Tag Archives: garlic

Toulouse sausages with Puy lentils and exiled hens

Our hens are in exile; they have been forced from their homeland by an overabundance of horses. Four was fine, desirable even; it created a cosy ‘chicken sandwich’ environment. But the newly-arrived pony was the final straw – she’s a Quadruped Lout Too Far and a tiny bit scornful perhaps at the deference required to lay an egg.

So they’ve set up camp on the fourth-floor shelf of the workshop on some torn-up sheets. Not without much shrill, dyspeptic screeching, I might add. I feel a bit bad that all they found for their nest was old sheets and not pashminas, but such is the life of a hen. I only discovered their new hideout because, reaching for an old sheet to clean my saddle, I unwittingly scrambled an egg at my feet. I assume they think that the workshop is horseproof – I’m afraid they’re in for a surprise 😉

Puy Green Lentils (grown on the vocanic soil of the ‘Massif Central’) are prized above other lentils for their strong peppery flavor and firmness, even after cooking. High in fiber and protein, they also contain dietary fibre, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. As if all that isn’t enough, they also have a very low GI (glycemic index).

Ingredients (serves four)

4 Toulouse sausages

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

5 mushrooms, peeled and sliced

3 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces

1 tin (400g) of plum tomatoes

200g of Puy lentils

2 sprigs of rosemary

1 bay leaf

250ml chicken stock

seasoning to taste: sea salt, fresh black pepper, paprika

Preheat the oven to 150°C. If you have a griddle pan, griddle the sausages briefly. If not, searing them will do just as well. Gently fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil to soften them. Add the griddled/seared sausage, the plum tomatoes and carrots and continue to heat. Add the lentils, chicken stock, herbs and seasoning and bring back to a gentle simmer. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, checking from time to time that there is enough liquid – the lentils absorb an enormous amount.

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Chicken curry with mango, carrots and sweet potato

We had a ten-month old labrador bitch to stay for the weekend; a real doll.  My husband, who can never resist a doll, invited her based on the assumption that such chaos would ensue, I would give him a break from my constant whining for another dog (yellow labrador girl puppy, not that I’ve given it any thought or anything :-). Anyway, ha ha! Big miss on his part. There is nothing like the satisfaction of having a sleeping labrador on either side of your feet in the evening. I do admit that the frenzied partying beforehand was slightly more wearing but, all things considered, all this weekend did was make me even more entrenched in my opinion that owning fewer than two dogs should be illegal 😉

This was concocted whilst dodging eight furry and frenetic legs in the kitchen. Never let it be said that I’m not a skilled multi-tasker. It is full of beta-carotene, making it an excellent dish for the winter. Beta-carotene enhances the immune system by increasing the number of infection fighting cells. It also helps protect the respiratory tract. Foods rich in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, mango, apricots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme.

Ingredients (serves four)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon coconut oil

4 chicken thighs

1 onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

6 mushrooms, peeled and sliced

1 mango, peeled and sliced

4 carrots, peeled and cut

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

2 green chillies, chopped

1 tablespoon of peeled, grated fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3 teaspoons cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground  black pepper

200ml chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Take a medium-size casserole dish and fry the onion, garlic, mushrooms and chicken in the olive and coconut oils for a few minutes, until they start to brown. Add the seasoning (cumin seeds, salt, pepper, ginger, turmeric, cinamon stick…) and continue to brown stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Add the carrots, sweet potato, mango and chillies and then the chicken stock. Bring to a gentle simmer, stir and put the casserole in the oven for about two hours, checking from time-to-time that there is enough liquid. The result should be tender and just beginning to caramelise.

Perfectly scrambled eggs with porcini and smoked salmon

We have just arrived back from a busy and exciting trip to London (where I got some great food ideas – watch this space), but I appear to have returned minus my cooking mojo. It’s amazing how quickly my default-to-lazy kicks in. I couldn’t think what to cook for lunch today and might even have resorted to opening a tin of something if I’d had one to hand #shockhorror 😉 My husband solved the problem by disappearing into the woods and proudly returning with yet another kilo of porcini (yawn). I just about managed to rustle up this plate of Scottish smoked salmon (far and away the best!) and scrambled eggs with porcini, chilli peppers and garlic; a truly eclectic dish! Lėo, my son, on seeing this exclaimed ‘oh great: a picnic lunch!’ He has never yet been known to lose his cheekiness mojo…

Ingredients (serves two)

1 mushroom-obsessed husband. Failing that, a farmers’ market will do.

20g butter

2 medium-size porcini mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 chilli pepper, finely sliced

4 large organic eggs

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk gently until well combined. Add the seasoning. Fry the sliced mushrooms, garlic and chilli pepper in the half of the butter in a heavy-based saucepan until soft (roughly ten minutes). Pour in the beaten egg mixture and stir briskly with a wooden spoon or fork. It’s extremely important to make sure that the egg doesn’t cook too quickly, or overcook to avoid it becoming dry and flaky. Keep the heat low. Once the egg is almost cooked, remove from the heat and add the remaining butter. Continue to stir with the wooden spoon – the eggs will finish cooking in the heat remaining in the pan. Serve immediately with smoked salmon and a green salad.

Chilli con carne and itinerant horses

This is the sort of dish that is even better a day or two after it’s made, which is just as well really as I had no time to prepare lunch, having spent all morning chasing our Houdini horses. They escape more regularly than I like to admit – let’s just say that they are well-known by everyone within a 5 km radius and by the town ‘Mairie’.

Ingredients (serves 4)

250g dried red kidney beans (soaked overnight and boiled for 10 minutes)

500g minced beef

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

6 tomatoes, blanched and skinned

1 red bell pepper (cut into strips)

4 chilli peppers (sliced)

6 mushrooms, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons of tomato purée

2 glasses of red wine

250ml beef stock

1 sprig of rosemary and 2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

1 square of 80% dark chocolate

Seasoning to taste : sea salt, black pepper, chilli powder

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Pour the olive oil into a medium-sized casserole dish and heat. Add the onions, garlic, mushrooms and mince and brown well, stirring around a bit. Once browned, add the bell pepper, the chilli peppers and the tomatoes and continue to cook until gently simmering. Add the tomato purée, the kidney beans, Worcester sauce, seasoning, stock, red wine and herbs and bring back to a simmer. Cook in the oven for about two hours, checking from time-to-time that there is enough liquid. Add the dark chocolate, stirring well to melt, just before serving.

May be served as a standalone dish, like soup, or with coleslaw and green salad.

Green beans with pesto and flashbacks to the ’70s

Apologies to those not familiar with the hysterical British comedy series ‘Fawlty Towers’, but everytime I make something with basil I think of Sybil Fawlty’s dulcit tones shouting; ‘BASIL! BASIL!’ and his comeback, which was more often than not something along the lines : ‘Coming my little piranha fish’.

Basil is high in vitamins and minerals in general and vitamins A and K and iron in particular. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

Ingredients

Two handfuls of fresh basil

1 handful of pinenuts

1 handful of cashew nuts

8 cherry tomatoes

3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of freshly-grated parmesan cheese

Sea salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor to form a paste. Serve with either green beans or pasta.

Gallery

Cod with basil and tomatoes

This gallery contains 1 photos.

A lady fishmonger served me this morning and, instead of enquiring into the corpulence of the people I was going to cook for, took the time to explain this delicious recipe to me. There was a massive queue, but she … Continue reading

Gallery

Cod in chickpea batter (gf)

This gallery contains 3 photos.

When I asked for cod filet for three this morning, the fishmonger asked if it was for three normal people or three rugbymen. I had replied that it was for three normal people before wondering if this wasn’t perhaps stretching … Continue reading