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Friday, 29 January 2010

Bread and Wine

In the past years, I have felt this ever-growing sensation of 'wanting to go back in time'. An urge for times where the word pollution was not in our dictionaries yet, a deep longing for purity, nature, balance. Three years ago, this quest brought me to Africa, where somehow, my heart came at ease.

We live in a harsh world, where honesty and freedom are often losing the battle against short term gain. We live in a fast world, out of control, yet controlled by revolutionary technology and powerful politicians claiming immortality. More and more people have this restless feeling of being incomplete, of betraying their true self. Mindfulness training sessions are the sell of the day. That is if one has time after the 16 hour work day. And the baby keeps crying.

There is a climate change. There is an increasing awareness amongst the educated within the 6 billion of us, that this is not it. There is more. Or, let's rather say: there can be less. A global warming of the hearts. We no longer want more. We want quality. Small things, slow things, ... old stuff. Or am I being idealistic here?

Personally, I discovered a slice of heaven by exploring the secrets of the old days' bread. Nothing better than kneading a dough after a stressfull day in the office.

Well, anyway, we live in an incredible era; anyone having seen the 3D movie Avatar will undoubtedly have praised the Lord for being born in a time like this. What an honour. A true privilege. Especially when thinking about the thousands of people that are currently suffering from famine, war and disease. I have learnt that even the best wine can have two flavours: Sweet or Bitter. It depends what you are thinking of.

So let's make the best out of 2010, and add some sugar where there's bitterness.

I organized dinner for some friends last weekend, here is my latest creation:

Lasagne of lightly smoked Trout and Nori, crispy Sesame salad basket with a Wasabi and Fennel mayonnaise

Monday, 11 January 2010

New Year's letter

Christmas and New Year... a time spent with family and friends, with your most beloved ones. A time for introspection, to think, learn and forget about the past year and to make at least a few good resolutions for the year ahead. Waw, this is 2010. Did your past ten years go as fast as mine? I can still remember the taste of the delicate Cuban Rhum I was sipping on the night of 31 December 1999 in a famous Brussels bar...  as if it were yesterday.

2010 started rather strangely for me, with the discovery of a medium sized crab in my highly-chlorinated swimming pool (see picture). Did somebody have a similar experience or can one of you tell me how this can happen? It reminds me of that one day where I saw a snow-white rabbit sitting next to a black cat in front of my gate (not joking). Well, it promises to be a special year. I can't wait for the fresh lobster and oysters to appear in my swimming pool.

As usual, it takes me at least the month of January to adapt, that is: writing 10 on all my correspondence instead of 09. And as usual, one of my New Year's resolutions is following a healthier diet, with more room for organically grown vegetables and fruits. I couldn't resist buying the book 'Sumptuous' though, a new release from the hand of Marlene Van Der Westhhuizen with unique photography by Gerda Genis. Didn't see too much focus on veggies in there yet, but let's face it, if the years are flying by as fast as they are, why don't we try to make them as enjoyable as possible? And probably that's the only resolution I'll stick to: make more time for quality moments. That started yesterday by baking a Blueberry Clafoutis (see picture) together with my love, inspired by Marlene's book.

Talking about quality, the other fantastic book new to my library is called 'Home Baking' by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. In this book about bread and pastry, Jeffrey and Naomi reveal the secrets of the traditional sourdough bread, superbly illustrated with their worldwide travel stories about bread. I started my recipe with a Poolish for the 'Portuguese Rye' on Friday and tomorrow (Tuesday) I will finally be able to bake bread. Now, where last did you read a 5-day recipe? No wonder the years fly by in my kitchen.

Well anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful time during the festivities, with plenty of new gastronomical discoveries (crab?). I hope, after this well-deserved break, to be contributing in making 2010 an even more tasteful year for you and your beloved ones.

Thank you for your support and a I wish you a happy and healthy 2010.