Chicken Tagine in Lemon Preserve and Olives

Today, I bumped my head at the fridge’s door and realized that hey, I missed out this month’s DB’s challenge. Ooops.

Gosh, I am totally lost and exasperated with our moving. I have moaned and groaned on this task that every time I finished packing one box it seems there’s another one to make. They are infinite. Oh for heaven sake, do we really have this much of stuffs? I sigh. Probably karma for some good things that I did, our annual family reunion came in as a gift this weekend: for it gave me and my husband a two-day break to do nothing but eat and chit chat.

One of the things I appreciate the most about this family event of ours is the décor: a 17th century five story bourgeois villa in between lavender fields and chestnut & black truffles plantation, indeed the most treasured of our family’s patrimony. And I tell you, on occasions like this I savor more the stories we share on the long table than the sumptuous meal served. Blame it on my frustrations of being a reporter. Hopping from table to table for the latest buzz; Cousin A, the meteorologist in the family just got an offer for a five-year job contract in Tahiti! Wow, that’s great everybody’s excited. But hey, isn’t it that France-Tahiti flight being the farthest place we could ever think of flying could cost a whopping 2000 euros per person. Hmm, not really good news I thought. Oh have you heard that Cousin B is back dating again after her recent divorce? Now we have good news! Well Cousin C claimed it is still too early to rejoice for the guy he was dating with is still in the process of divorcing too. Hmmmm! And Oh Uncle A, the doctor finally after years of our convincing accepted to take his much deserved vacation with her wife, they’ll be flying to China next week. That’s great, I said. But probably you can advise us on what’s the best one to bring along on our travel; they asked me, backpack or a suitcase? Huh? I replied. Luckily I was saved by my mom-in-law asking me if I already prepared my cocktail dress for Friday’s occasion. No not yet I retorted. Roll out the red carpet for apparently dad-in-law will be honored the highest recognition given by the French government for his unwavering services as the highest judge of the Court of Appeals I hope Sarkozy will be there, I sneered. Gala event’s like that is not really my cup of tea but the free buffet table sounds promising to me I thought. I’m already dreaming of champagne and caviar when my husband approached and whispered on my ears; Honey, I think your chicken is burning!

Im sending this chicken tagine of to Valentina, our host for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, the even created by Kalyn.

Chicken Tagine in Lemon Preserves and Olives

1 whole chicken cut in serving pieces
1-2 pieces of lemon preserved chopped
2 big onions sliced
1/4 cup of olive oil
half a stick of butter
half a cup of green olives
2 to 3 pieces of potatoes
2 teaspoons of tagine spice: curry, turmeric, cumin, etc
some fresh chopped coriander
1/2 a cup of chicken stock

Start by putting half of your olive oil and butter. Brown the sides of your chicken, set it aside. On the same casserole, put the rest of the oil and caramelize your onions. Put back the chicken and continue stirring. Add the spices and the preserved lemon. Add the potatoes and green olives. Put some salt. Pour the chicken stock. Simmer over low fire for about an hour or until chicken is tender and soft. Top it with chopped coriander.

My other chicken recipes:
Chicken Curry Pizza
Chicken Supreme

Milk Chocolate Honey Walnut Pie

There is angel in each one of us.

The dark cloud yesterday morning announced the sudden rain pour that was strong but brief. As I busily dry my wet umbrella while waiting in the covered bus stop an old woman on her late 80’s arrived and took refuge on the same shelter. Half wet from waist till her legs she smiled at me and told me with pride, “Oh It’s rare that it rains in Provence but I always carry my umbrella with me!” “What a great girl scout you are!” I teasingly replied. I don’t know if she understood the joke but we both laugh. As the bus arrived I have only one thing in my mind, sleep in the bus and listen to my Ipod. But alas, as I entered the bus the old woman already reserved the seat close to her for me. She smiled at me and insisted that I sit beside her for a company and told me that she would love to spend the trip beside me.

As our bus advance to our destination I get to know little by little this gracious stranger seated close to me. We were like high-school girls giggling at almost anything. Oh we talked about lot of stuffs. From politics to why women should never be allowed to drive to her misfortunes, her recent lost his son, and her current battle: his husband who’s still in comma for few days now. She told me how she loved him and how it would be hard for her to imagine living a life old and alone without him. People who know me personally know that I am type of person that loves to crack jokes and put a smile on other people’s faces for whatever it takes whatsoever the circumstances are. I didn’t only put a smile on her face I also made her laugh a lot of times. As we went down the bus, I gave her a strong hug, kisses on her cheeks and whispered words of encouragement on her ears. She was teary eyed when she waved her hand goodbye and continued her direction towards the hospital.

It is true that it’s not everyday we have rain in Provence. But it could be any day we can be an angel to a complete stranger.


My angels are flying a slice of this chocolate honey walnut pie over at Cookthink for their 33rd edition of Root Source Challenge. If you love honey you will surely love this edition.

By the way, Haze & Makis, this is the tart I bake for our lunchdate that didn't show up :-)

Milk Chocolate Honey Walnut Pie

For the pate brisée (recipe here)

300 g of coarsely chopped walnut
100 g of brown sugar (about half a cup)
2 tablespoons of honey ( I used lavander honey)
150 g of milk chocolate
55 g of butter (about half a stick)
2 tablespoons of flour
4 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
20 cl of heavy cream

Cream your eggs with sugar, then add the flour. Melt the chocolate and fold it into your heavy cream. Add the vanilla extra. Pour the chocolate mixture on your egg-sugar-flour mixture and mix them well. Put half of your chopped walnuts on your cooked pastry shell and pour over the chocolate mixture. Sprinkle the rest of your nuts on the top. Preheat the oven at 180° celsius and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with a scoop of ice-cream of your choice.

Try my other walnut recipes:

Rolled Turkey Escalopes with Walnut Parsley Pesto
Walnut Wine
Pannetone Pudding with cream-anglaise and Walnut brittle

Click that Crust

Crust (krst)

a. The hard outer portion or surface area of bread.
b. A piece of bread consisting mostly of the hard outer portion.
c. A piece of bread that has become hard and dry.
2. A pastry shell, as of a pie or tart.

Click (klk)
Blog event

A monthly event dedicated to food photography created by Jai & Bee of Jugalbandi. This is a theme-based contest and a great opportunity to awe the breathtaking photographies in the blogsphere.

Crust + Click = This month's awesome Click event. For more details do check their great blog :-)

Chocolate Almond & Grapes Foccacia

Oh Parting is such a Sweet Sorrow!

It's all happening too fast: in two weeks time we will be leaving our old place for a brand new one. The house is in chaos. Sealed and semi-sealed boxes are everywhere. I feel like being nostalgic seeing all those good and bad memories piled up in boxes. This place that we call our own for years will be someone else's in few weeks time.Come to think of it, I love everything about this community; its neighborhood, the small artisans and of course my favorite shops. And this place has its own beauty and character not easy to forget.

I hate goodbyes.

And when melancholy is at its finest on me, cooking is my only theraphy. I'll be sending off this sweet foccacia over at Kellypea of Sass & Veracity who's celebrating her 100,000th visitor with Gordon Ramsay. For more details do check out the link.

Chocolate Almond and Grapes Foccacia

250- 270 g of all purpose flour (start by putting 250 grams and add the rest if necessary)

1 teaspoon of dry yeast

120 ml of warm water

2 tablespoons of honey

half a teaspoon of salt
half a small glass of olive oil (about 10 cl)

50 g of dark chocolate (I suggest you put more)
half a cup of whole almond nuts
half a cup of grapes

Start by dissolving the dry yeast in the warm water. In a bowl put the flour, salt and pour the water mixed with yeast. Knead the mixture. Add the honey and olive oil and continue kneading for about ten minutes. Let the dough rise for an hour. Flatten using a rolling pin. Dust with flour your working table and your hands. Melt your chocolate using your microwave. Divide the chocolate into two. Fold in gently the first part on your dough as you fold and flatten it. Add the second half using the same technique. Next fold in your almond nuts and grapes on the dough. Flatten gently the dough and make a form depending on your preference (square, round, oval). Decorate the top with some nuts and grapes. Preheat the oven at 200 celsius and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

My other bread recipes:
Chocolate Rolled Brioche
Coco Bread
Banana Nutella and Maple syrup bread

Chocolate Coconut Pie

If there's one trait about me I am not proud of that would be my hot-temperedness. Oh for heaven sake it's a curse that runs in our blood a sort of a family heirloom. So as much as I can control this and to avoid further “collateral damages” my military attack could do I normally shut up my mouth and turn my back. Unfortunately yesterday wasn't just an ordinary day that I triumphed in holding back my anger.

Well you see, I got an invitation for a half-day Management seminar 2 weeks ago from my professional counselor. It has been several times I refuse to attend because of my busy schedule but I finally decided to do it, after all it will be for my own good. So I took the time out to fix everything at home, find someone to take care of Mayumi, put some appointment in the afternoon so that I could maximize also my time. When I arrived at the hall and told them I was there for this seminar, I was advised that I wasn't on the list. But the weird thing I wasn't the only one. There were eighteen unfortunate souls like me. The three secretaries were all panicking already on how could that happen that there was this much people invited to a seminar that doesn't even exist. Well, there was a scheduled management seminar that morning but it was for "Building Constructors". (Oh yes you heard that right, building constructors!) Everyone else was calm (I guess they were all too sleepy to react) well except for me I had my dose of hot chocolate that morning. I was fuming with madness and was busy bombarding with questions the terrorized secretaries that couldn't give me a decent explanation on what really took place. They were the organizers; they send the invitation to each one of us how come they don't know what happened? Of all the things I really hate that would be people's incompetence. But my path unfortunately always crosses with them.

So to pacify the angry me and definitely not to waste the time of other people who were there, they proposed that we attended this seminar instead. They negotiated with the speaker to tackle the subject on a much wider perspective to accommodate our needs. Especially when it comes to French government policies one single rule applies to all. My only regret, she didn’t talk much about her original topic for I could have learned a new stuff that can be useful for my house renovations.

Anyways, the only good thing that I could pull off from yesterday my meet up with another blogger, a Pinay who got a scholarship from Erasmus Mundus, who’s staying here in France for four months then off she goes to Finland and Netherlands (isn't that cool?). We had a succulent lunch in my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. Yay! Sorry for ranting, its my first anyways.

I'll be sending slices of this pie to Zorra our lovely host for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, the event created by Kalyn. I'ts been a long time I haven't had my Friday Dose of Chocolate :-)

Chocolate Coconut Pie
For one big pie

Recipe for pie crust (pate brisée) here :

200 g of dark chocolate
20 cl of heavy cream (about half a small glass)
3 tablespoons of butter
1 egg
1 cup of fresh coconut

In bain marie melt the chocolate and butter. Out of fire, fold in the heavy cream and egg. Mix them well. Pour them over your shell pie. Arrange nicely your sliced coconut. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180° celsius.

My other pie recipes:

Pinacolada Pie
Fig Coconut Custard Tart
Lemon Meringue Pie

Fig & Coconut Custard Tart

An open letter to my blogging friends that I truly miss

Dear everyone,

I know I know things have been kind a sluggish here in my kitchen. It has been a frantic couple of weeks in the house lately, fluttering with things done and still left undone. Heard about two verbs you should not put together: moving and renovation. Well, we are in the middle of moving preparation, yes you heard it right we are moving to a bigger house in few weeks time. And to top that we are also in middle of renovating our small vacation house in Verdon. Whew, if only you could see how the two houses are; upside down. The only one enjoying this jungle like ambiance at home is my one year old girl. I bet you could imagine how it complicates things even more. She’s up there, she’s taken that. I put something in the box she takes it out. Well I’m nearing my borderline insanity:-).

Fortunately we finally had a break yesterday. We head over at my sister-in-law's place for a delicious crepe party and an eventual "usual promenade" with my mom-in-law. You know what I mean; we gathered about a kilo of almonds and two kilos of figs. These free stuffs abundant in the place we live are the things I will greatly miss when we move to our new house. Well I am truly glad that my hubby and I had our much deserving repose yesterday. Strong enough to face this busy week ahead of us. I'll keep you all posted!

Big kisses from my kitchen,

Ps, I gave myself an hour break so I could peep through your kitchen


I'll be sending this over at Lore's fabulous monthly event Original Recipes at Culinarty.

Fig Coconut Custard Cream Tart

for the pate brisée
(pastry dough)
250 grams of flour (about 2 cups)

1 tablespoon of sugar
a pinch of salt

100 g of butter cut in cubes(1 stick)
half a glass of water

In a salad bowl put your flour and butter. Mix them well with your hand. Using your finger press well the butter to make it blend with your flour. If you want to simplify this just pulse them together. :-) As soon as you have that sandy coarse texture, add your salt and sugar. Then pour little by little your water as you work on your dough. Remember do not pour all the water. Sometimes you just need less. You are at a right consistency when the flour doesn't stick to your hand no more. Make a ball shape and let it stand covered in your fridge. After the resting time, flatten them with your rolling pin. Make the shape and size you want depending on your baking dish. Brush your baking dish with butter and put your dough. With the help of your finger flatten the sides. Put a great pressure as you do it. With the aid of fork make some holes on your dough all over. Cut the edges and press the sides. Let it stand again in the fridge for about thirty minutes. Preheat the oven at 180° celsius and cook this for about then minutes.

for the second part:
about a kilo of fresh figs quartered
half a cup of brown sugar
4 egg yolks
10 cl of coconut cream (about half a small glass)
50 g of butter cut in cubes (half a stick)
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

After the pie crust is ready put half of the brown sugar on the surface of your crust. Then assemble nicely your quartered fig , with the cut part facing up. Drizzle it again with brown sugar. Put it in the oven for about ten minutes at 180° celsius. Beat the egg yolks with coconut cream and vanilla. After the ten minutes pull out the tart and pour over your egg mixture. Drizzle it with rest of your sugar and put your cut butter on the top. Bake this for about fifteen minutes at 180° celsius.

Try my other tart and pie recipes:
Pecan Nuts and Maple Syrup Tart
Nutella Dulche de leche Tartelette
Mango cheesecake Pie

Country Bread

"Bread is the king of the table all else is merely the court that surrounds the king" -Bromfield

When I was in high-school Economics was my least favorite subject. Well how could we expect young minds to see the importance of this matter in our daily lives when our number one concern was getting the attention of our crushes and getting rid of our pimples? But that was long time ago. Today, every time I open newspapers and watch the news on TV I am guilty as the rest of the French people who see nothing but concern on our diminishing purchasing power. And when this topic is on the line the swelling prices of bread naturally comes.

The French people and bread have traveled faithfully together in their history. Bread accounted for more than a staple food but symbolized hope, justice and stability, a food for poor people par excellence. Imagine that it was only in 1793 that bread comes to be for everyone, rich or poor, the bread of equality. So what happens when baguette, croissants, baguette à l’anciènne and other bread becomes costly? Well they don’t go on the street to do their protest but rather spend more time in the kitchen to bake their own bread.

I’ll be sending this to Susan for her weekly Yeastspotting. And by the way Click’s theme for this month is all about crust. I had the pleasure to be invited as a one of the judges in this fabulous food photo event. I can’t wait to see your crunchy crusts pour over at Jugalbandi the creator of this event.

Country Bread (Pain de Campagne)
for 800 grams of bread

20 g of dry yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
320 g of luke warm water
600 g of bread flour
10 g of sugar (about 1 teaspoon)
10 g of salt (about 1 teaspoon)

In a separate bowl dissolve the dry yeast with some of your warm water. Let this stand for about fifteen minutes. In another bowl put the flour, salt and sugar. Add your diluted yeast and start working on your dough. Add little by little the water. Do not pour all the water as consistency of dough varies from flour to flour. Continue working on your dough until it becomes smooth. Let it stand for an hour covered by a wet towel. As soon as the dough have risen you will need to do the second part of the kneading. Put some oil on your hand flatten the dough to let the air out. Start kneading again for few minutes. Do as you please for the size and shape of your bread. I cut mine in small equal parts and make a small ball shape. I let it stand for another hour covered with wet towel. Preheat the oven at 200° celsius. Put a ramekin with water inside as you bake your bread. With the aid of a sharp knife make small lits on top of your bread. I diddn't put some slits on my bread. Bake it for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your bread.

My other bread recipes:

French Baguette

Mini-flute Bread

Fried Honey Orange Puff in Sesame, a Moroccan Dessert

Halwa Chabakiah, anyone...?

Receiving a big envelope addressed to me from my sister few days ago made me jump in the four corners of the house. For I knew exactly what was inside. It doesn’t enclose letters nor do photos from my family, for we constantly communicate through email. It was something else that I have been waiting for a long time.

Before I left Philippines long time ago I was enrolled in a Masteral degree program in my university but my several stints abroad and eventual circumstance to settle in France have hampered me in finishing that. Several deans come and go and my thesis remained the way I left it. When I received the news that all my classmates have all graduated even the one we least expected it was like a knife that hit me hurting me so badly. I knew I couldn’t just leave it like that. So three years ago I decided that no distance could stop me from finishing what I started. And I made it. Last year was my graduation day but I begged off to travel to Philippines due to my pregnancy. And early this year when I was there we have completely forgotten to talked about it for we were too occupied about my dad’s deteriorating health condition.

So, when I opened the envelope, I saw : there was my Masteral degree diploma. I felt like a heroine in any soap opera feeling triumphant after kicking the ass of all the villains. And the bonus part; I even graduated with distinction, Yay! Well how shall I describe it? I am just simply happy :-)

I know I merit a big chocolate cake for that but this simple and easy Moroccan dessert is a delicious replacement!

I am sending this to lovely Ruth of Ruth's Kitchen Experiments the creator of Bookmarked Recipes. Round-up is every Monday!

Angel's Finger(D'oigt d'Ange) Halwa Chabakia

This recipe is taken from the Oriental Patisserie cookbook from Librio. Halwa Chabakia are pastry dough like soft pretzels deep fried in oil. Best eaten with mint teas.

for about 20-25 pieces

125 g of butter (about 1 1/2 stick of butter)
50 g of flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
A pinch of salt
1 sachet of dry yeast (about one teaspoon)
15 cl of orange blossom water (about half a glass)
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1 egg
1 glass of warm water
A pinch of saffron
Oil for frying

100 g of honey
20 cl of orange blossom water (about a glass)
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast. Make a small well in the middle and pour your melted butter, orange 15 cl of blossom water, lemon juice, orange zest and your egg. Let your saffron infuse in your warm water. Add this water little by little to your dough as you work on it. You need not to add all the water, you will stop until you reach a smooth homogenous texture. Put a flour on your working table and flatten your dough. Make small rectangular shapes of 10x6 cm of about 1mm of thickness.

how to fold them: Fold inwards the longest sides. Then turn it over fold again inwards the two sides to form this finger like shape. Put them one by one in your boiling oil and fry them for about 5-6 minutes until they are golden brown. Combine your honey with your orange blossom water and mix them well. You will dip your fried pastry on this syrup once cooked. And sprinkle them with sesame seeds before serving.

I am warning you this is extremy delicious!


I am not sure that Halwa Chabakiah is the real name of this dessert, for that's the closest one I googled up.

You can also try:

Beignets, French Donuts

Rhum Raisins Almond Pancake

Rhum Raisins Almond Pancakes,
eat them moderately :-)

It's Wednesday again and it's my wordless day.

Hay, hay its Donna Day once again! The two time winner Suzana of Home-gourmet our lovely host has chosen Pancake this time as a theme. HHDD is blogging event created in honor of Donna Hay by Barbara of Winos & Foodies that is now in the caring wings of Bron Marshall. Everybody loves pancake so this is an event to look forward to.

Rhum Raisin Almond Pancakes

For the pancakes:
Makes 15
2 cups (250 g) plain flour, sifted 3 tsp baking powder, sifted 1/3 cup (85 g) caster sugar 2 eggs 1 1/2 cup (375 ml) milk 75 g butter, melted pinch of salt
1/4 cup of rhum
1/2 cup of dried raisins
2 tablespoons of almond shivels

Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Place the eggs, milk, and butter in a separate bowl and whisk until combined. Combine mixtures and whisk until smooth. (Add extra milk to get the right consistency, if necessary).
Heat a greased medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Pour 1/3 cup of the mixture into the pan and cook, in batches, until bubbles appear on the surface. Turn the pancakes and cook for 1 minute or until golden. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Start by soaking your dried raisins in your rhum for about fifteen minutes. Before frying your pancakes add your raisins and almond. Deglaze the pan with the rhum. Serve with maple syrup and nougat ice-cream.

in maple syrup.....

or top with nougat ice-cream

Cadbury Chocolate Cookies Fruits & Nuts

Cadbury Chocolate Cookies Fruits & Nuts

I love chocolate! And who doesn't? It's my all time favorite, a solace when I'm grieving and my reward to myself when I'm jubilant.

Our love story has come a long way already considering our rudimentary beginnings. Those childhood penniless days that I sneak out on the kitchen to empty our Ovaltine can of chocolate milk powdered drink. I insist on me being penniless because that was the only chocolate I could devour when my craving arises. But as years go by, my path crossed with local chocolates Chocnut, Cloud 9 then the imported one’s; Hershey's Kisses, M'M multi-colored chocolates, and then there came the Cadbury Fruits n Nut. It was my good old friend who’s now based in California who introduced this to me. If most have their Kitkat moments we had our Cadbury moments.

When I graduated Magna Cum Laude in our university I got this tremendous offer to teach in our college despite my young age and being a complete novice. But hey don’t think I am a nerdy Einstein like know it all person. I was just a normal average student (who loves partying) who was lucky enough to have lazy classmates LOL. (If they could read this they will kill me) Teaching my contemporaries or students that were older than me was not only intimidating but proved to be a very tough one. I have those days that I almost feel like giving up, but my friend (my colleague) and her Cadbury chocolate bars stood by me and cheered me up. Life’s been so great with me. For I may have some trouble that come by from time to time and no Cadbury with me to enjoy with, but I still have a dozen of French chocolate to brace me by. :-) Hehehe In homage to these sweet chocolaty Cadbury moments I concocted up these chocolate cookies. But don’t be deceived, there is no Cadbury choco in this recipe!

This is my contribution to this month's Monthly Mingle hosted by the creator herself, the lovely Meeta of What's for lunch Honey? If you love chocolate and fruits you should check out the round up!

Cadbury Chocolate Cookies Fruits & Nuts

I found this awesome American Cookies recipe by Zabou in a french recipe sharing site Les Foodies and added some of my touch:

220 g of flour 50 g of brown sugar 50 g of white sugar 1 teaspoon of honey 100 g of butter half a sachet of baking powder (that's about a teaspoon) 1 egg 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of cacao
200 g of chocolate patisserie (chopped in small pieces)
50 g of dried raisins
50 g of almonds

In a bowl melt the butter in a microwave. Then add the honey and egg. Mix them well. In a separate bowl put the all the dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, white sugar and the baking powder. Mix them together. Add your lemon juice. This is to help you make this cookies chewy and soft. Put the cacao and the melted butter-honey-egg mixture. Mix them together. Fold in your chopped chocolate, raisins and almonds. Put in the fridge and let it rest for about five minutes. Form a small ball and place them on your cookie sheet. Give enough spacing for each cookie. Preheat the oven at 200° celsius and bake it for ten minutes.

I suggest that if you are lucky enough to have Cadbury chocolate at hand, why not try making this cookie recipe with it and tell me how it is :-)

My other cookie recipe:

Tropical Santa Cookies