NPME

AQuickFrenchLunchAndLangoustine

posted by Natalie Paddick

A Quick Lunch in France!… Langoustine.... 

I LOVE THEM!!


I know that the title, A Quick Lunch in France is a contradiction in terms, but stick with me on this… Over here in the UK it might be a ‘tad’ early for this recipe but bearing in mind the weather predicted for this bank holiday weekend.. This is what I will be eating.. Langoustine.. For me it is never too early for this recipe nor too late for that matter! Way back in the day I lived and worked in Northern France with my then partner, now husband on a project that was frankly eye opening in terms of how different cultures operate within the interior design and construction business, And lunch! To be blunt there was no comparison between them … To give you one example; the British workforce we took over there with us, would sit down for their strict hour long lunch break with their white sliced plastic bread, which as you might appreciate, was not easy to obtain from the local boulangerie, so they had to retreat for this delicacy to the out of town Supermarche, and even then they would complain that the bread did not taste like the bread from home! The obvious seemed to escape them that we were in France!

One of our fine band of merry men even once went into the local Boulangerie and requested a Cornish pastie! Having been met with complete confusion from the French staff.. He came out of the shop and shouted across the road to all of us who were sat at the French Cafe opposite. “I don’t understand this country they don’t even have Cornish Pasties and they call themselves a bakery!” Scandalous!

On site, the British band of workman would sit huddled together at lunchtime peeling their way through sweaty sandwiches that were stuck to the cling film in a sort of congealed mass, complaining about the quality of the cheese in ‘this country’... Their beverage of choice was of course tea that you could stand a spoon in such was the strength! And they would observe ‘the little known to them Frenchman’ form a safe distance. The French workers would arrive at work in general at least hour and half later than the British workforce. The Brits would stop for lunch at 1pm, sharp

The French workforce would meander around the site in the morning making either appreciating sounds at what was going on or tutting noises with the obligatory ‘non’ word or even the odd ‘merde’! Come 11:30am the French workforce would down tools and return to their vans, out of the back these burly Breton’s would retrieve their large baskets, beautifully covered in a red chequered table clothes and then search for the perfect shady spot in order to set out their luncheon fair.

The table cloth would be spread out in the appropriate place and out of the basket the produce would be laid out with meticulous precision, always with a French baguette in pride of place. Reaching into the bottom of the basket out would come the picnic stove, which was duly lit. Then for the next hour the site would be tormented by the most beautiful smells of French cuisine being created from scratch with the freshest of materials… The British looking on in a sort of bemused wonderment..

Most of these Frenchmen would have the minimum of three courses, which were all eaten at leisure each complimented by a small bottle of wine to enhance the flavour of each course… Building site or not .. This was style..

The Brits would reluctantly peel away from this vision of culinary beauty and return to work, leaving their French counterparts to continue amiably with their feast…Finally having had their fill, they would throw the leftover meat to the neighbour’s dog that had wandered up the lane having been lured by the beautiful smell of the cooking.. Carefully they would pack away their basket and return it to their van, before perhaps putting in another hour or two of relaxed work on the site… The British workforce carried on regardless in the heat of the day, until the five o’clock when they would down tools in line with the British deadline…

As the months wore on, slowly there became a little more ‘entente cordiale’ between the two workforces and although none of the Brits would be caught with a Bunsen burner cooking their own grub, certainly their application of French cuisine and lifestyle was growing on them.. Not least two of the British men managed to increase the population of the local village by impregnating two of the women.. ‘entente cordiale’ indeed…

Where are we in all this luncheon behaviour, I hear you ask … Well mostly we were on site first thing in the morning and then around lunchtime we would disappear off to negotiate on various materials and furniture deals for the project… This sojourn would always include stopping of for lunch at some beautiful location… Hard life this! Quite often our trails through the local brocantes and flea markets would lead us to the sea front.. Yes I know a very, very hard life! We would rock up to a restaurant on the sea front opposite the beach or harbour for our ‘le dejeuner’..

If you think we are having a too “cushty” time of it… I have to tell you that it is impossible to work between 12 noon and 2pm in the afternoon, everything shuts for a long leisurely lunch. This being Brittany, the actual closing time was more like 11.30am - 2.30 – 3pm! So what else can you do but eat!... This is France..

I will eat any fish I love it and also anything with the good old French Fries! And a carafe of wine… Has to be done, but my all-time favourite, was and is Langoustine… In one of our favourite restaurant in Cancale, they did a version of Langoustine with garlic, hint of chilli and cream.. It was just divine …

There are so many tales from our time in France, I will tell you in another story, sometime soon… But here is my recipe for this weekend.. “Vive la France”…. Prendre Plaisir…. [Enjoy!]


Ingredients for Langoustine…

Garlic

A pinch of sea salt - plus a little pinch more!

freshly ground black pepper

Olive Oil

Butter

Langoustines

lemon juice , to taste

Ingredients for Spiked Toms...

Vine Tomatoes

Garlic

Olive Oil

Crushed Chilli

Sides…

Mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Virgin olive oil

Capers

Chopped Gherkins

lemon juice - to taste

 

More Sides…

French Bread

French Fries

French beans buttered

 

More & Extra Sides…

Wine….

Look it could not get any simpler than this!

You know how to prepare the French bread… “Just cut it and bite!”

Chips &/or French Fries.. Well this depends on how you like them, whatever is easy for you, which can range from oven chips to fat home cooked potatoes wedges, or the ubiquitous French Fries.. My favourite.. Whichever it is just time them to be ready for the main event…

Blanch or steam the French beans until they are al dente. Once cooked plunge into a bowl of cold iced water, to keep the colour whilst you prepare the other ingredients.

Mix together all the ingredients for the mayonnaise sauce -SidesAnd put into a serving bowl… Easy …

Whether you cook on the Barbeque or on the hob, heat the three pans, first one on the heat – Add the oil and the tomatoes, cook with a bit offoil over them, to fast track the process, after a couple of minutes add the chilli and the garlic, keep an eye out to make sure the ingredients don’t catch, season to taste. Heat the second pan for the Langoustine slosh in the olive oil and butter as it melts add the garlic and the Langoustines, I don’t like to overcook the garlic, so I add it early. Cook them for 2-3 minutes. Half way through cooking the Langoustine, drain the French beans and add them to the third heated pan with the butter and cook fast, flipping when necessary. Take all three pans straight from the barbeque to the table… The juices in the pans are wonderful to dunk your bread in… Don’t for get to squeeze in a little lemon juice…. And as they say ….  

Bon appetite….



The Easy Life of Food!

posted by Natalie Paddick

The Easy Life of Food…!

 

I am blessed with three beautiful children, a girl and two boyz, this means a house full of teenagers, for some reason they do not live in the same time zone as us! Therefore once they are on holiday away from the confines of a normal timetable.. It becomes an epic to try and feed them all. So what can happen is the fridge gets raided at all times of the day and night, and their choice of food is what is ever easiest and quickest to quell their instant hunger! One will just fill up on cheese, another on crisps and biscuits and one on endless bowls of cereal… This is of course is fine for the occasional meal but not good on a daily basis… Particularly as their mother likes to cook!

So here is my tasty sausage and beans recipe, it can be cooked in advance left in the fridge and then reheated in the microwave at any time of the day …. And if you are going to serve this to adults look out for my tip below!

Sausage & Beans – My Way!

Sausages – any type you like

Onions – quartered

Baked Beans

Tined Tomatoes

Tomato puree

Squirt of Tomato ketchup

2-3 Garlic cloves

Paprika

Mustard powder

Salt & Pepper

This is a one pot cook, no ‘faff’ recipe. Cook the sausages in oil in the pan give them a good healthy colour, bung in the onions, and cook letting the ingredients stick a little to the pan, brings out the flavour. Don’t let the sausages and onion burn, when it looks like they are going catch, pour in a little water, stir making a sort of gravy out of the fluid. Once the sausages are cooked….

Add the rest of the ingredients. Heat through and Da-Da it is done!

This is how my children eat it!

In the mornings:- This could mean in the middle of the night in the wee hours!

Heated up with fried eggs on top… And crusty bread…

At Lunch or Dinner:- This is any time after 12 noon…

Heated up – Topped with grated cheese served with chips or fried potatoes and a crisp green salad…

Tip – Conversion for the adults!

Serve with roasted peppers and rice…. And for my husband …. Fresh chillies … You can of course roast chillies in the conventional way, heating them over a flame until the skins become black and then putting them in a plastic bag to remove their skin… But this is supposed to be an easy recipe … So for a quick flavoursome way of adding some heat… Cut the chillies into rings cover them with cider vinegar and add caster sugar to balance the flavours… Let the chillies rest for 20 minutes, to take on more of the flavour… Delicious sprinkled over the sausage and beans… This chilli recipe can be used with all sorts.. Really lovely with cheese …

To be honest with you … Anything goes with this recipe .. In terms of the ingredients … Whatever you feel in the moment.. I have ‘poshed’ it up on occasions for an easy adult supper… Adding chorizo sausage, chopped fresh herbs… Adding butter beans and kidney beans… If you reheat the recipe in the oven, it gives the flavours a much deeper expression. Just before serving sprinkle spinach over the top… Serve with crispy garlic bread and rice …. Delicious ….

And now for a Quick Desert …..

Banana Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

My son is either non stop eating banana’s or he leaves them in the fruit bowl to wither and go black! … Not to worry… ! This is the best way to deal with them…

250g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

125g butter or similar

250g caster sugar

4 black bananas – mashed into a bowl – Or what you have

2 eggs – beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

175g chocolate broken into pieces

Heat the oven 180C (350F / Gas 4)

Mix and mash butter, sugar, bananas, eggs, extract.. Don’t over mix.. This recipe is better on the rustic side! Add the dry ingredients and chocolate with a quick mix and pour into an oiled loaf tin. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the skewer test works! Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then turn out… If your children happen to be around you can serve it warm …

In the mornings:-

Serve with butter … With a cup of tea or coffee….

At lunch time or Dinner:-

Serve a slice with vanilla ice-cream …

This cake really lasts well … Well it would if it was not eaten so quickly!

Enjoy …. X



My.Idea.Of.A.Tart

posted by Natalie Paddick

Caramelised Onion Tart

As I have said I loved to cook, I don’t mind what I cook as long as I am cooking….

I don’t eat meat and I can’t eat flour products …. But I don’t care because I can cook them! I have a keen sense of smell and that is how I flavour my food…. I then have a household of willing participants to check my seasoning … So all is well!

As you might imagine meal times are a bit of a marathon in this house as everyone has slightly different tastes and favourite meals … For me this is a good thing … It means that every meal time I get to cook many different meals .. Not everyone’s idea of fun … I realise … But it works for me!

This onion tart can be used for any season and is great if you are entertaining a vegetarian, just melt some goats cheese over the top for extra pizzazz. The tart works beautifully as an accompaniment to any meat dish and I also used it in packed lunches … So in brief it is a great all-rounder!

The best tip about making this tart is the painting of beaten egg over the base of the tart to stop it having a soggy bottom! A tip for all tarts if you ask me!

But no it is not one of my recipes it belongs to Delia! Here is the link:

CARAMELISED BALSAMIC AND RED ONION TARTS WITH GOATS' CHEESE – Just Google it!

The sauce in the picture is my recipe and it goes beautifully with this zinging tart.

Natalie’s crunchy mayonnaise

Judge the amount of ingredients to suit your needs and the amount of people you are serving.

You don’t have to use mayonnaise, sometimes I use yoghurt! Use what you have nothing is written in stone. Just mix them all to taste. Here is what I put in!

Mayonnaise

Good glug of Olive Oil

Dijon mustard tsp or so

Squeeze of lemon

Chopped spring onions

Capers

Chopped celery

Cornichon – Gherkins

This sauce, is quick and easy and works so well, with so many other dishes. The caramelised tart is really quite sweet because of the balsamic vinegar. However if you use this sauce with another meal such as beef or fish, you can sweeten it with a dash of honey or even a squirt of tomato ketchup! Enjoy X

 


Easter2016.LookBook

posted by Natalie Paddick

The Egg Game

Warning … This can provoke mass hysteria …

[You have been warned!! Tears have been known!]

The Origin of the Game

When I was young my parents made friends with a German couple and their children on a Holiday to San Sebastian … [Which incidentally I won in a raffle at my school, the two week holiday that is!] My ‘father’ who has a penchant for collecting people he thinks he can impress and influence, took a liking to this German family. Thus they were incorporated into his collection of miss-fits … Not because they were not nice they were .. But they just did not fit with him! Anyway I digress.. One Easter the German friends and their two children were billeted to Dutch Garden our family home in order to entertain my ‘father’..

They arrived to stay one Easter bringing very many generous gifts for all … One of which was a packet of thin papers in an envelope decorated with pretty shiny Easter eggs… It turned out that decorated real hard boiled eggs at Easter was a tradition for them. I was hooked from the off you dropped these pieces of paper in with the boiling eggs and they would turn the boiled eggs into the brightest full-on colours, which we shined, (back then), with bacon rashers.

 

I loved the look of them and they sat pride of place on the table until Easter Sunday came… Then we were introduced to the egg game … Which was basically to smash the eggs to see which egg remained intact at the end of the game … I know I am easily pleased! A simple person that’s me … Not!!

 

Over the years that followed I have played this game every single Easter .. However I have developed the game to make more sense for us …. This is how it works!

 

The Rules

The aim of the game is the last person standing with an intact egg is the winner … (Intact means that one side can be cracked, so long as that egg has cracked both ends of all the other eggs.)

 

1. Hard Boiled Eggs are essential, at least 3 per person .. More if you like! (We have about 6 each!)

 

2. Decoration of the eggs … See notes …

 

3. Everyone chooses just 1 egg each at the start of the game. The rest remain in the bowl until needed.

 

4. A coin is flipped to see who goes first then all persons taking part stand in a circle.

 

5. The person who has won the toss, turns to the person on their right. Both hold an egg each, pointy end of the egg out.

 

6. The winner of the toss, has first hit of the other person’s egg. Just one hit at a time!... If the hitter cracks the other egg, (pointy end). The egg that is cracked has to be tuned to blunt side of the egg. The person that has cracked the other persons egg gets to hit their egg again.  (So the second hit can be pointy to blunt end or any combination). Whichever egg has annihilated the opponent’s egg. (Both ends of one egg cracked). The winner moves onto the next person. The person that has lost this round chooses another egg, and waits their turn as the egg games goes around the circle of players.

  … Are you following?  The new opponent must use his pointy end first …

 

7. You follow this procedure until you have a winning egg .. Even if that egg has one end broken .. But has destroyed all other eggs at both ends ..

 

Okay it is a bit mad! But it is very funny and strangely competitive … For those of you that are going to complain that it is a waste of eggs .. Use the broken eggs to make egg mayonnaise sandwiches which you can enjoy later with your ‘High Tea!! …

 

Some Tips …

When my children were young they loved to decorate the eggs .. They used to drop them and crack them before we even started the game, so a good way for small children to decorate them is once boiled to put them back into the egg carton and get the children to stick transfers and stickers on the eggs. Then once they have done one side you can turn the eggs so they can be decorated on the other side.

 

Without the special egg colouring papers provided by the German friends. You can colour hard boiled eggs by using food colouring and vinegar with boiling water. If you want to be really arty-farty then you can decorated them in all manner of ways, we like to draw faces on them and personalise them…

 

The winner gets …

Well when the children were younger it used to be a chocolate egg as a prize to add to all of the other bits of chocolate they already had. Now they are all teenagers.. It is money!

 

So there you go …. The Paddick Family Egg game ….. Enjoy … 



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