Asparagus… Bite the seasons*!

May 14th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

Farm chicken with asparagus, chervil and lemon

They are here at last. Asparagus. Green and white. Purple too.
We’ve had to wait a while this year.
Asparagus

A bit more crooked than other years. Still so pretty too me.
So good. Sweet, slightly pungeant.
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Turnip greens… Bite the seasons!

March 10th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Turnip greens

Last week, I had stocked my kitchen with all the early spring greens I could find at the market to test recipes for my Spring cooking workshop on 20 March and for this post*: Turnip greens, belgian endive, leeks, radishes and rhubarb… A real spring burst in the kitchen!

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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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These skirts who makes the world go round…

April 11th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

I’ve always loved that song from the French singer Alain Souchon “Sous les jupes des filles” (Under girls’ skirts… nothing naughty I swear!). It’s fresh like an early spring day with its -maybe cheesy but so poetically refreshing- message that as long as there are girls and women walking around the world with skirts there is a sparkle of light in the eyes of men when the breeze lift them up, hope for a better world!

Since I live in the Netherlands, Souchon is back whispering in my head every spring, when on the first warm sunny day, skirts blossom on all the terraces. The Dutch even have a name for that day. It’s “rokjesdag”, skirt day! It’s quite a big thing back here: They talk about it at work, on TV and in the newspapers. The true beginning of the Dutch Spring! And of course, the start for the girly magazine competition for the publication of the best miracle/no hassle/ecofriendly diet that will get you back in no time in those short little skirts without the fluffy protective winter layer accumulated through the Christmas period (and Easter)….

Luckily, no need to rush: I had to laugh when I discovered that some of the Dutch weather forecast websites even provide a skirt weather indicator, just as they have a UV or allergy indicator! Handy though, I must admit! My skirts and dresses are back in my wardrobe waiting impatiently for the next index 7 or 8 on the skirt weather index. In the mean time, I do my Pilates with dedication and I’ve got the perfect little salad to keep me waiting without guilt for the perfect skirt day while browsing through the new spring fashion in the magazines: It’s crunchy, it’s fresh and it smells and tastes like Spring! Perfect for your lunch basket, you can prepare it in advance and it will be a perfect match with steamed fish, smoked salmon or a chicken sandwich.

Fennel, celery and apple salad

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My Spring tastes like…

April 11th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

appetizers asparagus basil brioche brunch cakes carrot cheese chocolate coriander cookies cress eggs fennel fish French pastry ginger green peas greens lamb onions pancakes passion fruit pasta quiche Mediterranean food mint raspberry rhubarb ricotta risotto rocket rosemary salads salmon spinach strawberry tart veal winkles zucchini

Farniente, pasta e rucola

August 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Ah, those lazy summer days, when it’s so damn nice outside that you do not care for the desperate calls of the kitchen and the empty bellys around. You just want to stay there on the terasse, ‘les pieds en eventail’, reading the latest girly magazine, with Pink Martini gently  whispering to you via your ipod… “Que sera, sera…”.

And then, a soft evening breeze is submerging you with the spicy, aromatic fragrance of the lavendel, mint, parsley and basil lavishly dancing with the breeze a few steps away from you. Suddenly you’re hungry too. No way, you’ll leave the terasse for more than three to five minutes though… Well, just long enough to pick a good handful of these addictive fresh herbs, and maybe some of these young rucola leaves too. Some water to boil, a handful of sea salt, spaghetti and olive oil… A sip of chilled rose, a couple of plates on the table outside, diner is ready!

Buon apetito.

Garden pasta

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The almost grumpy, very sniffy, but lucky gourmande

May 1st, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

After crying my eyes out for the last couple of weeks due to a newly declared hayfever (pfff… it seems that all they say it’s true: decline really starts after 30), I have caught my yearly spring cold, the one I catch every year after trying out the newest items of my summer garderobe on the first sunny days… Well, timing was far from ideal: with the swine flu spreading around the world and the newsreports , my colleagues started taking their distances, looking at me with a slightly suspicious look while innocently inquiring if I had by any chance been to Mexico lately…

Luckily, I’ve not! I won’t say that I didn’t kind of freaked out considering my red runny nose and feverish headache while watching the news… But well considering what hundreds of people are enduring around the world, I swallowed my grumpiness and spoiled kid complaints… I’m just a lucky bastard: It’s just my yearly spring cold, I’ve got a great new dress, and there’s plenty of spring greens full of vitamins around to pep me up. So, all feverish that I was, I got up from under the blankets and cooked myself a revigorating brunch: one “oeuf cocotte” with fresh herbs from my garden, my favourite eggs, and a silky peppery cress soup just like my mom used to do, with the leaves of the beautiful bunch of radish I got from the greengrocer. I feel better already!

Vitamine shots

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Perfect monday…

April 20th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Off early, coffee and a chat with a good girlfriend on the sunny terasse in the garden… followed with a couple of glasses of my favourite white cote du Rhone (a Mont Redon), a couple of calls and off we are for an impromptu dinner. A short trip to my local shopping street for a bunch of the best asperges around, a kilo of tiny new potatoes, a large cote de boeuf as tender as butter and the first strawberries of the season… More friends, a little bit of peeling, fresh herbs from the garden, a bit of salt and pepper, a drop of olive oil and a pinch of vanilla. No fuss, laughters and wine, satisfied smiles and full stomachs.

Today, I love mondays….

 

Asperges

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Sunday morning gold

June 24th, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

Let it be said… I’m not a morning person:
Take me out on saturday night, and you’ll find no one on sunday morning, and if you do, it will be a wining grumpy lazy gourmande! My dutchie found that out the hard way and after trying to wake me up tenderly a couple of times before sunrise (he is a morning person…).
We’ve reached a silent understanding: he escapes the bedroom at dawn and minds his own business, while I sink deeper into the blankets. Much later, when the sun is already up into the sky, he brings me coffee and orange juice and some time fresh croissants he bought on his way back from his morning cycling tour and magically, the grumpiness fades away like a charm, leaving place to a perfect sunday.

But sunday mornings don’t always start out so perfect: Sometimes, the phone rings too early, some friends or family is calling to know if they could pass by, let say in a couple of hours… Of course I want to see them, it’s been so long and I’ve missed them… Yet, the house is a mess, I am a mess and I’ve got nothing ready for lunch.

Sleepwalking through the house, after both the shower and morning coffee failed to wake me up, I finally dare to open my eyes… And sometimes I am just lucky: a bunch of white gold is just there in front of me! Thanks so much Harry, for the freshly picked white asparagus from Limburg… And hop, a roll of puff pastry out of the freezer, a zest of lemon and vanilla, a pinch of almond: I’ll finally give a try at the white asparagus tart I’ve put together in my dreams. Sunday is perfect again and so will be lunch!

 

 

WhiteAsparagusTart
White gold in a tart: Tarte aux asperges blanches

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Lamb at last!

June 10th, 2008 § 3 comments § permalink

I’ve been away from this blog much longer than I expected. I ve missed you all. Good and bad things have happened in my life the last months, and I just couldn’t keep up. It’s a long and pretty boring story that I’ll spare you but here I am, not yet back at the top of my shape, but back nonetheless! 

Now, I know I’ve missed a lot of chances to share with you my dutch spring favourites… the asparagus and spring lamb are now almost out of season! but I’ll do my best to make it up to you with at least two new toys to help me entertain you in my kitchen: the kitchen aid I’ve always dreamt about thanks to my lovely mother in law and last but not least a far too good camera for my limited experience: a Nikon D60. It’s going to be fun!

Some time ago already, I’ve promised you some lamb… I know the season of the spring lamb is over, but I thought I’d keep my promise and share with you at least one of the two recipes that have enlightened my spring this year. It involves slow roasting. A technique that I’ve been lurking at for a long time, but rarely came to it ’cause of my tendency to plan my meals at the last minute (litteraly). Here it goes:

slow cooked leg of lamb (3)

One sunday long ago, I had time on my hands and a large leg of lamb in the fridge… after lurking at delicious recipes for lamb slow roasting on the internet (on Chocolate and Zucchini and Top Slurp avec Estebe among others) and a bit of exploration in my cookbook collection we ended up with a perfectly caramelised and falling of the bone leg of lamb for dinner. The result was delicious and it was gone in no time.


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