A Day in Bruges: Food & Travel Highlights

So Saturday just gone, I went on an amazing day trip to Bruges. And as I love sharing my travel articles, I thought I would write an article all about the food and my time exploring this beautiful city. It was brilliant day, we travelled through three different countries in just one day and sampled some really amazing food and also saw some brilliant sites. To take you back to the start of the day, we woke up early (4:30am!) and travelled to the Channel Tunnel in Folkestone. Then it was good bye England and bonjour France just 35 minutes later. We arrived in Calais, and then travelled about an hour journey along North-Eastern France and arrived in Bruges just before mid morning local time. I was really excited to travel back to Belgium, I’ve visited once before for a Battlefield’s trip which was an amazing experience, so coming back again was really great fun. It was also my first time visiting Bruges/Brugge. The day was really lovely and Bruges is such a lovely & idyllic city worth visiting!

bruges water

bruges

The beautiful Koning Albertpark full of tulips

bruges flowers

bruges sites

bruges tower

The Belfry/Belfort of Bruges- Medieval Bell Tower

brugge lace

Bruges is famous for it’s lace making 

belgian break

Walking around the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal (Holy Savior Cathedral) 

bruges canal

ROZENHOEDKAAI- this is one of the most photographed spots in Bruges

bruges

Walking around the Markt (market square)

Now for the food…

I’ve picked my three top foods to try in Bruges. All of these foods included are street foods- so you can enjoy eating whilst walking around the city. I really love the simplicity of Belgian food, it’s edgy, quick to make and tastes really good.

Traditional Belgian Frites & Mayo

This is a traditional Belgian food- if you thought the French created this, then you’re wrong. The locals are very proud of their cuisine and as a tourist I couldn’t wait to try! Make sure you buy your Frites from a Friterie and I recommend eating the frites, or frietjes as they’re known in Flemish with some sort of condiment (we LOVE mayo, so that was our choice!), but there are other sauce choices such as ketchup, curry ketchup and tartare sauce. Enjoy whilst sitting or strolling around the Markt and soak up the atmosphere. As you can see from the picture below, the Frites are mega in Belgium, for very little money you get a really generous portion. The frites were also really well salted and the homemade mayo was the best I’ve had. I’m now going to try my best to recreate a recipe for you, so do watch out for that very soon!

frites and mayo

Classic Waffles

We were actually in a chocolate shop just by the Waterways and we noticed the shop sold waffles. I’ve had Belgian waffles from Ypres before, and these waffles were equally as tasty and very luxurious! We had a choice of chocolate sauce, caramel or whipped cream. So of course, as the Belgians are famous for their chocolate I had no other choice but to dig into a delicious and very moorish chocolate sauce-drizzled waffle. Between us, we also tried a caramel waffle and a whipped cream topped waffle (looking at the picture, they’re very generous with the cream!). I would’ve loved all the three different combinations on one waffle! These waffles were also cooked to order and you could definitely tell they were freshly made to order. Amazing, buttery, and one of my favourites for sure!

waffles

Belgian Chocolate

I think we can all agree that Belgian chocolate is probably some of, or if not the best chocolate in the world. Rich, smooth and full of so many different chocolate flavour/filling combinations. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many different chocolate flavours ever before, anything from Tia Maria Cream (I love coffee and chocolate!), to hazelnut and to the classic sea shell chocolates. Also, when you go to Belgium there is literally a chocolate shop around every corner you turn- so you’re spoilt for choice! There are some benefits to travelling to Bruges at Easter, many of the chocolate shop windows are full of Easter chocolate displays- I love the tea cup full of Easter egg truffles in the below photos! Next time I’m in Bruges I will definitely visit the Chocolate museum- as I read about it and it sounds great fun.

easter and chocolate in bruges

Look at all that chocolate heaven…you can even buy your own chocolate bar to remember Brugge by! 

Even though I’ve listed three of the must try foods, you can also try looks of other things! I took a few photos as we were walking around the city…

sweet and savoury in bruges

Lots of sweet and savoury food…and how about some chic cupcakes too?

cupcakes brugge copy

 

I loved everything about Bruges, the atmosphere, culture, the friendly and welcoming people, and of course the brilliant food we got to try! We decided to walk around the city, but you could cycle around or tour by boat- both choices being very popular.

After one day in Bruges we’re already planning another trip back in the Summer and we would also LOVE to explore more of Belgium as well. I would definitely recommend Bruges as a lovely break. Whether it’s for one day or more, you’ll love it!

To find out more about the city click here.

jess

 

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Who doesn’t love a large slice of carrot cake? It’s everything I love in a cake. Sweet, super moist and spicy. And topped with the most delicious and super fluffy cream cheese icing, I can’t think of anything better? I think carrot cake cupcakes are perfect for Easter time. This carrot cake cupcake recipe is my favourite, it’s got a lovely cinnamon-y (is that even a word?!) flavour throughout and the cupcake is super light and just so moorish. Before devouring these divine cupcakes, I love to sprinkle each cupcake with an extra bit of cinnamon or some coconut- both bringing some lovely additional flavour! Best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee and they’re sure to be a hit without a doubt!

carrot cake cupcakes tasty c

Ingredients- 

Cupcakes- 

80g of unsalted butter

100g of soft light brown sugar

80g of golden syrup

1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature 

3 medium carrots, finely grated 

150g of self-raising flour, sifted 

Cream Cheese Icing- 

75g of unsalted butter, softened

160g of cream cheese, really soft

325g of icing sugar, sifted

Good splash of pure vanilla extract

carrot cake cupcakes recipes

Method- 

1. Preheat your oven 180 degrees C Fan and line 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases. Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a medium-sized saucepan. Melt gently on a medium heat until you have a glossy and thick sauce.

2. Then add the bicarbonate of soda, ground cinnamon, eggs, grated carrot and sifted flour. Mix until you have a smooth batter. Then distribute the batter between the 12 cupcake cases- I use an ice cream scoop, so I know all the cupcakes will be the same size and will bake evenly. Then bake for 20-25 minutes or until nice and risen and a cake tester comes out completely clean.

3. Once cooked, cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

4. For the cream cheese icing, combine the soft butter and room temperature cream cheese, mix until really smooth. Then add the icing sugar and whisk/beat on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes until you have a smooth, thick icing. Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with any nozzle you like and pipe onto each cupcake- I used a large star tip. Then decorate with extra cinnamon, some desiccated coconut, or an assortment of different sweets or sprinkles.

cupcakes in the making

Cupcakes in the making, peeling and grating those carrots is really worth it! 

carrot cake cream cheese icing

Enjoy everyone and have a great weekend!

jess

 

Healthy Mexican-style Chicken & Rice Bowls

This delicious bowl is so good for you and full of vibrant colours and goodness. I’m all for super healthy food that is really delicious, so this recipe ticks all the boxes for me. I try really hard to eat healthily and not eat chocolate and cake all the time (even though wouldn’t that be great?!). This healthy bowl is more like a treat bowl, it’s super good for you and you wouldn’t even know it! Subtly spicy tender, baked chicken is served on a bed of rice with some extra amazing fresh ingredients, like avocado’s and refreshing tomato & red onion salsa. Low on calories, high in fibre and protein, who wouldn’t love a bowlful of this for their dinner? Enjoy everyone!

rice bowls

Don’t you just love all those colours?! Fresh, vibrant and super tasty- this is a healthy nutritious meal so easy to prepare! 

Ingredients- 

Chicken & Marinade

4 medium free-range, skinless and boneless chicken breasts (trim away any excess fat)

2 tsp of ground cumin + 1/4 tsp of cumin seeds

1/2 tsp of paprika

1/2 tsp of ground coriander

Good pinch of garlic salt (opt) or one clove of garlic, finely chopped

Juice from 1 lime

1 tablespoon of oil

Other Ingredients- 

To serve: Fresh cooked rice, sweetcorn, tomato salsa, avocado slices, mixed beans and lime wedges- you can add any other ingredients you like!

Method-

1. For the chicken, I like to marinate in advance. In a small bowl combine all the spices with oil, mix together. Then prick the chicken all over with a fork, now brush the marinade over the chicken on both sides, squeeze over the lime juice, cover and allow to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

2. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C Fan. Bake the chicken covered with some tin foil for 60 minutes. Then uncover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

3. To serve, spoon a little cooked rice into your bowl, slice up you chicken, then place that on top of the rice. I like to serve with sweetcorn, avocado slices and tomato salsa. Also, be sure to serve the bowl with lime wedges and chopped coriander! Note: If you like you can serve the chicken and rice cool if you prefer. 

mexican rice bowls easy

This bowl will do wonders for your health!

Feast your eyes on this amazing bowlful of healthy deliciousness! Easy, simple to put together, this bowl will energise you! It’s also the perfect meal to eat before you exercise, as I did. The protein and low-GI rice will keep you full and will give you the stamina needed. Also, the avocado is full of rich omega-3 fatty oils, and full of protein and healthy fats. Plus, who doesn’t love a new dinner recipe to try out? 

Enjoy the recipe everyone!

jess

 

 

Featured in BBC Good Food Magazine

So, you may remember a little while back I mentioned the exciting news that I was going to have one of my recipes featured in BBC Good Food Magazine. The time has finally come about and the May edition of the magazine is available to buy. To take you back to the start of the story, I submitted my reader recipe by email, not expecting to hear anything back. But I was really surprised when I was going through my emails that I had a reply from the magazine only a few days later. In the email, they thanked me for sending in my recipe and the second sentence stated that they’d chosen my recipe for the May edition. And as you can imagine at this point I was very excited as the magazine is read by a lot of people and a great way to get yourself known as a food writer/blogger. They later went on to tell me the team had already attempted the recipe and it had gone down a storm with all the testing kitchen- all eating more than one slice! Which again was very much the cherry on top, because if my recipes taste good and people like them, then the hard work is all worth while!

cheesecake recipe bbc

IMG_3801

The Cheesecake in it’s full glory…a rich chocolate hazelnut treat perfect for any occasion 

IMG_3806

I am really pleased to share this recipe with even more people, since I first posted the recipe last Summer it has become very popular! What I love about this cheesecake is not only the fact it’s a no-bake recipe, but it’s the perfect quick dinner party dessert and looks very super impressive. I’ve  also already had several family members and friends ask me to make this for them. And lots of readers of this blog have made the recipe and sent me some amazing photos too! It’s always been a hit and if you haven’t tried the recipe before, you need to ASAP!

…and looking at that rather large slice of cheesecake, I’m really fancying some right now!

 

jess

 

Cadbury Creme Egg Ice Cream {No-Churn}

This ice cream is literally the best. It’s rich, thick and extremely moorish. It also happens to be a no-churn, no machine recipe and is my staple recipe all year round. It’s a super duper easy-to-make recipe and makes the creamiest, lightest ice cream ever, very similar to a semifreddo. I thought this year it would be egg-xtra fun to whip up some Easter chocolate ice cream as it’s a little bit different and there aren’t many recipes out there. The hardest part of this recipe is having to wait for the ice cream to set, then you can scoop to your hearts content and get stuck in!

creme egg ice cream

creme egg ice cream

 Creamy, rich and smooth, this ice cream could not be easier to make. Full of chocolatey goodness, every bite is full of creme eggs…

creme egg ice cream

creme egg ice cream before

This picture shows the ice cream before covering and going into the freezer to set. The ice cream really reminded me of a good-quality chocolate mousse, but better! 

Ingredients- 

300ml of double cream, chilled

1x 400g can of sweetened condensed milk

Splash of pure Vanilla extract

200g of good quality milk or dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Cadbury Creme Eggs, mini or large variety cut into halves or smallish pieces- I used 2 bags of the mini Creme Eggs for the ice cream, just use as many as you like! 

How to Make the ice cream: 

Whisk the chilled cream until you have soft peaks. Then in a separate bowl, mix together the condensed milk, vanilla and cooled chocolate. Then add the whipped cream in two addition, mixing in thoroughly. Now add about half of the chopped creme eggs. Mix through and then dollop the ice cream mixture into a airtight container or loaf tin. Scatter over the remaining mini creme egg pieces and then cover and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight.

easter egg chocolate

ice cream creme egg recipe

creme egg ice cream super easy

Have a great weekend everyone! 

jess

 

Lemon Drizzle Iced Poppyseed Cakes

Surprise! Today we are inviting you ALL to a virtual baby shower honoring Kelly from Life Made Sweeter and Hilary from My Own Blog Review. To celebrate, we are sharing 12 recipes and crafts that are ready to “pop”. Make sure to “pop” over and check out everyone’s posts. Congratulations Kelly and Hilary!

Baby shower invite

So for my recipe, I just really wanted to keep the recipe as easy and simple as I possibly could- without compromising on the taste and making my bake too boring! Personally a lemon and poppyseed cake is one of my favourites cakes to eat and this recipe never fails to let me down! These cakes are light, buttery and I just love the sweetness from the sticky icing just drizzled all over! I also like the way the poppyseed’s give a delicious crunch in each mouthful and how there are so many different textures and tastes in every single bite. These would make a great breakfast or afternoon treat if you’re craving that little something sweet and zingy!

little lemon poppyseed cakes

lemon poppyseed muffins

These cakes are super moist and buttery on the inside. And the icing is to die for, it’s zingy and brings a lovely natural sweetness! A real taste of Spring for me…

lemon and poppyseed cakes

Ingredients- (Makes 6- can easily be doubled)

Lemon Poppyseed Cakes-

125g of unsalted butter, softened

125g of caster sugar

2 large free range or organic eggs

125g of self-raising flour, sifted

Zest of 2 lemons

1/2 tablespoon of poppyseed’s

Sticky Lemon Drizzle Icing- 

4 tablespoons of icing sugar

Enough lemon juice to make your desired icing consistency

Method-

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 6-hole cupcake tin with paper liners.

2. Start by creaming the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs and mix to incorporate fully. Add the flour, lemon zest and poppyseed’s and mix. Now add enough water to loosen the batter a little.

3. Using an ice-cream scoop, distribute the mixture equally between the cupcake liners. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and a cake tester comes out completely clean. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

4. For the drizzle icing: Mix the icing sugar and enough lemon juice to make a thick glaze. At this point I remove the cupcakes from the liners. Then drizzle over the icing and garnish the cupcakes with extra lemon zest and poppyseed’s if you like. Enjoy!

lemon poppyseed cakes collage

light lemon cakes

Enjoy and thank you for reading my recipe! 

shower collage copy

 Click the links for the other delicious treats!

Key Lime Pie Popsicles - Spoonful of Flavor
Cheddar Bacon Crescent Poppers – A Little Claireification
Sweet Indulgence Popcorn mix – It Bakes Me Happy
‘Popular’ Tiramisu Blondies – Frugal Foodie Mama
Lollipop Centerpiece – The Mandatory Mooch
Buttered Popcorn Creme Brulee – Baking a Moment
Orange Poppy Seed Scones – Cookie Monster Cooking
Lemon Poppyseed Baked Donuts – Blahnik Baker
Candy Popcorn Pops – Little Miss Celebration
Lemon Drizzle Iced Poppyseed Cakes – What Jessica Baked Next
Lemon Cheesecake Pops – What’s Cooking Love?

Lemon Curd & Blueberry Layer Cake

For Mother’s Day this year me and my sister decided to bake my Mum this amazing lemon blueberry layer cake. My Mum loves traditional sponges- so we combined our favourite flavours, lemon and blueberry and made a this ginormous and rather delicious cake! A slice of this cake is like a taste of Spring in one mouthful. An easy Victoria sponge recipe is transformed to make an amazing and sensational showstopper cake, ideal for any occasion! Moist, super buttery sponge is dotted with bursting blueberries and layered with fresh lemon curd and then covered with lemon cheesecake icing. What more could you ask for in a cake? We made this cake to serve with some other afternoon tea delights, including scones with jam and clotted cream- pictures will follow soon! Enjoy and have a great weekend everyone!

cake blueberry lemon curd

blueberries frozen

lemon blueberry layer cake

I went freestyle with the design and decoration of this cake. No need for colourful sprinkles, just covered with lots of fresh lemon slices and blueberries and the job’s done! 

Ingredients- 

Lemon Victoria Sponge- 

250g of unsalted butter, really soft

250g of icing sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp of pure lemon extract

Zest from 2 lemons

4 large free-range eggs

250g of self-raising flour

Splash of milk, enough to loosen mixture 

1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries, tossed in approx. 1/2 tbsp of flour to coat

Lemon Cheesecake Icing- 

250g of full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temp

100g of unsalted butter, softened

Good splash of pure vanilla extract

375g of icing sugar, sifted 

Zest from 1 large lemon + 1 tbsp of the juice

Filling- 

Fresh, good-quality lemon curd- enough to spread into the layers 

lemon curd cake

cake lemon curd blueberries

Method- 

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C Fan. Line 3 8 inch sandwich tins with parchment paper and set aside. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together for about 3-4 minutes or until really light and fluffy. Then add the lemon extract- if using, the eggs and lemon zest. Mix to combine fully- don’t worry if the mix look curdled at this point.

2. Then add the flour and gently fold to combine. Now take about 1/3 of the cake mixture and transport into the tin. Then add the blueberries to the remaining cake batter, gently fold to just mix through a little or just press the blueberries into the cake mix. Divide equally into the two other lined tins and then bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out completely clean. Once cooked, allow the cakes to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely at room temp.

3. For the cream cheese icing: In a stand mixer, mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla with the lemon juice on medium speed until smooth- approx. 3 minutes. Then slowly add the icing sugar and mix to combine. Then whisk on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes or until light and smooth in consistency- I had a little left over icing, but this can be kept in the fridge until you want to use it again.

4. To ice the cake, sandwich together the layers of baked cake with a little of the cream cheese icing, then I dolloped a little bit of lemon curd in between the layers as well. Then, ice the whole outside of the cake with the cream cheese icing. Decorate in any way you like and then slice up and enjoy! This cake can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days- but it won’t hang around for long…

jess