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Articles About Slow Food Recipes

Roast Crispy Whole Duck

Roast Crispy Whole Duck straight from my oven

Up until last night, I wast intimidated by the prospect of roasting a whole duck, but I’m so glad I tried it. It was quite possibly the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in months. I wanted to share the recipe with you and encourage you to give it a try.

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Wild Mushrooms

If there’s one thing I love about autumn in Europe, it’s wild mushroom season. I just can’t get enough of those delicious little fungi. Last night I had my first wild mushrooms of the season. so I decided to try out a new recipe. My Wild Mushrooms in Cream recipe is adapted from one in the latest Jamie Oliver cookbook, Jamie Does. It was so easy and delicious I wanted to share it with you.

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Puy Lentils with fried Halloumi Cheese

Puy lentils, lentille du Puy, (or French green lentils) come from the Le Puy region of south-central France. These small, green, peppery lentils are often called ‘poor man’s caviare’ in France. I hadn’t really eaten lentils, outside of the occasional curry, before moving to Europe. But Puy lentils have since become of favourite.

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Pearl Couscous Salad

My latest addiction in the kitchen is pearl couscous, also known as Israeli couscous.  Pearl couscous is larger than the regular kind and maintains its shape and texture better. It acts much more like pasta and is very versatile.

It’s a bit hard to find but check your international and pasta sections. Here in Brussels, I’ve managed to pick it up at Match and once at AH but it’s pretty hit or miss.

I’ve made a couple of variations of this summer salad and I’m in love.  You can add or switch ingredients as you see fit but here is my starting recipe.

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I’m a big fan of potato and leek soup. I’m also a big fan of cheese in all of its forms. When I first saw the recipe for Potato, Brie and Green Apple Soup I thought it sounded odd bu delicious.

I mentioned this recipe on Facebook yesterday and had a few requests for it. I tweaked it from the original, because I don’t like using things like cooking sprays and condensed milk. If I’m going to die, I’d rather it be from a stick of butter than a tub of plastic margarine. Here’s my version:

1 chopped yellow onion 1 sliced leek (white part only) 4 large Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and quartered, plus 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced thinly, for garnish 2 cups home-made chicken stock (if you don’t have time to make your own then buy some pre-made. Just please don’t use those horrible cubes) 1 bay leaf 1/2 teaspoon salt A small bunch of fresh thyme (discard any woody stems) ½ cup light cream 2.5 cups of milk 6 small potatoes, peeled and sliced 4 ounces brie cheese, cut into small cubes, rind removed

Add a glug of olive oil to a large soup pot. Add the onion, leek and quartered apples. Sauté over medium heat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, salt and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Turn off heat and set the mixture aside.

While the broth mixture is cooking, combine the cream, milk and potatoes in a separate saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Pour the potato mixture into the soup pot. Stir to mix evenly.

In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth, adding the pieces of brie cheese while pureeing. Return the pureed batch to the soup pot and heat until warmed through. Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with thin slices of apple. Serve immediately.

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I don’t often post cooking tips on this blog, but I think this is probably the smartest thing I’ve started doing in the kitchen both taste-wise and economically. Instead of buying pre-cut pieces of chicken:breasts, legs, whatever, I’ve been buy whole organic chickens and butchering them myself. When I’ve cut all the chicken I need from the bones, I then make my own chicken stock from the carcass.

Too time consuming and Martha Stewart-ish you say? I thought so too until we had our cooking course at La Benjamine last December. Once you know what you’re doing, you can get the whole thing done in about twenty minutes (except for simmering the stock). There are loads of resources on the web for how to do this properly so I’ll leave the description to the experts. Here’s what I do:

First I take my chicken and remove the thighs and put them in a freezer bag so we can have them later. The next step is to cut off the breasts which I also freeze separately. Then I cut off the wings and put those in a freezer bag. I save these and keep adding wings to the bag as I carve up chickens so we can have a big hot wing feast. Then I cut any extra skin and fat from the carcass and cut it in half. I brown it in a pot with some olive oil. Now for the really Martha-esq (but very economical part)… I use a lot of soup stock when I cook. I make a lot of sauces, soups and risottos that require it. I detest those little salt laden stock cubes so I use to buy jars of soup stock at the grocery store. They were pretty expensive. Now, instead, I make my own. Whenever I cut up or peal veggies, like carrots, leeks, parsnip etc, I make sure I clean the peelings really well first. Then I toss them in a ziplock and throw them in the freezer. If I have some celery or leeks that are starting to wilt (but have not spoiled yet) I also throw these in the ziplock. When I’m ready to make stock, all I have to do is toss some of the frozen veg in the pot with the browned chicken carcass and fill the pot with water. I add some salt, pepper and any spices I want and leave it to simmer for 3-5 hours. When it’s done, I just strain out all the solids and throw them away. (I also pick any leftover chicken bits from the carcass and use it in soup or pasta). Then I can store the stock in the fridge for about a week or freeze it and use it when I need it. It’s so easy I don’t know why I was so intimidated to do it before.

The best part is I normally paid around 5€ for a couple of chicken breasts or thighs. I Paid around 3€ for 400ml of stock. Now I’m spending around 10-12€ for a whole chicken and getting: 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts and about 1.5L of stock. Take that, crappy economy.

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