August 28, 2015



stuffed courgettes

stuffed courgettes6

stuffed courgettes2

We have loads of home grown produce around at the moment.  From a small number of tomato plants we have grown many kilos of tomatoes and they keep on coming.  We didn’t grow these squash and courgettes ourselves, they were gifts from different friends, all of whom seem to have a glut of them this year.  Lucky for us!

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We haven’t done so well with our apples.  Our best apple tree had to be removed to make way for the new fosse septique, leaving us with just one that we have “rescued”.  It was squashed in amongst lots of other weed trees and bushes that were overcrowding it when we bought the house so we cleared them all out to give it room to thrive.  By early July it had loads of apples on it but then we had a spell of really hot weather and the tree suffered badly, most of the apples falling off before they were ripe, becoming food for the critters.  The few in the picture above are our full crop for the year as there are no more on the tree.

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We may be short of apples but we have plenty of donated courgettes - although I thought these looked more like small marrows.  They made me remember the stuffed marrow dish my mum used to make.  Each summer my dad would proudly produce a couple of giant marrows and she would fill thick slices of them with a stuffing of minced beef and onion cooked in Oxo gravy, smother them with cheese sauce and bake them in the oven.  Delicious!

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However, on checking the contents of our fridge I discovered a glut of other bits and bobs that were also in need of using up.  My brother and his daughter came to stay with us in early August and we predictably overbought on food, not allowing for the number of days we were likely to eat out – not to mention the food shopping they did themselves to add to the haul.

My brother and his daughter both enjoy cooking and after they had gone home I found a few interesting things in the fridge that they had bought but never got round to cooking.  Including two packs of halloumi.

I don’t think I have ever eaten halloumi, certainly I have never bought any or cooked with it.  But, along with my glut of tomatoes, a pack of smoked salmon trimmings, some grated Emmental and the large courgettes, an idea of what to do with them all started to form.  I was thinking of a blog post from our friends who gave us the courgettes and the link to a recipe for something called “zucchini boats”.  You can read it here.

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So it turns out that I made something totally new and delicious that I didn’t have to shop for, never really planned, and I will definitely be making again!


2½ large courgettes

1 pack (183g) halloumi, diced

6 medium tomatoes, diced

half a pack (125g) smoked salmon trimmings

a few handfuls of grated Emmental cheese


Put on a large pan of water to boil.  Wipe clean two of the courgettes, slice in half lengthways and remove the seeds.  (I scooped them out with a melon baller.)

Put the oven on to heat up to 200°C / 180° fan.

Drop the courgette halves carefully into the boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Remove and drain.

Dice the remaining half of a large courgette (or a smaller one) and put into a large bowl.  Add the diced tomatoes and halloumi.  Season with salt and pepper, mix together well and stir through the smoked salmon trimmings.  I also added a pinch of the little pack of herbs and spices that came with the cheese.

Arrange the courgette halves in a suitable ovenproof dish.  Pile the stuffing ingredients into them and sprinkle over the Emmental.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until the topping is nicely browned and bubbling.

Serve with a green salad.  Serves two.  Gluten free.

August 23, 2015


blueberry and white chocolate mini muffins2

I am quite a fan of mini muffins.  They are barely more than a single mouthful in size and consequently as a treat they are far less daunting a prospect than regular muffins.  I sometimes find that just one regular muffin is quite filling, and could never eat more than one, whereas mini muffins are so easy to eat that one is never enough – and I don’t feel at all greedy in eating a second or even a third.

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I made these soon after our return to France for what was going to be quite a long stay.  I knew I would be leaving our UK kitchen for several weeks so I had a quick look around for anything that would soon need using up and that I could take with me.  Among the various bits and bobs I found a packet of white chocolate chips in the cupboard and half a pack of fresh blueberries in the fridge.

blueberry and white chocolate mini muffins

I used my old faithful recipe which I have used before and in no time at all rustled up just one tray of mini muffins.  Most muffins have to be eaten on the same day as baking but these mini versions kept well for three days in a cake tin.  Which means I had three days to eat the lot as Nick is not all that keen on muffins……!!


This month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge, organised by Choclette of Tin and Thyme is “anything goes”.

Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

The No Waste Food Challenge is a monthly event of Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary which celebrates the using up of all food rather than throwing it out.


150 g plain flour

50g caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

1 egg, beaten

50g butter, melted and cooled

100 ml milk

75 g blueberries

75 g white chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 200º C (180º fan) and butter a 24 hole mini muffin tin.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.

Add the butter, egg and milk and mix together quickly.  Add the fruit and chocolate and mix in as briefly as possible, avoiding over-mixing, as long as there are no dry bits of flour.

Divide the mixture between the muffin holes.  (I use a mini ice cream scoop to get the amounts reasonable even.)  Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until risen and golden.

Cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack.

Makes 24.

August 21, 2015


lemon tiramisu

First tweak of my tiramisu recipe.

I spotted a recipe for lemon tiramisu in a blog and decided it was such a delicious sounding idea that I just had to make one.  Instead of making that particular recipe I experimented by adapting my usual tiramisu recipe, which I got from a friend about thirty years ago.  She got it from a German magazine when she was living there.

It makes a tiramisu that is more like a trifle than a cake.  In other words you serve it by the spoonful into bowls rather than by the slice on a plate, which is the kind of tiramisu I prefer. 

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Second tweak of my tiramisu recipe, my favourite version, served in a lasagne dish which is not as pretty as the big bowl but probably more suitable for people to serve themselves.

I made the second one to take to a friend’s lunchtime BBQ party, having tweaked the recipe slightly again.  It was placed on the table with all the other desserts and looked nice.  I sampled a small spoonful and thought it tasted lovely.  When I went back for a second helping there was hardly any left and another guest who was poised over it said “you should get the last of this while you can, it’s delicious”.  I thanked him for his praise and he said it was a pity I hadn’t made two!

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So now I’m writing down the recipe with the scribbled changes to my friend’s original, while I can still remember where I put the scrap of paper I wrote them on and interpret my own writing!  As always, it’s even better if you make it the day before you want to eat it, chilling it in the fridge overnight so that it becomes slightly firmer.


This month’s Alphabakes Challenge, organised by Caroline of Caroline Makes and Ros of The more than occasional baker, is the letter “Z”, and this tiramisu has quite a lot of lemon zest in it.


This month’s Simply Eggcellent Challenge, created by Dom of Bellau Kitchen, is “anything goes”, as long as it has eggs in it, which this lemon tiramisu certainly does!


For the syrup

The juice of two lemons

The finely grated zest of one lemon

2 tblsp caster sugar

4 tblsp Limoncello

For the cheese filling

1 pack (175g) boudoir biscuits + possibly a few extra from another pack, depending on the size and shape of your dish

4 egg yolks

3 egg whites

3 heaped tblsp caster sugar

350g mascarpone cheese

the coarsely grated zest of one lemon for decoration


Begin by zesting and juicing the lemons.  I used a lemon zester to get the ribbon-like strips for decoration and a fine grater to get the finely grated rind for the syrup.

For the syrup, mix together the lemon juice, Limoncello, fine zest and 2 tblsp caster sugar in a small bowl – but one big enough to dip in your boudoir biscuits.  Set aside.

Next, separate the eggs, putting 4 yolks in a large bowl with the 3 tblsp caster sugar.  Put 3 of the whites into a medium bowl.

Whip the egg yolks and sugar together using an electric whisk, until pale and thick.  Beat in the mascarpone cheese until smooth.

Whip the egg whites until stiff and fold into the cheese mixture.

To assemble the tiramisu, dip the boudoir biscuits one at a time into the syrup and create a single layer in the bottom of your dish.  Add half the cheese mixture.

Repeat using the rest of the biscuits, making only a single layer on top of the cheese mixture and opening a second packet of biscuits if needed according to the shape of your dish.  Brush any remaining syrup over this layer of biscuits.

Spread the rest of the cheese mixture over the biscuits, making sure you go right to the edge of the dish, leaving no gaps. 

Chill in the fridge for at least four hours and preferably overnight.

Serve chilled and sprinkle the reserved strips of lemon rind over the dessert before serving.

Serves 8.