The kids are cooking

This week saw several newbies on our table, Quiche, courtesy of Miss Tess, who loves quiche and Tarte abondance , which is more or less a cheese quiche. Scones courtesy of Miss Tess and Young Mr Alfie , both tried scones and jam and cream on the BA flight over to Geneva last week, and decided they were a hit, and the final one was cantaloupe melon ice cream.Tess at the age of 6 loves to cook, and is good at it, Alfie (8) thinks he likes to cook, but does not like getting his hands dirty!

For our ice cream making the choice of flavour was a bit difficult. They both quiet fancied “Cherry Garcia” until Alfie read that it has chocolate in, he does not like chocolate, and Tess fancied Chocolate chip cookie dough, but again the chocolate issue.. So how about Oreo, umm not really, Oreos are hard to find here in France, Vanilla fudge chunk? Well it would mean having to make our own fudge, coconut? Kit Kat ? Toblerone? The list was endless, we finally settled on Canteloupe Melon. This might sound rather odd, but I have to say the result was excellent !

Ideally, to make this an ice cream machine is useful. I do have one that does the job for you as it has its own refrigeration unit, but the one I have in France requires the bowl of the machine being in the freezer for several hours before use, which is not at all convenient . Consequently I chose, just to put the mixture into the freezer and stir every half hour to mix thoroughly .The quantities given here make about a litre.

:1 small very ripe Canteloupe melon,

: juice of a lemon

:3 eggs

:3/4 cup (170 grms) caster sugar

:1 cup full cream milk (240 MLS )

:1 cup thick or double cream (240 MLS )
Whisk the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy, add the milk and the cream, whisk to blend. pour into a container and freeze for about half an hour, stir, freeze again, and repeat, several times.

Meanwhile scoop out the melon,, mash using a hand held blender, put this also into the freezer.
When the ice-cream base is fairly stiff all over, stir in the mashed melon.

Return to freezer, stir a couple of times and then leave to set.
Remember to remove from the freezer, about 15 mins before use.
The same base can be use but substitute , a pound of strawberries for the melon.

And Another Soup

Today we were treated to another soup, normally I do not eat much soup #2 daughter, the willowy brunette, would eat it everyday, but I find it sends me to sleep.However, on this day. the soup in question was made, not by me, but by a dear friend Yuki. It was a lentil soup with curry oil and coriander, courtesy of the London Chef, Yotam Ottolenghi.

Ottolenghi grew  up in Jerusalem and moved to London in the 1990’s. The food in his restaurants is basically middle eastern  flavours, with many a twist. Other chefs have used a variation of his red lentil soup and as such has been passed down from generation to generation throughout the middle east. When we think of the middle east today, we think of Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon,  Iraq and Saudi Arabia, but to that list we need to add Turkey and of course Egypt, but what about Sicily? it too has been ruled by the Arabs, so there will be middle east influence in their foods as well.

So Claudia Roden in her book on Middle Eastern Cooking, her version of lentil soup, adds cumin, whereas in Morocco, they add, spinach and cumin.Claudis Roden also says in her book on Jewish cooking that Lentils were very much part of the Sephardi diet, where they too add, cumin but also some or all of the following, Turmeric, chopped Chillies, Rice, chopped Tomatoes, Spinach, Coriander, Ginger, Saffron, Lemons and Mint.

So you can see that there are many variations on a theme, none of them are 100% correct but then again none of them are 100% wrong.

So for my version of this delightful and flavoursome soup, I start by making my own Chili oil;

  1. 200 ml oil, I use olive
  2. 2 red onions chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic chopped
  4. a knob of ginger chopped
  5. 2 tsp curry powder. 2 tsp tomato paste
  6. juice and zest of 1/2 lemon or lime.
  7. half a red chili de-seeded and chopped.

Heat just a little of the oil, add the onion, the ginger, the garlic and curry powder and fry gently for a few minutes until the onion is soft, but not brown. Add the tomato paste and stir in well, Add the rest of the oil and the lemon zest and juice and simmer for 30 minutes, leave to cool and then drain.IMG_1913


For the soup

  1. 1 liter of stock ( vegetable or chicken)
  2. 4 oz Sugar snap  or Mangetout peas
  3. 2 tabs  Thai red curry paste
  4. 2 sticks lemon grass, bashed and chopped
  5. 4 Kaffir lime leaves ( from Asian super markets)
  6. 250 Grams, of either fine yellow or red lentils
  7. 2 tbs of lime juice, or the juice of one lime
  8. 1 can coconut milk
  9. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro ( coriander)
  10. 1 red onion sliced
  11. 3 tbs olive oil

Saute the onion until soft, add the curry paste, the lemon grass and the kaffir lime leaves, along with the lentils and the stock, cook for bout 20 mins, until the lentils are really soft.

Remove the lemon grass and the Kaffir lime leaves. Add the coconut and the lime juice , taste and add a pinch of salt.

Blanch the peas and slice into  chunks. Heat the soup, serve with some toasted sourdough bread, with the peas, cilantro sprinkled on top and a drizzle of chili oil.