Monday, January 25, 2010

Coconut with Balsamic Vinegar

I went to a very unusual food tasting given in a TED X talk by Bernard Lahousse. He is an internationally renowned food scientist who gives advice to top chefs and food companies all over the world.

He told us that certain groups of foods have a basic similarity which makes it possible to mix foods within that group and find them pleasing to the palette, even though the idea of putting them together might not have occurred to anyone eg kiwi + oyster, chocolate + purée of oyster + vodka. It is in this way that creative chefs are pairing foods to bring us new gastronomical choices. This is termed "molecular gastronomy" and more information can be found at

Have a look at and you will find a chart showing links to different foods which pair well with an apple including
Foods: Parmesan, Butter and Gruyere
Beverages: Castañal Galicia, Chardonnay and Chardonnay (oak)
Chocolate, coffee, tea: Tea black, Dominican Republic white chocolate and green tea.
We can also look up a food on the site to find an alternative with similar taste if we are missing an ingredient for a recipe.

Many chefs around the world are now using Food Pairing.

We were invited to mix and match foods from a selection as follows:

- chicken, salami, caviar
- dessicated coconut, blackcurrant jam, dark chocolate
- balsamic vinegar, cherry vinegar, kecap manis sauce (a bit like black treacle)
- mustard, mild chili paste, sesame seeds, cashew nuts, olive oil
- cheddar, butter, soft cheese
- mint leaves
- whisky, rum

This was a fun game and as odd as it may sound, I recommend:
- coconut with balsamic vinegar
- mustard with mint leaves
- chocolate with cheddar and chili paste
- chocolate with caviar

The Flemish Primimitives will hold a seminar exploring new tastes on 8 February 2010 at the Concertgebouw in Brugge. Famous chefs and scientists will present their ideas including the renowned Belgian chocolatier, Dominique Persoone. Tickets costs 295 € + VAT.

"The Flemish Primitives is a unique combination of the strong history in gastronomy in Belgium and the cutting edge of a new generation of chefs. It's amazing." - Heston Blumenthal

You can hear Bernard talking on this video at The Future Summit 2009:

and at Ikanda, a congress for 1,400 Flemish 12 year olds which my son attended:
For more information on food pairing contact Bernard Lahousse - Food Pairing and Sense for Taste

Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on, where to go, photos and useful tips for making life in Belgium more interesting.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

English Theatre in Antwerp

Artistic director David Llewellyn Child formed English Stage Events in 2007 realising the popularity of English language theatre outside the UK. After performances in The Netherlands and Prague, they are now staging their first play in Belgium.

The Fever will be performed on 26 March 2010 at 20.30 in Theater Het Klokhuis, Parochiaanstraat 4, 2000 Antwerpen by Jeremiah Fleming.

The author, Wallace Shawn delivers us a nameless person from a privileged world, suffering from a sense of disconnection from his comfortable life, who travels to a country in the midst of a civil war.

Deliriously ill, he confronts an internal chorus of conflicting voices: dreams of comfort, images of physical and economic violence, accusations of indifference and cold-blooded arguments in favour of oppression. The central question: what, if anything, is a morally consistent way to live in the world as it is?

Full info and tickets at
Tickets: €10/8 per person/group bookings discount

Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on, where to go, photos and useful tips for making life in Belgium more interesting.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Looking for Snow Boots

As we have several cms of snow here in Limburg, I went to buy my son some new snow boots yesterday. They had hundreds of pairs in Carrefour some weeks ago but yesterday not one pair in any size could be found in any shoe shop in the area. C&A had summer sandals but that is not much help right now.

Why don't shops stock products when we need them, not months in advance when we don't?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow Again in Limburg

We came back from the UK on Sunday night to find our village in Limburg covered in several cms of snow.

The boys went back to school on Monday walking in snow boots. I decided that was safer than slipping and sliding in the car, relying heavily on the ABS.

Snow is expected again in the UK and they are already talking about closing schools, not going to work. Typical. We manage to turn up in Belgium so why not England?

Visit Living in Belgium for information on what's on, where to go, photos and useful tips for making life in Belgium more interesting.

Brussels Airlines Extra Flights Belgium to UK

Brussels Airlines have increased the number of flights between Belgium and the UK.

From 10th January 2010, there will be 3 daily flights to both Bristol and Newcastle and 4 daily flights to London Heathrow, a total of 19 flights daily between Belgium and the UK.

Click BRUSSELS AIRLINES for current flight offers.

Brussels Airlines offer some of the lowest rates in Europe with flights from as low as £40.

There are daily long-haul flights to Moscow, Helsinki, Africa and more.

Visit European Travel blog for European travel ideas and special offers and EuroTravel the one-stop site for travel to and within Europe.