November rain

I was so delighted to be featured on Sous Style this week. It’s one of my favourite lifestyle sites, filled with great ideas, recipes and stories on interesting people.

We had a lovely lunch at home, with our friends David and Sheyenne and their kids Balkis and Naturel. Don’t you just love their names? As my guests are vegetarians, I came up with a veggie-friendly menu with a French touch. For starters, we had chestnut soup with tapioca pearls and crème fraîche, followed by crêpes sarrasin (buckwheat pancakes) with squash, green cabbage and Roquefort cheese, served with a typical Provençal dish called Tian de légumes (vegetable tian). It looked like a little masterpiece on the table. Finally, I made a luxurious Calvados apple tart, again, served with crème fraîche (yes, I think you must know by now that I am all about cream). The Calvados (apple brandy) soaked apples bring you all the warmth needed on a cool November day. And that almond crust… is heavenly.

It was a lazy rainy afternoon, filled with fun and laughter. The girls were singing and dancing, the boys played with the dogs, the lunch dragged on for hours and hours, just how it should be.

You can view the feature here.

Chestnut soup with tapioca pearls
1/2 pound/ 230 g whole, peeled and cooked chestnuts (for the soup)
1/4 cup/ 60 g cooked peeled chestnuts (chopped, to sprinkle on soup)
3 cups/ 750 ml chicken stock (or vegetable)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 onion (sliced)
3 tbsp of small tapioca pearls
Salt & pepper for seasoning
Crème fraîche for serving (1 tbsp per bowl)
A small handful of finely chopped parsley

In a large pot, melt the butter on a medium heat and fry the onions
for 2 minutes. Add the chestnuts, continue frying for 1 minute, then
add stock, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring to a soft boil and turn down
the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Let the soup cool slightly,
then transfer to a food processor to smooth all the ingredients into a
velvety soup. Return to pot, add the tapioca and cook for 15 minutes
on a low heat (or until the tapioca becomes translucent). Serve in
individual bowls with a teaspoon of chopped chesnuts, a big spoon of
crème fraîche and parsley.

Squash, green cabbage and Roquefort buckwheat pancakes

For the filling:

1 pound/ 450g butternut squash
1/3 cup/ 80ml vegetable stock
1 cup/ 150 g green cabbage (chopped)
1/4 pound/ 100 g Roquefort cheese
Butter or olive oil for frying

Chop squash into small cubes and fry in olive oil until golden for 4-5
minutes. Add stock, cover and simmer for ten minutes until cooked and
tender. Drain any excess liquid and set aside. In a pan, fry in olive
oil the chopped cabbage for 5 minutes on a high heat. Add salt and
pepper. Cabbage must be slightly al dente. Set aside.

Buckwheat pancake batter (sarrasin)
2 cups/ 250 g buckwheat flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp/ 30 grs melted butter
1 pinch salt
2 cups/ 500 ml milk

In a large bowl, mix the buckwheat flour and make a well in the
middle. Add the eggs in the center, slowly combine and stir the milk,
melted butter and salt. Make sure to stir constantly and firmly so you
won’t get lumps in the batter. Cover with a plate and leave to rest
for at least an hour.
Heat your oven on a low heat so you can place your pancakes to keep
warm. When the batter is ready, melt a teaspoon of butter in a frying
pan. Add one ladle of batter to form a pancake. Fry approx 2-3 minutes
on a medium heat until golden. Flip sides and repeat. In one corner of
the pancake, place a enough squash, cabbage and crumbled Roquefort.
Fold pancakes in half and fold again to form a triangle. Leave on heat
30 seconds to gently melt the Roquefort. Serve immediately.

Vegetable tian

4 tomatoes
3 large zucchini
2 aubergines
2 garlic cloves
A handful of finely chopped parsley
3 bay leaves
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper for seasoning

Preheat the oven to 210°C/400°F. Clean all vegetables and slice them
finely into equal ‘rondelles’ (round slices). Sprinkle the aubergines
with coarse salt for 20 minutes, then rinse them with boiling hot
water. Drain. Rub garlic all over roasting pan, then align the slices
tightly alternating with each vegetable. Sprinkle sliced garlic all
over, place the sprigs of thyme and bay leaves on top, drizzle with
olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Cook in oven for 30 minutes.
When ready, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Calvados apple tart
5 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into small chunks
1/4 cup/ 60 ml calvados
5 tbsp/ 60 g brown sugar (cassonade)
3 egg yolks
1 cup/ 250 ml crème fraîche or sour cream
3 tbsp ground almonds
Additional crème fraîche to serve on the side.

For the pastry:
2 cups/ 250 g plain flour
2/3 cups/ 150 g butter (softened at room temperature)
1/4 cup/ 30 g caster sugar
1/2 cup/ 60 g icing confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup/ 80 g ground almonds
1 egg
A pinch of salt

Chop apples and soak in the calvados for 1 hour.

For the crust:
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together until the mixture
forms a homogenous dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and
place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Take out 30 minutes before
rolling out. On a floured parchment covered surface, roll out the
dough to fit your tart pan. Line tart pan with the pastry dough, and
cut out excess overhang dough approx. ¼ inch/ 1 cm off the rim. Fold
in the excess dough to make a double thick rim. Pierce dough with a
fork all over and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to one hour.
This will prevent your crust to shrink when blind baked.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 210°C/ 400°F.

Blind bake the tart for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C/ 350°C.
Take the tart crust out. Drain apples and keep the remaining calvados.
Sprinkle tart with 2 tbsp sugar and place the drained apples all over
the tart. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. If the crust starts to
brown too much, cover edges with aluminium paper. Take the tart out of
the oven. Increase oven heat again to 400°F. Beat together the egg
yolks, cream, remaining sugar and reserved calvados and pour mixture
into the tart all over the apples. Sprinkle the ground almonds on top
and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Serve warm with a tbsp of crème
fraîche on the side.

33 thoughts on “November rain

  1. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! It is always such a pleasure to read your recipes and to admire these beautiful photographs! And I enjoy having found a woman who dreams about food Day and Night… as it is the same with me… And after all I like to read about a Family as big as ours: We have six children… Thank you for letting us take a glimpse of your life and Family in the Medoc! Have a wonderful Sunday. Yours Yushka Brand from Sinsheim, Germany

      1. I had a beautiful receipt some days ago: cream caramellized quinces on a simple shortcrust pastry… I had to stop myself eating the caramellized fruit right away from the pan… before even decorating the cake with those delicious sclices!
        Have a nice weekend!

  2. Such an inspiration! Thank you for allowing your readers to glimpse into the lives of your beautiful family and your scrumptious kitchen! Bonne journee!

  3. Your lunch sounds idyllic. Loving the recipes that follow. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your family life. Lots of pumpkins, roasted vegetables, apples and cream here in New England this time of year as well!

  4. I have absolutely no idea how you do it – everything always looks so effortlessly perfect, the food, the setting, your house (!), your style, your kids, your husband… you’re living the kind of life that I am dreaming of living myself one day (I’d probably look slightly messier though, haha), thanks for inspiring me!

  5. These recipes are simply mouthwatering ! I am inspired to try some of them, though I am a terrible novice cook. Thank you !

  6. I cannot wait to try the Calvados apple tart- many many thanks for including the recipe! Also, I know this is not on the topic of food, but would you be willing to share where you found your lovely blue dress?

  7. Thanks for an inspiring post. I’m trying to encourage my family to enjoy more vegetarian cooking, and this looks delicious.

  8. Hi Mimi love the article in the magazine, everything looks beautiful and perfect. Best wishes. The recipes and photos are amazing. I really hope you will have a published book with your hubs photos and your amazing cooking and recipes. Lovely family Mimi Blessings to all xoxo

  9. Hi! All the recipes look delicious. Am so excited to try the Calvados apple tart. What size tart pan would you recommend? I’m debating between a 9 in or 10 in…I think it sounds like too much pastry for the smaller one, but thought I would ask…thanks!

  10. I made the tian and the crêpes for lunch last weekend, and both turned out wonderfully. I substituted the cabbage for Brussels sprouts, and the flavor combination worked beautifully. So simple and tasty! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

    1. Best apple tart! Discovered your blog only two weeks ago and already tried a dozen of recipes. Now every time I cook, my kids asked ” Mimi?” Love you food and your cook book. Bought four copies, three for gifts and one for myself.

      1. Thank you so so so much; I can’t believe how wonderful everyone has been about the book. This Calvados apple tart is one of my most popular recipes – had to include it in the book 🙂 Mimi x

  11. I saw the calvados apple tart when it was originally featured on MR PORTER. Mouthwatering, even for someone with a strong aversion to apples!

  12. Hi Mimi, bonne journée.
    Yesterday I prepared the Apple Tart (using Marsala instead of Calvados)…it was veeeery good, my dad, who laves apple tarts, ate half of it….but I had a problem with the pastry; I followed the cooking instructions but at the end the part underneath the cake was not so well cooked, on the contrary the edges were perfect. How can I obtain a crunchy crust below this tart?

  13. Finally, a vegetarian menu & recipes! I’m vegan & cannot even think about eating animals of any kind. I don’t eat eggs or dairy either. However, I love your style Mimi & your husband’s beautiful photography, not to mention, the prominent inclusion of your children in your life. A very nice touch. Thank you for sharing your earthy elegance.

  14. I just made a lovely dinner the other night for friends. He is gluten free so I made the buckwheat pancakes for an appetizer, substituting veg broth for my homemade chicken stock and used local Amish made blue cheese. My pancakes were super thick and didn’t really fold well, but they were delicious none the less! I used another recipe for potatoes from your most recent book and felt like I was sitting in your restaurant as we sat around eating, talking and drinking good wine! I plan to try one of your lamb dishes this week. I’m enjoying all your photos and the stories around the dishes are so fun! Thanks!

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