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Posts Tagged ‘French’

Mouclade

We mainly eat mussels in the colder months – something to do with months with an r in the them, but also they just seem like cold weather food to us. They’re so cheap and yet such a treat. This is typical Friday night food in our house, served with crusty bread or fries. La Mouclade is a French recipe from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey and includes a creamy curry sauce – delicious!

Wine Suggestion: As this dish comes from the Charentes region of France, we sipped some chilled Pineau des Charentes as an aperitif and then a glass of Bordeaux Blanc. While we would have loved to have found some Right Bank Bordeaux Ch Monbousquet or Valandraud Blanc we had some Chateau Bouscaut Blanc from the Graves instead. A Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon blend with some barrel aging after fermentation in stainless steel. Great with seafood and able to stand up to the curry and saffron.

La Mouclade – serves 4

  • a good pinch of saffron threads
  • 1.75 kg mussels, cleaned
  • 120ml dry white wine
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp good-quality medium curry powder
  • 2 tbsp cognac
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley

Put the saffron into a small bowl with a tablespoon of warm water.

Put the mussels and wine into a large saucepan, cover and cook over a hight heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking occasionally, until the mussels have opened. Tip them into a colander over a bowl to catch the liquid. Transfer the mussels to a large serving bowl and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic and curry powder and cook gently for a few minutes. Add the cognac and cook until almost evaporated, then stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Gradually stir in the saffron liquid and the mussel liquid (leave the very last gritty bit behind). Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes. Add the crème fraîche and simmer for another few minutes, until slightly reduced. Season to taste, stir in the parsley and pour the sauce over the mussels .

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey, BBC Books, 2005.)

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Smoked ham salad, with shaved Gruyere, Escarole & Walnuts

You know those fab salads that they serve in French bistros? Well this is one of those and it’s from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey – a book we never travel to France without.

Wine Suggestion: this wine reminded us of holidays in the Dordogne in France so we chose a white Bergerac from Chateau le Tap, a nearly even blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon with a touch of Muscadelle thrown in.

Smoked ham salad with shaved Gruyère, escarole and walnuts – serves 4

  • 1 escarole lettuce or 2 English curly lettuces
  • 100g piece of Gruyère cheese
  • 400g of good quality smoked cooked ham – about 12 very thin slice
  • 10 walnuts in the shell
  • 1 small bunch of chives, chopped

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil (or use more olive oil if you haven’t got this)

Remove the outer lettuce leaves and discard, then break the rest into leaves. Wash and dry well in a salad spinner.

Cut the cheese into very thin strips using a cheese slicer or mandolin.

For the dressing, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice and vinegar. Add the crème fraîche, whisk until emulsified then gradually whisk in the olive and walnut oils. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the sliced ham, lettuce leaves and shaved cheese onto 4 plates and scatter over the shelled walnuts. Drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle with the chives.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey, BBC Books, 2005.)

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Fennel & Potato Gratin

Fennel makes a great addition to a classic dauphinoise. We served with chargrilled steak and spinach but it would also be great with venison.

Fennel Dauphinoise – serves 2

  • 225g medium potatoes, very thinly sliced (a mandolin works best for this)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced (reserve the fronds)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 75ml whole milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
  • butter

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Put the potatoes, fennel and garlic in a medium non-stick pan. Pour in the milk and cream, season well and simmer gently, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the potatoes are just tender.

Divide the mixture between 2 small (about 150ml) buttered ramekins and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and tender when pierced with a knife. Snip the fennel fronds over before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Merguez pot au feu with couscous

A dish of Merguez sausages and couscous from Marseilles. Like a Pot au Feu with flavours of the Maghreb. So delicious!

Wine Suggestion: French meets the Mediterranean, meets the Middle East – the Massaya le Colombier is a Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Tempranillo blend. Made in stainless steel to preserve the fruit we love to chill this for 30 minutes, but you don’t have to.

Merguez with Couscous – serves 6 to 8

  • 2 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 700g skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 courgettes, thickly sliced
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, halved and sliced
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 large piece of orange zest (use the juice to soak the raisins)
  • 400g merguez sausages
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp harissa

FOR THE COUSCOUS:

  • 450g couscous
  • 100g raisins, soaked in orange juice
  • 50g butter

Put the spices in a large wide pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil and heat until sizzling. Add the chicken, vegetables, chillies, saffron and orange zest with 1 litre of cold water and slowly bring to a simmer. Season well and continue to cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Add the merguez sausages to the chicken, then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas.

Meanwhile, put the couscous into a bowl and cover with the same volume of boiling water. Cover with cling film and leave to steam for 5 minutes, then fork through.

Tip the couscous into a serving bowl and add the raisins, butter and plenty of salt and pepper.

Add 4 tbsp of the chicken cooking liquid to the harissa to make a sauce.

Serve the chicken & sausages with the couscous and harissa sauce on the side.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes IN: Olive Magazine, September 2013.)

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Summer Soupe au Pistou

A lovely fresh-tasting soup full of veg and basil – smells just like summer.

Summer soupe au pistou – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1.7 litres of chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you prefer)
  • 2 courgettes, chopped
  • 225g green beans, chopped into short lengths
  • 225g drained tinned haricot beans (or use another white bean)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 bunches of basil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 125ml extra virgin olive oil
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot and gently cook the leek, potato and celery for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, season well and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the courgettes, green beans, haricot beans and cherry tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, then add the parsley.

To make the pistou: whizz the basil and garlic with some seasoning in a blender then gradually add the olive oil.

Top the soup with the pistou and Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Chicken Tartiflette

Reblochon cheese from the Alps arrives in the cheese shops from May and reminds us to make tartiflette, the famous dish from France’s Haute-Savoie region made with cheese, bacon, potatoes and onions.  This version also has chicken and kale and it needs no accompaniment. It makes a hefty portion but it’s hard not to go back for more.

Wine Suggestion: We would suggest finding a white from the Jura, usually made from Savagnin, Chardonnay, or a blend of the two. Even better try to find a Vin Jaune, which is aged in oak under a Voile, similar to the Flor of sherry, and with similar characteristics. We had a beautiful Côtes du Jura, the Cuvée de Garde by Anne & Jean-François Ganevat. An equal blend of the two grapes and held under voile for 48 months (not long enough to classify as a Vin Jaune) which allowed the fruit to sing alongside the nutty, voile aromas.

Chicken tartiflette – serves 4 (generously)

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium chicken, about 1.5kg, jointed into 8 pieces (we used 8 chicken thighs)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 200ml white wine
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

FOR THE TARTIFLETTE:

  • 1kg waxy potatoes, like Charlotte, sliced 1cm thick
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50g plain flour
  • 300ml double cream
  • 400g curly kale, blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes and roughly chopped (discard any thick stalks)
  • 400g Reblochon cheese, broken or cut into pieces

Start by cooking the chicken. Heat a large sauté pan over a high heat, add the olive oil and the chicken pieces – skin side down to start. Cook until browned all over, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan then add the onion and garlic and sweat until the onion has softened. Add the white wine and reduce until almost evaporated. Add the chicken stock, thyme and bay, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a very gentle simmer (you might need to transfer to a large pot to fit it all in).

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and cook very gently until just cooked – about 10 minutes for the breasts. Remove any breast pieces from the pan with some of the broth and leave to cool in the broth. Continue to cook the leg meat for another 30 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to cool in the broth.

When cooled take the chicken out of the broth, remove the skin and bones and cut into large pieces. Strain the broth and reserve for later.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Simmer the potato slices in boiling, salted water until almost tender, then drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the bacon lardons and cook until coloured, then remove from the pan and add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent, then stir in the garlic. Add the flour and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cream with 200ml of the reserved strained chicken braising liquid and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from the heat and season.

Fold the chicken and bacon through the cream mixture, along with the kale, 300g of the cheese and the potatoes. Pour into a large baking dish and top with the remaining 100g of cheese, then bake until golden brown (about 20 to 30 minutes).

(Original recipe from The Skills by Monica Galetti, Quadrille, 2016.)

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Rabbit with onions and rosemary

A rustic French dish with meltingly tender rabbit. Serve with the lamb’s lettuce salad (included in the recipe) and some roasted baby potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: This goes great with with a nice Cabernet Franc from the Loire, like a Saumur or Chinon if the weather is bright and warming up for Spring. Alternately we love the richer, more velvety wines of La Clape in the Languedoc if it’s a cooler Winter day.

Rabbit with onions & rosemary – serves 6

  • 2kg rabbit portions
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large onions, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 600ml white wine
  • 425ml chicken stock
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • 6 rashers streaky bacon, thinly sliced
  • chopped parsley to serve

FOR THE LAMB’S LETTUCE SALAD:

  • 140g lamb’s lettuce
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Season the rabbit joints on both sides and sprinkle lightly with flour.

Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large heavy pan, then quickly fry the rabbit in batches over a high heat to brown all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onions over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until browned. Return the rabbit to the pan with the bay, rosemary, wine and stock. Cover and cook for 50-60 minutes or until the rabbit is soft.

Add the mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes, then taste and season.

Meanwhile, grill the bacon until crispy, then break into chunks. Sprinkle the rabbit with the bacon and parsley before serving.

To make the salad: 

Tip the lettuce leaves into a large bowl. Mix the shallot, vinegar & mustard, then set aside for 10 minutes. Add some salt and pepper, then gradually whisk in the oil until the dressing has thickened. Toss with the lettuce just before serving.

(Original recipe by Mary Cadogan IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, March 2008.)

Rabbit w onions & rosemary

 

 

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