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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My kitchen goes skiing!

March 7th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Les menuires

The kitchen will be closed for the coming 10 days… It’s time for well deserved holidays.
Ok almost closed: it seems I’m the designated cook for the trip.
In the mean time here’s something to spice up your week a little!

See u soon!

Chicken and prawns red thai curry

4 pers. prep: 20 min cook: 15min + 10 min

500g chicken filet (~3)
250g tiger prawns (raw and peeled)

400g mixed vegetables (for ex. peppers, green beans,
soja, chinese cabbage, oignons, leaks, carrots…)
cleaned, peeled and chopped400ml coconut milk
3 Tsp red curry paste
2 Tsp fish saus (Nuoc Nam)
2 Tsp brown sugar
a few kafir leaves (or 1 tsp pureed lemongrass)
5 Tsp. wok oil (or olive oil)
a handfull fresh thai basil
sea salt, pepper

Prepare your ingredients: dice your chicken filet into ~ 2/2.5 cm dices, prepare the prawns (in my case unfreeze them!), wash, peel and slice the vegetables thinly (or if you’re in a hurry use a ready “asian like” vegetable mix from your favourite supermarket…). Set aside, ready next to the stove. In a small cooking pan, mix the curry paste (I usually start with 2Tsp and adjust during the reduction), sugar, fish saus and coconut milk, add the kafir leaves or lemongrass and cook on low fire for about 15 min until the saus reduces from one third. 15 min before serving time, bring half of the oil to warm up in a wok or large pan on high fire. Sauteed the chicken for 5 min (you might need 2 rounds, so that your chicken get quickly seared and golden). Reserve. In the same wok/pan, sauteed the prawns for a couple of minutes until colored. Reserve, with the chicken. Still in the same pan, add the rest of the oil, sauteed the vegetables 3 to 4 minuts until seared but still crunchy, lower the fire, add the curry saus, chicken and prawns, cook for five more minutes. Just before serving, add the roughly cut basil, transfer to your seving dish, serve and enjoy right away, with some rice and eventually some warm nans.

Bon appétit!

Lemon rice
4 pers. prep: 5 min cook: 15min

300g pandan or thai rice,
100ml coconut milk,
500ml water,
the zest of a lemon,
1 lemongrass stick,
sea salt and pepper to taste.
In a pan, pour the rice and cold liquids. Add the lemon zest and lemongrass, season to taste. Bring to boil on normal fire, then cover up and lower the fire. After about 15 min, the liquids are absorbed and your rice is ready.

Go West: Sea, Sun and…. Fruits de Mer

September 30th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

Ils ont les chapeaux ronds, vive la bretagne… Ils ont les chapeaux ronds, vive les Bretons!

La grand plage in Dinard

I know I’ve been complaining about the weather quite a lot on this blog lately… well, not today!
Last weekend me and my dutchy went west to Brittany for a family weekend.
I couldn’t have dreamt for a better time to introduce my dutchie to the laidback way of life and many treasures of Bretagne… I just wish we had a few extra days.

The garden in Dinard

On Friday morning, we reached the north coast of Bretagne and beautiful St Malo bathed with sun and enjoyed a delicious meal in Dinard in the warmth of a sunny terrace: I still remember the taste of the fabulous “galettes de sarrasin” (traditional savoury buckwheat pancakes) that the grandmother of my girlfriend prepared especially for our venue. With a full stomach and after a deserved walk along the beach overseeing St-Malo, we were back on the road crossing the green and hilly countryside of Bretagne towards the south coast, to our final destination, the small village of Colpo next to Vannes. My uncle and his wife were of course awaiting us with another delicious meal, and many stories.

The castle of Josselin

My uncle is one of the best storytellers I happen to know. In a few words he takes you back to the ancient times of Bretagne among the Celts and Gallos, Merlin, the dukes of Brittany and other heroes who made Bretagne the mysterious and eclectic place it still is today. On Saturday, after a late breakfast in the garden we managed to have a peak to the almost closing market of Vannes. I like the end of the market, when the stalls are being packed with a rare efficiency, when the late clients run for the last bargains of the day… After a quick look into “les Halles”, the daily covered market with its many cheese, charcuterie and butcher stalls, we headed to the covered fish market where we made our way with difficulty around the flooding waters announcing the cleaning and closing time. Despite of the turmoil around we could still admire some of the largest specimens of the day, such as the shark on the picture below or this white tuna from the island of Yeu. We were so busy looking around that I left almost empty handed, with just a pot of buckwheat honey.

Fish market in Vannes

After a tour of the city guided by my favourite guide and uncle, we left the already dying effervescence of the closing market towards St Goustan, a small harbour along the Auray, a river ending its journey in the Gulf of Vannes. This small harbour dates back to the roman times when fleeing from the huge roman galleys, the Gaul where escaping upstream on their small crafts. There, we lost track of time enjoying mussels and cervoise in a little bistro terrace along the river.

Oyster farm “La Godaille”

In the end of the afternoon we drove along the Gulf. It was too late for our original plan to reach one of its entrances in Locmariaquer famous for its Megalithic monuments which date as far as between 4700 and 3800 BC. However, there was no way we would skip a visit to an oysterfarm… our dinner was at stake. We stopped  at the “Godailles” oyster farm close to Baden along the Gulf where a large choice of fresh oysters with various sizes and shapes, palourdes (clams) and bigorneaux (winkles) where awaiting us. They are bred directly in the gulf, along the currents. We settled for four dozen of “creuses n3”, a dozen of clams and a few hundred grams of winkles to nibble. Before we left her, the oyster farmer insisted on giving us a bottle of sea water and some laurel leaves to cook the bigorneaux. What a delicious dinner we made back in Colpo!



serves 4 to 8. cook: 3 min

300g of winkles,
1.5l sea water,
1 laurel leave,
pepper to taste
small picksRince the bigorneaux still alive. Put the sea water to boil with the laurel and pepper. Cook the bigorneaux for 3min…. Nibble with a glass of fresh white wine while your uncle and husband are opening the oysters. 
Bon appétit!

I love squids… but would you clean them for me?

April 29th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Last saturday, 2. p.m, at the crowded local market: I am standing exhausted among the fish stalls, my shoulders hurt from all the bags I’m carrying. I have everything I need for a whole week of fresh season vegetables and fruits. Unfortunately, the asperges have not appeared on the stalls yet… but I got fragrant deep red strawberries and a juicy mango instead. The fish looked amazing that day: after a lot of hesitation, I decided for a beutifully fresh sea bar, some mackerels. There is also that fish: “Wijting” in dutch. I don’t know what it is, but there has been a massive arrival. Next time maybe. Time to go! And then, I almost bumped into the stall: squids! I love these animals… But cleaning them is always such a hastle. Ok, I’ll have some of these too. I tried my most charming smile and asked if they could clean them for me… But, that doesn’t work in Holland! Anyway, I gave it a try. Off with my kilo of calamars to clean…

Back in my kitchen, it took me a good half hour to clean these damn animals! First carefully removing the inside, then the skin. Water, lemon… All bright  and clean,  packed in plastic bags and off to the freezer. a complete spa treatment. I was definitely out of energy after that and almost regretted buying them.

Few days later, in my kitchen again, you could have heard me singing, like Edith Piaf, “Non, rien de rien… Non, je ne regrettes rien”! It was worth every effort: searching for an idea for my lunch box I remembered! I unpacked my first little bag of squids, and got started. With squid, I always remember the cleaning part, and forget the recipe. It’s everytime different eventhough there’s always a mediterranean touch to it. One thing is sure, there were a lot of jealous the next day at the cantine!


Improvised sauteed squid. 
(Calamars sautes: impro du jour)

1 pers. prep: 10 min(excl. cleaning), cooking: 15/20 min

300g small or mid-size squids cleaned
3 small tomatoes (or more if you want more sauce)
1 new carrot
1 red oignon
2 cloves of fresh garlic
a small handful flat parsley
5 cl. of red wine
cayenne pepper to taste (or fresh red chili pepper)
a pinch of cumin powder
sea salt, pepper
olive oil

Roughly chop your tomatoes and oignon. Chop your carrot in very small pieces. If your calamars are big enough, you can cut them in slices or the Jamie Oliver’s way (cf. Jamie’s Dinners) as featured in the photo: To do so, insert a wide cook’s knife in the squid and with another cook’s knife, slice the squid along it’s length at small intervals.
Oil your skillet slightly so that it doesn’t stick. Let it warm up on high fire. Add the cleaned calamars. After 5 to 10 min, they will have released most of their water. Keep these juices aside for later and add the chopped vegetables, the fresh garlic cloves, a bit of olive oil, season with salt peper and cayenne pepper. Once the vegetables start to colour, add half of the calamar juices, the wine and leave to cook for 10 min on mi. If it dries out, add the rest of the juices. Add the end, add a pinch of cumin, the flat parsley. Serve promptly with some white rice for example. 
Bon appétit!

This will also be delicious warmed up the next day. In my lunch box, I replaced the rice with grilled new carrots.

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