Fresh Mussels with White Wine, Butter, Garlic and Parsley

I’m a sucker for most things shellfish… bar oysters; I’ve got to draw a line somewhere!

The reason why I don’t eat shellfish often is that J doesn’t like it; and I usually get belly ache after eating them (most likely due to the restaurant’s bad handling of the shellfish).

I rarely cook shellfish at home, but when I heard the local supermarket (grocery store) was having a sale on seafood, I had to have Continue reading


Soft Polenta with Ratatouille


I’ve eaten polenta on numerous occasions, and it’s always been so bland and tasteless. When set and cut into pieces, it’s boring, and when soft, it brings back bad childhood memories of being forced to eat disgusting semolina with a splat of jam. Urgh… UK school dinners (or more correctly lunches) in the 80’s.

Polenta was one of those things that I thought I just hated. That was until J ordered vegetarian polenta at The Olive and Grape for lunch. Two things were weird – he went for a vegetarian dish, and it was polenta?!? Continue reading

All-Butter Croissants


I’ve been spoilt, so spoilt that I’ve tasted fresh croissants in France. And once you’ve tasted the real deal in France, nothing will ever come close in comparison. So, if you ever happen to be visiting France, do NOT, I repeat do NOT try their fresh croissants. Otherwise, you’ll suffer a life-long torment in searching for the perfect croissant again.

Most people are daunted by making croissants, but not I – the more challenging something is supposed to be, the more motivated I become. It’s true that making croissants at home can take a little time, but apart from the initial mixing of the dough, it’s not that labor intensive. Continue reading

Cheese Sables


I made these cheese sables on Valentine’s Day and received the best compliment from J. He said “these taste just like my Uncle’s….” Now, this may not mean much to most people, but J’s uncle used to own a patisserie in the Netherlands for many many years.

These cheese sables are buttery, cheesy, crispy and delicate, suitable for general snacking, nibbles before dinner, or with an aperitif.

The recipe is so simple, yet the results are absolutely outstanding. Make sure you use the highest quality European unsalted butter you can find/afford for this recipe, you will really taste the difference. I used vintage aged Gouda, which is a cheese that’s pretty Continue reading

Chocolate Lava Cakes


This recipe for chocolate lava cakes is not for the faint hearted – they’re pretty deadly! I made them one Christmas for dessert, and even for chocolate lovers, like us, one small ramekin would have been plenty. 

The dessert has a light chocolate-sponge encasing a pool of liquid chocolate. Depending on how long you cook the cakes, you either get a huge pool of liquid chocolate or a very moist cake.  Continue reading

Leek & Goat Cheese Quiche


Spinach & pine-nut, Lorraine, ham & broccoli, roasted red pepper and goat cheese are all flavors of quiche that I love.

Quiche is more often than not, loaded with saturated fat. Take the rich-buttery crust, which is then filled with a custard base with far too much cream, full-fat milk and to top it off tons of cheese.

I tone down the fat in my quiche by using a mixture of unsweetened soy milk and water; I also use very strong mature (sharp) cheese, if required – that way, you only need a tiny bit. Continue reading