Tag Archives: home cooking

Mamy Jeanne’s Jardiniere de Legumes

18 Apr
Spring vegetables waiting for the chop

Spring vegetables waiting for the chop

I’ve just cooked and devoured the first ‘Jardiere’ of the season.  I normally follow Mamy Jeanne’s recipe (listed below in this post), but hang on a minute!  I’ve just found in the collection, a version by the lovely Francoise Bernard!…

'Les Recettes Faciles' (easy Recipes) by Francoise Bernard, Librairie Hachette, 1965

‘Les Recettes Faciles’ (easy Recipes) by Francoise Bernard, Librairie Hachette, 1965

Francoise Bernard's version

Francoise Bernard’s version

Here’s Mamy Jeanne’s version from an older post…

Bon appetit.

pea

It’s the season of peas.  How delicious and sweet they are – served in the pods as a nibble during the aperitif, or boiled or steamed.  I grew up with my fair share of them – Mum always hid them in the mashed potato –  and I loved them like that even if ‘green’ was a no-go zone at the time.  But I must say that the peas we ate were more of the frozen in a bag variety (feeding a family takes a lot of shelling I now realise).  Now it’s a delight to find so many fresh peas around at the markets and Lilas and I’ve had a great time sitting amongst the rows of vineyards (Benjamin uses them as a ‘green fertiliser’) picking and eating them.

Lilas shelling peas for Mum

Lilas shelling peas with her mum

A couple of years ago, my parents-in-law brought Mamy Jeanne with them to stay at our place (Mamy Jeanne is Benjamin’s maternal grandmother and ever since my arrival in France has been a huge support – even when my French was non-existant and communication was conveyed by gestures).  Not one to sit around and enjoy  being waited on , Mamy wanted to help contribute to the numerous family reunions we were having that week and prepare a few of her favourite Spring dishes from over the years.  And we’re talking a few Springtimes here – Mamy is 90 and also been known to wield a ping-pong bat in games against the great-grandchildren.

Mamy Jacqueline et Mamy Jeanne

I just love this photo of the two Mamys: Here is Mamy Jeanne on the right and Mamy Jacqueline on the left. Tres stylish femmes!

Jardiniere de Legumes

Jardiniere de Legumes

So I took Mamy to the local market and she was very keen to buy up on the peas.  She wanted to show me how to make a Jardiniere de Legumes (as one of my husband’s favourite dishes, it was almost a family duty to add this to the repertoire) and I was very eager to hover over the stove as she did it.

When the peas are abundant in Spring and you have the arrival of the other ‘legumes nouveaux’ (new vegetables), this dish is served on many French tables.  It’s extremely easy, colourful and healthy. We had some Australian friends to stay recently and with a couple of vegetarians amongst them, it was a perfect meal.

Mamy Jeanne’s Jardiniere de Legumes

(please note that quantities are approximate – I vary them, depending on how it looks in the pot)

 

ingredients:

10 or so lettuce leaves (any type of green salad leaf)

10 carrots

10 potatoes

6 turnips

4 onions – or about 8-10 new baby onions

367 432 peas (that’s what it seems like – but make it about 800g, unshelled)

bay leaves

fresh thyme

butter, olive oil

salt, pepper

salted pork (this is optional – depending on how you feel and if there any any vegos)

 

method:

First I like to fry the onion in a good chunk of butter and olive oil until almost golden as I enjoy the sweetness (and easier for hubby to digest).

(I read a recipe where a women likes to caramelize a bit of sugar in her pot first, but I really don’t think you need to when the new vegetables are so sweet and fresh)

Once onion is done, add the salad leaves and stir well until leaves are floppy.  If using pork, add now too.

            Then add the carrots, potatoes, turnips, all cut into random, small chunks (some like to perfectly dice each vegetable but I think this looks too neat!), and herbs.

            Add water to the pot, until vegetables are just covered, close lid and simmer after boiling for about one hour – or until vegetables are to your liking (the French have a reputation for very well-cooked vegetables, something unheard of in the Asian-focused cuisine so popular in Australia!)

Remember to add the shelled peas about half-an hour into the cooking time.  I don’t like to add them from the beginning as they can get mushy.

 

Serve on its own or as an accompaniment to veal, pork or chicken, with a big pot of French mustard on the side.

served up

served up

Simple Country Lentils*

28 Sep

(* this dish is a version of the one listed in the fabulous “French Farmhouse Cookbook” by Susan Herrmann Loomis)

a simple lentil dish

a very simple lentil dish – minus the sausages

Nothing like keeping the monsieur happy – and at this time more than any other. Harvest time means good, honest, country cooking and this very simple (the best kind!) lentil dish is a winner in our house.  It’s easy and so versatile – it’s great on its own or delicious paired with country sausages, pork chops, lamb chops, whatever you feel like.  They say that dried pulses were a staple in many homes during the harsh Winter months, a time when people also consumed more preserved, salted meats (no wonder I feel like large slabs of juicy ‘petit sale’ with my lentils).

porc demi-sel

pork for your fork
(‘petit sale’ or ‘porc demi-sel’)

And it’s another one of those dishes that tastes better and better each day it gets older!

I first tried this dish here in France at Benji’s parents’ house.  A large cast-iron pot was plonked in the middle of the table and we helped ourselves to this comfort-food’ – the country sausages (mmn, like a bit of country saucisse, but not these!!) swimming in a dark brown-green mass of  steaming lentils, with dollops of Dijon mustard, soaking it all up with crusty bread and wine.

I’m wondering if it was the first time I’d had ‘Puy’ lentils?  These are a dark green/grey coloured lentil commonly found in ‘Le Puy’, in the Auvergne area of France.  Grown in volcanic soil, they are very small and lovely to cook with as they retain their form.  Until that time, all the lentil dishes I’d tried were mostly Indian influenced, eg dhal, using red or brown lentils.  Come to think of it, I used to eat a lot more ‘Asian’-influenced dishes in Australia.  Coriander, soy sauce, chillies and limes were far more common sights in the kitchen than wild thyme, bay leaves and olive oil.  Who would have thought…

Simple Country Lentils

ingredients:

500g green Puy lentils (this will serve about 6 people)

2 onions, diced

4 carrots, chopped

250g salted pork, cut into chunks (optional)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 sprig fresh thyme

bay leaf

country sausages/ frankfurters (1-2 per person) – (optional)

parsley  and mustard for serving

pepper to taste (if you are using the salted pork you will not need to add any salt)

method:

Fry your onion until golden in a generous amount of olive oil, in a heavy casserole pot

+ During this time, boil a full kettle of water for pouring over the lentils later – the hot water greatly reduces the cooking time +

Add the roughly cut chunks of salted pork and fry for a few minutes, stirring frequently

Add the carrots and the garlic, give a good stir

Now add the lentils, stir well

lentils 1

add the lentils and stir

Pour boiling water to cover well.

N.B. During the cooking, you will find that the lentils soak up a lot of water, you may need to add a second pot of boiling water over the mixture if you have no liquid left.  I know, it may look like you are drowning the lentils with water, but believe me it does dry up!

lentils 2

pour boiling water over the lentils etc and then cover

Add herbs and pepper to taste.  

N.B. You do not need to add salt if using the salted pork (I’ve made that mistake!) – but if you’re not using meat DO NOT salt at this point.  – adding salt to lentils during cooking may toughen them up.  Add it after the cooking.

Cover with lid and let simmer for one hour (if you have too much liquid, leave the lid slightly ajar) – or until lentils are tender.

Voila! – and enjoy with a light red or a dry white…

Philippa’s Oven-Baked Asparagus

1 Jun
it's almost gone!

oops, missed the photo opportunity this time round – it is THAT good!

I want to share a little recipe with you.  It’s asparagus season here and every year we eat tonnes of it and the way we’ve normally prepared it, is steamed until al dente and served on a platter with boiled egg scattered over the top and then washed over with a mustard vinaigrette (essentially an oil-based sauce with vinegar – to which you can add lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard etc,  whatever you feel like!).

asparagus olonzac market

asparagus at the Olonzac market

another asparagus grower at the Olonzac market

…more asparagus at the Olonzac market

asparagus carcassonne market

asparagus at the Carcassonne market

We’ve been eating it for years and I’ve never considered preparing it any other way, I like it so much!  That is, until I ate Philippa’s oven-baked asparagus.

Philippa and her partner John have a winery here in the Minervois – Hegarty Chamans – where they make a great range of organic and biodynamic whites (I love their Marsanne Roussanne!) and reds.  Their philosophy of how they make their wines follows into the kitchen.  Philippa is an amazing cook and meals there are a real treat.  It’s like a celebration of fresh produce (often from their ‘potager’/ vegie patch), colours and aromas.   There’s no messing around, just simple, pure flavours blended beautifully together.  And it all feels so healthy! (if I leave my wine consumption out of the equation).    This dish in particular is a beauty.  Thanks Philippa, I’ve been hooked ever since you served this entree of asparagus!

oven-baked asparagus

Oven-Baked Asparagus

Philippa’s Oven-Baked Asparagus

(Yum!  and great served as an entree…)

ingredients:

2-3 bunches green asparagus

olive oil

a good cup full of grated Swiss Gruyere (my favourite cheese EVER) or Parmesan

3-4 dried chopped dried chillies (or 1 or 2 fresh – very hard to find around these parts!)

salt and pepper

method:

chop the ends off the asparagus spears (I never really peel the ends), then rinse and pat dry in a teatowel

pour olive oil into bottom of a good heavy baking dish and swirl to spead the oil

place the spears, then top with the cheese, then the chillies, drizzle more oil and then add salt, pepper to taste

bake in moderate to hot oven (in my old gas oven I cook them on ‘7’) for 30 mins ( or for however long you want, depending on how much crunch you want to leave in the spears)

et voila!  so simple and so delicious!

…and a note on the wine!  Asparagus is a difficult thing to match with wine.  But if you really can’t resist, go ahead and eat them with a dry but fruity white

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