I don’t recall having lots of snowy winters in Belgium, and if there were, then they came at the least expected moments, rarely during the Christmas season. I have been in Belgium for almost 20 years and I have experienced, perhaps, once or twice of white landscapes between Christmas and the New Year.
Last month was rather mild with 2-digit temperatures of 11or 12 degrees Celsius, hence “too hot” for snowfalls, however, snow DID fall only for one day when the mercury dropped to minus 2 degrees Celsius on Sunday, 28th Dec 2014. And that’s about it! Now that we have flipped the calendar to another brand new year, we have also experienced lots of chilly weather the past three weeks.
Last weekend, Belgium woke up to an amazingly beautiful white landscape. The air was so fresh, the snow so white, crisp, light and fluffy to the touch. I was glad it snowed on Friday night leaving a picturesque landscape on Saturday. Here were some photos I took of our back and front yards.
A Temporary Hermit and a Frugal Lunch
Actually I had planned to do some shopping on Saturday morning, but with such cold weather, I had to retract my plan. I became a weekend “hermit”, hibernating in my warm cocoon instead. Did I like it? Of course I LOVED it!
Coincidentally, I received a text message from a girlfriend asking me what my favourite warm winter dish is. I have lots, but looking at the fact that it’s cold outside, a warm soupy dish makes the best comfort food.
Okay, it was a weekend. My pantry was running low of fresh vegetables and meats. Hmmmm…… what to eat? I opened the fridge and there was a bag of beansprouts I bought earlier in the week and half a daikon. I went downstairs to our cellar and opened the deep freezer. Lo and behold, a bag of frozen prawns and another packet of fishballs were staring at me. I smiled gleefully and knew immediately what I could conjure from all the available main ingredients.
And by the way, I always have reserved packets of noodles or pastas in my kitchen cupboard. They come in REALLY handy. And boy was I glad I still had a packet of bee hoon or rice sticks or rice vermicelli or rice noodle or whatever-way-you-want-to-call-it noodle that day.
And here’s the result of our frugally yummy and comfy lunch, an all-in-one bowl Bee Hoon Soup.
As this was an impromptu, flash-in-the-pan kind of cooking, I have no measurements, but only guestimates, which is also my middle name.
Ingredients for the broth –
• 1 big Onion pricked with 4 cloves
• 5 cloves of Garlic
• 2 sticks Lemon Grass
• Kaffir Lime Leaves
• Star Anise
• Black Peppercorns
• Half a daikon (washed, peeled and cut in chunks)
• Water (pure guestimate for 4 eating adults plus a bit more for extra helpings)
• Chicken Stock Cube (if this was a planned dish, make your own chicken broth or vegetable stock)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Bean Sprouts (top and tail)
• Coriander (or any fresh herbs of your choice. I happened to have some wilted coriander in my fridge that day…)
• Spring Onions (I always have these in the fridge. Remove the slimy brown bits and julienne them)
• Carrot (for colour – julienned)
• Frozen prawns (thawed, cleaned, deveined and boiled in small amount of water with half a stock cube and freshly milled black pepper. Set cooked prawns aside. Pour the cooked water from the prawns into the broth)
• Frozen fishballs (these can be added to the broth while simmering)
• 1 packet Bee Hoon (blanched in hot water or according to instruction)
• Hot Chilli Flakes
• Sesame Oil
• Shaoxing Wine (or any type of cooking wine or Whisky)
• Lemon Juice
• A dash of Brown Sugar, to taste
• Salt and Pepper, to taste
What was nice about this dish was it was an all-in-one-pot cooking. Just let the broth simmer away. Your kitchen will smell deliciously herby.
The soup is ready when you are absolutely sure of the flavour, taste and the right level of saltiness you want to scoop onto the bowl of Bee Hoon. Please note the blanched Bee Hoon is very, very bland on its own, hence, the soup or broth can do with a lot more seasonings. Be warned!
What I did to lift up the taste of my bowl of flash-in-the-pan Bee Hoon Soup was concocting a condiment to round up our Saturday “warm” winter dish. I must say, it was out-of-this-world, simple, yet delightfully delicious meal. My guys were completely bowled over. The warm broth combined with the extra heat from the homemade condiment almost instantly unclogged my older son’s stuffy nose. And mine, too. *sniffles* 😀
Luckily, I had the foresight to cook more broth and not just for 4 servings because my sons had second helpings!
I’m submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up, organised by Doreen of my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. The January 2015 LTU theme is “Noodles and Pasta” hosted by Anne from My Bare Cupboard
I am also linking this post to The Great Britsh Store Cupboard: Cooking with Herbs Challenge – January 2015
I came across Sarah’s blog, Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity by chance. I love her sense of humour and her motto “live a champagne life on a sparkling cider budget“. Exactly what her blog is about. So here I am, linking my post to Homemade Mondays – Week 116 hosted by Sarah of Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity, Aubrey of Homegrown and Healthy and co-hosted by Kelly of The Sustainable Couple