Monday, 14 May 2012

Recent Reviews

Wow, wow, wow. I am so happy that you stuck with me and found this for me. This was one of the best holidays I've ever had. My friend and I are still talking about the experience. The hands-on aspect of the course is so crucial to help me learn and we were definitely hands-on. The first thing I did when I returned home was cook a chicken stock which we did at the start of the week of the class ... and the hours (mostly unattended) are worth it. Poul is fantastic both as a person and as a chef. I learned new techniques such as filleting a skate fish and boning chicken legs (used for chicken stuffed with langoustines - yum yum). The sauces, though quite buttery, were amazing. I'm not really a dessert person but I learned how to prepare some great desserts such as panna cotta and fondane. The food we prepared was varied and seasonal which I appreciated. Poul answered questions and always had ideas of how to cook this or that differently depending on your personal tastes. For instance, I'm really not an ice cream person so he gave a great recipe for parfait. Our day in Dinan was spectacular. We had great dinners, great wines, and great conversations. The accommodations were fantastic. I would recommend this to all my food-loving friends. Allan J May 2012 Attached is a picture of the first meal back home - the wife loved the frikadeller, creme fraiche potatoes and the remoulade! Thanks for a great week, it was the perfect trip. Danny M May 2012

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Blueberry, Banana and Almond Cake

It is impossible to beat a good cake and this one is hard to beat! It is relatively easy to make and will guarantee friendship at all levels in all cultures! Take it with you and you will make new friends wherever you go! You will need: 150g butter softened 1 cup castor sugar 4 tablespoons brown sugar 3 organic eggs 1 large banana mashed 1 teaspoon Muscat port 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 + a half of self raising flour sifted pinch of bicarbonate of soda half cup of light olive oil Topping 125g blueberries 85g flaked almonds 3 tablespoons brown sugar Method Preheat your oven to 200 DC. Grease a 25cm round cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. Combine butter and sugar in a food processor until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and continue to process one egg at a time. Then add the banana, vanilla and Muscat. Mix well. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and oil and continue to mix well in the processor. When smooth spoon into the tin and flatten the top with a spatula. To make the topping simple place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Spoon evenly over the cake batter and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and the cake springs back to the touch.

Asparagus and Broccoli Salad

The season for asparagus has arrived. This delicious vegetable is best cooked fresh and served simply with either a broccoli salad or new potatoes. Here is a simple menu to get you started: Ingredients (serves 4) 500g new potatoes 600g asparagus 400g broccoli 8 free range eggs 1 garlic clove 4 mint sprigs leaves picked 4 flat leaf parsley stalks roughly chopped 4 basil stalks leaves picked 4 tablespoons pine nuts toasted 160ml extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons baby capers rinsed and drained sea salt freshly ground black pepper Method Preheat oven to 200 DC. Wash the new potatoes and place in boiling water (with dash of salt) until cooked soft but firm. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Trim the ends of the asparagus and broccoli and discard/peel to remove any tough parts. Place on a baking tray with ends pointing the same way. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with vinegar and half the olive oil. Toss to distribute evenly over the tray and roast for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside to cool. Boil the eggs in a pan for 3/4 minutes then drain the water and replace with cool water for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs and set aside. Combine the capers, mint, garlic, parsley, pine nuts and basil in a food processor and blend with olive oil for about 2 minutes until a smooth paste develops. Set aside. Place the asparagus and broccoli in a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a large serving dish. Add the new potatoes and the eggs cut in half arranged around the salad. Drizzle the caper and parsley pesto over the salad and serve with a nice cool glass of sauvignon blanc.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Party Canapés

It's always nice to have something delicious and handy to offer the neighbors when they pop by for a glass of wine or a pastis as they often do here in Kerrouet. Canapés are so easy to prepare and so very quick too and there is no limit to being creative even if the fridge is half empty! Here are a few little classic gems we recently created: Can you guess what they are?

Busy Cooking

Well we are into our first cooking course of 2012 and our students are very busy indeed. Here is their schedule for this week: Monday Lunch Chicken stock making for the week Starter: Bruschetta on toasted bread Main: Salmon fish cakes on a garden salad with homemade Sauce Remoulade Cheese: Selection of French cheeses Dinner Starter: Artichoke in a citrus soup Main: Langoustine stuffed chicken leg with Sauce Tarragon Pommes Anna and roasted Jerusalem Artichokes Cheese: Selection of French cheeses Dessert: Panna Cotta with fresh fruits salad Tuesday Lunch Starter: Small tomato pizza Provençale Main: Turkey breast marinated in Soya, ginger and chili Served with rice and Ratatouille Cheese: Selection of French cheeses Dinner Starter: Grilled scallops with spinach and a Sauce Curry-Sauternes Main: Veal fillet with Sauce Basil, Crème Fraîche potatoes and rosemary roasted vegetables Cheese: Selection of French cheeses Dessert: Chocolate Fondant with Cinnamon ice cream Strawberry Coulis Wednesday Lunch Starter: Asparagus with poached egg and Hollandaise Sauce Main: Warm smoked fish on a salad with Horseradish Cream Cheese: Selection of French cheeses Dinner Starter: Grilled Langoustines with Garlic butter Main: “Frikadeller” Danish styled meat balls with Potato salad and Cucumber / Tomato salad Cheese: Selection of French cheeses Dessert: Caramelized strawberries served with A Poppy seed ice cream Thursday Lunch Visit to local food market where we will eat galette saucisse Dinner Starter: Mushroom Risotto Main: Pan fried Skate wing with lemon, capers, parsley & new potatoes Cheese: Selection of French cheeses Dessert: Poached Pear with a Sabayon sauce and fresh raspberries Friday Lunch Starter: Mussel soup with Saffron Main: Caesar Salad Cheese: Selection of French cheeses Dinner Starter: Lobster bisque Main: Boeuf en Croûte or Beef Wellington Cheese: Selection of French cheeses Dessert: Tiramisu