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IMG_0631New space, new place, new markets, new ingredients,… call for new recipes!

That’s one of those tough things about being an expat… things that you consider standard in the stores are suddenly exotic. Prices of your staple buys are suddenly double what you think is reasonable.

Case in point: boneless chicken thighs in Amsterdam,… two of them usually cost around €3. In Nérac that is going to cost me almost double!


Back to bones in my chicken it is! (Except I really am not an efficient eat-the-meat-off-the-bones eater. Sigh.)

On the PLUS side… other things are cheaper… Fennel, red wine, foie gras :)

Yup - this would be my Bay Leaves stock :)

Yup – this would be my Bay Leaves stock :)

Case in point: you think you can buy fresh herbs in the grocery store. Ha! Wake up, lady! Fresh herbs are either in your OWN garden, or on Saturday’s market! (Hence, my new favorite herb out of the nature of the situation is bay leaves… there are over 6 trees with HUGE bay leaves in the new garden… so… there it is. Until I plant my own herb garden that is!)

BUT… part of the expat experience is trying new things and different things. Cooking based on what makes sense in your environment.

It’s been fun to experiment and try out new recipes. (Thankfully there’s a whole LIBRARY of cookbooks now at my disposal thanks to Le Dadz Squared!)

Potatoes Baked with Fennel, Onions, Garlic and Saffron
(Serves 4 to 6)


500g small waxy potatoes cut into chunky wedges
some saffron threads soaked into 2 tbsp of warm water for at least 10 minutes
1 head of garlic cloves (LOVE how cheap GIANT Garlic heads are here!!)
12 small yellow onions, peeled but whole
3 fennel bulbs, cut into wedges
4-6 fresh bay leaves (from the garden!)
1 tbsp of dried thyme (or if you can…. approx 6 fresh sprigs)
175ml chicken or vegetable stock
30ml balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
pinch of crushed fennel seeds
1/2 tsp of paprika
3 tbsp olive oil
ground black pepper (You can also add salt… but I cook salt-less and it was still yummy!)

IMG_0604– Boil potato wedges in pan of boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF.
– Peel and chop two of the garlic cloves and set aside. Place the potato chunks, onions, rest of the garlic cloves, fennel wedges, bay leaves and thyme in a large roasting pan. Mix the stock and saffron liquid together – add the vinegar and sugar to the stock mix, then pour the mix over the veggies.
– Sprinkle over the fennel seeds, paprika, chopped garlic, oil and pepper (and salt.)
– Cook in oven for 1 hr, or until tender.

Great paired with a white wine and perhaps some roasted chicken?