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.

Continue reading “Penne with clams, tuna, garlic, chilli pepper and tomato sauce”

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”

Quiche with dandelions, Camembert and salami

When I was young there was a best-selling book called ‘Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” about macho prejudice. Well, I am not a real man then.
Quiche, the name, comes from the local dialect in Lorraine that has German influences and sounds a bit like “Kuche” for pie.
The Quiche Lorraine is the most famous version, first recorded in the accounts of the Nancy hospital in 1605. The Quiche Loraine is a crust pie filled with bacon and cream.
I made a spring version with dandelions, leek and onion and topped it with some leftover Camembert cheese.

Continue reading “Quiche with dandelions, Camembert and salami”

‘Pigeon as a toad’ – spatchcocked pigeon from the grill

One of the joys of living in a small town like Saint-Germain-en-Laye is that the local shop and stall keepers know your reputation for being a cook and being interested in seasonal and good products. I discuss soups with the wife of the butcher or recipes for stuffed chicken breast with the cheese shop owner.

So when I went to the open air town market the other day, the poultry man interrupted serving a client and told me “I have a good offer on pigeons”. The woman he was serving believed he talked to her and uttered some words of incomprehension, but he did get me on the hook as I waited to see what the offer was – two pigeons for 15 euro instead of 19. Well, why not. I had been roasting pigeons and made the classical “pigeon with peas” several times but it is not yet the season for fresh peas. I wanted to use my electric grill and decided to make what is called pigeon à la crapaudine “pigeon as a toad”. – spatchcocked pigeon.

Continue reading “‘Pigeon as a toad’ – spatchcocked pigeon from the grill”