Winter is coming …

It’s not raining anymore, but temperatures having dropping for a couple days now …

Like they say in one of my favorite shows: Winter is coming (fans will know what I’m talking about). :) And with winter around the corner comes cravings for soup!

Tadaaa …. it’s time to get the mixer out!!

There’s always a tendency to leave turnips on the side as a bland and uninteresting vegetable: but it’s a huge mistake!

Here’s a really simple recipe that’ll be perfect to warm up those upcoming long winter evenings!

Ingredients:

1kg of white turnips

1 cube of vegetable broth

20cl of heavy cream 

2 onions

Bacon strips

Walnuts

Salt

Pepper  

Olive oil

Peel the onions and cut in thin strips.

In a large pot, sauté te onions with the olive oil.

Peel the turnips and cut up into cubes.

Add them to the pot, and cover with water, into which we’ll have mixed the vegetable broth.

Cover and let cook for around 20-30 minutes.

In a pan, cook the bacon. Reserve.

Once the turnips are cooked (the water quantity should have reduced by half, or even 2/3rds), mix until you obtain a creamy consistency.

Add the cream, salt and pepper to your taste. Mix once more.

Add bacon and walnuts, and serve when hot.

Bon appétit!

 

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Posted in Facile et rapide/Quick and easy, Légumes/Vegetables, plat principal/main dish, salé/salty, Soupes/Soup, Végétarien/Vegetarian, Viande/Meat | Leave a comment

100% refreshing Mille-feuille

Aah, finally! A couple summer days that actually live up to expectations!

The heat motivated me to take advantage of a dinner with friends to try out a recipe (that I modified just a tiny bit by adding melon) I had seen a while back in a magazine (Régal).

It’s an incredibly simple starter recipe, but it’s very refreshing – perfect for August in Paris!

There’s nothing more simple – 5 minutes tops!

(For a pretty presentation you can use round forms).

For 4 people:

The mille-feuille:

- 2 beetroots

- 1 cucumber

- 1/2 melon

- 2 mozarella balls

-  Salt, pepper

- Mint and chive leaves for presentation.

Lemon vinaigrette:

- 6 tablespoons of olive oil

- Juice of 2 yellow lemons

- Salt and pepper

Cut the beetroot, the cucumber, melon and mozzarella in thin slices.

Slightly salt and pepper the slices.

In a form, dispose one level of melon, then one of cucumber, of mozzarella, beetroot and so on.

Once the millefeuille is ready, slightly compact it before removing the form. 

Mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette and sprinkle a couple of teaspoons over each millefeuille. 

Add a couple of mint and chive leaves for decoration. 

Serve immediately.

And there we go! What are your refreshing summer recipes?

 

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Tea Leaf Eggs

Tadaaaaaa! I finally started looking into chinese cuisine! For real!

After a start with this great site I told you about, I invested in a wonderful book, which put typical recipes at my reach.

One of my first attempts was a half-dozen tea leaf eggs. It’s a common snack here, absolutely delicious, and it’s a nice change from the classic hard-boiled eggs.

The appearance may seem strange to Western eyes: I had a hard time getting a few sceptical friends visiting me in Shanghai to give them a try :)

But there are only good things in it! Tea leaf eggs are about hard-boiled eggs with a slightly cracked shell marinated in a mixture of water, soy sauce, sugar and spices.

For 6 eggs
(This recipe is a hybrid between my book’s recipe and a recipe given by a Chinese friend).
6 eggs
For the marinade:
1 liter of water
8-10 tablespoons of soy sauce (I use a light soy sauce, with less salt)
Pepper
Powdered sugar
Cinnamon (in sticks is better – but I always add a little ground cinnamon anyway)
Star anise
3-4 handfuls of black tea leaves (optional – actually, you can make tea leaf eggs without tea leaves – and it tastes just as good! If you do put tea leaves in however, try to go for black tea instead of green tea which is a bit more sour. Oh and I often just cut up tea bags because I rarely have tea leaves at hand :D I also sometimes put a couple of rosebuds or other tea-flowers in the marinade when the cooking is done, but even though I like to think the contrary, I’m pretty sure the taste difference is minimal :) )
1 orange peel (optional)
Cloves (optional)
Nutmeg (optional)


Cook the eggs for 10 minutes of hard-boiled eggs.

Meanwhile, prepare the marinade:

In a large pot (all eggs must be able to hold in it side by side), boil the water with the soy sauce.

Then add all ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

(The marinade is really a matter of taste: I like mine to be more sweet, but some like a more salty version. The best way is to taste it and adjust the quantities of sugar/spices/soy sauce)

Once your eggs are boiled, rinse them with cold water. With the back of a teaspoon, gently tap the shell to crack it all over before dipping the eggs into the marinade. (This is what will give them their « marbled » look).

Cook the eggs in the marinade on low heat for about fifteen minutes.

You can obviously eat the eggs right after, but it is best to let them marinate overnight so the spices really impregnate the eggs.

Shell the eggs some 10 minutes before serving if you can – the marbled effect becomes more pronounced when the egg is in contact with air.

So tempting, or not at all? :)

 

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Posted in accompagnement/side-dish, Chine/China, entrée, Facile et rapide/Quick and easy, goûter/snacks, salé/salty, sucré-salé/salty-sweet, Végétarien/Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Pork & Peanut Butter Congee

 

Well kids, this article could have been entitled  »I put the water to boil! » if Christine and her wonderful blog hadn’t come to my rescue!

(I actually really started an article with such a title : in the month I’ve been here already, I seldom cooked, or when I did, it really wasn’t anything I wanted to talk about. For a while, I was afraid I might have lost my « Kitchen modjo »).

I started with something simple: this is a traditional recipe in Asia, typically served for breakfast, or to the sick. Well, I don’t fulfill either of these criteria, but it is cold here (although less than in Europe!) And I had to start with something!

I made two changes to the original recipe: I used minced pork (easier to find in my local supermarket than beef), and during the preparation of the meat, I added peanut butter to the mix: I think it gave a little more taste, and a very pleasant texture. In addition, I loved how it enhanced the taste of the peanuts.

Oh and also, some remarks from the congee « Pro » that I am now: never leave the pot alone too long when it’s boiling (who spoke about anything burning? I deny any implication whatsoevere!), and add at least 4 times more water than what is indicated: personally, I like the congee to be quite diluted, but it has a strong tendency to quickly become very compact. Put a good spoonful into a pot, add water, heat it up, and voila!

So, ever tried congee? How do you like it?

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M&M Chinese New Year Cookies

Ok, so, this is definitively not the most chinese way to start my life in Shanghai :p

Actually, Chinese New Year is a big BIG deal here. It’s way bigger than our Christmas holidays (and less commercial too). Everyone goes back to their families during that time – Shanghai basically emptied out. And everything closes down for about a week.

My internship tutors were absolutely lovely and invited me over to their home last tuesday to celebrate this new year with them and their family around a traditional meal of jiao zi.

I didn’t want to arrive empty handed, and thought making something myself would prove a more thoughtful gift than just going to the store to buy something (and they were all closed anyway!).

I somehow got obsessed with making M&M cookies … so here they are!

I used this recipe – I’ll probably cut the sugar doses by half next time though, they might have been too sweet!

Oh and talking about l’Atelier des Chefs, I have a pre-departure post lined up about that too! :)

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May the Year of the Dragon bring you prosperity!

I wish you all a wonderful Year of the Dragon!!

What? Now what’s wrong with her? She’s disappeared from the blogosphere since the end of the year festivities, and here she comes back, completely out of it, almost a month after New Year and wishes us a great Year of the Dragon?? What in the world is going on? :)

My dear friends of the culinary blogosphere, I am coming back to you for this new year (2012, of the Dragon, all in all, it doesn’t really matter) live from Shanghai!!!

Yups, Shanghai, China, you got me right :)

I won’t get into detail about all that has happened to me since mid-december 2011, for that’s not the purpose of this blog. But just to give you a bit of context, I passed an exam that was extremely important to me, and for which I spent an entire summer and autumn literally glued to my desk chair. (It is also during this same autumn that this blog was born – cooking proved to be an incredible stress reliever at a time where I was seriously starting to go nuts :p)

Following those excellent news, it all went pretty fast for me : the enrollment protocol, choosing between different options, and most of all, choosing my first mandatory internship.

China has always been a passion of mine, and it’s not my first time in the Middle Kingdom. But never have I come with the intention of setting my bags down for 6 months to work there. It’s a totally new side of this magnificent city that I am getting ready to discover.

I have since moved into a great internationally shared flat, 2 minutes away from the very well known « People’s Square », my internship is starting out wonderfully … and I have a new kitchen.

MyRedKitchen has temporarily relocated : the kitchen cupboards aren’t red anymore, the hotplates aren’t induction anymore but gaz, the fridge is smaller, and shared by three persons, each with tastes and culinary habits from very different horizons, I don’t have my cute plates anymore, but most importantly : there’s no oven!

Well, there wasn’t any stove, for one of my first buys was a teeny tiny electric stove (not even 20 bucks … who can beat that?!). It must be said that asian kitchens aren’t really equiped for stoves : it’s not a very popular cooking method here.

Anyway, all this to tell you that I am still here, and that I very much intend to let you know all about my asian adventures for the next 6 months!

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

And I’ll see you all very soon :)

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Christmas Lunch 2011 #1 (entrée and main dish)

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope Santa filled your stockings with beautiful things and that your plates were full of beautiful and delicious things!

For my part, I had a wonderful Christmas with my family, was very much spoiled, and I also discovered the joy of cut-out circles used for a better presentation of the food (yes, I’m a little late … but there is no age to make discoveries that change your life!)

The highlight of this meal was, at least in my case that apple tatin with foie gras that I mentioned previously. A revelation! Amazingly simple, for a WoW result, for the presentation of the dish as well as its taste!

Everyone was delighted with this entrée – and I think that apples might actually go better with foie gras than figs do !

For the main course, there was no real kitchen disaster, but a tight schedule, and a large surplus of sweet potato cream(which was part of the entrée for the Christmas eve dinner – I must see if I can get photos of that dinner by the way, I had forgotten the camera for the 24th). So I replaced the butternut with the sweet potato cream, added a couple eggs and some cream cheese. The pie doesn’t appear on the picture because it was cut and distributed at the table (and let’s be honest, it would have been too crowded on the plate for the picture :p) To see what it looks like, I can refer you to the pictures I took of my very first butternut cheesecake, which is just a shade darker ! :)

For the turkey stuffing it’s an approximative recipe of my moms, so I have no particular proportion of ingredients to give you. I just know she mixed boudin blanc, sausage, eggs, a little bit of port (I poured some over the turkey afterwards – a drunk turkey always has  tender flesh I find :p) parsley, Granny Smith apple and yogurt. She prepares it the night before and adds bread soaked in milk on the D-day, and mixes it all together one more time before putting the bird to cook.

With a little fig chutney to enhance the whole thing, it was absolutely perfect:)

The desserts will be for a future post!

So, what are your holiday food delights?

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Happy Holidays!!

*

May the merriment of end of the year festivities begin!

I wish you all happy holidays, filled with presents, family fun, and good food!

I’ll be posting the results of my Christmas meals later on this week (I hope), but for the moment, all I have to show is the menu (as planned so far – no kitchen catastrophies have required last minute changes so far, I’m keeping my fingers crossed :) )

It has been a couple years since I’ve auto-proclamed myself Head of the Family Kitchen during the holiday season. I manage the whole thing with the iron grip of a veteran dictator (according to my family – how sweet :) )

For this year’s menus, I found inspiration in many and wonderful recipes found a bit everywhere (in magazines, on blogs, at the table of friends … who will, I hope, forgive me for stealing the recipe from memory before sending them the recipe of my apple cake in exchange :p)

*

Christmas Eve dinner :

Entrée : scallops with crunchy nut topping and sweet potato cream soup (recipe here)

Main course : Salmon with curry sauce, and polenta with dried fruits

Dessert : Chocolate pear with nut crumble (recipe here)

 

Christmas lunch :

Entrée : Foie gras apple tatin (recipe here)

Main course : Turkey (with my mom’s special home made stuffing) and butternut cheesecake (one of my soon to be classics if I keep at this rate!)

Dessert : Home made Bûche de Noël

 

I’ll keep you all posted!

Until then,

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

(Hey, have you heard about Vazquez Sounds? They’re amazing :) )

 

 

* found them on the net, don’t know about the source!
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Posted in dessert, entrée, plat principal/main dish, Poisson&Co/Fish&Co, Soupes/Soup, Viande/Meat | Leave a comment

Stuffed bell peppers with yellow lentils and spelt

This is one of my favorite recipe (thank you Saveurs Magazine!) It’s a recipe after my own heart : simple, fast and always met with success around the table. I think it’s because of the small pepper hat)

So : you have friends coming over for dinner, and only little time ahead of you? Put a  chicken in the oven (or not, actually for this is a quite consistent dish:)) along with the stuffed peppers and voilà – what else could anyone ask for?

For 4 people:

200g of Ebly (I wanted to make this recipe to a friend in London recently: I couldn’t find any   Ebly at all. How do the English do it? We used chick peas instead, but the stuffing became kind of mushy, it was much less convincing). So for those of you who haven’t yet discovered the joy of Ebly, it’s pre-prepared spelt : instead of having to wait 12h for it to be cookable, you cook it five minutes. Timesaver! Oh, and it’s spelt without the husk as far as I’m concerned.)

200g of yellow/tan lentils

2 large onions

Olive oil

Coriander

Basil (I always forget it – doesn’t change the dish much if you ask me)

Curry powder

Cumin

4 bell peppers (the red, yellow and orange ones are more pleasant than the green ones when cooked I find)

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180 ° C.

Cook the Ebly in the manner indicated on the package (the original recipe uses spelt, but who has time to let anything soak for 12h nowadays?)

In another pan of boiling water (or if you want to save using a second pot, add the lentils at the end of the Ebly cooking time. Do not put the two together to cook at the same time.)

Cook the lentils for 10-15 minutes, until they slightly break. Keep an eye on them while they cook, for they cook very quickly, and will quickly turn to paste.

Peel and slice the onions. Sauté them in olive oil.

If you have basil and fresh cilantro, wash and chop coarsely. (If you have all this in powder form, that’s fine too).

Drain the Ebly and lentils and rinse them.

Add them to the onion along with the herbs, curry, cumin, salt, pepper and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir gently, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Wash the peppers.

Cut the tops of the peppers off to make hats. Remove the seeds inside.

Fill each pepper with the spelt and lentil stuffing, and place the peppers in a large baking dish.

Drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes. (10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, replace the pepper hats on top of the peppers. This will prevent them to be black like on my pictures :D )

So? What do you think?

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Posted in Facile et rapide/Quick and easy, Légumes/Vegetables, plat principal/main dish, salé/salty, Végétarien/Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Stewed tomatoes with parmesan crumble

A few tomatoes and a leftover of grated parmesan cheese in the corner of my fridge … and nothing else. Oh yes! And a huge wave of laziness, preventing me from going out to do some groceries shopping. That’s how you end up with an improvised recipe, which ultimately was much better than to yield to the temptation of ordering pizza! :)

For 4 people:

6 – 8 large tomatoes

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

50g of parmesan cheese

150g of flour

80g of unsalted butter

Cornstarch (can be replaced with flour, although cornstarch is better)

Salt and pepper

Mustard

Ketchup

Remove the butter from the fridge to let it soften at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 180 ° C.

In a bowl, mix the butter, flour, and grated parmesan and a little salt until the mixture turns into crumbles. (The quantities indicated in the recipe are very approximate. Generally, I watch over my mixture and add a little butter here, and a little flour there, and also a bit of parmesan cheese until I get a suitable result).

In a pan, sauté the minced garlic and onion with a little olive oil.

Peel the tomatoes (a few minutes of immersion in boiling waterworks very well!). Keep only the flesh (try to remove a maximum of seeds), and cut into thick slices. Put into the pan with the onion and garlic. Add salt and pepper.

Add a tablespoon of ketchup, and a spoonful of mustard.

Let the whole thing simmer a bit.

The tomatoes should let some water out. If the mixture in the pan seems too liquid, sprinkle with cornstarch in small doses, and mix well so it thickens a little.

You can also put a sprig of thyme in the pan, for flavor.

Fill small molds at 4 / 5 with stewed tomatoes. (If you make individual servings. But it also works with a unique dish)

Finish filling to the brim with parmesan crumble.

« Hydrate » the crumble with a drop of olive oil before baking 15 minutes approximatively.

Remove from the oven once the crumble has slightly browned.

Let cool ten minutes at room temperature before serving.

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Posted in entrée, Facile et rapide/Quick and easy, Légumes/Vegetables, plat principal/main dish, salé/salty, sucré-salé/salty-sweet, Végétarien/Vegetarian | Leave a comment