Sunday, 20 June 2010

Club Gastronomique de Bretagne

Many of you will be pleased to hear that we are starting a private dining club. This will commence on August 21, 2010 and will continue on the third Saturday of every month. A gourmand dinner of at least seven courses with champagnes and fine wines all for E100* per person is exceptional value. Places will be restricted to 12 maximum so early booking is recommended. Menus will be available on facebook (Club Gastronomique de Bretagne) well in advance and dates each month are as follows:

21 August 2010
18 September 2010
16 October 2010
20 November 2010
18 December 2010 (*Christmas Dinner E150*)

Friday, 18 June 2010

Elderflower Fritters

It has been a great season for elderflowers one of the best in fact for ten years! Must have been the warn spring we had with plenty of rain! Anyway we have made the elderflower cordial and now there is another reason to go straight back out and forage again for more elderflowers. This is the amazing elderflower fritter which makes a delicious light and delicate dessert. Just right for this time of year.

Serves 4 –6
At least 20 heads of freshly picked elderflowers
200g plain flour
1 organic egg, beaten
300ml cold sparkling water
a good splash of gin
light oil for frying
icing sugar for dusting

Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Put the egg into the well and mixing with a wooden spoon, start incorporating the egg into the flour. Gradually add the water, mixing all the time until the batter is thin, like double cream, and smooth. Finally mix in the gin. Leave the batter to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes or so.
Heat the oil in a deep pan, it needs to come at least 3cm up the sides. Test the heat by dropping in a teaspoonful of batter, it should bubble and start to turn golden quickly.
One at a time, dip the flowers into the batter. Shake off the excess and lower them carefully into the hot oil, holding onto the stalk. Cook them for a few seconds on each side or until the batter turns golden.
Remove and lay on kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil.
When they are all cooked, dust with icing sugar and serve hot. Serve with a glass of chilled Kerrouet Royale.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Elderflower Cordial

It's that time of the year again and we are busy making elderflower cordial. It is so simple to make and so nice to drink that I make enough for the whole year ahead!

Take 30 elderflower petals, 2 organic lemons, 1 lt water, 1 kilo of cane sugar, and 2 ts of citric acid. Boil the water in a large saucepan. Add the sugar, citric acid and sliced lemons to the boiling water and then add the elderflower petals. Allow to cool and store in a refrigerator for 4 days. On the fourth day, strain the juice from the pulp and pour the syrup into sterilized bottles. Keep in a cool place.

Serve 1 part elderflower to 5 parts water. A wonderful refreshing natural drink for the whole year ahead. We also use it in gin instead of tonic and also as an addition to champagne and sparkling wines!!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Summertime and the cooking is easy

I love summer! Especially when we have hot sunny days and balmy nights. Right now the weather is gorgeous and the temperature just right at 22 degrees (9am!). The climate really does impact upon the kitchen and our recipes as well as on our students. We are far more inclined to consider new menus and experiment with new recipes when the sun is shining! Out door grazing is so much fun too after a winter of being stuck indoors! Now we have the chance to sit in the gardens under the trees and enjoy our cocktails, trial new drinks and experiment with new ideas! Incidentally have you ever tried cold beer with tonic?! Well it's not as bad as you might imagine and in fact some people actually enjoy it! That was more accident than design though. The elderflower is out in full blossom again and so we are planning to make another year's supply of our wonderful elderflower cordial. You will find the methodology in last year's blog and some of the wonderful ways you can serve it too. My favorite is elderflower champagne or Kerrouet Royale as it is known to our students! The linden tree is also about to blossom and we will be collecting the flowers and new leaves in order to make a tasty and healthy tea! All this takes time when the vegetable garden is demanding constant attention and those weeds keep jumping up overnight! The flowers also demand attention if only to smell those beautiful scents and admire the colours of summertime. Yes summer is here at last and when we are not cooking you can find me in the garden listening to the sounds of nature, the smell of summer and the delights of the garden! Did I tell you we are also designing a swimming pool or is it a posh garden pond?