Veldsalade met kaas

foto doorkijkje in Mancey (71)

Het voorjaar leek gisteren definitief doorgebroken te zijn, maar was toch van korte duur. Wat verwacht je, het is eind maart! Op het gras onder mijn balkon plagen twee eksters een schuchter konijn, de straat staat vol met wuivende narcissen. je zou bijna niet geloven dat dit Amsterdam is. Dit bracht me ertoe om vandaag een lente-salade met kaas uit de Bourgogne te maken. Meestal denken mensen bij deze streek aan wijn, slakken en mosterd. Terwijl de Bourgogne één van de Franse regio’s is met de meeste lokale kaassoorten. Iedereen kent natuurlijk époisses, maar wat te denken van kaasje met namen als “délices de Pommard” of “amour des nuits” De laatste biedt mogelijkheid tot vele interpretaties, zoals ik eens in een restaurant in Dijon tegen de ober zei.
Een echt kaas emporium is Alain Hess in Beaune. In zijn zaak aan de Place Carnot kijk je je je ogen uit. Overigens geldt dat niet alleen voor deze kaaswinkel maar ook voor de vele traiteurs in dit stadje.
Vandaag een salade van veldsla, noten, gebakken broodjes met époisses-broodjes. Erbij drinken we een witte Pouilly Fuissé van domaine de la Chapelle

Nodig  4 personen:

1 époisses kaas
1 bakje veldsla gewassen
1 appel
6 el olijfolie
2 el witte wijn azijn
1 tl mosterd uit Dijon
1/2 stokbrood (12 dunne plakjes)
olie om iets in te vetten
peper en zout


Was de veldsla goed en haal eventueel de worteltjes van de stronkjes. Snijd het brood in dunne plakjes en vet in met een beetje olie. Grill het brood kort aan beide kanten. Hak de augurkjes fijn, snijdt de appel in mooie dunne plakjes. Hak de noten iets fijn, niet te! Meng alles door elkaar, de sla, appel, augurkjes en noten.  Knip er wat bieslook doorheen.
Maak een dressing van de olie, azijn en wat mosterd. Voeg peper en zout toe. Giet de dressing over de salade en meng goed.
Besmeer de broodjes met époisses en verwarm heel kort in de oven. Serveer de salade op borden met de époisses-broodjes er bovenop.

Gesprekken en gerechten: Susan Herrmann Loomis and her recipe

 foto: Susan with a beautiful tarte tatin

Some years ago now I read the books and adventures of the American writer Susan Hermann Loomis, who wrote two books for which she is known in the Netherlands, a report on her kick off in Paris, restoring an old Norman timber house in the town of Louviers, adapting to French life and her start of a cooking school, called On Rue Tatin. The second book was called “Tarte Tatin” Reading her adventures make you feel as if you’ve known her for a long time. The press called her stories pure escapism. Susan was already known for her farmhouse cookbooks in the US. She has written a total of nine books.  In her third book, Cooking at Home on Rue Tatin, also translated in Dutch, Susan shares her recipes with us. I never got it back after lending it to someone. (who?) Suddenly I got the idea to invite Susan for my series “gesprekken en gerechten” (conversation and recipes) Based on the answers she gave I conceived a recipe, that will please her and ofcourse my readers. I suppose that it
will have a Norman Dutch touch. Certainly by using lamb’s meat from salty pastures.

Who is Susan and what would you like to share with us?
I’m an American journalist who specializes in food and loves France. I have lived in France for twenty years, and I am now a French citizen. I own a small, exclusive cooking school called On Rue Tatin ( in Normandy, and Paris where I teach technique-oriented classes in English. I have two wonderful children, and I live in a lovely home in the center of a French town.

You come from the Northwest of the US, can you give a description of that region and what is special over there?
The Northwest is gorgeous. Seattle is on the water. Portland is in a lush valley. Both cities are home in a certain sense, though France is my real home. If I had to choose between the cities, I’d choose Portland, for its food culture.

Nowadays you live in a small town in Normandy. Is there a difference?
Normandy has a very similar climate to both Seattle and Portland. There, the similarity ends.  In Normandy, the houses are old, the culture is too. People aren’t terribly friendly, but when you get to know them, they’re great. Everyone loves food; the soil is fertile so everything grows here (except citrus), it’s possible to buy just about everything from the person who produced it. And it doesn’t rain as much as people say it does.The colors of everything here are intensely beautiful, which is why the Impressionists called it home.

You invested a lot of energy in restoring your house and starting a cooking school? In another life, would you do it again? Or would it be somewhere else?
I’d do it again. I don’t believe in re-writing the script.

Your prose and recipes speak to the imagination, certainly with me. How do you do that?
I write what I feel and I feel things deeply. I think that’s what speaks.

My parents were/are very French oriented. De last two decades there has been a shift from French to Italian cuisine, certainly in my generation. Do you notice that in France too?
Not at all. Italy is looked upon with a certain disdain in France, particularly when it comes to food and wine. Everyone here likes pizza, but I’m not certain everyone here thinks it comes from Italy. There are plenty of Italian restaurants, but again, I wouldn’t say there is any “shift” in allegiance from French to Italian. The French love themselves, and they love and revere their cuisine.

On French society. In your books you tell that you had to adapt to many things. Did you experience change in the last decades?
Yes. There has been change. There are fewer mom and pop-owned stores. Even in my town, there is less of a personal touch, as bigger chain stores, banks, and telephone stores have moved in. Supermarkets have become the center of things more than they used to be. But the farmers markets are still active, there are still many producers. I think the link with the soil in France is what keeps it fascinating and rich. As an expatriate, one is constantly being surprised, constantly learning.

What do you miss from the US living in France?
Sometimes I miss efficiency; sometimes I miss smiles on people’s faces. I miss the instinctive understanding of “systems,” from the postal system to the electoral system. I miss friends, of course, but I’m very happy in France.

Culinary speaking, you are very experienced in French cooking now, which one is your favorite recipe? And naturally which wine?
I don’t have a favorite recipe, though I love to saute magret de canard and serve it with fresh sauteed cherries. I love almost all French wines; and as soon as I find one I love, I get some to put in the cave, then move along to discover more. That said, I have a penchant for French whites.

If you were to start a cooking school in the Netherlands, what would you want to teach us? I know this is a though question.
I would teach what I always teach: first, the importance of buying local and seasonal, making the best choices possible. Then, I would teach technique. Then, I would encourage everyone so that they gain confidence in the kitchen, and have fun both in kitchen and at the table.

Last but not least, do you want to share anything else in my blog? Please be welcome
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of your blog! I like what you’re doing. Putting people in touch with each other is so very important. Encouraging people to shop for good ingredients and cook with them is both satisfying and necessary. Time together at the table is too. Congratulations on a great blog!

 foto books by Susan

As said your dish will have Norman and Dutch components. This for me will be quite a challenge.
The recipe I suggest for Susan is a kind of navarin printanier, stew of lamb’s shoulder with vegetables, since it is Spring now and the Dutch pré salé lamb meat meets a French cuisson. The wine to pair is a red Bandol from the Provence.

Ingredients 4 persons:

1 kg/ 2,5 lbs lamb (from the shoulder)
4 medium sized tomatoes
150 g/ 5 oz French beans
4 carrots
6 stone leeks or spring onions
3 sticks of celery
1 bunch thin green asparagus
1 red onion
3 cloves garlic
250 ml/1 cup of chicken stock
6 tbs olive oil to fry
250 ml/ 1 cup of dry white wine
1 tbs flower
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground nutmeg

Rinse the lamb’s meat and dab with some kitchen paper. Cut the meat in 2 inch dices. Season with salt and freshly gorund black pepper. Remove the skin of tomatoes in the classical way, by using hot and then cold water. Cut them in four parts, remove the seeeds and chop into cubes. Peel the carrots and cut them in nice, not to small sticks. Wash the French beans, cut of the ends. Chop the stone leeks in nice tiny rings, cut the celery sticks in pieces. Rinse the asparagus and cut of the woody end. Chop the garlic and onion finely.
Heat half of the olive oil in a pan. Fry the lamb´s meat for about 10 minutes til brown. Add the flower, put in the chopped garlic and onion and fry for another 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine and add the tomato cubes. Bring to a boil and leave to simmer for 45 minutes, lid on.
The rest of the oil is heated in a sauce pan. Stir fry the carrots and stoneleek rings, keep stirring constantly. Add the beans and celery and fry for another 2 minutes. Cover with the chicken stock and let the vegetables simmer for about 10 minutes. In another pan the asparagus are cooked for about 8 minutes til tender. Get the asparagus form the pan and put in a separate dish, give them a dash of freshly ground nutmeg. Get all the vegetables from te sauce pan and put on a ovendish. Keep everything warm in oven.
Add the half of the chickenstock to the meatpan and let it simmer for 5 minutes. get the lamb´s meat out and put on same dish as the vegetables.
Reduce the sauce to the half, taste it and if needed, season with some extra salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables and serve.
Needless to say that this dish will be best enjoyed with crispy bread and rich creamy Norman or perhaps Dutch butter, the choice is yours!

Onbekend, niet onbemind. Een Heiduken recept.

“Onbekend maakt onbemind. Dat geldt voor mensen of dingen, maar ook voor keukens. Dat is best jammer. Op dit blog worden de Oost-Europese recepten van culi-schrijvers uit het hele land geplaatst. Voelt u zich vooral vrij om te reageren en uw eigen favoriete gerechten te vermelden: hoe meer lekkers, hoe meer vreugd”  Oproep op

In de vijfde eeuw na Christus, vlak na de val van het Romeinse Rijk vestigden zich in het gebied dat wij nu Roemenië en Hongarije noemen nomadische volkeren van de steppen van Centraal Azië. De trek naar het Westen is dus niet nieuw. Op zoek naar weidegronden voor hun vee belandden de Magyaren in het centrale deel van Europa op de Puszta.

Heiduken (hajdú) waren veedrijvers, die over grote afstanden reisden met het vee. Een heiduk moest veel uithoudingsvermogen en kracht hebben. Zij beschermden het vee tegen roofdieren, rovers en bandieten.

Later werden deze bikkels ingezet als lijfwacht of soldaat tegen de Turkse invasie. Heiduken zijn vooral bekend om hun zwaarddansen. Hun werk op de Puszta vroeg dan ook om stevige kost.

Bijvoorbeeld een stevige zuurkoolschotel, hajdúkaposzta, vaak klaargemaakt in de typische ketel, die veel in Hongarije wordt gebruikt.

Nodig 4 personen:

2 flinke uien

60 g boter


1 tl paprikapoeder

2 tenen knoflook

800 g gezouten varkensvlees of hamlappen

4 grote aardappelen

800 g zuurkool

4  dikke plakken gerookt spek

extra paprikapoeder

1 rode paprika in blokjes

1 tl tijm


Fruit de uien in hete boter, voeg de paprika poeder en knoflook toe. Let op dat de knoflook niet verbrandt. Voeg het gezouten varkensvlees* toe of hamlappen die een nacht in grof zout hebben gelegen en daarna zijn afgespoeld en gedroogd. Voeg water toe en breng aan de kook. Voeg, als het vlees halfgaar is, de geschilde aardappelen en zuurkool toe. Kook tot alles gaar is. Maak inkepingen in  het gerookt spek en doop in wat parikapoeder. Verdeel de zuurkool, vlees en aardappels over borden en zet de spek er dwars op, als soort kroontje. Bestrooi met tijm en garneer met wat verse rode paprikablokjes.

* let op dat als je sterk gezouten vlees koopt bij bijvoorbeeld een Bulgaarse of Poolse winkel, dat je het even in melk weekt.

Noot: gerecht geinspireerd op kookboek Hongaarse specialiteiten, uit de reeks Culinaria van Könemann, een mooi standaardwerk over culinair Hongarije.  Historische informatie uit “a brief history of Hungary”

Het vliegende varkentje, heerlijke gîte

 foto: un cochon volant

Vele wegen leiden naar Bourgondië. Via de digitale snelweg bereikte ik in het departement Nièvre het dorpje Fin, mijn eindbestemming. Daar ligt “Le Cochon Volant” de grote vakantieboerderij van Michael Jansen en Annekee Donker. Het vliegende varkentje. Het is een karakteristiek boerenhuis met dikke muren en eiken balken. Voor de eigenaars een echte “coup de foudre” toen ze het kochten zo’n 18 jaar geleden.
Het geheel is omgeven door een mooie grote tuin. Heerlijk dus om te luieren of zoals Annekee en Michael deden je bruiloft te vieren.  Maar het dorp Fin is niet alleen een eindbestemming! Vanuit hier is veel te ondernemen. De dichtbij gelegen Morvan is het grote nationale park met veel mogelijkheden zoals wandelen, fietsen en paardrijden. Of zwemmen in van de meren. Voor de cultuur- en culiliefhebber is in de directe omgeving ook veel te beleven. Genieten van de dromerige Bourgondische dorpjes, het beroemde stadje Vézelay, brocantes bezoeken en het eten…. Tja behoeft eten in de Bourgogne nog aanbeveling.
Annekee en Michael hebben besloten dit alles niet voor zich zelf te houden en bieden hun trésor aan via Echt een aanrader als je er even uit wilt in het hart van Bourgondië. De eigenaars gebruiken een foto van een vliegend varkentje op de vakantiehuizen site. Dit herkende ik meteen. Mijn vader kocht ooit zo’n spaarvarkentje op de puces van Tournus.
Voor deze twee Bourgogne adepten vandaag een gerecht van varkensvlees gevuld met pruimen en walnoten in roomsaus. Erbij drinken we een jonge rode Bourgogne van de pinot noir druif uit de Châlonnais.

Nodig 4 personen:

4 dunne schnitzels
250 g gewelde pruimen
150 g walnoten
peper en zout
draad om te binden
1 bekertje crème fraîche
glas witte wijn
2 el bloem


Hak de noten fijn. Snijd de gewelde pruimen in kleine stukjes. Meng deze twee door elkaar voor de vulling. Bewaar wat van de noten en pruimen ter garnering. Leg een flinke schep vulling
op een stuk vlees en rol dicht. Bind dit dicht met wat touw. Bestrooi de rolletjes met peper en zout. Rol de rolletjes  door wat bloem. Verhit de boter en el olie en bak het vlees snel bruin. Zet hierna de rolletjes 15 minuten in een oven van 100 graden bedekt met wat aluminium folie. Blus ondertussen de jus af met de wijn en laat iets inkoken. Voeg de rest van de pruimen en noten toe en warm mee. Haal de pan van het vuur en voeg de crème fraîche toe. Leg de rolletjes op een schaal en giet de saus erover. Garneer met wat gehakte peterselie. Serveer het gerecht met verse boontjes en wat gebakken krieltjes.

Le Cochon Volant, 13 Fin, 58190 Saizy, France

Gesprekken en gerechten: Frances Mayes and her recipe

photo Frances Mayes (source internet)

For years I have been an ardent reader of the books of the American writer Frances Mayes, who wrote Under the Tuscan Sun, a stunning memoir on restoring a derilict villa in Tuscany and how to fill in her new Italian life. For over 20 years she has given her readers much inpiration out of the Tuscan land. I read on her weblog, that coming 13 March 2012  a cookbook with her Tuscan recipes will be given to the light, a saying of giving birth In Italy, dare alla luce. Suddenly I got the idea to invite Frances Mayes for my series “gesprekken en gerechten” (conversation and recipes) Based on the answers she gives I am going to conceive a recipe, that  I hope will please her. I chose for a surf and turf dish with an tomato/mascarpone sauce. The turkey meat and crayfish have both conquered the European menu, coming from the New World. And what to think of the pommodori? These are the quintessence of so many Italian dishes  Ofcourse there is no meal without wine. In my opinion a young Morelino de Scansano will pair with the dish. This wine is made from the Sangiovese grape in the coastal region of Maremma. This wine is not stocked on wood and bottled after 8 months. Serve this wine slightly cooled.

Who is Frances Mayes and What would you like to share with us? 
Writer, traveler, reader, cook. I live half and half in Tuscany and North Carolina, where my family is. I’m exceptionally lucky to be married to Ed, poet and fellow-adventurer. We never forget that life is to savor and rejoice in.

You were a teacher in San Fransisco, creative writing, how did this help to start an new life as a writer?
I’ve been a writer since I was nine years old. My teaching career built up a helpful knowledge of how other writers write. I learned to read anew–once for pleasure, again to see how the writer did it. I wrote a book, The Discovery of Poetry, that quantified my knowledge of the craft of a poem. Working with young writers was always stimulating–seeing them catch what I said and run with it. I quit teaching a decade ago to devote myself to full-time writing. I don’t miss teaching at all–23 years was good.

You wrote that at first you liked the calm pace of the Italian land compared to the frantic life in San Fransico. Now you live in North Carolina. Is there still such a difference?
My social life in Italy has become formidable! So now, North Carolina, where I’ve lived only six years, is my peaceful place.

You invested a lot of energy in restoring houses. In an other life, would you like to be a “geometra”?
I’ve a shadow career always haunting me: architecture. I’ve studied it always and love to travel to see buildings. I like interior design too and have a line of furniture, At Home in Tuscany, from Drexel Heritage. I like houses that ARE the inhabitant, not super-designed places that could be anyone.

Your prose speaks to the imagination, certainly with me. How do you do that?
Thank you! I like to work with images because they make direct contact with the senses of the reader.

My parents were/are very French oriented. The last two decades there has been a shift from French to Italian cuisine, certainly in my generation. How does it feel to be one of the pioneers in this field?
Cooking has been enlightening in Italy–the simplicity that’s possible with prime ingredients and a good way with them. Early on, I studied cooking with Simone Beck, partner of Julia Child, in Provence, an area so close to Italian cooking. I still love French food–and Moroccan, Chinese, Mexican, Thai–but for day-to-day, Italian is best.

On Italian society, you’ve called it homogeneous. Did you experience change in the last two decades?
Oh, yes, yes. The entire world is changing fast. Everywhere there are people who are from elsewhere–and in Italy I’m one of them! Right now in Italy, there’s a big influx of Romanians, who blend well, though one of my neighbors calls them “red face.” Immigration has been hard for Italy because for so long they were the immigrants but no one came to their soil.

What do you miss from the US being in Italy?
Only friends and family and my farm.

Culinary speaking, you have quite some experience in Tuscan cooking now, which one is your favorite recipe? 
That’s impossible to say! Love the pastas, the gelato, and most of all the plethora of vegetables from my garden. The big pork roasts, the pizza, guinea hen, figs, plums—everything!

Corn, tomatoes, eggplant are all from American descent. Italians gave an own twist to it. What can they learn form someone from the South like you?
Not much! They know everything! When I’ve served classic southern desserts such as pecan pie or caramel cake, they push it away after two bites. Too sweet. I’ve planted American corn and have had no success. “This is for pigs!” they say wonderingly. I think they would like, if I made it, our low-country boil, hush puppies, shrimp and grits, maybe fried chicken.

Last but not least, do you want to share anything else in my blog? Please be welcome 
I meet many Dutch people in Italy. You all are great travelers. I hope to get back there on a book tour sometime–have been only once.

Your dish I will give a litlle hint will be Italo Southern style. This for me will be quite a challenge.
I look forward to tasting it!

photo Sunday morning at home

Thus for Frances a recipe from under the low Dutch sky, with American origins and a dash of Tuscan sun.

The recipe:

Ingredients 4 persons:

4 turkey breasts
5 oz crayfish
1 bunch of parsley finely chopped
4 thin slices of smoked bacon
salt, pepper
2 tbs olive oil
knob of butter

1 can of peeled tomatoes
1 sweet onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
salt, pepper
dired oregano
4 oz of mascarpone cheese
2 tbs of cream
olive oil
1 glass of white wine

2 oranges
2  heads of radicchio
1 cup of  roasted walnuts
salt, pepper
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs of walnut oil
2 tbs of induced balsamic vinegar or crema di balsamico
a little dash of dried oregano


Cut the turkey breasts in halves an put them between two sheets of clinging foil. Flatten the meat by using the back of a pan. This is always fun to do. Season the meat with some pepper and salt. Put the crayfish and finely chopped parsley on top of the meat and roll the meat tightly around the crayfish. Cover the rolls with the bacon. Put together with a wooden stick. Heat some oil and butter in a frying pan and fry the rolls of meat quickly until brown. Put them on an oven dish and keep warm in the oven on 176 degrees. (80 Celsius)

In another pan fry the finely chopped sweet onion and garlic in some oil. Add the peeled tomatoes and a glass of white wine. Season with salt and pepper. Add some oregano. Let this simmer for a while. Whisk the cream and mascarpone in a bowl to loosen up. Strain the tomato sauce through a sieve. Do not bring the sauce to a boil again and mingle bit by bit with the cream/mascarpone.  (cover to keep warm)

Peel the oranges and cut them in nice thin slices. Cut the radicchio in pieces. Put both in a salad bowl and top with the roasted walnuts. Make a vinaigrette from the oils and induced balsamic vinegar. Season the salad with some salt an freshly ground pepper. Add a dash of dried oregano. Pour the dressing on the salad in tiny drips, so that the oil and balsamic vinegar seem to appear as drops.

Get the turkey rolls from te oven and put them on a plate. Cover with the creamy tomato/mascarpone sauce. Add some of the salad. (or in a separate plate)

Louhans, poulet de Bresse a la crème

 foto: promotiemateriaal voor de kip


“Louhans, waar de kiekens je in de bek vliegen” (Vrij naar Gene Bervoets in zijn programma Gentse Waterzooi)

Louhans is de hoofdplaats van de Bourgondische Bresse en de stad van de 100 arcades. Maar het meest bekend is dit stadje toch om de kippenmarkt, die elke maandag wordt gehouden. In het oude centrum vindt je de gewone warenmarkt onder de arcades. Op de grote terreinen aan de rand van het stadje vindt je kippen, eenden, ander kleinvee en ook groot vee. De markt dateert al uit de dertiende eeuw en is in Frankrijk aangewezen als een van de belangrijke plekken van de Franse smaak. De markt start vroeg in de ochtend en het is raadzaam vroeg te gaan om nog parkeerplaats te vinden.
Kip, kip en nog eens kip, dat is de Bresse. Rode kam, witte veren en blauwe poten, net de Franse driekleur. De Bresse kip heeft een aparte herkomstbenaming (AOC). Deze vorstelijke kippen scharrelen in hun jonge leven lekker vrij in de wei tot ze volwassen genoeg zijn. De laatste zes weken voor de slacht worden ze binnen gehouden en extra bijgevoerd met veel mais en graan. De boer controleert of de aders onder de vleugels vervet zijn en dan is de kip onder de kippen rijp voor consumptie.
Vandaag een klassieker uit de Bourgondische keuken, Poulet de Bresse a la crème. In het recept van de Bresse kip organisatie gaan ze er van uit dat je de kip zelf slacht, schoonmaakt en plukt. Ik ga uit van een schone kip en iets eenvoudiger recept. De wijn die we erbij drinken, komt uit de Châlonais, een witte Rully.

Nodig 4 personen:

1 Bresse kip van 1,5 kg
80 g roomboter
3 el bloem
2 eidooiers
4 dl crème fraîche
1 citroen
1 hele ui met 2 kruidnagels er in gestoken
2 knoflooktenen
1 klein takje tijm
1 laurierblad
zout en peper


Snijd de kip in stukken, poten, vleugels en borstfilets. Gooi de resten van de kip niet weg, maar hak  het karkas in stukken.  Bestrooi met peper en zout. Verhit op hoog vuur 50 g boter en 2 el olie. Laat de kipdelen mooi kleuren in de hete boter. Tot ze goudbruin zijn. Leg de kipdelen in een ovenschaal en plaats in de oven op 100 graden om na te garen. (controleer na half uur of ze gaar zijn)
Voeg alle smaakmakers toe, de tijm, knoflook, laurierblad en de ui. Voeg de snijresten van het karkas toe.  Doe de rest van de boter er bij en de bloem. Laat de bloem even bruin worden en voeg ruim water toe. zodat de kipresten goed onderstaan. Breng het geheel aan de kook. Er moet iets van binding ontstaan. Laat daarna afgedekt 30 minuten sudderen.
Klop in een kom de eidooiers en crème fraîche door elkaar. Haal de kipresten uit de pan. Giet de jus door een zeef en verwarm opnieuw. Voeg het crème- en eimengsel toe en roer door. Niet meer verhitten. Eventueel kan er nog wat citroensap bij en wat peper en zout.
Serveer de kip op een schaal met roomsaus, een stevig boerenbrood en een salade.

Noot: met dank aan het Comité interprofessionnel de Volaille de Bresse, voor het informatieve boekje over de Bresse kip.

Imam bayildi inspiratie voor een aubergine gratin

foto: klokkentoren St. Tropez

Een week of wat geleden heb ik een kookboek op de kop getikt, Griekenland thuis, vol met recepten zoals er voorheen werd gekookt door vooral Griekse moeders. Eén van de recepten in het boek is “imam bayildi” of in mooi Nederlands de flauwgevallen priester. In dit gerecht worden gevulde aubergines in meren van olijfolie bereid. De naam kreeg het, zo zegt de overlevering, toen het geserveerd werd aan een imam. Of hij flauwviel vanwege het overdadige oliegebruik of  juist door de kosten ervan, is nooit opgehelderd.
Vandaag een recept voor een aubergine/tomaat gratin met basilicum. Een stevig vegetarisch gerecht. Erbij drinken we een rode Costières de Nìmes.

Nodig voor 4 personen:

2 middelgrote aubergines in plakken
500 g tomaten
125 g zachte geitenkaas
1 dl olijfolie
4 el crème fraîche
50 g geraspte Parmezaanse kaas
basilicum blaadjes
zout en peper


Snijd de aubergine en tomaten in mooie dikke plakken. Verhit de olie in een pan en bak de aubergineplakken snel aan beide zijden aan. Laat ze daarna uitlekken op papier.
Scheur de basilicum blaadjes in stukjes en bewaar een paar voor garnering. Meng de basilicum, geitenkaas, Parmezaan en crème fraîche door elkaar en breng op smaak met peper en zout.
Leg een laag van aubergines en tomaten in een ovenschaal. Verdeel hierover het kaas- en roommengsel en dek af met weer een laag tomaat en aubergine (om en om). Sprenkel er wat olijfolie over en gaar het geheel in 20 minuten in oven  (180 graden)

Garneer met basilicum blaadjes. Serveer met een warme focaccia.

Gesprekken en gerechten, Smoked cod for Jeff Minnich

This is the first in my new series of interviews and recipes. I start my sequel with Jeff Minnich from Arlington, USA. I happened to meet him through the blog of American writer Frances Mayes. We are both ardent readers of her books and blog. I invited him to join my series of “gesprekken en gerechten” Jeff is a garden designer and a poetical blogwriter. He has many talents. But, who am I to tell his story?  Thus, I sent him through mail some questions, which he gladly answered. Ofcourse my part of the deal is creating a recipe. As Jeff is living in the Mid Atlantic, I suggest a smoked cod, Dutch stirfried vegetables and a sauce hollandaise. The fun of this recipe is that it can be made at home or as in Jeffs case “al fresco”. My wine suggestion is a crisp white chardonnay wine from Burgundy, Mâcon region.

 foto: Jeff Minnich

Who is Jeff Minnich? Tell me some more.
I am landscape designer, horticulturist, gardener, reader, writer, cook, veterans advocate, partnered. I dabble in interior design; I don’t have any formal interior design training, but I love experimenting and learning. One thing I’ve come to know is that design is design—in other words, the principles are the same, no matter what kind of art you do.
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, here in the U.S. I specialized in landscape design and nursery management. I have minors in English and business, also. I use every bit of what I’ve learned, and I’m still learning, every day. I have my own landscape design/build business in Arlington, VA, which is in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Most of my work is in the immediate Washington area, though I do some work outside the area from time to time.
My partner, Steve, is a fireman in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is on the Atlantic coast in the far, southeast corner of North Carolina, almost to the South Carolina border. It’s very mild there. Palm trees and Live Oaks, draped in Spanish moss, grow all over there. The Live Oak is a beautiful, evergreen Oak that grows twice as wide as tall—very majestic. Spanish moss is an epiphyte—it lives on its own, yet uses the oak (and other trees) for support. It is gray and hangs off the trees in long strands–very mysterious and beautiful. The warmer climate allows me to grow lots of subtropical plants I can’t grow in Arlington which is fun for both of us. One of the many things Steve and I have in common is our love of gardening, which we do together, often. We have a special place in our hearts for military veterans, also, and especially for those who were injured in combat physically and/or mentally. We try to help where we can.
In Arlington, I live in a little cottage (which is called Woodland Cottage) built on a hillside, surrounded by old trees. It’s magical. My garden is a place for good, hard, physical work, beauty, relaxation and spiritual uplifting. I love to share it with all who want to visit.
I write a fair amount—mostly newspaper and magazine articles. I have a blog, also, and I try to write in it once a week or so. It’s been fun and I’ve met many new friends. As I get older, and the physical work becomes more difficult (it isn’t so much yet), I’d like to do more and more writing and less of the landscape design/installation work. This Winter and throughout the coming year, for instance, I’ve agreed to write several articles for a newspaper and magazine here in Wilmington. It’s good Winter work and keeps my mind nice and sharp.
Steve and I love Savannah, Georgia, and travel there several times a year. The climate is wonderful. We’ve thought we might want to retire down that way sometime in the not-too-distant future, buy a bit of land and start a little Palm nursery, grow our own vegetables, get back to the land. I think we’d be very content with that set-up.
When did your attraction to gardening start?
I’ve wanted to garden for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Alexandria, Virginia (right outside Washington, DC, also). We had an elderly neighbor who was an old family friend—in fact, our families go back together many years. They are really like family. Anyway, this neighbor, Marguerite, was a wonderful gardener and decided to help me plant my first, little garden on the back of our property. I grew vegetables, mainly, and a few flowers. Gradually, I took over the maintenance of the entire yard at our house (about ¾ of an acre), though I did share the grass cutting with my younger brother. Additionally, my maternal grandparents and my paternal grandfather were great gardeners, and I worked and learned from them, as well. They were “old school” gardeners and gardened by wisdom passed down through the generations—using few chemicals, planting/harvesting by the moon, keen observance of the seasons. Actually, all of this “old school” gardening is coming back into fashion now, as we all look for ways to preserve our environment.
I’ve had many other wonderful teachers throughout my life and I’ve learned much from them.
Currently you are a garden designer and owner of a garden design company. When did you start these activities?
I started my company, Jeff Minnich Garden Design, Inc., in 1997. Here’s a link to the It’s been an incredible amount of work, yet extremely rewarding. I absolutely love making order out of chaos, and that’s my job. I try to get inside my clients’ heads and figure out the best type of garden for each of them. It’s so interesting to see how many people evolve through the process. At the beginning, they say what they think they want in a garden…many times, after careful consideration, they find out what they actually want is much different. Fascinating, this metamorphosis. Many become wonderful gardeners, when previously they were not gardeners, and I think they are more surprised that I am.
Prior to 1997, I worked for 15 years as a landscape designer at a large landscape company/nursery/garden center in Northern Virginia. I’ve worked in florists, greenhouses (both retail and wholesale), nurseries…come to think of it, I’ve worked my tail off most of my working life! And loved almost every minute of it. Working with plants is the only work I’ve ever had, and I’ve been doing it since I was 5 years old, and professionally for over 30 years now.
What is your favorite type of garden?
My favorite type of garden is an eclectic one–evergreen (mostly broadleaf), textured, layered, very green, very dense; simple from a distance and more complex close-up. I love a garden that is private. A garden that appeals to all the senses. I would say a woodland, shady garden is my favorite—they are much more subtle, softer, with an emphasis on the textures and colors of the foliage versus the flowers.
Which plant do you like the most and which one do you dislike?
I love Palms, specifically the hardier species. When I look at them, I feel warm, even if the air is cold (as you may have discerned, I am not a lover of cold weather!!).
I really do love all plants, so it is hard for me to pick one I dislike. I would have to say I am not a big fan of Barberries (Berberis is the genus), specifically the deciduous types. While they have many wonderful attributes, particularly for Northern climates, I find them difficult to work around because of the monstrous amount of thorns.
You’ve travelled a lot to see gardens in the U.S. and worldwide—tell me about your favorite garden.
I find it hard to choose one, but since I must, I’d say Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. It was designed by Beatrix Farrand, a niece of the writer Edith Wharton, and the first woman in the world to become a landscape architect. Dumbarton’s garden is a series of very different garden rooms and each provokes a different mood. I particularly love to sit on a beautiful bench in a very, very simple garden “room” surrounded by clipped Yews. It’s quiet and peaceful.
I’ve admired many, many other gardens around the world, but these stand out without thinking about it too much: the Oak allee at Oak Alley in Louisiana; a magnificent, Bougainvillea-covered, modern arbor in a park along the river in Brisbane, Australia (it seemed to go on forever); the botanical garden in the same city which had a tree called a Sausage Tree—maybe the most bizarre plant I’ve ever seen; and Hayman Island in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia was incredibly beautiful, too. Come to think of it, at the Sydney, Australia, botanical garden, the Ficus trees were huge, but the amazing part was the flying foxes which roosted in the trees and ate the fruit at night. Those bats are giant!! And Muir Woods in California—those giant Redwoods—awe-inspiring.
I’ve loved so many gardens around the world, for so many different reasons.
Are there differences between American and other gardens?
Oh, absolutely. Our diverse climates make for the necessity of very different gardens across the U.S., based on the local climate. I will say that within these climates we’ve adopted the gardens from other countries that match that particular climate. For instance, California has a very Mediterranean climate, so the gardens there have many attributes that resemble Italy, Spain, and Mexico. The English settled in Virginia early on, so many of the Virginia gardens have a truly English feel to them, not to mention English boxwoods so suit the Virginia climate. They look right there. Further South, in South Florida, tropical plants from around the world have been brought in to create a beautiful, lush feel. It suits the climate.
And because America is such a melting pot of people from other countries and cultures, those influences have affected how our gardens have evolved, as well.
I would say the most uniquely “American” gardens might be those of the grasslands of the Midwest and Plains, and the deserts of the Southwest. In my own travels, I haven’t seen those represented as much outside the U.S.
What garden would you never design?
I would have to say a desert garden because I don’t know the plant material as well. I come from a lush place of humidity and rain. That’s what I know. As I mentioned earlier, design principles are design principles—the same around the world—but then, to make a healthy garden, you’ve got to know the best plants for a particular environment.
And for whom would you like to design a garden and why?
I love to design gardens for people who open their minds to the possibilities. Those gardens always turn out the best because they evolve with the collaboration. Oh, it’s fun, and we become wonderful friends during the process, too, nine times out of ten.
So many people come to the table with an absolute idea of what [they think] they want in their garden, and often, in my opinion, the kind of garden they think they want is not the garden for them, at all. Yet, stubbornly, they persist. If they would just open their minds to the possibilities, let go, and let the garden evolve as it will, they would have a garden much more tailored to their lifestyle and who they really are—not who they think they would like to be. I know that sounds harsh, yet in so many cases it is so true.
I once read an article about the movie star, Brad Pitt’s, garden. He collaborated with a very headstrong designer and Mr. Pitt is very headstrong, too, according to the article. There was a lot of head-banging and arguing, I understand! And yet, the garden they created together, their collaboration, is just astoundingly creative, beautiful and lush. I would love to visit there sometime, if Mr. Pitt still owns it, because I know he keeps it maintained as he likes it. What a talented garden designer he has…the guy is to-the-moon creative, in my opinion.
On food, do you think food and gardens can be complimentary?
Oh, absolutely. It’s the big trend now here in the U.S. Unfortunately, where I garden and do most of my design work, there is too much shade to include vegetables, fruit and herbs. But we do try where we can. In Wilmington, we have sandy soil and lots of sunshine, plus a long, long growing season. You can grow many seasons of different crops here. We put the Tomatoes in with the Zinnias, the Marigolds with the shrubs…we mix it all up. It really pulls in the bees, and the crop yields are really good (given a year of good climate). The birds come in…oh, it’s glorious. Birds and bees bouncing, flying and playing; singing and buzzing…the scents, the sounds…it’s so entertaining. And there is NOTHING like a fresh Tomato—the store-bought Tomatoes here in the U.S. are dreadful.
What wine do you like?
I have a limited wine palate—sorry, I do! I wish I knew more about wines! But I do know that I love the Cabernets, Merlots and Shiraz for the cold months; and chilled Chardonnays, sweeter whites, roses for the warmer months. I do not like dry, bitter wines—I always go for the sweeter. Champagne is lovely, but it gives me a terrific headache, so I don’t indulge often, unfortunately. As far as specific wines…I leave the brand names to the experts. I am probably kind of trashy when it comes to wine selection, but I do know what I like when I taste it!!
What else do you want to tell?
I’m very private, very simple. I decorate my own house and garden to satisfy me, not anyone else. To me, our houses and gardens in Arlington and Wilmington are beautiful, each very different, yes—but we’ve done them for our pleasure, not to show off or keep up with others. That turns me off. That said, others can do whatever they want with what they have. Who am I to judge? Have at it—whatever makes you happy.
I like nice things, yet I am not materialistic. I love to travel, yet I don’t have to stay in the Taj Mahal, either. I love simple dinners with close friends, our gardens, hanging out with my partner and family in our cherished spare time.
I love people. That’s a big part of my work, getting to know people so I can help them with their yards. The resulting friendships are a nice bonus. I know lots and lots of people, it’s true, yet I have very few “best” friends—those with whom I spend a lot of time. I can count those special people on one hand. And my family, of course. I do love my family and Steve’s family, our family. As much as I love people, I need my time alone—to read, write, cook, garden, sit and meditate, recharge. My work is very demanding, so I need this time to recharge so I don’t burn out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  foto: bronze eelsmoker in Monnickendam harbour
The recipe:
Ingredients 4 persons:
for the smoked cod:
1 ½ lb of fresh cod or pollock
2 tbs olive oil
salt and peper
lemon juice
4 tbs smoking ground
for the vegetables:
1 big carrot in dices
½ lb of Brussels sprouts, halved
1 leek in slices
1 turnip in dices
olive oil
peper, salt and ground nutmeg
for the sauce hollandaise:
3 egg yolks
2 tbs water
6 oz unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes, not too cold
2 tbs white wine vinegar
salt and ground white pepper
chopped parsley
the smoked cod:
You can either use an outside smoker, or a steam pan from a well known Swedish furniture supplier. You fill the device with special smoking woodpieces, like small pieces of oak, birch etc. or smoking ground. If not, an alternative way, is to use and old pan, with a thin bottom. You cover the whole inside of the pan with some aluminium foil, shiny side up. On top of the foil you put 4 tbs of special smoking ground.
Meanwhile you cure the fresh cod in olive oil, salt, pepper and some lemon juice and leave it to rest for 20 minutes. After that, you cut the fish in  medium thin slices.
Cover the smoking ground with some alu foil, pierce it with a fork and put a plate on it. Put some pebbles under the plate to help smoke/air circulation. Put a small grill on top of the plate.
Put the pan on a high fire and when the ground starts smoking, put the cod on the grill. Cover up with foil and a lid an let the fish smoke for about 10 minutes.
the vegetables:
Rinse and peel the vegetables. Put some oil in a stir frying pan and fry them until “al dente” Let them simmer for a while and add some ground nutmeg. Keep warm until the fish is done.
the sauce:
Melt the butter in a pan, that is in another pan with boiling water. See that the bottom is not in direct contact with the boiling water. (au bain marie method) In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with some vinegar and a dash of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Bit by bit beat in the melted butter, then add some water water. Return this into pan and beat over very low heat until mixture is slightly thickened. Leave to rest. Add some chopped fresh parsley before serving.
Serve the pieces of fish on a bed of the stir fried vegetables and add the sauce.
Note: Special thanks to Keizer Culinair for teaching me how to smoke cod in a pan.


Uit Ricordi e Ricette, kalfsfilets alla pizzaiola

In 1999 was ik in Rome om stage te lopen bij de Banca d’Italia. In die tijd zat het eet- en drinkgen ook al stevig verankerd in mij. Ik zag op televisie een programma met Sophia Loren, die daar haar nieuwste kookboek, Ricordi e ricette, lanceerde. Ja want zo gaat dat in Italie. Je kon er niet aan ontkomen dat er een nieuw boek van deze diva verscheen. Daags erna lagen de boekhandels vol met dit kookboek. Dit was nu het souvenir dat ik mee zou nemen naar huis. Ik heb dit kookboek nog steeds en vind de Napolitaanse gerechten een lust voor het oog. Vandaag een recept geïnspireerd op dit boek, kalfsfilets a la pizzaiola. Het recept gaat uit van filets van de kalfsdij, maar in Nederland kun je het beste kalfsfilets, dun gesneden nemen. Mijn toevoeging aan de saus is een Spaanse peper om de saus iets pittiger te maken. Mijn wijnhint erbij is een Ciro, deze rode wijn wordt in de streek Calabrië gemaakt en is één van de oudste nog steeds gemaakte wijnen ter wereld. Onder andere wordt deze wijn gemaakt van de inheemse gallipoli druif. Een Zuid Italiaanse wijn vol fruit en stevige tonen voor bij de pittige tomatensaus.

Nodig voor 4 personen:

600 g kalfsfilet in dunne plakken
500 g gepelde tomaten (vers) of uit blik zonder pitjes
1 tl oregano gedroogd
1 bosje gehakte peterselie
2 knoflooktenen in plakjes
1 Spaans pepertje zonder zaadjes fijn gesneden


Verhit in een grote pan de olie en bak hierin de met peper en zout bestrooide filets en de plakjes knoflook kort aan, zo’n 2 minuten per kant. Let op dat het vlees niet te droog wordt. Haal het vlees uit de pan en houd het warm onder folie in de oven. Bak in de vleesjus snel de fijngehakte Spaanse peper aan, voeg de tomaten, oregano en peterselie toe en laat 15 minuten sudderen. Doe de kalfsfilets in de saus en verwarm even mee. Eventueel nog wat peper en zout toevoegen. Garneer met nog wat verse peterselie
Serveer de Vitello alla pizzaiola met wat spaghetti.

Bron: Editore Gremese. ISBN 88-7742-386-2

foodblogevent februari, choucroute Landaise

“In de wintermaand februari gaan we ons meer dan in andere seizoenen te buiten aan typisch Nederlandse gerechten, zoals snert, boerenkool of hutspot. Daarom bedacht ik voor ons bloggers de volgende opdracht voor het foodblog event:
Neem een typisch Nederlands of typisch Belgisch gerecht en geef er een buitenlandse draai aan.
Motiveer waarom je het gerecht zo hebt veranderd en niet anders.
We hebben een extra dag in de maand februari dit jaar, voor net dat schepje meer originaliteit en creativiteit!”  (citaat uit blog van Antoinette)

Antoinette uit Verona, die bijna dagelijks de heerlijkste Italiaanse recepten via haar blog wereldkundig maakt, heeft er deze maand een schepje bovenop gedaan. Zij nodigt alle lezers en schrijvers van een blog uit om een buitenlandse draai te geven aan een typisch Hollands of Belgisch wintergerecht. Het foodblog vent van februari 2012. Ik doe hier graag aan mee. Ik dacht meteen aan een zuurkoolschotel Landaise. Deze zuurkoolschotel heb ik ooit eens gegeten in Chalon sur Saone en is een variant op de Nederlandse zuurkool met spek en worst. Waarschijnlijk heeft dit gerecht niets met les Landes te maken, maar is het een soort Frans fusion gerecht. Vandaar dat ik het vandaag laat fuseren met deze Hollandse wintertopper. De choucroute Landaise is er één met eendenconfìt en eendenvet en gekookte aardappeltjes. De hete en gerookte paprikapoeder warmt je na het schaatsen lekker op.  Erbij drinken we een witte Mâcon Villages van de Caves de Lugny.

Nodig 4 personen:

1 blik confìt van eend
750 g zuurkool
2 laurierbladeren
1/2 l witte wijn
piment d’Espelette of pimenton (gerookte paprikapoeder)
gehakte peterselie
500 g aardappels


Doe de zuurkool in een pan met de wijn, peperkorrels en laurier. Voeg de witte wijn toe en breng aan de kook. Laat zachtjes een uur pruttelen. (Voeg eventueel wat vocht toe, zuurkool mag niet droog koken)
Open het blik eendenconfìt en haal de bouten eruit. Verwarm de bouten met de zuurkool de laatste 20 minuten  mee.
Schil de aardappels en breng aan de kook.
Doe een flinke schep eendenvet in een pan en verhit deze. Laat de piment d’Espelette of pimenton even mee fruiten zodat de paprikasmaak vrijkomt.
Meng dit vet door de gare zuurkool. Serveer de zuurkool op een schaal met de eendenbouten en aardappels. Bestrooi ter garnering met wat gehakte peterselie.

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