Petits Farcis

Not only do they look delicious, but they also taste delicious: Légumes Farcis or Petits Farcis. Easy to make and always a pleasure to serve. You could buy them ready made from your delicatessen or butcher, but why would you? Prepare them at home the way you personally prefer them, perhaps with some extra shallot, herbs or garlic.

Let’s talk a bit about the farce, the stuffing of the vegetables. It should fill the vegetable, obviously, and remain connected to the vegetable, also when cooked. Its texture must be loosely. This is where most recipes go wrong when they tell you to add panko or breadcrumbs to the farce. Follow this instruction and you will notice that during the cooking process the filling will become smaller and firmer. There you are: a meatball in a tomato. That’s not what you want. Not at all! Lesson learned, no panko, no breadcrumbs.

The meat should be nicely fat, not too finely minced and preferably a combination of porc and veal. Tasty, sufficiently fat and elegant. You could also use sausage meat. When in doubt, ask your butcher.

Wine Pairing

Keep it simple! A dry white wine, a rosé or a nice beer will be perfect. Serve what you think is best with this tasty, juicy and heart-warming food.

What You Need

  • Vegetables such as Tomatoes, Courgette, Red Bell Pepper
  • Minced Meat or Sausage Meat
  • Shallot
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Black Pepper

What You Do

Finely chop the shallot, the garlic and the parsley. Additionally you could use thyme, rosemary or oregano. Combine the meat with the shallot, the garlic, the herbs and black pepper. Cut off the top of the tomato and use a knife and a teaspoon to hollow out the tomato. Keep the pulp and the seeds. Slice the bell pepper lengthwise and remove the seeds and the ribs. Discard. Cut off the top of the courgette and use a teaspoon to hollow out the courgette. Keep the pulp. Add the farce to the vegetables. Close the tomatoes and the courgettes with the caps. Transfer to a baking dish, add some olive oil, the pulp and the seeds of the tomatoes and the courgette to the dish. You could add some extra shallot. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes (depending on the size) on 180 °C or 355 °F.
Enjoy hot or lukewarm (with some of the cooking liquid), perhaps with a simple green salad or rice.

Petits Farcis ©cadwu
Petits Farcis ©cadwu

Coronation Quiche

The coronation of King Charles is a wonderful combination of tradition, religion and mystery, a ceremony loved by many, for its pageantry, the celebrations, the concerts and of course the coronation food. Just think about a lovely Victorian Sponge Cake with raspberry jam and buttercream or a Coronation Chicken (Poulet Reine Elizabeth) with carrots, green peas, rice and a creamy curry sauce.

King Charles’s coronation quiche is supposed to somehow reflect his vision regarding the monarchy and its role in modern society. The quiche is tasty, healthy, nutritious, not expensive and relatively easy to make. Plus, when you replace the lard in the original recipe with butter (as we do), then it’s a nice vegetarian dish. Great to share with friends.

The quiche combines spinach with broad beans, tarragon and cheddar cheese. We suggest baking it one day ahead and serving it at room temperature.

We read the recipe, watched a few videos (this one is good fun, it also shows how to make a Victorian Sponge cake) and decided to prepare a Coronation Quiche, topped with a Crown!

What You Need (for a 15 cm tin)

  • For the Pastry
    • 125 grams All Purpose Flour
    • Pinch of Salt
    • 50 grams Cold Butter
    • 2 tablespoons Water
  • For the Filling
    • 200 ml Double Cream
    • 2 Eggs
    • 1 tablespoon chopped Fresh Tarragon
    • 100 grams grated Cheddar Cheese
    • 400 grams fresh Spinach
    • 450 grams fresh Broad Beans (or Fava Beans)

What You Do

Start by making the shortcrust pastry. Dice the butter. Sieve the flour, add a pinch of salt and combine. Add the butter and mix using your fingertips until is has a crumble-like texture. Add the water and turn the mixture into a dough. Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for one hour.

Now it’s time to prepare the vegetables. Wash and cook the spinach. Let cool. Drain and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. Chop finely. Remove the beans from the shell. Cook for 2 minutes. Let cool and double pod.
Flour your work surface and roll out the pastry to a circle a little larger than the top of the form. The dough should be approximately 4 mm thick. Coat the form with butter. Line the form with the pastry. Use a knife to remove the excess dough. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 190 °C or 375 °F. Use a fork to make small holes in the pastry. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper, add baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and the baking beans. If you think the pastry is a bit wet, then transfer back to the oven for 2 or 3 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 160 °C or 320 °F.
Beat the eggs and keep some of the egg apart. You need it later to give some extra colour to the crown. Beat together cream, eggs, herbs and fresh black pepper. Scatter half of the grated cheese in the blind-baked base, top with the chopped spinach and then the beans, and finally pour over the mixture with cream, eggs, herbs and pepper. Finish by sprinkling the remaining cheese.

Use the remainder of the dough to make a crown. Coat with the egg mixture. You could apply an extra coating halfway the baking process.

Place the quiche and the crown into the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until set and lightly golden. The crown is ready after some 10 – 15 minutes.

Bouchée à la Reine

Crispy, fluffy, flaky puff pastry and a rich, warm filling with mushrooms and parsley, what better way to turn leftovers into a tasty starter. Bouchée a la Reine: a classic in Belgium and France. Not modern at all, but such fun to serve (and eat). You could fill the pastry with poultry, with mushrooms, shrimps, sweetbread, just about anything will go, as long as you use a rich roux as basis.
Making our own puff pastry is a bit too much for us, making your own bouchée is not too difficult, but buying them at the bakery is also fine. 

Wine Pairing

It all depends on the filling of your Bouchée a la Reine. It could be a light red wine if you have some left over veal, if it’s sweetbread then a lightly oaked chardonnay is fine et cetera. In all cases keep in mind that the filling comes with a generous amount of butter.

What You Need

  • 2 Bouchées
  • Some left over Veal or Chicken or Shrimps
  • Mushrooms
  • For the Roux
    • Butter
    • All Purpose Flour
    • Stock
  • Parsley
  • Lemon
  • Black Pepper
  • Butter

What You Do

Chop the (already cooked) meat and the mushrooms. Gently heat some butter in a pan, add the mushrooms and leave them for 10 minutes or so. Add the meat. Taste and add black pepper, perhaps some lemon juice, spices and herbs, definitely lots of parsley. In parallel make the roux. Warm the stock. Add butter to a pan, add the equal amount of flour plus a bit more (remember you also have some butter in the other pan). Softly fry the flour until you begin smelling that typical cookie aroma, then start adding the warm stock, slowly at first, constantly whisking. Add the meat, the mushrooms, some black pepper and the chopped parsley. Don’t turn the roux into a sauce, it must be ragout like. At this stage you could cool the filling for use later on.
Heat the bouchée in an oven at 180 °C or 355 °F for 10 minutes. Transfer from the oven onto a plate, add the filling and serve immediately.

Bouchée a la Reine ©cadeau
Bouchée a la Reine ©cadeau

Small-Spotted Catshark with Dashi and Bok Choy

Earlier we wrote about small-spotted catshark, also known as lesser-spotted dogfish or rock salmon. It’s a very common fish, not endangered, it doesn’t have bones (sharks have a cartilaginous skeleton), it’s tasty and the texture of the meat is moist and pleasant. When we tasted the fish with a tomato and red bell pepper stew, we started talking about other ways of preparing it. Perhaps a Portuguese version with piri piri, tomatoes and potatoes? Or a fish stew with shark, mullet, monkfish and clams? Or with dashi, soy sauce, mirin, ginger and lemon?

Wine Pairing

A Pinot Gris or a Sylvaner from the Alsace region will be perfect, dry, floral and a touch of sweetness. In general a light bodied, aromatic, unoaked white wine will be a good choice.

What You Need

  • For the Fish
    • 200 grams of Small-Spotted Catshark
    • Dashi
    • Mirin
    • Light Soy Sauce
    • Sake (optional)
    • Lemon Juice
    • Olive Oil
  • For the Vegetables
    • Bok Choy
    • Oyster Sauce
    • Soy Sauce
    • Fresh Ginger

What You Do

Add some olive oil to a pan and fry the fish. Combine dashi, a teaspoon of mirin, soy sauce and sake. Taste and adjust. You’re looking for a firm, not too sweet mixture. After a few minutes add the mixture to the pan. The idea is to stew the fish in this mixture and when the fish is done (this will take some 20 minutes), reduce the liquid, add a splash of lemon juice and coat the fish with the reduction. In parallel chop the bok choy and simmer the white of the vegetable in a mixture of water, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Just before serving add some grated ginger and the chopped green of the bok choy to the pan. Serve the fish on top of the vegetables.

Small-Spotted Catshark with Dashi and Bok Choy ©cadwu
Small-Spotted Catshark with Dashi and Bok Choy ©cadwu

Bell Pepper Soup with Grains of Paradise

The first time we read about Grains of Paradise (or Melegueta Pepper) was when we prepared Sauce Cameline. The grains are common to the North and West African cuisine and were brought to Europe in the thirteenth century. According to some as a cheap substitute for black pepper. Recently we were fortunate to buy them and now we are impressed by their flavour: spicy, citrus and a touch of vanilla. When used in a stew it becomes less pungent. They gave a delicious and complex boost to the redd bell pepper soup.

Grains of Paradise are used to give flavour to craft beers, especially dark, seasonal beers. It can be a component of Has el Ranout. American chef Alton Brown uses Grains of Paradise in a stew with Okra and Tomatoes, in Apple Pie and in Lentil Soup.

For some reason it’s crucial to combine grains of paradise and lemon juice, As if the acidity amplifies the flavour of the grains?

What You Need

  • 2 Red Bell Peppers (or 1 Red and 1 Orange)
  • Shallot
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 5 cm Carrot
  • 10 cm Celery Stalk
  • 250 ml Vegetable Stock
  • 5 cm of Fresh Rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon of Grains of Paradise
  • Lemon Juice
  • Crème Fraîche
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Clean the bell peppers and cut in 4. Transfer to the oven and grill or roast for 10 minutes or until well charred. When still hot, put the bell peppers in a plastic container and close it. After one hour it’s easy to remove the skin of the bell pepper. Chop and set aside.
Chop the shallot, the garlic, the celery and the carrot. Add olive oil to a pot and add the shallot. Glaze. Add the carrot, the celery and the garlic. Leave on low heat for a few minutes. Add the bell pepper. After a few minutes add the stock, the rosemary and the crushed grains of paradise. Leave on low heat for one hour. Remove the rosemary. Use a blender to make a smooth soup. Pass through a sieve. Taste the soup and decide if you want to add some extra grain of paradise. Leave the soup on low heat for 30 minutes. Just before serving add one or two teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, depending on the flavour and your taste. The soup should be smokey, aromatic, a touch spicy and refreshing. You could add more crushed grains of paradise, that will make the soup spicier. Make a swirl with crème fraîche an serve.

Red Bell Pepper Soup ©cadwu
Red Bell Pepper Soup ©cadwu

Spaghetti Carbonara with Guanciale

This must be one of the tastiest dishes from the Italian cuisine. Creamy, rich, moist, salty, aromatic, delicious and not difficult to prepare. It’s also not difficult to ruin the dish, that’s why Antonio Carluccio recorded a video showing you exactly how to prepare it and how to make sure your Carbonara is creamy.

About the ingredients: If possible, use guanciale, cured pork cheek. It’s also used for another delicious recipe from the same Italian region: Bucatini all’amatriciana. The pork meat is rubbed with salt, pepper and various herbs and cured for a number of weeks. Guanciale is not smoked and therefore its taste is very different from bacon. Pancetta (made from pork belly) could be an alternative, provided it’s not smoked.

As emphasised by Carluccio, most certainly no cream. And no garlic, basil, parsley, onion or white wine we would like to add.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Spaghetti Carbonara with a glass of Bardolino 2022, produced by Monte del Frà from Italy. The wine has a beautiful deep red colour and the aromas made us think of red fruit and perhaps pepper. The wine is medium bodied with some acidity and fruitiness. In general, you’re looking for a fruity red wine with a touch of acidity, for example Chianti Classico, Montepulciano or Barbera. If you prefer a white wine, then a Pinot Grigio or Soave is a good choice.

What You Need

  • 125 grams of Guanciale
  • Spaghetti
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 organic Eggs
  • Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper

What You Do

Cut of the cured edge of the guanciale. Dice the meat. Heat a pan, add olive oil and reduce the heat to medium. Fry the guanciale. In parallel cook the spaghetti al dente, this will take some 10 minutes. Whisk the eggs, add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and whisk again. When the pasta is ready, remove the pan from the heat and add the spaghetti straight from the water to the pan. Combine and make sure the spaghetti is nicely coated with the fat and juices from the meat. Now it’s time to create your creamy carbonara! Check if the spaghetti and the pan are not too hot. If so, better wait a minute. Add the egg mixture, combine, keep moving the spaghetti, add some freshly grated black pepper, keep stirring and then serve immediately on a warm plate with some extra Parmesan cheese.

Tuna Tartare

A starter that is tasty, appetizing and easy to make, one that will always put a smile on your face. The only challenge is to buy excellent, fresh tuna. Since most tuna species are overfished or at the risk of becoming overfished, make sure the tuna you buy is from sustainable fishing practices, for instance if it’s certified by MSC (Marine Stewardship Council). Whatever you do, look for skipjack or albacore and don’t buy bluefin (or yellowfin).

Wine Pairing

In general, enjoy the tartare with a white wine, for instance a Picpoul de Pinet or a Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine with aromas such as apple and peach. Flavour wise the wine must be dry with a mild citrussy flavour and some minerality.
We happily opened a bottle of Château de Crémat Blanc 2021. A wine with a light-yellow colour, with complex aroma’s (toast, floral, grapefruit) and a long finish.

What You Need

  • 150 grams of Tuna
  • Capers
  • Organic Lemon (Zest and Juice)
  • Chives
  • Black Pepper

What You Do

Make sure you have all ingredients ready before you combine it with the tuna. If you mix too often, the tartare will become soggy.
Wash the lemon, make a teaspoon or so of zest, squeeze the lemon. If using salted capers, make sure to wash them carefully (and long); a salty taste will ruin the tartare. Better to use capers in brine. Dry the capers and chop. Take 5 or 10 sprigs of chives, cut in small bits using scissors. Dice the tuna. Add tuna, chopped capers, zest, chives and some black pepper to a bowl. Add a drizzle of lemon juice. Combine, taste and adjust. Cover with cling foil and transfer to the refrigerator for one or two hours. Decorate with mayonnaise and two sprigs of chives.

Tuna Tartare ©cadwu
Tuna Tartare ©cadwu

Scallops with Roe

Where you are in the world influences how you enjoy your scallops: with or without the roe? That’s probably why we are used to discarding the roe, even if we buy our scallops in the shell.
We were talking to our fish monger, and he completely disagreed with us. He feels the roe is a tasty bonus, perhaps a bit more intense than the white of the scallop (the muscle). The texture of the roe gives a very pleasant mouthfeel, he told us.
We bought six scallops and promised him to eat both the muscle and the roe.
The flavours are very similar and the combination is a real treat. As our fish monger mentioned, it is a tasty bonus. We served the scallops with a potato purée. It creates a nice balance in the dish and it allows you to taste the scallops even better.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Scallops with a glass of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie produced by Château de la Noë. This is an aromatic wine with fruity aromas, minerality and a long finish, which goes very well with the taste of the scallops and the purée.
The term ‘sur lie’ indicates that during a few months the wine stays in contact with the dead yeast cells left over after fermentation. This technique makes the wine more complex.
In general you’re looking for an elegant, fresh, light wine with clear acidity.

What You Need

  • For the Seared Scallops
    • 6 fresh Scallops (best if in their shell)
    • Olive Oil
    • Black Pepper
  • For the Potato Purée
    • One Potato
    • Butter
    • Cream
    • Nutmeg
    • Black Pepper

What You Do

Clean and steam (or cook) the potato until done. Use a fork to mash the potato (we love a bit chunky purée in this combination; therefore we suggest using a potato that’s also suitable for making fries), add butter, mash some more, add cream. Taste and add more butter and/or cream. Just before serving add freshy grated nutmeg and black pepper.
Clean the scallops. Heat a non-stick pan, add some olive oil to the pan and fry the muscle and the roe quickly. When on the plate, add some black pepper.

Cod Cheeks

Cod has been a popular fish for hundreds of years. Much appreciated for its taste and structure. Its popularity unfortunately also means it has been heavily overfished. During the nineties the population dropped significantly. Thanks to various restrictions, cod is slowly on its way back to recovery, especially in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, although it is still on the red list in many countries. Sea Food Watch provides a very helpful buying guide.

When you buy cod, in most cases you buy cod fillets. But what happens to the remainder, what happens for instance to the head? You could roast it in the oven, you could use it to make stock (don’t forget to remove the skewers), in some countries dried cod heads are appreciated as a delicacy, but in reality, most fish heads seem to end up in animal food or biofuel.

Recently our fish monger surprised us by selling cod cheeks, an absolute delicacy. They are moist with a firm structure and have a delicate taste. Great to combine with parsley, capers and lemon. Or make a batter with beer, flower and egg, coat the cheeks and fry them in oil at 180 °C or 360 °F.

Wine Pairing

A medium bodied white wine will do very well in combination with the Cod Cheeks, for instance an unoaked Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc. We enjoyed a glass of Clin d’Oeil, Saumur Blanc from the Loire region in France produced by Les Vignobles Edonis. It’s a dry wine with clear acidity, fruit, green apples, some minerality and length.

What You Need

  • 200 grams of Cod Cheeks
  • All Purpose Flower
  • Egg
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Butter
  • Pepper
  • Tartar Sauce

What You Do

Carefully remove the skin and white membranes of the cod cheeks. Separate the egg, whisk the egg yolk. Heat a pan and add butter. Dry the cod cheeks with kitchen paper, dust with flower, then dip in the egg yolk and coat with bread crumbs. Fry until golden. Add some black pepper and serve on a warm plate. A dish to share!

Make your own bread-crumbs by using old, stale but originally very tasty bread. Obviously, we use our home-made bread.
Toast the bread and let cool. Cut in smaller bits and then use a cutter or blender to make the crumbs. They keep very well in the freezer, so best to make in advance, when you have some left over bread.

Make your own tartar sauce by combining mayonnaise, pickles, lemon juice, capers, dill and Dijon mustard.

Cod Cheeks ©cadwu
Cod Cheeks ©cadwu

Fried Large Prawns

Prawns and shrimps are very popular, just think shrimp cocktail, paella, salad with shrimps, pasta with seafood, stuffed eggs with shrimps, curry with shrimps and fried shrimps with garlic and lemon. Most of these prawns and shrimps are cultivated, frozen and then shipped. For this recipe you need really large, fresh, wild or organic prawns because the dish is all about the prawn, its flavour and aromas. The result fully depends on the quality of the prawn.
We use the shell, the legs and the so-called swimmerets of the prawns to create a sauce; a bisque like sauce. 

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Prawns with a glass of Picpoul de Pinet produced by Gérard Bertrand. A dry white wine, with a pale straw yellow color. It has aromas of citrus and gooseberries. The wine is full and round with minerality which is typical for a Picpoul de Pinet.
You could also combine the prawns with a glass of Chablis, Verdejo or Soave.

What You Need

  • Two large Prawns, fresh, either wild or organic
  • For the Bisque
    • One small Shallot
    • Chili Pepper
    • Olive oil
    • Armagnac or Cognac
    • Garlic
    • Tomato Paste
    • One Saffron Thread
    • Water
    • Bouquet Garni (Thyme, Parsley)
  • For the Tomato
    • One excellent dark Tomato
    • Olive Oil
    • Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Crusted Bread

What You Do

We start by making a bisque-like sauce, using the shell of the prawns.
Chop the shallot and a bit of chili pepper and glaze gently for 10 minutes in olive oil. In parallel use scissors to cut the shell of the prawn. Start behind the head and cut towards the tail. Just before the tail turn 90 degrees and make a cut around the prawn. This allows you to remove the shell and the legs of the body but keep the head and the tail on the prawn. Remove the black vein (the prawn’s intestines) and the slurry in the head (if any). Since you serve the prawn with the head (and tail) it is essential that the prawn is clean. You could gently rinse the prawn if you want to be absolutely sure about this. Transfer the prawns to the refrigerator.

Break the shell into smaller chunks. Add these to the pan and fry for a few minutes until red. Add a small splash of Cognac or Armagnac and flambé. Never do this when using the exhaust or range hood. Add one garlic glove, water, a teaspoon of tomato paste, the bouquet garni and the saffron. Stir well, cover the pan and let rest on low heat for 30 minutes.
Remove the bouquet and the shells from the pan. Use a spoon and a sieve to squeeze the juices from the bouquet and the shells, then discard. Blender the mixture and pass through a sieve. Taste the mixture, add pepper if so required. Leave for another 30 minutes on very low heat, allowing for the flavors to integrate and for the liquid to reduce.

Make a dressing by combining olive oil and vinegar. Wash and slice the tomato. Coat the slices with the dressing. Dry the prawns and fry them in a skillet in oil (depending on the size maximum 4 minutes in total) on both sides and on the back. Use warm plates, and serve the prawn on top of the sauce. Touch of black pepper on the prawn is fine. Enjoy with crusted bread.


A few years ago we made a video showing you in detail how to prepare this dish.

Fried Large Prawn ©cadwu
Fried Large Prawn ©cadwu