The 14 magic ingredients – Les 14 ingrédients magiques

Long post. Sorry for the poor grammar and typo! In English below…

J’ai toujours les ingrédients suivants à portée de main dans ma cuisine. La liste n’est pas exhaustive et elle variera bien sûr d’un cuisinier à l’autre et d’une région ou d’un pays à l’autre. On y ajoutera du gingembre ou de la sauce de poisson en Asie. En Inde du curry. En Grèce de la feta…

J’appelle ces ingrédients mes ingrédients magiques parce qu’ils apportent une saveur forte et distincte qui se marie avec un très grand nombre de plats. Ils sont magiques parce qu’ils relèvent à merveille les plats les plus ennuyeux. Ces ingrédients rendent tout plus intéressant… L’autre avantage certain: ils ne coûtent quasiment rien :0)

J’ai nommé:

Le beurre fermier. Goût de noisette incomparable!IMG_1260 _Snapseed

Le bacon ou la poitrine de porc fumée. Aucun sandwich ne peut s’en passer!IMG_9456 _Snapseed

Le thym, la ciboulette et le romarin. C’est très personnel. Ce sont mes herbes préférées…IMG_6110 _SnapseedIMG_1824 _Snapseed

L’ail cru, rôti ou confit sur les viandes, dans la purée et dans presque toutes les saucesIMG_0990 _Snapseed

Le Comté et le parmesan dans les salades, TOUTES les soupes, les pâtes…IMG_8700 _Snapseed

Les oignons blancs et rouges et les échalotes. Il suffit de faire frire l’un d’entre eux pour que la maison sente la haute cuisine…IMG_5054 _Snapseed

Les tomates confites. J’en fait au moins un plat par semaine. Je les congèle en portions et les utilise comme du ketchup pour accompagner viandes, poissons, oeufs ou pâtes. Coupez des tomates cerises en deux et passez les au four 30mn à 210°C. J’utilise plus souvent les tomates cerises parce qu’elles sont disponibles presque toute l’année et sont plus acidulées. Elles cuisent aussi plus vite…IMG_2173 _Snapseed

L’huile d’olive extra vierge. La plus chère possible :0) Utilisez l’huile bon marché pour les cuissons simples. Selon mon expérience, une bonne bouteille d’huile d’olive provenant d’une production naturelle et artisanale coûte au moins 20€…IMG_7614 _Snapseed

La persillade maison. Comptez 2 belles gousses d’ail pour une botte de persil plat. Le persil frisé est plus décoratif, mais le persil plat a plus de goût.IMG_2925 _Snapseed

Si vous avez en plus des pâtes, des oeufs ou du bon pain, vous aurez toujours chez vous de quoi préparer un petit festin même si les amis débarquent à la dernière minute… Ah, et une bouteille de rouge!IMG_4067 _SnapseedIMG_5534 _Snapseed

Tout pour une cuisine simple, rapide, peu coûteuse et pleine de goût!

Quelques combinaisons possibles:

  • Oeufs au plat, tomates confites, pâtes fraiches et parmesan
  • Frotte à l’ail: faites griller du pain, frottez de l’ail frais sur la croute, beurrez et salez
  • Pâtes fraiches, persillade, Comté rappé
  • Soupe de légumes et bacon frit avec quelques croutons aillés
  • Oignons dorés, bacon, pâtes et parmesan
  • Frotte à l’ail à la tomate confite (remplacer le beurre de la frotte à l’ail simple par de l’huile d’olive)
  • Pain grillé, oeuf au plat, bacon, Comté (en sandwich)
  • Une bonne soupe à l’oignon (recette dans les archives du blog? Tapez “soupe à l’oignon dans la boite de recherche)

I always have the following ingredients on hand in my kitchen. The list is not exhaustive and will of course vary from one cook to another and from one region or country to another. You will add ginger or fish sauce in Asia. Curry in India. Feta cheese in Greece

I call these my magic ingredients because they provide a strong and distinct flavor that goes very well with many different dishes. They are “magical” because they can turn any boring dish into a culinary masterpiece… Another advantage: they hardly cost anything :0)

I can’t think of many dishes that wouldn’t be made better by adding one or several of the “magic” ingredients…

On my list:

Fresh butter from the farm (non pasteurized!!!). Incomparable hazelnut taste!

Bacon. No sandwich is complete without it! I also use it in my soups…

Thyme, chives and rosemary. It’s very personal. These are my favorite herbs…

Garlic, roasted or not, for Lamb, mashed potatoes and in almost all sauces

Comté cheese and parmesan cheese for salads, ALL soups, pasta…

Yellow onions, red onions and shallots. Simply fry one of them into a little butter and your kitchen will smell like “haute cuisine” right away :0)

Candied tomatoes. I make a batch at least once a week. I freeze them in portions and use them as ketchup to accompany meat, fish, eggs or pasta. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and place them in the oven for 30 minutes at 400°F. I like to use cherry tomatoes because they are available year round, are very tasty and cook much faster

Extra virgin olive oil. The most expensive you can find from France, Greece or Italy :0) Use cheap olive oil if you have to for simple cooking. In my experience, a good bottle of olive oil costs at least 20€…

Persillade. Count 2 large cloves of garlic for 1 bunch of parsley. Curly parsley is more decorative, but flat parsley has more taste.

If you have pasta, eggs and good bread, you will always have all you need to prepare a last minute feast for your friends… Oh, and a bottle of red wine (Bordeaux of course :0)

Now you have all you need to cook or improve quick and inexpensive recipes that are full of flavor!

Here are a few delightful combinations using the “magical” ingredients:

  • Fried eggs, candied tomatoes, fresh pasta and grated parmesan
  • Toast a slice of bread, rub with garlic, spread butter and salt to taste
  • Same thing with candied tomatoes (replace butter with olive oil)
  • Pasta, persillade, grated Comté
  • Vegetable soup and bacon with some garlic croutons
  • Browned onions, bacon, pasta and parmesan
  • BLT sandwich
  • Traditional French onion soup (in the blog archives. Just type onion soup in the search box)

59 Comments Add yours

  1. Melyssa658 says:

    même s’il est préférable d’en consommer certains avec modération, ils font partie de mes indispensables aussi. Très belles photos, merci 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Merci Melyssa!! 🙂

  2. Wonderful list! Will need to try my hand at candied tomatoes..but the others I always make sure to have on hand!

    1. My French Heaven says:


  3. ohlidia says:

    I’ll just have that dab of butter please! On a nice piece of crusty pain de campagne, SVP!

    1. My French Heaven says:


  4. senimahar says:

    Stunning pictures … good focus

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! Means a lot coming from an artist like you!

  5. Boy they all look so amazing in these photos!

  6. It is 13:30 on a Sunday afternoon and I keep asking my honey, “Are we going to eat yet?” “Soon” he keeps answering. And then WHAT do I come across…but THIS! So beautiful and yes, I am right there with you with each and every ingredient…and realize that it is inexcusable to be using industrial butter when I can so easily get the real thing. 🙂
    Thank you for the reminder and Bon Dimanche!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Bon dimanche à toi! Enjoy your lunch AND your honey 😉 As my dad would say, that’s what a French Sunday should be about: A great lunch with the ones you love and then a great nap in the sun…

  7. Gorgeous pics, I’m suddenly hungry for roasted tomatoes smeared on toast with olive oil and a side of bacon!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Stop it! Now you’ve made me hungry for it too… 🙂

  8. Eliza B says:

    Ah how I miss French butter so. It truly is incomparable.

    1. My French Heaven says:


  9. They say photographing food is a difficult task Stephane, you seem to have it down to a fine art, and I’m sure your cooking is just as wonderful. Makes my mouth water every time I read one of your posts.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      What a lovely comment! You made my day 🙂 I love your blog as well! Very much so 🙂

  10. I see you have not included basil which is one of my favourite herbs. I do agree that if you have your own magic ingredients (which may differ slightly from yours) you always have the means to make a good meal without recourse to the sawdust and plastic of so-called ready made supermarket meals. And to cook something from magic ingredients can take very little time. More people should realise this.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so right! I left basil out because it’s only present in Provencial dishes. I only use it on salads and not that often… 🙂

  11. lulu says:

    Your food photos turn me green with envy. I am learning that in addition to ability, one has to have the right kind of camera. Except for the candied tomatoes your list of ingredients is almost always on hand in my pantry. Just returned from France but the Loire Valley. Would love to test your place.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks for your lovely compliment Lulu! I hope you’ll come visit us on your next trip 🙂

  12. digitalcook says:

    As always, a great post monsieur 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Merci beaucoup!

  13. joseasanoj says:

    Good Post
    Sanoj Jose(Author, My Day Out With An Angel)

  14. Anne says:

    I don’t speak french, but everything I need to know is your amazing photos.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Anne! If you scroll down, you’ll notice that every post is also translated in English. Just below the French version… 🙂 😉

  15. currymom says:

    Love your pics along with your culinary skills, I am hooked 😉

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m so glad! I hope you come back often 🙂 I made your pasta salad yesterday and it was really good!!

  16. All the food looks so delicious and mouthwatering:) Love reading your posts, helps me practice my long forgotten french! Rosemary, thyme and garlic (in place of chives, that’s the Indian in moi!) are my personal favorite combo!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I love garlic too Peri 😉

  17. ladyredspecs says:

    Gorgeous as ever. Lucky you, delicious butter. Unpasteurised milk products are “illegal” in Australia. We have a raw milk cheese campaigner who managed to get the law changed to enable the importation of Roquefort. We also had a wonderful traditional air dried Jamon manufacturer whose business was closed because he refused to use sodium nitrate.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      What a shame! One more good reason to come visit us in Europe 😉

  18. bernadetteyoungquist says:

    I could not agree more with your list! I might add cream;) Could you share your recipe for candied tomatoes? I have never had them.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Hi Bernadette. The recipe is in the post. You can also type the words in the search box 🙂

  19. Randall says:

    You always have delectable food creations.

    You were following my former blog: Savor the Food here on WordPress. I have a new blog Fun with Food ( ) and I would like to invite you to follow. I always appreciated your visits,comments and readership!!

    Thank you.


    1. My French Heaven says:

      Perfect! Now I know where to go 🙂

  20. absolutely breathtaking photographs! beautiful post.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you!!

  21. Steve says:

    From my personal list, I would agree 100% with all of yours and would add: Fresh basil, pine nuts, goat cheese, and sausage.

  22. Sarah Jane says:

    Yum! My 12 year old daughter loves the way your butter looks. She said we should get a tool like you use. 🙂

  23. Scott says:

    Looks fantastic — and I love your list!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Scott!!

  24. A wonderful list of ingredients. And gorgeous photos once again!

    1. My French Heaven says:


  25. Janet Rörschåch says:

    Stephane–all of the above, yes, please! 😀

    1. My French Heaven says:


  26. Rosa de los Vientos says:

    ¡Tio, me estás matando! Esto es demasiado provocativo..

    1. My French Heaven says:

      🙂 😉

  27. Leilani says:

    I would have to agree. BTW, HOW do you get your butter to look like that? And seriously, my husband and I will be in London in 2014 for our 10th wedding anniversary. I’d love to visit your town. Did you say you had a B&B?

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I can’t wait to meet you guys! There’s a link to my B&B website under the banner. As for the butter, I have this little too you can use to rub against the stick of butter. It looks like a bent knife…

  28. quelles merveilles tes photos, je ne m’en lasse pas !!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      T’es vraiment trop sympa de me dire ça Christian! Ça me fait très plaisir et ça me motive à continuer… 😉

  29. juliabarrett says:

    Oh, you take such gorgeous delicious mouth-watering photos. I so want to follow you around like a puppy!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I truly hope we meet in person one day so we can cook and drink and take pictures together…

      1. juliabarrett says:

        Me too. Planning on it.

  30. talkavino says:

    Ahh, your pictures… Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are most welcome my friend!

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