Friday, December 23, 2005

Stuffed aubergine Turkish style

Hey folks! Yesterday I tried some stuffed aubergine. I tasted some few months ago and it seemed pretty straight forward to do.
I had a look on websites to find out a bit more and I tried it.

First you cut your aubergine in two and fry it on each side for 4-5 mins until it starts browning.
Don't deep fry it! Just put 3-4 cm of vegetable oil in a pan and try to cover it if you want to keep your skin.

When it's ready, the flesh should be very tender and you can "open" the aubergine to allow some space for some lamb.

Now you can start to work on your stuffing.
You need minced lamb, garlic, spring onions, tomato puree and spices (chili powder and sumac)

So start cooking the meat with the spices and when it's almost done, add your garlic, spring onions and puree. The puree really adds something good, I never did it before and it was quite tasty!
I also noticed that people tend to cook the lamb until it's almost crispy in Turkey. It's not a bad idea as it adds another texture to the dish.

Ok, the meat is ready, just spoon it on the aubergine.

To finish it, you will need to cook the aubergine in the oven for 15 mins on 180deg C.

Another trick is to add some boiled water mixed to some tomato puree on the bottom of the dish to create some steam and ease the cooking.
It will also give you a nice sauce at the end.

Last trick is to put slices of red and green peppers over the lamb to prevent it of burning... Some sort of safety!

You eat that with rice and you ENJOY! Fast and easy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Back to school

This is Christmas time in Oxford...Nice atmosphére and good bargain (already). I have been visiting some bookshop and I discovered the Gordon Ramsay book. I took a look inside and I found the tiger Prawn recipe. This great chef add some lemongrass and ginger within the recipe. I believe these two ingredients will bring a good freshness to the dish! Gordon Ramsay advise to marinate the dish for two or three hours, that's exactly what I recommended in the previous post..A killer (he got a three stars Michelin that's help!).
Globally the book is quite interesting...I advice to buy it!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Not your regular Christmas party

After having discovered the joys of English Xmas parties last year, I was up for a change this year with the party being organized in Brussels.
We went to a restaurant a bit outside of Brussels called le moulin du bloquia.
I think it is an old mill or farm renovated in a modern style.

But enough with the location, what did I eat? This food was superb and the wine delicious.
I'll try to explain you how it went.

This is the menu (in French) I went for.

La rillette de truite saumonée, confit de poireaux aux tomates marinées, lit de roquette, vinaigrette à la graine de Meaux

This was some sort of salmon tartare with a grainy mustard vinaigrette.
It was a fresh start to get your tastebuds going!

Les ravioles de pintade fermière façon Val d'Or

This was a guinea fowl ravioli with bacon on a rich red sauce. I must admit that I started talking about this blog at that point and didn't really pay attention to the dish. It tasted superb at first and when I got back to the dish after the discussion, well, I realised I ate it all!
But hey I'm not a pro!

La noisette de biche Grand Veneur, duo de purées et garnitures automnales

Ahhh Bambi! This was totally awesome ! I really think it's the best piece of meat I ever ate! The sauce veneur is a classic sauce made with cream and red wine.
You just HAVE to try this.


La tartelette fine au chocolat, tranche d'orange confite, sirop
à l'Amaretto

Chocolate after all that?? Really? I couldn't finish it! It was good but I guess too much for me...

Trust me on this, it was divine. Especially bambi as the main course... It was the first time I ate this and I was very surprised. I was used to other game dishes being a bit dry and needing lots of creamy sauce but not for bambi...
The meat was very tender and pinkish. I need to try that again.

With the meat, we drank a Givry, le pied du Clou, Domaine Francois Lumpp from 2003. This is a fantastic wine with plenty of flavors which I obviousely couldn't describe!

If you end up in Brussels on a cold cold night, you should check this restaurant. It is definitely worth getting lost on the way there!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tiger Prawn

This time I was in charge of the starter. I wanted something different and experience something new. For a couple of day I had sea food in my mind. I wanted to cook something unusual. My first idea was to do a "bisque d'homard" (Lobster soup), I needed different ingredients and especially cognac (which is capital for this dish). So I did some research on the BBC food website and I founded a tiger prawn starter.

Tiger prawn needed to be marinated for ten minute in a mixture of olive oil, chili, garlic and lemon. I would advice to marinated the tiger prawn longer, 30 minutes instead of 10 minutes. After a stay in the fridge, the tiger prawn are grilled for two minutes each sides...easy and speedy! I must admit the quality of the prawn play an important role in the final taste!

Thursday, December 15, 2005


hello bloggers!
xmas is only few days away and since im going home, italy, i'll be taking pictures of the food my grandmother and mum will cook for me (yes!finally!!) and see if i can do the same...maybe better?!?!... once i get back.

so be prepared because 2006 can only start in a positive way...claro, with your NOT YOUR REGULAR DEEP FRIED MARS BAR blog!!

see you...sort 2006!!

Ciao ciao, Marco

Monday, December 12, 2005


Here I'm again...Today I feel inspired, also I have to catch up with all the others...Here I will be posting my first dessert. What you need is ginger biscuits, vanilla ice cream, clementines and oranges. We are also gonna make some caramel with some caster sugar and water (55g of caster sugar with 6 tablespoons of water, just to give you an idea of the proportion). The most difficult part is the caramel: it burns very quickly if you don't take it out of the heat soon enough, basically as soon as it starts having a brownish color.

now you almost got it: smash the ginger biscuits to get a crumble, place a vanilla ice cream ball on top with a slice of clementine (it's got to be a good one!!Sorry, but no time is given to cheap/crap ingredients!). When u have done all the proportion, then you can start making the caramel...Remember to have the heat low and stir it all the time. When the water starts boiling squeeze in half orange and then place the caramel with a spoon on top of the ice cream!


PS: remember that the main secret to good food are good ingredients!

Roast Pork

Finally, here I'm posting my dishes. I'm sorry not to be able to do it before. Right, where shall I start? Of course, the delicious roast pork with crackling skin!!mmm...You ve got to try! It is very simple, first you marinate the pork with extra virgin olive oil, black peppers, a bit of crushed chilly rosmarine, and if you are not gone kiss anybody that day, a bit of garlic!
you leave all this in a plastic bag for a good hour so that the pork absorbs all the flavors...More you leave it and better it will taste! (don't leave it for days though!)
Then, here comes the trick part: the oven must be very hot, say 230C and you place the pork in it for 1/2 hour then turn the heat down to 190C and leave it for an extra 2hours. After that, rest the pork in a warm place for further 15 minutes (turn the oven off and opend the door). I know, I know, it is a long process and you may want to do something else, but believe me, look at the picture below and you may get the point!

that's it! Enjoy...oh this dish doesn't go well with a cheap wine! Ps: I even did an apple sauce with it, but I didn't like it so next time it'll come better I'll post it!Ciao

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A belgian cooking brussels sprouts...

Ok this week was a bit hectic and I was in charge of the main...
This is our last dinner before mid-January so we had to do something good.
I must say I underperformed this week. I hadn't made enough research beforehand and went for a simple dish from Brussels.
They usually serve that dish in cafes and it is always a popular dish.
Don't get me wrong, the dish was good (come on I made it!) but nothing special.
Marco and Gian did really well so the pressure is on for next year.
I'll be in Paris over the festive period so I'll get some inspiration over there!

So the dish is brussels sprouts with garlic, bacon and onions with pork chops.
The pork chops were really good and produced locally in the oxfordshire.
I find pork chops quite hard to cook as you want them to look crispy and almost burnt on the outside while keeping them tender and not dry.
I think about 15mins is usually was it takes to achieve that on high heat.

For the brussels sprout, there is only one thing to know. If you want to avoid problems related to sprouts (you know what I mean) you should boil them for 3 minutes and discard the water. Then you cook them as usual for 25 minutes.
By discarding the water the first time you are getting rid of the chemical compound which causes problems. I've tried to find out the name of the compound but couldn't find.
If somebody has an idea...

For my recipe, I fry garlic, bacon and the onion in the pan and then add up the sprouts. Very simple and delicious.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

That's just too much man!

3 pieces dinner on Friday night.
Indian for lunch on Saterday, big pasta dish on the evening and doner kebab much later.
Roast pork for Sunday lunch and chinese takeaway for dinner.

This has to stop!
If December is the month for tentations, then I've just started with a big bang!
I'm off to Harrogate for the week, see you later punks!

Friday, December 02, 2005

the wintry dish !

Last Friday, the pheasant won against the wild boar. Both of these meat are delicious, but the preparation of the wild boar require more time ( 24h marinade!!!) So I decided to cook the pheasant. As we said previously Oxford possess an excellent cover market with the best quality food. Shopping there is a pleasure and especially to the butcher (Feller is great!)

I cooked the pheasant on the pan with a delicious creamy sauce.
I selected only breast, It was maybe to easy.
It is more challenging to buy an entire pheasant!
As a side dish I prepared a "pomme neserode"
an apple with cranberries cooked in the oven.

I prepared a wintry mashed potatoes, with créme fraiche and "gratiné" (crusty) in the oven. The result was delicious! Not really healthy but it is the season!

La Dame blanche

The white lady to finish off the dinner (and to finish us off as well...)
This is a belgian classic and is really simple to make...
Vanilla ice cream, chantilly and hot chocolate.

I think the only part that could cause problem is the chocolate melting.
I just melt it "au bain marie", meaning putting your chocolate in bowl and putting the bowl in hot but not boiling water. You want it to melt slowly...

When it's done, you just pour that over the ice cream...