14th December 2012

A bowl of beans

The winter season is a good period for hearty bean dishes and European culture counts a number of such traditional recipes. I often go to the south-west of France and have come to know quite a bit about the local ‘cassoulet’ with several towns still fighting over the “real” recipe. Cassoulet, like sauerkraut, was a poor peasant’s dish that has been elevated to nobility. After […]

13th December 2012

Guinea fowl with ceps

A slightly complicated dish where a stuffing of ceps is put beneath the skin of the bird and then served with seasonal Brussels sprouts and chestnuts. There are various reasons to stuff a bird. The main reason is to add substance and flavours. Substance so that a family of six can dine on one chicken and flavour to enhance the often bland, and sometimes dry, […]

10th December 2012

Turkey ‘oysters’, truffles and bucatini

At first view that title reads like an expensive dish because of the words oysters and truffles, but fear not. It is not what it seems. Turkey oyster, or chicken oyster, is the English denomination for what the French call “Le sot l’y laisse”  (The fool leaves it), which is a small bit of meat that is often left on the carcass when carving. Originally, […]

10th December 2012

Rack of pork with two apples, lemon grass and ginger

A lovely Sunday lunch or dinner dish, combining hearty pork meat with apples and adding an Asian touch. Because of the apples, I could not resist using some cider. Ingredients 500 grammes of boned rack of pork (or shoulder) tied up as a roast Four Granny Smith apples Four Boskoop apples Two sticks of lemon grass Five cm of fresh ginger A bottle of cider […]

6th December 2012

Quail and red cabbage

There was some left-over cabbage and there were two quail in the freezer as I had bought six in one go one day in a sale. With a strip of smoked ham I turned it into a nice meal which we ate just as the television news had an item about the large quantities of food people throw away as they buy more than they […]

5th December 2012

Pheasant and red cabbage

It is cold outside and the vegetable stalls are full of cabbages, root vegetables and fruit such as apples. We bough a pheasant hen, red cabbage and sour apples. I also used root ginger and onion. Ingredients for two One red cabbage Four sour apples One onion Five cm of root ginger Cube of herd stock Cinnamon, cloves (in powder) One pheasant Pepper, salt Butter, […]

3rd December 2012

Partridge, cress and chestnut

Partridge has a longer name than its size. They have about the size of a grouse, between a quail and a pheasant. In French cuisine, young hen birds called perdreau are used. They are hunted but also farmed. I bought a perdreau on the market and was told to watch out for small lead bullets. When I prepared the bird, there were no bullets and […]

30th November 2012

Veal cutlets with lemon

Veal is a very tender and lean kind of meat. Please make sure you are buying meat from a calve that has been able to drink mother’s milk and walk around and not from an industrial ‘crate’ veal. This practice is luckily no longer tolerated in the European Union, but there remains a big difference between a milk-fed or formula-fed calf, or a free-raised calf. […]

27th November 2012

Skewered chicken liver with Jerusalem artichoke mash

The hazards of going to the market in November. There are many root vegetables available, among which some lesser known ones like the Jerusalem artichoke. A strange name as it has nothing to do with Jerusalem and it is not an artichoke although the taste has some similarities. It is the root of a kind of sunflower, found in America, and some say the Italian […]

26th November 2012

A “light” version of Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage, is part of the Germanic diet and eaten from the Netherlands to Poland, with Germany and the Alsace region in France being the standard bearers. In the times before refrigeration, the fermentation process allowed people to have access to vitamins and nutrients in winter when other vegetables were scarce. Sauerkraut still has many vitamins, such as vitamin C, lactibacili and other nutrients […]