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



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

 

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!

 

 

Back to Basics: 5 Formal Vegetable Cuts.

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Today I wanted to share with you 5 of the different ways that I was taught to cut vegetables back when I was training to be a chef. While it won’t change the taste of your veggies, it will change the look of your dish and show your level of finesse as a cook or chef.

Here are the different cuts, how to achieve them and when you’d typically use them.

Cut: Julienne – Thin string or matchstick shape

How to do it: Slice the vegetable length way as thin as possible, then stack your slices and cut paper thin strips length way. If you are starting with a round vegetable like a carrot, cut one side of it off so you have a flatter surface to rest it on.

When to use it: Commonly used as a garnish or in sauces

Cut: Mirepoix – Chunky square cut

How to do it: Cut chunky square shape of vegetables about 1-1.5 cm.

When to use it: Used in sauce bases like stock, normally including carrots, onions, celery and leeks.

Cut: Brunoise – Little cubes of vegetables or fruit about 2-3 mm size

How to do it: Similar start as the julienne, but cut the string of vegetables about 2-3mm then dice them in 2-3 mm cubes.

When to use it: Mainly used to decorate dishes, in salad or added to sauces at the end for better aesthetics

Cut: Macedoine – A slightly bigger version of a brunoise about 6-8mm in size

How to do it: Same process as the brunoise but slightly bigger.

When to use it: Most commonly used in cold salads such as Macédoine de Légumes

Cut: Paysanne – Thinly sliced vegetables of around 1mm in thickness

How to do it: Cut your vegetable in 4, so you have triangular shape pieces and then thinly them. You should end up with thin triangle of vegetables.

When to use it: Mainly used in potage, broth or in casseroles where the cooking time is short.

 

Et, voilà! Try one of these cuts next time you’re making a stir fry, ratatouille or salad.

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

Pasta Alla Puttanesca

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Despite the more colourful inferences that pasta alla puttanesca was born of Italian houses of ill repute, made by prostitutes to lure customers in from the streets, the dish in truth, has far more simple beginnings.

Yes, it’s true that “alla puttanesca” can translate to “style of the whores” but the very similar word “puttanata” means rubbish, or crap, and its in this translation where we find a more probable history.

In the 1950’s, on the island of Ischia, a man by the name of Sandro Petti was asked late one night by some patrons in his restaurant to make them some food. Nearing closing, he didn’t have many ingredients left so told them there wasn’t enough to make a meal. “Facci una puttanata qualsiasi,” they said or “Make any kind of garbage”. Only having a few olives, tomatoes and capers, he used these to make a sauce and mixed it with spaghetti. Petti later placed it on his menu, but changed “puttanata” to “puttanesca” apparently because the former didn’t sound quite right.

 

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Pasta Alla Puttanesca

Ingredients:

  • 400g fresh pasta
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2 red chilies, sliced
  • 80 g black olives, pitted
  • ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ bunch fresh basil, picked and washed
  • parmesan, to serve

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Method:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for about 4 minutes or until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile place a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then add the garlic, anchovy and chili. Add the pitted olive and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic starts to slightly caramelize and the anchovies start to blend into the sauce.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes and a little bit of the cooking water, cover with the lid and cook for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes start to cook.
  4. Add the basil to the sauce along with the fresh pasta and some of the cooking water, just enough to loosen and make delicious and saucy!
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, transfer the pasta in a big serving bowl, top with shaved parmesan, basil and anchovy fillets.

A glass of  EVOI Sauvignon Blanc Semillon   From www.airoldifinewines.com.au would be a perfect match with this delicious pasta dish.

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

Duck and Cèpe Mushroom Terrine

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It’s summer here in Oz. And to me, as a Frenchman summer means one thing – the season of outdoor aperitif. There are few things I relish more than basking in long, hazy, afternoon shadows cast by the summer sun, sipping on an ice-cold drink and grazing a selection of culinary accoutrements.

When it comes to my favourite nibbles, the Italians get full marks for simplistic perfection with their claim to the melon and prosciutto combo and the Caprese salad. But if you’re looking for something a little heartier but no heavy, the French terrine is an ideal solution.

Yes, they do take more preparation, but your usual terrine mold will make enough that you can eat it over a few days or feed a lot of people at once with impressive flair. Serve it cold from the fridge, sliced, with a side of cornichons and your preferred crusty bread. Parfait!

Duck and Cèpe Mushroom Terrine

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Ingredients:

  • 200g cepe mushroom (You can find these dried at good continental providores)
  • 800g duck meat
  • 2 deboned quails
  • 400g pork shoulder
  • 300g streaky bacon
  • 4 shallots
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 50ml port
  • 50ml brandy
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 Tablespoon green pepper (in brine)
  • ½ jar of cornichons (baby cucumbers)

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Dice the shallots, crush the garlic, chop the thyme and keep aside.
  3. Soak the mushroom in warm water for 10 minutes then strain them.
  4. Heat a large frying pan with olive oil. Cut the quail in 4 pieces and season with salt and pepper. Seal the quail in the pan on all sides for a few seconds, until slightly golden. Take the quail out of the frying pan and keep aside.
  5. Then, in the same pan cook the shallots, garlic and thyme for a couple of minutes on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the port, brandy and flambé it. Put the mushroom mix in the fridge to completely cool it down.
  6. Mince the pork, bacon and duck meat with the coarse grind attachment on your kitchen aid (or other mixer). If you do not have a mincer you can ask your butcher to mince it for you.
  7. In a terrine mold start with a layer of minced meat, press it down, then add the quail, another layer of meat, the mushroom and finish off with meat.
  8. Place the terrine mold in a deep roasting tray and pour hot water into the tray until it sits halfway up the outside of the terrine mold.
  9. Cook the terrine for 2 hours then cool the terrine down in the mold in the fridge overnight.
  10. When ready to serve, remove from the mold and slice into 2cm (or ½ inch) thick pieces.Duc