Friday, November 19, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Thanks to my time spent working in Barcelona, I have a good stock of smoked paprika at home. It can be hard to find in the UK and is usually very overpriced. Smoked paprika, or 'pimentón ahumado', comes from the 'La Vera' region of Spain, and has Protected Designation of Origin status. Red paprika peppers are oak-smoked for 2 weeks as they dry and are then ground to a powder. Intensities vary from mild ('dulce') to very hot. Thanks to it's strong, smoky, flavour, and wonderful colour, pimentón ahumado is the spice used for chorizo.
As a vegetarian, I do not eat chorizo, but I use smoked paprika often in dishes, especially at this time of year- Bonfire season. It has become an essential ingredient for vegetarian chilli 'sin' carne for example. It can also be used to make spicy potato wedges, or in soups. The most popular brand is La Chinata: http://www.lachinata.com/ there are also some recipes on this page.
Monday, November 1, 2010
several bordering villages in the canton of Bern.
and brushed, grainy, uniformly brownish and healthy rind-like crust. The heel is slightly convex.
Height: 9.5 - 12 cm, Alpage: 9 - 11cm
Diameter: 55 - 65 cm, Alpage: 50 - 65 cm
Weight: 25 - 40 kg (average 35 kg), Alpage: 20 - 35 kg (average 25 kg)
1 clove of garlic, cut into two
400 g grated or thin slices of
Gruyère AOC cheese
4 teaspoons of corn flour
350 ml white wine
400 g Vacherin Fribourgeois
cheese, cut into small dice
1 small glass of kirsch
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Rub the fondue dish with the clove of garlic. Leave in pot If desired.
Mix the Gruyère AOC, the Vacherin Fribourgeois and the corn flour together in the fondue dish, add the white wine and bring to the boil while stirring continuously until the cheese has melted.
Add the kirsch and the Cayenne pepper.
Keep the fondue dish warm on the burner over a very low flame.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
PICKLED WALNUTS. Thanks to my Grannie for this recipe :-)
- Soft green walnuts,
- Brine, using 100g salt for each litre of water.
- Spiced vinegar (to get a good result, to every litre of cider vinegar add 5 - 10g of whole spices such as cloves, allspice, cinnamon, white peppercorns, ginger).
Bruise the spices lightly under a cloth to release their flavour.
For a quick method of spicing the vinegar put it in a heatproof
bowl, add the spices and cover with a plate. Stand the bowl in a
saucepan of cold water, bring gently to the boil and remove from
heat. Leave for 2 hours, do not move the plate or the flavour will
For the walnuts : use walnuts whose shells have not begun to form.
Prick well with a stainless fork. If the shell can be felt, do not use.
The shell begins to form opposite the stalk, about 5 mm from the end.
Cover with the brine and leave to soak for about 6 days.
Drain, make fresh brine, and leave to soak for another 7 days.
Drain and spread on a single layer of clean newspaper,
leaving them exposed to the air, preferably in sunshine, until
they blacken (1 – 2 days).
Pack into prepared jars and cover with hot spiced vinegar.
Put on vinegar-proof covers when cold,
LEAVE FOR AT LEAST A MONTH BEFORE USING.
Note : to prevent stained hands, always wear gloves when
handling walnuts .
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I was very lucky to be taken to this restaurant recently. Located in Fulham it is a real gem for those who like French cooking, and cheese in particular! Their menu is based mostly around cheese, although there are a few cheese-free options.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
250g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
200g chestnuts (cooked and chopped)
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 small turnip, peeled and diced (Alternatively use an extra shallot)
1 clove garlic, crushed,
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
3 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 vegetable stock cube/ 1 tsp marmite
Sunflower oil for frying
1. In a large saucepan, gently fry the shallot and turnip in some sunflower oil for 5 -10 minutes. In a separate frying pan, fry the mushrooms and chestnuts in sunflower oil until the mushrooms have browned. Reserve ¼ of the mix and add the rest to the saucepan with the shallot and turnip. To this add the garlic and parsley and cook for a further 2 minutes.
2. Stir in the mustard and add the stock. Cover with a good amount of boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the turnip is soft. Puree in a food processor/ with a hand mixer. Stir through the reserved mushrooms and chestnuts and serve.
This would be very nice served with some toasts topped with bleu d’auvergne (cheese of the month!) and some red wine.
Tip: make sure the mushrooms are of good quality as they have more flavour. Button mushrooms for example wouldn't be suitable for this recipe.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I was pleasantly surprised to find this book in Waterstones last weekend. It tells the story of a British couple who give up their lives in London and renovate an old manoir near Cordes-sur-Ciel, in South West France. They convert it into a boutique b&b called Le Manoir de Raynaudes, and the book describes the local lifestyle and food and has over 100 recipes. Very inspiring!
Here is the Amazon review:
"While walking in South-west France, cook and journalist Orlando Murrin dreamed up the adventure of a lifetime: why not wave goodbye to the rat race and come to live in this rural paradise, where the only traffic is the boulangerie van delivering baguettes? His book tells the story of how he set up a boutique b&b and includes 100 amazing recipes. The story of the Manoir de Raynaudes begins on New Year's Eve 2001 when Orlando and his partner first glimpse the ruined manoir at dusk. Set in 13 acres of lush meadow, woodland, lakes and garden, they set about transforming the dignified old manor house into a phenomenally successful boutique b&b with its own magnificent kitchen garden. A Table in the Tarn charts the discovery, acquisition and renovation of the property. Along the way, we learn about the local food scene, with its astonishingly rich heritage of ingredients and dishes, about working in France and coping with the famous French bureaucracy, and about the unforeseen delight of working with the locals. Four years on, with countless plaudits and a coveted entry in the classy Mr and Mrs Smith directory, the business attracts visitors from around the world and continues to be a gastronomic destination for anyone seeking peace, tranquillity and above all fantastic food. Everything at the Manoir is home made, from breakfast breads to after-dinner chocolates, and the book includes 100 recipes. From the sublime Roquefort Brioche via Savoury Mini Clafoutis and Roast Pigeon Breasts in Armagnac to the unparalleled Chocolate Nirvana with Creme Anglaise, this collection of recipes offers a vivid experience of life in rural France. Cooks everywhere will devour the descriptions of country cooking as mastered by generations of French cooks. Not only will you learn the insider secrets of making acclaimed dishes from the Manoir, but find out what it's like to make a dream come true."
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
400 g Frozen spinach leaves
100 g of Livarot, sliced
10 cl cream
1 tsp ground cumin
4 sheets of filo pastry
40 g melted butter
1. Defrost the spinach and cook on a medium heat until all water has evaporated. Add the salt, pepper, cream, chives, and cumin and mix well. Heat through for a further 2 minutes and then remove from the heat and put to one side.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (th.8).
3. Prepare the filo pastry: brush the sheets with the melted butter then lay one sheet over the other (to leave two sets of two sheets). Line a baking tray with baking paper and transfer the filo pastry.
4. Spoon a small amount of the spinach mixture into the centre of the filo sheets, then top with half of the Livarot, and repeat with a layer of the spinach mixture.
5. To make the parcels, fold the sheet into the centre on one side, then the other. Then fold the remaining sides into the middle of the parcel and secure with a toothpick. Brush the parcel with melted butter and make up the second parcel.
6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden.
Serve with a green salad.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Livarot comes from the "Pays d'Auge" region in Normandy, France, and is an AOC (PDO) cheese.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
A speciality of Aix, Calissons are a kind of almond shaped petit four. They consist of a fruit paté made from almonds, glacéd melon, and orange peel, which is then topped with icing. They melt in your mouth and are quite moreish.
I am not sure if they are easy to find outside of France, but if you do see them they are worth a try!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Some of the products on sale were:
-Tomatoes (almost the size of melons)
-Fresh fruit (yellow and white peaches, cherries, melons, apricots...)
-Hams, patés and dried sausage
-Gigantic basil plants-Tapenades
-Provençal "navette" biscuits
It is one of the best markets I have been to, not only were the products on sale amazingly fresh, but most stalls were giving out free samples so by the end of the morning we did not feel the need for lunch!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I made this last night and thought it turned out quite well. It is nice served as it is, but for the more adventurous it can also be served with a lavender infused crème fraîche.
Ingredients: aubergines, flour, water, salt, honey, sunflower oil.
Wash the aubergines and leave them in a bowl of salted water to soak for 40 minutes.
Put the flour and water into a large shallow bowl and mix well until you have a thick batter, making sure there are no lumps.
Rince the aubergines and cut into strips (like chips), add salt to taste. Then dip them into the batter mix, covering them.
Heat up the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Fry the aubergines until they are golden.
I haven't tried this recipe yet but it sounds delicious!
Monday, August 16, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
I was at a training course yesterday near Old Street, East London, and was delighted to stumble across this market. In an area dominated by East End caf's and "Happy Day" supermarkets I was surprised to find this oasis of culinary delights! The street is lined with food stalls selling food from around the world (Asian, French patisseries, Tapas etc…). I went for an Italian ciabatta with roasted vegetables and Taleggio cheese- yum! There are also stalls selling clothes and jewellery. It is worth a visit if you are in the area. It gets very busy at lunchtime however (lots of "City Boys" were queuing up for their lunch….)
Friday, July 30, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
- 4 slices of crusty bread (ideally "pain de campagne")
- 4 fresh figs
- 1 apple
- 8 slices of Cantal
- 20g of chopped hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 210 degrees.
- Wash the apple, core, and cut into thin slices (skin on).
- Cut the figs in half.
- Arrange the apple slices on the bread and then the figs halves. Sprinkle over the chopped hazelnuts and top with the slices if Cantal.
- Bake in the over for 5 minutes, or until the Cantal has melted and the bread has toasted.
Cantal cheese is a firm cheese from the Cantal region of France. It is named after the Cantal mountains in the Auvergne region. The Auvergne region is absolutely beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone.
- Cantal jeune (aged 1-2 months)
- Cantal entre-deux or Cantal doré (aged 2-6 months
- Cantal vieux (aged more than 6 months).