Friday, 30 April 2010

Healthy Halibut with caramelized red onions

We are all advised to eat more fish as part of a healthy diet. Halibut is not only a wonderful sweet tasty white fish. It is also extremely high in nutrients and contains all those essential ingredients such as omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins that are so essential for a healthy body.

You will need (serves 4):

3 TBSP vegetable oil
2 small red onions thinly sliced
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
3 TBSP melted butter
4 fillet halibut steaks
4 sprigs of flat leaf parsley to garnish


Heat the oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat. Add the onion stir and reduce heat. Fry for 15 - 20 minutes over a low heat stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and tender. Add the vinegar to the pan for two to three minutes stirring frequently. Brush the melted butter over each fish fillet and place under a hot grill for five minutes then turn and leave for another five minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove when firm and tender, garnish with the parsley and serve immediately topped with the onions and accompanied with new potatoes and mange tout.

It's never too good to be too healthy so why not enjoy your halibut with a nice chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Aioli - garlic mayonnaise

This is a delightful sauce with numerous applications but my favorite dish is fresh langustines with aioli. Simply delicious and nothing else is required except perhaps a good Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio!

To make the sauce you will need:

1 large egg yolk
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves peeled and crushed
5 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
7 TBSP sunflower oil
salt and pepper (to taste)


Put the egg yolk, garlic, lemon juice salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk away till all the ingredients are well blended.

Add the olive oil, then the sunflower oil drop by drop slowly whisking until the sauce becomes ever thicker and smooth. Serve immediately.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Traditional Rabbit Casserole

Many of the farmers around us here in Kerrouet keep rabbits and it is an important food source during the winter months. Rabbit used to be thought of as a poor mans food but lately it has become revered for its low fat qualities. This is a simple recipe which is easy to prepare and all the delicious juices are retained in the cooking process.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 young rabbit
1 tbsp of vinegar
2 carrots (diced)
2 onions (sliced)
2 white stalks celery (diced)
2 potatoes (diced)
2 white turnips (diced)
6 slices of bacon
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bunch parsley
black pepper


Cut up the rabbit into six portions. Soak for 1 hour in cold water and a tbsp of vinegar.Wipe dry the meat and discard the water. In a large casserole dish, place half the carrots, onions, celery, potatoes and turnips at the base. Place the jointed rabbit and bacon on top of the vegetables. Now add the rest of the vegetables on top of the rabbit and finally add the bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Season with pepper but not salt as there should be enough in the bacon.

Pour in enough water to cover the vegetables, replace the lid and cook slowly for one and a half hours at 175 degrees or until the meat is tender and the meat falls off the bone. Sprinkle fresh parsley over the top and serve direct from the casserole dish.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Roast Stuffed Monkfish with Lemon Caper Sauce

The fish and sea food markets of Brittany are renowned throughout the world which is why our cooking school is located right here in the heart of this most famous gastronomical region of France. It was the Christian monks of Ireland, Cornwall and Wales who came here in the 5th century and gave their names to the towns and villages of the country. While that is another interesting story still waiting to be properly told, it is the monk fish that I am currently concentrating on!. This is a wonderful dish to try on your next special banquet.

Ingredients (for 10 people)

I single tail of monkfish (5 lbs)
1 tbsp of thyme, sea salt (I prefer the local Gurande) and black peppercorns
a pinch of saffron
2 oz can of anchovies in olive oil drained
2 roasted seeded and peeled red bell peppers
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 lemon
bunch of flat parsley chopped
3 tbsp of capers drained and rinsed


Place the thyme, peppercorns and salt in a mortar and crush until roughly grounded. Distribute the bell peppers and the anchovies in and over the fish. Pour the olive oil and saffron inside the fish and close and string the fish into individual portions to be cut later. Place the fish in the oven pan along with the seasoning and a splash of olive oil and roast for 35 minutes at 190 degrees c. Remove the monkfish, set aside and cover to keep warm.

For the sauce

Boil the remaining liquid in the pan until it is reduced to half its quantity. Peel the lemon, remove the core and cut into individual segments. Heat the butter in a small pan until golden brown. Add the lemon and the capers. Remove the string from the fish. Add the butter sauce to the fish reduction and pour over the roasted fish with a sprinkle of parsley to decorate and serve immediately.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Roasted Eggplant Salad

When you want to serve up a dish that looks sensational as well as being nutritious it is hard to beat roasted eggplant, red onion and tomato salad with chickpeas, feta and spinach. You need a bit of preparation for this dish but believe me it is worth it!

Ingredients (for 4 people)

Cup of cooked chickpeas
Onion (with 6 cloves inserted)
1 carrot chopped
1 celery
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
1 eggplant
2 red onions
4 large tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
Olive oil
balsamic vinegar
sea salt & black pepper
8 ozs fresh baby spinach
4 ozs feta


Soak the chickpeas overnight in water , rinse well and place in a large casserole dish covered with water. Add the cloved onion, carrot, celery, a sprig of thyme and the bay leaf. Bring to the boil, skim residue and let bubble gently for around two hours under cover. Cube the eggplant, peel and section the red onion into eights and cut the tomatoes into halves. Place them on a roasting pan with the garlic and drizzle well with good quality olive oil. Add the remaining thyme and roast for 30 minutes at 200 degrees until everything is cooked through. Remove from the oven, add extra olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.
Serve the roasted vegetables on a large serving dish. Toss in the chickpeas with the spinach (which will wilt in the heat). Break up the feta and sprinkle over the roast vegetables and serve immediately.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Baked Turbot with Sauce Bretonne

It always amazes me that turbot is not more popular in the Uk and Ireland. It is such a delicious fish and so abundant around our coast. In Brittany it certainly is on every menu and they have a sauce aptly named Sauce Bretonne to go with it!
I love baked turbot and the sauce speaks for itself!

Ingredients (serves 6)

6 lb turbot
bunch of chervil(chopped)
bunch of flat leaf parsley (chopped)
4 tbsp butter (unsalted)
cup of white wine
black pepper
sea salt


Stuff the fish with the chervil and parsley. Place the fish in a large (butter greased) roasting pan and pour over the white wine. Season the fish and add an extra knob of butter. Cover the pan and bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 400 degrees F. Depending on the size of the fish it may cook quickly so keep checking it by using a skewer to measure resistance against softness (softness means cooked!.

The Sauce

4 organic egg yolks
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Dash of tarragon vinegar
3 tbsp of chopped watercress
3 tpsp of chopped chervil
Half cup of melted butter (unsalted)
Sea salt& pepper


Mix the egg yokes, salt,pepper and Dijon mustard together and add the tarragon vinegar. Add the watercress and chervil to the mix and slowly stir in the butter.
Keep mixing, transfer to a warm sauce bowl and serve fresh.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Tortilla Espanola

Many of you will know that we spent three months this winter traveling around the beautiful countryside of Andalusia. The province has a unique cuisine which takes some beating and easily made up for the terrible weather we had! We were expecting sunshine in January,February and March but were deluged with rain instead - more rain in fact fell in the first five weeks than in the previous five years! Anyway that did not stop us enjoying ourselves and doing what we do best - searching out great recipes for our cooking school!! Here is a delicious little dish which has always got a place in my heart probably owing to the main ingredient potatoes!!

Ingredients for 4 persons:

1 lb. potatoes peeled and cut into small dice
6 large organic eggs
Half cup olive oil
sea salt
black pepper


In a large pan fry the diced potatoes until tender, then drain and transfer to a bowl. Keep warm. Heat more olive oil in the pan. Beat the eggs with the pepper and pour them over the potatoes. Pour the complete mixture into the hot pan and cook for a few minutes. Add the sea salt and continue until the liquid egg has solidified at the top. Cover the pan with a plate, flip it over and return the "wet" side to the pan and continue the cooking process adding a little extra oil as required. All done when no liquid to be seen.

Serve the tortilla warm hot or cold and with your preferred sauces and salads. This dish is simply amazing in its versatility and in Spain there are regional differences adding cheeses, herbs and bacon to the process. I love it with mushrooms but do try it simply with potatoes and eggs to get you started. It will also keep in the fridge for up to three days, great for picnics and those hungry kids on holiday!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Pear Salad

Yes the sun is out and the birds are singing again and we are tempted to eat out in the garden for the first time this year! Spring is definitely here at last and we have been busy in the garden rotating the soil and adding lots of yummie home made compost.

Today we are planning a nice crunchy pear salad a personal variation of a Waldorf salad which is particularly good with our very own home grown walnuts!
Preparation time only 25 minutes so very quick too! Serves 4. Calories 171 per portion.


1 Lettuce shredded (I prefer little gems)
2 sticks celery chopped
1 red pepper cored and sliced
25g of walnut halves
75g of green grapes halved, seeded and peeled
1 dessert pear, peeled, cored and sliced
225g smoked chicken, skinned and boned

For the dressing

2 table spoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of grated cucumber
1 teaspoon of grated onion
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh tarragon

For the garnish

1 dessert pear, cored and sliced
2 sprigs of fresh tarragon


Mix the lettuce with the celery, red pepper, walnuts, grapes, pear and smoked chicken. To make the dressing, mix the yogurt with the mayonnaise, add the remaining ingredients and blend well. Just before serving, spoon the dressing over the salad and toss well to mix. Garnish with slices of pear and a few twigs of fresh tarragon.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Brittany from the eyes of James Martin

Hope you can download this wonderful piece of film from the RTE series:
James Martin's Brittany. He has those hairy bikers from Northern Britain with him and they suffer the delights of Briton seafood and pork with cider!