drinks

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Christmas Gifts For Him: A Feminist Guide

Published December 4, 2014 by The Feminist

In exactly twenty days, we will all be sitting around dinner tables, eating delicious food and opening up Christmas presents. It is in many different ways the “most wonderful time of the year” (at least that is what Andy Williams tells me), but unfortunately this fantastic feast is preceded by the enormous stress of having to go Christmas shopping.

But fear no more, dear readers! I’m here to show you the way. The feminist way. And the first chapter in this Christmas gifts series is all about buying the right Christmas present for your partner, because if you approach this task with the right attitude, not only your man will benefit from your gift, you will do too!

So here is my very short –but very cool- selection:

  • In the Category “because there is still room for improvement, darling”: Terry Crew’s “Manhood: How to be a Better Man or Just Live with One”

terry

We all love Terry Crews, but his new book –and in particular his view on feminism, equality and patriarchy- makes me love him even more. Too often do men enter feminist debates and try to “mansplain” everything (not a real word, but humour me for a second here): men telling us what we think or want or what feminism means to them. And that’s great for many obvious reasons, but their opinion and advice –again!- was sprouted by a patriarchal point of view about society. Time and time again MEN keep telling WOMEN what to think/do/want. Although their intentions may be good (are they really?), you have to admit that the whole thing is getting kinda boring. What the feminist debate really needs isn’t men declaring they are feminists and why, no, what we need is more men who aren’t afraid to declare that any guy who doesn’t consider himself a feminist is a total dickweasal/loser/asshole. And Terry does that. So buy your hubbie this book, because who knows, it might convince him to change his views as well. (And we all know how much this world desperately needs some better men, don’t we ladies?)

  • In the category “because whisky makes me frisky”: The Belgian Owl Single Malt 64 Months Whisky

whiqky

Forget about Scottish whiskey, dear readers. This year’s title of best European whisky went to… Belgium! (Yes, my home country, blimey!) Or if you want to buy an even more expensive drink, you can always opt for the world’s best whisky, the Japanese Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask Whisky…

Who am I kidding! Let’s be patriotic for once and stick to the Belgian stuff! This is not only a great gift for him, but also for her, because all strong women (myself included) prefer the strong stuff over the fluffy pink cocktails every single time.

  • In the category “because everyone likes a man who smells nice”: Boss Bottled By Hugo Boss

boss

This could also be in the category “because we all wish our lover would look like Gerard Buttler” but that would be beside the point. And that point is very obvious: men who smell great are just better company. So buy him some heavenly perfume, ladies! Because who wants to kiss an Axe-drenched man under the mistletoe? Nobody, that’s who.

  • In the category “It’s about time he stops running late”: The Philips Wake Up Light.

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Putting your IPhone alarm on repeat for at least 10 times is sooo 2014. In 2015 your guy will finally manage to be on time thanks to your brilliant gift. This Wake Up Light –as the name suggests- will wake him up (duh) by gently blasting (pardon the contradiction) bright light (duh) into the bedroom.

Also, it looks really stylish, so what’s not to love?

Living the Champagne Life: A Heavenly Dessert (And some amazing Appetizers)

Published December 26, 2013 by The Feminist

christmas

Welcome to the Champagne Life. Where trouble is a bubble in a Champagne glass. Where dream and reality are one and the same…Living the Champagne life, where everything is okay.  Let’s toast it up!”

R&B smooth talker Ne-Yo hit the nail on the head in this song. Don’t you just love the whole concept of living a Champagne life? A life in which everything is easy and breezy and your glass is never empty?

Sigh.

Luckily for me, Christmas Eve was my version of the Champagne Life. Both literally and figuratively.

Figuratively, because I felt great. (It was Christmas Eve so … duh!)

Literally, because I drank one hell of a lot of Champagne. I even used it in my baking.

Needless to say that the champagne overload in the dessert created the most insanely delicious and über decadent ending to an already splendid dinner.

Moist chocolate, raspberry and champagne cake with champagne and raspberry jelly and raspberry and champagne sorbet…

If you’re not drooling over your keyboard right now, there is definitely something wrong with you.

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 egg
  • 50ml milk
  • 150ml champagne
  • 40gr cocoa powder
  • 200gr caster sugar
  • 125gr unsalted butter
  • 140gr plain flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150gr raspberries

For the jelly:

  • 200gr raspberries
  • 5 gelatine leaves
  • 350ml champagne
  • 100ml water
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

Method:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a spring-form tin with baking parchment.
  2. Heat the butter and champagne together in a sauce pan until the butter has just melted. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir in the cocoa and sugar, mix until the lumps are gone.
  4. In a separate jug, mix together the egg and milk and slowly pour that into the saucepan.
  5. Sift together the other dry ingredients and gradually add the chocolate mixture.
  6. Finally stir in the raspberries and pour into your prepared baking tin. Bake into the oven for 30 minutes.

For the jelly:

  1. Pick out some cute small individual moulds. Fill them with the berries and put them in the fridge to make sure they are ice cold when you pour the liquid into them.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a few minutes until soft. Pick them out of the water and shake any excess water off.
  3. Heat the water and sugar together in a saucepan and dissolve the gelatine leaves in the liquid.
  4. Let cool slightly and then pour in your bubbling champagne.  Stir well and quickly pour over the ice cold moulds with the fruit.
  5. Let it set in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  6. To remove them from the mould, dip the bottom of each mould in some hot water and turn out onto a plate.

Like I said, apart from using champagne in my baking, I also drank it while indulging myself in some scrummy appetizers. I made star-shaped pigs-in-a-blankets with cranberries, Stilton and pear tarts, modern-looking but oh so traditional prawn cocktails, smoked salmon and granny smith cups with lime and sour cream,…

But my two favourite appetizers were these showstopping but incredibly easy beauties: Mango salsa with smoked duck breast spoons and a Cajun-spiced chicken and guacamole tortilla spiral.

They were the ultimate flavourbombs and yet so incredibly simple!

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Mango salsa and smoked duck breast (makes 12-14 spoons)

  • 1/2 mango, cut into really fine cubes
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Fresh chili (optional)
  • Slices of smoked duck breast

Method:

Mix the mango with the honey and lime juice (and some chili if you want). Put the mixture onto your spoons and layers the smoked duck on top. Finish with coriander.

tortilla

Cajun-spiced chicken and guacamole tortilla spirals(makes 12 spirals)

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 tsp Cajun spice mix
  • One avocado
  • 1 chili, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeds  and skin removed, finely chopped
  • Lime juice
  • Fresh coriander
  • 2 soft tortilla wraps

Method

Coat the chicken breast with the Cajun spice mix and fry in a pan until tender. Let it cool before shredding the chicken into fine strips.

Make the guacamole by mashing the avocado with salt, pepper and lime juice. Stir in the chili and tomato.

Spread a layer of guacamole onto each wrap and scatter some chicken and coriander on top of it. Role the wraps up tightly and cut them into 1- 1,5 cm pieces.

The Perfect Caffeine Shot: Baileys Coffee Cupcakes

Published November 2, 2013 by The Feminist

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I am a huge coffee addict. If coffee were a person, I would actually consider marrying it. I can sum up more types of special coffee flavours than I can sum up US Presidents and I am extremely judgmental of people who have never tasted a Pumpkin Spice Latte, let alone don’t drink coffee at all. (There’s clearly something wrong with them!) Sometimes I even think the guy behind the counter at my local Starbucks knows me better than my own parents…

Yes, if I were a fictional TV character I would definitely be Lorelai Gilmore from the Gilmore Girls: a woman after my heart with infinite babbling capabilities and a huge love for caffeine.

Just like her, I have strongly considered hooking myself up to an IV filled with coffee and carrying it around with me throughout the day.

IV

Needless to say that a coffee cupcake sounds like music to my ears, so even without the addition of Baileys I would be happy to eat an entire batch of these cuties. With the added Baileys, however, I am completely going crazy. The perfection of this cupcake is simply mindboggling: a light sponge, the intense depth of the coffee, the soothing texture of sweet frosting and a kick of boozy Baileys…

My name is Eveline and I am a coffee addict. And I just overdosed on these cupcakes.

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Ingredients (makes 6 big or 8 medium cupcakes)
• 80ml milk
• 40ml Baileys
• 10gr instant espresso powder
• 40gr butter
• 140gr caster sugar
• 120gr plain flour
• ½ tbsp baking powder
• 1 egg

For the Baileys frosting:
• 50gr butter
• 60gr icing sugar
• 2 tbsp Baileys
• 1 tbsp chocolate and hazelnut spread (type Nutella)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and fill a muffin tin with muffin cases.
2. Lightly warm the milk, Baileys and coffee powder in a small sauce pan.
3. Whisk the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder together until you get a breadcrumb consistency.
4. Pour in half of the coffee mixture and mix together on low speed. Add the egg and then the other half of the coffee mixture and keep beating until you get a smooth, glossy and thick batter.
5. Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes.
6. For the frosting, mix all the ingredients together until light and fluffy and spread generously onto the cooled cupcakes.

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Mintspiration: Secrets to a life full of fragrance

Published October 16, 2013 by The Feminist

mint

I was sipping on a hot cup of fresh Moroccan mint tea the other day and I kept thinking to myself: “What is it about mint that makes it so damn tasty?”

The answer to that question is both elaborate and very straightforward at the same time. Of all the fresh herbs out there, mint is probably the herb most associated with cleanliness. One bite of a minty product and your mouth is immediately coated in a refreshing layer of mountain breeze. Chewing gum or tooth paste manufacturers know this but too well, but this doesn’t mean we should limit our mint intake to just the daily brush. On the contrary, mint can be enjoyed in so many different ways, it almost seems as if its uses are limitless.

There are the wonderful minty drinks, like fresh mint tea (so good on a cold winter evening) or mojito (so good on a hot summer day). And let’s not forget how beautiful mint tastes when rubbed on meat, fish or vegetables. And what about mint gravy! Mint yoghurt dip! Drop-dead outrageous mint desserts! (chocolate and mint is such a winning combination!)

So should you still be one of those people who prefer mint on their toothbrush and not in their food, please go away. I do not want to spend my time wasted on people like you who don’t appreciate the awesomeness that is mint.

You heard me.

get out

Move!

whatever

Glad I got rid of that! So dear mint-loving readers, shall we go on celebrating our love for the chosen herb?

The following two dishes are two flavour bombs. I believe the Mediterranean, African and Middle Eastern cuisines are not only among the best in the world, but I also adore how they all mix fresh mint in lots of dishes. Inspired by these cuisines, I conjured up these two beauties:

Mint crusted salmon with South African sweet potato and avocado mash with mint yoghurt sauce

Mint is practically everywhere in this dish! It’s in the crust, in the yoghurt sauce, in the mash,… And still it is not overpowering. It just lifts everything up to an unseen level of splendidness. The herb crust on the salmon is full of spices and flavour… the mash is smooth, comforting and delectably sweet and sour… and the mint yoghurt sauce gives that refreshing zing to make an already yummy meal absolutely delicious.

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Ingredients (serves 2)
• 2 salmon fillets, skinned
• 3 tbsp bread crumbs
• 1 tbsp za’atar
• ½ tsp sumac
• 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
• 2 tbsp olive oil

For the South African mash:
• 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into dices
• 1 avocado, peeled
• 2 spring onions, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• Juice of half a lime
• Lots of black pepper

For the mint yoghurt dip:
• 150ml of yoghurt
• 2 tbsp of fresh mint
• 1 tbsp coriander
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• Juice of half a lime
To serve: some mini green asparagus (perfect!)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Make the crust by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and put them both in an oven-proof dish. Press the mint mixture on top of the salmon fillets and bake into the oven for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile make the mash. Cook the sweet potatoes in some salted boiling water until tender. Drain and mash the potatoes together with the avocado flesh and the lime juice to stop the avocado from turning brown.
3. Season with cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir in the mint and spring onions.
4. Mix all the ingredients for the mint yoghurt dip together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Sweet parsnip and dried fig stir fry with mint

I cannot express enough how much I absolutely loved this dish. The chilli gives a good boost of heat. The turmeric turns it into a fest of golden hues, the dried figs are so intensely sweet and blend so well with the earthy sweetness of the parsnip and then in the end the mint kicks in and balances out all those warm spices and sweetness. It is -in every possible way- perfection.( I served it with some store-bought falafels and although they were really good, I refused to put them in the picture since I didn’t make them myself. It’s a matter of principle.)

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Ingredients (serves 1)
• 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into cubes
• 4 dried figs, cut into small chunks
• ½ tbsp honey
• ½ tbsp turmeric
• ½ large chilli, finely sliced
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground cumin

Method:
1. Cook the parsnips in salted water until they are almost soft.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the drained parsnips, chilli, spices, honey, figs and a splash of water.
3. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Finally stir in the mint.
4. Be amazed!

Feel Good Friday: De-Stress your Weekend with these Happy Songs

Published October 4, 2013 by The Feminist

It’s almost weekend: A time usually associated with peaceful tranquility, joyful bliss and the –what I like to call- “art of doing nothing”. It is a truth so damn evident that we often seem to take it for granted. Tell me something, dear readers: when was the last time you actually had a relaxing weekend?

thinking

Hu? Hu? Hu?

i don't know

My guess is that it was a very long time ago. Instead you probably always end up with a hectic frenzy, trying to cram as many chores as possible into those two days and sabotaging your mental health with a ridiculously long to-do list. Don’t get me wrong, organizing one or two weekend endeavors can indeed be quite beneficial for your social life, but you have to make sure that between all the social activities, you still have some time left for the most important person on the planet: yourself.

This is where the following song list comes in, because what better way to de-stress your weekend than with a soundtrack of happy music? Promise me something: when you come home from the office or school this evening, take off your shoes, open up a bottle of Pinot Noir (or something stronger, I don’t care as long as it makes you happy)and put on a couple of happy tunes. I can assure you that –all of a sudden- you will be in a spiritual state of blissful happiness!

feelgood friday

1) I just wanna make love to you- Etta James


No comment. This is just the BEST.SONG.EVER! Forget Coca Cola Light! With this song, you won’t need caffeine to get absurdly happy!

2) Age- Lianne La Havas


Doesn’t this song just make you giggle? The music video is super cute, the melody is superbly cheerful and the lyrics are spot on: “Is it such a problem if he’s old? As long as he does whatever he is told!” So in the very hypothetical situation that Hugh Jackman, George Clooney or Johnny Depp would stand on my doorstep, I at least have some very appropriate lyrics to fall back on 😉

3) Treasure- Bruno Mars


I really can’t see why you wouldn’t looove this song! It has all the right elements to make you smile: sweet lyrics, good funky beat, crazy-ass dance moves and a ridiculously hot singer.
“Pretty girl, you should be smiling!” Oh Bruno, I most certainly am!

4) L-O-V-E – Nat King Cole


If there ever was such a thing as “My life: the Movie” this would so be the soundtrack. This is by far the best cheer-up song on the planet!

5) Talk Dirty- Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz


Admittedly, after a couple of glasses of Pinot Noir all social restraints seem to have left my body and all I want to do is shake my booty in a very Miley Cyrus-like way. *Blush* But hey, it’s Friday night, the weekend has just begun and it is after all supposed to be “me-time”, right? So go ahead, girl! Shake what ya mamma gave ya!

Cake Season in full Bloom: Boozy and fruity elderflower cake

Published May 25, 2013 by The Feminist

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Elderflower cake is a well-known afternoon tea treat this time of the year: It is easy to bake and the refreshing floral taste of the elderflower transports us to the most sunniest places imaginable, even if it is raining cats and dogs outside.

Most elderflower cakes are made with elderflower cordial, a non-alcoholic soft drink that is often used in cocktails. The elderflower in this amazingly fragrant cake, however, is not so innocent. ( Innocence is not really my style 😉 ) I used “RoomeR”, a wonderful artisanal liquor produced in my hometown Ghent. It gives the cake a great depth and an electrifying boozy aftertaste! Oh yes, the RoomeR turns this cake into something truly special!

roomer3

Those who would really like to bake this cake (If you don’t, you are really missing out on something extraordinary, dear readers! ), but don’t live in Belgium and hence can’t find a bottle of RoomeR, I suggest mixing equal amounts of elderflower cordial and rum. Admittedly, it won’t be exactly the same, but at least you will get that boozy kick 😉 .

The topping was made with RoomeR, elderberry jam and decorated with fresh strawberries. Since the elderflower and the elderberry come from the same plant, it feels very therapeutic to bring these two predestined ingredients back together once more.

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Boozy and fruity elderflower cake

Ingredients:

For the sponge:
• 2 eggs
• 55gr soy spread (or butter)
• 190gr caster sugar
• 160gr plain flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 50ml milk
• 110 ml RoomeR

For the topping:
• 150gr elderberry jam
• 50ml Roomer
• Fresh strawberries

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 20cm diameter loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
2. Mix together the butter, flour, sugar and baking powder until it forms a sandy consistency.
3. Mix together the eggs, milk and RoomeR in a jug and gradually pour the liquid into the crumb mixture.
4. Mix thoroughly until the batter is thick and smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
5. Put the elderberry jam and the RoomeR in a small sauce pan and heat through to create a glossy and runny spread.
6. Once the cake is removed from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then pour over the fruity elderberry spread. Let it sit for half an hour before removing the cake from its tin.
7. Arrange some strawberries on top of the cake.