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I made a couple of things this week that are quite different to things I’ve made before, and was really pleased with both of them! They can both be vegetarian or feature meat (in France, everything is cooked with lardons. Fact.) and are both pretty easy to make. Especially this tart. After the success of my “pommes” wrapped in pastry in the Whirlpool microwave, I decided that I was going to do more with pastry! So I bought a roll and decided to do something savoury.
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 I had some friends around and this is what I created – although unfortunately this picture lacks the finishing touches. Well, once it was cooked it didn’t hang around for long! So I would suggest topping this with soft cheese (like the walnut cheese above… yum!) and some fresh herbs like basil. Here are the other ingredients it consisted of: Haricot beans of course, these are so cheap that it’s easy to cook with them all the time here! A “Concassé d’Artichauts” – a type of artichoke paste as the base – puff pastry, olives and crème fraiche of course if you want it. That’s the other French ingredient you simply always have in the fridge. Except that I don’t. Well, not for long anyway… So you layer up your ingredients on the pastry and then bake – in our microwave it took about 10-15 mins so quite a bit longer in the oven. What I would also highly recommend, a step that I left out, is to brush the exposed pastry with beaten egg. You’ll get a much nicer finish!
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 Also, why have I never made these stuffed-potatoes before? I love potatoes so much. It seems too obvious to try! How professional is this picture by the way? Haha! Amazing what a bit of lettuce and a white tablecloth can do.
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 The “Whirlpool” with its special “crisp” plate is, I have to admit, a marvellous invention. I want one in my future house. Jacket potatoes…. in about 10 minutes…. with CRISPY SKINS! It’s worth it just for that, believe me! Scoop out the centres once they have cooled a little (sounds obvious doesn’t it? But I could probably dedicate a whole post to quite how often I burn myself out of over-enthusiasm…). Mix the soft potato with butter & crème fraiche, cheese, chopped parsley, fried onions & lardons, and then pack it back into the shells topped with more cheese and bake for a little longer.
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 “Top tip”: make a lot. Then you can eat them the next day for lunch. And the next day. Nom. Both of these recipes can be made with absolutely whatever ingredients you have in your fridge (unless you have a fridge full of ready meals I suppose, though I imagine you could try and stuff a potato with microwave lasagne. It could work.) I’m in a silly mood aren’t I? That’s what comes of living alone. You find random ways to entertain yourself. I’m eternally grateful for the lovely letters in the post, including an advent calendar & finger-puppet version of my dog, to make me chuckle! And I have something new to officially look forward to soon: a chocolate festival in La Rochelle next weekend! Eeek! 😀
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