I wanted to preface the first few recipes that I post with a bit of information about current whereabouts and, specifically, current kitchen space.
We’re in Belgium at the moment, where we’re both doing internships in very interesting companies. We’ve been here for just over two months, and have one month left. The accommodation is a cosy little room in a studentkamer, which makes up our bedroom, living room, study and kitchen – all in one neat package!
This is a view from our window during the snowy period just before Christmas:
The snow was so exciting for us, finally a chance to throw snowballs, jump around in fresh snow, oh and fall over on slippery pavements!
But without further ado, here is the kitchen:
Please note, this is about 4 metres away from the window – and that’s the long side of the room! Oh and the cupboard door on the left hides our fridge.
Our equipment consists of one frying pan, one large pot and one small pot. Our utensils; cutlery, wooden spoon, egg flip, ladle, large plastic spoon, can opener, grater, chopping boards, several plastic containers for leftovers and an Italian moka coffee maker – courtesy of the saintly aunt in Italy!
It’s been interesting trying to come up with all of the one or two pot meals we can think of. Unsurprisingly there’s been a lot of pasta plus sauce, or rice plus whatever. Soups and chillis, which can be made in bulk and then eaten over the course of the week, have also been great in the wintery weather.
Food shopping has been interesting here. Hunting down fresh milk rather than the UHT non-refrigerated stuff was a bit of a challenge; the ubiquity of fresh milk in Australia is definitely something I took for granted. Surprisingly, there is quite a range of ‘exotic’ ingredients to be found in both the supermarket and the bio shops here. We’ve been eating lots of stir-frys and fried rice thanks to the availability of soya and oyster sauces, the odd Thai red curry with coconut milk and (fairly average) red curry paste bought from the supermarket. We’ve even had miso soup – albeit of the instant variety.
Meat is definitely more difficult here. It’s not difficult to find, or particularly expensive, but meat that comes from humane agriculture is both very difficult to find and very expensive. Some organic chicken breasts turned up in the big supermarket the other day for over 20 euro per kilo, and at the bio shop they cost even more.
Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be the middle ground of free-range but not organic on offer here. In Australia this kind of chicken usually only fetches about 15 percent more per kilo than industrially farmed chicken (from memory). In any case the result is we haven’t been eating much meat, so dried and tinned beans and lentils are our best friends!
So that’s the state of the kitchen. I can’t wait to have an oven again, but the last few months here have really proven that you don’t need much space or equipment to make food that’s both healthy and tasty. Over the next couple of weeks I hope to post a few of the best mini-kitchen recipes that we’ve been cooking.