Spaghetti with spinach, garlic and vacherin cheese

I like spinach. I do not believe it makes me strong like Popey the Sailor Man (and he ate them from cans…) but it is healthy. On the farmer’s market in the town here they sell “cold-ground” spinach, big rough leaves with a snail here and there. It will not last when it starts freezing.

Start of winter is also the beginning of the season for cheeses that melt easily to be put on bread or in fondues after walks in the mountains or winter sports. One of my favourites is Mont d’Or, a soft cheese with a nutty flavour from the Jura area. It is a kind of Vacherin, a soft cow cheese, from a specific area.

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Autumn spaghetti dish with scallops and ceps

Sometimes a dish creates itself when you walk around the market. The fishing season for scallops had opened and I wanted to do a simple spaghetti dish with it. The greengrocer’s had some of the last ceps – small brown button mushrooms from the Millevaches plateau in Corrèze, between Limoges and Ussel. I cooked the … Read more

Beef and chervil soup with pasta

This is a very pleasant and nutritious soup for when you are trying to lose weight after spending some nice holidays. I found some interesting beef shank at the supermarket – my butcher’s is closed for a few weeks – and started by making a beef broth. The next day I removed the (little) fat from the stock and added vegetables, chervil and pasta. The chervil gives it a nice anise-like flavour.

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Ouistreham clams

We spent a Saturday at the Normandy coast, with nice moules frites — mussels and fries, in this case with ham, chorizo and cream — in Houlgate and large windy villa’s in Cabourg along a sandy beach.

In Ouistreham, a small port down close to the Orne estuary from which ferries go to Portsmouth and Southampton, there are some fish stalls on the quai and I bought fresh clams.

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Pasta with meat sauce

Sometimes you want something simple and pasta with meat sauce is a kind of comfort food for colder days. I do not like to buy pasta sauce in tins or jars and I did not want to go into the trouble of making a real Bolognese sauce because with the bacon (and mushrooms) it adds up to a rather filling and a bit fat sauce. Bologna, a nice town in a great part of Italy, is not for nothing called La Grassa (the fat one).

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Bucatini with lobster eggs and zucchini

Part two of three recipes I made with one single lobster. Here I will be using the eggs that were under the belly of the female lobster and which I scooped up with a spoon. The little biology I know of lobster is that the eggs first start inside the female. A female lobster mates after she has shed her shell – which lobsters do almost every two months in a process called moulting – and that explains how the male lobster can penetrate another lobster.

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Sun chokes, penne, truffle and egg

We went to the market in the coastal town of Dieppe recently with the idea to buy some fresh and relatively cheap fish, some local cheeses such as the Neufchatel and the Réo raw milk Camembert and to have lunch at the Le Turbot restaurant there. However, when we arrived from the Paris area the … Read more