Bertrand's Muse

The Imaginarium of Elizabeth Verwey
Homemade sashimi feast

Homemade sashimi feast


Here’s how to make this classic French seafood dish.

Ingredients (for 2):

-1 small onion

- 2 tomatoes

- 1 star anise

- 1/2 tsp  ground fennel seed

- grated peel of half an orange

- juice of half an orange

- 100 ml white wine

- 3 cloves of garlic

- 1 tbsp tomato puree

- 1 stalk of celery

- 1/2 (or 1 small) fennel bulb

- 2-3 bay leaves

- 500 ml fish stock (made with 1 fish stock cube)

- 1 small salmon fillet

- 1 small white fish fillet

- two small handfuls of cooked mussel meat

- two small handfuls of raw peeled gambas

- 1-2 spring onions

- 2 tbsp olive oil

- cayenne pepper

How to:

1. chop the onion finely. Slice the fennel and the celery. Dice the tomatoes. Grate the orange peel. Press the garlic cloves.

2. Heat the olive oil and add the onion, fennel, celery, tomatoes, tomato puree, fennel seeds, cayenne, star anise, bay leaves, garlic and orange peel. Heat till onion softens.

3. Add the white wine and simmer vigorously for at least 5 minutes.

4. squeeze the orange and add the juice and the stock. Now boil gently for about 10 minutes.

5. chop the fish in chunky pieces. Add the fish, prawns and mussels for the last 5 minutes until the gambas are turning pink. Slice the spring onions and sprinkle on top.

6. serve with bread and rouille/aioilli with added cayenne pepper, and enjoy!

Mushroom Meadow


A delicious healthy salad with sauteed mushrooms.

Ingredients (for 2)

1 small box of mushrooms

3 tomatoes

1 avocado

3 spring onions

large handful of hazelnuts (finely chopped)

blue cheese (gorgonzola or castello)

alfalfa sprouts

1 clove of garlic


olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar





How to:

1. wash and shred the lettuce, slice the tomatoes, chop the avocado, spring onions, blue cheese and hazelnuts.

2. chop the mushrooms, and fry with some olive oil, salt, pepper and dried rosemary. Add a clove of garlic about a minute before you take the mushrooms out of the pan. Add to the rest of the salad.

3. make a vinaigrette with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a tiny bit of sugar. Add to the salad.

4. Finish off with alfalfa sprouts.


Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Spicy Harissa Oven Baked Chicken with Chickpea Salad


This meal is low-fat, but full of flavour!

Ingredients (for 2)

For the chicken

- 2 chicken breast fillets

- 2 tbsp yoghurt

- 4 tsp harissa paste

- salt

- 1/2 (or 1 small) fresh red chili

For the chickpea salad

1 can of chickpeas

-  1 spring onion

-  a few sundried tomatoes

- 1 clove of garlic

-  some feta

-  fresh basil, parsley or coriander

How to:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix the yoghurt and harissa paste. Put the chicken fillets in an oven dish and baste in the mixture. Add some chopped chili and some salt and leave to marinate for about 10 minutes.

2. When the oven is ready, put the chicken in for about 20 minutes (not much longer or the chicken will get really dry.

3. drain the chickpeas, put them in a bowl, add chopped spring onion, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped feta cheese, chopped fresh herbs and 1 crushed clove of garlic, mix well.

4. Take out the chicken and serve with the salad and some freshly baked bread or some couscous. Enjoy!

Asian Steamed Fish With Stir Fried Veggies and Brown Rice

Ingredients (for 2):

For the fish

2 panga fillets or other white fish

soy sauce

half a fresh red chili

thai fish sauce


sesame oil

sunflower oil

For the vegetable stir fry

green beans

bean sprouts

oyster sauce

soy sauce

1 clove of garlic

roasted sesame seeds

How to:

1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees. 

2. slice the chili in about eight thin slices, chop the rest up finely. Make a mixture with soy sauce, sesame oil and Thai fish sauce and some grated lime rind.

3. boil some brown rice

4. halve the fillets horizontally and grease up some baking paper (1 sheet per 2 fillet halves). Put the fillets on the paper baste in the soy sayce mixture put chilli and two slices of lime on top, and close up the paper parcels by neatly folding the edges. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

5. At the same time boil the green beans for about 10 minutes, then drain. Heat up a frying pan, add some oil and when it’s really hot add the beans and one packet of bean sprouts. Season with a tiny bit of soy sauce, some oyster sauce, a clove of garlic and toasted sesame seeds. Toss it around in the pan for a few minutes. Then serve.

6. Take out the fish and serve with the stir fried veggies and the rice. Pour some of the moisture from the fish over the rice to give it that spicy, limey flavour. Enjoy!

Absinthe Jelly

I have a new-found love of anything and everything jelly, and it all started with this absinthe jelly.

Ingredients (for a crazy party of about 20 people):

- 400 ml absinthe

- 400 ml water

- half a cup of sugar (or according to taste depending on the sweetness of the absinthe

- 10 sheets of gelatin

- green food colouring

How to: 

1. Heat the water and dissolve the sugar while stirring.

2. Soften the gelatin sheets in cold water for a minute or so. When they have gone soft, squeeze the water out of them and dissolve one by one in the warm syrup. Keep stirring.

3. Pour the syrup in a big mixing bowl. Add 400 ml of absinthe and stir well.

4. Add a few drops of food colouring

5. pour the mixture in your preferred jelly mould and preferably leave overnight.

6. To remove jelly from mould, dip the top of the mould in hot water for 30 seconds. Put a plate on it, turn around and gently let the jelly slide out of the mold and onto the plate.

Enjoy but beware! This jelly is very alcoholic although it feels a lot milder than normal shots or cocktails.

Fusilli Pasta with Broccoli, Tuna and Black Olives

If you’re in a hurry: this pasta is extremely easy to make, tastes great and is very healthy too!

Ingredients (for 2):

1 can of tuna

1 broccoli

fusilli pasta (or other pasta)

cream cheese with herbs (Boursin-style)

black pitted olives



How to:

1.Chop the broccoli and boil in salted water for a few minutes until slightly tender.

2. Boil pasta (use a stock cube to flavour the water)

3. drain pasta.

4. mix the broccoli and tuna through the pasta. Add a few tbsp of the cream cheese. Season with loads of black pepper and finally throw some black olives in the mix. Enjoy!

Harissa Fish Fillets with Chunky Tomato Sauce

Delicious Spicy Mediterranean- style light meal for hot days.

Ingredients (for 2):

- 2 panga fillets or other white fish fillets

-  harissa chili paste

-  fresh lime

-  3-4 tomatoes

-  black olives

-  1 big, or 2 small onion(s)

-  2 big cloves of garlic

-  2 bay leaves

-  salt

- pepper

- olive oil

- rice (or if you prefer, couscous to serve)

- cucumber

How to:

1. Gently heat a frying pan and add some olive oil. Chop the onion and add to the pan along with 2 cloves (finely chopped or, preferably pressed/crushed with a garlic press), sauté for a few minutes. Dice the tomatoes and add. Season with salt and pepper. Add bay leaves and olives and simmer vigorously until the tomatoes are nice and mushy. Put the sauce in a bowl, or lidded pan, set aside, but keep it warm.

2. At the same time boil some rice/or couscous

3. cut the fish fillets in half (horizontally). Season with salt and spread harissa paste over the top. Re-heat the frying pan used for the sauce. Add some extra olive oil. Put the fillets in and cover the other half with harissa paste as well. Fry for a few minutes on either side until the fish is cooked, but still nice and soft.

4. Serve with slices of fresh lime and cucumber for added zest and freshness. Enjoy!