Category Archives: main course

savory butternut pie

Even if winter is weird here this year and that some trees are burgeoning, we should try to stick to seasonal food and use colorful squash!

My favorites are the ones I don’t have to peel like butternut and potimarron. But you could use any squash to make this recipe if you have some from your garden or from a generous neighbour.

 This pie can be eaten warm, thawed or cold. It could be made as a sweet pie like a pumpkin pie but it’s another chapter! You can use any non-animal milk and any spices you fancy. I was going towards India with coconut milk and coriander seeds.

 You could serve this pie with some winter salad like endives. The bitterness of the salad will balance greatly the sweetness of the pie.

 Even though I gave you my pie dough recipe at least a thousand times, here is one of the many version I use and that I would eat even with nothing on it!

 162g of butter in thin slices

500g of flour (I used T110 semi-whole grain but it would be great with whole grain or even with a gluten free flour like buckwheat)


175ml of water

 Preheat the oven at 180°C.

Work the butter with the salt and the flour until sandy (use a pastry blender if you have one). Add the water and mix until the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl anymore. Make a ball.

Put some flour on your tabletop and roll the dough to a few mm.

Line a pie tin with parchment paper then add the rolled dough. Prick it with a fork, cover with parchment paper and cooking pastry marbles or beans.

Put in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. take the marbles/beans and the paper away and cook 5 more minutes.

 Wash and cut the butternut in half, take the seed away and cut in cubes.

Cook in a steamer for 25 to 30 minutes until completely soft.

I use a blender to mix the butternut with 5 eggs, salt, coriander seeds (about 1 teaspoon) and 400ml of coconut milk (1 can).

With the use of coriander seeds, you get some bites that are more subtle other that are stronger in coriander taste. If you want something more consistent trough the whole tasting, mix the coriander seeds before adding it to the butternut.

 Pour the mixture in the cooked pie dough and cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the custard is completely set.

 As said, enjoy warm, thawed or cold!



sheet zucchini pie

The more time passes, the more the process of making pies please me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved eating blueberry or cherry pies but making them seemed boring.

Now I’m enjoying it more.

Even though I’ve started with the salty stuff, I’m growing founder of the sweet homemade pies!

So here is a savory pie. I find ti delicious, cheap, easy to make and nourishing. And super easy to adapt to all seasons.

I’m imagining this pie with sheets of butternut instead of zucchini!

When I say sheets I mean really thin slices of the vegetable cut with a mandolin.

You can decline this recipe with any vegetable coming your way: fennel, tomatoes, parsnip, turnip, carrot,…

Usually, I make pies with a gluten free crust. Why? I find it more interesting for my taste buds, it varies my diet and it suits this kind of recipe really well. You get more flavor from one simple dish.

Ingredients for a 24cm pie:

100g buckwheat flour

50g rice flour

30g quinoa flour

1/2 tsp sea salt flakes

85g cold butter cut in cubes or thin slices*

1 small egg (optional)

3 tbsp of cold water or 4,5 tbsp if not using the egg 

1 firm zucchini

1 fresh goat cheese or 200g of ewe ricotta

2 tbsp of mustard

With a pastry blender or with your hand, mix the flours with the butter. When the mix is sandy, add the egg and/or the water.

Add the water little by little to get the right consistency. You need to form a ball.

Wrap the dough in plastic film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Turn the oven on at 180°C.

Roll the dough on parchment paper and transfer in your pie tin.

You can skip the parchment paper by oiling the tin then cover the bottom with flour.

Prick the dough with a fork and cut as is in the oven for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, cut thin slices of zucchini (almost translucent slices). The best way to do it is to use a mandolin: the slices will have the same thickness and you’ll gain time. Watch your fingers though!

On the precooked dough, spread the mustard with the back of a spoon then crumble the cheese on top. Add the zucchini slices. I add them in spiral starting from the outside and I make several layers until all the slices are on the pie. Add salt and pepper. Be careful with the salt as there are some in the cheese already.

Cook the pie in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. The more the pie cooks the dryer it will be. To get a softer texture, cut the slices a bit thicker or cook for a shorter time.

Don’t hesitate to add basil, mint, rosemary, thyme or any fresh herbs you have in your garden.

You have the base, you can have fun now.

* For the vegan and lactose intolerant, replace butter with coconut or olive oil. 

Replace the cheese with:

1,5 cup of cashew nuts: soaked 12 hours in fresh water, rinsed and drained 

1 organic and cleaned lemon: finely grate the zest and juice the fruit

2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp sea salt flakes

Mix the cashew nuts. Add the zest and lemon juice, the nutritional yeast and the salt. Mix for one more minute and taste to rectify seasoning. Use as you would the cheese.


beetroot patties, lemon pesto and mushrooms confit

20130123toqué10 For 5 patties

About 450g raw, cleaned, peeled beetroot

50 to 100g of sheep’s hard cheese

1 peeled shallot

1/2 tsp) of dry thyme

1/4 bunch of flat leaf parsley

1 tsp fennel seeds freshly grounded

20g of chickpea flour

20g of oat flakes

2 beaten eggs

salt, pepper 

Separate the leaves from the parsley branches.

Grate the beetroot.

Cut the cheese in pieces. 

Mince the shallot and the parsley leaves. Discard parsley branches opr use it in homemade stock.

Mix all the ingredients and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Don’t oversalt as the cheese is already salty. 

I skip the salt as the pesto is salty enough.

Turn the oven on at 180°C.

With a stainless steel cutter, form the beetroot patties on a baking sheet covering an oven dish. Press with a spoon and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.


For the mushrooms :

1 small Paris mushrooms punnet

1 oyster mushrooms punnet

1 small minced peeled onion.

Brush the mushrooms to clean them and mince it.

Melt the onion in olive oil on a warm frying pan. After 3 minutes, add the mushrooms and leave to confit with salt and pepper. Mix in gently from time to time. It’ll take 30 minutes. The mushrooms should be dry and golden.

For the quinoa:

Cover the quinoa with water and leave to rest for 12 hours. Rinse well and drain. Pour in a pan, add salt, pepper and the grounded fennel seeds. Cover with water and cook for about 15 minutes.

In a frying pan, heat a little olive oil and add the quinoa to dry it and obtain a light golden tone.

Rectify the seasonig to taste.

For the pesto:

1 peeled garlic clove

60g walnuts

1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley

1 pinch of sea salt flakes

4 tbsp olive oil

the zest of 1 lemon

2 fresh goat cheeses

In a blender or a mixer, mix the garlic, walnuts, parsley leaves (discard the branches), lemon zest and sea salt flakes.

Add the olive oil and mix again then combine with the goat cheeses.

On the plate, dress the quinoa with a stainless steel cutter. Put the beetroot patties on top and decorate with the pesto.

Add the mushrooms on the side.

Leave the remaining pesto in a bowl for each guest to get more !

olives & artichoke hearts quiche

 Here the winter is back… Just a few days before Spring is suppose to arrive! Well, no strawberries or crunchy salad yet so why not prepare a nourishing and comforting quiche?

I chose olives and artichokes hearts as it’s easy to find the preserved kind any time of the year and it gives a little taste of the Spring.

I am longing for new vegetables and fruits! Especially eggplants and tomatoes! But seeing the snow falling again, the dim light that it gives, the silenced city, almost asleep, and having my hands around a warm bowl of homemade soup, I find it rather nice!

For this quiche, I made the dough with chestnut and buckwheat flour. It’s a lot more interesting then wheat and I find the quiche to be lighter and more balanced in taste. With the olives’ acidity and the soft artichoke’s hearts, I have to take another bite!

Buckwheat and chestnut dough:

60g chestnut flour
150g buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
100g butter (in cubes or thin slices)
1 egg

cold water if necessary

Mix the flours wit the salt.

Add the butter and mix until sandy.

Add the egg. If the dough sticks to the bowl, add a little cold water to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for abour an hour.
Turn the oven on at 180°C.

Spread the dough.

Line a tin with parchment paper and cover with the dough. Prick it with a fork and cook for 15 minutes in the oven. Reserve.

Turn the oven at 200°C.
Mix 3 tbsp of minced dill, 10 minced mint leaves, 200g of hard goat cheese, 1 can of artichokes hearts, 20 pitted green olives. 
In a bit of olive oil, in a pan, on middle fire, cook 2 small onions with a pinch of salt. Add the previous mix.
Beat 4 eggs with 1/2 liter of buttermilk, salt and pepper.
Spread the vegetables on the precooked dough and pour the eggs on top. Cook in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes.

catfish with ginger & hot pepper, double coloured tomatoes

Wednesday is fish day!

Indeed, at the market I can get very fresh fish; i’m always suspicious of pre-packed fish at the supermarket.

So yesterday I bought catfish. Very firm and tasty!


While at the market I also found green tomatoes (or green zebra). It changes from its red cousin although they don’t really taste different. It’s sweet and juicy and nice to look at!

I served Roma tomatoes in another bowl for colours and experiment!


For the fish: 3-4 servings

400g catfish filet 

1 red hot Thaï pepper, minced

about 1cm of fresh ginger minced or grated 

really thin slices of butter*

1 tbsp olive oil

sea salt flakes 

Put a few very thin slices of butter in an oven dish. Put the fish on top and distribute a few other thin slices of butter on top.

Cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes at 85 to 90°C. The cooking times depends on the thickness of the filet.

10 minutes before the end, mix the ginger, the red hot pepper, the olive oil, and the sea salt flakes and spread on the fish. Put back in the oven for the remaining 10 minutes.

*You can replace butter with olive oil.

Serve with two tomato salad: one green, one red. Simply season them with sea salt flakes and olive oil.






chickpea, mint, and feta cheese

Drain 375g of chickpea and rince until there’s no foam coming from it.

Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan on low heat and cook a minced onion until golden. Add 7 garlic cloves (peeled and minced) with 2 hot peppers (deseeded and minced). Cook for a few seconds until fragrant. Leave to cool.

Mix the chickpeas with the cold onion mix (and the cooking oil that go with it) and with 375g of crumbled feta (or cut in cubes), minced flat leaves parsley, ciseled fresh mint, the juice of 2 lemons. Add 2 tbsp of olive and toss.

You can make it without the feta and add olives instead.

Japanese cuisine

I got this book in French but in English you can get it too: “Japanese” ACP Magazines Ltd.

The book is super appetizing and about one of the best cuisine for me: Japanese cuisine. Well, of course, by now almost everyone knows syshi but Japanese cuisine is more then that: Japanese curry, tempura, sea weed, tofu, grilling, marinade…

To test the recipe from this book, I choose teppanyaki. I don’t have a barbecue or a real teppanyaki but my cast iron skillet will do perfectly.

The recipe suggest using shrimp and chicken along side the beef but I only used beef.


850g fillet of beef

60ml of Japanese soy sauce

2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

1 Thaï hot pepper, deseeded and minced

4 dry shiitake mushrooms

1 peeled and minced onion

1 red pepper washed and sliced

4 scallions, minced

3 young zucchini, cut in large lengthwise chunks

3 young leeks cut lengthwise


125 ml soy sauce

1 tbsp mirin

1 tsp brown sugar

2 cm fresh grated ginger

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Mix the beef, soy sauce, garlic and hot pepper. Leave to marinade at least 15 minutes.

Rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms about 15 minutes in cold water then cut the foot. Slice.

Heat you skillet and add a little sesame oil (spread with towel paper). Grill  the peppers until soft, grill the zucchini skin side up until golden, melt the onions until golden, and do the same with the leeks.


Mix the ingredients for the sauce and heat slowly until sugar is mixed in.

Add the mushrooms and the scallions.

Take the meat out of the fridge 10 minutes before cooking so it stays tender after cooking. Grill the meat on the cast iron skillet, on the barbecue or teppanyaki.


 Serve the meat with the vegetables and the sauce in an individual bowl.

If you can’t go without, serve with round Japanese rice.

If you have an electrical plancha/teppanyaki/grill, serve this with the shrimp and chicken (marinated with the beef) and let each guest cook as he/she wishes.

lamb and eggplant crumble


 This recipe is inspired vy a new cookbook I got recently: La Tartine Gourmande. I will write about this book later, but first: the recipe! The quantities are for 8.

For the crumble:

170g flour of your choice (wheat, buckwheat, chestnut)

1 tsp caraway freshly grounded

80g walnuts

60g hazelnuts

20g pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp minced flat leaf parsley 

60g grated goat or sheep’s cheese

salt, pepper

170g butter or coconut oil at room temperature

Tchop the walnuts, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds.



Mix all the crumble ingredients with your fingers or a pastry blender to get a sandy mix. Refrigerate.

The lamb and the aubergines / eggplants:

800g minced lamb (it works with beef, poultry, veal or pork but lamb has a special taste that comes greatly in this dish)

1 small minced peeled onion

2 stick of celeri, minced

2 tsp of reshly grounded caraway

2 garlic cloves peeled and minced

2 cans of tomatoes (cubes)

1 small can of tomato paste (about 3 tbsp)

4 eggplant, cleaned and cut in dices

10 minced sage leaves 

salt, pepper

Turn on the oven at 200°C.

Heat a little olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat.

Cook the onion, the celeri and the caraway for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, leave to melt for 2 minutes while mixing.

Add the grounded lamb and let it brown for about 5 minutes while turning so it’s not too chunky.

Add the tomatoes (cubes and paste) and leave on high heat for 3 minutes. Add the aubergines and the sage, lower the heat and leave to simmer 30 to 35 minutes.

Salt, pepper, taste.

Oil an oven-proof dish and pour the meat mix in then add the crumble on top.

 Cook in the oven for twenty minutes until the crumble is golden.

 Serve with a salad: young leaves mix + thinly sliced radishes + cherry tomatoes cut in half and this vinaigrette:

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp frehly ground caraway

1/2 garlic clove (peeled and crushed)

2 tbsp of vinegar

olive oil

Mix all of it except the oil that you’ll pour a little at a time while whisking.

This meal is great as you can prepare it in advance. you could even freeze it. It’s so delicious, it’s really comforting.

The book “La Tartine Gourmande” is written by a blogger: Béatrice Peltre. Béatrice is French but she lives in the US and wrote the book and the blog and English. She’s also the photographer.

I tested several of her recipes and there are still a lot that are waiting for some time to get tested!

The pictures, as the recipes, are very fresh.

I think anyone who loves cooking should have this book!

But you can start by visiting Béatrice’s blog:

a good pizza

Well, now that we know how to make bread, we’re ready for pizzas! 

Personally, when I make bread, I take a piece of the dough to make pizzas. After, what you put on your pizza, like tacos or burgers, is an affair of taste! 


A little reminder about the dough:

For 1kg of flour, you need about 500ml of water, 10g sea salt flakes, and 1 small piece of fresh yeast (42g).

If you wanna go from the start, don’t hesitate to go back on the “bread recipe” page.

After the first rest of the dough, I leave 2/3 for the bread and keep 1/3 for the pizzas.

To that third, I add 3 tbsp of olive oil, I knead until the oil is completely incorporated in the dough.

I cut it in 3 to make smaller balls and I leave to rest under a clean and humid towel for 30 to 40 minutes.

After that, as I’m not a pizzaïolo, I use a rolling pin. Don’t forget to put some flour on your tabletop or it will stick.

Then I decorate it first with tomato purée (very classic for a red pizza). On the picture illustrating my words, there’s the vegetarian pizza with artichoke’s hearts and cheddar cheese, one fishy pizza with anchovies, black olives and mozzarella, and a meaty pizza with mozzarella, Parma ham, Parmiggiano shavings and fresh basil (those last 3 ingredients aren’t cooked but added just before service).

Sometimes I make a big rectangle and make two different toppings.

Now, you need the secret for a great crust… I found it by Jamie Oliver who advices to use a cast iron board directly under the pizza in a very warm oven.

I tested it and… it works!

I placed the pizza on a cast iron skillet (my oven is small, so it was the best way to go) in a 240°C oven for about 15 minutes. The thing is that your oven has to be really hot to start with. I was impatient once and the crust of the first pizza wasn’t completely cooked which is awful. Happily, the second one was great as then the 240°C had been reached!

One day I’ll cook my pizza in my BBQ (I have one with a lid) so I’ll have the smoky taste of the traditional stuff!

Buon appetito a tutti!


20-minute meals

Here is, again, an appetizing book published by Octopus publishing.

It offers 200 recipes and its alternatives so you could eat different dishes for almost everyday of the year! 

The picture of the cover is in French but the title in English is “200 Twenty-Minutes Meals”.

Lots of recipes can be taken cold as a lunch like those recipes: rice with tomato, chickpea with chorizo, stir-fried rice with  spinach, or the express calzone. 

Recipes are inspired by all type of cuisine, from around the world so there is a bit of everything for everyone!

There are all easy to make and, as the title says, there are quick to make!

I tested the duck with honey sauce recipe. It’s ready in 20 minutes or even less.

The sauce is so good we could have drink it!

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can still make the sauce and serve it with steamed vegetables or marinate tofu in it a whole night. Of course you can use agave syrup instead of honey.

For 4 persons, you need:

2 duck magrets 

3 tbsp of honey

150ml de vin blancwhite wine

75ml of lime jiuce

100ml chicken or vegetable stock 

1 tbsp of minced ginger 

1/2 tsp of arrow root 

1 tbsp of water

salt, pepper

Turn on the oven at 200°C.

Cut the grease of each magret, season with salt and pepper.

Heat a frying pan, cook the duck’s skin for about 3 minutes or until golden.

Discard the grease from the pan.

Put the magret skin-side down in an oven-proof dish (or leave it in the pan if it goes in the oven).

Brush the meat with 1 tbsp of honey.

Cook in the oven for about 5 minutes then leave to rest for a few minutes before cutting slices.

During that time, bring to boil: white wine + lime juice + stock + ginger + 2 tbsp honey.

After 5 minutes, add the diluted arrow-root (in the tbsp of water) and bring back to boil.

Serve with the duck and steamed vegetables.

The book invites you to serve it with asparagus, carrots, and sugar-peas.

I only served the sugar-peas but I also made the sweet potato crumble that’s already posted on this blog.