Posted in Dessert, Mains

Quel Désastre: Clafoutis


Disclaimer: Not a regular Roquette Noisettes blog, sorry. There are recipes though. Promise.

So this blog is a long, long time in the making.

The story begins in February, when I had great intentions to do a summer blog on clafoutis – a French pudding-like dessert that is normally baked with cherries or red berries. As we had visitors staying, I seized the chance to make a dessert and the clafoutis turned out beautifully. It was a sunny day and I make use of the sunshine to take nice photos on my DSLR camera before we would devour it after dinner that night. From there it all started to go downhill…

We went out for dinner, but of course didn’t have dessert because it was waiting for us at home. As we reached our apartment, we noticed that a side window was cracked, and the window was ajar. Walking into the apartment, the first thing we saw was that the TV and desktop computer were still there. So maybe, someone had tried to break in unsuccessfully? Perhaps they heard a noise, or someone came around the corner and they lost their nerve. After a brief look around the house, we decided that there was no immediate reason to panic and continued on with our night. Time to serve dessert!

As I started serving the dessert I glanced at our desk and panic started to set in again. I was certain I had left my good camera on the desk after using it that afternoon, but it wasn’t there. I started searching the house. The camera was gone. My laptop and hard drive were gone. My work laptop and phone were gone. As I searched the list grew. Police were called. Clafoutis was sadly not devoured as per schedule. Le salaud (language note: that’s French for bastard).

Nearly four months on and the sort-of happy end to the story is that the culprit has been arrested and will likely be getting some jail time too thanks to his extensive criminal history. The not so great news is that my stuff is long gone and I’ll need to replace it out of my own pocket (life note: get contents insurance – it’s cheap).

The other bad news is that my photos were on the camera that was taken, so I do apologise for sub-par iPhone photos. Take it up with the burglar. To make up for the lack of content, I’ve thrown an extra main recipe in that you will love.

The GOOD news is that both of these recipes are impressive and very easy. We did end up eating the clafoutis the next day, and it was fantastic. Although I made it in summer it could easily be a warm winter dessert and you could replace the figs and raspberries with whatever fruit is in season for you (or, just use chocolate because it’s delicious). 

The chicken roasted in red wine is an adaptation of a Rachel Khoo recipe from My Little French Kitchen and it is incredible. The wine gives the chicken so much sweetness, and the vinegar has that tang that keeps you going back for more. The vegetable instructions seem a little finnicky – but it is so worth it for the perfect veggies. This would be a parfait meal for a dinner party!

Poulet rôti au vin rouge:

poulet roti

Serves 4

Cooking time: Approximately an hour and a half including roasting time

-150ml red wine

-100g tomato paste

-3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked

-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or fresh if you have it)

-100ml red wine vinegar

-4 decent sized chicken thighs – bone removed

-500g washed baby potatoes

-4 small onions, peeled and quartered

-6 carrots, peeled and quartered

-125ml water

-Salt and pepper


In a bowl mix the wine, vinegar, tomato paste and herbs, then place in a marinade bag with the chicken thighs. Massage to make sure the marinade has coated the chicken and leave the bag in the fridge for half an hour or longer if time allows.

While the chicken marinades, place potatoes in saucepan of cold water with the lid on, and bring to boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes then drain.

Arrange the onions, carrots and cooked potatoes in a large baking dish and pour over the water. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Arrange the marinated chicken over the vegetables, skin side up. Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken. Cover with foil or baking paper and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil or baking paper and baste the chicken with the marinade, then roast uncovered for a further 15 minutes. Serve with green beans or peas.

Clafoutis aux figues et framboises 


-1 cup full cream milk

-2/3 cup caster sugar,

-3 eggs

-1 Tbs vanilla essence

-1/2 cup flour

-A pinch of salt

-1/2 punnet raspberries

-2 to 3 figs, quartered


Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsuis. Combine milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, flour, salt and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth.

Butter a round baking dish and pour about a 1cm layer of your mixture on the bottom of the pan dish. Bake for 7-10 minutes until the batter is set but not baked. Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on.


Place raspberries and quartered figs over the set batter and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Pour over the remainder of the batter and return to the oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until the clafoutis is puffed and brown.

A word of warning, when you take the clafoutis out of the oven it will be puffed, but it will quickly sink. This is meant to happen, so don’t worry.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with cream or ice-cream.


Bon appétit and may the clafoutis bring better luck to you than it did me.



Posted in Mains

Taking it slow: Beef cheeks

The backstreets of Bayeux, Normandie

The first time I went to France I was cooked a delicious, meaty stew in a thick, dark gravy, similar to a beef bourguignon. It was delicious, but as I almost reached my last spoonful, I was informed by the cook that the meat was pigs trotters.

Dieu merci (thank god) I found out after, as I’m not sure I could have eaten it if I was told before the meal. This experience gave me the nerve to try all sorts of new (and slightly scary) things, including snails and foie gras – délicieux!

In the 1600s, meat was a rare commodity for many French peasants, and was usually only eaten on special occasions. City people had much better access to meat, but could often only afford the cheap offcuts that required a lot of cooking. These days, some of these offcuts have made their way back into some of the fanciest restaurants.

If you have the time to both cook and prepare it (or are lucky enough to own a slow-cooker), using cheaper cuts of meat can be both cost effective and delicious. Look out for cuts like cheek, osso bucco (shins) and ox tail.

Searing your meat before putting it in the oven (or slow cooker) gives it a deeper flavour and caramelised texture on the outside.

Some tips for searing your casserole meat:

  • Make sure your pan is hot and has a thin coating of oil.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan – cook the meat in batches if necessary.
  • Leave it alone! Give it a couple of minutes on each side, but don’t constantly play with it (this is one I struggle with!)

On my quest to discover new cuts of meat, I stumbled across beef cheek at the butcher recently. As I mentioned in the last post, I really enjoyed eating beef cheek in France, and set out to recreate a version of the dish I had eaten at Le Fumoir in Paris. Despite a surge in popularity recently, I discovered that beef cheek was about the same price as buying any other cheap casserole meat such as chuck steak.


When trimming your beef cheek, you’ll need to make sure you have a very sharp knife, as the raw cheek is very tough. In fact, I discovered just how blunt my knife had become when trimming the cheeks. I recently bought a good quality knife sharpener, and can’t recommend having one more.

Cooking stews like the one below is great for winter, and adding mandarin or orange puts a twist on more traditional recipes. They do take a good 3-4 hours (the longer the better), so pour yourself un verre du vin (glass of wine), crank up the heater and have a relaxing afternoon as your meat slowly braises.

Joues de boeuf aux mandarines:

Serves 4

Cooking time: Approximately 45 minutes + 3-4 hours in the oven (or more if you can wait!)

-2 Beef Cheeks

-4 Cloves garlic, crushed

-1 Brown onion, roughly diced

-2 Carrots, roughly diced

-3 Sticks celery, roughly diced

-Rind of one mandarin or orange

-2 Tbs plain flour

-Salt and pepper

-2 Cups full-bodied red wine (like a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon)

-1 Cup beef stock

-4 Bay leaves

-6 Sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp of dried)


Preheat oven to 120 degrees celsius.

Trim the excess fat and gristle off the cheeks. This is hard work, but you don’t need to be too fussy as most of it will melt off as it braises (making for a delicious sauce).

Cut your cheeks in half and put them in a large zip-lock bag with the flour and some salt and pepper. Shake the bag around until the meat is coated in flour.

In your casserole pot, fry the meat in a little oil for a couple of minutes on each side until it has browned. It’s best to cook the meat in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan.


Put the meat aside and deglaze your dish with a little red wine, scraping any burnt meat off the bottom of the pan (again, this will make your sauce better). Coat the pan with oil again and fry your onion and garlic, followed by carrot and celery until it has started to soften.

Re-introduce your meat and add the wine, beef stock, mandarin rind, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, put the lid on your pot and put it into the oven.


After 3-4 hours or once the meat falls apart when you gently scrape it with a spoon, take the meat out of the braising liquid and set aside (you can put it in a dish, cover it with foil and put it back in the oven if you’re worried it will cool. Turn the oven off first – there should be enough residual heat).

Using a stick blender, blend your sauce until there are no lumps. On a low heat, reduce the sauce until it reaches your desired thickness. If the sauce is a little too zesty, balance it out with about a tablespoon of sugar, and a pinch of salt.

Pour the sauce over the meat and serve with mashed potato, polenta or crusty bread.



Bon appétit!



Posted in Dessert, Mains

Automne à Melbourne



Sadly, the days are getting shorter and the weather cooler in Melbourne, but the local markets are buzzing and overflowing with beautiful apples, figs, bananas and pears. I’m getting excited about baked apples, and fruity crumbles.

As it get colder, I’m thinking more and more about my trip to Paris last September, at the end of the French summer. We covered all of the staples that I really miss – moules marinieres (muscles in white wine and garlic), soupe a l’oignon, lots of delicious, slow-cooked meat and a healthy dose of red wine, cheese and Normandy cider.

Moules frites à Bayeux

But the one meal that really stuck out was an endive and scallop salad, followed by beautiful braised beef cheek in a tangy but rich gravy with hints of orange, and lots of garlic. The restaurant was Le Fumoir – a bustling bistrôt on the non-touristic side of Le Louvre. We sat in the library; a small, beautifully lit room away from the main service area where I’m told bookings are essential. Staff were friendly, and fortunately for me, spoke little English (it’s hard to practice French in Paris sometimes!)

As a last little tribute to summer, this blog contains une autre tarte tatin with tomato and basil. It’s sweet, fresh and light – and really hard to stop eating! The tarte tatin is so versatile – and you really can use any of your favourite flavour combinations.

For dessert, there’s a zesty strawberry, lime and coconut parfait that would be an impressive and easy dessert for dinner parties. Trop délicieux!

 Tarte tatin à la tomate et au basilic:


Serves 4 with salad

Cooking time: Approximately 15 mins prep + 30 minutes baking

-2 Tbs butter

-1 Tbs brown sugar

-1-2 sheets puff pastry, thawed

-6 Roma tomatoes (seeded and halved)

-1 Tbs balsamic vinegar

-1 Tbs chopped oregano (fresh)

-Handful of fresh basil leaves


Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease a round cake pan or casserole dish.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add sugar and cook until dissolved. Add tomatoes, cut sides up. Turn down heat, and cook tomatoes for about 10 minutes or until they release juices. Add vinegar and cook for a further 2 minutes.


Take tomatoes out of saucepan and place in cake pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle oregano and season. Place whole basil leaves on top.


Cut pastry into triangles and arrange over tomatoes, forming 2 layers of pastry. Tuck pastry in at edge, then bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden. Stand for 5 minutes.

Serve with salad.

Coconut, lime and strawberry parfait:IMG_1100

Serves 4

Cooking time: 20 minutes to prep, 6 hours to chill

Strawberry layer:

-1/4 tsp lime rind

-2 tsp lime juice

-2 tsp caster sugar

-250g punnet of strawberries, hulled

Coconut parfait:

-1 Tbs hot water

-1 tsp gelatine powder

-125ml evaporated milk

-1 Tbsp caster sugar

-2 tsp shredded coconut, toasted


Process a third of the strawberries, lime juice and rind, and sugar into a blender and process to a puree.

IMG_1046Thinly slice strawberries. Divide puree among four dessert glasses and top with remaining sliced strawberries.

IMG_1053To make the coconut parfait, place hot water in heat proof dish and sprinkle with gelatine. Place dish in small saucepan and add enough boiling water to come half way up side of dish. Whisk with a fork until gelatine dissolves.

Beat gelatine mixture, evaporated milk and sugar in large bowl until fluffy (approx. 1-2 mins). Spoon mixture over strawberry mixture and chill for approx. 6 hours (until set).


Enjoy! And keep an eye on this space for some winter recipes coming soon.



Posted in Dessert, Mains, Snacks and light meals

Tarte Tatin: Two ways


Bonjour à tous!

Ça fait trop longtemps (it’s been too long!)

I have been busy finishing uni (yay!) and planning a very exciting trip to Europe in September. I’ll be flying to Paris for a week of delicious food and wine, before heading to Greece. Mais ne vous inquiétez pas, I’ll be sure to report back with photos of everything I eat while en France.

To make up for my absence I have a jam-packed post for you. Today, we’re talking tarte tatin – upside down tart for the uninitiated.

Trusty wiki claims that the tarte tatin was developed in the 1800’s about 100km south of Paris at the Hotel Tatin. One of the owners, Stephanie Tatin, was so run off her feet in the kitchen while making an apple pie that she forgot about leaving her apples, butter and sugar cooking on the stove. In a desperate attempt to save the tart, Stephanie quickly put the pastry on top of the apple mixture and baked it in the oven. After turning it out, Stephanie found the hotel guests were surprisingly impressed with the caramelised apple tart. And the tarte tatin was born.

While the apple tarte tatin is most common, many cooks have created their own (savoury and sweet) versions.


I’ll show you a traditional and more modern version of the tart. You really can’t go wrong with this one so feel free to combine your favourite ingredients for the topping. Les fabuleuses tartes (the fabulous tarts) are sophisticated yet deceptively easy to make, making them perfect for your next dinner party. You could even have a French theme and cook one for dinner and dessert like I did here. Pourquoi pas?

For the sake of simplicity, I have used frozen puff pastry in both recipes below, but absolutely feel free to make your own if you have the time! The use of red and green apples makes for an interesting mix of sweet and slightly sour in the traditional tarte tatin.

NB: Both savoury and sweet recipes are my own take on ones from

Tarte tatin au potiron et aux oignons caramélisés (Pumpkin and caramelised onion upside-down tart):


Serves 4-6

Cooking time: 20 mins to prep + about 1 hour 40 to bake

-1/2 butternut pumpkin, cut into 2.5cm wedges

-1 medium red onion, diced

-Garlic head, cloves separated and unpeeled

-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

-2-3 sheets puff pastry, thawed

-Thyme, to serve

-Salad leaves, to serve


Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease and line a tray with baking paper. Place pumpkin, onion and garlic cloves on tray and coat with good olive oil. Season well, then roast for about an hour or until tender. Leave aside to cool.


Cook balsamic vinegar and sugar on low heat for about five minutes until sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture into the bottom of a cake pan. It’s best to use a round cake pan, but if you don’t have one (like I didn’t on the day), a square or rectangle pan will be fine.


Arrange the pumpkin and onion over base. Remove skin from garlic cloves and arrange over vegetables.

Turn oven up to 220 degrees celsius. Cut pastry into triangles (for a round dish) or rectangles (for square/rectangle dish) and arrange pastry over vegetables. Fold back any excess pastry and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Leave to sit for several minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Sprinkle with thyme and remaining pan juices, then serve with salad greens.


Now for something a little sweeter…

Tarte tarin aux pommes (apple upside-down tart):


Serves 4-6

Cooking time: 20 to prep + about 25 to bake

-50g quality unsalted butter

-2 medium green apples

-2 medium red apples

-1/2 cup brown sugar

-2 Tbs cold water

-1-2 sheets puff pastry, thawed

-Cream or ice-cream, to serve


Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Grease and line a round cake pan.

Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add apple and cook for several minutes until golden. Add sugar and water then cook for 2 minutes or so until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for several minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.


Arrange apple in prepared pan and spoon over the caramel. Cut pastry into triangles and arrange over apple mixture, forming 2 layers of pastry. Tuck pastry in at edge, then bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Stand for 5 minutes, then turn onto plate. Serve with cream or ice-cream.


I hope you enjoy this tarte tatin feast!



P.S Happy Valentines to those who celebrate! What did you cook/bake for your lucky person on the weekend?

Posted in Mains, Snacks and light meals

Using leftovers: Soupe au pistou (Pesto Minestrone Soup)

In 2011 I decided to take the year off uni and spend four months gallivanting around Europe with one of my closest friends. We had barely any plans, aside from that we wanted to go to La Tomatina (the tomato throwing festival just outside of Valencia, Spain), meet up with a friend in Paris, and just spend a lot of time seeing the sites, partying, eating and meeting other travellers.

Meeting up in Bangkok to break up the 20-something hour flight, we sat on Khao San Road with dozens of other tourists, sipping what we were told was vodka but tasted suspiciously of terrible local spirits and pouring over our Lonely Planet guide. Our plan was this: We wanted to go to Spain, I wanted to go back to France and we both had a mild interest in Italy. From there, we had no idea.

The first pizza in Rome
Our first pizza in Rome!

In the end we saw Italy, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands (well, Amsterdam), France, Belgium, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. We saw The Colosseum, Pompeii, Brandenburg Gate, Dachau Concentration Camp, the town of Salzburg, the Danube river, Viennese coffee houses, the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur, the canals of Amsterdam AND Bruges, The Alhambra in Granada, all of the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, a dozen English markets, Loch Ness, Edinburgh Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, a proper student house party in Cardiff and the list goes on and on and on…

About half-way through the trip, exhausted from not staying in the same place for more than a few days, sleeping only in hostels and on trains, and a few too many late nights with other travellers, we both got the flu. It was inevitable really, apart from the exhaustion, our diet mainly consisted of free hostel breakfasts, our regular picnics of just baguette and cheese (which were an excuse to explore local parks), and two-minute noodles (to save funds, obviously). We were both very sick for about a week, but by the end of it came to one conclusion: we had to change our eating habits. We shopped at local markets, cooked for ourselves in the communal hostel kitchens, and found the easiest (and cheapest) recipes we could possibly make with the highest nutritional value.

Wandering through Nice’s old town

The recipe below is one of our saviour recipes. It’s really easy, doesn’t take long to cook and is bursting with veggies and nutrition. This Minestrone is my Mum’s really easy take on a traditional Italian one (although is also considered to be Provencal recipe, as seen in Rachel Khoo’s book The Little Paris Kitchen). You can have it with or without the pesto, but the pesto really adds a kick. Buy a jar from the supermarket, or make your own a la Rachel Khoo.

Soupe au pistou:


photo copy 3

Serves: 6-8

Cooking time: 15 minutes prep + about an hour to cook

2 cloves garlic

1.25 litre bottle of V8 (vegetable) juice

1 can borlotti (Roman) beans

1 cup pasta (conchiglie – the shell pasta – works best)

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Pesto to garnish

Parmesan cheese to garnish

Leftover veggies (you can use almost anything but I generally use onion, celery, broccoli, beans, carrots, potatoes, parsnips etc.) – just make sure you have at least a few different types


Chop veggies, making sure they are roughly the same size. Fry garlic and onion (if using), then add other veggies and top with V8.



Add stock and bring to boil.


photo copy 3


Add borlotti beans, cover the soup and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are cooked. Cook pasta separately and add just before serving.

Garnish with pesto and parmesan cheese and serve!

photo copy 2

If you want to make your own pesto:

Rachel Khoo‘s Provencal Pesto:

1 bunch basil

3 cloves garlic

3-4 tablespoons good olive oil


Pound to a smooth paste, or whizz up the pesto in a blender.

Note: Unlike Italian pesto, French pesto doesn’t contain pine nuts or Parmesan, but you can add them if you like.

A small town just outside of Grenoble, France
Backpacking through a small town just outside of Grenoble, France


Bon appétit!





Posted in Mains

Mid-week meal: Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy)

"Burgundy, France" by Megan Mallen. CC licence 2.0.
“Burgundy, France” by Megan Mallen. CC licence 2.0.

Today is about debunking some common myths about shared living.

1. Living in a share house means living off pizza and instant noodles.

Wrong. I live in a share house. Four out of six of us are foodies. We go to markets, check out interesting new cafés that have just opened up and cook interesting things together. I haven’t eaten instant noodles in years.

2. Eating cheaply means eating junk food. 

Wrong again (see above). It’s possible to cook interesting and healthy meals with the cheapest ingredients. Buy produce that’s in-season, pick the time you go to the supermarket (there are often lots of reduced items if you go later in the evening) and shop at markets.

3. Cooking for one of two people = food wastage, and eating the same meal for a week.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. That’s what freezers are made for. Freezing food is also handy if you’re getting home from work or uni late and don’t have the time or energy to cook. I love cooking on Sundays because I usually have all the time in the world.

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy, or Beef in Red Wine):

Serves 4

Cooking Time: 5 mins prep + Approx 30 minutes to cook


This is a cheats take on a classic French dish. It’s one that my Mum used to make when she lived in a share house, and has made ever since. I imagine the addition of soy sauce would enrage the French, but it’s simple and delicious, and can be whipped up after work with little effort. For best results though, slow cook it for as long as you can to make the meat extra tender.

Historically, this meal was considered a peasant dish, but over time it has been accepted as a classic.

Slow cooking the meat ensures even the worst cuts of meat become tender and delicious. The question of whether it should include bacon or not is somewhat controversial, but I think it adds a nice saltiness to the dish. You could serve it with mashed potato, brown rice, pasta, or crusty bread.


-500g diced beef (the quality depends on how long you are prepared to cook it for)

-4 rashers bacon, chopped

-1 cup red wine

-1 small can tinned mushrooms in butter sauce

-1 green capsicum, chopped

-1 tsp dried or fresh thyme

-2 cloves garlic

-1 Tbs tomato paste

-2 Tbs soy sauce

-1 brown onion

Fry bacon, onion and garlic together. Brown beef, then add capsicum, tomato paste, wine, soy sauce, thyme and mushrooms. Cover and cook on medium heat until meat is tender and sauce has thickened (about 15 minutes depending on your cut).

 photo copy

While it cooks, enjoy un verre du vin  (a glass of wine). I usually serve it with brown rice, as the nutty flavour compliments the stew – c’est magnifique!





Posted in Mains

Mon salade d’hiver: My winter salad


The Louvre under snow

France is divided up into 22 metropolitan regions, most of which boast their own culture, dialect, and of course plats (dishes). When Napoleon became emperor in 1804 he tried to bring an end to the emphasis on regionalism and establish a unified France, promoting one language (French), civil law (or “The Napoleonic Code”) and a centralised education system.

Although France is now unified around its administrative departments, a strong sense of regionalism prevails. Many French people still speak their regional dialect (Corsican, Occitan, Bourbonnais etc.) and lay claim to certain regional dishes. A common regional dish is the region’s own take on a salad, and salads such as the Lyonnaise, Niçoise and Alsacienne still make a popular menu item today.

Admittedly, salads are not the most appetising thing on a cold, wintery day. However my winter salad is warm and nutritious – perfect for whenever you’re feeling a bit run down and need some nourishment. In France, salads are usually eaten as a first course, not as a side, but this salad can easily be eaten on its own as a plat principal (main course). The split peas and root vegetables make it hearty and healthy. Above all though, it’s super façile (easy) and quick. You could also use whatever vegetables you like, but I like to make it as colourful as I can.

Mon Salade d’Hiver de Légumes, Roquette et Pois Cassés:

Serves 3-4

Cooking Time: 10 mins prep + Approx. two hours to roast vegetables 


-Approx. 2 Tbs olive oil

-Half a pumpkin (I like butternut), chopped into bite size pieces

-2-3 medium sized tomatos, chopped

-1 green capsicum, chopped

-1 red onion, chopped

-Approx. 4 cloves garlic (more if you like)

-Approx. 1 cup split peas or puy lentils

-100g feta cheese

-Rocket to serve


-4 Tbs olive oil

-Splash white wine vinegar

-Splash lemon juice

-Herbs as desired (I like to use fresh basil or dill)

-Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Chop up vegetables. Place pumpkin in oven tray and cover with olive oil. Toss to make sure the pumpkin is coated. Bake for about an hour. Add other vegetables and toss in the remaining olive oil. photoSeason with salt and pepper and put back in oven. About half an hour later fill small saucepan with water until one third full. Once water is boiled, add split peas and cook for 10-15 minutes or until peas are soft, but not mushy and over-cooked. Take vegetables out of oven once crispy. Make bed with split peas then add vegetables on top (keeping garlic cloves aside).photo copy 2 Chop up garlic cloves and sprinkle, or squeeze the flesh out of the cloves across the salad. Add feta, then finish with a good handful of rocket. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a small jug and dress each salad.


Bonne chance!



Posted in Mains

Using leftovers: Les pâtes à la carbonara (pasta carbonara)




As much as I’m a fan of bacon and eggs, a busy schedule means that a weekend fry-up is a rare thing in my household. I have a few leftovers hanging around from my quiche Lorraine, so I thought I’d share an easy weeknight recipe that I found on Taste a year or so ago.

I’m not a great fan of carbonara sauces. I often find them too heavy and rich with the amount of cream, cheese and milk that’s used. On top of that, a lot of people seem to think that because they’re adding cream, the other flavours can fall by the wayside. Wrong.

In fact, apparently carbonara is traditionally cream-free (quelle surprise!), so this easy version might be closer to the Italian tradition than I first thought. It’s also a reasonably cheap meal for my fellow students out there.

No, it’s not French (although the French do love their pasta), but it’s a great way to use up any bacon and eggs that are on their way out, and is full of flavour!


Creamless Carbonara:

Serves 4

Cooking time: 10mins prep+ 15mins to cook

-Approx. 400g pasta (I used spirals)

-3 lightly beaten eggs

-Approx. 1/4 cup fresh chives (or dried, if you can’t get fresh)

-2+ crushed garlic cloves (I usually do about 3, my housemate does a whole bulb…it depends on your tastes)

-100g pancetta or streaky bacon (rind removed), chopped

-1/2 cup parmesan (or other mature) cheese

-Parsley to garnish

-Salt and pepper


Cook pasta until aldente in large saucepan. Combine eggs, chives and cheese, season. ImageHeat olive oil in pan and cook bacon until brown. Reduce heat and cook garlic for about 30 seconds. Drain pasta well and add to bacon and garlic. Coat the pasta, then take off the heat and add egg mixture. Stir until pasta is coated, but don’t take too long or eggs will scramble. Serve immediately, garnishing with parsley and more salt and pepper if desired.

CarbonaraVoila! Les pâtes à la carbonara! C’est trop façile (it’s too easy)!

Bonne chance!



Posted in Mains

Sunday dinner: Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine

I lived in Paris for several months when I was 18. After a long day at work, the family that I was staying with would often buy a simple quiche from the local boulangerie, heat it in the oven and serve it with a simple side salad. These quiches were nothing like I had eaten in Australia, with thin, crisp crusts and a light, almost fluffy centre. Unfortunately, the quiches that we too often buy here have thick, soggy crusts and a rich, extravagant filling. Australians are getting better at French food with the arrival of more and more delicatessens (not to mention our obsession with le macaron), but it has taken some time…

Quiche Lorraine hails from the picturesque Lorraine region (also home to macarons de Nancy and madeleines) in the East of France. A Lorraine quiche is very simple: bacon and egg in a buttery pastry. You could add cheese if you really wanted, but I think the combination of cream, butter and bacon make this dish rich (and salty) enough.

The version I make comes from my favourite cookbook: The Little Paris Kitchen by British chef Rachel Khoo. I made it over two days (the pastry one day, and the filling the next) to give the pastry time to rest, but you could do it in one if you have a couple of hours to spare.


The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo



Serves 4-6

Cooking time: 40 mins (pastry)+At least an hour for the pastry to rest in the fridge + 40 mins (filling)

Note: I have changed the recipe very slightly from Rachel’s version, as my dough was a little soggy to begin with.


-90g very soft and decent quality butter

-1 teaspoon sugar

-Pinch of salt

-2 egg yolks

-1 cup plain flour

-Very cold water


-150g diced streaky bacon, rind removed

– 4 eggs, plus 2 yolks (keep the whites for later)

-300g cooking cream or crème fraîche

-Salt and pepper to season


Beat the eggs, sugar and salt together with a wooden spoon until well combined. Mix in flour, then egg yolks and 2 Tbsp. of cold water. Using the wooden spoon, mix together, then knead until the dough is a smooth ball. Try to avoid handling the dough too much, or it will be tough. Add water/flour as necessary to create a slightly sticky dough. Wrap in cling wrap and put in the fridge for at least an hour (I left it there for a day).

Leave the pastry out for approximately 30 minutes until it reaches room temperature. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper until it is consistently 5mm thick. Carefully place the dough in a 25cm quiche tin (at least 3cm deep) and brush with left-over egg whites. Ensure the dough is even and covers the tin well. Leave in fridge.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Next, fry the bacon until it browns, then place it on some paper towel to cool. Beat the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl, add the cream and season, then continue to beat until mixed. Place the cooled bacon evenly across the pastry dish, then pour in egg and cream mixture. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the quiche is golden brown.

Quiche can be eaten hot or cold, and freezes well.

Bon appétit et à bientôt!