Christmas Lunch: Orange and Coffee Roasted Duck with Borlotti Beans

Duck1_lefermier_221115Christmas is a magical time of the year. It’s a time when families come together and take the time to sit around the table and share good food, good wine and good memories. And yes, if you’re lucky, a few presents as well!

The recipe that I am sharing with you today is my take on “Canard à l’Orange” (Duck in Orange Sauce). I’ve soaked the duck in brine made with orange juice, crushed coffee beans, lime, bay leaves, star anise, peppercorns and water. This process means all those amazing flavours permeate the meat all the way through, and because of the sugar content in the orange juice, the skin will caramelize as it roasts.

Roasted duck with coffee, orange and kaffir lime

For the brine:

Duck4_lefermier_221115Ingredients:

  • 2L orange juice
  • 100 g coffee beans, crushed
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 L water
  • 10 peppercorn
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Bring the orange juice, coffee beans, bay leaves, star anise, peppercorn and water to the boil.
  2. Allow to cool completely, add the lime, and poor the brine in a non reactive container. Place the whole duck in the brine and Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
  3. In the mean time preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
  4. Remove the duck from the brine and pat dry. Place it in a roasting tray and cook for 2 hours. The skin will slowly caramelized giving it a delicious golden colour.

For the Sauce:

Reduce some of the cooking liquid, about 400ml, by half. Then, reduce the heat and whisk in about 100g of butter. Season to taste. You can also thicken the sauce with a little bit of corn flour if you like it a bit thicker.

Duck2_lefermier_221115For the Beans:

Ingredients:

  • 400g borlotti beans
  • 1 brown onions, finely diced
  • ½ bunch sage
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 100gpancetta?

Method:

  1. If using dried beans, soak them in cold water overnight.
  2. Place the beans in deep cooking pot and submerge with cold water, make sure to put enough water as the beans will soak up the water while cooking. Cook until just tender, you want the beans to remain a little bit firm.
  3. Strain the beans, but keep about ¼ of the cooking liquid.
  4. Sautee the onion, garlic, pancetta and sage in a casserole pan for about 5 minutes. Add the beans and a little bit of the cooking liquid, just enough to make the beans saucy and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

duck6_lefermier_271115Wine suggestion: Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac 2005 form www.airoldifinewines.com.au



Christmas Lunch : Honey and Spice Quail with a Fresh Grapes and Nuts Salad

DSC_0823It’s that time of the year again, the festive season is nearly here! Time to start planning what you’re going to eat for Christmas lunch or even Christmas eve. It is an exciting time of the year with all the cooking, baking and tasting of all those delicious Christmas dishes.

The honey and spice quail is good way to start your Christmas lunch, as you can have it as part of a sharing platter or as an entrée on its own. This recipe is a spin on the more traditional ( Caille aux Raisin) Quail with a grape sauce. I chose to marinate it in honey, verjuice, 5 spice, tangerine peel and sage to give the meat a unique flavour. I made a fresh grapes, rocket and nuts salad to match my quails, the salad adds freshness to the dish and complement it perfectly.

quail5_lefermier_231115Honey and Spice pan seared quail: serve 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 boned quails, Halved
  • 8 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tea spoon 5 spice
  • 375ml verjuice
  • 100ml water
  • 1 bunch sage, chopped
  • 1 garlic head, quartered
  • 10 peppercorn
  • 2 tangerine peel

Method:

  1. Mix the honey, verjuice, water, five spice and sage together.
  2. Place the quail in a container deep enough to contain the marinade.
  3. Pour the marinate over the quails and leave to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  4. Take the quail out of the marinade and pat dry. Heat up a large frying pan with a little bit of olive oil.
  5. Cook the quail skin side down first for about 4 minutes on medium heat.
  6. Turn the quail around and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove the quails from the pan and pour the marinade in, reduce until it starts to thicken and then put the quails back in and toss them around to coat them with the sauce.

quail6_lefermier_241115For the salad;

Ingredients:

  • 50g almond, roughly chopped
  • 30g pinenuts
  • 50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 150g fresh grapes, halved
  • 150g baby rocket
  • 150g baby leaves

Method:

  1. Mix the almonds, pinenuts, hazelnuts  together in a salad bowl.
  2. Mix with the fresh grapes and baby leaves.
  3. Whisk 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, pinch of salt, 1 clove crush garlic and olive oil to taste together and drizzle over the salad.

 

DSC_0805Wine Suggestion: Domaine de Baron’Arques Le Chardonnay Limoux from www.airoldifinewines.com.au


Short Bread

Short Bread

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Shortbread started off with very humble beginnings – as the slow cooked off cuts of bread dough. Eventually, butter took the place of yeast to more closely resemble the shortbread we know and love today. With its buttery richness it’s not hard to imagine that shortbread was once considered a luxury and could only be afforded for special occasions such as weddings, Christmas or New Year’s Eve. A particular variety known as “petticoat tails”, flavoured with caraway seeds was apparently a favourite of Queen Victoria.

For this iteration of the Scottish favourite, I used classic gingerbread cookie cutter shapes, which would be perfect to use if you’re cooking with the kids! For a more grown up version, you could create the classic shortbread fingers or the wheel shape sliced into triangles (i.e, the petticoat tails).

Ingredients:

  • 500g plain flour
  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 vanilla pod (seeds only)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (356F).
  2. Mix the sugar, diced butter (soft) and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer until the mixture become creamy and slightly white.
  3. Then add the egg yolk and whole egg and mix until well combine.
  4. Sieve the flour and baking powder together and add it to the butter mix. Mix on medium speed, until you have a smooth dough.
  5. Roll the dough on a slightly floured bench to the desired thickness, I recommend about 3-4 mm.
  6. Using a pastry cutter cut different shapes and place them on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or so until the sides of the short bread becomes golden. Cool them down cooling rack.

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Fruit Mince Pies

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I shared these fruit mince tarts with an English friend and I could see in their expression, as they bit into the crumbly pie casing, that they were tasting nostalgia as much as spiced fruit mince. These merry morsels are historically British you see, heralding from the Crusade era when the English brought back Middle Eastern recipes mixing meats with fruit and sweeter flavours as well as exotic spices.

Mince Pies have always been associated with Christmas, though as time has gone by the recipe has evolved to leave out the meats but amp up the sweets! For this recipe I left my fruit mince to soak in brandy for 24 hours, but some people have told me tales of their grandmothers soaking it for months!

Fruit mince pie

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Ingredients:

  •  250g dried figs
  • 300g raisins
  • 150g Slivered almonds
  • 250g dried apricots
  • 300g currants
  • 300g sultanas
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 200g mixed peels
  • 110g macadamia
  • 150g hazelnuts
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 150mL brandy
  • 1/3 cup Verjuice
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 175g unsalted butter

Method:

  1. Peel and coarsely grate the apples, then cover with verjuice to prevent discoloration.
  2. Chop the apricots, raisin, figs, macadamia and hazelnuts.
  3. Combine them in a large mixing bowl with rest of the ingredients except the butter and mix thoroughly.
  4. Cover with cling film and leave at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring from time to time.

mincepie4_lefermier_191214

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 175g unsalted chilled butter
  • 225g plain flour
  • 75g self raising flour
  • 55g icing sugar
  • 1 free range egg
  • 2 Tbspn iced water

Method:

  1. Dice the chilled butter
  2. Blend the flours, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If you do not have a food processor use the tip of your fingers to mix the butter and flours together.
  3. Add the egg yolk and iced water and mix until the dough comes together. Form a ball and flatten it a little bit, it will make your life easier when you start rolling, wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge for an hour to rest.
  4. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392F).
  5. Take the pastry out of the fridge 15 minutes prior to rolling it.
  6. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured clean surface to the desired thickness (about 2mm).
  7. Stir the fruit mince one last time before filling the pastry.
  8. Line the moulds with pastry (a cupcake tin works perfectly for this) and fill them up with the mince to about 3/4. Press the mince down gently in the pie. Using a star shape pastry cutter, cut a star for each of the pie and place them on top. Press down a little bit and brush them with egg wash.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown on top (some oven might cook a bit faster or slower).
  10. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before serving with.

Cherry Clafoutis

clafouits2_lefermier_161214

Early summertime is cherry season and traditionally this means adorning the top of a freshly baked pavlova with these juicy little jewels for Christmas day dessert. But if you want to try something a little different (and you wouldn’t be food lovers without a sense of culinary adventure) then may I introduce a dainty little dish called the clafoutis.

This fabulous flan-like dessert is a traditional dish of the Limousin region of France and is rather peculiar in that it contains cherries that are unpitted. It may sound odd and like a lot of work to ensure you don’t chip a tooth with every bite, but believe me when I say that the pips add an extra nutty nuance that makes it worth the effort. Just make sure you let your guests know before they tuck in!

Traditional cherry clafoutis:

clafoutis3_lefermier_161214 

Ingredients:

  •  185 mL thickened cream
  • 125 mL full fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 30g almond meal
  • 400g cherries
  • 1 Tbsp Kirsch

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 F).
  2. Pour the cream into a small saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in two, scrape out the seeds and add both to the cream.
  3. Heat the cream gently for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat, add the milk and leave to cool. Take the vanilla pod out.
  4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mixture becomes slightly white and foamy.
  5. Sieve the flour, mix it with the almond meal and then add it to the egg mix. Whisk well to avoid lumps.
  6. Gently add the cooled cream and whisk until combined.
  7. Arrange the cherries at the bottom of your cake tray (use a 23cm or so baking tray), pour the mix over the cherries to about ¾ of the tray.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden on top. A good trick to check if your Clafoutis is cooked is to plant a skewer into the centre, if it comes out clean then it’s cook!
  9. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of cream while still warm.

With this delicious dessert i recommend a Chateau Coutet “Sauternes” available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

clafoutis1_lefermier_161214

Dark Chocolate and Orange Truffles

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Truffles by origin aren’t a Christmas food, but with their indulgent ingredients, luxurious coatings and bite-sized portions, it’s easy to see why they’ve become associated with festive frivolity and make the perfect edible gift. Plus, they are relatively simple to make and so for those of you wanting to get the kids involved with holiday baking, this is a sticky-finger licking good option!

You can take a classic truffle recipe like this one and add any kind of fresh flavouring that will complement chocolate. I suggest mint, raspberry, or orange, which is what I’ve included in my recipe today.

Ingredients:

  •  250g Dark Chocolate
  • 100g Unsalted Butter (diced)
  • 2 Egg Yolk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 20 caster sugar
  • 80 g icing sugar
  • 50 g cacao powder
  • 3 orange zest

truffles1_lefermier_111214

Method:

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil on the stove.
  2. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a heat resistant bowl, like a stainless steel one for example.
  3. Turn the heat down to a minimum and place the bowl of chocolate on top of the sauce pan. Leave it slowly melt over the Bain-Marie.
  4. When the chocolate has completely melted, slowly add the diced butter while stirring.
  5. Once the butter has melted, take the chocolate of the heat and add the egg yolk, vanilla, caster sugar, icing sugar and the orange zest. Mix it all together and place it in the fridge to solidify.
  6. Once solidified, form little balls of chocolate and roll them in a mixture of icing sugar and cacao powder.

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I suggest you serve those delicious treat with coffee or tea after your Christmas lunch or as part of you dessert maybe!

Those tasty treats can also be enjoyed with a glass of Domaine de Viranel “Gourmandise” available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au