Gougères - French Cheese Puffs

Gougères – French Cheese Puffs

Gougères are classic French cheese puffs made with choux pastry and grated cheese (Gruyère / Comté). French they may be but it was in Russia that I really took a liking to them.

I blame it on the French bakery Volkonsky‘s, which was in dangerous proximity to Katya’s Moscow appt. A small bakery / café selling delicious pastries, sandwiches, breads and coffee not to mention gougères.

It was a lesson in how something so innocent can be so addictive … I could have eaten them by the handful.

In memory of  Volkonsky’s gougères, here is  my recipe (see link Gougères below):

Gougères Cheese Puffs

FESENJAN : lamb recipe

20 January 2009

sp-fesenjaan

FESENJAN : Persian lamb recipe

Don’t you just love  how life has little culinary surprises in store for you…

This year we spent New Years Eve in a quaint Swiss chalet, nestled in the mountains of Eastern Switzerland. It was here that I had the good fortune of meeting Roswit & her daughter Lilly, in the kitchen…. We got to talking about cooking (funny that!) and it turns out that Roswit’s husband is Iranian and she’s learned to make several Persian dishes over the years. This explained why the chalet was filled with the delicious smells & fragrant spices during the holidays.

To my delight we exchanged details and one week later I opened my emails to find her wonderful Fesenjan recipe. This is a traditional Persian dish of duck, in a walnuts & pomegranate sauce. Roswit’s version uses lamb meatballs in a thick walnut, tomato & pomegranate sauce. It is not just the delicious scent of this dish that will capture your heart, not to mention your appetite, but the sumptuous flavour combinations. The lamb with cinnamon, garlic & a hint of sweet/sour pomegranate, with the unctuous nutty sauce that almost tastes creamy without the use of actual cream.

In the future I will try this recipe with chicken or duck and perhaps decorate the top with pomegranate seeds. I also recommend using fresh whole grain / whole wheat bread instead of white bread or bread crumbs as it keeps the meat very moist & juicy. I also used a slightly larger quantity of lamb (280 grams total), as I prefer this meat to onion ratio. This dish is excellent served on a bed of basmati onion rice (** see recipe at end of post).

FESENJAN

rotterdam

My NEW Dutch FOOD ADDICTION….  

ROAD TRIP - ok that’s not 100% true as I took a plane, so it’s PLANE trip…  and that just doesn’t have the same ring now does it. Oh well.  

Point being, I went to visit my brother in Holland this past weekend. Didn’t really know what to expect – outside the lovely architecture, Dutch paintings & Amsterdam’s claims to fame (wacky tabcky & the dancing shows…) But I was really there to see him so the rest was just details.  

Despite being warned that Holland was not one of the top 10 ten gastronomic heavens of this world,  (there was mention of much frying, mayonnaise & starchy carbs ), I still managed to followed my stomach around like a blood hound on the scent…

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 sp-olive-basket

***NEWS: OLIVE PICKING IN PROVENCE***

We escaped the city this past weekend for a little sun & olive picking. Despite a very trying train journey… apparently booking a ticket does not automatically include a seat…. and the fact that it poured rain all of Saturday (hail was an added bonus!), we still managed to get in some quality olive picking.

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EL OLIVIO Restaurant, Deia

24 September 2008

LA RESIDENCIA HOTEL – El Olivio

***Restaurant Recommendation***

I am physically back from my honeymoon, but I fear my heart & soul are still sitting on the sunny balcony of our room at La Residencia, a lovely hotel in Mallorca’s hillside village - Deia.

The trip from start to finish was perfect, lovely accommodation, impeccable service, breath taking views, the sea, lush hills and a little stone village. Then there was relaxing by the pool, a day at the spa, yoga classes, various day trips to local towns & cities including Palma – a general return to earth after the bussling busy weeks leading up to the wedding.

However as this is a food blog, and for those of you who have been reading along – there may be the occasional story, a trip down memory lane or a brief wander off the beaten track…. however I always find my way back to the essential – my stomach. And I tell you nothing was to prepare me for the pièce de résistance of culinary delights that was awaiting us on this island at the El Olivio RESTAURANT….

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El Olivio continued

BARCELONA

8 August 2007

Barcelone 2007

Barcelona

{BARCELONA, Summer 2007} This was my first trip, and definitely not my last. A city of nighthawks (we began dinner each night at 22h00 !!), where you quickly realise that one week will never be enough to see & do everything you want.

My lasting impression… youth, inventive architecture, vibrant colour and most of all culinary delights! Travel books are great, but I am like a beagle searching for the perfect scent, that will lead me to the undiscovered!

A helping hand is always welcomed, which I found when leafing through the July issue of ‘ELLE à table’, whose featured city of the month was none other than BARCELONA!!! With ‘ELLE’ as my bible we explored many of the suggestions, enriching our trip and taking us to areas that we might otherwise have missed. So here is my current list of favourites and others places I found en route:

BARCELONA

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