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.

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.

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.

Garganelli Pasta

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Garganelli

Introduction

Garganelli is a favourite of mine and gets requested often; I think of it as the richer forerunner of penne. Making pasta like this is a labour of love, so I keep it for special occasions.

Pasta like this holds sauces well and the imperfections of hand-made pasta offer a more sensuous texture.

This pasta combines well with any meat ragu.

Sweet Potato or Squash Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce

Sweet Potato or Squash Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce

Introduction

Thanksgiving and Christmas are times to celebrate but they can also be used to innovate in the kitchen. I am happy to be constrained by “traditional” ingredients as long as I am free to choose what to do with them.

The reason for scare quotes: traditional = old bad habit, constraint and enemy of innovation; I have little time for it.

I came up with this dish for a Thanksgiving dinner in Atlanta a couple of years ago. We had sent our guests a wide list of ingredients and asked them to choose the flavours that they most associated with Thanksgiving, celebration and autumn/fall. This dish, one of many small courses that we served, was a result of their choices.

I had wanted to do something with sweet potato that showed it in a different light. The dish is equally good with sweet potato or squash, but look for a Potimarron or Hokkaido squash, they are less moist which is essential.

Bucatini all'Amatriciana

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Bucatini all'Amatriciana

Introduction

This is a house speciality and one of the 'classic' variants that I mention in Spaghetti all Gricia. I tend to think of it as 'Gricia in a winter coat'.

Guanciale also known as pig's cheek bacon (guancia = cheek) is a subtle fatty meat with an un-rivalled flavour. It has started to turn up in good Italian delis, but I cure my own.

This dish is about about pasta and pork, so avoid the temptation to increase the other ingredients, you want to coat the pasta not drown it.

There is a debate as to whether this should be made with onion or garlic or a combination. I tend to use one or the other, am less happy with the result of using both. See suggestion.

Zucchini Bread with Dates & Walnuts

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Zucchini Bread with Dates & Walnuts

Introduction

At the end of our summer squash season we ended up, as you often do, with a couple of giant zucchini\courgettes. They are best eaten when smaller, but were perfect for these loaves.

To readers outside the U.S. think cake rather than bread, this is not savoury. The nearest things I can compare it to are a carrot cake and the Jamaican Ginger cakes that were popular when I was growing up in the UK.

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