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Category: Main courses

Lamb stew with artichokes

Lamb stew with artichokes

Grilled, roasted or stewed, lamb is  a very  tasteful  spring ingredient. Accompanied by young artichokes and a fresh lemon flavored sauce, we propose you the following dish of a lamb stew with artichokes and lemon.

Lamb stew with artichokes and lemon.

Lamb stew with artichokes
Lamb stew with artichokes

Ingredients: 1 kg lamb stew (leg of lamb or shoulder) cut into cubes, 5 young purple artichokes, the juice of 2 lemons, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 30 g butter, 2 egg yolks.

Sear the meat on all sides golden brown in some butter, remove the meat and fat  from the pan and glaze the shredded onion in some fresh butter. Add the meat and the shredded garlic. Season the meat with salt and pepper and just add enough water until the meat is covered.  Cook the meat for 1.30h. on low heat until soft.

Meanwhile, clean the artichokes: break the stems, cut off the hard tops of the leaves and remove the outer hard leaves. Cut the artichokes into quarters, remove the hay, if you find some, and cook the artichokes in water mixed with lemon juice and salt for about 10 minutes.
Add the quarters of artichokes to the meat and continue the cooking for 10 minutes. Remove the meat from the stew pan and keep it warm. Beat the sauce up with the egg yolks and season the sauce with lemon juice salt and pepper at taste .
Serve the lamb stew with the artichokes, sauce and boiled potatoes.

English is not my native language. Feel free to ask for information about this recipe. I will answer any question. I also would very happy with any corrections you may suggest.

Thanks in advance!

Chickpea, cime di rapa and fried pasta soup

Chickpea, cime di rapa and fried pasta soup

I could seem a grumpy thing in my last posts, criticizing quite firmly the ‘one pot pasta’ trend.

Everyone cooks the dishes he or she prefers with  products that he is quite entitled to choose himself. And the result concerns only him, and his possible guests.

But this freedom of choice and enforcement is not absolute for editors of published recipes either on paper or on the net. These recipe writers carry a certain responsibility in relation to their readers. Their publications can serve as examples and help propagate culinary ineptitudes.

And, that’s the case with the spread of  ‘one pot pasta’  recipes. For the most part, the recipes based on pasta are not too complicated and do not require too many pans  for their realization: a pan  for sauce and a large saucepan for cooking pasta.

In the last few decades, French cooking has gradually been freed from the constraints of a classic cuisine codified by Escoffier to evolve into a cuisine of celebrity cooks.

Italian cuisine, on the other hand, is a regional cuisine, with specific family recipes and is based on local, traditional and seasonal products.

Ragù alla bolognese, pasta carbonara or caponata are traditional and family recipes with well-defined ingredients and structured preparation, although each family has a few special secrets and ingredients.

‘Spaghetti bolo’, ‘carbo with cream’ and other ‘pineapple pizza’ are therefore culinary aberrations for most Italians.

To redeem myself of this rather austere introduction, I propose a simple recipe and full of sunshine of southern Italy.

Moreover, it is almost a one pot pasta, a recipe from ‘cucina povera’ originating from Apulia with chickpea, cime di rapa, a specie of small-flowered broccoli with edible leaves and stems, also known as  broccoletti, and fresh pasta fried in olive oil.

Chickpea, cime di rapa and fried pasta soup

Chickpea, cime di rapa and fried pasta soup
Chickpea, cime di rapa and fried pasta soup

Ingredients: 1 large onion, 200 g chickpeas, 500 g of cime di rapa (to be replaced possibly by broccoli), 500 g fresh tagliatelle, olive oil, a piece of cinnamon, salt.

No garlic, no bayleaves, no thyme and no pepper, but I’ll let you improvise!

Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water.

Sauté the onion in olive oil. Add the drained chickpeas and a liter of water. Cook the chickpeas for 45 minutes and drain them.

Pour a liter of water on the chickpeas and the cime di rapa (broccoli), then continue cooking, the time needed to fry the tagliatelle.

Heat olive oil and brown the pasta in small quantities. Put the drained pasta in the soup and continue cooking for a few minutes.

Season the soup with salt and serve the boiling.

Personally, I would have added pepper, pepper, even thyme and even replaced the water with a broth and served the soup with pecorino, but there was none. This is also the cucina povera.

Thanks to Assunta, besides her parmigiana of eggplant was the best I have ever eaten.

Enjoy your meal!

English is not my native language. Feel free to ask for information about this recipe. I will answer any question. I also would very happy with any corrections you may suggest.

Thanks in advance!

Beef cheeks with carrots

Beef cheeks with carrots

Perhaps not yet quite seasonal, this dish of beef cheeks with carrots and red wine is a dish that will please you several times.

Firstirst by the perfumes released during its slow cooking Then by the tasting of the  very tender and gelatinous meat .. Not to mention the pleasure of the dish warmed the next day. Er if you have any sauce left, it will be perfect to flavor a dish of tagliatelle.

We will therefore cook our dish of cheeks of beef in quantity. Moreover, nothing prevents its freezing.

Beef cheeks with carrots

Beef cheeks with carrots
Beef cheeks with carrots

Ingredients: 1.5 kg of beef cheeks, 1 kg of carrots, 1 celery stalk, 2 onions, 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 liter of red wine, 1/2 liter of beef broth , 1 bouquet garni composed of laurel, thyme, and for the amateurs, a clove, 50 g of butter, 1 spoon of oil, flour, salt and pepper.

Cut the beef cheeks into pieces of about 100 grams. Season with salt and pepper and brown the cheeks  in a mix of butter and oil.

Peel the carrots and cut them into 2 cm pieces. Thinly slice the celery.

Reserve the meat and replace the fat with a piece of fresh butter.

Brown onions, garlic and celery over medium heat. Roll the beef cheek pieces into flour and put them back in the casserole.

Pour the red wine over the meat and bring it to a boil to remove the alcohol. Finally add the carrots and the bouquet garni and wet on height with beef broth.

Cook the beef cheeks under a lid in a 160 ° oven for 2 to 3 hours, checking the liquid level regularly, if necessary add broth.

Season to taste with salt and pepper

Serve the beef cheeks with  steamed potatoes .

English is not my native language. Feel free to ask for information about this recipe. I will answer any question. I also would very happy with any corrections you may suggest.

Duck confit with lentils

Duck confit with lentils

Duck confit with lentils is a classical French bistrot dish. Use preferably small green lentils (lentilles du Puy) as they retain their texture once cooked.

And since I do not like the confit duck legs of the trade (at least most of them!), I also give you a recipe to confite your duck legs at home

If you have purchased a whole duck, use the duck breast for another preparation, such as dried duck breast, and the carcass will be used to make a wonderful broth .

Duck confit with lentils

Duck confit with lentils
Duck confit with lentils

Ingredients: 4 confit duck legs, 200 g lentils, green lentils, 1 tablespoon of their fat, 1 onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 4 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, 1 liter of chicken broth, salt and pepper.

Wash the lentils and soak them  for 1 hour in cold water.

Slice the onion and sauté it in some duck fat with the whole and unpeeled garlic cloves. Add the lentils, bay leaf, thyme and 1/2 liter of chicken stock. Cook the lentils over low heat, under a lid for about 20 minutes. Check the lentils while  cooking and add, if necessary, more  broth to the lentils.

Bring the lentils to taste with salt and pepper.

Brown the duck legs in a dry skillet on both sides, drain the excess of fat, and serve with the lentils

Confit duck legs

Duck confit ingredients
Duck confit ingredients

Ingredients: duck legs, (at least 4 to make it worthwhile), coarse salt, 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, a pot of duck fat.

Rub the duck legs on all sides with salt.

Place them on a rack in a dish and cover them with food film.

Leave the duck legs overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, wash the thighs with running water and pat them. Place the duck legs in a saucepan, add garlic, thyme and duck fat.

Cook over low heat for about 2 hours, checking for tenderness  with a needle. Confit duck legs should be well cooked.

Put the duck legs in a  jar and cover them with hot fat. Close the jars and keep the duck confit in a dark, cool place until consumed.

English is not my native language. Feel free to ask for information about this recipe. I will answer any question. I also would very happy with any corrections you may suggest.

Thanks in advance!

Turbot with samphire

Turbot with samphire

Turbot is a quite expensive fish, especially the bigger wild ones, that we only cook on special occasions. I like to cook turbot with samphire and algae to enhance the taste and feeling of the sea in the dish.

Turbot with samphire

Turbot with samphire
Turbot with samphire

Ingredients: 300 g samphire, 1 turbot (about 2 kg, sliced), 60 g butter, 1 tsp. of oil, 1 dl white wine, 2 tsp. dried kelp, 2 dl liquid cream, salt and pepper

Blanch the cleaned samphire for 1 minute in a large saucepan of boiling water and drain it.

Pan fry the slices of fish in a mixture of butter and oil.

Meanwhile, bring the wine with the kelp to a boil.

Add the cream and reduce to the desired consistency. Pass the sauce trough a fine sieve  and whisk in a small amount of butter. Season with salt and pepper and heat the samphire in the sauce.

Put the fish on heated plates and serve with the samphire sauce.

This turbot dish is a real feast accompanied by steamed potatoes.

Samphire, like sea lavender, is a plant that grows on land regularly covered by sea water. Blanch the samphire quickly in boiling and unsalted water.

The dried kelp I used here is a mixture of different kinds of marine algae. It is easily found in natural health stores.

Enjoy your meal !

English is not my native language. Feel free to ask for information about this recipe. I will answer any question. I also would very happy with any corrections you may suggest.

Thanks in advance!

Monkfish with saffron

Monkfish with saffron

This recipe of monkfish with saffron and butternut squash is a popular recipe on this blog, both in French and Dutch. That’s why I chose it to be one of the first recipes to be translated into English.  The recipe is a little festive, but easy to cook, and to bring us in the mood of this wet, cold and windy winter.

Monkfish with saffron and butternut squash

Monkfish with saffron and butternut squash
Monkfish with saffron and butternut squash

We need: 800 g monkfish, in four pieces, 400 g pumpkin flesh, 1 green cauliflower (Romanesco), 1 g of saffron, 2 dl fish stock , 1 dl of white wine, 50 g of butter, salt and pepper.

Blanch the Romanesco in salt water. Drain the cauliflower and pass it in cold water to fix the pretty green color.
Put the pieces of fish in a baking dish.
Pour the fish stock and the white wine into the dish. Put the saffron threads in the liquid. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Place some butter on the fish.
Cook for 20 minutes in a preheated 180 ° oven.
Take the fish out of the cooking dish and keep it warm. Reduce the cooking juices by half and finish the sauce with a little butter. Season de saus with salt of pepper, and a little lemon juice.
In the meantime you’ll  have sautéed the peeled and diced squash flesh in butter and warmed the Romanesco in melted butter.
Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
Put the fish on hot plates, and serve the monkfish with the vegetables.
Sprinkle the fish with the sauce.

And if you feel like it, the monkfish is easily packed in a few slices of smoked bacon before baking it.

Enjoy your meal !

English is not my native language. Feel free to ask for information about this recipe. I will answer any question. I also would very happy with any corrections you may suggest.

Thanks in advance!

Fillet of cod, lacquered with orange

Fillet of cod, lacquered with orange

Dry cured fillet of cod, lacquered with orange, remains one of my favorite fish dishes. Dry cured fish strengthens its flesh by eliminating a small portion of its water and enhances his flavor.

I also use this technique of dry curing fish with other fish, certainly with salmon for sushi.

Fillet of cod, lacquered with orange

Fillet of cod, lacquered with orange
Fillet of cod, lacquered with orange

Contrary to what the title of this recipe can make you think, this recipe is easy to realize on the condition of having products of 1st quality.

We need: 4 pieces of cod fillet with skin of 200 g per person, 4 oranges, 1 dl of Noilly Prat, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of fine corn flour, 1 small red pepper, coarse sea salt and pepper.

And for the vegetables: 1  bunch of radishes, a bunch of turnips, 50 g of butter, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, 1 branch of thyme, salt and pepper.

Roll the pieces of fish in coarse salt, place them on a rack and forget them for half an hour.
Meanwhile, zest an orange and squeeze the juice of the 4 oranges. Bring the orange juice to a boil with the Noilly Prat and the honey. Reduce by half. Stir  the starch in a little orange juice and add it to the reduction with the minced chili pepper   and the orange zest. Continue the reduction until a slightly syrupy liquid is obtained.
Preheat oven to 180 °.

Rinse and dry the fish. Melt a little butter and little oil in a frying pan that supports the heat of the oven: watch out for the plastic handles ! Put the pieces of fish in the pan, on the skin side ,  brush the top of the fish, using a brush, with the orange reduction. Let cook for 5 minutes. Redo the  rushing with the orange  reduction and bake for another 10 minutes. Repeat the operation and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Keep the fish warm.

Meanwhile you will have cooked the vegetables.

Peel the turnips and cut them into equal pieces. Cut the radishes loaf and wash the radishes. Put the vegetables in a casserole, sprinkle with sugar, add butter, thyme and a bottom of water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, mixing occasionally.

Serve the vegetables with the fish.

Enjoy your meal !

English is not my native language. Feel free to ask for information about this recipe. I will answer any question. I also would very happy with any corrections you may suggest.

Thanks in advance!

Duck breast, red wine sauce

Duck breast, red wine sauce

As it would seem that the winter, the real one, with frost and even snow should reach our regions this weekend, I propose you a rustic recipe of season. And it’s still duck, but this time I use duck breasts instead of a whole duck. Pay attention to the quality of the product, the duck breasts ‘Labels Rouge’ are quite satisfactory. I prepare them with braised chicory  and chunky potato fries cooked in the fat of duck breast.

I love braised braised chicory, I use chicory grown in the ground, not the ones from hydroculture. I do not remove the small bitter cone from the foot of the vegetable and I cook them long and well fondant. It is obvious that you can adapt the recipe according to your personal taste.

Duck breasts, red wine sauce.

Let’s start with the chicory

We need: 1 kg of chicory, the juice of half a lemon, 50 g of butter, 1 teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper.

Remove any wilted leaves from the chicory. Wash them and arrange them side by side in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the butter and sugar on the vegetables, sprinkle them with lemon juice and season the chicory with salt and pepper. Add 1 dl of water and cook the chicory for 35 minutes on low heat and under a lid.

Check the level of liquid in the pan from time to time, the chicory should not burn.

Remove the lid, and set up the fire. Caramelize the chicory on all sides and keep warm.

Continuing with the magrets

3 duck breasts, 1 half bottle of full-bodied red wine, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, 30 g of butter, salt and pepper.

Score the skin side of the breasts in small squares. Cook the duck breasts over medium heat, side by side for 10 minutes on the skin side, then 5 minutes on the flesh side. Continue cooking the breasts for 10 minutes, under a sheet of aluminum, in a preheated 160 ° oven, remove them from the pan and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Pour the fat of duck in a clean skillet, it will serve to cook the fries.

Deglaze the first pan with the red wine, add the honey and the thyme and reduce by half. Thicken  the sauce with  pieces of fresh butter and season with salt and pepper.

Then the fries ….

1 kg of potatoes, coarse salt, cooking fat of the magrets

Peel the potatoes, then cut them into large fries.

Sponge the fries in a kitchen towel and fry them golden brown  in  not too hot duck fat for about 15 minutes . Drain the fries and sprinkle the fries with coarse salt.

Enjoy !

Foodstyling.be, English version

Foodstyling.be, English version

At the start of this new year we have decided to translate some of our blog posts in English.

Our blog, which started as a complement of our site foodstyling.be, online since 2012, is about explanation and illustrating mostly Belgian, French, and Italian recipes.

We started at that time as food stylists for magazines and cookbooks, we evolved as recipes authors and photographers.

We think the time is right to share our recipes and images to an English speaking public.

As we are no native English writers, please forgive us some mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to ask us for explanations if you don’t understand everything.

So, let’s start with a first recipe, which is typical Belgian, although with some twists.

Belgian chicons au gratin

The chicons, Belgian chicory, au gratin, is a star dish for  Belgian winters which we are happy to share with our English speaking readers.

The constraints of publishing force us from time to time to use ingredients well before their season. This week we had to cook white asparagus. Unfortunately, they came from Peru and they were tasteless, full of water and without any taste. It was rather a shame, the result was frankly disappointing, but it is still an additional reason to advocate the use of seasonal products grown naturally and preferably locally. There is no pleasure in eating asparagus, strawberries or cherries in February, especially if these products are expensive and tasteless.

Here is a recipe of chicons (endives in French and chicory in English) au gratin. They are tasty, cheap and seasonal!
Chicons au gratin is a traditional Belgian recipe that we have modified a little. Our endives are braised instead of being boiled in lots of  water, and we dare to use fresh grated Parmesan instead of Gruyere. We hope you can follow and forgive us this slight break with Belgian traditional cuisine.

Ingredients:  1 kg of chicory, the juice of a lemon, 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar, 30 g of butter, 8 not too fine slices of quality ham, 150 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

And for the bechamel sauce: 50 g of flour, 35 g of butter, 1/2 liter of milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Let us  first cook the chicory. Remove the slightly wilted leaves and wash the chicory. Arrange them side by side in a large casserole. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and sprinkle with pieces of butter. Add a little of water and cook the chicory over low heat for 40 to 50 minutes, this dish requires well-cooked vegetables. Drain the chicory while preserving the cooking juice for the béchamel sauce.

Melt the butter, mix the flour with the melted butter and cook for 10 minutes, on low heat, stirring and without allowing to color. Gradually add the milk to the roux, always stirring the mixture and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Add the chicory cooking juice to the sauce and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and possibly a little lemon juice to add a bit of taste.

Roll each piece of chicory, drained well, into a slice of ham and arrange them side by side in a gratin dish. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle all with a nice layer of Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 180 °

Serve this dish with mashed potatoes or simply with bread.