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.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lentil Burgers in a Bun

I do not shy away from the so-called junk food from certain food outlets at all.  Every once in a blue moon we indulge, but it is certainly not a staple in our daily diet.
But if you make them at home there is generally no restriction to add them on a more regular basis.

These vegetarian babies are the bees knees.  Full of natural goodness and the flavour.... well... you'll just have to make these one day.  You'll know what I'm talking about then.

The recipe gives you 12 generous patties. You can freeze them well, provided you spread them on a tray and freeze for 24 hours before wrapping them in a freezer bag. Then it's just a matter of cooking them from frozen as and when you need them.

So here goes...

  • 500 grs dried green lentils (I use the small ones,  Puy kind)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2.5 cm fresh ginger,grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp garam massala
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Water
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon, grated
  • bunch of parley an/or coriander, chopped
  • 150 grs wholewheat breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

  • Heat some olive oil in a pan and sautee the onions till transluscent.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, carrots and sautee for a minute or so.
  • In the meantime rince the lentils under cold water.
  • Also add them to the pan. Stir for a minute to coat them with the oil
  • Pour water over so that it reaches about 2 fingers above the lentils.
  • Turn down the heat as soon as it comes to boiling point and leave to simmer gently, with lid on.
  • Check the lentils for doneness and top up with a little boiling water if necessary.  They should still be frim but not hard and the water should all be absorbed and evaporated.
  • Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  • Give it a whizz with a hand held blender, not  completely smooth and with plenty of whole lentils left.
  • Stir in the garam massala, cayenne, lemon zest, parsley, coriander and season.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Stir in the eggs and bread crumbs.
  • Leave it to set for half an hour or so in the fridge.
  • Wet your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking and shape into 12 burgers.

  • Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  • Gently fry the burgers for about 3 minutes on each side and till they are nicely coloured and crisp on the outside.
  • Drain on kitchen paper and serve anyway you like

Serving suggestion
Homemade buns - toasted and smeared with mayonnaise, ribbons of iceberg lettuce, sliced onion, sliced tomato, cheese (I used gouda), slice of red pepper and a dollop of chillie chutney.  I also made for this occasion slender looking fries.

Patricia xxx...x

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Properly Cheered Up !

Sometimes when the winter months drag on, I can do with some cheering up.
Suddenly you hear the birds chirping away in the morning hours and even the feeble rays of sunshine let you know spring is on its way.
By the time I got up this morning, Bert had already done a trip to the rubbish dump.   He asked if I wanted to come with him to the recycle shop - that is where you bring your unwanted items that are still in  good nick. They sell them for peanuts.

So that's where I found these beauties.

9 € we (Bert) paid for them.  The subtly coloured glass brightens up any place and makes me think of spring.
The kitchen door is wide open, as is a sitting room window.  Come on in, spring and cheer up our day !

Have a lovely weekend !
Patricia xxx...x

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chicken Soup

After 'the family gathering' the one Sunday, Monday I had to wrap up the 2 chicken run terrorists for the freezer.
From the carcasses I made a stock that day (see recipe here )

A simple recipe for a fragrant, clear chicken soup.

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, cleaned and finely sliced
  • 2 medium sized carrots, cubed ( 1 cm)
  • 300 grs frozen peas
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh chervil
  • 3 liters of chicken stock
  • 200 grs chicken pieces, cooked
  • Vegetable oil
  • Seasoning
  •  Sautee the onion in a little vegetable oil, add leeks, carrots and leave on a low heat for another few minutes.
  • Pour in the stock, cook until the vegetables are tender/al dente.
  • Add the peas in the last few minutes, together with the chervil.
  • Take the soup of the heat and add the pieces of chicken.  They only need heating through. If you boil them they will get tough.
  • Season with sea salt and freshley ground black pepper.


Thank you for dropping in.  Leave your comments after the beep.

Patricia xxx...x



Monday, February 20, 2012

Pancake Day

Ah, perfect !

So what is your favourite filling/topping ?

Pancake batter
  • 250 grs sieved flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • vanilla to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 500 ml milk

Patricia xxx...x

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chicken Stock

A simple chicken stock that I loosely followed from Jamie Oliver's recipe.

My ingredients
  • Carcasse of 2 chickens, neck and giblets included. I used raw carcasses, but, as you well know, you can also make a terrific stock from the carcasse left over from a roast chicken.
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled and squashed
  • 4 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 6 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • A bouquet of fresh thyme
  • A bouguet of parsley
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 10 black peppercorns 
  • 5 liters of cold water
  • Use your largest, deepest cooking pot for this.
  • Throw all your ingredients in and cover with cold water.
  • Put on the hob and bring to the boil.
  • Turn back the heat and leave to simmer for 4 hours, skimming when necessary.
  • Take it off the hob and drain through a colander or sieve, saving the liquid in a clean pot or bowl.
  • Leave the liquid to cool as rapidly as possible. I was lucky that it was freezing so I left it (covered up) outside near the backdoor for a couple of hours.
  • Once cool, you can divide into small containers and freeze for later use.
  • Meat can be picked of the carcasses for any kind of use. I used it in my chicken soup.
My recipe for chicken soup coming to this blog soon.

I love reading comments (mainly when they're nice ;) ) so please, feel free...
Patricia xxx...x

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Quesadillas with Pulled Pork

    Yesterday, we had pork belly ribs with bbq sauce, rice and a simple coleslaw.  It was lovely and I was left with 2 ribs.  Not enough for two people really unless they eat the same amount as a sparrow does.

    • Waste not want not, so I pulled the pork belly into shreds, which is easy enough seeing it had been slow-cooked.
    • Mixed it with the bbq sauce (is the sauce I cooked them in), added a tin of sweetcorn and a good dealing of fresh coriander.
    • Take 2 flour tortillas and spread some of this mixture onto one of them.
    • A generous portion of grated cheese on top. I had Gouda, but a good quality Cheddar or Monterey Jack is what is normally used.
    • Place the 2nd tortilla on top and press it firmly down.
    • Place the tortilla in a non-stick pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
    • Slice in 4 or 6 triangles

    • Tie a tea towel around your neck as a bib, you'll need it !
    • Serve with sour cream and guacemole, which I don't have a this moment (bummer) so I'll have to make do with leftover coleslaw.  I don't mind because I love coleslaw ;) 
    Now, don't go assuming I only made the one. No no no ... I used up all of the mixture and 8 flour tortillas in total (is always good for a snack later on in the evening or the next day ;) )

     To BBQ Spare Ribs Recipe  I will write an update on that recipe in the future, because it has evolved a lot.
    Thanks for visiting and don't forget, I really appreciate your comments.
    Patricia xxx...x

    Thursday, February 02, 2012

    Basking in the Winter Sun

    Where better to bask yourself than indoors in a ray of glorious sunshine, while it's freezing outside.



    Patricia xxx...x
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