Mango and Thyme Tarte Tatin

Mangotatin3_lefermier110216Today I decided to share with you a different version of a very traditional French dessert called the Tarte Tatin. Traditionally it is done with apples but today I’ve put a modern twist on it or you can say an “Australian twist” by using mangoes instead. Now is the perfect time to use mangoes, they are in full season, ripe and full of flavour. I thought I’d pair the mangoes with thyme, it might sound weird at first, but once you’ve tried this delicious recipe, you’ll understand. I think the thyme balances the sweetness of the mango and the caramel, it adds freshness to this wonderful dessert.

Mango and Thyme Tarte Tatin

Ingredients:

  • 3 mangoes
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • ½ bunch thyme

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven at 180 °C .
  2. Put the sugar in saucepan and add just enough water to dissolve it. Cook the sugar until you have a golden brown caramel, then pour it into a round tart dish and leave it cool down.
  3. In the meantime peel the mangoes, slice the cheeks off and cut them into wedges. Place the mango wedges on top of the caramel in a circular pattern, creating 2 layers.
  4. Sprinkle the roughly chopped thyme on top of the mango and cover the dish with the puff pastry.
  5. Bake in the hot oven for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  6. Leave the Tarte Tatin cool down a little bit, then carefully place a round serving tray upside down on top of the tart, place one hand on top and one at the bottom and quickly flip it around.

 

 

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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

 

Macarons

macaron2_lefermier_031215The Macaron appeared in Europe in the middle ages, made from sugar, almond and egg white from the very beginning. Some say that the Macaron was born in the VIIIe century in venetians monastery. They were introduced in France by Catherine de medicis for her wedding with the Duc d’Orléans. The macaron use to be eaten as individual biscuits and it’s not until 1830 that, in Paris, pastry chefs decide to stick two macaron together using ganache to create the “parisian” macaron which was later popularized by the very famous Ladurée.

They are now many different flavours of macaron like a mandarine and olive oil from Pierre hermé in Paris or lime and basil and even peach and rose! I have decided to add a festive touch to my macaron today by using Christmas spices to flavour my crème.

Watch the how to video below or visit my YouTube channel here for lots more videos

Macaron with a Christmas Spice Cream

Ingredients for the shells:

  • 210g icing sugar
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 130g egg whites
  • 150g almond meal

macaron4_lefermier_031215Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius and make sure all the ingredients are measured.
  2. In a food processor, blitz the icing sugar and almond meal until it is very fine. Make sure it is really fine otherwise the top of the macaron won’t be smooth.
  3. Sieve the almond meal and icing sugar to remove the chunky bits, and keep aside.
  4. Whisk the egg white to soft peak, then slowly add the sugar and keep whisking until it is all dissolved. Add the food colouring and whisk until combined.
  5. Using a spatula, incorporate half of the almond meal and icing sugar, mix, then add the other half.
  6. Gently work the mixture by folding it onto itself, making sure you scrape the bottom to get all the ingredients. Work it until it becomes glossy and form a ribbon when you lift the spatula (see video).
  7. Using a pipping bag with a nozzle, lay the macaron on flat baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
  8. Leave them on the bench top for about 15 minutes so that a skin forms on the top. Check if they are ready to be baked by gently touching the top with your finger, if it doesn’t stick then they are ready.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then leave them cool down before garnishing them with the crème.

macaron3_lefermier_031215Ingredients for the Crème:

  • 2 free range egg yolk
  • 25 cl full fat milk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 25g flour
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 2 star anis
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 75g soft butter
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds out

Method:

  1. Boil the milk with the vanilla ( seeds and pod) and the spices.
  2. Whisk the egg and sugar until slightly white and fluffy, add the flour and mix until combined.
  3. Pour the hot milk through a sieve, whisk to combined all the ingredients, and cook for about 3-5 minutes while whisking.
  4. Pour the crème in large dish, spread it as thin as you can to cool it down quickly. Once cooled completely, place it in an electric blender, whisk until it is smooth and add the soft butter. Keep whisking until the mixture is glossy and smooth.
  5. To put the macaron together, simply pipe a little bit of crème in the center of half of the shell and put a shell on top!

Kouglof with a Ginger Bread Crème Anglaise

Kouglof1_lefermier_221115This recipe comes from Alsace. This region, in north-East of France, is famous for their architecture like the Palais Rohan, but also for their cuisine, which incorporates some Germanic traditions being that the town borders Germany.

Their culinary specialties include Cervelas, Tarte flambée, Choucroute (Sauerkraut) and Baeckeoffe, a mutton, beef and pork stew. They have one of the richest cuisines in France and are well know for serving big portions.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is called a Kouglof, a cake containing yeast, raisins, rum, & almonds. It has a distinctive shape because of the special mold it is cooked in, and you’ll find variations of this delicious cake in Germany and Austria. Once cooked, the Kouglof is soaked in a delicious vanilla and rum flavoured syrup that makes this dessert even more irresistible. To add a festive twist to this traditional recipe, I have chosen to pair it with a ginger bread crème anglaise.

If you are looking for a wine to match this delicious dessert, I highly recommend a Domaine Bertrand-Bergé Rivesaltes Ambré from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Kouglof with a Ginger Bread Crème Anglaise:

For The Kouglof:

Ingredients:

  • 400g bakers flour
  • 35 fresh yeast
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 150g free range eggs
  • 50g milk
  • 150 salted butter
  • 5g salt

Kougof3_lefermier_221115

Method:

  1. Warm up the milk and dilute the yeast into it.
  2. In an electric mixer, like a Kitchen Aid for example and equipped with the hook attachment, place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl and mix for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the yeast mixture, while mixing on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time and whisk on high speed until the dough detach itself from the sides.
  4. Slowly add the soft butter and mix until it is all incorporated, cover with cling film and place the bowl in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius and line the mold with soft butter and place an almond in each of the small holes of the mold.
  6. Mix the dough with the hook attachment on medium speed and add the raisins, mix until well combined.
  7. Place the dough in the mold to about ¾ , leave to proof until it has reached the top. Brush the top with an egg yolk and bake for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.
  8. Unmould the Kouglof and soak it, using a pastry brush, with the syrup.

Kouglof4_lefermier_221115For the syrup:

Ingredients:

  • 1L water
  • rum
  • 1 orange zest
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 50ml dark rum
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 500ml water
  • 100 g raisin

Kouglof5_lefermier_221115Method:

  1. Warm up 1 liter of water then add the rum, place the raisins or currants in the liquid for 30 minutes then strain. This process will avoid that the raisins fall at the bottom of the mold while cooking.
  2. Bring 500ml of water, orange zest, lemon zest and vanilla to the boil, then turn the heat of and add the rum.

For the Crème Anglaise:

Ingredients:

  • 500ml full fat milk
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon 5 spice

Method:

  1. Bring the milk and spices to the boil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together. Pour the hot milk over the top and whisk until all the ingredients are dissolved.
  3. Pour the mix back in the pot and cook on medium heat using a spatula to stir. Once the thin layer of foam at the top disappear, check the cream by lifting the spatula out and drawing a line with your finger, if the line remains it means that the anglaise is ready.
  4. Pour the crème anglaise in a clean bowl and refrigerate.

 

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