A sweet mustard sauce…and the end of 2011.

This is a very popular recipe from “Winning recipes from Huisgenoot wenresepte” a great south African recipe book. I can’t imagine a south African household without this recipe. I make it only at end of the year as a dip with some warm cocktail sausages or some shaved green beans, since it is a bit too sweet for me to use with a meal. It is very quick and easy and ideal for that last minute “bring something to eat along”. Even the French, who guard their mustard with sacré dignité, stumble over their principles for more than one dip into the sweet mustard bowl! Hope you enjoy it.

Suggestions:

  • Be sure to use white vinegar, or else the mustard sauce will be coloured an unappetizing dark colour.
  • Serve as a dip with warm cocktail sausages, or cold slices of meat or add to sliced green beans as an accompaniment.

…and some last days of 2011

Before I get into the stream of the new year’s living…I greet you with a last view on the end of the 2011. (Don’t worry, this will be the last post about ME!!)

I promise the next posts will not be about me but be more exciting for you all…some book researches, some give-aways, some restaurant reviews, some courses, some kitchen stories, some tips and tools, some new foods on the market, some how-to’s, some travel stories around food, some visits to French homes, some visits to boulangeries and bucheries and chocolateries…and more!

But for now…saying goodbye to 2011 with images of time spent STILL at coin Perdu..

..gathering moss for our Christmas eve dinner with my daughter’s mate, Sponge Bob tagging along…

..some tête de moine cheese..?

…and enjoying some champagne and oysters on our walks in the forest..

..oysters with a mango vinaigrette..

..a set table for Christmas eve- resembling our forest with its owls and birds and wild heather, moss..

..a courgette and smoked espuma as amuse bouche for Christmas eve..

..christmas day table resmebled the stream running through our forest, with pebbles, the ever present owls, some winter snow, ice crystals hanging from branches, birds and the silver stream with the moonlight reflecting by means of tiny tealights and candles..

…grey moss and stars surrounding the moon and stream and pebbles…can you hear the water trickling..?

…and Sponge Bob brought along some sparkles for our starter of scallops with a parsley sauce and chanterelles mushrooms…!

..reveling in the colours and moons of Jupiter..

..a winter ascending moon and evening star at twilight(Venus)..

..and of course sun sleeping…!

..lots of riding..

..some whispering..

..and trotting..

..early morning training..

..isn’t this beautiful…man and his horse..?

..moving as one..

May we all ride into this new year as one with our dreams and ideals, our goals, our principles, beliefs and hopes..

à bientôt!

Ronelle

Foie gras with mango .. and December ambiance 2010.

Foie gras is a traditional favourite in our home for Christmas. Along with oysters and “vin chaud” (or gluhwein), it always appears on our menu. Some years will see our foie gras home made in a terrine, served cold and some years it will be fried, served with warm mango and toasted brioche.


  1. Cut raw foie gras into escalopes of about 1.5-2mm thick. Dust lightly with flour and leave in the fridge until needed.
  2. Peel and cut a mango in thin slices. Heat a pan with a knob of butter and add the mango slices. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and fry until caramelized.
  3. Keep warm.
  4. Cut some brioche in slices, toast and cut on the diagonal into two halves.
  5. Heat non stick pan to hot, add the escalopes of foie gras and fry on one side until caramelized. Turn over and tquickly touch the other side. Remove from the heat and serve immediatly.
  6. To serve: Place one half of the brioche on a plate. Place a slice of fried foie gras on top. Finish off with slices of mango  and place the second half of the brioche askew.  Serve immediately.

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…My own space…

“So what are you hanging around here for, Mrs duck? You belong on the beautiful lake out there, not here with the people, this isn’t your place…”

“Well, I’m fed here, all kinds of goodies and I like it, so why not? You enjoy it out here on the terrace with your cheesecake, why can’t I…. and don’t be so selfish with it by the way, share some!  See the German tourists over there? No selfishness at that table!”

“No, you can’t have cheesecake. I’m a human, this is what we humans do. You’re an animal, a duck, you don’t eat cheesecake and you don’t belong on a terrace. And by the way, where are your ducklings?”

“Oh, smarten up! We’re not in the Middle Ages any more! And my ducklings are fine, they’re in good hands.  They’re with the nanny. I need my own space too, you know!”

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Suggestions:

  • Have your pan hot before putting in your escalopes of foie gras.
  • Sear on one side and turn over for a quick touch on the other side and serve immediately.
  • Other fruit like plums, peaches, apple, pear and figs can be done the same way and served warm with the foie gras.

…and December ambiance 2010


And here we are again in the special month of December, with its cold and dark days, bright lights, snow and frost, snuggling in front of fireplaces and cupping our hand around a cup of hot chocolate, indulging in our nostalgias and reflecting on christmas dinners.

Our christmas tree gets decorated on the 1st day of December and for the rest of December we light a candle ever night to rememeber those who we loved or still love. And decorating the christmas tree means more than Santa Claus and Noel and gifts and the three kings, or the crib and a baby…it is a witness to our memories and tender sentiments which come to us in this month, the end of a year, when reflection on the past and pondering on future dreams travel with us towards the new year.

…May your December be whatever you wish it to be and may happiness be your biggest wish…


Previous years:

Duo de chocolat.. and December ambiance 2009

December ambiance 2008 with cinnamon dumplings

First day of December 2007

..à la prochaine..

Ronelle

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Oven roasted rosemary lamb…and an ode to the rosemary.

Rosemary and lamb. A perfect combination.

Suggestions:

  1. Other/or mixture of herbs can be used along with rosemary. Rinse them and use them wet to line your oven pan.
  2. Chicken and pork can be used the same way, cut off excess from pork.
  3. It is worth it to invest in a meat thermometer. It gives you your desired stage of cooking and keeps the guessing and disappointment out of oven roasted pieces.
  4. A piece of meat does shrink alot when roasted at high temperature. But it is still tender and juicy. If you want less shrinkage, bake for longer at 150-160 °C.
  5. Temperatures for lamb: (taken from “La grand Larousse gatronomique)
  • rare:  from 60-62 °C (very pink with pink juices still running)
  • medium: from 62-64°C (pink with clear juices running)
  • well done: >64°C (slightly pink to completely cooked/gray)


You smell like rosemary“, said our daughter when she hugged me at the train station. I bloomed. I liked the thought of smelling like rosemary. It says…mother. Care . Childhood. Home. Remembrance.

Later that night, after our dinner of rosemary lamb and catching up on her life as a young working woman, I lay in bed dwelling on her words and my thoughts drifted off. I dreamed how wonderful it would be if our daughters would talk about  us one day along the lines of something like this:

My mother was cook in the kitchen. My father was cook at the barbecue. And between them grew a rosemary bush. I have my own rosemary bush now and when I walk past it and feel my legs brushing the leaves, a heady fragrance envelops me making me feel lightheaded with memories. I smell my mother after her fiddling in the garden among her roses and herbs and I see my father bending over the rosemary bush, cutting and snipping leaves for his lamb cutlets. Our mealtimes were festively spent around a table in the garden, or in the summer kitchen by die barbecue or under the walnut tree overlooking hills or elegantly candle lit in the dining room or simple and homey around the kitchen table. I recall hours of inventing new recipes, cooking and preparing, tasting wines, all the while eating at pretty set tables around laughter and jokes, teasing and chatting and many a times heart-to-heart talks.

I have no doubt, that there where they are now, they still reign as queen of the kitchen and king of the barbecue. And between them, a rosemary bush grows high and lush”.

…Hartman’s handmade rosemary brush- a piece of copper piping, a string pulled through to the other side with a loop…

…snip some rosemary branches and tie the one end of the string around

…pull at the other end of the string, fix the stems inside the copper pipe and cut the tips to form a firm brush –  baste your meat with melted butter, marinade…

…voilà a fresh rosemary brush…

…some rosemary folie for a home- in teapots, in a jug, on a door, on linen, as a kebab, on oven roasted vegetables, with preserved quince…

..until next time!!..

Pork chops with spices and cherry tomatoes(Cotelettes de porc epicées aux tomates cerises.)

A simple family meal, using one of the secret spices of Zlamushka. See previous post on Zlamushka’s secret spices.

Pork cotelets with Zlamushka's spices 2

add secret spices, cherry tomatoes, serve with cooked wheat…

Pork cotelets with Zlamushka's spices secret spices 2

Corn  pork cotelets with cooked corn

pork chops with spices

Suggestions:

  • Any other meat can be used
  • Use these spices with oven baked winter root vegetables
  • Crush the mixture together in a mortar and pastle to a paste.
  • Serve with white/wholewheat rice, or cooked wheat or fluffy steamed potatoes.

…autumn…

autumn 2 autumn 1