Boulettes à la liégeoise

Lena's mother made this my first night in Belgium, it's an awesome dish typical of their city. It uses Sirop de Liege, a thick syrup that uses 400g of apples and pears for every 100g produced. I think that fruit mince would be the most similar product to source easily, but I think you could also use apple or pear jam.

photo from google!
500g ground pork or beef mince
1/2 chopped shallot
100g of bread soaked in milk
salt and pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 egg
50g butter
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
200g slivered onion
thyme, bay and marjoram (or if you're lazy like me, dried mixed herbs!)
2 teaspoons Sirop de Liege (or, I think you could replace it with fruit mince, or apple/pear jam)
40 dry raisins

Mix the meat with shallot, bread, parsley, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper and form eight balls. Heat butter in a big pot and brown the balls on all sides, then remove them and leave them on a plate. Glaze the balls with the vinegar and sugar, and let them sit so that some of the glazes evaporates, then put the remainder into the pot and add the onions, thyme, bay and marjoram. Place the meatballs on the bed of onions and add water to mid-height. Allow to simmer covered for 20 minutes. Remove the meatballs and put on the plate with one-half of the onions, mix the remainder and pass it through the strainer. Add the Sirop de Liège and the dry raisins, adjust the seasoning and put the meatballs back in the sauce, reheat before serving. Serve with fries or mashed potato.

Chocolate Speculoos cake

The cake I made for Hauke's birthday, using Speculoos from Belgium. I'm obsessed with speculoos, you can read more about it here. If you ask nicely, I might even share the awesomeness that is speculoos by posting you some!

225g soft butter
225g caster sugar
5 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons speculoos spread
120g melted chocolate
225g self raising flour
60g ground almonds

Speculoos and either melted chocolate or cocoa powder, icing sugar and butter for chocolate icing

Line a 23cm baking tin and preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius. Cream butter and sugar together, add egg olks one at a time, beating each in. Add speculoos and chocolate, stir. Add the flour, baking powder and almonds and stir. Whip egg whites into peaks and fold into the mixture. Pour into tin. Bake at 160 degrees for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until you can poke it with a skewer and it comes out clean. Cool and cover with a layer of speculoos (heat it a little to soften) and then a layer of melted chocolate or a layer of chocolate icing.

Gratin de Chicons (Witloof gratin)

Tim from Belgium made this at my place once in New Zealand, its a bit tricky to make there as witloofs (witlooves?) are hard to find, they are also called endives and chicory if you want to look for them. We found them in Moore Wilsons and sometimes at New World. His mother made it again in Brussels, and I've since cooked it in Antwerp.

8 witloofs
200g salmon (or 8 big slices of ham from the bone )
400 ml milk
4 tablepoons of flour
150g butter
300g grated cheese (gouda if you want to stay true to the original recipe)
1 teaspoon sugar
salt, pepper

Wash the witloofs, removing the top layer and cutting off the ends. Melt 50g of butter in a pan, add the sugar, whitloofs and a little water and let it simmer covered for 15 minutes. Mix often until the witlofs are caramelised. Leave the witloofs to drain for 30 minutes and keep 300ml of the liquid in which the witlofs were cooked. Melt 100g of butter in a pan. Add flour when the butter is totally melted and take off the heat, mixing well for three minutes. Return to the heat and slowly add the milk, mixing all the time. Add the liquid in which the witloofs were cooked, and season with salt and pepper. Add half of the cheese and let it melt in, continue mixing until you have a thick sauce. Roll salmon (or ham) around every witloof and place into an oven-proof dish. Pour the sauce in, covering all of the witloofs. Place in the oven at 210 degrees celsius for 20 minutes. Halfway through sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Serve with mashed potato or french fries.

Speculoos cheesecake

The cheesecake I made for my birthday in Madrid. See the chocolate speculoos cake recipe above for more on Speculoos.

1 packet of speculoos cookies, crushed
50g melted butter
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons gelatine
3/4 c caster sugar
500g block of cream cheese, softened
pinch of cinnamon
1 cup speculoos spread
1 1/2 cup whipped cream
1/2 cup sour cream

Line a 23cm baking tin with plastic wrap. Mix the speculoos cookies with the melted butter and pour into the tin, pressing down firmly to make a layer. Mix the cream cheese with the 1 cup of cream, lemon juice, caster sugar, gelatine and a pinch of cinnamon, then pour into the tin. Mix the speculoos (helps to microwave it a little to soften it) with the whipped cream and sour cream, and then add on top of the cream cheese mix. Refrigerate until served.