alittlek’s space

*crunchy* speculaas pasta is lekkerder!
May 17, 2010, 6:26 pm
Filed under: Belgium, Food

One of my very first posts was about this delectable speculaas (speculoos) spread recently invented in Belgium. And amazingly, that post remains my most-viewed yet. So for those fans out there who can’t get enough of the spreadable goodness… I have good news. No, I have great news. You now have a choice. That’s right. CHOICE.

Would you like creamy, or crunchy, today?

Crunchy please! Oh, could you ever have imagined anything more delectable than a creamy spreadable cookie out of jar? Then how about one with little bits of cookie in it? Well, now you’ve got it.

The unfortunate thing (for me) is that, unlike the creamy version, nor our local Dutch store carries it. Thankfully, a friend who recently moved to Belgium sensed my urgency. When Nilam came stateside a couple months ago, she mailed me a jar of crunchy. I’m so indebted.

Gasp! The jar is almost empty. But luckily, family is visiting in June. And even better, I’m going to Belgium in August! So I should be in good shape for at least another year.

Country Rhubarb Cake
April 12, 2010, 2:34 am
Filed under: Food

Nico and I hosted friends for dinner on Saturday, and our day of preparation involved Nico making dessert: Rhubarb Cake! To me, it’s more like a pie but with lots of crust. Although I really can’t claim any credit for this delicious endeavor – I did suggest adding lemon zest to both the crust and filling (which he did). I bet that was the key ;)

January 31, 2010, 7:46 pm
Filed under: Food

The same night of our cooking party, Jeff also taught us to make buckeyes. But the better version of buckeye… meaning they’re made of peanut butter and chocolate!

Huge smiley face insert [HERE]

The trick to this one is having a tempering machine. The unfortunate part is that tempering machines are ridiculously expensive! You can easily drop a thousand bucks for the darn thing. You can add wax to the chocolate though, to help solidify it, but the idea of consuming wax kinda weirds me out. I know, I know…I’m sure I consume worse things, but whoever said “ignorance is bliss” was very, very wise.

January 23, 2010, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Food

Mmm….Homemade German pretzels. My friend, Jeff, is a cook-a-holic and when he posted on Facebook a photo of freshly-baked, perfectly-formed, mouth-watering pretzels, I made it pretty clear that I wanted a cooking lesson – and soon! One night, Jeff came through on his promise, and we had a cooking party. Nico was there too (well, come on…who do you think is *really* going to be making the pretzels?) and Julia. And being that she’s full-blown German, accent and everything, it only added to the authenticity ;)

The recipe is fool-proof but the trick is lye – a chemical that, if swallowed, CALL poison control. And it’s recommended to wear goggles and protective clothing while handling it. Seriously, who came up with this? Was a German chemist making pretzels and at the same time experimenting in his basement, and then lo-and-behold accidentally discovered the trick to perfectly browning them? So weird… But so delicious.

Jeff hooked me up with some lye, so Nico and I could start making them ourselves. The same day I got the lye we made pretzels, and they turned out so well! But after posting a photo to Facebook, I got myself in a bit of trouble. Too many requests to bring samples to class! It resulted in some very disappointed classmates the next day. Oops….

I’ll just have to co-host a pretzel-making party with Jeff – and soon!

Update: Banana Nut Muffins
February 6, 2009, 8:11 am
Filed under: Food

I made three batches of banana nut muffins – the third being my favorite. I decided to get all crunchy (meaning treehugger) on ’em by adding wheat flour, ground flax seed, brown sugar, and less sugar overall. Four bananas are better than three, and as always the blacker the tastier. And don’t skimp on the cup of walnuts!

Warning: avoid storing in plastic bags (like Ziploc) – the perfectly crusty muffin tops become moist. Keep them out and then after a couple of days freeze the leftovers.

Below you’ll find my revised ingredient list for the original recipe:


3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon coffee/espresso (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour (a little over can’t hurt)
1/4 cup flax seed (ground)
1 cup chopped walnuts (toasted or raw)

Banana Nut Muffins
January 29, 2009, 3:32 am
Filed under: Food

Banana Nut MuffinsThe beauty of overly-ripe bananas is that they are gems when it comes to baking. I love the fact that I can make something so tasty that otherwise would be thrown to the chickens. Nico and I somehow allowed eight bananas to turn black and I thought this would be a great opportunity to make some quickbread! I’m always on the lookout for a great banana bread recipe so if you have one, please share!

I found one recipe here.

It sounded simple, which I wanted not for ease but for purity of taste. The bananas are naturally sweet and don’t need much doctoring.

What I loved most about this recipe was its accuracy on timing and how many muffins it made. I find that baking recipes tell you a time and they’re off – but more often, they overestimate the number of muffins, cookies, etc that you’ll end up with. This recipe? A perfect dozen. Loved it!

MmMMmMmMmm….and they were delicious! I couldn’t resist taking a pic of my banana bonanza.

Up next? Banana Cookies.

speculaas pasta is lekker!
January 22, 2009, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Food
Sweet happiness..

Sweet happiness

Speculaas paste is delicious!

What is speculaas paste, you ask? Um…only the most *amazingly delicious* jar of I-just-can’t-get-enough cookie spread. Yeah that’s right – spreadable cookies. How brilliant! For those of you (like myself) that did not grow up with the cookie (aka speculoos) you may be familiar with Biscoff (served on Delta flights…). I  equate its taste to the American snickerdoodle. But better!

While the European cookie recipe has evolved for ages, speculaas SPREAD was recently introduced to the Belgian and Dutch markets. In fact, it was a Belgian woman who concocted the idea – and the recipe – and won a national competition.

Anyway, Nico surprised me last night with a shipping box and inside were two jars of speculaas spread! You see, the only way we could get this was to physically bring it back from Belgium. We even checked the biscoff website a few months ago only to be disappointed they didn’t offer it. But that was then; this is now. Apparently does now! Bedankt Nico!!

I enjoy it with ice cream, fresh bread, and even straight from the jar.