Oven Baked Camembert with a Nectarine, Pomegranate and thyme salsa

baked camembert-lefermier251118

 

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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Oysters with a Citrus and Champagne Granité.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Dozen Oyster
  • 2 Blood Orange
  • 1 Pink Grapefruit
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 Orange
  • 20 g Brown Sugar

 

Method:

  • Juice the Fruits and mix in the brown sugar.
  • Pour the juice in a shallow tray and place in the freeze
  • When it starts to freeze, stir the juice to create crystals.
  • Once frozen, scrap the granité with a fork and spoon it on top of the oysters.
  • Serve straight away with a glass of Champagne Le Brun de Neuville, available at www.airoldifinewines.com.au

 

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!

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


Homemade Brioche

 

brioche5_lefermier_060815

If I had to describe brioche to someone who had never tried it before, I guess I would say that it’s a hybrid between cake and bread. It often comes in loaves just like bread, but as soon as you slice it you can see the texture is lighter, and more buttery, yet not quite spongy enough to be cake. It’s because of exactly these properties that the French class Brioche as a viennoiserie, along with pastries like croissants and pains au chocolat.

The first written reference to Brioche was in the 15th century and though it’s origin isn’t confirmed, it’s generally believed to been a Norman creation (i.e. from the north of France).

brioche1_lefermier_060815

Savoury brioche is often eaten at breakfast in lieu of bread in France. Sweetened varieties can be likened to Greek Easter bread, and in fact, my favourite kind of sweet brioche, called Mouna, is also served around Easter time. Mouna is traditional in Pied-Noir or Algerian cuisine, and because this is where my Mother was born, she has made it for Easter ever since I was born.

You can use brioche to substitute for bread wherever you want to add a richer flavour and fluffier texture. For example, use it as burger or hot dog buns, or slather some cheeky nutella on top of a slice at breakfast, or, use it to make French Toast like many Aussie cafés are already doing.

brioche3_lefermier_060815

Ingredients:

  • 500 g strong flour (bakers flour or OO)
  • 20 g salt
  • 20g fresh yeast or 7g dried yeast
  • 300g unsalted butter, soft
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoon milk, warm

brioche2_lefermier_060815

Method:

  1. Crumble the yeast in a small bowl, add the warm milk to it and dissolve the yeast using your finger tips or if using dry yeast, sprinkle it over the warm milk and let it activate for about 10 minutes (or until it starts bubbling on top)
  2. Place the flour, salt and sugar in an electric mixing bowl with the hook attachment (I like to use a Kitchen Aid) and mix the three ingredients together.
  3. Add the yeast to the flour and mix a little. Then add the eggs one by one and mix until combined.
  4. Knead the dough on high speed for 8-10 minutes to really work the gluten in the flour and give the brioche dough the strength and elasticity we want ( the dough should not stick and the sides of the bowl should be clean).
  5. Add the butter a little bit a the time, wait until the butter is incorporated before adding more! Knead for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Loosely cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest until double in size. Then, knead the dough on a lightly floured bench to knock the air out of it and put it back in the bowl, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge over night.
  7. The dough will be easier to work with and have a better flavour by proofing slowly overnight.

brioche4_lefermier_060815

The next day:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Take the dough out of the fridge and slightly knead it on a floured bench.
  3. Portion the dough in 100g balls, this recipe should give you about 10.
  4. Now you can form whatever shape you want, I chose to make buns with my brioche because I was having homemade Hotdogs for dinner!
  5. Place your Buns on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper, you may need to use more than one tray as we do not want them to close to each other. Loosely cover them with glad wrap and leave to proof in a warm spot until double in size.
  6. Brush the brioche with a couple of beaten egg yolk mix with a little bit of milk and sprinkle some hail sugar on top if you’re making sweet brioche or some sesame seeds for example for savoury brioche.
  7. Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes, the brioche should be golden on top.
  8. Once cooked place them on a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Tip: Do not let the yeast come in direct contact with the salt as it would kill it.