Parmentier de boudin noir (black pudding)

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Serves 2 to 3

300 grams black pudding (blood sausage or boudin noir)

2 medium potatoes

2 apples

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 piment d’Espelette, chopped (or a teaspoon of dried paprika)

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan, or other hard cheese

olive oil, salt, pepper

Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks and boil until almost cooked.  Add the apple, also peeled and cut into chunks, to the potatoes.  When potatoes and apples are soft drain and mash with some olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

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Remove the skin from the boudin and chop into small chunks and mix with the chopped garlic and piment or paprika.  Fry gently in olive oil in an earthenware dish until the chunks have disintegrated and the whole mixture darkens – about 10 minutes.

Spread the mashed potato and apple over the top of the boudin, sprinkle with the grated cheese and put under the grill for 5 minutes until lightly browned.  Serve hot.

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If you like garlic and parsley, as we do, you can add a persillade of chopped garlic and parsley when serving.

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This is inspired by a dish we ate as a first course at the Bar L’Escampette.

Lamb tagine

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Serves 3 to 4

800 grams neck of lamb, or other cut suitable for stewing

1 large onion, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 dessertspoon ground cinnamon

1 green chilli pepper or 2 paprika peppers (I used one red and one green), chopped, or 1 teaspoon ground chilli (more if you like hot food)

3 bay leaves

3 tablespoons tomato purée

50 grams stoned green olives

olive oil, salt, enough water to cover the meat

In an earthenware dish or a heavy casserole (or a tagine, if you have one) heat some olive oil, add the onion and fry lightly, then add the pieces of meat, the garlic, spices, salt and bay leaves.  Stir in the oil to fry the spices lightly.

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Add the tomato purée and enough water to cover the meat.  Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2 hours.  At this stage you can turn off the heat and leave the tagine until the next day when the flavours will have developed, or you can eat it straight away.  When you reheat it, or about 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, add the olives.

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Serve with rice or couscous, yoghurt mixed with crushed garlic and mint leaves, and grated carrot salad with roasted cumin seeds.

yoghurt carrot salad

tagine 3

Moules farcies à la sètoise – stuffed mussels

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Serves 4

1 kilo (about 24) large mussels

For the stuffing:

350 grams pure pork sausage meat or minced pork

125 grams cured ham, cut finely into very small pieces (optional)

2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 an onion, finely chopped or processed in the food processor

1 clove garlic very finely chopped, or processed with the onion

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons thyme

1 egg, beaten

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons tomato purée

1 glass white wine

liquid from the mussels

Don’t add salt – the mussels and their liquid will be quite salty enough!

2 tablespoons aïoli (see here for the recipe, or add some crushed garlic to some good bought mayonnaise)

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Clean the mussels, open them by sliding the blade of a shell fish knife between the two halves, starting mid-way along the flat side and around the rounded end until you cut the muscle and the two halves open.  Have a bowl ready underneath to catch the liquid that will come out of the mussels.

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Prepare the stuffing by combining the sausage meat, chopped ham, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, paprika and thyme, then adding the egg and mixing in well.  Take a spoonful of the mixture to stuff each mussel, closing the two halves of the shell firmly together again.  Since with this method you will have broken the muscle that causes the mussel to open during cooking, there is no  need to tie thread around them as some recipes suggest.

Pack the mussels in a single layer if possible into the bottom of a heavy pan.  Add the tomato purée, wine and some of the liquid from the mussels, enough to cover the mussels in the pan.  If you don’t like, or can’t eat, much salt it’s better to replace some of the mussel liquid with water as it is quite salty.

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Cover the mussels with a large plate to stop them moving around too much. Bring to the boil and simmer for 35-40 minutes.  Remove the mussels from the sauce, turn the heat up and reduce it for five minutes or so.  Add the aïoli and whisk into the sauce.

Serve the mussels with the sauce and rice, garnished with lemon slices, and with a glass of white wine.

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Pot-roasted duck legs

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Serves 2

2 large duck legs

1 onion, sliced

1 carrot, cut into small batons

2 cloves garlic, sliced

12 peppercorns

3 bay leaves

1 glass white wine

salt, olive oil

Sauté the onion in olive oil in a cast-iron pan until soft but not brown.  Brown the duck legs in the oil.  Add all the other ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer gently for an hour.

Remove the duck from the sauce and put in an oven dish in a hot oven for 10 minutes to crisp the skin.  Reduce the sauce left in the pan, if necessary. Serve on a bed of the carrot and onion slices, with rice or potatoes.

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I served it with roast pumpkin – pumpkin cut into chunks, put in an oven dish with olive oil, sprigs of rosemary, bay leaves, salt, pepper and garlic cloves and roasted for an hour until the edges were slightly browned.

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Lamb with tomatoes and capers

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Serves 2 to 4

6oo grams braising lamb (I used rolled pieces of breast of lamb, but lamb shanks would work well)

1 large onion, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

300 grams tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped

1 glass white wine

1 tablespoonful capers

2 bay leaves

olive oil, salt, pepper

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Soften the onion in some olive oil in a heavy pan for about 10 minutes.  Turn up the heat briefly and add the pieces of lamb to brown.  Add all the other ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for an hour or and hour and a half, depending on the toughness of the meat.

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Serve with rice and a glass of red wine.

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Baked aubergines

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1 small to medium aubergine per person

sliced sweet onion

1 garlic clove per aubergine

1 sprig of oregano per aubergine

1 chopped, skinned tomato per aubergine

olive oil

salt, pepper

Peel strips lengthwise from the aubergines, leaving about half the skin on them.  Cut a slit almost the length of one of the peeled sections and put slices of onion and garlic into the slits.

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Put the aubergines into an oven-proof dish with plenty of olive oil.  Cover the onion and garlic with chopped tomato and the sprigs of oregano , add salt and pepper and some more olive oil.  Aubergines soak up a lot of olive oil and it does bring out their flavour wonderfully.

Bake in the oven at 180 C for at least an hour, depending on the size of the aubergines, until they are well cooked.  They can be eaten straight from the oven, hot, or allowed to cool.  I left them overnight and served them cold with a dressing made by adding a spoonful of tahina (sesame seed paste) to the oil they were cooked in.  Serve them on their own or as part of a table of Turkish mezes: stuffed peppers, pickled peppers, stuffed vine leaves, hummus, olives……

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Chicken with aubergine and mozarella

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Serves 2 – 4

2 large chicken breasts, each cut into 3 thin slices

2 small aubergines, each cut lengthways into three slices

3 long red peppers, sliced lengthways, seeds removed

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 ‘ball’ of mozarella, cut into 6 slices

salt, pepper, thyme, olive oil

Brush the slices of chicken, aubergine and red pepper with olive oil and cook on the griddle or grill.

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In an oiled oven-proof dish arrange the aubergine slices, cover each with a piece of chicken, sprinkle over the chopped garlic and some thyme, add the slices of pepper and mozarella, some more thyme and a little olive oil.

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Cook under the grill until the mozarella is bubbling, melting and browning slightly.  Serve with rice, sautéed potatoes or crusty bread, and a glass of red or rosé wine.

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