Monthly Archives: February 2014



Here’s another of the stews I prepared for Augusta’s party. Thankfully, today we finished off the leftovers!

First i brown pieces of beef stewing steak in a large frying pan. I remove the meat and sautè some roughly chopped onion. I return the meat to the pan and add salt, pepper, a tablespoon of paprica and some caraway seeds.I transfer everything to a casserole pot and  add a tablespoon of flour and mix it thoroughly with the meat. Then I add a glass of red wine and, when this has mostly evapourated, I add a glass of water. I cover the pot and simmer gently for two hours.

I serve with polenta or rice . As I had leftover rice yesterday, I fried some onion, pepper and carrot in olive oil and then added the rice to heat through.

pork stew


This is an adaptation of a Delia Smith recipe, the first (and best) of the simplifiers!

First I brown chunks of  pork stewing meat in a little olive oil  in a frying pan. I set the meat aside on a plate while I soften two roughly chopped onions in the pan. Then I add the meat to the onions, sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour, mix well and add a glass of red wine. When this has bubbled away I add a tin of tomatoes, salt and pepper. I transfer everything to a casserole with a lid and cook in the oven at 160°C for an hour and a half. I then add one or two chopped green peppers and a handful of sliced green olives (pimento stuffed if possible). This cooks for a further half hour.

Plain boiled rice or mashed potato make a good accompaniment.

wild leek frittata


On Sunday Silvia brought us a little bunch of wild leeks she had gathered in the hills. Augusta made a frittata (flat omelette) with them last night.

First she gently sautèed the finely sliced leek in butter and olive oil. In a bowl, she mixed a little flour with a little milk and added 5 eggs, salt and pepper. She beat the mixture well and poured it into the frying pan with the leeks. When the bottom was set she turned the omelette over with the aid of a plate and cooked the other side.

I love the satisfaction you get from picking and cooking wild foods! 

french apple tart


A big birthday party for Augusta last night and…. this was one of the desserts.

First I make the shortcrust pastry in the magimix with 250 gm flour, a pinch of salt, 125 gm butter and enough water to bind the mixture. I rest the dough in the fridge while I make the frangipane cream. I beat 150 gm soft butter, then add 100 gm sugar. When well mixed I add 150 gm ground almonds and a tablespoon of brandy and, bit by bit, an egg and two yolks, Finally a level tablespoon of flour. I roll out the pastry to fit a 30 cm tin and prick the base with a fork. I fill the case with the frangipane and put it into the fridge while I prepare the apples. I peel and halve four eating apples. I remove the pips and slice the halves thinly. I make a bicycle wheel pattern in the tin by pushing each sliced half firmly down into the frangipane. It cooks at 200°C for 15 minutes and a further 15-20 minutes at 180°C. I sprinkle the surface with sugar 10 minutes before the end. Just before serving I brush an apricot glaze all over the top. The glaze is simply made by heating a spoon of apricot jam with a squeeze of lemon juice in the microwave.

It must have been alright as not much was left over. I DO however have masses of rice left. What will I do with it? Watch this space…

artichoke and prawn starter


I usually do avocado and prawns as a starter, but the avocados yesterday were too hard, so…

I put artichoke bottoms in a pan with a good glug of olive oil and a glass of water, salt and pepper and parsley stalks. I cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes. In the meantime, I shell and de-vein some prawns and boil them briefly. I put an artichoke bottom on a plate, pile some prawns on top and sprinkle with chopped parsley. I dress the salad with citronette (lemon juice, olive oil and a little salt).

This is a handy starter as it can be prepared well in advance and served cold.

liver, sweet and sour


This is a change from the usual liver and onions. The liver must be veal’s.

First I dredge the thin slices of liver in flour and fry them in butter. I add salt and pepper.  When cooked through, I add the juice of a lemon and a scant teaspoon of sugar. I cook another minute to create a nice sauce.

This is good with a thick slice of toasted bread. 

potato omelette for one


Hot, warm or cold this is good eating for one … or increase doses for more!

First I chop half an onion and a large potato into small pieces. These I sautè in olive oil until the potato is cooked. I dissolve a spoon of flour with a splash of milk and add three eggs, salt and pepper. I beat the mixture well and add to the pan of potatoes. When the bottom has set I turn the omelette over with the aid of a plate and cook the other side. A non-stick frying pan makes life easier, but purists will prefer an iron pan. If I make a large omelette, i don’t turn it over but simply put the pan under a hot grill to set the top.

Cold and cut into cubes, this is  a good nibble to serve with drinks.

pepper and onion pasta


This sauce is best with short pasta – penne or twists.

First I slice an onion  finely. Then I remove the seeds from a pepper, quarter it and remove the skin with a potato peeler. I cut the pepper into strips. I sautè the vegetables in olive oil and add chilli flakes. When softened, I add a can of tomatoes and cook briskly. I add salt and pepper to taste and a good swirl of extra virgin olive oil.

This will do three to four servings of pasta. Pecorino cheese is good grated on top. 



A recipe for patient cooks … not normally my forte, but the result is worth the effort.

First, I mix 400 gm strong flour with 25 gm butter in the Magimix. then I add a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of sugar, a packet of dried yeast, 200 gm warm water and a beaten egg. I let the machine run two or three minutes to form a soft and smooth dough. I cover the dough and leave it at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I divide 150 gm of butter into three and reduce each third into small pieces. These I keep in the fridge. Now I roll the dough out into a rectangle  on a floured surface and place one third of the butter on the top two thirds of the rectangle. I fold up the bottom third  over the buttered dough and fold down the top third. I seal the edges with the rolling pin, turn the dough 90 degrees and go through the same process with the next third of the butter. I repeat for the rest of the butter.  If the butter is really cold it won’t squish out, but if it does, I just push it back in with a knife! I rest the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes and then repeat the rolling process three times. It goes back into the fridge for 15 minutes. Now I roll out the dough into a 24 X 36 cm rectangle. I divide this into 6 squares and divide each square into a triangle. I brush the triangle with beaten egg and loosely fold the long edge towards the point and bend into a half moon shape. I put the croissants onto a lined baking sheet, brush with beaten egg and leave for 15 minutes at room temperature. They go into a pre-heated oven at 220°C for 15 minutes.

Croissants are lovely for breakfast or morning coffee of course, but we often have them as a supper with Parma ham and a salad. They also freeze well, so you don’t have to eat all 12 at one go!

spicy lentils


Lentils cook fast … and tinned lentils cook even faster, ideal for a supper for one!

I gently sautè finely chopped onion, carrot and celery in olive oil. When cooked, I add  some chilli flakes and a good squeeze of tomato concentrate diluted in a little water. Then I add the tin of lentils and salt, and heat through.

This  is nice with some toasted bread and/or some feta cheese crumbled on top.