Summer holiday series: 6. Quiche roquefort et poire (Pear and roquefort quiche)

On the fourth evening, I ventured out of the Donna Hay zone and into one called “New Bistro” by Fran Warde (http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Bistro-Fran-Warde/dp/1845333306). We had some pears in the fruit bowl and I knew the local supermarket had some roquefort so I thought – why not. The recipe was simple except for the making of the pastry that held the quiche (quiche shell). This was made even more difficult by the fact that the place we were staying in didn’t have a pie/tart dish. So I improvised with a frying pan and it worked out to my amazement.

The pear and roquefort  quiche had a crispy crust despite me overfilling it. The inside was soft, light, salty because of the cheese and sweet because of the pear. It might sound weird when described, but it was a taste sensation worth experiencing. I thought so despite not being a huge fan of blue-vein cheese. Do try it and tell me what you think!

To finish this meal off, we had some chocolate orange mousse which I will describe in my next recipe.

Pear roquefort tart with some local walnut bread

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Summery holiday series: 5. Home-made gnocchi in tomato sauce

THIS RECIPE IS NOT MY OWN !!

Having lived in Melbourne for a while, I’d become used to the fact that a decent gnocchi was a tram-ride or a short walk away. Now having been in small-town England for a while, this is no longer true. I have to make what I want in my kitchen with what I can find here. It’snot too bad and thanks to food giants  like Tesco, raw ingredients are easy to come by.

I came across this recipe one evening. I’d returned home from work as usual and my partner was going to be slightly late coming home so I thought “Why not make something a little more time-consuming?”. I can’t say I’ve eaten a gnocchi since I left Melbourne so I decided to query my fellow word-pressers for a recipe. Silvia’s recipe looked simple, achievable and tasty and that’ s exactly what it turned out to be. I passed it on to a colleague at work and I know she enjoyed it too.

When we were on holiday in France, I saw that we had potatoes and some parsley. It was very easy to find some dry white wine and a can of tomatoes and voilà, dinner was sorted for that evening. Where we were wasn’t parmesan territory so we used the same yummy sheep’s cheese  as I did in the Summer spaghetti recipe. My partner’s mum made the sauce and I the gnocchi.

 

Source: Silvia http://silviascucina.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/gnocchi-allaglione-home-made-gnocchi-with-tuscan-garlic-tomato-sauce/

Potato-carrot gnocchi with sheep’s cheese

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Summer holiday series: 4. Baked peaches and nectarines with a macaroon topping

I’m in love with French peaches. Normally, I keep a safe distance from peaches because they are furry on the outside (yep, I have texture issues) and I always found nectarines to be sweeter. Until I came to France of course. The peaches here are amazing – juicy, sweet and slightly tart at the same time and so full of flavour. The nectarines on the other hand are juicy but not so sweet and taste rather watery. Between us we have gone through well over a dozen peaches in about 3 days.

Continuing on with the summer holiday series, this was the dessert course for our fancy dinner on one of the holiday evenings. I found the recipe in a Donna Hay book but I couldn’t find it again. So this recipe is a recollection of the steps I followed in making the dish.

The hardest part of this recipe was to beat egg whites to a soft peak by hand as our house didn’t come with an electric blender. It was a good upper arm work out for sure. The recipe called for some Cointreau but we didn’t have any so I used something called “Appertif de Noix” which I read is a walnut wine (http://frenchholiday.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/walnut-aperitif-aperitif-de-noix/). I thought it worked well while being subtle and allowing the flavour of the fruit their full right to shine.

Try this simple yet elegant recipe and enjoy!

Peaches and nectarines with macaroon topping,  served ona bed of melon with custard. Looks like a smiley face doesn’t it ?

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Summer holiday series: 3. Summer spaghetti with zucchini and cherry tomatoes

Having polished off the Red Capsicum-Tomato dip and walnut bread very quickly, we got to work on the main and dessert. This recipe for summer spaghetti is one I made up as I went. My partner and his mum physically put this together so I won’t take credit for it. My contributions were the the roasting of the vegetables and calling out the ingredients off the top of my head while beating egg whites for dessert. It was a lot of fun working together in the lovely kitchen and the end result was yummy!

While one would typically grate/shave parmesan over spaghetti, we thought we’d use the local cheeses Cabecou and Rocamadour instead.They are little, round, lovely sheep and goat’s milk cheeses. Easy to digest and very very tasty – better still, we bought it straight from the “Fermier” or farmer at the local market. You can have it on your sandwich, in an omlette, over pasta or just on its own. I’ll have to go on a hunt for some in England – Maybe Ocado will have it !

I’ll stop my banter now and give you the recipe. Hope you try it and if you like it, do let me know at canwehavesomerasam@gmail.com 🙂

Summer spaghetti…

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Summer holiday series: 2. Red capsicum/pepper and tomato dip

Cooking is my favourite form of relaxation. It makes me really really happy and completely relieves all my daily stresses. When on holiday, it’s even better as I have all the time in the world to plan, shop, prepare and present food and share it with those dear to me. This holiday has been no different. As I mentioned before, I’m joint queen of a rather wonderful kitchen with all modern appliances, cool pull-out drawers and cookbooks to last me a lifetime. Given these luxuries, I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in the kitchen. Not to mention, it is the coolest (temperature wise) part of the house.

Last time I told you about a Hurry Burry Curry. That was dinner for four one evening. The next evening, I thought we’d have something more fancy. Some sort of self-inmposed challenge with French food being so pretty and tasty. One thing that French food is frequently not and my food almost always is, is vegetarian! The menu on this fine summer evening ended up being a 3-course meal with the following items accompanied by a lovely bottle of Malbec that my partner’s dad had bought earlier in the week.

Starter: Red capsicum and tomato dip with Walnut bread
Main: Summer spaghetti with zucchini and cherry tomatoes
Dessert: Peaches and nectarines baked with a macaroon topping

I will share these recipes with you over the next 3 posts. Hope you try them and like them!

This recipe is a Donna Hay classic from a magazine published many years ago. I’ve made some modifications to it – some out of necessity and some out of curiosity. The walnut bread that we had with the dip was from the local village bakery.

Red capsicum and tomato chunky dip

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Summer holiday series: 1. Hurry burry hot curry!

WARNING!! THIS RECIPE DOES NOT HAVE ANY PICTURES!

Once again, I apologise for being away for a bit. In my defence, I’m having a lovely holiday in France with my partner and his parents. We are in this lovely house with an awesome kitchen. I cannot resist awesome kitchens. So I’ve been taking full advantage of it every evening and have been trying to produce meals using local produce/locally available produce every evening. The next few recipes will hopefully capture this. Of course, they tend to be cheese and butter heavy so not a very vegan-friendly territory.

One thing I’m very grateful for is the endless patience, encouragement and help I get from my partner and his parents (my partner’s mum especially) while I slowly try and work my way through this foreign kitchen and with not as many spices/ingredients as I’m used to in my own. The house came with a bazillion cook books including a whole “Donna Hay” series. For those who don’t know Donna Hay, she’s an Australian food stylist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Hay) and you can spend many hours just drooling over her magazines. I have to say, the magazines don’t just have a pretty face but the recipes work – just like that. It is very rare for me not to tinker with existing recipes. With Donna Hay recipes, one can (and I do most of the time) follow them like gospel.

“Hurry burry hot curry” – it was a silly phrase we called out as kids in India. I can’t say very many of us stopped to think what it meant. All we knew was that it rhymed and we thought that was hilarious and giggled a lot. Kids these days are a lot smarter than we used to be. Anyway, this curry was put together in a little bit of a hurry and is served hot. All the ingredients/spices I used were what I found in the house’s pantry. I served this curry pulao made with whole spices. Hope you like it. The next few recipes will have pictures – I promise.

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My take on a vegetarian moussaka

Those who have seen “My big fat Greek wedding” might remember the scene when the other kids in school mock Nia Vardalos’ lunch calling it “Mous-ka-ka”. I thought it was hilariously cruel (it’s easy to make me laugh at silly things shall we say). So I decide to run around the house on evening announcing that I was going to make a Vegetarian mous-ka-ka and my partner looked at me like I’d lost it. Clearly, he hasn’t watched the movie.

This Greek dish has forever eluded me as I can’t say I’ve come across any restaurant posing a vegetarian moussaka.So I decided to take matters into my own hands and create one for dinner. First stop – the interwebs. Thanks to my fellow wordpress-ers  or wordpress-ites, I found some rather good recipes. My recipe is mainly inspired by the following two recipes http://www.culinaryadventuresinthekitchen.com/2012/02/08/785/ and http://oolongrouge.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/my-big-fat-vegetarian-moussaka/. I’d made pizza for dinner the day before mousakka Sunday so I decided to salvage some of the leftover vegetables into the dish.

Hope you like it!

Vegetarian moussaka

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