Posts Tagged ‘Gluten free’

John Dory with Tropical Fruit, Tandoori and Satay Spice Sauce
(ignore the ugly weird things at the top of the plate)

Chef Clergue started the Superior Cuisine session off Monday morning at 8:30 by reintroducing us to John Dory.  Have you met this fish at the fish mongers?  He is not a nice fish; in fact he’s rather nasty to work with, all spikey fins and a sharp prickly spine.  To appease us for having to work with such a mean fish, we were happily introducing very un-French spices and tropical fruit.

My first practical was not particularly strong on organization.  After successfully fileting John Dory, I fell behind trying to cut up his bones for my sauce.  Clearly I need to build more muscle or hutzpah as even with the cleaver it took me forever dismember John Dory.

The pressure is much more tenable in Superior as we must now advise our Chef what time we would plate.  Poor concentration, lack of coordination and muscle mass means I chose “la dernier place” – damn them bones.

The dish itself was actually delicious.   The filets are marinated in an oil, tandoori and satay spice mix for a short while and served with a spicy fruit infused sauce and wild rice with petite (or not so petite) brunoise of mango and papaya.


1 -2 tsp. tandoori spice

½ – 1 tsp. satay spice

2 tsp. canola or other light vegetable oil

4 John Dory filets

Mix the spices with the oil and rub onto the fish.  Place in the refrigerator.


Sauté the bones in olive oil then add

  • A splash of white wine to deglaze; then reduce
  • Finely chopped onions and sweat;
  • 1 tbsp. of tandoori, 1.5 tsp. satay spices and 3 crushed garlic cloves skins on.
  • Water to the height of the bones
  • Mango and papaya trimmings
  • Juice of 1 lime and a few slices of the peel; add juice gradually as you test the flavors
  • Cilantro stems

Check the seasonings after 15 minutes.  If you like it spicier carefully add more tandoori and satay.  Simmer for 25 minutes, skimming off impurities throughout.  Pass through a sieve at the end, reduce a little more and keep warm.  When your sauce is ready, sauté John Dory (he had it coming) in olive oil a few minutes on each side until cooked through.  Serve with wild rice embellished with a dice of mango and papaya.

Chef’s wine match for this dish is an Alsatian Gewürztraminer which is classic pairing for spicy foods.  I hope MaryFrances approves!

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It’s cold, grey and rainy today – a good day for soup!  There is nothing more inviting in the midst of a lazy Sunday than to smell the aromas of spices and sweet vegetables throughout the house.  One of my all-time favorites, butternut squash and apple bisque, delivers sweet mouthfuls of goodness with a good boost from cinnamon and nutmeg.  This soup makes an excellent first course to a special fall meal or a lovely luncheon main and although the results are impressive it is deceptively easy to cook.

I first started making this soup in Canada during the fall when I lived in to my first apartment with my good friend Jill.   We were both novice cooks, liked to experiment with wholesome foods and share our creations.  Both of us loved the sweet flavours in this soup so we looked forward to enjoying a bowl and a good gab. Jill’s most memorable creation for me was a soft goat cheese, raisin and spice carrot sandwich.  Years later I found a similar recipe for such a sandwich on the internet and as you would guess I make myself.  Delicious!   She was definitely on to something.

Butternut squash is best in the fall so now is the time to enjoy this gem.  MaryFrances has created a couple of gorgeous wine pairings that will send you into heaven.  I wish you a happy fall enjoying all the beautiful produce and look forward to cooking with you soon.

Continue for recipe and here for a lovely wine pairing

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Soup ingredients
3 tbsp veg oil
2 tbsp minced shallots
1 celery stick diced (optional)
1 golden delicious apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 cups homemade chicken stock (no salt)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1. Heat the oil in a heavy pot over med heat.
2. Sweat the shallots and apple (optional celery) for 5 to 8 min.  The shallots should not gain any colour just softness.
3. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and cook for 1 min (reduces the raw flavour of the spices)
4. Add the butternut squash and chicken stock.
5. Bring to a boil, reduce to med low heat to simmer for 30 min.  Taste mid way through for sweetness, cinnamon and nutmeg,  If squash is not too sweet add a bit of white sugar and more spice if desired.
6. Test the squash are tender after 30 min. If so, add the cream, stir in and then puree the mixture in a food processor, with a blender or if you have a hand held blender.
7.  Taste for salt and pepper
Optional Toppings for serving
1 large red delicious apple, cored and diced
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1.  Melt the butter, add the spices and cook for a minute.
2.  Add the apple and cook until soft, about 2 min.
A dollop of creme fraîche in the middle of the soup with a few roasted pumpkin seeds.

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I find it hard to get excited about cooking in the kitchen when the thermometer outside registers more than 30 C.   Unfortunately, I never lose my appetite, even in the heat, so that means I need to get a bit more creative on how to use fresh ingredients or pre cooked foods.

In my neighborhood in Amsterdam there is an amazing smokehouse.   Frank’s Smokehouse is renowned in the Netherlands for all their products from several types of smoked fish, salmon, trout, halibut and mackerel to meats such as smoked duck breasts, chickens and if you ask nicely they will do a whole turkey for you!

One of my favourite cheats for a fast meal is smoked fish, trout.  I always marvel at how beautiful my little trout looks when I place it on the cutting board.  The skin still shows the colors of the rainbow even though it’s been thoroughly cooked.

One whole smoked trout served cold satisfies two people nicely in a salad and the lovely smoked flavor pairs wonderfully with raw shallot, chives, tarragon, chervil, lemon – well I could go on but I think you see the potential.

Wine Pairing

I can’t help myself this dish deserves a beautifully chilled glass of buttery chardonnay.  Try and select a lightly oaked Chardonnay so it doesn’t compete with the smoke flavors of the trout.

This little recipe is a fast and easy lunch or dinner.  Enjoy!


1 whole smoked trout, skin removed, filets off the bone and pin bones removed

10 whole white skinned baby potatoes

5 black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tsps. salt

1 tbsp. chopped tarragon

2 tbsp. chopped chives

1 tbsp. minced shallot

3 cups mache (if you can’t find use butter or bibb lettuce)


2 tsp. white wine vinegar

1/8 cup sunflower or canola oil

Salt and pepper


  1. Slice the potatoes into 1 inch rounds, skin on and place in a pot with cold water.  Add the peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme sprigs and salt.
  2. Bring to a boil and then cook for 10 minutes.  Test for doneness then strain out water and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.  Set aside.
  3. Cut or break the trout filets into bite size pieces and set aside.
  4. Assemble the vinaigrette – to the vinegar add the salt and pepper then whisk in the oil to emulsify
  5. Toss the warm potatoes with half the chopped tarragon, chives, shallot and vinaigrette.
  6. Place the mache in a salad bowl and add the remaining half the chopped tarragon, chives, shallot and vinaigrette.  Toss ingredients together to evenly coat the leaves.
  7. Assemble the salad by placing the half the mache in each bowl, top with dressed potatoes and half the trout.
  8. Season with a little more salt and pepper if desired.
  9. Take out to the terrace with a glass of wine and enjoy!

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