Mistembec with Drunken Cherry Jam

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There is something special about working with old recipes from hundreds of years ago, it almost feels like going back in time. At least that is how I felt when I was cooking this delicious recipe for the “Mistembec”. This is a recipe that dates back to the XIV century, though it has slightly changed with the addition of the baking powder or yeast for example! Some say that the name itself mis-em-bec means put-in-mouth some say it may come from Arabic. They are a kind of doughnut or “Beignets”, like we call them in France, fried in oil and coated in honey, sugar syrup or caramel.

I paired my “Mistembec” with a drunken cherry jam. The cherry jam really complements this delicious dessert as the acidity of the cherries and rum aroma combined, give the “Mistembec” another dimension.

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

Ingredients for the Mistembec:

  • 300g plain flour
  • 50g melted unsalted butter
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • frying oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

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Method:

  1. Mix the flour with the egg yolk, melted butter, orange blossom water salt and baking powder.
  2. Add warm water until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan to around 180 degrees.
  5. Once rested, stir the batter to loosen it a little bit.
  6. Whisk the egg white until light and fluffy like snow ( soft peak) without over whisking them and fold them through the batter
  7. Drop tablespoons of batter in the hot oil, try to give them different shape as you drop the mixture in. Don’t do more than 5-6 at a time to avoid dropping the oil temperature too much
  8. Once golden on both side, place them on paper towel.

Ingredients for the caramel:

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Method:

  1. Cook the sugar, water and vinegar until the sugar become slightly caramelized, you do not want to be dark.
  2. Before the “Beignets” are cold quickly dip them into the caramel and place on a tray to cool down. Make sure they do not touch each other otherwise they’ll stick.

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Ingredients for the Drunken cherry jam:

  • 600g pitted cherries, halved
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 120ml dark rum
  • 3 vanilla beans, seeded

Method:

  1. Cook the pitted cherries with the sugar, rum, vanilla seeds and pod on high heat until it starts boiling, then cook for about two hours on low heat to medium heat.

Serve with a Chateau “Suduiraut” Sauterne from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

 

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Saffron and Orange Blossom Crème Caramel

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The Crème Caramel is, I think, one of the most iconic French dessert, one that you’ll find on every brasserie menu around France or French restaurants overseas. It is a dessert I used to have growing up; even the school cantine used to serve crème caramel. I like to refer to this dessert as the Tarte Tatin version of the Crème Brulée because it has the caramel at the bottom while cooking.  I decided to revisit this classic recipe and give it my own personal twist by adding some saffron and orange blossom aroma. The floral aroma and the richness of the saffron combined with the refreshing scent of the orange blossom goes perfectly with the sweetness of the caramel. It also adds a touch of spring to this classic French dessert!

Ingredients for the Caramel

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 5cl water

Method:

  1. Mix the sugar and water together in saucepan and cook until the sugar becomes golden in colour. Then pour the caramel at the bottom of deep round baking dish, preferably glass or ceramic, and leave to set.

Ingredients:

  • 1 l full fat milk
  • 7 free range eggs
  • 10g saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 250 g caster sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius and boil the kettle for the bain-marie.
  2. Bring the milk, saffron and orange blossom to the boil and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk the egg and sugar together until slightly white and foamy.
  4. Pour the hot milk over the eggs through a strainer, and whisk until all the ingredients are dissolved.
  5. Pour the mixture over the caramel, place the dish in a deep tray and cook in the bain-marie for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Let the crème caramel cool in the dish before you take it out as it may collapse if you do it when it’s still hot.
  7. To unmold the crème, gently run a small knife around the edge of the dish. Then place a serving plate slightly bigger than the baking dish over the crème caramel upside down and quickly flip it around while holding both plate. Reserve in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

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

 

 

Toulouse Sausage

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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

 

 

Chocolate Crémeux with a Dacquoise Biscuit

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Superfoods and raw foods may be the culinary trends du jour, but there’s still something about a decadent chocolate dessert that can tip most diet-devotees of the wagon, if only for an indulgent moment.

This is one such dessert. You know the kind: almost too pretty to be eaten, seemingly rich, but wonderfully light at the same time. Transporting, satiating, moreish. Drooling yet? Stop reading, and start baking!

Chocolate and Coffee Crémeux on Dacquoise:

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Ingredients:

  • 200g full cream milk
  • 200g mascarpone
  • 80g egg yolk, about 4 yolk
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 155g dark chocolate
  • 5g instant coffee

Method:

  1. Boil the milk, mascarpone and the instant coffee.
  2. Whisk the yolk and sugar together until slightly white.
  3. Pour the boiled milk over the eggs in two times while whisking non stop!
  4. Cook the mix over medium heat until it reaches 83 degrees Celsius, just like a crème anglaise.
  5. Place the chocolate in an electric mixer bowl and pour the hot mix over it while whisking. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted.
  6. Transfer the mix into a clean recipient and wrap it with cling film, making sure it’s in direct contact, and place in the fridge until the next day.

Dacquoise:

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Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 35g plain flour
  • 70g Hazelnut powder
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 30g caster sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 240 degrees celsius
  2. Whisk the egg white in an electric mixer until they become slightly firm, then start adding the sugar. Whisk for about 3-4 minutes to obtain a nice meringue.
  3. Gently fold in the icing sugar and hazelnut powder using a rubber spatula.
  4. Then gently add the flour to the meringue.
  5. Spread the mix on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper, about 1cm thickness, and bake for 6 minutes.

Cut the Dacquoise using a round cookie cutter, the size you use is up to you!

Pipe the crémeux on the biscuit using a pipping bag with a star nozzle and garnish with fresh raspberries.

The richness of the crémeux, the nuttiness of the biscuit and the acidity of the raspberries create, I think, a well balanced dessert!

Bon Appétit

Le Fermier

Paris-Brest

 

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As is the way in many European cultures, the French love to celebrate special occasions with food. And not just any old food, often dishes are created just to celebrate a particular event, at times becoming just as iconic that the event they were created for.

One such dish is the Paris-Brest. This delicious choux pastry was created at the turn of the 20th century to celebrate the annual bike race from Paris to Brest, and is shaped like a doughnut to resemble a bike tyre. The pastry is sliced through the middle and filled with a light and creamy hazelnut praline. Back then, the cyclists competing in the race would snack on these sweet treats (a far cry form the carb gels that pro cyclists have nowadays), but now they are available in most patisseries in France.

To watch the how to make Choux Pastry video click here

Choux Pastry:

Ingredients:

  • 125g water
  • 125g full fat milk
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 135 plain flour
  • 245g free range eggs, about 5 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a deep sauce pan bring the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to the boil.
  3. Once the butter has melted, take the sauce pan off the heat and ad the sifted flour. Return the pot to the heat and dry the choux pastry for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the choux pastry to a mixing bowl and add the eggs one a time, make to incorporate each egg before adding another one, you can use an electric mixer like a Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment to make it easier.
  5. Using a piping bag, pipe the choux pastry in a ring shape, brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with coarsely chopped almond.
  6. Bake in hot oven for 40 minutes.

Hazelnut Praline:

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Ingredients:

  • 135g hazelnuts
  • 90g caster sugar

Method:

  1. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven.
  2. Make a dry caramel with the sugar, make it the same way you would for a normal caramel but without water.
  3. Pour the caramel over the toasted hazelnut and leave to cool.
  4. Blitz the hazelnut in a food processor until you have a smooth paste.

Crème Pâtissière:

Ingredients:

  • 180g milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 40g egg yolk, 2-3 yolk
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 20g corn flower
  • 15g butter

Method:

  1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until slightly white. Then add the corn flour and whisk until mixed through.
  2. Bring the milk and vanilla pod, seeds scrapped out, to the boil.
  3. Pour the hot milk over the eggs and whisk until dissolved. Cook over medium heat until it start to boil, then cook for a further 1 minutes.
  4. Transfer the crème into a clean bowl, cover with glad wrap and leave to cool in the fridge. Make sure the glad wrap touches the crème!

Crème Mousseline Praliné:

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Ingredients:

  • 90g unsalted butter, soft
  • 255g crème patissière
  • 40g hazelnut Praline
  • 40g Hazelnut paste
  • pinch of slat flakes

Method:

  1. Whisk the crème patissière until smooth, then add the hazelnut paste, hazelnut praline, salt flake and whish until combine.
  2. Add the soft butter little bit a the time and whisk for 3-4 minute until homogenized.

Build the Paris-Brest:

Method:

  1. Cut the choux pastry in half, so you have two rings.
  2. Sprinkle hazelnut praline and toasted almonds on the bottom half
  3. Using a piping bag with the star nozzle, pipe the crème mousseline on the bottom half.
  4. Put the top part of the ring back on and sprinkle with icing sugar!

Enjoy straight away for dessert or afternoon tea!

Pork fillet fricassé in a Chablis sauce

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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

 

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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.

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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.