Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mama's Birthday

I made Ma a massive chocolate cake with silver balls on top for her ketchup birthday. The recipe is from a new book I picked up in Oxfam called 'Bake and Decorate' by Fiona Cairns. 

Ground almonds are the secret ingredient in this case and approximately 83% of all other cases. 

I like the candle smoke in this picture. Hmm, birthdays smell good!  

Saturday, 20 August 2011

I got that Leuven feeling...

Thanks to my incredible friend Susie, cycling instructor par excellence, I've been riding a bike since January. So, this summer I figured the most adventurous thing for me to do would be to go off on my own somewhere and ride my bike in a foreign land, and that's exactly what I did.

First I thought I'd go to Holland since its renowned for its flatness, cycling, tulips etc. But, Ma mentioned that Dutch countryside is a bit dull and suggested getting the Eurostar to any Belgian station, specifically Leuven. When she told me its a lively Medieval student city with lots of pubs (a bit like Norwich) I was sold.  

I stopped of in Antwerp on the way to go to their new state museum. It was full of things and stuff including a Narwhal horn. The architecture of the building was more impressive than what's inside but, hey, maybe I would have got more out of it if I could read Flemish.

Curvy windows at the MAS Museum in Antwerp

 I hired a bike! Armed with a map of cycle paths around Leuven and repeating the mantra 'remember to ride on the right' I set off on a tour of the surrounding countryside. I am ludicrously proud to report that I didn't even fall off. I almost did. But I didn't!

Leuven Botanic Gardens complete with birds and bees. Animals are definitely a novelty when you are only expecting plants.

Crazy beetle on a pin sculpture outside the beautiful university library that made me very jealous.

The remains of possibly the best roast chicken I've ever eaten at Kiekekot, a tiny restaurant with two tables where the owner has been roasting chicken to perfection for 49 years. Consumed after I had left the hostel with plans to go to a vegetarian restaurant. Je ne regrette rien!