Tag Archives: Olive oil

Simple & Elegant potato side dish

This is an easy recipe (especially if you use store bought mash potatos!) and I thought you might enjoy making it. It looks really impressive but it only takes about 5 minutes to prepare!

You’ll need:
3 tablespoons of pesto (I use the tomato/olive one to accompany red meats, and the basil pesto for fish and poultry)
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
2 cups of mashed potatos.
Cayenne pepper or paprika and a bit of olive oil.

Whisk together the ricotta and pesto. Add the mash potatos. Whip on the highest setting of your mixer for 1-2 minutes (or use a hand whisk and mix in as much air as you can.)

Spoon into a piping bag (if you don’t have one, just use a regular freezer bag and snip off one small corner.)

Squirt the mixture into oiled ramekins. Sprinkle the paprika / cayenne pepper over the top. The rougher the top, the better because it’ll create more golden crusty bits that are the best part!

Place in a preheated oven (180C) until golden edges appear.


Potato salad

My mom used to make this and call it German Potato Salad.   I have no idea why – the potatoes were from Prince Edward Island, the chives from the back garden, and the wine and mustard were French.

In any case, this is a recipe that reminds me of home and childhood and with a riot of chives available at the moment, I decided to make some for supper.

You’ll need:

  • A 1/2 cup of dry white wine (I favour Chablis but then, my mom is from the region)
  • A generous dollop of good mustard (I used Maille old fashioned for this)
  • About double a “reasonable” amount of chives, finely chopped.
  • A finely chopped shallot
  • A decent olive oil
  • (and optionally, if you want to make it a bit creamier in consistency, add a dollop of Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise – not very French, but very nice ;))
  • 4 good sized potatoes.

Place the (unpeeled) potatoes in a pot of cool water and set on the heat.    You want to keep an eye on them so they don’t burst.

In a bowl, combine all the other ingredients in a bowl.

Once the potatoes are cooked through (but preferably before they burst), take them out of the water and, using a kitchen rag to hold them, peel them while they are hot and cut into bite sized pieces before adding them to the dressing.

Stir after adding each potato.

Allow to cool and serve.


  • The reason you go to the trouble of peeling hot potatoes is that they will then absorb all that liquid from the wine and really take on the flavour of the dressing.

Fresh and tasty dinner

So Des has been away in London for a few days now.   He’ll be back tomorrow night, so this is my last chance to have the kind of dinners he doesn’t like.

I’m having an enormous salad.

It’s got:

  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • An orange
  • Half a dozen strawberries
  • A handful of cooked and peeled prawns
  • And some fresh buffalo mozzarella.

The dressing is very simple too.   I skipped the mustard because I really just want to enjoy the flavours of the the various ingredients.  So all I’ve done is mix:

  • Strawberry balsamic vinegar (that I picked up recently and is just gorgeous!)
  • Vegetable bouillon powder (instead of salt)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • a drizzle of my finest Spanish olive oil.

It’s a perfect meal for one – in as much as I wouldn’t want to share 🙂

Champignons à la Grecque

Why not just Greek-style mushrooms?  Because I’m pretty sure that this recipe is actually French, though inspired by Greek food.

Prepare your mushrooms (button mushrooms work best whole, but bigger mushrooms may need to be cut up. )

In a pan over high heat, cover the bottom with a layer of olive oil and add 4-5 bay leaves, some thyme, and 4-5 juniper berries.   Add your mushrooms and the juice of one lemon or one lime and stir for a few moments until the mushrooms start rendering their water.

Cook over a medium heat until the liquid has reduced by 1/3.


Serve cold on croutons.

(or use to make crostada – that’s lovely too!)