Tartiflette – French for easy, peasy comfort food

Today marks just one day before my 35th birthday and I’ve been on a cooking roll all day. I made French onion soup as soon as I woke up and then got started on this dish – tartiflette. I just love the name, and maybe because Ratatouille was on tv last night I maybe have been a bit influenced to cook French dishes. This is a total comfort food dish. It’s creamy, it’s got bacon (my fave), potatoes . . . it’s simply delicious!! And super easy. Below is BBC’s picture and at the bottom is my outcome. Not that huge of a difference I think 🙂 Here’s what you’ll need:

Tartiflette

Preparation method

  1. For the tartiflette, preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 7.
  2. Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 5-10 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan until hot and fry the bacon, shallots and garlic for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Slice the potatoes thinly and layer into an ovenproof gratin dish with the bacon mixture. Pour over the double cream. Season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Layer the Reblochon slices on top.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is golden-brown and bubbling.

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Mommy Issues

I was asked over the weekend which is harder: being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. And hands down I believe and feel that being a stay-at-home is much much harder. It’s harder for many reasons, one of them being that there is no guilt involved. As a working mom, even if there’s tons of work to do, you’ll still get your lunch break. There’ll be some downtime where you’ll have about an hour, sometimes even more, to check something out on the internet, to chat with colleagues, to grab some coffee, to have a ciggie, to talk on the phone. And all this, without the fear of the baby waking up, or climbing on your back or crying or whining for some reason. On Mondays I work the evening shift which means I leave home around 11 so as to be there by noon and work until 8. I won’t get home until 9 and then it’ll be time for bed soon. I will have seen my kids for about an hour. Guilt. Every day my husband drops me off at the station where I grab the train for work and on the way to the car and sometimes while inside the car, my son wants to hold my hand the whole entire time. Guilt. He’s non-verbal so he lets out little sounds when I get out of the car and looks both sad and a bit lost like he’s thinking “where is mom going?”. Guilt. It kills me. It really, truly does. And because I only have the weekends to do chores like clean the house, cook a whole meal, or iron our clothes, his grandpa comes and picks him up around 10 in the morning and we get separated again because someone has to do all house stuff and that someone is me. He doesn’t always go willingly. There’s your guilt, again. I told my husband last night that I should ask for a day off to spend some time with our son. To go pick him up from school and then take him out somewhere fun. I feel like he misses me, that he’s trying to tell me in his own way like refusing to go to bed and constantly ‘asking’ for hugs and sometimes even by his unexplained tantrums that what he’s really trying to say is that he wants to spend more time with me. I quit my job last year so that I could be there for him, and him only. And I did. I was a stay-at-home mom for a little over a year and the majority of that time I was with Panayioti. Now I’m part-time with everyone, Maria, Panayioti, my husband and even me. Sometimes I feel like a robot when I’m home. There’s stuff to do that if I let my guard down even for a minute they won’t get done and things will spin out of control. I have to change into my sweats as soon as I come home and make their beds, get their clothes out for the next day, get Panayioti’s lunch for the next day ready, read both Maria’s and Panayioti’s notes from their teachers and make them dinner. Of course, tidying up is a constant ritual of mine. And then it’s time for bed which is a whole other routine: Showers, pjs, getting them calm for bed, etc. But reading over this post, I realize just how hard being a working mom is too even without the guilt. So I guess both scenarios are hard. But if you’re happy, love your kids to bits, are in love with your spouse and tolerate your job (because I can’t truly say that I love my job) then everything is manageable. Everything.

My Apple Cake

I’ve been making this version of apple cake for years now. It’s moist, it smells of home goodness, and everyone loves it. And I love baking it. It makes me feel good. I don’t know why, it just does. And it’s one of the few times my sister Gianna will eat two whole pieces.  I found it online and I’ve made some slight variations. DSC03604 DSC03603 DSC03599

Here is the original recipe:

6 apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar (I put brown sugar)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs (I put 2)
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. (Again, what I do is spread all of the apples on half of the batter and top with remaining batter so that apples are nestled in between). Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.

Enjoy!! I know you will 🙂

Best Idea for a quick Sunday meal: Spetzofai

The very first time I tried this dish I was on a little mountain village in Pylio that’s renowed for spetzofai. I fell immediately crazy in love with it!! It’s comfort food at its best!! And if you know me, you know I hold a special place in my heart for comfort food, diet or no diet.

Plus it’s super easy. Here’s what you’ll need for about 4 people:DSC03592

4 country sausages

an array of peppers (1 red, 1 orange/yellow, 1 green)

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 glass of red wine

1 cup of water

1 bay leaf

a pinch of paprika

1 tbsp. of tomato puree

1 can of chopped tomatoes

4-5 tbsps. of olive oil

1 tsp. of sugar

salt and pepper

First, slice the sausages and sautee them in 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Set them aside.

Next, chop up the onions and peppers and garlic and sautee them as well in the same pan with the rest of the olive oil along with the puree.

Reduce with the wine, then add the water, chopped tomatoes and the herbs and spices. Sautee for 25-30 minutes and add the sausages. I served this with basmati and it was just lovely! The kiddos loved it! I need to revisit Pylio 🙂DSC03596