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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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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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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Sexy pears

November 20th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

Whenever I come around the mouthwatering combination of poached pears and silky chocolate sauce, I can’t help but feeling butterflies in my belly. Not surprising, you would think, for a gourmande like me.

Well, not this kind of butterflies I must admit (blushing)… Couldn’t really explain why though until I stumbled upon that vintage french advertisement from the eighties for a world famous chocolate brand, and then I remembered: the very first awakening of my sensuality taste buds…

Ok, maybe that’s a bit cheesy… but, well, I was still very young and naive back in the eighties. And honestly, will the poached pears/chocolate sauce combi ever taste the same way to you after this? Let’s make a test…

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My Autumn tastes like…

November 15th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

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

Fighting for the last bone…

November 14th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

If I tell you that the scene below was immortalised one couple of Sundays ago at my dinner table, you might wonder what on earth I serve my guests for dinner for them to fight over the last bone with such rage.

Hungry

Well I did too, because in less time I needed to have a bite myself that’s about all that was left of the generous pieces of full flavoured autumn lamb that won me over in the display of my beloved butcher…
Not less that one whole boned shoulder and four shanks that had been patiently simmering on my stove through the afternoon until falling of the bone, slowly but surely caramelised with the toffee like dates and delicately topped with shiny, deep pink drops of a ripe pomegranate.

Now if I tell you we were only four and there was enough for an army, this might convince you that there is something almost magic about the tajine like recipe I’m about to share with you. If not, take a look further down this post for a quick glimpse of what it looked like before landing on my dinner table or even better, check out the link to the original ‘grimoire’ from which I stole this mouth-watering spell, my favourite foodies magazine, the french ELLE a Table.

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Un bol de soupe pour Sophie!

January 15th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

There’s nothing like a fuming cup of Erwtensoep (dutch pea soup) to warm you up from head to toe during the cold dutch winter days…

Ewrtensoep

My friend Sophie would definitely agree with me… Although, she might not be the most objective on that one: she likes it so much she would also ask for it when visiting me in april! She’s been begging for the recipe for years now… With the great tips provided by my butcher and the icy weather from the last couple of weeks I really didn’t have anymore excuses to keep her waiting any longer, so here it is…

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How I don’t mind queuing at the butcher

November 28th, 2008 § 9 comments § permalink

Hare filet with candied orange peel

I am usually not a fan of queuing… except when it comes to the weekly saturday morning food shopping: when I head to my local shopping street not yet completely awake to pay a visit to my local butcher and greengrocer, I rarely have a clear idea of what I want to cook for the weekend. 

Worst is when I watch saturday’s kitchen first on bbc… My head is then filled with dozens of possible meals, new techniques I’d like to try… that pop up in my head at a frightening rythm while I  lurk at the mouthwatering etalage and observe what others will be cooking for the weekend. Blessed are the persons waiting for their turn in front of me, the more the better, giving me the time to put a little order in my head (except when they choose that last piece i finally decided to head for).

A couple of saturdays ago, the queue was particularly long queue at the butcher, which I didn’t mind as I was  hesitating between the guinea fowl, the pheasant and the venison… I thought I’d never manage to make up my mind when one of the guys before me chose the last guinea fowl opening the view to some hare somewhat hidden behind it. It looked so fresh…

Only problem left was that I’d probably have to fight with my dutchie about who would get to cook it! I was definitely convinced when I asked the butcher to have a better look at the saddle: it was still on the bone… which meant that I could make my dutchie happy by leaving him the honour of preparing the filets (what can I say, the guy loves playing with our kitchen knives),  keeping the cooking part for myself. Plus I could give a try at preparing homemade game stock with the bones.

Dinner was a feast for the tastebuds and for the eyes. The meat turned out amazingly tender and juicy. I served it with a sauce made of homemade game stock, white wine and slowly candied orange peel in honey (I found the recipe in the meat cookbook* I gave to my dutchie for Sinterklaas last year). To go with it, I made dutch style stewed red cabbage with apples delicately spiced with cloves and cinnammon and a homemade puree. And wouaouh, what a colourful dish: intense colours in tones of deep red, pink and orange, a perfect ode to automn.

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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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More pumpkin… with an oriental touch

November 15th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Pumpkins are still beautiful on the market stalls and as usual, I couldn’t resist… 
It was a long time since I reached out for my tajine far away on the upper kitchen shelf and pumpkin goes so well with the traditionnal spices for tajines like ginger and cinnamon.
I had to give it a try.

And it was all worth it: the fragrant and warm tajine with lamb and pumpkin that came out of the kitchen was gone in no time.

Pumpkin Tajine
A tajine with an automnal vibe

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