The best potato salad

July 21st, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Finally the new potatoes have made their comeback on the market stalls.
New potatoes are my favorite, with that super thin layer of skin still on. It gives them an almost nutty flavor.
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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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Le temps de quelques framboises…

July 16th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

A bite of summer, une gourmandise, a quickie, juste en passant.
Pour une gourmande en particulier… and all the sweet teeth around.

Mini raspberry/almond bites

 
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Peasto

April 4th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

The lazy gourmande has once again been hibernating for a while (and so has her kitchen diaries). But winter is over and it’s getting hungry again.

I hope you guys haven’t lost faith in seeing me again around the kitchen? I’ll try to make it up to you. To start with, something green, fresh, velvety and fragrant. Something like spring to cheer up your aperitif or a dish of fresh pasta with friends.

Peastou

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Quick spaghetti for starving 'do-it-yourselfers'

August 30th, 2008 § 4 comments § permalink

He was saying: One long weekend and it will be done, EEEEEAAAASY: a brand new bathroom! (new shower, paint and other little things. I mean: I’m naive, but there’s a limit!). 

Well, it’s been two weeks. Two weeks made of old layers of paint coming of suddenly once you’ve made sure that they wouldn’t, rotten walls and broken tiles, begging your friends to use their shower and other common Do-It-Yourself dramas.

Not so bad I would say, but now we’re both dead, starving and craving for a long hot shower in our brand new shower… Although the latter will have to wait tomorrow: my dutchie is finishing to put the silicone kit as we speak. You’re wondering what I’m in charge of? Dinner of course.
Luckily, there’s always pasta when you want to keep it quick and easy! And eggplant for a seasonnal touch. Dinner expected in 17 minutes.

Buon appetito!

eggplant spaghetti (2)

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Quick spaghetti for starving ‘do-it-yourselfers’

August 30th, 2008 § 4 comments § permalink

He was saying: One long weekend and it will be done, EEEEEAAAASY: a brand new bathroom! (new shower, paint and other little things. I mean: I’m naive, but there’s a limit!). 

Well, it’s been two weeks. Two weeks made of old layers of paint coming of suddenly once you’ve made sure that they wouldn’t, rotten walls and broken tiles, begging your friends to use their shower and other common Do-It-Yourself dramas.

Not so bad I would say, but now we’re both dead, starving and craving for a long hot shower in our brand new shower… Although the latter will have to wait tomorrow: my dutchie is finishing to put the silicone kit as we speak. You’re wondering what I’m in charge of? Dinner of course.
Luckily, there’s always pasta when you want to keep it quick and easy! And eggplant for a seasonnal touch. Dinner expected in 17 minutes.

Buon appetito!

eggplant spaghetti (2)

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Farniente and summer greens

August 16th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

I had big plans for my kitchen diaries this summer. Somehow I always tend to have big plans for everything and far too little time to realise them. As my mom says: my eyes are always bigger than my stomach! Unfortunately, I’ve kind of overdone it the last years and especially the last 8 months.

Now, there’s no choice, it’s time to recharge the batteries… From time to time I miss the rush of adrenaline I have when juggling with ten things at a time. But I must say, farniente is good… Sometimes lazyness is just necessary. Luckily there’s no better time than summer for a little farniente and I hope you’re allowing yourself a little bit of it too.

My kitchen is taking a little bit of rest too, although it still has to deal with my latest crave for sunny and summery greens. I’ve managed to save you a bite from our last barbecue: easy and sunny salads with a definite meditterranean touch… Here are two of them for a start*.
Enjoy and don’t forget to take it easy!

 

Morrocan greens
Salade de poivrons et tomates a la marocaine (recipe will come later), salade de courgettes a la menthe et carrotes au cumin et a la coriandre… had a hard time saving you a bite!

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Summer on the table

July 20th, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

It’s raining again… Instead of biking in the dunes as I had planned, I’m squatting the couch under a thick plaid, enjoying my 4th cup of fuming mint tea while dreaming of the sun of my provence. 

No way I’m going to let this rotten weather get on my mood today! So here’s a simple fish dish full of sun and fragrant like a summer night in provence. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, there you are! Do you hear the song of the cigales, the friends playing jeu de boule while you’re sipping a pastis or a chilled rose, enjoying the sunset… That’s the spirit. Now hurry and serve everybody before it gets cold

 

Daurades royales en croute de sel
Summer on the table: Dorades royales en croute de sel anisee…

 

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When the Easter bunny turns into Santa…

March 18th, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

Since I’ve moved to the Netherlands, the easter bunny has always spoiled me with one of the most precious gift ever (I see the smile on your faces already… Don’t get me wrong: the lazy gourmande is not talking chocolate today): for what I can remember, Easter weekends have counted in the warmest weekends of the year for the seven years I’ve lived around here. I had come to believe Easter to be the true beginning of spring, the celebration of life and renewal (ok, that’s a bit ‘mushi’ but yep, that ‘s how far the easter bunny fills me with joy): The first brunch on the terasse with dear friends, enjoying the morning sun while sipping tea and nibbling the first asparagus and strawberries… Searching the shadow of the first leaves of the lilac tree after running around the garden to find the last chocolate eggs in the garden before they melt under the strong easter weekend sun. The first sun bath in the garden or on the beach (no really, I’m not kidding, I do really live in the netherlands)… 

Knowing that, you can imagine how excited I was to take a peak at the weather forecast for the weekend. Let me put it like this: if you also live in the Netherlands and feel like me about easter, maybe you should just skip the weather forecast for this year. Maybe you should go to a last-minute website instead and book your tickets for somewhere sunny right away. It seems I must have been a very bad girl this year, because although the easter bunny will probably bring me some chocolates (not that I really need any with my winter protection layer)… It will also bring in SNOW!  Ok, I know easter is pretty early this year, but still this is just all wrong… Even the easter bunny starts to thinks he is Santa!

I guess that instead of sunbathing on the terasse while refreshing myself with a taste of heaven: 

mousse au fromage blanc
Triffle with ‘fromage blanc’ mousse, rhubarb, raspberries, and biscuits roses de Rheims…

… I will be under my blanket watching Al Gore’s documentary one more time, with a fuming cup of tea and craving for a piece of that: 

Warm blueberry pudding (3)
When I tell you that something is wrong: It’s gonna snow but yet the market stalls ar full with blueberries… I got tricked last time (try this with rhubarb, I’m sure it will be at least as delicious and surely more seasonal).

Fresh and light triffle with ‘fromage blanc’ mousse, rhubarb and raspberries 
Triffle leger et frais à la mousse au fromage blanc, à la rhubarbe et aux framboises

serves 6 pers.
prep: 15 min. rest: 1/2 hour + 1hour 

Ingredients:
For the mousse:
400 g fromage blanc at 0% fat* (or dutch kwark or a mix from cottage cheese and greek yoghurt),
20 cl whipping cream,

3 sheets of gelatin,
2 to 4 Tsp sugar (I use 2)
According to taste: vanilla extract, lavender, cardamom, lemon extract… (I use crushed lavender and vanilla seeds)

For the triffle:
6 to 8 of your favourite cookies (biscottis, lady fingers, speculoos… here, I used ‘biscuits roses de Rheims’),
2 handful of fresh berries marinated in sugar and lemon juice and/or shortly stewed or caramalised fruits (here I used, caramelised rhubarb compote and fresh raspberries).


For the mousse: At least half to one hour before hand, set the fromage blanc to drain in a clean towel or in kitchen paper.
Soften the gelatin in a bowl of cold water. Reserve one tsp whipping cream to melt the gelatin and whip the rest of the cream until stiff. Whip the drained fromage blanc with the sugar and spices until shiny and relatively stiff. In a small pan melt the drained gelatin with 1 tsp of cream. Immediately incorporate to the whipped fromage blanc. Incorporate the whipped cream delicately to the fromage blanc mixture.

For the triffle: Pour the mousse in individual glasses in alternate layers with roughly crushed biscuits and fresh and/or stewed fruits. Refrigerate for at least 1hour before serving.

Bon appétit!

Warm blueberry pudding (2)

Warm blueberry pudding
Petit gateau tiède aux myrtilles

serves 6 pers.
prep: 10 min. cook: 20 min

Ingredients:
250g + 50g blueberries (for Easter, I’ll try this again with rhubarb… much more seasonal!),
1 lemon (juice and zest),

70g sugar (preferably cane sugar),
100g butter at room temperature,
100g flour,
2 eggs,
1/2 pack raising powder,
1 pinch of salt.

Preheat the oven at 180 degC***
Clean the blueberries and marinate with 2 Tsp sugar and the juice of the lemon. Set 50g aside to garnish.
In a small pan on high fire, sauteed 250g of the marinated blueberries for a couple of minutes until their juices strat to form a lovely red syrup.

The pudding dough is inspired from a recipe in ‘Jamie’s dinners’**** from Jamie Oliver: In a bowl, beat the butter and the rest of the sugar with a wooden spoon until fluffy. Incorporate the eggs one by one. Then, mix in the flour, yeast, lemon zest and salt.

Divide the sauteed blueberries and their juices evenly in 6 buttered individuals baking dishes. Spoon over the pudding dough and bake for 20 min at 180 deg C***. Serve warm, sprinkled with icing sugar and a spoon of the reserved marinated berries.

Bon appétit!

* I use fromage blanc with 0% fat çause that’s mostly what I have around. Although I’m usually more for the real thing, I love it like that. Of course, whole fromage blanc can only be smoother and creamier.  It’s up to you!
** Biscuit rose de Rheims are derived from  ‘biscuit à la cuillère’ typically used for charlottes in french. They are a local produce from Rheims and fit particularly well with Champagne.
*** I always use the hot air option from my oven,  you might want add 10 deg C for a normal oven or extend the baking for 5 to 10 min.
**** The oroginal recipe is an oldfashioned english pudding with automn fruits and Jersey cream with whisky. Last automn, I turned this recipe into a crumble while keeping the pudding dough in the back of my mind for further experiments… good idea: this airy and rich pudding married perfectly with the blueberries.

Italy in the garden

October 3rd, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve never been known for my “green fingers”. Every time someone offers me a plant that need a slight bit of attention, I can’t help but thinking “Oh no, how long is it going to last under my care”.
Yet, after three years in our house, me and my dutchie finally managed to made a garden out of our garden, with green grass, healthy looking and flowering plants and all kinds of herbs… a miracle.

garden_tomatoes

For the veggies, we’ll have to give it another try next year though: out of my three plants of tomatoes and my plants of strawberries, I hardly managed to get a dozen of half eaten strawberries (damn snails!), a dozen of cherry tomatoes (at the rate of ~2 per month) and a dozen of roma tomatoes (out of 30 that just ended up rotting before even turning red… damn weather!).

Nonetheless, proud of my tomato harvest… my little head started boiling with ideas of beautiful tomato salads to present my very own tomatoes to the world (or let’s say the maximum I could feed with my dozen of tomatoes: my dutchie and a close group of friends… ). Before settling on a final recipe, I thought I should at least try one tomato… What a disappointment: with the lack of sun this summer, it must really have been a struggle to get to maturity. The flavour was there, but the structure was terrible (what we would call “farineuse” in french, literraly ‘”floury”). Bye bye salads! my tomatoes were only good for a tomato sauce. A great tomato sauce though, with herbs from the garden as well of course….

cannelonis

Canneloni with fresh tomato saus
Canneloni aux tomates du jardin

serves 4. prep: 15 min cook: 15 min + 35 min

Ingredients:
16 cannelonis
8 Roma tomatoes (that’s all I had)
400g minced beef
100g minced pork
2
small oignons
1 small clove of garlic
a small handful parsley
a few twigs of thyme
1 twig of rosemary
1 laurier leave
4 Tsp olive oil
5cl red wine
3 Tsp freshly grated parmeggiano
a pinch of cayenne chilipepper
sea salt, pepper

Preheat your oven to 180 deg C. Wash and peel the oignons. Chop 1 1/2 thinly. Press the remaining half with a garlic press. Chop half of the thyme and rosemary thinly. Put the minced meat in a bowl, add a third of the chopped oignons, the pressed oignon, the parsley, and the chopped rosemary and thyme, season with sea salt and pepper and mix alltogether with your hands. Reserve.

Set some water to boil in a large pan and in a smaller one. In the larger pan cook the cannelonis for three minutes in the boiling water. Then rince in cold water to stop the cooking. Add a few drops of olive oil to prevent them sticking to each other. Reserve for later.

Wash the tomatoes and plunge them for 1 min in the boiling water in the remaining pan. Peel the tomatoes, remove the seeds and chop them. Blend the tomatoes for 30s with 1Tsp olive oil. Sauteed the oignons and pressed garlic clove briefley with 1Tsp of olive oil in a cooking pan. Add the blended tomatoes, and remaining herbs. Season with sea salt, pepper and cayenne chilipepper. When it gets to boil, add the wine and lower the fire. Leave to reduce for 15min.

In the meantime, fill the cannelonis with the minced meat and lay them in a large oiled oven dish. When it’s done pour the tomato sauce over the cannelonis. Cover with aluminium foil and bake in the oven for 35 min. Remove the foil 10min befor the end.  Sprinkle the grated parmeggiano over the dish and serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

nb. I prefer to use minced veal but it’s hard to find at the supermarket in holland and my butcher was closed.
nb2. You might wonder why I only add the cheese at the end… Well, for the simple reason that my dutchie cannot stand cheese (damn it!). I am condemned to add the cheese in my own plate or to make sure his part remains absolutely cheese-free. I was however very happily surprised by the result. I loved the taste of the freshly grated cheese on the cannelonis.

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