Seche a la Creole Haitienne


Okay, I’m too old to travel.  Because I wanted to cook and post with reasonable pictures, I went out, taking the head of Jade’s tripod with me, and bought another thing that fits on the head of the tripod.  I didn’t try it at the shop because I have a lot of confidence in the owner and if he told me it fit, I was good to go.


Unfortunately, when I got home the piece would not fit on the head.  Worse, it was the same piece as I had on my camera originally!  So now I had two.  Roger, je te jure! Remember in my first lesson when I didn’t know how to fit the camera on the tripod? Repeat.  After about 45 minutes, I discovered that I had to push a little lever that allows the piece to fit. Holy Mother of God!  I need to live with my husband!  He knows stuff like that.  That’s why I married him :)


Anyway, I was thinking about lambi or conch that the Haitians make in a spicy Creole sauce.  I knew that I wouldn’t find conch at the ‘monger’s but he did have some lovely seche or cuttlefish and I asked him about cooking time.  His said 15 minutes.  15 minutes?  With conch, you could go to the hairdresser, have a manicure and pedicure, chat with a friend over coffee and still be waiting for it to get tender!


I did take his advice and he was absolutely right.  I didn’t have a Scotch bonnet which would have made this Creole sauce more authentic, but used instead a long, green chilli for babies, though I did leave the seeds in for a little heat.  Cuttlefish doesn’t have the same taste as conch but it was a good and delicious way to cook it.

Haitian Creole Cuttlefish

2 lbs cuttlefish, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 tsp salt

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp oregano

2tsp thyme

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp tumeric

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

3-4 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 red bell pepper, vaguely chopped

1 chilli for babies(long, green, mild), vaguely chopped or 1 Scotch bonnet, seeds out, chopped

2 cups dice tomatoes

1 cup water

Mix the cuttlefish with the lime juice and refrigerate.  Mix together the salt, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, pepper and tumeric, then set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion, shallots, garlic, bell pepper and chilli, then saute until the onion is just soft.  Add the reserved spice mixture and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the cuttlefish from the refrigerator, drain, then add to the skillet and simmer with the sauce for another 15 minutes.

You can serve this with rice if you want.


Posted in Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Haitian, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments



Pack out was a nightmare but it’s done.  I wisely went to the vet and got some drugs for Jessie and so she had a very laid back train trip from Stuttgart to Sens.


I-do-not-understand what happens when I put my camera on automatic and all the pictures come out dark!  I had to “auto fix” with photoshop which is not really satisfying and in this case was unfortunate because I had roquefort mussels and Bavarian ribs with M. Parret, Chantal and Tonio.  I air freighted my tripod to the U.S. and thought I would be able to use Jade’s that’s here in the Sens house but the thing attached to my camera that usually fits onto the tripod is not the right shape and won’t fit Jade’s tripod, so I put my camera on automatic to reduce the blur.  Dark!  So that’s why.  Bloody automatic.  I love cursing in British English :D


The roquefort mussels were fabulous!  Too bad you can’t really see them.  So fake!  I had to put the brightness on to above 100.  Boo hoo hoo :)


These fresh garden tomatoes look like something you would find on a puzzle piece.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph!


These pictures are not Roger Stowell’s fault.  He’s probably going to pretend he didn’t see this post :D  Shaking his head and writing an e-book entitled “Why Rosemary Can’t Learn.”  I give up!





Posted in Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Soy Sauce Poached Chicken


2 years ago when we were in this apartment, I would frequent a small butcher shop down the street.  For old times sake I decided to pay him a window shopping visit and, refusing to consider the duck parts still awaiting attention in the apartment freezer, bought a little chicken.  There was NO chicken in my freezers, NONE.  Just a lot of duck and sundry.


More and more I find that I prefer little chickens (poussin or young chickens) to the gargantuan American chickens I was so pleased to buy before I began to travel.  I think this, practically, an aversion to large chickens began when on one “home-leave” I excitedly bought a Perdue Oven Stuffer and noticed the pig-like slabs of fat all over the entire bird.  I spent a bit of time ripping these away and have since never purchased neither Perdue nor Tyson chicken products.  Bleah!

I wanted to poach my chicken in soy sauce heedless of the fact that I didn’t have all the ingredients in my paltry, apartment pantry.  Peu importe!  List in hand, in the pouring rain, dog on leash, umbrella in one hand, dog bag in the other, I marched several blocks to the supermarket, awkwardly stopping for dog toilet breaks along the way.  On arrival I removed my wallet from the dog bag, stuffed the dog in the bag, put the bag in the shopping cart with the umbrella.  There was a sign, but I don’t read German and anyway I thought that maybe, like in France, signs are only guidelines :D

free vector No Dogs clip art

At first Jessie, semi-quietly, played with her squeaky toy in the bag, then she whined, then she accelerated to a howl and finally, incessant barking.  Everyone looked at me; most people sympathetically but some really old, ill-tempered, Prussians glared.  I was approached by a store employee but that was just to make sure a dog wasn’t running rampant in the store.  She said something in German and I responded that I would be quick, to which she nodded her head and smiled.


With blood curdling wails coming from my basket, I approached the worker in the vegetable section to ask for fresh ginger.  Language and hearing impaired, I gave it up as a bad job and just looked around.  They had gorgeous fresh garlic!  Probably imported from France but this was no time to read labels!  When I finally got in line for the cashier, two people ushered me in front of them.  It was as good as having an annoying child in tow :D


I loved making the poaching liquid.  It’s too bad that I had to pour most of it out because it would be great for later addition to soups and noodles.  I used one Hunan/Szechwan-like chilli for adults to flavor the liquid.  Two wouldn’t have hurt that much.


While waiting for the poaching liquid to mature, I decided to do a quick, noodle stir fry using a leftover, cooked duck leg.


Sometimes good ideas are so good!


Soy Sauce Poached Chicken with Noodles

1 cup normal soy sauce

1/2 cup Tamari soy sauce

6 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup sherry

1/2 inch fresh ginger, sliced

1/4 bulb fresh garlic

1 large scallion, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

1 red chilli, halved

1 small whole chicken

Scallions, sliced

Put everything but the chicken into a pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the chicken, cover, then simmer for 15 minutes, turn, then simmer for another 15 minutes.  Remove the chicken, strain the liquid and reserve.

Cut the chicken into serving pieces, ladle over hot broth and sprinkle with sliced scallions.

Duck Noodle Stir Fry

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1/4 cup sherry

1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tbsp water

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp sesame oil

1/4 bulb fresh garlic, chopped

1 red chilli, seeded and chopped

1 carrot, quartered vertically, thinly sliced

2 scallions, sliced

2 slices fresh ginger, julienned

1 cooked duck leg, meat removed and thinly sliced

1/2 small head broccoli florets, coarsely chopped

1 pkg plain instant noodles (3 slabs), cooked

Mix the chilli sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sherry together.  Add the cornstarch mixture and stir to blend.  Set aside.

Heat the oils together in a wok, then add the garlic, chilli, carrot, scallions and ginger.  Stir fry for a minute or two.  Add the duck and broccoli and noodles, then continue to stir fry for another minute.  Add the sauce and stir until thickened and heated through.







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Crispy Duck Legs with Roasted Vegetables


Yesterday I went back to the house to get the 2 packages of duck legs, good butter, Jean Louis’ duck breasts, foie gras slices and assorted fish from the remaining refrigerator freezer.  I took some other things out of the freezer also, but honestly, I abandoned a lot.  Sometimes you just have to walk away.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  I did grab some soy sauce, a few jars of spices and other food enhancers, but who can live otherwise?!


I must confess that this is not the first time we’ve walked away from perfectly good food but happily we were in underdeveloped countries where many people literally do not know where there next meal is coming from and you could easily and happily just give it away.  In Sens, I often transfer the contents of the fridge and, if I’m going to be away a long time, the freezer to M. Parret who shares it with the rest of our friends.  Unfortunately, in Stuttgart, there isn’t a soul who I would feel comfortable offering my “leftovers.”  So that’s why.


There really is no way you can go wrong with fat, succulent French duck legs.  I first seasoned and seared them in a hot skillet.  After removing the legs, I added a heaping tablespoon of goose fat to the duck fat in the pan and stirred it into my prepared vegetables.  Real good idea.


My husband ate this for lunch in a perfectly healthy way.  With gusto :)



Crispy Duck Legs with Roasted Vegetables

4 large potatoes, cut into 8ths each

3 carrots, sliced

2 small fennel bulbs, slice

1 large onion, cut into 8 pieces

Salt and pepper

Smoked paprika

Dried for fresh thyme, chopped

4 duck legs, seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder

1 heaping tbsp goose fat

Place the potatoes, carrots, fennel and onion in a large bowl, season with salt, pepper, paprika and thyme.  Set aside.

Brown and sear the duck legs in a hot skillet.  Remove the legs and set aside.  Add the goose fat to the hot skillet, stirring and scraping up the brown bits.  Stir the contents of the skillet into the prepared vegetables.

Put the vegetables in a roasting pan, top with the legs, cover and roast at 350 F for 1 1/2 hour. Uncover, increase the oven temperature to 400 F and continue to roast for another 30 minutes.



Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Apartment Living in Stuttgart


Well, we’re back in the tajine killing stove apartment again .  German baby back ribs braised at home.  Yes!  Take out noodles from Ha Long, Stuttgart.  Non!

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Vietnamese | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Magret de Canard and Toulouse Sausage Cassoulet


I think the Dog gave me this idea.  I don’t have any cannellini beans in the pantry.  I’ve got 2 kinds of hominy and chickpeas.  In addition, normally I would have used duck legs instead of duck breasts for the cassoulet, preferring to reserve the duck breasts for searing and eating rare. However, I have so many duck breasts!  And these weren’t Jean Louis’ anyway but of an inferior but okay supermarket quality.


This cassoulet turned out well, even with the chickpeas.  In fact, in was fabulous :)  I had a bonus of Toulouse sausages in the freezer and seared the fat from 3 duck breasts, using two in the cassoulet and reserving one for sandwiches or a salad later.  I browned the sausages in some of the reserved duck fat and also used some to saute the onions, garlic and carrots.


All of my stove top casseroles and tajines are in France, so I used my large “back in the day”, Farberware skillet with cover to simmer the cassoulet.


Magret de Canard and Toulouse Sausage Cassoulet

2 duck breasts, fat scored

6 Toulouse sausages

2 onions, halved and sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

3 carrots, halved and sliced

1 large and 1 regular cans whole or diced tomatoes

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cans of chickpeas or cannellini beans.

In a hot skillet, on a medium low flame, brown and render the fat from the duck breasts. Cut the duck breasts into large cubes, then set aside.  Remove the rendered fat from the skillet and reserve.

Add a tablespoon of the rendered fat and the sausages to the skillet and brown. Remove and reserve.  Add another tablespoon of the fat to the skillet and saute the onions, garlic and carrots until the onion is soft.

Add the tomatoes (breaking up with a fork if whole), salt, pepper, bay leaf, oregano and thyme to the skillet.  Simmer for a few minutes, then add the chickpeas, cubes of duck, then top with the sausages, cover and simmer for an hour.




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Italian Sausage Breakfast Hash

IMG_5898b This breakfast/brunch hash was directly inspired by Frugal Feeding’s Potato and Chorizo Salad.  I found some Italian sausage in the freezer (there could be more) that I wanted to move on before I go back to the duck :)

Italian Sausage Breakfast Hash

4 medium size potatoes, cut into small chunks

4 hot Italian sausages

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, halved, then sliced into about 16 pieces

2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into medium dice

Salt and pepper

Smoked paprika

4 hard boiled eggs, quartered

Boil the potatoes for about 4-5 minutes, drain and set aside.  Brown and cook the Italian sausages, slice and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, then add the onion, bell pepper and garlic.  Saute until the onion is just soft.  Add the reserved potatoes, sprinkle all with salt, pepper and paprika, then cook and stir until the potatoes are lightly browned. Stir in the reserved sausages to heat.  Lastly, gently stir in the eggs.

Posted in African, Food and Wine, Haitian, Japanese, Korean, Main dishes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments