Ballekes

Nice to meat you! … is what I could’ve said to this restaurant in Sint-Gillis in Brussels. The name doesn’t lie: this concept restaurant revolves all around meat balls. You can order 1 or 2 depending on how big the hole in your stomach is, and pair them with whatever sauce tickles your fancy. For the healthy ones amongst us, there’s salad to go with that, and for the others (me, who am I kidding?) there’s chips. The food is nice and the place is bright and open with lots of windows to people watch. Yet.. nothing really compares to Balls & Glory. A solid and deserving alternative, me thinks! You can also order their meals through Deliveroo!

Where? Chaussée de Charleroi 174, 1060 Sint-Gillis (Brussels)

When? Mondays from 6.30pm till 10pm, Tuesday-Friday from 12pm till 2.30 pm and from 6.30pm till 10pm. Saturdays from 12 till 3pm and from 6.30 till 10.30pm. Sundays from 12.30 till 3pm and from 6.30 till 9.30 pm.

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Chouconut

If there’s one thing you should know about me, or perhaps you already do, it’s that I adore discovering places that are perfect for fika, a moment in our busy week where we take time to catch up and talk, have a good coffee and have an even more heavenly bit of sweet cake. I’d say me and my boyfriend do this once a week, and really, it is my favourite thing in the whole world. Obviously, I don’t want to deprive anyone of the cozy and delicious places that I have found myself, hence I set up a blog category called #HOTSPOT.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Chouconut, a place that describes itself as a tea salon and patisserie.  The name pretty much says it all, it’s a bakery that combines chous (soesjes), cookies and donuts. Their sweets are best had shared, because that way you can try different flavours. They are exquisite! And the whipped cream you get on your nose, that’s just something you have to deal with. It’s part of the fun. :-)

Where? Chouconut is only a few steps away from the metro/tram stop ‘Hallepoort/Porte de Hal’ in Sint-Gillis, Brussels, so very easy to get to. There’s a couple of cool shops on that same street too.

When?  Chouconut is open Tuesday-Thursday from 10am to 6.30pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 6.30pm. It’s closed Mondays and Fridays.

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Alice

Alice is a Rococco-like old manor house located only a short walk from the main shopping street, the Veldstraat. With its chandeliers, etsy chairs and baroque paintings, you’d think you are visiting Louis XIV. Nothing is less true of course, because the relaxed atmosphere in combination with the oh so fancy decor is what makes this place so special. No need to tiptoe around, just a very cool place to have a coffee or dinner with friends. Did I mention I also had the best cake (of my life!) there? It was a mascarpone and brownie piece of pie and I still dream about it sometimes. I’ve also read that Alice does afternoon tea and that is something I feel needs to be tried before I eventually move away from Ghent, too. I’ll definitely report back on that later…

(And, if you’re a bit of a weirdo, like me, you’ll very much enjoy the rounded door in the bathroom. Just one of those things that excite me for no apparent reason).

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Where? Alice can be found at Onderbergen 9, right across from the beautiful “het Pand”, which is part of the university and is also worth a quick browse. Because it’s so close to the main shopping street, it’s perfect for that little pick me up that you so desperately need sometimes while on a shopping spree.

When? Tuesday – Friday 8.30-17.30, Saturday 09.00-18.00, Sunday 9.30 – 14.00

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How (Not) To Bake A Sugar Pie / Suikertaart

Last week, I decided to bake something because I just got so tired of staring at my thesis. From a recipe book with ‘Canadian Recipes’, I decided on (brown) sugar pie. It wasn’t perfect (it actually kind of failed, but that allows me to give you some extra tips on how to make it better!)

Ingredients
Base
180 g butter
50 g sugar
300 g flour

Filling
120 ml maple syrup (How Canadian can a recipe get, aye?)
340 g creme fraîche
250 g brown sugar/ cane sugar
3 tbsp water

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter with the sugar and 3 tablespoons of water in a sauce pan on low heat. Add the flour until you can form a ball. Grease your cake mould with some butter and spread the dough across the mould with your fingers. Bake this for 20 minutes (less if you have a convection oven!).
  2. Take out the base and turn up the heat to 200°C.  Put the maple syrup in a sauce pan and add the creme fraîche and the brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil slowly and keep stirring until it thickens. (Don’t worry if it’s very liquidy, baking your pie will help!)
  3. Add the filling to your cake mould and bake your pie for 30 minutes (Again, less if you have a convection oven).
  4. Optional: you can make some extra dough to bake some shapes to put on top. Make sure they are thin enough! Put them in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes and then take them out. Place them on top later, before putting your pie in the fridge to cool.
  5. Enjoy! (And pray to god your pie does not turn out as solid as mine did. Still tasted good, though :) )

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