentils in the middle & around the sides of your plates. Drizzle your dressing all over each plate, into a circle. Scatter some grated sheep’s Pecorino cheese all over the top of each salad & enjoy instantly with a loved one, of course! ;) MMM,…I assure you! ;)

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Spiced rhubarb compote! Vegan + Gluten-Free!

Spiced rhuabrb compote!

Spiced rhubarb compote!

Today, I made this lovely & very yummy spiced rhubarb compote. I had a lot of fresh rhubarb stalks from my parents’ garden & had to use it up! So, I made this tasty spiced rhubarb compote & used home-made vanilla extract, fresh orange juice, some coconut sugar to sweeten & speculaas spices for an added kick!

Recipe 1: For a whole lot of spiced rhubarb compote!


920 gr fresh rhubarb stalks, cleaned & cut into 1 to 2 cm pieces

2 tablespoons Gf vanilla extract/ I used home-made

3 to 5 tablespoons powdered coconut sugar

juice of 2 oranges

1 +1/2 teaspoon speculaas spices/ Here is how to make them yourself: 

4 tablespoons of ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon of ground cloves

1 tablespoon of ground ginger

1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon of ground green cardamom

Mix all spices together in a fitting bowl. Whisk everything well together & use 1 + 1/2 teaspoon in this rhubarb compote. Store the rest in a jam pot with fitting lid & label it. Store in a dry cupboard. Use the rest in Speculaas cookies, in pancake batter, in cookies, in waffles, on top of your muesli, on granola, etc!
1. Take a large cook pot & put all the rhubarb pieces in it. Ad vanilla, juice of 2 oranges, 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar to begin with & your speculaas spices.  Mix everything well with a large spoon & bring to the boil. When boiling, let it simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes until the rhubarb has been reduced, cooked through & you will end up with a compote. Reduce it more if you want to. Take off the heat & taste. If it is still to sour, add some more coconut sugar. I added 4 tablespoons in total! So, your compote is ready, let it cool down or use instantly.

* How to use?

It is great on its own, still warm, eaten like that with a big spoon! ;)

It is great warmly served: on top of home-made waffles, on top of pancakes, with yoghurt & muesli for a great breakfast
Use it for making desserts, like in crisps, crumbles or cobblers,…

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A famous belgian beer called Duvel & a recipe using it! Witloof & Duvel soup!

Duvel is a great & famous Belgian beer! And it is vegan too!

Duvel is from the Belgian brewery Moortgat. Moortgat brewery was founded in 1871 by Jan-Leonard Moortgat. He was already descended from a family of brewers. In the 1950′s The 3rd generation of Moortgat’s took over the control of the brewery.

Ever since 1871, the 1st generation of the brewery Moortgat, brewed their first beers. They did this with a whole lot of exquisite craftsmanship and technique, a lot of patience & a whole lot of love. Duvel is a 100% pure and natural beer without additives & preservatives. And you taste that difference. This Duvel beer has a higher alcohol percentage then other beers, 8.5 %, gives this beer a huge dense head, has delicate pearls & gives a silky mouthfeeling. That is why Duvel is something special. Duvel is brewed with Pilsner malt and white sugar, and hopped with Saaz Hops and Styrian Goldings, the yeast still stems from the original culture of Scottish yeast bought by Albert Moortgat during a business tour of the U.K. just after World War 1!!!!                                                                  
Duvel Beer!

Duvel Beer! It is my husband’s favourite beer! :)

Duvel is a strong golden pale ale. Duvel means Devil because this is the dialect for the dutch word: Duivel, meaning devil. Duvel, is the company’s best known product which is exported to more than 40 countries!!! Ooh yes! Their headquarters are in  Breendonk, Flanders, Belgium.

Duvel Moortgat was an original investor in the Brewery Ommegang craft brewery founded in Cooperstown, NY, in the late 1990s. More recently, the Belgian company took over complete control of the brewery and founded a stateside sales organization Duvel USA to handle both Ommegang and Duvel Moortgat brands and others.

                                                                  Duvel factory
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1871
Headquarters BreendonkBelgium
Products Beer
Production output 270,000 hl (2001)
Witlof & Duvel soup
I made this divine silky smooth witlof & Duvel soup, that is vegan & ooh so tasty too. This soup is a Belgian speciality. In soup, we usually use Blonde aka white beer, what beer you choose is up to you! I chose Duvel because it has that typical citrus & orange flavour in it. I served this with my twist: Sophie’s twist! Because you can taste a hint of citrus & orange in your beer, I added finely grated orange zest on top of my soup & also added raw freshly shredded witlof leaves! Enjoy!
TIP: Just before serving your soup, you need to shred finely your raw witlof leaves, otherwise they will lose their white & yellow colour!!!! ;)
A tasty & silky smooth witlof & Duvel beer soup, topped with fresh raw witlof shreds & grated orange zest!

A tasty & silky smooth witlof & Duvel beer soup, topped with fresh raw witlof shreds & grated orange zest!

Belgian endives aka witlof

Belgian endives aka witlof

Recipe: For 3 persons, each 1 big bowl
5 witlof, washed, pad dry on kitchen paper, cleaned, the rough end brown round cut off, cut into rougher rounds & then into 2 ( mine weighted 630 gr before cleaning
200 gr floury potatoes, peeled & cut into bite sized chunks
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
800 ml of a good hot vegan stock
100 ml Duvel beer
black pepper, finely milled
Maldon sea salt
vegan butter
2 shalots, peeled & finely diced
To serve:
1 organic orange, skin grated, but not too fine, like: see picture soup!
1 witlof, washed, pad dry on kitchen paper, cut into thinner round shreds, like this:
Raw finbely shreeed wirlof leaves!

Raw finely shredded witlof leaves!


1. Take a large cooking pot & add a few knobs of vegan butter. Turn heat onto high. When hot, add shalot & potato pieces. Add 1 teaspoon of dried thyme & stir often. Reduce the heat if you need to. After 3 to 5 minutes, add the witlof pieces & stir everything well round in the pot. Add about 300 ml of that hot vegan stock & add the Duvel beer too. Stir well round. Bring to the boil. When boiling, add the other leftover stock & cook until potato pieces are cooked through. It took me 14 minutes. Turn the heat off. Taste your soup. I added 7 grins of finely milled black pepper & scattered some sea salt in the soup. I stirred it into my soup.

2. I took my Vitamix & mixed my soup completely fine & silky smooth. I used my tamper too. Taste again. It was just divine. Firstly, you must taste the bitter flavour of the witlof & then you can taste the citrus & orange connection of the Duvel beer.

3. When you are going to serve your soup, take 1 clean witlof & shred it finely with a sharp knife, see picture above. Laddle your soup into lovely soup bowls & top the middle of each bowl with a few shredded raw witlof leaves & scatter some grated orange zest around it, into each bowl of soup! Just like this:

MMMM8 The orange zest goes so well with the citrus flavours in the beer & the raw shredded witlof leaves go so well with the witlof flavour in the soup! Double yummm! :)

MMM! The orange zest goes so well with the citrus flavours in the beer & the raw shredded witlof leaves go so well with the witlof flavour in the soup!
Double yum! :)

Enjoy instantly with a loved one! This is a great soup for dinner parties too! :)

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You might like other witlof or beer recipes:


Organic pork chops in a grain mustard & orange sauce, with green beans & maple syrup coated sweet potato rounds

A tasty & sublime dinner! That grain mustard &orange sauce goes so well on top of the cooked green beans!

A tasty & sublime dinner! That grain mustard & orange sauce goes so well on top of the cooked green beans & with the round sweet potato maple syrup coated circles!

This dinner, I made yesterday evening. I had some new organic coarse whole grain mustard in the house. I had to use it, didn’t I? It looks so special too, don’t you think?

Coarse whole grain mustard, organic too!

Coarse whole grain mustard, organic too!

I also bought organic boneless pork chops & wanted to make a sauce with it. So, I made this!

Recipe: for 2 persons


** For the pork chops & sauce:

2 organic boneless pork chops, each 220 gr, so 440 gr in total

Maldon sea salt

black pepper, finely milled

coarse whole grain mustard : 2 tablespoons

freshly squeezed orange juice : 150 ml

dry white wine : 50 ml

baking margarine

sunflower oil

** For the green beans:

350 gr green beans, weighted when uncleaned, tops & tails removed, cut into 2 ( I had very large beans so I cut them into 2 or  3 )

Maldon sea salt

** For the maple syrup coated baked sweet potato rounds:

3 tablespoons maple syrup, I used organic & grade C

baking margarine

3 big sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 3 thicker chunks, ( when cooked , drained, we cut them into 2 or 3, into 1 cm rounds )


1. Cook your sweet potato chunks in some sea salted boiling water until tender & cooked through. Drain well & cut each thicker round into 2 or 3 smaller rounds, each 1 cm thick. Keep warm. Cook your beans in some salted water & boil until just cooked through. Drain & keep warm.

2. When your beans are cooked, take a large non-stick pan & add some baking margarine. Now, season your 2 pork chops, on each side with Maldon sea salt & finely milled black pepper. In a hot Creuset pot, pour a few drizzles of sunflower oil & add few knobs of baking margarine & let it melt. When hot, add your pork chops & fry on both sides for 3 to 5 minutes until all sides are fully browned & you don’t see any raw meat. So until they are seared! Then, add 2 tablespoons of that whole grain mustard, add white wine & orange juice too. Stir everything round in your hot pot & place the fitting lid on. Leave your pork chops in here, but turn them over after 5 minutes & pour the sauce to be over the pork chops, now & then. Leave the pork chops in here for at least 10 minutes or until your sauce has been reduced & your pork chops are just cooked through. You still want the pork chops to be juicy & a bit pink inside but not raw! When you think your pork chops are ready & tender, take 1 out & place onto a chopping board & cut into the flesh. If ready, place back into the hot pot & place the lid on. Turn the fire off & let the meat rest for 5 minutes. Because you want them to be juicy & tender on the inside! ;)

3. In the meantime, fry your sweet potato rounds in some baking margarine, in a large pan until browned on all sides for about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Then, pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of the maple syrup all over it. Let it caramelize a bit & turn the potato rounds also over on the other side. Carefully watch it all so the rounds don’t burn!!! Lower your heat if you need to. When ready, turn heat off & keep warm.

4. Now, plate up & pour your sauce over your juicy pork chop. Place green beans & potato rounds on the other side. Enjoy instantly with a loved one! We had a bit of the sauce left, to pour over the green beans because they go so well with that lovely sauce! Enjoy! :) xxx

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Beans bar in Mechelen: One of my 2 favourite special coffee bars!!!

Today, I visited one of my 2 favourite Coffee bars in Mechelen. This is one of them. It’s name is Beans bar: coffee, bagels & more,…!!!

Beans coffee bar!Cosy, yummy & friendly staff!

Beans coffee bar!
Cosy interior & yummy foods & drinks!

This lovely, cosy & not too large coffee bar is located in the historic center of our town, Mechelen. It has 2 floors where you can relax, sit in chairs, in high stools at a bar, in lovely fauteuils & indulge in tasty & deliciously foods & drinks, hot or cold! You can eat these tasty pastries, bagels & wraps all day long, from when they open until they close at 6 PM. Everything that you can drink or savour here, you can take-away too!  This comes in handy, for when you are in a rush!

yummy foods to buy & savour at reasonable prices too!

Tasty cookies, marshmallows, pralines & chocolate drops to buy & savour at reasonable prices too!

Location? Ijzerenleen, 37, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium. 015/63.91.57.


In wintertime, the coffee bar is closed on Mondays. Open From Tuesday till Saturday from 8 AM til 6 PM.

Closed on Sundays & Festive days.

Lovely coffee related gifts: all beautifully wrapped up!

Lovely coffee related gifts: all beautifully wrapped up!

This coffee bar is from the owner, Sarah. She is a true female barista. 

Over onsPicture from their own website.

What do they have on their menu???

So many tasty foods to choose!

So many tasty foods to choose!

** For starters, they are also famous for their tasty breakfasts. You can choose between 5 different breakfast options, example, like a small breakfast consists of choice between 3 types of coffee or tea, with fresh orange juice & a croissant. This will cost you: 5,90€. Or a larger breakfast like Beans Deluxe Breakfast, consists of a choice between 3 types of coffee or tea, a glass of fresh orange juice, a normal bagel, a croissant, ham & cheese slices, jam, chocolate spread & to top that of, a glass of a fine Italian prosecco! This will cost you: 12,90€. What a big breakfast, hey? You could also choose a lighter brekky like yoghurt with honey & muesli. This will cost you: 4,50€. There are also other Greek yoghurt with fruit options.

Beside these stunning breakfasts, you could also choose between vegan juices & healthy vegetarian smoothies like Bean’s up: A smoothy that has orange, strawberry, yoghurt & banana in it. This will cost you: 4,50€. You can also take them away, when you are in a hurry but need a healthy smoothy to start you day with!! 

You also can choose a lovely bagel sandwich. You can choose between 5 different types of bagels, like white, multi-cereal, with sesame seeds, with maw seeds or a sweeter bagel with raisins & cinnamon. The basic spread is a dairy-full cream cheese. You can choose between 3 types of cream cheese, like the normal plain one, one with fine herbs & one with dill & cucumber in it. On top of that, you also can choose between 8 sorts of bagel fillings. Not one of them is vegan but there are 2 vegetarian ones.  I tested one.

One is called: Giant Giro. It has the type of cream cheese on it that you chose, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, home-made green pesto, pine nuts & rocket leaves. This one will cost you: 5,80€. I savoured this one with a normal white bagel & normal plain cream cheese. It tasted divine! The other vegetarian one is called: Cheesy French. It has the type of cream cheese you chose on it, brie cheese, honey, walnut pieces & rocket leaves ( arugula ). This one will also cost you the same amount of 5,80€.

** They also sell: All sorts of coffees, latte based coffees, coffee specialties, Iced coffees, home-made hot chocolates & some fine teas too!

You even can get decaf & soy milk based café lattes too! Everything made with milk, you can substitute with soy milk, with NO added cost!! Just like a hot chocolate , you can choose soy milk instead of the normal cow’s milk, with a choice between : white milk chocolate drops, sweet chocolate ones & dark chocolate ones. This will cost you for a small one: 2,60€ & for a large one: 3,20€.

I normally choose a coffee speciality like Crazy Caramel with soymilk  ( = a soy based café latte with caramel in it. ) It costed me : 3,30 €.

Soy based café latte with caramel called Crazy Caramel! MMM!

Soy based café latte with caramel called Crazy Caramel! MMM!

The same soy based Crazy Caramel! View from the top: you see that lovely swirled caramel??? Yum!

The same hot drink! View from the top: you see that lovely swirled caramel??? Yum!

Every month, they sell a bagel of the month & a coffee of the month. Everyone loves these variations. They are always very yummy indeed & have a lot of success too! :) Good for them & for us too!

This month, that is the BLT Bagel  (= A bagel filled with Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato with a yoghurt dressing & pine nuts. ) Costs? 5,80€.

The coffee of the month is Tiramisu Temptation  (= A latte with Tiramisu syrup with crème fraîche, cacao & boudoir cookies. ) These cookies are normally known as the tiramisu cookies that you use to make this dessert in Belgium. Costs? 3,80€.

Everything that you can drink or savour here, you can take-away too!  This comes in handy!

** You can also savour some tasty filled wraps. None are vegan but there is only one vegetarian option. Prices range from 5,80€ till 6,20€.

** They have tasty dessert too. Ranging from 5 types of special tarts each day, like a tiramisu cheesecake, white chocolate cake with speculaas, cookies, cakes, muffins, etc. You even can buy tart pieces for 1 person to savour or to take away to the home front! None of these are vegan!!! They aren’t made in this lovely house of temptation but at Julie’s House in Gent!

** Home-made soup with bread: Every day there is a fresh home-made vegan soup, served with bread. Costs? 5,50€.

So, when you are going to Mechelen, stop by this tasty address. It is a keeper!!! Then, we should meet there & catch up!

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You might like:

1. Travelling Sophie: Berlin, part 1

2. Travelling Sophie: Berlin, part 2

3. Travelling Sophie: Berlin, part 3

4. Travelling Sophie: Berlin, part 4 : All vegan!


Vegan rosemary roasted Jerusalem artichokes with red onion wedges & garlic!

MMM! Vegan rosemary, red onion & garlic oven roasted Jerusalem artichokes!

MMM! Vegan rosemary, red onion & garlic oven roasted Jerusalem artichokes!

This evening, I made this tasty oven roasted side dish: all vegan! I roasted well-scrubbed & thinly sliced Jerusalem artichokes, aka sunchokes & added red onion wedges & 5 unpeeled garlic cloves. I seasoned with black pepper, Maldon sea salt & dried rosemary salt. I poured a fruity evoo over it all & mingled it well with my hands! I served this with a potato mash with the same rosemary salt in it & fried herby vegan sausages! Yummy yummy! ;)

MMM! I served this tasty vegan side dish with vegan herb sausages & a lovely mash with the same rosemary salt as on the roasted veggies!

MMM! I served this tasty vegan side dish with vegan herb sausages & a lovely mash with the same rosemary salt as on the roasted veggies!

I adore cooking with forgotten vegetables. In Dutch we call them : aardperen, in French: topinambours. You can buy them in Brussels at the market or in food health shops. At the market, they are less expensive. You can store them quite well in a bag in the fridge. I do everything with them. I bake them, I roast them, I mash them & I make soup.

It is a very underestimated vegetable. I like the sweetness of them. It is also good for you. There is inulin in it . It is the oposit of insulin. This means it has the good sugars. It is a good vegetable for diabetics! When you prepare the artichokes, when you peel them with a vegetable peeler, you have to put them in acid water otherwise they will brown very quickly. You don’t need that!

Recipe: For 2 persons, with a bit of seconds


** For the oven roasted veggies:

830 gr uncleaned whole Jerusalem artichokes, ( sunchokes ), well-washed, well-scrubbed, nasty & dirty rough bites removed, thinly sliced, not paper-thin otherwise those pieces will become crisps & you don’t want that! :) When you peel them, they brown quickly, so put them in cold water where you add something sour to it. I added lemon juice to prevent browning! Just before roasting, pad them dry on kitchen paper.

5 fat cloves of garlic, UNPeeled!

a fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( EVOO ): 4 tablespoons

Maldon sea salt: 1/2 teaspoon + 2 pinches extra

freshly finely grinned black pepper: 15 grins

1 fat red onion, peeled & cut into finer wedges

dried rosemary sea salt: 1/2 teaspoon & a bit extra pinches

** For the potato mash:

floury potatoes, enough for 2 persons, peeled & cut into smaller pieces

a vegan plant-based milk : I used unsweetened soy milk

black pepper

Maldon sea salt

dried rosemary sea salt

a knob of vegan butter

** For the herbed vegan sausages:

some vegan baking margarine

2 Wheaty herbed vegan sausages


1. Preheat your oven to 220° C ( 425 F ) for 10 minutes. I always use a fan oven. Adjust your oven to the right temperature.

2. Boil your potatoes until tender. Drain & mash. Season with black pepper & sea salt, but not too much. You also want to season this mash with the same rosemary sea salt as on your oven roasted veggies, for added flavour! Add a knob of vegan butter & beat smooth. Add a splash or 3 of your favourite plant-based milk, I used unsweetened soy milk. Taste! It has to taste fab! Keep warm.

3. In the meantime, lay your sliced, dept dry artichokes slices, in 1 layer in a large non-stick roasting tin. Arrange the red onion wedges all over the tin & tuck your 5 cloves of unpeeled garlic between the rest.  Add 15 grins of black pepper, scatter 1/2 teaspoon of Maldon sea salt & also 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary salt all over the tin. Pour 4 tablespoons of a fruity EVOO all over the veggies. With clean hands, mingle everything together. Just before going into the hot oven, add a few pinches of the rosemary salt extra over the top of the veggies & also 2 pinches of Maldon sea salt! Roast for 15 minutes & then turn the veggies round in the tin to prevent burning & to brown & roast evenly on all sides. Roast for an extra 15 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Prevent burning!

4. Just before serving, fry your vegan sausages in some vegan butter until browned & warmed up. Plate up & enjoy with a loved one! Happy eating! :)

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You might like :

1. Jerusalem artichokes & fennel soup

2. Jerusalem artichokes with bay leaf, garlic & smoked bacon

3. Delia’s Jerusalem artichokes & carrot soup


A Happy & Fun Christmas from Sophie’s Foodie Files!

I wish all of my readers a Happy & fun Christmas filled with joy, fun & really good food! My husband & I love celebrating Christmas together. We also do that with our families!

My lovely decorated Christmas Tree!

My lovely decorated Christmas Tree!

My new ecological wooden carved out Christmas Stall!

My new ecological wooden carved out Christmas Stall!

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Sophie’s festive speculaas, reposted!

Sophie's festive speculaas cookies!

Sophie’s festive speculaas cookies!

Speculaas (Dutch pronunciation: [spekyˈlaːs], Flemish speculoos, French spéculoos) is a type of short crust biscuit (cookie), traditionally baked for consumption on St Nicholas’ Eve in the Netherlands (December 5) and Belgium (December 6).
In recent years it has become available all year round. Speculaas are thin, very crunchy, slightly browned and, most definitely, have some image or figure (often from the traditional stories about St. Nicholas) stamped on the front side before baking, the back is flat.
Speculaas dough does not rise much.
Canadian moose & Canadian maple leaf speculaas cookies

Canadian moose & Canadian maple leaf speculaas cookies

Normally, Sinterklaas comes in Belgium, in the night of 5th december to 6th december. On the evening of the 5th of December, the children put their shoes next to the chimney. They lay sugar beets or carrots for the Saints horse. They also present food or drinks for Sinterklaas himself, near the chimney because he works a lot that night. He must be very hungry too. Also, he rides his white horse & works alongside his dark men, dark helpers, all night long. He does this when the children are asleep, on the roofs of each house. He gives mandarins, sweets & speculaas. Normally, he also gives presents to the children. We all love this lovely white bearded man. If you were a naughty child, the black men would spank you with the mitre from Sinterklaas.
Sinterklaas on its white horse

Sinterklaas on its white horse

Sinterklaas & his black helpers

Sinterklaas & his black helpers

Dutch and Belgian versions are baked with light brown (beet) sugar ( cassonade sugar ) and baking powder. You can also use dark cannonade sugar so that the speculaas is darker in colour. Normally, we use speculaas spices, a blend of spices because it is more easier to use. We can buy that in 20 gr sachet in Dille & Kamille. That is a cook shop , their shops are located in many cities in The Netherlands & in Belgium. Their website is www.dille –

Speculaas spices

Speculaas spices

You can read it in French & in Dutch. Most Speculaas versions are made from white flour, brown sugar, butter and spices. Some varieties use some almond flour and have slivered almonds embedded in the bottom.

I have 1 recipe with not every spice in it, but you can make your own speculaas mix with, easy like this:
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon,
1 tablespoon ground cloves,
1 tablespoon ground ginger,
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg &
1 tablespoon ground cardamom.
Mix all the spices well together & place in a fitting bowl & screw the lid well on. Shake well until all joined. Use 2 teaspoons.
Enjoy!! It works really well!!!
A famous Belgian & Brussels statue: Manneken Pis!

A famous Belgian & Brussels statue: Manneken Pis!

Yes, It’s Manneken Pis! Click on the link to find out who he is!!

My Recipe: for about 65 speculaas, small to medium-sized inclusive 2 larger Moose
500 gr organic white flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
250 gr lighter brown cannonade sugar ( kinnekes suiker )
200 gr light salted butter, softened
2 organic eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons of speculaas spices / bought or home-made ( see note: above )
1. Take your Kenwood or Kitchen aide & put the K-paddle in.
2. In a large bowl, sieve the flour & sieve the baking powder. Set aside.
3. Put the softened butter in the fitting bowl together with the sugar. Mix it until it all is well combined.
4. Add the beaten eggs & mix well.
5. Add the speculaas spices & the sifted flour and baking powder. Mix until it all is well combined.
It is now brown in colour. Place the mix onto a floured silpat with floured hands & mix well until you have a thick dough, for about 1 to 2 minutes. The dough will be very sticky. Place cling film all over & place into the fridge, on a plate, for at least 1 to 2 hours to stiffen up. You can also leave it overnight in the fridge. I never do. I can’t wait that long!
6. Preheat your oven to 175°C, ( 347 F ) if you are using a normal oven. 150°C ( 302 F ) fan oven, for 15 minutes. Take 2 oven racks out of the oven & lay silpats on them. I use a fan oven.
7. Take your dough out of the fridge, open the cling film & slice 1 big piece, 1/3 th of the dough. Place the other dough back into the cling film & place into the fridge until you want another piece to work with. So, that the dough will stay firm. Now, lay your silpat in front of you on the table. Flour well. Flour the rolling-pin & roll the dough out to 0,5 cm thick. With your favourite cookie cutters, cut out cookies & reuse the dough again & again until it is all used up. Do flour your Silpat from time to time, because you don’t want the dough to stick. Place onto a silpat on an oven rack, well spaced apart, about 1 inch ( 2,5 cm ) apart & bake for about 13 to 15 minutes until browned & cooked through. In my case, it took every time 15 minutes. Take out of the oven & place onto wiring racks to cool down completely. Do the same to the rest of the dough.
8. When the cookies are completely cold, place into cookie boxes to store or give them as presents.
These are crunchy cookies & a bit soft in the middle.
Enjoy with a good cup of coffee or an excellent cup of tea!
These treats make excellent food gifts!

A Spicy Chai Latte with honey & cinnamon & a review!

We have 3 lovely coffee bars here in Mechelen. Recently, I drank a lovely soy milk based chai latte with honey & cinnamon in one of my favourite special coffee bars , here in Mechelen. I had to recreate it at home, of course!

MMM! My new Christams mug from Villeroy & Boch!

The lovely topping of hot foamed soy milk, drizzled honey & dashes of cinnamon!

Because I am lactose-intolerant, I drink soy milk based drinks or soy lattes, etc. I discovered a lovely spicy chai latte brand, called Barú. It is a Belgian company, located in Diepenbeek.  Dark and pure, rich and honest,… as long as it says BARÚ on the outside, you know you’re in for a delicious treat!

They are a small company with a sense of fun and magic. Made by hand in small batches, their dedication to use premium ingredients and their traditional Belgian expertise ensures that everything they make is both full of flavour and creativity.

At BARÚ, innovation and indulgence are rolled into one. They make lovely stuff to eat or drink that makes a smile on your face. Their ultimate goal is to give feel good indulgence, a moment of swirly inspiration!

Spicy chai latte powder

The award-winning Masala Chai Latte will certainly tickle your senses. No added flavours, only real spices and Madagascar bourbon vanilla. For a hearty moment just for you & or shared with friends. It is said, that it is lactose-free on their website but on the back, I can read that it has lactose in it! ????

Lactose Free | Makes 12 cups  | Reddot Design Award
This product has milk protein in it and may contain traces of soya. 
I think, it is a lovely product. It does contain lactose & milk protein. I haven’t got a problem with the lactose in it. It is in small quantities. They that you have to heat 200 milk & then, add 4 teaspoons of the powder to it & whisk well. Enjoy! I found that it was too much chai latte power, too overpowering. So, in my recipe below, I used less! :)
How to use?
* in hot or cold chai lattes
* In desserts
* Use it in pancake batters
* Use it in coffee
* Use it in cookie batters, muffin batters, etc.
My favourite warm drink of the moment: Spicy chai latte with soy milk, topped with honey & cinnamon!

Yummy all the way!

Recipe: For 1 large mug


400 ml of soy milk/ I use Alpro soy milk, natuur

4 teaspoons Barú spicy chai latte, dried powder

liquid honey, to drizzle on top / I used forest honey

dashes of ground cinnamon


1. Heat up your soy milk, with the method, you prefer. I heated my milk in a small sauce pan & whisked, whisked, whisked my milk. I needed a lot of milk foam too, to top my mug with. When hot & foamy, remove from the heat & add the teaspoons of the chai latte powder & whisk well. Taste. Is it to your liking, then okay. If not, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of the spicy chai latte mix. I only added 4 teaspoons in total. I found that is was okay for me. I don’t want the flavour to be over powering. Whisk well again. Pour into your lovely mug.

2. Top with your soy milk foam on top. Drizzle a bit of your liquid honey over the top. I drizzled across from one part to the other part & back again & then, drizzled all over the round side of the mug. Sprinkle with dashes of cinnamon.

3. Serve instantly & enjoy your home-made lovely hot Spicy Chai Latte! Mmmmm!

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My husband’s succulent drunken chicken dish & a reason to celebrate!

Yesterday, I had yoga class & afterwards, my husband made for me & for us this wonderful, festive & succulent drunken chicken dish! It is great for entertaining too. Very easy to make, all in one Creuset pot with fitting lid. I hope you enjoy it  as much as we did! Check out the flavours & tasty ingredients too!

MMM! A delightful drunken organic chicken dish with apples, fennel, onion & garlic cloves drunken in apple cider & dry white wine!

Recipe: For 3 persons, with a lot of hunger


a fruity Evoo

some baking margarine

sea salt

black pepper

2 organic chicken fillets, no skin, each cut into 2 smaller pieces

3 organic bone-in chicken thighs, skin on, cleaned & pad dry on kitchen paper

4 fat cloves of garlic, peeled & finely cut

1 big fennel, cleaned, hard bottom cut out, tubes cut out, sliced into thinner longer slices

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups apple cider

3 sweeter apples, peeled, cored & cut into smaller wedges

1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme

4 dried bay leaves

a generous pinch of saffron

To serve with: fried potato croquettes!

A lovely organic succulent drunken chicken stew!


1. Heat a Creuset pot on medium high heat. Pour 2 tablespoons of that fruity Evoo & swirl it all around the bottom of the pot. Heat up. When hot, add a knob of baking margarine. Let it melt. Season your chicken pieces with sea salt & black pepper & fry the chicken pieces, skin side down & fry until the skin has turned brown & golden. Repeat with the other side. I has to do this in batches. With the chicken pieces without the skin, fry on both sides until golden brown. Adjust your temperature, if you need to. Place the fried chicken pieces, in a big bowl with fitting lid. Add more olive oil & baking margarine, if you need to.

2. Now, add chopped onion, chopped garlic & chopped fennel & stir often. Fry until brown & golden. Lower the heat if you need to.

3. Add the wine & bring to the boil. Add the cider & bring to the boil again. Nestle the chicken pieces with its juices, all into the hot stew, gently pushing down the meat into the hot liquid. Scatter dried thyme all over the stew & nestle the dried bay leaves into the hot stew. Scatter the pinches of saffron over the stew. Arrange the apple pieces all over & into the hot stew. Bring to the boil & let the stew simmer , with the fitting lid on, until the chicken is just cooked through. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes. After 20 minutes of cooking, remove the lid & let the stew thicken & reduce the stew by simmering vigorously. You want to have a thickened sauce, but not too thick! Taste! the sauce has thickened also with the apple pieces, that have cooked down into a mush. Season with black pepper & sea salt to bring out the flavours in this lovely stew. This chicken stew is so tasty, fabulous & amazing! :) Really! :) Remove the 4 bay leaves before eating this lovely chicken stew!

Serve at once with fried potato croquettes & you have a great & fantastic well-flavoured dinner! ;) Enjoy, my lovely ones! Drink the same dry white wine with your stew that you put into the stew! ;)

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Cooking with gas!

Now, I also have a reason to celebrate! My blog, Sophie’s Foodie Files is 4 year’s old! Yeah!! It’s a party & I cry if I want to, Cry if I want to, Cry if I want to, You would do that too if it happened to you! :)

Yeah! My blog is 4 year’s old since the middle of November!  What a journey it has been! I am so proud & happy to my lovely subscriber’s!! Yes! It is so good & I have changed so much over these past 4 years! I had to search & find my own style. In the beginning, I adapted recipes from my favourite chefs & later on , I only make my own recipes! I love eating, cooking & baking vegan too & I love healthy but sometimes un healthy recipes too! I am so inspired to find & to create special recipes too! I learn so much in the progress too!

So, I will drink some Vranken Champagne &  lovely appetizers. I will give you these links below!!! I will toast to all of you, who stood by me from the beginning or all of you, who found me on their blogging’s experience! Cheers to you all! I couldn’t have done it without you all! :) Aaaaaah,…Oooooooh! ;) xxx

Vranken Champagne!
My favourite brand of Champagne!

I will enjoy these appetizers with it: Click onto the pictures or links to go to the recipes!

1/ Scottish oak smoked salmon with wasabi & fresh dill appetizers ( Fish ), filed under Christmas menu!

Yummy festive fish appetizers!

2/Wild boar paté with home – made fig chutney ( Meat + Vegan & Vegetarian chutney ), filed under Christmas menu + Link to home-made figs chutney

Wild boar paté with home-made dried & fresh figs chutney!

 3/ Beetroot appetizers served in a witlof leaf ( Belgian endive ) ( Vegan, vegetarian )

Tasty vegan & vegetarian beetroot appetizers!


Vegan Rhubarb spelt speculaas crumble served in hot Devon custard! Yeah!

A divine & tasty rich vegan crumble but served in hot Devon custard!!! But you can make your own vegan custard here, if you want to!

A tasty spelt & speculaas crumble topping, nutty & crunchy!
I used rhubarb from my father’s garden!


Recipe: For 4 persons

Ingredients: The crumble is vegan but the custard is NOT!! Make your own vegan custard or enjoy with a vegan nut milk ice-cream!

** For the crumble topping:

100 gr cold vegan baking margarine, I use Planta

100 gr light spelt flour / I used Sharpham Park Organic British light spelt flour

75 gr unrefined coconut sugar

75 gr speculaas cookies ( They are vegan), crumbled 75% into thicker pieces & 25 % into a fine powder/ I use Lotus speculaas/ In America, you call it: Biscoff cookies! It is a Belgian product!!!

** For the fruit filling:

600 gr fresh cleaned rhubarb, cut into pieces, each 2 to 3 cm long

1 teaspoon of ginger powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

85 gr coconut sugar

3 tablespoons water

** To serve: Hot Devon custard ( Devon custard heated up )


1. Take a larger cooking pot & place all of your rhubarb pieces, coconut sugar, ginger powder, cinnamon powder & 3 tablespoons of water in it. Heat up on medium high. Stir often. Let the rhubarb cook for about 8 to 10 minutes until nearly soft. You want to have rhubarb pieces that just aren’t cooked yet. They will be nearly ready. You can prick a fork in them, nearly all the way through. The rhubarb will cook further into the hot oven for 20 minutes. Place a fitting lid on & set aside.

2. Preheat your oven to 200° C ( 400 F ) for 10 minutes. I always use a fan oven. Adjust your oven to the right temperature.

3. Make your crumble topping. Take a large bowl & place all of the ingredients for the crumble  topping in it. With clean hands, mix everything together until it is crumbled. DO NOT OVERMIX!  See this picture:

A tasty spelt & speculaas vegan crumble topping!

4. Assemble the crumble. Take a deeper & fitting oven dish & place the hot rhubarb mix in it! Scent the aroma’s!! Crumble your crumble topping all over the surface of your rhubarb, like this:

The tasty rhubarb crumble before going into the hot oven!

& place into the oven & bake for about 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown & the rhubarb mix has been cooked through & bubbling! I baked my crumble for 13 minutes on 200 ° C ( 400 F ) & then turned it down at 175° C ( 166  F ) for another 7 minutes. When nearly ready, heat up your Devon custard until to your liking! We like to eat it hot! Let you crumble stand for about 5 minutes otherwise you will burn yourself! We don’t want that!!

Now, plate up. Take a large piece & place it into a dessert bowl & pour the hot custard over  or besides it! Enjoy instantly with a loved one! Success guaranteed! :) Happy eating! :)  If you liked this post, SUBSCRIBE to Sophie’s Foodie Files: It is free!  RSS Feed RSS – Posts

You might like other rhubarb recipes:

1. Vegan spelt rhubarb cake with dark chocolate chips

2. Spiced pear & rhubarb coconut crumble

3. Rhubarb & strawberry crumble, is gluten-free & dairy-free!

4. Rhubarb & ginger orange crumble, served with hot custard

5. Rhubarb & almond muffins with cinnamon & nutmeg

6. Roasted almond panna cotta with stewed rhubarb & vanilla seeds syrup


Oven baked salmon with asparagus & oven baked potato wedges

A divine & tasty dinner

Lovely cooked & buttered white asparagus! Yummy!

This is one of the main asparagus dinners I make when white asparagus are in season. White peeled asparagus are cooked, drained, browned & heated through in vegan butter. Then, scattered chives are thrown all over the dish. This is a delectable & festive meal, mostly made in the oven. I buy my potato wedges, precooked, in my supermarket. Easy does it here! Enjoy this tasty dinner with a lovely white Sauvignon wine.

Recipe: For 2 persons, with a bit of seconds


** For the white asparagus:

2 bunches of 500 gr white Belgian asparagus, not too thick, the outside tougher peel removed, the toughest & wooden thick end part, cut off, cut into 2/ You can’t eat the white outer peel of the white asparagus!

Maldon sea salt

black pepper

a gluten-free  vegan butter ( I use Planta )

** For the oven baked salmon:

2 x pieces of each 220 gr salmon fillets, no skin

Maldon sea salt flakes

Black pepper, finely grinned

** For the oven baked potato wedges:

400 gr of cooked & cooled off, peeled potato wedges

a fruity extra virgin olive oil

black pepper

an organic dried Mediterranean herb mix sea salt, I used the brand Lebensbaum/ Bought it in the Bio-planet!


1. Preheat your oven to 180°C ( 350 F ) for 10 minutes. Prepare your salmon. Take a fitting oven dish & smear it in with planta. This is a vegan baking butter. Prepare your salmon fillets. Clean them, pad dry on kitchen paper & season with finely grinned black pepper  & some sea salt flakes. Season well. Place the 2 fish fillets besides each other in the dish. Then, prepare your oven baked potato wedges. Place them in 1 layer in a non-stick oven dish & pour 2 to 4 tablespoons of a fruity evoo all over them. Add some grins of finely black pepper  & some fine grins of the mixed dried herbs sea salt. With clean hands, mingle everything together. Place the 2 oven dishes in the oven & bake until the fish is cooked through & the potato wedges are golden brown & cooked through. I bake my fish about 20 to 35 minutes. You don’t want to overcook the fish!!! Check with a thin pin to see if the fish is ready. The potatoes take about 25 to 35 minutes to cook too. I turn my wedges around, after half of the cooking time is gone, to brown evenly.

2. In the meantime, when the oven dishes are nearly ready & only take about 15 minutes to cook, cook your asparagus. Cook your peeled & cut asparagus in salted boiling water until al dente. This will take a few to 6 minutes depending on the size of your asparagus. Drain well but avoid breaking the cooked asparagus! When ready, take the same hot pot but empty all the water. Heat up on medium high. When hot, add some planta & heat up. When hot & sizzling, add the cooked asparagus & fry until golden & surrounded by the vegan butter. Add some seasoning. I used black pepper but if you prefer you can use white pepper. It is your choice but I don’t like the taste of white pepper. When heated through & hot, scatter some chive pieces all over the asparagus. Place a fitting lid on & serve instantly with the salmon & the baked potato wedges.  Happy eating & don’t forget the lovely wine! :)

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You might like:

1. Grilled green asparagus with oven baked potatoes & oven baked salmon

2. Orechiette with asparagus ( green & white ), peas, prosciutto & cream

Herbalife verandert uw leven!
Afvallen of bijkomen: U kan het ook!


Mom’s brown baked rice & vegetables dish

This dish is a dish , I learned from my mom. It is a quick & easy to make dish. You can use whatever vegetable you have in your fridge or pantry.

This is also tasty & healthy. I served it with baked chicken pieces. It is also great with a good veggie or bean burger, Home-made , of course! Try my spiced bean burger with this tasty meal! Yummy too! ;)

This is a vegetarian meal if you leave out the meat, vegan too! ;)

A tasty dinner: Healthy too!

A tasty mix of great veggies


Brown baked rice with red onions

Recipe: For 2 persons, with seconds


** For the fried brown rice & red onions:

2 sachets of each 125 gr brown rice, that need 11 minutes of cooking / I used whole-grain brown rice from Lima.

2 fat red onions, peeled & cut into smaller wedges

black pepper

Maldon sea salt

a fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( EVOO )

a good vegetable stock to cook the rice in

** For the vegetables mix:

250 gr of soy bean sprouts

250 gr of leeks, well washed, cleaned & cut into smaller rings ( white & green parts )

1 red bell pepper ( paprika ), washed, cleaned, seeds & white parts removed, cut into thinner strips

1 yellow bell pepper ( paprika ), washed, cleaned, seeds & white parts removed, cut into thinner strips

6 tablespoons of Heinz tomato ketchup

a good chicken stock or vegetable stock to cook the vegetables in / I used chicken stock because I ate this with baked chicken pieces

black pepper

Maldon sea salt

coconut oil/ baking margarine/ fruity EVOO

** To serve: baked organic chicken pieces, seasoned with chicken spices


1. First, cook your rice according to your packet instructions. I cooked my rice in a good vegetable stock for more flavour. After cooking, when the rice has been cooked through & swollen, drain well. Cut the sachets open & keep warm.

2. In the meantime, take a large cooking pot with fitting lid. I use my Creuset pot. Heat up on medium high. Add the fat that you are using, I used coconut oil & let it melt. When hot & sizzling, add chopped leeks & fry  for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add strips of yellow & red bell pepper. Stir often. Add some black pepper & some flakes of Maldon sea salt. Put the lid on & fry for about 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Now, add the bean sprouts & stir often. Add the hot chicken or vegetable stock, just enough that the vegetables are submerged into the stock. I poured about 350 ml into the pot. Stir everything around & place the fitting lid on. Turn the heat up! Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked through. When they are nearly cooked, check the seasoning. The sauce will be reduced a bit & that is what you want. Now, add 6 tablespoons of Heinz tomato ketchup to the pot & stir well. Taste! It has to taste fab! Add some seasoning, if you need to. Turn the heat off & set aside to keep warm.

3. Take a large non-stick pan & heat up on high. Pour 2 tablespoons of fruity EVOO in it. When heated, add the red onion wedges. Fry until softened & nearly ready. Season with black pepper & sea salt.

Now, add the cooked & well-drained rice & place it into the hot pan. Add a bit extra oil to the pan. Fry the rice a bit until it is all very hot & all the rice has been fried a bit, for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Plate up & serve instantly! Enjoy, my friends! ;)



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