Oven Baked Camembert with a Nectarine, Pomegranate and thyme salsa

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Ingredients:

  • 1 camembert
  • 1/2 bunch thyme
  • 2 nectarine
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 tablespoon honey

 

Method:

  • Preheat oven at 200 degrees celsius.
  • Place Camembert on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper, and bake for 14 minutes
  • Dice the nectarines, seed the pomegranate and pick the thyme, then mix them together with a touch of cherry vinegar.
  • Serve with a Chateau Mazerolles Benoit Cote de Blaye, available at www.airoldifinewines.com.au
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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

 

Dijon mustard, Emmental and Tomato Tart

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Tarts, both sweet and savoury are a staple in French cooking with their crispy pastry and multitude of filling combinations. Generally, when you think of savoury tarts, you imagine delicate concoctions of quiche with some vegetables mixed through. For those who want an alternative that packs a little more punch or who aren’t a fan of the flavour of egg-based tarts, I present you with the following option. The ingredients here are super simple and require little more than to be layered atop one another and baked. There’s no beating or stirring in sight as the core ingredient that binds everything together here is cheese, delicious, melty cheese. Perfect as a gourmet upgrade to the humble pizza and just as great with your favourite beer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 150g Emmental or Comté cheese
  • 4 medium tomato
  • 3 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • Provençal herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

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Method:

  1. Slice the cheese and the tomatoes and keep aside.
  2. Lay one sheet of pastry flat on your bench and brush it with an egg yolk mixed with one teaspoon of cold water. Lay the second sheet on top and gently press together. This will give your tart a crunchier finish. Lay the pastry over a tart baking dish and gently arrange it in the dish. Using a sharp knife trim any excess pastry.
  3. Spread the Dijon mustard at the bottom then place the cheese on top of it.
  4. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top in circular pattern. Sprinkle with the Provençale herbs, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius (392F) and serve hot.
  5. I recommend a glass of Chateau “La Manufacture” Petit Chablis to compliment this dish, available from airoldifinewines.com.au or if you prefer beer a delicious Pale Ale or even an IPA!

Cheese platter with homemade fig and walnut bread

 

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Over the coming weeks I’m going to share with you the many facets of my biggest food obsession – cheese. Few things, culinary or otherwise, are more ubiquitous with the hexagon nation than fromage. You’d be surprised at how many varieties and subtleties of flavour exist and so I just couldn’t fit everything into one post. For today, I’ve started at the end, showing you a platter of a few of my favourites (at least from the selection we are able to purchase in Australia, but that’s another story.)

Now, it’s not just the cheese that matters on a cheese platter. What you eat your cheese with is equally important. A good quality crusty loaf of bread is a must and a touch of sweetness like a fig or quince paste can really enhance the flavour. I’ve combined the two in this delicious fig and walnut bread recipe that you can easily make at home and impress your guests with.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kg baker’s flour
  • 100g fresh yeast (or 35g dried yeast)
  • 800mL luke warm water
  • 35g salt
  • 200g walnut kernel
  • 150g dried figs
  • 150g dried apricots (optional)

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees on fan force.
  2. Mix the yeast with a little bit of water, just enough to dilute it.
  3. Put all the dry ingredients into a big mixing bowl and give it a stir before you add the yeast. You don’t want the yeast to be in direct contact with the salt, as it would “kill” it.
  4. Roughly chop the walnuts, figs and apricots (if you are including them) and keep aside.
  5. Add the yeast to the dry ingredients then add the water. Knead the dough well for about 5 minutes, by hand or using an electric mixer with a hook attachment.
  6. Put the dough on a lightly floured bench, spread it a little bit and arrange the nuts and dried fruits in the middle. Knead well for a further 5 minutes by hand to make sure the garnish is evenly spread.
  7. Put the dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to proof until it doubles in size, then knock it back down with your fists (as if you’re punching it).
  8. Portion the dough in 300g balls and using the palm of your hands, form an oblong shape, kind of like a big Baguette.
  9. Cover the bread with a towel and leave to proof until nearly double in size.
  10. Bake the bread until golden and crunchy around the outside (about 15 minutes). To know when it’s ready, gently knock on the bottom of the loaf and if it sounds hollow, then it’s ready.

 

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I paired this wonderful bread with a cheese platter in which I used the following cheeses:

  1. Pico goats cheese : Perigord region, France. Soft ripened cheese
  2. Fourme D’ambert: Puy De Dome in Auvergne France. Semi Hard blue cheese
  3. Brebirousse d’argental: Lyon region, soft ripened bloomy rind sheep’s milk cheese
  4. truffled brie: Rouzaire Ile De France, soft cheese

I also used dried apricots, dried figs, grapes, crackers and moscatels on the platter

All those are available from feast in Hampton or Richmond café and Larder cheeses, you can also visit their website: www.rhcl.com.au

With this amazing cheese platter I recommend a Chateau “ Ollieux Romanis” Corbiere red available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au .

Porc a la Normande ( slow cook pork fillet in cider and Calvados)

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Normandy is located in north west of France. Normandy is well known for their apple cider, lamb and their beef, but I think most people would know Normandy for their famous cheeses such as Camembert, Livarot , Pont l’Évêque and Brillat-Savarin. As you can tell with this recipe cream is an important ingredient in “Normand” cooking . Normandy is also the biggest producer of oysters, mussels and coquille saint Jacques( scallops) in France. Normandy was  the home of the author of one of the first French cuisine cookbook ” Le Viandier” , Guillaume Tirel known as “Taillevent”.

For the pork ragout :

–          2 Pork fillets or diced pork

–          4 Shallots

–          ¾ litre Apple cider

–          400g Sliced mushroom

–          1 glass Calvados ( Apple brandy)

–          3 Apples

–          200 ml Crème Fraiche

Method: Heat up your pot on high heat with a bit of olive oil then add half of the meat. Cook until it starts to colour then take the meat out and repeat the process with the rest of the meat• Put the meat back in the pot and add the calvados and “Flamber”•  Add the shallots and  colour them for a few minutes•  Add the peeled and diced apples, cover with cider, season with salt and pepper and cook on low heat for 30-40 minutes• Add the sliced mushroom and cook for a further 15-20 minutes• Before serving add the crème fraiche . Reduce the sauce if necessary.

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For the “ Tomates Provencale” ( Provencale tomato)

–          5  vine tomato

–          ½ Bunch continental parsley

–          4 garlic cloves

–          ½ cup bread crumbs (optional)

Method:  Cut the tomatoes in half sideways and place them on a roasting tray • Crush the garlic, chop the parsley and mix them together• Drizzle the tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper• Sprinkle the garlic and parsley over the top and roast at 180 degree celcius for 10-12 minutes.

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