August 31, 2010

Tomato with Mozzarella

Recently, the weather had been awful. I needed some food that would remind me that summer is not over yet. Sunshine in a plate. Tomato with mozzarella certainly is a classic dish. But to me, it can be either plain and boring or very delicious. What make the difference are the ingredients you use. Good quality tasty ingredients will for sure make a good dish. I’m always amazed of all the varieties of tomatoes you can find, the different shapes, tastes and colours. If you can get hold of different types of tomatoes for this recipe, this really is ideal. Now sunshine is back; it feels much better :)

Tomato with Mozzarella – serves 2

  • •10 tomatoes of different varieties, sliced
  • •2 buffalo mozzarella balls, torn or sliced
  • •A few leaves of fresh basil
  • •4tbsp olive oil
  • •2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • •Salt and pepper

  • 1.In a plate, alternate the tomato and mozzarella slices.
  • 2.Scatter over basil leaves.
  • 3.Season with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  • 4.It’s ready!
  • Tomate/Mozarella – pour 2 personnes

    • 10 tomates de différentes variétés, coupées en tranches
  • • 2 boules de mozzarella de buffle
  • • Quelques feuilles de basilic
  • • 4cs d’huile d’olive
  • • 2cs de vinaigre balsamique
  • • Sel et poivre

  • 1. Alterner les tranches de tomate et de mozzarella dans une assiette.
  • 2. Parsemer de feuilles de basilic.
  • 3. Assaisonner avec du sel, du poivre, l’huile d’olive et le vinaigre balsamique.
  • 4. C’est prêt !
  • August 26, 2010

    Strawberry Curd

    Maybe you know lemon curd. It is a sweet spread made with egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest. I knew lemon curd, but didn’t know that a curd could be also made with other fruits. That was until I found out lovely recipes on several blogs. I tried mango curd a while ago that I served with a panna cotta...delicious. This time, I had bought these beautiful strawberries at the market and I thought why not try a strawberry curd. I ate it on a slice of baguette, but I’m sure it would also go very well in a crêpe too.

    Here is my recipe:

    Strawberry Curd – makes 1 jar

    • 250g strawberries, chopped • 180g sugar • 120g butter, cut into cubes • 4 egg yolks • The zest of ½ lemon, finely chopped • 1tbsp lemon juice

    1. Put the strawberries, sugar, butter, lemon zest and juice in a saucepan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Leave to simmer for 5min and remove from the heat.

    2. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl and add the strawberry mixture, stirring constantly.

    3. Return on a low heat, stirring constantly for another 5min, without allowing the curd to boil. Pour into a sterilised jar and seal.

    4. The curd can keep in the fridge for 2 months but keeps only 1 week once opened.

    Strawberry Curd – pour 1 pot

    • 250g de fraises, coupées en morceaux • 180g de sucre • 120g de beurre coupé en cubes • 4 jaunes d’œufs • Le zeste d’1/2 citron, finement émincé • 1cs de jus de citron

    1. Mettre les fraises, le sucre, le beurre, le zeste et le jus de citron dans une casserole. Faire chauffer à feu doux en remuant la préparation, jusqu’à ce que le beurre ait fondu et le sucre soit dissous. Laisser frémir pendant 5min et retirer du feu.

    2. Battre les œufs dans un bol puis ajouter la préparation aux fraises en remuant constamment.

    3. Mettre de nouveau sur le feu, à feu très doux et remuer constamment pendant 5min. Ne pas porter à ébullition. Verser dans un pot et fermer le pot.

    4. Le curd se garde au réfrigérateur pendant 2 mois mais seulement 1 semaine une fois ouvert.

    August 21, 2010

    Pipérade Basquaise

    Have you ever been to the Basque Country? That bit of land is located at the border between the far south west of France and the north of Spain. I am lucky to have already been on holiday a few times in the French part of the Basque country. As you might have guessed, I love the place. Landscapes are beautiful, people very friendly and the food amazing. Yes, the food is really good there.

    My mum has been cooking this Basque recipe since we were kids. That’s one of these dishes that are enough in themselves – no need to serve it with a side. Peppers are in full season now, so it’s perfect time to try it.

    Pipérade Basquaise – serves 4

    • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthways • 1 green or red pepper, cored, deseeded and cut in strips • 5 tomatoes, chopped • 8 eggs, beaten • Salt, pepper • 3 tbsp olive oil • A pinch of Espelette chili powder

    1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan on a medium heat. Add the pepper, garlic and tomatoes. Mix well and reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid and leave to cook for 40min, mixing from times to times with a wooden spoon.

    2. Add the eggs, salt, pepper and chili powder and mix constantly for about 4-5min, until the eggs are set. They should have a crumbly mixture. Serve with a slice of bread and a glass of red wine.

    Pipérade Basquaise – pour 4 personnes

    • 1 gousse d’ail, pelée et coupée en 2 dans la longueur • 1 poivron vert ou rouge, épépiné et coupé en lamelles • 5 tomates, coupées en morceaux • 8 œufs, battus • Sel et poivre • 3cs d’huile d’olive • 1 pincée de piment d’Espelette en poudre

    1. Faire chauffer l’huile dans une sauteuse à feu moyen. Ajouter le poivron, l’ail et les tomates. Bien mélanger et réduire le feu. Couvrir avec un couvercle et laisser cuire pendant 40min, en remuant de temps en temps.

    2. Ajouter les œufs, le sel, le poivre et le piment et mélanger sans arrêt pendant environ 4-5min, jusqu’à ce que les œufs soient pris. Servir avec une tranche de pain et un verre de vin rouge.

    August 16, 2010

    Lazy Days in the Countryside

    “Bendigedig!” the Welsh word for wonderful. I’ve come across this word in a book I recently read and I liked the sound of it. Bendigedig, like our weekend in the countryside. Not the welsh countryside though, but the beautiful Hampshire one.

    We went to Luke’s parents. They live in a farm in the middle of fields. It’s such a change of scenery from where we live. I appreciate so much the quietness of the place and the relaxed pace of life: waking up with birds singing, watching the sunset over the fields, meeting the newly borne calves going for walks with the dogs and most of all, spending time with Luke’s family – are all the things I enjoy about being there.

    We had a very relaxing time and too soon it was already the end of the weekend. But at least we recharged our batteries for the busy week ahead of us.

    August 12, 2010

    Mini Madeleines

    My friend Audrey offered me a very nice book for my birthday called mini madeleines. My only problem was that I had neither a madeleine dish nor a mini madeleines dish! So, before I went back to France, I placed an order at Mathon, and when I arrived at my parents, the mini madeleine dish was waiting for me.

    When I was younger, I wasn’t a big fan of plain madeleines. But now that I have this book...we regularly have madeleines feasts at home! I have already tried the tomato and goat’s cheese ones and the herby ones. Next will be a sweet recipe as Luke has begged me to try one. Of course, you can make them with any flavour you like; your imagination is the only limit.

    I guess I should be grateful to my friend Audrey to have made me rediscover and enjoy madeleines. Thank you!

    Ps: be careful, it might not take long to a greedy person to eat them all!

    Mini-Madeleines with Herbs- makes 28 mini madeleines by Sandra Mahut

    • 100g flour • 2 eggs • 3tsp baking powder • Salt and pepper • 2tbsp olive oil • 20g melted butter • 2tbsp grated Parmesan • 4tbsp milk • A bunch of chives • A bunch of flat leaf parsley

    1. Chop very finely the chives and parsley. 2. Mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl. Add the herbs. 3. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Pour a tea spoon of the mixture in each madeleine hole in the dish. Pop in the oven for 4min then reduce the heat to 180°C et leave to cook for 6-8min until golden.

    Mini-Madeleines aux Fines Herbes – pour 28 mini madeleines Recette de Sandra Mahut

    • 100g de farine • 2 œufs • 3cc de levure chimique • Sel et poivre • 2cs d’huile d’olive • 20g de beurre fondu • 2cs de parmesan râpé • 4cs de lait • 1 botte de ciboulette • 1 botte de persil plat

    1. Ciseler la ciboulette et le persil. 2. Mélanger tous les autres ingrédients ensemble dans un bol. Ajouter les herbes. 3. Préchauffer le four à 220°C. Verser une cuillérée à café de la préparation dans les empreintes du moule. Mettre au four pour 4min puis baisser la température et laisser cuire encore 6 à 8min jusqu’à ce que les madeleines soient dorées.

    August 10, 2010

    Melon, Cucumber and Feta Salad

    I dream of melon. But not any melon. Melon charentais. That is the most common melon variety you can find in France, and, in the summer, I usually eat a slice of melon as a starter every day. To my despair, I find it really hard to find this variety of melon where I’m living in the UK. I miss it.

    Melon and Pineau des Charentes

    Fortunately, during our holiday in France, I was able to eat a lot of melon. Several times a week, we went to the market and bought fresh fruits and vegetables. The melon merchant loved his melons so much that, he told me, he ate 2 whole melons on his own every day!

    This simple salad is fresh and fruity, it tastes like summer.

    Melon, Cucumber and Feta Salad – serves 4

    • 1 melon Charentais • 1 cucumber, sliced • 150g feta, cut into cubes • The juice of 1 lemon • 3 tbsp olive oil • A bunch of mint, chopped • Salt, pepper

    1. Make small balls with the melon flesh. 2. Prepare the seasoning in a salad bowl: mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the melon, cucumber, feta and mint. Mix well. Serve in individual bowls and decorate with a sprig of mint.

    Salade au Melon, Concombre et Feta – pour 4 personnes

    • 1 melon • 1 concombre, coupé en fines tranches • 150g de feta, coupée en cubes • Le jus d’un citron • 3cs d’huile d’olive • 1 petit bouquet de menthe, hachée • Sel et poivre

    1. Faire des petites boules avec la chaire du melon. 2. Préparer l’assaisonnement dans un saladier : mélanger le jus de citron avec l’huile d’olive et du sel et du poivre. Ajouter le melon, le concombre, la feta et la menthe. Bien mélanger. Servir dans des bols individuels et décorer avec une feuille de menthe.

    August 07, 2010

    White Chocolate Ice Cream and Berry Compote

    About 2 years ago, when we were living in Dorset, Luke and I went on a day away to the New Forest. We had lunch in a nice café and for pudding had a white chocolate milk-shake. We liked it so much, that after our afternoon walk, we went back to the café and had another one. Back home, we were determined to try it again. We tested it using white chocolate that we melted: this didn’t work. We bought white chocolate powder: the result was not what we expected either. We thought about white chocolate syrup but couldn’t get hold of it. So finally, I found white chocolate ice cream in Waitrose...we tried it...and yes, that was it! Almost as good as in the café!

    Did I ever tell you that I’m a big fan of white chocolate? You probably can expect quite a few recipes with it on my blog in the future.

    My friend Annabelle gave me the recipe of this white chocolate ice cream. I think it can’t be easier than that to make ice cream – you don’t even need an ice cream machine. Making it reminded me of that white chocolate milk shake, yum...

    Berries are plenty on stalls at the moment. I made berry compote to go with the ice cream. If you’d rather have a mousse than an ice cream, simply don’t put it in the freezer, just leave it in the fridge overnight and that will do the job.

    White Chocolate Ice Cream and Berry Compote – serves 4

    • 200g white chocolate • 200ml whipping cream • 300g mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, etc) • 3tbsp sugar

    1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed above a pan of simmering water, stirring. Take out of the heat. 2. With an electric beater, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks, but not too firm. 3. Mix well the chocolate together with the cream. Place in a freezer-proof box and place in the freezer overnight. 4. Prepare the compote: put the berries in a medium-sized saucepan with the sugar, and cook on a low heat until the fruits are soft. This should take 10-15min. 5. Scoop the ice cream and put it into glasses or bowls. Drizzle over the warm or cold compote and enjoy.

    Glace au Chocolat Blanc et Compote de Fruits Rouges – pour 4 personnes

    • 200g de chocolat blanc • 200ml de crème fleurette • 300g d’un mélange de fruits rouges (myrtilles, framboises, fraises, groseilles, etc) • 3cs de sucre

    1. Faire fondre le chocolat au bain-marie. Mettre ensuite hors du feu. 2. Battre la crème en chantilly pas trop ferme. 3. Bien mélanger le chocolat avec la crème, puis transférer dans un récipient pouvant aller au congélateur, et mettre au congélateur pendant une nuit. 4. Préparer la compote. Mettre les fruits rouges avec le sucre dans une casserole de taille moyenne. Faire cuire à feu doux jusqu’à ce que les fruits deviennent tendres. Cela devrait prendre 10-15min. 5. Faire des boules de glace et les mettre dans des verres ou dans des bols. Verser dessus de la compote, chaude ou froide et déguster.

    August 03, 2010


    Last week, we had a visit. My older brother came over from Sweden to spend a bit of time with us. We hadn’t seen each other for over a year so we really enjoyed being together again. We showed him around Exeter and did a few excursions on the coast. Of course we had plenty of lovely food: we can’t help it in my family, we always eat nice things when we’re together. Amongst all the things we ate and drank were local crab sandwiches, summery salads, Pimm’s, fruity cocktails, verrines, tarts, burritos, poached peaches, and so on... We also went to cafés and restaurants I had never been to before, sitting in the sunshine.

    Time flew, we were busy, and my brother is already gone. I appreciate a lot having visits of family and friends. It's always a pleasure to make them discover where I live and welcome them at home.

    I didn't have time to make pictures of what we cooked last week so I thought I would share with you today one of my classic summer dishes: tabbouleh. This Middle Eastern salad is always welcome on a hot day. I usually prepare it the day before so that flavours have time to develop overnight. My recipe is a variation of the traditional recipe and includes chickpeas. These ones, associated with the wheat from the couscous, are a good source of protein.

    Tabbouleh - serves 4 to 6
    • 250g couscous
    • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
    • 4 tomatoes cut in very small cubes
    • 1 small cucumber, cut in very small cubes
    • 1 can chickpeas, drained
    • A good bunch of mint, finely chopped
    • The juice of 2 lemons
    • 4tbsp olive oil
    • Salt, pepper
    1. Put the couscous into a large salad bowl. Cover with 300ml boiling water. Cover the dish and leave to stand for 5min. Take a fork and separate the couscous grains with it.
    2. Add the onions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas and mint to the bowl. Season with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Cover with a lid or cling film and leave in the fridge overnight. Take out of the fridge 10min before serving.

    Taboulé - pour 4 à 6 personnes

    • 250g de couscous
    • 3 oignons nouveaux, finement émincés
    • 4 tomates, coupées en très petits dés
    • 1 petit concombre, coupé en très petits dés
    • 1 boîte de pois chiches, égouttée
    • 1 bouquet de menthe, émincé
    • Le jus de 2 citrons
    • 4cs d'huile d'olive
    • sel, poivre
    1. Mettre le couscous dans un grand saladier. Verser dessus 300ml d'eau bouillante. Couvrir et laisser gonfler pendant 5 min. Séparer ensuite les grains à la fourchette.
    2. Ajouter les oignons, les tomates, le concombre, les pois chiches et la menthe. Assaisonner avec le jus de citron, l'huile d'olive, du sel et du poivre. Couvrir le saladier avec un couvercle ou du film plastique et mettre au réfrigérateur pendant la nuit. Sortir du réfrigérateur 10min avant de servir.