STUFFED CABBAGE - Yottam Ottolenghi’s recipe
I tried this recipe, and have since then adopted it for winter. This is definitely excellent vegetarian comfort food, really easy to prepare and so tasty. The first time I prepared it, I didn’t have any mint; when I tried it with mint the following time, I thought I preferred the version without mint. So there you go, that’s my version of this amazing recipe.
  • Camera: Panasonic DMC-FS3
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Exposure: 1/30th
  • Focal Length: 5mm

STUFFED CABBAGE - Yottam Ottolenghi’s recipe

I tried this recipe, and have since then adopted it for winter. This is definitely excellent vegetarian comfort food, really easy to prepare and so tasty. The first time I prepared it, I didn’t have any mint; when I tried it with mint the following time, I thought I preferred the version without mint. So there you go, that’s my version of this amazing recipe.

ZITE WITH SARDINAS, FENNEL AND RAISINS

This dates back to April. I had this beautiful pasta I had brought back from Naples a year earlier, and these sardinas. I decided to adapt a recipe from the Silver Spoon which uses fresh sardinas. Instead of frying the fish etc, I just used it straight from the box.

The recipe also uses fennel and sultana raisins: the mix was surprising to me, which was one of the reasons I wanted to try this recipe. The result was quite nice!

  1. Soak 25g sultana raisins in warm water.
  2. Boil 200g chopped fennel for 15-20 minutes. When straining, keep the water and set aside. Chop the fennel into smaller pieces.
  3. In a frying pan, fry one chopped onion in a tbsp olive oil for 5min. Add 8 anchovies. Soak the raisins and add them. Add the fennel and 25g pine nuts. Add a bit of saffron (quantity depends on whether you use powder or pistils,  but the taste should be clearly perceptible). Cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
  4. Pre-heat the oven at 200°C. Oil a large oven dish.
  5. Cook 300g pasta (zite are long tubes which need to be broken in smaller pieces in order to be cooked) al dente in boiling water mixed with the water from the fennel. Drain and mix with half the sauce.
  6. In the oven dish, put a layer of pasta, a layer of sardinas (since I used canned sardinas, I didn’t need to fry them first. The recipe says 350g fresh sardinas, I think I used 2 of these small tins), a layer of sauce. Continue until all ingredients are used, with sauce on top. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve as soon as it’s out!
Speaking of artichokes…
The word artichoke comes from the Italian carciofjo, which comes from the Hispano-Roman carchiofa, which itself very likely originates in the Arabic haršûfa. 
Marie Mahler - Artichaut, 2010
Imagier de mots provenant de l’arabe et du françaisEditions du RicochetParu en octobre 2010format des illustrations originales: 20 * 20 cmformat du livre: 15 * 15 cm

Speaking of artichokes…

The word artichoke comes from the Italian carciofjo, which comes from the Hispano-Roman carchiofa, which itself very likely originates in the Arabic haršûfa. 

Marie Mahler - Artichaut, 2010

Imagier de mots provenant de l’arabe et du français
Editions du Ricochet
Paru en octobre 2010
format des illustrations originales: 20 * 20 cm
format du livre: 15 * 15 cm

My first time cooking artichokes! I decided to start with an Italian recipe from the Silver spoon book. Then I got stuck when it came to which part of the artichoke was edible and which wasn’t. After some fumbling on the internet, I thought that only the hearts were usable, so I got rid of most of the leaves, but in the end I think I could have kept more. Peeling the artichokes also involved a lot of lemon so that they didn’t darken too much.

Anyway, here is the recipe:

1. Peel 4-5 artichokes, rub some lemon on them as you go, chop them in small slices, and put them in a salad bowl filled with water and the juice from half a lemon.

2. Heat up a tbsp olive oil in a pan, fry some chopped garlic and parsley. Drain the artichokes and add them. Cover and cook for a few minutes on low heat- Add 2-3 tbsp salted water and cover again.

3. Cook some penne rigate (I used pipe rigate) al dente in salted water. Drain and pour the artichokes on the pasta. Add some pepper before you serve. (I also added some slices of grana padano, just cause I always like some cheese, but it’s entirely optional).

In the end, this dish was quite nice, especially because of the combination of parsley, garlic and pepper. Also, the end result doesn’t look at all the way it looks in the book, so maybe I should try again. I guess next time I’ll try one of the artichokes gratin in that book, maybe the one with artichokes and tuna.

PUMPKIN DRIED TOMATOES AND FETA GRATIN
This is more or less a variation on this recipe,which had turned out a but too dry for my taste. This time it was much better!
So anyway, this time I used pumpkin because I had it at hand, and cooked it in the pressure cooker before roasting everything together.
1. Remove the skin and dice the pumpkin into big cubes. Steam-cook for 10 minutes in a pressure cooker, or 20 minutes if you use something else (I guess you could also boil it but beware that it doesn’t fall into pieces).
2. Meanwhile, soak a handful of dried tomatoes in water and leave them in and pre-heat the oven at 200°C.
3. Chop an onion or some shallots, and heat some oil. Cook them until they are translucent, then set aside.
4. Remove the tomatoes from water and chop them in 2 or 3, and dice roughly 100g feta cheese into small cubes.
5. Once the pumpkin is ready, put it in an oven dish with the onion, the tomatoes, the feta cheese. Add some olive oil and mix it in with the rest. Add some pumpkin seeds on top, and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
Delicious simply with some rice.
  • Camera: Panasonic DMC-FS3
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Exposure: 1/30th
  • Focal Length: 5mm

PUMPKIN DRIED TOMATOES AND FETA GRATIN

This is more or less a variation on this recipe,which had turned out a but too dry for my taste. This time it was much better!

So anyway, this time I used pumpkin because I had it at hand, and cooked it in the pressure cooker before roasting everything together.

1. Remove the skin and dice the pumpkin into big cubes. Steam-cook for 10 minutes in a pressure cooker, or 20 minutes if you use something else (I guess you could also boil it but beware that it doesn’t fall into pieces).

2. Meanwhile, soak a handful of dried tomatoes in water and leave them in and pre-heat the oven at 200°C.

3. Chop an onion or some shallots, and heat some oil. Cook them until they are translucent, then set aside.

4. Remove the tomatoes from water and chop them in 2 or 3, and dice roughly 100g feta cheese into small cubes.

5. Once the pumpkin is ready, put it in an oven dish with the onion, the tomatoes, the feta cheese. Add some olive oil and mix it in with the rest. Add some pumpkin seeds on top, and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

Delicious simply with some rice.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH-ALMOND-CURRY SOUP

I heard about this recipe from someone who owns a Thermomix (which is apparently a great kitchen appliance that does more or less everything). After some googling around, I found a recipe which I then adapted for my Thermomix-less kitchen. It’s delicious.


1. Wash and chop a leek into pieces. Dice a butternut squash into big cubes.

2. Heat a tbsp olive oil in a big pot or a pressure cooker, and sauté the leek for a minute. Add 30g almond powder and a tsp or 2 curry powder. Mix and cook for a minute.

3. Add the pieces of butternut with a pint of stock (the recipe says beef stock, I used vegetable stock). Cover and cook for 10 minutes with a pressure cooker, 20 with a normal pot (check that the butternut is soft enough).

4. Mix everything using for example a hand blender. Season with some salt.

You can add some roasted sliced almonds for decoration (I didn’t have any at home).

Umami: why the fifth taste is so important

An interesting article about the “fifth taste” and cultural dimensions of taste, even in defining the basics. Apparently parmesan might be “the most umami ingredient in western cookery”.

"The strong savoury flavour that makes everything from spag bol to Marmite so hard to resist may serve a vital evolutionary purpose. We could even use it to fight malnutrition."

Although I don’t like marmite.

I’m not sure I would identify that taste easily. The article mentions gravy and soy sauce. I wonder if that’s the taste that comes with deglazing salty sauces with vinegar or wine…

BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH BACON AND SHALLOTS

Brussel sprouts were daunting: the only time I had eaten them since the days of school-canteen (needless to say I didn’t eat many at the time), it was at the house of an elderly lady - and very good cook - who put them in a very simple yet delicious soup. Other than that, I had only heard about them, about how difficult it was to get them right etc etc.


But after seeing the at the market for the whole winter, I decided I should give them a shot before the season is over. I looked up a few recipes (Cooksister has a bunch of interesting recipes) , and decided that for my first try, I would add some strong tastes which I was certain to like. Thus I included some bacon, and cooked some potatoes with melted cheese on the side. It wasn’t a complete failure - I think I might have slightly overcooked the sprouts, but not too much - so next time I’ll try a lighter recipe. In any case, here is what I did.

1. Clean the Brussel sprouts and steam-cook them for 6 minutes in the pressure cooker (it said 8 minutes, but I left them only 6 so that I could sauté them afterwards).

2. Start heating a pan and put 100g diced bacon in. Chop a big shallot and add once the shallot is translucent.

3. Chop some garlic. Once the sprouts are ready, rinse them with some cool water and cut them in halves. Add the garlic and the sprouts in the pan.

4. Cover for one minute. Turn the sprouts halves, cover and leave for one more minute.

It’s ready!

A WINTER CLASSIC WITH A TWIST: LEEK-POTATO SOUP with GINGER AND CORIANDER.


I got a pressure-cooker for Christmas, and I am so happy about it! A good “cocotte-minute” is a staple in a French kitchen. In any case, I can make soup really quickly now.

I’m not a big fan of leeks, but I started really liking this soup once I tried it with a few spices in. I cook my own version with some ginger and coriander.

Proportions are for 4-5 persons.


1. Start heating a pot with a little piece of butter and a drop of oil on the stove at almost maximum heat. Slice 1 onion and simmer.

2. Add 3 washed and sliced leeks, including the leaves. Simmer for a few minutes. Add 2 tsp ground ginger and a bit of water if necessary.

3. Peel 3 rather big potatoes and cut them in big cubes. Add to the pot, and mix everything together. Add some salt.

4. Add 2 litres of water and put the pressure cooker on. Cook for 10 minutes after the pot is under pressure.

5. Open and mix everything with a mixer. Add water if necessary. Add 1-2tbsp of ground coriander, or a bit more depending on your taste.

Et voilà! A nice meal, quite rich so you don’t necessarily need to eat bread with it. It goes well with some cheese (it’s some Savoyard cheese on the picture, thanks to my friend-the-living-encyclopedia-of-vegetables), which you can put in the soup to melt if you like or eat on the side.

SQUASH AND POTATO CRUMBLE
This is delicious, served with meat or with a spinach salad - or both.
Peal 4-5 medium-sized potatoes and chop them in 4 pieces each. Peal and chop an equivalent chunk of squash. Steam cook.
Heat the oven at 180-200°C.
Prepare the crumble: mix 100g chopped butter, 100g flour, 50g rolled oats, and 50g roasted pumpkin seeds, 2 pinches of salt, and some fried onions to add extra crunchiness.
Put the potatoes and squah in an oven dish, add 2 pinches of salt and 2 pinches of powder chili. Mix well. Cover with the crumble mix, and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • Camera: Panasonic DMC-FS3
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Exposure: 1/30th
  • Focal Length: 5mm

SQUASH AND POTATO CRUMBLE

This is delicious, served with meat or with a spinach salad - or both.

  1. Peal 4-5 medium-sized potatoes and chop them in 4 pieces each. Peal and chop an equivalent chunk of squash. Steam cook.
  2. Heat the oven at 180-200°C.
  3. Prepare the crumble: mix 100g chopped butter, 100g flour, 50g rolled oats, and 50g roasted pumpkin seeds, 2 pinches of salt, and some fried onions to add extra crunchiness.
  4. Put the potatoes and squah in an oven dish, add 2 pinches of salt and 2 pinches of powder chili. Mix well. Cover with the crumble mix, and bake for 20-30 minutes.

CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT PIE

And a dessert again. After all, it’s still the season of dinner parties, and this is an easy and impressive dessert.

The dough is made after an adapted recipe by Pierre Hermé (proportions are for 2 pies, but you can easily freeze half of the dough):

  1. Work on 150g butter so as to get a cream - or simply melt the butter.
  2. Add 95g icing sugar, 2 pinches of salt, and 30g almond powder and mix.
  3. Add 1 egg and mix.
  4. Add 250g flour, mixing and then working the dough with your hands.
  5. Work into a ball, cover it with a plastic film and leave it in the fridge for 4 hours.

For the chocolate:

  1. Slowly heat 50g sugar with a drop of water. Chop 100g hazelnuts and pour them in the caramel so as to coat them.
  2. Boil 20cl liquid cream. Pour into a salad bowl and add 200g dark chocolate (I use 70%), mix until it melts. Add 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks. Mix.

To prepare the pie:

  1. Heat oven to 200°C. Roll half of the pastry out (freeze the rest or use for another pie) and line a tart tin. Line the tart case with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake for 15 mins. Remove the baking beans and reduce the heat to 180°C.
  2. Pour the hazelnuts, then the chocolate mix and cook for 15 more minutes.
  3. It’s ready! You can add hazelnuts on top of the pie for decoration.