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We are super lucky here in Delft since there are 3 market days a week.  The booths go up the night before and the vendors set up the next morning rain or shine.  They even go in the winter!  Well, winter here isn’t quite winter like I know it in Canada, so that may not be saying much, but they do set up on the super windy rainy days which is quite brave.  There are stands selling many things including: fruit, veggies, cheese, clothing, bathing suits, yarn, material, candy, specialty foods, spices, electronics and of course, flowers.

The one thing I am missing here is the fudge stand.  I’m sure they have some little cubes at the candy store, but it is just not the same.  In Calgary, I would frequent the Grassroots Northland Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays.  There was the bread lady, the kettle corn and the fruit and veggie stand with athletes doing the selling.  We always went for our regulars, but ever few weeks the fudge stand, Meg and Mom Fudge, would catch my eye.  Buy 2 and get 1 free or something like that.  What a deal!  I couldn’t help but try a sample or four of their handmade fudge.  Maple walnut, mocha, OH and chai. Mind blowing.  The lady told me to put it in the freezer and take it out when I wanted some.  She even suggested to melt a cube into coffee.  Good idea.

Needless to say, I had a small stash in my freezer through the whole summer.  Since it wasn’t in front of my face, I would forget about it and then bike home from training as fast as I could on the days that I remembered it was sitting there, chilling, just waiting for me to take a tender bite of the rich sweetness.  The good thing about fudge is that you don’t need to eat a lot at once to be satisfied.  If you do eat too much at once, you get what I call “sweetness in the belly.”  Sounds good, but it is gut rot from too much sugar.  Not nice.

Before the holidays I found this recipe on Cookies and Cups, my go-to sweets site.  The pictures alone made me want to make this candy.  Since I am treating these last few weeks of pregnancy as the chance to make everything I won’t have time to make after the baby, I got down to business.  It was surprisingly easy!  And the result is rich melt-in-your-mouth fabulousness with some oreo cookie crunch for texture.  Now I just need that chai fudge recipe…

Cookies and Cream FudgeCookies and Cups

3/4 cup butter

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup marshmallow fluff

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups white chocolate chips or bars chopped up

2 cups crushed Oreos

1 cup coarsely chopped Oreos (for the top!)

Start by preparing all your ingredients.  This comes together quite quickly and you don’t want to be caught frantically stamping Oreos on the floor while you are worried that your mixture is going to set.  Not like I did that or anything.  Prepare a 9 x 9 inch pan (or there-abouts) with tinfoil and spray it with cooking oil so to prevent sticking.

For the fudge, start by melting the butter and sweetened condensed milk together in a pan on low to medium  heat stirring occasionally.  When the mixture comes to a boil, turn heat down slightly and simmer while continuously stirring for 2 minutes.  During the boiling you might experience some separation.  Don’t worry, it will turn out in the end!  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate and stir until it is all melted.  Next add the vanilla, marshmallow fluff and crushed Oreos.  Stir to combine. Pour out into prepared pan.

Finally, take your coarsely chopped Oreos and sprinkle them over the top pressing them down lightly into the mixture so that they stick.  Slide the dish into the fridge and wait about an hour until it is set.  Waiting overnight ensures a strongly set fudge.  Yum!

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So, it is Valentine’s Day.  There is no other way to celebrate this holiday than by eating.  Eating out, eating in, eating chocolates, sipping champagne.  This can be done with your lova, your friends, your family or spoiling yourself with a solo day.

I like to make dinner, surprise, surprise.  Going out or getting a reservation just sounds impossible to me and isn’t staying in romantic?  Especially in February when the weather can be super cold and beg you to stay in.  What’s more cozy than a hot meal indoors in your sweats?  Wait, did I say sweats?  I meant, super sexy lingerie covered by a new dress.  Ok, I am full term people, clean sweats are the best I can do right now.

Here are some suggestions for a menu:

Engagement dinner

Risotto

Nori encrusted Salmon on Soba Noodles

Paella

Pissaladiere and Cheese Fondue

Chocolate Cake

This year I am going for a French theme.  If Mr. F is reading right now –STOP HERE!  I’m thinking, Fench onion soup, moules et frites and a creme brulee for dessert.  Wish me luck!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Things around our parts these days have been blustering.  In case one, I mean windy.  If any of you are reading this post from the European coast, then you know what I am talking about.  It is darn windy.  Crazy windy.  I’m scared it’s going to blow down our building windy.  Mr. F says I should be used to it since I am from Saskatchewan.  Yes, I will not deny that it gets windy there, but this has gone on for days.  3 days and nights to be exact.  It’s an ocean wind and that, my friends, I am not used to.  We have seen some pretty funny stuff though.  Umbrella’s popping the wrong way, people being blown off their bikes, grandpa’s holding on to railings so that they won’t get blown away and waves actually crashing on the sides of the canals.  It is out of control.

Other things blustering lately is the feelings of getting closer to the birth of the baby.  I am excited all over!  Just over 2 weeks until the due date.  We can basically count days now, people.  Days until we are holding the new baby Danks.  All these Braxton Hicks contractions are getting my hopes up and getting me ready for the big day.

Finally in case #3, our housing situation.  The wind has been blowing us in all directions around our great city of Delft.  Looking at new apartments, old apartments, row houses, semi-furnished, unfurnished, furnished, ished, ished, yeesh… One weird thing that I can share with you is that unfurnished here does not mean no furniture like the Canadian standard.  Unfurnished here means, no lighting, no drapes, no paint and no flooring.  Yup, people strip up their flooring when they leave and bring it to their next house.  Because they have to!  So strange – to us anyways.

With all this blustering happening, doesn’t the kitchen just need to help us bring it all down to a calm level?  I say yes!  And this level I am talking about is a warm bowl of fragrant soup, well stoup, in this case.  I first heard this mashed-word on the Rachel Ray Show.  It has quickly entered by vocabulary because this is the type of “soup” thatI love.  More stuff, less broth.  Yes, I like broth just as much as the other guy, but when I am eating soup as a main course, I need some substance.  That is why I love stewy soups.  Get it – stoup.

This stoup could also be called a chili, but call it as you must, it is delicious and satisfying and calming.  I was going to write this post all about how I am intrigued by lentils and how a large portion of the world eats them as a staple and I never ate them until I was an adult, but now I guess I just did.  And kale is super good.  Kale, lentils, ground meat, fresh thyme and rosemary.  This is a good one.  It makes the house smell like Provence (or the spice mix anyways) and fills your belly with warmth and takes you to the exotic with the lentils aspect.  Make it on one of your blustering days to warm you up and calm you down.

Kale and Lentil Stoup – adapted from the Rachel Ray Show

200g sausage or ground pork (you could go ground turkey or chicken here too)

a couple handfuls of mushrooms, sliced (cremini are good)

1 bunch kale

o.25 cup tomato paste

1 onion

a palmfull of destemed chopped leaves of fresh thyme and rosemary (you can substitute this with Herbs de Provence)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 box of chicken stock (4 cups or 500ml) + 2 cups of water

1 cup of green lentils (I only had red and it was just fine!)

Start by browning the meat and the diced onion.  quickly rinse and slice up the mushrooms.  Toss these in for some browning along with the garlic and herbs when the meat is nearing the end and the onions are not translucent yet.  When the onions go translucent, stir in the tomato paste until everything is covered.  Let is cook for about a minute.  Finally, pour in the broth, water, kale and lentils.  Stir until well combined and let simmer for 45 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and then fill up some big bowls.

This is just a short little note, but I had to share!  Remember those baking powder biscuits I wrote about the other day?  I usually make them with soup or with chili or basically as an accompaniment for something hot that comes in a bowl.  Well, last night I made tomato soup with mini-meatballs and the requisite side of biscuits.  Somehow there were 3 left over for today.  I threw then in the oven to warm and then gently flicked them out of said oven with my fingers onto a plate.  How should I eat them?  I broke one of the crumbly moist packages open and decided to drizzle it with honey.  Eureka!  I have been lost in the savory world too long!  Please, make these, have leftovers, warm them in the oven and drizzle them with honey.  Please.

ps.  I guess you could call this a birthday dessert, because as of January 28th, this blog is now 1 year old.  Thanks for sharing this past year with me 🙂

Foodlova

I'm an ex-Olympian and I have a serious passion for food. I guess you could call me a food lova! What about you?

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