Poulet Boucané - Caribbean Cooking

It is monthly mingle time again and this time we are taking a journey to the Caribbean. At first I thought: well that will be an easy one I can make a yambalaya, after all that is a real Caribbean dish. But than .... mmmm .... not very original, delicious yes, but not that original. Even if I have given mine a twist. This month's mingle is organized by my dear friend Meeta from What's for Lunch Honey and this month Cynthia from Tastes Like Home is helping out.


So than whatshould I cook? And I went back in to my memories - Haiti, Conches ..... in 1994 and 1995 I was in Haiti and I had great food. The country was quite in a crisis, embargo, military invasion, the place not the safest place to be, but the food, to lick your fingers. It always amazed me how in spite of all the misery the food could be that good.

Barbados - I was there in 1995 - I remember our diners on the beach, music - and I remember my last evening. For three days we had worked very hard, long days, so the last evening after we were done with the beta testing of the software package we were working on - yes party time. We danced and danced and when I finally went back to the hotel I had only 2 hours left before I had to get up again - so why bother go to bed. I packed my bags and went to the beach - swam around - back to the hotel, shower, off to the airport. So yes I remember the ambiance but not what I ate.

I was in Cuba in 1994 but the food was not that good - there was not much, the shops were empty, and the food in the hotel was quite bad - I have a great cookbook Cuban cooking with delicious recipes, but unfortunately the ingredients were missing in Havana. Great music though, and I had loads of fun with the participants from the course. And well yes, the rum was very good.

In 1995 I was in St Kitts, for a simulation exercise "Tradewinds", the island was hit by an earthquake - well that was what the exercise was about - and everyone participated in how the island would respond. In the course of the three days different events happened and the objective was to see who would do what, who would be responsible for what (hospital preparedness, supplies, etc). I remember I learned a lot, enjoyed my last afternoon off during which I bought some great placemats, but no recollection of the food. Well also because we did not eat much, we were so busy that food was the last thing on our mind.

In the end I decided to make a chicken boucané. I tried to find the translation of the word boucané but did not manage. Boucaner is a preservation technique for game and especially for fowl and fish. It consists of drying the food, that has been seasoned with spices, on a fire. This "boucanage" gives a special flavour to the dishes, and when done on a woodfire, the taste is the best. An oven or bbq works also, but the taste will be different.


As happens lately more often I forget to buy ingredients, but than I always have other ingredients that can be used also. For example, I have always have a good stock of coconut milk, or coconut paste, but to my astonishment when I was cooking this Sunday evening I had none left. Crisis! How am I going to make my chicken boucané without coconut milk. I searched everywhere and to my delight found shredded unsweetened coconut. Saved:-)

This dish is originally from French Guyana, and is strongly influenced by the Creole kitchen.

1 chicken boucané
1 kg spicy cucumbers (which I did not have so replaced them with courgettes)
2 tomatoes
1 small tin of tomato paste
1 bottle of coconut milk (I used 100 gr of shredded unsweetened coconut
onions, garlic
bouquet garni (a mix of oregano, thyme, laurier)

For the chicken boucané
5 - 6 cloves of garlic
3 shallots
3 limes
1 chili pepper
thyme, salt, pepper

Cut the chicken in pieces. Marinade the chicken for at least 12 hours in a mix of the garlic, shallots, lime juice, chili pepper, thyme, salt and pepper
The next day grill the chicken in the oven until the pieces are golden and well cooked
Cut the onion in slices, cut the courgettes in pieces. Fry the onions in a pan, add the tomatoes cut in pieces, the courgettes pieces, the bacon in pieces, the bouquet garni. Let it cook for a few minutes and add the tomato paste.
Let the vegetables cook for 15 minutes. Add the shredded coconut with 1 cup of water (or more). Add the chicken and let it all simmer for at least 5 minutes.
Serve with rice.


Verdict: Delicious!

Russian Potato Bread - BBD # 17

There is a first for everything, and for me it is the notion of potato bread. I had never heard of it, or maybe I had and ignored it. And I don't recall having eaten it. So today is a big first - I have made potato bread. That is the one thing I am absolutely sure of, I had never made it. And thanks to Lien from Notitie van Lien I am making two.

BreadBakingDay #17, last day of submission March 1

It is bread baking day and Lien invited us all to prepare a bread with potatoes in it. I have two bread baking books and indeed both carry recipes. In addition I did a search on internet and ran in to an Irish bread "Apple potato bread", but no recipe. As this is my first time around to use potato I decide to follow a recipe from the book: Bread, the breads of the world and how to bake them, from Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter. I bought this book in the US at my favourite bookshop (Books and Borders). I used to live close to this shop and passed by on my way home, that is there were many ways to walk home and depending on my book cravings I would pass by and of course step in, or try not to pass by and finding myself inside the shop again. So each time I go back to the US, I go to my favourite store and load up with English books.


So the bread I made today is a simple potato bread. The dough was very fluffy and instead of making one loaf I made two. I left them a bit flat and cut them with a knife in quarters as that is what I had seen on the web while doing my little research to potato breads. I also used my bread machine to make the dough.

225 gr/8 oz potatoes, peeled and diced
1 sachet dried yeast
350 gr/1 cup white flour
115 gr/1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (the recipe asks for 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds crushed)
25 gr/1 tbspoon butter

Boil the potatoes and mash them when done (keep the cooking water)
Mix the yeast, flours, cumin, salt and butter in the bowl of the bread machine.
Add the mashed potatoes and 150 ml (2/3 cup) of the cooking water.
Turn the machine on the dough cycle. Check if the dough is moist enough and add some water if needed.
When done, remove from the bowl, with a bit of flour knead gently. Form one loaf (or two) and let them rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F degrees.
Bake the bread for 30 minutes until golden.
Let the bread cool on a wire rack.


Bread with very light structure. Taste nothing special. Next time I will try the apple potato bread.

Cooking seven sins - Anger

Christmas brought nice gifts - we exchange among family and also with one of P's best friends. The last few years I have been buying his gifts during my travels in Asia or Africa, and this past Christmas was no exception. JG surprised us this year with a set of cookbooks "Sins". The books come in a cute box saying: 7 books, 168 recipes, succumb to temptation, this box will become your cute sin.

P and I had fun going through all the books and the first recipe I made was from the book "Colère" or Anger in English. Spicy recipes! Now this a cookbook to my liking.


The names of the recipes are delightful: "Mangue et concombre volcaniques en sauce persane" or "Féroce d'avocat".

I decided to start with "La vengeance des Aztèques". The recipe is for 4 persons and is a starter, but we had it as a main dish for 2 persons. I thought I had all the ingredients but when I started cooking I realized I did not have nor corn flour not polenta. Below I give the original recipe and between brackets what I ended up doing)

1 tin of red peppers/chillies (I used bell peppers so the dish was less revengeful)
2 tomatoes (I used 4)
1 clove garlic
1 red onion
cumin, coriander, 1/2 cube of chicken stock, salt, pepper
50 gr corn flour or polenta(which I did not had so I omitted this and added the extra tomatoes)
100 gr feta cheese
2 table spoons sunflower oil (I used Greek olive oil)

Rinse and dry the peppers/chillies.
Rinse the tomatoes and cut in small pieces. Cut the garlic in small pieces.
Fry the onion in one table spoon of oil, add the garlic, cumin, coriander, half of the tomatoes. Let is simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Boil 25 cl water with the chicken stock cube. Add the corn flour or polenta (I did not do this as I did not have the polenta. I mixed all the tomatoes with some feta and stuffed the peppers with this).

Heat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Stuff the chillies with the mixture (which for me was the tomato onion mixture). Place the chillies/peppers in an oven dish, place the remainder of the tomato mixture around the chillies. Sprinkle feta cheese over the chillies, as well as some oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.



Feta bread - Bread baking day

breadbakingday #16

I found a new flour supplier - a friend at the scuba diving club makes his own bread and buys his bread at a real bread mill. And he was willing to buy me some next time he would be going. So yesterday he brought me 5 kg of "farine pain 6 cereales et 5 graines", and it looks fantastic. I received the flour right in time for the bread baking day event of Zorra at 1 x umrühren bitte. This months BBD is hosted by High on the Hog, and the theme is Bread with cheese.


Not a difficult theme as I love bread and I love cheese. I decided to make a feta bread and ended up making two breads (from 500 gr flour), one feta and one feta and sun-dried tomatoes.


I mixed white flour through the multicereal and 5 grain flour, and added olive oil. I used the bread machine to kneed the dough and for the first raise.

320 ml water
450 gr multi cereal flour
60 gr white flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 sachet of dried yeast
150 fr fetah
sun dried tomatoes cut in small pieces

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of the bread machine. After the dough making cycle is finished remove the dough. Kneed a little with your hands and divide in two parts. Make a flat bread, cover one with the feta and the second one with the mixture of feta and sund dried tomatoes. Roll up the breads. Let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place. Bake in the oven (200 degrees) for 40 minutes. Let them cool down and enjoy.


The bread is delicious and am looking forward to this evening's meal as well as my lunch tomorrow.

Tajine - Eintopf

Blog-Event XLII- Eintopf - Einsendeschluss 15. Februar

I am back to blogging and nothing is more fun than to participate in events. For me it works great cause it "pushes" me to blog I guess. After many months of absence where I continued cooking, buying cookbooks and kitchen gadgets, it was time to not only start again but also try to keep it up.

One of the blogs I kept reading was Zorra's kochtopf or 1xumruhren bitte. I "met" her through bread baking day, and me being a weekly bread-baker could not resist in participating. Many of her entries are in German, but as I read and speak German I manage. However writing is something else and as I don't want to make any one suffer I stick to English.

Theme for this month is "Eintopf", one-dish, and these are dishes to my hart. Boring? Absolutely not, there are so many varieties and possibilities.

Despite my husband thinking and saying that I have way too many kitchen things, I don't agree. Some collect shoes, some collect handbags (ehh me too), and I have this thing with kitchen items/gadgets/cookbooks/electrical tools. So when my mother in law asked what I wanted for Christmas I answered "une jeu de boules, but if you don't like to buy that I don't mind a tajine". P did not agree, but clearly his mum did as for Christmas she bought me an electrical tajine. I did not know electric version exists, but they are great.


In the English manual it is called a slow cooker - so this opens up a new world for me and I no longer have to delete the slow cooker recipes that I get regularly by e-mail. The tajine came with a little booklet with recipes, so I could start right away. Well in theory yes, but shopping was needed first.

The first recipe (and so far the only one) is the Spring lamb tajine. Not sure if the "spring" relates to the lamb or the vegetables that I am to use. So of I go to the supermarket, buy the necessary ingredients (or so I think) and once back home started cooking, only to realize that I did not buy all that the recipe asked for, but than that was not the first time. I used frozen vegetables (except for the potatoes) as I grow many of my own vegetables and freeze them for use in winter.

1 kg lamb cut in pieces but I used lamb-chops
170 gr haricot verts - I just added and did not weigh them
400 gr potatoes
6 artichoke harts - I used one tin
350 gr beans - I used courgette - indeed something completely different but it worked well
1 garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika powder (sweet)
1 teaspoon ginger
2 soup spoons of lemon juice
coriander seeds
olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a pan and brown the lamb-chops
Transfer them to the tajine and add all the garlic, ginger and curcuma. Add 2 dl of water and mix. Turn on the tajine and let it simmer for 2 hours
Meanwhile prepare the vegetables. I mixed all the frozen vegetables and defrosted/heated them in a pan while using some olive oil, and added the potatoes.
After the two hours of cooking, remove the lid and add the vegetable mixture, the paprika powder, cumin, lemon juice and coriander. Mix and let simmer for another hour.


Delicious to eat with bread. Well you can of course also cook semolina with it but than it is not a one-dish anymore.

Split pea soup - erwtensoep


It is mid January and cold. A wintry sun shines every day so that we are not completely in the dark and yes the days are getting slightly longer again. Temperatures are still below 0 each day and it was only -5 C degrees yesterday morning when leaving for work. Although with our heating and hold water system in working order I am not complaining. When we got back from holidays we were without fuel. Our house was freezing cold. After 5 days we got fuel delivered (1500 l) so we should be fine for the rest of the winter. Luckily enough we have an old fashioned wood-stove and that saved us so to say. Although I should not complain too much as this is how our 80 years old neighbours live. Lots of blankets and a hot water bottle to stay warm at night and a wood-stove in one room to stay warm during the day.

These cold temperatures remind me of the days when I was growing up. I lived "overseas" as a child and returning to the Netherlands when I was almost 12. I did not like it, the rain, the cold, the early dark afternoons. The only good thing about the winter was the skating. On real cold winters I could just put on my skates (plus protectors) walk over the canal behind the house and skate for hours.

When moving to Wageningen for my studies it got even better. The river "de rijn" would overflow in to the lower fields. Now this was skating paradise. For km's one could skate on natural ice. After having skated for hours we would eat "erwtensoep", split and green pea soup. A thick and heavy soup and very nutritious.

At home we never were soup eaters, but my husband ate quite some home made soup in winter. And I have become a soup eater in winter as well. We grow many of our vegetables ourselves (organic) and freeze a large part to make all kind of vegetable soups in the winter. To change a bit I made split pea soup. Enough for a few evenings, after all this soup reheated tastes even better. And it is a very easy recipe.
In the Netherlands they eat this soup traditionally with rey bread and pancakes for desert. However we eat the soup with baguette - easier to get here in rural France.

For the Meeta's Monthly Mingle we are to prepare a healthy family diner and this is my entry - a healthy soup that forms a complete meal. This month the event is hosted by Michelle from What's Cooking Blog.

MM 29

I did not use bone marrow to make the bouillon - the butcher had none at hand - however he assured me that I could use pig's tail. I will spare you the picture of this as it did not look that appetizing but it made a good base for the soup. I prepared the soup in the pressure cooker to save time and energy. The recipe below is an adaptation of the original recipe as I did not have all ingredients at hand for a traditional soup, but the taste was delicious anyway and after all that's what counts.


2 pig tails
400 gram split peas
100 gr carrot
1 3/4 liter of water
200 gram of bacon cut in small pieces
pepper to taste

Cook the 2 pig tails in the water for 30 minutes in the pressure cooker.
Turn of the heat, wait until the pressure is gone, open the pressure cooker and add the split peas and carrots.
Cook for 40 minutes.
Turn of the heat, wait until the pressure is gone, open the pressure cooker, remove the pig tails and puree the carrots. The split peas are already puree.
Add the bacon and cook for another 5 minutes.


Spicy Christmas cookies - Etoiles au miel perfumé

Happy new year to all.

After a long long silence back to food blogging. No, it wasn't triggered by a New Year's resolution, but simply by reading Meeta's blog and thinking "Hey I made cookies, there might be some left over, maybe I should give it a try". So last night I made the pictures but ouch no internet.

The zimtsternen as prepared by Meeta are one of my favourite cookies, I buy them each year. Many years ago a Swiss friend gave me the recipe and somehow mine never looked the way her's did or the way Meeta's look. So maybe this should be my resolution for this year - trying to make them again. My entry of course is not a recipe for zimtsterne, but honey perfumed stars.


A few years ago I bought a magazine with delicious looking Christmas cookies. However I never made it beyond my favourite one. And each year I say to myself that I should try to make the others, I buy ingredients, but no, somehow it just doesn't happen. As these are soo delicious it is not really a problem and I end up making large quantities. The mix of the spices (cinnamon, clove, coriander and anise) with the honey is soo good. The chilli gives it a final nice twist.

These stars are very easy to make, no decoration as I am lefthanded when it comes to decorating cookies. A good reason to buy the book written by Anita Chu: "Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imaginable!".

If you think the cookie should have some decoration, the original recipe asks for almond slivers.


250 gr flour, 125 gr butter, 125 brown sugar, 100 gr of almond flour, 1 egg, 2 coffee spoons of baking powder, 100 gr honey, salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
cloves (in powder)
coriander (in powder)
anise (in powder)
chilli pepper

Mix all ingredients. Make a ball, cover it in plastic foil and let it rest 2 hours in the refridgerator.
Remove the dough from the fridge and kneed it again. As you will have quite some dough divide it in smaller parts. Roll them out on a surface slightly covered with flour to avoid sticking. You can either roll them in between two sheets of foil or dust the roll with flour.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
Make the stars and place them on the oven sheets covered with baking paper.
Bake them for 15 minutes in the oven

The amount of dough will give you some 60 stars.


The original recipe is from: Burda, Cuisine créative, Petits gateaux de Noël, hors série No7, Novembre 2005.

Cardamom rolls - Bread baking day # 8

Weekend, and finally a quiet weekend at home. Time to make some fun bread. I eat every day home made bread for lunch, whole grain wheat bread cut in slices - nothing special but oh so nice. In the weekends I enjoy making different kinds of bread, but one obviously needs to be at home to do so.

Wild yeast is hosting Bread making day # 8 and I am happy to participate. The theme is any seasonal holiday or event we would like to honour with a special bread.

BreadBakingDay #8 - celebration breads

I had planned to make an Easter bread as last weekend was Easter. But three days before Easter my husband asked me if I would like to go to Monaco with him. What a question. I had never been there before and wouldn't mind participating in the charity event organized by Princess Stephanie of Monaco. The charity event included a concert and gala diner to raise money for HIV/AIDS projects she organizes with the NGO she established in 2003. And yes I did meet her and had my picture taken.


Making an Easter bread after Easter did not really make sense, so what holiday bread could I bake. I really felt like eating cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and as I had already made them several times it wouldn't be special. What if ... I omit the cinnamon and use cardamom instead. Yes I know it is not very original, as many bloggers have done so before me. And to what would I dedicate my rolls. To spring. Not every culture celebrates the coming of spring - and I don't really either but after all the snow we had on Easter Monday (upon return) I was so happy this weekend with the sun being out and my hyacinths in full bloom.


The recipe is adapted from "All American food" written by David Rosengarten, and is originally for cinnamon rolls. But I just replaced the cinnamon and sprinkled cardamom over the sugar and melted butter.

I used half the recipe and therefore adjusted slightly. Also as I do not have vegetable shortening I used vegetable oil and added some more flour.


1 package of dry yeast
3/8 cup warm water
3/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup of oil
1/4 cup of melted butter plus 3 spoons of melted butter
1 egg
3/4 cup of milk
3.5 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar (or half brown and half granulated sugar)
cardamom (one tablespoon of to taste)

I made the dough using my bread baking machine. I added all the ingredients in the machine and used the dough making programme which takes 1.5 hour mixing and rising.

When done: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F or 180 C. Remove the dough from the pan, roll it out an the counter sprinkle with flour in a rectangle. Brush it with the 3 melted tablespoons of butter, sprinkle the sugar and the cardamom over the rolled out dough. Roll the dough up into a roll and slice it in to rounds. Arrange them on a buttered pan. Bake the rolls in the oven for 30 minutes until golden and puffed up. The original recipe calls for 20 minutes baking time but I added 10 minutes. The glaze as was called for in the original recipe I omitted as I didn't think it was necessary. The verdict: delicious.


Tiropita - International Women's Day


fiordisale and 1x umrühren bitte are organizing a special event for International Women's Day. And to honour all women all over the world we are asked to cook yellow. Great idea.

The tradition is in Southern countries to give sprigs of bright yellow Mimosa flowers to women. The flowers are intended as a sign of respect and also an expression of solidarity with the women in their support for oppressed women worldwide. So what better way of participating with a Greek dish - tiropita - cheese pie.

Where I live in rural France I have a hard time finding the phyllo dough, and I honestly don't see myself making it myself. Too cumbersome. So instead each time I go to Greece I bring some home with me and freeze it. In February I was in Istanbul for work for a few days and ofcourse I made a visit to the supermarket (as I do in each country I visit). Last year I visited supermarkets in Cambodia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Congo Brazzaville and Burkina Faso. I never dare to take any pictures, but I enjoy it every time fully.

Back to my Greek cheesepie:


500 gr feta cheese
100 gr gruyere cheese, grated
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons melted butter
mint finely chopped
4 eggs, beaten
butter (plenty) to grease the dough
500 gr phyllo dough

Mash the feta with a fork. Add the grated gruyere, milk, butter, mint, beaten eggs and pepper to taste. Butter a baking dish and line it with half of the phyllo dough, brushing each sheet with melted butter. (I buttered every two sheets to reduce the amount of butter). Spread the cheesemix over the dough and cover with the remainder of the phyllo dough, buttering every two sheets.
Before baking I already cut the pie in squares as it is easier prior to baking.
Bake the cheese in a moderate oven for about an hour.


International Women's Day

Cauliflower gratin

The temperatures have dropped outside again. Last Sunday it was 19 degrees Celsius and it felt like spring, since two days we are thrown back in to winter again with temperatures below zero and a little above.

These winter temperatures ask for a winter dish, and with my busy schedule I like (and certainly need) simple dishes. All throughout November and December I looked at the different vegetables in the supermarket, and did not feel any inspiration (it got to that level). But this week while looking at the cauliflower I was thinking: "I can do something with you!"

So in the shopping basket it went. At home I rinsed the cauliflower (I had no time to let it stand for 15 minutes in water with salt to remove its possible inhabitants) after all it was late and I was very hungry by now.
I cut it in pieces, and boiled it for 10 minutes in the pressure cooker.
In the meantime I made a bechamel sauce with half a liter of milk, 50 gr of butter and 50 gr of flour.

The cooked cauliflower went in to the oven dish, covered with the bechamel sauce and grated cheese was sprinkled over the vegetables in sauce.

I left it some 20 minutes in the oven - last 5 minutes under the grill to get some extra crunchy cheese.

As Meeta asked us for one-dish dinners I submit my one-dish cauliflower gratin for this month's Monthly Mingle