Tag Archives: Butter


The inspiration for this recipe came from the veg box again, having received three aubergines this week.  When I thought what I could do with aubergines my mind went back to growing up and my mum making delicious moussaka!

I did a quick search and the first recipe online that I found was from Rick Stein, who I love, so all in all a quick recipe search!


The day started early in the supermarket trying to get lamb mince.  I don’t think it is so common in Spain but as in all good supermarkets, they have quite an extensive butcher counter we were able to get some minced for us.  A few eyebrows were raised when we said we wanted to mince that nice piece of leg that they had but anyway we achieved our goal!

The recipe does take a couple of hours so make sure you set enough time aside.

I started by browning the onion and garlic, before adding the lamb mince and frying for 3-4 mins.  I then added the wine, tinned tomatoes, half a teaspoon of cinnamon (I didn’t have a stick) and about 1 tablespoon of dried oregano (I didn’t have it fresh!).  I then left it to simmer for about 40 mins.



I then started on the aubergine base, by cutting my aubergines lengthways into thin(ish) strips.  I used 2 rather than 3 in the end as it seemed like a fair amount already.  I think this was a wise choice also considering how full my dish got at the end!


I fried the aubergine strips in batches adding a bit of salt and pepper as I went and then layered them at the bottom of the dish.



The final step was to make the béchamel sauce.  I melted the butter, added the flour and then slowly added the milk, stirring constantly.  Then I let it simmer for 10 mins before adding the cheese and then beating in the eggs.  It made for a rich and thick béchamel.





I layered the meat sauce on the aubergines, followed by the béchamel sauce.  Fairly straightforward but clearly my dish wasn’t big enough as I couldn’t fit all the sauce in and you can see it was pretty full!  The problem I have though is that in my very small kitchen, I have a very small oven so bigger dishes are not an option right now.  But in other exciting news, the renovation of our new place is reaching the final stages so possibly my next post will be from a normal size oven but still in a relatively small kitchen 🙂

Size issues aside, the recipe is great.  Yes, it does take a bit of time but it’s not complicated and the taste of the moussaka is rich and filling!









Leave a comment

Filed under Casserole, Cheese, Food, Herbs, Recipes, Slow cooking, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Seared salmon with leek mash and mustard hollandaise sauce


Today is a holiday and to celebrate that and reaching 2000 hits on my blog (!!!), I wanted to make something I’d not done before.  I was searching by the ingredients I had in the fridge and found this recipe which is on the BBC website:


So I’d definitely made mash before (!) and salmon so the unknown piece in this recipe was the hollandaise sauce.  It turned out to be not that complicated despite not really having the full list of ingredients (at least not quite enough butter!).  The BBC recipe suggests that the ingredients listed make enough sauce for 1 person.  Now, I’m not sure if people exist that would eat that much hollandaise sauce but my recommendation is that it makes easily enough for 2-3 people 🙂

Despite cooking quite frequently, new sauces do still seem like a step into the unknown so it was good to have done this one and seen that it is fairly straightforward.  The end result was that it tasted great, especially in the combination with the mash and salmon but perhaps with that much butter, anything would!  Now just to perfect my sauce spreading on the plate…











Filed under Fish, Food, French, Recipes, Uncategorized

Kohlrabi, leek and courgette soup


I’ve had 3 kohlrabis in various vegetable boxes now.  I’m still learning about them and so far have definitely found them much better in soups.  I tried this recipe today and really enjoyed it so thought it was the best one to share.

I used half a courgette, one leek, one onion, one kohlrabi for the vegetables, chopping them into fairly big pieces.  This probably makes enough for four people.

I started by melting some butter in a large saucepan, adding the chopped leek and frying gently for 5 minutes.  I then added the rest of the vegetables along with 750ml of chicken stock and some chopped parsley and simmered for about 25 minutes.  I blended it until it was quite smooth and served straight into bowls before adding some freshly ground black pepper, a spoon of double cream and topping with some more parsley.

Another tasty dish and fast to make, just a shame it is 25 degrees outside so we are not really in soup season!  I think if the kohlrabis keep coming, I will have to advance the repetoire!




Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Herbs, Recipes, Soup, Starter, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Beef stroganoff


Another week brings another veggie box delivery and this week I had a fair amount of courgette and onion.  I also had frozen some nice cuts of beef and given that I usually have a good supply of cream and creme fraiche in the fridge, this dish came to mind.

I did a quick search and loosely based it on this recipe from Rick Stein:


After a lot of Italian and Chinese cooking, it was good to make a recipe from a different place; Russia 🙂

I didn’t have mushrooms or sour cream but substituted the mushrooms with courgette and the sour cream with a mix of creme fraiche (about 2 tablespoons) and double cream (about 100ml).

I started by gently frying the courgette and onion in melted butter with half a teaspoon of chilli powder (didn’t have paprika either!) for about 5 minutes.  I removed them from the pan before adding the strips of beef and cooked for one minute.  At this point, different from Rick’s recipe, I added the onion and courgettes back in and added the cream/creme fraiche mixture and simmered for just over a minute before adding the lemon juice and fresh parsley and serving with rice (not matchstick potatoes!).


It is a really simple dish, quite versatile as you can see by the amount of ingredients I changed and really, really tasty!  Another happy Saturday night meal and giving some comfort before watching England lose in the World Cup! 😦


Leave a comment

Filed under Beef, Food, Herbs, Recipes, Rice, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Chicken and Jerusalem artichoke pie (the, I love you, pie!)


When I started this blog the first picture I used was that of me and 4 mini pies I had made.  Creations from la cuineta will soon undertake some changes with a house move planned so the time seemed right to bring out a pie once more!

I don’t want to jinx the move and we don’t have the keys yet but if all goes to plan, I will still be cooking from a small kitchen but a better designed one!  Also for that reason, you will see a picture of the very small oven which can lay claim to many of the recipes on here (it’s time it got some credit!).  Apologies for it’s dirty state but as I’m hoping to get a brand new oven, I’m feeling quite lazy to clean it!

The recipe I found was able to utilise the artichokes that I had in my veg box delivery:


I started with the arduous task of extracting the hearts of the artichokes.  This is really not a favourite task of mine but I think I’m improving at it…

I still used this video here to help me:




I was also able to utilise one of the giant onions I got in my veg box meaning we now have a little bit more space in the fridge!!!


Once I’d got the hearts of the artichokes out, I put them in a bowl of water with lemon juice to keep them from oxidating while I chopped the onions, the chicken and could prepare the wine and the chicken stock.

I melted the butter and added the onions and garlic and gently fried for a couple of minutes before adding the chopped artichokes, orange zest and wine.  Once the wine had evaporated slightly I sprinkled over the flour and then gently added the chicken stock to make the sauce.






I actually found the sauce to be quite thick before before putting a lid on it and cooking for the proposed 10-15 mins, so I reduced this time slightly and then added the cream for the final few minutes on the hob.  See what you think, when you have it all mixed together.



Once the sauce was done, I moved on to the constructing of the pie.  I had cheated a little and bought ready made puff pastry but after the artichokes, this was a welcome respite 🙂  They make so much mess for what you get out of them and I guess there is some significance of whenever I mention using artichokes to most people they say they just take them from a jar.




For my left over pastry pieces I decided to write a nice message.  That was easier for me than trying to make a flower and was probably more appreciated too! 🙂


The height the puff pastry got to in the little over was quite impressive!





All in all, it came out really well!  I do still love pies!!!  The pastry was nicely crispy and the orange zest made for a different kind of pie.  We both went back for seconds so a good sign that it was a tasty dish.


I’m hoping to squeeze in another couple of blogs from my existing kitchen but we will see how the next couple of months go and the demands on my time.  I have to say that designing my own kitchen is very exciting and something I will be able to spend many more hours doing!


Leave a comment

Filed under Chicken, English, Food, Food blogging, Pie, Pies, Recipes, Uncategorized

Spinach, spinach and more spinach!

Following the veg box delivery last week, I had a lot of spinach in my fridge so this weekend has been dominated by recipes including this green vegetable!!!



It started Saturday morning with Eggs and Spinach en cocotte.  I had done a cocotte before:


They are really tasty, a real treat for a weekend breakfast so a good way to use the spinach.  Again it was really tasty and you can find the recipe I used here:





Next up was Saturday dinner 🙂  I really fancied a curry, so I did this Chicken and Spinach Balti recipe:


Really nice flavours from the yoghurt marinade and the spinach gave it something extra for sure.  I usually don’t have spinach in my curries and I’ve eaten a lot of curries over the course of my life so quite a turning point!




And now this brings us to Sunday night!  As I’m writing this, I’ve been cooking a Ghanaian Beef and Spinach Stew for about 2 hours by now!


It comes from a really nice blog which features gluten free recipes.  I didn’t have all the ingredients (serrano peppers for example) but I have suitable substitutes and also was able to add a couple of my organic carrots and some leeks.  You can see what it looks like below!  I just need to add the spinach and it will soon be ready to eat!


For anyone who has not yet had enough of spinach while reading this post, you can find all the health benefits of spinach here:


I should definitely be feeling stronger and ready to tackle Monday!!!

Thanks to the BBC for providing a lot of inspiration this weekend!


Filed under Beef, Casserole, Food, Food blogging, French, Healthy, Herbs, Indian, Recipes, Rice, Slow cooking, Stew, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Alternative Christmas Dinner! – Scallops with a sabayon sauce and Fish Pie!


As I stated in my previous post, I cooked for some of my family on Christmas Day what with my mum doing the traditional turkey dinner for all the family on Boxing Day this year 🙂  It’s taken me a while to get this post up as Christmas time at home is pretty hectic and then straight back to Barcelona and work on 30th!

It was nice to choose the recipes for this day; something special that would take a bit more time to cook as I would have the majority of Christmas morning to do it.  It was also very nice to be able to cook for my family on this day and take some of the pressure from my mum during the holiday season (although she just did it all the next day instead, and the next day and the next day!).

I’d cooked the scallops in the sabayon sauce before (from the Little Paris Kitchen book) but this was the first time I’d tried this particular fish pie.

The thought of cooking Christmas Day didn’t daunt me too much but the thought of shopping in a UK supermarket on Christmas Eve did quite a bit!  In reality it was calmer than I thought but things were starting to run out.  We took the last 10 scallops, had to buy frozen prawns and had to used dried dill rather than fresh but apart from that it went very smoothly!  I was also offered a good deal on a carp (presumably with all the fish I was buying I had been identified as a prime candidate to buy) but really didn’t really have a use for that as well!

I started off by defrosting the prawns and then taking the heads and the shells off and putting to one side to use in the sauce of the pie.


I mixed the prawn shells with milk, butter, onion, bay leaf and pepper corns and simmered for 10 mins.  When it was done I set it to one side to infuse.


Then I put the fish into a roasting pan, skin side up.  I strained the infused milk into the pan on top of the fish and simmered on the hob for 8 mins.  I left them to cool a little before flaking into a bowl removing the skin and any bones before mixing with the prawns.



Sneak peaks into the guest kitchen…. (much bigger than mine!!!)



I melted the butter and added the flour and then gradually the flavoured milk left in the roasting pan.  I whisked while simmering for about 15 mins until thick and added a little salt and pepper.  I added the parsley and poured the sauce over the fish and left to cool a little.








Meanwhile I’d boiled the potatoes in salted water for 20 mins and soaked a pinch of saffron in a couple of tablespoons of hot water.  I beat in the saffron to the mashed potatoes before adding the butter, milk and dill.




Now the fish mixture had cooled, I spread the mash on top and baked in the oven for 40 mins on 180 degrees and until the top was brown and crispy.  The saffron gave the mash a really nice colour so will be using this in mash in the future for sure!

While the pie was baking, I started the scallops.  First with the sabayon sauce by putting the egg yolks, wine and sugar and salt into a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  I whisked for 10 mins until thick and foamy.


I set this aside while I cooked the scallops with a bit of oil.  2 mins on one side and then 3 mins on the other.  I served the scallops in their shells with a bit of rocket on the side and the sabayon sauce dripped over the top.





So the verdict and the final pictures; the scallops were great as a starter and went down very well with my family 🙂  Very tasty and a very nice mix of flavours!  Quite a pretty plate too 🙂


And the pie was extremely tasty too!  It’s quite a big investment of time but worth the effort with some nice touches in the recipe including the saffron in the mash and the prawn shell infused milk makes a big different to the taste.



My family seemed happy so that was the main thing!  Mum said the best Christmas Dinner ever but I’m quite sure she was being nice!  It was good to have something different though and these recipes are a luxurious treat for Christmas 🙂

And now as an extra; a peak into the best Christmas Dinner ever (served on Boxing Day this year).  Traditional turkey dinner by my mum 🙂  Really the best ever and something I look forward to a lot with the pigs in blankets always my favourite!!!  All the family together too so a perfect Boxing Day!


A belated Merry Christmas to all and hope the New Year has started well 🙂


Scallops with a sabayon sauce – served 5

10 large scallops with shells

Several handfuls of rocket

Olive oil

4 egg yolks

100 ml dry white wine

Pinch of sugar and salt

Fish pie – serves 5 (including seconds!!!)

350g raw shell on prawns (I could only find frozen)

700 ml milk

1 bay leaf

2 peppercorns

450g haddock (or any white fish)

450g smoked haddock (or cod)

75g butter

75g flour

4 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

For the mash

1.3kg floury potatoes

Large pinch of saffron threads

75g butter

250ml milk

3 tablespoons of fresh dill (if you can get it!)

Leave a comment

Filed under English, Fish, Food, Food blogging, French, Herbs, Pie, Pies, Recipes, Starter, Uncategorized