Something sweet for the weekend: plum and almond cake

October 13th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

Plum and almond cake | My kitchen diaries

It’s raining cats and dogs outside and there’s no way I’m setting foot outside today.
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A taste of Morocco… Zonder Meer*!

September 20th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

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This year, Morocco has been on my mind and in my kitchen a lot.
The lack of sun or a crave for youth memories maybe.

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Autumn cooking extravaganza and wild mushrooms crostinis

November 12th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

What a great autumnal weekend! what have you guys been doing?

I just had the most perfect saturday with a group of friends… strolling on the market for mushrooms, old roots, game and orchard fruit before hitting the wine shop and getting back to the kitchen to cook and enjoy a lavish feast together!
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Lovely ugly roots, part 2: old fashioned carrots and parsnip

December 14th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

It’s not a secret anymore, the gourmande loves the old roots

My latest discovery dates to a couple of months, at my favorite greengrocer: a whole collection of old fashioned carrots in all kinds of sizes and shades: white, yellow, black… you name it! I just couldn’t resist. I’ve tried them all.

The black ones were such fun with their deep purple color and their coral red hart. I made a french style veal and carrot stew with them. What a color feast! The white and yellow ones looked more fragile and fancy, so I decided to pair them with my beloved parsnip.

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Lovely ugly roots, part 1: Celeriac

November 13th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

These ugly underground veggies, these crooked roots, gnarled tubers and knotty bulbs…. celeriac, carrots, turnips, beets and other old fashioned parsnips, parsley roots, salsify and Jerusalem artichokes.

Don’t lie! I am pretty sure that at least once in your life you have looked at them with disdain at your local market or greengrocer, preferring them those shiny colorful imported zucchini and other asparagus…
Let’s face it, they look kind of drab, covered in clods of earth and mud, tainted with painful memories of hunger and poverty and war and ration cards.

Lovely Ugly Roots
This weekend’s market harvest… from top down: celeriac, white carrot, black carrot and parsnip.

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My Autumn tastes like…

September 20th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

almond apple cakes celeriac chanterelle chestnut comfort food duck erwtensoep fennel game grapes guinea fowl Halloween hazelnut jerusalem artichoke lamb lemon orange parsnip passion fruit pear plum pomegranate pumpkin rabbit savoury tarts scallop soup speculaas squid tea time truffle turkey turnip winkles wild mushrooms

End of summer blues and plum nibbling

September 13th, 2010 § 9 comments § permalink

It’s almost two weeks already since we’re back from our holiday road tripping through France and somehow, we can’t seem to see an end of the unpacking, laundry making, house cleaning, photo sorting, and mostly getting back to the it-s-not-holiday-anymore-there-s-work-to-do mode… You’ve got it, I’m suffering of an end-of-summer-blues, my ‘gourmande-proof’ remedy: nibbling plums while dreaming of an Indian summer.

Plum and hazelnut crumble [1]
Plum and hazelnut crumble [2]

Plums, lovely plums, all of them (mirabelles, reine-claude, quetsches, hollandse pruimen and s many more)… Did I tell you how luscious the dutch plums are? did I tell you how plums, cognac and hazelnuts are a marriage made in heaven? Of course I did… a couple of years ago already, my addiction had the shape of a tart then. This year my plum addiction has turned into a sexy crumble. Imagine the juicy plums, the warm and spicy cognac, the crunchy hazelnuts, a hint of cinnamon and vanilla… My 2010 Indian summer.

Plum and hazelnut crumble [3]

And you… What are your remedies against the end of summer blues?

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When the gourmande dreams of Charlotte…

December 13th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

As you probably know by now, I have a thing for french pastry. I am particularly fond of brioche, ‘entremets’ and of Charlottes which remind me of my dad. Last year for Christmas, I spent weeks putting together cake recipes in my head for the ‘Grand Finale’ of the Christmas eve dinner. I wanted something seasonal and original that would change from the traditional Christmas cakes and that no one would resist too, even after a 5 course meal. Something I could prepare in advance too as there are usually enough things to prepare on the night itself. When I finally came up with the perfect desert, we decided to spend Christmas at my bro’s in France and I didn’t get the chance to prepare it…

Charlotte aux poires et marrons

I kept dreaming of this cake for a couple of months, until I finally found an occasion to prepare it for a family dinner… Won’t be modest on this one: It was amazing. So much better than I had dreamed off: an airy Charlotte with homemade biscuits a la cuillere soaked in smoky whiskey and a light pear/vanilla syrup and alternate layers of pear compote and airy chestnut mousse with small chunks of caramelized pears, topped with thin slices of poached pears. My Dad would have loved it!

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Craving mum’s food…

December 3rd, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

When I’m on the phone with my mum, we can’t help talking about food at one moment or another. Did I tell you what a wonderful cook she is? I’m sure I did. But it’s ok, I can’t say it enough, anyway.
She’s the first one I call for cooking tips and I’m not the only one… I love how she tells me about food. Her recipes are like her: original and very a bit crazy sometimes, full of love and passion, always elegant, always inspiring. Not always easy to follow though… she never measures anything, or writes down anything, always cook following her instincts, it’s a pinch of this and a drop of that, abracadabra et Voila! and I like it like that. She’s taking me on a culinary journey where I’m free to add my own touch of gourmandise.

Osso Bucco

Until I get to enjoy her cooking again at Christmas… just for her and you, I’ve cooked an old family favourite in the cold season, osso bucco a la milanese. I know she’ll love it. I hope you will too.

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Pumpkin soup for a shopaholic

November 26th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Not only am I a food addict, I am a shopaholic as well. Yet, it seems that I have more and more trouble to handle the crowds of the cold and rainy winter saturdays, when the city fillls up with people rushing around in all directions to get the best deals of the beginning sale period and the ideal Sinterklaas of Christmas presents a bit like a flooded river.

Do you even think that it will keep me away from shopping… Drop that thought immediately! I want my share of winter shopping too, the bite of the cold, the christmas lights in the streets, and this cute pair of Paul Smith pumps and this fab Red Valentino dress I’ve been drooling around for a couple of months patiently awaiting for the sales. Even if that means I’ll have to drown into the crowd. And most of the times it happens. Suddenly my own futility turns me into an exhausted ball in a flipper game. It’s time to escape the shopping streets just before drowning and take refuge at Lapsang, this cosy and friendly little tearoom in the side streets of the Hague, where a fuming bowl of pumpkin soup awaits me together with fresh Desem bread, creamy butter and a fragrant cup of tea.

Yet another pumpkin soup

Last week, while I was stuck in bed with the flu, shopping was the last of my wishes. Yet, I couldn’t help but dreaming for a marmite of Lapsangs’ pumpkin soup. So, as soon as I gathered enough strength, I improvised my own version of it…

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