Raclette

raclette1_lefermier_140116“Raclette” is a type of cheese, it is a semi soft cow milk cheese shaped in a 6kg wheel. Raclette cheese originated in the French speaking part of the Alpine area in the Valais Canton. If you believe the legend, it was discovered by local farmers who had set camp in the valley for the night and left some of the cheeses on stones near the fire. The cheese of course melted and some farmer scraped it of the rock to not waste any and he thought it was delicious. It quickly became a tradition amongst farmers in the region and the cheese became known for its melting abilities. It is a simple concept and the heartiness of the melted cheese on the potatoes makes it the ideal comfort.

raclette2_lefermier_140116It is loved by many in France, Switzerland and Germany. Traditionally it is a dish that includes melted cheese, boiled potatoes, cornichons, mustards, pickles and a plater of charcuterie such as prosciutto, ham of the bone and salami. If you want to find the perfect wine to match  your raclette i suggest you visit  www.airoldifinewines.com.au   .

raclette3_lefermier_140116For my Raclette i use a “Tefal” raclette grill that you can find on amazon, or you can also melt the cheese over the potatoes in a hot oven. To give you an idea of how much you need to prepare, for 6 people i cooked 12 medium size potatoes and bought 3 slices of each meat ( hot salami, mild salami, ham of the bone and Australian prosciutto). I also put together a platter with Dijon mustard, Grain mustard and Cornichons and served a green salad from my garden!raclette4_lefermier_140116

 

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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


Toulouse Sausage

toulousesausage2_lefermier_181015

One of the joint culinary loves of Australians and Frenchmen alike is that of the sausage. The humble sausage is deeply entrenched in the food culture of each nation, whether is be as the quintessential BBQ food Down Under or as the staple at every French country table. But while snags are often relegated to summer dinners and hardware store parking lots here, the French relationship with the sausage is closer to one of hero worship. That’s not to say you can’t find excellent, quality sausages in Aussie butchers, but back in France there’s just so much history and variety in grind of meat, herbs, and sizes.

Most regions have their own specialty, like so many foods in France, and today I’m showing you a personal favourite. It’s the Toulouse sausage (named after the town). It’s a pork sausage characterized by a courser grind, usually prepared in a long string and presented as a coil. They are also the sausage that is used to make the perfect Cassoulet.

Toulouse Sausage:

Ingredients:

  • 600g pork shoulder
  • 200g pork belly
  • 200g pork neck
  • 16g salt
  • 5g ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon 4 spice
  • 1 small glass white wine, about 80ml
  • sausage casings
  • 30 ml cognac
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated
  • pinch of Herb de Provençe

Method:

  1. Soak the casings in warm water for ½ hour before using.
  2. Put the meat through a the meat mincer equipped with the coarse grid.
  3. Then add the white wine, cognac, salt, pepper and the spices. Mix well, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinate the mince.
  4. Once rested, mix well and put the meat in the sausage skin using the sausage attachment on your mincer. Don’t go too fast as you need to make sure the meat is compressed enough in the skin, so there is no air pocket and also that they are the right size.
  5. Hang the sausage in a cool dry place and they are ready to use the next day or alternatively you can also freeze them!

Tips: You can make individual sausages by pinching and twisting the sausage, the size is up to you. Personally I prefer to cook whole so it stays juicier and it’s also better for sharing.

Serving suggestion: I served my Toulouse sausage with a Rocket, Packam pear, Roquefort and walnut salad dressed with a raspberry vinegar dressing.

Matching wine: Chateau Viranel “Arome Sauvage” from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

 

 

Pork fillet fricassé in a Chablis sauce

porkfricassée1_lefermier_090915

Growing up with parents who were both passionate about food, it’s no wonder that my brother’s and I are involved in the hospitality industry in some way. My eldest brother studied viticulture, I have been a chef for over 15 years and my older brother is the proud founder of Airoldi Fine Wines, through which he imports some the finest specialty and premium French wines into Australia.

As part of his ongoing passion to educate Australian wine lovers about some of the best wines our motherland has to offer, he regularly holds intimate dinners, often hosted by the winemakers themselves. This month I was lucky enough to attend one such dinner, hosted by Benjamin Laroche of La Manufacture Wines, Chablis, France.

The Chablis region, located within Burgundy is classed as an appellation, meaning that only wines from that geographic area may be called Chablis. The prominent wine variety is a chardonnay, which makes it perfect for pairing with leaner meat like pork.

Inspired by La Manufacture’s exquisite Chablis wines, I’ve created this pork dish which heroes the fruity and crisp flavours that they are known for.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork fillet, about 500g and diced
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 brown onions, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoon crème fraîche
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 250ml Chablis wine
  • 10 button mushroom, quartered and sautéed
  • 100g smoked bacon, diced

 

porkfricassé4_lefermier_090915

Method:

  1. Heat up a casserole pan with some olive oil and a nob of butter.
  2. Seal the pork on all sides until it start to carmelised. You may need to do it in 2-3 batches to avoid boiling the meat, then keep aside.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat then add the thyme. Now you can add the bacon to the mix.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine, making sure to scrap the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to unstick all the delicious bits. Then add the mushroom.
  5. Put the pork and juices back in the pan and pour in the stock. Bring the sauce to the boil and then add the mustard. Cook on medium heat for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Add the crème fraîche and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and finish the sauce with some chopped parsley.

porkfricassée3_lefermier_090915

A delicious side of glazed baby Dutch carrot slowly cooked in butter and sautéed Tuscan Kale with a touch of garlic is, I think the perfect match!

As a matching wine I suggest “La Manufacture” Chablis from Benjamin Laroche available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Watch the how to video here or visit my Youtube channel here for more videos.

Poule au Pot

PouleauPot1_lefermier_300715

In the fifteenth century the Gascon-born French King, Louis IV, famously said in his coronation speech something along the lines of, “I want every peasant to have a chicken in their pot on Sundays”. Well, far be it from me to deny the wishes of an ex-sovereign, so today, I bring you this simple recipe that’s perfect for feeding the family, Sunday or otherwise.

Just like the pot-au-feu recipe I’ve shared previously, you can use the broth from the pot that remains at the end of cooking as an entrée and then serve the meat and veggies for the main.

What really brings this dish to life though is the sauce gribiche. The capers and cornichons give it a tang that complements the chicken so well!

 

Poule au Pot serve 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 litres chicken stock
  • 3 slices smoke bacon (2cm thick)
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 3 celery stick, cut into short lengths
  • 2 turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 4 small leeks, trimmed, cleaned and cut into short lengths
  • 1 small head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 5 bayleaves
  • 6 slices thick sourdough (2.5cm)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 free range chicken ( 2-2.5kg)

Method:

  1. Put the chicken stock, slices of bacon, vegetables, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves into a large pot, bring to the boil and leave to simmer while you prepare the stuffing for the chicken.

PouleauPot5_lefermier_300715

For the stuffing:

  • 50g chicken liver, chopped
  • 125g white breadcrumbs
  • 120g rindless thick slice smoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 30 shallots, finely chopped
  • 20g chopped parsley
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt

PouleauPot6_lefermier_300715

For the vegetables:

  • 12 medium carotts
  • 12 small turnips, trimmed and sliced
  • 12 small potatoes, similar size and peeled
  • 12 small shallots, peeled
  • 6 small leeks, trimmed, cleaned and cut in 3-4 pieces

Method:

  1. Mix the chicken liver, breadcrumbs, bacon, garlic, shallots, parsley, eggs and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Season the inside of the chicken and spoon the mixture inside.
  3. Truss the chicken securely with cooking string.
  4. Add the chicken to the pot, making sure that it is submerged. Add I teaspoon of salt, bring back to the boil and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Turn the chicken over top up with boiling water if necessary, but don’t dilute it too much and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 150 degrees Celsius. Place the slices of bread onto a tray and leave them for 20 minutes to dry out in the oven, but not brown.
  7. Lift the chicken out of the pot, remove the first lot of vegetables and discard.
  8. Return the chicken to the pot, add all the vegetables and bring back to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes and then the vegetables and chicken should be cooked.

PouleauPot4_lefermier_300715

Sauce Gribiche:

  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 8 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon capers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoons cornichons, chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg white, finely chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg yolk, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped.

Method:

  1. Whisk the mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl, then gradually whisk in the olive oil.
  2. Stir in the caper, cornichons, egg white, egg yolk, parsley and some salt and pepper to taste.

PouleauPot3_lefermier_300715

Serving suggestion:

  1. To serve lift the chicken onto a board a cover with foil. Put the dried slice of bread at the bottom of a soup bowl, cover with stock and eat as a first course.
  2. Carve the chicken and cut the bacon. Place some vegetables, chicken, bacon and stuffing on a plate. Drizzle with some stock and serve with the sauce Gribiche.

I suggest you pair this classic dish with a “Close Planted” Pinot Noir 2012 from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Watch the how to video below or visit my Youtube channel  here for more.