October 2014 archive

Halloween’s “Coffyn” alias Shepherd’s pie


What a name for a dish, spooky Halloween is on its way. It’s just a simple freebie soon to come : our very English, very own, family’s Shepherd’s pie recipe! With the walking staffs we were on the subject of the shepherds anyway and being married to an old fashioned Englisman, loving traditions and the good old “grub”, I thought to give away our family recipe for this lovely winterdish, bearing such a suitable name for this season.  

Just to know, the English make a big difference between the “Shepherd’s pie” and the “Cottage pie”. A “Shepherd’s pie” uses “minced mutton” as my husband would say (lamb) whereas a “Cottage pie” has minced beef in it.

Imagine a lovely cottage and your eyes wander off to those lovely old fashioned shingles on the roof, so of course in the cottage-dish, you serve sliced potatoes layered on top, pretending to be shingles. The Shepherd’s pie on the other hand, will serve you mashed potatoes on top.

Now for those of you that have no clue what this dish consists of, it’s super easy and tasty: a pastry crust and leftover ingredients, layered on top of each other. In medieval times long before the shepherd’s time, they made pockets with minced meat and vegetables. A cheap and quick way to still the family’s hunger.


“ Halloween’s coffyn “ refers to the original recipes you find in very old books: the mashed potatoes were then also lined at the bottom of the dish, to form a crust called a “coffyn”.

Veggie alert:  Replace the meat by quorn / seitan mince (don’t use Worcestershire sauce as it is based on anchofish ) and make your own special dish in your very own lovely oven dish. Believe me this is always my excuse to go hunting for another, very old-fashioned, oven dish on the flea markets!

Getting the Halloween spooky atmosphere…


Ready… ok catch this freebie in one of my next posts:Shepherd’s pie à la


Recipe: homemade Cornish pasty (meat or veggie)

A tasty Cornish pasty

A tasty Cornish pasty

My English husband adores a good old-fashioned pasty, no way we go to England and return without having had a decent pasty, or a good stash in the boot. Living in the South of France without a sight of a pasty shop anywhere, we ventured ourselves to making some at home, based on his mum’s recipe, a traditional Cornish pasty, so no peas or carrots, but swede (the swede adds all the sweetness this dish needs)! According to my husband the things that go best with swede is butter and pepper, “that’s what swede lives on”!


Recipe: Witches’ stew alias Belgian “stoofvlees”

A yummy beef stew

A yummy beef stew

There isn’t a country in the world that hasn’t got its own beef stew. From the farmers to the soldiers, it was the dish. Simple and easy to prepare, not at all time consuming as the stew simmers away on its own. In this time of Halloween we can see the witch standing beside her cauldron on top of the wood fire or stove… so why not go for this old fashioned but very tasty recipe this time of year. You’ll have a grand dish, just that bit different of what you’re used to!


Which witch hunt?

Bonfire on our terrace

Bonfire on our terrace

Wise women, healers for women and the poor, counsellors, midwives, pharmacists, herbalists … all of them called “hag”, “sorceress”, “witch”, “sibyl” or “Druidesses”. When hysteria took over, at a certain point in history, no compassion was shown! The ancient pagan tradition, revering the feminine, with its women cultivating and using healing herbs, gathering plants for different ailments, helping local sick villagers, underwent a reign of terror! Knowledge of local flora and fauna became a threat, as those women could possibly be too powerful and literally had to go. (more…)

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