Day 200 – some recipes from my French kitchen…..

….but not necessarily French!!

In between the rough weather, I have been focusing on cooking some new recipes in our kitchen (as I’ve had to abandon the BBQ for the last 4 days!).  Luckily Hubbie is now here, as the kids are not always so enthusiastic at new things on their plates.  However all the following classics went down really well, and cheered us up during the last few grey days.


Cauliflower cheese



  • 1 large very fresh cauliflower

for the cheese sauce;

  • 1 small onion, peeled and halved
  • 4 cloves
  • 450ml fresh milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/ tsp black peppercorns
  • 30g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 175g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tsp english mustard
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


For the cheese sauce, stud the onion halves with the cloves and put them in a pan with the milk, bay leaf and the black peppercorns.  Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to stand for 20 mins to infuse.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.  Strain the milk into a jug and discard the flavouring.  Melt the butter in a non-stick pan, add the flour and cook over a medium heat for one minute.  Remove from the heat and gradually beat in the milk.  Return to the heat, and bring to the boil, stirring.  Leave to simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile preheat the grill to high.  Drop the cauliflower florets into the boiling water, and cook for 10 minutes.  Drain and leave for the steam to die down.

Remove the sauce from the heat, and stir in 100g of the grated cheese, together with the cream, mustard and some seasoning to taste.  Arrange the cauliflower florets in the warmed shallow dish and pour over the cheese sauce.  Scatter over the rest of the cheese and grill for 6 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

I served with garlic mushroom and bacon to make a substantial meal.


Apricot and Peach Crumble



  • 10-12 Fresh Apricots, sliced (I used 6 apricots and 6 peche plats/flat peaches, as they are in season here and sitting in my fruit bowl)
  • 200g All-purpose flour
  • 20g Ground almond (optional) – I added crunchy muesli instead as I had some spare in my cupboard -> delicious
  • 100g Light brown sugar + 4x 1 Tbs (for the fruits)
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea salt
  • 100g Unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • Ground cinnamon, to taste


Heat oven to 200° C (400° F) and butter the dish.  Divide the fruits evenly, putting the same amount of cut apricots and peaches into the baking dish.

Sprinkle 4 Tbs light brown sugar and as much cinnamon as desired over the fruits.

In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together and rub the butter into this mixture until it resembles bread crumbs. Add the muesli.

Spread it evenly over the fruits in the dish.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the fruits are cooked and the top is golden brown.  Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.

I served it with custard as we were feeling cold, but ice cream would work just as well.



Before the weather turned, I also cooked a crab and prepared it.  With crusty baguette, it quickly reminds you of how Concarneau should feel like at lunch time!


Crab with Rocket, Basil and Lemon olive oil



  • 350g fresh hand picked white crab meat
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • 4 tsps extra virgin olive oil, preferably lemon
  • 8 basil leaves finely shredded
  • a handful of wild rocket leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to garnish


Put the crab meat into a bowl and gently stir in the lemon juice, olive oil, basil and some seasoning to taste.

Arrange on a 4 plates, with a little rocket to one side and drizzle a touch of olive oil around the edge and crack some peppercorns on top.

Delicious with ‘Grand Siecle’ crusty bread!


And finally the recipe which convinced my family that there is more to life than english cooked breakfasts, with regard to the wonderful fresh eggs that our chickens produce (Hubbie arrived with a dozen freshly laid in the last few days – Yum!)


Mildly spiced Potato curry, topped with a poached egg



  • 500g waxy potatoes
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1.5 tsp black mustard seeds (I had to leave these out as none in my cupboard)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes (again none in my cupboard so I added a touch of chilli powder)
  • 3/4 tsp of ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • the seeds from 2 green cardamon pods, lightly crushed
  • 225ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 large very fresh free-range eggs
  • white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsps of chopped coriander (I didn’t have any)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Put the potatoes in a boiling pan of salted water, and cook for 5-6 minutes, until almost tender.  Then drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cover with a lid until the popping stops.  Uncover the pan, add the onion, ginger and dried chilli flakes and cook for 6-7 minutes until soft but not browned.  Stir in the turmeric, ground cumin, and coriander and cardamon seeds and cook for one minute.  Stir in the potatoes, water and salt, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, the liquid has reduced and the flavours have blended together.  Stir in the tomatoes, and lemon juice and cook for 2 minutes more.  Stir in almost all the coriander, cover and keep warm over a low heat.

For the eggs, bring 5cm of water to the boil in a wide shallow pan.  Add 1.5 tsps of vinegar and 1/2 tsp of salt per 1.2 litres of water (I guessed this!).  Reduce the heat so that just a few bubbles are rising from the base.  Break in the eggs gently, and leave them to poach for 3 to 4 minutes.  Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain a little.

Spoon the potato curry into the centre of 4 small plates, and put a poached egg on top of each.  Season with pepper and serve.

So delicious, they all came back for more!!

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