Baked topinambours with thyme(Topinambours aux thym)

Topinambours counts under “the old vegetables/foods” which have been making a come back the last few years. Previously I made a Velouté de topinambour which is great. This time it is is cut into chunks, sprinkled with powdered espelette pepper and baked in the oven on a bed of fresh thyme.

topinambours au four(baked topinambours)

Oven baked topinambours with thymSuggestions:

  1. Sauté some apple chunks in butter, add a bit of cassonade(brown sugar) and fry until nicely caramelized. Mix gently with the baked topinambours and serve warm.
  2. The piment d’espelette can be replaced by any other chili of your choice, either dry and in powder form, or finly chopped.
  3. Cook the  topinambours in water on the stovetop until almost tender and then add to an oven pan with the seasonings to caramelize. It shortens the baking time.
  4. Serve the topinambours on a bed of salad greens or as an accompaniment to any meat.
  5. By adding créme frâiche after baked in the oven,  you can serve it with a pasta or add it to a saffron risotto.
  6. Be sure to have it nicely tender or else it has a “burning” taste, much like raw potato.
  7. It is a healthy alternative to potatoes, seeing that it has a lower glycemic index than potatoes.
  8. Enjoy!


topinambours - ingredients

Piment d’espelette is a variety of pepper, with a light “bite” that is produced in the Basque region of France. Because of its fragrant flavour and taste, it is frequently used instead of pepper. We also find a beautiful fleur de sel d’espelette, which is powdered espelette mixed with a good quality fleur de sel, which is what I used on my baked topinambours)

…piment d’espelette…

piment espelette

For Liandri’s  birthday in beginning of Octobre, we had dinner le chateau de Beaulieu here in Tours. A nice quaint hotel with a menu gastronomique;  we could choose between foie gras, turbot, pigeon, filet de boeuf, magret de canard, carré d’agneau… A small dinng room, a local wine list as well as some distant cousins, nice dessert, coffee and olde worlde ambiance. A charming place to stay and dine when you visit our area.

…chateau de beaulieu…

chateau de Beaulieu chateau de beaulieu 2

…Olde world memories for olde world foods…

old plates les carafes

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


  • 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 2 autumn 1

Zlamushka’s spices

I have received a parcel from Zlamushka at Zlamushka’s spicy kitchen QUITE a while back. I unfortunately broke the chain, due to circumstances. I have kept her parcel and at the time, had them all vacume packed and stored in a cool, dark place. At first  I thought to completely let it go because this is SUCH a late response, but it rests on my conscience and then I finally decided to do a post anyway, even though it is way beyond too late!

…Zlamushka’s parcel…

arrival of the spices 10

So!  I’m showing you the secret ingredients in these spices of Zlamushka and have you guess some or all  of the ingredients , or even what they are called for those who have a good knowledge of their spices. I will have it run for a week and the comment who comes the closest to guessing  some of  the ingredients, will receive a parcel with herbs/spices/salts/goodies from me, as will Zlamushka! You don’t have to be a blogger and you don’t have to live in France. (I hope it won’t be a problem, custom- wise to have it sent outside of Europe?) When leaving a comment and you don’t want to leave an email adress in the comment box, you can just email me privately with your email address.

…secret spices 1…

Secret spices 1

…secret spices 2…

secret spices 4

…secret spices 3…

secret spices 3

…secret spices 4…

secret spices 2

I will announce (along with Zlamushka’s help) all the spices next Friday 23 October 09, as well as the recipient of my parcel with herbs/spices/salts/goodies.

Some tips on the four secret spices that arrived in her letter:

  • Cubrikovska(the Slovak name) – a traditional mild  Slavic spice mix; great seasoning for any kind of meat, stews or sauces. Zlamushka’s favourite way of serving it, is sprinkled on omelettes.
  • A very strong spice seasoning for meat and game. Rub on a steak prior to grilling or make a marinade by mixing with a cup of gin, some chopped shallots and a sprig of rosemary. Marinate your red meat for a day.
  • According to Zlamushka – a no-brainer! To be fried in a tablespoon of oil and served on lentils and it looks great.
  • “Indian chewing gum”; Once done with eating, just chew on this spice and spit out the rest!
  • The most important tip: Zlamushkla’s spicy kitchen blog is filled with spices she uses every day, so you might just run across these there!
  • A recipe or two with these spices will follow in the next post!


The following info was received from Zmalushka and I quote exactly as I received it from her:

“1) Cubricovka is a Bulgarian spice mix – super traditional, it goes everywhere. The main ingredient is Summer Savory “cubrica” which is ground together with some garlic and salt.

2) Supari – mainly contains sugar coated fennel or anise seeds, coconut, melon seeds, betel nut androse petals. It aids digestion and freshens the breath after curries. Makes also lovely room decoration 🙂

3) Panch phoron (Bengali 5-spice)

4) Juniper Grill Spice:

2 tbsp juniper seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp soft muscavado dark brown sugar

Ground together. To make a good marinade for duck breasts or game, add this mixture to 1 cup gin, chopped onion and 2 rosemary sprigs. Mix well and rub into the meat prior to grilling.”

Vegetable tagine à la Thursday.

On Thursday evenings I have life figure drawing class and I get home late. A vegetable tagine is always a good choice on these evenings. I make it earlier in the day and reheat it for a late dinner. I’m ravenous when I get home! Serve with a simple fluffy white rice(ok, go more heathy with full grain or wild or some other grains, but I prefer the stark whiteness of white rice ). 

Vegetable tagine a la Thursday.

  • Three courgettes
  • Four large spring onions with the greens
  • One large red bell pepper
  • Four carrots
  • four tomatoes
  • Two potatoes
  • A handful of green beans
  • can of chickpeas
  • A handful of petit pois(fresh or frozen)
  • A cinnamon stick
  • olive oil
  • Cardamom pod
  • Juniper berries 
  • Two teaspoons of curry masala
  •  Flatleaf parsley
  • A tablespoon or two of dry roasted almonds
  • About two cups of vegetable stock
  1. Wash and chop the vegetables into chunks.
  2. Mix together the spices in a mortar and pestle (except the cinnamon stick), along with some olive oil.
  3. Sautee the chopped onion with the spices.
  4. Add the carrots and potatoes and sautee for a few minutes.
  5. Add the vegetable stock and cinnamon stick and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes and bell and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
  7. Add the chickpeas, green beans and and turn off the heat.
  8. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
  9. Serve in a tagine, sprinkle with the fresh petit pois, the roasted almonds and finish off with flatleaf parslay.
  10. Serve with white rice or couscous.

   Serves 4 people


…I’ll draw, you pose…