Monday, 26 November 2012


We have made a lot of snacks yesterday for our aperif with friends.  Here are some ideas.

Tulips from Amsterdam

Only for the patient chefs!

13 Large cherry tomatoes
14 Stalks of chives
200g Cottage cheese or other soft white cheese
1 Cucumber (optional)
½ Teaspoon dried basil (optional)

Salt and pepper

Tip: Use a piping bag (we didn't think of it)

Time consuming, buy de-stoned dades

We filled the dades with goat cheese and wrapped them in bacon.
About 15 minutes in the oven and you'll have a lovely bite.


The eggs were filled besides the egg yolk with red pesto and a mix of yoghurt and mayonaise.


Cherry tomatoes and black olives make really cute lady birds. Base is made up of sliced baguettes, cream cheese, smoked salmon and flat leafed parsley. Dots on body can be ground black pepper or cut pieces of olives and the eyes are dots of cream cheese.

Children like to help with this dish

Mix of brochettes (see marinades on this blog)

Marinade for Chinese chicken brochettes

I do like Asian food a lot, so this marinade for chicken goes well on it's own or as a side dish.

For the marinade:

A handfull of fresh coriander
2 cm of fresh ginger (to be grated)
6 Table spoons of soy sauce (Ketjap for the Dutch readers)
1 Tea spoon of honey
1 Tea spoon of mustard
1 Tea spoon of 5 herbs (you'll get this powder mixture in supermarkets)

2 Hours in the fridge

Marinade for Lemon Chicken

I have made the marinade for chicken, but you can use pork mignon as well.

For the marinade:
2 Lemons, use the juice and the zest
Little hand full of fresh thyme
8 Table spoons of olive oil
Salt and Pepper

2 Hours in the frigde.

Marinade for Salmon and Chorizo brochettes

Maybe a somewhat unusual combination salmon and chorizo together on a stick, but actually it works.

For the marinade:Juice of a lemon or lime
8 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Teaspoon of Colombo* powder
Salt and Pepper

2 Hours in the fridge

If you -just like me- don't have 'Colombo powder', then these are the ingredients to make your own. Just take from everything a little bit and taste.

Cumin seeds
Coriander seeds
Mustard seeds pref. black
Black peppercorns
Fenugreek seeds
Whole cloves

Marinade for Langoustine and Tomatoe brochettes

Yesterday we had some friends over for an 'apéro' and we decided to marinade chicken and fish. So here is the first one.

For langoustines/crevettes and tomatoes:

Juice of 1 lemon
8 Table spoons of olive oil
4 Branches of basil
Salt and Pepper

The marinated brochettes need 1 hour in the fridge.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Chilli Jam

Last week I have been on a cooking course run by the famous food writer for various BBC magazines Mary Cadogan who lives in the Charente with her husband. One of my favorite recipes is to make Chilli Jam (for the Dutch readers: sambal saus maar dan veel minder pittig).

Shopping list:
1 kg Ripe tomatoes
15 gr Root ginger
5 Cloves garlic
4 Red chillies  (rode pepertjes)
300 ml Cider vinegar
350 gr Granulated sugar
1 Teaspoon salt

Either puree the tomatoes in a food processor and press through a sieve OR
make into passata in a tomato passata machine. You need 800 ml of passata.

Chop the tomatoes roughly and put them in a large pan.
Bring gently to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring.
With the seeds in it
Roughly chop the ginger, garlic and chillies. (leave the seeds in the chillies for even spicier jam)
Puree in a spice mill or electric chopper.
Put all the ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil, stirring.
Boil for 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently until the jam is thick and pulpy.

Pot into warm sterilised jars, seal and label.

Mary at work, with her husband doing the washing up :-)
Making this in the morning, is having the jam for dinner :-)

The jam goes very well with Nasi, Rice (Chinese/Indonesian dishes), grills, cold meats, barbecues,
or as I like it as a dip with prawn crackers (kroepoek).

Information about cooking in France: Tasting France

Friday, 14 September 2012

Hotpot, the James Martin version

This is his book you can find this recipe in
Ham, Potato, Leek and Herb Chef James Martin


1 red onion
peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves
peeled and finely chopped
2 small leeks (poirots)
cleaned and sliced
225 gr. real butter
200 ml white wine
500 ml fresh stock (ham or chicken / or cubes)
450 gr. new potatoes
550 gr cooked ham, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper to taste
65 gr each of chopped fresh herbs, basil, parsley, chives, coriander
Baguette to serve

Use 55 gr of the butter, sauté the onion, garlic and leeks in a large pan until soft
Add wine, stock, potatoes, ham and cook for 5-10 minutes
Drain off the liquid, keeping the meat and vegetables warm, gently simmer the liquid adding the rest of the butter. Do not boil.
Put all ingredients back in the sauce and season. To finish add all the chopped fresh herbs.  Serving it very hot with some French bread.

Bon appetit!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Disasters in the kitchen

Having read about all successes now there a 2 things happened that weren't so successful. Yesterday my husband and daughter decided -a bit late- to cook together for the family. When they finally got the menu sorted, the porc got out of the freezer and in need to be defrosted in the microwave. Darren arranged it but after half a minute, I heard the bleep and calling answer (later I understood that he was ironing). So I put another 30 seconds on the timer and still deep frozen, so I decided to give it some more minutes and yes guess what? The porc was almost cooked...yek so thrown away.  Luckily there was still 1 pizza left and a fish dish but it wasn't as good and/or as much as we thought.

Now today, I have learnt another lesson. Always and I mean always write down what you put in the freezer. I thought I would remember it....but....  As I prefer to eat fresh things, my freezer isn't that full, however, I was running very behind tonight and I thought oh this looks like soup and I had a whole loaf of French bread (bought too much for the guests today) so my meal was set.   Well when defrosting the lump of  ice (don't worry in a pan on the hob) and tasting it, I can't believe that I have frozen it, it's a sort of greasy stock that taste like nothing!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Kroketten, a Dutch speciality

the roux
When living abroad there are things in life food wise that you can miss from time to time. For us, yes even Darren and Fleur like them, it's a 'Kroket'.  Thank you Natascha and Pepijn who own a hotel in Germany Haus am Berg for sharing their recipe.

You will get about 20 Kroketten out of this amount. They freeze easily.
Meat + parsley mixture

Shopping list:

1 kg Beef (not the highest quality)
3 Cubes for stock (meat)
3 Laurel leafs
5 Table spoons of fresh parsley
100 gr Real butter
100 gr Flour
3 Eggs
200 gr Breadcrumbs
Pepper, Salt and Nutmeg according to taste
Oil for the fryer

And now the hard work!

Cut the meat in small junks
Bring 1.2 ltr water with the cube, laurel and the meat to boil.
Lower the heat and let the meat get cooked, this will take about 1 hour.
Cut the parsley (I did it in the small kitchen machine)
Seave the stock, you need about 6 dl (Keep some extra if needed later)
Get the meat out of the pan and cut it very fine (I've used the kitchen machine again)
Little fingers helping

Now we are going to make the stew.

Melt the butter in a pan and stir the flour in (I have seaved the flour first to avoid lumps)
for 2 minutes.
Then pour half of the stock until you get a smooth sauce. Keep stirring, it's getting harder!
Then add the other half of the stock bit by bit, keep stirring.
Add the parsley and meat, keep stirring for another 2 minutes.
Season with a little nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Take a large bowl and add the mixture, which need to be cooled down before it has to go in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
If possible put the bowl outside if cold enough or indoors in the coolest part of the house (time saving).

When the mixture is cold and firm.

Mix 2 eggs with a little bit of water.
Put the breadcrumbs on a flat plate.
Cut the meat mixture in little rolls (kroketten) and roll through the breadcrumbs.
Then roll through the eggs and again through the breadcrumbs.

Heat fryer till 180 degrees and add maximum 4 kroketten at the same time, for about 4 minutes.
Serve on white loaf of bread with some mustard. Or as we did with chips.
The final result

The kroketten you don't use immediately, will freeze easily. When you fancy another kroket, put the frozen ones in the fryer, but on 150 degrees, otherwise it's hot outside but still cold inside.

Eet smakelijk!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Leek, Carrot and Potato soup

My husband has the name that he's a real soup liker, easy to please and winter soups are hearthy and easy to make. Today I have made a typical English one, but of course with my own twist. A generous portion for 4 persons.

Shopping list:
250 gr Leeks
300 gr Carrots
300 gr Potatos (I have used small ones, but any will do but as long as they are firm ones)
Vegetable stock (2 cubes or fresh)
50 gr Butter (real one is the best)
Ginger (little bit from root or use powder) *
Garlic (fresh or use powder) *
Fresh herbs (I had parsely and rosemary in garden, so I used that).

Wash and cut in slices the leeks, carrots and potatos.
Melt 50 gram butter in a pan
Add leeks and carrots and stirr regularly for 10 minutes
Then add about 1.5 liter vegetable stock
Add the potatos, the ginger and garlic
Bring it to the boil and lower the heat for about 20 minutes.
Add the fresh herbs
Within 5 minutes I've mashed the soup a bit with the mixer,
but I'd like to see some of the ingredients too in my bowl, so don't do it all.

* I found a ginger/garlic grinder; 2 in 1  but that's probably hard to find.

Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with Sigognaise bread (baguette will do)....
The Sigognaise bread you can only get at our local baker in Sigogne :-)

As you noticed I didn't add salt / pepper.... I'm not so fond of pepper and
with the stock cubes you have to becareful they are quite salty. Of course

it's up to you!