Order Pastries from the Food Voyager for the Holidays!

 

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Click on my downloadable order form to see what the Food Voyager has to offer in the most delicious pastries that are made with organic, high quality ingredients- just in time for the holidays!

Are you vegan or have special diet needs? No problem!  Just specify in your order and we’ll accommodate you as best as we can.

Payments are made via Paypal or Cash on Delivery/Pick-up.
TFV Holiday Order Form
Simply download and fill out the form and then Email Me

Puurkuur Picnic!

A potluck picnic that’s bound to satisfy any foodie!
Enjoy the fresh air and warm company as you get to sample a scrumptious dish brought from all in attendance.

Chef Leentje Speybroeck from Kookeetleef.

Chef Leentje Speybroeck from Kookeetleef.

Initiated and organized by Kooteetleef:  food lover, educator and fellow chef extraordinaire.  Check out her lovely blog.
I can’t wait to see and taste what she brings to the picnic.  Food is her passion and that you can certainly tell right from the first bite.
And I’ll be there armed with my Black-Eyed Pea Salad!

Click on Event to join.
Hope to see you there!!!

The Food Voyager’s Homemade Sangria

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¡Olé!

¡Olé!

I make this homemade sangria on special occasions, about once a week ;) It goes down delightfully smooth, but drinker beware- it packs a punch, but one you’ll willingly take!
The beauty in homemade sangria is just that- making it yourself instead of grabbing that convenient yet disappointing mix off the shelf.  Homemade is definitely the way to go and this recipe is easily put together that results in a refreshing and satisfying wine punch.
The blackberry garnish is beautiful and just wait until you taste the fruit slices that have been soaking in a sangria bath overnight.
Now the only thing left to do is have a party!

Yield: Approximately 8 glasses (depending on what kind of drinker you are!)
Vegan
Music Pairing:
Tom Waits, “Walking Spanish”

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2-inch slice of fresh ginger, cut in slices
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup filtered water
  • 2 bottles red Spanish table wine
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • ½ cup triple sec
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • orange slices
  • pear slices
  • blackberries

Procedure:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, fresh ginger, maple syrup and water. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat.  Boil until reduced by one third and syrupy, about 10-15 minutes. Place syrup to the side to cool and then strain into a glass jar.
  2. Poor the red wine into a large glass container or jar, along with the bourbon, triple sec, orange and lemon juices. Stir in the cooled syrup. Add the orange slices, pear slices and blackberries.
  3. Cover the glass container and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Serve the chilled sangria in red wine glasses garnished with fresh blackberries on skewers.  If you don’t have a glass pitcher with a pinched lip, use a strainer when pouring and then add some of the soaked fruit to the wine glasses.
  5. Enjoy!

Helpful Tips:

  • Chill overnight for the best flavor, or even longer to create more depth and punch!
  • Make sure to wash your fruit well before slicing and adding them to the sangria mixture.  It’s best to use organic fruit for this recipe, especially if you are using berries.
  • Store homemade sangria in a covered container in your fridge up to a week.  But check often for the freshness of the fruit.
  • Get creative!  Use any fruit you wish- apples, limes, tangerines, etc.  For softer fruits, like peach and pineapple, add the morning of so they retain their shape and don’t become mushy.

 

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Guest Chef: Kevin Storms

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I had the honor of witnessing Chef Kevin Storms give a classic, Southern American side dish a Flemish twist.  And the results were mouth watering.

Chef Kevin Storms of the vegetarian cafe, Restaurant Avalon.

Chef Kevin of the vegetarian hotspot in Ghent, Restaurant Avalon.

Being from the South, I have the right to be a Hush Puppy snob.  So when I saw that apple was going into the batter… along with broccoli… and red onion (okay, red onion totally makes sense)… I had serious misgivings and an air of Southern superiority could be detected in the kitchen.
But when Chef dropped the mixture into hot oil and the smell of frying batter hit my nostrils, a ray of hope hit my stomach.  And as Chef lifted the fryer basket to reveal tiny, perfectly fried, golden morsels… I lost my snobbery and that sense of excitement as a child sitting in a backseat as they go through a drive through, immediately gripped me.
I was proved wrong… and I can admit that.  The hush puppies were a perfect balance of savory and sweet and the crispness was spot on.  The mustard and maple dipping sauce only brought it to the next level- ‘Glori-Fried’!

Quick Profile:

  • Name: Kevin Storms
  • Age: 35
  • Place of Birth: Antwerp, Belgium

How did your culinary career begin?
Cooking has always been around, from early on at home. Throughout my studies, I worked with catering companies and finally a career in healthy cooking came through a shiatsu course where macrobiotic cooking was involved.  I became interested and very quickly it took a high flight and then I started cooking at the East West Center in Orval.

How would you describe Restaurant Avalon?
Avalon is an organic, vegetarian lunchroom. We create a daily menu with what’s in season and what the land has to offer, most people order the day menu. Foremost, we want food to taste good and to give satisfaction.  Our aim will always be to cook for a broad spectrum of people.

If you set off sail on a voyage, what food items and culinary tools could I expect to find in your kitchen galley?
Setting off for a trip… a nice sourdough bread sandwich with homemade hummus, salad and pickles always comforts me like nothing. I feel safe if I have a vegetable knife, a lemon and some parsley around. If I have to cook, a small bottle of toasted sesame oil was in my last luggage.

Any future plans you’d like to share?
I’d love to start an a la carte restaurant in Ghent one day.

 

Hush Puppies with Mustard Maple Sauce.

Hush Puppies with Mustard Maple Sauce.

Yield:
Vegan
Music Pairing (Chef Kevin’s Pick): Neil Young, “Southern Man”

Ingredients: Hush Puppies

  • 3/4 cup corn flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup even mix of : small diced red onion, small apple cubes, small broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • Oil for frying (choose one with a high smoke point)

Procedure:

  1. In one bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, sea salt and black pepper and combine with a whisk.
  2. Add the soy milk and stir.  The consistency should be very thick.
  3. Fold in the vegetables with a spatula and gently incorporate.
  4. Scoop inch size balls of the batter into deep-fry oil that has been heated to 175 ºC (347 ºF).  Fry until golden brown and cooked all the way through, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  5. Serve with Mustard Maple Dipping Sauce.

Ingredients: Mustard Maple Dipping Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons good quality mustard
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Procedure:

  1. In a bowl, whisk the mustard and maple syrup together.
  2. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and combine until blended well.

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Heart Beet Carpaccio

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This stunning salad is guaranteed to impress.

This stunning salad is guaranteed to impress.

Yield: 2 Servings
Vegan
Music Pairing: The Psychedelic Furs, “Heartbreak Beat”

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beets, peeled
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon good quality mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh rucola as a garnish

Special Equipment:

  • Mandoline slicer
  • Heart shaped cookie cutter

Procedure:

  1. Using a mandoline, slice beets almost paper thin.
  2. Place sliced beets on a flat surface and using a cookie cutter, cut beets into heart shapes and place into a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the apple cider, olive oil, maple syrup, mustard, sea salt and black pepper with a whisk.  Pour the mixture over the heart beets making sure that all beets are covered with the liquid.  Cover bowl and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Once beets are marinated, strain and reserve the liquid. Arrange the heart beets on a plate in a circular pattern (or any pattern you wish- get creative!) and drizzle with reserved liquid. Garnish with fresh rucola and serve with Tahini Horseradish Sauce.
  5. Enjoy!

Helpful Tips:

  • This recipe is even better when you allow the beets to marinate over night.
  • When cutting out the heart shapes, try stacking several beet slices on top of each other.  This makes the process go by a lot quicker!
  • Wear gloves if you don’t want your precious lil’ hands to be stained red from working with the beets.
  • Don’t throw away the remnants of what your cookie cutter left behind. Save those bits of beets for another salad, a garnish or even a soup!

 

Caught In the Act… Again.

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Yet again, Ralphy yawns....

Yet again, Ralphy yawns….

Ralphy doesn’t care much about yawning in public.  He’s not into particulars such as politeness- he’s just too laid back for that and that’s why it’s so easy for me to catch him in the act there of.
Here it looks as if he is almost posing amongst the apples and greenery. But don’t get the wrong impression, he becomes quite animated at the sound of me whisking cream in a metal bowl.

 

Savory Pecan, Rosemary and Blue Goat Cheese Coins

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These delectable crackers are just as delicious eaten without a topping.

Tasting these crackers was like catching a bus back to my youth, without having to pay the fare… Every Christmas Eve my family would amass at my Grandmother’s house in Gentilly and bring with them a bouffant amount of food comparable to that of a small, yet well stocked delicatessen.
And with all of that amount of food, a four year old me, only cared to remember a sort of cheesy biscuit/cookie that one of my many Aunt’s used to make.  Every gathering I looked forward to feasting on those small, rustic and savory mounds of yum.
Unfortunately, that family gathering fell out of tradition and so did the mounds of yum… until just recently, my friend.
After popping one of these coins in my mouth, I truly was transcended back to that youthful and warm time.  Food definitely has that transport power. Baking these made me feel as if I somehow upheld a lovely and not so lost, after all, family tradition.

Yield: Approximately 20 Crackers
Vegetarian
Music Pairing: Louis Prima and His New Orleans Gang, “Rhythm on the Radio”

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chilled, unsalted butter divided into cubes
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) blue goat cheese of your choice (I used organic Blauwschimmel from Holland), crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped, fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 Procedure:

  1. Place toasted pecans in a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Sift flour over finely chopped pecans and stir well with a spatula.
  3. Add the chilled and cubed butter to the bowl and blend with a pastry cutter or with hands until mixture resembles coarse sand.
  4. Add the crumbled blue cheese, sea salt, chopped rosemary and black pepper and gently combine until cheese is absorbed into the dough.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a clean work surface.  Shape the dough into a 2″ wide log and then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  6. Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius). Slice the chilled log into 1/4″ thick slices.  Place slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake immediately, rotating once, until crackers are golden brown and centers are firm- approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer coins to a cooling rack.
  7. Enjoy!

Helpful Tips:

  • Taste your blue cheese first to see hoe strong and salty it is. The kind I used was a bit mild, so I added one more tablespoon to the mixture and didn’t leave out the sea salt.  Basically, you want the coins to have a mild cheese flavor, not too overwhelming, but not mild enough that you can’t even detect the cheese’s distinct flavor- find that balance by sampling your cheese first, that shouldn’t be a problem for cheese lovers!
  • They make great gifts. But these are delicate crackers, so be careful how you wrap and transport them.
  • These coins can be made the night before and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Make sure to twist each end of the plastic wrap real tight before placing the dough in the refrigerator to chill.  This helps it to maintain it’s log shape and prevents a flat bottom from occurring- no flat bottoms here! And finally, what is most important, is to make sure the dough is thoroughly chilled. This makes it easier to slice and maintain it’s round shape.
  • Top with fig compote or slices of apple and pear.
  • For a delicious canape, pipe on top my recipe for: Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus.

Top them with Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus for a scrumptious treat!

Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus

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Drizzle a bit of olive oil and garnish with toasted and spiced pecans for the ultimate Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus experience!

Thanksgiving is behind us and so is Black Friday, thankfully… And I just know there is an astronomic amount of leftover sweet potatoes occupying many a fridge, particularly in the American South. And perhaps there is also a capacious amount of sweet potatoes that didn’t even make it to the oven… just hanging out in the dark corners of kitchen cupboards waiting to be picked- pick me, pick me!
If this is the case, what are you waiting for? For them to bollix up and be thrown out? Ooh the shame… for your shame, ye shall have double! Pull those potatoes out and get to it!
Or perhaps you’re just a big hummus fan- then you’ve also come to the right place, my friend.

They’re also delicious eaten right out the oven!

Yield: Approximately 2 cups
Vegan
Music Pairing: Echo and the Bunnymen, “The Killing Moon”

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup reserved
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus 1 teaspoon reserved
  • black pepper to taste, plus more reserved
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • juice and zest of one small lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves (or more if you love garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of water

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, sweet potato, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, cumin, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and ground black pepper.  Place mixture in an oven proof dish and roast until sweet potato is tender and mixture is a bit caramelized, about 35-40 minutes. Take care to mix ingredients ever so often to prevent burning.
  3. While sweet potato mixture is roasting, blend the 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, tahini, fresh lemon juice and zest, garlic, maple syrup, vinegar and water in a food processor until smooth.
  4. When the sweet potato and chickpeas are done, add them to the mixture in the food processor and blend until completely smooth. If mixture is too dry, add more water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency; season with additional black pepper and sea salt to taste.
  5. Place mixture into a serving bowl and garnish with Toasted, Spiced Pecans. Serve with Savory Pecan and Blue Cheese Crackers.
  6. Enjoy!

Helpful Tips:

  • As with many recipes, hummus will taste even better the next day.  Try to make this recipe the night before.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge and take out 30 minutes before serving.
  • For more flavor, try finding roasted tahini for this recipe instead of the normal kind- you won’t regret it!

Vanilla Bean Coconut Rhubarb Scones

This scone pairs nicely with strawberry jam.

This recipe was a last minute inspiration that turned out to be worthy of posting. I had been racking my brain of what to do with the rhubarb I just cut from our garden and at the same time conjuring up something that I could make for breakfast that is healthy and contains a lovely dose of carbs (all runners can relate…).

And in walks the scone… the vanilla bean coconut, rhubarb scone!

Yield: 8 Bakery Sized Triangles
Vegan
Music Pairing: Southern Culture on the Skids- Biscuit Eater

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (but dear God, not the white stuff!)
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted, plant based margarine, chilled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of coconut milk, blended well

Sliced rhubarb morning fresh from our garden.

Nothing beats fresh vanilla!

Sliced rhubarb marinating in sugar and fresh vanilla bean.

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius)
  2. Mix together in a bowl the sliced rhubarb, sugar and vanilla. Place to the side and allow the rhubarb mixture to marinate while you work on the next steps.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and sea salt.  Then add the grated coconut and mix all ingredients well with a rubber spatula.
  4. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the chilled margarine chunks into the flour mixture. Continue to incorporate until you no longer see any margarine pieces and the flour resembles that of course sand.
  5. Add the rhubarb mixture to the flour and gently mix with a rubber spatula.
  6. In small increments, add the coconut milk to the flour mixture and gently incorporate with a rubber spatula. Continue to add coconut milk in small increments until a soft dough forms.
  7. Transfer dough onto a floured surface and shape into an even round.  Cut the round into eight even triangles and place each onto a non-stick cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!

 

Coconut rhubarb dough.

Coconut rhubarb dough shaped into a nice even round.

The delicious end- dairy free, coconut, rhubarb scones!

Helpful Tips:

  • Rhubarb texture resembles that of celery, that’s why I like to slice it a little thinner and then let it tenderize and marinate a wee bit in the sugar mixture.  But be careful not to slice the rhubarb too thin, you do want to leave some texture but your goal is just to have it tender not obliterated.
  • Store your scones in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  They should last for about a week, but surely you would have eaten them all by then…

 

 

Bourbon Pecan Baked Brie (or how to get lucky!)

This recipe can be filed under, “Guaranteed to get you laid”. Or if you just want to get in good with the boss, impress the in-laws or that cute redhead that works at the Jitney Jungle. It is so simple and requires very little prep that you can use the extra time that you will save on shaving above the knee and other dusty areas…

The Food Voyager loves feedback. In the awesome words of Cheap Trick, “I want you to want me.” Or I want you… to leave me… a comment!

Delicious baked brie with a Bourbon pecan sauce.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Vegetarian
Music Pairing: Prince- “Darling Nikki”

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup muscovado sugar or other unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 (14 ounce) round brie

 

This brie goes wonderfully with pear slices, a warm baguette and a delicious glass of chilled white wine.

 

Procedure:

  1. Mix the pecans, sugar, Bourbon, vanilla, vinegar and sea salt in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or up to a couple of days, making sure to stir the mixture every once in a while.
  2. Remove mixture from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
  3. Place brie on an oven proof platter and heat for 3-5 minutes or until brie is slightly warm and softened.
  4. Remove from the oven and spread the sugar mixture on top of the brie. Place back into the oven for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the sugar has really liquified and just beginning to bubble.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Prepare to die happy!

 

Helpful Tips:

  1. The longer you allow the sugar mixture to chill in the fridge, the more intense the flavors will be.  Also, you’ll allow time for the sugar to dissolve and the pecans to soak up the ingredients.
  2. Don’t over cook your sugar mixture once you place it on top of the brie.  If you allow it to cook too long, it will either burn or harden like a rock once it cools- not fun to clean nor fun to eat! You just want to allow time for it to warm and for some of the alcohol to cook off. So, watch it like a hawk while it’s in the oven!
  3. This brie recipe goes really well with warm baguette slices and/or slices of fruit, such as pear or apples. Make sure to have some lemon juice handy to drizzle on your fruit to prevent the slices from turning brown.  But if you’re not out to impress, feel free to skip that step!