Myself and Maggi

Things are quite busy these days. Promoting books, working on another book (to be released spring 2016), writing my column for Sjiek magazine, doing lots of productions here and there and maintaining this lovely space. I love it, I have finally found my groove. On days that I'm not working on my own recipes I like to cheat a little by using something that makes cooking a bit easier and faster. I'm not a pot and satchel person myself so when MAGGI asked me to get creative with one of their products I took on the challenge.

I'm introducing one of their products today. Braadstomen is steamed chicken from a bag. You place the chicken with some fresh veg in a bag, tie-wrap it and place it in the oven for 40 minutes. It's sounds dangerous but it's not. It's like magic, delicious and super easy to prepare. The satchel contains a steaming bag, a tie-wrap and herbs to season the chicken. And after 40 minutes you have this amazing tender chicken.

MAGGI sent Loran to my home to shoot a video in which we demonstrate how to prepare the chicken and what one can do in 40 minutes. Watch the video of Loran and I preparing the chicken, embroidering the napkin and taking the above photo. Plus you get the see my home, it's all quite embarrassing - ha!!


Recipe

Preparation

Steam the chicken fillet with the chopped onion and peppers for 40 minutes in the oven, follow the instructions on the bag. When the 40 minutes are over toss the content of the bag in a large pan together with  the beans and corn. Cut the chicken in smaller chunks and heat until the beans are hot.

Serve with taco shells, fresh lettuce, sour cream and guacamole.

Quick Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados (mashed)
  • 1 large red onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of MAGGI Braadstomen Mexicaans
  • 600 gr chicken fillet
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red peper
  • 1 yellow peper
  • 1 can crispy corn
  • 1 can chilli beans
  • a pinch of smoked paprika

You can download the branch template for the napkin here. I've used a Chain Stitch for the stem and the Lazy Daisy Stitch for the petals. Use a transfer pencil to transfer the branch on to the napkin.

Happy long weekend x

Embroidered Napkins for Easter

Sunday it's Easter, spring's Christmas ... or it feels like that these days. The supermarkets were packed today and also IKEA. Those ball pools always freak me out as it's a pool full of germs. I'd never let my kid play in a ball pool if I had one.

I bring you embroidered napkins today for Easter breakfast, lunch or brunch. You can download the alphabet template here.

dk-servet02.jpg

I've used a simple chain stitch and a transfer pencil to trace the letters on to the napkins.

How to Make a Tea Crate

Last fall I was invited to the press day of Dille & Kamille to celebrate their 40th anniversary. In their Antwerp branch me and other press folk were treated to a great workshop on tea and flower and herb infusions. We were given the chance to make our own infusions and that was quite exciting as infusions tell a lot about one's personality. The infusion I made told me that I'm cheerful, hurried and suffer from inflammations and infections - that couldn't be more true. So if you  want to know who you truly are, book a infusions workshop. It's also really tasty ;)

Storing tea leaves, herbs and other leafy bits can get messy and I really dislike messy. That's why I invented not a tea box but a tea crate. I painted this wooden crate in F&B Vert te Terre (the same colour as my front door) and the lids of the jars with chalkboard paint.

Not only do I have room for tea I also have space left for honey, cute heart shaped dishes, spoons and sieves. It's home is in a cupboard in the dining room, so I can put the crate on the table and I (or my guests) can whip up a nice cup of tea.

Do you want to know my personal infusion ingredients?

  • Rosebuds - for the delicious taste and smell.
  • Marigold - disinfects and thus good for infections.
  • Nettle - for digestive disorders and good for anaemia and hay fever.
  • Elderflower - good for the immune system against colds, but also against headache.

And it looks really pretty too, right? I try to drink a cup a day, the taste is something out of the ordinary.

Cleaning Basket

My home is rather big and although I have a busy schedule I love to clean my own home. I makes me feel that I'm on top of things and that I know for sure that everything is cleaned the way I want it to. Let's just call my fussy and a neat freak.

Cleaning 3 floors can be tricky with carrying all the cleaning stuff up and down, so I've invented this wicker cleaning basket. It holds all the stuff I need and I can add more stuff to it that needs to be on another floor. It works perfectly for me.

I've made fabric lining in the basket to hold all my bottles and brushes. The fabric lining is machine washable so I can easily keep it clean. Do not forget to give the fabric a wash before you sew the lining as it may shrink in the washing machine.

I've used a wicker basket and a table runner from Dille & Kamille.

Use glass buckle bottles for your liquid cleaners as the bottles they usually come in are quite ugly. I've made tags using a vintage tag maker.

You can find tons of cleaning supplies at Dille & Kamille.

To read this post in Dutch, head over to Dille & Kamille

Decorate Your Own China for Valentine

There's a lot of china in my home, most of it is white as I find that most food looks good on white. I also love china with patterned rims and trims, so I've made my own using a porcelain pen. It's super easy to do and it actually stays put after washing it in the dishwasher.

For the biscuits I've used the chocolate milk powder you can buy at Dille & Kamille and it tastes exceptional good.

The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 gr plain flour (more for dusting)
  • 100 gr white caster sugar
  • 250 gr unsalted butter
  • 1 sachet (20 gr) of Café-Tasse chocolate powder

Preparations

Sift the flour and mix it with the sugar and chocolate powder in a bowl. Rub the cold unsalted butter in the flour mixture until everything is combined and you have a smooth dough. Pat it flat to 5 cm and chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 170 C. Roll out the dough to 1 cm thick and cut out the cookies. Lay the cookies on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool on a wire rack.

How to Paint a Chair

There's no denying that I have a slight chair obsession going on. My home counts many - o- chairs, it's crazy and I seriously have to do something about it. It's when there's a party that I can actually save my marriage as I can put all the chairs I horde in the basement to good use.

The chairs we actually use on a daily basis are those by Dille & Kamille as they come in plain wood or ready painted in white. It's brilliant as we can paint them in any colour we like.

And trust me, my dear Bo doesn't mind to paint a Dille & Kamille chair at all. As long as I don't haul anything plastic inside I'm good to go.

We use acrylic paint, round brushes and rollers to paint. Read more about the tools en techniques right here and here.

The chairs I'm most fond of are these two. On the left chair 763 and to the right chair 189. Again, you can find the paint numbers I've used in the above mentioned links.

Vase Villages

Christmas decorating is in full swing. The decorating progress always starts at the end of November and ends at the 24th of December. It's not that I'm slow, I just can't stop.

These vase villages are really simple to make. Use any clear glass vase that's wide and high enough to hold at least a couple of trees, a paper house and a Schleich animal. I've used decorative white sand which I bought at a garden centre. It looks so much more like real snow instead of the fake snow you can buy in bags. You can read about the bottle brush trees I've used right here.

I bought the vintage Putz paper houses years ago on eBay. You can still find quite a lot of Putz auctions online. I have my eye on this lot!!

Have fun! More Christmas stuff until it's Christmas ... just 1 week left!!!!