Coconut and Mushroom Pasta

A little improvised sauce for a pasta dish that does not take very long to prepare. In fact, it will be ready by the time the pasta are cooked.

On this occasion, I used the beautiful papillon shapes or farfalle but you can use anything you have in your cupboard.

Serves 4:

200 g farfalle, dry

1 medium-sized onion, peeled and finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

2 small carrots, peeled and chopped

3 large chestnut mushrooms, peeled and sliced

100g crème de Brie cheese

1 tin coconut cream

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

1 teaspoon ginger paste

  1. Bring 1 litre salted water to the boil, adding 2 drops oil. Then add the pasta and cook to your taste.
  2. Gently sweat the onions in a frying pan with the sunflower oil and add the carrots and the mushrooms. Stir constantly.
  3. Stir in the ginger paste, the coconut cream and the crème de Brie at the last minute.
  4. Drain the pasta and toss in the frying pan. Stir.
  5. Serve immediately with a cool white wine.

Bon Appétit!

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Aïoli simple = Salt Cod in Garlic Mayonnaise

Friday fish takes simple forms at times and the favourite salt cod provides a standby meal, frequently eaten in Marseille and in Provence in general.

The accompaniments vary a little but the remaining saltiness of the fish is well-balanced by the potatoes, the carrots,  the cauliflower, sometimes green beans, and the hard-boiled eggs. What does not change is the fish and the garlic mayonnaise from which the dish takes its name. The combination of fresh, steamed vegetables, and of the cod is very healthy. If you are watching your cholesterol levels, go easy on the mayonnaise and the eggs.

This is a complete meal in itself and it can be eaten in any season, although it is preferred in Winter.  If salt cod cannot be found, frozen unsalted cod can be used, although the taste is somewhat altered.

On this occasion, the aïoli became very simple because I did not have any cauliflower or green beans and I did not wish to make the garlic mayonnaise from scratch. I used some shop bought mayonnaise, added the garlic and some chopped capers for a change. I also sliced the potatoes and the carrots, so the presentation was a little different from the usual one but the taste was the same. I also part shredded the cod.

Serves 4:

2 thick slices of salt cod , cut in half

1 small cauliflower

4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled

4 medium-sized carrots, peeled

8 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half

garlic mayonnaise

  1. De-salt the cod  in cold running water over a period of 12 hours, at a frequency of once every 3 hours. (see previous posts using salt cod)
  2. Hard-boil the eggs and shell them. Once cooled, cut them in half.
  3. Steam the fish with the carrots and the potatoes in a pressure cooker together with the cauliflower florets.
  4. Serve with the garlic mayonnaise.

A very cool rosé or a cool white wine go well with this dish.

Bon Appétit!

 

 

Brocciu – What it is About

This is the season when a fair amount of Brocciu (or Brousse in French) is consumed.

When I cannot find it, I use Ricotta although it is a little different in that it is made from ewe’s milk and it is good if you are lactose intolerant.

It is a soft, velvety and fresh cheese which is found in many Corsican recipes. It can be eaten immediately after being made or affiné for a month.

Having made some beignets with it (see post of 8 November), I thought it was time to give a little information about it.

This ideal fresh cheese does not have a strong flavour. Combined with herbs from the maquis like nepitta, wild mint, or with wild asparagus, spinach , Swiss chards it makes a very good filling for courgettes, aubergines, cannelloni, omelettes, pies, gratins and fish. It also makes very good Beignets (fritters). It can be added to soups as well.

Eaten at the end of a meal, as a dessert, on its own or as the main ingredient of a delicious cheesecake, the Fiadone, it evokes Corsican cuisine immediately. It can also replace crème pâtissière in fruit tarts. Enjoy a cool glass of white wine with it or a sparkling Muscat at the end of a meal.

 

 

 

Beignets de Brocciu = Ricotta Fritters

The days are getting shorter but it is still very sunny and warm in Corsica and lunch can still  be enjoyed outdoors.

The little cheese fritters are perfect for the apéritif  or for a starter or even a packed lunch, although the notion of packed lunch does not exist in Corsica. Meals are too important to be skipped or reduced to food in a plastic container.

It takes very little time to cook the beignets and even less time to eat them.

Serves 4 :

250g brocciu ( or ricotta)

150g Self-raising flour (or plain flour and a sachet of yeast)

10ml chestnut beer (Pietra)

20ml sunflower oil

1. Mix the flour with the beer in a large mixing bowl and add the cheese, breaking it with a fork. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and shape little parcels of dough with tablespoons. Put the parcels one at a time quickly in the frying pan and cook until golden.

3. Drain and place on kitchen roll to absorb excess oil.

4. Let the fritters cool a little before serving them with a cool rosé.

Bon Appétit!

Tip: I have used Pietra beer because it adds a distinctive chestnut flavour to the beignets. The beer tends to give extra fluffiness. A pancake mixture with eggs can also be used.

Like all fritters, these can be served with a salad if you prefer to have them as a main course.

They also freeze well, so you can make a bigger quantity and enjoy them at later stage.

Butternut Lasagne

A nice discovery in the supermarket this morning, the butternut sheets lend themselves to be cooked with mushrooms and a bacon mixture I made for the Simple Moussaka posted yesterday.

My favoured cooking method for vegetables is to steam them in a pressure cooker and this is what I did. To pep the slices a little, I coated them with a garlic and parsley sauce.

The slices are cut evenly at a thickness of 1mm, which makes them easy to handle and cook. A packet of 400g contains 11 or 12 sheets which are easy to fit in an oven-proof dish.

serves 4:

1 packet of Butternut sheets

100g fresh mushrooms, peeled and sliced.

300g bacon mixture

3 tablespoon grated parmesan or parmesan shavings

a little salt to sprinkle on the butternut

  1. Steam the butternut quickly and line an oven-proof dish with them. Salt lightly. Spread a little garlic and parsley sauce on top.
  2. Cook the mushrooms in a little olive oil, scented with basil.
  3. Put a layer of mushrooms on the butternut and add another layer of butternut.
  4. Put the bacon mixture on top, mixed with the parmesan.
  5. Cover with foil and place in a pre-heated oven at 160C for 20 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately with slices of fresh country bread.

Bon Appétit!

Tip:  You can use some homemade tomato sauce to cover the bacon mixture and sprinkle parmesan shavings on top.

If you are not watching your cholesterol levels, you can add some fresh cream to the first layer of butternut.

 

 

 

 

Simple Moussaka

This is a quick and healthy moussaka that can be made even if you have just come back from a walk in the country, as was the case this week.  Eating blackberries on the way helped, of course!

It is not the recipe for a traditional moussaka and I replaced the lamb with bacon and did not use any cooking fat.

Serves 4:

2 large aubergines

1 big onion, peeled and sliced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

2 small carrots, peeled

6 slices of back rashers smoked bacon

2 tablespoons grated parmesan

5 slices emmental cheese

A handful flat leaf parsley

1. Top and tail the aubergines and steam them in a pressure cooker, making sure they remain firm.

2. Meanwhile, whizz the bacon, onion, garlic, carrots and parsley and cook in a non-stick frying pan without any fat.

3. Slice the aubergines and place them in an oven-proof dish. Cover with a layer of the bacon mixture and sprinkle the parmesan on top.

4. Add another layer of aubergine slices and put the emmental slices on top. Put the dish in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes and serve with a green salad and a cool Pinot Grigio.

Bon Appétit!

Tip: I tend to make a larger quantity of the bacon mixture which freezes well and use it for pasta sauces or as filling for provençal vegetables.

Velouté de Courgettes = Creamy Courgette Soup

In a hurry to produce something tasty and healthy?

If you have courgettes in the fridge, that’s it.

Serves 4:

3 medium-sized courgettes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 onion, peeled and quartered

125 ml single cream

2 vegetable stock cubes

a few croûtons

goat cheese

dried wild marjoram

  1. Put the courgettes, the onion and the stock cube in a pressure cooker and cover with cold water.
  2. When it is cooked, whizz and add the cream.
  3. Spread a little goat cheese on the croûtons and sprinkle a little marjoram on top.
  4. Serve immediately with the croûtons.

A cool Chablis – or champagne – if you some left in the fridge, goes well with this soup.

Bon Appétit !

Tip: Do not add salt as the stock cubes will already contain some.