Polenta and Cream of Courgettes

To answer the question of what to serve with lamb shanks cooked in red wine, a polenta came to mind.

It provided a quick and delicious accompaniment and I added some crème de courgettes. To complement the polenta, a generous topping of the cooking jus rounded the taste.

The polenta I use is a pre-cooked maize one and it is ready in a few minutes. You have to stir it constantly as it has a tendency to plop out of the saucepan if left unattended and it thickens very quickly. It sometimes looks like the lava of a volcano and it is certainly very hot!

The addition of the crème de courgettes gave a different flavour to it and incorporated the vegetables. The meat jus, essentially meat gravy with a strong red wine, was pleasing to the palate.

Serves 4 :

500ml salted water

3 tablespoons maize polenta

For the Cream of Courgettes:

2 medium-size courgettes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 onion, peeled and quartered

2 frozen cubes of garlic and parsley sauce

125ml single cream

  1. Cook the courgettes and onion in a pressure cooker and whizz.
  2. Add the cream and the garlic and parsley sauce.
  3. Bring the salted water to the boil and add the polenta, stirring all the time.
  4. When it is cooked (refer to the instructions on the packet for the cooking time), add the cream of courgettes and stir.
  5. Transfer into an oven-proof dish for 10 minutes at 180C.
  6. Just before serving, ladle some of the meat jus on top.

Bon Appétit!

Note:  I have mentioned before how to make garlic and parsley sauce, garlic and basil sauce and garlic and coriander sauce in convenient ice cube containers for some of the previous recipes. I will do a separate post to recap all that.

Or… see the post of Coquilles Saint Jacques à ma Façon (14 September 2015)


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.






Cucumber Gazpacho

Continued good weather has prompted me to prepare cooler food.
One of them is a pleasant cucumber Gazpacho that does not take much time, energy or ingredients to make.
For 2 /3people, you need :
1 big cucumber, peeled and cut into quarters
1 small pot of natural yoghurt
2/3 cloves of garlic, peeled
A handful of fresh mint leaves, rinsed
Salt and pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food mixer and whizz.
Serve in mini soup tureens and decorate with very small mint leaves or a very small teaspoonful of fromage frais with herbs.
This can be served as a starter, a snack or a dip (in which case you can replace the yoghurt with single fresh cream).
It is very healthy and if you are counting the calories, it will not add pounds to your waist line!
It also means you do not have to spend time over a hot stove.
You can double the quantities and keep some in the refrigerator for 24 hours, adding the juice of 1/2 lemon for conservation.

Bon appétit!