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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To blog or not to blog…

August 13th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

I’ve had this conversation with my good friend, sexy blogger and peppy designer ‘A’ lately: Should you or should you not blog on your crappy days ?… these days when you feel bad and ugly and gloomy and you feel that maybe you shouldn’t just spill your guts on your readers who most probably have nothing to do with it???

I can’t or at least rarely. Not really out of noble consideration for you guys I must admit, but mostly ’cause on those crappy days, I do not feel like anything and certainly not like writing and if I try, it feels all I get out of me is so sad and bad and depressing and boooring. ‘A’ thinks it’s ok to share a couple of bad days and out your gloom on the web once in a while… It’s not as if only the good days make who you are, after all. Maybe ‘A’ is right… Maybe it’s only fair not to be happily cheesy all the time.

Blurred London Eye

What do you think… Is a little gloomy prose OK once in a while? If you won’t handle it, that’s ok too: you could skip the sad boring part and head straight down for the recipe and I can assure you, these sweet bites have cheered me up on many crappy days (at least those when the fridge was not empty!).

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Chocolate crave remedy

December 8th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

After going public on my shopaholic and pumpkinaholic tendencies, it’s time to reveal you all about my chocolate craves… Yep, it seems that I’ve decided to indulge myself into a public mea culpa of my girly addictions before the end of this year.

Two weeks ago, while I was sharing with you the side effects of poached pears and warm chocolate sauce on my metabolism, I promised to come back to you with the recipe of a warm chocolate fondant. I know, the stakes are high: there are tons of delicious recipes out there for chocolate fondants (melt-in-your-mouth ), moelleux (moist, airy and tender), coulants (oozing lava cakes), macarons (I’ll come back on these ones soon enough) , cupcakes, muffins, cookies…. I must say, I’m not easy on the subject but given you come up to me with something very rich in high quality chocolate, not too sweet, and that will melt in my mouth, you might win my heart and stomach forever.

Chocolate addiction 1

The recipe I’m about to share with you is freely inspired from a french Elle A Table recipe. It won me over for the following reasons (apart from the above mentioned): it only takes a couple of ingredients, it’s ready in less than 15 minutes and it accommodates as well as a “fondant” or a “coulant”…. to sum up: the perfect chocolate crave remedy (and the perfect partner for poached pears).

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Le temps de quelques framboises…

July 16th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

A bite of summer, une gourmandise, a quickie, juste en passant.
Pour une gourmande en particulier… and all the sweet teeth around.

Mini raspberry/almond bites

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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.
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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In the Bag: My mini halloween pumpkin puppets

October 31st, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

Halloween hadn’t really reached France when I was a kid. That might explain that I never really got so enthusiastic about the whole thing even now that Halloween is taking over Europe. However, as a gourmande, there’s one thing I love about Halloween… 
I love pumpkin in all its edible forms (especially soup!) and thanks to Halloween I can indulge myself in a one month pumpkin cure every october!

Talking about pumpkin, it’s the main theme of Julia’s ‘In the Bag Event’ this month. It’s a long while since I had the occasion to participate, but I definitely cannot pass on this one. Unfortunately, I’m nothing of a pumpkin carver and there will be no scary carved pumpkin in my bag but I’m sure Julia won’t complain with what I made up instead.  

In honour of Julia’s In the Bag event and of those who brought Halloween and its pumpkins to me, I’ve improvised some mini-mini muffins with roasted pumpkin and hazelnuts and tiny little pieces of dried apricots. Now, I’m not sure they will scare many of you, but I doubt you can resist them…

My Halloween Pumpkin Puppets
And let me present you with my not so scary mini halloween pumpkin muffins puppets!

So, what will it be for you: trick or treat…

Happy Halloween to you all, happy pumpkin day!

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Chanterelle Mea Culpa

October 23rd, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

Yep, the lazy gourmande is back. It’s been a long while. I missed you all.
I’ve been wondering how I could make it up to you…
And then, I was drooling in front of the mouthwatering automn specials of the duch cooking magazine Wining & dining when I found this little gem…  a tender mini-bite with chanterelles and old sheep cheese that will make you feel like going mushroom-picking next weekend.

Mini-cakes des sous-bois
Just for you… A personal interpretation of Wining and Dining automn proof mini-muffins*

Of course, I couldn’t help bringing in my personnal touch to the original recipe*, but that was mostly ’cause I missed part of the ingredients in my cupboards.


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Running late for Christmas?

December 21st, 2007 § 1 comment § permalink

Eid, Christmas and Hanoeka are coming close…


Are you all set? … I am not: the house is a mess, haven’t had one minut yet to think of my christmas dinner, still got to get the christmas tree, the presents… and my family will be at the door two days from now for a whole week of festivities! Sounds desperate… Well, nevermind! I’ve decided to (try to) keep cool this year. *deep breath*.  

In case some of you out there can recognise themselves, I thought I could share my christmas race with you (If I manage to fit posting in the program). 

First, I’ve got one tip for your christmas presents: Have you heard of the Menu for Hope raffle yet? If not, have a look… you’ve got until tonight to get a chance of winning amazing food related prizes worldwide (meals in world famous restaurants, culinary tours of your favourite cities, cooking equipment, signed cookbooks, cooking workshops…) while helping children in Lesotho getting food for lunch! Don’t miss it… I got tickets for the guided tour of El Bulli of course, a culinary tour of Barcelona and a lovely vintage print.

For the rest, my moto this year is: get organised and go simple!
(I know that my friends will no doubt get tears of laughter reading this…)

So in that spirit, here are a couple of tips for great homemade appetizers that will impress your guests while being so simple and easy to prepare…

Asparagus mousse, cheese sablés* and candied tomato tartlets

Mousse or soup shots always make a great impression, while they can be pretty easy and prepared in advance. The asparagus and vanilla mousse on the picture is based on the recipe I cooked for Blog Appétit quite a while ago. This time I used canned asparagus, and I baked the mousse in shot glasses for 20min. They can be prepared a couple of days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. For the decoration, I used green aspasragus tips blanched for a couple of minnutes an strips of smoked salmon. For Christmas, I am thinking of trying this with artichoke hearts instead of asparagus, with seared slices of scallops on top maybe.

You can also think of shots with a celeriac or pumpkin cappuccino or creamy jerusalem artichokes soup topped wth scallops or langoustines.

For the celeriac, cook in half water, half milk until soft (~15min) and mix. For jerusalem artichokes, sauteed them with a small shallot before adding the liquids, spice to your taste. You can prepare and freeze these soups well in advance. Take out of the freezer the night before. On the day itself, mix with liquid cream and warm up before serving. Top with whipped cream, seared scallops, truffles, langoustines, crushed hazelnuts, nutmeg, sechuan pepper… whatever fit your mood that day.

mini candied tomato tartlet
And what about homemade mini savoury tartlets? sounds to complicated…

The trick is to prepare a savoury shortcrust well in advance (70g flour, 30g powdered almonds, 60g butter, 1 Tsp milk, salt, pepper and any spices or herbs you fill like). Bake in mini silicon molds and freeze the tartlet bottoms. You’ll only need to take them out of the freezer a couple of hours in advance, garnish when thawed and warm up in the oven.
I like to garnish them with homemade candied tomatoes, or spicy apple compote topped with ‘magret de canard’ (smoked duck breast), sauteed spinach and goat cheese or smoked trout… but really the possibilities are endless!

And then, there’s the scallops… I love scallops, just seared served with a drop of argan or hazelnut oil, spiced with sechuan pepper, or with a strawberry coulis. Or mini blinis or baghrir (prepared in advanced and frozen), just warmed up, topped with creme fraiche with a touch of lemon or wasabi and garnished with salmon or fish eggs.

I could go on for hours, but I’ve got to seriously get started, so I’ll finish with dried fruits… Prunes rolled in bacon and baked until crispy in the oven, dates filled with foie gras topped with sea salt and pepper. So easy!

Bon appétit and merry christmas!

*I’ll post the recipe later, I’ve got to run to the market…


Cooking freak and tea-time sweets

May 29th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

I love throwing parties! My mediterranean side is deeply dominant in that matter. Problem is: I always overdo it and end up spending my time in the kitchen, or serving people. Before I notice the evening is gone and I haven’t taken the time to sip one of my cocktails and chatt with my guests. This year, for my birthday party, I decided it would be different. I would enjoy my party from the beginning until the end… even if that meant serving beer and peanuts! Ha ha… Of course, I didn’t resist. I overdid it again. Less than usual I swear! At least, I had everything ready before hand and I prepared self service bites with among others: marinated gambas, aubergine and herb dips, mini vegetables, merguez, dutch cheese and grape skewers, morrocan lamb skewers, strawberries and cream, and mini sweet bites… and a Punch. Peanuts, I told you!

Unfortunately, I was so busy preparing everything that I completely forgot about my blog and camera! And there were no leftovers the next day… so, no food picture this time!

However, I did save a selection of sweet bites in prevision of this post. This is also the perfect occasion to inaugurate the beautiful Eva Solo teapot I got as a present from two of my girlfriends… I couldn’t resist showing it off a little!

My new Eva Solo teapot, and a selection of sweet bites:
chestnut/chocolate (right), almond/pear(left) and lemon squares (top)

For the sweet bites, I got hold of my brand new silicon mould and inspired myself from two talented french bloggers who always have an amazing selection of sweets on their blog: Le palais des Delices from Celine and La popotte de Manue.  From Celine, I borrowed her recipes of chestnut bites to which I added chocolate bits, and lemon squares. For the pear and almond bites, I used the base of Manue’s heavenly tartlets. They were all delicious, especially the chestnut bites. If you read french I suggest you have a look at theit posts for the recipes. For the others, the translations (with a few personal twists) are at the end of the post.

One more picture for the road:


Chestnut and chocolate bites
(inspired from Celine’s “bouchons aux marrons”)

For approximatly 50 mini bites, prep. 10 min, cooking: 25min

500g chestnut cream (I bought my “creme de marron” in France)
3 eggs
80g butter
small chunks of your favourite chocolate
that’s it!

Preheat your oven at 175 deg. Melt the butter. Pour the chestnut cream, butter in a bowl and mix until smooth. Then add the eggs and  mix again until smooth. Don’t add any sugar, the chestnut cream is more than sweet enough! Pour into mini moulds (I highly recommend good quality silicon moulds as they will make your life so much easier for unmoulding). If like me you are a chocolate addict, add a small chunk of chocolate in each bite and bake for 25 min at 175deg. Leave to cool before unmoulding. Celine suggest serving them cold.


Pear and almond bites
(inspired from Manue’s “divines tartelettes”)

For approximatly 40 mini bites, prep. 10 min, cooking: 20min

100g powdered almonds
50g flour
100g sugar
1/2 a vanilla pod

3 egg whites + 1 whole egg
80g butter
a pinch of salt
2 or 3 pears

Preheat your oven at 180 deg. Melt the butter. Peel and slice the pears into small slices fitting your moulds. Count 2 to 3 slices per bite. Mix the almonds, the flour, the sugar, the seeds from the vanilla pod and the pinch of salt. Then add the eggs and  mix. Finally, add the melted butter and mix until smooth. Pour into mini moulds. Add the pear slices on top of each mini moulds and bake for 20 min. Leave to cool before unmoulding.

Lemon squares
(taken from Celine’s “carres au citron”, no personal twist)

For 36 mini bites, prep. 15 min, cooking: 15 + 20min Ingredients:
125g butter

40g glazing sugar
150g + 35g flour
125ml lemon juice
The zest of a lemon

1. Preheat your oven at 180 deg. Cover a rectangular mould with a shit of baking paper. 2.In your food processor, mix the butter and glazing sugar until you get a smooth cream.Melt the butter. Pour the chestnut cream, butter in a bowl and mix until smooth. Then incorporate the flour. Garnish the mould with the dough. The dough layer should be smooth and regular. Bake for 15min. The cake should be slightly golden. 3. In your food processor, mix the eggs, the sugar, the rest of the flour, the lemon juice and zest. Pour on the rectangular basis, still warm and bake for 20 min. The cake has to be firm. Leave to cool in the mould.4. Cut into squares and sprinkle with glazing sugar.

Bon appétit!

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