Thursday, 29 June 2017

Amandes de Mer

They are a special kind of mussel, I have not seen before. They come from the coast of the Normandy and Bretagne. They are large ones, when they are super fresh can be eaten raw. I bought some here the local supermarket and they have to be cooked. Many recipes advice to cook and gratiner them.

I was looking for a simple dish without so much fuss, I wanted to eat them after my cathedral trip to Senlis in the morning. And using the temperamental oven was not something to look forward to.
Finally the armandes de mer went into a simple dish of "spaghetti vongole".

8 armandes de mer per person
1/2 bulb of fennel
60 g spaghetti per person
2 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
50 g goat cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
100 ml white wine
50 ml sweet white wine
fennel fonds
salt and pepper
chili powder

In a bowl with cold water soak the mussels for 30 minutes
Cook the pasta.
Chop onions, garlic and fennel.
In a wide pan with a lid in 1 tbsp of oil start half of the onion, garlic mix together will all of the fennel. Saute until soft, add some water and season with salt, pepper and chili. Remove from the pan and mix with the cooked pasta.
Use the same pan and heat up the rest of the oil with the other half of onions and garlic. Add the wines and bring to a boil.
Chuck in the mussels and close the lid. Cook for 2 minutes.  Get the mussels out and keep half of the liquid.

Add the chopped or grated cheese to the liquid and start melting it, add the butter and the pasta and fennel mix. Get the lid off the mussels and get them in the pan too, they will need another 2 minutes to soften completely.
Add fennel fonds and chives.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Shelling Peas

I love peas and I love fresh ones still in their green pods.

As a child during my summer holidays at my grandma´s and aunts place I ate almost all the peas out of fresh pods of the plants. I could hide low behind the plants so my Grandma could not see from the kitchen window. I hid the empty pods in my pockets and dropped them on the compost later.
The next year the peas were on an other part of the garden and I needed more sneakiness to eat my fill.
Today I think she planted so many rows of peas that I had always enough when I visited there.

And I remember a holiday in Finland many years ago, were you found empty pea pods everywhere. The people loved their peas and ate them in parks, along rivers, on market places and in the wild nature. It did not take us long to buy a pound of pea pods daily and snacked on them during our trip through the south and the middle of Finland.

I served the lovely peas sauted with some onion in butter and fresh chives on rice and cornfed chicken breast.


A walk along Boulevard St. Germain, Paris

The Boulevard St.Germain is a very long street south of the river Seine. A long part of it, east and west of the church St.Germain des Prets is known for the high class shopping. All the famous well known shops are here and between these you can find high end food.

I went  into Paris by train and Metro and came up back to street level at Metro station St.Germain des Prets. My first way was to the famous Café de Flore. It is an old institution and perfectly kept.

I had a  grand café creme and a pain de raisin and paid € 9,60.  It was worth its price and a good start into the long walk.

After a couple of minutes I found the Maison George Larnicol - a chocolatier and patisier. A shop right after my heart. Lots of different coloured Macarons, Kouign amann with different fillings and chocolate in a vast veriaty. Just pick up a box and start shovel (with small shovels on each tray) the goodies into the box.

Since the Boulevard is long, you reach an other part of the city after the long walk. I came into Latin, Quartier Latin- still Boulevard St.Germain Latin. Here the shops cater more to the regular people, suddenly I found an North African fruit and veg shop and wondered how he could affort the rent for that place, but then I saw the other more common stores around. A place at a road crossing held todays market, local butchers sold their stuff, veggies and lots of fruit and then the other tents were  you could buy regional products from other parts of  France. Such as confit de canard from the Perigord or different mustards from the Bourgogne region.
I left the market with a couple of mustards, some for me, some for my friends.

At the Gare d`Austerlitz I needed lunch to get off my feet. I found a Brasserie selling different Galettes. I love these since I spent 2 weeks driving along the coast of the Bretagne a couple of years ago.
The filling was Savoyarde style, that means lots of Reblochon cheese, sauted onions, boiled small potatoes and bacon. A treat for sore feet.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Tomato and Bread Salad

Stale Baguette during a holiday in France is not something rare. I love the smell and the taste of the fresh bread, even eating it the next day is fully ok. But often a piece is left over.

And I am still hunting for some French tomatoes for my friend and found a lovely 4 piece package in different colours from brown, orange, red to yellow. The packaging came even with a lot of information and a QR code. So I am seeding tomatoes again.

Tomatoes and stale Baguette with a ripped Mozzarella cheese sounded so good, that I have thrown some cheese in my grocery cart this morning.

100 g stale Baguette ripped to pieces
2 tomatoes cut into strips
125 g Mozzarella cheese
Thai basil leaves
fresh chives
Olive oil
Sherry vinegar
salt and pepper

The salad with the dressing needs some time to soak through the bread, so prepare it and let it sit at room temperature for minimum 30 minutes.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Fresh Mussels from the North of the Picardie

I am in the heartland of the Picardie, but a small part of it reaches to the North Sea. It is mostly the mouth of the river Somme. It is not such a huge one, the river more or less trickles into the sea. There is the town of Saint Valery sur Somme and the Cap Hornu were you are at the end of the river Somme.
A long the coast you can find many small shops just selling "Moules et Huitres" - Mussels and Oysters. They are sold by the kilo. I paid € 3,50  for a kilo. So cheap and so fresh!

When I am doing trips like this, I put my icebox in the car. I never know, what I find on tour that will spoil otherwise.

1 kg fresh mussels
4 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
1 spring onion
1 tbsp olive oil
100 ml double cream
100 ml Noilly Prat
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper

Clean the mussels and knock the open ones against the chopping board, when the close up, they are ok, otherwise discard.
In a pot with a lid heat up the olive oil and add chopped garlic and onions, saute for 4 minutes, add the curry powder and the chili and saute 1 more minute.
Add the mussels and the Noilly Prat.
Close the lidand wait 3 minutes, add the cream and stir well, wait a bit more.
How long it will depend of the size of the mussels. Mine were on the smaller side, it just took me 4 minutes.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Salad with Prawns and beans

When you buy good quality beans it would be a pity to throw away the leftovers. I had 500 g of green beans cooked and used only 200 g for my dish yesterday. I cooked all od them so it was easy to prepare the salad today. I seeded the second tomato for my friend and put the pieces into the salad. A big and a small spring onion for more freshness and a box of precooked ready to eat prawns.
This combination rocked.

I visited the Chateau Chantilly today, famous for the castle surrounded by water and the large park and formal gardens. And famous for Creme Chantilly, a thick whipped cream.
Todays visit left me dissapointed, the huge formal gardens needed proper maintainance and the park was a bit unsatisfying too. I only saw 4 gardeners at work, mowing. I was looking for the kitchen or herb garden that was supposed to be there, not more.
The site opened at 10 AM and lots of busses unloaded tourists, there was nothing to get to drink or have a bit of ice cream or even Chantilly cream before noon or 1 PM. High entrance fees and low customer service are not a good recommondation.

I drove home and during that time I reminded me to buy some baguette and a little sweet treat for the afternoon. Going to the first or second bakery here in town, depending on where to park my car, was the decision I made ahead.
But 8 km before "home" I went into a small town, from one end to the other with speed limit 50kmh you need 90 seconds to pass. I saw many cars brake and stop and people getting out. A bakery!


I stopped too and went inside, number 3 in line and bought the best stuff I had this week! 5 people waited in line behind me. This small village is a part of the community of the town here and so I can finally say:  I found the best bakery in town!


Friday, 23 June 2017

Green Beans with Tomato

Haricot vert á la tomate or green beans are a favourite food in France. Today I bought a package here. "Ancient" tomatoes are sold here too. I am still collecting seeds from Tomatoes for my friend and bought a yellow/orange and a red one.
The yellow/orange one got seeded, I washed the seeds in a fine sieve and dried them on a wooden chopping board for 8 hours on a hot day. With the pic of the tomato whole and cut in half, I give the seeds to my friend for her collection.

To go with the beans I had some pork cutlet and boiled and roasted small potatoes, a very fine meal!

recipe for the beans:
300 g small green beans
2 large spring onions with lots of white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 medium yellow/orange Tomate Cotelee Aumoniere jaune

2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Top and tail the beans and in a large pot with boiling salted water cook the beans until they are just cooked- better a little undercooked, because they will need some time in the pan. Drain and put them in ice water to keep their green color, drain again.
Slice onions and garlic in strips, cut the tomato in strips too, but take out the wet seed part.

Heat up the oil in a wide pan, add onions and garlic and saute, add the beans and give them 2 minutes before you add the tomatoes. Season well with salt and pepper.

In the water you cook the beans in, cook the potatoes in their skin.
season and bread the cutlet and bake it until done. Add the cooked potatoes to the pan and roast them.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

A vegetarian Tatar with Avocado and Courgette

I bought the newest issue of my favourite French food magazine and found a whole lot of Tatars. Except 2, all of them contain some kind of fish or seafood. Just one was with beef and one vegetarian.

The combos of avo and salmon or tuna are very famous, combining it with courgette made me curious. And I found a way to get rid of half of the courgette still sitting in my fridge.

It takes a bit, because you have to blanche the courgette pieces in salted boiling water for a minute to softem them a little, I took the opportunity and have thrown the chopped up spring onion pieces in with the courgette.

recipe for 2:
1 avocado
1/2 yellow courgette
1/2 lemon
1 spring onion
1 hardboiled egg
salt and pepper
dried dill
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Sherry vinegar
1 pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Thai basi leaves

Blanche the courgette pieces and the spring onions, drain and cool down.
Boil an egg and cool it down.
Make the dressing.
Half the avo and get the pit and peel off. Chop into small pieces and cover with lemon juice.
Wash some Thai basil.
Bring everything together and eat with some Baguette.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A Butcher´s Visit in Pierrefonds

I visited the huge castle of Pierrefonds yesterday. The original one was destroit in early wars and Napoleon III had it rebuilt as an medival castle in the middle of the 19th century.

It is the castle where the BBC TV series Merlin was shot for 5 years during the summer month.
Lots of Brits are visiting here, but it is a pity, you only see and read about the French history. No bits and pieces from the set are to be seen.
But it is wonderful to walk along the stairways and hallways and see all the different rooms.
Outside the castle walls is the small but very nice town of Pierrefonds. Old houses with lots of charm and many places just to sit an enjoy the views.
I read about Pierrefonds in the travel brochure and it recommended to visit the best butcher in town.
That I did!
I bought some fresh spiced pork sausage meat and a banger Mexican style and a banger with French herbs. Buying more without enough space in my small icebox was not a good idea, outside temperatures were at 33 C at 11 AM.

The pork meat went into some Sicilian style Pasta alla Nonna with white eggplant and tomato sauce, the banger made my lunch the next day.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Oven roasted Veggies

Beating the summer heat and using everything but the stove.

I wanted to prepare a pan of courgette and eggplant, but using a gas stove makes it even hotter then cooking on an induction hob.
I checked the cupboards and found an ovenproof dish. After some fighting with an temperamental oven, I settled for PIZZA setting and I was getting somewhere. I had a cooked chicken leg leftover, I pulled it apart and reheated it in the microwave.
Job done and a great lunch.

1/2 medium yellow courgette
1/2 white eggplant
1 shallot
4 cloves oc garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Sherry vinegar
salt and pepper
Rosemary and thyme
1 roasted chicken leg

Monday, 19 June 2017

Cherry and Strawberry jam

When you have this overload of fresh fruit and no chance to eat it before it spoils, cook some jam. At my holiday home a half package of fresh very ripe strawberries and a half bowl of cherries right off the tree was sitting on my kitchencounter.
I solved the problem by driving to the supermaket and getting 1 kilo pectin sugar and some lemons.

250 g strawberries hulled
250 g cherries pitted
1 lemon rind and juice
50 ml white wine
400 g pectin sugar

Chop the fruits roughly and bring them to boil in a sauce pan. When the fruit gets soft and mushy, add lemon and sugar.
Bring to a boil again and cook for 4 minutes.
Use a cold plate and drop a bit on it  check if it gets jamlike.
Fill it in some kind of jar and cool down.

Now you have jam for your holiday breakfasts.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Foody vacation in France

I am in the Picardie, north east of Paris. I have rented a lovely old two story house in a village with 6000 inhabitants.  The house has a huge lovely garden. A bowl of fresh picked cherries from the tree here was offered me from the proprietress when I arrived.

I am here to see lots of old castles, cathedrals and WWI battlefields along the river Somme. The area here is called the plateau de Picard, it is a wide and flat plain with fields of potatoes and wheat. Tiny villages and small winding roads makes you slow down automatically.

Since I have a house, I have a kitchen. I just have to get used to cook on gas again, it will take a bit of time and maybe a burned finger.

Breakfast today was just Baguette fried in some butter in a pan, good strong cheese, an egg and a bowl with some cherries still sitting in it.

Lunch was mashed cheesy potatoes- from around here !  Sauteed leek and a piece of chicken leg.

I am looking forward to a bit of sweet stuff I bought in an artisan bakery here, a lime and basilic tarte with fresh strawberries.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Using up leftovers from the fridge

When you are going on holiday you have to make sure there is no food going to waste in your fridge.
I had some cooked rice, 1 1/2 Bratwurst from a BBQ, some Pecorino cheese and half of a pot of double cream and an egg.

I just sauted some onions and garlic and cut the Bratwurst into slices. Making a sauce is important when you have dry cold rice sitting around.
This is some kind of midweek meal when all things combined make a tasty and fast meal and it is better then throwing food in the trash bin.

To bind everything grated cheese, egg and cream are needed. To spice it a little and bring a nice colour to the dish, I added some Ayvar and a couple of fresh herbs.

100 g cooked rice
2 cooked Bratwurst
2 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 red chili
1 tbsp  olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 bunch chives
2 stalks of oregano
3 tsp Ayvar
1 egg
100 ml double cream
50 g grates Pecorino

Grate the cheese, peel and chop onions and garlic and chili. Bring together with some oil in a pan and saute until soft. Add the Bratwurst in rings and warm it up again.
Make the sauce and mix it with the rice into the pan.
Preheat the oven to 180 C, use an oven proof dish and fill the mix in. Grate some cheese on top and bake for 6 minutes.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Veal Cutlets filled with Raspberries

This is a recipe from 3 star Chef Christian Juergens, Restaurant Ueberfahrt in Rottach Egern at Tegernsee. I found it in a magazine issue. The combination sounded great and I love the savoury and sweet mix.
With good products and solid work it is no problem to prepare that recipe and get an awesome result.

recipe for 2:
2 veal cutlets
3 tbsp goat cream cheese
4 slices Black Forest ham
3 tbsp toasted breadcrumbs
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 egg
salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh  mint
1 tbsp monk cress leaves original raspberry leaves
100 g fresh raspberries
2 spring onions (optional)

Bash the veal cutlets a bit, they should be 1 cm high. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
In a dry pan toast the breadcrumbs for a couple of minutes, put in a bowl and mix with the goat cream cheese, egg, rapeseed oil and herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven 180 C.
Smear it on the veal cutlets and place 3 raspberries on each cutlet.
Close them and wrap in 2 slices of Black forest ham and use a toothpick to seal.
In an ovenproof pan start in some oil the spring onions, then push them aside and place the veal cutlets in. Let them get golden brown 2 minutes on each side.
Get the raspberries in and mix them with the onions and put the pan into the oven for 6-8 minutes.

Serve with a side salad.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Black Sesame Ice Cream

This is a part of a new SortedFood recipe. I love sesame and wanted to try it, when I saw the Baked Alaska recipe they made. I am not a huge fan of baked Alaska, so only the ice cream is making it to the table today.

300 double cream
200 ml sweetened condensened milk
4 tbsp ground black sesame
2 tbsp tahini paste

Use the ice cream compressor to have the ice cream in 40 minutes.
Beat the double cream to soft peaks, mix in the condensed milk.
Blitz the sesame and mix it with tahini paste.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Easy food after a long day

When you come home after a long day at the office and you are hungry, do not grab the telefon and order food, but make some pasta.

I have some capellini or angelhair pasta, it cooks 3 to 4 minutes.
A bag of mini bell peppers, some chili, onions and garlic made a spicy and tasty sauce. When you cook it, prepare a lot more of it and freeze some portions. You will have a quick meal when ever you are hungry.

Some fresh Pecorino cheese and a couple of basil leaves. Grate black pepper over the pasta.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Smoked Salmon Soup

This is a classic Thermomix recipe. Many of the commercial agents that sell these kitchen helpers prepare it, when they have a Thermomix party.  It is fast and tasty and shows how easy it is to cook with that machine.

The soup was one of the first I made myself when I bought my first Thermomix 18 years ago. Everybody loved the smooth creamy soup.

Today I have a friend here and I will show her how to prepare food in the machine. She loves to eat but does not cook a lot.
The soup popped into my mind, it is sooo good and great to show off. We are preparing it Lactose free

recipe for 4:
500 ml Lactose free whole milk
200 ml Lactose free double cream
3 cooked potatoes
1 clove of garlic
3 tbsp tomato paste
150 g smoked salmon - or stremel
fresh dill
salt and pepper

Get the clove of garlic in first and give it a good blitz, add milk, cream and potatoes and close the lid again.
Set the timer to 6 minutes, 100 C and power 3 and give it a go.
Cut up 2/3 of the salmon and chop the dill.
Put the salmon pieces and part of the dill in the Theromix, set 2 minutes, 100 C and power 3 and cook either with left turn to keep the pieces or blitz it up to  a creamy soup.
The rest of the salmon goes on top ot the soup with some fresh dill.