Archive | Mood RSS feed for this section

Cumin Roasted Eggplants, Feta, Almonds and Pomegranate Salad

18 Nov

I know, this is not really a seasonal dish that I am writing about today but sometimes you need sun in your plate as well as color.

As Autumn definitely turned our great blue sky into a low grey mess, I thought about that salad that many of you kept asking me about during the past few months.

What really brings the flavor together is the use of pomegranate molasse that is pretty hard to find in France.

So if you look for it, go to a Lebanese shop or order it online. I found mine at Izrael, that great shop located rue François Miron where you find any spice, nut, condiment…. you are looking fot but also where you have to be patient if it is a bit busy. The owners are an old passionate couple and when they serve a customer, they do it properly which means….. they take the time! So don’t be in a hurry and take the time to spend some time in that Aladdin’s cave.

 

Result large plate

Ingredients

  • 4-5 aubergines (cut in diagonal chunks)
  • 3 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 100g toasted almond flakes
  • 1/2 bunch of coriander, washed, dried and picked
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • 250g of fresh Feta cheese, crumbled

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 4 tbsp of pomegranate molasse
  • 6 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 garlic clove crushed

Method

Preheat your oven to 220°C.

Place the aubergines chunks on baking trays lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle them with olive oil, salt, pepper and the cumin seeds.

Roast them in the oven until they get soft to the touch and lightly browned on the edges.

Sprinkle the red onions with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them the same way you did with the aubergines.

Spread the flaked almonds on a baking tray or in a heavy bottom pan and toast them in the oven or on the stove until lightly browned. Put a timer, they burn very quickly.

Ingredients Aubergines Salade_edited-1

Pick whole coriander leaves

Cut the pomegranate* into 2 and bash it with a wooden spoon to release the seeds- making sure there is not a lot of white ‘membrane’ coming with it.

In a big bowl or on a large serving dish, layer the aubergine chunks and red onion wedges then add coriander, Feta cheese crumbs, pomegranate seeds and almond flakes.

In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients of the dressing then drizzle it on top of the salad.

*follow the link to see how to proceed

Result Focus  Result Small Bowl

Salade d’Aubergines grillées au Cumin, Feta, Amandes et Grenade

Ingrédients

  • 4-5 aubergines (coupées en morceaux de 3-4cm)
  • 3 oignions rouges coupés en quartiers
  • 3 cas de graines de cumin
  • 100g d’amandes effilées
  • 1/2 bouquet de coriandre lavé, séché
  • 1 grenade
  • 250g de Feta émietté

Ingrédients pour la sauce

  • 4 cas de molasse de grenade
  • 6 cas d’huile d’olive
  • sel et poivre
  • 1/2 gousse d’ail écrasée

Méthode

Préchauffez votre four à 220°C.

Placez vos aubergines sur une plaque recouverte de papier sulfurisé. Enduisez-les d’huile d’olive et assaisonnez de sel, poivre et cumin.

Faites-les cuire jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient tendres à cœur et prennent une jolie couleur brune aux angles.

Faites de même avec les oignons rouges.

Dans une poêle à fond épais ou sur une plaque, dispersez les amandes effilées et torréfiées les 2-3 minutes jusqu’à ce qu’elles prennent une jolie coloration dorée. Attention, comme elles sont fines, elles peuvent très vite bruler.

Prélevez les feuilles de coriandre.

Emiettez la feta en cubes grossiers d’1cm.

Coupez la grenade* en 2 et à l’aide d’une cuillère en bois, égrenez-la en prenant soin d’enlever les morceaux de membranes blanches.

Dans un bol, fouettez les ingrédients de la sauce et gardez à portée de main.

Dans un grand saladier ou sur un grand plat de présentation, disposez les aubergines et les oignons rouges, dispersez les cubes de feta puis les graines de grenade.

Assaisonnez de sauce et finissez avec les amandes et les feuilles de coriandre.

*cf lien de la grenade pour la méthode

Pumpkin and Mascarpone Soup….

26 Oct

Soupe Pres Cup_4

There we are….. Switching to Winter hour gave us an additional hour to sleep this week-end but also shorter days for the weeks to come!

Even if we have an amazing Autumn with bright blue sky and pretty warm weather, it’s still a bit chilly when the sun disappears.

So it just reminds us that we will soon crave for hot soups by the fireplace.

Here is my first soup of the season.

I choose the pumpkin because of Thanksgiving and Halloween…. just one idea among thousands to accommodate that squash that will decorate your house for the upcoming week.

Potimarron Potimarron-Grille

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 chestnut pumpkin
  • 1 onion – diced
  • fresh thyme leaves – about 1/2 tsp
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Mascarpone
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Cut the pumpkin into large wedges and scoop out the center with a spoon until you got rid of all the seeds and stringy parts.

Place them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Grill them for 20-25 minutes until a blade gets easily through it.

Let them cool down then scoop the flesh out of the skin.

Drizzle a pan with olive oil and start to cook the diced onion with salt, pepper and cumin. When it gets soft and a nice golden coloration, add the pumpkin flesh, thyme and cover with chicken stock.

Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes then mix it with a hand blender until it gets smooth.

Roasted Pumpkin Blender

Rectify the seasoning then add the Mascarpone and mix it again.*

Serve it hot with a spoon of whipped Mascarpone, a dash of Tabasco or seeds to decorate. Soupe Pres Verrine

* If the mix is too thick, add some more stock or water and blend it again.

* If the mix is too liquid, before adding the Mascarpone, dice a peeled potato and add it to the soup. Cook it on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes then mix it again. If you have reached the right consistency, add the Mascarpone.

Soupe au Potimarron et au Mascarpone

 

Ingrédients pour 4 personnes:

  • 1 potimarron
  • 1 oignon émincé
  • ½ cc de feuilles de thym frais
  • 500 ml de fond de volaille
  • 125 ml de Mascarpone
  • 1/2 cc de cumin (optionnel)
  • Huile d’olive
  • Sel et poivre

 

Méthode:

Préchauffez votre four à 200°C.

Coupez le potimarron en 2 et ôtez toutes les graines et la partie filandreuse à l’aide d’une cuillère.

Coupez le potimarron en quartiers et posez-les sur une plaque couverte de papier sulfurisé.

Versez un filet d’huile d’olive, assaisonnez de sel et de poivre et faites cuire 20-25 minutes jusqu’à ce que le potimarron soit cuit, une lame le traverse sans résistance.

Laissez-le refroidir sur le côté.

Dans un fait-tout, faites revenir l’oignon jusqu’à ce qu’il prenne une jolie coloration dorée.

Pendant ce temps, détachez la chair du potimarron de la peau à l’aide d’une cuillère ou d’un couteau. Versez la chair du potimarron dans le fait-tout, ajoutez le cumin et couvrez avec 500ml de fond de volaille.

Laissez cuire à feu moyen pendant 15-20 minutes puis mixez le tout à l’aide d’un robot plongeant jusqu’à obtention d’une soupe onctueuse et lisse.*

Ajustez l’assaisonnement puis versez le Mascarpone et remixez.

Servez chaud avec quelques gouttes de Tabasco, une cuillère de Mascarpone fouetté ou quelques graines pour décorer.

* Si la soupe est trop épaisse, ajoutez un peu d’eau ou de fond de volaille jusqu’à obtention de la consistance souhaitée.

* Si la soupe est trop liquide, pelez et découpez en petits dés une pomme de terre et ajoutez-la à la soupe, faites cuire a feu moyen 5-10 minutes et mixez de nouveau. Ajoutez ensuite le Mascarpone.

What’s for lunch on Sunday?

12 Oct

Being in town on Sundays – rather than in the countryside – usually means there was some parties the night before. As a result, we often try to catch-up with friends for a late lunch in a comfortable place where we can enjoy being lazy for some time.
Being a bit tired, I also like simple menus…. if I am not up to a good burger, it will be a Smoked Salmon Bagel with Cream Cheese and Lemon.

Doing it yourself is very simple as well… here are a few tips:

 

Bagel-Salmon-Cream Cheese

Ingredients for 4 Bagels:

  • 4 fresh bagels (my favorite is with poppy-seeds on top)
  • 1 Philadelphia cream-cheese pack (not the other brands)
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 slices of high-quality smoked-salmon
  • freshly ground pepper
  • dill (optional)
  • 3-4 handfuls of mixed leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon juice

Preparation:

As for the baguette, the best Bagels are the ones of the day. Don’t go for industrial or frozen ones, rather get them at the closest Deli selling them for really fresh and moist ones. In France, you have more and more bagel places selling them by the unit or you can also buy them at Marks and Spencer.

Only use Philadelphia cream-cheese, this is the only one to me because I am looking for a specific flavor and creaminess. In France, Monoprix sell the brand now and maybe other shops as well.

To prepare it, simply slice the bagel into 2 using a bread knife and quickly grill the bread in the toaster at a medium temperature.

Spread Philadelphia on both slices, add the smoked salmon cut into thin slices to make it easier to eat once assembled.

Grind some fresh pepper on top, press lemon juice as well, maybe spread some dill.

You can prepare a nice salad on the side. Mix olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice to your taste and gently toss the salad with the dressing.

Place both slices on a plate with a handful of salad on the side.

You are ready to go….. happiness is only one bite away from you.

* If you just want to get a good bagel in the street, as I told you, many places have opened but the only one that I have always loved is in the 6th district. It’s been open for years now and I still crave for the food they prep. The place is very tinny and you usually buy it to take-away:

Bagels and Brownie

12 rue Notre Dame des Champs
75006Paris

 

 

There’s something about Mushrooms…

4 Dec

The season is almost gone and I still did not write about them….. the mushrooms.

Usually, you either love them or hate them, you fear the idea of picking mushrooms because you might pick toxic ones or love the idea of looking for your dinner in the wood!

We are lucky enough to be surrounded with woods at my Dad’s home and even more lucky to have great spots for mushrooms such as chanterelles, ceps, “trompette de la mort” and “pieds de mouton”.

Indeed, some years are really crazy and we have to throw away some of them, we cook them, we dry them, we freeze them and we offer a lot to our relatives.

This year was so-so, just enough for our great family even if we wish there was more ceps.

Here is a few ideas to cook them and match them and also a few tips to cook them the right way.

Autumn 2 Autumn 3 Autumn

Simply Mushrooms:

  • wild mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  • butter and oil
  • a garlic clove crushed
  • freshly chopped herbs

Recolte

First of all, you need to clean the mushrooms and this step takes quite some time….. Get your friends, cousins, sister-in-law….. sit in the kitchen with a good cup of tea or glass of wine and get started.

You never wash the mushrooms, they are essentially made of water and if they rest in it, they will loose all their flavor.

Using your hands, a brush or a tea towel, remove any leaves, earth or insects.

Get a great pan and drizzle with oil and a good spoon of butter, once the butter is melted, add the mushrooms and the garlic if you want more flavor. Season with salt and pepper. The pan can look overloaded, the mushrooms will quickly release all the water and shrink tremendously.

Do not throw away the water, most of the flavor is in it, the mushrooms will be tasteless if you do that!

Cook them on medium heat until the water has evaporated. Stir from time to time.

The mushrooms are ready once they melt in your mouth. There is no more sensation of biting something raw and chewy.

Just before serving, you can spread chopped herbs on the mushrooms and cook them another 2-3 minutes.

Trompette des Morts Cuites

Trompette des Morts

Pieds de Mouton

Pieds de Mouton

Other ways to cook Mushrooms:

Chanterelle, Bacon and Linguine

The Chanterelle, Bacon and Linguine Recipe

Partridges and Chanterelles

You can also cook them with poultry or meat. Once you have sealed the poultry or beef and start cooking it, spread the mushrooms around it and let them cook. They will bring more flavor and also benefit from the flavor of the poultry or beef.

Simply check from time to time that the mushrooms do not burn. It may happen with long cooking times, the water fully evaporates. Simply add some stock, white wine or water.

Perdreaux et ChanterellesPartridges and Chanterelles

in that case you also have to pluck the birds…..

Plumage

Fruits and Frangipane Tartlets

4 Nov

Yes indeed, it’s only 5pm and the sky is dark and you still have a few hours to keep yourself busy at home because you do not even think about going out in the rainy and windy streets even for shopping….

If you happen to have a cupboard full of pastry ingredients and some fruits in a basket or in the freezer, here is a recipe that will keep you busy long enough!

On the pictures, you’ll see some variations but also some ideas to present them: whip some cream and fold caramelized nuts in it, serve with a small vodka glass filled with custard or with a spoon of ice-cream for example.

photo 3

Apple and Frangipane Tart

IMG_2066

Fig and Frangipane Tartlet with Caramelized Slivered Almond Whipped Cream

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SWEET PASTRY DOUGH (Makes 1 large tart or 8 individuals)*

  • 250g of flour
  • 5g of salt
  • 100g of icing sugar
  • 125g of butter cold and diced
  • 1 egg whisked
  • Plain flour to roll out the dough
  • Iced water if necessary

*To make your pastry more original, you can add spices or flavor to it. For example, I add a tbsp of poppy seeds, a grated lemon zest, a tsp of ginger, cinnamon or sometimes I put only 180g of flour and 70g of almond powder. It will make the difference….!

METHOD**

By hand: Place the flour, icing sugar, salt and cold diced butter in a bowl and start bringing the ingredients together until they form a light bread crumb consistency.  Now, add the egg and combine completely. Add a little water if the dough is to dry. Form a ball with the pastry and wrap it in cling film. Let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.  This freezes beautifully.

With a Magimix: Sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor and add the cold diced butter.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Whisk the egg and add to the pastry mixture and stir well to bring together, adding a little more iced water if necessary.  Bring the pastry together into a flat disc, wrap it with cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

Once the pastry is firm enough to roll out, sift a little flour on a clean surface and on your rolling pin and start rolling out your dough until it is 3-4mm thick. As the dough is very fragile, you can either fold it from the center into 4 like a “crepe” or roll it gently on your rolling pin and unroll it on top of the pastry case.

Once it is on top of your pastry case, press gently towards the bottom of the case so that the dough perfectly fits to the pastry case. Remove the excess of dough using a sharp knife around the edges of the case or simply roll once the rolling pin on top of the case. The excess will fall in a very clean way.

In a preheated oven (200°) bake the pastry case blind for 10-15 minutes until it gets a nice golden color. The dough is cooked but still need to cook longer as you will add the almond cream. Remove and let it cool down on a rack or fill it straight away.

** As usual, if you are in a hurry, you can use a ready to roll sweet pastry, it will save you a little time. You’ll just have to go straight to the baking instruction.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE ALMOND CREAM:

  • 150g of butter at room temperature
  • 150g of sugar
  • 150g of ground almond
  • 150g of eggs (about 3 medium eggs)
  • optional flavor: 1tbsp of rose water or orange blossom water, seeds of a vanilla pod, 1 tbsp of rum, 1 lemon zest, 1 tbsp of pistachio paste…

METHOD FOR THE ALMOND CREAM:

In a bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until it gets white, creamy and fluffy.

Add the ground almonds then the eggs. You will obtain a thick and smooth paste.

You can use it straight away or keep it refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container or with clingfilm in contact.

photo 5

INGREDIENTS FOR THE TART OR TARTLETS:

Fresh seasonal fruits:

  • figs cut into 4 base still attached
  • sliced pears or apples
  • apricots cut in halved
  • peaches or nectarines quartered
  • cherries stoned and halved
  • red fruits whole or sliced into 2 for strawberries
  • prunes stoned and halved

METHOD FOR TART OR TARTLETS:

Spoon the almond cream in the tart shell until it reaches half its height.

Press the fruits in it so that it looks nice.

Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the almond cream gets a nice golden brown color and a knife comes out clean when inserted inside.

 IMG_4079

IMG_4081

Red Berries Tartlets
  IMG_4620 Fig and Frangipane Tartlet with Caramelized Slivered Almond Whipped Cream

photo 2  Apple and Frangipane Tart

Haddock and Leek Fondue Crumble

27 Sep

Last Monday, I was looking for a nice place to have lunch with a friend I had not seen for years. As you know, many good places are closed on Monday to recover from the busy Saturdays and Sundays.
Convinced it would be closed too, I went on the website of the restaurant Le Petit Matieu. Luckily…. they are open on Mondays….
A friend of mine recommended the place because it is good, simple and warm but also because it has been opened by a former Gregoire Ferrandi student who runs the place by itself with another girl still learning in the same school.
There I was on Monday, the place was really busy, especially for a Monday and the Menu very simple…. 2 starters (Thin Tomato Tart or Cauliflower Soup), 2 mains (Veal “Blanquette” or Haddock and Leek Crumble), 1 dessert (Chocolate Chip Cookie) and at night, you have a A la Carte Menu with lots of products and wines from Corsica (the place the owner comes from)…
As I really don’t like the “Blanquette”, I choose the crumble even if the haddock is not my favorite fish…
Guess what, I loved it…. so much that I tried it during one of my Market Class.
We choose a great piece of smoked haddock at the Baudoyer Market, choose great leeks as well and used good white wine and cream of course….
photo 5(2)
Here is the recipe:

Ingredients for the Leek Fondue:

  • 2 onions diced
  • 6-8 leeks washed and thinly sliced, green part cut off
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Cooking Olive Oil
  • Salt and freshly Ground Pepper
  • White Wine to deglaze (2 tbsp)
  • Cream or Milk and Cream used to poach the haddock

2-Leek Fondue Ingredients

Method:

In a pan, start to cook the onions with oil and butter until they get a nice golden color.
3-Oignons
Add the seasoned leek .
Once the water is evaporated and the leeks start to soften, deglaze with white wine.
Let it reduce and add 1/2 cup of cream or the poaching liquid of the haddock.
Let it simmer for another 6-8 minutes, taste and rectify the seasoning.
Set aside.
4-Leeks

Ingredients for the Crumble Mix:

  • 200g of butter diced and cold
  • 200g of flour
  • 100-150g of young Parmesan finely grated
  • Ground Pepper (no salt as Parmesan is salty already)
  • 150g of Breadcrumbs (Chapelure) if you wish a crunchier texture
  • Finely chopped aromatic herbs (optional)

1-Chapelure-BreadCrumbs

Method:

By hand or on a low speed with your Kitchen Aid, mix together all the ingredients until you obtain a crumbly mix ready to spread on top of your dish, keep in the fridge.
1-Crumble

Ingredients for the Haddock:

  • 1.5kg of Smoked Haddock
  • 1l of cream
  • 1l of milk
  • a bay leave

Method:

Pour the haddock in a large pan and cover with milk and cream, add a bay leave.
Bring the mix to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside and let it cool down.
Remove the haddock from the pan and start to tear apart the flesh, get rid of the skin and bones.
5-Haddock
In a gratin dish, spread a layer of leek, add the haddock flakes on top and repeat the process until you have reach 1/2 to 2/3 of the dish.
Spread the crumble on top and cook in the oven 20-30 min at 200° C (about 350°F).
6-Assembling Crumble
The crumble is ready when the surface is golden brown and the crumble mix crunchy and soft at the same time but not raw in the middle.
8-Ready to Eat

Serve it with a generous salad and white wine.

Crumble Haddock-Fondue de Poireaux

 

Ingrédients pour la Fondue de Poireaux:

  • 2 oignons émincés
  • 6-8 poireaux lavés et émincés
  • 1 cas de beurre
  • 1 cas d’huile d’olive
  • Sel et Poivre du Moulin
  • 2 cas de vin blanc pour déglacer
  • De la crème liquide ou le liquide de pochage du haddock

Méthode:

Dans une grande poêle à fond épais, faites revenir les oignons dans de l’huile et du beurre jusqu’à ce qu’ils deviennent translucides et prennent une jolie couleur dorée.

Ajoutez les poireaux émincés et laisser les réduire jusqu’à évaporation de l’eau qu’ils contiennent.

Lorsque les poireaux sont tendres et commencent à dorer, déglacez au vin blanc puis ajoutez 10 cl de crème ou de liquide de pochage.

Faites réduire, ajustez l’assaisonnement et gardez de côté.

Ingrédients pour le Crumble:

  • 200g de beurre froid et coupé en dés
  • 200g de farine
  • 100-150g de Parmesan râpé
  • Poivre du Moulin (pas de Sel car le Parmesan est déjà très sale)
  • 150g de Chapelure pour donner une texture plus croustillante
  • Des herbes aromatiques finement émincées

Méthode:

Dans le bol de votre Kitchen Aid ou dans un grand saladier et à la main, mixez tous les ingrédients ensemble (à vitesse moyenne au Kitchen Aid) jusqu’à obtention d’une pâte friable.

Gardez-la au réfrigérateur jusqu’à utilisation.

 

Ingrédients pour le Haddock:

  • 1.5kg de Haddock fume
  • 1l de crème liquide
  • 1l de lait entier
  • 1 feuille de laurier

Méthode:

Placez le haddock dans une grande casserole remplie de crème et de lait. Ajoutez le laurier et porter à ébullition. Laissez frémir 4-5 minutes et laissez reposer.

Une fois refroidi, émiettez le haddock et jetez les arêtes et la peau.

Commencez le montage du crumble et préchauffez votre four à 180-200° C.

Dans un grand plat à gratin, étalez une généreuse couche de poireaux puis recouvrez de haddock et de nouveau de poireaux. Si le mix est un peu sec, ajoutez un peu de liquide de pochage.

Finissez en parsemant la surface d’une généreuse couche de crumble.

Faites cuire 20-30 minutes. Le crumble est prêt lorsque la surface a pris une jolie coloration dorée et que le crumble est cuit et croustillant. Il ne doit pas rester cru.

Servez tout de suite avec une généreuse salade verte bien assaisonnée.

 

 9-Result

 

Frenchie to Go…. simply yummy!

20 Sep

The Frenchie saga seems to be never ending and since I came back to France, I have been trying to go to any of there places without success! Lack of organization or place overcrowded!

Today, I got organized and told my friend Charles to be there at 12.20 to be sure to get a seat.

People don’t have lunch too early in this area…. arriving at 12.20 is almost like coming for breakfast!

The place is small but nice, simple but comfortable. High iron and wooden stools, same for the table. Open windows and very large kitchen with a good and silent extraction…. which means you do not smell like a fried sandwich when you leave the place!

photo 4

As the menu is short and simple, we made-up our choice pretty quickly…. a Reuben’s sandwich and a Lobster roll to start and a Cheesecake to share with our coffee!

It was simply delicious….

photo 1

The Lobster roll is in a very soft grilled brioche bun, the lobster (from Brittany) is perfectly cooked and dressed in a delicious butter sauce with celery. Of course, 22 euros is pretty expensive for a sandwich but it’s worth the price if it does not become your everyday habit.

photo 3

The Reuben’s sandwich was great too but very different. Closer to the street food that you expect when you go to Frenchie to Go.

The beetroot coleslaw is fresh and well dressed, the bread is well grilled and crispy and you have a lot of Pastrami, Bacon and Cheddar. Maybe the bacon was a bit too smoky for me and overpowered the Pastrami but in the end, we were both happy and satisfied.

photo 2

Was the Cheesecake the best part? I really don’t know but it was a delight for sure. Made with Brillat Savarin, Figs and Walnuts, it was really creamy with a citrus hint (orange zest?). The portion was not too big, just the perfect side to share with a coffee. The strawberry puree on top was a perfect balance as well and you know when you taste it that it’s an homemade puree.

photo 5

Of course, you also have lots of other treats and options but those were the one we choose and they made us happy.

Take the time to give it a try…. it’s really worth it and the service is fast, professional.  Also, unlike many places in Paris, the waiters and waitresses are genuinely smiling!

Also, we did not try them but they have a great range of Beers.

Frenchie to Go

5-6 rue du Nil

Paris 2eme

Metro: Sentier