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A very pretty pumpkin (potimarron)

The French spend their time discussing food and even while they are having lunch or dinner, they speak about a past or a future meal. Here are a few pretty dishes which are super easy to make. A stylish ratatouille designed by interior architect Leonie Mason, an endive and salmon eggs starter which I like to serve at home and a potimarron (pumpkin) soup by Denise Dubois.

The pretty ratatouille designed by Leonie Mason

Leonie Mason is a young and very trendy (and very thin) interior architect. Her slick decors reflect in her cooking. And I found this ratatouille particularly esthetic.  All depends from the dish you use but if you can find a round oven dish, it’s prettier. Buy tomatoes, aubergines and round courgettes with a similar diameter so that every slice is approximately the same size. In the center of the dish put some tomato sauce made with fresh or canned tomatoes, garlic, thyme, laurel and olive oil. Dispose the slices around the dish (this is the tough part) and bake it for 45 to 60 mns at 180° or 7. It is not only delicious but looks like a painting when you serve it and your guests will be impressed.

Once cooked for 45 mns with a little olive oil, it still looks pretty

Denise Dubois is a no non sense cook and as we were recently talking about autumn in Brittany, where she has the prettiest fisherman’s house in Crozon, she gave me this recipe of pumpkin soup. Of course it’s better if you get a home grown pumpkin but I did not, and was surprised to find a very pretty one at Monoprix. Because, they are very hard to cut into pieces, the trick is to boil the whole piece first for a few minutes. It softens it and allows you to then cut it in half, take off the seeds (which are enormous) and unpleasant stuff inside, and chop it into small pieces, leaving the skin on. Of course, clean the vegetable first… You can boil it with a little salt for twenty minutes and once it is soft, keep just some water and mix it with a soup mixer. If it is too liquid, you can always heat it until it thickens. Add a little cream and parsley just before serving. I promise you it’s delicious.

A cup of pumpkin soup on an tray designed by Laurence Dumaine for Axis

Last but not least a very pretty starter which my guests have enjoyed recently. Take small endives and cut off the tip which is slightly green. Add some taramasalata and salmon eggs. Put a spoonful on each leaf. The salty taste of the tarama is balanced by the freshness of the endive. The eggs are just there to decorate. You can add a little lemon on the endive. And let me know if you like it?

A pretty starter with endives taramasalata and salmon eggs

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