Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Aubergine with tomato and mozarella

A little Italian recipe...


2 large aubergines
220 gr mozzarella cheese
2 tomatoes
Basil leaves
Pine nuts

4 spoons olive oil
1 spoon balsamic vinegar
1 spoon tomato paste
1 spoon lemon juice

Cut the aubergines into long slices about 1/2 cm thick. Plunge the aubergines into boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and dry them. Cut the mozerralla into slices, and the tomatoes. Take 2 slices of aubergine a place in the form of a cross. Place a slice of tomato in the center, season with salt and pepper, add a basil leaf and a slice of mozarella. Fold over the aubergine to make a small parcel. Leave to cool for 25 minutes. For the vinaigrette, mix the ingredients together. Preheat the grill. Brush the aubergines with oil, and brown under the grill for 5 minutes each side. Serve hot with the sauce, and decorate with basil leaves and pine nuts.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Delights from Turkey

Izmir is the capital of the western province of Turkey. It's a very pleasant, modern city situated on the magnificent gulf of Izmir, one of the finest the Agean has to offer. A quick culinary tour of Turkey...

Cooking that for me is similar to greek, based on cereales, fruits, vegetables and fish. But let's start with the Raki, it's the national aperitif, known as 'lion's milk'. With a strong liqourice flavour, it's served diluted in water, to accompany the 'mezze' dishes. The glass is placed in a ice block to keep it cool, ingenious!
hors-d'oeuvres or "Meseler"
Seeweed salad, stuffed mussels, calamars à la tomate, aubergine caviar, tatziki, fried shrimps, white beans in oil.
Large choice of olives...
Fried shrimp with red peppers, calamar skewer kebab

Grilled sea-bass with liver skewerChoice of fresh fish

Desserts "tatlilar" and Fruit "meyvalar", and of course the famous Turkish coffee, accompanied by the 'lukum'

The short trip over, and soon heading home...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Three-layer fish mousse

This terrine can be served hot or cold. You can replace the hake with any white fish of your choice. Can be accompanied by a dill or whisky sauce.


Green layer:
300 gr hake filet
30 gr fresh chopped parsley
1 egg white
120 gr double cream

White layer: :
300 gr hake filet
3 cl white vermouth
150 gr de double cream

Pink layer :
200 gr hake filet
150 gr salmon filet
2 egg whites
120 gr double cream

Prepare the fish : finely mince the fish seperately with a mixer. Season with salt and pepper, and add the parsley for the green layer, the vermouth for the white layer and the salmon for the pink layer. Stir in the egg whites progressively. Finally, add in the double cream. Line a baking tin with a plastic film. First add the green layer, and smooth the surface. Cover with the white, and finally the pink layer. Cover with aluminium foil buttered on the inside. Cook in the oven in a bain-marie, at 110°c or mark 3 or 4. Leave to cool for 12 hours in the fridge before turning out to serve.
Dill Sauce:
20 cl cottage cheese
Chopped dill
1 chopped spring onion
100 gr mayonnaise
2 spoons lemon juice
Salt, pepper.
Mix all the ingredients together to obtain a smooth sauce.
Whisky Sauce:
200 gr mayonnaise
1 pot of plain yoghurt
3 drops of Tabasco sauce
2 spoons of tomato ketchup
1 spoon of concentrated tomato paste
Whisky (to taste...)
150 gr of whipped cream
Salt, pepper.
Whisk the cream, and add delicately the other ingredients. Cool.

Pork filet in traditional mustard sauce

This is more of an autumn recipe, but the weather at the moment doesn't lend itself to spring dishes yet... and the garden is in a bit of a mess. But the sage goes perfectly with this pork filet...


1 pork filet
Sage leaves
50 gr of butter
1 spoon traditional grain mustard
10 cl white wine
60 cl meat stock
2 spoons double cream
1 spoon raspberry vinegar
Salt, Pepper.

Season the pork filet with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the sage leaves on top. Cook on a hot flame in a frying pan with a little butter. Remove the filet and discard the oil. Deglaze the frying pan with white wine and mustard. Reduce, then add the meat stock and reduce again. Finally add the cream, and reduce for a further 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, and then stir in the butter off the heat. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Cut the filet into slices, and cover with the hot sauce.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Aubergine pastries

"Crete is a continent, not just an island". Jacques Lacarrière.
The famous cooking from the mediterrean island of Crete has been strongly influenced by gastronomy from around the world, including that of Venice.
I changed this recipe slightly, notably by adding a square of pastry! The book "Le régime crétois" de Jacques Fricker, is full of quick recipes based on cereals, fruits, fresh and dried vegetables, cheeses, youghurts and olives.
2 aubergines
3 tomatoes
1 chopped onion
100 gr of féta or pécorino cheese
Olive oil
5 basil leaves
5 leaves of parsley
Salt, pepper
4 squares of puff pastry
Boil the tomatoes in order to peel them, and chop them in two. Press, cut out the insides, and then cut into squares. Peel the aubergines and chop them into small cubes. Cut the cheese into cubes.
In a saucepan, soften the onions. Add the aubergines, the diced tomato and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper, and leave to cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover half-way through to evaporate excess liquid.
Pour this preparation into a bowl and mix with a fork. Add the chopped basil leaves. Preheat the oven to thermostat 6. Add the cheese to the mixture. Fill the middle of the pastry squares, and fold the corners to the centre. Bake for 20 minutes and serve hot.

Crème soufflée au chocolat

A quick look around the chocolate and dessert section of blog appétit soon got my mouth watering... I chose the recipe for a chocolate soufflé, served with ice-cream.


100 gr of dark chocolate
30 g of cocoa powder
60 gr butter
2 egg yolks
4 egg whites
100 gr sugar
50 gr icing sugar
1/4 lt vanilla ice cream

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Add the butter, and smooth with a whisk. Powder the cocoa into the mix, then whisk in the egg yolks. Preheat the oven to 210° (th7). Whip the egg whites until firm, adding the sugar towards the end. Incorporate the egg white delicately into the chocolate mixture. Half-fill 4 individual cake tins with this mixture, and powder the icing sugar over the top. Bake for 8 minutes. Serve hot topped with a little ice cream.

Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Cookies from the book 'Cookies, Muffins and Co' by Pascale Weeks.

100 gr fine dark chocolate
125 gr half-salted butter
50 gr of sugar
75 gr of brown sugar
1 spoon of vanilla flavouring
1 egg
175 gr of flour
1 spoon of yeast
Pinch of salt

Chop the chocolate into small pieces using a very sharp knife. Mix the sugar and butter in a bowl to obtain a creamy mixture. Add the egg, the vanilla flavoring, and mix. Add the flour, yeast, and chocolate, and mix to into a smooth, soft paste. Roll the mixture into a sausage shape to the desired diameter of the cookies. Leave to cool in the fridge for an hour or so.
Cut into cookie-slices, and cook in the oven for 10 minutes at 180°c. The cookies should be white, and still soft. Take out of the oven, and leave to cool on a tray. The cookies will keep for up to 2 days in a airtight container.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tuna tart

This evening, it's tart with tuna. The children love this one!


1 roll of short crust pastry
Tinned tuna
2 Tomatoes
Fresh cream
Chopped basil

Spread the pastry into a baking dish. Prick the pastry, and spread mustard over the surface. Add the tuna, and the sliced tomato. Add just a little fresh cream and anchovy on each tomato. Strew with basil. Cook in a medium oven for 25 minutes. Easy!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Lemon cream by Mercotte

Yesterday morning, I delved deeply into the blog 'la cuisine de Mercotte', and was full of admiration for the 'in-a-glass' recipes... After doing 1001 chores, if finally locked myself in the kitchen, put up a 'Do not Disturb' on the door, and set about testing for myself, the les verres crème citron , and les verrines multicolores.
Result: Brilliant, inspired recipe. I'll do better next time with the presentation. And maybe a little less lemon juice (of course, I short-cut on weighing the lemon-juice, even though I know that as far as patissery is concerned the 'approximate' is just not good enough!). Anyhow, the mix of the lemon and the fruit syrup was delicious.
For the starters, apart from my slightly oversized glasses, it was perfect. What a wonderful mixture of flavours!
Caviar d'aubergine, oeufs brouillés
Tapenade, tomates concassées, oeufs mimosas.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Smoked salmon steak

A recipe from Léa Linster, the first female prize winner of the “Bocuse d'Or”, one of the world's highest distinctions (finally a woman, there are so few!). I sometimes do this recipe without smoking the fish.
2 salmon steaks
2 slices of smoked bacon
2 potatoes
Salt, Chives
1 leek
1 shallot
2 tomatoes
1 spoon of mustard
20 ml of white wine vinegar
Salt, pepper
20 ml of peanut oil
Salt and pepper the salmon steaks. Steam-cook the potatoes in their skins. Cut the bacon into small cubes, and roast in a frying pan. Smoke the salmon for 3 minutes in a cold smoker, then cook in the oven for 8 minutes at 150°C. For vinaigrette, dice the leeks, the shallot, the tomatoes, and chop the tarragon. Whip the mustard together with the vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the oil and capers, and the brunoise of vegetables and tarragon. Peel and slice the potatoes. Lay out the potato slices in the center of the plate, add the bacon, then place the smoked salmon steaks on top. Cover with the vinaigrette, and decorate with a little chopped chives.
Finally the trees are in flower! The Polonia is my favorite, with its little bell-shaped violet flowers...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Quick chocolate mousse with caramel

My receipt for chocolate mousse is very fast. I accompany it here with a caramel sauce.
200 gr fine dark chocolate
4 eggs, (separate whites from yollks)
15 cl of fresh cream
Grated chocolate for decoration
Add 4 spoons of rum, or mix in the juice and zest of half an orange...

Sauce caramel:
50 gr sugar
1 little water
10 to 15 Cl of liquid cream

Dissolve the chocolate slowly in a bain-marie (with the rum or orange if you like). Take off the heat and mix in the egg yolks one by one. Whip the cream unitl firm and to incorporate in the chocolate mixture. Beat the egg whites until very firm, with a pinch of salt added. Mix the egg white delicately without breaking into the preparation. Leave to cool in the refridgerator.

Sauce caramel: prepare at the last moment. Put sugar with water in a pan. Bring to the boil, and reduce. Watch carefully for the syrup to begin to colour to a light brown. Take off the heat, add the liquid cream, then back on the heat whip vigorously until the sauce is homogenous.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Cod in chive cream sauce

The sun is back, and I hope it holds out until the weekend. I will be able to do a little to work in the garden, (the grass is growing so quickly!)
In this weather, I just want fish! At the market, I chose some fresh cod and small raw shrimps. Moreover, I still have some asparagus left over at home... I found a recipe by the famous chef Emile Tabourdiau. I interpreted it as best I could with the products and the time that I had!

2 cod filets
1 clove of garlic
Raw shrimps or crawfish
30 gr butter
Fresh Asparagus
150 ml of fresh cream
1 1/2 lemon
Olive oil
60 gr chopped shallot
100 gr. of peeled tomato, chopped into small squares
Crushed coriander
Salt, Pepper

Peel the shrimps and cook them quickly in butter with garlic. Wash and peel the asparagus, and plunge in boiling salted water for around 4 minutes. Drain and cool immediately with cold water. Steam-cook the cod filets for 2-3 min on an aluminum sheet.
In a pan, to reduce the cream, season with salt and pepper, and add a the juice of half a lemon, addding the chopped chives at the last moment.
For the vinaigrette, mix the olive oil with the rest of the lemon juice, the chopped shallots, an little chopped chives, the diced tomato, the coriander, and salt and pepper.
Serve with the cod filets placed over the asparagus, covered with the cream sauce. Finally add the shrimps and the vinaigrette.
The cream with chives is very light...

Fried potato slices

Yesterday, I went to Métro with a ravioli mould in mind. I came home with a mandoline (see below), and so needed to find a recipe with something to grate... Moreover, I still haven't got my mould!

My choice of recipe fell on the 'crique Ardéchoise' from Régis Marcon, master chef at the auberge des sommets at Saint-Bonnet-Le-Froid in the wonderful Ardeche region of France near to Valence.
My mum used to call these 'rapés', and she often served these fried potato slices with a small salad on a Sunday evening, after the gargantuesque lunch at my grandmother's...

500 gr potatoes
4 eggs
4 cl of fresh cream
Chives, chervil, flat parsley,
1 finely chopped onion
100 gr. of melted butter or olive oil
8 shrimp or crawfish tails
2 cloves of garlic
Peel the potatoes and grate them to obtain 450 gr. of grated pulp and press to dry.
Mix the cream and eggs, incorporate the potato, the herbs and the onion, add salt and pepper.
In a hot frying pan, add the melted butter and spoon the mixture into 1cm-thick circles. Fry until golden.
In another frying pan, cook the crawfish tails on a low heat with a little butter and garlic.
Serve hot, pour the shrimps and their juice over the potato cakes, and serve with a salad, or why not with a little asparagus!

Home-made strawberry ice cream

For the dessert, I planned some home-made ice cream, even in spite of the rain! Coming in from the garden with some fresh mint, I find that the ice-cream mixer blade has broken in the process. It is not my day! I'll be having a discussion with after-sales service to replace it... That's for Tuesday, but for the moment, I'll have some of this ice-cream to cheer me up...

400 gr. of strawberries
50 caster sugar gr.
15 ml of thick fresh cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Raspberries for decoration
Reduce the strawberries to a pulp in the mixer. Mix together the sugar, the cream and the lemon juice, and add to the strawberries. Chill in the refridgerator for an hour or so. Pour into the ice-cream maker and mix until the mixture stiffens to a whipped cream-like texture. I serve immediately, decorated with mint and raspberries, or you can leave in the freezer.

Tomato and Mozarella Pastries

Happy birthday Grandad

A light tart to cheer me up. It's raining ..... I had planned a barbecue, but that's not going to happen. I have tomatoes, the mozzarella, and a roll of puff pastry. Here we go!
5 tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese
Puff pastry
Olive oil
Salt, pepper
Basil & chives (from the garden!)

Peel the tomatoes (plunge in hot water for a minute or so) and clean the insides. Drain them well. Cut into four, and cook for 10 min with the oven at 220°C. Season with olive oil and salt, and let them cool. Cut the mozzarella into slices. Fill individual biscuit moulds first with the crystallized tomato, then a slice of mozzarella, basil and then another layer of tomato.
Using the puff pastry roll, cut out circles of the same diameter as the biscuit moulds. Place the circle of pastry on top of the tomato. Cook for 15 min in the oven. Leave to cool a little, and then turn our and decorate with chives.


This very quick recipe of ice cream, praline and caramel comes from mum!

Prepare the previous day.
4 eggs
20 cl of thick cream
150gr Pralin mix
2 large meringues
80gr of sugar
sugar syrup dressing

Separate the white from the egg yolks. Whip the yellows together with the sugar. Add the fresh cream and coarsely crushed meringues. Beat the whites until firm and incorporate them.
Pour the caramel in a cake tin and to add the pralin mix. Finally, add the cream / meringue mixture and leave in the freezer overnight. Remove 15 minutes before serving, and turn out onto a serving dish.


Another way of serving the smoked salmon...

Ingredients for 6 people:

300 gr. of flour
50 cl milk
20 gr baker's yeast (or brewers' yeast)
4 eggs

In a salad bowl, mix the yeast with 10cl of hot milk and 100 gr of flour. Mix, cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm place to double in volume after around an hour.
Next, prepare the rest of the mixture. Separate 2 egg yolks from the whites. Beat the whites until moderately firm.
In another bowl, mix the remaining flour with a little sugar. Make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mix, the remaing 2 eggs, the 2 yolks and the remainder of the milk. Mix well. Then fold in the beaten egg whites carefully with a spatula. Leave to rise for a further 2 hours.
In a hot frying pan with a little oil, cook the small pancakes around 30 seconds on each side.
The blinis freeze well in aluminum foil. They should be defrosted 24 hours before being re-heated.

Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs

To accompany my smoked salmon, I serve with simple scrambled eggs and chives.


3 eggs
1 shallot
Chopped fresh chives
3 spoons with soup of thick cream
Knob of butter
Salt, pepper

Melt the butter in a pan, and add the finely-chopped shallot and leave it to soften. Break the eggs, and add the cream in a bain-marie, stir vigorously for around 10 min. Take off the heat and mix in the butter, add the shallots, salt, pepper and chopped chives. Makes a wonderful smoked salmon breakfast!

Salmon smoked house

We've been dreaming for a while of having an unlimited supply of smoked salmon... But how? A small stainless steel smoker as a birthday present and a good book, along with a little practice of fileting, salting and smoking. We just need to find some good salmon.
Unfortunately, it's difficult to find good salmon in France, even at the fishmongers. The farmed (mostly norwegian) salmon here is a little fatty. After 2 years of practice though, we're beginning to mater the art of smoking, even if in our basement, the odor of smoked beechwood is omnipresent.

In brief:
Cut into filets and remove the bones. Salt with course salt for 4 hours (depending on the thickness of the filet, then rinse, and leave to cure for 8 hours.
Then we cold-smoke for between 30 minutes and 1 hour (according to the desired flavour), before leaving to cool in the fridge before slicing.

Tian de Provence

We adore this receipt, it's great with fish. At last I can use some of the fine herbs from the garden!
4 potatoes
4 tomatos
1 aubergine
3 green peppers
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
Thyme, bay leaves, rosemary
olive oil
Grated Gruyere cheese
Salt, pepper
Preheat the oven to 210° (th7). Slice the potatoes and onions in 1/2cm thick circles. Slice the tomatoes, aubergine and sweet peppers in a similar fashion. Oil the baking dish and place the slices alternating the tomato, potatoes, sweet pepper, aubergine and onion. Add salt & pepper, pressed (or chopped) garlic and aromatic herbs. Cover with grated cheese. I cover with aluminum foil during the first 10 min of cooking, and then cook for another 15 min uncovered. Ready to eat!

Potato and bacon pie

This receipt comes from the Auvergne region in the heart of France.
2 rolls of puff or short-crust pastry
5 potatoes
100 gr. of diced bacon
20 cl of liquid cream
Chopped flat parsley
Layout the pastry and prick with a fork. Layer the finely sliced potatoes with the diced bacon, and season with parsley, salt & pepper. Add the top layer of pastry, and press down the edges of the pie. Make a chimney in the middle, and pour the liquid cream inside. Brush with milk. Cook for around 45 min at thermostat 7, and serve with a salad.

Chicken with herbs and port glaze


2 breasts of chicken
6 smoked bacon strips
1 chopped shallot
20 cl of Port
40 gr butter
50 gr chopped bacon shoulder
Sage leaves
Flatten the chicken breasts and place the sage leaves on top, then roll up the chicken, and wrap the bacon strips around. Secure the roll with cocktail sticks. Melt half of the butter in a casserole dish, and brown the chicken on each side. Then add the chopped shallots and the diced bacon shoulder. After 2 minutes, add the port. Cover and leave to simmer for 7 min. Then remove the chicken, discard the cocktail sticks and cut into slices. Finally to bind the sauce, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter.
Serve the chicken slices on a plate, dressed with the sauce.

Veal roast with spring onions

I always choose a piece of shoulder without the central bone and avoid a small roast. The smaller it is, and the more it tends to dry with cooking. I ask my butcher not to bard it.
1.4kg veal roast
2 spoons of olive oil
20 gr butter
3 peeled tomatos, cut into quarters
6 peeled garlic cloves
4 new onions
100 ml dry white wine
Sage leaves
Salt, Pepper
In a casserole dish , sear the veal roast in very hot oil, 2 min on each side. Remove the oil, and slice the butter on top of the roast. Once it has melted, add the onions and the garlic to the casserole. Let it brown on medium heat. Pour in the white wine and wait 5 min for the liquid to partially evaporate, then add the tomato quarters and sage leaves. Salt, cover cook in a hot oven for 30 min. Turn the roast every 10 min and to baste with its juices. Remove from the oven and leave for 10 min for the meat to rest before serving. I accompany it with peas or broad beans and carrots.

Shrimp butter with chives

I often serve this paté on hot crostinis with an aperitif. It's simple and quick.
220 gr cooked and peeled shrimps
1 anchovy (tinned)
30 gr softened butter
1 spoon of lemon juice
1 spoon of chopped flat parsley
Wholemeal bread
Finely chop the shrimps and anchovies (or use a mixer). Mix the softened butter (leave the butter at room temperature for an hour) with the shrimp to obtain a smooth paste, adding the lemon juice, parsley, and pepper. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the bread slices for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Spread the shrimp paste over the toast and decorate with parsley. The butter can be kept for up to 2 days in the fridge.