Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Potato and Onion Tortilla

plain potato and onion tortilla

The following RECIPES were part of the B&B’s breakfasts and picnics…

In summer when there’s time for a picnic, I always think of TORTILLA as one of the dishes to bring along… There’s lots of ways to embellish the basic recipe – adding cheese perhaps, or parsley (or other coarsely chopped fresh herbs), or sliced peppers or thin chorizo circles – the ideas are really endless…

In fact it’s not even necessary to stick to potatoes and onions – why not try making an simple omelette using gently fried courgettes mixed with crumbled feta cheese… Or make last night’s left-over pasta dish into an amazing FRITTATA by stirring in a few beaten eggs and gently frying in a frying pan.

They’re all delicious eaten hot, luke-warm or cold. Go on, experiment!

Here’s the basic recipe:

TORTILLA of Potato and Onion

Serves 4-6 (depending on appetites)

frittata of leftover pasta

Not just perfect for picnics and great for lunch but try even for breakfast after a boozy night!  The amount of oil used may seem ludicrous but most of it will be strained off and tastes so wonderfully of potatoes and sweet onions that the oil can be used to fry other dishes afterwards…

  • 200ml olive oil
  • 4-5 large potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 large eggs
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil over medium low heat in a large frying pan and add the potato and onion slices, layering them as you go,  Fry gently, lifting and turning regularly, until the potatoes are cooked but not browned (about 20 minutes). In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork and season.  Drain the oil from the potatoes and set aside. When the potatoes have cooled down a little, add them to the eggs and gently mix.

courgette and feta omelette

Heat 2 tbsp of the used oil in the pan until very hot, add the potato/egg mixture in one go and spread out quickly, flattening the top and pressing down firmly.  Lower the heat and continue to cook very slowly.  When the bottom is browned and the omelette is set in the middle (you can gently lift the omelette with a knife to check this.  If the surface is still a little runny, put the frying pan under a hot grill for 4 minutes. Then invert a plate on the pan and flip over.  Add another tablespoon of the oil to the frying pan and slide the omelette onto the pan again, top-side-down.  Fry the other side until it too is brown and turn out onto a platter.  Serve cut in wedges at room temperature.

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The following recipe was part of an outdoor picnic at a recent course, but don’t forget it’s a great standby for canapés or starters to fancy meals… Or make yourself a delicious sandwich…

preparing gravlax

To serve 10 you need:

  •  2 very thick centre-piece slices of salmon
  • 100g gros sel (the course sea salt found in France)
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • large bunch of dill, chopped
  • 2 tbsp juniper berries, crushed

Run your fingers across the surface to feel for any bones and remove with a pair of tweezers if there are any.

You need an oval ceramic dish which fits one piece of the salmon as tightly as possible…


Mix the salt and sugar and sprinkle two tablespoons on the base of the dish. Place one piece of salmon skin-side-down on top. Now scatter half of the remaining salt/sugar mixture on top, and sprinkle

‘sandwich’ the pieces together

generously with half of the bunch of dill and the crushed juniper berries. ‘Sandwich’ the second piece of salmon skin-side-up on top and scatter the remaining salt/sugar mixture on top. Cover with clingfilm then weigh down with a plate that holds something heavy (I always use a second oval dish that is one size smaller and then put two tins of chopped tomatoes in it for weight, but you may of course place to full bottles of wine on it too!!).

Leave like this for 24 hours then carefully tip remove from the fridge (by now it will be filled with water that the salt has extracted from the salmon). Pour off the liquid then rinse the fillets under cold running water to wash off the salt mix. Dry with kitchen paper and place the fillets skin-side-down on a board. Now scatter with more chopped dill, pressing down to stick to the salmon.

slice and serve and enjoy….

Using a sharp carving knife cut the salmon slightly at an angle in thin slices – arrange on individual plates and serve with a side salad. Or arrange the slices on one large plate and let people help themselves.

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La Souqueto Granola

gariguette strawberries

As part of breakfast in La Souqueto we always offer yoghurt with fresh seasonal fruit (right now we’ve been adding the strongly perfumed, early cropping, slightly elongated Gariguette strawberries).  And sometimes, we add homemade compote (of cherries or apricots or peaches).

No need to add anything to these sun-ripened fruits but I do always sprinkle a little homemade granola on top for texture.

Today’s guests asked for the recipe, so here it is.

The quantity may seem a lot but remember that you can store granola for upto 1 month in an airtight container…

  • Souqueto breakfast yoghurts

    2 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g rolled oats
  • 60g sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 20g pumpkin seeds
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 100g pecans
  • 50g hazelnuts

Heat the oven to 180’C.

In a large bowl combine the oil, maple syrup and honey, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix well.  Pour the mixture onto two baking trays and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes but keep a watchful eye and stir from time to time, as it can burn around the edges.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

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freshly picked elderflowers

Whilst Ireland and England may still have to wait a few weeks, here in the South of France elderflowers have been in full fragrant bloom for weeks now.

No time to waste then.  To do what with? To make my annual elderflower syrup.  What do I use this syrup for?  Well, since I make it in its simplest form and not use citric acid as preservative, I freeze them as ice cubes, which I can then simply pop into a glass of cava or sparkling wine (or if you really must, sparkling water!) for a sophisticated and refreshingly fragrant summer drink.  Try also pouring it over (and saturating) a plain lemon cake and serve with fruits as an easy-peasy dessert, or use it to make a fragrant icecream.

Pick the flowers on a sunny morning – choose fresh clean flower heads that are just off white to pale cream, and shake the flowers, head down, so any creepy crawlies fall out.

bottled elderflower cordial

To make about two  75cl bottles you need:

  • 25 fresh elderflower heads
  • 1.2 kg sugar
  • 2 unwaxed oranges, sliced thinly
  • 2 unwaxed lemons, sliced thinly

Put the sugar and 1.2 litres of water in a large pan and warm slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When dissolved, bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the flowers and citrus fruits, stir and leave covered in a cool place for 24 hours to steep.

Next day, strain the cordial into clean bottles with clip tops or corks, refrigerate and use within two weeks.  Alternatively, pour into ice-cube trays and freeze.

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Nuf said…

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One of the many variations of bread and butter pudding…

Whenever we have croissants or petit pains au chocolat leftover in our guesthouse, we turn them into a yummy bread and butter pudding for the following day’s breakfast.  No need to restrict it to croissants of course – you can also use leftover sliced bread (with baguette slices you’ll need to use a little more liquid and let it ‘soak’ a bit longer to soften the crusts) or even pannetone and (not too rich) cake or barmbrack…

The recipe is extremely flexible, leaving you completely in charge of the flavourings and additions.  All you do need to do is keep (more or less) to the proportions for the milk, cream, eggs and sugar mixture.  You can even make a savoury bread and butter pudding by adding bits of bacon, sliced mushrooms, peppers, onions, grated cheese and/or chopped herbs, or even prawns…  To ring the changes for breakfast try adding fresh (or poached) fruit or dried fruit (like raisins or prunes or apricots). Or sprinkle with grated chocolate, lemon zest, chopped nuts or dried spices (such as cinnamon or cardamom).

The world literally is your oyster…!

This morning’s little experiment pleased my guests Alexi Fernandez and his French girlfriend, and Steve and Lynda Baumgartner from Missouri  so much they asked for the recipe – so here it is.  (Incidentally Steve and Lynda gave me some of their award-winning home-cured Boone County Ham which I shall taste tonight and will write up in a separate entry…)

To serve 4 you need:

  • 4 croissants, sliced in 1cm rounds
  • some soft butter for greasing and for lightly buttering the slices
  • large handful of strawberries, chopped
  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 200 ml creme fraiche
  • 4oo ml milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of orange flower water

Butter a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the sliced croissants. Lightly butter the slices and arrange in the dish, alternating with a sprinkling of strawberries. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, milk and sugar until almost frothy, stir in the orange flower water, then pour over the croissants making sure that all the slices get a good soaking. Leave to stand for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180’C then bake the dish for 30-40 minutes until the custard is softly set and swollen.

Bread and butter pudding made with Petits Pains au Chocolat

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strawberry smoothie

We often make smoothies instead of just serving orange juice on its own… I tend not to add yoghurt as we offer that separately with a compote of fresh fruit.

My smoothie base is orange juice and a banana (to thicken it a little) and then I add whatever seasonal fruit we have on hand… perhaps strawberries (as here) or raspberries… Or when peaches and apricots are in season, I use them.  Kiwis also make a delicious vitamin-loaded wake-up drink and don’t forget fragrant melons…  A smoothie is an experiment that hardly ever goes wrong…

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