About Me

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I’m Bella, a 21 year old food fanatic and I have big plans of eating my way around the entire world! I was born in Java, Indonesia – so I am a ‘cappuccino’ as one Indonesian man called me (a mixture of brown coffee from my Dad and white milk from my Mom…) or just simply put – half Irish / half Indonesian! I live in the west of Ireland with my Mom, Bernie and twin sister, Ayessa.

My Moms dream was to travel around the world – and that she did. I have an inkling that I am following in her footsteps. As for my twin, when we are not fighting –  I spend time cooking for her and she spends time practicing her artistic makeup ideas on me!

Mangetout, my food and travel blog is a place for me to write about the things I have come to learn about food and the world. I have just come back from living in the south of France for 1 year and a half. I was an intern, studying abroad for college. In 2014 I took a gap year from my studies to embark on a 7 month food and exploration expedition around south east Asia. At the end of my first major trip I decided to leave college and work towards a career in the food industry! This blog is going to be my cyber journal of all the things I discover both foodie and travel wise.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Pear & Apple Pastry with Madagascar Vanilla Custard

Pears & apples are a match made in heaven! Their different types of sweetness really compliment each other. Also, I think everyone knows just how well a good custard goes with any kind of sweet pastry! So lets get all of these 3 together and make a lush dessert!

1 pack of ready made flaky pastry
4 apples - 1 for decoration
4 pears - 1 for decoration
3 tbsp of brown sugar
1 tbsp of freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp of water
2 little cubes of butter for buttering the dish
1 handful of flaked almonds

Madagascar Vanilla Custard
3 egg yolks
1 L of whole milk
2 Madagascar vanilla pods
2 tbsp of brown sugar

Tip: Nowadays you can easily get a good ready made pastry in any decent shop near you. It comes in the form of a dough rolled and wrapped around some parchment paper. Its simple and takes a good hour off your cooking time!

  1. Wash and peel 3 apples & 3 pears
  2. Cut them into any kind of little shapes & plonk into a saucepan
  3. Add 3tbsp of brown sugar, 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed orange juice & 2 tbsp of water
  4. Give it a good stir & leave on a low heat until soft - every so often come back to it and stir gently as to not smash the fruit into smithereens!
  5. With the remaining pear & apple cut in half & then cut that half into a further half
  6. Try and cut thin slices of each fruit which will be our overall amazing topping (ideally if you have a mandolin it would be a treat if not just practise your thing Japanese knife skills!)
  7. Get a little bowl & fill with water 7 then place in a wedge of lemon to stop colouring
  8. Get a pastry dish and line the entire inside with butter coating to ensure the pastry does not stick
  9. Simply open the packaged pastry & roll over the pastry dish, with your fingers just move around the inside edges of the pastry dish to allow for an even place for the fruit to sit
  10. Leave this in the fridge until ready to use
  11. When you can with ease put a knife through the biggest piece of fruit you know its ready
  12. Take the chilled pastry from the fridge & simply fill with all the stewed fruit
  13. Take your thinly slices of apple and fan them close to each other around the inside edges
  14. With the thinly sliced pear fan them on the inside of the dish - long parts of the pear facing towards the inside of the pastry dish - This makes it look amazing & people can really see that its a pear & apple treat!
  15. When the tart is nearly done scatter over 1 handful of flaky almonds to give it a lovely nutty taste
  16. Place into the oven at 180 degrees C for about 25 - 30 minutes or until lovely & golden
  17. Lets talk custard -It's was my first time to make it homemade and it was actually easy! I took a chance at this recipe as I didn't have any access to the Internet and it actually worked out pretty good!
    1.  Separate 3 eggs - we need the 3 yolks
    2. Add your 2 tbsp of brown sugar and whisk together
    3. On a low heat pour in 1 L of whole fat milk and warm it through, stirring constantly
    4. Run a sharp knife down through the middle of the 2 Madagascar vanilla pods, splitting them open
    5. Run the back of the knife down all 4 sides stealing all those beautiful vanilla grain - add these sticky goodness to the milk and whisk until you see specks of vanilla dispersed throughout the milk
    6. With the warmed milk slowly add a little to the eggs yolk & brown sugar mix whisking vigorously in the process (don't add it all at the same time as you will get scrambled eggs)
    7. Give it a good whisk then put it back on a low heat giving it a whisk here & there to give it some air
    8. When it can coat the back of a spoon you know its done
  18. The tart should be done at this stage - on a shallow bowl pour in a good lug of the Madagascar custard then place neatly a nice slice of the pear & apple tart on top!
I think this little miss could be a show stopper & leave anybody feeling warm inside so enjoy folks!

Bella :)

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Tutti Frutti Crumble with Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream

This dessert takes literally minutes to muster up. If you have friends around for dinner and prefer to
spend the evening with them rather than slaving over a hot oven then get your pens and paper out, or should I say in this day and age get your mouse and 'copy and paste'!!

Its a 'Tutti frutti' dish with attitude! Beautifully ripened peaches and raspberries are the star of this show. We better not leave out our supporting role of the Madagascan Vanilla Ice Cream... Delicious in a mouthful!

So what do you need?

For 3 people

5 ripened peaches
1 punnet of fresh raspberries
3 tbsp. brown sugar (more if you have a sweet tooth, less if your up for a sharp twist!)
1/2 packet of English Digestive biscuits
1 packet of English Shortbread
150grs of flaky almonds
3 scoops of Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream

How to bring it all together -

  • Roughly cut the peaches (remember were not looking for fancy, we want to spend time with our friends!) and throw them into a sauce pan along with the fresh raspberries
  • Add the  tbsp. of brown sugar and let it all stew together - should take 10 to 15 minutes
  • Put your ice cream into the fridge to soften
  • In the meantime get your packet of English Shortbread and 1/2 packet of English Digestive biscuits and put them into with a blender or even easier get them into a clean tea towel and smash them around the place like a crazy person until you get a beautifully fine crumble!
  • Mix the crumbled mix with the flaky almonds in a baking tray - then pop them into a piping hot oven until brown and moreish!
  • They will take roughly 5 - 10 minutes depending on the heat, but take them out once during the cooking and give then a turn and shake to ensure the entire tray gets a good blast of heat!
This isn't your typical crumble... We aren't going to bake it all together like the traditional one... It's even easier...
  • The minute that fruit is done, the dish is done! You have the crumble crisping in the oven which is more than done and the ice cream softening in the fridge
  • So get some bowls and fill them 1/2 ways with the sweet fruit, spoon over loads of that deliciously crunchy crumble and lob on some ice cream! C'est tous as the French man said...
I can hear chimes of 'yummmmm, emmmmmm, yesss'... Because it is just that! It cannot be simpler, it's the perfect dessert for a busy evening with loads of sweet tooth's around the house!

Enjoy, over indulge, have a great time cooking and socialising with friends!

Bella :) x

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Salad, salad & more salad !

First & foremost i am very proud to announce that 'Bella De La Luna Foodie Adventures' has been added to the Irish Food Bloggers Association http://www.irishfoodbloggers.com/. This is a treat & I am sharing this with you as I feel you can find so many other lovely blogs through this association... Come on the Irish! Lovely :)

Anyway enough about that, lets get blogging! So today I would like to talk about salad... I mean it's not everyones favourite thing, some think it's bland while others think its boring & overly 'healthy'.

But can we sit back & allow ourselves to get our creative hats on & turn it into something of a simple delight? I love potatoes & coming from Ireland how can it seem anything but normal?! A plain potato salad would be just fine... But we don't want just fine, we want great, uplifting & yummy. My partner is funny with potatoes so I'm always trying to make it interesting so we can eat more! Have a look at this little gem:

Bella De La Luna style potato salad

Ingredients per 2 people

1 good handful of baby new potatoes
1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon of mayonnaise 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch of salt & pepper


1) Boil the baby potatoes until soft but still give a little 
2) Drain & allow to cool 
3) Mix the Wholegrain Mustard & Mayo in a bowl
4) Add the Thyme, Pinch of salt & pepper to the potatoes 
5) Combine the wet mixture with the potatoes & garnish with some fresh basil or thyme

This is an absolutely delicious dish & takes no time at all... It went down a treat in our little French studio so I was chuffed!

Enyas Health-Tastic Salad

Ingredients per 2 people
1 Carrot
Good handful of Rocket & Mixed salad
Thumb size piece of Ginger
1 whole Red Chili
1 big clove of Wild garlic
1 handful Runner/Broad Beans
1 half Red Pepper
Big handful of mixed Cherry Tomatoes
Squeeze of Lemon juice
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil


1) Wash all ingredients 
2) Use a peeler to peel the carrot (gives a sleek look)
3) Mince the chili, wild garlic & ginger 
4) Cut the runner/broad beans & cherry tomatoes in half 
5) Slice the red pepper into strips 
6) Mix all ingredients together, including the Rocket & Mixed Salad, squeeze in the lemon and drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil, mix again

Tip - Normal the general guideline for any good salad dressing is 3 parts oil + 1 part acid. 

The acid can be what ever your feeling or whatever bests suits your dish. This rule will normally leave you with a lovely dressing. This recipe has completely deserted this rule, however, substituting it with really intense flavours - like the ginger, chili & wild garlic will leave your taste buds exploding with spicy freshness! The lemon juice & extra virgin olive oil just brings everything together! Yum...

I suppose it would be fair to share with you my utmost respect for Mr Oliver... He is an inspiration, oozing with energy & passion. His tips & hints are just brilliant. Have a look at some of his thoughts & advice on everyday salads !

The French Provencal summer is a finger length away, the heat is back on track & the days are getting longer. I hope to share more salads in the coming weeks & have some plans for growing some salads on our tiny terrace - wish me luck, it's exciting avec la belle vie en Provence !

Bella :) x

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Dinner Soiree, Provence

What a superb night ! Simple cooking, fantastic company & great laughs. It was our 1st proper night to pull off a soiree for 6, beautiful people. The conversation flowed, the laughs exploded & of course the food was centre stage.

Samuel, one of our friends we have luckily met along the way started of the evening with his 'Banging Brushette'. Like I said -  simple cooking, yet scrumptious & moreish! It was a delight & a must try for everyone. So lets begin & put his little creation to good use -

Ingredients as per 6 people

1 packet Vienna Bread
About 2 packets of organic cherry tomatoes
1 big bunch of fresh basil
1/2 bunch of fresh mint
3 cloves wild garlic
3 balls of Buffalo mozzarella (boiled in cling film to separate the milk from the actual cheese)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 + 1/2 Tsp sea salt
1 + 1/2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Packets of good quality Parma Ham


  • Wash all ingredients, then boil some water for the mozzarella
  • Chop the tomatoes in half & add to a bowl
  • Mince up the wild garlic & add to mixing bowl
  • With your hands roughly break pieces of the mint & basil into the bowl
  • Add the 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt & pepper - mix & much together
  • Drain the mozzarella & get some sheets of cling film, wrap them in the cling film fairly tightly
  • Add the mozzarella balls to the boiling water & leave the milk + actual cheese to separate - this will take about 3-4 minutes depending on how hot the water is
  • Get the Vienna bread & toast until browned on both sides
  • Mozzarella -  WARNING: they become extremely hot so take care! Drain the mozzarella balls using a colander. Use a sharp knife to slit 1 side of the cling film open. 
  • Get a cup/ bowl & allow the milk drip into it. Keep the milk separate from the soft cheese. (This will look like you have just popped it into the oven - it becomes beautiful & melty)
  • Get your assembly line going - bread, tomatoes, Parma ham & melty mozzarella
  • Assemble all these ingredients together & arrange nicely on a plate with big bunch of rocket in the middle
  • Server immediately so your hungry guests can tuck into a warming melted mozzarella mess !
Not so fussy or difficult is it ?!

So Mr Sam started us off with a 'bang' & I left us with smooth & silky fresh pasta with a homemade basil & wild garlic pesto !

Ingredients as per 6 people

3 bunches of fresh basil
3 fairly big size wild garlic cloves
240g of freshly grated Parmesan
9 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Fairly big pinch of salt & pepper
3 packets of lardons (smokey bacon)
1 packet of spinach
1 & 1/2 red onion

To serve - fresh fettuccine pasta, rocket & cherry tomatoes 

  • Roughly chop the basil, garlic & grate the Parmesan
  • With a mixer (a pestle & mortar would work better) throw in all ingredients & blitz until a mush forms
  • Start to slowly add the extra virgin olive oil so it doesn't go everywhere !
  • Have a taste & check the flavouring - does it need more Parmesan perhaps? More olive oil? You need to try at this stage to ensure your pesto comes out superb ! I left mine at room temperature ( I didn't want it to be fridge like cold when hitting the warm pasta
  • In a pan fry the lardons
  • While the fats is being extracted get working on the red onion - nice delicate slices, so bust the skin of the onion ( hardest part I find !) split it right in half then cut going along the lines of the onion. Throw into the lardon pan
  • Wash the spinach & throw into the pan - get everything covered in that lovely lardon juice
  • You want a slight crunch to the onion so fry for about 3-5 minutes at a medium to high heat !
  • When the starter is being served boil up your pot of water for the pasta - add a good pinch of salt (it makes it boil faster)
  • Wash the cherry tomato's & rocket for garnish
  • Cut the tomatoes any way you like, add some salt & pepper & a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil - mix until all tomatoes are coated then leave o one side
  • Fresh pasta takes about 3-5 minutes so pay attention (don't be drinking to much wine ;) ha ha) or just follow the manufactures cooking guides - they can't be wrong after all !
  • The  minute the pasta is ready - get the pesto, spinach, lardon & reed onion mixed into it
  • Scatter the cherry tomatoes & rocket on top for a funky
  • Serve quick so its piping hot !

An absolutely fantastic night ! The food was delicious & everyone had a great night - so much so we started planning the next one ! Sometime in the next 2 weeks I think... I'll be cooking the starter the next time, while Sam slaves away in the mayhem of a very small kitchenette. I've weirdly been thinking about what to make for a la prochaine <next time> & I'm thinking Asparagus with a homemade Hollandaise sauce ! What does that sound like ?

So from myself & my beautiful Enya thank you to our scrumptious, funny & adorable friends - Samuel & his <coeur> (love) Marion, Pierre - Jean & Yassin for being brave enough to venture into my cuisine & laugh on while I snipped away at any plant I found in front of our studio to make the table look that bit more colourful! And also to the lovely Charlotte & Reneau who joined in after the feast was had.

Finishing off the evening, we listened to the music blaring from the nearby French pub, while tucking blissfully into Enyas homemade Lindt Corn Flake nests !

With French sunny love,
Bella :) x

Monday, 3 June 2013

Egg white Omelet with crushed tomatoes, basil & Comté cheese

Any person with a non-stick pan, a carton of eggs & any type of ingredients can put an omelet together. They are simple and don't need a 'Cordon Bleu' diploma to get it to perfection!

This little recipe can mean getting a good, healthy meal into anybody: your kids, your teens, your lovers & yourselves after a long day. I think a non-stick pan is essential. Eggs tend to stick and burn easily with normal pans & with an omelet we want it smooth, even silky!

Eggs are a great source of protein. The yolk holds all the fat & cholesterol so if you are trying to cut down & be that bit healthier leave it out! This is the 1st time I've made an egg white omelet and it is delicious! I found that it is much lighter without the yolk but I find them both equally as good.

Eggs = cheap + thumbs up nutritionally + so diverse + super easy to cook with

Ingredients per person
3 egg whites
Handful - 1) Cherry tomatoes 2) Comté cheese
Little bunch of basil
Salt + Pepper
Table spoon of toasted almonds
Tea spoon extra virgin olive oil

  1. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and crush with the basil leaves , salt & pepper - leave to chill for about 20 minutes allowing the juices to intensify, if you don't have the time just use them straight away (they will still be good)
  2. Get the Comté cheese and cut into tiny cubes
  3. Heat up your non-stick pan & add a TSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil when hot enough
  4. Separate the eggs & whisk in a bowl (egg whites take in a lot of air which makes the omelet fluffy!)
  5. Add the egg to the warmed pan and with a fork drag the omelet from side to side getting it even fluffier (looks kinda like your starting scrambled eggs, but we don't want that so be smooth & gentle tiger)
  6. With a knife or spatula edge around the pan & try to lift the edges of the omelet from the pan
  7. When the egg looks almost set add the crushed basil tomatoes & Comté cheese
  8. Gently, trying not to break the whole omelet - with the knife/spatula turn 1 side of the omelet onto the other
  9. Allow to cook for about 30 seconds, take the pan off the heat and cover with a lid -  leave until finished with accompaniments or about 2-3 minutes (I feel this allows the egg to fully set & gives an extra minute for the cheese to melt even more!)
  10. Serve with toasted almonds & a nice wholesome grainy bread

Watch Jamie Oliver make his perfect omelet over here on this link

For some awesome egg recipes check out http://www.incredibleegg.org/ Cracked full of egg recipes, good tips & an egg fact section!

Enjoy & get cracking,
Bella :) X

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Apple & Peach Poach with Sweetened Natural Yoghurt

Apple & peach = a pretty strong marriage! They are both as sweet as a sunny day but have completely different textures. The crunch of the apple Vs the smoothness of the peach is just as good as watching a scene from your favourite film! (I’m not over reacting! I was going to use the all-time ‘match made in heaven’ line but didn’t want to ‘over cheese’ the situation ;) ha ha) 

Trying to think on the lines of using fruits and being extra healthy ;) I came up with this simple poached apple & peach breakfast mix! It’s a layered glass (or however you like) of the fruit & natural yogurt with toasted flaky almonds scattered on top. It’s easy to make and takes about 20 minutes.

It’s a great recipe if you’re trying to stay in shape and be that little bit healthier!  The fruits offer a great source of vitamins, the natural yogurt gives you the calcium kick-start to the day while the toasted almonds give you that extra hit of fibre which is all good in the general running of the body!

This breakfast recipe can easily be turned into a dessert favourite. Mixing the almonds with a crumbled digestive biscuit & toasting in the oven will leave your guests warm and yummy inside!

1 apple (I’m guessing the best would be a crunchy & slightly bitter Granny Smith but I just used a Pink Lady as it was what we had laying around!)
1 fairly ripe peach
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon water/ orange juice
2 pots of natural yogurt + 2 teaspoon brown sugar for a sweeter flavour
Handful of flaky almonds

  • Cube the apple & peach, add to a saucepan (for presentation: thinly slice some apple and peach, leave until the end)
  • Add the tablespoon of brown sugar + the tablespoon of water
  • Poach until soft
  • In the meantime, mix the natural yogurt with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • Toast the almond flakes on a low heat. Just until brown. When they go dark brown they become bitter and we don’t want that!
  • Get a glass of your choice and start to fill with a dessert spoon of the fruit mix, then a dessert spoon of the yogurt. Do this twice.
  • Sprinkle the top of the mixture with the toasted almonds.
  • For the wow factor stick thinly slices of apple & peach onto the side of the mixture.

If you are a Marvin Gaye fan like me, blast this out of the stereo while preparing this recipe! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdIF1lrIxXc 
He has the power to wake up any kind of sleepyhead and get your day on the right track!!! ;) 

Enjoy & Bon appétit,
Bella :) x