On Monday we met with the book club to discuss this book; our summer read. Although it is a book club we care a lot about the food too. We each bring a few things each time and the hostess sets the theme, if any. This time I brought along this bean salad I prepared the day before. It went really well with Anna’s couscous salad with chickpeas and sun-dried tomatoes, garlic bread and celery sticks and dip and to finish we had apple crumble and custard. Such a nice meal! And I will definitely be making this salad again soon.
Bean salad with leek, dijon and feta, serves 4-5
1 tin (400 g) cannellini beans
1 tin (400 g) flageolet beans
1 leek, chopped
oil and butter for frying
1 garlic clove, grated
2-3 tsp dijon mustard
1.5 tsp sherry vinegar
100 g crumbled feta
olive oil to finish
Fry the leek until soft in butter and oil. Once it starts to brown transfer the leek to a large bowl. Rinse the beans and drain. Add more oil and butter to the frying pan and add the beans, cook until warmed through. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so. Season. Transfer to the bowl and mix with the leek.Add dijon and vinegar and leave to cool. Once cool add the chopped parsley and crumbled feta. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Store covered in the fridge until serving. Keeps for 2-3 days.
This incredibly simple, yet very tasty, asparagus salad went down really well with the book club on Monday. I invaded Charlotte’s kitchen (sorry and thanks!) and made this at her house while chatting and making tea. We always have a potluck supper at our book club gatherings and the spread this time consisted of salad with feta and tomatoes, crusty bread and baked camembert, pizza and olives. And choccies for pudding.
Asparagus salad with dijon vinaigrette and parmesan, serves 4
3 bunches green asparagus
80 g rocket
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp olive oil
salt, black pepper
oil for frying
Break off the wooden ends of the asparagus and wash them. Sauté in batches in oil on medium heat, it takes about 5-10 minutes. Season.
Mix the mustard with the juice from half the lemon and add the oil while whisking. Season.
Spread the rocket onto a serving plate, add the asparagus, drizzle with the vinaigrette and scatter with parmesan shavings. Cut the rest of the lemon into wedges and serve with the asparagus.
It is JJanuary. Grey January. Grey cold boring January even. Lots of people are on detox or trying to save pennies after an extravagant month of boozing.
I definitely need to save the pennies, but I also need to get into the habit of cooking weekday food again. It seems to me that December was just a long stretch of canapés, bubbly and party dresses and now we’re back to normal. What an anti climax!
And weekday food is not a particular favourite of mine, I live for parties, nibbles, indulgent puddings and creamy sauces, but I promised myself to try and embrace the regular weekday supper too, and the only way I can do that is to make the food a little more interesting.
Bangers and mash for example, is nice but in my opinion just a tad boring. But if you buy really nice sausages like Toulouse ones and add some parmesan and dijon mustard to the mash, then I can see then point.
So that’s what I did, and it was lovely.
Dijon and parmesan mashed potatoes, serves 2
4 medium potatoes, peeled
50 ml milk
4 tbsp butter
salt, white pepper
1,5-2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp grated parmesan
Cut the potatoes into similar sized pieces. Place in a large saucepan and cover just about, with water. Add salt. Bring to the boil and cook with the lid half on until the potatoes are very soft. Drain and mash the potatoes up with a masher or an electric whisk (yep, it works). Add butter and milk and mash until well combined. Then add the mustard and cheese and combine. Season with salt and pepper.
When a friend gives you three tubs of handpicked girolles (by himself) you feel the responsibility. To not disappoint I paired the lovely mushrooms with shallots, dijon mustard, some creme fraiche and cream and some cognac and served it with nice spaghetti (from De Cecco, my favourite pasta brand).
This saue is rather sharp on its own, but perfectly balanced when served with pasta. Feel free to add some black pepper or parmesan when serving, but it is really good without it too.
Spaghetti with girolles, dijon and cognac, serves 2
300 g spaghetti
1 large shallot
ca 100 g fresh or frozen girolles
1 garlic clove
50 ml creme fraiche
100 ml cream
2 tsp dijon
3-4 tbsp cognac
persillade, salt, white pepper
Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water according to the instructions on the packet. Chop the shallot and fry in oil and butter until soft. Remove to a bowl. Chop the mushrooms roughly, fry in plenty of butter and oil on high heat for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and add the pressed garlic. Add also the fried onion. Pour 2-3 tbsp of cognac into the pan and let it bubble away. Add cream, creme fraiche and mustard and let it thicken. If you fancy a stronger cognac taste, add 1-2 tbsp more. Season to taste with salt, white pepper and persillade. Drain the pasta and place in bowls. Top with the sauce and sigh of happiness.