Category Archives: Food

Chicken with roast veg

Brussel Sprouts right? Who knew

There are certain foods you associate with certain times of the year. The Blacknight canteen for example serves Ham and Turkey every so often during the year and this completely throws me. ( No I won’t be there to eat it however I still get notifications of the menu they’ll be having daily.) It’s a Christmas dish for me, well Christmas or new years depending and it involves left overs to boot. I only really remember there being Turkey at Christmas and it’d be with a Ham. There’d also be the sides and the dreaded … Brussel Sprouts!!!

Last Sunday we decided it was going to be roast Chicken for lunch. We’ve become rather good at these in recent times having only really started making them a year or two ago I now seem to be a dab hand at getting a nice roast going.

Roast Chicken!

The formula goes a little something like … throw the Chicken on for an hour with tin foil over it so it doesn’t burn ( It was frozen ) and then throw all the veg in with it roughly chopped and cook for a further 40+ minutes. (This time I opted to throw in 2 handfuls of brussel sprouts. The results I have to say were amazing. I won’t go so far as to say that Charlotte ate them as well ( She did try one at least ) but between Val and myself they disappeared rather quickly. The secret? No idea they were dumped into the pan with the Carrots (cut into chunks) and Potatoes (cut into wedges) … halved shallots and whole garlic cloves. A sprinking of herbes de province and a good dash of olive oil all over.

Brussel Sprouts

Chicken with roast veg and Brussel Sprouts

When you’re left going back for more … again and again it has to be good right? :)

We’ve previously fried the sprouts with some bacon and they came out well. (Link BBC Good Food Sprout with Pancetta) This however just hit the spot

 

A Quick Turkey Faijtas Meal

Quick and simple Turkey Fajitas

I ended up buying a few Tortilla wraps the other day … I didn’t however plan on using them tonight. Still quick and simple meals are the name of the game at times. Especially when you’ve got two little people to take care of.

A very  simple mix. Chop some turkey strips / courgette strips / tomato and add a splash of tomato sauce. Very simple … very quick and just add in some smokey paprika.

The Veg Mix

Of course certain little people aren’t too big on pepper. So those get cooked on the side again with a splash of tomato sauce and some smokey paprika so they keep a consistent enough flavour.

Peppers

Left over rice can get nuked in the microwave and makes a lovely filler.

Left Over Rice

The Tortillas are quick and easy only needing 40 seconds in the microwave.

Tortillas

and hey presto … just add some cream and grated cheese.

The Final Product

It’s a really quick and simple Turkey Fajitas meal and you could spice it up more with some red onion … cumin … or anything really.

Teriyaki Beef stir fry on a bed of rice

Teriyaki steak stir fry

I’m not 100% sure when I started making my own Teriyaki sauce but there have been some great meals since I did. Today’s meal was another that goes into the that was yum category.

You can do a search online for Teriyaki sauce and you’ll find that everyone has their own method. Some add garlic some don’t. For mine it’s a good thumb sized chunk of ginger (chopped as fine as you can)… about 50% soya .. 25% Mirin .. and then I’ll vary the rest of the ingredients a bit.

Teriyaki beef Stir Fry ingredients

I believe it was in an Asian place in town called Yum Yums that I got the idea to cut the steak up as thinly as possible (probably a beef Lok Lak . I marinade the meat in the teriyaki sauce for an hour or so before hand. Flash fry it and it’s ready in a minute or so … I’ll also add in a peeled / grated carrot and a courgette. Maybe a shallot as well. You don’t really get spring onions here unfortunately :( or I’d add in a few to the mix. All in all very quick, very tasty. Not a huge favourite with little people though she loves the meat just not the veg. She loves the sauce as well.

And here we have the end result on a bed of rice.

Teriyaki Beef stir fry on a bed of rice

A great thing about making your own teriyaki sauce is it’s always different. Add some rice vinegar … add some sugar .. add some garlic it’s fun to experiment.

Sausage Pasta Bake

Sausage Fest

So I’ve been living a bit outside my comfort zone where it comes to food in recent weeks. Last week I decided to do a pasta bake for the first time. Following on from the success of that one, I opted to do another last night.

The sausage pasta bake.

For the ingredients: 5 decent sausages ( mine were with onion to begin with ), 1 onion, 1 large carrot, 1 tin of tomatoes, 1 stock cube, 200grammes of spinnach, pasta and 1 glass of wine (and 1 for yourself). Cheese (emmental) grated . For the white sauce 30g of butter, 300ml of milk and 50g of flour. All ingredients are approximate.

Chop your onion rather fine and get it browning nicely on the pan. Take the sausage meat out of the skin of the sausages. You could just buy sausage meat as well from your local butcher if you want I guess. There’s generally a pack of sausages in the fridge here though so you make do.

Chop up the sausage meat into small thumb size or smaller pieces and get it browning on the pan as well.

Around about now throw some spinach into a boil to cook. I will nearly always use frozen as it’s one of the things we’ll always have in our freezer.

Get your penne pasta on ( The tube ones )

Go back to your onion / sausage mix and grate a carrot into it. Add the stock cube and mix in some water and throw in your tomatoes. Add in a glass of wine if you have one handy. Let it bubble away for a bit and season. I mixed in some parsley and a herb de province mix.

Now you’ll want to start on your white sauce. Quantities are really going to vary and I tend to wing it by ear these days. 300ml of milk give or take … a lump of butter …and get that almost bubbling away … throw in some flour, whisk to remove and lumps and start to thicken it up slightly.

Once your spinach and your pasta are cooked … drain and mix together. Place half the mixture into an oven dish. Layer in your tomato sauce and flatten it out. Sprinkle in some grated cheese of your choice. My choice is emmental.  I proceeded to mix the remaining pasta / spinach mix and the white sauce and layer this in on top. Did I mention you’ll probably want a deep enough oven dish.

Finally sprinkle some more cheese on top. It’s around this stage that I thought to myself, hang on this is almost a lasagne. Place in the oven for 20 or so minutes at 200C until it looks golden brown on top. Take it out and leave for 5 minutes to cook down a bit before eating. Serve.

Hopefully you’ll have the same reaction as there was in our house, with little people saying “C’est tres bon papa!” and second and third helpings being asked for.

Lack of photos due to the camera batteries dying!

I grew up with home cooked meals…

I’m not sure if it was just me but a lot of my friends growing up had stay at home moms. It was a different time. My mom who had had a government job wasn’t allowed to continue to work once she got married as she’d have been taking the job away from someone else who’d have needed it ( This law changed a year or two later but mine stayed a stay at home mom with the arrival of my brother and sister and I arrived a few years later ). One thing we rarely had was processed food, though as we got older a few things were added to the cupboards / freezer.

This weekend saw us cooking food from scratch as we usually do and I took out my camera which I’ve not done in a while. While if left to my own devices I’d happily throw on a frozen pizza or probably grab some form of ready meal it’s not something I ever find myself willing to do for my daughter. It’ll hopefully be mostly home cooked meals for her growing up so long as we’ve got the time. Truth be told you can put together many meals in a very short time frame. The fact that they generally end up doubling as lunch the next day is a major added bonus.

Le Lendemain Burger

A Nice Burger in Nantes – Le Bistroquet

Le Bistroquet Nantes

Update 27th January 2017 .. I do believe this place has closed

After heading to the clinque the other day for our last scan before the birth of number two we made a quick stop at Le Bistroquet afterwards and what can I say WOW lovely burger. They seem to have a decent selection of wines as well.

The “Lendemain” burger below is home made beef burger with a healthy chunk of Raclette cheese a big slice of thick bacon with an onion confit. All in all … WOW. Accompanied by lovely sauteed potatoes it’s well worth a stop.

Le Lendemain Burger

Negative things about it. Don’t get the BBQ sauce that’s with it, ask for the pepper sauce instead. Unless of course you’re into what I’d guess is processed BBQ sauce? (Hey if that’s the only negative thing about it all I think we’re doing pretty good)

Lovely staff, pretty quick service, decent wine menu they also do a Formule Midi …  Entree / Plat / Dessert or any combination of that if that’s your kinda thing. It didn’t appeal on the day so we went with the burger.

All in all would go again :)

So if you’re looking for a nice burger in Nantes you’ve found the right place.

It’s located at 87 Rue du Maréchal Joffre in Nantes.

 

Roast Chicken

Chicken!

I ended up cooking my first chicken by myself today. Nothing amazing there I know it’s just the first time I’ve ever gone and cooked a whole chicken by myself. Charlotte is sick at the moment so she slept late on Sunday and we had brunch instead of a nice roast lunch. She went to the doctors today so we thought it’d be nice to have something special for her. (She hates going to the doctors)

Wash / Rince .. put in tray .. put in oven at 180C hey presto it’s CHICKEN!

Roast Chicken

Why on earth I’ve never cooked a chicken by myself before I’ll never know. I left it completely plain. Didn’t put anything on it and the results are pretty amazing the taste is lovely. Of course it’s not one of the 2.99€ chickens you can find in the supermarket so it’s practically a case of what you see is what you end up with once it’s cooked. We’ve made a conscious effort since last year to use better quality meats / poultry. I was for example picking up a roast chicken from the market every second sunday. It was nice it was convenient but the taste is nothing like our own oven roast chicken. I wasn’t actually buying a free range roast chicken either as the price on those was putting it up at 15 – 20€. Understandable in some ways. You want good quality you pay for it.

The local supermarket is currently doing 25% off their free range chickens so I may end up picking up another one. The above was guaranteed to have lived for  at least 81 days.

One chicken breast has fed the three of us for lunch so at 7.23€ for the chicken (including the 25% off) that’s pretty good value. We’ll be getting another nice chicken breast .. 2 legs and so on out of it. I see a merguez / chicken cous cous in our future :)

Next up … I’m going to get seasoning it. No idea what to do I don’t want to kill the flavour too much. I’m seeing thyme and lemon … garlic chicken and all the while coated with butter. I’ll be throwing in some veg the next time as well I think.

Pumpkin seeds in a dish

Pumpkin Seeds you Say …

It was a few weeks ago (though quite possibly a month or two at this rate as the weeks are flying by) that Jenny from I code and I cook mentioned roasting pumpkin seeds. I immediately went WHAT! started doing a quick search online and yes it’s obvious. Roast the pumpkin seeds and eat them. They are the bits of the pumpkin I’m always scooping out and throwing into the bin and thinking to myself what a waste, what a waste.

So I’ve not seen that many Butternut Squashes recently and it has been a surprisingly warm winter so we’ve not been over doing the stews too much but I did throw a Pumpkin and Kale pot on tonight and thought to myself why the hell not. I did a search for a recipe / how to and found http://ohsheglows.com/2012/09/17/how-to-roast-perfect-pumpkin-seeds-easy-crunchy-addictive/. Perfect, To Work!

OK cleaning up the pumpkin seeds is hell, it’s time consuming picking out all the little bits of pumpkin ( I’m assuming we don’t want any innards on the seeds as it’ll burn in the oven.

Pumpkins in a colendar

Washing / cleaning the pumpkin seeds takes time.Pumpkins in Boiling Water

Once they are clean boil in some salted water for 10 minutes give or take.Grind up some salt

You’ll want some fine salt to sprinkle over them in the oven.Dry the seeds

Once they’ve been boiling for 10 minutes dry them off with some kitchen towel.

Meanwhile check on your Kale and Pumpkin Stew / Add the Kale

Mean while check on your pumpkin / kale / sausage fest :)

Pumpkin seeeds baking on a tray

Put the dried seeds onto a tray and lightly drizzle some olive oil on and sprinkle some salt. (I’m guessing I used a bit too much of both so will be reducing next time) 10 minutes at 160C give or take and check on them after that and keep on trying one every minute or two after this.Pumpkin seeds in a dish

Hey presto when it’s right it’s right. I had to dry off a bit of oil from them but they are VERY tasty and most definitely going to be a new favourite whenever we’re having pumpkins.Pumpkin Seeds the end product

NOM!

2 Potes Au Feu Logo

2 Potes au Feu Nantes

2 Potes Au Feu Logo

I have to admit that I’m constantly blown away by the food at this restaurant. It’s the closest decent restaurant to my place at just 1 tram stop away so it’s well worth it.

2 Potes au Feu Restaurant Nantes

It has some very stylish deco which while I’m not a huge fan of it, it really does work for the place.

2 Potes au Feu Menu du Jour

You can see the pricing above for the Plat du Jour … very reasonable for the food and quality they offer.

Knife and Fork

They keep it consistent and take care of the little details as well

Leffe de Noel

It being christmas at the moment they’ve got some nice Leffe de Noel on tap. They generally have two menus the above which is the Menu du Jour and is great value for the quality of the food or their normal menu which works out at around 18.90 for a starter / main or main / dessert. I’m not a huge dessert person so I always opt for the starter / main. The Menu Du Jour menu works out at I think 12.90 for a starter / main or main / dessert and maybe 15.90 or thereabouts for all three.

z2Starter

For the starter I opted for a marscapone with beetroot something or other … so weird so rich so tasty … the only thing I’d have loved on it would have been a few walnuts!z2Starter2 z2Starter3

For my main I opted for the house burger and dear god is it nice. I’m just always confused as to how one is meant to eat it. Burgers for me are things you pick up with your hands and munch into but it’s HUGE so it might get messy!

Burger you say

The house fries end up looking very greasy and they are to a certain extent but it really works for them.z2Burger

Perfect portions / Perfect food. I’ve yet to have a bad experience there.

If I had one complaint it’d be that the service can take a while, especially when you’re ducking out on your lunch break and have to take a tram there and back. Will it stop me from going there? Not on your life.

Did I mention how nice it is for the owner to come over and shake your hands when you get there and ask how you’re doing?

Want to know more? Go eat there or check out their website. I should add it’s not anywhere near the city centre. You’d need to take a tram from Commerce 10 stops which would take about 10 – 15 minutes. You’d then need to walk for about 5 minutes from the tram stop. I’d highly recommend it though.

What do other people think of it?

Well I know my wife loves it as well so apart from that I can’t vouch for other people.

http://www.2potesaufeu.fr/