Maastricht… Dutch capital of Gourmandise

July 10th, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink

It’s been a while since I’ve been willing to share with you my crush for the epicurean city.

Maastricht, with its eternal ‘Joie de vivre’ and its oozing Gourmandise will always have a special place in my heart… It’s a city of passion, and incidentally, the place where I met my dutchie for the first time.

Since, every single time, I fall in love with Maastricht…

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Chocolate and other addictions…

February 4th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Chocolaterie Van der Donk [1]

It’s been 30 days,

too many chewed lollipop sticks,

and supposedly 166.73 Euros spared,…

since I discovered my new chocolate heaven, the Chocolaterie from Pimm and Marcel van der Donk.

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Leeks, butter and lemon…

January 16th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

A bunch of young leeks from the neighbor’s garden and a roast chicken, …

Leeks, butter and lemon [1]

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Late Summer ‘Tour de France’: La Costa Vermella*

October 11th, 2010 § 6 comments § permalink

We had left in the morning of a warm friday of August. Late that night, I was driving the last stretch of the 1300 something kilometers separating The Hague from our first destination, singing along old french tunes on the radio. On the passenger seat, dutchie had long fallen under the spell of Morpheus.

Cote Vermeille [1]

It was dark and quiet now on the highway since we had left Nimes behind and I could only but guess the shapes and contours of the landscapes of the Languedoc where I grew up. And then, for a moment, I was down memory lane: some 20 years ago, we had gone down the same highway, on a bright summer day, when my mum, bro and I had missed the train to Andalusia. My father at the wheel, we were speeding towards Spain hoping to catch the train in Portbou at the border, where it would have to change tracks. Close to Perpignan, we embarked on the little coastal road oscillating with a thousand turns along the beautiful edgy slopes of the Cote Vermeille, the eastern Mediterranean coastline along the Pyrenees.

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Late summer ‘Tour de France’…

September 27th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

This summer, dutchie and I decided to indulge ourselves in our own little tour de France. By car that is, although… dutchie’s ‘mistress’, la bicyclette (oups, I mean le velo) had to tag along as well.

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Late summer 'Tour de France'…

September 27th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

This summer, dutchie and I decided to indulge ourselves in our own little tour de France. By car that is, although… dutchie’s ‘mistress’, la bicyclette (oups, I mean le velo) had to tag along as well.

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A small treat for the new year…

December 31st, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

End of the day in unterwasser
Hello from Unterwasser, Switzerland. Just missed the sunset, will try to do better tomorrow…

Haven’t been around the kitchen a lot these last ten days… I’m on a winterholiday road-trip: 

After travelling through the Benelux and France with a short stop in Vougeot in the heart of Bourgogne (will tell u later about the wines… mmmm), we’ve stopped in Nimes for Christmas where we inaugurated the new bar of my little bro (the one he built with his own hands in his kitchen, not the real thing where you go out with your pals but still quite impressive). For the occasion, little bro spoiled us with his best cooking (including a delicious girolles and scallops risotto for Christmas eve) and I must say it was quite nice to be away from the kitchen for a while. Now, we’ve ended up in the german part of Switzerland to visit a couple of friends for the new year and hit the snow a bit. You won’t see me in the kitchen before at least next week and it’s already a miracle that I’ve come so far as to find the internet connection today.

Tonight, I’ll be sleighing down the swiss pistes to inaugurate the new year.
So,
I just wanted to wish you a very very happy and yummy new year with all your loved ones and best friends…
I hope you make it something special.

C u next year in my kitchen,

Xxx, Myriam.

ps. I kind of lied before. I did test my bro’s kitchen once: to bake you the most simple apetizers you can get: Crunchy and golden palmitos filled with tapenade* and a mix of tomato tapenade and parmeggiano. You could use another local treat from Nimes, brandade, which is made of dried cod fish, or simply use grated cheese or fresh cream cheese with fine herbs from your own region, pesto…. Anyway, enjoy!

palmitos nimois
Heart shaped bites to warm up your new year’s party…

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Retreat to the “back corner”

November 22nd, 2008 § 5 comments § permalink

Last weekend, after a week of sniffing and coughing under the blankets recovering from a bad cold (while I could have been in sunny Cadiz), I was in desperate need for a bowl of fresh air.
So, my dutchie and I decided to flee the city for a peaceful and revigorating weekend in the dutch countryside to boost our energy levels a little.

 

Dutch countryside in autumn

 

We didn’t have to look very far for the perfect retreat: my lovely parents in law (who are always so kind as to receive us with open arms, even on the shortest notice) live in the dutch countryside, in the region called Achterhoek (litterally the ‘back corner’), in the eastern part of the Netherlands… 
From the windows of their house, you can watch all kinds of birds happily flying around the garden, cows minding their business in the field nearby, and a bunch of golfers walking the green between the fields and the woods in the background. I love it there in automn: the countryside declines itself in shades of red, orange and gold. It smells of wild mushrooms and wood… Should I say more?

 

Meuuuuhhhhh

 

It was all and more I could hope for: walking the dog in the colorful woods; shopping for fresh meat, eggs, butter and cream at some farms in the neighbourhood; getting spoiled by my mother in law with all kind of little attentions; eating game for dinner; baking goodies and having a chat while drinking smoking hot tea with a piece of orange cake that literally melt in your mouth…   

Yep, all that! No need to say the bad cold is now nothing more than a bad dream, and well, Cadiz can wait a bit…

And because you too certainly deserve a little energy boost at this time of the year, I saved you some of that ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ orange cake …    

 

Fondant a l'Orange

 

 

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Go West: Sea, Sun and…. Fruits de Mer

September 30th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

Ils ont les chapeaux ronds, vive la bretagne… Ils ont les chapeaux ronds, vive les Bretons!

Dinard
La grand plage in Dinard

I know I’ve been complaining about the weather quite a lot on this blog lately… well, not today!
Last weekend me and my dutchy went west to Brittany for a family weekend.
I couldn’t have dreamt for a better time to introduce my dutchie to the laidback way of life and many treasures of Bretagne… I just wish we had a few extra days.

garden_mamieYas
The garden in Dinard

On Friday morning, we reached the north coast of Bretagne and beautiful St Malo bathed with sun and enjoyed a delicious meal in Dinard in the warmth of a sunny terrace: I still remember the taste of the fabulous “galettes de sarrasin” (traditional savoury buckwheat pancakes) that the grandmother of my girlfriend prepared especially for our venue. With a full stomach and after a deserved walk along the beach overseeing St-Malo, we were back on the road crossing the green and hilly countryside of Bretagne towards the south coast, to our final destination, the small village of Colpo next to Vannes. My uncle and his wife were of course awaiting us with another delicious meal, and many stories.

josselin
The castle of Josselin

My uncle is one of the best storytellers I happen to know. In a few words he takes you back to the ancient times of Bretagne among the Celts and Gallos, Merlin, the dukes of Brittany and other heroes who made Bretagne the mysterious and eclectic place it still is today. On Saturday, after a late breakfast in the garden we managed to have a peak to the almost closing market of Vannes. I like the end of the market, when the stalls are being packed with a rare efficiency, when the late clients run for the last bargains of the day… After a quick look into “les Halles”, the daily covered market with its many cheese, charcuterie and butcher stalls, we headed to the covered fish market where we made our way with difficulty around the flooding waters announcing the cleaning and closing time. Despite of the turmoil around we could still admire some of the largest specimens of the day, such as the shark on the picture below or this white tuna from the island of Yeu. We were so busy looking around that I left almost empty handed, with just a pot of buckwheat honey.

shark_vannes
Fish market in Vannes

After a tour of the city guided by my favourite guide and uncle, we left the already dying effervescence of the closing market towards St Goustan, a small harbour along the Auray, a river ending its journey in the Gulf of Vannes. This small harbour dates back to the roman times when fleeing from the huge roman galleys, the Gaul where escaping upstream on their small crafts. There, we lost track of time enjoying mussels and cervoise in a little bistro terrace along the river.

golfeDeVannesostreiculteur_vannes
huitres_vannesbigorneaux
Oyster farm “La Godaille”

In the end of the afternoon we drove along the Gulf. It was too late for our original plan to reach one of its entrances in Locmariaquer famous for its Megalithic monuments which date as far as between 4700 and 3800 BC. However, there was no way we would skip a visit to an oysterfarm… our dinner was at stake. We stopped  at the “Godailles” oyster farm close to Baden along the Gulf where a large choice of fresh oysters with various sizes and shapes, palourdes (clams) and bigorneaux (winkles) where awaiting us. They are bred directly in the gulf, along the currents. We settled for four dozen of “creuses n3”, a dozen of clams and a few hundred grams of winkles to nibble. Before we left her, the oyster farmer insisted on giving us a bottle of sea water and some laurel leaves to cook the bigorneaux. What a delicious dinner we made back in Colpo!

bigorneaux2huitres_vannes2palourdes

Bigorneaux
winkles

apetizer
serves 4 to 8. cook: 3 min

Ingredients:
300g of winkles,
1.5l sea water,
1 laurel leave,
pepper to taste
small picksRince the bigorneaux still alive. Put the sea water to boil with the laurel and pepper. Cook the bigorneaux for 3min…. Nibble with a glass of fresh white wine while your uncle and husband are opening the oysters. 
Bon appétit!

Moroccan greens

April 19th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

It is about two years since I last went to Morocco. I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I stepped out of the plane in casablanca airport. I had never been there in spring before. I was very happily surprised Morrocco in spring is more beautiful than ever: It is warm and sunny, and calm. The flowers are more colourful and fragrant than ever, it’s already warm enough for the still empty beaches and the old medina is not packed with red tourists in shorts and sandals. Several times during these five short days, I felt I could stay there for ever… until I woke up during landing to finally discover Amsterdam after crossing 3 layers of dark grey clouds. Brrrrrr!   

From my trip to paradise, I brought you back a little something… A fragrant and tender green salad to eat while dreaming of heaven. Enjoy!

morrocan_greens

Tender green salad
Salade vert tendre

2 pers. prep: 10 min, cooking: 10min

Ingredients:

1 small cucumber (they are called turkish cucumber in Holland)
1 small fennel bulb
a small handful of fresh mint
half of a lemon 1 spring onion
1 Ts goat cheese dip (or fresh goat cheese)
sea salt, pepper
Clean the fennel, peel the cucumber and remove its seeds. Cut the cucumber, fennel, spring onion into small cubes. For the dressing, mix the goat cheese, the juice of the lemon, the chopped mint. Add to the vegetables and season with seasalt (“fleur de sel” is a plus) and peper. Leave to marinate in a cool place while preparing the rest of the meal.
If you happen to have the traditional morrocan lemons around (citron beeldi), it will definitely take you to heaven!
Bon appetit!

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