Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A little bit of culture

Over the last couple of weeks I have had comments and emails from people asking about building techniques in Belgium and saying that they think renovating a house in Belgium sounds more romantic than in the US LOL! So I decided every now and again that I would post a little bit about the culture/habits/traditions in Belgium and this is definitely one of them.

Spek. The staple of every good Belgian farmers diet! This is the real deal lying in it's package on my kitchen counter waiting to be devoured (macro came out pretty good huh?). It's salted, streaky bacon sliced to approx 1cm thick. One of the first times I came to Belgium and stayed with my now in-laws they served this up proudly for breakfast fried in a pan. Me, being used to Danish bacon with my greasy spoon UK breakfast, proceeded to cut out all of the fat which left me with about two mouth fulls of meat out of a huge pile 'spek'. Needless to say in-laws thought us English where a funny bunch! The only other time I had ever eten streaky bacon was when it was wrapped around a turkey. Now my DH likes it cooked slowly in a frying pan until it is crispy and hard, then you can just pick it up in your fingers and chew on it like a snack. When I fry it I don't add any oil or margarine and by the time it's finished cooking there is about 1/2 cup of oil to drain off. We probably only have it once every two months or so. My FIL still cooks it traditionally, in butter, and then dips his bread in the 'sauce' left in the pan, then it's time to ring 911 clutching your chest :) Very often it's eaten with applesauce, cooked red cabbage and boiled potatoes. There is even a saying 'de kat op het spek binden' which translates 'don't tie the bacon to the cat' literally don't get in the way of temptation.

There are so many delicacies here, mussels and fries, Ardeen's pate, waffles, chocolate, beer and more, i'm even lucky enough to live in the pie capital of Belgium! Did you know that the Belgians invented 'french fries'. They truly are the best I have ever tasted, eaten with mayo of course. This blog could easily turn into a food blog! Have I got your taste buds tingling?

19 Comments:

Babette said...

I visited Antwerp with my family and tasted real Belgian waffles! It is so delicious and doesn't even come close to 'American style Belgian waffles'. I've been so obsessed with finding the right recipe. I know this is not a cooking blog but I'm wondering if you know of a Belgian waffle recipe. Thank you. :)

Designing Hilary said...

I love learning about food from all over.

But seriously ... you got me at "beer"!!! *lol*

Belgium beer is some of the world's best. I'm fortunate to have a real honest-to-goodness pub just a few miles from me in my little ole spot of Texas. The owner brings in kegs from all over the world to serve us freshly drawn draught to wash down our American version of pub food. The Belgium's have been consistently tasty, hearty and delicious!

Lidian said...

Oh, yes - I was lucky enough to visit Belgium once and I loved it, and everything we ate was superb. We were in the Ardennes and I look forward to visiting again someday (had roast boar there & it was really good, though now I am mostly vegetarian so my DDs can't believe we had this! lol)

Claire said...

Hi Babette, yeah the waffles are great, I find you can really taste the vanilla sugar a lot. Do you know what sort of waffles they where? You have 'Luikse' waffles from the town of Luik/Liege, these are thicker, slightly irregular in shape and have lumps of sugar inside the waffle, sometimes a little crunchy on th outside. Then you have a Brussels waffle, normally softer, rectangular and not as thick served warm with cream or icing sugar. Sometimes they have custard powder or yeast in the recipe. Let me know which one you think it is and i'm sure I can find a recipe!

Claire said...

Hi Iidian, i've never had roast boar but we've got a lot of them in the forest here! I've got a few vegie friends and it doesn't seem to be the easiest country to be a vegetarian in, too many temptations!

Claire said...

Hi Hilary

Don't worry I know in the future there will be a beer post! My personal favourites and Hoegaarden a 'white' beer, full wheat and a 'blond' Leffe hmmmm! I love that each beer has it's own special glas but i'm not too good with the 12% beers!

Babette said...

Hi Claire, it's the Suikerwafle (spelling?), I guess that's the Luikse wafle? It's irregular shaped and crispy and oh so good. My Dutch friend told me that it is made from dough not the usual watery batter we have here in the US. Thanks. :)

Tomato Lady said...

I visited Brussels 23 years ago (gasp! Am I really that old?), and it was one of the most beautiful cities. Perhaps again one day? What I would really like to see is the countryside, though, the small towns. The food sounds delicious. Keep the culture posts coming.

Breeni Books said...

Very interesting! I love learning facts about other cultures. You must have so many things to try!

Kathy said...

This was fascinating! Thanks for sharing this information.

Would you be interested in a link exchange with my newest blog? It sure could use a little link-love to get up and running and your blog seems to be a somewhat similar niche.

Paul said...

Boy that sounds good!

Tink said...

Belgium is one big culinary treat! Yummmmmmmmy! :)

carol said...

Beer, bacon, fries (in mayo?) and pie. All things I like. I might have to move.

All tasty but all fattening. How do you keep from gaining weight?

Claire said...

Ha that's simple, carrying 25kg bags of sand and cement, chopping down trees, lugging bricks around, it sure works up an appetite :)

ChichiBoulie said...

frites avec mayonnaise, c'est un delice! I live just over the border in France and where we are, "french fries" are served with mayonnaise as well. So good!

Claire said...

yeah i'm so used to them now with mayo I would never dream of putting ketchup on them. Monday night is frit night here, makes monday morning a little more bearable :)

Leif Spiel said...

Sorry, I know this isn't your most recent post, but I got a bit delayed here!!! I am living in Germany at the moment, and have only had the pleasure so far of one weekend in Belgium. The food is AMAZING! Fries with Mayo, of course! Waffles with chocolate and ice cream for breakfast, yes please! Mussles and fries, strange but ok! I am so jealous . . . I also really like the idea of your blog, and it looks like a great project with the house. Best of luck!

Claire said...

Hi Leif
Yeah we're spoiled rotten! We are literally surrounded by delicious things, one of my favs is cheese and beer night:) I'm glad you like my blog, thanks so much for stopping by!
Claire

Anonymous said...

thehousethatkoenclairerebuilt.blogspot.com is very informative. The article is very professionally written. I enjoy reading thehousethatkoenclairerebuilt.blogspot.com every day.
same day loans
canada payday loans

 

blogger templates | Make Money Online