Back in Bruges

Well, not literally, but we tried to recreate the “authentic” Bruges experience at home by making chips, drinking local beer and watching “In Bruges”.

Have you seen “In Bruges”? If you haven’t, you should. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. Not sure about the crying actually, since I do cry quite easily (like a big gay baby), but I don’t see how you wouldn’t be moved by it. And you will certainly laugh. It’s quite a dark film involving a good amount of black humour. And swearing.

And if you haven’t been to Bruges, you should go. We went this July, as a part of a road trip to Belgium and Germany. It’s quite a small place and we more or less saw most of the town in the two days that we stayed there, although I certainly wouldn’t mind staying for longer. Very quiet, you won’t find a great amount of nightlife but the food and the beers are great. It’s a beautiful town to walk around, if you’re into that kind of thing. And if you’re not, I’m sure it’s nothing a beer or two won’t fix.

Anyway, the chips. We had the best chips at the chip museum, at the cafe in the basement. We also watched a video on how to make the perfect chips and- of course- I kept notes. So, yesterday, we decided to give double-fried chips a go, although we have failed many times in the past.

The idea is to cook them for 10 minutes at 130 degrees, take them out and, just before you want to eat, cook them for a further 3 minutes at 190. Since we haven’t got a sugar thermometer there was a lot of guess work involved. For the first stage, we wanted the oil to fizz up just slightly when they went in, but the chips to stay as pale as possible throughout the 10 mins. For the second stage, we just got it as hot as we could. We used a combination of vegetable oil and olive oil and, although I could pretend there is a scientific reason behind this, the truth is that was all we had in the kitchen. The chips turned out perfect; really fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Dare I say we made Belgium proud!

It wouldn’t be a real Belgian night without a lot of Belgian beer. We drank 3 big bottles of local beer we picked up from the Bruges brewery. A blond one, at 6% was the weakest but by no means weak. The brune version was a double fermented one at 7.5% and it was actually my least favourite, although not bad at all. The highlight for me was the triple fermented one and the strongest (surprise, surprise) at 9%. Blond, strong tasting and hoppy but really really smooth. It went down a bit too quickly actually- was feeling a bit headachey this morning!

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