Monday, 27 April 2009

Kitchen Theatre

When Mandy Dunn asked us whether we could do a special weekend cooking course for her and her hen friends I initially hesitated. While I have never been out on a hen night , I have enough experiences of stag parties to know they can be very dangerous affairs, particularly so for the groom. Images of wild drinking parties come to mind, with comatosed and eyebrowless naked men left padlocked to trees in the environs of Cambridge in the middle of the night and other past incidents best left unpublished for fear of litigation!! However Poul our chef was keen to try out the kitchen with a safe group of students who would allow him the opportunity to experiment with a few new menus and give some constructive feedback. We therefore said yes! Little did we realise we would be opening a theatre in the kitchen and having one of the best weekends so far in Kerrouet House! So a big thank you Mandy Dunn (or perhaps I should call you Mavis?) for choosing Kerrouet House for your hen weekend and to all the other delightful hens in your clutch (Jenny, Hannah, Clare, Heidi, Lana and Georgina) who were such attentive and proactive students on the course. Thanks also to our wonderful neighbours - Wez who assisted with sound for the saturday night performance; Jeanette who ensured the rosé flowed all night long, Dorte who kept the kitchen operational and undertook ceremonial duties during the graduation ceremony; Pascal who played wonderful notes of traditional Breton music on his bombard on Sunday evening (and brought unusual samples of local wildlife including a green frog (sorry about that Lana!), a white salamander and a meat eating plant or was it a man eating fly Hannah?! However the star of the weekend was the erudite John Keogh from Melbourne who performed his show "Victoria Ponders Mavis" here on our kitchen stage! The unexpected performance was one of the most enjoyable drag shows ever seen (and we have seen a few in our time!). In one fowl swoop (well remember it was a hen gathering!) poor Mavis was cooped!! Never before did so much laughters fill our rafters! We wait for your next performance Mr Keogh!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Roast Pork with Pesto and vegetables

Roast Pork with Pesto & Vegetables.

Most people are surprised when they are served roast pork with pesto at Kerrouet House. Believe me it is simply wonderful and we have lots of converts!

serves 10


2 kg of pork filet

10 medium potatoes unpeeled cut into boats

5 onions cut into small boats

18 prunes

18 dried apricots

1-2  oranges diced small

100g walnuts

bunch of thyme

4 cooking apples cut into small boats

1 dl olive oil

salt & pepper

mug of white wine


Switch oven to 250 degrees. 

Mix all ingredients well in an oven proof dish.  Season the dish with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for up to 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 180 degrees and leave for 50 minutes.

Remove the roast from oven dish and place the mixed ingredients on hot plates. Garnish with the roast filet on top. 

Can be served with a red or green pesto sauce or simply as it is above.

Salmon Fishcakes with apple, curry and caper dressing

For summer evenings when you have lots of garden parties this is a great dish for your guests. Home made salmon fishcakes are absolutely wonderful and nothing like those available in most restaurants!

Salmon fishcakes with an apple,curry and caper dressing

serves 10

1.5 kg. fresh salmon

2-3 whole eggs

1 clove of garlic

1/2 L of cream

1 Charlotte onion


lemon juice

salt and pepper


Clean the salmon filet and cut it into dices, and put it in a food processor blend the fish, add a bit of salt and the eggs one at the time, add the chopped onion, garlic and chives.  Slowly add the cream, salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Fry the diced salmon in a pan in butter, serve them on a salad and a dressing to taste.


1/2- 0.8 L. Creme fraice,  or cream

 lemon juice

1 apple



Charlotte onion

salt, pepper


Chop up capers, apples, cornichons and onion into small dices. Mix with the 

cream, flavour with salt,pepper and lemon juice. Serve it around the salad with the fish cakes

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Mussels in Saffron with Linguini

Brittany is world famous for the quality of the seafood and so we are cooking mussels for lunch today!

Mussels in saffron with linguini

serves 10


4 kg of fresh mussels

3 tbsp of oilive oil

bottle of dry white wine

4 sharlot onions

1 leek

5 cloves garlic

2 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

20 black pepper corns

sprinkle of saffron

1.5 l of fresh cream

bunch of chives

juice of 1 lemon

Rinse the mussels in cold water removing all beards and algie. Discard any lifeless mussels which refuse to close. Place in a cold place



Chop up fine the onions, leeks and garlic.

In a large pot, heat olive oil and add all ingredients except wine and chives. Mix well and don't overheat. Add white wine and boil for 5 minutes or when the mussels have opened. Discard any which have not opened.

Remove the mussel shells from the stock and then remove mussels from their shells. Discard shells. Set aside. Reduce the stock, add the saffron and cream, bit of lemon juice (if necessary) and salt & pepper to taste.

Reintroduce the shellless mussels to the stock and keep warm.

Cook the linguini following the instructions on the packet.

Serve in a deep bowl the linguini and top up with the mussel soup and chives.

Sauce Beurre Blanc

Sauce Beurre Blanc

If your cooking any decent fish or vegetable dish you really need to know your beurre from your beer and this sauce is a sound foundation for a whole host of delightful dishes so it is well worth getting to know the principles involved. 

serves 6-10


6 tbsp of whitewine vinaigre

10 crushed black pebercorns

1 large chopped charlotte onion

1.5 dl dry white wine

1 dl cream or creme fraiche

250g unsalted butter

salt & pepper


Boil up in a pan, the vinaigre, peppercorns and white wine and reduce to half. Add the cream and bring to the boil. Add the butter slowly and simmer (do not boil) slowly. Flavour with salt & pepper. Strain the sauce and serve when convenient.

Sauce Beurre Blanc is a basic sauce for a lot of vegetable and fish dishes. You can add chopped chives, parsley, garlic, tarragon, basil. In fact you are only limited by your imagination!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Asparagus with orange butter and poached egg

Asparagus is in season here just now.  While it is good enough to eat on its own, do try asparagus with orange butter and a poached egg for a complete culinary sensation. You will need (for 4 people) :

20 green asparagus stems
juice of 1 orange
strips of zest, blanched in water
100g unsalted butter diced
salt and pepper
6 fresh eggs
2 l water
1 dl of white vinaigrette


Peel the asparagus and gently boil using open pan in salted water for 2 - 4 minutes. Remove from water and wrap in cloth to keep warm. Reduce orange juice until caramelizing. Add some water drops and reduce again then whisk in cold butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and the orange zest. 
Poach the eggs in an egg pan of boiling water for three minutes and once soft remove and cool under cold water. 

Serve asparagus with the orange butter sauce, poached eggs and a bouquet of chervil.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Fig Galette with camembert cheese

Fig Galette, Serves 4

  • 200g all-butter puff pastry,
  • 6 fresh figs
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 2tsp balsamic vingar
  • 100g Camembert cheese, cut into eight slices
  • Fresh chives or basil leaves, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

  1. Roll out the pastry to 2mm thick and cut out 4 discs using a 10cm wide pastry cutter. Prick well with a fork and place on a baking sheet of parchment paper. Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper and weigh down with a second baking tray. Bake for 12 minutes, until crisp and golden.
  2. To make the fig jam, chop 3 of the figs into small pieces and place in a saucepan with the sugar and balsamic vinegar. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, then stop stirring and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. The jam will thicken slightly once it is removed from the heat and as it cools.
  3. To assemble the galette, slice each of the remaining figs into 4-6 wedges. Smear a spoonful of jam over each galette and lay 2 slices of camembert in the centre, followed by some fig wedges. To serve, warm in the oven until the cheese just starts to melt. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Pot-au-feu -with Pork

Pot-au-feu or pot on the fire is a typical world dish regardless of whether you are in Europe or Africa or Asia. Each country naturally has its own local cuisine and in Brittany famous for its pork as well as its seafood, you are more likely to see a pot-au-feu with ham or bacon or prosciutto (or even sausages called anduille) inside than anything else. In Ireland we have Irish Stew which was traditionally just potatoes and onions and a tiny bit of lamb if you were lucky enough to afford any. Mixing meats and vegetables in the past was a popular way to cook because you could combine lots of local ingredients into the one pot, it was easy to cook, serve and keep warm all day. One of the other great advantages was that you got two courses from the pot, the first - a soup if strained and the second the main course! Nothing was ever wasted! Today we are not so limited in our cooking modes but pot au feu is still a very popular dish. This is because of its versatility. One can add all sorts of vegetables to beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, pigeon, fish or seafoods. The options are only limited by resources and imagination! Here we will stick with pork because it is simply delicious and so easily available in Brittany. Also it's a dish where you can add both pommes and pommes de terre together with wonderful results! I normally ensure it is prepared (slowly) before going out on a five hour walk around the wonderful hills of the Mene!! I suggest you invite all your family and friends along for this dish serves up to 10 hungry guests

  • 45 g butter or oil
  • 1.1 kg boneless pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3-1/4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 185 g onion, chopped
  • 1 lt chicken broth
  • 5 g salt (gurande) sea salt
  • 5 g black pepper corns
  • 0.5 g rosemary, crushed
  • 0.3 g rubbed sage
  • 1 small chili
  • 1-2/3 bay leaf
  • 3-1/4 cooking apples, cored and cubed
  • 3-1/4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 425 g carrots, peeled and diced
  • 425 g parsnips, peeled and diced.

  1. Melt the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Stir in the garlic, black peppercorns, chili and onion, and continue to cook until the onion has softened, and the pork is firm, and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the pork and onions into a large saucepan. Pour in the chicken broth, and season with sea salt, rosemary, sage, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the apples, potatoes,parsnips and carrots. Return to a simmer, then cook, uncovered until the parsnips and apples are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve with traditional home made local St Goueno cider!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Turbot Soup with Langoustine

Brittany is famous for many reasons. Unspoilt medieval villages, empty roads, beautiful countryside, celtic atmosphere, great food, friendly people and an extraordinary coastline. Any one of these reasons would be enough to explain why we fell in love with Bretagne but when you include gastronomy, Brittany seafood is world famous. Why else would oysters from Concale be found in the world famous Four Seasons Restaurant in Singapore? You don't have to go very far in Brittany to find exceptional seafood -one of the best seafood markets in the world can be found in Rennes any saturday morning - which is why today I have tubot soup with langoustines on the menu !

Ingredients (to serve 4)

360g turbot fillets

Turbot bones

40 Langoustines

12g of leeks

12g of onion

12g of celery

12g of carrot

12g of courgette

12g of mushrooms

1 small chili

1 sprig thyne

2 sprigs of chive

1 bay leaf

5 peppercorns

500ml of dry white wine

1 tpsp of olive oil


Wash the langoustines, then simmer in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove shells and intestinal threads. Place the langoustine shells, fishbones, carrots, onion, leeeks, chili, peppercorns, bayleaf, thyne into a large sauspan and fry gently in olive oil for 1 minute.

Add the white wine, cook until evaporated, then cover with water and simmer for 20 minutes.

Strain the fish stock adding salt to taste as necessary. Keep the fumet hot.

Cut the courgette, carrot, chili and mushrooms (julienne style) and place into a sauspan with the fish sauce. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat and keep warm.

Cut the turbot into small pieces, season with sea salt and saute in a dry non stick pan for around 1-2 minutes. Arrange the langoustines in soup plates, add the turbot fillets and cover with the vegetables. Pour over the hot fumet, garnish with chopped fresh chives and serve immediately with home made bread rolls. A winner every time!!