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Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Summery insalata


Yippee! Tomorrow we are heading out to Kent to stay at the Keeper's cottage on the grounds of Leeds Castle, but first, I must conduct my pre-holiday ritual of using up what's left in the fridge. Take out would probably be a more practical option considering that with a toddler in tow I'll have to pack half the flat - but I really hate waste and quite enjoy the challenge of a clear-out dinner. Plus it's nice coming home to a fridge that doesn't smell like bin juice.

I have:
a bunch of carrots
cherry tomatoes
a courgette
buffalo mozzarella (OK, so I cheated a little and bought this earlier in the day)

The plan is to make a souped up insalata caprese, the ingredient that really ties this dish together is the gorgeous buffalo mozzarella with its weird cooked chicken-like texture. Never ever use a knife to cut it! Ripping up a ball of buffalo mozzarella is a strangely satisfying activity that should be enjoyed whenever possible.

The do
Slice the courgette thinly and chop the carrots into bite sized pieces.
Fry the courgette with a little oil and salt in a frying pan until soft and a little charred. While this is happening steam or boil the carrots until they are just done, you don't want them to be too mushy. When everything is done, lay it all together into a big plate and sprinkle a couple of chopped mint leaves on top. Top with a some pinenuts, a handful of halved cherry tomatoes and the buffalo mozzerella, then drizzle a generous amount of good olive oil on top.
Enjoy with some super crunchy ciabatta and a big glass of red wine before you attempt the packing.

Butterfly House The Coral

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Monday night...

Elvis night

An Elvis-sized thanks to all who came on Monday night, we had a super fun time and I'm especially glad that all the food was eaten too. Here we are wielding some pizza-sized biscuits with Diddy Wah and the man of the evening.

Elvis night

Fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches
This delicacy was one of Elvis's favourites

What you need
2 loaves of white bread, with crusts cut off
approx 5 bananas, mashed
1 big jar of sunpat smooth peanut butter
lots of butter

The do
Make sandwiches using the mashed banana and peanut butter, then fry in a heavy based frying pan with a big knob of butter until golden brown on both sides. Cut into quarters.

Elvis night

Elvis night

Elvis night

Also, a big thanks to the amazing Kelly V and her ace-o-rama cupcake socks for all her help. You totally (jailhouse) rock!

Elvis night

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Come and get it!


Here's your chance to try some authentic Lily and Chew cuisine absolutely FREE. We'll be serving up some kingly delights at Diddy Wah's Elvis tribute night, tomorrow from 8pm at the Haggerston. Hurry, because like the great man, it can't last long.

Fact: Did you know that towards the end of his life Elvis was consuming 100,000 calories PER DAY?! Dude!
Thanks to Kelly V for pointing me in the direction of this article written by none other than Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The King is dead, long live the King

It’s Elvis night at the Haggerston, Kingsland Road this coming Monday, August 19th.
Come down and celebrate the life and death of the King with the incomparable DJ Diddy Wah. Get there early and try some special dishes created just for the event by Lily & Chew – absolutely free3.

Fried peanut butter and banana sandwich anyone?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Last weekend...


Just had the most glorious weekend - picnic under a nice shady tree on Parliament Hill on Saturday, then on Sunday a little trip to Arundel to see the castle and have a walk around.
If you ever find yourself hungry and thirsty in Arundel, check out The Black Rabbit - it's a cute pub on the River Arun, about 20-30 minutes walk from the station.
It was a very warm day, and after the walk to the pub all I felt like was a burger and a pint. But alas there was no veggie burger, the closest thing was a mozzarella muffin which turned out to be exactly that.


Half a sorry soggy supermarket English muffin underneath three small pieces of grilled veg with mozzarella melted over the top, accompanied with new potatoes, which I ended up swapping over for fries. As Ja'mie from Summer Heights High would say..."Random!"
I feel like I can't be too critical as the menu amazingly boasts six vegetarian options. It's just that mushroom stroganoff, lasagna, chilli and curry aren't dishes I fancy eating when I'm hot and bothered, but maybe that's just me. The ice cream on the other hand was deeeelicious. I was very, very pleased with my choice of honeycomb and strawberry.
Vegetarian food aside, the venue and service is lovely. They have a big outdoor seating area next to the river where you can enjoy some choice ales until it's time to walk back to the station and snooze it all off on the train ride back to the big smoke.

Les Perez touchdown in London

Some dear friends of ours are visiting from Australia and last night I cooked dinner for about eight of us. Congregating around a big table with old friends with plenty of food and booze is most definitely one of the nicer things in life - my kitchen is too small for me to go all Babette's Feast, so dinner had to be a very simple affair.

With my ice cream maker in storage somewhere in Cricklewood, this summer I've been getting into cheats homemade ice cream. My mum used to make this in the late 80s by mixing some cointreau and a smashed up Flake with shop bought vanilla ice cream.
I made two types using some of the alcohol collecting dust at the back of our liquor shelf - the more we drink now, the less Jasmine T will have to hand when she starts mixing up her own cocktails. I have some Frangelico which I'm going to mix with chopped hazelnuts and Drambuie which I'm going to soak some raisins in before adding to the ice cream.

Cheats ice cream

What you need
2 large flat plastic containers
2L shop vanilla ice-cream (best you can afford)
couple handfuls chopped roasted hazelnuts
couple handfuls of raisins
3 tablespoons Drambuie
3 tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
ice cream cones (less washing up)

The do
Place raisins in a bowl and add the Drambuie, leave to soak for a couple of hours.
Take the ice cream out of the freezer and leave out for around 10 minutes. Transfer the ice cream into the plastic containers add the ingredients and mix in with a rubber spatula. Put the lids on and return to the freezer.
You can do this with anything - fruit, chocolate, nuts. Just bear in mind that adding too much alcohol will prevent your ice cream from freezing.

For dinner (serves 8): boil up two packs of angel hair pasta, then 3 minutes before the pasta is ready, throw in a bag of frozen peas and half a bag of broad beans. In a separate small pan, gently heat a big glug of olive oil with some thinly sliced garlic for a minute or so. When the pasta is done, drain it, add the garlic oil, then toss the whole lot with the juice of a lemon, a handful of chopped mint, a handful of torn basil, two handfuls of parmesan and two packs of crumbled feta cheese. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and marvel at the quivering mountain of steaming pasta before you.

Alas I cannot swim Laura Marling

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Happy birthday to Carters and Kelly V


It was Carter's and Kelly V's birthday last Wednesday and to mark the occasion I whipped out my newly acquired copy of Delia's Book of Cakes for a fast simple no-faff sweet treat that I could take down to the pub without too much drama.
I decided to make her Chocolate fudge brownie recipe and as per usual I couldn't help meddling - I increased the chocolate and flour quantities and added orange blossom water and pistachios.

Things started to go a little pear shaped when I realised I didn't have the correct tin, I used the smallest one I had, but it was still waaaay too big. I ended up with brownies that looked like they'd been run over by a steam roller. In the end I sandwiched them with some hazelnut spread and it was all good. The moral of this story...use the right tin and all will be fine.


Chocolate, pistachio and orange blossom fudge brownies

What you need
A 18x28cm baking tin
90g dark cooking chocolate, preferably unsweetened, I used Green and Blacks cook's chocolate
110g butter
2 medium eggs
225g caster sugar
90g plain flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
110g pistachio nuts (hold back about 5 nuts for garnish)
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (you could add more, but taste as you go so it doesn't end up tasting like shower gel)

1 punnet of raspberries
Green and blacks Hazelnut chocolate spread

The do
Line a rectangular brownie tin (18x28cm) with silicone baking paper. allow the paper to come up a good 5cm above the rim of the tin.
Melt the butter and broken up chocolate pieces together in a heatproof glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir in the remaining ingredients, then pour into the lined tin and bake for around 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, divide into approx 15 squares and transfer back to wire rack.

Chop the remaining pistachios as finely as you can. Spread a little hazelnut spread on the top of each brownie, sprinkle with a little pistachio dust, then place a raspberry on top

Warning: these brownies are evil. Diabetics beware!


Post-hummus perfection


I have been trying to make perfect hummus for YEARS. Every incarnation has had some sort of problem - too thick, too much oil, too garlicky, too bland. I've tried various recipes and that yielded no success either. Last night I went completely off road and I finally stumbled on a winner - it's a total bastardisation of how hummus is usually made, but hey, it tastes good so who cares?

What you need
A hand blender with food processor attachment, or a food processor
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 clove of garlic chopped
1 tablespoon tahini
olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
some boiled water

The do
In a frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the garlic for a 30 seconds on medium heat, throw in the spices and drained chickpeas. Fry for a little longer, moving the chickpeas around the pan coating them in the oil and spices. When it starts to smell nice and spicy, take off the heat and transfer into the food processor. Add the tahini, a generous pinch of salt, a glug of olive oil, lemon juice and a splash of boiled water and blitz until smooth, adding more water as needed to achieve the right consistency. Taste and add more salt if needed.

This is great with some salad, tomato and halloumi in a wholemeal pita pocket.

IRM Charlotte Gainsbourg

Monday, 7 June 2010

Hot in the city

Having been born and bred in the scorching climes of the land Down Under where 25 degrees is considered cardy weather, I'm rather ashamed to admit that I found today's temperature of 24 degrees a little uncomfortable in old London town. By uncomfortable I mean walking around our stuffy flat quoting Will Ferrell in Anchorman ("it's soooooo hot....milk was a baaaad choice") and not feeling hungry - which I find most bothersome of all. It's too hot to turn on anything that emits heat in the kitchen so tonight's dinner is going to be a smorgasbord of fridge scraps...and I think we haven't done too badly.

Our too-hot-to-cook scraps board
Tallegio - an Italian cheese, semi- soft, creamy and a little stinky. I could eat this 'til the cows come home.
Pineapple, pear, capsicium strips and some grapes
The last of the Jar Club chutney and some of my home made piccalilli
Nairns oatcakes. A pantry staple. Their buttery oatiness pairs brilliantly with any cheese.

Enjoy with a good film and a cold Chablis.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Hola Borough burrito

Last time I visited Borough market on a Saturday I had a nervous breakdown trying to hack through the hordes of tourists lining up for samples. On a Thursday afternoon, however, it's an entirely different story. Having just restored my field of vision by having my fringe cut, I wasted no time collecting a few of my old faves; organic eggs and oakcakes from Neal's Yard Dairy, Comte cheese, saffron from Brindisa and pesto from Borough olives.

So this morning, with these exciting ingredients at hand, I whipped up what I guess could be a Borough market burrito.

My Borough burrito
Makes enough for 2.5 people

What you need
1 pack of North Staffordshire Oatcakes (available from Neal's Yard Dairy for £1).
Note: These oatcakes are not the biscuity kind - they are floppy and spongy, about the size of a side plate, and look like a crumpet that has been run over by a steam roller several times. If you can't handle the crowds, or live in Australia, the usual Old El Paso-style small tortilla wraps will do perfectly fine.
4 eggs, lightly beaten
about 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in slices
a few thin slices of Comte cheese (or tasty cheddar would work well too)
a small handful of chives, chopped

The do
Lay the Comte on the oatcakes and grill until the cheese melts. While this is happening, scramble the eggs in a small pan. When the oatcakes are ready, distribute the chopped tomato on each one and then pile the eggs on top. Garnish with the chives, then roll up like a cigar.

Friday, 28 May 2010

My dream cooker...

(if I had a spare £4270 lying around...)

Saturday, 1 May 2010

6.05pm It's raining chips

After a marvellous warm sunny week, the rains have returned. I'm soaked, water is sloshing around in my ballet pumps and my stomach has packed it in and started digesting itself. Only one thing for it...chips from George's - open, with lots of salt and vinegar of course. Piping hot, full of flavour and bursting with badness. Just what a soggy blogger needs.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

A house warming crafternoon

On Sunday, our monthly crafternoon session was held at Kelly and Andrew's gorgeous new digs. As Miss Jasmine T was rather well-behaved beforehand, I managed to crack out these peanuty sesame noodles. With mostly warm weather upon us, these noodles are great when eaten cold and won't suffer much from banging about in your bag on the way to a picnic.
I ended up making quite a large batch but if you want to size it down you could divide the ingredients to what you need - as a guide, the dressing should have the consistency of a thick batter, for optimal noodle coverage.

Peanuty sesame noodles
makes enough for around 8-9 people as a side

What you need
For peanut dressing
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter plus a few extra spoons for good luck
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
1 thumb of chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons of jarred chili (as the potency of jarred chili can vary quite significantly, you might want to taste a bit first and then adjust quantity accordingly)

for the noodles
4 packs of sharwoods dried egg noodles - 1 pack of spaghetti or somen noodles would work well too
a third of a cucumber, sliced thinly in rounds then cut into thin strips
a handful of mint, finely chopped
a couple of tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds
half an iceberg lettuce, chopped as thinly as you can make it
1 lemon, cut into wedges

The do
Cook the noodles as per instructions, then drain and rinse under cold water. You can leave them in the colander while you prepare the dressing.
In a food processor or blender, throw in the dressing ingredients and blitz until thoroughly combined.
Transfer half the dressing into a very big bowl, throw in the drained noodles, then pour the rest of the dressing on top. Use your hands to evenly coat the noodles with the dressing.
Spread the lettuce and mint evenly over the top and then sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. If you aren't digging in straight away, leave it to hang out in the fridge for a while, then give it a good toss and serve with lemon wedges.

This is should be a hit with everyone except those unfortunate enough to have a peanut allergy - Andrew even came out of isolation and braved a kitchen full of women and a boisterous toddler to get a second helping, so I guess that says something!

Kelly's ipod

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The jars are in the house!

How exciting! The sun is shining, all the windows are open and my jars have arrived!

A little while back I subscribed to Jar Club - my lovely friend who is a whiz with preserves, takes a subscription payment and you receive a jar once month for three months, with the proceeds going to charity.

I have just sampled the blood orange and Seville orange jelly with pinot noir and spices, and it's amazing. Deliciously bitter with the perfect amount of spice.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

My kind of Easter egg

Yikes! Is it really Easter already? I've been a busy bee since I last blogged, which explains the lack of posting activity...but hey, four whole days with Carters around sure makes it easier to do a bit of catching up.

To kick off the Easter bank holiday we enjoyed a fried egg on toast with piccalilli. The quickest and most delicious breakfast, lunch or can't-be-arsed dinner.

What you need
an egg
some cheddar cheese

The do
Heat a fry-pan, drizzle some oil and crack an egg into the pan. While this is happening, put on some toast and thinly slice a couple of pieces of cheddar and lay on to the toast. When the egg is done, place it on top of the cheese and then spread a teaspoon of piccalilli on top.

After breakfast we visited the totally amazing John Soane museum - be sure to go early in the day, as the queues get pretty long in the afternoon. There is also a nice cafe around the corner called the Fleet River Bakery that does decent coffee and other treats.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Happy 1st birthday Jasmine T (cake 2)!

A very important lesson was learnt in the making of this cake. Never, EVER, substitute full-fat with light cream cheese. Even if the supermarket only has light cream cheese left and you can't be arsed going to another shop to get it!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Happy 1st birthday Jasmine T!

Oh me oh my. This time last year I was on my way to hospital in a taxi screaming out the window at people on Upper Street. Three and a half hours later sweet little Jasmine T was born.

To mark this momentous occasion, Carters took the day off work and we invited some of her close buddies over for a little party. I made Nigel Slater's pear and blueberry cake, and it went down a treat with Jasmine - pears and blueberries are only, like, her favourite. Stay tuned for the novelty be unveiled on Saturday.

Nigel Slater's really fast cake with blueberries and pears (serves about 7-8)

Given my talent for screwing up measurements, this cake is brilliant because I only had to measure out 130g three times...and the only other things I did differently was I used a round tin instead of a square one and I didn't peel the pears because I was feeling lazy. It was enjoyed muchly by us adults (and babies) with a cup of tea or if you're having it for dessert take Nigel's advice and serve it with some vanilla ice cream, fromage frais or double cream

What you need
130g softened butter
130g unrefined organic caster sugar
2 ripe pears
2 large eggs
130g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
250g blueberries
a little extra sugar to sprinkle on top

The do
Set oven at 180c. Line a round 21-22cm springform cake tin with some baking parchment. Using a cake mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Core the pears and chop into small chunks. In a small bowl, break the eggs and beat with a fork then gradually add to the butter and sugar. Sift the flour and baking powder together and fold them gently into the mixture. Scrape into the lined cake tin and level it out - don't worry, it looks like you don't have enough mixture but it will work out. Mix the pears and blueberries togther and tip then into the cake. Scatter 1-2 tablespoons of sugar over the top. Bake for 55 minutes, then test with a skewer. If it comes out clean, remove cake from oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A question about vinegar

My sister-in-law, who has just started an excellent blog on food and life in Japan, has a question for all you pickling experts out there.
She is thinking of making yuzu (above) vinegar but isn't sure how to go about it. Some recipes say to heat the vinegar, in others you just poke the peel in the vinegar bottle. Can anyone help?

While we are on the subject of blogs and Japan, my brother-in-law is also a newcomer to the blogging scene. You can check out his foodie adventures here

Monday, 8 February 2010

Gratin tombé

Today I decided to make a sweet root vegetable gratin of potato, pumpkin and sweet potato. Seemed like a simple enough idea...until I discovered that my sweet potato was one of those white yammy ones (SO inferior to the orange ones). Grrr!
Nevertheless, I soldiered on, lovingly applying thin slices of a third of a pumpkin, 1 red onion, 6 small potatoes, 1 sweet potato (imposter) and thyme to a baking dish. Then in a measuring jug I whisked up with a fork 200ml of milk and 200ml cream, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 crushed garlic clove and a big handful of grated Parmesan, poured this over the top and sprinkled a layer of breadcrumbs over the top and a bit more Parmesan for good measure. Then I baked this at 180 for about 1-1 1/2 hours.

The thing about my personality sometimes is that while I can be quite meticulous in constructing a dish I can be equally careless when it comes to oven handling. I pull things out of our oven one-handed in the most precarious and dangerous fashion. Usually when I pick it up I know it's going to be fine, but sometimes I know I'm in trouble and I still don't stop...


The 5-second rule prevails, plus it didn't even touch the floor anyway, so I scraped it up and re-baked it with a new breadcrumb layer. And it was delicious - creamy, earthy vegetables with hints of thyme and Mr Muscle.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Advance Australia fare

To celebrate Australia Day this year, instead of going down to our local Walkabout dressed as cast members from Home and Away to drink copious amounts of VB, we had a civilised lunch at Kim's.
With Possum Magic on high rotation at bedtime in our household, it's no surprise that I've been thinking about pavlova - sweeeeeet pavlova.
Pavlova has a Proustian effect on me. One bite and I'm at a barbecue in someone's backyard, beer in hand, the smell of 30+ sunscreen and Aeroguard in the air, shooing flies off my plate. Nothing tastes more like an Australian summer...other than maybe a Golden Gaytime.

Surprisingly easy pavlova (serves about 8-10)

What you need
4 room-temperature egg whites (you can keep the egg yolks covered in a bowl in the fridge for later use, see below)
Pinch salt
1 cup golden caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

and to top it off...
1 tub of whipping cream (200-300ml)
1 kiwifruit, quartered lengthways and sliced
2 handfuls strawberries, halved lengthways and sliced
2 handfuls of raspberries, squished up
2 handfuls of blueberries

The do
Preheat oven to 180. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then trace a 25 cm circle on the paper. Put egg whites and salt in the clean bowl (any grease will prevent the egg whites from expanding to their full potential) and beat with the whisk attachment of a hand blender on medium-low speed until frothy (approx 2 minutes). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until whites form stiff but not dry peaks (2–3 minutes). Gradually add sugar while whisking, then increase speed to high and beat until stiff and glossy, 3–5 minutes. Sprinkle cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla over whites, then gently fold in with a rubber spatula.
Fill traced circle with meringue, build the sides slightly higher than the middle so the cream and fruit have somewhere to sit. Place very gently in middle of oven and reduce heat to 150, taking care not to slam the oven door shut. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave meringue inside with door slightly ajar until completely cool for about 4 hours - or make it at night and leave it in the oven til morning.
Remove paper and place meringue on a cake plate. Whip cream to soft peaks, spread onto the meringue and pile the fruit on top. Passionfruit pulp would also be a nice addition, but a little hard to find at my local Sainsbury's in the middle of winter.

Tip Stephanie (Alexander) says "if syrupy droplets form on the surface of the meringue, you'll know you have overcooked it; liquid oozing from the meringue is a sign of undercooking".

Carter's use-up-the-egg-yolks mustardy mayonnaise
2 egg yolks
4 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
2 cups olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

The do
Place yolks and mustard in a medium bowl. Beat with a wire whisk, and begin to add the oil a tablespoon at a time, adding more as each bit is incorporated. When it starts to come together, you can add the oil a bit faster. Add salt and pepper, then stir in the vinegar.

Warning: this makes an obscene amount of mayo. Alternatively, you could halve this recipe and throw the other three egg yolks into some scrambled eggs for breakfast.

A playlist including Magic Dirt, You Am I, Screamfeeder, Sandpit, Howling Bells, The Avalanches, The Go-Betweens, Nick Cave, The Cruel Sea, the theme Tune to Round The Twist, and plagiarists...Men at Work

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Sunday: to market and some study

Carters and Jasmine T are off at the Saatchi gallery today and I decided to opt out so I can finally get through the second chapter of the web design book I'm studying.
Before getting stuck in, I rode my bike with very flat tyres up to the farmer's market, got a few bits and pieces, then had to walk back because my bike wasn't too pleased about being put to use after being neglected for over a year and a half. This week's haul - some proper winter veg - kale, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, pears, pak choy and some daffodils. And a little lunch treat for me...a spinach and cheese borek from the Popina stand...

...then for afternoon tea, one of Kim's delicious banana cupcakes..

If I make it through to chapter 3, I'm going to dive into the enormous pile of weekend papers waiting for me on the couch. Can't wait.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

8.03pm Solo dinner

This evening I'm dining solo on account of Carters being out doing that thing he does once a week. In the fridge there's the coleslaw from yesterday, but eating cold cabbage and carrot alone on a freezing cold night is just too damn depressing. So I find these Quorn mozzarella and pesto escalopes at my local shop. Hot, greasy, crunchy and gooey and oh so wrong. But only mycoproteins were harmed in the making of this escalope so it can't be all bad. Plus it tastes good and pairs perfectly with my day old slaw.

You Forgot it in People Broken Social Scene

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Bumbling around Belgium

Last year we took advantage of the Eurostar seat sale and booked ourselves some cheap tickets to Belgium. Then the snow came. After a few tweaks to our train schedule we finally made it to Brussels where it was a million times colder than London. After spending the morning trying to get out of the weather, we hopped on a train to Antwerp. For some reason, maybe because of the snow, the platform display wasn't working so well, and we ended up on a train traveling in the opposite direction. After about an hour we cottoned on, and quickly hopped off the train which by now was in nowheresville, and hightailed it back to Brussels...again. (Mental note: when you ask someone 'is this the train to Antwerp?' and they say 'yes', they might be on crack)

With Saturday a bit of a lost cause, I was hoping to get in on the sale action the following day, but unfortunately, like most European cites, everything is closed on Sunday.
A few vintage shops along Klosterstraat were open, so we spent some time ducking in and out of shops to get out of the snow. It was so cold it reminded us of Russia, minus the stone-faced locals. Then we stumbled across Ra, and if I wasn't frozen solid I would have jumped up and down with joy...

The clothing is gorgeous but the highlight was the cafe. There's a little loft section you could climb up a ladder to get to, and a cute friendly Italian greyhound trotting around. And most importantly...they do all-day breakfast on Sundays.
We shared an eggs florentine and a tofu miso soup - I'm aware this is a crazy combo but after a few days of frites, beer and waffles I was keen for something cleansing. The eggs were perfectly poached and came in a cute little fruit scone.

The next day we grabbed a beautiful (in both look and taste) hot chocolate at Bar Choq. Would have loved to have tried their coffee too because it looked like it was made with a lot of care and love. All the more reason to visit again...