Soupe Improvisée au Boursin = Improvised Soup with Boursin

With very little time to prepare something warm, this little improvisation worked a treat.

As usual, a quick look in the fridge to check which vegetables were available set up this little soup.  I also used some carrots and celery I had cooked previously and topped the soup with a Boursin.

The contrast of the liquidised vegetables and the sliced carrots and celery was pleasant.

 

Serves 4:

  • 2 leeks, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 courgette, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • a little salt and pepper
  • 1/2 garlic and herbs Boursin (you can also use a garlic and herbs Philadelphia)

 

  1. Put all the fresh vegetables and the stock cube in a pressure cooker with sufficient water to cover them and cook for a short time. Season with salt* and pepper.
  2. Whizz and reserve.
  3. Add the carrots and celery. Stir in the Boursin and serve immediately.

 

Bon Appétit!

Tip: * only use a little salt as the stock cube is already salted.

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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!

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!

 

 

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.

Cold GammonTerrine=Jambon en Persillade

A very cool main course, this terrine must be prepared in advance and therefore frees you of any cooking on the day you want to eat it. If you plan to have a meal al fresco it provides you with a decorative centrepiece that combines proteins and vegetables and keeps your tastebuds cool.

It is fairly substantial, so serve it with a tomato and cucumber salad and slices of country bread. A cool Chablis or any other dry white wine goes well with this dish.

Serves 6:

1 smoked gammon joint of 750g

2 large carrots, peeled

4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

6 spring onions

10 green olives, cut in half.

5 gherkins, sliced

a handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, some kept to decorate

1 litre vegetable stock

4 tablespoon agar flakes

 

1. Cook the gammon in a pressure cooker for the time indicated by the manufacturer together with the carrots, spring onions and garlic. Then take it out of  the pressure cooker, drain and let it cool . Cut the carrots into small cubes and the onions into small pieces.

2. When the meat is cool, cut it into medium-sized cubes. Mix with the carrots, garlic, onions, gherkins, parsley and olives. Put the mixture into a pyrex dish.

3. Pour the vegetable stock into a saucepan and sprinkle the agar flakes. Bring to the boil, stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the liquid over the gammon mixture and let it cool then place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

4. Cut fairly thick slices and serve upside down.

 

Bon Appétit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alouettes sans Tête or Little Beef Parcels

The title of the dish really translates as “larks without heads”, which would seem very off-putting were it not for what it actually covers.
In a country where people are very happy to go hunting and eat small birds,
it would be natural to evolve a dish with that name.
However, I am happy to say that you will not need small birds but very tender and thinly cut minute beef steaks.
So, you can continue feeding the small birds in your garden without any pangs of conscience.

In Corsica, the beef is replaced with veal escalopes.
Most butchers sell rosé veal and you may prefer to try that.

This dish is cooked without any added fat and freezes well.

Serves 4:
8 very thin minute beef steaks ( approximately 80 or 90g each)
3 smoked back bacon rashers, fat removed
2 small carrots
1 branch celery
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small onion
A handful of flat leaf parsley
10 pitted black olives
Tomato sauce, home made if possible, or a tin of chopped tomatoes
300 ml red wine
100ml water
Salt and pepper to season ( Remember that the bacon and the olives will provide salt)

1. Put the bacon, onion, garlic, celery, parsley and carrots in a food processor and whiz. Cook quickly in a non-stick frying pan without any fat. ( The bacon will provide enough fat).

2. When this filling is cooked, put a tablespoon in the middle of each steak and fold the meat carefully to seal the filling in. To ensure that the parcel remains closed,you have 2 options: using a wooden toothpick, pierce the layers of meat firmly, or using strong white cotton thread and tie the meat.
(One disadvantage of using cotton thread is that you need either scissors or a very sharp steak knife to undo the parcel and the sauce may splash a little).

3. Put the tomato sauce in a pressure cooker and place the meat parcels delicately on top. Pour the wine and add the olives. Cover with the water.
Cook for 15 minutes.
Serve with tagliatelle or any other pasta of your choice.

Bon Appétit!

Gallery

Let’s celebrate the 14th July Provençal style!

Hey! It´s the 14th July, so let´s celebrate in true Provençal style with an anchoïade.
This will not take long to prepare and will let the fireworks of flavours explode on your tastebuds.
Gather a few friends and share!

For 8 people, you will need:
6 medium-size carrots
2 green sweet peppers
2 red sweet peppers
2 yellow sweet peppers
1 celery heart
2 small anchovy tins (in olive oil)
1 tablespoon of capers
4 garlic cloves, peeled

1. Rinse all the vegetables.
2. Peel the carrots, top and tail them. Cut them into strips
3. Cut the peppers open and remove all the seeds. Cut them into strips.
4. Separate the celery stalks.
5. Arrange all the vegetables in alternate colours in a big serving dish, leaving a space in the middle to place the ramequin containing the anchoïade.
6. In a food blender, whizz the anchovies with their olive oil, capers and garlic cloves.
7. Pour the mixture into the ramequin.

Serve with a very cool rosé .

You can add other vegetables, such as cauliflower florets, radishes, as long as they can be cut into strips to dip into the anchoïade.

This is very healthy and part of the Mediterranean diet. It is also very convivial.