Posted in Travelling

Road Trip Ireland, part 1!

Hello, my dear friends!

You haven’t heard from me in a long while & there is a good reason for,… I was on holiday road ripping through Ireland! Ooh yes!

Peter & I were mostly travelling on the West-Coast & the South-West Coast of Ireland. Then we went to Dublin for 2 nights! We were away for 12 days & 11 nights! What a memorable trip it was!

On a midday in July, we arrived at Dublin airport. We grabbed our suitcases & went to Europ car to fetch our pre booked rental car. It was this beauty:

A real beauty: Volvo V40 D2!

We took off near 1 pm. We set sail to the lovely tiny village of Ballyvaughan, situated at Galway bay in the West-Coast. This was our route:

(distance between Dublin airport & Ballyvaughan, county Clare = 237 km!)

That day, we had to drive 237 km. We must arrive at 7PM at our B&B. At 8 PM we would dine! Yes, that is right, from the East-Coast to the West-Coast in 1 day! We stopped in the middle of this beautiful country in the lovely smaller town of Athlone, situated at the River Shannon. We stopped in the old part of town, near the castle. There is a visitor centre, the castle, a lovely church & the bridge over the river Shannon. We walked around the city for a bit & took off again, heading to the West-Coast. Here are a few photos of Athlone.

Athlone Castle, dating from the 12th century

Then, we drove further to Ballyvaughan, in county Clare. Entering the Burren region, everywhere, we drove, we were in awe for the beautiful big wide landscape! You don’t see such landscapes in tiny Belgium, were we come from! We stayed for 2 nights & We stayed here at the only B&B with Galway Bay views. This tiny village of 3 streets big has 220 inhabitants & a lot of B&B’s & a few hotels. Our B&B is called Oceanville & is situated at the pier. We could hear the waves in our room. This lovely famous region is called The Burren. (Irish: Boireann, meaning “great rock”)This is an area typical for the stone like-grey moon landscape. This is the bottom of a subtropical sea. The mountains surrounding us are made out of layers of stone & big rocks in the middle of fields,… who date back from before the ice-age. The Burren is a region of environmental interest primarily located in northwestern County Clare, dominated by glaciated karst (or sometimes glaciokarst) landscape. It measures, depending on the definition, between 250 square kilometres (97 sq mi) and 560 square kilometres (220 sq mi). The name is most often applied to the area within the circle made by the villages of Tubber, Corofin,Kilfenora, Lisdoonvarna, Ballyvaughan  and Kinvara, in extreme south-eastern Galway, including the adjacent coastline.

The Burren!

Whit a view from our bedroom, you see?

What a view!

Our B&B was lovely. We had a big room on the 2nd floor with en suite shower room & a room with a view! Waw! Here, it was very calm! The owner, Sean & his son are so charming & welcoming! Breakfast is served in the dining room with sunny views across the bay! Each morning, you could choose from different breakfast options! Some nice B&B photos:

A lovely bed that slept really well!

                                                                                What a view every morning!

Lovely scrambled eggs & tomato!

The 1st evening, we dined at Monks! We made a reservation  by email 2 months ago! 😉 Clever, right?

Monks is a lovely pub & fish restaurant that serves lovely fresh seafood & fish dishes. It is situated right besides our B&B! The prices for fresh seafood & fish are lower than in Belgium! Friendly staff. The plates are more rustic & the portions are okay. The food & drinks are delicious. Lovely views on the terrace at Galway bay! We sat at the side terrace! This is what we ate:

The next day, we went to Fanore Beach. We parked our car there for free & walked into the mountains & did a walk of 6 km, straight up a hill in the hot sun. You could walk to Black head & back but that would be 26 km, a bit too much for us! What a lovely walk but is was very hot that day & nearly no shadow anywhere on the walk! Fanore (Irish: Fánóir, Fán Óir, meaning “the golden slope”) is a small village in county Clare. The area was officially classified as part of the West Clare Gaeltacht; an Irish-speaking community; until 1956.Lying on the road between Ballyvaughan and Doolin, Fanore has an extensive sandy beach and sand dunes (known as the “Rabbit Warren”) around the mouth of the Caher River.

After the walk, we dipped our feet into the cooling Atlantic Ocean! It was very refreshing & there were some big waves too! Woehoe! What a lovely sandy beach it was & there was a lifeguard present!

We drove back to our B&B to rest & have a relaxing shower! That night, we went to dine in Linnaean’s Lobster Bar in Newquay! 

It was a 20 minute drive from our place. This is a lovely fine dining fish restaurant with super friendly staff. There also have a terrace in the back of the restaurant. This fish dinner was superb in flavour & textures! We also ordered a lovely dessert each!

Our desserts:

Here are the addresses.

  1. Oceanville B&B, situated at the pier in Ballyvaughan, county Clare. Here is their website with all of the info!
  2. Monks, Pub & fish restaurant, situated at the pier in Ballyvaughan, county Clare, right besides the B&B. Here is their website too!
  3. Linnane’s Lobster bar in Newquay, county Clare. Here is their website too!

This is the end of part 1, Travelling Sophie through Ireland! This was a caption of the first 2 days! In the days to come, there will be a part 2, 3 & 4!

If you enjoyed this travel post, you might like these other travel posts too:

Zür Post, a 1 Michelin starred restaurant in Sankt Vith, Belgium

The Netherlands: Amsterdam-Oost: Rum Baba

The Netherlands: Amsterdam-Oost: Tropenmuseum & bar Basquiat

The Netherlands: Amsterdam-Oost: East 57

Travelling Sophie, Berlin, part 1

Travelling Sophie, Berlin, part 2

Travelling Sophie, Berlin, part 3

Travelling Sophie, Berlin, part 4

Posted in Gardening, Recipes

Latest harvests from our garden with yummy recipes!

Hello, my friends!

Long time no see! Ha! You haven’t heard in a while from me, right? There is a reason,…I have worked hard in our beloved allotment. I wanted to show you our harvests from the latest weeks! Just click onto the photo recipes to go directly to the tasty recipes! 🙂

Our first 6 kohlrabis!

Dinner & lunch ideas:

We love eating them cooked into smaller chunks & eaten with a good béchamel sauce & cooked white potatoes with a nice organic chicken fillet on the side. They are also lovely grated with a sharp lemony dressing mixed with grated carrots & a salad head, of course with some sliced spring onions!

2 salad heads, cut off celery, spring onions!

 

first fresh strawberries!

Here is a lovely recipe with fresh strawberries! My favourite ricotta sandwich! Yum!

 

350 gr fresh New-Zealand Spinach!

This is one lovely recipe using New Zealand spinach: Gluten-free spaghetti with fresh spinach, garlic & smoked bacon!

 

2nd time strawberries!

Here is another lovely recipe using fresh strawberries:

My favourite cocktail of the moment!

 

redcurrants, rosemary, peas, rhubarb & strawberries!

Here is a tasty rhubarb recipe from my blog:

Rhubarb & almond muffins with cinnamon & nutmeg! Just click onto the photos to go directly to the tasty recipes! 🙂

 

 

4 chioggia beets, first peas!

 

Yummy!

A lovely tasty recipe with beetroot used in a different way: Raw Chocolate Pudding with a pink swirl!

Or eaten this way:

We love them peeled & cut up into larger wedges, roasted in the hot oven of 200°C for about 15-20 minutes with some olive oil, sea salt & some black pepper. easy! So delicious & sweet roasted!

Peeled, sliced into a lovely raw salad with other tasty veggies & edible flowers from the garden:

And what about these lovely fresh pea, smoked tofu sweet potatoes burgers? 

And another tasty pea recipe here: Pea mint Haloumi patties!

So, I hope that I inspired you a bit with these tasty recipes! Enjoy, sweeties! xxx Till next time! 😉

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Posted in Recipes

Grilled Haloumi Salad with some crunch!

A week ago, I invented & made this lovely delicious colourful grilled haloumi salad! Yummy that it was! It is quick to make in a jiffy! It is also perfect in this hot weather we are having lately here in Belgium,…

Delicious!

This is & SUPER TASTY SALAD where you can put anything in that you like! I used a combo of 3 sorts of quinoa & raw &cooked veggies & grilled haloumi salad. Perfectly topped with a simple home-made balsamic vinegar dressing! It is THAT SIMPLE! Let’s make it now!

Recipe: For 4 persons

Ingredients:

For the salad:

cold cooked quinoa for 3 persons: I used a combo of white, red & black quinoa that I cooked in some hot vegetarian stock & drained well, put into the cold fridge.

2 thick peeled carrots, peeled into thin wider ribbons

2 spring onions, cleaned & cut up into rings, fresh from the garden

1 can of corn, well-rinsed & drained

1 red bell pepper, deseeded & white bits removed, cut up into cubes

mixed fresh salad leaves from the garden

1/2 cucumber, peeled & cut up finely`

black pepper

some sea salt

1-2 blocks of haloumi, drained well & pad dry, each one carefully cut up into thicker strips

that same peppery extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing:

a good peppery extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

black pepper

a good aged balsamic vinegar

Method:

  1. Take your cold cooked quinoa out of the fridge & add all other veggies to it except the salad leaves! Mix well & season a bit with black pepper & some sea salt. Place back into the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat grill pan up on high heat. side. Take chopping board & place all strips of haloumi on it. Brush one side with that lovely olive oil & wait until grill pan is extremely hot. When hot, place your oiled haloumi strips onto the hot griddles of the pan & grill for at least a few minutes each. Place them the way that you will have horizontal stripes on your cheese. That looks so pretty! Brush the upside with olive oil. Grill them for 1-2 minutes more. Turn, heat off.
  3. At the same time, make the simple quick dressing. Take a fitted jam pot & add all ingredients. screw lid on & shake jam pot up & down a few times to let the ingredients mingle. Taste. It must taste lovely!
  4. Plate up. Place mix of salad leaves all over each plate. Place 2 spoonfuls for more of your quinoa-veggies mix on top of the salad leaves & arrange 4 haloumi slices per plate. Now, just before serving, drizzle a few teaspoons of the dressing all over your quinoa salad but not over your haloumi, please! Enjoy, with loved one’s & a nice glass of chilled grenache rosé!

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Posted in Recipes

Sourdough Rye Bread! A thing of beauty!

Yesterday, I made this delicious rye sourdough bread! A thing of beauty! I also used my own rye sourdough. My bread came fresh out of the oven & it weighted 919 gr! Ooh yes! My rye sourdough bread was a bit more tangy, that typical sourdough flavour! I think it is because my rye sourdough has aged well. With my first 10 sourdough breads, the tangy flavour wasn’t really there but now, when every sourdough is maturing well, it becomes more sour & that is the way, my hubby Peter & I like it! 🙂 The rye flavour gives it more depth & flavour too! Perfect with butter & cheese, I say or with a slice of good smoked Spanish ham!

Check out my beauty:

Waw!

It is a very straightforward & easy recipe. You just have to active your rye sourdough the day before & feed it. The next day, you just have to mix the ingredients in your Kenwood with dough hook. Mix for 7 minutes or so & then, knead it for 2 minutes more by hand & let it rise 2 times. Then, bake it with steam & ready! Recently, I discovered that for the 2nd rise, I floured my banetton with wholemeal rice flour & that it works a charm! I read that normal rice flour also works but I have never tried that, also I don’t have that in the house & never use it. 😉

A lovely crumb!

Now, let’s make this recipe!

Recipe: For 1 large bread of 919 gr!

Ingredients:

150 gr of very active bubbly rye sourdough

250 gr organic white flour (T 65)

250 gr organic rye flour (T 130)

330 ml warm water

7 gr salt

Method:

  1. Take Kenwood machine & place dough hook in. Add all ingredients in this order into your fitted bowl & turn power on & knead the mix onto low-speed. I put it onto number 2 for 7 minutes. Stop machine from time to time to scrape the sides. Then, with dough scraper, scrape dough out of the bowl & flour your kitchen counter a bit with T 65 flour & your hands too, to prevent sticking! Knead the dough with a few stretch & folds to strengthen the gluten within! The dough is very wet!!! Oil a big bowl & put dough in it. I place a closed plastic bag over it & let it sit in a warm place to double in size. This took my dough 4 hours. The dough is still wet! Use dough scraper to help you! Scatter your chosen banetton with wholemeal rice flour, all over & on all sides & also onto the bottom to prevent sticking from the dough later & also to form the lovely lines on the top & sides of your bread!!!  Form the dough into the shape of your banetton to fit it. Place the seam upside in your banetton. Place it again it a closed plastic bag in a warm place & let it double in size. This took my last rise 3 hours.
  2. Preheat your oven to 225°C (437 F) for 10 minutes. I also poured boiled water in a oven proof pot to create steam in your oven. Open plastic bag & place a bread silpat on your oven rack. Carefully turn your bread upside down out of your banetton in one quick movement. Now, your bread dough is lovely patterned on top & on the sides. Make slashed into the top of the dough, just like you want! 🙂 Place into the hot oven & bake for 35-40 minutes until browned on all sides & cooked though. Check oven often to prevent burning. Lower your oven temperature if you need to.
  3. When your bread is ready, risen & golden, your house will smell absolutely amazing! My dough was 919 gr! Put onto a wire rack to, cool down completely! Slice & munch! Store in an organic bread bag!

You might like these other sourdough breads!

  1. Semolina Sourdough Breads!
  2. Olive Sourdough Breads!
  3. Hazelnut Buckwheat Sourdough Bread!
  4. Semi-Wholegrain Sunflower Bread!
  5. Wholewheat-Spelt-Rye Sourdough Bread!
Posted in Gardening, Recipes

Oatmeal Rhubarb Breakfast!

This morning, I invented this lovely warm oatmeal breakfast.

Delicious!

I harvested the 1st fresh rhubarb from our allotment! It was 766 gr in total, ooh yes! I used a lot green-red stalks for a lovely home-made crumble, I made this delicious one! The other 3 stalks, I used for this lovely breakfast! It is easy to make, fresh & super yummy too! 🙂

The 1st rhubarb from the garden = 766 gr!

Recipe: For 3 persons

Ingredients:

For the oatmeal:

1 + 1/4 cup (115 gr) gluten-free small-sized oats

1 cup (250 ml) water

1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened soy milk

For the rhubarb compote:

3 stalks of fresh rhubarb, cleaned, washed, pad dry, cut up into smaller pieces, each about 2-3 cm

3 tablespoons of water

organic cane sugar: about 2 tablespoons

Method:

  1. Make your oatmeal. Add all ingredients into a medium cooking pot. Stir & bring to the boil. Boil on medium-heat until your oats have been cooked. This took my oats 15 minutes. Keep warm.
  2. At the same time, put rhubarb pieces into fitted cooking pot. add water & stir often, bring to the boil. When rhubarb is started to soften, add cane sugar & stir round into the rhubarb. Boil until just cooked through & check with a fork. The rhubarb pieces has to be tender & cooked through. The pieces don’t all need to fall apart! Check if you find it just sweet enough. I like to still taste the tang of the rhubarb but yet a bit sweet!
  3. Serve at once: spoon your oatmeal at one side of the plate. Spoon your compote on the other side of the plate & serve at once & enjoy with your loved one & a cup of tea. 🙂
Posted in Recipes

Vegan Chocolate Chip Almond Sourdough Buns!

Today, I invented & made these glorious delicious chocolate chip almond sourdough buns! yes, that sounds so delicious & yummy right?

Well, they are! Just look at them:

Just coming from the oven!

Recipe: For 11 buns

Ingredients:

For the buns:

100 gr active oat sourdough (This is a more stiffer sourdough)

450 gr organic 5-grain & 3 flake flour (Mine had wholemeal flours & white flours in it.) My mix was Markal organic 5 grains + 3 flakes: White flour T 65, oat flour, rye flour, rice flour, wholemeal spelt flour, barley flakes, millet flakes, sesame & wheat gluten)

60 gr unsweetened soy milk

200 gr warm water

7 gr raw cane sugar

40 gr vegan milk chocolate chips

20 gr soft vegan butter

20 gr white almond flakes

6 gr salt

Just before baking, to brush tops of the buns with:

melted vegan butter

Just brushed with melted vegan butter & slashed!

Method:

Day 1:

  1. In the evening, make your bread mix. Take Kenwood machine & place dough hook in. In fitted bowl ad first 6 ingredients. This is the sourdough, 5-grain flour, soy milk, warm water, cane sugar, vegan milk chocolate chips & almond flakes. If you have a stronger aged oat sourdough, it is possible that you need to add more warm water, bit by bit,…otherwise you don’t end up with a nice sourdough, the inside will be too dry then! Start mixing on low-speed, aka number 2 for 2 minutes. Then leave the dough to rest for 20 minutes. The flour is allowed to absorb the moisture = autolyse. Now, ad last 2 ingredients. This is the margarine & the salt. Start mixing again on medium-speed, aka number 3 for 5 minutes. Then, turn up to 5 & mix for 5 minutes more.
  2. Take dough out of the bowl & place onto kitchen top. You don’t need no flour here! With your hands, knead for another 3 minutes, to stretchen the gluten inside! That is what we want. I do the stretch & fold principle. Then, turn the dough again! This during 15-20 minutes. Your dough has to be smooth! Shape a boule shape. Oil a big bowl & place dough in it. Place closed plastic bag over it. Leave on the kitchen counter, sitting on a big towel, to rest for 1 night.

Day 2:

  1. In the morning, after 8-12 hours of rising, remove plastic bag. Your dough has doubled or tripled in size! Place dough onto kitchen counter & weigh the dough. Mine was 850 gr. Divide with dough scraper into 11 equal sized & weighted portions. 850 gr divided by 11 = 77 gr each! It is easy this way. Roll each dough piece into a round ball, space them well apart onto a silicon baking sheet onto an oven rack. Take 2 oven racks to form 11 bread buns. Now, dust some 5 grain flour over the top surface of each bun to prevent sticking to the plastic bag that you are going to put over them to rise until doubled in size. This took my buns about 2-3 hours. Preheat your oven to 200 °C ( 392 F) for about 10 minutes. Melt some vegan butter. Just before placing the buns into the oven, make a slash with your dough scraper or a sharp knife in the middle of each bun & brush each bun , all over the top & sides with melted butter. Place into the hot oven & bake for about 25 minutes or until golden & baked through. Place each bun onto a wire rack to cool down completely! These buns are utterly delicious! MMM! Excellent with just some vegan butter or with vegan butter & apple/pear sirup!
MMM!

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Posted in Recipes

Asparagus Spelt Pasta!

The last few weeks, I have made this pasta dinner for a few times! Why? Because it is asparagus season! That means that the white gold is back in town! Lovely succulent fresh white asparagus pasta with a few simple ingredients. It is a super healthy pasta dinner & it uses only 4 basic lovely tasty ingredients! Let’s guess!

MMMM!

I used wholemeal spelt penne, fresh butter, fresh flat-leaf parsley & white asparagus! Ooh yes, so simple, very easy yet delicious to make!

Let’s begin with the tasty recipe!

Fresh cooked white asparagus!

Recipe: For 4-5 persons

Ingredients:

350-400 gr wholemeal spelt penne

2 packets of fresh white asparagus, peeled & each one cut up into smaller bit-sized pieces

a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, washed, cleaned, spun dry & cut up finely

fresh lactose-free butter or fresh butter

keep the cooked water where from your asparagus

To serve: freshly grated Parmesan cheese

black pepper

Maldon sea salt

Method:

  1. Take a large cooking pot & fill with cold water. Place your cut up asparagus in it. Place fitted lid on & bring the water to the boil. When it is well boiling, set the timer to 8 minutes. Boil your asparagus for 8 minutes or until just al dente when pierced with a fork. Taste with other pieces too. Drain well but keep about 150-250 ml of the cooked asparagus water. In the same pot, heat of a few knobs of butter. When hot, add drained asparagus & the cut up parsley too. Carefully with 2 hands, shake your pot up & round so that the melted butter & parsley have coated the asparagus. See that the asparagus are hot too. Season with some finely milled black pepper & some salt too but not too much! Keep warm.
  2. At the same time, cook your pasta until al dente. This was 8 minutes. Drain well. Add the butted aspargus-parsley to the warm pasta & stir round carefully in the pot trying not to break the cooked asparagus! Add some of the cooked asparagus water just enough until you get a bit of a sauce. Season again if you need to.
  3. Heat up 2 white pasta plates & place the mix onto your plate. Just before serving, add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the top! Now, you can taste the sweet asparagus, the parsley, the salted cheese & the yummy spelt penne! Perfect! Enjoy with loved one’s!!!! MMM,… 😉

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