Sambal – A chilli sauce with Indonesian roots

The other day we saw a big bag of fresh red peppers at the greengrocer’s for just one euro because some had a few spots. We did not hesitate to buy them to make homemade sambal. Sambal is a chilli sauce from Indonesia. Perhaps sauce is not the right word, it is more a paste. A thick sauce. There are many varieties and recipes, you can add many ingredients from tomatoes to shrimp. Here I kept it simple with just an onion, garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar as well as some sunflower oil.

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A simple veal cutlet

I am spending more and more time at my new house in the Ariège region. The kitchen is not ready yet so I keep things rather simple.

In this rural region, there are many producers that bring their ware directly to the market and raise their livestock with care.

There is a lady with a van on the Mirepoix market on Monday morning with meat from farmers in the mountains behind Foix. The meat is sealed in plastic packages and I buy for several days, putting it in the freezer.

We had a veal cutlet. It was not lightly pink as crate-raised veal would have been – the colour may be desirable for the client but not for the animal – and the cut was a bit too thick for an escalope. I cooked it in butter for 15 minutes, with a lid on the skillet to protect the freshly painted wall behind the old cooker of my aunt, and poured the juice of one lemon over it at the end.

I removed the veal and let it cool and reduced the sauce slightly before pouring over the meat. Some freshly-ground pepper and we had a delicious meal, with pasta and tomato/fresh herb cheese sauce.

 

 

Mackerel fillet with cedrat, lemon juice and rocket

Lately I have been trying to change the rhythm of meals during the day towards a more southern regime – a full lunch and a light dinner. When both my wife and I had full-time office jobs, we would take a quick lunch – sometimes prepared at home and kept in a plastic container – and enjoy a good dinner at the table with the television news in the background.

In the south of France, and in Italy and Spain, there is more attention for an important lunch while the evening can be light – in Spain down to some tapas.

That is not easy to combine with office hours – but then in some countries the midday break is longer than what Dutch or English office workers would be permitted to take or be inclined to use. Continue reading “Mackerel fillet with cedrat, lemon juice and rocket”

Penne with clams, tuna, garlic, chilli pepper and tomato sauce

I returned from the market with some clams as I planned to make spaghetti but once back home there were some items missing in the larder, like spaghetti, and I was not sure about the caloric boost by the cream.

But there were other things on the shelves, in the fridge and in the windowsills so I made a simple dish with penne.

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Veal kidney with ceps and pasta

There was an offer on veal kidney on the market and I bought some. Two went straight into the freezer and one was for a weekend meal.

I had been reading several recipes, and discussed it with my hairdresser as one does in France. What had caught my eye is that in several Italian recipes (for rognoni) the kidneys are first put in a bowl of water with some vinegar, then dried and sprinkled with flour.

The French just put the rognons in a skillet and then remove them to discard the first juices, before resuming cooking. Continue reading “Veal kidney with ceps and pasta”