25 December 2008

Seasons greetings

Today is only the photo of our Christmas dessert (not the traditional yule log or "bûche de Noël) but a delicious hazelnut and chocolate cake, to follow will be the recipe.
Merry Christmas to all of you my readers.

11 December 2008

Best pumpkin pie ever

At Thanksgiving my neighbour and friend gave me the most delicious pumpkin pie, it was made with Kabocha squash following this recipe. I highly recommend it, it is very light and creamy. I have yet to make it but have found the kabocha squash at our local co-op and plan on trying it some day.

12 November 2008

Creamless "creamy" leek soup

Back in September we went to a BBQ at Steve and Becky's farm and toured their beautiful vegetable garden, I was amazed at the amount of leeks they had, they looked really healthy (compared with mine who suffered the Beaver spell) and I exclaimed "leek soup, you have to make leek soup with these beauties".
Fast forward and every time I see Steve he reminds me I have to send him my leek soup recipe. So finally it is here, the weather we are experiencing at the moment is very conducive (5 days of non stop rain) to having soup and curling up by the fire.

Creamless "creamy" leek soup
For 4 servings
2 TBSP olive oil
2 lbs leek (approx.)
4 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
1/2 cup dry white wine (I always keep a stock of these small wine bottles for cooking)
3 to 4 cups chicken broth (or water and 1 bouillon cube)
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the root and trim the top off the leeks (if you buy them usually they are already trimmed, in this case just cut half an inch off to remove the dried out part), wash the leeks then slice/chop them.
In a cast iron (or other) pot pour 1 or 2 spoon full of olive oil and turn on the heat to medium, pour the cut out leeks over and sweat them for 20 mn or so until tender. Half way through add the garlic and shallot peeled and thinly sliced.
When the bottom of the pot starts browning add the white wine to deglaze and stir. Then pour the chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste and let the soup simmer for 30mn or so.
Taste to see if cooked through.
At this point you can either serve as is or, as I did, use the immersion blender and blend the soup.
You obtain a very thick and creamy soup without the guilt factor of the cream.
Serve with a sprinkle of freshly cut parsley.
Bon appétit!

08 November 2008

Melting Honey and Almond cakes

Bees are amazing little creatures, they work incessantly to collect pollen from all the flowers that will ultimately become delicious honey. I grew up watching my Dad take care of his honey bees, I forgot about them a little as life went on until my last visit to France this past Spring when it was time to collect the honey made by those wonderful workers. Out of 10 hives we collected about 80 kilos of the golden liquid, this was a lot of honey. If you are ever so lucky to have that much honey here is a very nice gluten free cake that you could try, but you don't really need that much honey.

Melting Honey and Almond cakes
For about 40 mini muffin tins or 1 circular 24 cm / 9" diameter spring form
125 gr / short of 9 TBSP Unsalted Butter
70 gr / 1/2 cup & 1 Tbsp confectioners sugar
30 gr / 3 full Tbsp corn flour
30 gr / 3 normal Tbsp rice flour
105 gr / 2x1/3 cup raw almonds finely grounded
100 gr / 2 heap Tbsp lavender honey (if no lavender honey is available any other one will do too)
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder

Mix egg yolks and softened butter.
Add honey, flours, almond powder and confectioners sugar, mix all well.
Whip the egg whites till stiff and delicately incorporate them to the mixture.
Pour in the moulds, you could also use 1 big circular pie dish, it is best to use silicon moulds, if not line your tin with parchment paper.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 170 C / 340 F for 25 to 30mn (depending on the size of the mould you are using, smaller = less time)
When baked let the cakes cool down for 5 or 10 mn before removing from the silicon molds, with the spring form it will be easier and you won't need the rest time.

This is delicious served with a hot fruit salad of honey glazed pineapple and pink grapefruit (add the grapefruit to the pan at the last minute so it doesn't over cook but just warms up and flambé with brandy before serving).

07 November 2008

Lemon Risotto

There is no 2 ways about it, I love all things citrus, and when I tried a lemon risotto on a recent outing I had to reproduce it. Here is my recipe that I served with a grilled veal chop.

Lemon risotto
For 2 people as a main course
2 cups chicken broth
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 shallot
3/4 cup risotto rice (I used Il riso BERETTA that I found at http://www.bigjohnspfiseattle.com/, great resource for an expat like me!)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan + 1 TBSP for serving
1 pinch of lemon zest (you can add more depending on how "lemony" you want your risotto to be)
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Lemon thyme to add that extra zing

Warm up the broth and half of the lemon juice (it has to be hot when poured on the rice).
Sauté the shallot in a drop of olive oil (don't brown them), then add the rice and toss it so it gets covered in olive oil, at this point add the wine and half of the lemon juice, stir continuously until most of the liquid is gone.
Add half a cup of chicken/lemon broth and stir continuously until almost all absorbed, continue this process with the rest of the broth half a cup at a time (very important).
The total cooking time is about 20mn of continuous stirring on medium heat.
Half way through add the lemon thyme to taste.
When the rice is cooked and all the liquid used remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan, butter, salt, pepper and lemon zest to taste.
You should have a creamy risotto.
Serve with a topping of Parmesan and a sprig of fresh lemon thyme.

06 October 2008

Chocolate or Lemon?

Time goes by very fast and Autumn is now definitely here, good bye warm sunny days, hello wet grey days. I see one definite advantage of this seasonal change, we can now indulge with less guilt in delicious comfort food again. And the first thing that came to my mind for a dessert was "chocolate" but at the same time I wanted the tanguiness of lemon to remind us of the summer warmth, so not wanting to decided on either flavour I made the two flavours and ended up with 24 mini tartlets. Since I wanted to reduce the guilt factor I made them gluten free. Here is my recipe, it is only in metric I still need to convert it to cups and spoons, to be followed...
Mini Orange flavoured Chocolate pies and Mini Lemon pies
For 24 mini tarlets

Pie crust

30 gr Amaranth flour
80 gr White rice flour
65 gr Millet flour
75 gr Almond flour

40 gr Confectioners sugar
1 egg
125 gr cold unsalted butter
1.5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Van Houten) (this is for half of the dough)


Mix all dry ingredients then add egg and butter, either by hand or better in a stand up mixer, it is best to work fast and not overwork the dough as the butter will start softening fast.
Once all ingredients are mixed split the dough in 2 and wrap one half in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to cool down, with the second half quickly mix the cocoa powder (I did it with a spatula) and wrap in a clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

When it is cold enough place your dough ready to roll out between 2 sheets of cling film (this is the only way you will be able to roll it out effectively), roll it out thin then peel off the top sheet of cling film and using a 3 inch (7.7 cm) round cookie cutter start cutting the dough.
Delicately peel off each circle of dough and place them in each of the mini tartlet pans, pressing them down and removing excess dough with a knife.

When all the pans are full place them on a baking tray in the pre-heated oven at 350 F/176 C for 10 to 20 mn (depending on your oven), once cooked delicately remove them from the pans and place them on a wire rack to cool down.
Orange flavoured Chocolate cream / Ganache au chocolat à l'orange
100 gr chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate)
100 gr heavy whipping cream
15 gr honey
Zest of 1 orange
A few drops of natural orange extract
100 gr heavy whipping cream whipped with
A dash of cointreau
1 tsp of confectioners sugar
Bring the cream and honey to a boil then set asside to cool down
Melt the chocolate in a Bain-Marie (hot water bath), adding the orange zest and extract
When the cream has cooled down start incorporating it to the chocolate, it is important that the cream is not hot, otherwise the chocolate will curdle
Once all incorporated you should obtain a smooth glossy chocolate cream.
By now the cream should be cool and you can incorporate the whipped cream, it will make for a lighter filling.
Lemon curd
2 lemons juice and zest
2 eggs
74 gr sugar
28 gr butter
Mix Lemon zest, sugar, lemon juice and eggs and place container over a hot bath (Bain Marie), cook while whisking frequently for about 15 mn untill the cream sets, remove from the bain Marie and when it has cooled down a bit add the butter and whisk until all melted.
Set aside in the fridge.
Assembling the tarlets
One hour before serving fill the tarlets with their respective fillings and place in the refrigerator to cool down.
Bon appétit

05 September 2008

Most satisfying salad

I recently came upon the book "RAW The UNcook book - New vegetarian food for life" By Juliano, very interesting concept that by eating raw like our ancestors did we will be healthier.
My father spoke to me of this raw food diet a couple of years ago when one of his friend (gravely ill but on the road to recovery thanks to this diet) gave him the book "L'Alimentation, ou la troisième médecine" by Jean Seignalet, a doctor who preaches a return to eating more raw food, no dairy... like the "paleolithic diet" or "ancestral diet".
Even though I love cooking and baking, I also see the benefits of these kind of diets and the book RAW inspired me to make the following salad with what I found in my fridge and garden.

A meal in itself salad
2 persons as a main course
1 medium size courgette
1 carrot
1 tomato (I scored a very tasty heirloom tomato at the co-op!)
1 avocado
1 celery stick
100 gr red cabbage
6 or so fresh basil leaves
1/2 a lemon juice and pulp
Sunflower seeds
Vinaigrette (see previous post)

Wash all vegetables then use a peeler to make shavings and shave the courgette (zucchini) and carrot, dice the tomato, and celery stick, thinly slice the avocado . Cut the red cabbage very thinly.
Pour all in a serving dish, chop the basil leaves over, add the lemon juice and sunflower seeds (you can gently toast the seeds in a pan it gives a nice taste). Sprinkle with vinaigrette and eat at once.
Bon appétit

12 August 2008

Raspberry frenzy

While there are still raspberries on the bushes it is time to make a variation of Tiramisu, with raspberries, it is totally rich and decadent but SO good.

Raspberry Tiramisu
For 8 to 10
2dl heavy whipping cream
250 gr mascarpone
250 gr low fat quark
A couple of drops of vanilla extract
120 gr sugar (I use icing sugar)
Biscuits cuiller/ladyfingers (I use sponge roll base - see separate recipe)
500 gr raspberries (I freeze them before to prevent smashing them too much)
1 cup orange juice
1 dash Cointreau

Whip the cream, not too hard
Add Mascarpone, Quark, sugar and vanilla to the whipped cream, then pour in half of the raspberries and gently fold them into the mix.
Place the sponge cake at the bottom of a deep serving dish
Soak the cake with a mixture of orange juice and a dash of Cointreau
Mix the other half of the raspberries into small pieces (still frozen) and pour them over the sponge cake, then cover all with the cream mix.
Place in refrigerator for a couple of hours, or over night, the taste will be even better.

Tip: I was once hosting a party of 100 and made this dessert in advance of time and froze it, it came out perfect on the day of the party (after thawing of course...)

Sponge roll/Gâteau roulé

A very handy and quick to make Sponge roll

For a 30 x 20 cm / 12 x 8 inches pan
2 eggs, separated
6 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp flour (I usually do 1/2 with regular flour and 1/2 with corn starch to make an even lighter cake)

Beat the egg whites stiff
Mix very well the egg yolk and the sugar until you obtain a whitish and creamy mixture, then add the flour and finish by folding in the egg whites very gently
Pour the mix in a parchment paper lined roll pan spreading evenly
Bake in pre-heated oven at 210 C/410 F for 10 to 20 mn depending on your oven

Tip: When cooked if you intend to use this cake for a rolled cake turn it over on a damp towel and remove the parchment paper and cover with the damp towel to keep the cake moist, it has a tendency to dry out very quickly.
In my family we have always used this base to make the Christmas log cake.

10 August 2008

Chicken liver pâté

Morsels of pâté on a plate with home made petit pain (small bread rolls). I say morsels as the entire terrine was devoured in a very short time! My grand mother used to make this recipe, then my mother and it is always a great success.

Pâté de foie de volaille/Chicken liver pâté
200 gr chicken liver grossly grounded (I find it fresh at Don & Joe's meat in Pike Place Market Seattle)
600 gr coarse ground pork (also at Don and Joe's)
10 gr salt
2 gr pepper
1 egg
60 ml cognac
125 ml dry white wine
1 medium size onion thinly chopped
2 tsp fresh Thyme
Note: proportions are 1/4 liver for 3/4 coarsely ground meat, you can change and use pork or lamb liver if you prefer

Mix all above ingredients with a fork, pour in an oven proof terrine and level, place a laurel leaf on top, cover the terrine with a lid or tin foil if no lid is available.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/355 F
Place the terrine in a water bath and bake, time will depend on the weight of mix, rule is 1 hour per pound.
Once cooked let the terrine cool down and serve chilled with freshly baked bread (here petit pain, recipe will follow) and cornichon (small pickled gherkins).

06 August 2008

Raspberry galore

My good friend and neighbour P. is wonderful, she has planted a lot of raspberry bushes that produce a ton of fruit, in fact enough for the entire neighbourhood so P. invited all of us to come and pick the raspberries, so I did and made a few projects, like seedless raspberry jam, cordial and crème de framboise, in other words raspberry liquor. This recipe has been handed down to me from my mother. Be sure to set aside 2 days to make it.

Crème de Framboise
1 kg raspberries
1 litre red wine
Sugar (weight is determined by the above 2 ingredients)
1 glass of Everclear 95% alcohol content (eau de vie pour fruit) I couldn't find this here so instead I used 105 proof vodka (50% alcohol content)
A few nice empty and clean bottles

Crush the fruits and pour the wine over, let the mix rest for 10 h at least (overnight).
After 10h stir, and sieve through a very fine grate (in fact I used my champion juice maker to waste no juice at all).
Weight the liquid obtained and add the same weight in sugar.
Bring the mix to boil for only 20 seconds then remove from the heat and let it cool, add the Everclear/vodka... and bottle.
It is best to let this rest a few months in a dark and cool place before using.
It goes very well with champagne or a dry white wine as a pre-dinner drink. You pour a little in the bottom of your glass and pour the champagne or wine over it.

04 August 2008

Let them have Brioche!

What better way to start a Sunday than a freshly baked brioche spread with home made seedless raspberry jam and a glass of kir royal à la crème de framboise (see future post for recipe).
I have made this brioche for many years and it seems to taste better every time I make it.
It is simple to make but you need to have some time around the house as there are a few rest times.
The recipe comes from a small bread recipe book "Les carnets de cuisine - No 37 Pains, brioches, gâteaux" at PML Editions.

Brioche surfine/Luxury brioche
for a 35 cm/14 inches long bread pan
500 gr unbleached white flour
2.5 tsp dried yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp salt
350 gr butter at room temperature

Dilute the yeast in 5cl warm water (no more or the dough will be too sticky and wet), and let it rest while you measure the other ingredients
In a mixing bowl with dough hook attachment pour the flour, salt, sugar, eggs and yeast and start mixing on speed 1 for 5mn then on speed 2 for another 5 mn (it is important to do this first kneading step for at least 10mn as you want to develop the gluten).
Then add the butter in small chunks and continue kneading on speed 2 for 10 to 15mn.
Cover your bowl with a towel and let it proof at room temperature for 2h (if in the winter place near a heat source it will help the leavening process).
After 2h punch down the dough and knead for 3mn.
Cover and let it proof for another 2 hours at room temperature.
At the end of this time punch the dough down and place the covered bowl in the fridge for at least 8 hours (I usually do this overnight).
2 hours before cooking take out of the fridge and punch down (I also knead it a bit in small portions to bring it back to room temperature with the heat of my hands), then you can either shape it in small baking pans or a big pan like shown above (place balls of equal size 2 side by side for the length of the pan) and let rise at room temperature when doubled in volume place in pre-heated oven at 210 C/410 F and bake for 20 to 30mn (time will depend on the size of the brioche).
When baked remove from oven and let it cool on wire rack for 10/15 mn before enjoying.

Seafair impressions...

This past week end I had the opportunity to witness one of Seattle's tradition, the Seafair, a display of power, audacity and technical prowess, by this I specifically talk about the pilots of the airplanes (Blue Angels, Harrier and others) doing all sorts of aerobatics, one more impressive than the next and the drivers of the hydroplanes.
I also met with the Seafair Pirates "sailing"on their Moby Duck (they are a group of currently 52 men appearing at festivals over the US, Canada and the Cayman islands and raising money for charity), the pirate I interviewed was telling me about his best day being last Friday taking a child from the Make a wish foundation on a crabing tour. Here you can see them giving a hard time to a youngster who was minding his own business and reading a book.
If you happen to be in Seattle around this time of year it's a fun event to attend.

24 July 2008

Variation on a quiche

Quiche is one of the easiest and most versatile dish to make. One variation I have been making in the past few weeks is using asparagus, carrots and tomatoes. It is very tasty and is ready in an hour from start to finish.

Asparagus, carrot and tomato quiche
For a 23 or 26 cm pie dish (9 or 10 inches)

125 gr unbleached white flour
62.5 gr butter at room temperature
45 gr cold water
1 pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients, either by hand in a bowl or in stand up mixer, don't over work the dough, when it forms a homogeneous mass, form a ball, roll it on a lightly floured work surface and fold it as if you are making puff pastry or croissants, wrap it in cling film and place in the freezer to cool down while you prepare the ingredients for the quiche.

Pastry quantity above is sufficient for 1 quiche.
1 Tbsp approx. Dijon mustard
1 tomato
4 asparagus
2 big carrots
Fresh Goat cheese
3 or 4 eggs (depending on their size)
1 heap Tbsp crème fraîche (US sour cream will also do if you can't find crème fraîche)
A dash of milk
Salt and pepper

Clean and thinly slice the tomato, peel the asparagus and cut them in small pieces to the bottom of the head, peel, wash and very thinly slice the carrots.
In a bowl mix the eggs, the cream and milk, salt and pepper to your taste.
Roll the pastry dough out and place in the pie dish, lather with mustard, place the tomato slices over, cover with carrot slices and asparagus pieces, then crumble some goat cheese over all.
Pour the egg mix over, split the asparagus heads in 2 length wise and arrange them on top and place in pre-heated oven at 390 or 400 F (depending on your oven), and bake for approx . 30mn, check after 25 mn.

This can be enjoyed with a fresh green salad and vinaigrette (see previous post).

21 July 2008

Walnut and Pumpkin seeds bread

Here is a bread recipe I was given by a friend while living in Switzerland. It is delicious with cheese and cured meats and very easy to make, you can mix the ingredients either with a stand up mixer or by hand.

Walnut and Pumpkin seed bread
250 gr (1.5 cup + 2 Tbsp) whole wheat flour
200 gr (1 1/4 cup + 1 heap Tbsp) unbleached white flour
10 gr (1.5 tsp) salt
10 gr (2.5 tsp) active dry yeast (to be diluted in 50 gr warm water and 1 tsp sugar) (20 gr yeast if you use fresh yeast)
70 gr (1/2 cup) hulled unsalted pumpkin seeds
100 gr (1 cup) walnuts roughly crushed
350 cl warm water (1 1/3 cup)

Dilute the yeast and sugar and let it sit for aside for a few minutes.
Then pour all liquids on all dry ingredients and knead until you obtain a homogeneous and slightly sticky mass.
Let it rise at room temperature covered with a cloth for 1h or until double in volume.
Punch down and shape either in one big loaf or 2 or 3 smaller ones, make a few deep cuts side ways (2 cm /1 inch deep) with a very sharp knife.
Let it proof covered for another 20mn.
Bake your bread in preheated oven to 230 deg. C/446 F for 10 mn with a container of water, after 10mn reduce the heat to 180 deg. C/356 F and bake for a further 30mn or so.
You will know the bread is cooked when it sounds hollow when you tap under it.

20 July 2008

Organic gardening and its sorrows

Since I moved to the US one of my new enterprise was to start a vegetable garden, since for the first time I have a big enough garden and sufficient time to dedicate to it. With the help of my great neighbor and friend P. I am slowly getting up to speed, not to mention the tips given by my Dad an avid gardener who has been working the earth for as long as I can remember.
I have started all my vegetables from seeds, back in March/April and in early May I planted a few of my seedlings in the outside garden beds hoping that by the time I would return from Europe 6 weeks later mother nature would have done its work and I could look forward to a bountiful crop.
Well mother nature had other plans in store for me, it stayed cold and rainy until I came back and when I did in June nothing really took off except a few lettuces, the rest simply died or went into seeds as soon as the good weather finally settled in. So upon my return mid June I started seeding again and finally after a month I am a very happy apprentice gardener with greens in my 3 raised beds.
From the May plantation I had some leeks that P. gave me and they had not been doing so well until the past couple of weeks where they were really growing due to the fantastic summer weather we are experiencing for the past 3 or 4 weeks.
That is until yesterday... My other half calls me out to the garden and asks: what have you done to your leeks? me: nothing...??? Why? I look over and see the leeks lying on their sides, so I think they must have had too much sun and I had forgotten to water them that morning, then I took a closer look and horror! they were all chopped off just above the earth, very neat job.
I was besides myself wondering who did the dirty dead.
Well I have a couple of suspects: a chipmunk that I saw the previous day and then today I saw a mountain beaver doing the same thing to a tiger Lily and dragging it to it's hole. So I think no need to look further I have my culprit.
I will now post my valiant knight (that is Jewel the dog) in front of the beaver hole to keep watch over my garden.

"I know that beaver is in there!"

18 July 2008

Perfect summer dessert

Time goes by very quickly and I find it hard to make 2 posts a week as I would like to. So before this week is totally over, here is a new recipe. This is a very easy dessert and totally in season and there is no baking involved. It's a recipe I got from my Mom on this last trip to France, the great thing about it is it's an ice cream so you can make it in advance and it won't spoil, you can have it in your freezer for this unexpected last minute dinner. With this dessert I can guarantee that your guests will be impressed, so simple yet so delicious.
Strawberry Vacherin / Vacherin à la fraise
For 8 people
3 egg yolks
4 Tbsp sugar (not too full)
350 gr Crème Fraîche (sour cream)
1 small bowl of fresh organic strawberries crushed
3 egg whites whipped
3 Tbsp icing sugar
5 or 6 small meringues (when in a rush I use Trader Joes's meringues)
Hand mix Egg Yolks, 4 Tbsp sugar and crème fraîche, then add the crushed strawberries.
Whip the egg whites till they are firm then add the 3 Tbsp of icing sugar.
Fold in the egg whites to the mix of egg yolks/sugar/cream/strawberries.
Pour in a Charlotte mold (or Jel-Ring mold) a layer of the mix, then roughly break some meringue on top, then pour another layer or cream mix, then meringue, then cream mix, ... to the top of your mold, tap the mold a little to release some of the trapped air, close and place in freezer.

This can be enjoyed on it's own or with a fresh strawberry coulis.

15 July 2008

Going bananas...

While visiting my friends in Cork I went on a cooking spree and made these mini Banana muffins, a recipe I got from my good friend SL.
This recipe is easily modified into a low gluten one using spelt flour.

SL's Banana Muffins
4 Ripe bananas
Half a Cup / 100 gr Sugar
1 stick / 113 gr / 4 oz Unsalted Butter
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1.5 cup / approx. 230 gr unbleached white flour - when using spelt flour, add an extra in 3 Tbs of spelt flour
A handful of Chopped Walnuts

Melt the butter.

Mash the bananas with the sugar.
Lightly whisk butter, egg & milk and add in the mashed bananas.
Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and mix lightly until just combined - it may look lumpy but it's ok.
Add in the walnuts.
Pour in normal size muffin pans or mini muffins pans and bake in pre-heated oven at 190˚C (374 F) for 15-20 mins (depending on your oven the mini muffins may take a little less time).
These freeze very well as soon as they are cool enough.

07 July 2008

Veal roast with honey

After almost 2 months out and about it's time to settle back into life in the PNW and start publishing again! I have some real nice and easy recipes to share. Today it will be the main course I served at my Mom's party back in May:

Veal roast with honey
For 8
1.5 kg Veal Roast (count 180 to 200 gr per person)
4 tomatoes
2 shallots thinly sliced
200 ml of white wine
3 Tbsp honey
Salt, pepper to taste

Brown well the roast in a large frying pan, then place in a roasting pan.
Degalze the pan with white wine and pour over roast, gently fry the shallots and place in roasting pan.
Wash and quarter the tomatoes and place in the roasting pan alongside the veal roast.
Salt and pepper then baste the top of the roast with honey.
Cover with lid or tin foil (seal well) and bake in pre-heated oven at 200 C for about 45mn (count half an hour per pound)
When cooked turn of the oven and leave the unopened roasting pan in for a further 15mn.
Take out, slice and serve hot with baking juices.

17 June 2008

Fish terrine

The main reason for my trip to France was for my Mom's birthday, I surprised her with my visit and organised a party with 40 of her friends. By all accounts everyone had a great time, I was busy in the kitchen with my good friend SL who came for the week to help and enjoy France in spring.

We started the meal with a fish terrine, here is the recipe and ingredients for 8 people.

Fish Terrine
120 gr crab meat
400 gr salmon (cut as carpaccio, the fishmonger kindly offered to do it for me)
400 gr cod or other white fish
50 gr bread soaked in 10cl of milk (or so)
4 Egg Yolks
Salt, pepper, grated nutmeg to taste
1 TBSP freshly cut chives
20 cl heavy whipping cream
4 egg whites

Soak bread in milk
Place cod in pan of boiling water and turn of the heat, let sit for a few minutes, then remove and dry fish, then break it in small pieces.
In a bowl mix cod + crab meat + bread/milk + 4 egg yolks + salt + pepper + nutmeg + cream + thinly cut chives then gently folled in the 4 whipped egg whites.

In an oven proof pan (I used both a silicone mold which was great for unmolding, and a well butter Savarin mold) place one layer of the thinly sliced salmon, then pour one layer of the mix, then place 1 layer of Salmon and one layer of mix and finish with a layer of salmon.

Bake in a bath of water (bain Marie) for 1h15mn at 110 C-120 C /230 F-248 F

When cooked remove from bath and let cool, then chill preferably overnight and serve with a whipped cream seasoned with lemon, chives, salt and pepper.

16 June 2008

Giverny - Monet Gardens and House

Being a perfect tourists while in France I took the opportunity to go to Giverny to visit Monet gardens and house, it had been on my to do list for a long time and what better time than spring to go there! So off we went, what a wonder, everywhere you look there is one beautiful sight after another, as you can imagine my camera got quite some use on that visit, it was hot at the end of the day!
Here is a very small sample.
Enjoy and I wish you to discover this enchanting and inspiring place some day.

Yours truly :-)

06 June 2008

The Emerald isle...

6 days into June and no post! What is going on? Well in 4 words: I'm enjoying Europe!
I have been here for a month now and still have a week to go, I wish it was another 2 or 3! But I have to go back to the PNW where home is for now.
So over the past month my adventures took me to Ireland, more specifically to Cork city and West Cork (South West of Ireland). I was blessed with relatively good weather (in Ireland that means no rain, with some sunshine too). I was able to take some (read: lots of) photos and would like to share just a few here.