Lindy’s pesto and Hospices de Beaune

IMGP1498 (2)

 

The Hospices de Beaune, also known as ‘Hotel-Dieu’ was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, the chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy, ‘Phillipe le Bon’, and his wife Guigone de Salins, as a free hospital and refuge for the poor.
This was unique at this time as Rolin set out to make the building aesthetically beautiful on the inside and out, using the distinctive polychrome tiles that the region is famous for on the magnificent roof of the building.
He also had revolutionary ideas on standards of cleanliness and the provision of fresh food and drinking water from the hospices own well and well equipped kitchens. And he founded a training school for local women of good repute to nurse the patients and assist in the pharmacy where all the medicines were prepared, forming the religious order ‘Les soeurs Hospitialieres de Beaune’, who cared for patients here as late as the 1970’s.

 

IMGP5402

IMGP5406 (2)IMGP5421

Regular followers will know that I have the same ethos as Nicolas Rolin and like to prepare everything seasonal and fresh. So here is a fresh pesto that I made using basil from the garden.

Lindy’s Pesto

 

Ingredients
50 gm of pine nuts
50 gm of freshly grated parmesan cheese
A large bunch of fresh basil
1 large clove of garlic
3 tablespoons of olive oil + extra for storage
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

Method
Lightly toast the pine nuts and leave to cool
Put the cooled pine nuts, parmesan and basil in a food processor and blend for 20 seconds son the slowest speed
Add the olive oil a tablespoon at a time, checking the consistency
Add a little salt and pepper to taste
What you do not use, can be stored in the fridge in a sealed jar, covered in a little extra oil and kept up to two weeks.
To make a lighter sauce for pasta, the pesto can be mixed with crème fraiche, to give a milder flavour and a more fluid consistency.

IMGP1512 (2)

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

Summer time Gnocchi

Gnocchi is a store cupboard, or rather fridge, staple in my house, and a great alternative to rice or pasta. I know that it is relatively easy to make, and I have done so on many occasion, but when you need something quick, easy and tasty to put on the table, shop bought does the trick with the right sauce. And this is so the right sauce.

In an attempt to be more healthy after the strict lock down in France, we have been exchanging our aperitif on the terrace for a walk before dinner, cutting back on alcohol and nibbles, and getting some extra exercise.
I don’t always feel like cooking anything fancy when we return, so things that I can prepare in advance have become very popular.

This sauce can be made earlier in the day, or left in a slow cooker while you join me in a pre dinner amble.

Typical scene from a pre-dinner stroll

I love the soft, mellow, early evening light that casts long shadows over the fields, that look like fields of gold, and turns the coats of the white Charolais cows into a buttery cream.

Ingredients
A good glug of olive oil
1 small shallot very finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
1 small red pepper very finely chopped
A centimetre of red chilli very finely chopped
1 small branch of celery very finely sliced
3 – 4 fresh ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
A little glug of red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
250 ml of hot water
Method
Gently saute the shallot, garlic and chilli for 2-3 minute taking care not to brown.
Add the peppers and cook for a further 2 minutes, then the tomatoes and continue to cook gently until all softened.
Add the fennel seeds, oregano, tomato- puree and red wine vinegar and stir together.
Add the water and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cover and gently simmer similar for around 40 minutes.
Cook the gnocchi as per instructions, drain and tip into the sauce until all is coated.
Serve immediately in pre warmed dishes with fresh basil or parsley.
A little grated parmesan is also a good compliment to this simple, tasty and colourful supper dish.

Bon Apetit

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Eat Them

There’s nothing quite dipping fresh crusty baguette into melted garlic and parsley butter

Burgundy is renowned for it’s soft, fruity wines, Boeuf Bourguignon and of course ‘Les Escargots de Bourgogne’……
Everything is larger than life here, from the army of giant snails that muster in the garden every morning so that you have to tread gingerly when going out to open the many shutters surrounding the house or you will crunch them underfoot, to the squadron of enormous fairy like dragon flies that patrol the passage between the house and the outbuildings at the back sweeping up any fly of mosquito in its path.

It is these spectacular creatures with their vibrant green and yellow bodies, electric blue tails and orange wings that move as fast as a humming bird’s, that have given the house the name of ‘Les Libellules’ (The Dragonflies). I truly believe that people mistook them for fairies as they are truly enchanting.

Along with the snail and dragonflies, there are also huge butterflies in every colour imaginable from deep midnight, to pale cornflower blue, to orange and red and yellow.

There are variety of other beast that are not so grand, like this little lizard that I found in the bath.

If you liked  this post come and join me on my Instagram account la.belle.vie.in.burgundy for more insight into my life in the French countryside

Lindy’s Boeuf Bourgignon and Semur-en-Auxois

 

Semur-en-Auxois resembles a ‘Village Perché’, tumbling down towards the river Auxois. The skyline is dominated by the twin towers and spire of the gothic church of Notre Dame, and the wide round turrets and ramparts of the 14th century fortress. The view from the river looking towards the romantic duel arched Pont Dinard’ graces the pages of every guide book on the Bourgogne.
There are photo opportunities at every angle. The winding streets lead you beneath arches and up and down narrow stone stairways. Finally opening onto a medieval square surrounded by quaint shops selling antiques and broccante. There is an excellent choice of cafés and bistros.  We make our choice. A tradition Bourgognoise brasserie next to the ‘Porte Sauvigny’, the ancient principal gateway into the old town.

104486960_10220796103106183_8215572839193607867_o[1]

I am here now sitting at a table by a window  We have ordered a small pichet of ‘nuits de St Georges’ and are sipping it in anticipation of the Boeuf Bourguignon; the aroma of which pervades the room. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and the decor simple and traditional, most of the other diners seem to be locals, so I think we have chosen well.

The Beef arrives in a steaming red wine sauce that is so rich it is the colour of black grapes. It is melt in your mouth tender and garnished with rondelles of carrots, button mushrooms and tiny pearl onions. There is a stack of creamy potato Dauphinoise to complete the plate, and a basket crusty baguette fresh from the boulangerie to mop up any remaining sauce. Now for dessert…

Julia Styles would probably turn in her grave; but as you have all probably begun to realise, I like to keep things as simple as possible, and traditional Boeuf Bourgignon recipes were just too fussy (putting things in and taking things out etc etc)
I love cooking, but am not a slave to the kitchen. So, with risk of offending the purists, here is my version, that received an enthusiastic ‘OUI’ from my French husband.

Ingredienets
serves 4
1lb/750g of Stewing steak (boeuf pour bourgignon)
2 shallots, very finely chopped
2oz/100g of bacon (lardons)
8-12 small pickling onions (as you prefer)
7oz/200g of button mushrooms (I actually like the nutty brown chestnut mushrooms if you can get them)
25g of chilli chocolate (just use 70%+ cocoa solids chocolate if you do not like chilli – but this does not make it spicy, just gives the sauce a little ‘je ne sais quoi’)
3/4pt/350 ml of beef stock
1 tablespoon of cornflour (seasoned with a little salt and pepper)
30g of slated butter
A good glug of olive oil
1 Bay leaf
A good pinch of brown sugar
Additional salt and pepper to taste if required.
Method
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed casserole or saucepan with a secure lid (alternatively use a slow cooker) and brown the beef on all sides to seal in the juices, then remove from the pan and set aside (this is best done in small batches so that it seals quickly, if you put too much in the pan at the same time it will create steam and won’t brown)

Sauté the bacon lardons in the same pan for 3 – 4 minutes until beginning to brown, then add the shallots and cook for a further minute, taking care not to burn them.

Return the beef to the pan and coat with the seasoned cornflour.

Add a good glug of the wine, stirring well to form a paste with the flour, then add the beef stock a little as a time, stirring well to avoid lumps developing – if this does happen, just continue stirring until they disappear – they will.

Add the remainder of the wine, and finally the chocolate, stirring until it has melted and is incorporated into the sauce.

Add the Bay leaf and reduce the heat to the lowest possible, and gently simmer for at least 5 hours (the longer the better) stirring from time to time and making sure that it does not become too dry (this should not happen if you have a good seal on your casserole lid – I use ‘le creuset’ cast iron cookware as this seals in the flavours.

1 hour before serving, sauté the carrots in half of the butter for 5 minutes then add to the casserole, then sauté the onions with a pinch of brown sugar until they are caramelized and add them also.

Just before serving quickly sauté the mushrooms in the remaining butter until golden, but not losing their juice and add to the casserole.

Remove the Bay leaf and serve.

Traditionally this dish is served with Daupinoise potatoes, but I have also served it with crisp topped parsnip and potato mash as in the photo.
Simply mash 1 large cooked parsnip and 4 large cooked potatoes with a little melted butter and cream seasoned with slat and pepper to taste, then bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes in order to crisp the top and add another texture to the dish.

This all looks a lot, but trust me it is great for a dinner party as all is prepared hours before, even the potatoes can be made in the morning and heated and crisped in the oven while the hostess is enjoying an aperitif with her guests.
An excellent dessert to serve with this, that is also prepared in the morning, is my chocolate pots, that you can find in the dessert secion.

Please let me know how you get on.
Lindy

beef

 

 

choc pots

Chocolate pot served in served in an expresso cup, the perfect dessert to follow my Boeuf Bourgignon

If you like reading about Semur-en-Auxois, join me on my Instagram account
la.belle.vie.in.burgundy for more insight into my life in the French countryside

Elderflower Cordial

Nothing is more pleasurable than foraging through the hedgerows on a hot June morning, gathering elderflowers to make a refreshing cordial. The joy of being immersed in their heady floral scent, surrounded by the sound of birdsong and the chirping and buzzing of crickets and bees is second to none.
I was out with my basket yesterday morning, and this morning it is the turn of my small country kitchen to be filled with their fragrant aroma.
P3030924
Elderflower cordial is really easy to make, here is the recipe that I followed

Ingredients
25 – 30 elderflower heads, depending on size (only use the freshest, whitest, most fragrant flowers that you can find)
1kg castor sugar
1.5 litres of hot water
50 g Citric acid powder
2 unwaxed lemons (I did not have lemons, so used oranges and they worked very well)
A clean muslin square for straining (again I did not have, so I improvised, see below)

Method
Dissolve the sugar and citric acid in the water in a large pan by stirring, then leave to cool. (I used my copper jam making pan)
I did this before going out to collect my flowers.
Trim any long stalks from the flowers and wash them thoroughly and drain in a colander to remove any insects.
Wash and finely slice the lemons(or 1 orange and 1 lemon, or like me, 1 large orange)
Add the flowers and lemon slices to the cooled syrup cover with a fine tea towel and leave to infuse in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring from time to time.
P3030928
Sterilise two sealable bottles and a pouring jug, remove the flowers and lemons from the syrup (I discarded the flowers, but saved the orange slices.)
Strain the remaining liquid through the muslin into the jug and pour in to the bottles.
I did not have a muslin square, so I passed the liquid through a fine mess sieve three times and finished by passing it through kitchen paper, it was not crystal clear, but almost.
The sealed bottles should keep for about 3 weeks in the fridge.
The cordial can be poured over ice and sparking water added for a refreshing drink, or sparkling wine for a twist on a Kir Royal for an aperatif. I poured it over orange and pineapple segments and mango to liven up a fruit salad, and also used it to make a sorbet which was delicious.
I am going to experiment, using lime in place of lemon next time, and ad a little fresh mint, to give a mojito flavour.
The orange slices that I saved, were soft and succulent after soaking up all that delicious syrup, so I simple finely chopped the, skins and all and stirred them through some home made yogurt and topped it with some toasted almonds.

So if you like me, like to experiement, please let me know how your get on.
I love sharing ideas.
Lindy
P3030975

If you liked  this post come and join me on my Instagram account la.belle.vie.in.burgundy for more insight into my life in the French countryside

Mousse au Chocolat Blanc et Framboises

P3030673

Late spring brings balmy days and evenings that still carry a slight nip on the air.
We have been eating outside on the terrace surrounded by the soft scent of peonies; but as the sun sinks behind the poplars to the west we often take our dessert inside.
Last night the nip in the air prompted us to also take a warming rum digestive.
This amber rum with pineapple and mango perfectly complimented my white chocolate mousse with raspberries.

This mousse is very easy to make, and is in fact a variation of my chocolate pot recipe, using white chocolate in place of dark and milk, and adding the whisked egg white to make it extra light. I find white chocolate desserts can be a little too sweet, so the addition of the crushed raspberries at the base of the serving dish adds a little tang to the taste.
Ingredients
Makes 4
20cl of single cream
150g of white cooking chocolate broken into squares
2 medium eggs
A knob of butter
2/3 cup of fresh raspberries broken into 4, plus 4 left whole to decorate
Method
Gently heat the cream and chocolate in a non stick saucepan until the chocolate is melted, take care not to overheat
Remove from heat and stir in the butter
Separate the eggs and lightly beat the yolks with a fork and add to the cream and chocolate a little as a time, stirring rapidly with a wooden spoon until
Whisk the egg whites as for a meringue and fold into the mixture, making sure that it is fully incorporated
Divide the broken raspberries between the bowls and top with the mixture
Allow to cool before putting into the fridge to set for around 5 hours
This is a perfect dinner party dessert as it is made in advance, all you have to do is pop a raspberry on the top et voila!
P3030634P.S. This dessert goes perfectly with my last post of ‘Creamy leek, prawn and mango risotto, just click on the arrow at the bottom of the page to see the recipe.

If you liked  this post come and join me on my Instagram account la.belle.vie.in.burgundy for more insight into my life in the French countryside

 

Creamy Leek risotto with Prawns and Mango

P3030730

What better way is there to spend a warm spring evening than eating al fresco, surrounded by the heady scent of roses and birdsong, eating a fragrant risotto and sipping a well chilled glass of white wine. I can’t actually think of any.

The essence of a good risotto is Italian Arborio rice and patience. Patience is a virtue that we have all had to learn how to practice during this difficult period, and a lesson that I for one, needed to learn.

The pleasure that I get from my garden is second to none, and I feel blessed that this period of confinement has given me the opportunity to see it change and grow from the emerging of the tulips and apple blossom, to the very first white flowers on my fledgling lilac tree. followed by bluebells, cornflowers and iris, and the anticipation of the peonies, who, when they finally arrived, did not disappoint. Now it is the turn of the roses ……

The mild creaminess of the leeks and the subtle floral, sweetness of the mango, works amazingly well with the slightly salty prawns. I added a little dusting of paprika to my prawns to give a little extra je ne sais quoi.

Ingredients
(serves 2)
1 cup of Arborio rice
1tablespoon of butter
1 small leek finely chopped
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1/2 a large ripe mango cut into 1cm cubes
1 cup of cooked prawns cut in to two of three, depending on the size
1/2 cup of medium sweet white wine
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 litre of mild vegetable stock (I used 1/2 a Knorr cube with herbs and olive oil for pasta or rice)
Method
Gently soften the leeks in the melted butter, taking care not to brown
Add the garlic and rice and stir until completely coated in the butter and gently cook, stirring gently for around five minutes (the smell of the garlic and leeks is amazing.)
add the white wine and allow to reduce slightly, then add the lemon juice
Stir in the stock 1 ladleful at a time until the stock has been almost all been absorbed and the rice is fully cooked (add extra water if necessary – I still had a little stock left in the jug)
Gently stir in the mango and heat through, then add the prawns and gently stir until they are heated through also and the rice fluffy.
Serve immediately in warm bowls and decorate with a prawn.
I sprinkled mine with paprika, but a little parmesan works well also.
This is one of my favourite ‘go to’ dishes, as it is so simple, yet so delicious. I also serve this in small ramekins as an entree
Let me know if you try it
P3030728

If you liked  this post come and join me on my Instagram account la.belle.vie.in.burgundy for more insight into my life in the French countryside

 

 

 

Chocolate Pots and plant pots

A Taste of two Cities

choc pots

I have been cleaning the many plant pots that we inherited with our house. It is quite satisfying scraping off years of mud and moss and lots of fun lining them up and hosing them down afterwards. Now they are all stacked up and ready to store in our newly created frost proof garden store beneath the exterior stairs.
If you are working hard in the garden at this time of year, but want to look forward to a wow factor dessert as a reward, then my chocolate pots are ideal.
Made in the morning they are ready grace any table at dinner time.
Simple beyond belief, they cannot fail to impress, especially if you serve them in little porcelain coffee cups, as in the photo, and surprise guests who think that you are giving them a cup of hot chocolate.
I have shared this recipe with so many friends over…

View original post 275 more words

Salmon with feta and red peppers

P3030613

I was very excited last weekend to receive a delivery from ‘Oliviers & Co’. Those of you who have been reading my recipes for a while will know that I use their products a lot in my salads and dressings. Being on partial lockdown and restricted to remaining in the Bourgogne, I cannot get back to Paris where all my precious oils and vinaigres are, as I have practically exhausted my supply here. But in the mean time, I ordered a little selection of my favourites to keep me going.

I was particularly excited to receive the new ‘douceur de vinaigre au Pamplemouse rose’ and first used it to dress an orange, kiwi and pineapple fruit salad, but it really came into play when I mixed it with some huile d’olive et mandarine fraiches and drizzled it over salmon which had been topped with crumbled feta cheese and oven baked with some new potatoes. (apologies for the feta, I do not have a real oven here, only an ven grill and things do tend to get caught on the top.)

I served this with ribbons of courgette, very lightly steamed so they retained a little ‘bite’, and tossed these in a little Olivier & Co huile d’olive et thyme frais presses, which is also new to my collection.

Even though we have not been able to get back to our apartment, we have been able to get out and about a little in the beautiful surrounding countryside. There is nothing like an expanse of green to refresh the mind and stimulate the senses, especially when it is bordered with blue. It feels so good to be able to be able to stride out, instead of shuffling behind a supermarket trolley at a safe distance from the person in front.

P1650119

Stay safe everyone

 

Vegetable Pot Luck and End of the Confinement

The strict confinement in France due to COVID 19 that began on the 17th of March finally came to and end on 11th of May. This meant that we could go out without a printed attestation stating our names, date of birth and place of birth, plus the appropriate document (I.D. card or passport) corroborating this information. We also had to state where we were going, why and have a valid reason for doing so, then add the date and time and sign the document. All this had the desired effect of discouraging people from venturing out unless absolutely necessary.
Living in such a beautiful place a Burgndy, it was very frustrating not to be able just to go for a walk in the hills behind my house, but yesterday we were able to do just that (although we are restricted to driving within a 100km distance from home.)
It was a sheer joy to be able go out and once again enjoy the peace and tranquillity  of the countryside and be able to walk somewhere other than, ‘at a safe distance’, around a supermarket.

Today’s dish, as the title suggests, does not come from the supermarket, but mainly from our own garden (celeriac, leeks and carrot) and the local fruit and vegetable market, which is once again open.
It is cold and wet outside and not a bit like the month of May, so something warm and hearty is required. I put to use a celeriac root that I picked yesterday. It reminds me of the ‘mandrake root in the Harry Potter film, what do you think?

P3030379

Ingredients
1 shallot finely sliced
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 small leek finely chopped
1 small / medium courgette cut into cm cubes
2 medium carrots cut into cm cubes
Half a celeriac root cut into 2cm cubes
2 handfuls of dried green Puy lentils
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 empty tomato cans filled with vegetable stock (I used a Knorr Mediterranean stock cube)
Light olive oil
Oregano
Freshly ground black pepper

Method
Gently sauté the shallot, garlic and leek in a little oil for 3 or 4 minutes, taking care not to brown
Add the carrots, courgette and celeriac and gently sauté for a further 4 or 5 minutes
Season with oregano and black pepper (salt can be added at the end of cooking if required)
Add the lentils, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock
Cover and gently simmer for around one and a half hours, until the lentils are soft.

P3030459

I served this with wheat grains, but brown rice would also be an option.
I wasn’t sure about using the celeriac in this way, as the flavour is quite strong, but it was delicious.
Maybe a recipe to file for the next chilly day.
Bon appétit

IMGP5256

The tranquil countryside behind Les Libellules

And to close a photo from our walk yesterday when the weather was fine- sheer bliss
(the ‘featured image’ of the flowers by the gate is also from yesterday’s walk)

If you liked  this post come and join me on my Instagram account la.belle.vie.in.burgundy for more insight into my life in the French countryside