Category Archives: Main dish

‘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

A Dutch treat – pancakes

I know this blog is about French cuisine, but I remain a Dutchman living in France so sometimes I serve something plain from my home country.

Pancakes is one of those dishes. France is well-known for its crêpes, thin pancakes of flour or buckwheat and eaten plain, with sugar or in more complicated combinations. The local crêperie here lists dozens of varieties, in the savoury and sweet versions.

Continue reading A Dutch treat – pancakes

A rice dish with eggplant, beef and raisins

A long time ago, I left my parents house to study at university in the big city of Amsterdam. My mother gave me a book of recipes as I had already showed signs that I would not be eating pizzas and French fries all the time but actually do some cooking.

In my first student room – a rented room with a family in the Bijlmermeer high-rise area – I built a two-burner bottle-gas kitchen around the sink, using the hot plate of the coffee maker to slowly cook rice. That recipe book from 1981 is still in my collection and one of the dishes I made from it was called Turkish stuffed aubergines (eggplant), that used ground lamb or mutton meat. Continue reading A rice dish with eggplant, beef and raisins

A roast of veal, turnips, potatoes, tomatoes and mushroom

Veal is a tasty and lean cut of meat. As I wrote before, the problem is to find a good supplier of meat from an animal that has not been mistreated.
Once that step is taken, and in France the meat is generally of good origin, you have a fine ingredient. You can eat it hot on the first day and serve cold slices later.
Here, I combined it with turnips, tomato, mushroom, garlic, potatoes and herbs.


  • Veal blade, one kilo
  • Small potatoes
  • Several turnips
  • Three tomatoes
  • 250 grammes of mushrooms
  • Four cloves of garlic
  • Two shallots
  • Two glasses of white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper
  • Bouquet garni (mixed dried herbs)
  • Fresh herbs such as oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary


  1. Pat dry the meat, salt lightly
  2. Heat olive oil in a casserole. Preheat an oven to 200 °C.
  3. Slice the shallots, break off some cloves of garlic from a head but keep the skin.
  4. Brown the meat on all sides in the hot oil. Add the shallots, garlic, mixed dried herbs and white wine, put on a lid and wait until the liquid starts to cook. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, turning at least once.
  5. Meanwhile clean the tomatoes and cut in quarters, peel the turnips and cut up in parts, wash the potatoes and cut in two.
  6. After half an hour, add these prepared vegetables to the casserole and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
  7. Clean and slice the mushrooms, wash your choice of fresh herbs.
  8. After 15 minutes, remove the dried herbs and add the fresh herbs and mushrooms to the casserole and continue for another quarter of an hour.
  9. After that period, take the casserole from the oven, sprinkle some pepper over the meat and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Take out the meat and put on a carving dish. Take out the vegetables and put in a side dish.
  10. You can add butter to the casserole and warm up the rests in the pan to a gravy, or add some more wine for a leaner sauce.
  11. Cut the meat and present on a plate surrounded by vegetables and with some sauce.