Sunday, 30 November 2014

Bigos (hunter's stew) with fennel seed & honey pork

As featured in The Guardian's Readers' Recipe Swap: Braised 17.10.15

cooking at De Tout Coeur Limousin
Bigos is a hearty Polish stew - made with cabbage, sauerkraut and pork. Thought of by many as the Polish national dish. Legend has it that the Polish hunters would cook their bigos in containers strapped to their horses - the heat from the horse gently stewing the bigos as they rode. I however prefer to cook my bigos in a more contemporary manner! There are numerous recipes and different additions you can include in your bigos, from wild mushrooms to beer. It was a staple meal in my Babcia's house when I was growing up - particularly around the festive season.  I remember the large pots of cabbage and pork simmering away for what seemed like days on end.  Although I have added a few (non traditional) twists to this recipe it is inspired by the flavours of my babcia's version.

Bigos is very similar to the French choucroute garnie - a dish I also love for it's use of sauerkraut and pork, and again with as many different recipes and variations as there are cooks.

I cook my bigos in the slow cooker but you can let it simmer away on a low heat on the hob or even in a casserole dish in the oven.  My tip is cook it low and slow - the longer you can leave it the better. Check it regularly to ensure it doesn't dry out - adding some stock or more wine if necessary.  

Bigos, like most stews, is always better the day after you make it when the flavours have all had a chance to mingle - but you can of course eat it as soon as it's cooked.  

I usually serve my bigos with mashed potato or buttered rye bread - but it's great as a side dish too with turkey at (or after!) Christmas. It's also handy to have a big pot of this simmering away during the festive season as an easy and tasty meal for any guests that may pop by to say hello. Smacznego and enjoy!

Do you have any seasonal family favourite recipes? Get in touch in the comments below and let us know. It's always great to find new recipe inspiration.

recipe by: Ema at De Tout Coeur Limousin 

preparation time:  15 minutes
cooking time: 3-6 hours
serves 6-8 people

1 kg boned pork shoulder - fat trimmed and cut into large chunks
200g smoked bacon lardons
200g smoked sausage (such as kielbasa)
400g mushrooms (a full flavoured mushroom is best here - like a porcini or chestnut mushroom)
1 kg sauerkraut
1 white cabbage - shredded finely
2-3 medium potatoes - quartered
2 onions - finely chopped 
2 garlic cloves crushed
800g tinned tomatoes
250ml red wine
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbs honey
1 tsp allspice (or a few allspice berries)
4-5 bay leaves
1 tbs smoked paprika (not traditional - but I love the smokey flavour and colour this adds)
black pepper to taste

optional extras:
dried mushrooms (porcini/cepes work really well)
smoked pork sausage
pork ribs or pork belly 

  1. fry off the bacon lardons until golden and crispy.  Carefully remove the lardons with a slotted spoon to leave the fat in the pan
  2. add the chunks of pork to the pan with the bacon fat and seal on both sides
  3. add the fennel seeds and honey to the pan and continue to fry for a few minutes to release the flavour from the fennel seeds and to allow the honey to get stickier and caramelised on the pork
  4. add the pork along with all the other ingredients to your cooking pan/slow cooker - give it a few stirs to ensure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. 
  5. cook gently on a low heat/setting for 3-6 hours.  I usually cook it for about 6 hours in my slow cooker checking regularly to make sure it's not drying out. After a low and slow cook the white cabbage will have softened down considerably and all the ingredients melded together. You can serve it immediately but I would recommend making this dish a day in advance.  
  6. Smacznego!  
Bigos with fennel & honey pork
Thanks for stopping by. Say bonjour on FacebookTwitterInstagram & Bloglovin too. We look forward to welcoming you soon. 

My recipe for bigos with fennel seed and honey pork is also featured on:

Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage
cooking with herbs with Lavender and Lovage

Happy Sunday Share Day

Sunday share day at De Tout Coeur Limousin

Bonjour all & happy Sunday Share day at De Tout Coeur Limousin. Say hello, share your page, what you have been up to this week & chat with others. We look forward to meeting you soon.

Just leave your links in the comments below and happy sharing!

You can join the #SundayShare at too. 

Thanks for stopping by. Say bonjour on FacebookTwitterInstagram & Bloglovin too. We look forward to welcoming you soon. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

baked Camembert with chilli jam & rosemary

baked Camembert with chilli jam & rosemary
preparing the Camembert before baking - infused with rosemary and chilli
My baked Camembert with chilli jam and rosemary is barely a recipe or any effort at all but so delicious and perfect for a festive buffet or lunch. Serve with a crunchy green salad and some good bread for dunking.  

I have got one of these fancy ceramic cheese baker things  - but you can also prepare this in any oven proof cooking dish.  It's best to use one that fits the Camembert as snugly as possible as you don't want the cheese oozing all over the place.  

There are so many variations to the recipe - play around with your favourite flavours.  It would be good too baked with some slivers of garlic and a splash of white wine, or a fruity chutney instead of the chilli jam - it would be particularly good with some cranberry sauce too.  

I hope you give this a go and let me know how you get on.  I look forward to hearing from you... 

recipe by:  Ema at De Tout Coeur Limousin

preparation time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 20 minutes


1 Camembert (or similar - you could use a brie or coulommiers) 
a few rosemary sprigs 
1 tbsp chilli jam (I used my own recipe - but a shop-bought sweet chilli sauce or jam would work well too)

  1. preheat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4
  2. put the Camembert in an oven proof dish
  3. make a few holes with a sharp knife and push in the rosemary sprigs
  4. add a tbsp of chilli jam, cover with a lid or oven-proof foil
  5. bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese is soft and oozing.
  6. serve immediately with crusty bread for dunking - bon appetit! 

Say bonjour & visit us at De Tout Coeur Limousin. Creative & well being retreats, holidays & workshops in the heart of rural Limousin, SW France

Thanks for stopping by. You can say bonjour and connect with us on FacebookTwitterInstagram & Bloglovin too and sign up to our newsletter hereWe look forward to welcoming you soon at De Tout Coeur Limousin.  

What's on at De Tout Coeur Limousin? 

singing holidays, singing, group singing, group holidays, sing from the heart, France, Limousin, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Creuse, retreat, community singing, singing retreat, winter retreat, hygge,

singing holidays, singing, group singing, group holidays, sing from the heart, France, Limousin, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Creuse, retreat, community singing, singing retreat, winter retreat, hygge,
bespoke creative and wellbeing retreats Limousin France

singing holidays, singing, group singing, group holidays, sing from the heart, France, Limousin, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Creuse, retreat, community singing, singing retreat, winter retreat, hygge,
winter singing retreat 1-4 December 2017 at De Tout Coeur Limousin

My baked Camembert with chilli jam & rosemary is also featured on: 

Posed Perfection

Sunday, 23 November 2014

You say borscht I say barszcz - beetroot soup & a taste of home

From borscht to barszcz and everything in between beetroot soup is popular all over Eastern Europe. In Poland, it's barszcz and what i've always called it. Traditionally made as part of Polish Christmas Eve celebrations (Wigilia) & served with little pasta uszka (ears) filled with wild mushrooms. A Festive tradition I carry on to this day.

To me barszcz is a taste of home - Polish comfort food. Sweet, sour and flavoured with dill. It packs a punch and is a great festive starter or as a nourishing lunch to keep the Winter blues away. 

This is my quick and easy beetroot soup recipe - on the table in about 40 minutes. With all the flavours I remember from my Babcia's slow cooked version but ready in a fraction of the time. 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

1kg beetroot (peeled & roughly chopped)
1.5 litres good chicken/veg stock
1 onion (roughly chopped) 
1 clove garlic
3-4 bay leaves
2 tbs sugar
4 tbs red wine/cider vinegar
2-3 allspice berries
Salt & pepper
To garnish:
1 small bunch fresh dill (finely chopped)
Creme fraiche/sour cream 

  1. Add all the ingredients (apart from the garnish) to a large saucepan and bring to the boil
  2. Reduce the heat & simmer for about 30 minutes until the beetroot is tender
  3. Take off the heat, remove the bay leaves & allspice berries then blend (with an electric handheld blender or food processor) then check for seasoning. You might want to add more sugar/vinegar too depending on personal preference.
  4. Finish by garnishing with the chopped dill and a swirl of creme fraiche.
  5. I like to serve this with some rye bread & a shot of frozen Polish vodka (for authenticity reasons!) 

My barszcz recipe is also featured on:  

Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage


 Posed Perfection

Thanks for stopping by. Say bonjour on FacebookTwitter and Instagram too. We look forward to welcoming you soon.  

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Quatre épices spiced chocolate & coffee cake

Spiced chocolate & coffee cake with honey & quatre épices
Inspired by the festive season my chocolate & coffee cake with honey is spiced with quatre épices. A popular spice blend (literally translated as four spices) here in France consisting of ginger, cloves, pepper & nutmeg. Often used in savoury dishes such as rillettes & pâtés it works well in sweet recipes too where you want a unique spiciness. 

A dark, sticky spiced cake perfect as a festive dessert or even as an alternative from the Christmas cake or Christmas pudding for those of you who are not fans of dried fruit that is so popular at this time of year.  

This cake is great served warm with vanilla ice cream or even with a rum or brandy flavoured cream. Happy festive baking! I hope you enjoy. Let me know what your favourite festive bakes and makes are in the comments below.  

This recipe is adapted from this fabulous treacle ginger chocolate cake by Ruby Tandoh. 

preparation time:  10-15 minutes

cooking time:  45 minutes

150g plain flour
200g sugar
40g cocoa powder
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
125g butter
180ml strong black coffee (or water if you don't like coffee)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) 
3 tbs honey
2 tsp quatre épices 
pinch of salt  

  1. Grease & line a deep 20cm cake tin and preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4
  2. Melt the butter, honey & coffee together in a saucepan over a low heat
  3. In a separate bowl sieve the dry ingredients together
  4. Add the beaten eggs to the melted mixture 
  5. Gradually fold this into the dry mixture until fully incorporated
  6. Pour into your prepared cake tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  
  7. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes before removing the cake carefully from the tin and cooling on a wire rack.  

For more of my recipes check out the recipe page here.  

My spiced chocolate & coffee cake with honey & quatre épices is also featured on: 

Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage


Casa Costello

Posed Perfection

For more chocolate cake inspiration check out my chocolate and peanut butter cake
(probably) the perfect chocolate & peanut butter cake

Thanks for stopping by. Say bonjour on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too. We look forward to welcoming you soon.  

Eric le Chien at De Tout Coeur Limousin