Are you preparing your summer holidays these days if located on the Northern Hemisphere? Perhaps you can do a little stop at Travelling around the World sharing Cultural Heritage, Folklore and Background to be able to land in Western Europe. Three official languages are spoken in this land: Dutch, French and German and it shares borders with France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. This country takes its name from the ancient Roman province called "Gallia Belgica", in the northernmost part of Gaul that, before Roman invasion, was inhabited by the Belgae. So, this is the name of the country we are visiting today, "Belgica" in Latin or Belgium in English, as we all know!
Hello Kristel and welcome to Penpalling & Letters! It is great you are visiting us today! Maybe you'd like to tell us a bit about yourself and your penpalling experiences?
Hello! I am Kristel, a 37 years old female living in Belgium as you already know! I started penpalling many years ago, about the age of twelve, I guess. In fact, it had been "suggested" by my language teacher to improve our learning of French. Further on, I started to learn English and German and I tried to get in touch with people who spoke those as native languages, too. As this was in pre-Internet times, it wasn't always so easy. Some teenager magazines had a little ad section and it was most successful to put one ad myself, usually. After trying ads, I got to know Friendship Books through my American penpal; I put my name in it and I sent it back to her again, as none of my other pals used it, hehe! Years later I am still into FBs exchange, and I think it is still fun! Through
Internet I have found different penpals who aren't into swapping, but I don't mind. I like those friends, too! I like to decorate my letters. I think it is nicer reading a cute paper than a blank one. My letters are handwritten and typed and I don't mind typed letters from my penpals. In fact, I prefer typed when people have a difficult-to-read handwriting, if you know what I mean. I collect all sorts of cards (viewcards, greeting cards...) and special stamps worldwide. Once I made an account at Postcrossing, but I only used it a few times. Maybe in the future I will be back to it... Sometimes I participate in Swap-Bot: you can find me there as kristel1974. So, you can say, I am first of all into the penpalling thing and I mostly swap things with people, depending on our interests. However, I don't have e-mail penpals, as I do love the spirit of real letters!
And right now I would like to share two recipes with all of you. It is of my favourite sweet snack, which represents my country, too: Belgian Waffles!
The best way to make a basic Belgium waffle recipe is to use yeast. Yeast will make Belgian waffles fluffy, soft and yummy. You could also use baking powder or cake flour but you will get the best result with yeast. If you use yeast, then eat them when they are done - they are not that good the next day.
Tools you'll need to make waffles:
- Iron waffle maker
- Measuring cup and spoons
- Whisk or hand mixer
- Small sauce pan
- Large mixing bowl and spoon
- Heat safe spatula
- Three 1/4 cups (1 lb. - 500g) all purpose flour
- One sachet (7g) instant dried yeast
- Four medium eggs
- Whole milk (you can also add some sparkling mineral water and make them even fluffier)
- Two sticks (1/2 lb. - 250g) butter
- Vanilla sugar
- Some salt
And now, the directions to do the basic Belgium waffle recipe are:
1. Take a cup of milk and heat it until it is warm. Then mix it in your yeast. You can now leave the yeast standing for a while.
2. In the mean time melt the butter, but stop as soon as it melts. Don't over heat it or even burn it as you will lose the taste.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and beat the egg whites until you get snow.
4. Now take a big giant huge bowl and throw in all the flour, vanilla sugar (one sachet) and some salt. Make a whole in the middle of the flour and fill it with melted butter, dissolved yeast and egg yolk.
5. Mix while you are adding milk (and some mineral water if you want). You should mix it really well so there are no lumps. The question you might ask yourself here it is how dense should the dough be and how much milk to use? It should be thick as you should think they are like pancakes.
6. Gently mix the beaten egg whites into the dough.
7. Leave the dough resting and rise at room temperature for a while. How long? Until the volume of the dough doubles or even triples! That is why a really big bowl is needed. If you are in a hurry then wait for thirty minutes to one hour, but if you can, make the waffle dough in the evening and leave it overnight.
8. Use the oil to grease the waffle iron (which should be very hot) so your waffles don't stick to it and pour the dough in it. Bake until they turn golden brown.
And the basic Belgium waffle is done! Now it is time to put the topping as they are strawberries, chocolate, sugar, honey, syrups, ice cream... whatever you can imagine which fits the waffle. Also decorate it as wished!
The typical Brussels Waffles recipe:
- One 1/2 oz. of yeast (40 gram)
- One pint of tepid sparkling mineral water (4 dl)
- One lb of flour (500 gram)
- A pinch of salt
- One pint of tepid milk
- Eight eggs
- 1/2 lb of melted butter
The directions to do the Brussels waffles are:
1. Dissolve the yeast in tepid water.
2. Shift the flour into a bowl and make a whole in the middle.
3. Mix the dissolved yeast slowly with the flour, add the salt and the milk.
4. Add the egg yolks.
5. Whisk the egg whites and scoop them carefully with a slice through the tough.
6. Cover the dough and leave it to rise until its volume has doubled (about 15 to 20 minutes).
7. Use the oil to grease the waffle iron (which should be very hot) so your waffles don't stick to it and pour the dough in it.
8. Bake them until they turn golden brown.
They are served with butter and vanillated sugar or powdered sugar. You need a bigger waffle iron for this variant. The light structure is due to the use of sparkling water. As topping you can use any of the elements told above. Also, use your imagination to decorate it!
After so much hard work baking, it is time to enjoy some Belgian Waffles now!
Thanks for participating in Penpalling & Letters, Kristel! Let's try your recipes in our homes to taste the typical Belgian waffles! Whenever you feel like participating again you are welcome to visit us again!
If you are interested in reading more articles featuring characteristics of our homelands don't forget to check: Travelling around the World sharing Cultural Heritage, Folklore and Background.
I am always looking for people who would like to take part in this section of the Blog: Travelling around the World. If you would like to write about any aspects of your homeland don't hesitate to contact me at: penpallingandletters[at]gmail[dot]com and we will work on it!