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Wed, 11 Nov 2015


It's been ages since I made this classic dip, I'd forgotten how simple to make and tasty it is. The secret is having the right size blender: not too big as you end up pushing the ingredients back down in the bowl to get properly blitzed; and not to small or you end up overflowing.
- put a tin of (cooked) chick peas and some garlic cloves (the number depends upon how garlicky you like your hummus) in the blender
- Add the juice of a lemon and some tahini (ground sesame paste, it can be found in most oriental markets)
- Start blending and add olive oil slowly until you obtain a smooth consistency
- Season with plenty of pepper
- Add a little cream or, better, fromage blank to lighten
- Decorate with sweet paprika and olive oil and serve as a dip with pitta bread

posted at: 18:42 |[/cooking] permanent link


Thu, 08 Oct 2015

Cold almond soup

This is a really interesting soup, deliciously surprising.
- soak some white bread in a little water (cut the crusts off first)
- Take a similar amount of almonds (ie: equal amounts of bread and almonds) and grind in the blender
- Add two or three cloves of garlic and the soaked bread, grind a bit more until you get a paste
- Add a little sherry vinegar
- Slowly drizzle with olive oil and keep blending in the mixer until the resulting "paste" become smooth
- Add water slowly until you obtain the required consistency: the soup should be slightly thick but not too watery
- Season with plenty salt and pepper and place in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours or more
- This soup need to be served very cool, you can add a couple of ice cubes before serving if necessary
- Decorate with roasted almonds and deseeded grapes (black and white)

posted at: 19:22 |[/cooking] permanent link


Fri, 12 Jun 2015

Polenta with sour cherries

Our friend Balazs brought us a jar of sour cherries from Hungary so I used them in this starter, inspired by the Tables des Cordeliers restaurant in Condom (see here)
- make some polenta according to the instructions on the packet, add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes and a little grated parmesan. Press down into a square or rectangular dish and put in the fridge to set.
- Reduce some sour cherries in their juice with a little red wine vinegar and some sugar. Crush the cherries into a pulp and boil until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Remove the pips from a few fresh cherries (I have a de-pipper designed for olives but it works for cherries too)
- Add the fresh cherries to the sauce for just one minute so they heat through
- slice "fingers" of polenta and place them under a hot grill until they are heated through and starting to "toast" on top
- decorate the polenta slices with small squares of feta cheese and the fresh cherries
- garnish with the hot cherry sauce

posted at: 21:02 |[/cooking] permanent link


Sun, 22 Feb 2015

Baked Turbot

I came across this beast at the fishmongers, absolutely divine.
- make some diagonal incisions in the fish.
- Rub some salt, pepper and herbs (thyme is good, oregano or rosemary too) into the flesh
- Place the fish, dar side up, in a roasting pan
- Drizzle with olive oil and a little white wine
- Place some lemon slices on top
- Bake in a hot oven for 25 minutes or more for a big fish

posted at: 11:52 |[/cooking] permanent link


Thu, 30 Oct 2014

Guinea Fowl with autumn fruit

We have a lot of fruit in the orchard and it's been a bumper year for figs.
- melt some butter in a small pan and skim off the white impurities that come to the surface, these are the bits that can burn. The result is "clarified butter" but you can also use Ghee from India, which is the same thing.
- Mix the melted clarified butter with some honey and baste a guinea fowl all over. Season well. Place is a roasting pan. You can also use a small chicken.
- Cook in the oven at 180°. For a guinea fowl the total cooking time will be about 45 minutes, you will need longer for a chicken.
- 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time add the following mixture to the pan:
      - peeled and chopped pears
      - peeled and chopped apples
      - roughly chopped walnuts
      - quartered fresh figs
      - some raisons and sultanas
- the bird should be golden brown when ready, with delicious crispy skin. You can serve as is, or carve the meat and serve with the fruit and couscous (photo right)

posted at: 12:00 |[/cooking] permanent link


Sun, 12 Oct 2014

This year's chillie harvest

It's that time of year again. There are plenty more in the garden and we've got a bumper crop of figs this year.

posted at: 10:30 |[/cooking] permanent link


Sat, 26 Apr 2014

Belgian night

Moules marinières (mussels in creamy sauce)
Traditional Flemish Carbonnade
(Marinated beef cooked in Belgian beer)

Glazed carrots
(as many fried potatoes as you can eat
- served with mayonnaise - all home-made)
Desserts with Belgian chocolate
and speculos

posted at: 20:45 |[/cooking] permanent link


Sat, 22 Feb 2014

Russian night

Pirojkis (top right)
Stuffed with carrots/cabbage
and mushrooms/anchivies

Red cabbage salad
Sour cream
Beef Stroganoff (bottom right)

Potato and dill mash
Mustard sour cream

Compote of apple and red fruit and Lemon mousse

Entertainment by aZey the Magician

posted at: 20:45 |[/cooking] permanent link


Sat, 25 Jan 2014

Chinese New Year

- Tofu and black mushroom soup
- Peking duck with pancakes and Hoisin sauce
- Sweet and sour pork
- Chicken with cashew nuts
- Stir fried vegetables with noodles
- Rice
- Coconut flan with lychees and mango syrup
- Sesamé crackers and fortune cookies
- Chinese tea, Tsingtao

posted at: 20:45 |[/cooking] permanent link


Wed, 11 Dec 2013

Salmon Lasagne

- use a back of salmon, extract all the bones
- make a light béchamel sauce using half-milk half-water
- season the sauce with nutmeg
- cut the salmon into thin slices crosswise, add a lot of pepper
- make layers of salmon, fresh spinach leaves, béchamel sauce and lasagne
- I also add some chopped chives
- make three of four layers and finish with some grated parmesan
- bake in a hot oven for 25 minutes

posted at: 18:06 |[/cooking] permanent link





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