Spring Salad

This is a cool salad, perfect on a breezy Spring lunch. Prepared in a few minutes, it will take even less time to eat it.

Serves 2:

1 ripe papaya, peeled and diced

2 small cooked beetroots, diced

1 courgette, peeled and cut into fine ribbons

a little sunflower oil

1 teaspoon capers

4 cocktail gherkins, finely sliced

2 tablespoon vinaigrette

a few basil leaves to decorate

salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a wok and toss the courgette ribbons for a few minutes. Reserve.
  2. Line the bottom of sundae glasses with the beetroot dice, season.
  3. Add the papaya dice, the courgette ribbons, the gherkins and capers, season , drizzle with the vinaigrette and decorate with basil leaves.

Bon Appétit!

Tip: To give the vinaigrette an extra lift, I use spicy olive oil in which small chilli are marinating, Maille mustard with seeds and red wine vinegar infused with shallots.

 

 

A not-so-indulgent-dessert-for Lent

Lent has only started but the need to provide a dessert from time to time is still felt. Since there were some little raspberry heart-shaped jellies left over, this gave me the idea to use them. The alternative was, of course, to eat them promptly. Will-power ensured a little decoration for the ice-cream instead.

 

serves 2:

1 banana

2 generous scoops of Rum and Raisin ice-cream

10 little heart-shaped jellies

 

  1. Slice the banana and line an ice-cream dish. Cover with the ice-cream and decorate with more slices of banana and the little jellies.

 

Bon Appétit!

Tip: If you are not observing Lent, a small glass of Sauternes will go nicely with this dessert.

Aubergine Fan = Eventail d’Aubergine

A fan to appeal to your eyes before your tastebuds. A different way to present aubergines, which is easy and quick. This can be a good accompaniment to meats or fish. It can be eaten on its own with a slice of warm country bread.

serves 2:

2 medium-sized aubergines

1 small tomato, sliced

2 slices of Mozarella

a pinch of Origano

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

 

  1. Remove the stalks and slice each aubergine fairly thinly as it will need to be tender when cooked, making sure that approximately 1cm remain intact at the bottom.
  2. Put each aubergine on a tray in a pre-heated oven at 200C and open the slices gently, sprinkling a little salt and pepper and Origano in the heart and placing a tomato slice near the top. Drizzle with olive oil. Cook for 15 minutes, take out of the oven to add the Mozarella and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Serve immediately.

Bon Appétit !

 

 

Petit Rôti de Lapin = Small Rabbit Roast

Looking for a change and wanting some lean, white meat ?

Then, look for rabbit and veal. Some people don’t like it but for those of us who do like it, it makes a nice alternative to chicken.

The meat is firm and tasty and can be accommodated in a variety of ways. This time, I have chosen to stuff some saddle of rabbit with diced veal and prunes. This provides an extra tenderness without giving a sugary flavour to the meat. If you can find some pruneaux d’Agen ( prunes from the Agen region in Southwest France, not too far from Bordeaux), it is better as they are organic.

To make life easier, ask your butcher to de-bone the rabbit.

Serves 2:

1 saddle of rabbit

100g diced veal

3 pruneaux d’Agen, stoned

1 large onion, peeled and sliced in long strips

1 slice of smoked back bacon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small glass strong red wine
1. Prepare the stuffing : in a frying pan containing the oil, sweat the onion slices and then reserve, leaving the oil in the pan. Toss the veal for a few minutes and add the stoned prunes.

2. Spread the rabbit meat on a plate and place the stuffing in the centre, then roll the meat tightly and use the bacon to close the parcel. At this stage, you can use a wooden toothpick to hold the meat together.

3. Place the parcel in an oven-proof dish, cover with the wine and cook at 160C for 40 minutes.

4. Remove the toothpick, decorate with the onion strips and serve on a bed of petits pois.


Bon Appétit!
Tip: 

Depending on your appetite, this is sufficient for 2 people as the flesh is very firm, but you may wish to double the proportions.

Chou Rouge Braisé = Braised Red Cabbage

A great winter warmer, red cabbage, slowly cooked with onions and bacon is a confort dish.

The flavours of bacon, onion and cabbage combine to make this an accompaniment to meats or fish.  It is also ideal if you are vegetarian, in which case, you omit the bacon.

Using a cast-iron cocotte with its lid means that the cabbage is cooked in its own steam and preserves the flavours.

 

Serves 4 :

1 small red cabbage, rinsed and sliced

1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced

8 slices smoked back bacon, cut into strips

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

pepper

salt

 

  1. In a cast-oron cocotte, warm up the oil and cook the onion with the bacon for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the red cabbage and sprinkle some pepper. Cover the cocotte and simmer until the cabbage is tender, stirring frequently.
  3. Add a little salt if you wish but remember that the bacon is already quite salty.

 

Bon Appétit!

Tip: If you have a left over of dry white wine, add a small glass to the cabbage. It will add to the flavour and will keep it moist.

 

 

 

 

Veau aux Olives = Veal with Olives

Rosé veal is now easily available and for this warm Winter dish, chunks of meat are easy to cook. This dish freezes well, so it worth to make a little more.

Beef can replace the veal, if you cannot find veal- or do not like it.

 

Serves 4:

500g rosé veal, cut into chunks

1 large onion, peeled and sliced

2 garlic cloves , peeled and sliced

1 dozen green olives, preferably pitted

200 ml strong red wine

1 small tin of tomato purée, diluted with same amount of water

1 tablespoon corn flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

 

  1. Put the meat in a salad bowl and cover with the wine. Sprinkle a little pepper and salt (not too much salt as the olives are already salty). Leave in a cool place  for 1 hour but not in the fridge as it would harden the meat.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: in a frying pan, warm up the olive oil and gently cook the onion and garlic, add the diluted tomato purée and simmer.
  3. Add the meat and the olives and cover with the wine marinade. Simmer for 15 minutes and thicken the sauce with the cornflour, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

Serve with pasta and a good red Burgundy.

Bon Appétit!

 

Loup en Aumônière = Parcel of Sea Bass

Fresh wild sea bass had arrived at the fishmonger’s and it was an invitation not to be refused.

As I do not like to de-gut and scale the fish, it was done nicely and promptly by the expert. You can, of course, do it yourself if you are keen. Otherwise, you can buy fillets of sea bass.

For the rest, I visited my favourite green grocer who is conveniently located next to the fishmonger’s.

On a cold day, the promise of an oven-cooked fresh fish is warming in itself and it does not take very long to prepare and cook it.

Moreover, from a dietitian’s point of view, apart from the tomato oil which is olive oil, this is a typical Mediterranean diet dish, to be enjoyed without worries for your arteries or waist line.

Serves 2 or 4 (depending on your appetite):

2 medium-sized fresh sea bass, cut open in half, like a book

4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, cut in small pieces

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

4 small branches of fresh fennel bulbs, finely sliced

coarse sea salt and pepper

2 tablespoon oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar

juice of 1 lemon to serve

  1. Rinse the fish in cold water and place in an ovenproof dish, opening them like a book.
  2. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the inside of the fish and add the tomato pieces, the fennel slices and the garlic. Sprinkle a few drops of the tomato oil.
  3. Close both fish, sprinkle a little more salt on top and drizzle the remainder of the tomato oil.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven at 200C for 30 minutes.

 

Serve with small steamed potatoes and a cool Chardonnay from Bourgogne.

Bon Appétit!

Note:  I forgot to take a picture before eating the sea bass, so the only one is of the dish before it went in the oven