April Escapism

Last December I made up a list of things I want to do in 2012. I also decided that I will write a monthly blog post about the progress ánd the awesome things I did during that month.

April was a rather rainy month. My lettuce was the only one who really enjoyed it. The soil of the rest of my vegetables is way too wet by now … Let’s hope the radishes, the basil and the morning-glory won’t rot. Yet I harvested my first lettuce last week and used it for a lovely chicken-pasta-raisins-peas-lettuce-pine nut-wasabi salad. One of my all time favourite salads and so easy to make. And of course my senses were blurred by the knowledge I grew it myself, but it was the best version I ever made of this salad.

For those of you who want the recipe, you’ll find it in this italicised paragraph, the rest can jump to the next paragraph. I soften the raisins in some hot water. Then I chop some chicken, season it and fry it. When the chicken is almost ready, I add the pine nuts. After two minutes, I turn off the heat. I cook the pasta, adding deep-fried peas the last two minutes. I put everything in a bowl and pour over wasabi-ginger dressing I buy at Oil and Vinegar. Then I mix it and it’s ready. Jummy!

A few weeks ago I saw an inspirational program on vertical gardening on the television ( it’s Groenland, in Dutch) . It made me drool … It seems such a nice space-saving solution and I am quite willing to experiment with it already. Turning the garden into a real urban gem will be my big project in 2013.

For those who like urban gardening and happen to go to Berlin, I stumbled upon the Prinzessinnengärten. It’s a garden on a site somewhere in Kreuzberg on a spot that has been wasteland for 50 years (it used to be next to the Berlin Wall). People from the neighbourhood, university, artists … grow vegetables together. The most important thing is the social aspect. People from different origins work together and learn from one another. You can see a video with English subtitles here. I’d love to visit it next time I’m in Berlin.

Speaking of travelling, this year I’m heading twice to Iceland. Needless to say I’m utterly thrilled. In summer, Kristof, Greet and I will be driving around for a week and afterwards we will be staying four days in Reykjavik. The route is Lier-Paris-Keflavík-Skogar-Djúpivogur-Húsavík-Akureyri-Eldborg-Reykjavík-Paris-Lier. Sounds like totally my trip. Guess that’s why I came up with it. I hope Kristof will like it too. I’m afraid he will be disappointed because I’m always over enthusiastic when it come to Iceland …

I’m also going to Airwaves. I’m flying through Copenhagen so I decided I will stay an extra night there when flying back. Recently I really got into Scandinavian design. Normann, Hay, Arne Jacobsen … I’m going to explore Copenhagen designwise those 1,5 days I’m there. I’ll keep the classics for when I get there with Kristof.

Another goal of mine in 2012 was to learn to make the perfect Mogador. The Mogador is a macaroon with milk chocolate and passion fruit of my favorite Parisian pastry chef Pierre Hermé. My baking nemesis. But I seem to be on the right track. I still have to experiment a little with it. This one looked good and the last ones had the right taste. I need to combine those now. I’m about to master it.
My mogador

We went to Ghent. Again, I know, but there’s so much left to discover. We took a champagne breakfast a Labath which was adorable.

Champagne breafast at Labath

Then we walked to Prinsenhof where Charles V was born. A hidden gem. Not much is lasting except for a gate, yet it was really interesting. A historian at hand who wrote his master thesis about Charles V comes in handy at such moment.

Statue Charles V
Statue Charles V
Bad maintainance though
Bad maintainance though
Urban agriculture
Urban agriculture – I like!
A historian can be handy: denying heresy meant burning, confessing was having your head severed for men and being buried alive for women
Love the different materials in this house

Then we went to Huis van Alijn, which is a museum I do like: old shops (loved the candy shop!), the way people used to live. It also was a trip down memory lane. They had rooms from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and the 80’s. There was a book with the toys of the different generations and we were amazed about how many we actually had a home (my little pony! Pen hedgehogs! Care bears!). What rejoiced me was the babysitter club books. I devoured them as a kid. To the utter disbelief of my boyfriend …  There I was tumbling down the stairs of his esteem … Afterwards the thought hit me that my generation’s childhood can be found in a museum already… Does this mean I’m getting old ?


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