Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where did we go? Brugge

Even though it was raining off and on for the entire day, Brugee has to be one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been too. We had such a lovely time there, touring around museums, eating in cafes, taking a ride on a horse drawn carriage, it was a very interesting day.

Brugge is a canal city, often called 'the Venice of the North,' and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The streets are full of lace and chocolate, bakeries and tea houses, Christmas shops and candlelit restaurants. There are museums about all sorts of different aspects of Belgian life.

We went to two of these museums. The first museum we went to was 'Choco Story'. All about the history and making of chocolate. It was surprisingly very interesting, and there were free samples! I had no idea that chocolate had such a rich history.

The other museum that we went to was the 'Frite Museum'. All about the history of the potato and the fry, this was also very interesting. The whole museum smelt of fries, and they made really good ones, served with a variety of sauces. Who new that the potato had such an interesting history as well!

We also went for a horse drawn carriage tour of the city. Being driven around Brugge by horse was such a magical way to see the city. We were able to see everywhere, walk around a bit, and the best part was that it gave us a better idea of the places we really wanted to get to.

One of my favourite parts of the day was stopping in at a little tea room for a snack. Now, I love drinking tea and coffee from a cup and saucer, and the is how we had it. The service was wonderful, the presentation fabulous (exactly how I like it, saucers and all) and the mini tartlettes were delicious. My only complaint was that there were too many tarts to choose from!

We had such a lovely day in Brugge, I'm sure that we will be visiting the city again soon!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gluten free Doughnuts

In Turkey, we could never really find a lot of doughnuts, let me re-phase that, we could never find doughnuts. Doughnuts we something that we ate during our yearly trips to Canada. However, Belgium has got great doughnuts. I've eaten doughnuts the past three days...

With my parents here, we've been eating loads of super yummy baked goods, (i.e. crossiants and doughnuts) unfortunately that 'we' does not include Seyfi. So, we thought that today we would make something that Seyfi really loves and misses, Doughnuts.

My dad and I were looking at gluten free girl's website, trying to find something to make, and there it was! She had recently posted a recipe for gluten free doughnuts, and that is what we made. They turned out great. The recipe was very easy to use, and it really didn't take as much time as I thought it would. They were so great in fact that my dad couldn't tell that there was a difference! Thank you gluten free girl. (Also thank you, because my dad read your comments about needing a scale, so he went to the store and bought me one!)

We are serving the doughnuts tonight with cinnamon apple, caramel swirl ice cream that I made in my brand new ice cream maker. I will post my recipe for that a bit later on...

Another great day in Rotterdam

While they were visiting my parents had wanted to go and visit the Netherlands, so I thought I would take them to Rotterdam. We had had such a lovely time there the first time that we visited the city, I hoped that it would be nice for them too.

It was. Rotterdam is such a beautiful water city. Modern buildings, canals, bikes and trees, the city has so much to offer a visitor. We decided to drive around a bit and then head to the Maritime museum.

The museum was very good. If you like boats, I think it would be even more interesting. My dad liked it. There was a big restored boat outside to tour around. I found that really interesting. Alara loved it, You could touch everything, and see how a boat works. The only thing she didn't like was that the steering wheel didn't turn.

What I really liked about the museum was the childrens activity room that they had set up. It was appropriate for kids of all ages, everyone could play and learn something there. The room is set up with a nautical theme, and covers (in my opinion) all aspects of boat and port life, both on and off a boat. Alara had a great time and made a new Dutch friend.

The day was finished off with a hot chocolate and apple pie at a local cafe. The apple pie was so good, and so was the hot chocolate. I'm glad that we were able to have another great day in Rotterdam. It is a great city, with something for everyone. I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

World War One Tour

My mom and dad arrived on Sunday. After their very long trip (there were some problems with the train) they wanted to have a down day which was Monday. So yesterday we went on a small tour of some of the WWI sites in the area.

To be very honest, I didn't know what to expect, but we had a lovely day driving around the Belgian countryside. There are lots of cemeteries and monuments to remember the soldiers who died here. We went to both the Canadian site and a British one. Both of these sites were beautifully kept and had wonderful gardens around them.

What I found really interesting to visit were the trenches. In the town of Diksmuide, there are the 'trenches of death' where the Belgian troops fought. These trenches were very long, narrow and deep. I couldn't imagine spending months fighting and living in these trenches. While we were there it was wet, but not cold, how could it have been for these men?

Going to these kinds of places makes you respect the job of a solider, men and women who put aside their own safety to go to fight for justice, safety and peace. I never thought about the job of a solider, until I married one. I definitely have a big respect for them.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gluten free Ravioli

I'm really happy with the gluten free pasta recipe that I have, so yesterday I decided to make ravioli. It turned out so yummy! I stuffed them with three cheeses, fresh basil and oregano, served them with a really simple tomato sauce and they were a big hit. Such a big hit that Alara actually ate two plates of them!

The thing about making ravioli, they way that I did it, it is a lot of work! I did each one individually. Silly! Next time I am going to do them in groups using two big sheets of pasta.

Luckily I had a helper. She helped crank the pasta maker, she helped put the cheese in the ravioli, she helped to close them. But honestly, the biggest help from her came when she went into the living room to watch tv and fell asleep!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Apple Buter

I'm telling you, I am more busy now that I am not working!! We are all over the place these days! Wednesday library, Tuesday play dates, taking care of the garden, having friends over for lunch, getting ready for my parents big visit! It's is great, I love to have stuff to do, which is why I loved making this apple butter.

Making this batch of apple butter took the whole day. We had to go and collect all the apples from the trees in the back yard, then sort them out (some had already been eaten by our garden friends), then we washed, peeled, and cut them, put them on the stove and let them cook for hours.

Making apple butter is so easy, cook the apples with some spices, (I use ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and a few cloves), then when the apples are mushy add in your sugar ans some lemon juice and cook down until thick. I really like my apple butter to be thick, so I cooked it for a long time. I put it into clean, hot jars and sealed them. So easy, and so yummy.

The problem now is, what do I do with the rest of the apples I have? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gluten free Lasagna

Part of our new gluten free life has been getting use to the idea of not being able to buy anything we want, exactly as we like them, for example, pastas. We can find penne, spirals and spagetti, but nothing else- and I love lasanga. I figured I'd have to learn how to make pasta.

A few weeks ago, I was at a flea market and and found a pasta maker (for an unbelievably cheap price).

I made my lasagna noodles and a bit of lingune to have for lunch. I couldn't believe how good it was, and easy. I don't know if it was the sauce (made with extra 'hidden' vegetables, or the three different cheeses, or the gluten free pasta, but it had to have been the best lasagna I've ever eaten.

I always serve my lasagna with a nice ceaser salad on the side. I like the way the creamy garlic of the salad mixes with the cheesy tomato of the lasagna. I think it is one of my favourite meals, and Alara told us it was one of her favourites too!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An update...

Sorry I've been out for a while, we had a few things to do, and I have had a bit of a cold, but the blog will be up and running again now without fail...

Last week we went back to Paris for the afternoon and had a wonderful time. We went to Montmartre. We walked all around the artist and had a portrait of Alara drawn. It was such a beautiful afternoon with the sun shinning on us.

We ended up staying there a bit later than planned, so we had a wonderful Moroccan dinner and then drove past the Eiffel Tower... It was beautiful.