Vegetable Stock

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Vegetable Stock

Introduction

Let's be clear, our goal is to produce a clear, clean liquid which will enrich and enhance anything that it is added to, without imposing a flavour of its own. It should not be good enough to consume by itself.

I use nothing more than the cook's "holy trinity" of roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery, also known as a mirepoix which provide pleasing sweet middle tones. You can substitute half the quantity of onion with leek. The only aromatic we will use is parsley and I use just the stalks for flavour.

Tips

The proportions: one part vegetables to 10 parts water.

You cannot produce a clear and clean stock without skimming the impurities that will rise to the surface. If you don't remove this scum it will simply boil and emulsify adding it's "flavour" to your stock, this makes it nigh on impossible to achieve a clear liquid, no matter how much you filter it.

Salt. Cooks to not add salt to stock. We wait to flavour the end dish, not this one.

Pear and Chocolate Tart

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Pear and Chocolate TartPear and Chocolate Tart

Introduction

Quick Update - this was a reminder of why content should always be checked by two pairs of eyes. I went to make this the other day and realised that I had made a few chefs shortcuts, i.e. been a little lazy, so I have edited it.

There is a baker in my local French town who makes a “pain aux poires et chocolate”, that’s a croissant filled with chocolate and pears. It’s divine. This is a play on that idea, but using an open-faced tart, which allows your eyes to get excited before you taste it.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

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Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Introduction

What can I say about this recipe? It is delectable and decadent. Many visitors to Misse describe it as "evil", but they invariably ask for more.

It is simply a combination of custard and caramel. The hint of fleur de sel lifts it to the sublime.

Tips

It’s all about the caramel. To get the very best flavour and colour you have to take the caramel to the brink of ruin, but fear not it isn’t difficult. Just don’t be tempted to put your finger and taste it.

Use top notch salt. Fleur de Sel and Maldon sea salt flakes are good examples.

We warm the milk and cream because adding these ingredients cold will make the caramel spit.

Loin of Cod or Sandre au beurre blanc

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sandre au beurre blanc

Introduction

A culinary marriage from Poitou-Charentes. You'll find this in restaurants throughout Poitou-Charentes and the Western Loire. It is often referred to as simply "poisson au beurre blanc".

Sandre English: Pikeperch or Zander is a firm and fine white fish with a delicate flavour. Fine specimens up to 1.2m (4ft) long have been caught in the Thouet river just a two minute walk from our house and the fish is common in the rivers of Poitou-Charentes. In these days of dwindling fish stocks, it is nice to offer a recipe for a fish that is delicious, plentiful and thriving. You could substitute any firm white fish but my recommendation would be loin of cod (dos de cabillaud).

Beurre blanc English: White Butter is the sauce of the region. The butter of Poitou Charentes, the first to be granted an AOC, is a pale creamy butter with a high (82%) butterfat content. It is highly prized by chefs worldwide. The sauce is actually a warm emulsion and needs to be prepared and served immediately. If left to stand it will separate.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

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Three varieties of oven-dried tomatoes

Introduction

It has been a year since I posted this recipe. A number of you asked me how long the tomatoes will last. I can now reveal that they retain an excellent flavour for 3-6 months, but mine began to degrade after that. Full disclosure: I didn't exactly follow my own storage advice and instead had them in full view, they look so pretty, so this winter they are going into a cool dark cupboard. Promise :)

The climate in Misse is perfect for growing tomatoes, but for sun-dried tomatoes, you need an intense heat and a very long season, such as that found in Sicily or Southern Spain. Oven drying is an excellent substitute.

We have three smaller varieties of tomato growing in the kitchen garden.
San Marzano - the celebrated Italian sauce tomato, we have grown a small variety
Red Pear - a beauty on the vine, very sweet and a little bigger than a cherry tomato
Sun Belle - golden colour, intense sweetness and cherry-sized when ripe
We are treating each variety according to its moisture content. This also allows you to compare what adding different ingredients brings to the flavour. Here is a pasta recipe that makes good use of them.

Carpaccio of Salmon

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Carpaccio of Salmon

Introduction

A dish we make with wild salmon and sea trout. It's simply tossed "cooked" in the citrus marinade. Freezing the fish for 3-4 hours before preparing will kill any parasites that might be present and will make it much easier to slice thinly.

I like to use a pinch of szechuan peppercorns in this dish.

Mayonnaise Classic & Garlic

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Freshly Made Mayonnaise

Introduction

I have taken a six month break from writing recipes, rather longer than anticipated. There has been so much to do here at Misse that I haven't had the distance and mental space needed to write. But now I am back, from rather nearer than outer space (h/t Gloria Gaynor), and I will be posting recipes and food pieces once or twice a week. Once I get a new content management system (CMS) up and running I may become more prolific. The CMS will save a lot of coding and make it easier for me to maintain this recipe site and its dependencies.

I thought Mayonnaise would be a fun recipe to ease myself back in. It's as easy as pie, but strikes fear into the hearts of many. Let's see if I can demystify some of that.

A Tale of Four Vermont Cheeses

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Images of cheese

Introduction

After several weeks on the road, I am currently touring the U.S., any novelty that might once have been associated with eating out twice daily has well and truly worn off.

Have just spent fourty-eight fruitful hours in Chicago where Google helped me discover Pastoral, an attractive shop located near my hotel, specialising in artisanal wines, cheeses and bread (they also sell online).

Pastoral is very much in the same vein (no pun intended) as Terrence Brennan's Artisanal and Murrays' Cheese Shop in NY or the Cowgirl Creamery Artisan Cheese and Cheese Plus in San Francisco. It also reminded me of Alon's an exceptional bakery with an excellent cheesemonger in Atlanta.

I like to eat local wherever I am, admittedly not always fruitful, so selected four U.S. cheeses: Bayley Hazen Blue, Blythedale Camembert, Bijou Goat's Cheese and Graton Select Cheddar. All four, I later discovered, hail from Vermont. Three of the four were described to me as being modeled on European counterparts: Stilton, Camembert and Crottins de Chavignol. As for the fourth Vermont has long established itself as a producer of excellent cheddar.

Perfectly Roasted Turkey

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Perfectly Roasted Turkey

Introduction

With Thanksgiving upon us, in the U.S., and the holidays only a month away I thought it timely to share some turkey roasting tips.

Now that turkey can be found all year round, in everything from "bacon" to sandwiches, escalopes and sausages, it's important to take some extra care so that the holiday bird still has an edge. Turkey's current popularity is due to its low fat content; low fat all too often means tasteless.

Sourcing a good turkey is essential. In the U.S. I have used Dartagnan who offer a wide variety of birds including wild turkey, it doesn't come in a bottle :)
In the UK The Ginger Pig is an excellent supplier. Most good supermarkets offer free range birds both fresh and frozen.

Tagliatelle with Duck Ragu

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Duck Ragu

Introduction

In the autumn and winter I like to use whatever meat is plentiful in my ragu. Wild rabbit and wild boar (with bitter chocolate) are particular favourites, lamb shanks can be fantastic, goose too.

I made this version with duck legs mostly drumsticks, but you can substitute any of the meats mentioned above. The secret is to use cuts of meat that require long slow cooking.

Wild or domestic duck are equally good, but the wild bird will take longer to cook.

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