Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Avocado Soup




Avocado soup is an unusual summer dish served ice cold preferably in lovely warm weather a bit like Vichyssoise. It is easy and quick to make and will certainly impress your friends as it is seldom seen in restaurants. The trick is to have ripe avocados on hand so you may well have to purchase these a week in advance. It does not keep well so serve it on the day it is made.

Serves 4

2 ripe peeled avocados (stone removed)
1 lemon zest
Lemon juice
1 small shallot onion
250 ml yoghurt
Tabasco
3 sprig of Coriander, parsley and chives

Salt & pepper

Topping when serving, toasted cashews, pine nuts or sunflower seeds

Prepare

Blend the avocado and onion to a smooth consistency.
Then add the yoghurt and finally flavour with lemon juice, zest of lemon,
Salt and pepper

Serve it ice cold it doesn't keep well so eat it the same day).

Elderberry Panna Cotta


Everyone likes a panna cotta and it has to be one of the easiest, most versatile and most impressive of all desserts! You can add so many different fruits to the cream that you can almost call it a dessert for all seasons! Elderberries are in season at present so we have been making both the cordial and the jelly and it is easy to use the jelly with the cream. (Note of caution always boil freshly picked elderberries for a few minutes and don't eat the seeds)!


Ingredients:

500 ml cream
2 gelatine leaves 
Elderberry juice or jelly
Sugar to taste
Lemon juice to taste 
Fresh berries to decorate the dish
Melted chocolate to sprinkle over dish before serving 

Method

Heat up the cream and flavour it with elderberry juice or elderberry jelly; we picked and made our own elderberry jelly (50/50 with sugar) so depending on how much sugar in the jelly you use, just add sugar to desired taste. Add the gelatin (which has been soaked in cold water for 5 minutes) into the elderberry cream.  Strain the cream and pour it into 6 small ramekins. Serve with a selections of summer fruits and sprinkle with hot chocolate.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Ravioli a la Jackie

The famous 18th century writer and gastronome Jean Brillat-Savarin once said "The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity than the discovery of a new star".  I thought of him last night as we prepared and tasted our new ravioli recipe "Ravioli a la Jackie" named after one of our lovely students who helped bring this delicious vegetarian dish into existence! 




Ingredients (serves 4-6 persons)

1 portion pasta

100 gram diced and roasted Jerusalem Artichokes
100 gram chopped Pistachio
100 gram Cashews
100 gram diced roasted potato
100 gram spinach or nettles
250 gram ricotta cheese
fresh sage
salt and pepper to taste


Method

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and flavour it with sage, salt & pepper.


Roll out the pasta as thin as possible, and with a teaspoon make little balls of the nutty paste and place it on top;  egg wash the pasta and then take another roll of pasta and press it around the
balls, cut the ravioli out and with a fork press the two layers together to create a perfect tight seal.



Boil them in light salty water for 3 minutes and serve them with a butter and sage sauce.





Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Latest review


After this embarrassingly long lapse of time, I am writing to you to say thank you so much for the wonderful time we spent with you at Kerrouet House. We were with you from April 30 until May 7th when you generously drove Rod and I to catch our flight out of Rennes. Our time at Kerrouet was the highlight of our travels earlier this year and upon consideration, of our travels over many years.

 

From the moment you met us at Lamballe railway station Poul until our last day when you drove us all the way to Rennes, we felt so warmly welcomed by you. It seemed nothing was too much trouble for you. The experience and fun at the cooking school was superb. We enjoyed every minute of the immersion in French (well, really French with a firm Bretagne influence!) cuisine. Your tuition has given us so much more confidence in our endeavours in our own kitchen. 

 

The home across the road that you arranged for our accommodation was superb. Thank you! We were so comfortable. We would have shared it willingly with the American and Canadian girls but it was pretty special on our own!

 

Thank you also for returning our eBikes to Saint Gilles – we really thought that was above and beyond the job description! We hope you have recommended the bikes to ongoing participants as we thought they were absolutely great and a wonderful (though sadly ineffectual) way of burning off all those cream and butter-laden meals we enjoyed with you. Footnote – Jane is very keen, but Rod is less so, to purchase eBikes for ourselves; watch this space! 

 

We remember many moments but one special one was the evening at Kerrouet after everyone but us had departed…. you both must have been so exhausted after a rigorous week but nonetheless you invited us to share a glass of wine and some cheese with you. We watched Rick Stein’s TV program where he explored the back streets of Palermo – he was very enthusiastic about the local cuisine. We arrived at Palermo about two weeks afterwards. We did not have much free time to explore. While we were there a local Mafioso was assassinated as he pedalled his white bicycle through the streets when a scooter drew up alongside….  we decided we’d take Rick’s word for how good the food was!

 

I realise all your happy participants say when departing  “if you ever come to (insert name of country) please make sure you come to see us” ….   but please do so if you are heading to the Antipodes anytime in the future. We would love to see you! We could make you BBQ sausages, some prawns and a salad and you would not need to cook!!! 

 

Wishing you all the best in the future, and may you continue to make your cooking course participants feel as relaxed and fulfilled as you made us feel. 

 

Warmest wishes and big hugs to you both and to young Scooby/Beau.


JB Australia



Monday, 4 September 2017

Lunch on the patio

Students enjoyed their first lunch on the patio today. This was their first day of cooking course and of course we had electric power failure all morning! We were therefore obliged to return to fairly traditional cooking methods and the bbq came in handy for preparing chicken bones for stock making!


The starter was a pear salad with parma ham followed by salmon fish cakes , green salad and a tatare sauce. The sun came out and so did the rosè. 

Well done everyone and I am pleased to say we have power back again!! 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

A day at the market

Few food markets are as good as the Marché de Lices in central Rennes. The beautiful city of Rennes is in fact the capital of Brittany. In fact the Marché de Lices is the second biggest food market in France outside Paris. Here you have everything you could possibly want in your kitchen and to put it to the test, my friend Ulrik (from Denmark) and I decided to search for items we often have difficulty finding. For Ulrik it was fresh French figs and for me it was oxtail! Ulreck explains that normally he can only find figs from Turkey in Denmark and when I asked an Irish butcher why he could not sell me oxtail he  said because an ox only has one tail! I am sure that Irish butcher had a few more tales to tell but I was not convinced with the oxtail one!

Oxtail for sale

Oxtail roasted then slow cooked with various vegetables that same day:


It was a beautiful Saturday morning and the locals were out in force greeting each other and doing what real communities do - catching up on news and enjoying the opportunity to grab a bargain and fill their baskets with wonderful produce.

A faddish for radish?

The girolles (chanterelle mushrooms) were outstanding and a must have for our kitchen.

The opportunity to taste the product before buying is such a great treat for the chef.

Olives - a few a day is the healthy way!:



Garlic including those smoked ones I love!


Artichokes - the flower of Brittany - I have a lovely recipe for those!

Lobster Mobster! The Amorican ones are much tastier than the American ones!!

Bon Prawn at Dawn by noon all gone!!

Sausages are made from almost everything including ducks!


No shortage of bread and plenty of cake too!

A decree by King Henry IV  of France that every family should eat chicken on Sunday


The cheese producer was so dedicated to his art that he invited us to visit his farm just outside Rennes.  His cheeses were delicious!

It would not be France if there were no snails at the market!


Various butchers with their families proudly prepare and present their wares with such enthusiasm and devotion it is hard not to be drawn into their embrace.


 A little music at lunchtime always helps the aperitif. These troubadours were just fantastic!


Ulrik preparing his fresh figs with pancetta, gorgonzolla and cremé fraiche before going into the oven to be baked and served as our started tonight!


 Ulriks marriage of figario recipe is delightful!!

Baked Figs