Come Cook In France

Cooking courses SW France

Hello friends and followers of A Food Stylist’s Blog, I am back on WordPress, the only slight change is my site title is Come Cook in France (just so I can get all the i’s dotted) but otherwise my content will remain the same.

So with this piece of news comes my favourite recipe of the moment.

Enjoy…….

and for any of you who missed my latest posts on my website, please click on the link Come Cook In France 

Margarita cheesecake with salted lime crackle

Margarita cheesecake 2 copy 2

Makes: 8

200g white chocolate, melted

50g butter, melted

175g digestive biscuits, crushed

grated zest and juice 3 limes

100ml tequila

250g caster sugar

600g soft cheese

250ml cream

1 teaspoon sea salt

Finely grate 50g of the white chocolate into a shallow bowl. Take 8 martini or margarita glasses, dip the rims into cold water and then into the grated chocolate to coat the rims. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and pour into a bowl. Add the digestives and stir well until evenly coated. Divide between the glasses pressing them down lightly using the end of a rolling pin. Chill until required.

Combine the lime juice, tequila and half the sugar in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Leave to cool completely.

Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water), stirring until the chocolate is melted. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Place the cheese in a food processor with the tequila lime mixture and blitz until smooth. Then stir in the melted chocolate and cream and blend again. Using a piping bag with a large lain nozzle divide the mixture between the glasses. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Make praline. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Combine the remaining sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and heat very gently, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring for a further 5-6 mins until the liquid turns golden brown. Pour the caramel onto the prepared tray and leave to go cold.

Roughly crumble the praline and place in a food processor with the lime zest and salt and blitz to make a slightly chunky crumb mixture. Spoon onto the set creams and serve at once.

 

 

Hello to all the followers of my blog A Food Stylist’s Blog. Firstly I would like to thank you all for following me and my posts over the last 3years.

As my life and business has evolved in France I am now finding that most of time is take up with running my Cookery School and all the spin offs from it – Come Cook In France – therefore I am now blogging directly from the website www.comecookinfrance.com

If you wish to continue following my posts and my life in France (and I really hope that you all will) please click on the link, go to the blog page and you can then subscribe there.

Again, thank you everyone.

Louise

 

I don’t know why but I can’t stop thinking about chocolate today, must be feeling the need to indulge I guess. Anyway, I decided to take a look back at some of the chocolate features I have done in the past and came across this rather romantic shoot with a kinda glam/vintage/gold look – a bit kitsch I suppose. Well to be honest, the food is the hero and I know they all tasted fantastic.

Whether you call them churros (Spain) doughnuts (UK) or beignets (France) this deep fried pastries are 100% delicious especially when drizzled with a rich chocolate sauce.

Cinnamon spiced churros with chocolate Grand Marnier sauce

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Serves: 6

250 ml water

120 g butter

180 g plain flour, twice sifted

pinch salt

3 medium eggs (size 3)

75 g caster sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

chocolate Grand Marnier sauce

125 g dark chocolate

100 ml single cream

2 tbsp Grand Marnier

vegetable oil for frying

Heat the water and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the butter melts. Tip in the flour and salt and beat well with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the pan edges (this will be almost immediate). Leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Using an electric whisk beat the eggs into the dough one at a time until smooth and slightly glossy. Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle.

Heat vegetable oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan to a depth of 7 cm until it reaches 170c/330f on a sugar thermometer (or until a small amount of the dough sizzles as soon as it is dropped into the oil). Carefully pipe approximately 15 cm lengths of the dough straight into the hot oil, using a knife to cut the dough off at the nozzle. Fry 3 at a time for 3 minutes until crisp and golden, turning half way through using metal tongs. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Keep warm in a moderate oven while cooking the rest.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon on a plate and roll the churros in the mixture until coated.

Meanwhile, heat the chocolate and cream together in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring, until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat Grand Marnier. Arrange the churros on a platter and serve with the chocolate sauce for dipping.

Chocolate pecan tartlets

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Serves: 6

pastry

200 g plain flour, sifted

1/2 tsp salt

100 g chilled butter, diced

50 g caster sugar

2 egg yolks

2-3 tbsp iced water

filling

100 g dark chocolate

20 g butter

80 g light soft brown sugar

2 medium eggs

100 ml golden syrup

1 tsp vanilla essence

200 g pecan halves

icing sugar, to dust

vanilla ice cream, to serve

Heat the oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 6. Make the pastry. Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the salt. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and stir in the sugar. Make a well in the middle and work in the egg yolks and enough water to just bring the dough together.

Gently work the dough into a ball, flatten to a disc and wrap in cling film. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. Divide the dough equally into 6 and roll each one out to an 18 cm disc. Press into 6 x 12 cm tartlet tins.

Prick the bases with a fork and chill for a further 20 minutes.

Line the pastry cases with baking paper and baking beans and bake blind for 12 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes or until pastry is crisp and lightly golden. Leave to go cold. Reduce oven temperature to 170c/325f/gas mark 3.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a small saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Whisk the eggs, golden syrup and vanilla essence together until smooth and then stir in the chocolate mixture.

Place the pastry cases on a baking tray and divide the nuts between each one. Carefully pour in the filling. Bake the tartlets for 20 minutes or until just firm in the centre, remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve with ice cream.

Triple layer chocolate and Tia Maria mousse

triple chocolate mousse 1

Serves: 8-12

cake base

60 g dark chocolate

2 medium eggs, separated

55 g caster sugar

2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted

mousse

4 gelatine leaves (200 bloom)

50 ml Tia Maria

300 g dark chocolate

3 medium egg, separated

250 ml double cream

satin glaze

150 g dark chocolate

60 g unsalted butter

90 thickened cream

1 tbsp liquid glucose

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4 and oil and line the base of a 22 cm cake tin baking paper. Make the cake base. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set of a pan of just simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until melted. Cool for 5 minutes. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together for 3 minutes until thick and glossy and then stir in the egg yolks, cocoa powder and finally the melted chocolate until evenly combined. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Oil and line the base and sides of a deep 20 cm loose bottom cake tin. Press the cooled cake into the base of the tin so it fits as snuggly as possible. Set aside.

Make the mousse. Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water, leave to soak for 5 minutes until the leaves soften. Squeeze the water from the gelatine and place in a small saucepan with the Tia Maria. Heat very gently, stirring until the gelatine is completely dissolved.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of just simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water) stirring until smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes, then beat in the egg yolks and cream and stir in the gelatine mixture. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff and carefully fold through the chocolate mixture until evenly combined. Pour over the cake base and chill for 4 hours or until firm.

Make the glaze. Place the chocolate, butter, cream and liquid glucose in a small saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes and then very carefully pour over the top of the set mousse. Chill for a further 1 hour until set.

Carefully remove the mousse cake from the tin and peel away the paper. Decorate the top with your preferred decorations. To serve use a knife dipped into hot water to help cut smoothly through the three layers.

Divine chocolate cups with salted cocoa nib caramel shards

divine choc cups 1

Serves: 6

Cocoa nib are lightly crushed cocoa beans. They are readily available from larger supermarkets, health food stores or online.

250 ml double cream

1/2 vanilla pod

125 g dark chocolate

2 egg yolks

1 tbsp caster sugar

salted cocoa nib caramel shards

125 g caster sugar

3 tbsp water

2 tbsp cocoa nibs

1 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 140c/275f/gas mark 1 and place 6 x 100 ml cups or ramekin dishes in a baking tin. Place 175 ml of cream in a small saucepan and scrape in the seeds from the vanilla pod. Heat gently until the cream just starts to simmer, but do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

Melt the remaining cream and chocolate together in a bowl set over a pan of just simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) stirring until smooth. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together and stir in the chocolate cream and vanilla cream until combined.

Divide the mixture between the cups and pour in enough boiling water to come half way up the sides. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes until they are just firm in the middle. Cool and then refrigerate over night.

Make the caramel about 30 minutes before serving. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat very gently without stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes until the liquid turns a golden caramel colour.

Meanwhile, place a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray and have the cocoa nibs and sea salt to hand. As soon as the caramel is ready pour onto the prepared paper and allow it to form a thin pool. Immediately scatter over the coco nibs and sea salt and set aside to cool and set. Break the toffee into shards and serve a few shards on top of each chocolate cup.

Molten chocolate and dulce de leche puddings

molten chocolate pudding 1

Serves: 4

100 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

100g dark chocolate

2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla essence

125 g caster sugar

100 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

4 tsp salted caramel sauce

cocoa powder, to dust

double cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4. Line the bases and brush the insides of 4 x 150 ml metal dariole molds with melted butter and chill for 10 minutes. Arrange the molds on a baking tin.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan, stirring until melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Beat the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla essence and sugar in a bowl, using an electric whisk, for 3-4 minutes until thick and fluffy. Sift over the flour and carefully fold in along with the chocolate mixture until smooth.

Spoon half the mix into the prepared molds, add 1 teaspoon of salted caramel sauce to the middle of each one and cover with the remaining chocolate mixture to about 5 mm from the top. Bake for 15 minutes until the tops are set and slightly cracked. Remove from the oven but let cool in the tins for 5 minutes.

Invert the puddings onto serving plates tapping the bases lightly if necessary. Remove the paper from the bases. Dust with cocoa powder and serve immediately with cream.


 

 

 

I love the first barbecue of year. Here are a few of my favourite recipes for grilling, indoors or out, so you can enjoys these dishes where ever you are in the world.

We kick off with super succulent spicy tiger prawns (cooked in the shells to help keep the flesh moist) with a lovely salty/sweet/sour salad with fresh mango – a throw back to my days in Australia where the mango season is a joy to behold.

Sausages are sausages are sausages, well no actually and these ones are a good quality pork variety from the butchers served with a homemade salsa rossa and a piquant mustard mayonnaise.

Aubergines are a great meaty alternative for a veggie burger. Here they take on a South American flavour with chimichurri sauce and wickedly delicious crispy fried onion rings.

No barbie would be complete without a good old steak, so add a Mexican twist with a spicy japeleno salsa.

If seafood is your thing, then you should definitely try barbecuing shellfish in either covered with foil in metal dishes or wrapped up in foil parcel . It’s a lovely way of keeping all those juices. Pared with chorizo they are really yummy.

Vietnamese sesame and soy prawns and mango salad

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Serves: 4

12 large raw prawns

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

2 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 mango, peeled and stoned

1 cucumber

a handful fresh Thai basil, coriander and mint

125g grape cherry tomatoes, halved

4 tbsp salted cashews nuts, chopped

dressing

3 tbsp fish sauce

3 tbsp caster sugar

2 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1-2 small red chillies, thinly sliced and seeded if wished

sea salt

Thai crispy fried shallots, to garnish

Prepare prawns. Using small scissors cut down the back of each prawn, through the shell and carefully pull out the dark vein and discard. Wash and pat dry. Place in a shallow dish. Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and sesame oil, stir well to dissolve the sugar. Pour over prawns and set aside to marinate for 2 hours. Drain and pat dry.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the mango and cut into long thin strips or julienne. Thinly slice the cucumber and cut into julienne. Place in a bowl and add the herbs and cherry tomatoes.

Whisk together dressing ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.

Thread the prawns onto bamboo skewers. Heat a barbecue or griddle pan until hot and cook the prawns for 2-3 minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Toss the salad and dressing together adding the cashew nuts. Serve prawns and salad topped with crispy shallots.

Griddled sausages with salsa rossa

Grilled sausages with salsa rossa A

Serves: 4

1 large red pepper

2 tomatoes, diced

  2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp dried oregano

100g good quality mayonnaise

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

8 premium pork sausages

Heat the barbecue or griddle pan until hot and cook the pepper for about 10 minutes, turning from time to time until charred all over. Set aside for 5 minutes and then slice open catching any juices in a small saucepan.

Chop the pepper, discarding the seeds and add to the pan with the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, oregano and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered for 25-30 minutes until thickened and the liquid is evaporated. Puree until smooth.

Stir the mayonnaise and mustard together.

Cook the sausages on the griddle for about 10 minutes, turning until charred and cooked through. Serve with the sauces.

Aubergine burgers with chimichurri and crispy onions

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Serves: 4

2 medium aubergines, trimmed

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 large onions

100ml milk

1 egg, beaten

100g dried breadcrumbs

4 burger buns

50g rocket leaves

aioli (optional)

chimichurri sauce

1 bunch flat leaf parsley

1/2 bunch fresh coriander

125 ml extra virgin olive oil

3 tbs red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

a pinch dried chilli flakes

salt and pepper

Start by making the chimichurri sauce. Whiz all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth and adjust seasonings to taste.

Thinly slice the onions into rings and place in a bowl. Cover with the milk and soak for 5 minutes.

Cut the aubergines horizontally into 3mm thick slices. Season the oil with salt and pepper and brush the slices with the seasoned oil. Heat the barbecue or griddle pan to high and once hot, grill the aubergine slices for 3-4 minutes each side until charred.

Drain the onion rings and dip firstly into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs to completely coat the rings. Heat 5cm vegetable oil in a wok until it reaches 180c on a sugar thermometer (or until a cube of bread crisps in 20 seconds). Deep-fry the onion rings for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper.

Slice rolls in half and char-grill until toasted. Fill rolls with aubergine slices, rocket leaves, onion rings, chimichurri sauce and aioli, if using.

Barbecued beef skirt with jalepeno salsa

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Serves: 4

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 garlic cloves, crushed

grated zest 2 limes

1 tsp each salt and pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

650g beef skirt steak

salsa

2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ bunch coriander

2 jalepeno chilies, seed and roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

juice 1 lime

¼ tsp caster sugar

serving suggestions

cherry tomatoes, avocado and coriander

Place the rosemary, garlic, lime zest, salt, pepper and oil in a bowl and stir well to combine. Place the meat in a shallow dish, add the marinade, stir well and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Return to room temperature 1 hour before cooking.

Make the salsa just before you cook the meat to keep the lovely vibrant green colour. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, season to taste.

Preheat a barbecue or grill pan until hot, spray lightly with oil and add the meat. Cook for 3-5 minutes each side, depending on how well you like the meat cooked. Transfer to a board and rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with the salsa and some cherry tomatoes, avocado and coriander leaves.

Clams and chorizo cooked on the griddle

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Serves: 4

1 kg small clams

150g chorizo, diced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

grated zest and juice 1 lemon

50ml white wine

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper

beer, to serve

Soak the clams in clean water for 30 minutes, then rinse well and drain. Divide between 4 small metal dishes (or make foil parcels).

Add the chorizo, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and wine to the pans and seal each one under a sheet of foil (or wrap the foil up tightly forming a sealed parcel).

Heat the barbecue or griddle pan until hot, add the dishes or parcels and cook for 3-4 minutes until the clams have opened. Check one parcel to see. Scatter over the parsley and serve with beer.

 

Well after an initial burst of warm spring weather, it is yet again cool and wet, so in order to give myself a little taste of summer, I came across this lovely summer entertaining feature my husband, photographer Ian Wallace and I shot last summer for Food & Travel magazine in the UK.

As you can see from Ian’s stunning photos it was a lovely sunny day and the colours from the food, styling and flowers zing out at you. Rather than a formal sit down menu, the al fresco nature of the story led me to assemble sharing patters, ideal for a more relaxed ambience.

Scene setter for our summer menu

Seared tuna is one of my favourite ways of eating this meaty and some would say king of the ocean. Here it is served with a spiced chermoula salsa with a hint of chilli. Chermoula is a combination of herbs, spices and aromatics used as a marinade or sauce in many Arabic countries. The actual combination of ingredients varies widely from country to country and even region to region and this one is inspired by a version I had in a London restaurant many years ago. It is great with most types of meaty fish, chicken, and lamb or even drizzled over grilled vegetables.

Tuna chermoula 2 copy

Moroccan tuna with chemoula salsa

Beef and anchovy are happy sparing partners and here, beautifully moist slices of rare beef fillet is served with a creamy anchovy dressing. A contrasting texture comes in the form of the crispy pangrattato, Italian for fried bread crumbs. It is spiced up here with a little red onion, garlic and fresh thyme.

Beef with pangrattata copy

Thyme beef fillet with anchovy dressing and pangrattato

Alongside our main dishes are two pretty salad platters full of Mediterranean flavours – you can almost feel the warmth of the sun as you look at them. The orange, fennel, radish and olive crumb salad is my version of a dish I was served last summer by friends who love everything Spanish. They too had been inspired by this dish from Ibiza, one of the Spanish balearic Islands. I love the little sprinkles of blackness made by the olive crumbs.

To further complement our two main dishes is a platter of char-grilled asparagus topped with creamy burrata cheese – where balls of buffalo mozzarella are filled with a rich creamy centre that oozes pure yumminess when cut open. The dressing is made sweet with the inclusion of vincotta, a thick syrup made by the long, slow reduction of grape must, produced in the Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Lombardy, Apulia, and Marche regions of Italy. If is available from Itlian food stores or online. If you can’t find it, an aged or reduced balsamic vinegar is a good alternative.

Salad accomps copy

Ibiza salad with orange, fennel, radish and olive crumb & Asparagus, burrata and pistachio salad with vincota dressing 

I simply adore coconut, so any excuse really to use it in a recipe. It adds a wonderful moist texture to this simple cake made just that little bit more special with the passionfruit drizzle. You can sieve out the passionfruit seeds if you prefer, but I think they look great and I love the crunch they add.

Coconut and passionfruit cake 2 copy

Coconut cake with passionfruit syrup and raspberries

And if you don’t fancy cake, why not treat yourself to this delicious and decadent cocktail inspired, upside down cheesecake. It is a lovely end to this summer feast and the salty zing from the salted lime praline is lovely surprise.

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Margarita cheesecake pots with salted lime

Summer may still be a little ways off for us here in France, but at least I can dream of warmer evenings and delicious flavours to come.

RECIPES

Moroccan tuna with chemoula salsa

Serves: 6

6 x 180g tuna loin steaks

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds (optional)

1 bunch coriander

1 large red chili, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

a pinch of saffron strands

juice ½ lemon

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

salt and pepper

lemon wedges, to garnish

Trim the tuna steaks and brush with a little oil. Combine the paprika, cinnamon, fennel fronds if using, salt and pepper and press all over the tuna. Set aside.

Make the chermoula. Combine the coriander leaves and smaller stalks, chilli, garlic, saffron strands, lemon juice, oil and some salt and pepper in a mini food processor and blitz until smooth.

Sear the tuna on a hot barbecue or griddle pan for 1 minute each side and then rest for 2-3 minutes. Slice thickly and serve with the chermoula.

Thyme beef fillet with anchovy dressing and pangrattata

Serves: 6

1.25 kg beef fillet

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

salt and pepper

pangrattata

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large garlic clove, bashed

100g day old bread, made into rough crumbs

½ small red onion, chopped

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

25g pine nuts, toasted

2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

anchovy dressing

125g aioli

3 anchovy fillets, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

pepper

Preheat the oven to 190c/375f/gas mark 5. Rub the beef fillet with oil and then dust with the thyme, salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan over a high heat and sear the beef for about 4 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Transfer to a roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile make the pangrattata. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the garlic for 3-4 minutes over a low heat until lightly golden. Discard garlic. Increase the heat, add the breadcrumbs to the pan and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until evenly browned. Drain on kitchen paper. Combine the onion with the vinegar and set aside to soften for 15 mins. Drain and pat dry.

Make the dressing. Place the aioli, anchovies, lemon juice and a little pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. Cover and set aside.

To serve, place the breadcrumbs, onion, pine nuts, capers and parsley in a bowl and stir well. Cut the beef into thin slices (it should be lovely a pink in the middle) and top with some of the pangrattata, the anchovy dressing and a little extra drizzle of oil.

Asparagus, burrata and pistachio salad with vincotta dressing

Serves: 6

1 kg asparagus spears

2 teaspoons olive oil

200g ball buratta cheese

300g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved

50g rocket leaves

25g pistachio nuts, chopped

15g Parmesan shavings

dressing

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon vincotto (or aged balsamic)

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Trim the asparagus stalks and place on a tray, add the oil and season with salt and pepper, stir well. Cook on a hot griddle pan for 3-4 minutes turning half way through until lightly charred. Transfer to a platter and let cool.

Make the dressing. Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.

Tear the burrata into pieces and arrange over the asparagus with the tomatoes, rocket and pistachio nuts. Drizzle over the dressing and serve scattered with parmesan shavings.

Ibiza salad with orange, fennel, radish and olive crumb

Serves: 6

50g pitted black olives

300g baby new potatoes

1 small head fennel, trimmed (fronds reserved for the beef)

8 large radishes, trimmed

3 oranges

3 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

a small fresh chervil

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 140c/220f/gas mark 1. Make the olive crumb. Place the olives on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake the olives for 1-1/2 hours until dried out. Leave to cool and then transfer to a chopping board. Chop finely until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes for 10-12 minutes until just tender, drain, refresh under cold water and drain again. Pat dry and let cool. Cut larger potatoes in half.

Finely slice the fennel. Thinly slice the radishes.

Peel and thinly slice the oranges over a bowl to catch the juices and arrange the slices on a platter. Taking all the peelings and ends of the oranges squeeze any juice into the bowl. Whisk in the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and salt and pepper.

Top the orange slices with the potatoes, fennel and radish slices and scatter over the chervil leaves. Top with the olive crumbs and serve drizzled with the dressing.

Coconut cake with passionfruit syrup and raspberries

Serves: 8-10

180g butter, softened

250g caster sugar

6 eggs

225 g desiccated coconut

225 g self-raising flour

250g Greek yogurt or crème fraiche

300g raspberries

passionfruit drizzle

150g caster sugar

150ml water

100ml passionfruit pulp, about 6 large passionfruit

Preheat the oven to 160c/fan-forced 140c/325f/gas mark 3. Oil and line a 23cm loose-bottom cake tin. Cream the butter and half the sugar together until smooth and then beat in the remaining sugar and eggs, a little at a time until combined (don’t worry if the mixture appears curdled). Fold in the coconut and flour until smooth and spoon into the prepared tin.

Transfer to the oven and bake 45-50 minutes, covering loosely with foil if the cake begins to brown. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire tray and spike with holes.

Meanwhile, make the passionfruit drizzle. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Add the passionfruit pulp and bring to the boil, simmer gently for 8-10 minutes until reduced slightly and thickened. Spoon all but a few tablespoons over the cake and let infuse until cold.

Serve the cake in wedges with the yogurt, raspberries and remaining sauce.

Margarita cheesecake pots with salted lime

Makes: 8

200g white chocolate, melted

50g butter, melted

175g digestive biscuits, crushed

grated zest and juice 3 limes

100ml tequila

250g caster sugar

600g soft cheese

250ml cream

1 teaspoon sea salt

Finely grate 50g of the white chocolate into a shallow bowl. Take 8 martini or margarita glasses, dip the rims into cold water and then into the grated chocolate to coat the rims. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and pour into a bowl. Add the digestives and stir well until evenly coated. Divide between the glasses pressing them down lightly using the end of a rolling pin. Chill until required.

Combine the lime juice, tequila and half the sugar in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Leave to cool completely.

Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water), stirring until the chocolate is melted. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Place the cheese in a food processor with the tequila lime mixture and blitz until smooth. Then stir in the melted chocolate and cream and blend again. Using a piping bag with a large lain nozzle divide the mixture between the glasses. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Make praline. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Combine the remaining sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and heat very gently, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring for a further 5-6 mins until the liquid turns golden brown. Pour the caramel onto the prepared tray and leave to go cold.

Roughly crumble the praline and place in a food processor with the lime zest and salt and blitz to make a slightly chunky crumb mixture. Spoon onto the set creams and serve at once.

Copyright Food & Travel, 2017

Recipes,  Louise Pickford

Photographs, Ian Wallace

A dinner inspired by spring, the weather, Scandinavian design, great quality ingredients and sharing ideas and recipes with great friend, food writer Mary Cadogan.

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This spring is cold and wet and reminds me very much of the year we arrived in France from Sydney in 2013. We landed in May expecting balmy days and cool but pleasant evenings, but instead it was cold, wet and very grey. Not quite what we had expected but then not much one can do about the weather but get on and do what you love doing best – cooking, eating and sharing meals with friends.

For me inspiration comes from many different things. Travel, shared stories, design, colour, books and loads more. This menu came to Mary and I over a cup of tea (and one of Mary’s delicious ginger cakes) in her kitchen back in early 2014. We decided to collaborate on a Scandinavian inspired dinner and so together we set about creating a meal full of exciting flavours, colours and textures that we felt were all synonymous with the Scandinavian culture.

We start with an apero. Mary’s delicious red currant vodka served with my take on cured herrings. Steep red currants and sugar in a good quality vodka for 2 weeks, turn the bottle and gently shake every few days to help disperse the flavours. The resulting liqueur is vibrant red, slightly sweet and reassuringly warming.

Making the most of the terrific mini blinis so readily available in the supermarket I topped them with smoked herring, creme fraiche, shredded apple and poached quail’s eggs. I like the smoky richness of the fish and the eggs balanced with the freshness of the crisp apple.

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The first course is one of my favourite ways of serving a young goat cheese like the Chabichou from the region. Lightly whipped with a little buttermilk and a good fruity extra virgin olive oil. I then serve it with homemade crisp breads flavoured with dill seeds or anise. The flavours combine well and the starter is light. I love the contrasting colours here too with nigella seeds and a touch of summer with nasturtium petals and a few salad leaves. It tastes as fresh as it looks.

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For the main course we opted for a meat and a fish dish, either as a sharing course, or for those who have a preference for one or the other. Mary’s marinated salmon (barbecued on a cedar plank giving the fish a lovely deep smoky flavour) is served with pickled vegetables to offset the richness of the fish – it is a fabulous example of a well balanced dish.

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Cooking on cedar planks is is actually an ancient way of cooking something that needs to be protected from the fierceness of the flames or heat, as in indirect grilling. The Finnish have loimulohi (blazing salmon) where the fish is nailed to a plank and cooked over coals and the North West coast American Indians used red cedar planks to cook pacific salmon on. Today you can buy varying sizes of cedar planks online or make your own. The wood is pre-soaked in water to prevent it from catching fire. It is fun and does add a light smokiness to the fish.

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Spring heralds the arrival of young lambs born over winter and fed on the tender sweet grass shoots that give the meats it’s lovely flavour. Lamb works well with fruit and although fresh red currants are out of season, they are a fruit that freezes exceptionally well, even still on the stalk (as a stylist every summer I buy excess berries to keep in the freezer for any out of season photo shoots, pictured here). Here though the flavour in the dish comes from redcurrant jelly echoing the Scandinavian love of paring meat with  fruit. A side of mesclun and radish salad and baby new potatoes in a dill dressing round of the dish perfectly.instagram-in-stream_tall___wheatberry-salad-copy.jpg

Wheat berries are packed with fibre, protein and iron, so not only do they add a distinctive nutty flavour and texture to a dish, they are very healthy too. I love the pickled onion and dried cranberries here. The salad is sweet, tart and nutty all at once.

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Queen of baking and desserts, Mary triumphed with two sensational desserts to round off a very wonderful meal. Swedish pancakes are smaller than their European and American counterparts. They are particularly light too and not dissimilar to the French crepe. The ice cream is incredibly simple (Lingonberry jam is available online or from Ikea and some specialist food shops).

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The Norwegians call this cake The World’s Best Cake and they may well be right. A layer of sponge, covered in meringue with toasted almonds, filled with cream and berries – sounds pretty amazing and it is! And just when you thought that sounded good, it even has a tablespoon of vodka in the filling.

This is quite an involved meal so if it seems a daunting task pick and choose the dishes that inspire you the most. There should be something for everyone here. I hope we did Scandinavia proud, I know not everything is authentic but we made avery effort to be as true as we could to the cuisine of the Nordic countries whilst use those ingredients that we could find locally.

THE RECIPES

Smoked herring blinis

Makes: 12

100 g smoked herring

12 quails eggs

1 apple

1 tsp white wine vinegar

12 mini blinis

2 tbsp crème fraiche

a little watercress

extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Make the topping. Cut the herring into small bite size pieces and reserve. Very gently crack the quails eggs into small dishes. Poach the eggs in gently simmering water for about 1 minute until soft set. Remove with a slotted spoon and cool in cold water. Transfer to kitchen towel to dry and set aside.

Just before serving very finely julienne the apple and toss with the vinegar. Spread each blini with a little crème fraiche and top each one with a slice of herring, a poached egg and garnish each with the apple and watercress . Season with salt and pepper and serve drizzled with a little oil.

To make red current vodka

Layer 250g red currents and 175g caster sugar in a bottle and pour in 1 litre of vodka. Screw tight and leave to infuse for 2 weeks, gently turning and shaking the bottle from time to time.

Dill crisp breads with goat cheese

Serves: 6

150 g soft goat cheese

3 tbsp buttermilk

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

a handful of nasturtium flowers (optional)

a sprinkling of nigella seeds

a few salad leaves

crisp breads

150 g plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp dill seeds or anise seeds

50 ml cold water

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Make the crisp breads. Preheat the oven to 200c/fan-forced 180c and lightly oil 2 large baking trays. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a food processor and stir in the dill seeds. Add the water and oil and process until the ingredients just come together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough into a ball.

Wrap in cling wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a large thin rectangle about 2 mm thick. Cut into long thin triangles. Transfer to the prepared trays and bake for about 15 minutes until crisp and lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Combine the cheese, buttermilk, oil and salt and pepper in a bowl until smooth. Spread on a plate and scatter over the nasturtium flowers, salad leaves and the nigella seeds. Drizzle with a little oil and serve with the crisp breads.

Plank barbecued salmon

Serves 6

You will need a thin cedar plank 30cm x 20cm for this recipe, these are available from specialist cookware stores or online.

800g salmon fillet, skin on

2 tbsp sea salt

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp white peppercorns

1 tsp fennel seeds

large bunch dill

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

sauce

2 tsp each dijon and wholegrain mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

100g crème fraiche

2 tbsp roughly chopped dill

Line a dish with cling film, large enough to take the salmon. Mix the salt and sugar. Crush the peppercorns and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar or spice mill and stir into the sugar mix. Finely chop the dill stalks and reserve the fronds for later.

Sprinkle half the salt

mixture over the cling film, then scatter over half the dill stalks. Put the salmon on top and sprinkle with the remaining salt and dill stalks. Cover the fish tightly with cling film and put in the fridge overnight.

The next day, soak the cedar plank in water for 2 hours. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine the mustards, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl with a little salt. Stir in the crème fraiche and dill. Chill until required.

Unwrap the salmon and brush off most of the marinade, pat it dry with kitchen paper. Brush the salmon lightly with oil on all sides and place on the prepared planks, skin side down. Cook the salmon for 12-15 mins over hot coals or on a heated griddle pan, covered with a tent of foil, or the barbecue lid. Serve on the board scattered with dill sprigs with a bowl of sauce on the side.

Swedish pickled vegetables

Serves: 6

600ml water

500g sugar

400ml white wine or cider vinegar

1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tsp white peppercorns

2 bay leaves

1 tsp allspice berries

2 cinnamon sticks

250g baby carrots or carrot sticks

250g baby beetroots

1 head fennel

half a cucumber

Put the peppercorns, bay leaf, allspice and cinnamon stick into a large pan and dry roast the spices until they give off their perfume. Add the water, sugar, vinegar and onion and bring to the boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Peel and trim the carrots and trim the beets. Cut the fennel into wedges. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and have ready a large bowl of iced water. Cook the vegetables one type at a time, the beets for 15-20 minutes, the carrots and fennel for 5 minutes. As they are cooked scoop from the water and cool quickly in the iced water. Cut the cucumber into sticks and keep these raw.

When the vegetables are cool transfer to four jars and cover with the pickling liquid. Leave to marinade for 24 hours and eat within 3 days. To serve, drain off the pickling liquid and serve with the mustard cream (recipe above).

Roast glazed lamb with herb flowers and red currants

Serves: 6

2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary with flowers

2 tbsp dried oregano flowers (or fresh from the garden)* available from specialist stores or online

1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed

4 whole all spice berries, crushed

1.75 kg boneless leg of lamb, butterflied

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp red current jelly

mesclun, radish and hazelnut salad

3 handful mesclun leaves

6-8 radishes, very thinly sliced

50 g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

a few red currants, optional

3 tbsp hazelnut oil

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp whole grain mustard

1 tsp clear honey

salt and pepper

Combine the rosemary, oregano flowers, crushed fennel and crushed allspice in a bowl and add some pepper. Place the lamb on a board and using a sharp knife score the flesh in a diagonal pattern all over. Brush with oil and rub the herb and spice mixture into the lamb, cover and leave to infuse overnight.

Preheat the oven to 230c/210c fan-forced. Arrange the lamb on a rack set over a roasting tin with 150ml cold water in the bottom of the pan. Combine the red currant glaze with a little salt and brush all over the top of the lamb. Transfer to the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 190c/170c fan-forced and roast for 30 minutes until browned. Remove the lamb to a platter and wrap loosely in foil. Transfer the pan juices to a small saucepan, reducing slightly, if necessary and keep warm.

Just before serving, arrange the salad leaves in a bowl and scatter over the radishes, hazelnuts and a few red currants, if using. Blend together the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad leaves and toss lightly. Slice lamb and drizzle over the pan juices. Serve with the salad.

Potato salad with dill salsa

Serves: 6

1 kg baby new potatoes, scrubbed

1/2 bunch fresh dill

1/2 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley

150 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 small garlic clove, crushed

1/2 tsp caster sugar

2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Scrub the potatoes and place in a large saucepan of lightly salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-12 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, place all the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blend and blend to form a smooth green sauce.

Strain the potatoes and return to the pan, add the pesto and stir well until coated. Serve with the lamb.

Wheat berry salad

Serve 6

300g wheat berries

1 red onion

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

4 tbsp rapeseed oil

100g dried cranberries

50g pistachios, roughly chopped

bunch mint

bunch chives

handful baby spinach leaves

Cook the wheat in plenty of boiling salted water for 25-30 minutes or follow pack timings, then drain well and leave to cool. Peel and thinly slice the onion and mix with the vinegar.

Add the cranberries and pistachios to the wheat berries and mix well. Pick the leaves from the mint and snip the chives, then stir in thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to the onion, then mix in the oil. Tip onto the wheat berries, add the spinach leaves and toss everything together until the berries are glistening.

Lingonberry and cardamom ice cream with Swedish pancakes

Serves: 8

Ice cream

4 cardamom pods

400 ml double cream

400 g jar lingonberry preserve

Pancakes

3 large eggs

350 ml milk

150 g plain flour

50 g butter, melted

3 tbsp caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

butter, for cooking the pancakes

icing sugar for dusting and clear honey for drizzling

raspberries to serve

Make the ice cream. Put a plastic food container into the freezer. Split the cardamom pods, remove the seeds and crush them to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Whip the cream to firm peaks.

Tip the lingonberry preserve into a bowl and fold in the cardamom cream. Transfer to the chilled container and freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Make the pancakes. Mix the eggs with about ¼ of the milk in a food processor. Add the flour and process again until smooth. Add the remaining milk and all the ingredients and process briefly to mix. Pour into a jug.

Heat a knob of butter in a small pancake pan. Add a tablespoon of batter and cook until the edges turn brown, then flip and cook again briefly.

Keep warm while you make the remaining pancakes. Serve warm with lingonberry ice cream, a drizzle of honey and a light dusting of icing sugar.

Norwegian cloud cake

Serves 8

100 g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

100 g caster sugar

100 g softened butter

4 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp milk

meringue

4 egg whites

100 g caster sugar

100 g icing sugar

2 tbsp flaked almonds

filling

500 g summer berries

1 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 tbsp vodka, optional

300 ml double cream

1 sachet vanilla sugar

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper and draw a rectangle on each, 10cm x 22cm. Turn paper over and fix to the baking sheets with a little butter on the corners.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add the remaining cake ingredients and beat for 2-3 mins until light and fluffy. Spread half the mixture evenly over each rectangle.

To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Continue whisking while adding the sugars to make a stiff heavy meringue. Spread half the meringue over each cake mixture, spreading it over the edges to enclose it. Smooth one meringue flat and form swirls and peaks with the other. Sprinkle the almonds over the peaks.

Bake the cakes for 30 minutes until the meringue is golden and crisp. Leave to cool on the baking sheets.

Tip the berries into a bowl, halving any that are large and sprinkle with sugar and vodka if using. Stir well, then leave to macerate until the juices flow, about 1 hour.

To assemble the cake whip the cream with the vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)  to stiff peaks. Set a sieve over a bowl and strain in the berries, reserving the juices. Invert one flat meringue cake onto a wire rack, peel off the paper and put the cake on a platter, meringue side down. Spread with the cream and then cover with berries. Invert the other cake, peel off the paper and put on top of filling, meringue side up. Dust with icing sugar and serve cut into thick slices.

 

 

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As followers of my blog know, I ran my first ever pop up dinner on Saturday night, at the beautiful workshop venue Les Soeurs Anglaises in the Dordogne. Armed with fresh herbs, fiery chillies and a vat of fish sauce (note to self – make sure you have the lid on tight before transporting in the car!) and aided by the brilliant Sue Holland in the kitchen; her husband Ian, front of house and my Ian, head waiter (and photographer extraordinaire) we got through the evening with no mishaps or food disasters.

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Guests arrived promptly at 7pm and were seated in good time by 7.30pm. The amuse bouche – an explosion of Thai flavours – Betel leaves, home smoked trout, garlic, chilli paste, nam jim, herbs and salmon roe was followed by a Thai green curry soup, with a choice of either prawn, chicken or vegetarian. The main course for meat eaters was one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes, Caramel pork belly and was served with steamed jasmine rice and a tangy Green papaya salad that balanced the sweet richness of the pork. Vegetarians didn’t miss out on big flavours as they enjoyed Puffed tofu with chilli tamarind sauce, the rice and papaya salad.

From the convivial hum emanating from the dining room it seemed everyone was happy and the clean plates arriving back to the kitchen confirmed this. With the meal two thirds complete, Sue and I were able to catch our breath before adding the finishing touches to the dessert – Roasted tamarind pineapple with coconut sorbet and coconut caramel brittle.

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The evening drew to a close with the coffee or jasmine tea and diners left satisfied and full. The pop team had survived the night and we are all looking forward to hosting our next pop up – sometime in late April or early May.

I would like to thank my co-workers and of course Katie and Mike, owners of Les Soeurs Anglaises, for not only allowing us to use their venue but for gathering friends and family and spreading the word.

 

 

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I am so excited to be co-hosting my first ever pop up dinner at the beautiful Les Soeurs Anglaises in The Dordogne, SW France. I am also thrilled to be joined by fellow chef, artist, blogger and dear friend Sue Holland. Sue and her husband Ian, originally from Australia, co-owned and ran the wonderful seafood restaurant Customs House, in Baltimore, Co.Cork. Ireland. for 10 years before moving to France. Sue cooked whilst Ian was front of house and together they held the coveted Bib Gourmand in The Michelin Guide, from 2000 to 2006 as well as Seafood Restaurant of the Year 2004, Georgina Campbell’s Guide. In France they ran ” La Vielle Poste” Restaurant, Champagnolles, Charente Maritime from 2009 – 2011. Sue now spends her time cooking for various events, travel and posting on her great blog. https://customshouse.wordpress.com/

I am so looking forward to this new experience and with Sue alongside me I am super confident that the evening will be a huge success. Of course much of the ambience of the evening will be down to our beautiful location.

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Katie Armitage and her Husband Mike will welcome you to their stunning home and event venue, where they hold workshops throughout the summer months in the beautiful converted barn.

Tickets are limited and it is a first come first served event. so anyone in the area of SW France on 10th march, get in touch. I am going to be holding more of these dinners, so stay tuned.

 

 

 

Pork with spring greens

A lovely combination of tender pork fillet and mixed spring greens in a light buttery stock. Delicious with or without crème fraiche.

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Serves: 4

4 large slices Parma ham

2 x 350g pork tenderloin fillet

50g butter

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 leek, sliced

250g cabbage hearts

100g broccoli florets

250ml chicken stock

150g frozen peas

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as mint, chives and parsley

salt and pepper

crème fraiche, to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 6. Lay the Parma ham slices flat on a board. Cut each pork tenderloin in half crossways to give 4 x 175g pieces. Season lightly with salt and pepper and wrap each one with the ham, securing in place with cocktail sticks.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and once hot, sear the pork fillets for 3-4 minutes until evenly browned. Transfer to a roasting tin and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest, covered for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt half the butter and gently fry the shallots, garlic, thyme and a little salt and pepper over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the leeks, cabbage and broccoli and stir well then add the stock. Simmer gently, covered for 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Stir in the remaining butter and any pork juices, cover and let sit for 1 minute. Serve the pork with the vegetables and pan juices, with a little crème fraiche, if wished.

 

 

“Come and join us in the beautiful French countryside for 6 days of cooking, styling, photography, eating, drinking and making friends. If it sounds perfect, well that’s because it is!”

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For anyone with a passion for food, food styling or food photography, this 6 day course is a perfect way to improve your skills as I join up with acclaimed food and lifestyle photographer Ian Wallace. This amazing course will take place in the stunning workshop accommodation venue Les Soeurs Anglaises in the Dordogne.

In June this year, Ian and I will be sharing all the knowledge we have gained from our years of experience working in food publishing. The course will include demonstrations, discussions and practical hands-on classes over the 6 days and covers all the skills needed to produce your own beautiful food images. Alongside the daily classes, all meals will be provided accompanied by wines from the region. There will also be a visit to local brocantes to source vintage props and time off to explore the local area, stunning villages and food markets.

“This is a totally immersive course for lovers of good food, budding food bloggers, food stylists and photographers, set in a truly beautiful setting with a relaxed ambience and wonderful food and wine”

Our workshops are the perfect platform for small business owners who want to improve the quality of their images for both website use and social media content. It can help chef’s looking to market themselves and their food. Food bloggers who want to improve their food styling and photographic skills. Even food stylist looking to get involved in the food publishing industry. Lovers of good food and wine with a penchant for France and all it’s charm.


What’s on offer 

We have access to really beautiful settings where we can shoot on location
We will learn how to prepare and cook food, style it and plate it for a perfect food shot.
You can only take a beautiful still life image of an ingredient if you can source them in the first place. We shop at local food markets or help ourselves to home grown veggies.

The Venue

The course is hosted Katie Elliot Armitage co/owner of the fabulous workshop accommodation venue Les Soeurs Anglaises in the Dordogne in South West France. Katie has been running workshops here for over 10 years and after many successful textile and music workshops Katie is looking to offer more food and wine based courses. Set on the outskirts of a pretty French town, the venue nestles in beautiful gardens, surrounded by rolling hills and fields full of sunflowers, cereals and sweetcorn. The stunning workshop is in a converted barn with cathedral ceilings and a vast wall of glass that opens up to invite the outdoors in. The atmosphere is one of calm seclusion, a perfect environment for learning, relaxing, entertaining and eating.

 

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A hint at what lies beyond the two huge workshop doors – this is a truly beautiful environment in which to work – it will inspire you.

 

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And then of course, after all the hard work is done, there will be plenty of time to kick back and enjoy the pool and other recreational area of the property.

 


Itinerary

Each workshop is bespoke. We like to look at what is going on at the time in the local area so we can take you out to photograph a market, producers or festivals depending on what is happening. We can also use the extensive grounds or the workshop at our accommodation. That said, all courses include the following criteria in order to ensure you get the maximum information in order to create your own stunning images.

 

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Ian going through some of the basics of setting up a food shot
Getting to grips with your DSLR camera and look at composition
Sourcing props at home…… and at the local brocante
How to prepare and cook food for photography

Shooting light and dark and how it affects food

 


What is included

Six days/seven nights in one of the beautiful ensuite rooms at Les Souers Anglaises

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Double ensuite bedroom

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Twin ensuite bedroom

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One of the two lovely pools

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Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided. Breakfast by the pool with locally sourced pastries, fresh juices. A light salad lunch and a three course dinner with wines form the region.


Tuition

As well as the above, all your tuition costs with internationally acclaimed food photographer Ian Wallace and food writer, stylist and cook book author Louise Pickford.

There will be hands on practical shoots, outdoors when possible with all the food and props provided.

At the end of the stay you will receive a handout package including a copy of all the images and all the recipes.


Dates 

 

The course runs from June 6th – June 11th

 


Prices

A: Luxury double bedroom en suite (single occupancy) : £2450

B: Luxury double bedroom en suite (shared occupancy)£1950

C: Standard twin bedroom with shared bathroom (single occupancy)£2100 

D: Standard twin bedroom with shared bathroom (shared occupancy)£1550

For the Food Styling & Photography Workshop we require a £400 non-refundable deposit to secure a booking, the full balance being payable two months prior to the start of the workshop.

Flights are not included but we can arrange to collect you from Bordeaux or Bergerac airports or from the train station at Angouleme, this has a direct high speed train link from Paris.

 


Your tutors

Louise Pickford has been writing about and styling food for over 25 years in both London and Sydney, where she was involved in recipe writing and development, styling the props as well as the food for shoots. She became  food editor on several glossy magazine as well as styling a host of books for Bauer Media’s Woman’s Weekly titles. Recently Louise and Ian relocated to SW France where they continue to work together for clients around the world including Delicious Magazine Australia, the UK and Holland, Food & Travel Magazine, Grazia UK and The Mail on Sunday. She has written more than 30 cookery books to date, including over a dozen for bespoke publishers Ryland, Peters & Small.

Ian Wallace has built a very successful career working in both London and Sydney for clients that included all the main book publishers, and top food  magazine titles and Sunday newspaper supplements, shooting a mixture of editorial, packaging and advertising, clients including Marks and Spencer, Vogue Entertaining and Travel, Delicious Magazine Australia and UK, Gourmet Traveller, The Mail on Sunday and Food and Travel Magazine as well as photographing many book titles for Bauer Media and News Life Media and Ryland Peters and small.

 

BOOK SOON TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT

For more information about the accommodation, course or to book please go to Les Soeurs Anglaises

Mushroom spelt risotto with melted camembert

Spelt is one of the world’s oldest wheat grain varieties. It is great as an alternative to rice in a risotto as it retains a wonderfully crunchy texture and unlike rice, you can add the stock all at once and let the risotto simmer away on the stove – making it low maintenance as well as delicious.

Spelt and Mushroom risotto 2

Serves: 4

300 g spelt grains

15 g dried porcini

150 ml boiling water

100 g butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbs chopped fresh thyme

500 g mixed mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped

150 ml red wine

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

50 g Parmesan, grated

150 g Camembert, sliced

salt and pepper

freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Soak the spelt grains in boiling water for 20 minutes. Soak the porcini in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain spelt and shake dry. Drain and chop the mushrooms, reserve the liquid.

Melt half the butter in a saucepan and gently fry the onion, garlic and half the thyme over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the mushrooms and porcini and stir-fry until starting to soften. Add the spelt and stir for 1 minute then pour in the wine and boil until it is all but absorbed.

Meanwhile bring the stock and reserved porcini liquid to the boil in a separate pan. Add 750 ml to the risotto and cook gently over a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stock is almost absorbed and the spelt, tender. Add a little more stock if needed (any left over stock can be reserved, chilled in the fridge for up to 3 days).

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan and half the Camembert, cover and leave to melt for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small frying pan and add the remaining thyme leaves. Cook gently over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until the butter turns a golden brown. Serve the risotto topped with the remaining camembert and drizzled with the thyme butter.

Tip: Spelt is available from larger supermarkets as well as health food stores.

Warm salad of roasted vegetables and barley

A great time of year to serve this warm salad – still cold enough outside, but it will soon be time to start looking forward to warmer days.

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Serves: 6

6 large shallots, halved

6 large garlic cloves, left whole

750g carrots, roughly chopped

750g beetroot beetroot, cut into wedges

2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 litre chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh coriander

finely grated zest and juice 1lemon

2 tsp cumin seeds

100g Greek yogurt

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan forced 180c and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Place the shallots, garlic, carrots, beetroot, herbs and some salt and pepper in the prepared tray. Add half the oil, 3 tablespoons of the stock and stir well. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, rinse the barley in a fine sieve and place in a saucepan. Add the remaining chicken stock and a pinch salt. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the barley is al dente. Strain off and discard any remaining stock. Place barley in a large bowl.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir into the barley with the coriander and lemon juice, season to taste.

Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the cumin seeds and lemon zest for 1 minute until fragrant. Spoon yogurt over the salad and drizzle over the cumin scented oil. Serve at once.

 

 

Copyright Food & Travel magazine, published 2017

Recipe and styling Louise Pickfordf

Photography Ian Wallace

Basque chicken with chickpeas and espelette pepper

Espelette is a town in South West France close to the Spanish border, an area known as French Basque country. It iss famous for the small red pepper named after the town. The dried and ground chilli has a wonderfully smoky flavour, not dissimilar to smoked paprika, but with a hint of citrus. It is so revered in it’s native region that it has replaced black pepper in all savoury dishes.

Basque Chicken with espelette 1

Serves: 4

2 kg free range chicken, cut into 8 pieces

400 g chickpeas, drained

1 onion, cut into thin wedges

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 lemon, sliced

150 ml white wine

150 ml chicken stock

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 sprigs rosemary, lightly bashed

2 tbsp clear honey

2 tsp espelette chilli pepper

salt

herb couscous and aioli, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200c. Wash and dry the chicken pieces and place in a large roasting tin. Arrange the chickpeas, onions, garlic, lemon and rosemary around the chicken, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt. Add the wine and stock to the pan and transfer to the oven. Roast for 30 minutes.

Warm the honey, espelette chilli pepper and the remaining oil together until runny and drizzle over the chicken. Return the oven and roast for a further 10 minutes until the chicken is browned. Serve with couscous and aioli.

 

Seafood Hotpot

Versions of this soup can be found throughout South-Asia where it is traditionally served as a broth cooked over a gas flame at the table. Diners add their own meat, seafood, noodles and vegetables to the broth, an Asian fondue if you like. The soup is then served with piles of fresh herbs, chillies and beansprouts to scatter over each bowl of soup. This version is a simplified one.

seafood-hotpot

Serves: 4 

250 g raw king prawns

2 litres water

2 stalks lemon grass, finely chopped

8 lime leaves, torn

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2-5 cm piece root ginger, peeled and sliced

1 Thai red chilli, bashed

4 tbs Thai fish sauce

2 tbs palm sugar

juice 1-2 limes

350 g dried rice noodles

250 g cleaned squid tubes

250 g shelled scallops

4 tbs chopped fresh herbs – Thai basil, mint and coriander

to serve

125 g fresh beansprouts

a few fresh Thai basil, mint and coriander

A few sliced Thai red chillies

Make the broth. Peel the prawn shells and heads, wash briefly and place the shells and heads in a saucepan with the water, lemon grass, lime leaves, garlic, ginger and chilli. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and return to the pan. Stir in the fish sauce, sugar and enough lime juice to taste and return to the heat.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Drain well and set aside.

Using a sharp knife cut down along the top of each shelled prawn and pull out and discard the intestinal tract. Wash and pat dry. Cut the squid tubes in half and score the underside in a diamond pattern. Trim the scallops.

Add the seafood to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until the seafood is cooked. Add noodles and chopped herbs. Transfer the pot to the table for guests to serve themselves and hand around a platter of beans sprouts, herbs and chillies.

Seafood Hotpot 2

Categories: Home

Honey roasted chicken with lemon, olives and herbs

A great mid week meal, ready to pop into the oven in minutes. The roasted lemons infuse the chicken as it cooks and the honey is a lovely balancing of flavours. Serve with green beans or any other green veg.

Honey Baked Chicken

Serves: 4

1.5 kg chicken, jointed into 4

1 lemon, quartered

2 tbs olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbs clear honey

1 tsp Tobasco

1 tbs each chopped fresh thyme and rosemary

500 g small potatoes, scrubbed and halved

50 g pitted black olives

1 tbs chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c and line a large roasting tin with baking paper. Place the chicken pieces in the prepared tin. Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl and reserve the skins. Add the oil, garlic, honey, Tobasco, herbs and some salt and pepper to the lemon juice and stir well.

Add to the chicken with the potatoes and the reserved lemon quarters and stir well until evenly combined.

Transfer to the oven and roast about 45-50 minutes until the chicken and potatoes are brown and tender. Add the olives and roast for a further 5 minutes. Scatter over the parsley and serve with some French beans.

 

Chinese-style steamed cod with ginger

After the excess of the Christmas period this is a light yet comforting Chinese steamed fish recipe. I use cod but you could use any firm white fish such as bream, snapper or ling.

Steamed Cod with pak Choi

Serves: 4

2 tbs light soy sauce

1 tsp white sugar

1/2 tsp sesame oil

5 cm piece root ginger, peeled

4 x 200 g white fish fillets, such as cod, snapper or ling

100 ml chicken stock

3 tbs Shaoxing Chinese rice wine

4 baby pak choi, quartered

4 large spring onions, very thinly sliced

2 tbs peanut oil

coriander leaves, to garnish

plain boiled rice, to serve

Combine the soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil in a jug. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and set aside.

Cut the peeled ginger into thin slices and then into thin strips or julienne. Place the fish on a deep heatproof plate (an enamel plate is ideal – or use foil to shape into a bowl) set in a large bamboo steamer. Scatter over half the ginger and pour in the stock and rice wine.

Top the steamer with a lid and place over a saucepan of lightly simmering water. Cook for 5 minutes and then carefully pop the pak choi into the steamer over the fish. Cover and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Place the peanut oil in a small pan and heat gently until the oil is hot and starting to shimmer.

Transfer the fish and pak choi to serving plates, scatter over the remaining ginger and the spring onions and immediately pour over the hot oil, to soften the ginger and onions. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve with small bowls of rice.

Chocolate, almond and cinnamon spirals with French-style café au lait

If you love pain au chocolate then this easy breakfast pastry is a must. Simple and quick to make they are the perfect accompaniment to café au lait.

Chocoalte Almond Swirls

Serves: 4

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

30 g butter, melted

100 g dark chocolate, finely chopped

50 g ground almonds

1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tbs milk

2 tsp cinnamon sugar, plus extra fir dusting

cafe au lait

strong coffee

milk

Preheat the oven to 200c. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Unroll pastry sheets and lay side by side on a second piece of baking paper, overlapping them by 1 cm. Press gently to help stick together.

Brush the surface of the pastry with melted butter and then scatter over the chocolate and ground almonds. Carefully roll up from one of the short sides as tightly as you can to form a log.

Take a sharp knife and cut the log into 12 x 1 cm slices. Place cut side down on the prepared baking tray. Brush over the remaining butter, then the beaten egg mixture and finally sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed slightly and golden. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm dusted with a little extra sugar and a large bowl of milky coffee.

For café au lait. Make your coffee as strong as you like and pour into a latte bowl, heat and froth some milk, add to the coffee and serve.

Tip: These are best served either whilst still warm or they can be prepared ahead of time and chilled. Prepare to the end of step 2, cover with cling film and chill for up to 2 hours, then bake as above.

 

 

Baked cheesecake with Pedro Ximemez and dried fruit compote

Pedro Ximenez is a Spanish white grape variety. It is used to make the most intensely flavoured, thick, sweet sherry. It pairs beautifully with chocolate and coffee as well as dried fruits and vanilla. Here it adds a festive flavour to a baked cheesecake. Enjoy with an extra glass of this delicious sherry on the side.

baked-cheese-with-pedro-ximenez.jpg

Serves: 8

150 g digestive biscuits, crushed

50 g ameretti bsicuits, crushed

75 g unsalted butter, melted

500 g ricotta cheese

300 ml sour cream

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

150 g caster sugar

grated zest and juice 1 lemon

fruit compote

125 ml Pedro Ximenez, plus extra to serve

2 tbs clear honey

75 g large golden raisins

50 g dried figs, thinly sliced

50 g dried cranberries

1 vanilla pod, split

spray oil, for greasing

Preheat the oven to 150c/fan forced 130c and grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm spring form cake tin with baking paper.

Mix together the crushed digestives, ameretti biscuits and melted butter until evenly combined. Spoon into the base of the prepared tin. Using the back of the spoon smooth the biscuit mixture until flat and well compressed. Chill whilst preparing the filling.

Place ricotta, sour cream, eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a food processor and blend until really smooth. Pour over the biscuit base and bake for 1 hour until just set in the middle (it will puff up around the edges this is fine). Turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake inside with the door ajar until cool. Transfer to the fridge and chill for several hours.

Make the compote. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir gently until just boiling, simmer gently for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Leave to cool. Carefully unmould the cheesecake from the tin, cut into wedges and serve topped with the compote and a glass of Pedro Ximenez.

Tip: If making a day ahead, return the cheesecake to room temperature for 1 hour before serving, this will allow the filling to soften to the perfect texture.

Roasted lamb shoulder with pumpkin salad

Roast Lamb and Pumpkin Salad

Bored with the same old Sunday roast, well why not get inspired by this delicious alternative? Succulent lamb shoulder rubbed with earthy spices and served with a lovely autumnal pumpkin and toasted almond salad. I far prefer lamb shoulder as it often has more flavour than leg. It’s great for roasting as the fat running through it leaves the meat succulent and tender. Ask your butcher to bone the shoulder for you. This recipe nods it’s head to the flavours of Spain with smoke paprika and sherry vinegar – it is really lovely. I like to serve it with chunky potato wedges and aioli.

Serves: 6

1.5 kg boned lamb shoulder

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

grated zest and juice 1 lemon

4 garlic cloves, grated

2 tbs each chopped fresh rosemary and thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

salad

1 kg wedge pumpkin

1 red onion, thickly sliced

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

75 g un-blanched almonds, toasted

50 g raisins

2 tbs sherry vinegar

1 radicchio, separated into leaves and torn

a few fresh parsley leaves, torn

Preheat oven 200 c. Make a paste with the oil, spices, lemon zest and juice, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and rub all over lamb, cover and leave to marinate for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the salad. Cut the pumpkin into 1 cm wedges leaving the skin on. Combine with the onion, 1 tablespoon of oil and some salt and pepper and place in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning half way through until the pumpkin is charred and tender. Set aside until required. Reduce oven temperature to 180 c.

Place the lamb in a roasting tin and roast on the middle shelf for 1 1/4 to 1/12 hours depending on how you like your meat cooked. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Drain off as much of the fat from the pan as possible and reserve any lamb juices, keep warm.

Return the pumpkin and onion to the oven for 10 minutes to warm through. Transfer to a platter and top with the almonds, raisins, parsley and radicchio. Whisk together the remaining oil and the sherry vinegar, drizzle over the salad. Slice the lamb and serve with the salad and reserved lamb pan juices.

 

© Recipes Louise Pickford. © Photo Ian Wallace. Image first published in Grazia UK

Winter is most certainly upon us, with frosty mornings and log fires. It is just the time of year when I begin to crave comfort food. This rich beef stew flavoured with cinnamon and chocolate was inspired by a classic Catalan dish Estofado de Ternera a la Catalana. A little dark chocolate is added to the stew towards the end of cooking giving it a unique flavour.  It is likely that the dish originated in Mexico, where chocolate is added to counteract the fiery heat of the chillies in the classic Mexican stew,  Mole poblano.

It can be served with rice, but I love it spooned over potatoes, mashed with olive oil.

Beef stew with chocolate and cinnamon

Beef Stew

Serves: 6

1.5 kg beef chuck steak, cubed

200 g panchetta, diced

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

75 ml red wine vinegar

2 onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

2 cinnamon sticks, crumbled

4 large sprigs fresh thyme

3 strips orange peel

300 ml red wine

750 ml beef stock

4 tbs tomato puree

2 tbs dark 75% or higher chocolate, finely chopped

salt and pepper

flat leaf parsley, to garnish

olive oil mash, to serve

Preheat the oven to 160c. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan and dry fry the panchetta for 2-3 minutes until golden. Transfer to a flame-proof casserole. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and fry the beef in batches for 5 minutes until evenly browned, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer to the casserole.

Pour the wine vinegar into the frying pan and stir over a medium heat to deglaze the pan and reduce slightly. Add to the meat.

Add the remaining oil to the casserole and fry the onions, garlic, carrot and some salt and pepper for 10 minutes. Add to the meat with the cinnamon sticks, thyme and orange peel and then stir in the wine, stock and tomato puree. Place some foil over the pan and then seal with the lid. Bring to the boil, transfer to the oven and cook for 11/2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Place the chocolate in a small bowl and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of the meat juices until smooth. Then stir this back into the stew and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve with olive oil mash.

Tip: Olive oil mash compliments the stew perfectly. Make mash potato in the usual way but substitute a fruity extra virgin olive oil for butter along with a splash of milk for the perfect consistency.

© text and recipe Louise Pickford/© photo Ian Wallace

First published in Grazia UK.

 

Introducing a brand new collaboration between Come Cook In France’s food styling and photography workshops and Les Soeurs Anglaises a boutique workshop and accommodation venue in the beautiful Dordogne department in SW France.

Learn the secrets of how to choose, assemble and cook beautiful and memorable food images with myself and husband, food and lifestyle photographer Ian Wallace. Together we will guide you through a 5 day course, enabling you to gain vital knowledge, experience and the confidence to create your own publication ready images, as well as enjoying the lifestyle and food of SW France. For prices and more details of the next course, please clink on the following link  Les Soeurs Anglaises 

The course runs from 6th-12th June 2018.

 

 

Finally I have gotten around to making crab apple jelly! One of my earliest culinary memories is of my mum stirring a bubbling volcano of sweet juiciness, which miraculously ended up on my toast. I thought jelly went with ice cream (well of course this one could I guess?) but I was just as happy with my teatime treat. I am not totally convinced that at that young age, I truly appreciated the wonderful flavour of crab apples, but I certainly do now. So I wanted to share my weekends work in the kitchen and take you through the process from tree to table.

In spring our tree is covered in the most stunning, vibrant pink and white blossoms and then as we come to harvesting, the fruit has transformed into red and yellow, cherry-sized crab apples, hanging in jewel-like clusters on the laden branches. Here we can see the different shades of the apples from red and orange through to a soft yellow colour.

Literally pick as many as you want, discard any that have started to rot and don’t be tempted to pick from the ground, as it is likely that these will have begun to deteriorate. So far I have picked over 8 kilos. I think it will be jelly and crab apple cheese this year. Once picked, discard leaves, stalks and any spoiled fruit. Rinse really well and transfer to a large saucepan.

Add enough cold water to just cover the fruit. Bring to a fast simmer and cook for about 50 minutes, or until the fruit is pulpy. Pour the fruit and all the liquid through a sieve, lined with a double layer of muslin (or large jelly bag) into a large bowl or bowls. Very carefully tie up the muslin to make a bag and find a good place to hang them overnight, over the bowls, to catch all the juices.

Remove the muslin bags and discard the fruit (the muslin can be washed out and re-used). Be very careful as you do this and do not press on the pulp as the liquid will be too cloudy. It should be a delicate, slightly milky pink, which will clear as it is boiled up with the sugar. Because the crab apples do not contain quite enough pectin (the agent that helps set the jelly) I am adding lemon juice, to help the process along. Pour the liquid into a large, clean saucepan, adding the sugar and lemon juice. * At this stage it is really important to sterilise the jars you are going to use. Wash them in hot, soapy water and place in a preheated oven 100c. and leave them there to dry until you are ready to use them – the jars should be hot when filled.

Stir the liquid over a high heat until it reaches a rolling boil. At this point pop a tablespoon into the freezer to get really cold. Continue to boil the liquid, skimming off the scum that rises to the top, for at least 30 minutes. Remove your chilled spoon and pour a tiny amount of the jelly onto the frozen spoon. Leave for a few seconds and then test with your finger – the jelly is ready if it starts to wrinkle and set. Cook for longer if it is not yet ready.

Very carefully pour or ladle the jelly into the hot, sterilised jam jars, taking them straight from the oven. Wear oven gloves as they will be hot, as will the jelly. As soon as you have used up your jelly and filled your jars, top each one with a clear plastic disc making sure it covers the surface of the jelly and then seal the jars.

Leave the jelly to cool before adding a label – if you try to do this now, the label will not stick to the hot jar. Store the jam in a cool, dark cupboard until required. It will last for several years, but if you do get any mould appear on the top of the jelly, discard it.

And now for the recipe.

Crab Apple Jelly

Makes: 6-7 x 500ml jars

4kg crab apples

1.5-2kg granulated sugar

juice 11/2 lemons

Wash the crab apples, discarding stalks, any leaves and any rotten or damaged fruit. Place in a large saucepan (or 2 smaller ones) and add just enough water to cover the fruit. Bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat for 45-50 minutes, or until the fruit is pulpy.

Cool slightly and then carefully transfer to 2 large sieves lined with a double layer of muslin, or jelly bags, over 2 large bowls. Tie up securely to enclose the fruit. Hang the bags up over the bowls and leave to drain overnight.

The next day very carefully remove the bags, making sure you don’t squeeze at all, or the resulting jelly will be cloudy. Measure the apple liquid and transfer to a large saucepan, adding 7 parts sugar to 10 parts liquid (1 had 2.75 litres of liquid and added 1.75kg sugar) Add the lemon juice, and heat gently, stirring over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Bring the liquid to a rolling bowl and cook for about 30 minutes, carefully removing the scum on the surface as it appears. Meanwhile, place a tablespoon into the freezer to chill. After 30 minutes test the jelly to see if it ha reached the setting stage. Pour a drizzle of the syrup onto the chilled tablespoon and leave for a few seconds. Using a finger push the jelly, which will wrinkle and separate if set.

Using a ladle, spoon the hot jelly into the sterilised jars, top with a clear plastic jelly disc and sell with the lids. Allow to cool before adding the labels.

 

 

 

Barley, roasted vegetable and caramelized garlic risotto

Risotto

Serves: 4
Pearl barley makes a great alternative to arborio rice in risottos as it doesn’t require constant stirring and gives a lovely nutty texture to the dish. Here it is combined with oven roasted vegetables and caramelised garlic.

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions

8 large garlic cloves

250 g carrots, roughly chopped

250 g baby beetroot, cut into wedges

250 g peeled pumpkin, diced

2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary

350 g pearl barley

100 ml dry white wine

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

25 g freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus a few leaves

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan forced 180c and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Cut 1 onion into thin wedges and place in the prepared tin with the garlic, carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, herbs and salt and pepper. Add half the oil, stir well and roast for 45-50 minutes, stirring half way through until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, after the vegetables have been cooking for 15 minutes, finely chop the remaining onion. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion with a little salt and pepper for 5 minutes until softened. Add the barely and stir for 1 minute until all the grains are glossy. Add the wine and boil until evaporated, then add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently, uncovered for 30 minutes until the barley is al dente and the liquid absorbed.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir into the barley with the cheese and herbs. Season to taste and serve with extra cheese and basil leaves.

 

 

Sticky Ginger Cake with Figs and Caramel Sauce

sticky gingercake

Serves 12

This is a dark, sticky and totally delicious cake, topped with grilled figs and dulce de leche sauce.

250g unsalted butter, softened

225g caster sugar

125g soft brown sugar

3 eggs

75ml (110g) golden syrup

300g plain flour

11/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp ground ginger

150ml hot water

4 figs

150g dulce de leche

Preheat the oven to 160c/325f/gas mark 3 and line a 22cm round cake tin with baking paper. Using a food mixer, beat the butter, caster sugar and 100g of the soft brown sugar together until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat the eggs in one a time until smooth and then beat in the golden syrup.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a large spoon fold in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and hot water until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to the prepared tin, smooth the surface and bake for 11/4 hours or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cover the top of the cake with foil if it starts to burn.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, turning upside down and leave to cool.

Just before serving, cut the figs in quarters and sprinkle with the remaining  soft brown sugar. Place cut side up under a hot grill for about 1 minute until they start to blister. Warm the dulce de leche in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water until it softens and is pourable.

Serve the cake in wedges topped with the figs and drizzle over the caramel sauce.

 

© Food & Travel magazine. First published November 2016. Recipe Louise Pickford. Photo Ian Wallace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chimichurri steak sandwich with aioli and glazed onions

Chimichurri is piquant green herb sauce from Argentina and is commonly served with a variety of grilled meats. Here it adds a touch of class to a classic Sunday brunch pub sarni.

Steak Sandwich with chimicchuri

Serves: 4

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1 tbs redcurrant jelly

4 x 150 g rib eye steaks

50 g baby spinach leaves

2 French sticks, split

1-2 tbs aioli

chimichurri sauce

1 bunch flat leaf parsley

1/2 bunch fresh coriander

125 ml extra virgin olive oil

3 tbs red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

a pinch dried chilli flakes

salt and pepper

beer, to serve

Start by cooking the onions. Heat the oil in a frying and add the onion, thyme and some salt and pepper and fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes until softened and lightly golden. Stir in the redcurrant jelly and cook for a further 5 minutes until jam like. Set aside.

Meanwhile, whiz all the ingredients for the chimichurri sauce in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth and adjust seasonings to taste.

Brush the steaks with a little oil and season lightly. Cook on a preheated ridged grill pan for 30 seconds to 1 minute each side until cooked to your liking. Rest briefly.

Cut the French sticks into 4 fill with the steaks, spinach leaves, chimichurri sauce, onions and some aioli. Serve at once.

 

 

 

 

It is a great time of year for shellfish and here clams and crab combine with chorizo and potato in a warming seafood chowder.

Crab and clam chowder with chorizo

Clam and chorizo chowder

Serves: 4

1 kg clams, scrubbed

100 ml dry white wine

600 ml chicken or fish stock

25 g butter

150 g chorizo, sliced

1 onion chopped finely

1 stick celery, sliced

250 g potatoes, peeled and diced

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

600 ml milk

250 g cooked crabmeat

2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper

single cream, to serve (optional)

Rinse the clams, shake well and then place in a saucepan with the wine. Bring to the boil, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 5 minutes until all the shells have opened. Strain the liquid into jug and add the stock (discard any clams that remain closed).

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the chorizo and stir-fry over a medium heat for 5minutes until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion, celery and potato to the pan and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaf and a little salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.

Stir in the milk, crabmeat, clams and the chorizo and heat through for 5 minutes without boiling until everything is heated through. Serve in bowls with chopped parsley and the cream, if wished.

 

Baked eggs and Prosciutto with sage butter

A perfect way to begin the day. Spoil yourself this coming weekend (or weekday if you’re lucky enough) to a one pot dish of eggs baked in the oven with prosciutto and crispy sage leaves. It is a simple but quite delicious way to cook and serve eggs – an ideal brunch dish for 2.

Baked Eggs and Ham 2

25 g butter

12 large sage leaves

4 eggs

4 large slices prosciutto

1 tbs chopped fresh parsley, optional

a pinch smoked paprika

2 slices toasted sourdough

Preheat the oven to 200c/fan forced 180c. Melt the butter in a 20 cm ovenproof frying pan and gently fry the sage leaves over a medium heat for abut 1 minute until crisp and golden. Remove the sage leaves with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Place the ham slices in the ham and crack in the eggs so they all fit in a single layer. Transfer to the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

Scatter over the sage leaves, parsley and a little smoked paprika and serve with toasted sourdough.

Tip: Although a heavy oven-proof frying pan is ideal for this dish, if you don’t have one then use a baking dish and fry the sage butter in a small frying pan first.

The best of the summer is over and I am now starting to look to the more hardy of vegetables in the garden. Beetroot has long been one of my favourite veggies, not only for it’s deep earthy flavour, but also it’s rich maroon colour. You can use pre-cooked beetroot in natural juices for a quick supper or better still, roast baby beetroot in the oven at 200c/180c fan-forced for up 45-50 minutes until charred and tender, adding an extra depth of flavour to this colourful dish.

Autumn pasta with beetroot, goat cheese and toasted pecans

Serves: 4

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

500 g pre-cooked beetroot

400 g fusilli or other dried pasta

200 g goat feta or goat cheese, crumbled

60 g pecan nuts, toasted and roughly chopped

2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

a handful rocket leaves, to serve

grated Pecorino, to serve

Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions and garlic for 10 minutes until golden but not browned. Add the beetroot and cook gently for 3 minutes until heated through. Season to taste.

Meanwhile, plunge the pasta into a large bowl of lightly salted boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 10-12 minutes until al dente. Drain pasta and add 4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid to the beetroot.

Spoon the pasta into bowls and serve topped with the beetroot, goat cheese, pecans and parsley. Drizzle over a little more oil and serve with grated Pecornio.

Tip: You should be able to find ready cooked beetroot in natural juices in your local green grocer or supermarket. Alternatively buy raw beetroot and roast in the oven for about 45 mins. Peel and dice.

 

Duck Salad

Sesame and soy duck fillets and green papaya salad

Serves: 4

Green papaya is a used extensively in Thai and South East Asian cooking where it is traditionally served as a refreshing salad. The slightly tart quality of the fruit absorbs the sweet salty dressing perfectly, a perfect foil to the richly flavoued duck.

4 x 200 g duck breast fillets

1 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs fish sauce

2 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

750 g green papaya, peeled, halved and  seeded

2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced

1/2 bunch each fresh Thai basil, coriander and mint

125 g grape cherry tomatoes, halved

4 tbs dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped

dressing

3 tbs fish sauce

3 tbs caster sugar

2 1/2 tbs fresh lime juice

2 small red chillies, thinly sliced and seeded if wished

sea salt

Thai crispy fried shallots, to garnish

Marinate the duck. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Score the skin of each duck breast several times with a sharp knife, add to the marinade, cover with cling wrap and chill for 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200c. Remove the duck from the marinade and rub dry with kitchen paper, sprinkle the skin with sea salt. Heat a heavy based ovenproof frying pan and sear the duck skin down form 1 minute until golden. Turn the duck breast oven, transfer to the oven and roast for 8-10 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the papaya and cut into long thin strips or julienne. Place in a bowl and add the cucumber, herbs and cherry tomatoes. Whisk together the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice until the sugar is dissolved and stir in the chillies.

Thinly slice the duck breast and add to the salad with the dressing. Toss well, divide between plates and serve scattered with the peanuts and the fried shallots.

Chocolate marbled meringues with summer berries and white chocolate sauce

Serves: 6

These gooey, marshmallow-like meringues look and taste amazing, topped with a scoop of ice cream and a tumble of summer fruits all drizzled with a white chocolate sauce.

4 eggs whites

250 g caster sugar

2 tsp organic cocoa powder

350 g mixed summer berries

6 scoops vanilla ice cream

white chocolate sauce

100 ml single cream

75 g white, chocolate, finely chopped

1 tbs Cointreau (optional)

Preheat the oven to 130c/250f/gas mark 1/2. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place the egg whites in an electric mixer and whisk on high until stiff, then gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, until the mixture is thick and really glossy, about 5 minutes.

Sift over the cocoa powder and carefully fold through the meringue mixture to just combine and leave the mixture with a marbled effect. Carefully spoon 6 large meringues onto the prepared tray and bake for 1 hour until set then cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce, place the single cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil, remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in the Cointreau if using.

Arrange the still warm meringues on serving plates and serve each with a scoop of ice cream and the summer berries all drizzled with the warm white chocolate sauce. Serve at once.

Tip: If you prefer allow the meringues to cool completely before serving, they are just as good. Meringues keep well, so make ahead of time and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

 

Sumac Chicken 

 

Barbecued chicken with sumac, pomegranate molasses and mograbiah

Here I use a whole chicken, butterflied, so it cooks evenly on the barbecue. Alternatively use chicken thigh joints and cook for 10-12 minutes each side.

Serves 4

1.75 kg free-range organic chicken

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

1 tbs ground sumac

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp clear honey

2 tsp pomegranate molasses

1 garlic clove, crushed

juice 1/2 lemon

salad

200 g mograbiah or pearl couscous (see tip)

50 g picked watercress leaves

50 g dried cranberries

50 g blanched almonds, toasted and chopped

2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 tbs each chopped fresh mint and parsley

salt and pepper

Ask your butcher to butterfly the chicken for you. Combine half the oil, sumac, cinnamon and salt and pepper and rub all over the chicken. Leave to marinate overnight. Return to room temperature 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat the barbecue for 10 minutes until hot. Place the chicken skin side up on the barbecue plate, close the lid, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Flip chicken over and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (to test skewer the leg meat, if the juices run clear it’s cooked).

Whisk together the remaining oil, honey, molasses, garlic and lemon juice and season to taste.

Transfer the cooked chicken to a board, chop into 8 large pieces (a meat cleaver or large knife is good for this) and place on a large platter with any juices. Pour over the dressing over the chicken and leave to rest in for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salad. Cook the mograbiah in lightly salted boiling water for 10-12 minutes until al dente. Drain, refresh under cold water and drain again, shaking off excess water. Place in a large bowl, add a glug of olive oil, stir well and leave to cool. Stir in the watercress, cranberries, almonds, spring onions and season to taste. Spoon onto plates and top with the chicken using the beautiful juices to dress the salad.

Tip: Mograbiah is a larger variety of couscous often referred to as pearl couscous and is used in the same way. It is great in salads or can be used to thicken soups and stews. It is available from most larger supermarkets or specialist food stores.

 

Apologies followers, the first time this published, there were strange things happening, hopefully you can all see it now as it was intended.  July is crazy month here in France and to accommodate all your culinary aspirations we are offering a whole host of fabulous day courses at Come Cook In France.

July 11 Cook & Dine

Join me for an afternoon of hands on cooking. We will prepare a wonderful 3 course dinner to be enjoyed together alfresco as the sun goes down. You will learn new skills as well as get the opportunity to cook a meal for your partner, friends or family as non-cooking participants can join us for the evening meal.

This course costs 125 euros for cooks and 45 euros for guests

 

July 14 Cook Club – Barbecues are for more than burgers

For my wonderful group of regulars, plus any one else who would like to join me for a really fun morning of cooking, followed by a relaxed lunch under the vines. A morning course with techniques on how to cook better over charcoal and then 3-4 dishes incl butterflied chicken, Tex-Mex pulled pork and maple grilled salmon

July 21 – Cook Club Great Italian Cooking

Morning course preparing classic Italian dishes, so pasta or gnocchi, risotto, slow braised rabbit or chicken and a semi-freddo with poached fruits

July 28 – Thai Banquet

Morning course preparing 5-6 amazing Thai dishes. Learn how to make salt n pepper squid with home made sweet chilli jam, caramel beef cheeks, green papaya salad, crispy skinned fish with tamarind, coconut tapioca with pomegranate

All Cook Club courses are 70 euros per person

Lemon crumbed fish with a shaved fennel, parsley and capers salad

Serves: 4

This is such a simple way of jazzing up baked fish fillets and is great for a mid week supper, ready in under 20 minutes!

50 ml extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

grated zest 2 lemons

75 g day old bread, crusts removed

2 tbs freshly grated Parmesan

2 tsp chopped fresh lemon thyme

4 x 200 g white fish fillets (see below)

salad

1 medium head fennel, trimmed

50 g baby spinach leaves

1l2 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tbs baby capers, drained

a little extra virgin olive oil

a little fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper

new potatoes, to serve

Preheat the oven to 190c (fan forced 170c). Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the garlic and lemon zest over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the breadcrumbs, stir for 2-3 minutes until coated with oil but not browned and remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan and thyme and season to taste.

Heat a drizzle more oil in an oven proof frying pan or skillet and fry the fish fillets for 1 minute, turn over and carefully top with the breadcrumb mixture (don’t worry if some falls into the pan). Transfer to the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile make the salad. Using a mandolin or sharp knife finely shave the fennel into a bowl add the spinach, parsley and capers. Combine a little olive oil and lemon juice and season to taste. Serve the crumbed fish with the salad and some boiled baby new potatoes.

 

 

 

StrawberriesHere in France the strawberry season starts off early with the arrival of a small, slightly oblong little strawberry called gariguette. One might expect a rather sharp, watery, bland little fruit but actually gariguettes are renowned for their sweet and well rather strawberry-like flavour – sadly so many strawberries you buy today, because we demand year round availability, share very few similarities to the fruit I remember with such fondness from British summers past. From then on as the weeks pass, more and more strawberries of different shapes, sizes, and flavours appear in the markets and without doubt it is a joy to behold.

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This year, with it’s unseasonably dry and warm spring, strawberries abound in the markets, so it was the perfect excuse to get cooking. To be totally honest I prefer my strawberries as nude and natural as the day they were born, plucked from my fingertips straight into the mouth, but I wanted to preserve their flavour for later in the summer when they will become nothing but a distant memory (until next year anyway). With a fridge also packed full of yogurt it seemed only right to join them together in a richly intense strawberry yogurt ice cream. Wow, that was definitely one of the best food decisions I have made this year – it is sooooo delicious – rather typically the weather has turned and it feels more like January than mid May today, but hey ho, who needs sunshine and warmth to enjoy a little ice cream!

Strawberry ice cream

Strawberry yogurt ice cream

1 kg strawberries, hulled

300g caster sugar

2 tbsp strawberry liqueur or cassis

1 tbsp lemon juice

500g Greek yogurt

Combine the strawberries, sugar, strawberry liqueur or cassis and lemon juice together in a large bowl and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until syrupy.

Transfer to a blender with the yogurt and puree until really smooth. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Transfer the mixture either to an ice cream machine and freeze according to the instructions or to the freezer.

If using a freezer stir the ice cream every 2-3 hours, as it starts to crystallize until the mixture is creamy. Leave until frozen. Remove from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving and scoop into bowls.


And then, just because life would be a little less satisfying without, it was meringues, strawberries and of course cream…………..

Strwberries and Cream

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Next on my seasonal hit list is rhubarb, actually a vegetable that we treat like a fruit (the opposite of the tomato, the fruit we tend to use as a vegetable) and a part of the sorrel family, hence perhaps the sharpness of it’s stem. It is this long red/green stems that we cook down to a deliciously tart sauce, that once sweetened can be added to cream and yogurt for a fruit fool or diced and roasted in the oven with cinnamon, sugar and a hint of orange. My favourite way to cook with rhubarb though is in a crumble, and here it is combined with a simple sponge cake, strawberries and almonds to provide the most satisfying combination of dishes.

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Rhubarb, strawberry and almond crumble cake

Serves: 10

125g softened butter

125g caster sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

125g self-raising flour

500g trimmed rhubarb, sliced into 2 cm peices

150g strawberries, hulled and halved

crumble topping

150g plain flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

100g chilled butter, diced

100g caster sugar

25g porridge oats

100g nibbed or flaked almonds

icing sugar, to dust

crème fraiche or Greek yogurt, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan-forced and grease and line a 22cm cake tin with baking paper. Start by making the crumble. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture forms crumbs. Stir the in the sugar, oats and almonds and set to one side.

Make the sponge. Place the butter, sugar, eggs and flour into a food mixer or processor and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Spoon the sponge mix into the prepared cake tin and smooth flat.

Scatter the rhubarb and the strawberries over the sponge mix and then cover with the crumble mixture so you can still see a little of the fruit. Bake for 11/4 hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve still slightly warm, dusted with icing sugar, and some crème fraiche or Greek yogurt.

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As the ground starts to warm after the winter chill, the garden is abloom with spring flowers and the first signs of life in the veg plot start to twist and turn their way towards the sun. It is still too early for any homegrown asparagus but as I drive around the local area I noticed several of the local producers have started to advertise their early crop and it won’t be long before bundles of vibrant green asparagus stalks are all over the markets.

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It is without doubt my first real treat of the season and I am going to pair some tender young stalks with soft poached duck eggs. For something a little different to normal I have scattered over a little dukkah, an Egyptian blend of toasted nuts and spices, which marries perfectly the soft creaminess of the egg and the sweet, almost citric flavour of the asparagus. A bed of creamy tahini yogurt and a slug of fruity olive oil makes this combination truly delicious.

Asparagus with duck eggs, tahini and dukhah

Serves: 2

4 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon tahini paste

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 duck eggs

1 bundle young asparagus, trimmed

2 teaspoons dukhah*

a drizzle extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Divide between 2 plates.

Cook the duck eggs in a small pan of boiling water for 7-8 minutes. Drain and immediately refresh under cold water to stop further cooking. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and cut in half.

Plunge asparagus spears into a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and shake dry.

Arrange the asparagus spears over the tahini sauce, pop the egg halves on top  and scatter over the dukhah. Drizzle with a little oil and serve.

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  • dukhah is available from Middle eastern stores, delis and some supermarkets

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Given that I spent 20 years as a food stylist working with my brilliant food photographer husband Ian Wallace in London and Sydney, it seems crazy NOT to offer some food styling and photography courses at our new cookery school in SW France. So we are running a couple of bespoke courses this summer during July and August for 2 people. You will learn the secrets of how to shop and cook for a photo shoot, choose props to work with the menu and then how to set up and shoot the food.

With our fantastic weather and stunning locations you will be able to produce beautiful food pictures to illustrate your blog, put together a portfolio of work or just to learn and create something special to take away with you.

We will either put you up in our superb guest accommodation or put you in touch with some of the local B&B’s in the area.

The course itself will run for 4 days and will include cooking lessons, styling lessons and photography lessons, culminating in a photo shoot on location. These are very intimate bespoke course so we can talk through the details at length and cater for individual requirements.

Ian has shot for magazines such as Food & Travel magazine, Delicious Australia and UK, Gourmet Traveler, Vogue Entertaining and BBC Good Food as well as many commercial clients. His work is highly regarded around the world and he continues to work on food & lifestyle shoots with me here in France.

To view his portfolio please go to http://www.ianwallacephotographer.com

Contact me for more information louise@comecookinfrance.com and check out all our courses at http://www.comecookinfrance.com

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The first of my monthly Cook Club courses took place last week with great success. The concept of cook club is to offer people who live locally in SW France the chance to join me for a 4 hour cooking session and learn to cook dishes from around the world and craft their culinary skills with courses on all food subjects. Living here in France is great but occasionally we all yearn for something else and so we began with Asian noodles.

On the menu this week were Salmon and spring onion gyoza, Steamed scallop and chive dumplings, Green papaya, crispy pork and vermicelli noodle salad and a classic Prawn pad Thai (stir-fried noodles).We began by filling the gyoza wrappers and dumpling wrappers and made up their delicious but totally different sauces. Next came the green papaya salad which we left to one side, ready to assemble just before lunch, whilst we finished off prepping up the Pad Thai. After a full-on morning of cooking and learning about noodles we sat down together to enjoy the fruits of our labours……….. delicious!

RPS1796_P46 scallop dumplings copy 3

Steamed scallop and bean shoot dumplings

Serves: 2

125g shelled scallops (corals removed)

25g bamboo shoots, drained and chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic chives/or chives

1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoons oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

12-16 wonton wrappers

a little sunflower oil, for cooking

shredded spring onions, to garnish

Trim the scallops, cutting away the grey muscle attached at one side and cut into small dice. Place in a bowl with the bean shoots, garlic, chives, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil and stir well.

Lay the wrappers flat on a board and place a teaspoon of the scallop mixture in the center. Brush around the edges with a little water and draw the sides up and around the filling pressing together to seal. Transfer each one to a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Pop the base of each dumpling in a dish of oil and transfer to a medium-sized bamboo steamer. Cover and steam over a pan of simmering water for about 8-10 minutes until firm and cooked through. Serve with the dressing, garnished with shredded spring onions.

Szechuan chilli dressing

Makes: 50ml

50ml sunflower oil

1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes

1 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon black vinegar

1 teaspoons caster sugar

¼ teaspoon Szechuan pepper

Heat the oil in a small saucepan until it just starts to shimmer, remove from the heat and stir in the chilli flakes. Set aside for 30 minutes and then strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients and serve as required.

If you are making ahead of time omit the pepper, adding it just before serving


RPS1796_P56 Salmon gyozas copy

Salmon and spring onion gyoza

Serves: 2

125 g skinless salmon fillet, boned

1 spring onion, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/2 tablespoon Mirin

1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce

10-12 gyoza wrappers

1/2 tablespoon sunflower oil

pinch salt

black sesame seeds

Cut the salmon fillet into small dice and place in a bowl. Add the spring onions, Mirin and soy sauce and stir well to combine.

Using 1 wrapper at a time, lay flat on a clean board and place a spoonful of the salmon mixture on one half of each wrapper. Dampen the edges with water, fold in half and turn edges over, pressing together well to seal.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the gyoza on one side until really browned. Add 100ml water and simmer, partially covered for 3 minutes until the water is evaporated. Fry for a further 1 minutes until crisp. Transfer to serving dishes and drizzle over the dipping sauce.

Noodle dipping sauce

Makes: 150 ml

100 ml dashi stock

11/2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce

11/2 tablespoons Mirin

1/4 teaspoon caster sugar

Combine the dipping sauce ingredients together and chill until required. This will keep indefinitely in a screw top jar in the fridge.


RPS1796_Green papay salad copy 2

Green papaya and crispy panchetta salad

Serves: 4

150 g dried rice vermicelli noodles

150 g pancetta, diced

150 g green papaya, peeled, halved and seeded

1 cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced

a good handful fresh mint, coriander and Thai basil

125g grape cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons palm sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 red bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced and seeded if wished

4 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped

1 tablespoon roasted rice powder

crispy fried shallots, to serve

Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Soak for 20 minutes until just tender. Drain and then dry the noodles on a clean tea towel and place in a large bowl.

Dry fry the panchetta in a small frying pan over high heat until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.

Thinly slice the papaya and cut into long thin strips or julienne. Add to the noodles with the cucumber, herbs, cherry tomatoes and panchetta.

Whisk together the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add to the salad, toss well and divide between plates. Top with the peanuts and powdered rice. Serve with crispy fried shallots.


Prawn Pad Thai

RPS1796_Pad thai

Serves: 1

90g dried rice stick noodles

6-8 medium raw prawns, peeled and de-veined

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoons grated palm sugar

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 tablespoon tamarind water

4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

125 g firm tofu, diced

2 red shallots

2 garlic cloves or 1 small bunch garlic chives

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon dried shrimps (see Store Cupboard ID pages)

a pinch cayenne pepper

125 g bean sprouts, trimmed plus extra to serve

Garnishes

crushed peanuts,

lime wedges, to serve

coriander/garlic chives

cayenne pepper

Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes stirring to ensure they separate. Drain well. Prepare the prawns. Shell and remove the black vein from the back, wash and pat dry.

Place the fish sauce, palm sugar, white sugar and tamarind water in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok, add the tofu to the pan and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes until crispy. Remove from the pan.

Add the prawns (with a little extra oil, if needed) and stir-fry for 2 minutes until pink, remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and fry over a medium heat for 30 seconds and pour in the beaten egg. Lower the heat and cook, stirring gently for 10 seconds until starting to set.

Return the tofu to the pan along with the cooked prawns, dried shrimp and noodles and stir-fry over a high heat until the noodles start top brown.

Add the sauce and a pinch of cayenne stirring constantly, until everything is heated through. Stir through the half beansprouts.

Transfer to a platter and sprinkle over the remaining beansprouts, peanuts, coriander and cayenne pepper and serve with lime wedges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Check out my cooking school  – Come Cook In France – food tours and cooking classes from my home in SW France. Please check it out and spread the word.

 

NON-RESIDENTIAL DAY COURSE

Cook Club – a half day morning class aimed mainly at people living locally full time who love to cook, want to increase their repertoire of dishes or cook something other than French food and learn new skills at the same time.

Cook & dine – an afternoon course where we will cook a fabulous 3 course dinner usually locally sourced ingredients and cook them with a modern twist. We will then dine together enjoying the fruits of our labour. Non-cooking partners and friends are welcome to join us for dinner.

Family days – these take on various forms but basically I offer parents the chance to relax whilst I cook with the kids who will make afternoon tea for mum and dad! with an afternoon class. You can also spend the whole day here, adults spend the morning cooking lunch whilst the kids enjoy the facilities (an adult will always be present to be with them) and then the kids cook in the afternoon and parents relax. And I get to do all the clearing up!!

RESIDENTIAL COURSES

Food photography & styling courses – 5 day immersion courses in how to cook, style and photograph food so that you will be able to produce your own beautiful food images, to a publication-ready standard. These are held off-site in various local accommodation premises. The next course is June 6-12th, 2018 and will take place in the very beautiful workshop accommodation Les Soeurs Anglaises in the Dordogne. For all details please click on their link.

One of my jobs as a food writer and stylist is being commissioned by magazine clients to write, style and shoot food features for them. Often people ask me what is actually involved in this process, so I thought it would be fun to go behind the scenes and blog a typical food shoot. Once the client has decided on what feature they want I will write the recipes, style the food and style the props whilst Ian, my husband, will photograph the feature once everything is in place.

Day one…… Food & Travel magazine ( http://www.foodandtravel.com ) has asked us to illustrate an alfresco evening dinner for 6 people.

The menu is a 4 course meal with an appetizer, a starter, main course with accompaniments and a dessert. Once developed I then test them in my kitchen to make sure they work and of course taste great.

Monthly brocante in Angouleme

Brocante stalls

Brocante stalls

The fabulous thing about France is all the local brocantes (fleamarkets) and local antique shops where I can source absolutely everything I could ever need for any type of shoot. I need to look out for some more plates, napkins and cutlery to add to my ever growing stock of props, but most of all I want to find some old matching chairs for the shoot. With this in mind I decide to try a monthly Sunday brocante in Angouleme as well as a couple of nearby shops.

So plates, cutlery and napkins are sorted, so I head off to an antique shop locally to see if I can grab those chairs and perhaps a candelabra or chandelier.

Having got everything I was looking for, its back to give the chairs a makeover, clean up the chandelier and pick out which plates, napkins and cutlery will work for the shoot. Then that’s all for day one.

Day two – As it is shoot day I’m up bright and early to start prepping the food and setting out the props ready for the evening shoot. Because it’s light until 10pm in the summer I have the whole day to cook and set the scene which is great.

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Courtyard setting

Ian and I have decided to shoot this feature next door at our neighbours as they have a pretty courtyard setting with a rose garden, lovely for the background of the shot. By late evening I am adding all the last minute finishing touches to the table, hanging the chandelier and lighting the candles. Then Ian’s ready to set up and shoot the opener.

Ian’s shot is perfect, we are both really happy with the scene setter. As the light is fading we will end on this beautiful note and return tomorrow evening so we can photograph the recipes in the same dusky light, to perfectly match the opener – one of the great advantages Ian and I have, working here in France.

Summer Dining

© Food & Travel magazine

Day three…… Returning to our location, it takes a little time to recreate our opener and then we are ready to shoot the 5 recipes. Once the food is plated, Ian and I check all the little details to make sure everything is in place and finally Ian can shoot the finished dishes. Here are 3 from the feature.

Seared scallops and chorizo with a tomato and vanilla dressing

Scallops and chorizo

© Food & Travel Magazine

Serves: 6

150g dried haricot beans, soaked overnight in cold water

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small leek, trimmed and finely chopped

1 small garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

grated zest and juice 1/2 lemon

50ml dry white wine

100ml single cream

150g chorizo, thinly sliced

18 large scallops

dressing

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

1 vanilla pod, split

1 small shallot, very finely chopped

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

salt and pepper

Drain the soaked beans and place in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 1 hour until the beans are al dente. Drain well, refresh under cold water and set aside.

Make the dressing. Place all the ingredients except the basil in a bowl and stir well. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Stir in the basil.

Heat the oil and gently fry the leek, garlic, thyme, lemon zest and salt and pepper for 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Stir in the beans and add the wine. Simmer and reduce for 2 minutes until reduced slightly, then stir in the cream. Simmer gently for 3-4 minutes until the sauce is thickened. Add a little lemon juice to taste. Keep warm.

Heat a heavy based frying pan fry the chorizo over a medium heat for 1 minute until golden and cooked through. Reserve and set aside. Add the scallops to the pan and sear for 1 minute each side.

Divide the haricot mixture, scallops and chorizo between each serving plate and spoon over the dressing. Garnish with basil leaves and serve at once.

Seared beef fillet with celeriac, apple and walnut salad

Seared beef whole serve

© Food & Travel Magazine

Serves: 6

1kg beef fillet

150g peeled celeriac

1 large apple

50g toasted walnut

a handful fresh parsley leaves

2 tbsp drained baby capers

anchovy dressing

1 egg yolk

10 anchovies in oil, drained and chopped

2 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

50ml extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 190c/375f/gas mark 5. Rub the beef with a little oil and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy ovenproof frying pan and sear the beef on all sides over a high heat for 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Make the dressing. Place the egg yolk, anchovies, vinegar, mustard and a little pepper in a food processor blend until completely smooth. Gradually whisk in the oil, then the cream keeping the motor running until the sauce is thickened.

Thinly pare the celeriac and cut into sticks. Cut the apples into the same size sticks and place in a bowl with the walnuts, parsley and capers.

Thinly slice the beef and place on a large platter. Arrange a little of the salad over the beef and serve drizzled with the anchovy dressing. Pass the remaining salad around the table.

Meringues with grilled peaches and Pedro Ximenez sauce

Meringues with peaches 1

© Food & Travel Magazine

Serves: 6

A sweet Spanish white wine, Pedro Ximenez has a lovely caramel raisin flavour and is a perfect addition to a toffee sauce.

3 egg whites

175g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

1 tsp white vinegar

50g unsalted butter

50g agave syrup* or soft brown sugar

6 small peaches, halved and stoned

100ml Pedro Ximenez

150ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 140c/275f/Gas mark 1 and draw 6 x 10 cm circles onto baking paper and place on a large baking tray. Whisk the egg whites in an electric food mixer until stiff and then gradually whisk in the sugar a tablespoon at a time until the meringue is thick. Continue to whisk for several minutes until the mixture is glossy, then whisk in the vanilla paste and vinegar.

Carefully spoon the meringue onto the 6 circles forming neat rounds and pressing a small dip in the middle of each one. Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour until meringues are set. Transfer to a wire and leave the meringues to go cold. Increase the oven temperature to 190c/375f/gas mark 5.

Heat the butter and agave syrup together in a heavy frying pan and when bubbling, add the peach halves, cut side down and cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden. Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon and transfer to a foil–lined baking tin and roast for 15 minutes. Leave to cool.

Return the butter mixture to the boil, stir in the Pedro Ximenez and simmer for 5 minutes until reduced and syrupy. Leave to cool.

To serve the meringues, warm the caramel sauce stirring until amalgamated. Place 2 peach halves onto each meringue and drizzle over the cream and the caramel sauce. Serve at once.

* Agave syrup is available from health food stores

For the remaining recipes and images please go to http://www.foodandtravel.com

© All recipes Food & Travel magazine, first published in August 2015

 

For my final slurp I wanted to share two more recipes from my book, Oodles of Noodles. Deciding which recipes to choose was quite hard, but in the end I have opted to blog a recipe from the remaining chapters in order to give you a good balance of just what to expect from the book. So we have a pretty, Japanese-inspired noodle salad with shredded chicken, fresh cool vegetables and a traditional sesame dressing. It is an explosion of textures and flavours and the overall impression you get with the first mouthful is one of freshness and well being; perfect for a light lunch.

In contrast my second choice is a far punchier and full-on crab noodle stir-fry. I love this recipe with it’s robust sweet, hot sauce, big chunks of delicious fresh cooked crab and wonderfully slippery egg noodles. It really is worth sourcing a good seafood supplier so the fresher the crab the better. If you don’t fancy preparing the crab yourself most fishmongers will happily do this for you and as long as you keep the crab well chilled and cook the dish the same day, the crab will be fine.

Let me know how you go, I’d love to get some feedback.

Chicken noodle salad with sesame and soy dressing

RPS1796_Chicken noodle salad

Photo Ian Wallace

Serves: 4

This summer salad can be made using any Japanese noodles. When researching this book I came across these black rice noodles, which make a startling contrast to the different vegetables and micro herbs. The end result is striking.

250 g dried black rice noodles

250 g cooked chicken breast fillet

100 g radishes, trimmed

2 carrots, trimmed

125 g mange tout, trimmed

1/2 cucumber, seeded

Japanese micro herbs

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

wafu dressing

1 small shallot, very finely chopped

2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons dashi stock (see recipe page)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons caster sugar

1 teaspoon freshly grated root ginger

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Make wafu dressing

 Place all the dressing ingredients in a screw top jar and shake well until amalgamated. Use as required.

Make salad

Plunge the noodles into a large saucepan of boiling water. Return to the boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes until al dente. Drain noodles and immediately refresh under cold water, washing well to remove any remaining starch. Drain again and dry thoroughly on a clean tea towel. Place noodles in a large bowl.

Shred the chicken into pieces and add to the noodles. Prepare the vegetables. Thinly slice the radishes, thinly slice and then shred the carrot into strips, thinly shred the mange tout. Cut the cucumber into thin batons.

Arrange all the ingredients on a plate, drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well together. Scatter over micro herbs and sesame seeds. Serve at once.

Crab and noodle stir-fry (Malaysia)

RPS1796_ P140 crab and noodle salad copy

Photo Ian Wallace

Serves: 4

This Malay version of Singapore crab was served to me on a trip to a small island, rather unattractively named Mud Island. However where there’s mud there are mud crabs and this tiny island on stilts, just off the west coast of Malaysia, is home to thousands of crabs and almost as many restaurants serving delicious platefuls of crab any which way. This was my choice and it was awesome.

1 onion, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves

3 cm piece root ginger, peeled and chopped

2 small red bird’s eye chillies

3 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon shrimp paste

50 ml Shoaxing rice wine

250 ml tomato passata

250 ml chicken stock

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoons ketchup manis

1 kg fresh crab, prepared (see tip)

2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped

400 g fresh egg noodles, or 200 g dried

shredded spring onions, to garnish

Place the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies in a blender and puree to make a smooth paste, stir in the shrimp paste. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and fry the paste for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Add the rice wine and simmer for 1 minute then stir in the passata, stock, soy sauce and ketchup manis and cook for 10 minutes until thickened.

Add the prepared crab and spring onion, stir well, cover the pan and simmer for 5-8 minutes until the crab is cooked through. Meanwhile, plunge the noodles into a large saucepan of boiling water and cook for 4 minutes until al dente. Drain the noodles, shake well to remove excess water and transfer to a large platter. Spoon the crab sauce over the top and serve sprinkled with extra spring onions.

 Tip: Its best to use a live crab for this, so ask your fishmonger to kill the crab for you and if possible to cut the crab up ready to stir-fry. Alternatively view the process online to see how to do it yourself. If you can’t face this use 1 kg cooked crab claws, cracking the shells with a hammer and continue as above

 

 

Having hopefully got taste buds tingling with my first noodle recipe last week, a spicy beef pho, I thought I would opt for something totally different in this week’s post. Noodles come in all shapes and sizes from the long thin, slippery and slurpy noodles of the Vietnamese inspired soup, to the Chinese dumplings I have chosen today. Made with a fresh egg noodle dough, wonton wrappers are sold chilled or frozen in small square sheets of about 40 or so. They are available in Asian stores and online.

Chinese cooking, done well, is hard to beat and dim sum is a good example of just how difficult this can be. There are hundreds of restaurants (around the world) serving cheap, yes, but not great dim sum. However when you bite into a light, sleek, soft steamed dumpling to discover the delights inside it can be pure bliss. So with this I wish everyone a very happy Chinese New Year.

Steamed Rice Noodle Dumplings with Scallops

RPS1796_P46 scallop dumplings

Serves: 4

I love steamed dumplings and these are just about my favourite type. Dim sum or yum cha (as it’s known in Australia) was always a great lunch out for us – officious waiters pushing trolleys with towering bamboo steamers full of different dumplings and other delights

250 g shelled scallops (with out corals)

50 g water chestnuts, drained and chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic chives

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

24 wonton wrappers

Szechuan chilli dressing

100 ml sunflower oil

1-2 teaspoons dried red chilli flakes

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon black vinegar

2 teaspoons caster sugar

1/4 teaspoon Szechuan pepper

a little sunflower oil, for cooking

shredded spring onions, to garnish

Make the dressing

Heat the oil in a small saucepan until it just starts to shimmer, remove from the heat and stir in the chilli flakes. Set aside for 30 minutes and then strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients. Set aside.

Make the dumplings

Trim the scallops, cutting away the grey muscle attached at one side and cut into small dice. Place in a bowl with the chestnuts, garlic, chives, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil and stir well.

Lay the wrappers flat on a board and place a teaspoon of the scallop mixture in the centre. Brush around the edges with a little water and draw the sides up and around the filling pressing together to seal. Transfer each one to a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Pop the base of each dumpling in a dish of oil and transfer to a medium-sized bamboo steamer. Cover and steam over a pan of simmering water for about 10-12 minutes until firm and cooked through. Serve with the dressing, garnished with shredded spring onions.

Twelve months ago (hard to believe how fast last year passed by) I was in London working on my latest cook book for best ever publishers Ryland, Peters & Small. The book, Oodles of Noodles was published later in the year and has been very well received – it’s always a thrill to know that not only has a book been published, but people have bought, read and cooked from it – so I wanted to share some of the recipes over the next few weeks.

The recipes were inspired by my travels throughout Asia as well as my years spent in Sydney which is chock full of Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Korean restaurants. Hopefully you will enjoy cooking and eating them as much as I did researching, developing, writing and testing the recipes.

I also hope you enjoy the evocative images so beautifully shot by Ian Wallace and styled by the very talented stylist Tony Hutchinson. Thanks also to to Sonia, Leslie and Julia at RPS.

I am beginning with the title recipe, a fabulous Vietnamese soup. Enjoy…….

Vietnamese beef pho

RPS1796_Pho bo copy

Serves: 4

When I am visiting a city with a Vietnamese population I always try and make a trip to wherever the majority of Vietnamese have settled so I can treat myself to an authentic beef pho. It’s the large baskets of colourful herbs and condiments that give this classic soup its freshness and that unique flavour and texture I love so much.

1 kg beef short ribs

5 cm piece root ginger, sliced and bruised

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

3 whole star anise, bruised

2 cinnamon sticks, bruised

400 g dried rice stick noodles

350 g beef fillet, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon caster sugar

juice 1 lime

125 g bean sprouts, trimmed

garnishes

2 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped

a handful each of fresh Thai basil, Vietnamese mint and coriander

6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

Put the beef ribs in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer fast for 10 minutes then drain and wash ribs. Return ribs to the pan and add 2 litres more cold water along with the ginger, onion, garlic, star anise and cinnamon sticks. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 11/2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Remove the ribs from the stock and set aside to cool. Thinly shred the meat discarding bones. Strain the stock through a fine sieve and let cool. Refrigerate both the meat and the stock overnight.

The next day, soak the noodles in hot water for 20 minutes, drain and shake dry. Divide noodles between 4 large soup bowls. Meanwhile, remove the layer of fat from the cold stock and return the pan to the heat until boiling. Stir in the shredded meat, raw beef, fish sauce, salt, sugar and lime juice. Spoon the soup over the noodles and top with the bean sprouts. Serve soup with a plate of the garnishes in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Although Halloween is over for another year, I still have tons of homegrown pumpkins to use up so I decided it was time for curry night in our house. This is a Thai inspired curry with coconut milk added at the end to intensify the flavour and add a layer of richness to the dish, ideal for this time of year as the evenings start to cool down. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Coriander beef, pumpkin and chilli curry

Beef and Pumpkin curry 1

Serves: 4

1 kg cubed beef steak

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp salt

4 long green chillies, chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

3 cm cube root ginger, pealed

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

4 tomatoes, chopped

2 tbs tomato puree

1 bunch fresh coriander

4 tbs sunflower oil

500 g butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed

125 ml coconut milk, plus extra to drizzle

turmeric rice and lime pickle, to serve

Place the beef in a bowl and add the ground coriander, black pepper and half the salt, stir well to coat meat and set aside until required.

Place the chillies, onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, tomato puree and all but a few sprigs of the coriander, roughly chopped, in a blender with 1 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan fry the beef in batches in a flameproof casserole until browned, removing with a slotted spoon. Add a little extra oil to the pan if needed and add the paste, fry briefly until fragrant, then return the beef to the pan.

Bring to the boil, cover a simmer over a very low heat for 11/2  hours. Add the pumpkin to the pan, cover and cook for a further 30 minutes until the beef  is tender and the pumpkin mushy. Add the coconut milk and simmer gently for a few minutes until thickened.

Garnish the curry with the remaining coriander sprigs, drizzle over a little extra coconut milk and serve with turmeric rice and lime pickle.

Beef and Pumpkin curry 2

Back at last after a long absence, I wanted to share some of my delicious bonfire night favourites with you. The best bonfire food should be quick to cook, easy to hold (with gloves on!) and give you a warm glow to help ward off the cold night. Here are three hot dog recipes that fit the bill.

Duck sausages with pickled cucumber and hoisin sauce

Posh Dogs 1

All recipes serve: 4

8 baby cucumbers

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons caster sugar

4 duck sausages (you could use a smoked sausage)

2 tbs hoisin sauce

Start by making the pickle. Cut the cucumbers length ways into quarters and place in a bowl. Heat the salt, vinegar, sugar and 4 tablespoons water in a small pan until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and pour over the cucumbers. Set aside until completely cold.

Cook the sausages as usual, split rolls and fill with sausages, pickled cucumbers and a drizzle of hoisin sauce.

Marguez dogs with harissa mayo and onion rings

Posh Dogs 1

1 onion, sliced

100 ml milk

1 egg, beaten

50 g polenta

8 marguez sausages

4 tbs mayonnaise

1-2 tsp harissa paste

1 tbs chopped preserved lemon

vegetable oil, for frying

Place onions rings in milk and soak for 5 minutes. Drain onion rings, dip in egg and then polenta to coat thoroughly. Heat about 5 cm oil in a wok or deep frying pan and when hot fry the onion rings for 1-2 minutes until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen towel.

Cook sausages as usual. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise with harissa paste. Fill rolls with sausages, harissa mayonnaise and top with onion rings and a little preserved lemon.

Vietnamese sweet chilli and herb ‘dog’ sliders

Posh Dogs 2

4 pork sausages

4 tbs mayonnaise

2 tbs sweet chilli sauce

fresh Thai basil, coriander and mint

1 red chilli, thinly sliced

Cook sausages as usual. Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise with the sweet chilli sauce. Split the rolls and pile in the sausages, sweet chilli mayonnaise, fresh herbs and chilli slices.

Some styling pieces

I love to seeing the striking yellow flowers of summer squashes, both for the celebration of the season and also to turn into yummy dishes. Sometimes I simply dust them in flower to make into quick and easy fritters, or stir them into a courgette risotto or through pasta. When I am feeling more adventurous or if have friends over for an alfresco supper, I like to go the whole hog and stuff these little beauties, dip them in batter and deep-fry them so the gooey cheesy centres starts to ooze. Here they are served with a herby dip of fresh mint and ground pistachio nuts making a lovely summer starter or light lunch dish.

You can use either the male flowers that have no fruit, just a stalk, or the female flowers if they have small mini courgettes attached.

Stuffed courgette flowers with mint and pistachio salsa

Stuffed courgettes with mint and pistachio salsa

Stuffed courgettes flowers with mint and pistachio salsa

Serves: 6

12 courgette flowers

150 g fresh ricotta

40 g freshly grated Pecorino

1 tsp of grated lemon zest and juice

2 eggs, separated

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

175 ml sparkling mineral water

125 g plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

salsa

50 g pistachio nuts

1 bunch fresh mint leaves

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 spring onions, chopped

125 ml extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

vegetable oil, for deep frying

Preheat the oven to 180c. Start by making the salsa. Whiz the nuts, herbs, garlic and spring onions in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add the oil and puree until fairly smooth, stir in the vinegar and season to taste.

Carefully open the courgette flowers and pick out the stamen. In a bowl mix together the ricotta, pecorino, lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper. Carefully spoon the filling into the courgette flowers and twist the tops together to enclose filling.

Make the batter. In a bowl beat together the egg yolks, oil, water, flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff and fold into the batter.

Heat 5 cm vegetable oil in a wok or deep saucepan until it reaches 180c on a sugar thermometer (or until a cube of bread crisp in 20 seconds). Carefully dip the flowers (and courgettes, if female) into the hot oil and deep-fry in batches of 2 for 3 minutes, turning half way through until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in the oven while cooking the rest. Transfer the courgette flowers to plates and serve with the salsa. 

Tip: don’t be fearful of deep-frying, if you follow the method it is easy. Investing in a sugar thermometer is a good way to ensure a crisp and light batter, they are available from all good cookware stores.

Falafels are little nuggets of pulses, herbs and spices served as street food in Middle Eastern and North African countries. They are cooked and served in flat bread wraps with salad and tahini dressing. Traditionally they are made with chickpeas but here I have made two versions, firstly replacing the chickpeas with bulghar wheat to make a homemade falafel, whilst the second recipe not only returns to the classic chickpea falafel but uses a ready made falafel mix available from supermarkets and specialist food stores – making a really quick and simple mid-week supper dish.

Bulghar wheat falafel with courgette and haloumi salad 

 This recipe can be served as either a salad or as a wrap, it’s up to you – both a equally yummy.Bulghar falafel serve

Serves: 4

250 g bulghar wheat

1 bunch spring onions

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bunch coriander leaves (about 30g)

1 tsp ras al hanout*

1 tbs chickpea* or rice flour

1 tbs tahini paste

juice 1 lemon

200 g baby courgettes

1 small cucumber

haloumi, thinly sliced

a handful rocket leaves

a few fennel or edible flowers (optional)

Preserved lemon yogurt

1 tbs finely chopped preserved lemon

150 g Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon clear honey

1 tbs chopped fresh coriander

salt and pepper

vegetable oil for shallow frying

flat breads, to serve

Pour boiling water over the bulghar wheat and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly and place in a food processor. Add the onions, garlic, coriander, ras al haout, chickpea flour, tahini paste, 1 teaspoon salt and a little pepper and blend to form a smooth green paste. Shape into 32 oval patties and set aside. 

Make the preserved lemon yogurt dressing. Place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and speckled green. Very thinly slice the courgettes and cucumber (using a mandolin or potato peeler). Place in a bowl and add the rocket and a coriander leaves.

Heat 5 cm oil in a wok or saucepan and fry the falafel for 5 minutes until evenly browned, turning halfway through. Drain well on kitchen paper. Arrange the salad on a platter and top with the falafel. Serve with the yogurt dip, edible flowers if using and some flat bread.

* Ras al hanout is a Middle Eastern spice mix available from some supermarkets or specialist food stores. Chickpea flour is also known as gram flour and is also available from most larger supermarkets or specialist food shops.

Couscous salad with falafel and hummus sauce

Couscous and falafel 1

Serves: 4

150 g couscous

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 bunch roughly chopped fresh mint

1 bunch roughly chopped fresh parsley

2 tbs lemon juice

225 g packet ready-made falafel *

125 g Greek yoghurt

100 g hummus

1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds

a pinch hot smoked paprika

4 pieces flatbread or pitta pockets, to serve

Place the couscous and 1 tablespoon oil in a heatproof bowl. Add 150 ml boiling water, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes until the couscous grains are softened. Stir with a fork to separate the grains and then stir in the tomatoes, herbs, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil. Set aside.

Heat the falafel following packet directions. Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, hummus and half the cumin seeds in a serving dish and drizzle with the remaining oil, cumin seeds and paprika. Serve the hot falafel with the couscous salad, yogurt hummus and flatbread.

Both these recipes were first published by Grazia UK. Photographed by Ian Wallace

Quinoa pronounced kin wah, is the seed of a grain-like crop grown in South and Central America and is closely related to species such as beetroot and spinach. It originated in the mountainous regions of Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia and Peru where it has been grown for human consumption for over 3000 years. Its nutrient composition compares favourably with other cereals and is higher in essential amino acids such as lysine, making it a complete protein source. It also contains good levels of calcium, phosphorus and iron. It is gluten free and easy to digest. In its natural state the outer case of the seed is very bitter making it unpalatable but this is removed during processing. Despite this quinoa should always be well rinsed and soaked briefly before cooking. It is cooked rather like rice and once cooked it has a light fluffy texture and delicious nutty flavour. It can be cooked in either water or stock, flavoured with herbs and spices and combines well with vegetables, fruits and nuts. It is great in salads, as a side dish and provides a wonderfully power packed breakfast dish. Available as red, black or white quinoa, white tends to be the more widely available, and it can be found in health food stores and now in many larger supermarkets.

Grilled tuna steaks with preserved lemon quinoa salad

A00825PR Grilled tuna with quinoa salad copy

Serves: 4

Tuna is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acid and although it is recommended to eat fish twice a week (being a high source of protein but low source of fat) tuna does contain mercury it is best to only eat tuna (and other fish high in mercury such as swordfish and mackerel) once a week.

200g quinoa

250 ml water

80 ml orange juice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon

50g toasted pistachio nuts

50g raisins

6 spring onions, trimmed and chopped

2 tomatoes, diced

2 tbsp each chopped fresh coriander and parsley

4 x 200g tuna steaks

dressing

60 ml extra virgin olive oil

juice 1/2 lemon

1 tsp caster sugar

salt and pepper

Place the quinoa in a bowl covered with plenty of cold water and leave to soak for 15 minutes. Drain in a sieve and transfer to a saucepan, add the water, orange juice, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, remove from the heat but leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. Fluff up the grains and leave to cool for 15 minutes.

Combine all the remaining ingredients except the tuna in a large bowl, stir in the quinoa. Whisk the dressing ingredients together, pour over the quinoa and stir well until evenly combined.

Brush the tuna steaks with a little oil, season lightly and sear on a preheated ridged grill pan for 30 seconds each side or until cooked to your liking. Rest briefly and serve with the quinoa salad.

Quinoa bircher muesli

A00826PR Quinoa bircher muesli copy

Serves: 4

Bircher muesli is given an extra protein boost with the addition of quinoa making this delicious breakfast dish the perfect choice if you are planning a hard work out or have a busy day ahead.

150g cooked quinoa (about 60 g raw quinoa)

90g rolled oats

50g mixed nuts, roughly chopped

25g sunflower seeds

50g mixed dried fruits, such as craisins and blueberries

1 apple, cored and gated

375 ml organic apple juice

125 ml Greek style yogurt

100 g frozen mixed berries

2 tbsp clear honey

Place the oats, nuts, dried fruits grated, apple, apple juice and yogurt in a bowl, stir well until evenly combined and set aside to soak for 4 hours or overnight.

Defrost the berries and blend together until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and stir in the honey.

Divide the soaked quinoa mixture between bowls and top each with a drizzle of the berry sauce and serve with extra yogurt.

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