Endives in the ham

DSCF0671It’s a family recipe, fast and good. To do it for 5 guests, you need : 5 endives, 5 slices of boiled ham and a béchamel sauce (2 oz of butter, 1 cup of flour, 2 cups of milk, salt and pepper), grated swiss cheese.

Cook your endives in a pan of boiling water during 30 minutes. To check it’s enough cooked, plant a fork in the endives. If you have no resistance, it’s ready. Drain the vegetables during 30 more minutes.

Prepare the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and mix. Add the milk and whip the preparation without stopping on a slowly fire, until the sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper at your convenience and mix.

Roll an endive in each slice of ham. Put it in an oven plate. Pour the sauce on endives in the ham. Add some grated cheese on the top and put the plate in the oven during 15 minutes with a temperature of 400 °F.

It’s ready to serve.

Bon appétit !

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Beef Bourguignon

DSCF0854The beef Bourguignon is a traditionnal french recipe for winter dinner. To prepare it, you need : 35 oz of shoulder of beef, 2 onions, 4 carrots, 10 potatoes, one bottle of burgundy wine (a first prize to cook, keep the good wine to drink with that dish :)), 2 tablespoon of oil, 1 oz of butter, 2 tablespoon of flour, salt and pepper.

 

Take a pot (in cast iron rather). Put the oil and make warm it slowly. During that time, cut the meat in medium-sized pieces. Brown the meat with the oil . During that time, cut the onions in small-sized pieces. When the meat has a nice brown, reserve it out of the pot and put the onions in the pot to cook. Reserve it out of the pot.

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Put the butter in the pot. When it’s melted, add the flour and mix it to obtain a thick sauce (a red as we said). When your sauce is ready, add the meat and onions, mix it with the sauce. Add the wine.

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Peel carrots, wash it and cut it in fine slices. Peel the potatoes, wash it and add it in the pot with the carrots. Put salt and pepper at your convenience. If you want to have an original result and to amaze your guests, you can replace classic potatoes by purple potatoes, as I made it in these recipe. If you want to have a more flavourful dish, you can add some mushrooms and diced bacon.

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Put the lid on the pot and let simmer during 2 hours, by mixing time to time.

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It’s ready to serve. Accompany this dish of very good burgundy wine, it will be just delicious.

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Bon appétit !

 

Visit Charente-Maritime

réWelcome in Charente-Maritime !!!  This French area is just fantastic. Charente-Maritime is located between Bordeaux and Nantes. If you love sea, long beach with white sand, oysters, islands, stuff to visit with your kids, I can tell you : you will just love it.

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The main town to visit is La Rochelle, with the old port where you can eat seafood in a nice restaurant, in front of wonderful boats : in the same place, you can see very old sailboats, yachts and race boats from the « Vendée Globe Challenge« . On the other side of the port, you really should visit the biggest and fantastic Aquarium with fishes and sharks as you would never see in an other place (except in the Bahamas 😉 ). My older kid love to visit that aquarium. I invite you to taste the aquarium’s restaurant. It’s on the roof, with a fantastic view on the port and the boats : it’s not too expensive and the food is really good. If you arrive on a touristic day, I suggest you to buy your aquarium entrance tickets at the Tourist office, at the old port, it’s a 5 minutes walk and you avoid to queue up during two or three hours, in front of the aquarium …

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After that first stop in La Rochelle, you should take a boat and go to visit the three islands : Ré Island, Oléron Island and Aix Island. The two first one can be visited with a car because there is a bridge connecting it to the continent. On the way, you should take a picture of the famous Fort Boyard (use for a TV show). On the islands, take a bike for a best view and don’t forget to visit the typical fisherman’s hut with the blue shutters, the lighthouses, smell the hollyhocks, take time on the beaches and eat oysters. The best ones you can find are Gillardeau’s oysters, just at the foot of the bridge connecting the continent in the Oléron Island. It is the ones which are served to the Elysee Palace and in the best restaurants in Paris.

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If you prefer to fish oysters by yourself, you should go in my best spot : Meschers, Beach of the Nonnes. When there is a spring tide discovering rocks, you could fish really good oysters and sometimes, little shrimps too. If you like animals, don’t forget to visit La Palmyre Zoo, the biggest in Europe. The kids will be really surprised. If you prefer to have a walk in a typical old village, you really should go and visit Talmont. You will feel living two centuries behind : no cars, old stones houses… After that day, I invite you to go to a fantastic restaurant with an incredible view on the sea : « Le Cardinal des Mers » at Saint Georges de Didonne (very close from Meschers). The food (very fresh seafood and roasted meat in a big chimney in front of you) and cocktails are just amazing.

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To sleep, I advice you to leave the seaside and drive to the spa town, Jonzac. Make a stop at « le Moulin du Val de Seugne » in Mosnac. It’s an old water mill with a big park, where you can see some animals (goat, donkey, gooses, ducks and rabbits) having a walk in front of the river. The service is really good, bedrooms are comfortable and quiet so you can have a nice lunch or dinner in that place. It’s one of my favorite address.

alambicDuring the time you are around Jonzac, drive until Champagnac to go and visit Tanguidet Cognac Fabric, with their very old « alambic ». You will taste one of the best Cognac from the area. After that, you should have fun with your kids in a huge aquatic park, « Les Antilles de Jonzac », in the center of the town. There is also a Casino on the side of the pool (bring your passport  if you want to get in).

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To finish, if you like to visit old french castles, you should go to Pons, 20 minutes from Jonzac, and visit the « Castle of the riddles ». Usually, visiting castles is boring for kids but not here. Kids have riddles to find all along the visit of the park and castle. You will just have fun, for sure. And, if you really like the place, you can sleep in the park : there is huts in the trees.

Have fun and don’t hesitate to write comments !!

Basil and cheese salted cake – Christmas Eve Menu 1/9

049The first part of my Christmas Eve aperitif was done with those basil and cheese salted cakes.

Preheat the oven at 350 °F. Mix together 1 cup of milk, 1.5 oz of butter, three eggs, 2.5 oz of flour, 3.5 oz of grated swiss cheese, 10 sheets of basil, salt and pepper. Distribute the preparation in a pan  for little cakes. Put in the oven for 20 minutes. Cool in the kitchen out of the pan. It’s ready for a fantastic aperitif.

Bon appétit !

Glass cup in the green cream of asparagus soup and in the chorizo – Christmas Eve Menu 2/9

070That second part of my Christmas Eve aperitif is easy to do, very original and really good.

To do it for 12 glass cups, you need 24 cooked green asparagus, 12 asparagus tips, 2 cups of cream, 15 slides of pepperoni, salt and pepper.

Mix everything together until you have a nice green cream. Rectify the seasoning and put the cream in your glass cups. Add an asparagus tip on the top of each cup. It’s ready.

Bon appétit !

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Prunes in the bacon – Christmas Eve Menu 3/9

013The third part of my Christmas Eve aperitif was prunes in the bacon. Your kids can do it and for sure, everybody would like it.

Preheat your oven at 400 °F. Take 20 prunes and 10 slices of bacon. Cut in two parts the slices of bacon. Roll up every prune in a slice of bacon. Cross the roll with a toothpick to attach it. Put the rolls in an oven plate and put it in the oven for 5 minutes. It’s ready to serve.

Bon appétit !

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Quails in mandarins with a risotto in hazelnuts – Christmas Eve Menu 8/9

094My second main course was a success, specially the risotto.

To do it for 12 guests, you need :

For the meat : 12 quails, 12 mandarins, 6 vanilla pods, 6 tablespoon of honey, 6 tablespoon of oil, 1.5 oz of butter, salt and pepper.

Preheat your oven at 400 °F. In a big frying pan, warm the butter and roast the quails on each side. Peel the mandarins and separate the pieces of the fruits. Cut each vanilla pods in two, take all the vanilla powder and put it in a bowl. Add and mix in the bowl the oil and the honey with the vanilla.

In an oven plate, put the quails with the mandarins around. Baste the meat and mandarins with the vanilla sauce. Put the plate in the oven for 20 minutes. During that time, don’t forget to baste the dish with its own juice (every five minutes). It’s cooked, you can serve it.

For the risotto : 17 oz of rice ( round rice for risotto), 2 onions, 4 cups of vegetable broth, 2 oz of crushed hazelnuts, 4 tablespoons of white wine, 1 oz of butter, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Prepare the risotto. Warm the vegetable broth. Peel and slice thinly onions. Warm the oil and the butter in a frying pan wok. Make in the frying pan the rice return and the onions until they are translucent. Add the white wine and cook it until the wine is completely absorbed. Add a ladle of broth in the rice, mix slowly and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Continue to cook it slowly 20 minutes. During that time, add the broth each time the rice had absorbed it. Add salt and pepper at your convenience.

In an other frying pan, roast the crushed hazelnuts for 5 minutes. Add it in the risotto and mix slowly. The risotto is ready.

Bon appétit !

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Baked Alaska – Christmas Eve Menu 9/9

005That dessert was the best success of my Christmas Eve dinner. All my guests had liked it.

To do it, you need : 4 cups of vanilla ice cream.

For the biscuit : 6 eggs, 7 oz of sugar, 5 oz of flour, the zest of a lemon, 2 pinches of salt, 1 oz of almonds fringes.

Preheat your oven at 400 °F. Mix together 3 eggs, 3 egg yolks (reserve egg whites), the sugar and zest of lemon. When it’s homogeneous, add the flour and a pinch of salt and mix it. Beat egg whites until stiff with the second pinch of salt. Incorporate the whites into snow in the preparation. Pour on a pastry baking tray covered with parchment paper and strew flaked almonds. Cook in the oven during 12 minutes. Put out the plate and cool the biscuit. Put some cling film inside a loaf pan. Cut the biscuit at the good size to put one in the bottom of the loaf pan. Put the ice cream on the top of the biscuit and finish with the second biscuit you have already cut at the good size.

Put in the freezer until time to serve it at your guests. When you are ready, take out the cake of the freezer and go in the kitchen to prepare the Italian-style meringue. Preheat the oven at 400 °F.

To do the meringue, you need : 3 egg whites, 3.5 oz of sugar and one pinch of salt.

Put in a bowl the egg whites, the salt and half of the sugar. Beat egg whites until stiff for 2 minutes, add the second half of the sugar and beat again for two more minutes.

Turn out the cake on a pastry baking tray. Coat the biscuit of meringue with a spatula. Make some drawings on it with a fork. Put in the oven for 5 minutes and serve your Baked Alaska just after in a nice plate.

Bon appétit !

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scallop in a champagne sauce – Christmas Eve menu 7/9

092My first main course is really fast to do and really good. You can do it when your guests are around the table and have started to eat.

To do it, you need for 12 guests : 36 fresh scallops, 3/4 cup of liquid cream, 2/3 of a champagne bottle, some chervil, some chive, 2 shallots, 1 oz of butter, salt and pepper.

In a frying pan, put the butter and the scallops (you have already washed and wiped with an absorbing paper). Frying the scallops 2 minutes on each side. Reserve it out of the frying pan. Mix the shallots in little pieces. Put the champagne and the shallots in the frying pan and cook it until the champagne reduce by half its volume. Then, add the chervil and the chive you have cut in little pieces with the cream. Put some salt and pepper, at your convenience. Add the scallop to hot it a little bit (around 1 minute).

Dispatch the scallops and the champagne sauce in your serving plates. It’s ready to eat.

Bon appétit !

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Foie gras in three versions – foie gras crème brûlée – Christmas Eve Menu 6/9

076The third and last part of my starter was the foie gras crème brûlée. This recipe is my husband’s and it’s a really good one.

To do it, you need : 3.5 oz of draw foie gras, 2 egg yolks, 0.5 cup of milk, 3.5 oz of liquid cream, an apple, 1 oz of brown sugar, salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven at 200 °F. Peel and cut the apple in little cubes. Put it a pan and warm it slowly with a little bite of water for 30 minutes, to make a stewed apples. Mix the foie gras. Add the egg yolks, cream and milk. Add a little bite of salt and pepper and mix again until you have an homogeneous preparation. Mix together the foie gras sauce and the stewed apples. Pour preparation into glass cups. Cook it for 20 minutes in the oven. Let cool it in the kitchen and in a second time, in the fridge.

Just before to serve it, put some brown sugar on the top of each glass cup and caramelize it with the steakhouse of the oven or a blowtorch. It’s ready to serve.

Bon appétit !

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To finish, if you want to serve to your guests the same starter than I’ve done, take some nice plates and put in each one puff, one candy and one crème brûlée. Now, you can manage a nice surprise at the table with this starter which just looks like a dessert.

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