Sunday, 9 November 2014

Red mullet with fennel, couscous and black olives

Kristof made this for me yesterday:) I had shown him out to make something like that once or twice before, and he did a great job!
Plus, this was not long after being able to eat only soup and yoghurt for 3 days due to gastro-enteritis, so it was really appreciated!

Basically what you need to do:
1. Chop and steam the fennel, for example in a bamboo steaming basket like this one (available from your local Asian supermarket):

This will take the longest, about 20 min of steaming (stab a thick piece of fennel to check if it's done).

2. Unpit the olives and cook the couscous (usually levelling it in a shallow dish and pouring some boiling water for it absorb is enough - Kristof used the steaming water from the fennel for more flavour).

3. Pan fry the red mullets in a little olive oil. Assemble all on a plate and drizzle some more olive oil (we used lemon flavoured olive oil which worked very well with this). Enjoy with a glass of white wine:)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

"Get Well Soon" Chicken Soup

I'm stuck at home with a gastro-enteritis, or as they call it here, "stomach flu".

Unfortunately this is something I tend to get quite a bit (at least once every 2 years, so probably every time there's an epidemic!).
The silver lining is that by now I know how to deal with it! The formula is: lots of rest, lots of water, and only light and "safe" food. That means nothing with fat, too much fibre or spice, basically nothing that can irritate your digestive system further...
The best thing being a nice homemade chicken soup (alternating with some good natural yoghurt for breakfast or tea time).

The soup in the picture above has (for a big pot):
4 carrots 
2 leeks
5 small potatoes
about 600g chicken
about 2l water
2 stock cubes

The only trick here is to add the ingredients according to their cooking time: so first the carrots while you chop the rest of the veggies, then the potatoes, then a bit afterwards the leeks then the chicken.

Note: I'm going for the chicken being tender because it's cooked but not over cooked, as opposed to boiling the heck out of it then simmering for hours to get it tender again. If you want to do that, obviously put in the chicken first then the veggies a good bit later, otherwise they'll be very very limp...

Note 2: If you're worried about not being sure the chicken is cooked through, split the biggest chicken piece to confirm it is, then leave it on another couple of minutes anyway for good measure (if the fire is low and it's only a few minutes extra it won't toughen up too much).

So that was Chicken Soup #1, here's Chicken Soup #2:

This one has:
4 carrots 
2 leeks
100g baby corn
about 600g chicken
a few black Asian mushrooms (didn't see the type on the packaging)
300g rice vermicelli
about 1cm ginger root
about 2l water
2 stock cubes
a small splash of soy sauce

It was also yummy and comforting (and Kristof was happy I had to skip the chilli  peppers this time!).

Of course this all supposes you are not too sick to cook. If you are, maybe you can point your nearest loved one to this page so they can make it for you?:)
And if they need a little bribe, maybe you can promise to make them some muffins or a strawberry tart later in return...

Friday, 31 October 2014

Delicious Pumpkin Soup

This is by far my favourite soup... soft and creamy and comforting... 
It requires a bit of work peeling and cutting the pumpkin, but I think it's really worth it, and the rest is dead easy.

1 small pumpkin or 1/4 of a big pumpkin (jack 'o lantern type)
3 carrots
2 onions
200ml cream
2 stock cubes (or amount needed for 1l of water)

1. Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds and dice it in rough chunks (you're already over the hard part!), add the carrots and onions.

2. Crumble the stock cubes on top of it, add 1 liter of water, and cook until the vegetables are softened (especially the carrots).

3. Add the cream and blend into a soup.
(Optional: decorate with herbes de Provence, seeds, Parmesan, or whatever takes your fancy!)

A cereal/seeds bread is nice to have with it...

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Pan-fried sardines with fennel, courgette and green pepper

More easy and yummy food!! :)

For 2 people, you will need:
- 2 or 3 sardines
- 1 courgette 
- half a fennel
- a green bell pepper
- oil and spices and/or herbs (I used mild pepper flavoured oil that little peppers stuffed with cheese came in -we ate those before dinner, and the oil tasted too good not to use in something- and ras-el-hanout, a traditional Moroccan spice mix)

1. Cut up the veggies and toss them with the oil and spices/herbs.

2. Bake at 230 degrees for 35 min. 
You'll probably want to stir it a bit halfway so it doesn't end up a bit too brown at the top and just about cooked at the bottom like mine...

3. Pan fry the sardines, with a bit of herbs and spices (I added the fennel tops).


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Easy and Yummy Strawberry Tart

Kristof's team takes turns to make cakes for their Show and Tell meeting, every two weeks (a great habit if you ask me!).

This week was his turn, and since I wasn't around to help (Girls' Night!), I gave him some pointers for an easy strawberry tart I made a few years ago for my birthday. Here's the recipe:


1 pie crust (puff pastry or shortbread)
1 basket of strawberries (about 500g)
1kg of mascarpone
vanilla sugar, to taste


1. Unroll the crust in a pie dish, prick it all over with a fork and bake it "blind" according to the packaging's directions (in his case, that was 35min at 210 degrees Celsius).

2. Whisk the vanilla sugar into the mascarpone (Kristof used 4 packs, about 45g, but if you have more of a sweet tooth you might want to add more).

3. When the pie crust has cooled down, fill it with the mascarpone mixture and top it with strawberries.

Ta Dah!

It was yummy and disappeared quite quickly;) 
His colleagues complained that it was bad for their figure (apparently software developers are watching their figure these days!) but still went for seconds and thirds...

And here's the proud cook with his creation:

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Homemade muesli

This is more of a "look how easy it is to do this" than an actual recipe.

I once had homemade muesli in a B&B in Austria, and it was the best muesli I've ever tasted.
After a discussion with my friend/colleague/fellow foodie Shalet as to whether the oats would need to be cooked first, I decided to look it up and try it out.
I used regular oat flakes, and those are fine without prior cooking. With other types of oats (she mentioned steel cut rolled oats, which look pretty different in a google image search), I guess your mileage may vary...

So basically the idea is to just layer the ingredients (your choice of cereals, nuts, seeds, dried fruit...) in the proportions you want, shake, and you're done... 

This is what I used...
You'll probably recognise oat flakes and sunflower seeds, and the thing in the middle is a mix of dried fruits and nuts from the local supermarket (it has dried apples, apricots, cranberries and raisins, plus hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios and almonds).

So here it is:
And done...

And it's very yummy, much nicer than supermarket muesli that sometimes tastes a bit cardboard-y.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Goat cheese, bacon, leek and rosemary quiche

This is the best tasting quiche I've made so far (OK I don't make quiche that often, but that one is really really good!).
I used this as a starting point.


Pie crust (I just use a store bought one, easy peasy)
1 leek
100g bacon (diced)
1 log of goat cheese (about 150-200g)
200g cream cheese
1 egg
a little milk
rosemary (preferably fresh)


1. Preheat the oven to the temperature indicated on the pie crust packaging (mine said 210 degrees -celsius!- but this oven is a bit slow/weak so I set it to 220).
In the meantime, slice your leek, sauté it in a bit of olive oil, and add the bacon when the leek is almost cooked.

2. Cook your pastry "blind" for 10 minutes. This basically means: unroll it in your pie dish, prick it with a fork, and set something kind of heavy on it so the bottom doesn't rise when cooking. The original recipe said to use uncooked rice or pastry weights (I've never come across those!), but I just put a smaller and heavier pie dish on top, on some baking paper to not pile on the washing up!

While this is cooking, whisk the cream cheese, egg and milk, and add some chopped up rosemary.
(I thought I had added way too much milk -a generous splash- but it turned out OK in the end).

3. Get your pastry out of the oven and add the leek and bacon mix, and the egg mix to it. Spread it nice and evenly, then slice the goat cheese and arrange the slices on top of the rest.
You can add a little olive oil and pepper if you want (I'd avoid extra salt, the bacon and goat cheese are salty enough!).

4. Cook it for the remainder of the time indicated on the package, or a little more if like me you went a little heavy on the milk and your oven likes to take its time (that was 25 minutes for me, still at the same temperature).

5. Check that it is actually cooked by sticking a knife into it (not too much stabbing, that'll ruin the look;) ), let it cool down just a little and enjoy!

P.S. That extra milk/extra cooking time thing was totally worth it, it turned out really creamy and light!
P.P.S. The saltiness of the bacon and goat cheese, the soft taste of the leek, the creaminess of the filling, the hint of rosemary... Yum!!! I really hope the rest of it tastes as nice cold tomorrow!

I'm back!!!

Long time no post...

Well I've been fairly busy...

For me, it's been "New Year, New Apartment, New Boyfriend!" Thankfully not "New Job" as well otherwise the stress level would have gone through the roof:)

Well I have since been shifted to another department, so still "New Boss" and "New Job Title"! Still kinda stressful (well not the "New Job Title" part :D ) since we're in a busy period at work, but on the whole I'm very happy:)

And the very busy part mostly comes from having been spending most of my free time repainting my new place, which took way way way longer than anticipated (probably qualifies as an exponential or logarithmic or quadratically increasing or something delay... Yes I'm dating a mathematician, so I've been introduced to quadratically increasing stuff:D Still can't remember for the life of me what a logarithm is though:D ).

Anyway, the painting stories are for another time... Onto recipes and stuff!!