Belgium – La nourriture de la Belgique

Belgium Flag

Unusual Fact: There are over 800 types of beer made in Belgium

NOTE: Both of these recipes you have to start preparing the day before

This week we have my grand parents staying with us. I really like to do a country cook up when we have people staying. This week Granny and Poppy got to try the cuisine of Belgium.

I have to tell you, I have really been looking forward to cooking for Belgium. All that chocolate! So it seems fit that I made chocolate mousse this week. Obviously you would have many different versions of chocolate mousse. Although chocolate mousse originally comes from France this is a Belgian recipe. I believe that the French recipes have a lot of sugar and cream. This one uses egg whites to get it light and fluffy instead of cream.

This mousse definitely needs the cream to go with it, I sweetened my whipped cream on top with some icing sugar. We had an excess of strawberries in the fridge so we served ours with a strawberry rather than raspberries. The strawberries cuts through the richness of the chocolate and add another texture. I used 70% cocoa Belgian chocolate, but any brand of dark cooking chocolate will do. Make sure it has lots of cocoa.

This recipe was from the SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) off a television show called Taste Le Tour with Gabriel Gaté. If you follow this link you can see the video of him making it and the recipe. I really like Gabriel’s way of serving the mousse with the piped cream and raspberries on top. I tried to do it my self. Unfortunately I did not whip the cream for long enough so the pattern did not stay. Make sure you mousse has at least 6 hours to set in the fridge or it will be too sloppy.

Me: 9

Angus: 9

Mum: 9

Dad: 9

Granny: 9

Poppy: 8

I also made Carbonnade Flamanade which is the regional dish of Flanders (according to Wikipedia) which is located in the North of Belgium. Carbonnade Flamanade is a lot like the French Beef bourguignon except this uses ale instead of red wine.

Make sure you have a large pot that can go in the oven. I started out with a pot on the stove for frying the beef, pancetta and vegetables, but then I found that it could not hold it all at the same time. So when it came time to put it in the oven for two hours I transferred it all to a large glass dish that can go in the oven. Once again try to give it a whole over night marinating in the ale as this is best, mine had 24 hours marinating. We used coopers pale ale. Cooking it in the oven allows the meat to go all melt in your mouth, ours was in the oven for 2 and a half hours.

This recipes is from the BBC’s (Brittish Broadcasting Service) magazine Good Food. You can see the original site here. I served mine with a creamy mash potato. My mash potato had lots of butter, a few tables spoons of cream and a few of milk.

Me: 8.5

Angus: 7

Mum: 8.5

Dad: 8.52

Granny: 9

Poppy: 9

Flanders Map
Flanders Map
Flanders Map
Flanders Map

Carbonade Flammanade

Ingredients

1¼kg stewing beef, cut into 4cm cubes
400ml Trappist ale such as Leffe or Chimay, or other dark ale
3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp olive oil
250g diced pancetta
2 carrots, sliced
2 onions, sliced
1 leek, sliced
1 tbsp tomato purée
350ml beef stock
1 bouquet garni (a small bunch of thyme, parsley stalks, a bay leaf and about 6 peppercorns tied in muslin)
a handful of parsley, chopped

Method

Marinate the beef overnight in the ale with the garlic and bay leaves. The next day, drain the beef from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper and toss it in the seasoned flour until evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour.
Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole until hot. Fry the beef in 3-4 batches for about 5 minutes per batch, stirring occasionally, until it is a rich golden brown all over. You may need to add a little more oil between batches but make sure it is hot again before adding the next batch. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside. Don’t worry if the bottom of the casserole is starting to brown, this all adds to the flavour of the finished dish.
Lower the heat to medium and fry the pancetta in the casserole for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden. Scoop the pancetta out with a slotted spoon and set aside with the beef.
Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/gas 3. Tip the carrots, onions and leek into the casserole and fry, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown – this takes about 12 minutes. Spoon in the tomato purée and continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the beef and pancetta and pour in the reserved marinade. Bring to a simmer, scraping any sticky bits off the bottom of the pan, then add all the beef stock and bouquet garni to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper and bring everything to the boil. Remove from the heat. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours, stirring once halfway through. (The carbonnade may now be left to cool and frozen for up to 1 month. Add 100ml/31⁄2 fl oz more stock to the sauce when reheating.) When the beef is ready, taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Scatter the chopped parsley over the top and serve straight from the casserole, with creamy mash or jacket potatoes and buttered greens or cabbage.

Coopers Pale Ale
Coopers Pale Ale
Marinating the meat
Marinating the meat
The final stew
The final stew
The final stew
The final stew
Served Up
Served Up

Mousse Au Chocolate de Belgique

Ingredients

2 tbsp cream, plus 1½ cups whipped cream, to serve
200 g dark cooking chocolate, cut into pieces
4 egg yolks, plus 6 eggwhites
pinch of cream of tartar
1 tbsp caster sugar
500 g raspberries

Instructions

Chilling time: 6 hours or more

Place the cream and chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bain marie) over medium heat. Whisk until the chocolate has melted and is smooth. Remove the bowl from the bain-marie and stir in the egg yolks. Add a pinch of cream of tartar to the eggwhites and beat until fairly firm. Add the sugar and continue beating the whites into stiff peaks. Using a whisk, gently incorporate one-quarter of the beaten whites into the chocolate preparation, then carefully fold in the rest of the whites. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe it into six glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to set for half a day. Before serving, pipe a little whipped cream on top of each mousse and garnish with a few raspberries.

Chocolate mousse with flayed strawberry
Chocolate mousse with flayed strawberry
Chocolate mousse with flayed strawberry
Chocolate mousse with flayed strawberry

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