Monthly Archives: August 2010

Paneton d’ aubergine


I ate this as a starter in a village bistro in Castillon du Gard and I HAD to make my version as soon as I got close to an oven!
This is a creamy and tasty loaf, closer to a flan consistancy but baked in a cake pan for convenience.

Ingredients list
Aubergines 6 medium
Eggs 6
Salt, pepper and thyme

Olive oil

Cut off the end of the aubergines and put them whole in a baking dish into

a hot oven for one hour.
When they are soft to the touch, peel them and dice them into a 
blender with one tbsp of salt, pepper and thyme combined.

Beat the eggs as if for an omelette, add one spoonful of virgin olive

oil and mix with the aubergines in the blender.
Pour the mix into a greased cake tin.

Bake at 170 degrees for 1hour.

Turn the tin onto a serving dish and serve at room temperature with a 
good tomato coulis or just some fresh tomatoes, olive oil and thyme 
crushed in the blender.
A fat-free, light and easy starter if ever I saw one and it looks like 
you’ve spent hours perfecting it… Credits without the sweat: that’s 
my idea of a good deal!

Apricots, ricotta and honey cheesecake


Ricotta, apricots and honey cheesecake
Ingredients list:
Apricots 15 halves
Eggs 4
Lemons 1 (zest and juice)
Ricotta 1 large pot (250g)
Sugar 150g
Small glass of limoncello
Short pastry
Cornflour 1 tbsp

Prepare a pie dish with the pastry. Prick it all over with a spoon.
In Two large bowls, break the eggs, yolk and White separately. In the
yolk, mix the ricotta and sugar. In the white, add a pinch of salt and
start beating, slowly adding the lemon juice and limoncello . Add the
cornflour. Beat up until quite stiff.
Add the zest to the yolk mix and blend both compositions together .
Pour the result into the pastry case then decorate with the apricots
and a drizzle of honey. Sprinkle some pine nuts on top.
Bake at 160 degrees for 45 minutes.

We will have this for dinner on the beach, in the dunes next to the wild white lilies growing through the sand and the green juicy samphire that runs up from the marshes.
The sun will go down on the water in front and reflect in the lagoons behind us. And If we are lucky we’ll catch as many shooting stars as we did last night: 6 stars, 6 wishes…

Pan amb oli


Few dishes are better suited to the beach than the simplest one of
all: a thick slab of bread dressed with olive oil and any tasty
topping! In my bit of the mediterranean coast we call it pan bagna,
drenched in red pepper juice and anchovies in oil; in Mallorca they
call it pan amb oli and in Corsica we served it tonight dressed with
goat cheese and honey. The best possible matching for the creaminess
and sweetness of this was a dry, beautifully aged white with brioche

Ingredients list: for one
Thick slab of country bread
1 crushed tomato
Olive oil
Two slices of soft goat cheese
A few nuts
A drizzle of corsican honey

A breathtaking view of the sea and some very good friends to share it all with! I had it all!

Drizzle the olive oil on the bread. Dress each slice with the crushed tomatoes (roughly done in a blender) then put the sliced cheese and nuts on top before grilling for a few minutes.
Serve warm with a good swirl of runny honey over it. Delicious !

Crispy apple tart my way


Summer calls for rough’n’ready recipes that produce speedily a dish you can pack away and go down to the beach or the river with ! So here is another family favourite: A crisp, caramelised apple tart as flat as a galette… Something light and juicy you can even eat with your fingers – then lick them afterwards!
It is so easy I am almost embarrassed to put it up but then I have been baking it for so long for my family that it kind of HAS to be included or I’d be cheating the remit of this blog.

Ingredients list:
Five large French golden
Butter 85g
Puff all-butter pastry 1 roll
Brown sugar 2 big Tbsp

Roll out the puff pastry into a buttered tin, peel and core the apples then slice them finely -(I use my mandolin, again!).
Dice the butter and scatter on top then liberally dust with sugar  and put in a warm oven  (160°) for no less than 45 minutes. The fruit must have time to soften and caramelise without drying out too much. It’s ready when it oozes the most enticing fragrance of cooked apples and butter pastry and the edges are brown… Serve with a bowl of ice-cream or just on its own.

I was brought up in a large orchard in the South of France and this recipe to me concentrate all the most appetising aromas of my kind of house, the magic of cooked apples and the truthfulness of real family cooking.

Tumbet Mallorquin- a veg bake with a twist


One great pleasure to be derived from travelling is the coming home
with a notebook full of new dishes, unusual ingredients and new ways
of accommodating old ones!

This lovely melting ‘tumbet’ was first served to us in Santa Maria dei
Cami with a ripe and rich Macia Batle 2007 from the nearby cellars!
(See pictures!)

A thoroughly pleasurable combination which proves once more that there is a truth in combining local dishes to local wines that no amount of theory can unravel.

Ingredients list:
Aubergines 2
Onions 2
Tomatoes 6
Red peppers 3
Potatoes 3 large ones
Sea salt
Spanish virgin olive oil

Wash the aubergines and slice them. Then rub them with a bit of salt and let them ooze out a bit. Later you can rinse and pat them dry and they will be ready to fry.
Wash and peel all the other vegetables separately then fry them in batches, starting with the potatoes and finishing with the combined chopped onions and chopped seeded tomatoes. This last batch will be your sauce but make sure it does not get too wet because the dish needs to have a good, meaty concentration without being too juicy. Reserve each batch in a separate bowl.

Ideally you will use several individual terracotta dishes, or one single one. Start layering the cooked vegetable starting with the tomato and onion then a layer of potatoe, followed by aubergines then peppers and a last coat of tomatoes. Put in a warm oven for 40 minutes or until all the layers melt under the spoon as soon as it is inserted!

A truly simple dish in the sense that Escoffier must have meant when he advocated “Faites simple”, as in be true, be real, let the ingredients shine through as they simply should. Hence no other seasoning is needed here than a little sea salt and the purest olive oil.