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A simple salad and special corners.

I’ve been here at Coin Perdu for the last few weeks, only made a quick stop back at our Loire home in Montlouis. When working here, there is no time for making interesting meals. We are too tired in the evening. But it is just great when we can call it a day at around 18:00,  light the fire and sit back with a glass of red wine, a small bowl of sliced sauccisson and as I said so many times already, watch the sun set. The cats play around us in the long grass, the chicks fiddle around and under my chair and life is just perfect at that hour. Then we’ll put something on the BBQ and make a salad like the one you see here. Because I serve my vinaigrette on the side,  the salad is still fresh enough the next day for lunch with some crusty bread, freshly baked and bought from our local boulangerie. So,  although I don’t have anything exciting to offer in terms of an inventive recipe, I do hope you get inspired to sit back with a glass of good red wine at a your secret corner where the sunset brings you inspiration and sighs of satisfaction.

This salad is simply a mixture of fresh salad leaves, a handful of dried goji berries, a grated carrot, a handful of sprouted red cabbage sprouts(from my own kitchen and which I’ll write about soon, as previously promised) and some dry roasted almonds. A drizzling of lemon juice with lemon slices added to the salad, some olive oil and and a sprinkling of salt and milled pepper rounds off this salad. the next day I add some smoked salmon, or some smoked ham or pancetta or even tuna or smoked mackerel to give it more substance. Enjoy it with tomatoes on the vine(served separately, I don’t like tomatoes in a green salad, but of course you can add it to your salad) . I enjoy picking the tomatoes off the vine and popping them in my mouth. Much like you would strawberries for dessert!

My chicks, Petronella and Stephanie have already worked their way firmly into a corner of my heart! They are nothing exotic, only ordinary petites roussettes, but they are absolutely adorable! Along with Tokala and Ayiani, they travel to and fro with us in their chateau(a bigger one by now!)

…in their “chateau, enjoying freedom and giving us the full monty…

…sketching them takes quick looking and fiddleless lines…

We all have our special little corners. Those in our heads; the ones that can be our refuge and prison at the same time. But we also have those corners around us, which we run to for some quiet time. Alone time. A place where we can think and dream and imagine. A place where we can be sad or happy. A place which we decide to share or keep to ourselves. A little bench with a view, or in the park, a rock by the shore, a tree stump in the forest.  A chair by the window. On the rim of a fountain.

I have mine too. Several. Corners I run to where I can come to a standstill, find the calmness inside me, search for directions or answers. I have  such a corner at Coin Perdu, our mountain home in Correze. A bench with a view. I share it with Hartman.  Sometimes I sit and dream silently. I start my early morning there and I end my day there. In the morning it wakens my spirit and in the evening it soothes my soul.

In Montlouis I have a few places I call my secret corners. In my garden. A nook where the first morning rays hit the old stable wall. I have the cats for company. A cup of coffee. We talk and plan the day. I scratch their bellies and they give me loving purs. This secret garden corner I share happily with Tokala and Ayiani. We greet our welcome to the day.


Then there is the Loire. Beautiful corners to share. Or be alone. Different choices on different days.  All special. All familiar. My favorite is just a short walk from the house. Short enough so my cup of coffee doesn’t get cold from a far walk. I see people strolling, wagging tailed dogs, children throwing pebbles in the river, I see my gate, logs floating by in the river, geese taking a rest in the shade of overhanging trees, I see Hartman approaching in search of me. It is a place where I feel the harmony between nature and man.

My silent corner is in the eglise of Montlouis. Up on the hill. Where the doors are always open, free for anyone to enter. I tread softly when I enter, not disturb the silence. The silence of the peaceful interior and the silence of my own mood. This is a place I stop frequently when I walk uphill to the market, or to the boulangerie or just because I need to go to my secret corner. This is where I want to be alone. Quiet. I find calm in the light that plays through the stained glass windows. The statues and pillars that observe unobtrusively.  The cold of the old stone that makes me sensitive to emotions and feelings. I feel sad and happy. . I light a candle for all my gratitude  and memories.

Special corners. To share or to keep secret.


Duo de chocolate and December ambiance 2009

Time again for some  December ambiance!

After putting up our tree we enjoy a candle lit dinner with music and good wishes for the season. It has been our family tradition for many years to put up our tree on the first day if December and light a candle every night for the whole month of December for someone  – people who aren’t with us any more, people who are still with us…This year is no exception. We finish our evening with a small and light dessert. A white chocolate panacotta and dark chocolate mousse – a combination of light dark chocolate mousse and the contrasting white panacotta with smoother texture.  The mousse is the only chocolate mousse I’ll ever make and it comes from the collection of chocolate desserts from Pierre Hermes. I’ve been making it for years and haven’t yet come across any better, any lighter, any more delicious! the panacotta is simple and classic with some white chocolate added.

Suggestions:

  • Don’t overwork any mousse! Always stir gently until just mixed.
  • Never boil chocolate, melt at gentle heat in the microwave or over simmering water until just melted. It melts from the inside outwards, so ti will still hold its shape, but the inside will already be melted. Stir often.
  • Use older egg whites for better lightness(as well as nicer meringeus).
  • Use egg whites at room temperature.
  • Mix egg whites into the chocolate mixture as follows: Scoop a third of the beaten egg whites into the chcolate and whisk to make the mixture lighter and easier to fold in the rest of the egg whites. Fold in the egg whites with a big whisk in a figure eight shape, without whisking. Fold in until JUST mixed. don’t overwork!
  • A mousse gets heavier the longer it stands. I usually serve a mousse within a day. Of course it can be eaten afterwards, but it is more creamier and has lost that lightness that is so typical of a mousse.
  • Decorate with some chcolate petals or sprinkle some golden flakes over the top.

I took my husband and his saw down to the Loire and we came back with with some tree brances covered with moss. It was to be our tree for this year. I enjoy a live tree, and this year was one made fom some dried brances from our own river across the road. It always feels special to go and pick up some branches by the Loire, come back home, stick them into a garden urn and hang them with decorations and fairy lights.

See previous years are at First day of December and December ambiance 2008 with cinnamon dumplings

…noël 2009…

…reading and looking…

…some glitter…

…moss from the garden and old postcards…

…just some prettiness…

…colour from dried hydrangeas…

…christmas dinner from 2008…

…Tokala and Ayiani in the snow…

…la neige au bord de la loire…

…la loire and two of us…

… chocolat chaud devant la cheminée…

* Trucs et astuces de grand-mères.

* To ice a cake easier – dilute a bit of smooth apricot jam(without chunks of fruit) with a little water, warm, add a noisette of butter and cover the cake before covering with icing.


Tomato salad on Friday.

It is weekend..almost. Time for winding down, letting go, stretching out the body and mind, reading that book you only get to read on weekends, riding that bike you only get to ride on Sundays, visit with friends you only get to do on Saturdays. It is time to do some cooking and fiddling in the kitchen, try new recipes, indulge in trusted ones and most of all…it is time to flirt with the markets and grab up the in season products; plump, healthy and inviting. Like tomatoes of all kinds. Coming into season in September…here in Feance in any case. And elsewhere…maybe the strawberries are rocking in?

You have to love seasonal. You have to love tomatoes. And don’t you just love a weekend?

Have a good weekend!

…tomato mozzarella salad…

tomato mozzarella salad

From Ice cream versus salad:  *make a tomato mozzarella salad, using nice small vine tomatoes, some buffalo mozzarella torn into bite size pieces… stuff some in your mouth while you’re at it. Tear some basil leaves and lastly, sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and mill some fresh pepper and then add a sprinkling of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes.To finish off, mix gently with your hands and then lick off those fingers, serve on a pretty plate and enjoy with crusty bread.

tomato mozz salad 2tomato basket

…friday sunset…

Friday sunset


Scammed(almost)

See this as a WARNING post!

…scammed(almost)!

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pencil on paper

I fell for a scam today…almost!

We have been thinking about getting a little Jack Russel, since we’ve read Jock of the Bushveld years ago. Only still thinking about it.

Two days ago we saw, quite by accident, an ad on the internet for a Jack Russel puppy who was to be given away, due to circumstances. What made us look closer, was that it was in Monceau sur Dordogne, which is just around the corner from Puy d’Arnac and we could easily drop in to have a look at Doggy. .

So we answered.

Got an email back from Almari Dubelle, saying how pleased she was to receive our interest. She went on lovingly to describe her circumstances and last night I replied back, asking some questions, demanding the little femelle, suggesting we will come and have a look next week when we are in Correze etc, etc, etc… ending off by saying how much we look forward to seeing the doggy and I even attached some photos to show that the doggy will live in cared- for surroundings, go hiking with us, play with our cats and goodness knows what fun more!! So, off the mail wnet to Almari Dubelle in Monceau sur Dordogne!

About 30 minutes later, I get an abrupt and rude email back, without a thank you or any decent manner, no answer to any of my qustions, only retorting that the dog is sort of already in transit! I STILL believed everything is cosher, even felt bad for probably making her assume we are taking the dog!

So I thought: “Oh, well, we DO want a doggy, Well accept it and love it, seeing she went through all the trouble, PAYING for the transit and all.”  I was just so grateful it wasn’t the  rude Almari Dubelle in transit I’d have to accept!

So. This morning EARLY I get an email from the transportservice:  airlinestransport@ymail.com, saying the dog will be delivered at our house this afternoon at 15:00, but they are waiting for the receipt of transfer of 85 euros to:a Hermann Gandaho in Porto novo, Belin and the dog would arrive from Melanie Pieschot. They even advised me to say the transfer is for a friend, which would make my  taxes cheaper!

“How very kind!” I thought!

By now you can start laughing, because I did indeed storm off to the post office , completed a mandat western union, paid the 85 euros and 13 euros postal taxes and the electronic transfer happened immediatelybefore my eyes.

And just there, clarity struck my mind as fierce as the lightning on late afternoons in Corréze. I immediately realized this was a hoax. In the course of a second everything flashed through my mind, much like I think your whole life would flash before your eyes in your last minute on earth..

Everything about this whole affaire suddenly made sense…the emails, the weird requests, the even weirder behaviour…everything fell into place.  I immediately asked my adorable agent at the post office to stop it. Too late. But because we were so quick on it, we were able to block it and OF COURSE I called back my extremely-friendly- dog- owner-donor at +22993057106, telling him to go ahead and deliver the puppy, we are anxiously waiting! So he demanded me to immediately scan and send the receipt, they need the account number to complet the paperwork? Really? We would then have our doggy by the afternoon. Really? (I can afford to be smirky now…I’m not stupid after all…sic)

I told him affectionately…we were good friends by now, remember….that I will personally hand the receipt to the agent dropping off doggy this afternoon. Mr Agent can even have a coffee, while we quickly  email the details, doggy can have a whee and if all is in order, Mr Agent can leave and doggy can stay behind at his/her new home and everybody will be happy!

Well. His stories got longer and the explanations complicated as to why it can’t work that way.  That was that. He didn’t get his money. We didn’t get Doggy.  Hartman took me for a coffee and I bought ink cartridges for the printer.

On arriving  home, I ran upstairs to check these emails of the last two days, not willing yet to let it go. Did some searching on the images and links of the so-called transport company  and found the images were somewhere downloaded from “Loisir et Sport” , the text and titles were taken from “liensutiles”(both of which you can google) and several other sites which were used in this “probably photoshopped document”.

I am very low this evening. Sad about nog having our Jack Russel, angry with myself for being SO gullible and stupid. But my biggest sadness and disappointmentare are in this world and the fact that people like this exist AND they get away with what they do. I almost let them get away with it.

So what does this all say about Internet? I ‘m not sure.

One thing is for sure. For me personally, this happened to make me more careful about how I use the Oh, so handy Internet! I was always careful and wary of it. But then, slowly and  surely I started loosening up and getting slack..

Well, I’m back to being the secret agent, keeping myself to myself and watching it with an inspective eye. .

My last word is one of warning. Laugh at me, mock me, ridicule me  for being SO gullible and naive and ignorant, but when you’re done….watch your step around the Internet!!


Fennel salad

The long winter days tend to bring along a fatigue and lethargy. With the first breakthroughs of sun and blue skies, we can feel the energy surging up with a desire for bare arms and healthy toned bodies and a hint of sun kissed skin. A big kick start to get those desires fulfilled is moving towards fresh salads with some proteien on the side. And after finishing a crisp salad, why not take out those walking shoes for a brisk walk or dust that bicycle for a pedal to the garden centre and stock up on fresh herbs that can be planted from now on.

Fennel is loaded with vitamin c and and phytonutrients, rich in minerals and a perfect food to drive away winter fatigue. Marinate it for a while in a piquante vinaigrette, serve with a tinge of sweetness like pears and a good matured cheddar cheese, or even a blue cheese of your choice. It marries well with fish and chicken.

To good health!!

…fennel and pear  salad…

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…fighting fatigue…

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Avocado salad and tomato sauce.

A very old salad. Now with maybe a face lift in the shape of a tomato vinaigrette. This was a favourite little salad in our home right after my marriage. And at that stage and age it was delicious with a liberal drizzling of tomato sauce, better known as ketchup, bought straight from the supermarket shelf,  instead of a fancy vinaigrette. I don’t like tomato in a green salad, the two don’t marry well for me. But this is an exception. Maybe because it isn’t really a green salad. Or maybe it is the way it is served. Or maybe I’m only fooled by the play on words. That is what we do nowadays. A salad in the seventies would mean chopped tomatoes and green leaves with onion rings and  a dressing of vinegar and sugar.  Now we are still  not french and call our dressings vinaigrettes. Now we eat an “avocado salad with bacon topping”, Or “tomato salad with a drizzling of lemon juice”. A “green salad with roasted almonds”, “mesclun with truffle shavings”. So, do we still eat ketchup on our avocado salad…of course we do…in the secrecy of our kitchen!

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avocadosalad

A tip to try: Never put tomatoes in the fridge, even in summer. Keep them in a cool place. The cold kills all flavour. To revive some of its flavour, leave for a few minutes in water…like salad, like carrots, like all vegetables in fact.

…old things become new…

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Boeuf bourguignon

I thought eating would be over now after the indulgence of the holidays. But hunger still shows up.  And the colder the days, the more we turn to  soups and stews. Boeuf bourguignon is just one of those old classics that never disappoint.

boeufbourguignon

…man and his beast…

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Chocolate star cookies and handwritten cards.

It’s a rare thing today to recieve a handwritten letter or even a birthday card. Except over Christmas. I’ve just received my first card for this season and it was with pure excitement that I tore open the envelope, all the time guessing the sender. What a further delight it was to recognize the personal artwork on the card! Receiving this first very personal handpainted card, had me digging out some cards myself . They may not be in time for Christmas, but the timeless message will be the same: “I care and you are in my thoughts. May you experience exuberant moments. Love. Ronell”

And of course you can’t write cards without a cheekful of cookies, a coffee, some far off music and why not a flickering candle to accompany your reminiscing message.

…chocolate star cookies…

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chocolatestarcookies1

A recipe from Cuisine Creative, Burda, Novembre 2005.

..travelling..

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This is an entry for Susan at  Foodblogga’s Christmas cookies round 2.


“Patat met” mayonnaise from Amsterdam.

I’ve been in Amsterdam this past week, had a face to face with Rembrandt’s magnificent “Nightwatch” and marvelled in Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”. My feet held up their side of the bargain; marching over canals, lingering beside antique stores, storming past innumerbable fast food chains, shuffling past hordes of people, trotting hastily over tram lines, scampering out of the way of rattling bicycles, stopping at a bench for a quick sketch and plodding often into a coffee shop for some welcome repose.

…Montlouis version of “patat met mayonnaise”…

 

Back here in Montlouis sur Loire, our September days are beautiful …blue skies, warm autumn sun and playful shadows…which allow for some playful eating. Like some “patat met“…mayonnaise. Served at the snack bars all over Amsterdam. The most popular sauce is mayonnaise, but you can also have your fries as patatje oorlog, literally  meaning “war fries”, which comes with mayonnaise, ketchup, peanut sauce and onions. I chose to stick to mayonnaise…

For a little fun snacking here at home, I made these “patat met”…, and tried to make them a little healthier by baking them in the oven, serving with a little salad on the side and with some good mayonnaise.

Patat met” mayonnaise.

  1. Het the oven to 210 degrees C.
  2. Peel some big potatoes and dry thoroughly…11/2 -2 potatoes per person is plenty!
  3. Cut the potatoes into fingers/chips, keeping them close to the same size.
  4. Dry the chips thoroughly and spread in a single layer onto a baking sheet, covered with baking paper.
  5. Drizzle with melted coconut oil, or olive oil and gently turn the chips with your fingers to give them all a coating of oil. Sprinkle with some fresh thyme and bake the chips for 15 minutes, turning over when nicely carmelized. Test one and bake for a further 10 minutes if still hard on the bite.
  6. For a nice colour, caramelize the chips for a few seconds under the grill.
  7. Serve immediately in a cone made from brown paper, or plain white paper, lining the inside with baking paper.
  8. Finish off with a sprinkling of fleur de sel, a turn of the pepper mill, a dollop of maynnaise, thyme and a pinch of paprika for colour.
  9. Serve with an ice cold beer, or enjoy a cold coke..tomorrow we’ll go back to water!
  10. Variation: I prefer enjoying a little green salad, drizzled with a white balsamic vinegar, alongside for some freshness…

*click on each image for a larger view.

…catch up on the latest…

 …toppling over…

…pedal with flair…

 

‘tulips” from Amsterdam…

…well deserved rest…

…sneezing at the flowermarket…

…up and down canals…

…going home…


Bring on the chocolate!

When you start getting all kinds of cravings, you must either be very pregnant OR very depressed OR very much on a road back to good health. I’ve been candidate in all three categories at some stages in my life, but thankfully I fall in the last one now!

I have been absent for some time, due to some health hiccups. Thank you for the caring support and encouragement I’ve received from friends out there. Slowly but surely I’m starting to dance to the rhythms of everyday living again and what better way than to tag along some indulgence. Chocolate. The cooler evenings ask for more drama at the end of a meal; something comforting, rich and lasting. Not that I have made that many meals these last few months! I have a wonderful husband who happily took over the role of chef. And he did such a great job that I probably would’ve assigned him permanently to this position, were I not quite stingy with sharing my reign as maestro in the kitchen! I think I can safely say I’ve claimed back my apron with this decadent, gooey chocolate dessert.

 

I’m sure everybody has his/her own unique recipe for this dessert and they’re all good. Some tips I could pass on for those who make it for the first time:

  • Be sure to keep the portions very small, because it is extremely rich and 5 spoon fulls of satisfaction can keep you going for the whole week.
  • Play around with presentation to suit your meal – something more elegant in an interesting ramekin, served with some whipped cream or créme fraiche on the side, decorated with a mint leaf or some red berries. Or finish off a light meal by the fireside in a rustic fashion, by serving your chocolate desserts in tiny “cocottes“(pots), directly from oven to plate, with some cold ice cream as accompaniment.
  • This dessert is best eaten warm. Not directly hot from the oven as you don’t want to scorch your palate into kingdom come, but certainly warmer than room temperature. Let it cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

…decadence in a “cocotte”…

Chocolate dessert.

  •  150g dark chocolate
  • 125g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Butter 6-8 ramekins(depending on size) and sift lightly with flour.
  3. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt with butter over boiling water, or in the microwave(stir frequently).
  4. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture, one at a time while continuing whisking.
  5. Add the sugar, pinch of salt and lastly stir in the flour.
  6. Fill the ramekins 3/4 with the chocolate mixture.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, until the top starts to crack and the pudding starts pulling away from the sides, but still feels soft when pressed down on the top. The core should be thick and runny….gooey is the right word. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
  8. Serve warm with créme frâiche or cream or even a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6-8 people

AND NOW:

A big THANK YOU! to TASTEmagazine in South Africa, who named Myfrenchkitchen in their August issue as the Best blogger from abroad. I feel very honoured. Read more about the magazine and its impressive list of awards here.

I was sharing company with four very accomplished artists in the kitchen who were mentioned for…Sophia  from Capetable for Best local living, Nina from My easy cooking for Best make-me-now-pics,  Jeanne from Cooksister for Best veteran site and Inge from Vanielje kitchen for Best leisurely read. A belated congratulations to you all!

…OK, let’s eat!…

 


Turkey escalopes with nectarine salsa

I enjoy combining meats with fruit, especially in summer. Not too sweet, but just that edge of sweetness along with an escalope of turkey, chicken or duck, even pork. It could be because of my South African roots or it could simply be that it tastes great!

Turkey escalopes with nectarine salsa

  • 4-6 escalopes of turkey or chicken
  • 3 nectarines, washed
  • 1 red  pepper washed
  • a small red chili, washed
  • 1 large spring onion with the green
  • a piece of ginger
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons of mirrin
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • teaspoon of honey
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Clean the nectarines, remove from the seed and cut into small dice.
  2. Cut the red pepper into small dice.
  3. Remove the seeds from the chili and chop finely.
  4. Chop the spring onion, grate the fresh ginger and cut the mint leaves in to chiffonade(roll up the mint leaves into a small “cigar” and slice finely. Separate into “strings”)
  5. Mix together the mirrin, rice vineagr, lemon juice, honey, olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Mix the sauce with the chopped salsa and leave in the fridge to infuse for about 2 hours.
  7. Just before serving… sauté the escalopes is some coconut oil, season, turn to quickly sauté the other side until nicely caramelized. Don’t cook until dry leather!
  8. Arrange the an escalope or two on a pretty plate topped with a serving of salsa. Drizzle with some salsa sauce and olive oil and finish off with a sprinkling of black pepper.
  9. Serve with green string beans or green asparagus, which makes for a colourful and delicious meal.

Serves 4

…Mona Lisa too…


I’m holidaying in SA.

I have been in SA for the last two weeks, which will explain my silence. I’ll make up for it when back home. I’ll still be here for another week before we turn back for home in France.

Some scenes from around us here under the Southern skies in Stellenbosch :

The Atlantic is cold, but simply beautiful…

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The baboons welcome us around every bend…

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Breakfast by the sea tastes different…

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Proteas, our national flower, growing in abundance on the mountainslopes…

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Eating is the most popular pastime, with Calamari followed by soft serve ice cream, and bobotie followed by homebaked South African delicasies, and seafoodsoups followed by long walks by the sea…and…and…

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We taste the sun, the salty sprays of the seas, we hear the cry of the gulls,  we pick up shells and turn them into memories, our heads spin from the Merlots and Cabernets, we drown ourselves in the magic of the breath taking sunsets and revel in the beauty of the mountains. We laugh with our friends and family. We sail on the blue waters with billowing sails…

The sun makes room for the the moon far too soon, but we don’t think about time, we just live each glorious day to the full, filled with gratitude and appreciation and a healthy zest for livin……life is good.

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Five things

I was asked by Jack from Redacted recipes  and by Equal opportunity kitchen to reveal five things about myself.

Nothing comes close to a good, unflavoured, dark roasted, full bodied coffee. I may only have one or two cups a day, but it must be the best.

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The best snack is a simple tomato sandwich; fresh bread, a knob of butter, thick slices of tomato, salt and pepper…and a healthy appetite.

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Fresh salt is my weak spot. I have at least 5 different kinds in my pantry, always. A good grey sea salt for pasta, kosher salt for more delicate cooking, fleur de sel for my tomato sandwiches, Maldon saltflakes for fish, some salt crystals for meats and rose coloured Himalayan rocksalt to grind over salads….

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I become a vegetarian at least once a year….for almost a week long.

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I prefer salty foods to sugary ones. Actually it is the other way round I think. No, I’m sure, salty foods. No..o.. let me just think a bit more…..have to finish my ice cream first, it’s melting….

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I now on my turn, ask the following five people to reveal five things about themselves:

Sylvia at Lavidaenbuenosairesyafines

Syrie at allthingsnice

Hilda at Dhangitskitchen

Ahn at Ahnsfoodblog

Happy cook at Mykitchentreasures


Stuffed tomato with a sombreroni hat.

Just a little healthy fun for a starter or a lunch or a small dinner(what we all need now, after all). January is a light month in this household, as well as everywhere else, I presume. We all struggle to get rid of the cookies around the hips.

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Stuffed tomato with a sombreroni hat.

No quantities are given.

  •  some firm tomatoes, one per person
  • Chop an onion
  • clean and slice a handful of mushrooms
  • Wash and dry fresh spinach leaves(or frozen ones)
  • A quarter of conserved lemon
  • Green salad leaves of your choice
  • Natural yogurt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley
  • olive oil
  • parma ham/Serrano ham
  1.  Set the oven to grill, leave the door slightly open.
  2. Clean the tomatoes and cut the top off to scoop out the flesh with a melon ball scoop. Leave upside down to drain.
  3. Sauté the chopped onion until translucent, add the mushrooms, diced lemon conserve and lastly the spinach leaves.  Cook until the leaves are just wilted.
  4. Chop the scooped out tomato flesh and add to the mixture.
  5. Slightly mix one tablespoon of yogurt through the sautéed vegetables, add some chopped parsley and season to taste.
  6. In the meantime, cook the sombreroni(or other pasta) in quickly boiling, salted water, until JUST al dente. They still need some bite and firmness to retain their shape. Drain the sombreroni in cold water to stop the cooking process.
  7. Fill the tomatoes with the prepared stuffing and top with a strip of parma ham.
  8. Grill until the ham is nicely browned and crisp.
  9. Top with a sombreroni hat, which is just for fun and can be left out.
  10. Serve on a bed of greens of your choice and drizzle with olive oil.

This is an entry for WHB, hosted by Kalyn at Kalyn’s kitchen.

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To a 2008 filled with funfilled conversations, family recipes, creative inventions and exhilirating results!

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A peaceful Christmas to all

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Turkey and foie gras mini pie.

One filling, one pie three ways.

Using different little pots/containers, you can create an interesting array of pies. I used different sizes and shapes of ramekins and little flower pots and ended with some individual little potpies. Because we’re in the festiv season, I used foie gras along with the turkey for the filling as well as cubes of boudin blanc (milk/white sausage) and black truffles from Perigord. For the small mini pies, I omitted the foie gras, since it gets too oily once the foie gras is heated, making the small pies too soggy. It can be replaced with chicken livers and a cubed smoked cheese sausage for some stronger flavour.

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Turkey and foie gras pie.

  • about 400g turkey filets
  • 80 g bacon
  •  200 g store bought puff pastry
  • 1 large onion, quatered and sliced
  • 150 g mushrooms
  • 1 white sausage (optional)
  • 100 g uncooked foie gras (optional)
  • 1 truffle
  • 1 organic chicken stock cube
  • 1 egg yolk
  • parsley, salt and pepper
  • sherry vinegar
  1. Cover the bases of the pie containers with the puff pastry. Cut some circles to cover and some fun shapes to decorate. Place on an oven tin and set aside in the fridge.
  2. Sauté the sliced onion in some olive oil until tranclucent , remove to a plate and keep aside.
  3. Cut the turkey filets into bite size pieces.
  4. Brown the turkey meat and the bacon in the onion pan, remove to a plate and keep aside.
  5. Sauté the mushrooms in the same pan over high heat, until just wilted. Mix with the meat and onions, season and keep aside.
  6. Deglaze the pan with about 150ml of chicken stock, with a liberal drizzle of sherry vinegar. Remove from the stove and add the truffle juice.
  7. Remove the skin of the white sausage and cut into cubes.
  8. Cut the foie gras into cubes.
  9. Finely chop the truffle.
  10. Fill the pies with the turkey mixture, top off with some sausages and foie gras, sprinkle with truffle and chopped parsley and a light drizzling of deglazed sauce. Brush a little egg yolks over the seams, cover with a pastry circle and lightly “pinch” the edges together.
  11. Leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, essential for the pastry to puff up during cooking.
  12. Just before baking, brush the pies with egg yolk and bake the cold pies in a hot oven at 230 deg. C for 20 to 25 minutes.

                  Serves about 4 people for a main meal, or 8 people as a starter

This is an entry for The mini pie revolution, of which Ann at Redacted recipes and Karyn at Threepotato are the hosts.


Food of all kinds

Good food, bad food, healthy food, junk food, tradional foods, quick food, slow roasts, beautiful foods, new foods…we love them all!

Whether you’re visiting here to find a new recipe or just searching for inspiration or maybe browse to feast with your eyes, I hope you’ll find something that interests you. And of course, don’t forget to view blogroll for more inspiration in the food hemisphere. And definitely don’t pass by the Foodie blogroll on my linklist to find a large number of links to foodblogs of all kinds.

To join the foodie blogroll, click on the image or on “click here to join” and read all about The left-over queen and how the foodie blogroll was born.

Until next time, I leave you with some images…may they wet your appetite!

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Being tagged

I was tagged by Jeanne, from Cook Sister for a meme.

I always find it so hard to do a meme, trying to find some interesting things to say about myself. Fact is, what I may think interesting, is so ordinary and downright boring to someone else.

I find this one an easier meme to do. Simply answering some questions. And it doesn’t even have to be exciting or interesting.

 Ten years ago I was still living in Suffolk, England, after relocating there from SA, following my husband’s career. An interesting time, difficult, testing, scary, lonely and exhilarating all at the same time.

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I enjoy snacking on a tomato sandwich, salty crisps, all fruit, ice cream and the BIG one…chocolate!

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  • Songs I can join in singing are Moonshadow from Cat Stevens; Woman in love from barbara Streisand; Ship to shore from Chris de burgh; and I got a girl from Lou Bega.
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  • If I were a millionaire, I would have had no clue as to how to handle it; I would have had my own jet and pilot; I would have had a house in every hemisphere, wherever the sun was; I would’ve never run out of chocolate; I would’ve seen to it that watermelon would always be in season.
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  • Five of my long list of bad habits are being impulsive to the point of selfdestruction; seeing the cup half empty, letting emotions dictate my life; overdramatizing; procrastinating.
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  • I like to sit in a streetcafe, sip a coffee and watch people go by; to make up stories about the people going by; to run around like a mad thing on the tennis court; to laugh out loud; and to smell perfumes in the perfumerie.
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  • I would never again wear high heels; eyeshadow; nylon blouses; red nail polish or dresses with the zip at the back( in reality much less romantic than in a movie).
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  • I enjoy playing with pretty tableware; complicated puzzles with many pieces; my art brush; words and my ever present camera.
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    I have to find 5 other people to tag, which is proving to be difficult, since I’m still very much the “new kid on the block”…I hope to have some names soon…

    If you read here and haven’t been tagged before or would like to be tagged or even know of someone I could tag, please help me out, I’d appreciate it!


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