La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Baked Spareribs with BBQ sauce


2 kg spareribs
3 onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
250 ml tomato ketchup
25 ml cider vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chilli powder or tabasco


Preheat the oven to 230° C. Put the spareribs in a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
In the meantime mix all other ingredients together and pour over the spareribs. Turn the heat down to 180°C and bake the ribs for about an hour or until tender.
Take the ribs out of the marinade and give them extra coulour on the barbecue or under the grill. Pour the sauce back over and serve with crusty bread or rice and a green salad.

Chocolate Truffel Cake


400 gr dark chocolate
900 ml whipped cream (unsweetened)
150 gr crushed biscuits (digestives or Spritz-type)
2 tsp almond essence
cocoa powder to garnish


Melt the chocolate in a hotwater bath (Bain Marie).
Fold in 1/3 of the cream and take of the heat.
Add the biscuits and almond essence to the cream and pour in the chocolate mixture. Fold it in well.
Pour into a spring form cake tin or line with tinfoil to prevent sticking.
Put it in the fridge for a couple of hours at least, 24 hrs is even better.
Cut into wedges and serve sprinkled with cocoa powder.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Belgian Cinnamon Cookies

Ingredients for +/- 30 pcs

200 gr butter
450 gr dark brown sugar
100 ml water
1 egg
2 heaped tbsp honey
750 gr self raising flour
a pich of salt
2 tbsp cinnamon

for finishing: milk or beaten egg & 30 bleached almonds


Mix the butter and sugar well. Add the water, egg and honey.
Sieve the flour, salt and cinnamon. Then add to the butter mixture. Mix to a homogenous dough.
Leave to rest in a cold place for up to 5 hours.
Divide the dough into 30 portions. Roll and flatten to about 1.5 cm. Put them on a baking tray, lined with baking paper.
Press an almond in each cookie. Brush with egg or milk and bake in a preheated oven (170°C) for about 15 minutes.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sweet peppers stuffed with spiced potatoes

My absolute favorite vegetarian Indian dish.
4/5 servings


4 tbsp sunflower oil
100 gr onions ; chopped
handful of cashewnuts ; roughly chopped
handful of raisins
1 tsp white pepper ; ground
2 tsp garam massala
1 green chili pepper ; finely chopped
3 tsp fresh ginger ; finely chopped
4 tsp coriander leaves ; finely chopped
salt to taste
750 gr boiled potatoes ; mashed
10 red peppers (I prefer green peppers for this recipe)
40 gr butter (for basting)


Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions, cashewnuts and raisins over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the pepper, garam massala,chili, ginger, half of the coriander and salt.
Add potatoes and stir for 5 minutes.
Fill each pepper with the potato mixture and arrange in a greased baking tray. Add knobs of butter and bake in a preheated oven at 175 C for 35 minutes.

For the sauce (this can be done while the peppers are in the oven)


2 tbsp sunflower oil
6 green cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
1 onion ; finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic ; roughly chopped
1 tin (400 gr) peeled tomatoes
1 tsp mace
salt to taste
60 ml cream


Heat the oil in a pan.
Saute the onions, cardamoms, bay leaf, garlic and tomatoes.
Add 100 ml of water and cook for 30 minutes.
Strain through a fine sieve.
Add mace, salt and cream and stir.

Remove the peppers from the oven and pour over the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining coriander.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The yummiest pasta sauce

This recipe is especially for Emma, who wasn't too sure about the use of anchovies, but after eating it, she was sold immediately and asked me for the recipe. So there you go Emma, enjoy !


1 head of garlic or more ; roughly chopped
15 cl olive oil
1 tin of anchovies ; roughly chopped - save the oil to add to the pan later
1 or more red chilies ; finely chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano
70 gr tomato concentrate
3 tins of 400 gr peeled tomatoes
2 jars of 140 gr capers in vinegar
1 tbsp dried basil or a bunch of fresh
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp sugar


Pour the olive oil in a cooking pan and add the garlic, glaze on a low heat, stirring regularly. Take care not to burn the garlic.
Stir in the anchovies till they dissolve, before adding the chilies.
Next in the pan is the tomato concentrate and oregano. Let this simmer for a couple of minutes, still stirring.
Squish or squelch (don't know which word to use here) the peeled tomatoes in.
Simmer for a further 15 minutes, then adding the capers and their vinegar and the basil.
Bring back to a simmer, season with salt and pepper.
I always add sugar to cut through the tartness.
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