donderdag 30 juli 2009

Foody Friday family barbeque

Two years agoo, my father died of Alzheimer disease just like my father in law did last week...
Since the dead of my father we try to come together with the family around the date that dad was born and have a get together in his memory. We had started having these Birthday BBQ a few years before Dad died and mom tought it would be a good idea to keep doing them and so remembering Dad's birthday by.
This gathering took place last sunday.We where lucky with the weather and
like always we had a good day with lots of food and drinks and with lots of laughs.
Of course I had to make something too and I invented a summer vegetable salad that I named:
Victorine kitchen garden salad.

Victorine is my fathers mother and she was a farmers wife. They had a fabulous kitchen garden of witch I have fond memory's of. See the september topic of red apples from last year.
So in honour of her and her kitchen garden I made this salad.
It contains masses of fresh veg and a rather special dressing.

Combine steamed of parboiled pieces of carrot, green beans, snowpeas, cauliflower, white Belgian Asparagues together with raw pieces of celary, zucchini and tiny tomatoes.
I cook all my vegetables separate because they all need different cooking times. I leave them crunchy as well. You af course can take other vegeatbles also.
Then I created this dressing

Creamy sour cream and lemon dressing

Combine one small tub of sour cream with two heaped TS of good mayo.
Put 4 tablespoons of white wine vinigair in ( mine was flavered with minth), salt, pepper, some dryed salad herbs and the grated rind of a washed and untreaded lemon. It gives you a thick creamy dressing. Make it fairly acid at this time since. The salad needs this.

Toss together an hour before serving. The vegatables wil dilute the saladdressing a bit.

As always my younger brother was the barbeque master.

Here we are still on the appetizersGuacamole and a spicy cold mango soup and spicy meatballs with tzaziki.

After the appetizers there chicken drumsticks, pork tenderloin, small steaks, lam cutlets, sausages and all different kind of salads to go with it. For desert I made my mini cupcakes. Mom said, not to much and to big since I just want a little nibble to go with the coffee. I said of course,Mom and brought 60 tiny cupcakes.....Lemon cupcakes with lemoncurd buttercream and blueberry topping.And the all time favorite chocolade cupcakes with pink buttercream and raspberry topping. Of course there where way to many as there was way to much food anyway but I did not hear complains when they where asked to take the leftovers home. I heard the last cc 's where eaten yesterday and they where as nice as they where on sunday! I am still looking for insets for the cakeboxes for mini cupcakes. Can find them anywhere in Europe and the American shops won't send them because I do not want 1000 or so and posting is so expensive! If anyone can help it would be most apreciated.

It was a very nice family day and the star of the day was of course.....the latest addition to our family, our little granddaughter, Anne-Fleur!

dinsdag 28 juli 2009

Three or more birdcages...and a babygirls room

Once again it is Tree or more Tuesday hosted by
Today I showcase the birdcages I have collected in the last few years.

These little vintage birdcages are all the rage in Belgium and Holland for the moment. Everyone thinks they are so decorative. I was charmed by them too so I started my little colletion with the white one on the bottom right. It once was black and is a cage for exhibiting birds in on bird shows. You see them quite often on fleamarkets and so and they are still inexpensive to buy.
The very small one on the bottom was my latest find. I bought it at an brocante fair last year and painted it white to fit the baby room.
The blue one is my favorite. This one I got from a forum friend who also has a small antiques shop. I love this one very much.
First all these little cages where in a corner of my livingroom together with the little nest and the oil painting of the doves. But then I found this light garland with the birds at Ikea and I knew I had to incorporate these with the birdcages to go in the baby's room. I makes a nice feature at night for my granddaughter.

I finally finished my granddaughters room. It took a bit longer then I had planned but I is ready now. It could do with some more finishing touches but it is almost there.
Next to the bird cage wall is the bookcase. I am sad I did not have a vintage bookcase to put here but I had 4 of these Billie bookcases from Ikea in this room before it became Anne-Fleur's room so I had to use at least one of them. For years I have been collecting Pop-Up books and now there is finally a little girl who will for sure enjoy them in the coming years.

Next to the bookcase is a little vintage desk and the chair from my grandmothers kitchen. I still see her sitting on that chair peeling potatoes and so. I also have her kitchen table but that one was to big for this room. I want to paint the little table white I think. This is one of the things I still need to do. If you then turn to your right you then will see the bed my parents bought for me to sleep in when I was a little baby. I painted it a aqua kind of blue and matched it with a quilt that I made myself and some lace Ikea curtains. The old red chair is to be recovered. That is the second thing I still want to do but I am hessitating to do it myself because it is a difficult but beautiful shape. This is one of my better vintage finds. I only paid about 35 dollars for it.To your left under the window, stands this also vintage and very small baby's highchair. I bougth it many years agoo to display the replica porcelain doll's in that I made some 20 years agoo. This one sitting in the chair is the very first and one I made and the only once I made handmade clothes for. The doll sits on one my very first babyquilt. It is more then 20 years old.This delightful metal flowering walllight I bougt from the same lady where I bought the blue birdcage from. It was just perfect for this room.Anne-Fleur's daddy made this drawing when he was 5 or 6 years old. I found it last year when we where clearing our attic out. It fits the room perfectly. Anne-Fleur's room was her daddy's room for almost 25 years !I you turn again, you see the dresser and the shelving unit. The dresser was bought when our daughter was a baby and I will now use it as a changing station. On the shelving unit sit a very special toy. My very special Cotton Rabbit all dressed out in pink with white kitty's on her skirt!

I love her!! Next to the dresser this beautiful hook with a glass flower. I found these last year in a German Ebay store. The thing still missing in this room are my two oilpaintings of my fifties girls. I especially wanted to be in this room but they are nowhere to be found. The lays for years at the same place in my closet and when I wanted to put them up I could not find them anymore.

This is my last birdcage. I think I will move it to the baby's room too. I now resides in the bathroom. This is a very special birdcage for me. My husband and I got it for our silver wedding anniversary. Whe where surprised by this gift until we remover the paper inside the cage. Out came a beautiful bronze statue of two birds on a branch by the famous French animalier sculpter André Vincent Becquerel. I will show it to you next week.

Hope you enjoyed my birdcage and babyroom story's. Until next week and thanks for visiting.

vrijdag 24 juli 2009

Foody Friday Pasta dish

It's tomato time again in the garden and like every year we have some heirloom tomatoes too.

Here you can see a selection of them. Dark, old Mennonite tomatoes, white Coeur de boeuf, meaty pink old Belgian tomatoes and tiny marble size tomatoes.
So it is time to toss them is a friday leftovers pasta dish.

I brown some mince meat and spice it up with black pepper, salt, sweet paprika and then I add all kind of diced tomatoes. Ad a bit of tomato paste and let it stew for a few minutes. Then add a few torn fresh basil leaves.

Add some small pieces of zucchine and put the whole in a baking dish.
Top with some breadcrumbs and some grated parmezan cheese and bake until golden.

Serve with some garlic bread or some crackers or french baguette.


dinsdag 21 juli 2009

Three or more Hydrangea's

Since my earliest years we had hydrangea's in our garden. The garden where I grew up with was very small but from what I remember it had one big pink hydrangea bush in it and one lilac tree.
It was the same variety as shown below.
A big pink tub filled with an enormous plant of pink hydrangea's. A parting gift from my quilting lady's.

When I married we had no hydrangea's in our garden for a good many years.
Since rearanging our garden we have lots in lots of types and colours.

A new variety for me. The flowers are a kind of purple/red and it has big heads of flowers. I think they will dry up most beautiful in autumm.

I can't keep blue hydrangea's very well. They all turn pink or lilac. These where support to be blue mopheads.The purest white. I planted these in big tubs too. Don't know if that is a good idea when it gets cold.I don't like lacecaps as much als mopheads but these are kind of niceThe Annabelle's are enormous this year. Flowerheads as big as 30 cm / 12 " across. But when it rains the stems break because of the heavynes of the flowerheads. So sad. But up to now we have been lucky and there has not been to much damage.I love this variety. The softest pink and something between a mophead and a lacecap.
There are tree varieties missing. A very pale blue one that is supposed to flower all summer and a very special one with very dark leaves and white flowers trimmed with pink/orange. But these have not done so well. We have had a very warm June and I planted them in sunny place. It was a place that is too hot for them. I need to find another spot.

We also have a lot of blue lacecaps,I think they are calles Blue Moon, but they have not done eather this year and I don't like them at all. Hydrangea's should be blowsy and fat and this variety is nothing like that.

See you next week for the next Tree or more.

vrijdag 17 juli 2009

Foodie Friday Sad food

Can you make sad food??
Lately I have been making it for my father in law.
He was in the last stages of Alzheimer disease and he could not eat much any more. Chewing and biting was no longer possible.
So I did what I do best. I made him some nice food he still could eat.

I pureed banana's, kiwi's, pears,stawberry's and so on and mixed it with some special baby cookies or with curd cheese. Especially for him I sifted out all the seeds from the kiwi and the strawberry.
I also made him some mashed patatoes, mixed with lovely carrots or broccoli. It was real tasty food.
He enjoyed this food for two more weeks and on Thuesday night he closest his eyes and died in his sleep.
Making this food could have been a joy since I almost could make the same food for my little granddaughter. But now she will neve know him....

So yes, you can make sad food.

dinsdag 14 juli 2009

3 or more tabacco jars

Why I have 3 jars or boxes related to smoking I don't know. Nobody smoke's in the house.
But my father and brothers and my grandfather where smokers.
This first box was an Ebay find. I stumbled on it and it was almost to be sold but nobody seemed to want it. I was struck by it from the moment I layed eyes on this battered old thing.
It has so much charm. I guess it must be from the early Victorian times maybe 1840 or so?? Don't ask me why but it has that feeling over it. It is a dog kennel with a little copper dog in front of it. The box is made of wood and decorated with metal studs.As you can see,it is really battered and brused. On the inside you can see remnants of the foil that traditionally covered the inside of sigar boxes and it also has the dividers for the sigars.
Don't you find this box as charming as I did when I first saw it???
The second tabacco jar my daughter and I found it at an antiques fair. My daughter absolutely wanted it but she could not afford it, since it costed almost 150 dollars. But I also was charmed by it and so it went home with us. I know why my daugther wanted it. As always it was because there was a cat on it.
Once again it is a dogkennel and two little dogs lay at the door of there kennel that is overgrown with ivy.

But aldo it is a dogs kennel the cat is master of the roost by proudly sitting on top of the kennel. The back of this box is plain but at the side you see two ivy bushes.

Are'nt they sweet little puppies?

My third tabacco jar is once again a dog kennel. In our country I olden days you often saw dogs who had an old beer or wine barrel for a kennen.
This ceramic jar comes from a little ceramic factory that once existed in the town where I was born.My grandfather, who's father worked as a blacksmith in that factory had a tabacco jar like this. These jars come in two sizes and in two colors, green and golden brown.
We never knew a lot about that factory, even the city had little or no interest. After my grandparents dyed and the house was cleared we found several things from that factory but nobody wanted these object because they where oldfashioned. I took home a pair of candlesticks because I found them very charming and an old flowerpot. My mother took home three majolica plates with grapes. How ever took home the tabacco jar I do not know.
But the fact of the matter is that after a while my joungest brother began to have an interest in this factory and started collecting the stuff. I found this tabacco jar in Antwerp in a tiny antique store and my brother was very jalous of it but he took revange and now is an authority on the subject. He has a major collection, hase founded a collecters group and is staging exebitions on the subject of this majolica factory.

You now can understand why this little bulldog in his barrel means so much to mee. Want to see more of this factory ? Here is the link
Hope you enjoyed my stuff and....sorry for the dust!

donderdag 9 juli 2009

Xmas in July and Foody Friday

in July!

What a fun idea it this.Whilest it was raining today I got in the Xmas spirit and looked at all my old Xmas pictures.
In Belgium we have not a lot of Xmas traditions since up to a decenia or so agoo, Xmas was mainly a Christian holiday. We had a tree with some ornaments and a festive meal and that was it. Now a days with all the influences trought TV and internet and so, Xmas trees and all the decorations are becoming more and more popular.

So I am just going to show you a lot of pictures of my trees and tablescapes. I don't do a lot of other decorations since this is difficult to manage when you have like me a lot of cats. No family pictures either I'm afraid. Since I am cook and host I don't take pictures at that moment.
Because it is also Foody Friday I am putting a recipie for Chocolate Truffles at the end of the blog.
Since Belgium is know worldwide for its very good chocolates I thought this was appropriate. Sadly there are now pictures of them but believe me these truffles are devine.

My first nativity set. I still love it after all those years.People think I am crazy to have a mouse and a cat nativity set but what the heck...I like them!

Xmas trees of the last 4 years

The Bird tree
In 2008 I wanted a non traditional tree with dry branches witch I adorned with 70 white glass birds, some clear glass balls and some pampilles. There where also a lot of tiny snowballs on nylon threads and of course some white lights.


The Snowflake Tree

I was very, very pleased with this tree and it is still one of my all time favorites. On Ebay I bought from a Canadian lady about 170 handmade snowflakes and it made a fabulous Xmas tree. Some clear glass ball and about 600 white lights finished it off beautifully. In the top stood my little Steiff snowman!2007
The Red Roses and Cardinal tree

Sadly I have no really good pictures of this tree. It was fabulous but very hard to take good pictures of. One of those trees I truly was proud of. For the first time ever I bought all new things. The ball I bought on sale. The birds I bought on Ebay and the rest, like the red glass hearts and the velvet balls I bought localy.

The White Tree

Full of white balls and all my mainly white glass figurative ornaments and once again all white lights.

Some of my tablescapes from some years back


This was certainly 6 years back
Of my very best tablescapes, I sadly have no good pictures

Christmas and the cats

When you have cats and love them, Christmas with cats is fun to experience. We have laughts a lot with the fun things they do once the Xmas tree is up. I only have glass ornaments and never, ever will buy plastic ones, just because I have 11 cats in the house. Only kittens will try to climb the tree. My big Maine Coons love to sleep under the tree since I always put a fleece as a tree skirt under it.
I must admid, I am at home all the time and at night the cats don't sleep in the livingroom. So that helps a lot. On the other hand I put unbreakeble things and bells at the bottem of the tree. So I can hear when they are in the vicinity of the tree. Here is an impression of a Xmas with the cats!

BlumaBlue admires the White Xmas tree

Gulara, 12 weeks old is the one and only cat ever to climb the tree!!

The cat Xmas tree. Not meant for the cats but it a tree and decorations with cats.

I collect glass cat ornaments. The old fashioned kind.

In 2008 I designed this Cattery Chrismas tree with wood ornaments I bought at Ebay.I painted them in a greyish/blue color and made some shading on them. Later I gave the ornaments to my daughter since she said that she could not have a Xmas tree because of her 4 cats. This tree is fun for the cats since they can play with the ornaments, sleep under it and if somethings fall out, nothing gets broken.

Koko half asleep under the Cattery tree.

Biggles and Caitlin are garding my Snowbabies collection

Pregnant Poppy sleeping under the Red Roses Xmas tree.

Chocolate Truffles Recipie

This is for a lot of truffles but I assure you, you will need them becauste they are delicious.
Put them in a nice box and you have a perfect gift.
One again my recipie is in metric so please trow it trough a converter program.
You need:
200 grams of real unsalted butter
1500 grams of very good (at least 50% cacaofat) dark cooking chocolate
1 liter of single cream.
real Dutch cacoa powder

Put a pan on the heath and poor the cream in it and let it come to the boil.
Chop the chocolade in small pieces and let it melt aux bain marie and then stirr the chocolade in the cream away from the stove. Chocolade may never cook or become to hot!
Put away in the fridge until the next day. The next day you heat the mixture gently and add the soft butter.
Put in the fridge again until the chocolade mix is hardened.
Then,with a small spoon, you scoop out little balls and quickly roll them in to long our round chapes and dust them with real Dutch cacao powder.

You can also roll them in chopped pistachio nuts, slivered almonds or coconut. You can also give them something extra by adding a small amount of cherry of raspberry liqueur.

While forming them, your hand will get messy real quick. Dust your hands with cacao powder or powdered sugar to prevent the chocolade clinging to them. When your hands gets to dirty wash them and then cool them in cold water before starting again. Or you could do it with plastic gloves.The forming of the truffles is a big job so let your bigger kids help.

Put in a nice box and give them to friends and family.