French Food for real folk

Picard roast veggies - still frozen!

My family teases me that I never cook, I only prepare. Ok, it’s not really teasing, more of a relentless nag, but they have a point. While I love a great meal and refuse to eat junk, there are simply other things I’d rather be doing than spending hours in the kitchen making dinner. Anything really, even cleaning bathroom grout with my toothbrush. I manage by preparing very simple meals with the best, most convenient ingredients I can find. In Paris, that means I shop at Picard a bit too much and I get most of my fruits and vegetables at the local primeur, or a market when I have the time, because I don’t mind spending hours shopping (ahem… for a meal).

Recently I prepared a fast, easy meal that my family never gets tired of (they get tired of a lot of my dishes). Here is the recipe which is a really big word to say, here’s what goes in the pot/casserole;

At Picard pick up 2 packages of their frozen grilled vegetables (ok, I know, not from the vegetable guy, but they are 100% vegetables, nothing else added).

crottin de chèvre

At a cheese shop, or a local grocery store I select a large chunk of fairly mild tasting cheese (about 250 grams, or 8 oz) and a bunch of herbs that goes well with the chosen cheese du jour. For example, if I get a ball of mozarella, I’ll probably grab a bunch of basil, herbes de provence are fantastic with some goat cheese and piment d’espelette spices up a mellow comté or Petit Basque. The more cheese you use, the tastier the dish, but less cheese looks nicer on your waist, so I try to strike a healthy balance, usually buying too much cheese because I know the rats at home will eat away at it eventually.

Pick up a baguette on the way home.

et voilà...

Preheat the oven to about 170°c (350°f). Open the Picard bags and slice up the frozen veggies into wide strips. Throw them into a casserole and season with the herbs and some salt and pepper. If the cheese is soft, like a chevre, cut it into rough slices. If it is hard, like a swiss cheese, shred it or shave it off with a vegetable peeler.

Tuck the cheese bits into the veggies, drizzle olive oil over the top and throw it all into the oven to bake for 40 minutes, to an hour.

I serve it in bowls with the fresh baguette I picked up one the way home and a cool glass of white.

NOTE – this dish is fantastic when served as a side with grilled cod or a little lamb’s rib.

For dessert, a bowl of fresh fruit. There were cherries at the market when I photographed this meal. And because this meal is ultra light, there is always a chocolate bar (or 6) waiting in the cupboard for a second dessert. Exactly like a 3 star restaurant. Really, how dare my family complain?


Feeds four and makes great left overs!

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