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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Happy Easter… Chocolate and almond truffles

March 31st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

almond chocolate truffle

Chocolate and almond truffles

A couple more truffles for the road… just in case you’ve lost some eggs and hares in the garden… with dark chocolate and almonds, s’il vous plait!
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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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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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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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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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The way to his heart…

February 14th, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

Like many girls and women always say: I’m not really the valentine-day kind of person, it’s just another commercial invention, bla bla bla. Well… as long as my dutchie doesn’t forget to give me some kind of attention that day (and on any other day too)! I’m not demanding though: I’ll be happy with a kiss and a compliment, but you don’t need to tell him that. We never know…

Anyway, if you’re looking for something special for your loved one, be it for valentine’s day or not, here’s what people say in France: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! Here’s my secret weapon… (My dutchie is more into red meat than into sweets, but he cannot resist that one.)

tarte tatin (2)
This is how we seduce men in the family…

Apple tart from the demoiselles Tatin

Tarte tatin

>serves 6 to 8 pers.
prep: 10 min. cook: 20 + 15 min

Ingredients:
1 roll of puff pastry or 350g of homemade shortcrust dough
7 apples* (~1kg), peeled, cut in quarters and seasoned with the juice of half a lemon
50g butter,
60g sugar,
1 pinch of vanilla powdered,
1 pinch of cinammon

tarte tatin (1)

. In a deep tart mold** on medium heat, melt the butter and half of the sugar, line up the pieces of apples in the mold, round part against the bottom. sprinkle the rest of the sugar and the spices, over the apples. Let the apples caramelize on medium heat, shaking and turning the mold gently from time to time to make sure some of the apples don’t burn or stick to the bottom. After 20 min, the apples should be nicely golden underneath and the juices of the apples should have reduced into a thick fruity and buttery caramel syrup. Leave to cool for 5 to 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180 deg C.

. Lay the dough over the apples, folding the exceeding dough (if any) inside the mold, gently pushing it between the mold and the apples. Make a few incisions on the dough with a knife to prevent the dough from raising. If you use puff pastry, you can sprinkle the dough with 1 Tsp of sugar: It will give a little caramelised crunch to the dough once baked. Bake for 15 to 20 min at 180 deg C. or until the dough is golden.

. This tart should be served warm. If you don’t serve it right away, warm it up in the oven for 10min at 100 deg C. Then, put it on high heat for less than a minute, or until you can gently turn the tart in its mold without resistance. Put the serving dish over it and turn upside down, gently remove the mold, et voila! 

. Serve immediately with a spoon of thick creme fraiche, or a scoop of vanilla ice.

Bon appétit!

* Use firm and juicy apples like Golden delicious or Elstar for example
** I use a teflon ‘moule a manqué’ that you can see on the second picture. It’s a relatively deep (4 to 5 cm) round mold that can both go on the stove or in the oven. There are also specific molds for tarte tatin, but it’s not essential.

tarte tatin (3)

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