Friday, 27 May 2011

Lemon & Honey can save your Money & Tummy!

I noticed yesterday when visiting the lovely market at Dinan that Brittany now has its own Coke Cola under the title Breizh Cola! It struck me as strange given what we now know about coke. Drinking soft fizzy sweet drinks regularly is known to damage consumers and to be a major cause of obesity in western cultures. Visit any supermarket and see for yourselves the enormous quantity of soft fizzy drinks available in two litre bottles often going on a buy one get one free basis! Given that they are not good for your health or your wealth why not make your own soft drinks at home and benefit your family's health as well as your purse. It is also a great way to get the kids involved in thinking about nutrition and getting out into the countryside for some active exercise collecting plants and berries for home consumption. There are an enormous variety of wonderful options available at different times of the year and now is the season for elderflower cordial (a recipe was included last month). I am going to give you a recipe now for Lemon & Honey with Ginger as it makes a delightful easy soft drink which is healthy and refreshing too. This one you don't need to collect wild berries or fruits but if you have a bee keeper near you do get your honey from her or him!

You will need:

1 cup boiling water
1 x tablespoon of raw honey
Juice from 1 organic lemon
1 x small piece of fresh ginger very thinly sliced


In a long glass place 1 tablespoon of honey (with the spoon to avoid glass cracking). Add the boiling water. Add the ginger and juice from 1 lemon freshly squeezed. Mix with the spoon. Leave for infusion 3 minutes. Drain the ginger ( if desired) and serve.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Salmon with Caper and Parsley Sauce

Here is another healthy fish dish which is quick, simple to prepare and absolutely delicious. Serves 4.


2 salmon steaks
300 ml of dry white wine
2 bay leaves
2 shallots (peeled & chopped)
2 celery sticks (chopped)
celery leaves to garnish

For the sauce:

50g butter
2 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
2 table spoons of capers (drained and chopped)
4 table spoons of fresh parsley (chopped)


Wipe the salmon steaks and season both sides with sea salt and black pepper. Place the wine, bay leaves, shallots and celery in a shallow pan and bring to a simmer. Add the salmon steaks and cover and poach for 12 - 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Remove the salmon from the liquid, place on a warmed serving plate and keep warm. Strain the liquid and reserve.

To make the sauce, melt the butter and cook the garlic, capers and parsley for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste along with 125ml of the strained poaching liquid. Bring to the boil. Pour over the salmon steaks, garnish with celery leaves and serve with perhaps a few new potatoes and a nice chilled glass of Pouilly-Fume de Ladoucette, Loire, France, 2006.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Strawberries and Red Wine

This is a simple and delicious summer dessert which never fails to impress the guests. All you need are:

1 lb fresh strawberries (2 pt)
1 litre red wine

I table spoon wild honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 dl of fresh orange juice
1 cup sugar
1 ts fresh lemon juice
Twist of ground black pepper
Sprig of mint for decoration


Wash the strawberries,cut in half and place in a large glass bowl. Add the wine and all other ingredients. Gently mix together. Cover and place in the fridge for around 90 minutes. Serve the strawberries with the juice in small bowls adding leaf of mint for decoration if desired. The remaining juice may be served as a cocktail or retained for future use eg as a granité.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Cooking in May

So our wonderful cooking school is open again and our American students finally made it all the way from LA via Tours and Rennes arriving on Friday evening at the unholy hour of 2330 hours! Still we were delighted they made it safe and sound and now the fun part commences. The cooking course for the next few days is outlined below but I understand the chef is planning a few additional culinary surprises as well!


Chicken stock making
Starter: Bruschetta on toasted bread
Main: Salmon fish cakes on a garden salad with homemade sauce remoulade
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Starter: Mussel soup with saffron
Main: Pan fried skate wing with lemon, capers,
parsley & new potatoes
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Dessert:Panna Cotta with fresh summer fruits

Starter: Gazpacho
Main: Caesar Salad
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Starter: Asparges risotto
Main:Veal fillet with basil sauce, crème fraiche potatoes and
rosemary roasted vegetables
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Dessert: Tiamisu

Starter:Artichoke in a citrus soup
Main: Warm smoked fish on a salad with chives dressing
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Starter: Grilled Langoustines with garlic butter
Langoustine stuffed chicken leg with mushroom sauce
Main: Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Dessert: Caramelized strawberries served with
cinnamon and a poppyseed ice cream