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Archive for August, 2012

Hoummous

August 27th, 2012

Elisabeth

 It took 4 attempts in the past 6 months but I finally mastered the art of making houmous. I am slightly embarrassed to admit I failed 3 times in a row, since it’s just a matter of blending cooked chickpeas, right? But, there is a trick! Ridiculously obvious once you have found the recipe that enlightens you on that small step in the process. So dear ladies and gentlemen, do NOT, under NO circumstances whatsoever, through away the cooking liquid while draining the chickpeas. You will actually need some to get the right consistency and to avoid a dry chickpea puree and a broken blender (=the third attempt).

Serves 4

200 g chickpeas soaked overnight
3 tablespoons of olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 garlic gloves
2-3 tablespoons of tahini paste (picture above)
salt and pepper for seasoning

Rinse the chickpeas and place in a large saucepan. Add 2 liters of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 1,5 to 2 hours or until the skins are tender. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper. Drain the chickpeas, keeping aside the cooking liquid (AHA!) and blend in a food processor with a little cooking liquid to help the chickpeas on their way. When smooth, add the lemon juice, garlic, tahini and olive oil. Taste for seasoning.

Does it come as a surprise that’s it’s the Moro cookbook that showed me the way to the perfect hoummous? It’s the ideal starter for a long hot summer diner and it can be served in many different ways. Try with ground lamb, cinnamon and pinenuts, in the mix with a mached avocado and fresh cilantro or plain with some refreshing cucumber. How do you like to eat yours?

all pictures by elisabeth for aestheticshelter.com

Sint Jacobs B&B

August 21st, 2012

Elisabeth

I have a confession to make. Two weekends ago I visited Bruges for the very first time of my life. Even though I’ve been born and raised in Belgium, I had never visited this charming city before. For this last minute weekend getaway I luckily still managed to book a room at Sint Jacobs B&B. Compared to most B&B’s in the city  (think lots of froufrou, an excess of antique furniture and heavy chandeliers) it seemed perfect to my taste: straightforward, calm and airy. Don’t be fooled by the first picture. After a burst of lime green in the majestic hallway a peaceful oasis awaited in form of a spacious room in different shades of white.

Crisp white sheets and an occasional quirky detail made me feel at home straight away.

The next day I woke up extra early to take pictures of the dining area, annex kitchen, where breakfast was served. The room is perfectly executed in a black and white colour scheme with pops of bright colours. There I got a chance to talk to the owner Thierry who explained the history of the house (it used to house a textile company) while he was making freshly squeezed orange juice. All very laid back and relaxed. The meal did not disappoint: home made bread, fresh fruit salad, different types of cereals, yogurt and a nice crispy baguette.

I loved the juxtaposition of the black chairs with the painted wooden floor…

not to mention the design. Like a modern day version of an art deco seat. I forgot to ask the name of the designer but I’ve emailed Thierry and will add the info asap (chairs are Phillipe Starck for Kartell). So when in Bruges you know where to stay.

St. Jacobs B&B
Oude Zak 20
8000 Brugge

To view the outtakes visit the Facebook page
all pictures by elisabeth for aestheticshelter.com

It’s all in the details

August 20th, 2012

Elisabeth

I’m a huge fan of the 5 days|5 looks|1 girl feature on Vogue.com. The pictures are perfectly executed, styled, lit and I appreciate the detail shots in particular. Do you see how the combination of colours and textures could easily translate into interior details? Wall paint, sofa’s, cushions, duvets etc… My all time favorites are these of Chioma Nnadi (pictured above) and I completely fell in love with the style of Simone Tetteh, a true style chameleon.

How many can effortlessly go from sneakers and jeans to a bright yellow evening dress (by the way it’s H&M!)? For a great insight into how Chioma Nnadi started her career it’s here and to see the full feature on Simone Tetteh and how she rocks dungarees it’s here.

pictures by Marko MacPherson for Vogue.com

Pimm’s Canada Dry

August 16th, 2012

Elisabeth

Summer is finally here and it seems as though it is here to stay. Cocktails are in order! First time I had Pimm’s it was on the beach in Ibiza served in a glass pitcher in the mix with ginger ale, freshly chopped fruit and mint. There wasn’t much else you could wish for while enjoying the sun, the beach and the company of friends. This time I mixed Pimm’s with Canada Dry, cucumber, radish and slices of orange…but feel free mix yours with lemonade or to add strawberries and slices of apple.

The perfect start of any barbecue. Hope you are enjoying plenty of them these days.

all pictures by elisabeth for aestheticshelter.com
first picture courtesy of my lovely friend Anne-Sophie