A Berbere vegetarian tajine

January 30th, 2013 § 4 comments § permalink

Berbere vegetarian tajine

So, cooking for Moroccan Quirky Friday was so much fun. Thanks to Christine and to those who joined in the fun and had a taste of my Moroccan cuisine! Special thanks too to my friend Sophie for being such a dedicated and talented sous-chef!

Many asked for the recipes of the tajines I cooked that evening…
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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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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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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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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…


Trick or treat flop

October 31st, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

Today, just back from work, I settled comfortably in front of my computer with a steaming expresso ready to get blogging when the doorbell started singing… Not expecting anyone. Probably my big friend the doorbell ghost again, I thought  (damn interferences!). But we never know, so I got up and went to the door…

Surprisingly, there was someone at the door this time: a ghost actually, the cutest little dutch ghost I’ve ever seen. Halloween! of course, it’s halloween today… Believe it or not, this was my first trick or treat experience ever. Halloween is far not as popular in Europe as it is in America.  It didn’t even exist in France when I was a child, and has always seemed to me as one purely commercial event that shops are forcing into our lives to fill their pockets while awaiting the christmas season…She was so cute though. I melted. And then I freaked: I had nothing, not a chocolate bar, not one cookie in the house (I have to take drastic measures to combine food blogging and a decent waistline), maybe a mandarine?… she was not tempted… I felt just like Rachel in one of these episodes of Friends, when she rushes to her checkbook when she realises she’s out of treats… What a flop!

I’ve rushed to the shop at the corner in the meantime to get a bag of candy, but my doorbell keeps now desperately silent…

So, to make it up… here’s at least a little pumkin treat, all smooth and velvety, for all the smaller and bigger ghosts who will knock at the door of my blog tonight.




Pumpkin cappuccino
Cappuccino de citrouille

serves 6 (as apetizer*)
prep: 10 min cook: 15 + 20 min

A small butternut squash (~350g), peeled, seeded and roughly cut in ~0.5 to 1cm thick slices,
1 Tsp olive oil,
1 apple, chopped,
1 shallot, chopped,
1/2 tsp ginger powder (fresh should be great to, but I didnt have any at the time),
3 pods of cardamon
1 knob of butter,
50 cl chicken stock**
15 cl milk,
10 cl liquid cream,
sea salt and pepper to taste
To serve:
Whipped cream or creme fraiche,
Cardamon, crushed.
Preheat the oven at 200 deg C.
Line a baking tray with baking foil. Put the pumpkin slices on the tray, drizzle with the tablespon olive oil and season with salt. Toss gently and bake for about 15 min or until the pumkin flesh soften.
In a pan, warm up the butter on medium fire and add the chopped shallot, ginger and cardamon. When the onion is translucid (~5min), add the apple, pumpkin and cover with the stock. After the first boil, lower the fire and cover. Simmer for 15 min. Leave to cool for 10 min. Remove the cardamon pods. Then, add the milk and cream and blend until smooth.
To serve, warm the pumpkin cream on low fire, and pour in nice glasses or coffee cups, top with a generous lump of whipped cream or creme fraiche and sprinkle with cardamon. Serve immediately.


* Double the proportions, if you wish to serve this cappuccino as a starter.
** If your stock is very concentrated, cut it with water so that it doesn’t overpower the pumpkin.

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