Banana croque-monsieur

Here’s a fabulous and original dessert, that you can also eat for your breakfast! If you like bananas, you will love it.

To prepare one, you need : Half a banana, 2 slices of bread, butter, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and cinnamon.

Take the bread and spread butter on one side of each slice. Sprinkle with some sugar on the butter. That will make it nice and brown when you grill it. Turn over the slices prepare the other side of the sandwich. Cut the banana in very fine slices and arrange it on the bread. Be sure you have covered the entire slice, especially the edges so your sandwich won’t  be dry on the edges. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over the bananas and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Close the sandwich with the second bread and be sure the butter and sugar side is outside.

Put in the oven grill for two minutes on each side. Be careful, it cooks really fast and can turn… to burnt!

Bon appétit !

Croque-monsieur (toasted ham and cheese sandwich)

In France, we too have our national hot sandwich : it’s not the hamburger but the « Croque-monsieur », a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Easy and fast to prepare, this sandwich is very well known in French families for a fast dinner at the end of the week-end, for example.

To do 6 croque-monsieurs, you need : 12 slices of bread, 6 slices of ham, 6 slices of Swiss cheese (or grated Swiss cheese), some sour cream and some grated Swiss cheese.

Put 6 slices of bread on a cookie sheet. Spread some sour cream on each slice, making a fine layer. Add the slices of ham on each slice. Cut it on the sides not to exceed any sandwich. Add the slices of Swiss cheese above the ham and close the sandwich with the second slice of bread. Sprinkle each croque-monsieur with some grated Swiss cheese to brown.

Put the sheet in your oven for 12 minutes at 400 °F. Your croque-monsieur should be well browned on the outside and soft inside. It’s ready to serve and you can accompany this dish with some salad. You can also cut the sandwich in little pieces for kids.

The traditional croque-monsieur has two different variations :

The croque-madame where you replace the grated cheese on the top of the sandwich with an egg you’ve just broken over the bread before putting it in the oven.

The banana croque-monsieur for dessert or breakfast. I will give you the recipe very soon.

Bon appétit !

Potimarron (Pumpkin) tart

This is a fabulous dessert for the chilly autumn season. You need 1 hour to prepare this tart.

You need : 27 oz of potimarron (Pumpkin), a pie crust, 5.5 oz of sugar, 3 oz of flour, 2 oz of butter, 3 eggs, 6 tablespoons of milk, 1 tablespoon of almond extract.

Peel the pumpkin, cut it in cubes and cook it in a pan of boiling salt water for15 minutes. Drain.

In a bowl, mix together sugar, flour, butter, eggs, milk and almond extract. Then, add the pumpkin to the mixture. Crush the pumpkin with a fork until it looks like a purée.

Take a pie plate and put the pie crust pastry on it. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust. Put in the oven for 40 minutes at 350 °F. Leave the tart in the kitchen to cool. It’s ready.

Bon appétit !

Home made tomato sauce

When summer arrive, we can find very good and flavorful tomatoes. At that period, I found someone who can keep the kids a day long. Then, with a lot of fresh tomatoes from my parents’ vegetables garden, I cook my tomato sauce for the year in bottles, because I can use it in a lot of recipes (with meats, pasta, fishes, eggs) and I don’t waste time when I need a tomato sauce to prepare a dish. Here, I’m going to share with you the recipe to prepare a fresh one. You need 35 minutes to do it.

You need : 8 tomatoes, 2.5 oz of concentrated by tomato, 1 carrot, 1 red onion, 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil, 10 basil’s sheets, 1 oz of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt.

Wash the vegetables, peel carrot and onion, remove the green head of the tomatoes. Put all the ingredients in your blender and liquidize the preparation. Overturn into a hollow frying pan and cook it slowly during 30 minutes. Mix from time to time. The color will change from pink to nice red.  At the end of the cooking time, taste the sauce. If it’s too bitter, you can add a little bit more of sugar and cook it 5 minutes more. It’s ready.

Bon appétit !

Crème brûlée

This cream dessert is one of the famous one in France. It’s a very light and delicious dessert. You need 20 minutes to do it and 30 minutes to cook it. After that, wait 30 minutes before to serve it. To do that recipe, you need :

1 vanilla pod, 4 egg yolks, 4.5 oz of sugar, 1 cup of fat milk, 1 cup of sour cream.

Split the vanilla pod in two and get back seeds. Preheat the oven at 300 °F. Put the egg yolks in a big bowl with 3.5 oz of sugar and whip. Ad the vanilla seeds and the milk. Whip again until all the ingredients are homogeneous. Then, add the sour cream and whip.

Put the cream in individual ramekins you can put in the oven and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. After cooking, leave it in the kitchen cooler and 30 minutes in the fridge.

Just before to serve it, powder the top of the cream with the rest of the sugar and grill it to have a caramel. You can grill it with the grill of your oven or with a blowtorch of cooking. Take care, it’s really fast.

Bon appétit !

Basque chicken

The recipe I’m going to share with you is one of my favorites for a family dinner. The Basque chicken is, as usual, a traditional main course in French cooking. To prepare it, you need 1 1/2 hours to prepare it.

You will need : 1 chicken, cut up into 8 pieces, 2.5 cups of tomato sauce (see recipe for my homemade  sauce), 1 onion (a red one is better), 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 pinches of chili (Espelette chili is the best one for that recipe), salt.

First, cut the chicken in individual pieces. Take a casserole and put the oil inside. Heat the oil and add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides. During that time, cut the three peppers into strips. Add them to the casserole with the browning chicken. Cut the onion in little cubes and add it, too. Mix all the vegetables around the chicken. When all the ingredients have a nice color, add the tomato sauce, salt and chili. Mix all ingredients, cover the casserole and let cook over low heat slowly for 1 hour.

It’s ready to serve. You can accompany this dish with rice or potatoes.

Bon appétit !

Sole from Dijon-Elegant and Easy!

This fish dishs absolutely delicious : very fast to make (5 minutes) and appealing to all, even my husband who usually doesn’t like fish and seafood. To prepare it for 4, you need :

4 sole filets, a dash of oil, 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt, 2 tablepoons of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of mustard, 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons of grated swiss cheese.

In an oven safe dish, put a dash of oil on the bottom and place 4 filets on it.

In a bowl, mix together yoghurt, mayonnaise and mustard. In another bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, parsley and grated swiss cheese.

Take a spoon and coat the filet’s with the cream mixture. Then, sprinkle it with the dry mixture from the second bowl.

Put the plat in the oven with a temperature of 350 °F for 15 to 20 minutes (it depends how you like the topping, very brown or not).

It’s ready to serve. This dish is excellent with rice.

Bon appétit !

Enlarge the house

When my husband and I discovered that I was pregnant with twins, one of the first things we started to think about (well just after the big surprise of that news!!) was that we need to enlarge our house, because we just had two bedrooms. But enlarge a house with two babies and a little kid and continuing to live inside wasn’t easy to organize.

We engaged an architect, who suggested two different projects. We choose the one which didn’t modify the existing house. That means the work site was separated from our home by a window on one side and by a door on the other side. So, we didn’t have the inconveniences of the construction site in the area we used to live (except the noise some days). At the end of the work, we just had to break between the two connections.

The first year the babies were born, they lived in the library, which is a little room about 8′ x 8′, only separated from the living room by a simple curtain.

A company did the extension in wood, and then we managed to do the other work by ourselves to save some money. We had to make the biggest extension we could imagine if we would have just had one baby more. In fact, we doubled the living space. We are very lucky with our family : my husband and his father put plasterboards, my husband did the electricity, my husband’s nephew, who’s only 19 years old did the plumbing, my brother in law and his son in law did partition walls, my father paved the stone floors and walls and I did all the paintwork. Thanks to all of them because, except for my husband’s nephew who is a real plumber, every body did it on their free time because they are talented.

I’m sure you will ask who was keeping the kids when I was painting ? Pierre was at school and Leo and Renan were taken care of by my mother or my mother in law. They were staying at home alternately during that period and slept on the sofa in the middle of the living room. I’m so grateful to them. I’m really proud of my family and in laws for all that work, which offered us a new house, and a very comfortable one for our family. Everybody has his own bedroom now with a real door and more, our guests can sleep in a real bedroom too.

Eggs mimosa

Here is a very simple starter to make that’s delicious. Once more, it is a classic of french cooking. This starter is also very fast to do (10 minutes) and to cook (10 minutes). Why that name ? Because when you chop the egg yolks, it looks like a mimosa flower.

To make the eggs mimosa to serve 4 : 4 eggs, 4 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of chopped basil.

Boil the eggs for 10 minutes. Cool and peel. Halve lengthwise. Remove the egg yolk without tearing the egg white.

Chop the egg yolks and mix it with mayonnaise and chopped basil.

Put the egg whites on a plate and fill it with the egg yolk mixture. You can arrange the plate with some salad and tomatoes. It’s ready to serve.

You’ve got a lot of variants of that starter : for example, you can replace the basil with parsley, or pepper to give a red color, or by tuna, or chopped olives. And for a specific day, why not put some truffles in the egg yolks ?!

Bon appétit !

Discovered the Basque country

Basque country is a territory of tradition, history and Basque culture located between France and Spain. It sits in the western extremity of the chain of Pyrénée Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. In France, it occupies a part of the country called the, « department » of the Atlantic Pyrénées, around Biarritz. You will think you’re in a completely different country than France because the Basque people have their own language. It’s a really beautiful area to visit when you come to France, because you can manage at the same time, to go to the beach or to the mountain, with wonderful landscapes to see everywhere. I will suggest some really nice places to visit for their attractiveness, their scenery or their food.
When you are on the ocean side, you should go to three nice towns : Bayonne, Biarritz and Saint Jean de Luz.


Bayonne is an old town with picturesque houses in the city center, a great castle, and the cathedral. Don’t forget to taste the most famous cured ham in France, Jambon de Bayonne « the one from Bayonne ». You will also discover two famous sports : Basque pelota and rugby.

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Biarritz is the best spot in France for surfing but you will also find some really good places for thalassotherapy and golf. Take time to walk on the sea front up to the rock of the virgin, and in the pedestrian street for some shopping. Make a stop at « La Maison du Chocolat » (Chocolate’s house) (www.lamaisonduchocolat.fr) and buy their fantastic chocolate’s bunch. You will also want to visit the wonderful chocolate museum (www.planetemuseeduchocolat.com). At evening time, have fun in the casino, or in front of the ocean, where you can see the waves exploding on the rocks at your feet. To sleep, you should try the luxury « Hotel du Palais » (www.hotel-du-palais.com), which was the vacation house of Eugénie, the wife of Napoleon III.

Saint Jean de Luz is a really nice harbor with a fantastic historic city center. You should visit Saint Jean Baptiste church where the wedding of King Louis XIV was held, and the house of the king. You should also have a walk along the port. I suggest eating in a « cidreria », a traditional Basque restaurant where the food is cooked in a huge chimney and you can taste some good cider. I invite you to visit the restaurant Arroenia in Urrugne (www.arroenia.com). You can also reserve an apartment in the hotel « La Réserve » (www.hotel-lareserve.com), in front of the ocean. I have already tried it for you and it’s a nice place to stay with a lot of activities for all the family.

When you are on the mountain side, you should visit the cute little village of Espelette and taste their famous hot pepper. Close to Espelette, you should make a stop in Saint Jean Pied de Port, a medieval city with a fantastic view of the landscape from the citadel. If you like to hike in the mountains (but not too long a hike, like me !!), I suggest you visit the Kakuetta gorges (www.sainte-engrace.com/tourisme-pays-basque.html), one of the greatest in Europe with a fantastic waterfall, in a cooler time (even if the weather is extremely hot out of the gorges). To end the day, I suggest you drive up to Barcus, a little mountain flowery village, where you can visit the colorful little church, listen to some Basque songs and dances, and taste the mountain cheese « Ossau Iraty » and book a bedroom with a spa bath in the charming hotel « Chilo » (www.hotel-chilo.com). Their restaurant serves authentic food and the vegetables are really fresh because it comes from the farm of my friends Joël and Claire who live in Barcus too. Their job is to grow vegetables and flowers.