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Fresh Pea Soup


serves 6

2 tbsp butter
2 cups chopped leek, white and green parts
   (1 large or 2 small leeks)
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups chicken stock, homemade, or organic stock
   bought in stores
5 cups freshly shelled or frozen peas (choose sweet
   baby peas if frozen)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
1 to 2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crème fraîche or plain yogurt
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives, optional
Garlic Croutons (recipe below)

Can be served hot, at room temperature and cold. If you cannot find crème fraîche, use plain yogurt. The chives and croutons can be optional; you be the judge.

Heat butter over medium-low heat in large saucepan. Add leek and onion; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until onion is soft. Add chicken stock. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil.

Add peas; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. (Frozen peas will take only 3 minutes.) Remove from heat; add mint, salt and pepper.

Purée soup in batches in blender or in saucepan using hand blender. Whisk in crème fraîche and chives, if using. Taste; adjust seasoning. Serve hot with Garlic Croutons.

modified from The Barefoot Contessa

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Garlic Croutons


Makes 2 cups

If you like croutons, always keep leftover bread on hand for this and other uses (especially French, Italian or other white bread)

Remove crusts from bread (optional); cut in 1/2 inch / 1 cm cubes. Crush garlic with side of large knife; remove peel.

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat; add garlic. Cook about 1 minute or until it begins to brown; discard garlic (or chop to use in salad, etc.). Add bread cubes to skillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper (and herbs if using); cook, tossing occasionally, until browned on all sides.

1/2 loaf good quality white bread, sliced
   1/2-inch / 1 cm thick
1 or 2 large garlic cloves (or more to taste)
2 tbsp olive oil
sprinkling of herbs (thyme, herbes de Provence, etc.)
Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper

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Black Bean Soup


serves 4-6

Sauté onion and carrots in oil until soft.

Add beans, stock and cumin.

Bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Purée with blender or food processor until smooth.

1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 tbsp vegetable or light olive oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
3/4 tsp ground cumin

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Bitter Chocolate Pie   (Tarte au chocolate amer)


serves 8

Preparation time:
   Preparation: 15 + 10 minutes
   Rest time: 1 hour + 1 hour + 15 minutes
   Cooking time: 5 + 10 + 15 minutes


   Pie crust:
    1 vanilla bean (or 6 drops real vanilla extract)
    yolk from one very large egg at room temperature
    20g of powdered almonds
    60g icing sugar
    100g flour
    75 g of sweet butter at room temperature
    20 cl of heavy cream (whipping cream)
    8 cl of whole milk
    200g of dark (bitter, not semi-sweet) chocolate,
          broken into very small pieces
    1 large egg, lightly beaten


The Pie Crust:
Break the egg yolk in a bowl. Crack the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and extract the small black seeds. Add them to the egg yolk and mix. Set aside.

Put the powdered almonds and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Add flour and a pinch of salt and mix again. Finally add butter and mix just 10 seconds. The mixture should look like coarse bread crumbs.

Stir in egg yolk and vanilla by very briefly running the mixer 9 times until the dough takes cohesion. Do not overdo the mixing. The dough should form a ball. Let stand in a cool place for at least one hour.

Butter the pie dish. After the dough rests, spread it on a lightly-floured work surface.  Roll out, but not to a greater diameter than 25 cm (10 inches).  Put the disk of rolled-out dough into the pan and finish by gently pressing with fingers. Expect a raised edge of 2.5 cm (1 inch). Prick the dough all over and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F, Electric 5).   Bake 5 minutes, until the dough begins to rise. Optionally you can now decorate the crust into careful folds along the border. Continue cooking 10 more minutes. Cool 15 minutes before adding the filling.

Chocolate Cream:

Pour the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and forms a homogeneous mixture. Cool.

When the mixture is cool, add the egg and beat until blended. Pour over pie and bake in the oven 12 to 15 minutes (the cream should be firm but still trembling in the centre). Remove from oven and cool on rack.

Tips / Additions:

Recipe of the pie crust dough is very easy provided you respect the different stages in the directions. The pie is simply divine!

Préparation :
   Préparation : 15 + 10 minutes
   Temps de repos : 1 h + 1 h + 15 minutes
   Cuisson : 5 + 10 + 15 minutes

Ingrédients :

Pâte sablée cuite à blanc :
    1 gousse de vanille
    le jaune d’un très gros œuf à température ambiante
    20g de poudre d’amandes
    60g de sucre glace
    100g de farine
    75g de beurre doux à température ambiante
    20 cl de crème fraîche liquide
    8 cl de lait entier
    200g de chocolat noir (brut de noir ou amer)
          cassé en très petit morceaux
    1 très gros œuf légèrement battu


Préparation de la pâte sablée :

Casser le jaune d’œuf dans un bol. Fendre la gousse de vanille en deux et extraire les petites graines noires. Les ajouter au jaune d’œuf et mélanger. Réserver.

Mettre la poudre d’amandes et le sucre glace dans un bol mixeur et mélanger intimement. Ajouter farine et une pincée de sel et mixer à nouveau. Ajouter enfin le beurre et mixer juste 10 secondes. Le mélange doit ressembler à de la chapelure grossière.

Incorporer le jaune d’œuf à la vanille et actionner 9 fois le mixeur jusqu’à ce que la pâte prenne de la cohésion. Ne pas trop la travailler. Elle doit former une boule. Laisser reposer au frais au moins une heure.

Beurrer le moule à tarte. Après le repos de la pâte, l’étaler sur le plan de travail légèrement fariné. Ne pas l’étaler plus d’un diamètre de 25 cm. Poser le disque de pâte dans le moule et finir de la pousser délicatement avec les doigts. Prévoir un rabat de 2,5 cm. Piquer largement la pâte et remettre au réfrigérateur une heure.

Préchauffer le four à 190°C (375°F, Thermostat 5). Faire cuire 5 minutes, jusqu’à ce que la pâte commence à se raffermir. Parer soigneusement le rabats de pâte pour obtenir un bord bien net. Poursuivre la cuisson 10 minutes. Laisser refroidir 15 minutes avant de la garnir.

Crème de chocolat :

Verser le lait et la crème dans une casserole et porte à ébullition sur feu moyen. Retirer la casserole du feu et hors du feu, ajouter le chocolat. Remuer jusqu’à ce qu’il soit complètement fondu et forme un mélange homogène. Laisser refroidir.

Lorsque le mélange est froid, ajouter l’œuf et fouetter jusqu’à consistance homogène. Verser la préparation sur la tarte et faire cuire au four 12 à 15 minutes (la crème doit être ferme mais le cœur encore tremblant). Retirer du four et laisser refroidir sur une grille.

Conseils / Compléments :

La recette de la pâte sablée est très simple à réaliser, il faut bien respecter les différentes étapes pour avoir un bon résultat. La tarte est tout simplement divine !

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Swedish Pizza


serves 2-3

History of the immortal Swedish Pizza

This recipe was invented by David Gorman in early 1997 while he was teaching a workshop in Göteborg, Sweden. On a day off, after a long golf game, he returned in early evening, very hungry, to the apartment where he was staying with friends. Alas, he discovered that they had ordered in a pizza and eaten it all. Worse than that, it was too late to order another one.

KnackebrodHaving his taste buds set on pizza, and necessity being the mother of invention, he ransacked the kitchen cupboards and found a package of those large round (11 inch / 28cm) Swedish knäckebröd – the crispbread with the hole in the middle – as well as a jar of capers and olives. The refrigerator yielded a tomato, an onion, some ham, and a half-empty jar of spaghetti sauce. With the addition of a few herbs and garlic, presto, was born the Swedish Pizza – fusion food created in Sweden by a Canadian who'd lived 4 years in New York, and 16 years in Britain and recently moved to the south of France...

The beauty of the Swedish Pizza is twofold:
— it is dead easy and also true fast-food in the best sense – it will be ready before any pizza delivery could arrive – and it's completely healthy);
— you can make it with just about anything you have on hand – pepperoni, of course, but also prawns, chicken, sliced-up leftover vegetables, any kind of cheese, different herbs or even more exotic flavours like cumin or tandoori sauce — you name it, it's all good...

By the time it cooks under the grill the crisp crust has softened a bit and is neither crunchy nor soggy, in fact, remarkably like a "real" pizza. You end up with a super tasty thin-crust pizza that is easy to slice up with a pizza wheel or a knife. You can eat it with your fingers or a knife and fork.  If you don't live in Scandinavia, you can buy the Käckebröd Råg (rye crispbread) at Ikea or a specialty store in packs of 5 or more rounds. For the 'piza' sauce, I usually use a cheap canned pasta sauce (roasted garlic and herbs) since it has more flavour than tomato paste. The sauce does not need to be gourmet sauce since it will be dominated by the other ingredients.

"Original" Swedish Pizza

– 1 round 11in/28cm knäckebröd (crispbread)
– 1 large ripe tomato, thinly sliced
– thick tomato sauce, e.g. pasta sauce
– pepperoni (or ham, or cooked sausage), sliced
– olives, green or black, whole, stuffed or pitted
– pickled capers
– 1 small onion, thinly sliced
– 3-4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
– 1/2 red, yellow, orange or green pepper, sliced
– herbes de provence (or thyme or oregano, etc.)
– 1 garlic clove, pressed or sliced paper thin (optional)
– grated mozzarella or other cheese

Cover a baking sheet in tin foil to make clean up easier. Place the large round knäcke crispbread on the foil-covered baking sheet and use one of the end pieces of the sliced tomato to cover the hole in the centre to stop any leakage of sauce.

Spread a thin layer of the tomato/pasta sauce all over the "crust" taking care to go right to the edge.

Heat some olive oil in a small frypan and sauté the sliced onion, pepper, mushrooms, and garlic (if using) until soft. Allow to cool, then add to the pizza. Or you can just add the sliced vegetables straight to the top of the pizza if you like.

Add the olives, capers, sliced meat and sprinkle with herbs, then the cheese.

Swedish Pizza

Put under a hot grill (broiler) and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Alternatively you can BBQ the pizza on a medium heat with the lid closed (check for doneness frequently).

Just needs the grated cheese on top before going under the grill...

Swedish Pizza created by David Gorman

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Bavarian Style Cabbage and Sausage


serves 4

Brown the sausages in a fry pan and cut into bite-size pieces. Combine with cabbage and onion in a large pot. Add remaining ingredients; cover and simmer for about 1 hour until juices are mostly reduced to a thick glaze. Do not allow it cook so much that it goes dry.

After making it the first time, adjust future versions to your taste by altering the amount of sweetness (more or less molasses) and the amount of spiciness (more or less mustard and/or pepper).

1 medium to large red cabbage (or half each of
   green and red cabbage), coarsely chopped
5-6 bratwurst or mild Italian sausages
1 large or 2 smaller onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup/8 oz/250 ml apple cider or wine (red
   or white)
1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
sprinkling of celery salt and ground black pepper

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Hamburger and Cabbage Casserole


sserves 6-8

This dish tastes a lot like cabbage rolls, but is much easier to make. If you leave leftovers in the casserole dish, it re-heats well in the oven. Real comfort food for those cold winter days.

Sauté ground beef in 1 tbsp. oil for 2-3 minutes, breaking up chunks as it cooks.

Add onions, salt, pepper, and uncooked rice. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

Then add soup and water, simmer for a few minutes.

Turn shredded cabbage into greased casserole dish. Pour the meat, onion, spice and rice mix over the shredded cabbage. DO NOT STIR.

Bake, covered, at 325° F for about 90 minutes.

1½ lb / 600g lean ground beef
2 large chopped onions
½ tsp of salt
liberal grindings of black pepper
8 tbsp. of raw uncooked rice
6 cups of shredded green or red cabbage
2 cans condensed tomato soup (e.g. Campbell's),
   also good with cream of celery
2 cans of water (1 for each can of soup)

Thanks to Irene Gorman

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Poulet Basquaise / Basque Chicken

2 hours

serves 4

22 small whole chickens (or 8-10 chicken legs and/or thighs, skin on)
2 large slices of smoked pepperoni, chorizo, smoked ham, or
   smoked summer sausage, diced
20-30 green stuffed olives, can also use black olives if not too salty
4 medium-sized onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, pressed
4 large tomatoes, or one large can of peeled tomatoes
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1 green pepper, seeded and sliced
fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
fresh thyme, chopped
bay leaves
20 cl of dry white wine
3 tablespoons of olive oil (original recipe calls for duck grease)
salt and pepper

If using whole chickens, ask the butcher to cut the chicken into pieces.

Press the garlic and slice the onions, cut the peppers in large pieces. Put the tomatoes into boiling water and then peel them and cut them.

Cook the chicken in a deep frypan with 1 tablespoon of duck grease/olive oil, add salt and pepper. As soon as they start to become brown transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the onions and the garlic to the pan with a bit of salt. Cook 5 minutes then add the chicken and mix well.


Continue by adding the tomatoes and when back up to a bubbling simmer, add the thyme, bay leaves, and parsley, and then the wine.

Cook for 2 minutes then cover and cook at low temperature for about 30 to 45 minutes, then fry the peppers in the duck grease/olive oil and add them to the dish.

Cook the pepperoni/ham/sausage in some grease/oil and then add to the pan 5 minutes before the end of the cooking.

Good served with herbed rice.


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Lemon Curd


makes 2 cups

Yields about 2 cups.

3 oz. (6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened at room
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 minute (this will keep the mixture from being lumpy during cooking). Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.

In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 min. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Don't let the mixture boil.

Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.

Variation: Instead of lemon, substitute lime for the juice and zest

by Elinor Klivans from Fine Cooking

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French Lamb Stew




3 lbs./1.3 kg boneless leg or lamb shoulder
     cut in 1½ in/3cm cubes
4 tbsp. olive oil
20 or so frozen pearl onions (or fresh, peeled)
2 medium onions, chopped (or 3 if not using pearl onions)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. flour
3 cups chicken broth
juice of 2 lemons (start with 1½ and
    add more to taste)
2 tsp. marjoram
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1in/2.5cm pieces
10-15 baby red potatoes cut in halves or quarters
chopped parsley for garnish.

Optional - asparagus and/or green beans. I like to roast them and place them across the stew for serving. The green with the orange carrots makes a lovely Spring-like presentation.

Remove excess fat from lamb. In a Dutch oven, heat oil and lightly brown the lamb cubes. Remove lamb and set aside. Sauté the onion and garlic until slightly translucent. Add flour, blend well and cook on simmer for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, marjoram, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Return lamb to pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add pearl onions (if using) and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook until done, 30 minutes or so. Ladle into deep bowls and add asparagus/green beans or sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Great with French bread for sopping, and a fruity salad of some kind.

from DiscussCooking.com

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Horseradish Roast Beef — and variations



Beef rib joint, allow 225-350g / 8-12 oz per person

Weigh joint and calculate cooking times thus:
   — rare - 20 min. per 450g / 1lb + 20 min. (e.g. 3lbs.
       = 80 minutes
   — medium - 25 min. per 450g / 1lb + 25 min.,
   — well-done - 30 min. per 450g / 1lb + 30 minutes.

Start with the roast at room temperature (remove from refrigerator 1-2 hours before cooking - keep it wrapped). Pre-heat oven to 375°F / 190°C.

Place in rack in roasting pan and roast in pre-heated oven for the calculated time less 30 minutes.

Meanwhile place all other ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan, bring to boil, simmer and reduce for approx. 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove joint from oven and brush glaze onto all surfaces. Return to oven for 30 min. basting with remaining glaze. Stand joint for 10 min. before carving.

For The Glaze:
1/4 pint / 5oz. / 1.5 dl red wine
4 tablespoons hot horseradish

1 tablespoon clear honey
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce


Rump Roast Beef

We typically use a rump roast when making roast beef. You can also use a round roast or a sirloin tip with these instructions. This slow roasting method at low heat is good for tougher cuts of beef; the lower heat prevents any gristle from getting too tough. This method should NOT be used with choice or prime grades of beef, or the more tender cuts, as slow cooking more delicate cuts will make them mushy.

Roast beef made this way is easy, relatively inexpensive, and you get great leftovers for roast beef sandwiches.

3 to 3.5 lbs / 1.3 to 1.6 kg of Boneless Rump Roast
     (pick an end cut with a lot of fat marbling)
Olive oil
8 slivers of garlic
Salt and pepper

You will need a meat thermometer

For the gravy:
Red wine, water, and or beef stock
corn starch

Start with the roast at room temperature (remove from refrigerator 1-2 hours before cooking - keep it wrapped). Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C.

With a sharp knife make 8 small incisions around the roast. Place a sliver of garlic into each incision. Take a tablespoon or so of olive oil and spread all around the roast. Sprinkle around the roast with salt and pepper. Place the roast directly on an oven rack, fatty side up, with a drip pan on a rack beneath the roasting rack. This arrangement creates convection in the oven so that you do not need to turn the roast. The roast is placed fat side up so that as the fat melts it will bathe the entire roast in its juices.

Brown the roast at 375°F / 190°C for half an hour. Lower the heat to 225°F / 110°C. The roast should take somewhere from 2 to 3 hours additionally to cook. When the roast just starts to drip its juices and it is brown on the outside, check the temperature with a meat thermometer. Pull the roast from the oven when the inside temperature of the roast is 135° / 60°C to 140°F / 65°C. Let the roast sit for at least 15 minutes before carving to serve.

To make the gravy:
Remove the dripping pan from the oven and place on the stove top at medium heat. Note that if you are pulling the roast out early, for rare or a medium rare level of doneness, you may not have a lot of drippings. Hopefully you will have some. If not, you may want to leave the roast in a little longer at even lower heat, 175°F / 80°C, to ease some more drippings out of it. Add some water, red wine, or beef stock to the drippings to deglaze (loosen the drippings from the pan). Dissolve a tablespoon of cornstarch in a little water and add to the drip pan. Stir quickly while the gravy thickens to avoid lumping. You can add a little butter if there is not a lot of fat in the drippings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add some fresh thyme too if you have some.

(from Simply Recipes, a great recipe resource...)

Prime Rib Roast Beef

Make sure to buy the prime rib roast properly tied and ready to put in the oven. The rib bones should actually be cut first, away from the roast, and then tied back on the roast with kitchen string before roasting. The butcher where you buy your roast should do this for you. Estimate 2 people served for every rib, that is, allow 225-350g / 8-12 oz per person.

Note that true prime refers to the quality of the meat (i.e. Select, Choice, Prime), and must usually be ordered from a good butcher well in advance of when it will be needed. In recent years many sellers have taken to use the term "prime rib" for the roast, regardless of the quality. If you want the high quality prime rib, make sure that is what you are getting from your butcher - look for the Prime stamp.

1 Remove roast from the refrigerator a couple hours before cooking. Roasts should always be brought to room temperature first, before they go in the oven.

Cookbooks often call for the excess fat to be removed. By "excess" fat they mean any fat more than an inch thick. The fat is what provides the flavor and what you are paying for with prime rib, so you want to leave it on. Your butcher should have removed any excess fat.

2 Preheat your oven to 500°F / 250°C, or the highest it will go. Salt and pepper the natural fat covering the roast.

3 Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast, making sure it doesn't touch a bone. (Most meat thermometers require that you poke a hole first with a skewer, and then insert the thermometer.) Place the roast, fat side up, rib side down in a roasting pan in the oven.

4 After 15 minutes on 500°F / 250°C, reduce the heat to 350°F / 175°C. To figure out the total cooking time, allow 15 minutes per pound for rare and 20 minutes per pound for medium rare, or 25 minutes per pound for well done. Roast in oven until thermometer registers 120°F / 50°C for rare or 135°F / 60°C for medium. Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes before carving. The roast continues to cook while it is resting.

5 With a knife, cut the strings which attach the meat to the bones. Remove the bones (save for making stock for soup. Then, using a sharp carving knife, slice meat across the grain for serving, making the slices about 1/4-inch / .5cm thick.

Making gravy

To make the gravy, remove the roast from the pan. Place pan on stove on medium high heat. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings to a separate container. Into the 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pan stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir with a wire whisk until the flour has thickened and the gravy is smooth. Continue to cook slowly and stir constantly. Slowly add back the previously removed drippings (remove some of the fat beforehand if there is a lot of fat). In addition add either water, milk, stock, cream or beer to the gravy, enough to make 1 cup. Season the gravy with salt and pepper and herbs.

(from Simply Recipes, a great recipe resource...)

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