Thursday, 30 December 2010

New Year's Eve Dinner Menu

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with great food and wine amongst family and friends. We celebrated on the night of the 24th with a classic Danish menu starting with gravlax, a home cured salmon from the medieval tradition of burying the salmon in dillweed under the sand for 7 tides to cross!;the main course included roast duck with caramel potatoes and red cabbage. The dessert was a "duvet cooked" rice in vanilla & cream! Christmas Day dinner was simply guail & grapes in a morel & mushroom port sauce simply delicious.

We are now busy preparing dinner for tomorrow night and the menu is as follows:


Plater of Cancale Oysters and Prawns
Warm smoked salmon with carrot & horseradish salad
Scallops in puff pastry with a curry Sauternes sauce

Granitee of mulled wine

Main Course

Mushroom stuffed chicken with salsify
Selection of cheeses

Panna cotta on an bed of orange salad

I have planned to include a few surprises in between these dishes and one will be a brussel sprout dish as I have just collected my first crop from the garden and intend to use them! I found a nice recipe from an old cook book which once belonged to the Danish Prime Minister's chef back in 1932. It is for a "rose cabbage soup" and is nicely typed up on government headed paper so that will be interesting and bound to go down a storm when it is served to party revelers at around 0200 hours on New year's day! Have a great party everyone.

Friday, 24 December 2010

An old Christmas Punch from Denmark

Julianes Gløgg
Here is an ancient recipe I was given by an old Lady from Ebeltoft, Denmark when I had my restaurant. It is from 1934 and is a Christmas favourite of ours:

Gløgg means " will warm you up" and believe me this will.

I always make a double portion as it will keep, but you will be surprise to see how quickly it goes!
and here it is.

Julianes Gløgg = "Heat me up at Christmas"

4 Bottles of full bodied red-wine
2 Bottles of Port
1 Bottle of Cognac
1 Bottle of Vodka

4 Cinnamon sticks
40 whole cloves
400 gram of sugar
1/2 a liter of water

200 gram of raisins marinated in port
100 gram of almonds flakes

Slowly boil water , sugar, cloves and cinnamon sticks for 10 minutes.
Add it to all the wine and alcohol and let it rest for a day.

Only heat up what you will need and DON'T let it boil

Serve it in a pre-heated glass with some raisins and almonds, put a spoon in the glass as you add the Gløgg and serve it right away.

One glass is lovely, -two is dangerous and don't drive after one glass

A very Merry Christmas to you all from Niall & Poul.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Paradise Apple Jelly

Now is the time to collect those paradise apples and we are so lucky this year to have an abundance in our garden. They are so ripe that they are already beginning to fall to the ground so I am glad to have a rain free sunny day to harvest.What beautiful colours of golden reds and yellows!


3.5 Kg apples (weight for other ingredients)

3.5 Kg of confiture sugar (same weight as apples)


Wash and trim the apples. Fortunately there is no need to peel or core these. Place in a large pan with the sugar and bring slowly to the boil. Stew for 20 minutes until soft. Strain through a jelly-bag removing any scum. Bring to the boil and boil until a little sets when tested. Store in glass jars in a cool larder. Apple jelly is a wonderful addition with venison.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Dinner Tonight

Rain rain rain - what terrible weather we have had with storms and gales and now the poor trees are naked having lost their beautiful golden leaves. Well now it is time to light the log fire and dine under candlelight. We always do this but in autumn when the days are short and the weather inclement, there is an extra dimension to life when you close the shutters, pull the curtains, light the fire and find a good book and a nice bottle of red! On the gastronomic agenda tonight we have planned a gourmand pea soup which is surprisingly amazing, to be followed by roast pork with a musterd sauce and peppers. A traditional dessert of home made apple pie with almonds and poppy seed ice cream. The recipe will follow but now I better get cooking.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Salmon & Watercress

The salmon has been revered for centuries by the Celts for its intrinsic ability to bring knowledge to the consumer! There is certainly no longer any doubt that fish oils and specifically the omega-3 fatty acids contained therein are a valuable food source for brain function as well as general wellbeing. We also know that watercress is a wonder salad gram for gram containing more iron than spinach, more vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than milk. It is brimming with Vitamin A (converted from beta carotene) with 80g providing a whopping 42% of the recommended daily allowance. Its curative properties have been revered down the centuries; Hippocrates born in 460BC, the father of medicine, is said to have located his first hospital close to a spring to ensure fresh watercress to help treat his patients, Greek soldiers were given it as a tonic before going into battle and the 16th Century herbalist Culpepper claimed it could cleanse the blood. Educated pagans, filidhs and druids thought very highly of watercress as a plant which increases sexual energy, enhances divination and boosts fertility! Need I say anymore about the health benefits of this recipe!

You will need for 4 servings
1 kg salmon (middle cut)
50g Clarified butter
250ml of fish stock
300g watercress (stalks removed)
250ml double cream
1tsp chlorophyll (optional)
salt & black pepper


Debone the salmon (from the back) and remove the skin. Cut the flesh into 4 good escalopes of about 200g each. Set aside on paper and salt lightly.

Using a sauté pan, heat the clarified butter over a medium heat. Introduce the salmon escalopes and cook for 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm. Pour off the excess fat from the pan and deglaze with the fish stock. As soon as the stock bubbles, introduce the watercress and freshly grounded black pepper (I use madagascar pepper) and simmer for two minutes then add the cream, lower the heat cover and leave for 5 minutes. Add the chlorophyll if you have it. Pour the sauce onto a plate and lay the escalope on top. Steamed potatoes are a good accompaniment with this. Serve immediately with a nice cold glass of dry white wine from the Loire Valley - say a Sancerre or Pouilly.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Snails in garlic butter, black pepper & chives

Are you really into French Dining? Well why not test yourself and your best friends with a gourmet snail in garlic butter dish? It is great as a starter and will certainly get your diners talking!

You will need:

100 snails (if you don't know how to collect and clean your own organic supply just ask - otherwise source a commercial supplier for Helix Aspersa.

Put the snails in a sieve and dunk them in boiling water for a few seconds to kill them. Take the snails from the shells with a small fork, wash them off and then cook.
To cook about a 100 you need a pint of water, ¾ pint of cider, a large carrot and an onion cut into pieces. Make sure the snails are covered in liquid.
Bring to the boil and simmer until tender for about an hour – it may take a little longer.Rinse in hot water to clean off the bits of vegetables. Dry on paper and set aside.

For the Le Poulbot sauce preparation you will need:

450g salted butter (at room temperature)
6 small shallots
3 garlic cloves
20g fresh chives finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme finely chopped
20g fresh parsley finely chopped
20 hazelnuts
600ml double cream
1 tbls green chartreuse
10g freshly grounded Black Pepper.
Good pinch of chervil,dill, fennel seed, basil and sage.

Peel wash and finely chop the shallots and garlic keeping them separate. In a sauté pan set over a low heat sweat the shallots in half the butter. Add all the herbs except the chives and keep some parsley for sprinkling at the end. Toast the hazlenuts under a hot grill for a few minutes until golden brown. Place the nuts into a cloth and rub together to remove the skins. Finally chop the nuts. Add the chopped nuts to the pan. Pour in the Chartreuse and ignite. Stir in the cream, black pepper, remaining butter and garlic and simmer for five minutes. Add the chives season to taste and serve in snail dishes with a sprinkling of the parsley over each dish. Serve with a nice dry white chablis or a muscadet and freshly baked parsley bread rolls.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Parsnip Fritters with chili and chives

There was a time when I deemed parsnip far too important to use as a vegetable because I found they are a fantastic base product for making home made champagne! That is another story! When I was younger my folks would make fritters in order to guarantee that we as children would eat up our vegetables! Fritters are easy to make and lend themselves to a wide variety of interesting combinations. Here is a basic recipe to get you going:

You will need for 4

6 parsnips washed and peeled.
salt and pepper to taste
2 Chili finely chopped
bunch of fresh chives (chopped)


Dice the parsnips and place in boiling water for 25 minutes until soft. When soft, strain off the water and add salt butter and a little milk and pepper. Mash up the parsnip in the pan until fluffy adding the chili and chives. Shape up into fritters and roll in plain flour. Sauté in the pan until golden brown and serve immediately

Friday, 29 October 2010

Peaches in Champagne

I am always on the look-out for an eye catching dessert which is not only delicious but has real feel good factor too and this has to be one of my favourites. It is surprisingly easy to make yet so rare to see it served these days. That is why it is great for that very special private dinner party!

You will need for 4 servings:

4 ripe white peaches
500ml dry champagne
350ml of sorbet syrup
1 small vanilla pod
250g strawberries
150g castor sugar
250ml double cream
juice of half lemon
4 fresh mint leaves


Plunge the peaches into boiling water for 30 seconds then into cold water and when cool, peel. Place the peeled peaches into a shallow pan and add the champagne,syrup and vanilla. On a low heat bring gently to the boil and poach at 85 degrees for around 5/6 minutes or when soft. Remove from heat and keep the peaches in a cool place. The peaching liquid should be chilled in the refrigerator.

Rub the strawberries through a fine sive over a bowl and add the sugar to the pulp. Whip the cream until the whisk leaves a trail when lifted then stir in the strawberry pulp and the lemon juice.

Serve the peaches in glass dishes or small bowls. Pour the strawberry mousse over the bottom of the dishes and place a cold (not chilled) peach on top. Place the mint leaf on top of the peach and serve the champagne separately in a sauceboat.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Noisettes of venison with cramberries

Brittany is fortunate in having plenty of wild deer and come October all the local farmers are out and about with their guns! Make sure you are visible if your out in the woods collecting mushrooms! If you are not a member of the hunting club then join up immediately or make friends with someone who is! Failing that source a good gamekeeper or licensed butcher.

You will need for 6 persons:

1 saddle of roe deer
200g cranberries
1 ts thyme flowers
3 ts crushed black peppercorns
100ml olive oil
100ml port
30g castor sugar
half an orange
half a lemon
2 medium carrots
1 large onion
1 stick celery
2 garlic cloves
50g flour
50ml cognac
150ml red wine vinegar
1L red wine (Gamay-style)
1L veal stock
1 sprig of thyme
100g foie gras (preferably raw)
50g butter

First cut out the 2 fillets from the bone; trim off the skin,sinews and nerves and keep to one side. Remove the 2 fillet mignons from underneath the saddle. Cut the large fillets into 12 or 18 noisettes and place in a shallow dish with the 2 fillets mignions. Sprinkle over with the thyme flowers, peppercorns and olive oil and leave in a cool place for 3 hours.

Put the port, sugar, and the orange and lemon zests into a pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, add the cramberries and let it bubble for 30 seconds. Keep at room temperature

For the pepper sauce first preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Break up the bones from the saddle and place into a roasting pan with the venison trimmings. Brown the bones on all sides in the hot oven. Slice the carrot and onions into rings and finely chop the celery. Add the vegetables to the roasting pan along with the unpeeled garlic clove. After a few minutes, sprinkle with flour and roast for a further 10 minutes. Remove the contents from the pan into a large saucepan.

Deglaze the roasting pan with the cognac and vinegar. Set it over a high heat, pour in the wine and ignite. Simmer for 5 minutes then pour the liquid over the bones in the saucepan. Add the veal stock, the remaining crushed peppercorns and the thyme and simmer gently for two and a half hours skimming as necessary.

Pass the sauce contents through a conical sieve pressing the mixture with the back of a spoon to ensure all the wonderful juices are fully extracted. Return the sauce to a pan and keep warm.

Place a sauté over a high heat and without adding any fat, brown the venison noisettes and the filet mignonsfor 1 minute on each side. Keep them pink in the middle and warm.

Drain off the fat from the pan, deglaze with the juice from the cramberries, then add the pepper sauce. Rub the foie gras through a fine sieve and add to the sauce. Slowly add in the butter ensuring mixture does not boil. Add the cranberries and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, lay the 2 filet mignions in the centre of a shallow dish and arrange the noisettes around the sides. Pour over the boiling hot sauce and serve immediately.

Where do our students stay when cooking with us?

Student Lodge (1) Garden and patio

Student Lodge (1) Lounge

Student Lodge (1) Balcony level 1 (4 bed)

Student Lodge (1) External from road

Student Gite (2) 2 Bed Courtyard View

Student Gite (3) 4 bed with loads of space

There are a variety of wonderful places to stay around Kerrouet and so it very much depends upon the students themselves. We are often asked why don't we put up students within the school itself but the answer to that is simply to give the students a break when they are not cooking! Believe me they need it as do our chefs too!

We use up to four different houses all local to the village. The nearest is Lodge 1 which has 4 bedrooms, a large lounge and kitchen where students can relax and a lovely garden to sunbathe in!

Gite 2 has 2 bedrooms and is a complete unit with a beautiful courtyard.

Gite 3 is up the road a few minutes away and sleeps 4 easily with lots of space. There are other spaces available too so no one need worry on the accommodation front.

It is good to have a place to relax when not cooking although we allow students to utilise the rest rooom at Kerrouet House so that they may avail of wifi facilities. There are also facilities for washing clothes as well. Students make their own breakfasts but will have coffee/tea on arrival each day of the course at 10am and there is plenty of food during lunch and dinner so don't eat too much first thing in the morning! Lunch usually ends at around 2.30pm and dinner preparation recommences at around 5.30pm and students remain at Kerrouet House until after dinner around 10.30pm. From what our students say, we don't need to change the routine as it works for them very well. We look forward to welcoming you to Kerrouet House in the not too distant future!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Places to visit

While Kerrouet itself is a tiny hamlet just outside the villages of St Gilles du Mené and St Goueno, we are located directly in the gently rolling countryside of "The Mené"; an area famous throughout Brittany for its unspoilt scenery - a walking and cycling paradise. Here you have a unique time warp where village life goes on much as it did in the middle ages. Villagers attend their fields, their gardens and their animals and little has changed on the surface at least. The roads are quiet and the alluring sounds of wildlife are apparent. Bats, owls and woodpeckers compete for attention and give one an intense feeling of closeness with nature. The gentle sound of church bells can be heard ringing for miles across green fields and hedgerows. A far cry from the traffic and pollution I remember on Gloucester Rd Kensington (London) where I used to live!

So for students who just prefer to go for a walk or a cycle in between cooking, this is a wonderful spot to do so. To unwind. To walk safely. To meet friendly neighbours. Earlier this year, some of our German students were very surprised when an old man they met on the road invited them into his home. He was over 80 years old and lived alone. They were offered home made cider and given a tour of the garden. They came away amazed that people could be so hospitable to complete strangers.

If you wish to explore there are lots of extiting places to visit around us. You could spend a few hours in Dinan or Josselin or St Malo or Lamballe. Here are a few photos to get you in the mood. There is also my favourite place St Cado and of course Vannes, Rennes and Nantes. They all have their unique beauty and charm. You could easily spend all summer long exploring but please remember that cooking starts again at what time was it??!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Pheasant in white wine

This is a lovely dish not only because it is simply delicious but also it is so suprisingly easy to prepare. All the prep work is done in advance so you can be free with your dinner guests the moment they arrive!

You will need

1 pheasant oven ready
140g tomato purée
quarter litre white wine
0.45kg charlotte onions
0.25kg of parsnips
0.45kg of carrots
3 x Sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 x Thyme
Salt & Pepper
1 clove garlic (cut up small)


Slice all the vegetables and place in a large casserole dish. Put in the pheasant. Mix together the tomato puree, wine, herbs, garlic salt and pepper.Pour over the pheasant and the vegetables. Cook in a slow oven at 175 degrees, turning and basting the pheasant for 2.30 to 3 hours until tender. Serve direct from the casserole dish to the table.

What our students say about us

Following every cooking course we ask our students how they found our school. Here is a selection of their comments for your information.

"I think the course was excellent you and Poul are fantastic hosts. And the way Poul apparently effortlessly throws together some of the best food I have ever tasted was truly inspiring! The kitchen was pretty much exactly what you would imagine a French kitchen to be and all in with the long languid lunches and dinners. It was exactly the French cooking experience we were hoping for. Please don’t change a thing!!"
Hugh Patience - October 2010

"I thought the selection of recipes was excellent, the main thing for me was, there was a good balance of simple type of recipes which you could easily reproduce on a Saturday afternoon at home and more complicated showing-off type recipes which went with a certain feeling of accomplishment! I thought mixing in a few kitchen skills (de-boning the chicken leg, filleting the skate wing, peeling the artichoke) was a real learning experience for me, and I daresay for others that have attended and will attend the course. Also I thought your flexibility as regards to the recipes was also great, those little parmesan crisps were wonderful and when I had mentioned to Poul that I had made chocolate fondant before, he then went on to change the recipe. Thought these little details (and the hosts!) really made this course stand out from others that I have attended". Kwan Phung - October 2010

"Alex Jones ( presenter BBC The One Show) came away saying how amazing the experience was – praise indeed from a (TV Film) team that are constantly travelling. If only every location was as easy and as nice as you were, we would be very lucky" Emma Davis Flic TV

"I couldn’t believe how warm, welcoming and entertaining Niall and Poul were. I immediately felt at home." Hannah Woolhouse

"The course was perfect for us (good food and wine lovers). We wanted a relaxed and fun environment to learn new things about cuisine." Mandy Dunn

"It was absolutely perfect for what we wanted and suited all our requirements." Heidi Houlihan

"Extremely welcoming, hospitable, approachable and friendly." Lana Hanks-Rossiter

"I feel much more confident to go home and cook these dishes and try new things. I can also adapt the recipes for my children." Georgina Gratten

"I made food that I didn’t know I could make "
Clare McCracken

"I cannot thank you enough for such a fantastic
week. Great food, great learning and great company. Thank you, thank you". Heidi Shenk

"It was an absolute pleasure spending a week at Kerrouet House, thanks for having me, and sharing your stories, recipes, and cooking tips. I will definitely keep in touch and I hope to see you guys again in the not too distant future"!! Jenny Wong

"Being now back in Berlin for almost a week,I can aleady say that I miss Kerrouet! Thank you for a wonderful week, the good instruction, interesting conversation and accommodation!I had a wonderful time, and already I have friends wanting to sign up"! Ellen Brandle

"We had such a lovely time with you at the cookery school in Kerrouet. We couldn't fault it in any way really! Both John and I have been delighting in retelling stories of our holiday- the yummy food, great company, lot of great conversation and laughter! I learned lots and John was so happy cycling by day and eating "the best food he has ever eaten for a full week in a row" with lovely company".
Polly Fitzpatrick

"The best food I have ever tasted"! Joyce Boyle

Friday, 15 October 2010

Rôti de marrons - Roast chestnuts

We all love our chestnuts and our log fires and so when autumn arrives what better activity than to get the neighbours in over a few bottles of cabernet sauvignon and sit around the fire discussing the harvest as you roast the chestnuts in the fireplace.

You will need around a bucket of chestnuts for 8 people

Cut a half-inch gash on flat sides and put in an chestnut pan, allowing one-half teaspoon butter to each cup chestnuts. Shake over fire until butter is melted. Put in the hot ash and let stand five minutes. Remove from fire, and with a small knife take off shells which can be discarded back on the fire!

"At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept and the fire made up. The compound in the jug being tasted, and considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table, and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire".

Charles Dickens — A Christmas Carol

Apple Crunchie Breakfast

Breakfasts can be difficult. We just don't have time to think or prepare the early morning dish and it is a sad fact that most of us including children end up skipping it completely. However we all need sustenance and nourishment following the abstemious rigours of the night. Most of us commuters rely on that coffee purchased in the high street and taken direct to the office. If we are lucky we might also enjoy a muffin of some sort and there are fortunately an increasing variety of tempting snacks available now in our high street outlets. I do enjoy the elderberry muffins at starbucks and where would we be without our espressos, macchiatos,lattes,cappuccinos,caffè mochas and americanos? But if we are trying to eat healthy, take control of what we are consuming and saving money we simply best get organised. One way to do so is to prepare apple crunchie breakfasts for the week ahead and to help yourself to a quick and tasty bite of this delicious dish with your early morning tea or coffee or orange juice.

You will need
0.45kg cooking apples
lemon juice (1 lemon)
56g butter
3 table spoons of honey
2 cups of porridge oats
salt to taste (optional)


Peel and cut up the apples and place them in a pie dish. Sprinkle over the top with the lemon juice. Mix the butter with the honey and oats to make a firm mix. Spread over the apples and bake at 160 degrees (a moderate heat) for 20 minutes. Serve hot with a dallop of creme fraiche or plain yoghurt. Alternatively allow to cool and place upon a chopping board, cut up into slices and use portions as required for a nourishning and tasty meal. The great think about this dish is that the oats are a slow burner and will keep you going all morning!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Autumn Cooking Course 2010

It has been raining since October 1st and so we have started our autumn cooking courses! Students start today and the week of cooking is as follows!


We start at 10am with introductions, course program, safety issues (use of knives etc). We discuss each daily menu before we commence preparation and actual cooking.

Chicken stock making for the week
Starter: Small tomato pizza
Main: Salmon fish cakes on a garden salad with homemade sauce remoulade
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses

Starter: Artichoke in a citrus soup
Main: Langoustine stuffed chicken leg with a basil sauce
Crème fraiche potatoes and rosemary roasted carrots
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Dessert: Panna Cotta with fresh fruits

Starter: Spiced Pumpkin soup
Main: Turkey breast marinated in soya, ginger and chili
served on wok fried vegetable
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses

Starter: Grilled scallops with endive soup and chives
Main: Roast Duck breast with an apple sauce , orange mash potatoes
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Dessert Lemon Cake with creme fraiche dressing


Starter: Salad with Gizzard and orange
Main: Warm smoked fish on a salad with a chive dressing
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses

Starter: Grilled Langoustines with garlic butter & celery remoulade
Main: “Frikadeller” Danish styled meat balls with potato salad and cucumber salad
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Dessert: Apple gratin with cinnamon ice cream

Visit to local food market where we will eat as well

Starter: Mushroom risotto
Main: Pan fried skate wing with lemon, capers, parsley & new potatoes
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Dessert: Poached pear in vanilla with a sabayon sauce and raspberries


Starter: Mussel soup with saffron
Main: Caesar Salad
Cheese: Selection of French cheese

Starter: Lobster bisque
Main: Slow roasted leg of lamb with oven baked vegetables
Cheese: Camembert baked in puff pastry with mustard and dill
Dessert: Tiamisu

Friday, 1 October 2010

Crab Apple, Gin and Rosemary Jelly

Autumn has arrived and the garden is awash with windfall apples. It is time to prepare for those warming winter dishes. Chutneys and jellies reign supreme in a good kitchen larder and there are so many jellies one can prepare with apple. I tried my first classic apple jelly (made with crab apples) when I was 11 years old - in an ancient castle garden (Cabra Castle in Ireland) and the experience has always remained with me. There are numerous delightful combinations including apple & chilly,apple & ginger, apple & clove, apple & cranberry, apple & elderberry, apple & geranium, apple & mint, apple & rosehip but today I will deal with apple & rosemary with a hint of gin which is one of my favourites.

You will need:

2.4 kg crab apples
2.6 Litres water
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 organic lemons (unwaxed)
Sugar (see value below)

Wash and quarter the complete apples (do not peel or core) and place them in a large sauscepan with the water, rosemary and lemon peel. Cook for 30 minutes to reduce to pulp , allow to cool and then place in a jelly bag overnight to strain off the juice. Measure the juice into a preserving pan and allow 450g sugar to each 600ml of juice. Warm the sugar in a low oven before adding to juice. Squeeze strain and add the lemon juice to the pan; bring to the boil adding the warm sugar. Stir slowly until the sugar is disolved. Increase the heat for around 8 minutes, skim and test for setting. When ready pot up immediately in sterilised gin glazed glass jars adding a tiny sprig of rosemary in each pot.

Thursday, 30 September 2010


You have all heard of the galette but I want to tell you about the calette! It is exactly the same as a galette but with one striking healthy difference. There is no processed meats in a calette. Instead of meat, you place a nice healthy cabbage leaf which has been steamed for one minute. It helps to place the cabbage leaf inside on the base of the pancake and then add other ingredients as desired including cheese, tomato, thyme, egg, salt and pepper to taste. Three minutes later you have your calette.

You will need for the mix

0.5 kg of buckwheat flour (sarrasin)
1 litre water
tspoon salt

Mix all the ingredients very slowly in a bowl for 30 minutes using your hands to feel the grain of the flour change slowly and become almost silky. Once ready you can keep it in the fridge for up to four days. Using a large spoon, place each pancake mix on a hot pan which has been greased with non flavoured pork or goose fat or non salted butter if easier to find. Place the calette on the pan and once formed, add the egg (break and spread the egg)cabbage leaf, cheese, tomato and herbs as desired. Fold the calette into an envelope and serve immediately.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Apple Chutney

With food costs on the rise there is even more reason to get out to the hedgerows and forage! The windfall season is here and apples and blackberies are there for the picking! Today I will let you in on a wonderful recipe for apple chutney. This recipe has been in my family since I was kneehigh!

You will need:

1.8 kgs apples
.91 kgs onions
.50 kgs sugar
.50 kgs sultanas or dates
sprinkle of salt & cayenne pepper to taste
half litre of apple vinegar


Wash, core and chop the apples, add the onions, sugar and sultanas (chopped fine) to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with vinegar and simmer gently for 2 hours stirring frequently. Place into sterilised jars, cover tightly and store in a cool,dark place.

Apple chutney is delightful with all sorts of foods but I love it with cheese dishes miscellaneous salads and even with a spicy curry!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Cooking Weekend

A weekend of cooking and fun was planned and that certainly was delivered. The cooking element included mussel soup with saffron, artichoke in citrus sauce, fish cakes with remoulade sauce, langoustine stuffed chicken leg with mushroom sauce, apple gratin with homemade poppyseed ice cream, caesar salad, frikadeller meat balls, warm smoked fish with horseradish cream, veal fillet with tarragon sauce and creme fraiche potatoes and rosemary roasted vegetables and an enormous dish of tiamisu which was all consumed in three rounds!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Rose Hip Posset - A new dessert from Kerrouet House

Well not surprising given all the talk about the abundance of rose hips recently and all the harvesting I have been doing of late! I have developed a new recipe using rose hips , cream and sugar and that's it (oh and the rose petal for garnish which is optional). This was only made for the first time yesterday and I think it will be a real hit with our students. It is very powerful being tart with a great bite and zesty appeal which can be sweetened to taste although I prefer it fairly plain with just a little sugar.

You will need
* 2 kg fresh rose hips (cleaned with seeds removed)
* 200 g sugar
* 500 ml fresh cream
* 1 rose hip flower (optional)
* 100 ml of water


Place the deseeded clean rosehips in a pan and boil gently in water for 30 minutes to reduce to syrup mix.
In another pan, place the cream and sugar together and slowly bring to the boil mixing constantly.
Add the rose hip syrup to the cream and sugar and boil again for 2 minutes stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Pour the rose hip posset into 6 serving bowls and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
Place the bowls in the refrigerator to set for at least 5 hours before serving. Decorate with wild rose hip petal if desired.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Rose Petal Jelly

With all the rose hip around just waiting to be picked I simply had to add another recipe for you. This jelly is easy to make, absolutely delicious and can be utilised in numerous ways. I like it served with fresh scones!
You will need:

1 cup fresh, fragrant,rose petals
Juice of one lemon
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 package powdered pectin
1 1/2 cups water

Rose petals are best gathered in the morning. Cut off the white base on each clump of petals as it adds bitterness. Put petals, lemon juice, and 3/4 cup water in blender and blend until smooth. Gradually add sugar. Put mixture in sauce pan and stir in pectin, 3/4 cup water and boil the mixture hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Put it all back in the cleaned blender and stir until smooth. Pour into hot, sterile jars leaving 1/4- inch head space. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath, or freeze.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Panna Cotta with fresh summer berries

This dish is one of the most popular of all our recipes and students just keep on asking for it year on year! Serves 6 - 8

You will need:
1/2 Litre of fresh cream
1 Vanilla pod split lengthways, seeds scraped out
50 gram of sugar
2 gelatine leaves
Little bit of lemon zest
Autumn fruit sauce or whatever is in season
150 grams strawberries chopped
150 gram black and white grapes chopped
150 gram dark chocolate
Tbsp of honey -to taste
Small sprig of fresh mint
Grand Marnier or Framboise liqueur to taste


Mix all the ingredients in a small pan and heat up to simmer
Soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water until soft.
Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves,
then add to the pan and take off the heat.
Stir until the gelatine has dissolved.
Divide the mixture among 6 -8 small ramekins and leave to cool.
Place into the fridge for at least 2 hour, until set.
Autumn fruit sauce
Mix the chopped strawberries and grapes and flavour it with the
liqueurs and honey.
To serve, turn each panna cotta out onto a serving plate and serve it
with the sauce pouring the dark hot chocolate around adding the mint leaf to decorate.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Old Fashioned Rose Hip Jam

So I start with an old fashioned jam recipe which dates way back to the 18th century. First pick your buds and go for firm ones which are not too soft. This is not as simple as it sounds as the best taste and colour comes from the ripest buds but try deseeding a soft bud and it will mush in your hands! Now some folk say wait for the first frost before you get out collecting and foraging but I say no as by then the risk of mold developing in the buds is high and the birds will have eaten the best of the crop in any event! So if you really want to get the superior taste which comes from a cold frost, place the buds in the freezer for a few hours but be warned that when it comes to removing those dam seeds, you may have a terrible mush to deal with! I therefore say pick firm and go unless you are making a syrup and going to strain everything anyway using a muslim bag!

Wash the buds and trim the tails. Then simply cut the buds in half with a small sharp knife and with a gentle twist of the blade you will quickly become an expert at removing the seeds. You will find water helps both to keep the hands clean and the seeds at bay. You will need:

1 Kg. of cleaned rose hips deseeded
1 Kg. sugar
3 dl. apple cider vinegar
3 dl. water
2 Vanilla pods


Boil up sugar, water, vinegar and the vanilla pods, cut the vanilla pods open to
remove their seeds . Add the rose hips in the sugar syrup and simmer for 30 minutes. The syrup will become thick and heavy. Check for the setting point and bottle up in sterilised jars.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

John Keats and Rose Hip Jam

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells

Yes I dare say Keats would have loved rose hip hedgerows but I don't know if he ever tasted rose hip jam! If you know then I would be delighted to hear.

Rose hip is one of the richest sources of Vitamin C in the plant world. Rose hips also contain the active galactolipid compound GOPO, which has anti-inflammatory properties and is effective at reducing pain and improving mobility for those with osteoarthritis. Rose hip syrup has been well regarded for hundreds of years as an aid to good health and a cure for sore throats, colds and flu like ailments.

Rose hips also make a delicious jelly, a luxurious chuckney and a voluptuous tart which was very popular in the 16th century.

This is now the time of year to get out and start collecting those sexy wild ruby buds and I promise you a few lovely recipes to use to ensure your jam, chuckney, syrup or tart is both delicious and healthy.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Couples Cooking Week

Well I never thought I would say this but with Ryanair offering such fantastic low flight deals (£5 each way) from London Stanstead to Dinan our local airport what a bargain for our students in the south east of England! Thank you Ryanair!

Particularly so as French Dining School have this wonderful facebook offer running at the moment where couples (not necessarily co-habitating) are offered a fabulous all inclusive deal - only 800 euros for two persons on a five day cooking course this autumn! This is probably the best cooking school offer ever seen on the net!

The courses will of course maintain the highest professional culinary standards expected of a top cooking school with Michelin trained chefs and Eurotoque credentials!

We enjoy being up there with the best cooking schools in France but also take pride in our friendly and hands on expertise allowing all out students to feel properly involved in the courses. We know adults learn by doing and so all students are fully involved in the preparation and cooking of all the dishes - that is a total of 40 individual dishes in five days - no mean task for anyone in the kitchen these days!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Courgette Flower

Ask any gardener what they have most of in their gardens this time of year and they will probably tell you tomatoes or courgettes! We have an abundance of the latter! Now ask a good chef what is the best thing you can do with a courgette and if they are honest they will probably, at this time of year, tell you to throw it at someone you don't like! Well to be fair there are lots of other exciting things you can do with courgettes in the kitchen and my favourate is to bake them along with leeks and a good strong cheese. We keep a nice local goat cheese just for such purposes.

However it is the courgette flower that I wish to refer to here. Again there is an abundance of beautiful courgette flowers around at the moment and it is a wonderful opportunity to practice your tempura and plate dressing skills. This is a wonderful dish to prepare with students as they go through the whole process from picking the flowers in the garden, removing the stamens, cleaning, preparing the filling; stuffing the flowers, deep frying, drying and finally dressing the plates. It is also one of those recipes where seeing it done is absolutely vital rather than reading and working from a recipe book.
I like to use a sweet potato, goat cheese and pine nut stuffing and this dish can be served with a wide variety of engaging delights. One of our most popular side dishes include puy lentils salsa with garlic aioli. I look forward to doing this with you and don't worry we have never thrown a courgette at anyone yet but you have been warned!