Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Vegetable Flan for a crowd

For those of us constantly looking for ideas to feed more than four people successfully, here is a great recipe that I made last week. Served with a salad and a fresh baguette it is a crowd pleaser. 

Walnut and Coffee biscuits

Biscuits...my love affair is growing. I wrote a while ago that I was getting back into biscuits. For a while I found them too time consuming in my little parisian kitchen. The french have a knack for making the most of every each of space. They have to - as in Paris many apartments are spatially challenged, to say the least. I have a friend who lives in 9m2 bedroom/bathroom/kitchen included. At least it doesn't long to clean! In Paris shops one can find any combination of kitchen appliances in the one machine. My personal favourite is the stovetop, oven and dishwasher - all-in-one. They also sell microwave ovens that function as an oven and microwave, with 2 hotplates on top. Whatever next!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Lemon cake and meeting our neighbours

It can be a difficult thing to meet your neighbours in this city. I always think that when you move in your neighbours bake you cakes and come over to introduce themselves and say 'Welcome' to the neighbourhood/the floor/the apartment block. In this crowded city I realise that we live pretty close with our neighbours. With one set of neighbours we share the cries of their baby through our wall, early in the morning and late at night too. To the other side, we share the TV with our elderly neighbours. They are hard-of-hearing so they turn up the TV rather loud.

To give them credit, they share our life too in a sense. Our big dinner parties on Tuesdays, our video nights with friends on Thursdays, our 'bricolage', handyman work which happened late Wednesday night last week to fix our bedroom curtains. We know each others' rhythms pretty well without knowing names. 

I decided to change that.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Feeding a crowd - lost for ideas?

Within my circle of friends we often have people over for dinner. Not just one or two people, as a normal french person would do; mostly because everyone lives in such small apartments that anything over 4 people becomes spatially challenging. No, me and my friends seem to have 'large groups' of people; mostly because we have so many friends. I often get asked the question 'What can I cook?' , 'How can I feed 8 people?'
So, after some consultation and personal trial and error, I am giving you a collection of recipes that work for larger than normal numbers and are not too expensive on the pocket.  They are all recipes that I've cooked for groups of people, hence they have been tested on numerous taste testers. The good news is people are still coming back to my place to eat.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Oat Soda Bread

I was browsing through some of my favourite blogs the other day and following my whimsical fancy, clicking here and clicking there as I wanted, I happened upon this delicious looking idea for homemade bread.
Heidi has a blog called 101 Cookbooks and manages to make healthy attractive and desirable. I love it. She was inspired from a friend of hers who made this bread. So I'm simply being another link in the chain for spreading this good recipe and good health around. 

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Tuscan Bean soup on Sunday afternoon

It's Sunday afternoon.
My handsome husband is napping and I am sitting looking out our window at the city bathed in the pale wintry sunlight, rereading my recipe notebook. There's a slight fog in the air and it reminds me of my childhood when the slight fog was the smoke from our log fire or in autumn of burning the leaves. It reminds me of Mum calling us in from the garden, fingers tingling with the cold, cheeks pink from the air, to wash our hands for dinner. It reminds me of the warm fire inside, the feeling of safety as the night and cold fell darker and colder outside the windows. 
ahhhh....the good ole days. 
But we're living in good days now too! 
This afternoon for early dinner we will be eating homemade, hot, wholesome Tuscan Bean soup.

Pears poached in red wine

Our friend M. came back over the Christmas period for a surprise visit. It was a good surprise. We had 'the gang' over for dinner, 10 people around our table. It was a good night, one of those nights that becomes a reference point sometime in the future.

'Don't you remember that dinner at their place, when M. came home?'

It was everything a good night with friends should be. A lot of laughter over silly jokes, silly stories to recount and silly stories to create and of course some good food.

These poached pears graced our table for dessert. I found them in the market that morning. Cold, firm and deliciously blushing. They added the magic to the end of our evening. 

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Herb and Mustard Crumbed Pork

After the cold snap before Christmas we now have above average temperatures in January and the snow seems but a distant memory. Paris saw the worst snow for 20 years. I was happy to watch it from the window of my 15th floor apartment. Friends came for dinner that very same night and one of them had walked from work (no bus) for one hour just to get here. She arrived with frozen feet (no snow boots) but my NZ possum and merino socks saved the day (thanks Mum).
After the long celebrations over Christmas and New Year it's time to fill our stomachs with something hot and light(er). We ate this last week and it filled all the right criteria for a mid-week January dinner.