Monday, 13 August 2012
As the Olympics draw to their end,
this DesperateAngloHousewife is wondering where her next wee buzz will be coming from....
I know I should be having a good old rant about sportsmanship, international cooperation and team spirit but instead I am going to be completely honest. ...All those bodies beautiful!
Am I the only 40-something who has been blowing bubbles into her Chardonnay during the men's diving?
Was I the only creature on the planet who was reaching for the smelling salts as the men swimmers came out announced and pranced across to their starting block whilst unzipping their sweatshirts to reveal not just the most heavenly of six packs but also shoulders to weep over?
Of course one can wax lyric over the grace of the pole vaulting, the panther speed of Mr Bolt, the incredible concentration of the archers, the tenacity of the walkers...
Did anyone else notice the female athletes, their tone and all of that in their " undies?" I did have a moment's fantasy of myself sprinting around the circuit in my Marks and Spencer's hipster knickers.. An image far too scary to dwell on or render public for that matter.
Time for a walk methinks...
Friday, 3 August 2012
What makes this Desperate Anglo Housewife rant, rave, stomp, pull out her hair...?
You guessed it, more bad customer service.
Just how hard is it to train shop staff in this country to be polite, respectful, to leave their condescending attitudes at home!
End of sales, picture the left over stock, all marked right down to clear.
I walk into a shop in Bordeaux looking for summer trousers. Find a couple of quite ordinary ones, good for work, marked down by 70%...this was not haute couture.I'm talking BASIC pants!
Roll up to checkout...
Shopgirl ( herein, SG)," We have some lovely little summer tops that would go with these."
Moi, " No thanks" (smile politely)
SG, " There's some great shirts that would match too"
Moi, " No thanks" ( smile slightly)
SG ,"Do you need some blazers? Accessories...?"
Moi, " No thanks" ( smile dissipates....)
10 second pause.
SG, " You are just so lucky to be buying these pants."
Moi, " ? "
SG, " They are just superb and aren't you just SO LUCKY to have found them"
SG, " Honestly dear I can't begin to tell you how lucky you are to have got these, they have been that popular" blah blah blah more more more of the same.
Moi, all zen gone, " No YOU are lucky I am buying them. YOU are lucky I walked in to your shop!YOU are lucky I am helping empty your shop of your clearance stock!"
Cultural differences ?
Thursday, 26 July 2012
Time out, alone, is a rare commodity for most of us.
Having had a few of life's bigger challenges thrown at me this year, I felt it was time to take my own self into hand. When life gets tough we do let ourselves go...well, I do.
Like most women I go I go I go I go I go and then, I flop! I admit to being totally in awe of the majority of my women friends who seem to cope so well with anything. But that again is a "woman's lot"...we have to continue, there is simply no choice. We might be living in more modern times but let's be honest - who deals with the kids, the washing, the cooking, the daily grind...?
I don't know about you, but there are days where I start my mantra before I even jump on my bike to go home. Yes, that's me you've probably seen whizzing along the Bordeaux quays in a black power-suit, chignon and pearls chanting chardonnay chardonnay chardonnay chardonnay! But frankly life is pretty sad when the only highlight in your day is the first sip of chardonnay before you start cooking, laundrey, etc etc, only to find yourself falling into bed at 11pm with the glass of chardonnay tepid and far from unfinished on the kitchen bench.
Now that alot of us have children who are getting older and more independant it is time to do something for ourselves. By "something for ourselves" I don't mean lunch out and a bikini wax - I am talking about a week out from family and work and ALONE! Turn off your mobiles and get going girls!!
I have taken myself off on a Qi Gong retreat*. A week of daily classes, learning something new. Great food, sun, relaxation, local culture and delightful company. I do feel rather sorry for the Qi Gong teacher having been landed with what could only be called Mrs Bean...picture this Desperate Anglo Housewife on her hands and knees, bum skyward, trying to get up off the ground upwards with one fluid movement. Just lift from your posterior madam, says the poor chap. Honestly, how can he even begin to imagine I can lift upwards from an area which weighs more than my brain.Impossible!
Classes have been punctuated by twice weekly full body deep tissue massage from which you emerge in, what can only be described as, euphoria.
Having refound who I am this week, I just want to shout out to all women out there to go out and do the same thing. It doesn't matter where you go or what you do- the important ingredient is just to go!
Considered as a classic provençale speciality, a " Tian" explodes with summer vitality. Easy to make with all the summer veg, it is a dream teamed up with grilled fish and copious amounts of crisp provençale rosé.
2 yellow and 2 green new season's corgettes, sliced
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
2 large red onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 small aubegine, sliced
olive oil, salt petter,
lemon zest to finish
Chop up all veg and basically let your artistic kitchen goddess shine through...I start by a bed of chopped onion and olive oil topped with layered vegetables. Lots of salt and pepper, chopped herbs and scattering of lemon zest, a drizzle of oil and into the oven 180° for 20 minutes and then another hour at 160°.
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Thursday, 5 April 2012
Time for a rant!
What is it about me and getting bad salads?
How is it possible in this culinary capital that one can simply not find decent salads.
Further, why is it that restaurants will not own up to their inept efforts?
Do they not need to keep their clients?
This week at a very well known and popular Bordeaux Italian eatery, this Desperate Anglo Housewife, in keeping with her spring purge, ordered a salad. It was called " Fresh Pasta Salad " and was described as assorted lettuces, fresh pasta, mozzarella, tuna, tomato, pesto..."
The restaurant in question has the Italian food lovers lining up for hours to sit down to their fabulous pizzas, mixed antipasti plates etc.With their fame and success perhaps they have lost touch with the reality of customer service and a perfected menu?
I have been going there for years and years and have never had a reason to complain. Their pizzas are frankly fabulous and their desserts, wonderful. They have a great wine cellar.
My friends and I did note a certain drop in the table set up...where have the pepper and salt mills gone? Why are there plastic Cerebos salt and pepper packs straight of the grocer shelf on the table...not a good look!! Cheap!
Back to my lunch...my companions' steaming pizzas arrived and then came my salad.
Served on a flat plate was a couple of very boring chopped iceberg lettuce leaves, a handful of overcooked white pasta, a sprinkle of crumbled tuna ( say, a tablespoon at tops) and as for the mozzarella another tablespoon of mozzarella "micro-crumbs" no slices at all. Let's not forget the 2 half cherry tomatos. No pesto, no seasoning, no colour. Game over!!
A bottle of vinegar and one of olive oil were unceremoniously plonked in front of me. I nearly asked for a bowl,whisk and apron!
I had a couple of mouthfuls of what only could be described as overpriced, tasteless disappointment. I very politely asked the waitress to take it away stating that it really was not what I had expected and held no interest whatsoever. I foolishly apologised about 20 times!
She kindly asked me if I would like something else. I declined..actually, I was really embarrased as I have always loved eating there.
When we went to pay I was rather surprised to see my "salad" still on the bill. I said to the chap at the checkout, very quietly, that actually I had sent it back as "it wasn't up to your usual standards"...and then came the " client is king" in reverse..
"Oh but it is my favourite salad," he said. I smiled at him and said " Yes, But I am the client." "We serve 400 people a day and noone has ever complained" he retorted, clearly having no intention of any gesture of goodwill towards a client of many years.
Well guess that will be 399 clients now!
And back to France where the client is NEVER king and yet another restaurant to strike off my list.
Time for some comfort food.
Always a total pushover for roasted chicken I also love cooking Coquelet...wee baby chooks. They are quick to roast and succulent to boot.
Bay Leaf and Lemon Roasted Coquelet
1 cup good quality ground pork
6 - 7 dried apricots
fresh bay leaves
3 lemons - one zested.
half a cup fresh bread crumbs
dry white martini
Put ground pork, pistachios, apricots, lemon zest, salt and pepper, bread crumbs in a food processor and zap until uniform. Stuff your birds. Cut one lemon in half and use this as a "plug" for the stuffing....sounds grotesque but will infuse beautifully.
Massage each bird with olive oil, salt and pepper and squeeze over juice of third lemon.
Tuck fresh bay leaves under wings or legs.
Place in roasting dish and pour in dry white martini to about 2 cm height. This will stop birds from drying out and will add to perfumes.
Roast at 180° until golden and juices run clear.
Serve with mountains of garlic-roasted potatos and fresh mesclun salad.
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
For the last 2 years I have ranted and "tantied" about Spring in France,the mince mince mince ( slim slim slim) brigade.
This year Desperate Anglo Housewife is joining in.. her own way.
So what is the Spring purge all about?
What can I say...I have found my "inner bitch"!!
Before you quickly click off this page, because you are convinced I have completely lost all sense of humour and have become some kind of fitness fanatic, I should probably confess that its 5pm and I'm sitting outside in 23° with my first Pimms of the season. Yes, I know it is a bit early but I have a very valid excuse - if I don't get in my Pimms now the children will drink all the lemonade!! Besides it is packed full of vitamins and minerals..cucumber, lemon, orange etc.
I was ranting on about my general lack of fitness, motivation and tone ( wobble wobble wobble) to my oldest friend back in NZ. She told me about a book which will change my perspective on walking, running, gym-ing, etc. It's called Run Fat Bitch Run...I kid you not!
Written by an English woman ( who also lived in France!!), Ruth Field, this book flies far north of motivational. She downs all fancy sports wear, expensive gyms, faddy diets, star-approved weight loss programmes, places where you lie on your back and meditate to the backdrop of patchouli scented candles....She doesn't dress up getting fit as "fun" but as "hard"...
This is going to be hard, she writes, you are going to start enjoying hard, embracing hard. Hard is the new black.It is a book for those who are unhappy with their body ( me me me me!!) not for fitness freaks. It aims to get us all off the couch, away from the computer, into comfortable walking/running gear and out the door!
Ruth teaches you how to run, forget dieting ( running is your diet!) and to make friends with your "inner bitch" to motivate you ( that was the easiest part for me)... I have been standing in front of the mirror in my undies snarling fat bitch fat bitch fat bitch at myself until I get on my vintage running shoes and sloth out the house.
The idea is start with a walking circuit of an hour and a half and then slowly getting into running pieces of it. Even I, the ultimate non-runner, have been breaking into a trot-like-run thing. I won't be doing the New York Marathon but I feel great.
Weight coming off a little but, best of all, I am beginning to feel better about my shape. I really really really HATE running but as Ruth says, You will hate runs from start to finish. The pleasure is from the fact that you have run!!
Well now I have to sign off as my inner bitch is whispering in my ear to get off my fat arse and get moving..
Friday, 16 March 2012
- an older man.
Bordeaux was fortunate enough to have one of the top Chopin pianists in town last week...Yundi Li.
He won the Chopin piano comps in 2000 so really pulls in the Chopin crowd...moi included.
The concert, at Bordeaux's magnificent Grand Theatre ( where the seats were never intended for anglosaxon bottoms!!) was preceeded by an announcement that there would be a slight change to the programme. The second half mazurkas and sonta were to be replaced by The Peking Melodies.
Although I am the first to admit that I was disappointed, I was really horrifed when people started to jeer and whistle.
My greatest concern was for the sensitive pianist backstage.
Imagine coming out on stage to that for a welcome!
The crowd was quickly won over by 5 beautifully interpreted nocturnes etc etc.
This desperate anglo housewife was moved to tears.
On with the second half.
Artist walks on stage and about 50 people start yelling , Chopin, Chopin Chopin...
Ah the well-bred Bordelais!! I was mortified.
He played one Peking Melody and after judging the wrath of the audience flew into a sonata and other Chopin pieces. He maintained his poise and god only knows how.
There were 4 encores but the best bit was after the first encore...Yundi walked back on stage, turned to the audience and said in english, "Chinese folksong"..before playing yet another Peking Melody.I love his audacity and sense of humour...
I doubt whether Yundi Li will be visiting Bordeaux again.
Our loss but definitely not his.
Monday, 20 February 2012
Buds on the trees, no more snow.
Spring is in the air.
Time to start starving myself, depriving myself of those extra grease-filled calories so that I am brave enough to put on a swimsuit in public..2 months and counting!
But that's not all.
This is also the time of the year when I start slinking past the estheticians checking out the waxing prices...OUCH!
Being quite " fair" this was one of life's tortures I managed to get away from for a very long time. But now at 40-something,there's no running, just screaming!!
The french are obsessed with waxing. If its got hair, wax it!
I remember, with horror, the first trip to the local salon d'epilation..I was there for a mere eye-brow tweak. A woman, who resembled the Brunhilda of my nightmares came out every 5 minutes to call up the next victim, a bit like a school dental nurse..
Mme Dupont, half leg wax...Mme Faure, full leg please....Mme Gigot, eyebrows, upper lip and...chin, Mme Fleurot, bikini and Mme Roget, full arm wax, Mr Thirot, back wax please..and the list went on.Everyone else was flicking through Elle and Paris Match. I was sitting there, my kiwi eyes on stalks, trying to, well, " hair spot!"
Until recently I was just a mere eyebrow client but after hearing my girlfriends after a few glasses of spring chardonnay chatting about their bikini waxes, and seeing looks of horror when I confessed my " virginity," I knew it was time!!
Now let me be clear here, it was not the pain that worried me. Not at all. I'm afraid to admit it was my terribly anglo-saxon pudeur or sense of modesty that had me reeling. That and the terrible fear of boiling wax being dripped in all the wrong places..
I have a great beautician in Bordeaux. Her name is Leonilda (she is on Place Paul Doumer if anyone is interested)..Leo is Brazillian and by way of word association I thought she would be my safest torturer. I went in to book..oh god, I was so embarrased I couldn't even look her in the eye. Although I asked for an appointment for 2023 she whisked me straight out the back.
It wasn't actually THAT bad....until Leo said, Susie would you like me to wax your anus ? Although I was frozen with terror my polite ango-saxonisms took over...No I wouldn't, but thank you for asking.
This will sound absurd to anyone living in NZ, Australia, USA, England...but I have just discovered that we can now buy cottage cheese in France. No excuses now...back to cottage cheese salads to prepare the warpath to my bathing suit!!
Cottage Cheese Salad
1 punnet cottage cheese (200gr)
squirt of lemon juice plus some zest
splash of toasted sesame oil
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Susie's Favourite Food & Kitchen Shops
Artiga, Basque Tableware and Linens, 73 rue des 3 Conils 33000 Bordeaux
Eurasie, Bordeaux Lac
La Bocca, rue Notre Dame
Gastonomie des Pyrenees, 12 Cours Portal
Bio Chartrons, Cours Portal, Pl Paul Doumer
Marché St Michel, Pl St Michel, Saturday mornings
La Cuisinerie des Chartrons, 50 Cours Portal
What's for Dinner ?
Lemon Roasted Chicken Pollo al Limone
1 free range chicken ( 1.25 kgs)
4 large cloves of garlic, finely sliced into strips
1 branch fresh rosemary
Pre heat oven to 180°.
Slice garlic into strips and de-leaf rosemary. Make small holes in the skin over the back of the chicken with the point of a small knife and insert rosemary and garlic.
Rub chicken with salt and pepper.
Incorporate lemon juice with melted butter and brush over chicken. If there is any butter and lemon mixture left over dip sliced baguette in mixture and pop it inside chicken, seal with the skins of juiced lemons. This will perfume the chicken during roasting.
Cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear. Take out of oven, cover with tinfoil and set aside for about 10 minutes before carving.
Serve with fresh steamed french beans drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.
800 gr beef chopped into cubes
100gr lardons/chopped bacon, not smoked
100gr white small onions
25 gr flour
3 dl red wine ( the better the wine the better the results!!) + a glass for the cook
3 dl good bouillon ( beef/ veal)
Several dried bay leaves
Melt butter in a casserole ( type le creuset/le staub). Add bacon, onions. Sweat then remove aside.
Pat beef with paper towels then brown in same juices.
Sprinkle over flour and pour over hot bouillion.
Add bacon, onions, red wine and bay leaves.Cover and let bubble for about 2.5 hours. Turn off.
30 mins before serving, heat gently and add 100 gr of finely chopped mushrooms. You can leave mushrooms whole if they are not too large for a rustic effect.
Serve with steamed potatoes (or fresh pasta) and chopped parsley...
Smoked Salmon Lox, Dill and Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs
Count 2 eggs per guest
Bunch chopped dill/
Half a slice of smoked salmon per guest
Cream Cheese ( Philadelphia/St Moret)
Butter on hand
Scissor chop dill, cover and set aside
Chop salmon, cover, into fridge
Beat eggs, add pepper, pink peppercorns if you have them.
Have bagels ready, cut in half and ask one of your guests to earn their brunch by toasting them.
Pour mixture into large pan on lowish heat and pull/drag mixture gently towards the middle of the pan with a wooden spoon/spatula.
Add in a few shavings of butter, not too much.
Scatter over salmon, spoon about 2 teaspoons of cream cheese per guest over the top ( just slop it on, don't stir in) and lastly scatter over dill.
Don't leave eggs or they will dry out.
Serve with toasted bagels
Heavenly Green Soup
150g chopped lardons/bacon (bacon can be replaced with quality vegetable stock for vegetarians)
bunch chives chopped
bunch flat parsley chopped
3 tablespoons cream cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Chop all vegetables and throw into large pan with bacon. Cover with water and let bubble away gently for about 45 mins checking water level regularly.
Remove from heat and throw in fresh parsley and chives.Let stand for about 15 mins.
Add cream cheese and blend until smooth and green...
Serve with salt, pepper.
Susie's Red Wine Sausage Hot-Pot
6 Duck sausages (adapt for vegetarians with Tofu sausages)
1 large onion
1/2 teaspoon Piment d'espellette/chilli
2 large fleshy tomatoes, the riper the better, cut into chunks
250 mushrooms, finely sliced
200ml tomato coulis
1 large glass Bordeaux red ( can be substituted with cider, in this case add a chopped apple too )
Brown sausages, set aside
Put olive oil and piment into your Le Creuset casserole pot. Warm through and add chopped onion, sweat.
Add sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato coulis. Simmer and stir through for about 10 mins.
Add wine, pop lid on and siommer gently for about 45 mins.
Serve with Potato and parsely mash.
Mother's Pumpkin Soup
1 large red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 large young turnip
250 gr chopped bacon
1 Creuset casserole pot
Mother used to steam her pumpkin/squash and then peel it. Working mother, I don't have time for that and have learnt ( thank you Janice) to pop it in the microwave with an inch of water and zap for 10 mins. Scoop out the flesh.
*Put chopped bacon, celery and red onion with 2 tablespoons olive oil in pot. Heat should be medium, get them to sweat.
*Peel, chop turnip and add to pot
*Add pumpkin flesh and crushed garlic.
*Cover with about 3 cups of water
*Cover and let simmer for about 45 mins. Check liquid level constantly.
*Mix. I use an electric " wand" which I can put directly into the pot.
*Serve with a spoon of creme fraiche and chopped parsley and chives.
Wednesday 28 10
I love Panna Cotta...its up there with junket, another forgotten delight from childhood. Panna Cotta is wonderful alone or flavoured with seasonal fruits, chocolate, coffee, caramel, whatever...my first Panna Cotta as a child was flavoured with rose water and served with crushed roasted pistachio nuts...here's my basic recipe served with Bonne Maman Chestnut Jam.
Very easy...serve with tuile, amoretti biscuits, or crushed/chopped macarron.
Panna Cotta for 6
4 gelatine leaves
1 dessert spoon castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla essence
4 tablespoons Bonne Maman Chestnut Confiture
Put cream and sugar in a large pot and heat gently, do not boil. Just before boiling point turn down flame and let simmer for about 10 mins.
Put gelative leaves in a dish and cover with water - leave 10 mins. After 10 mins remove with fingers and add to cream. Stir.
Meanwhile heat chestnut confiture through gently and add 4th gelatine leaf to it, stir until dissolved.
Pour cream mixture and layer with Chestnut Confiture into glasses of your choice..Let set in fridge for around 5 hours.
Friday 23 10
As promised an Artichoke Risotto..this recipe is based around the old classic Risotti alla milanese, Saffron Risotto. I prepare my artichokes separately as I find this is the best way to maintain their delicate flavours...this recipe is dedicated to my neice Kate who is an artichoke fanatic
Susie's Side Artichokes
Buy good quality 400g artichokes in brine, not oil. Buy halved artichokes, they are easier to deal with...
1 teaspoon capers ( something we don't see enough of anymore!)
1 clove garlic, crushed
In a wide based pan heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, low heat.
Add capers and crush them with the back of a spoon until mushy. Add garlic.
Drain artichokes well. Add them to caper mixture and toss around until heated through. Turn off heat.
Heat through gently before serving with risotto....I plonk mine on top of risotto served in huge white bowls.
For the Risotto alla milanese
1 onion, not too big
1 litre bouillon/stock, veal is best ( I use fond de veau) but chicken or veg will do
400gr arborio or vialone rice
10cl strong dry white wine (plus a glass for the cook!!)
1 dose powdered saffron or decent sized thread ( thread is best!)
parmesan, salt, black pepper to serve
Chop onion and toss it around with half the butter until soft. Add rice. Pour over wine....watchover until the wone has evaporated comppletely then reduce heat.
Pour over stock, add saffron making sure it is well dissolved.
Stand over your risotto pot, continue to stir with love and enjoy your glass of wine...you deserve it!!
When all the liquid is nearly gone, not dry, add the rest of the butter, salt, pepper. It should be creamy in texture..
Serve with artichokes and parmesan...YUMMMMMMMmm
Tuesday 20 10
An easy autumn dessert to warm the soul. Serve in individual beautiful glasses.
Slow Poached Figs & Amoretti Biscuits
large packet Amoretti biscuits
Wash figs and place in a large thick based saucepan. Cover with water, sauternes ans let simmer for about 45 minutes. Do NOT boil.
Crumble amoretti biscuits and layer bottom of individual glasses. Top up with fig mixture, let cool in fridge.
Serve with good vanilla ice cream.
Monday 19 10
Chicken & Prawn Green Thai Curry
A spice blast to send all germs running. This can be made easily, anywhere, by anyone. There are lots of shortcuts for busy girls...If you don't have one, buy a wok, they are so useful and versatile. A fabulous meal can be thrown together in a few minutes. Ikea sell them but the best are in quality kitchen shops like Happy Kitchen, Cuisinerie de Chartrons, BHV, etc
Feeds 4 - 6.
green curry paste (Eurasie)
bunch corriander chopped roughly
4 chicken breasts,diced
a handful of frozen prawns (Picard!!)
4 large ripe tomatoes
1 red pepper
300ml coconut milk
sesame oil ( Eurasie )
noodles of choice ( we go for the large Udon noodles which are more digestible)
Put 2 tablespoons of sesame oil with 3 tablespoons of green curry paste in wok.
When heated through throw in diced chicken and toss, then add chopped tomatoes and red pepper.
Pour in coconut milk, add 2 - 3 tablespoons water, chopped corriander and pop lid on wok and let cook for about 15 mins.
Serve with noodles tossed in sesame oil in large bowls.
Sunday 18 10
Walnuts are featuring again. Here's my late mother's fabulous Waldorf Salad. Good served with baked chicken breast or simply with a platter of cheeses.
Mother's Waldorf Salad
1 cup walnuts, toasted ( the toasting is what makes this!), chopped roughly
1 cup dates, chopped
6 celery sticks, sliced
3 granny smith apples, chopped into small pieces ( leave skin on if organic)
1 cup mayonnaise ( goddesses can make their own)
juice of 1 lemon
Toss chopped apples in lemon juice and put aside.
Toss toasted walnuts with cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
Put everything in a bowl and stir through mayonnaise. Chill and serve.
Alternatives : Mother used to turn this into a lunch salad by adding green grapes and chicken to the salad, really delicous...how's that for a 70's throw back!!!
Friday 16 10
End of the week, end of a huge week for some of us. Here's a really quick and easy tart to have with a few well deserved glasses of wine this evening. We'll be drinking Pouilly Fumé..
Cherry Tomato and Pistachio Deep Dish Tart
2 punnets cherry tomatoes
handful pistachios, ground in food processor
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pre heat oven to 160°.
Line a loaf tin with flakey pastry.
Brush pastry with mustard and set aside.
Wash and dry tomatoes, prick them with a fork.
Throw tomatoes over pastry and drizzle over half olive oil.
Scatter with ground pistachios and drizzle over rest of oil.
Cook for 40 - 45 mins. Good hot or cool. Serve with an orgy of delicious ripe cheeses and a green salad.
Sunday 11 10
This sinful rich tart full of vitamins will feed 8 easily. Its a recipe I have tried and trusted for many years. Very easy and economical to prepare, it freezes well and can be served hot or cold...
Pâte feuilletée/flakey pastry ( I use Herta Trésor de Grand Mère)
1/2 cup apricot jam
250gr fine white sugar
4 eggs separated
3 tablespoons liquid cream
100gr butter softened
Pre heat oven 180°
Line tart tin with pastry and brush on apricot jam. Set aside.
Throw walnuts into food processor and blend until fairly fine.
Beat egg yolks with sugar until pale and thick then stir in walnuts, cream and cognac.
Beat whites until peaked and fold delicately into walnut mixture. Spoon over pastry.
Cook 40 - 45mins.
Serve with whipped cream....
Friday 10 10
Visitors we love leave and we are all in need of major creamy comfort food and something to crunch down on.
Gorgonzola & Parsley Fettucini
Enough fresh fettucini for all
1cl liquid cream
100 gr butter
Bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped roughly
Put gorgonzola, cream and butter together in a pot over a low flame. Stir until melted and smooth..
Cook fettucini and drain.
Pour sauce over pasta, add chopped parsley, lemon zest and serve.
Green Crunch Salad for 4, 5, 6
1 large avocado
3 sticks celery
1 granny smith apple
1 firm cucumber
1/2 cup fresh walnuts, chopped and toasted
Roughly chop everything. Throw everything into a beautiful glass bowl, toss and serve.
Good with pasta....
Wednesday 7 10
Sometimes we just need something light and sweet to mark an event. Here's my favourite Pavlova recipe. Its simple to create, creamy, full of berries and there will be no leftovers...
Susie's Berry Pavlova
2 cups white sugar/fine grain
6 egg whites
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup strawberry jam homemade if you are a goddess like moi
3 cups whole raspberries frozen are fine
4cl whipping cream, whipped Fleurette is good if you are in France
Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper/silicone baking sheet ( goddess material!)
Whip egg whites until they peak, slowly add sugar and continue beating for about 10 mins. The mixture should be think and glossy. Beat in cornflour, salt and vinegar.
Throw large dollops of the mixture onto baking tray to form a circle ( or whatever shape you feel like). Do not flatten.
Bake at 190° for about 5 mins and then turn oven down to 130°. Leave at 130° for 1 hour. When the hour is up simply turn off oven and let it cool in the oven.
Just before serving cover in dollops of strawberry jam, throw on the whipped cream , scatter the raspberries.
Friday 2 10
As promised my pesto recipes. They are rather personal so add or delete oil depending on desired "wetness" or texture.
Susie's Parsley and Walnut Pesto
2 large bunches of flat leaf parsley
1 cup freshly shelled walnuts ( better and cheaper than ready shelled!)
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Throw all ingredients into food processor and pulse until mixture is desired texture. Some like it chunky others fine.
Jar and freeze. Lasts about 6 months in freezer. Use immediately and lasts in fridge for about 2 weeks.
*Excellent to use in salad dressings with autumn lettuces such as endive.
*I also use it with fresh pasta and add either low fat cream or very high fat creme fraiche.
*Very good smeared on top of fresh cod and oven baked...mmm!
*Serve as a condiment with raw veg and a glass of chardonnay.
* For a change replace half a bunch of parsley with a half bunch of mint.
Susie's Basil and Pinenut Pesto
2 bunches fresh basil
2/3 cup pinenuts, pan roasted in oven until golden
1/3 cup parmesan
2 tablespoons virgin (like me!!) olive oil
Method, as above.
Thursday 1 10
Will now try to use the most of my veg basket ...and what's in fridge. A 10.5 hour teaching day and not up to much. We had fruit and creme caramel from Bio Chartrons for pudding....now to bed!!
Tomato Home-Tapenade Poached Chicken Easy Tart
Handful black greek olives pitted
Branch of fresh basil
1 large/enormous organic beefsteak tomato
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
1 tablespoon good olive oil
large celery leaf
generous glass dry white wine
Put knob of butter into pan, throw in chicken breast....brown then add glass of wine and celery leaf, cover and leave simmer for 30 mins on very very low flame...poach, in other words.
Lay out pastry flat on a baking dish.
In food processor pulse olives and basil with a tablespoon of olive oil.
Slice tomato finely.
Put pulsed olive mixture over pastry, add tomato and a drizzle of olive oil and pop in oven preheated to 180°. Cook 25 mins. Then take out and spread spoon of creme fraiche over top. Turn off over and replace tart inside to stay warm.
Take chicken off heat and dice....take tart out of oven and sprinkle chicken and cooking juices over top.
Serve with green salad...MMMMMMMm, easy!!
Wednesday 30 10
Manic day, dealing with technical probs, freebox technicians, france telecom, broken washing machine, professional obligations...did I mention the household, children, meals etc. I need COMFORT FOOD, creamy chicken and saffron risotto served with steamed asparagus and a glass ( or 2!) of good Bordeaux. Easy, rapid, low cost and delicious....this is dedicated to Laurene, a "mother".
Susie's Comfort Risotto
2 cups arborio rice ( the real stuff from Italy not supermarket label...it goes further!!!!! I buy mine from the italian epicerie on Cours Portal or La Bocca, rue Notre Dame)
5 cups chicken/vegetable stock ( you can buy orgasmic italien porcini mushroom stock from the italian epicerie on Cours Portal : always check salt content in stocks, many of the industrial ones contain msg)
1 cup dry white wine (remember the result is as good as the wine!!)
2 large chicken breasts, boned, and diced ( I'll be off to my favourite foodie shop in Bordeaux for this Gastronomie de Pyrennees, Cours Portal ...recipe doesn't call for a huge quantity and quality counts when feeding my family. Go and see www.gastronomiedespyrenees.fr/
2 large red onions, diced
tomato puree or small can tomato concentrate
handful of grilled cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
shaved fresh parmesan to serve
Heat olive oil and a good knob of butter, throw in onion and cook until soft and golden. Throw in diced chicken breast...remember if you want it golden, dry it first ( thank you Julia Child!!).
Throw in rice and toss around mixture with gay abandon, this is your "creative" moment of the day, enjoy it!! Pour in stock, wine and tomato concentrate. Add saffron thread.
Leave to bubble gently, turning constantly so rice does not stick. If it sticks try a teaspoon of cold water, this usually works. Don't over stir otherwise result will be savoury porridge.
When rice is cooked and liquid absorbed ( never too dry) fold in some pesto and the creme fraiche. Serve immediately with cherry tomatoes, grilled until they burst, and parmesan shavings. I serve this in enormous white porcelain salad bowls( 1 per person!) which I bought " for a song" at Ikea.
Give the clan a daily chlorophyl dose with a side dish of freshly steamed asparagus. If you can't find fresh go see Picard....
Tuesday 29 09
First major day back at work. Great wine business students but came home drained feeling like I could do with a bit of the wine myself. Hence easy meal.
Truc - Leftovers are my favourite gadget...given the current financial climate they should be yours too!!
Pat's Basil and Corn Soup VF
( VF =vegetarian friendly)
My mother's easy corn soup recipe. Its a "dah" recipe which even your teenage sons who smell like hamsters could make.
1 large onion
1 large can of whole sweet corn
3cl of either vegetable or chicken stock
( ok make your own if you are a kitchen goddess or buy fab veg or stock cubes from Bio Chartrons boutique, or any other bio/organic shop, Knorr Chicken cubes are really good too. I will put a chicken stock recipe below for those of you who have the goddess in them)
handful of fresh large leaf basil
4 giant tablespoons creme fraiche
(it's "good" fat!! quote Mary)
Sauté chopped onion until golden. Add drained corn, leave simmer 5 mins ( meanwhile pour yourself a glass of chardonnay, you derserve it, you do two jobs, work and domestic executive).
Add basil, milk and creme fraiche. Simmer 10 mins, little simmer only not big bubbly simmer.
Take off heat. Mix, salt and pepper, serve.
Extras : You could add steamed baby asparagus spears, smoked lardons or even a little smoked fish on top. I usually just attack with a dash of Piment D'Espellette. I buy this always from the Pyrenee Epicierie and Butcher on Cours Portal, Gastonomie des Pyrenees, 12 Cours Portal. Always buy AOC piment d'espellete. Anything else is too fine and not in "petals" as it should be.
So, let them eat soup......add a nice green mesculin salad with a few cheeses. Dessert, what better than some seasonal fruit. Well that's great in theory....we are actually having leftover Raspberry Tiramisu. Recipe below.....
Susie's Raspberry and Lemon Zest Tiramisu
(I love Tiramisu...unpretentious as I am( ha ha!!) I can actually admit it reminds me of childhood trifle but better..)
1 packet "boudoir" biscuits
1 box marscapone
zest of one lemon
punnet of fresh raspberries ( or go to Picard for frozen ones!!)
2 cups expresso
2 eggs separated
5 tablespoons fine sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar
Separate eggs, beat whites until they "peak". Mix yolks, sugars with marscapone then fold in yolks. Set aside.
Dip biscuits into expresso and line dish bottom with them. Add half your raspberries then half marscapone mix. Do that again on top....sprinkle final layer with zest. Pop in fridge.
Chicken Stock GO
(GO = Goddesses only!)
6 chicken drumsticks
1 large golden onion
1 stick celery
a few bay leaves
some lemon tyme branches
Put all into an enormous pot and cover with water up to one third more than volume. Boil and boil until its reduced to half. Either take chicken off bones and set aside for a pasta sauce ( for example) or simply drain and then wizz up what's left over ( obviously not the bones!!) in food processor. My mother used to leave it out overnight then drain and keep just the juices....she would add freshly chopped celery and carrots, barley, the chicken which as she said " just falls off the bone" and this would become the best best chicken soup.
I put the stock into ice trays, cover and keep in the freezer. Practical and cheap!!