Tourin Blanchit a l’Ail: Traditional French Garlic Soup

Tourin Blanchit a l’Ail: Traditional French Garlic Soup

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There is an old French tradition whereby garlic soup is given to newlyweds in the wee hours after their wedding night, possibly because it’s thought to be an aphrodisiac, but more likely to aid digestion after a night of feasting and merriment!

I don’t know if this is still observed today but I love the idea of a food being a remedy for too much other food, and garlic does feel as if it has a restorative quality to it. In fact, a Frenchwoman who immigrated to Australia in the early 1960’s told me the only place she could find garlic here back then was in the pharmacy! Times may have changed, but the French still love their garlic soup.

Serve as a starter for any meal or freeze and save a serve for when you’re feeling under the weather to pep you up.

Ingredients:

  • 300g Peeled Garlic
  • 100g Unsalted Butter
  • 60g Plain Flour
  • 350ml Thickened Cream
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • Salt and Pepper

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Method:

  1. Blitz the garlic in the food processor until it forms a paste or chop it as finely as possible with a knife if you don’t have a food processor.
  2. Heat up a medium size cooking pot on medium heat with the butter. Add the garlic and cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the base of the pot.
  3. Sprinkle the flour on the garlic, just enough so that it forms a loose paste. You may not need all the flour. The more you add, the thicker the soup will be.
  4. Fill up the pot to ¾ with water and bring the soup to the boil while whisking. Turn the heat down to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the cream, salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Add the egg white while whisking as this way you’ll have little bits of egg through your garlic soup and it also helps to blend everything together.
  7. Serve hot with some thin slices of toasted baguette.

 

Lamb Persillade with ratatouille

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Ratatouille, like many French dishes that are considered “classics” today, started life as humble peasant food, in this case a simple mix of abundant, in season spring/ summer vegetables. Today, opinions are divided as to how to cook the “perfect” ratatouille, but really, the most important part of this dish is the quality of the produce you are using to make it with.

 

My preference is always produce that has been grown locally and as free from chemicals as possible, with the exception of tomatoes which I don’t mind being canned, as long as the only thing in the can is the tomatoes themselves.

 

Purists will say that the original dish didn’t include eggplants, but I quite like the meaty quality they add to the dish so I’ve included them here. Good news is, if you’re not a fan, you can leave them out and still have a delicious dish on your hands.

 

I’ve paired my ratatouille with delicious lamb persillade, but it’s a truly versatile dish enough so that you can eat it hot, cold, as a side or as a meal on it’s own and it goes perfectly with fish too – so enjoy it your own way and bon appétit!

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Ingredients for the Ratatouille:

 

  • 2 eggplant (diced)
  • 3 zucchini (diced)
  • 1 red onions (sliced)
  • 2 red capsicum (diced)
  • 5 garlic cloves (grated)
  • 1 bunch thyme (chopped)
  • 2 tins crushed tomato
  • 4 fresh tomatoes (diced)
  • 400 ml vegetable stock

 

 

Method: Place a deep cooking pot on a high heat with a little bit of olive oil in it. Once heated turn the heat down to medium and ad the sliced onions, grated garlic and chopped thyme. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the onions have browned, stirring from time to time. Then add the diced capsicum and cook for about five minutes, until the capsicum softens a little. Add the diced zucchini and the diced eggplants and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomato and the vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 25 minutes on a low to medium heat. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes on a low heat and adjust seasoning if necessary.

 

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Ingredients for the persillade:

 

  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 100 g coarse breadcrumbs

 

Method: Wash, dry and chop the parsley. Peel and grate the garlic then combine it with the parsley and the breadcrumbs. Lay down the lamb cutlets on a board and season well with salt and pepper. Dust the lamb in plain flour, dip it egg wash (egg , milk mix) and coat the cutlet with the persillade mix. Heat up a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil on a medium heat. Place the lamb cutlets in the pan (depending on how many cutlets you have, you may need to do more than one batch, as you don’t want overfill the pan). Cook on each side for about 3 minutes. You’ll see when they are ready to be turned, as the persillade will be golden and crunchy. Turn them and cook for a further 3 minutes. The cooking time may vary depending on how big the cutlets are. An easy way to know is if you slightly cut one of them, the meat should still be pink and juicy. Allow the cutlets to rest for a minute or so then serve with the ratatouille.

 

Wine Note: A fresh Rosé is perfect to compliment this dish in the warmer months. I recommend a “Chateaux Minuty” cote de Provence, Available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au .

How to make a Gratin Dauphinois

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Gratin dauphinois is a traditional regional French dish based on potatoes and crème fraîche, from the historic Dauphiné region in south-east France. There are many variants of the name of the dish, including pommes de terre dauphinoise, potatoes à la dauphinoise and gratin de pommes à ladauphinoise.The first mention of the dish is from 12 July 1788. It was served with ortolans at a dinner given by Charles-Henri, duke of Clermont-Tonnerre and Lieutenant-general of the Dauphiné, for the municipal officials of the town of Gap, now in the département of Hautes-Alpes.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 500 ml cream
  • 100 ml milk
  • 50 g butter
  • ½ bunch thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper

 

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Method:  Preheat oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392 F). Thinly slice the potatoes (about a coin   thickness) and season well with salt and pepper. Boil the cream, milk, butter and crushed garlic together, then add your chopped thyme to it. Rub the soft butter all over you deep baking dish, then start layering the potatoes in the dish, it should be about ¾ full. Pour the cream mix over the top of your potatoes, and sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top of your potatoes. Cover with foil and cook the gratin in the hot oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. About half way through the cooking, take the foil off and put the gratin back in the oven for the last half of the cooking.To check if your gratin is cooked, simply put a small knife through the potatoes, if it goes in easily then your potatoes are cooked.

Gratin dauphinois is the perfect winter dish, rich and creamy it will warm you up and satisfy your appetite. It is the perfect side dish for a roast chicken or a roast beef for example or even just with a green salad on the side for lunch and a glass of red wine!!!!

To check out my how to video click on the following link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og2JlU5mbZE

 

Bon Appétit

Le Fermier

 

Garlic: An essential ingredient

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Where to start? Garlic first appeared 5000 years ago, some say it comes from Central Asia, some say from Egypt. It was then introduced to China, the Middle East, India and southern Europe by Nomadic population. Builders of the ancient pyramids were said to eat garlic daily for enhanced endurance and strength. Garlic was placed by the ancient Greeks on the piles of stones at cross-roads, as a supper for Hecate. European beliefs once considered garlic a powerful ward against demons, werewolves, and vampires. To ward off vampires, garlic could be worn, hung in windows or rubbed on chimneys and keyholes.

Garlic as we know, is an essential ingredients for many different type of cuisine such as Indian cuisine, Chinese cuisine and of course French cuisine. In France we use it in pretty much everything, soups, aioli, cassoulets,       ragouts, vinegrette, and the list could go on for ever. One of my favourite recipe with garlic is called “Tourin” which is a garlic soup from the south west of France in the Perigord region, made with garlic, butter, egg white, stock and cream. But before we started using garlic as delicacy, it was also known for its medicinal benefits, it promotes the well being of the heart and immune systeme with antioxidant properties. The active component in garlic is the sulfur compound called allicin. Allicin is the chemical produced when garlic is chopped, chewed, or bruised. Allicin is quite powerful as an antibiotic and a potent agent that helps the body to inhibit the ability of germs to grow and reproduce. Garlic has germanium in it. Germanium is an anti-cancer agent, and garlic has more of it than any other herb. In fact, garlic has been shown to retard tumor growth in human subjects in some parts of the world. Another benefit of garlic is it helps regulate the body’s blood pressure. So whether you have problems with low or high blood pressure, garlic can help equalize it. Garlic helps strengthen your body’s defenses against allergies; helps loosen plaque from the artery walls; helps regulate your blood sugar levels; and is the best choice for killing and expelling parasites such as pin worms from the human body. Garlic is also known to help with weight control.

There differente type of garlic but one of the most famous garlic in France is the pink garlic called “l’ail de Lautrec” in the south of France and date back to the Middle age. It now cultivated along the south of France near Castre and Albi.

Pan Fried Snapper with Braised Chickpea and Pancetta

 

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Snapper or “ Dorade “ in French is one of those fish that  has a “meaty” texture and a strong taste, but I have to say is one of my favourite fish. Its “meatiness “ is why this fish goes perfectly with the braised chickpea and pancetta, the texture of the chickpea and the spicy flavour of the mild pancetta binds so well with the snapper. Enjoy this wonderful dish.

Bon appetit.

 

For the chick pea :

–          1 packet dried chickpeas ( about 375 g )

–          2 brown onions

–          5 cloves garlic

–          1 bunch thyme

–          1 Table spoon tomato paste

–          1 litre vegetable stock

–          4-5 thickly sliced pancetta

–           2 dried chili

–          2 teaspoon corn flour

 

Method :  Soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight. Dice your onions, crush the garlic, chop the thyme and dice the pancetta• Pour about 50 ml of olive oil in your pot and add your onions, garlic, thyme and diced pancetta and cook for 5 minutes• Add the chickpeas and stir• Add the stock and cook for about 1 hour on medium heat or until tender• To thicken the sauce, mix the corn flour with a little bit of water, just enough to dissolve it and pour it into the sauce while mixing• Season to taste

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For the fish:

–          4 snapper fillets

–          Salt and pepper

–          Olive oil

 

Method : Using a sharp knife slightly cut the skin of the fish , this will allow the heat to go through the fish quicker resulting in a shorter cooking time and also prevent the fish from curling while cooking• Season the fish with salt and pepper• Heat up a large frying pan on medium heat and drizzle with olive oil, once the pan starts smoking gently add the fish skin side down• When the fish is cooked about ¾ of the way turn it and turn the gas off, leave for 30 second and rest•

 

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Pulled Pork Tacos

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Here is one of my favourite dishes at the moment, Pulled Pork Tacos. The heart of this dish, as the name suggests, is succulent melt-in-your-mouth pork, complemented by home made fresh corn tortillas and tasty trimmings. This Mexican inspired fare is the perfect comfort food for cold days or for sharing with friends in summer alongside some ice-cold cervezas. If corn tortillas aren’t your thing, the pulled pork can also be enjoyed with fresh pasta or in a crusty baguette.

Ingredients

For the Pulled Pork:

– 1/2 kg Boneless pork shoulder

– 2 Brown onions

– 4 garlic cloves

– 1/2 bunch thyme

– 1 stick rosemary

– 2 Tbs cumin powder

– 2 Tbs coriander powder

– 2 Tbs mustard seeds

– 2 can crushed tomato

– 2 Tbs smoked paprika

– 1 Tbs chili powder or smoked chili powder.

For the Tortilla :

– 1 cup Maize meal

– 1 cup plain flour

– 1 Tsp baking powder

– 1 Tsp salt

– 1 – 2 cup warm milk

Method for the Pulled Pork:

Dice the donions, grate the garlic and chop the herbs. Cut the meat into cubes and put them in a large deep pot. Add the herbs, onions & garlic, herbs and spices. Add the crushed tomato and a cup of water. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours or until the meat falls apart . You can add a bit more water if the sauce thickens a bit too much.

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Method for the Tortilla :

Mix the maize meal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the warm milk. Knead the dough until smooth. Rest for ten minutes. Cut the dough into 80g pieces and roll with a rolling-pin into a round shape.

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Lightly spray a frying pan with oil spray and cook for about 1 minute each side on medium heat.

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Place some pork onto a tortilla, add your favourite trimmings and enjoy!

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Bon Appetit!

Le Fermier