Dough: Pain d’epiClick for Reviews

Pain d’epi: Wheat stalk bread

Bread, milk, bacon, paper, clams, bones, lolly….no no its not a shopping list, they are all terms for money, bucks, moolah, loot, filthy lucre.

But my favourite slang word for money is ‘dough’. However at this point in life it is easier to make dough than money as we don’t have a money tree in the backyard.

So let’s make dough…


 Dough is basically a paste made out of cereals, grains or legumes such as wheat, corn, rye, maize, rice, sorghum, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, soy etc and grinding the seeds into flour and mixing it with a little water, oil, milk or other liquid.

From dough we can have an endless variety of bread-based items such as bread, flatbreads, pastries, noodles, pizza, dumplings, crusts…the list goes on.


Baked dough can come in the form of unleavened breads, yeast breads (with the fermentation coming from wild yeast, added dried or fresh yeast or a sourdough starter), soda breads, steamed, fried etc.

Today I’m going to get all fancy and make the French artisan style “pain d’epi” or wheat stalk bread.

3 I made two different recipes and will give you both so that you can have one today and start another batch for tomorrow.

Obviously the finished breads will have a different finished texture because of the different raising times and slightly different ingredients.



  • 450g plain bread flour (see note)
  • 1 tblspn dried yeast (2 sachets)
  • 3 tsp caster sugar
  • 250ml warm milk
  • 2 tblspn melted butter



  1. In the mixing bowl of your KitchenAid, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the centre and add warm milk and melted butter.
  2. Attach the dough hook and place on speed number ‘1’.
  3. Allow it to knead for 10 mins (if you don’t have a machine you will just have to do it the good old fashioned hard way and knead it by hand…sorry)



 4. Leave in the bowl, cover top with cling wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for 45 mins to an hour, or until it has doubled in size.

5. Somewhere warm like on top of your stove while the oven is preheating….or where ever your cat likes to curl up, as it always manages to find the warmest part of the house.



6. Use the KitchenAid machine with dough hook to “punch down the dough” by letting it knead again for 2 mins. Remove from bowl and divide into 3 pieces.

87. Make a baguette by gently flattening out a piece to about 20 round. Fold top into the centre and then fold the bottom into the centre.

98. Bring folded ends together along the centre line to make a log or roll.


 9. Using the palm of your hands gently roll into a longer log or roll to fit the size of your baking sheet.


 10. Place the bottom of the roll in some cornmeal or plain flour and place on a baking sheet.

1211. Cover loosely with cling wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place for 45 mins.

1312. Using a clean pair of scissors, cut the dough at a 45 degree angle almost to the bottom.


  • 13. Move the little ‘wheat seed’ in front of the scissors, to the side and repeat the process about 8cms along the roll, moving the next ‘seed to the other side, making about 8 ‘seeds’.



  • 14. Bake in a moderate oven 180C for about 30-40 mins and the bread has a lovely golden colour.



This method uses an overnight rising or proofing time.


  • 450g plain bread flour
  • 1 ½  teaspoons dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 250ml warm water


  1. In the mixing bowl of your KitchenAid, combine 200g of the flour, the yeast and 1 tsp of the salt. Using the dough hook allow to mix for a couple of mins until thoroughly combined.
  2. Cover bowl with cling wrap and allow to rise 6 hours or even, better overnight.
  3. Add remaining flour and salt and using the KitchenAid machine with dough hook, allow it to knead for 10 mins
  4. Leave in the bowl, cover top with cling wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for 45 mins to an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
  5. Use the KitchenAid machine with dough hook to “punch down the dough” by letting it knead again for 2 mins.
  6. Remove from bowl and divide into 3 pieces.
  7. Continue in the same way as above recipe.


Use ‘plain bread flour’ for best results (also known as baker’s flour).

If unavailable, use plain flour.





I’ve always wanted to make this bread! I buy it from Brasserie Bread a bit too! Thanks so much for the detailed explanation Corrie! 😀


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Maklouba: Upside-down riceClick for Reviews

Well after all the upside down dishes that where made famous purely by accident, I though it prudent to try and find one that was ‘designed’ to be presented upside down!

Enter Maklouba, a Palestinian dish, which when translated literally means “flipped” or “Upside-down”.


 Well after all the upside down dishes that where made famous purely by accident, I though it prudent to try and find one that was ‘designed’ to be presented upside down!

Enter Maklouba, a Palestinian dish, which when translated literally means “flipped” or “Upside-down”.

It is made with chicken and rice, though other meats can be used and can include a variety of vegetables, such as fried tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, chick peas and cauliflower.  It is arranged in layers in a single pot, cooked and flipped upside down to serve.

Each person eats from the section directly in front of them using flat bread of simply their fingers. You may want to provide plates and cutlery for your guests.



  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tspn cumin seeds
  • 1 kilo chicken thigh preferably on the bone with skin!
  • Turmeric powder (this will be split into 3 separate time of use)
  • 2 tspn baharat spice mix (see note)
  • 1 small stick cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small cauliflower florets, stem removed (about 2 cups)
  • 2 medium sized eggplants
  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 can drained chick peas (optional)
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • Vegetable oil or a light tasting olive oil for frying
  • Water to soak rice
  • Extra water for cooking time
  • 1 roll of kitchen paper. You are going to need it!



Rub chicken pieces with 1/2 tblspn turmeric powder, pinch salt and the baharat spice mix.

  1. Set aside in the fridge for about 30 mins.



  1.  Wash and slice eggplant, leaving skin on, into 1cm rounds. Sprinkle each piece generously with salt and arrange in a colander set over a bowl to catch juices. The salt will remove both the bitter juices and dry it out a little so it doesn’t spit so much when we fry it.
  2. Set this also aside for about 30 mins.
  3. After this time, rinse with clean water, drain and dry thoroughly with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper.

5 4. Peel and slice potatoes into 1/2 cm slices. Rub pieces all over with a little turmeric (optional as this is mainly for colour).

5. On a medium heat place a pot with 2 cups of vegetable oil and fry potato slices until golden brown and becoming crisp.

6. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper and set aside.



 7. Fry cauliflower florets, adding a little more oil if needed, until golden brown but not too dark as this will make it bitter.

8. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

9. Do the same with the eggplant slices frying till dark golden brown and also becoming crisp. Remove from oil…. and…..that’s right, you guessed it….drain on kitchen paper and set aside!

10. Discard oil.

7  11. Sit down for 10 mins and have a cup of tea!!! Aaahhhh that’s better. Ok…refreshed?! Off we go again…..



  1. Place rice into a large bowl with 1 tblspn turmeric, 1 tblspn salt and 4 cups warm (not hot) water.
  2. Stir and put aside to soak for at least 30 mins.



  1.  Place 2 tblspn of fresh oil in a pan over a medium heat.
  2. Brown the chicken pieces on all sides, remove to a plate to catch any juices and set aside……….No not on kitchen paper this time!
  3. Fry sliced onions, garlic and cumin seeds in the same pan and sauté till golden.


  • 4. Return chicken pieces and any juices on the plate adding just enough water to cover the chicken. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, bay leaves and pinch of salt and pepper.

5. Simmer gently for around 15 mins then remove from heat.

6. Gently remove pieces and place them onto a plate and set chicken and the stock aside for final assembling and cooking of rice.


11 Yes, yes I know… there was a lot of setting aside going on, but now it’s time to finally arrange and cook this thing!!! You see, this is the best part because you can have everything ‘set aside’,  ready and waiting in the wings and you can go and get yourself ready and look gorgeous for your dinner guests and not look like a chicken running around without a head……move over Nigella……

Anyway, hopefully you have a pot large enough to hold ALL of the above ingredients…maybe you should have thought of that earlier…



  1. Drain the rice into a colander, discarding water.
  2. Rub bottom of large pot with 2 tblspn oil and sprinkle with a handful or two of rice.
  3. Place  cooked chicken, skin side down, on top of rice and if using chickpeas fill any spaces between chicken, reserving any chickpeas that are left over and .…”set aside”. Hehe, I just couldn’t resist it. Sorry.
  4. Cover chicken with a layer of eggplant, followed by potatoes and then cauliflower, seasoning each layer with a little salt and pepper. Finish with remaining rice and chickpeas if any.

135. Add 1 tblspn of turmeric to the reserved chicken stock, tasting now and correcting seasoning, adding more salt of needed.

6. Gently pour stock over the rice, adding more water only if needed to just cover the rice. (The French term for ‘just cover’ can mean 2cm!) It does help if you are familiar with how thirsty some rices can be…..You can also arrange all the layers in advance, only covering with stock just before placing on the stove… you REALLY look like Nigella!

Sorry, I digressed…..

7. Bring pot to a boil for 5 mins then turn down to a slow simmer, covering tightly with a lid to stop steam from escaping, for 40-45 mins.


 8. This is a great time to put on some make-up, have a glass of wine with your guests…ok this just REALLY clinches the Nigella look…and prepare a little ‘salata arabica’ (see notes), slice some lemon wedges, etc.

9. When stock has evaporated and rice is fully cooked, remove from heat and leave to cool for about 10 mins.


15 Now you may need a hand with this last part……

  1. Place a large round serving tray upside-down over the pot and ‘flip’ it ‘upside down’.
  2. Rub sides and bottom of pot with a wet tea towel for a minute or so and very slowly….very gently….remove the pot.

Don’t worry if it collapses….your guests will be demolishing it for you soon enough anyway!!!


  1. Garnish with parsley and pine nuts or almonds and fresh pomegranate seeds and arrange the ‘salata arabica’ around the sides.
  2. Serve with bowls of fresh yoghurt, tahini and maybe some tabouli.



Baharat “7 spices” mix is available at most good delicatessens or Middle Eastern providores.

Or you can make your own….a blend of…

  • 4 tblspn ground black pepper
  • 2 tblspn ground coriander
  • 2 tblspn ground cinnamon
  • 2 tblspn ground cloves
  • 3 tblspn ground cumin
  • 4 tblspn paprika
  • 1 tspn ground cardamom
  • 4 tspn ground nutmeg

If you counted, this one has 8. Not all blends will include nutmeg.
Combine all the ingredients together till well mixed. Store in an airtight jar and keep away from direct sunlight. This spice mix will keep for up to 6 months.

Salata arabica is a lovely simple fresh salad of sliced red onion, cucumber, very ripe tomatoes, green capsicum, olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper and a little lemon juice or pomegranate concentrate. (Lovely and sour) It is traditionally served with flat bread for scooping it up.

As a variation for presentation, it also looks pretty to slice very ripe, very red tomatoes in circles and place them on the bottom of the pot, omitting the first sprinkling if rice.

Try a different shaped pot maybe something like a wok for a dome shape….less chance of it collapsing when you flip it too!

Or instead of on top of the stove, the whole thing can be covered and put in the oven for an hour. You just don’t get that lovely dark colour and special flavour of the rice as it starts to stick to the pot and slightly burn on the bottom…or is that the top…




PETY. 27.07.2012

Well, all I can say is I was fortunate enough to try this very dish by Chef corriecooks & there are no words to describe how deliciously luscious, melt in the mouth it was.


ROSA. 24.07.2012

What a splendid dish! A real show stopper and surely mighty scrumptious.



This looks amazing! I’m always on the look-out for nice chicken and rice dishes to eat at work, though I’d probably be wanting to use cutlery to eat this.



Ooh I just had a prawn version of this dish and it was so tasty! I didn’t know that it meant “upside down.”


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Dahl: LentilsClick for Reviews

MasterChef is on. It’s raining and I feel like soup. I want something fast and full of flavour and you can’t go past a big bowl of Dahl to fill that job description and guess which episode comes on MasterChef?!…An Indian wedding feast with Dahl as one of the courses!!!! So Dahl it is.


1 Dahl, also spelled Dal, Daal or Dhal, is a preparation of pulses (dried lentils, beans and peas). It also means the thick soup or stew made from those pulses and traditionally is an important part of Indian, Nepali, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and West Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine. It is usually eaten with rice, vegetables and roti bread.

Dahl is a great source of protein and is thus valued by those with a vegetarian diet.


2It is a very easy soup that can be as basic or as elaborate as you like. It is traditionally finished off with a garnish called Tadka (and there are a million different ways to say and spell that!) which is a combination of varied, whole spices, flash fried in oil and or ghee to liberate their essential oils and aroma which are then added while still very hot, oil and all, into the dish just before serving, but of course some cooks will do this at the beginning of a dish and then using the same or varied spices add it again at the end giving a layering of flavours.



  • 2 cups masoor dahl (red split lentils)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tblspn turmeric
  • 1 leek or 2 medium brown onions
  • 2 tblspn ghee
  • 2 tblspn vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tblspn minced or grated ginger



  • 2 tblspn vegetable oil (preferably olive oil)
  • 2 tspn whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tspn black or yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 whole dried red chillies
  • 20 fresh green curry leaves
  • 1 tspn asafoetida (optional) see notes


  1. Rinse lentils in cold water.
  2. Finely chop leek or onion and fry gently in oil and ghee until translucent but not browning.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and fry for another minute before adding lentils and 6 cups water and turmeric.
  4. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid, stirring occasionally for 10-15 mins
  5. When the lentils are cooked, depending on how thick or loose you like your stewy soup, you may want to add another cup or two of water.
  6. Season with salt at this stage…Not before, as it retards the lentils abilities to cook.



Now don’t say I didn’t warn you about this next step….it only takes seconds to make and it is going to spit like all hell so have a lid ready, have all the spices ready to go and move fast!!!




  1. Heat oil in a small pan.
  2. In 5 second intervals, add the curry leaves followed by the cumin seeds and then the mustard seeds followed by the asafoetida.
  3. Add the whole chillies, remove from the heat and immediately pour everything straight into the finished dahl….it will spit again so keep that lid handy. Stir it all together and serve as a soup all by itself or with rice and roti if you made a nice thick one.



Asafoetida is the dried latex gum extruded from the tap root of several species of the perennial herb Ferula. When raw it has a pungent, unpleasant smell which has given it the names Devils dung and stinking gum, however once cooked it has a flavour reminiscent of sauteed onions leeks.

Another interesting fact is that even though it smells bad before being cooked…it stops YOU from smelling bad after eating the dahl, as asafoetida has antimicrobial properties thus reducing flatulence.

Accordion to Wikipedia it also has “well documented uses for treating chronic bronchitis and whooping cough”. See anything that smells that bad has GOT to be good for you.




SHERRY. 23.06.2012

I love Dahl and definitely will attempt this recipe!


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CarbonaraClick for Reviews


The waiter comes up to your table and asks……”Would you like some freshly cracked coal on your pasta madam?!”

Spaghetti alla carbonara literally means “coal miner’s wife spaghetti” in Italian; the large sprinkling of freshly ground pepper on the dish imitating coal dust.

It is an Italian pasta dish based on eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, guanciale and a fair wack of black pepper. Your eggs should be the freshest eggs possible (to your knowledge). There is something to be said for having chickens in your backyard!



 Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty Italian cheese suitable primarily for grating made out of sheep milk; the Italian word pecora, from which the name derives, means ‘sheep’. Pecorino is also from the regions around Rome

Guanciale is most often unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig’s jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for ‘cheek’. It is a delicacy of central Italy particularly Umbria and Lazio. Pancetta is a suitable substitute for Guanciale.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a 20th century dish and  was first described after WW2 as a roman dish, (as in modern Rome), when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the USA.



  • 500 grams spaghetti fettuccini or bucatini pasta
  • 100 grams guanciale (or pancetta) — diced
  • 1 whole clove garlic, slightly squashed in its skin
  • 2 medium eggs (freshest possible)
  • 100g pecorino romano – grated
  • olive oil
  • 2 tblspn unsalted butter
  • salt and  freshly cracked pepper
  • extra pepper to “garnish’



  1. In a pan, along with the whole garlic clove, melt the butter in a little olive oil. (this helps the butter not to burn)
  2. Add and cook the guanciale until it is well coloured.
  3. Discard the garlic.

44.   Beat the eggs in a bowl with half of the cheese and a pinch of salt.


     5. Cook the pasta until it is ‘al dente’. Drain and add to the pan with the guanciale.


6. Add the egg mixture. Mix well being careful not to let the eggs scramble…only on the heat for about 20 seconds….. The egg should be just cooked through but not solidified.

7. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the cheese. Mix again and serve immediately.


  • 8. Sprinkle the pasta and around the edges of the plate with extra coal….I mean cracked pepper.




NAMI from JUST ONE COOKBOOK. 28.08.2012

Your carbonara looks delicious! This is one of my first spaghetti I made when I was small! I now crave this pasta!!


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Cotelette: Lamb CutletsClick for Reviews

Well after having a week off because of not feeling the best, I needed MEAT, but I didn’t want to use a lot of energy preparing it and not just wanting to eat it raw, I settled on lean lamb cutlets.


Derived from the French word Cotelette meaning cutlet, its root word is cote, meaning rib. It also refers to

  1. a thin slice of meat from the leg or ribs of veal, pork or mutton (also known in various languages as a cotoletta or Kotelett)
  2. a fried breaded cutlet
  3. a croquette made of minced meat
  4. a style of prawn or fish fillet


Using a small paring knife, remove the layer of fat and the sinew, leaving just the ‘eye’. Cut all the way around the bone and “french” it by scraping the meat and fine rib sheath off.



I just love this quote from the Wikipedia on Australians and our consumption of lamb…..

“Australians eat lamb cutlets battered with egg yolk and breadcrumbs. Chicken cutlets are also very popular, but known as chicken schnitzel. Both lamb cutlets and chicken schnitzel are a staple of Australian children’s cuisine. Amongst most Australians of Italian descent, the term schnitzel is replaced by the term cutlet. Cutlets amongst this demographic are usually veal or chicken”.


  • Prepare a simple mixture of bread crumbs, finely grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and press lightly onto the meat, keeping the bone clean. (You can of course use the flour, egg, crumbs, technique, but I wasn’t in the mood to wait or have to wash extra plates…)


  • Cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes each side. (I like mine still a bit pink on the inside). Sprinkle with a little extra salt and pepper….take a photo…..and enjoy!



Fantastic as meat lolly-pops on their own for a protein hit, or served with a mountain of buttery mashed potatoes, or smashed white beans and garlic with a simple garden salad. Yum!





Such a classic dinner item but oh so comforting too especially when you need protein 🙂


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CrepesClick for Reviews

 So I woke up to a lovely cool and misty Saturday morning that made me think of the misty mornings we sometimes had while in Paris, and of course the first thought that popped into my head was…Crepes!!!


A cheese crepe while in Paris. I don’t think it’s big enough do you?!

crêpe or crepe is of French origin, the word being derived from the Latin crispa, meaning “curled”.

It is a type of very thin pancake. Crêpes can be filled and folded into triangles or rolled up.

There are commonly two types: one made from wheat flour and a little sugar, usually for sweet fillings (crêpes sucrées) and the other from buckwheat flour (crêpes salées), usually for savoury fillings.

Interestingly the name “galette” came from the French word galet (“pebble”), since the first galettes were made on a large pebble heated in a fire.

Batter made from buckwheat-flour is gluten-free.


When served as a sweet crepe, they can be eaten for breakfast or as a dessert with various sweet toppings, including, Nutella, jams, sugar (white, brown or icing sugar), maple syrup, lemon juice, whipped cream, pureed fruit, custard, and sliced soft fresh fruits…the simplest being just sugar right through to the elaborate flambéed crepes Suzette.

Crêpes served for lunch or dinner are usually savoury and can include cheeses, ham, eggs, mushrooms, whole or sliced French sausages (salami style) and cooked meats.



While crêpes originate from Brittani, a region in the northwest of France, their consumption is widespread in France and of course, now, dishes with similar appearance, taste and preparation methods exist in other parts of the world as well.

In India, a crêpe made of fermented rice batter is called ‘dosa’ and often contains savoury fillings.

Another variety is called ‘patibola’ and is sweet, being made with milk and jaggery or sugar.


To tell you the honest truth, I never actually measure the ingredients, but ‘eye’ it all into the mixing bowl. After all I have been making them for over 30 years!

However here is the ratio that you should be using….



  • 250 g plain flour, (1 and 3/4 cups)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50 g Sugar, (1/4 cup)
  • 2 room temperature eggs beaten
  • 500 ml milk
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tblspn melted butter
  • Extra butter or oil for the pan


  1. In a bowl, sift together flour, salt and sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl place milk and lemon juice, stirring gently for 3 seconds to mix through. Leave to sour and curdle for 5 mins.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the eggs and soured milk.
  4. Beat until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the melted butter and continue to beat until smooth.
  6. If you can’t wait to cook and eat these straight away, don’t worry about this next step, however for a nice tender finished pancake, cover the batter with cling wrap or a tea towel and leave to rest for about 2 hours at room temperature.


5 Three pans on the go at once!


  1. Heat a 24 cm crepe pan or non-stick frying pan.
  2. Add about 1 tspn butter to the pan (the butter should foam but not go brown)
  3. With a soup ladle, pour pancake batter near the edge or side of the pan and coat the bottom evenly with a tilting circular motion.
  4. Either by using the “flip-in-the-air” motion, or by using a spatula, turn the pancake over and cook the other side.
  5. Repeat until all the batter is used up and if you are feeling brave (or just want to show off) you could use two or even three pans at a time, thus reducing the waiting time so you can eat them sooner!!!!



A glorious stack of 20 crepes.


Serve hot with extra melted butter, sugar, lemon juice, jam, or maple syrup, etc.

Don’t forget a nice big cafee latte or a huge mug of tea.




I love crepes! That stack of 20 looks awfully good enough to eat… for one.



I adore crepes! Like you, I don’t really measure ingredients for crepes and eyeball it 🙂


JOLLO. 01.07.2012

Mmmm, making me hungry just looking at that pile of crepes, this is my favourite crepe recipe. Love the milk mixed with lemon juice to curdle it. Great touch!



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Broad beans: ‘Vicia Faba’Click for Reviews

1 Vicia faba, also known as the broad bean, fava bean, field bean, bell bean, tic bean or horse bean, is a species of bean (Fabaceae) native to North Africa and southwest Asia.

In much of the English-speaking world, the name “broad bean” is used for the large-seeded cultivars grown for human food, while horse bean and field bean refer to cultivars with smaller, harder seeds (more like the wild species) used for animal feed, though their stronger flavour is preferred in some food recipes, such as falafel.

Broad beans are eaten while still young and tender. The young leaves of the plant can also be eaten either raw or cooked like spinach. Broad beans have a very short season (roughly two weeks) usually in the middle of spring.



Preparing broad beans involves first removing the beans from their pods, then parboiling or blanching them for 30-60 seconds to loosen their exterior shell, and removing that before using them in your cooking.

Broad beans go best with simple, clean flavours like fresh herbs, lemon juice and green leaves. Cream and milder, less pungent cheeses, like feta or mozzarella also work well.

Broad beans are rich in tyramine, and should be avoided by those taking Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors, which are a class of anti-depressant drugs. Hannibal Lecter mentions he once ate the liver of a census taker “with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” As a psychiatrist, he would know that he had named three of the “forbidden foods” for patients taking MAO inhibitors.

Elizabeth David’s book ‘Summer Cooking’ has a lovely recipe using broad beans and bacon, and I quote….

”Melt 2 oz. of diced bacon (or ham or cold pork) in a little butter. Add 2 lb of cooked broad beans, 2 or 3 tablespoons of light béchamel sauce, a little cream, a very little parsley. Simmer together for 5 minutes.”

And here is my version…



  • 150g piece of pancetta (or bacon if you must)
  • 1 tblspn butter
  • 1 tblspn olive oil
  • 1 kilo frozen broad beans
  • 1 tblspn flour
  • ½ cup cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped parsley.


  1. Remove broad beans from packet and place in a bowl to defrost.
  2. Peel beans and discard the skins. (I know it’s a lot of work but you could do it while you are watching MasterChef!)
  3. Dice pancetta very small and fry gently in butter and olive oil till brown and crisp. (Bet you can’t help stealing a couple a pieces.)
  4. Add beans to pancetta and cook gently for 5 mins.
  5. Mix flour and cream together, add to beans and cook until just thickened.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Remove from heat, stir through the finely chopped parsley and serve.


This is a great weeknight meal served with a steak, a couple of lean pistachio crumbed lamb cutlets or simply two perfectly poached eggs. Dinner on the table in under 30 mins.

For a nice variation, add ½ cup of cherry tomatoes simply cut in half during the last minute of the beans cooking time. Or a few shallots can be finely chopped and added at the same time.

You could also replace the pancetta for some sautéed chicken livers….just in case you have invited Hannibal round for dinner. Ask him to bring the bottle of Chianti………




Oh it’s spring and broad bean time! Thanks for the reminder Corrie 😀


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Beef stewed in Red Wine – ‘Jarret de Boeuf en Daube’Click for Reviews


For my alphabetical listing choice for “B”,  I could, of course, have made the famous ‘beef bourguignon’ that Julia Child immortalised, however just about everybody and his dog has had something to say about that dish, so I thought I would do something different. Sorry Julia. I chose a Provencale dish simply cooked in wine. The original recipe calls for only “one large glass of red wine”.  I am sure that having to wait 3-4 hours for it to cook in the oven gave the chef an excuse to drink the rest of the bottle by himself.

Just a little language lesson first…


A daubiere.

Jarret is French for shin, hock or shank.

The French word daube is not only the term used for the style of dish, but also the container it which it is cooked.

Boeuf en daube is a classic French stew made with cuts of inexpensive beef, usually braised in red wine, vegetables, garlic and ‘herbs de Provence’ and traditionally cooked in a very slow oven in a ‘daubiere’.

The daubiere is an earthenware pot with a fat belly narrowing to the top closed with a tight fitting conical lid, so that the steam condenses and falls back into the pot, thus ensuring that the dish remains moist during the long cooking time. A dutch oven could be a substitute.

And now a History lesson…


Shin of beef.

The cut of beef mostly used in a daube comes from the shoulder and back of the bull, which of course has more flavour than cow meat. In the areas of Camargue and Beam in France, bulls that are killed during the bullfighting festivals are often used to make daube.

Some recipes suggest that it should be made from three cuts of meat…the gelatinous shin for body, short ribs for flavour and chuck for firmness.

Of course there are as many variations of boeuf daube as there are households, however apart from the constants mentioned earlier, variations calling for olives, prunes, duck fat, vinegar, brandy, lavender, cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries and orange peel are also seen.

Traditionally it is prepared the night before with a long slow simmer allowing the flavours to meld and the beef to be so soft it falls apart, being served with noodles, rice or mashed potatoes. Wine stews improve and mature with reheating. Everything tastes better the next day!!!


One can also find daube d’agneau (lamb), which is made using white wine.


Herbs needed.

A translation from Pieere Huguenin’s 1936 recipe book Les Meilleures Recettes de ma pauvre mere, (loosely translated meaning ‘recipes of my poor relative’), reads…

“In my grandmothers dark kitchen…there was a sound like a little bubbling spring. It was a daube, which since midday had been murmuring gently on the stove, giving out sweet smells which brought tears to our eyes. Thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, spices, the wine of the marinade and the fumet (French for aroma) of the meat were becoming transformed under the magic wand which is the fire, into a delicious whole; so well cooked it could be carved with a spoon.”

I must be a softy because that just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy……


My version is based on a recipe from Elizabeth David.


Bouquet Garni.

This recipe should be enough for 4-6 people

Preheat oven to 145oC-150oC

Make a bouquet garni (garnished bouquet) by tying a bunch of parsley, some thyme, some sage, 1 stick of rosemary and 2 bay leaves wrapped in the green leaf of a leek, tightly together with kitchen twine.




  • 2 kilos of shin beef cut into large thick chunks
  • 200g fat bacon (or salt pork) cut into small cubes
  • 1 tblspn Olive oil
  • 2 brown onions sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves whole
  • 2 strips orange peel
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 cup water (or stock that may be available)
  • 2 tsp salt





Nicely caramelised.

  1. Gently heat olive oil and bacon until the bacon fat ‘melts’ or renders out a little.
  2. Add onion and sauté until nicely caramelised.
  3. Add squashed garlic and orange peel and cook for 2 more mins.

8   4. On top, arrange the chunks of beef and bouquet garni.

    5. Pour the wine over the meat.

    6. Let it all come to a boil for about 3-4 mins.

    7. Add water or stock and allow it to come back to the boil for another 3-4 mins.

    8. Add salt.

    9. Cover the beef with two layers of kitchen paper pushing it down onto the meat and a tight fitting lid and transfer to a very slow oven set at 145oC-150oC.

   10. Allow it to ‘murmur away’ for about 3-3.5 hours while you polish off the rest of the wine…



“The sauce should be neither thickened nor reduced; it is to be mopped up with plenty of bread, rice or potatoes.” Thanks for the tip Elizabeth David…

As a variation, you can put the beef, a rough chopped onion, the garlic, bouquet garni and orange peel in a bowl overnight or even up to 24 hours before, then fry up the bacon and another onion and continue from that stage.

So it could work like this if you have the patience…and it really can’t get any easier than this…

  1. Thursday evening, marinate everything,
  2. Friday evening, fry up bacon and onion popping everything else on top and slipping it into the oven.
  3. Saturday evening, gently reheat while you boil up some potatoes and beautiful green French sting beans, put some makeup on and open a bottle of wine to enjoy with your guests.

Go, You domestic goddess!




I had no idea that they used bull meat for daube! You learn something new every day! 😀


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Ontbijtkoek- Dutch Breakfast CakeClick for Reviews



Pearl sugar

Woohoo! I had another recipe published on someone elses website.

Many thanks to Rene from “Swaffels” ‘Delectable indulgence’. Purveyors of ‘pearl sugar’.

Check them out at and look for the recipe page and scroll down to…..

Dutch breakfast cake….“Ontbijtkoek”


This could be translated to “first bite cake” in Dutch. But it is neither used strictly at breakfast time, nor is it a cake as most understand cake, as it is a heavy kind of dry long lasting, bready, spiced cake. But very tasty after all that…

Pearl sugar is made from normal cane sugar but comes all knobbly like little fresh water pearls and in various sizes. The picture here of pearl sugar was made in Belgium and I picked up a small container of it while we were there at the beginning of the year. Hey, don’t laugh!…I brought home salt from Paris and London!




Ontbijtkoek and speculaas sandwich


  • 2 cups of self raising flour
  • 1/2 (half) cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 (one third) cup molasses or treacle
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp. each of ground cloves, cinnamon and ginger
  • 1/2 (half) tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 tblspn pearl sugar


  1. Combine all the ingredients except pearl sugar, and mix to a smooth paste. Butter an oblong cake tin, fill with the cake mix, sprinkle with pearl sugar and bake for about one hour in a slow oven (about 150C).
  2. When cooked, allow to cool and keep in a tin or in the bread-bin for 24 hours before slicing.

This cake keeps moist when put in the bread-bin with the bread. The Dutch serve it with their tea time, buttered or on a slice of bread for breakfast….cake sandwich!

My favourite way is buttered ontbijtkoek with a speculaas biscuit on top!

A cake sandwich or a biscuit sandwich is not as strange as it sounds! It can be traced back to Victorian times, when, in 1861 Mrs Isabella Beeton, in her “Book of Household Management” wrote a recipe for a ‘Toast sandwich’. It is a very simple and economical sandwich made by putting a thin slice of toast between two thin slices of bread with a layer of butter, and adding salt and pepper to taste.

Although this sandwich is very simple, the difference of textures presented by the butter, the slices of bread and the toast can make it a surprisingly pleasant experience.

‘Mouthfeel’ is the highlight of the toast sandwich. With the diversity of textures and flavours of different kinds of bread, many variations can be made in order to “enrich the experience of the consumer”. For example, a toast sandwich can be made with:

  • Cold or hot toast
  • Melted or room-temperature butter
  • Garlic or herb toast (or bread)
  • Raisin bread with white bread toast, or vice versa

Butter can also be substituted with a little extra-virgin olive oil when using savoury variants of bread and toast.

Don’t knock it till you try it!




RONIKA. 08.07.2012

Great Site Corrie. Looking forward to more Dutch recipes. xoxo


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Bakewell TartClick for Reviews


Now I’m beginning to get a bit worried about some of the cooks that worked in hotels or Inns during the early 1800’s!

If you read my article about Apple Tarte Tatin and compare with this one you will know what I mean….

A certain Mrs Greaves was the landlady of “The White Horse Inn”, now known as “The Rutland Arms”, Rushbottom Lane (gotta love that name) in Bakewell, Derbyshire, England.

She instructed her cook to make a pudding with a jam, egg and almond meal filling, which, in one form or another, can be traced back to medieval times. However the cook stuffed up and after forgetting to mix the jam into the pudding mix, he just spread the jam ‘under’ the eggy almond filling, hoping it would mix during the baking process, which of course it didn’t , therefore creating more of a tart than of a pudding. Anyway, fortunately for Mrs Greaves, the Inns guests enjoyed it and she instructed her kitchen staff to make it that way from then on.


So today’s definition of the Bakewell tart is….”A tart consisting of a sweet shortcrust pastry shell, spread with jam and covered with frangipane”.

It is often covered with almonds or peanuts, and various kinds of jam may be used, e.g., blackcurrant, raspberry, sour cherry, strawberry and apple.

A modern variation is a cherry Bakewell tart, where the frangipane is covered with a layer of almond flavoured icing and half a glace cherry.

The name ‘bakewell’ does not, of course, refer to a baker that can ‘bake well’, but it is a corruption of the words….”bad”, or bath and “kwell”, or source, referring to the many wells that where found around that part of Derbyshire.

A true British classic, the Bakewell tart is best served slightly warm with a dollop of lightly whipped cream.

And so to the recipe…



An 1800 recipe from England making the traditional jam tart asks for…

  • ·         1 sweet shortcrust pastry
  • ·         Bench flour
  • ·         1 cup jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
  • ·         1 batch frangipane

I love how it just assumes that the cook of the house would know how to make this as there is no list of individual ingredients or measurement, and includes just the following two step instructions…..

  1. 1.       Make the sweet shortcrust pastry, roll out on floured bench, place in tart tin and blind bake.
  2. 2.       Spread pastry with jam or curd and top with the frangipane, sprinkle with slivered almonds and bake.

Hey you can’t get any easier than that……but as this is the 2000’s and we all need TV celebrity chefs to show us how to boil water, let’s break the recipe down….



  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 tblspn caster sugar
  • 120g cold butter
  • 1 medium egg, beaten


  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Using a vegetable grater, grate in the butter, then rub together until it is coarse crumbs.
  2. Mix the egg with 2 tsp cold water and sprinkle over the mixture. Mix together into a soft dough (but not sticky), adding a little water or milk (if required) very gradually. Shape into a ball, and then cover with cling-film and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before rolling out.
  3. Sprinkle bench with flour and roll pastry to 5mm thickness, place into pastry tin (spring form is the best) and return to fridge to chill again. Give it up to an hour.
  4. Place a piece of baking paper and ceramic baking beans or rice on top of pastry and “blind bake” in a pre-heated oven at 200oC for 15-20 mins. Remove paper and baking beans; quickly brush pastry, including sides and return to oven for another 5 mins or till a lovely golden brown.



  • 225g butter, room temp not straight out of the fridge
  • 225g sugar
  • 225g almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 50g plain flour


  1. Beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  2. Add almond meal then add one egg at a time mixing well each time. Don’t worry if it looks like it has curdled or spit…Just add a little of the flour.
  3. Fold through lemon zest and any remaining flour.



  1. Spread your chosen 1 cup of jam or fruit ‘curd’ across the baked pastry case, leaving a 2cm gap from the edge.
  2. Spread the almond mixture over the jam, sprinkle with some flaked or slivered almonds (optional) and bake at 180oC for around 20 mins or until set and a nice golden brown.
  3. Allow to cool in the tin before attempting to remove.
  4. Cut into wedges and serve with cream.


Many thanks to my English Friend now married with bub and living in the land of Oz for her kind donation of a beautiful Bakewell Tart using morello cherries for the filling. I get all the glory for the pictures and the pleasure of eating it!





I’ve only made this once but I really enjoyed it! And as you say, it’s quite simple indeed 🙂

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