Braised chicken with cèpes / porcini mushrooms


We are in the throws of wild mushroom season here and it seems to be a very very good year so far !  Even my husband is finding some, and he thought he was “cursed” 😉  So lovely chicken raised at a local farm on hand and a pile of Cèpes (or Porcini for you Italians) and this dish seemed like a good idea.  Frozen peas are one of my “exceptions” to how we get our food.  They are just so yum and useful when there is nothing in the fridge….  I am compiling a list of “Things that are useful to have in your freezer”,  so watch this space 🙂


A word about chicken.  We all know what we are supposed to buy and not buy when it comes to poultry these days, so make the best choices you can.  But one habit I managed to kick a few years ago (with no regrets whatsoever) is never buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts or any other chicken parts for that matter.  I always start with a whole chicken, and dear husband has even become quite skilled at getting those breasts OFF the carcass if I really want to use that.  So sometimes I use the chicken whole, or it is cut up (even Martha Stewart has a youTube video on how to do that) to use in pieces.  Sooooo much more flavour, more responsible, less waste AND you get to make homeade stock to boot !

We are having beautiful weather this Autumn so this was done in the Solar Oven for a “fall off the bone” result !

Braised Chicken with Cèpe Mushrooms

  • Good glug of olive oil
  • 1 Chicken (best quality you can find) cut into pieces (don’t forget to save the carcass for broth)
  • Flour for dusting (ignore this if gluten free)
  • 75g cubed good quality pancetta or bacon
  • 300g mushrooms (I used wild Cèpes or Porcini but button mushrooms will do)
  • 2 good size shallots or 1 onion, chopped
  • 300 ml good quality chicken stock
  • 1 TBS white wine vinegar (I used a lovely lemon infused one)
  • 60g frozen peas
  • a good handful of parsley, chopped

Heat some olive oil in  a heavy and deep frying pan with a lid.  Season and dust the chicken pieces with flour before browning on all sides.  Remove and set aside.  In the same pan fry the bacon and mushrooms until soft, then remove.

Add more olive oil and cook shallots for a few minutes.  Add the stock and vinegar and leave to bubble for a couple of minutes.  Return the chicken, bacon and mushrooms and leave to cook, covered on a light simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the peas and parsley and bubble uncovered for 5 minutes or so.

I served this with some garlic mashed potatoes but I think the leftovers will be served with some fresh Tagliatelle ….

(Adapted from a recipe in BBC Good Food Magazine)

Bon Appetît !


Sesame chocolate chunk cookies

cookies sesame

There is pretty much ALWAYS a homeade cookie in my house.  Just as my mom always kept the cookie jar well stocked while I was growing up.  Its become quite an obsession and I feel like a bad mother when I don’t have something I’ve made myself for my kids when they get home from school.  The danger is for the adults in the house (hmmmm ME ).  I find that immediately freezing them after having eaten a reasonable TWO cookies right out of the oven helps me “forget” that they are there (though I have become partial to the taste of a frozen cookie 😉 ).

The freezing bit allows me to be “organised” and not be making cookies every few days ….

This recipe really appealed to me.  My son is unimpressed with me if I present him with anything that doesn’t contain chocolate in a cookie at the moment, so this seemed like a great change to my usual Chocolate Chip Oatmeal.  The soya sauce adds a certain depth to the flavour and the salt sprinkled on the top is just a MUST !  Enjoy, this one is a keeper for me ….

Sesame and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • Servings: enough to freeze some
  • Print

  • 2 1/4 cups (250 g) good quality flour (I use a partially whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds from a vanilla bean
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon soy sauce (I too was intrigued)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (Joy used black, which gives a dramatic effect)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chopped into smallish pieces
  • Sesame seeds for rolling and sea salt or fleur de sel for sprinkling on top

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugars until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula from time to time.  Add the egg and egg yolk and beat until mixture gets its fluff back.   Beat in the vanilla and soy sauce.  Add the dry ingredients, all at once to the butter mixture.  Beat until just combined.  Add the sesame seeds and chocolate, and fold together with a wooden spoon until well combined.  Cover the dough and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.   This is the moment you could also freeze the dough in a couple of balls to be taken out when you would like a nice fresh batch of cookies, hot out of the oven !

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Place about 1/4 cup sesame seeds in a small bowl.

Make little balls of dough using a tablespoon and your hands before tossing the balls in the sesame seeds.   Place on prepared baking sheets.  Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool.  Store cookies in an airtight container for a couple days or place them in a big bag or container and freeze (if you haven’t eaten them all already)

Directly inspired by Joy the Baker

Bon appetît !

Very Exciting Chili Butter


I’ve finally had a good Chili year in the garden.  Which creates a new problem…..  What to do with them?  How to preserve them ?  I’m delighted to have fresh hot chili’s for sprinkling on my food (not easy to find those in the French countryside), but I have my limits !  The sad thought of this season ending and having to go back to dried or powdered chili’s got my creative juices going !


So I’ve dried them, I’ve frozen them whole, or chopped.  The variety above are quite “juicy” leading me to think they could go moldy during the drying process.  I think this new idea is going to make me a very happy camper this winter ……  CHILI BUTTER !!!  Not JUST Chili butter but so many other things could be added !  We also have access to a beautifully made fresh, unpasteurised Jersey Cow butter made at a local farm !


How to make fresh CHILI Butter

  • mash up some good quality softened butter using a fork
  • mix well with your finely chopped chili’s and any other chosen ingredients (you could put all ingredients, including butter into a food processor if you like which makes it a whole other experience)
  • scoop that onto a big piece of baking paper and squash it into the best fat sausage shape you can imagine
  • pop in the freezer
  • slice off a piece to be melted onto anything you like directly from the freezer

I’m thinking this would be nice on a curry or dhal when I’ve made it too mild for my kids sake 😉  On a piece of meat or in an Asian style soup or a minestrone.  Any ideas ???  I’m new at this !!


Interesting combinations:

  • Chili, lime zest & coriander
  • Chili & Basil with black pepper
  • Loads of garlic and parsley (amazing melted onto a steak)
  • Lemon zest, dill and black pepper


Have fun with this one, share your ideas,  and bon appetît !