Friday, 30 September 2011

Oysters and Cabbage

I love oysters and cabbage! There was a time when both ingredients were looked down upon and even today the poor cabbage is often neglected despite its valuable nutrients and versatility. This has probably a lot to do with school dinners and the fact that most people don't know how to cook cabbage properly or even worse, overcook it.

This is a recipe developed by the famous Danish Chef, René Redzepi of Noma Restaurant (voted twice as the world's best restaurant)and is so simple anyone could do it and it makes a wonderful warm starter dish for Autumn. For 4 persons you will need:

For the cabbage:
Swiss chard 1 large, picked weight 250g
ground elder (optional) 50g
celery tops 35g just the leaves, or 80g if no ground elder

For the butter emulsion:
tea bag 1, Barrys Breakfast
water 25g
unsalted butter 75g

To finish:
fresh oysters 8
fresh cobnuts about 12, halved
vinegar 1-2 tsp

Make a cup of tea using the measured water. Remove the tea bag and pour into a pan. Beat in knobs of unsalted butter until the liquid and fat forms an emulsion that will cover the back of a wooden spoon. Pour off enough of the emulsion to leave a generous covering at the bottom of the pan and warm gently.

Tear up the leaves of the Swiss chard and put them into the pan, turning them gently in the emulsion until just covered and beginning to wilt. Add the more delicate ground elder, if using, and celery top leaves. Turn gently over the heat for another minute.

Add the meat and juices of the freshly shucked oysters and gently mix. Serve in a dish and dress with a dozen or so halved fresh cobnuts. Sprinkle with a teaspoon or two of fruit vinegar and a pinch of salt.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Baked Turbot, Saffron Potatoes & Wilted Spinach

So Autumn is officially here again and the evenings are drawing in. I love this time of year when the season of mists descend upon us and mellow fruitfulness transforms our garden(as Keats the poet would say!). I particularly like the log fire now the evenings are getting colder and I never need an excuse to light the candles or open a good bottle of red as I reach for that book I never had time to read but that is another story.
Back to the kitchen and turbot which is often a forgotten fish in the UK and Ireland. In France it is very well regarded and so it should be for the Brittany coast is full of turbot and French chefs have acclaimed it's unique taste and texture for years. It is simply delicious when baked.

You will need:

I fresh turbot
250g butter (+ extra for greasing)
2 saffron stamens crushed
2 waxy potatoes peeled and cut into 1 cm slices
400g baby spinach
3 tablespoons vermouth
1 dessertspoon each of chopped parsley, chives and chervil
1 lemon quartered


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Lightly butter a baking tray and place the turbot on it. Dot with 100g of butter and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Transfer the turbot from the oven to a plate and keep warm. Melt 50g of butter and stir in the saffron, set aside.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until cooked; drain (retaining the water) and toss in the saffron butter.

Blanch the spinach in the potato water for barely a minute , drain and keep warm.

Place the baking tray with the juices over a moderate heat, add the vermouth and reduce to half the volume. Whisk in 100g of butter, remove from heat, stir in the herbs and season to taste.

Serve the turbot with the potatoes, spinach and herb butter sauce and a lemon wedge.

Don't forget to serve with a nice cool glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Fête de la Gastronomie

Fête de la Gastronomi

Given that French gastronomy is world famous, it is surely surprising that the first ever national day of celebration of French cuisine in France takes place this Friday. All over France in the big cities and the little villages, there will be some wonderful dishes being served in celebration of the gastronomy of France and so even in the tiny hamlet of Kerrouet, we will also be marking the event with our students.
Our menu for lunch and dinner will be open to all those lucky enough to respond to this blog and the table will be limited to twelve so you better get cracking if you want to come and celebrate with us!!
Lunch Menu
Starter: Mussel soup with saffron
Main: Caesar Salad
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Dinner Menu
Starter: Lobster bisque
Main: Slow roasted lamb Provençal with oven baked vegetables
Cheese: Selection of French cheeses
Dessert: Poached peaches and fresh rasberries in a sabayon sauce