A Christmas special: Chicken breast sous-vide, shiitake and sake sauce

December 16th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Second opus of this year Christmas menu… The main, chicken. It’s a fun one and it will make an impression. We’re gonna cook sous-vide today.

Don’t be scared, it’s easy, I promise (and you don’t need fancy equipment to try it).

Chicken breast sous-vide, shiitake and sake sauce

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A Christmas special: Scallops with orange and preserved lemon

December 15th, 2015 § 3 comments § permalink

So, one toddler and a new old house later, I am back. For Christmas like in the song. With a Christmas menu.
Here’s the starter.. scallops with a Moroccan touch.

scallops, orange and preserved lemon

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Joyeux Noel!

December 15th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

Just found a minute to escape from the Christmas preparations to wish you a happy and delicious Christmas with all your loved ones!

Moroccan almond cookies

Got a little present for you… these lovely mini snowball shaped Moroccan almond cookies, that will be ready in under an hour. The recipe is from the Morrocan pastry book ‘Patisserie Marocaine’ by Rachida Amhaouchi. I made these cute snowballs thinking of the very dear girlfriend who offered that book to me some time ago.

Joyeux Noel! m.

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Seasonal fish on the Christmas table

December 21st, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Last Saturday, while a frenzy of packing and last minute Christmas shopping was hitting my small household so that we could be ready to go for our flight to Morocco on Sunday, I had given up on publishing THE recipe I had wished to share with you before Christmas… That was without counting on the deep coat of snow that covered the Netherlands and neighboring countries on Sunday, plunging this part of Europe into chaos. No need to say that there was a long scary ride under the snow, a lot of queuing and waiting at the airport and of course no flight to Morocco or to about anywhere else that day.

Snow in Hoog Keppel (1)
Somewhere in Hoog Keppel, far, far away from the Moroccan sun…

Well we are still here in snowy Holland, but to see the things on the bright side: I had the occasion to enjoy a stroll in the untouched snow this morning, we managed to find another ticket for tomorrow (fingers crossed…), and I still get to share with you the perfect Christmas recipe for fish lovers. A fluffy fillet of monk fish*, my favorite fish, marinated in fresh herbs and wrapped in parma ham, roasted in the oven (inspired by a recipe from Masterchefs**) and served on a bed of red wine risotto.

Monkfish wrapped in prosciutto on a bed of red wine risotto

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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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Le Yasmine or my secret thing for pastry

December 17th, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

My passion for food and cooking is definitely inspired from watching my mom lovingly and passionately preparing all those marvelous dishes that tinkled my tastebuds for so many years. My mom’s kitchen is one of inspiration, emotion and  improvisation. It’s a little bit of this and a lot of that, put together in a fling and cooked lovingly until perfect. There’s no definite measures and quantities, no arbitrary times… Just emotions. That’s how I learned to cook and that’s how I like to cook too (although when starting this blog I’ve had to learn weighing, measuring and writing down everything).

And then there’s pastry….

 

Le Yasmine (2)
Pour Yasmine et papa, with love…

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Who's afraid of the Christmas turkey?

December 14th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Qua Christmas traditions, there’s more than enough to choose from in the family: French on my side, Dutch and British for my other half (my ‘dutchie’ is also half brit)…
Usually, I pick a bit of everything (well, with a lot from French, to be completely honest).
With the years, my Christmas eve dinners have turned up as a joyous multicultural mess:

From oysters and foie gras next to the more northern style heartwarming soups
, the Chapon, the goose or the game, the French Christmas log or fancy entremet and the British Christmas pudding, the dutch cookies and spices…. Except for one thing: Turkey.

dinde
Lesson learned: unless the bird is bigger than you or your oven, a turkey is nothing to be afraid of!

Not that I don’t like it or that it’s extremely difficult to prepare. Maybe I’ve been secretely traumatised by monster sized turkeys ending up on the head of Mr Bean or Joe in Friends. Maybe I had some bad experiences with dried out turkeys and concrete like compact stuffings that almost make you choke. Maybe I just grew up inspired by my mum’s constant search for mouthwatering originality in the kitchen… Well, actually, I think it was just another of these dishes that for some hidden inconscious feeling I didn’t dare to cook. Just like cheesecakes before.

Anyway, last year I finally gave in my dutchie’s wishes for a good old Christmas turkey, and I must say that with a little organisation and a lot of faith, it turned out good, really good: 
It was golden on the outside, tender on the inside, delicately perfumed with truffle that I inserted under the skin and the traditionnal stuffing with chestnuts was rich, fragrant and comforting yet not to compact thanks to the addition of grated apples and silky greek yoghurt. I served it with a simple gravy made of the cooking juices, sauteed green beans with wild mushrooms and celeriac mash.

And you, will you dare turkey this Christmas?

 

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Who’s afraid of the Christmas turkey?

December 14th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Qua Christmas traditions, there’s more than enough to choose from in the family: French on my side, Dutch and British for my other half (my ‘dutchie’ is also half brit)…
Usually, I pick a bit of everything (well, with a lot from French, to be completely honest).
With the years, my Christmas eve dinners have turned up as a joyous multicultural mess:

From oysters and foie gras next to the more northern style heartwarming soups
, the Chapon, the goose or the game, the French Christmas log or fancy entremet and the British Christmas pudding, the dutch cookies and spices…. Except for one thing: Turkey.

dinde
Lesson learned: unless the bird is bigger than you or your oven, a turkey is nothing to be afraid of!

Not that I don’t like it or that it’s extremely difficult to prepare. Maybe I’ve been secretely traumatised by monster sized turkeys ending up on the head of Mr Bean or Joe in Friends. Maybe I had some bad experiences with dried out turkeys and concrete like compact stuffings that almost make you choke. Maybe I just grew up inspired by my mum’s constant search for mouthwatering originality in the kitchen… Well, actually, I think it was just another of these dishes that for some hidden inconscious feeling I didn’t dare to cook. Just like cheesecakes before.

Anyway, last year I finally gave in my dutchie’s wishes for a good old Christmas turkey, and I must say that with a little organisation and a lot of faith, it turned out good, really good: 
It was golden on the outside, tender on the inside, delicately perfumed with truffle that I inserted under the skin and the traditionnal stuffing with chestnuts was rich, fragrant and comforting yet not to compact thanks to the addition of grated apples and silky greek yoghurt. I served it with a simple gravy made of the cooking juices, sauteed green beans with wild mushrooms and celeriac mash.

And you, will you dare turkey this Christmas?

 

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A time for soup

February 1st, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Lately, I am craving for my bed, a lot of sleep and soup! Chicken soup, leek and curry soup, fennel soup, celeriac and spinach soup… I  just can’t get enough!


Not surprising you would say, with all those microbes and viruses running around lately: I am surrounded by running noses, low hoarse voices and feverish eyes… My dutchie and I didn’t make an exception to the rule and are both trying to cope the best we can.  At least one good thing to the story: for once, I manage to have him eat soup without (hardly) any complaints!

In case you too are having trouble to crawl out of bed, desperatly looking for yet another pack of tissues, while your nose has nothing more to envy to the nose of that clown you laughed so much about at the christmas circus, I’d thought I would share a bowl of my favourite chestnut soup with you! It’s heartwarming, smooth and velvety… and it doesn’t only work great for colds: with a few thin slices of foie gras or of smoked duck breast, it’s a great starter to a fancy winter dinner!

Velouté de chataignes

Chestnut cream soup
Velouté de chataignes

serves 6 pers.
prep: 15 min. cook: 25 min

Ingredients:
500g steamed chestnuts (peeled),
900 ml chicken or turkey stock,

10cl liquid cream,
1 knob of butter,
1 small shallot, peeled and diced,
sea salt and pepper to taste,
Optional but so good: dices of fresh foie gras to garnish,

In a pan, sauteed half of the chestnuts with the knob of butter for 5 minuts. Lower the fire, add the remaining chestnuts, the shallot and cover with chicken bouillon and the liquid cream. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered for 20 to 25 minutes or until the chestnuts are soft. Leave to cool and mix until smooth using a blender (don’t add all the liquid at once so that you can adjust the texture to a velvety creamy soup). Before serving, warm up the soup on low heat. Serve the soup in individual bowls and for a real treat garnish with dices of fresh foie gras sprinkled with ‘fleur de sel’ and freshly crushed pepper.

Bon appétit!


White christmas in a bowl of soup

January 6th, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

Now that the christmas and new year festivities are over, I am craving for soup and lots of vegetables. (I am just back from a new year in Munich and a couple of days in Austria where bread and potato dumplings and spatzles are more frequent than greens as side dishes… which probably gives you an idea of the extent of my crave). So be sure to find some greens and soups around my kitchen in the coming weeks.

Although, do not worry, I have accumulated quite a couple of treats (both sweet and savoury) during the last couple of months that I haven’t had the occasion to share with you yet: appletart with hazelnuts, french brioche and its spicy compote, smoked duck breast salad, my very first stuffed turkey, dutch winter comfort food, bites and cookies….   

appeltaartdindebrioche et compote épicée aux pommesmini financiers

To start with, here´s  a delicate velvety cream soup I served for christmas eve dinner…
I have a crush on old fashioned vegetables. For christmas, I always like to introduce one of them in the menu. Last year was Jerusalem artichokes, this year my mind was set on parsnips…  I could already picture the creamy colour of a parsnip soup: white christmas in a bowl! (I soon realised I was not the only one when I got to study the food magazines for the december month: parsnips were everywhere! It made my quest for parsnips much easier than for the jerusalem artichokes that I finally had my mom bring back with her from France).

I wanted to keep the ingredients to a minimum to reveal the subtil taste of the parsnip at its best. I finally got my inspiration from one of my favourite french food bloggers: Mercotte. Short before Christmas, she posted two mouthwatering scallops recipes from two french cooks from her region (Savoie), Jean Claude Delaporte from “Beau Rivage” at Bourget du Lac, and  Yves Vincent, chef at “Mont Carmel in Chambéry. Yves Vincent got me seduced at once with his “Noix de St Jacques rôties, purée de panais et caramel de balsamique” (roasted scallops, parsnip purée and balsamico caramel)… I had already settled for a mixed greens salad with sauteed scallops and argan oil dressing so, almost heartbroken, I decided to skip the scallops, well almost: I deglased the pan where I seared the scallops with the balsamico glaze I used to garnish the soup.

veloute de panais
I took the photo in a rush, just before serving, but you get the idea…

Parsnip cream soup
Velouté de panais

serves 6 pers.
prep: 15 min. cook: 15 min

Ingredients:
2 large parsnips (~500g),
600 ml chicken stock,

20cl liquid cream,
1 knob of butter,
sea salt and pepper to taste,
balsamico glaze* to garnish,

Clean and peel the parsnips. Reserve 12 very thin and large slices to garnish. Dice the rest. In a pan, cover the diced parsnips with chicken bouillon and half of the liquid cream (10 cl). Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the parsnip is soft. Leave to cool and mix until smooth using a blender (don’t add all the liquid at once so that you can adjust the texture to a velvety creamy soup). Fry shortly the reserved parsnip slices in hot vegetable oil until crispy. Reserve in an air tight tin. Before serving, warm up the soup on low heat and add a knob of butter. Whip the remaining 10 cl cream. Serve the soup in individual bowls and garnish with a spoon of whipped cream, a couple of parsnip crisps and a drop of balsamico glaze (my first idea was to top the velouté with thin slices of scallop just seared and seasoned with salt, pepper and vanilla… but I had just enough for the salad).

Bon appétit!

* Nowadays, you can find some pretty easily in many deli’s. If you dont have any, you can reduce some balsamico vinegar with sugar until you get a syrup.

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